Xbox One

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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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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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These days, it won’t take you long to stumble upon a new Metroid-inspired game. Seriously, they’re everywhere. As a result, not too many of them actually stand out or move away from the standard formula in any remarkable ways. Enter Ori and the Blind Forest, a 2D action-platformer in the same vein as Metroid and its various counterparts. It doesn’t break the mold completely, but it manages to prove you don’t need to in order to create something truly special.

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Strategy games have taken many forms over the years. From running a successful business to conquering territories or taking the fight directly to your opponents in real-time battles, it has everything you would want and then some. Now, you might be asking, “what if I want a strategy game that lets me carefully plan my escape from a highly secure prison?” First, that’s an oddly specific question which somehow only relates to this particular review. Second, The Escapists is the game for you.

While it could be described as a puzzle game as much as a strategy game, The Escapists is all about learning the ins and outs of your temporary confinement and finding a way to successfully break free.

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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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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

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Developers rarely attempt to focus on our teenage years in games, but when it does happen, it goes surprisingly well. I’m thinking of Gone Home or even the Persona series, which isn’t entirely about high school students yet the drama of that time in their lives is ever-present. Dontnod, the team behind 2013’s Remember Me, attempts something similar with Life is Strange, an episodic drama focused on an 18-year-old and her time in private school.

The first episode, Chrysalis, introduces us to a diverse cast of characters and a plot that seems to be heading in some interesting directions, complete with a science fiction twist that ties it all together.

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The HBO adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series captures the raw brutality of the world in such vivid detail that there have been many moments that made me physically turn away. When Telltale announced it was going to set a game in this universe, I was highly skeptical that it could replicate this feeling. So far in the first two episodes of Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series, I have been very impressed at how well it has captured the necessary violence and inhumanity while blending it seamlessly with the political intrigue so indicative of the series. READ MORE

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Whenever an HD remaster is announced, certain things flow through your head. Will it play exactly as you remember it? Does the story live up to today’s standards? Has the way the developer looked at a game changed over time? Considering the state of affairs with the Resident Evil series, you find yourself asking these questions way too often. Cameras that (kind of) work? Action over tension? Co-op? Gratuitous amounts of ammo and inventory space? Back in 1996, these were probably the furthest things from any Resident Evil fan’s mind, but for better or worse, the series has survived six main numbered games and a number of spin-offs.

With Resident Evil HD Remaster serving as an upgrade to the 2002 remake, was it worth revisiting this entry for a third time? READ MORE

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Despite the overabundance of zombie-related games, Techland made a name for itself with its 2011 release, Dead Island. It was an open-world action game with some light RPG elements, focused entirely on surviving the zombie hordes. Techland’s latest game, Dying Light, is similar in many ways, but focuses more on traversal and the survivalist aspects of Dead Island, making for a more self-serious experience. In some ways it surpasses Dead Island, but its shortcomings aren’t too dissimilar.

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