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Opinion: Lightning Returns is by far the best 'XIII' game photo
Opinion: Lightning Returns is by far the best 'XIII' game
by Chris Carter

I wasn't a fan of Final Fantasy XIII.

I felt like in many ways it was a step back for the franchise, and the cast wasn't nearly as charming as Square Enix thought it was. But with XIII-2, I partially warmed up to the series, as it slowly but surely injected that classic Final Fantasy charm of old. It embraced the silliness factor, had a less confusing (but ultimately still confusing) story, and crazy bits like Mog and Chocolina only added to its allure.

Somehow, Lightning Returns has dialed it up a bit, adding in insane elements like the Lady Gaga-esque Moogle suit, more Chocolina, and a story that actually makes sense. For that reason and many more, it's my favorite of the trio.

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Review: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy photo
Review: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy
by Dale North

Finally! The story of Final Fantasy XIII is finally final with Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy. But this closing act turns the trilogy on its head with brand new play mechanics and a game structure that is unlike anything seen in the previous titles. Lightning herself may be (mostly) the same, but everything else is quite different.

The third time's the charm, right?

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The problem with Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes' price photo
The problem with Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes' price
by Steven Hansen

I don't think I've ever complained a game was too short. Except Persona 4: Golden. I could have played that for another 400 hours. And I've always laughed at the ridiculous price per hour breakdown some Internet goers abide by. I found Thirty Flights of Loving to be more complete feeling in its 15 minute run time than many 15 hour games I've slogged through.

But the wild world of variable pricing models, downloads, and paying for games that don't even exist yet has complicated my more generalized, "price doesn't matter," and "quality over quantity" stance.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes -- a short prologue to the full Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain -- will cost anywhere from $20 to $40. That's problematic.

[Image]

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Review: The Wolf Among Us: Smoke and Mirrors photo
Review: The Wolf Among Us: Smoke and Mirrors
by Chris Carter

Bigby the Wolf has the weight of the world on his shoulders. He's just stumbled upon two murders, everyone is judging him based on his past, and all of it is starting to take its toll. In the second episode of Wolf Among Us, Telltale does an amazing job of unloading some of that burden off to the player.

Whereas Faith showed us Bigby from afar, we've now become him in Smoke and Mirrors. This is going to be one wild ride that even Toad might not be able to handle.

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Review: Fable Anniversary photo
Review: Fable Anniversary
by Chris Carter

Fable and I have a history together. Ever since I learned of its existence in an official Xbox Magazine under the codename "Project Ego," I was enthralled by the promises of Peter Molyneux. Back then, he basically could do no wrong, creating masterpiece after masterpiece at Bullfrog Productions.

But in 1997 he left and founded Lionhead Studios, eventually crafting the very first game in the Fable franchise. The first entry didn't really follow up with any of the promises Molyneux made, but despite that fact, it ended up being a serviceable little action-adventure romp.

Not much has changed with the updated Fable Anniversary, for better or for worse.

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The best and worst games of the week - A Bravely January  photo
The best and worst games of the week - A Bravely January
by Wesley Ruscher

January has come and gone, but that doesn't mean there weren't some great games to play. Just look at all the amazing "indie" games that hit the PC this month.

We had the fruition of two KickStarter campaigns finally see the light of day -- The Banner Saga and the first act of Double Fine's Broken Age -- the quirky Octodad, and the totally rad OlliOlii on PS Vita.

There was definitely some great stuff to keep us busy this month, and February is looking just as smooth. I can't even tell you how much I can't wait to get my thumbs on Bravely Default on the 3DS. Well... I guess I just did. 

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Preview: Dark Souls II photo
Preview: Dark Souls II
by Alessandro Fillari

As one of the most celebrated and admired games of the last generation, the Souls series from the developers at From Software has many admirers and critics. Many swear by its uncompromising and hardcore gameplay systems and design, while others view it as unfair and unnecessarily difficult. Regardless, it's safe to say that the series, particularly Dark Souls, has garnered a lot of attention for the once niche developer.

With the next entry only a little more than a month away, many of its devotees are itching for their next chance to venture into the world of Dark Souls. During Namco Bandai's media event held earlier this week, Destructoid got the chance to try out an hour of the game and experience what From Software has in store for the curious and hardcore alike.

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Review: Call of Duty: Ghosts: Onslaught photo
Review: Call of Duty: Ghosts: Onslaught
by Chris Carter

Call of Duty: Ghosts is one of the most disappointing games in the series' history. Although I didn't dislike it as much as Jim did, there's certainly something missing that made past games in the franchise appealing, and it's not just because the formula is getting stale.

The campaign was a bore, multiplayer didn't really bring much to the table, and worst of all, the highly anticipated "Extinction" mode was grossly underutilized. While the new map pack doesn't fundamentally fix the core problems of Ghosts, it does make it a little more interesting as a whole.

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Preview: Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare photo
Preview: Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare
by Alessandro Fillari

How weird was it seeing that reveal trailer for Plant vs Zombies: Garden Warfare at last year's E3? Plants vs Zombies was known for its focus on strategy and quirky humor, so it was a pretty surprising move for the developers at PopCap Games to bring such an interesting twist to their hugely popular franchise. As a fan of the series, I was mostly curious to see how it would translate from a tower defense style game to an online focused shooter.

But strangely enough, the transition worked out surprisingly well. And then some. Using the Frostbite 3 engine, PopCap Games took a chance and made its first foray into 3D, bringing along many of its characters from the series. EA invited some the press out to try a new build of the class-based shooter Garden Warfare and it turns out it's still just as strategic as ever.

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Microsoft buys the rights to the Gears of War franchise photo
Microsoft buys the rights to the Gears of War franchise
by Chris Carter

Microsoft has always been synonymous with the Gears of War franchise, but now, it's officially official. It appears as if they've bought the rights in their entirety from Epic Games, allowing them to take over all past and future games, the latter of which will be developed in Vancouver by Black Tusk Studios under the leadership of former Epic Games director of production Rod Fergusson.

Well, this most likely won't impact anyone in a major way, as you're either a Gears fan or you aren't. It also all but confirms a new Gears of War game on the Xbox One.

Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise [Xbox Wire]

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PC Port Report: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance photo
PC Port Report: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
by Patrick Hancock

Hey everyone! There’s a Platinum Games game out on PC! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! Well, I guess since this is their first foray into the world of PC ports, it’s probably a good idea to check and see how well they’ve done.

Other companies haven’t done so well in their PC debut, largely due to a complete misunderstanding of the market and lack of continued support. Luckily, Konami and Platinum Games know the value in patches, and have addressed some of the issues in Metal Gear Rising.

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Assassin's Creed Liberation HD is a fine upgrade photo
Assassin's Creed Liberation HD is a fine upgrade
by Chris Carter

When Liberation was released on the PlayStation Vita, I heartily enjoyed the opportunity to play Assassin's Creed on the go. Aveline was a great addition to the franchise, and it showed that Ubisoft could actually handle a heroine with grace.

It wasn't a flawless experience however, as it had a number of frame-rate issues among a few other technical hiccups, mostly due to the fact that it was crammed onto a portable. Here we are over a year later with the HD port, and although some of the problems confusingly remain, the overall package is a much stronger effort.

In other words, you could say the original has become...liberated.

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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is bold and uncompromising photo
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is bold and uncompromising
by Alessandro Fillari

In 2010, Konami took a chance on the obscure Spanish development studio MercurySteam to create a reboot for one of the most adored and quoted game series ever. While Castlevania: Lords of Shadow went on to become a popular seller and was admired for its storytelling and action, it was a also a polarizing entry among fans of the series.

Now, the developers are back with their next and final title in the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow series -- and they fully intend on leaving their mark on the franchise. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is daring, shows the clout that the developers earned from their previous outing, and also marks the first time we'll get to play as the infamous Dracula.

Destructoid was invited out to play the first few hours of the game, where we also had some time to chat with game producer Dave Cox. We got to see firsthand what it took to bring this iconic character to life, and how the developers at MercurySteam plan to make the series relevant again.

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Titanfall multiplayer limited to 12 players photo
Titanfall multiplayer limited to 12 players
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Well looks like Vince Zampella's Twitter is going to be the ongoing source for all Titanfall news. His latest reveal is that Titanfall will support a maximum of six players on each team, so 12 total real players. Vince added that this "turned out to be the best balance with AI for us." Remember, the maps are filled with AI allies and opponents as you're playing, so multiplayer matches do feel like a large scale endeavor.

It's a bit disappointing at first hearing the low player count, but based on my hands-on time with the game this may work out in the best interest for players. The maps are very open, and too many players could potentially make things too frustrating as enemies can literally come at you from any direction.

@VinceZampella [Twitter, via Team Beyond]

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Alien: Isolation is the new game in the Alien franchise photo
Alien: Isolation is the new game in the Alien franchise
by Brett Makedonski

After months of rampant Internet speculation, Sega has finally revealed that Alien: Isolation is the new title in the Alien(s) franchise, and that it's being developed by Creative Assembly, the studio behind the Total War series. True to its non-plural namesake, Isolation will be a survival horror game in the same vein as Ridley Scott's 1979 masterpiece.

Alien: Isolation tells the story of Amanda Ripley, the daughter of the movie series' protagonist, Ellen Ripley. Amanda has been plagued since childhood by the mysterious disappearance of her mother after the loss of the Nostromo. Amanda, now a Weyland-Yutani employee herself, is tipped off that a space station has recovered the audio log detailing the events of the Nostromo. She journeys with a team to the space station, only to find that a Xenomorph has gotten there first and is wreaking havoc.

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YES! New Arkham Origins DLC is likely Mr. Freeze related photo
YES! New Arkham Origins DLC is likely Mr. Freeze related
by Chris Carter

When the Batman: Arkham Origins Facebook page teased an event happening at the Humanitarian Awards, many of our readers guessed that it was a reference to an episode of Batman: The Animated Series. Well it appears as if they're right, as the crew has just revealed a picture for a new story DLC coming in 2014, and it's completely frozen over.

Yep, although they haven't come out and said it, it's more likely than not that Mr. Freeze will be heading up this add-on. I don't have any real confidence in Warner Bros. Montreal in terms of producing DLC, but that doesn't stop me from rooting for one of my favorite Batman villains. I'm sure some people are tired of Mr. Freeze after Arkham City, but I can't get enough of him, personally -- and if done right (just rip off The Animated Series, guys), this DLC could have a pretty killer story.

Batman Arkham [Facebook]

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