Xbox 360

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I want to like Abyss Odyssey. It’s chock-full of concepts that appeal to me, and if you asked me to review the design document instead of the finished product, it’d get top marks. In historical Chile, a warlock has descended into the abyss and taken a nap. That’s fine, as warlocks are weird guys, and they can sleep where they want. The unfortunate thing is that the warlock has a vivid imagination, and the abyss is causing his nightmares to come to life and terrorize the people on the surface. Your job: get to the bottom of the abyss, kill the warlock and save the people of Chile from being gored and eaten by horrible monsters.  READ MORE

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Ubisoft’s recent push towards releasing smaller, downloadable titles alongside its big hits has been a positive step in the right direction. It began this trend with Child of Light and is continuing it with Valiant Hearts: The Great War. Utilizing a striking art style, provided by the publisher’s UbiArt framework, Valiant Hearts covers a time in history rarely presented in the medium and, thankfully, does so with a level of sophistication you don’t often see in games about war.

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Another year, another update to the Street Fighter IV series. For Capcom, this isn’t something terribly unusual. Before the advent of online patches, we had four different versions of Street Fighter II and three versions of Street Fighter III, and Ultra Street Fighter IV marks the fifth version of this latest entry. While it’s not a huge game-changer, it’s a welcome update for those looking to jump back into the series again. READ MORE

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Adventure games have taken many forms over the genre’s long history, with recent efforts including the crowdfunded Broken Age and more big-budget affairs such as L.A. Noire. Airtight Games’ new title, Murdered: Soul Suspect fits into the latter category. It features a small, albeit detailed, environment to explore and plenty of puzzles to solve and ultimately becoming a modern take on a classic genre. The twist? You play as the ghost of a detective attempting to solve his own murder case.

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Ubisoft’s new open-world action game, Watch Dogs, has generated a lot of buzz in the two years since its initial reveal. Originally positioned as one of the first (if not the first) big titles for the next generation of game consoles, it has drawn the focus on many, even months after its initial delay. It’s almost impossible to live up to those expectations, yet Ubisoft has tried its best to make it stand out among a sea of similar, well-liked games.

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RedLynx’ hit series, Trials, began as a web release way back in 2000. It was a simple, mindless distraction, but one many couldn’t stop playing. It wasn’t long before the formula begun taking new form, shifting from a basic (albeit addictive) little game into something much larger. Trials Fusion, the latest in this series, features a new, futuristic coat of paint, but maintains everything that made it noteworthy to begin with.

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One of the grandfathers of stealth, Metal Gear Solid, has seen a lot of changes over the years. You can almost track the slow evolution of the genre with each iteration, going from traditional stealth with the original title to a more streamlined, varied approach with Metal Gear Solid 4. The prologue to the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, titled Ground Zeroes, pushes the series even more away from its roots, making it the most modern adaptation of the classic formula.

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Does a better game make for a better EDF? That was the question at hand with 2011′s Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon,  which took a more modern approach and serious tone courtesy Western developer Vicious Cycle. Many fans missed the distinct B-movie quality of the previous games, so with Earth Defense Force 2025, original team Sandlot returns to the helm. And while the game certainly makes some advancements over Sandlot’s last effort, EDF 2017, it is still — for better and worse — very much the 2007 budget game that preceded it.

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The original Castlevania: Lords of Shadow was a reinvention of the Castlevania formula and story, focusing on the very first Belmont, Gabriel, and his quest to resurrect his wife. It was a surprisingly fantastic game, managing to evolve the Castlevania series in a compelling way while also telling a worthwhile story. Lords of Shadow 2 sets out to complete Gabriel’s story and expand the original game’s formula, and does so with impressive results.

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South Park: The Stick of Truth is meant as an earnest effort by South Park Digital Studios and Obsidian Entertainment to make a game that truly embraces the license of the show. This has certainly been a problem in the past, as the South Park name has been slapped on all manner of horrible things since the series began its run. In this aspect, Stick of Truth is a resounding success: it doesn’t just feel like it’s faithful to the South Park name, it feels like an interactive, especially-long episode of South Park.

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