PS3

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Borderlands doesn’t step tenderly around anything, and the developers’ devotion to a joke or a theme is to be applauded. Dogged determination doesn’t always work out, though. Not every moon is our moon, and recreating the sense of slowness seen in footage from ours does not translate well to Pandora’s moon, Elpis. Some other additions and changes are good, however. I don’t ever want to play another Borderlands game in which my only option is to sell trash guns back to Marcus. Throwing them into the Grinder — and admittedly often receiving more valuable trash guns — is too enticing to empty my backpack every time I pass a vending machine. READ MORE

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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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Relationships between party members have always been a mainstay of JRPGs. Why these seemingly random people who look like they have no business with each other on a normal day come together for a united purpose is usually beyond us. These relationships are usually touched upon, but never really go incredibly in-depth. But what happens when one developer decides to make that the central theme of the game? Japanese developer Gust gives us that answer. READ MORE

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When I first heard the concept behind Tears to Tiara II: Heir of the Overlord, I was skeptical. I was expecting yet another game in which a male main character goes through a reference-filled plot that only exists to tie battles together, with a bunch of women swooning over him the whole way. Given the series’ roots in mature visual novels, I figured that was only natural, but I am happy to have my assumptions proven wrong.

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Few films have inspired a generation of action-focused science fiction, both in games and other movies, more than James Cameron’s Aliens. While the titles inspired by Aliens are generally excellent, the ones based directly on that property haven’t fared as well. This is where Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation comes in. Based entirely on the original horror film that spawned the franchise, Isolation is a subtler take on its source material and, as a result, manages to make more of an impact.

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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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Sherlock Holmes, the eccentric detective and one of the most iconic fictional characters, has seen a number of attempts at franchises based on his escapades, but few stand out as worthwhile. Frogwares’ series of titles is the most recent, delivering a more authentic Sherlock Holmes experience. Most of these titles are riddled with problems, and although each game has gotten better than the last, it was typically hard to recommend them. Understand my surprise when the newest game, Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments, exceeds all expectations. READ MORE

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Another year, another Naruto game. Those who had their hopes pegged on this particular entry being a continuation of the story in Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 will be disappointed that this is an “in-between” game in the vein of Generations, telling side tales rather than advancing major plot points. The idea of a “Ninja World Tournament” sounds pretty cool and serves as a nice way to stuff many characters from throughout the series into one game, but does it make Revolution a good move? READ MORE

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It’s almost been two years since Persona 4 Arena, and after the obvious sequel hint in the story, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax burst onto the scene in arcades and has now made it to consoles months later. Arc System Works ultimately proved that it could take a story-heavy RPG and create a fighter out of it successfully. Building upon an already strong foundation, was there really any more it could do to keep the next version fresh?

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After stepping away from Halo’s immense shadow, Bungie is back with a brand new franchise that isn’t too dissimilar from the series that made it the studio you know today. Destiny, an online-only first-person shooter (with some light RPG/MMO elements), is attempting to take the lessons learned from Halo and bring them to a genre hybrid that, at first glance, seems epic in scale. What you get out of Destiny will be different depending on what you are looking for, but whatever it is will undoubtedly be bundled with the feeling of lost potential.

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