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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



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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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: 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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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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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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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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Resident Evil Revelations 2's extra episodes are fun, but non-essential photo
Resident Evil Revelations 2's extra episodes are fun, but non-essential
by Chris Carter

As you might be aware, Capcom is taking a really weird approach to Resident Evil: Revelations 2. In addition to bringing in an episodic format, they've also hitched two secretive "extra episodes" to the package, exclusive to either the Season Pass or the disc-based version. For a full rundown that makes sense of everything, click here.

Now that the final episode is out, I can talk about what the extra episodes actually are. While they probably aren't worth going crazy over, I have to say they're both a nice little extra that sweeten the deal.

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Review: Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 4 photo
Review: Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 4
by Chris Carter

That's it, folks. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is finally done with its odd episodic format, delivering small chunks every week for the past month or so. The final package is out in all of its glory, including the disc version that should be hitting stores this week.

It's been quite an amazing ride, due in part to the best take on the Mercenaries and Raid Mode formula yet, and a nice callback to some of my favorite games in the series.

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Review: Tales from the Borderlands: Atlas Mugged photo
Review: Tales from the Borderlands: Atlas Mugged
by Darren Nakamura

[Disclosure: Anthony Burch, who consulted on the story for Tales from the Borderlands, was previously employed at Destructoid. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the review.]

Tales from the Borderlands: Zer0 Sum released nearly four months ago, and it was fantastic. As an introduction to the intertwined stories of Rhys and Fiona, it did everything it needed to do. It laid out the groundwork for the main narrative arc, it kept me engaged and laughing throughout, and it ended on a note that left me anxious to continue the story as soon as possible.

And then the waiting happened. Months passed with little word on the second episode. Could it live up to the anticipation after all this time?

It turns out that it does. Though perhaps not quite as excellent as the first episode, this one turned out great in its own right, and now I'll be eagerly awaiting the next installment. I just hope it isn't another four months away.

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What can save Titanfall 2? photo
What can save Titanfall 2?
by Nic Rowen

I absolutely adored Titanfall, but going by the comments and blogs I've read over the past year, it seems like I'm the only person on Earth who did. Every article, news post, or blog written about the game invariably becomes a celebratory dance on its grave in the comments. While a lot of the ire is chalked up to hype backlash, a schadenfreude-rich reaction against all the positive preview coverage the game received pre-launch, I think it's safe to say the problems go deeper. Snarky comments are one thing, but it's hard to explain the empty servers, tepid response to updates, and lack of longevity without acknowledging that something about the game just didn't work.

Clearly Respawn messed up. Despite seeming like they had all the right elements to be the next big thing, Titanfall's mix of stompy robots and parkour commandos failed to light the world on fire. With the recent official announcement of the sequel, I've been wondering what they can do to win players back. Certainly going multi-platform is already a step in the right direction, but they'll have to make some big changes if they want to earn a real audience.

As a fan of the original, I have my own wishlist of features I would love to see in the sequel that just might help them put some more players in the cockpit of a Titan.

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Review: Resident Evil: Revelations 2: Episode 3 photo
Review: Resident Evil: Revelations 2: Episode 3
by Chris Carter

When I first approached Resident Evil: Revelations 2, I was fairly cautious. I had been burned many times by Resident Evil games in the past, but having played through Episode 1 and 2, most of my concerns were alleviated.

At this point, I think I can heartily recommend Revelations 2 as a whole, even if Episode 3 drags momentarily.

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Review: Ori and the Blind Forest photo
Review: Ori and the Blind Forest
by Chris Carter

Every so often I come across a game that just makes me smile. I mean, I play videogames almost daily because I have fun doing it, but certain titles have me grinning from ear to ear the entire journey for a myriad of different reasons.

Ori and the Blind Forest is one of those games. It's just plain enjoyable from start to finish, and doesn't waste your time.

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