Reviews

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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

Citizens04

Citizens of Earth feels like a tribute to the SNES classic (and tragically underplayed) Earthbound. I am a huge fan of that game for its irreverence, setting and gameplay, and Citizens of Earth takes liberally from its best elements. It’s genuinely funny and strategically deeper than it first appears, while leveraging its characters and setting well. Its attempts to reclaim the magic of its source material are largely successful, but most of all, it’s just a lot of fun to play. READ MORE

Blackguards 2_gamescom (1)

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

ggggg-noscale

Guilty Gear has been one of the premier franchises for developer Arc System Works. Past entries have delivered on being incredibly flashy, having top-notch sprite work and providing players with an awesome heavy metal soundtrack to keep in theme with the setting they deliver. However, it’s been some time since the main one-on-one fighter series has received any sort of proper entry (Accent Core Plus, released in 2012, was the fifth update of 2002’s Guilty Gear X2). While the updates have held us over for sometime, Guilty Gear Xrd –Sign– finally an appearance on consoles, serving as the first huge overhaul the series has seen and introducing the Unreal Engine to its gameplay. Were the overhauled mechanics worth the wait? READ MORE

Talos4

When playing the The Talos Principle, I simultaneously feel clever and philosophical. Its unique mix of mind-melting puzzles and thought-provoking conversations have caused me to think deeply about both the challenges I’m facing and the true nature of human consciousness. The various puzzle mechanics are easy to learn, hard to master and interesting in their interactions. The true greatness of this game, however, lies in the sheer fact that I wanted to press forward with uncovering the mysteries that surrounded me regardless of the puzzles presented. The Talos Principle is a triumph of game design, and an experience that absolutely shouldn’t be missed. READ MORE

geometrywars1

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

neveralone1

This medium is capable of incredible things, allowing us to not only tell a story, but also give us a chance to interact with and potentially shape it. On the other hand, games can also provide us an interactive means of learning about a specific topic, time in history or, in the case of Never Alone, a culture we rarely see represented. Based on the culture and folktales of Alaska’s Iñupiaq culture, Never Alone attempts to bridge the gap between a gameplay experience and an educational look at a society often forgotten about.

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laracrofttempleosiris2

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was a real surprise when it came out. That’s partly because it happened just as the series was being rebooted and used the old Lara and not the new one, but partly because it was a well-designed cooperative puzzle game that seemingly came out of nowhere. Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is a direct sequel to Guardian, expanding the potential player count to four from the original’s two. READ MORE

fantasyhero3

Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy achieves the gameplay goals that it sets out to hit quite well. It functions as a straight dungeon crawl, with individual quest runs broken up into bite-sized five-to-15-minute chunks. It isn’t the most interesting game, and it doesn’t really push the envelope in any new ways, but it is fun and it is designed well for portable play. If you enjoy short dungeon runs, beating up bad guys and collecting loot, then you should seriously consider Fantasy Hero. READ MORE

secretponchos4

Life as an outlaw in the Wild West must have been rough. Secret Ponchos focuses on the romantic notion of the Western shootout, and allows up to eight players to simultaneously enter an arena and duel to the death in a variety of score-based modes. Occasionally I would feel completely untouchable, a dead-eyed outlaw taking no prisoners and gunning down my opponents while ducking in and out of cover and evading the bullets that could end it all.

Much more often, however, I felt like a clunky joke that was constantly out of bullets and missing point-blank shots. When everything clicks just right, Secret Ponchos is a lot of fun, but things never seem to do that often enough. READ MORE