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12:01 PM on 04.14.2015

Review: Mortal Kombat X

Fighting game developers are in a really tough spot when it comes to sequels. If you don't iterate enough, newcomers will be tempted to call it a "rehash." If you iterate too much, hardcore fans may feel alienated by the vast...

Chris Carter



As the first current-gen Naruto, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is a huge visual leap photo
As the first current-gen Naruto, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is a huge visual leap
by Chris Carter

There are more Naruto games than one sane person can possibly handle. Although Bandai Namco Entertainment owns the license, a number of different developers have worked with the gaming side, most notably CyberConnect2, who has been working on the Ultimate Ninja subseries from the very beginning.

I had some hands-on time with Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 at Namco Bandai's recent Global Gamers Day event, and although it still has a lot of the same repetition issues as its predecessors, it looks pretty damn slick so far.

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Which low tier character will I waste my time on in Mortal Kombat X? photo
Which low tier character will I waste my time on in Mortal Kombat X?
by Nic Rowen

They say you should never marry for love, but I always do. Every single damn time. I guess you could call me a romantic. If you felt like being less charitable (and possibly more accurate), you could call me a scrub. I couldn't say you'd be wrong. Sadly, that's never stopped me from picking my fighting game characters based on some whimsical, fuzzy, undefinable personal appeal rather than any practical consideration. I look at the character first and the frame data a distant second.

Coincidentally, I also end up always picking duds. Colorful jobbers who reside in the deep bottom third of tier lists, a gaggle of gold brickers who almost never show up in tournaments where people play for "real." I'm like a reverse talent scout with a keen eye for hamstringing liabilities and poor upper end viability. I've made a career out of consistently picking out which fighter will take the biggest, hardest dive and signing them up for a lifetime contract.

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Won't somebody think of the children? photo
Won't somebody think of the children?
by Nic Rowen

When I was a little boy, Mortal Kombat was a tough sell around my home. Like most pre-adolescents of the era, I was darkly attracted to the idea of ninjas and movie stars decapitating each other in bouts of gladiatorial combat. After years of family-friendly games, MK's edgy aggressiveness seemed like tantalizing forbidden fruit and I ate it up. I played it in the arcades every chance and I couldn't wait for a home version where I could practice fatalities in the privacy of our den.

Unfortunately for me and my desire to rip the beating heart from my opponent's rib cage, my mom watched the evening news. Night after night, MK was described by reporters and senators as a murder simulator; a malicious product designed by sick men for the express purpose of desensitizing and warping young minds. It all seems hilarious and idiotic in hindsight, but at the time the concern was real. These were respected authority figures after all, why wouldn't she believe them? Soon I was banned from playing MK at the arcade, and the notion of getting a home copy was dismissed out of hand. There was a dark period of time when it looked like I'd be doomed to never enjoy the simple pleasure of hurling another Kombatant to the spiked bottom of the the Pit ever again. Tragic.

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Rainbow Six Siege is coming along nicely, if the closed alpha is any indication photo
Rainbow Six Siege is coming along nicely, if the closed alpha is any indication
by Chris Carter

Rainbow Six has had quite an interesting history. After playing it in 1998 on a friend's PC I fell in love, and so did mostly everyone else in the gaming community. For a full decade, Ubisoft pumped out game after game, most of which were serviceable at the very least.

But, in 2008, the future of Rainbow Six was put on hold, leading to the cancellation of Patriots in 2014. Fortunately, the franchise lives on in the form of Rainbow Six Siege, and I'm really enjoying it so far based on my playtime with the alpha.

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What is your favorite Souls series boss? photo
What is your favorite Souls series boss?
by Chris Carter

Yesterday, we talked about From Software Director Hidetaka Miyazaki's favorite boss fight from the Souls series. Interestingly enough it was the Old Monk from Demon's Souls, an encounter that blurred the line between a solo and multiplayer event. He had to fight to get it included in the game, and I'm glad he succeeded, as it's still one of the most unique boss fights to date.

Even having played Dark Souls II and Bloodborne after writing this particular Memory Card, I think I'm still going to have to go with Ornstein & Smough from the first Dark Souls. Take a look at the choices of some of our staff and sound off with your own!

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Review: Evolve: The Hunt Evolves Update photo
Review: Evolve: The Hunt Evolves Update
by Nic Rowen

More than a month ago Evolve came out to tepid reactions and muted fanfare. Today's release of the game's first major content update, delivering on the Hunting Season Pass and the pre-order Monster Expansion Pack, might have curious players wondering if it's worth a second look. I'm going to go right ahead and dash those hopes now.

While the four new playable hunters and the new monster to terrorize them with might represent some of the best ideas Turtle Rock Studios has had yet, they don't do anything to change the core problems of the game. Given how expensive this DLC feeding frenzy is, and how little you get for it, even hardcore fans will want to do some soul searching before handing over their wallets.

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Review: Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious photo
Review: Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious
by Steven Hansen

Forza Horizon has long been considered the Fast & Furious of games, so this standalone release makes sense. Unfortunately. it's not much more than a thin, thin Fast & Furious skin over Forza Horizon 2, a bit of a disappointment to the Fast & Furious fan in me. It is a nicely concentrated dose of Forza Horizon 2, though. Enough to sate me, a casual racing fan. I'm not buying Horizon 2, but I gladly played this for a few hours until I'd exhausted it. However, I wouldn't buy this for the $10 price it hits starting April 10, either.

Rather than doing a traditional review for the equivalent of a Pepsi Man or Sneak King, I (Jeep) Wrangled Brett Makedonski to talk about the cross-over.

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Review: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare: Ascendance photo
Review: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare: Ascendance
by Chris Carter

I've come to really enjoy Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's multiplayer months down the line. It's withstood the test of time, and although I was skeptical of Sledgehammer Games' first Duty outing, it has done a decent job at differentiating itself from Treyarch and Infinity Ward, and in most ways, it has already surpassed the latter.

The latest pack is Ascendance, which brings in a few extras outside of the typical four-map, one-zombie level delivery system. It's a better effort than Havoc thanks to the injection of some grappling hooks, but for $15, not every piece of the puzzle carries its load.

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Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China gives the series a fresh perspective photo
Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China gives the series a fresh perspective
by Alessandro Fillari

It's not often we see a major player in the big leagues of yearly releases reinvent itself in a more modest and distinct way. With Assassin's Creed titles expected every year, it's been a bit of a challenge for Ubisoft to keep things interesting for players. And after last year's rough launch for its first true current-gen outing with Assassin's Creed Unity, the company now plans to try something a bit different with its popular brand.

Though there's still another major release coming this year, Ubisoft has hopes that the Assassin's Creed Chronicles trilogy will switch things up. At a recent press event, we got to learn more about this surprising smaller-scale reinvention of Assassin's Creed, and how it has echoes of classic titles such as Prince of Persia. Speaking with the developers from Climax Studios, they seek to reinvigorate the AC experience in the 2.5D perspective while retaining the tried-and-true action-stealth gameplay the series is known for.

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Review: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel: Claptastic Voyage photo
Review: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel: Claptastic Voyage
by Darren Nakamura

With Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, I like and dislike different parts of it in almost equal measure. The combat is exciting and the characters are likable. On the other hand, the environments are a little dull and it suffers from a host of obnoxious bugs.

Claptastic Voyage, the first and only "big" piece of downloadable content had the opportunity to fix a lot of what was broken with the base game. For the most part it succeeds in that endeavor, but it still seems like 2K Australia has a bit to learn about making the loot-shooter truly great.

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What if videogame consoles were Transformers? photo
What if videogame consoles were Transformers?
by Mike Cosimano

This isn't clickbait. This isn't some article cashing in on hypothetical fan art of an Xbox turning into Megatron or a post about those awesome Mega Drive/PlayStation Transformers. This is my life, you fools. I've spent time pouring over this existential question. The world needs to know: what if videogame consoles were Transformers? Here are the Transformers they would be, mostly framed through the IDW comics because those are rad.

You're welcome.

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Review: Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series: The Sword in the Darkness photo
Review: Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series: The Sword in the Darkness
by Darren Nakamura

Telltale seems to be getting into the swing of things with Game of Thrones, in more ways than one. For starters, it only took seven weeks since the last episode for this one to come out. If Telltale can keep up that pace, the season should conclude this August.

More importantly, this is the first episode to really capture the essence of A Song of Ice and Fire. Where Iron From Ice was mostly setup and The Lost Lords felt a little like filler, The Sword in the Darkness finally starts to get the members of House Forrester moving toward something that feels like progress. The situation is still dismal, but faint flickers of light at the end are just now coming into focus.

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Review: Life is Strange: Out of Time photo
Review: Life is Strange: Out of Time
by Brett Makedonski

I just finished episode two of Life is Strange, and I've spiraled down a playlist of Ben Folds songs. Out of Time is Kate Marsh's story, but "Kate" is too cheerful; this tale isn't about daisies, dandelions, and butterflies. The weighty subject material is more in line with the hopelessness that defines "Carrying Cathy," but alas, that's a different name, although not far off.

That being said, Out of Time does what episode one couldn't: it makes the audience care about character arcs other than main protagonist Max's. After a Max-centric first chapter, it's the other citizens of Arcadia Bay who get a share of the spotlight. We're given some quiet moments with Chloe to begin to understand her struggle. We're introduced to Chloe's mother, who may be the most reasonable and believable character in Life is Strange. Andof course, we grieve with Kate as her entire world turns against her.

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Final Fantasy XV is a Goddamn Sexual Tyrannosaurus photo
Final Fantasy XV is a Goddamn Sexual Tyrannosaurus
by Chris Carter

Hidden away in the intro to my Final Fantasy Type-0 HD review, I recently talked about how Final Fantasy was never dead despite some rough patches, and based on recent efforts, it actually has a bright future ahead of it. Ok so maybe that bit wasn't really hidden, and maybe it was more of a rant and less of a talk, but my point still stands: I'm happy with the direction the franchise has been going lately.

After spending a week with the Final Fantasy XV demo, I'm even happier.

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Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima expected to split with Konami after The Phantom Pain photo
Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima expected to split with Konami after The Phantom Pain
by Jordan Devore

"After we finish [Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain], Mr. Kojima and upper management will leave Konami," a source within Kojima Productions told GameSpot today amidst speculation that some real crazy shit is happening at the publisher. "They said their contract ends in December."

There have reportedly been a "fallout" and "power struggles" between Kojima Productions and Konami, which have led to some senior Metal Gear staff, including series creator Hideo Kojima, to be designated "essentially [as] contractors, not permanent employees," according to the source.

Staggering. Just staggering. And there's more: Kojima is no longer listed as an executive of Konami. Kojima Productions Los Angeles is now named "Konami Los Angeles Studios," and its @Kojima_Pro_Live Twitter account has "moved" to @metalgear_en. Lastly, online marketing materials for The Phantom Pain have excised the standard "A Hideo Kojima game" descriptor.

In a statement to press, Konami said it is "shifting [its] production structure to a headquarters-controlled system..." and added that "Konami Digital Entertainment (including Mr. Kojima) will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products."

Welp, I'm worried about Silent Hills.

Kojima Expected to Leave Konami After MGS5, Inside Source Confirms [GameSpot]

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