Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection is Off Target [Review]

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm
Whether I was escaping from a derailed train overrun with the undead, blasting my way through zombie scientists in a mansion or fighting back hordes of monstrosities in Racoon City, one thought kept running through my mind while playing PlayStation 3's latest light gun compilation, Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection: I've been here before, but I remember it being a lot more fun.

Now, I'm not talking about the setting or the games themselves. Chornicles HD combines Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles and Darkside Chronicles into a single package, giving them the HD treatment, trophy support and the ability to play with a DualShock or Move controller. Originally for the Nintendo Wii, I never got around to playing either of these games when they were originally released. And even though the stories are pulled directly from previous Resident Evil games, my feelings of "been there, done that" did not stem from the rehashed narrative.

But with the run-and-blast antics of the House of the Dead series on one side of the light gun spectrum and the story-driven Dead Space: Extraction on the other side, Resident Evil Chronicles fell somewhere in the middle; providing neither the over-the-top fun of House or the methodically paced perfection of Dead Space.

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Return to Skyrim in Dawnguard [Review]

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 10:00 am

It has been months since I last set foot in the snowy land of Skyrim, a land where I adventured for countless hours. In my time there, I saved the world from dragons, became the most powerful mage in the land, lead a group of assassins and even became a werewolf. Like many who ventured to Skyrim, I did nearly all there was to do. And when no more thrills remained, I left.

But now the Dawnguard calls adventurers back to Skyrim to face a deadly threat: a vampire uprising.

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Spec Ops: The Line [Review]

Wednesday, July 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm
The first dead person I saw fell out of a busted up car. He wore bloody US military fatigues and landed in the middle of the road that led us from the outskirts of Dubai to the heart of the city. My team and I took turns inspecting him.

"Body looks fresh."
"Even worse, he's 33rd." He was a soldier that had gone missing.
"Who did this?"
"Probably the same people been ghostin' us."

And soon those same people arrived and began shooting their guns at the three of us standing there.

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Spelunky: No More Mines For Me (Review)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 10:00 am


Armed with a few bombs and some rope, my adventurer trekked off in search of treasure, mystery, and the odd damsel in distress to save. The bombs and rope make reaching areas possible, the treasure adds up quickly, and the mystery is near nonexistent. While I appreciated the option of choosing my damsel type (the pug dog was a nice touch), I wasn't too keen on the knocking-them-out-to-take-them-out-of-the-dungeon part. Despite this, things were going smoothly enough, and I was almost to the end of the level. Then, just as I was about to depart with my dog in tow, I landed on a spike trap and died in an explosion of fuchsia-colored blood for what was, by my count, the thirtieth time.

This is the experience of playing Spelunky, a game with a nostalgic art style, randomly generated dungeons, and some of the most patience-testing gameplay I've ever encountered. This is a game that seemed to be mocking me from the moment I beat the tutorial.

With an unforgivingly high difficulty curve, Spelunky is all about punishing you as a player from the moment you're set loose into the game, as with each deadly misstep you make, you find yourself returned to the very beginning of a level, to experience it all over again, with the platform areas completely reorganized, and no easily memorized path to the exit, or any hints on how to make this easier. There is no experience gained or lost from the gameplay, but the repeated attempts at completing stages is not very rewarding, and, in fact, had me abandoning the game on two or three occasions out of pure frustrations.

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Babel Rising Makes Me a God (Again!) [Review]

Friday, June 29, 2012 at 2:00 pm

If I were a devoted man of some god, I might say that divine intervention offered me a review of the new Kinect-ready, XBLA game Babel Rising. I might also say how strange such an opportunity is - because this is the second time in a year that I've been offered a game centered on the powers of a god. (I reviewed From Dust. Read it here.)

I might be over-thinking the coincidence now. Babel Rising doesn't want me to do that. It wants me to be OK with going through the motions of God and and its almighty powers. I obliged for the sake of this review, but I found more boredom than humor, although I did find a small thrill in acting like an omnipresent force.

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Magic 2013 Scratches That Itch [Review]

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

Back in the early days of the Magic: The Gathering trading card game, I got sucked in. Big time. I never played in tournaments, but nevertheless Magic had a pretty firm grip on me. I spent hundreds on cards, collected complete expansion sets and, of course, played the game a lot. After a few years, I gradually loosed myself from Magic's grasp and set it aside for years. Recently I played a few hands with my brother, but the game didn't sink its hooks into me like it used to.

And the Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 arrived on Xbox Live Arcade. 

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Read, then Play, Game of Thrones - I Beg Thee [Review]

Friday, June 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Just like George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones, the eponymous video game presents an epic tale of traitors, familial turmoil and darkness spreading across the Seven Kingdoms. But unlike the book, the game's style is a little disenchanting, whereas its story is enchanting. It's like a book or a narrative with interesting characters and a high-stakes conflict yet one that contains poor grammar. Still, if you like the book and the subsequent TV series, you might enjoy the game, developed by Cyanide and published by Atlus. It's a role-playing game for Game of Thrones fans, which is why I have a stake in it. Those who haven't galloped through Martin's fantasy might feel a weaker connection to it.

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Games You May Have Missed - Binary Domain

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 10:00 am


Have you found something missing from your gaming life recently? Have you wanted something to seize your attention for several hours of pure, unadulterated action, with enough story to keep you going, a furiously polished experience that will not lose your focus? If you are seeking something to tide you over during the summer lull, I humbly submit Sega's Binary Domain for your consideration.

 Like a fusion of the film 'I, Robot', Transformers, and Gears of War, with a remarkably intelligent story that muses on survival, trust, and what defines a person as a human being, Binary Domain is all the robot-shredding science fiction goodness you can handle. An extremely well-paced narrative compensates for third-person-cover-shooter mechanics, and archetypical characters are saved from mediocrity by a familiar cast of anime and game veterans. A self-aware sense of humor, consistently visceral action, and intense boss fights keep this game interesting.

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Gravity Rush Review: And I'm Free...Free Falling

Monday, June 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm
Gravity rush cover.jpg
I sprint along the side of a building, nimbly leaping over windows as I collect floating gems that will help me grow stronger, my scarf fluttering to the left to show me which direction true gravity is pulling.

At the push of a button I'm floating, spinning around to locate another crop of gems located on the underside of a bridge. I push the button again and gravity shifts, sending me careening towards my next destination. The bottom of the bridge becomes my new playground as I run around upside-down, gathering more glittering goodies.

In Gravity Rush, I have taken on the role of Kat, the "Gravity Queen." With the mysterious ability to spit in the face of Newton's most famous law, I can explore literally every surface of this massive world, collecting gems and destroying the disruptive Nevi creatures that occasionally invade throughout the storyline.

What I'm doing isn't exactly flying so much as bending physics to my will. My movements are none-too-graceful and I usually crash into buildings more often than land delicately upon them. Buzz Lightyear would call it "falling with style," and it's the most fun I've had on the PlayStation Vita to date.

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Sorcery Casts Fun and Trouble [Review]

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 3:00 pm
Under Finn's spell.

Sorcerers are few and far between in this realm we call Earth, but if you've ever wanted to become one who wields magic, Sorcery is moving you in the right direction. This is a PlayStation exclusive that requires the PlayStation Move, used for combat and spell casting in a fantastic world that takes cues from fairy tales and Disney. That is, through all the alchemy, you might find that its style is enchanting yet its substance - its story, really - needs more ingredients.  More of that faerie honey, perhaps?
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