Justin Last

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Wolfenstein: The New Order was refreshingly nostalgic. Everything looked amazing but acted like a classic shooter. It was up to me to pick up health packs and ammo, and I could carry every gun I found. There was absolutely no gray area: B.J. is the good guy, Nazis are the bad guys and you have to kill every one of them to win. Layered atop that were characters that I cared about and weapons that were all a joy to use. There’s nothing quite like swapping over to a double-barreled shotgun and laying waste to a room of pure, concentrated evil. The Old Blood falls short of its big brother in its characters and story, but the mechanics are sound and I had fun all the way through. READ MORE

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Power Rangers was great. Well, it was great to me when I was a kid. Looking back at it, every episode followed the same general outline: head bad guy orders this week’s adversary around, adversary terrorizes city, rangers fight low-level mooks and adversary at normal size and win, and rangers mash their robots together to fight giant-sized adversary and win. And honestly, at 10, that was enough for me. READ MORE

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Fire is the silly quest of a caveman trying to find fire for his village. He was chosen for this task because it’s his fault the fire is gone. He fell asleep on fire watch duty, the fire went out and the village leadership is mad. In the first level you wind up eating a magic apple, talking to the tree it came from and taking on its quest to find some magic bugs. Find all of the bugs, and the tree will give you fire to take back to the village. READ MORE

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Young children like to make art projects. You can give a kid a box of crayons and a coloring book and they’re good for an entire afternoon. Sometimes, though, you’ve made that child miserable, because they’re not articulate enough to color inside the lines yet and your box of 16 crayons doesn’t have the exact right shade of purple to color that particular character from My Little Pony.

Esteban the Bull is that child. He loves making art projects, but he needs everything to be just right. This need for perfection makes him stressed and prone to act out. You can help Esteban out, though. He’ll listen to you and turn when you tell him. You’re not saving the world; collecting buttons and googly eyes is all Esteban wants, so when you help him, you’re saving his world, and that’s enough. READ MORE

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Convoy Games originally pitched Convoy as FTL: Faster Than Light crossed with Mad Max, and it wasn’t messing around. You have a difficult mission to complete. You buy upgrades for your vehicles using bolts gained from combat and side quests. Every time I lost, I felt like it was my own fault. So there’s FTL covered; it’s hard but fair, and every time I lose I want to come back for more. On the Mad Max side of things is the game’s aesthetic and core conceit. Your space ship, the Mercury, has crash landed on a dangerous planet. Luckily for you, the MCV (a giant hauler and your core vehicle) and a couple of smaller vehicles are still operational. It’s up to you to navigate the map, collect vital components and escape. READ MORE

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Son of Nor is a phenomenal concept wrapped in a subpar engine and combat system. The setting is interesting, lizardmen are cool enemies, and more games could stand to let me ascend by way of wizardly sand elevator instead of plebeian jumping. READ MORE

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Helldivers does not like you. Every time Arrowhead could have chosen to help you out they chose instead to hamper, and Helldivers is better for it. Buried beneath a Starship Troopers (movie, not book) veneer is a challenging and interesting twin-stick shooter. It is the job of the titular Helldivers to spread managed democracy to the bugs, the cyborgs and the illuminant. Super Earth is at war with all three races, and when they are all vanquished the war simply starts over, but if the bugs are defeated when you play for the first time then you’ll be fighting cyborgs and illuminant. READ MORE

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I want to like Raven’s Cry. Actually, I take that back. I like the naval combat in Raven’s Cry. Actually, I take that back. I like the naval combat in Raven’s Cry when I turn down all of the graphical options as low as they go to bring the frame rate to a reasonable level. I expect the seas to be choppy. My system exceeds the recommended specs handily, and running at medium settings produces a pirate-themed slideshow. READ MORE

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Overture is a single-life dual-stick shooter with persistent upgrades across playthroughs. Combat is mechanically simple: move with the WASD keys and aim with the mouse. Melee characters attack close to their person, while mages shoot fireballs toward the aim cursor. Controller support is curiously missing, though. I don’t mind aiming with the mouse, but I much prefer the analog movement afforded by a gamepad. I’m sure it’s possible to use a controller with the use of a third-party program, but it’d be great to have the option available out of the box and integrated into the menu system. READ MORE

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Saints Row: Gat out of Hell is short. There is absolutely no denying that. The implications of its short length, however, are that within 30 minutes of play, you’ll have traded out Gat for Kinzie, learned how to fly, unlocked the ability to summon imps to fight on your side, collected over 50 soul clusters and persuaded Shakespeare to fight on your side against Satan in your quest to save The Boss and keep him from being forcibly wed to Satan’s daughter Jezebel. READ MORE