Graham Russell

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Another Musou game? Yes, Omega Force and Koei Tecmo America have been quite prolific as of late, pumping out releases in the Warriors series faster than most can keep track of them. Even those who love the franchise may be feeling some fatigue, and thinking that Samurai Warriors 4, the latest release, is a good one to skip and take a break. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your wallet), the game justifies itself with refined combat, interesting battlefield strategy and a level of care and polish that has been absent in most Omega Force releases. READ MORE

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Whether you’re enticed by the idea of getting a New 3DS before the North American launch or you want to use the transition to snag an older model for cheap, it’s an intriguing time to jump into the world of 3DS imports. Sadly, it’s not region-free, but if you take the plunge on the hardware, there are a lot of compelling Japan-only experiences to try, even if you don’t know the language! READ MORE

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Fantasy Life is a game about filling up bars. A collaboration between Level-5 (Dragon Quest IXNi no Kuni) and 1-Up Studio (Mother 3Professor Layton and the Last Specter‘s London Life mode), it’s filled with fetch quests, grinding up skills and crafting items and equipment. These aren’t ways to pad the game length or diversions from the main attraction — they’re the reason you’re here — and it’s not ashamed of that for a second.

And that’s okay, because Fantasy Life is a really good game about filling up bars. 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

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.
READ MORE

In this episode, Andrew shows Henry and Graham the wonders of Forza Horizon 2! We also talk about Middle-earth: Shadow of MordorSuper Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DSFibbageSherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments and more.

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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When you first encounter Natural Doctrine, it appears to be a hybrid of Valkyria Chronicles and a crazy person’s conspiracy wall. As you play more, the symbology and walls of tied-together information begin to be somewhat more legible, but the metaphor becomes ever stronger: Natural Doctrine searches frantically for answers to how to make a good strategy RPG and overlays a web of complicated systems to try to make that happen, but ultimately it’ll just drive you mad. READ MORE

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While many releases are packed into the last three months of the year, there’s more than enough going on in the rest of the calendar that can be easily forgotten by the holidays. Progress Report is our way of remembering: a quarterly look at the laudable and notable in the games industry. This edition covers July, August and September. Check out the previous installment here. READ MORE