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Recent titles in the Sonic the Hedgehog series have had varying levels of success, appealing to a certain crowds but never truly pleasing anyone. It’s almost natural that many would feel scared about the changes brought forth in Sonic Boom. The characters all have a distinctly different look than we remember, but maybe that’s a good thing. They’ve all followed such a distinct formula for so long that maybe some change is needed. It’s something to refresh the series, and prove to fans and naysayers alike that this might be the Sonic game we’ve all been looking for since he made the 3D jump. READ MORE

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Developer Shin’en has become known for two things during its long run of supporting Nintendo download platforms: fast-paced shooters and quirky games that get a lot out of limited hardware. Art of Balance is certainly representative of the second group, a simple-on-the-surface stacking puzzle game with a zen-garden aesthetic that allowed for some cool water and lighting effects in a minimalist environment. The first game was a WiiWare standout, and after a foray on the 3DS eShop, the franchise heads to the Wii U in a form clearly shaped by the experiences developing both previous entries. READ MORE

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Borderlands doesn’t step tenderly around anything, and the developers’ devotion to a joke or a theme is to be applauded. Dogged determination doesn’t always work out, though. Not every moon is our moon, and recreating the sense of slowness seen in footage from ours does not translate well to Pandora’s moon, Elpis. Some other additions and changes are good, however. I don’t ever want to play another Borderlands game in which my only option is to sell trash guns back to Marcus. Throwing them into the Grinder — and admittedly often receiving more valuable trash guns — is too enticing to empty my backpack every time I pass a vending machine. READ MORE

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There’s something calming about driving in video games. This is especially true of open-world driving games, many of which allow you to explore and learn more about the world you are (virtually) inhabiting. I do enjoy driving in Grand Theft Auto and the like, but it’s not the same. The original Forza Horizon and its recently released sequel are more my speed. It provides a similar feeling as sailing, but the sense of speed and (sometimes) laid back atmosphere the Forza Horizon games provide manage to scratch a different itch.

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In this episode, Andrew shows Henry and Graham the perils that lie within The Evil Within! Also in this episode: the North American arrival of Vib-Ribbon, the Japanese arrival of the New Nintendo 3DS, the retail arrival of Skylanders: Trap Team and the supernatural survival of Alien: Isolation.

To watch the show and chat with us live, check out this page every other Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern and follow us on Twitter for special streams.

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Most of the time, it’s the object of a review to evaluate a game on its artistic merits, like what it’s trying to communicate and how it goes about delivering on that vision. With some games, though, like this fourth installment of the Skylanders series, what we’re looking at is undeniably a product: a collection of bullet points loosely tied together and pressed on a disc for consumption by mass-market shoppers. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for every game, but it does make the “film criticism” school of reviews largely inappropriate.

So I’m going to follow Trap Team‘s lead and package together some bullet points for you. READ MORE

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Looking to play some new games with friends this holiday season? While 2014′s already brought us gems like Mario Kart 8Fibbage and Starwhal, there’s more great stuff to come. Check out these six titles!

Screencheat

PC, October 21
If you’re a fan of local multiplayer, you’ve been there: in split-screen games, you sometimes can’t help but look at opponents’ screens to see where they are and what they’re doing. Screencheat turns this into a mechanic, forcing you to find people that way because they don’t actually show up on your own screen. It may be a bit tough for people to get their minds around for a while, but triangulating positions this way is a fresh idea, and we’re interested to see how it pans out.
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Relationships between party members have always been a mainstay of JRPGs. Why these seemingly random people who look like they have no business with each other on a normal day come together for a united purpose is usually beyond us. These relationships are usually touched upon, but never really go incredibly in-depth. But what happens when one developer decides to make that the central theme of the game? Japanese developer Gust gives us that answer. READ MORE

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It’s always been a bit crazy how Japan has managed to remain so different when it comes to video games. Senran Kagura is probably one of the biggest examples of this: a game based on Japanese myth, mixed with more modern themes, but not one that simply takes game mechanics from something already popular. While Shinovi Versus continues where Burst left off, the series really doesn’t feel like any game before it. Shinovi Versus builds on the earlier games, but adds quite a bit to it thanks in part to the increased power and control available on Vita. READ MORE

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When I first heard the concept behind Tears to Tiara II: Heir of the Overlord, I was skeptical. I was expecting yet another game in which a male main character goes through a reference-filled plot that only exists to tie battles together, with a bunch of women swooning over him the whole way. Given the series’ roots in mature visual novels, I figured that was only natural, but I am happy to have my assumptions proven wrong.

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