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2:01 AM on 04.21.2015

Review: Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China

Just last week I asked readers if they were into the idea of 2D Assassin's Creed games. Roughly 41% were on board, 33% preferred the 3D iterations, and 26% have checked out of the series entirely. Ubisoft doesn't really care what you think, though. As long as they sell, those assassins will keep on stabbin'.

Chris Carter



PC Port Report: Mortal Kombat X photo
PC Port Report: Mortal Kombat X
by Nic Rowen

I have never played a game that I've wanted to love so badly that seems so set and determined to antagonize me than the PC port of Mortal Kombat X. In the abstract, Mortal Kombat X is a great game. The single player content is second to none in the genre, providing plenty of things to do while moving the series lore forward in a meaningful way.

It combines the hallmark Mortal Kombat dramatic flair with a fighting system competitive players can take seriously. The variation modifiers giving each character three distinct fighting styles is fantastically implemented, not only accommodating more play-styles, but rewarding character loyalists with options in the face of unfavorable match-ups.

That's the Mortal Kombat X on the PS4 and Xbox One anyway. The one that runs smoothly and can go online and play against real human opponents. I've seen occasional glimmers of that game poking out from the darkness of this busted PC port. Mostly though, I've borne witness to a haphazard Frankenstein of a once noble creature, shakily lashed together with baling wire, hope, and enormous 15 gig patches.

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Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition is ridiculous and over the top in all the right ways photo
Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition is ridiculous and over the top in all the right ways
by Alessandro Fillari

The Devil May Cry franchise has experienced some strange happenings in recent years. After the release of Ninja Theory's reboot and many debates among fans about what direction it should go next, the future of the franchise felt uncertain. Thankfully before the end of 2014, Capcom announced plans for a one-two punch of releases for its much-loved and hotly debated action franchise, with each one representing different ends of the DMC spectrum. Now just a month after the release of the excellent DmC: Definitive Edition, Capcom is readying its next hit with a revisit to the flawed but super fun Devil May Cry 4.

As the first DMC title on seventh-generation consoles (PS3 and Xbox 360), 2008's Devil May Cry 4 had a lot of expectations to live up to following its amazing predecessor (DMC3: Special Edition). Initially, fans of the series weren't too fond of the new central character Nero, along with the move to multiplatform, but in the end they were largely pleased with how the final game turned out.

Unfortunately, there was a sense that it felt a bit unfinished given the severe amount of recycled content and backtracking throughout. Despite this, many of the hardcore DMC fans still view it favorably and yearned for a continuation of this style of combat. Capcom seeks to do just that with the Special Edition for DMC4, which features the largest roster of characters ever in a DMC title.

With the release of Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition set for this summer, Capcom invited me out to a special hands-on session, and I got to experience just what the new roster brings to the table. With the same team behind Devil May Cry 4 returning, including director Hideaki Itsuno, they plan to reinvigorate DMC4 with some serious style and a sizable upgrade. And with fans still hoping for a brand new installment, this release will no doubt be the next best thing.

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Valkyria Chronicles PC port drops to $5 for weekend photo
Valkyria Chronicles PC port drops to $5 for weekend
by Dealzon

SEGA's successful PC port Valkyria Chronicles has hit a new low since its November 2014 release. Normally a $20 purchase, GMG has launched a SEGA Games sale this weekend where it drops 75% and with a stacking discount hits only $5.37 - the lowest price we've ever seen. Other noteworthy deal in the sale includes Binary Domain and Viking: Battle for Asgard are also cheapest ever.

On the PlayStation front the price of a 12-month PS Plus membership just dropped ten bucks. Rakuten's eBay Store page just slashed the price to only $39.99 with free shipping. Always a rare discount when available.

For those looking for good deals on new releases this week, both GTA V on PC and Mortal Kombat X have some solid deals. On GTA V GMG has a 22% off via GMG VIP section while Mortal Kombat X is only $45 at DLGamer.

Added Sunday: Shadow of Mordor is only $20 flat across the board on all platforms. Battlefield: Hardline, which uh... could have sold better, is now 33% off again at Best Buy. Gotta clear the shelves a bit, you know?

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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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Review: Titan Souls photo
Review: Titan Souls
by Steven Hansen

I've always clamored for the all-boss-fights game. Shadow of the Colossus, an inescapable inspiration here, did it right and others have done it wrong, like Prince of Persia (2008), but I love the idea of removing fluff encounters. A JRPG that was all boss fights and no grinding could actually make for strategic battle. Strategy RPGs that don't allow for excessive grinding, like XCOM, are essentially "all boss fights."

And here, with Titan Souls, despite the Shadow of the Colossus influence and Souls-stolen title, I'm finding the closest analog to be Super Meat Boy. It'll grind you up.

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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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Jamestown+ on PS4 is the best colonial era shooter yet photo
Jamestown+ on PS4 is the best colonial era shooter yet
by Conrad Zimmerman

Jamestown was a wonderful shoot-em-up back when it first released on PC. With bullets blazing across the surface of a colonial Mars, it paired beautiful sprite art with epic music and cooperative local multiplayer to make something really special.

With the release of Jamestown+ on PlayStation 4, it's larger than ever.

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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: Dyscourse photo
Review: Dyscourse
by Darren Nakamura

A common thread in new school adventure and role-playing games is the emphasis on player choice, with an implied promise that through individual decisions players can build a unique narrative. In practice, that often produces choices that feel important in the moment but do not actually alter the overarching plot in a meaningful way. Events diverge a bit in the middle, but converge again so everybody ends up in the same place.

Dyscourse strives to make good on the promise. It plays out like an old Choose Your Own Adventure book, where two runs through can end in different places with different characters, all determined by protagonist Rita's choices.

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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: 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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Review: Paperbound photo
Review: Paperbound
by Chris Carter

I don't think I'll ever get tired of arena battle games. I can see myself as a grandfather one day, playing my favorite character in a future iteration of Super Smash Bros., reminiscing with my progeny about how great the old games were, and how overpowered Meta Knight was decades ago. It's those kinds of people who will enjoy Paperbound, the newest arena kid on the block.

While it doesn't have the panache of many other recent arena games like Samurai Gunn or TowerFall, it's still a decent way to spend an afternoon with friends gathered around the couch.

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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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