Justin Last

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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

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The original Blackguards had some problems, but the combat system wasn’t one of them. Blackguards 2 retains the same deep, satisfying hex-based combat as its predecessor, and layered on top of that combat is the story of Cassia of Tenos, a noblewoman betrayed by her husband and wrongfully imprisoned. She needs to escape, raise an army and reclaim her kingdom. READ MORE

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Geometry Wars was an arcade game for the modern generation. It got people chasing high scores, it legitimized achievements and it was controller-shakingly hard while being completely fair. Geometry Wars 2 managed to improve on the original by introducing new enemies and tying multipliers to geom collection instead of number of kills, making your second life just as valuable as your first. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions continues a lot of the good from Geometry Wars 2, but it isn’t an arcade game anymore. There are still scores to chase, and there are still smart bombs to clear the screen when you get into trouble, but whatever nugget made Geometry Wars special died a little when the playfields became three-dimensional. READ MORE

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10. Dead Man’s Draw

It is immensely fun to examine your opponent’s traits, choose two that completely nullify them and then win a game in a landslide victory. With 18 traits and the eventual ability to use two of them simultaneously, there is always a way to win a tournament and always a new strategy to try out. Parry and Beastmaster synergize well offensively, while Captain’s Hook and Miser work well together defensively. Dead Man’s Draw is a great press-your-luck card game, and I can’t wait for my physical copy to arrive so I can play with friends when I’m not at the PC. READ MORE

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Borderlands is a quick-moving game. You’re always running around, shooting spider ants in the butt and then hopping into a car and taking it off a ramp. Contrast that to something like The Wolf Among Us, where you are, for the most part, traveling to a location and having a conversation. Telltale is best known, at least lately, for slower-paced games, and Borderlands really doesn’t fit that mold. If you liked Telltale’s Jurassic Park, however, then Tales from the Borderlands will be right up your alley. READ MORE