PS4

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Not content to keep the Dynasty Warriors-style action games focused on the warfare of the Three Kingdoms in China, Tecmo Koei created Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War early in the last console generation, a game that instead focused on the clash between France and England. With Bladestorm: Nightmare, Koei Tecmo revisits the conflict on current consoles, adding an alternate fantasy storyline for you to play through. Unfortunately, it fixed none of the systemic problems plaguing the original, and the new story mode fails to really deliver. Still, though, it may appeal to its fans, who know what to expect at this point.

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Let’s begin by stating the obvious: Bloodborne is a hard game. It is punishing, it is frustrating and it will cause you to angrily lash out at thin air. It will make you stare into a mirror for long periods of time, contemplating at exactly what point in your life you took a wrong turn. But the true brilliance of Bloodborne is that you will want to keep playing. You will get better, you will master its intricacies and, when things truly begin to click, you will be filled with a sense of pride and self-satisfaction that very few other games can match. Bloodborne boils down the essence of what made the previous Souls games great into a refined nugget of pure perfection. It is an experience that requires true commitment and devotion, but for those that put in the time and effort it is an experience that leaves a very long lasting and indeed a very powerful impact. READ MORE

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Another week, another Metroid­­-inspired action-platformer. That’s not a complaint, mind you, but it does seem to be a more frequent occurrence as of late. Thankfully, many of these recent releases have been solid, with a few standing out among the rest as the best the genre has to offer. Enter Axiom Verge, a game which proudly flaunts its Super Metroid-inspiration for all to see. It won’t win over any new players, but those fans that have seen many of Samus’ adventures will find plenty to like about this fresh take on a well-worn formula.

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Brawlers seem to be in short supply as of late. Aside from Super Smash Bros., the lack of new entries has left me wondering when other consoles will provide something of the sort. While it’s not Smash, Paperbound, the new game from a small team at Dissident Logic, can fill that void for PS4 and PC players in the meantime. READ MORE

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Final Fantasy Type-0 was originally a Japanese PSP release, and one of the very few two-UMD games. Fans waited impatiently for a US release, but the PSP was already dead in North America and the Vita wasn’t selling particularly well. In the end, what really saved this title’s localization hopes was the crazy speed at which Western audiences picked up the PS4 and Square Enix’s desire to jump on the opportunity. Type-0 HD is out on Xbox One as well, but PlayStation still drives any Final Fantasy decisions; the vast majority of people who buy Japanese games do so on Sony’s platforms. 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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As the line between games and movies continually gets more blurred, it was eventually bound to happen: a game that took things too far. The Order: 1886 should serve as the point when a game takes away too much control and player interaction in an effort to produce a more cinematic product. On the technical side, the game succeeds wildly, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that it’s the most graphically impressive game I’ve ever played (especially on a console). Unfortunately, there isn’t enough actual fun to be had to recommend the title for much else beyond its presentation. READ MORE

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As I made my way across a shallow river, my foot slipped, I cracked my head against a rock and floated downstream on the current. Upon regaining consciousness, I suddenly found myself beset by bandits. How many, you ask? I won’t know until the dealer reveals the next card, but with my luck, it won’t be good for me. In Hand of Fate, a unique blend of deck-building, action-RPG and choose-your-own-adventure, my luck is rarely good. READ MORE

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With so many indie games flooding the gaming space these days, it has become unsurprisingly difficult to stand out in the crowd. Thankfully, many developers are stepping up, crafting games with innovative gameplay hooks, or in the case of the new side-scroller Apotheon, unique visuals. Inspired by ancient Greek mythology and utilizing an art style which truly looks unlike any other game, Apotheon attempts to draw you in with its surface-level hooks, but doesn’t deliver gameplay to match its incredible aesthetic.

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In 2008, Turtle Rock Studios evolved the cooperative shooter with the landmark release Left 4 Dead. In the years since that title’s release, there have been other developers pushing the genre forward by iterating on that original blueprint. With Evolve, Turtle Rock Studios sets out to make the next big leap in this game space again by focusing on asymmetrical gameplay. The result is an interesting concept that plays unlike nearly anything else I’ve experienced, and is incredibly exciting and fun when it works on all fronts. Unfortunately, far too often the actual matches fall far short of this occasional glimmer, and a frustratingly slow progression system makes the game feel more sluggish than fun. READ MORE