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Review: Retro/Grade
By: | August 27th, 2012

A great deal has changed for the rhythm genre over the past decade. After experiencing a period of outrageous boom, things have been moving rather decidedly in the opposite direction for the past few years. A precipitous drop-off occurred in 2009, when the market reached the point of saturation, things have plodded along since but few releases have managed to capture community’s imagination, much less steal Guitar Hero‘s crown.

From that seemingly exhausted soil, however, emerges a PlayStation Network exclusive that is certain to provide a breath of fresh air for a genre that has become a tad stagnant. So, dust off those plastic guitars and read on to find out more Retro/Grade, a game that blurs the lines between music games and shmups to provide one of the standout PSN releases of the summer.

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Review: Madden NFL 13
By: | August 24th, 2012

Fans are some of the most intense, passionate, and critical members in sports society. The amount of hatred and distaste that can result from a bad season is enough for any fan to want to give up. But despite all of that, all seems to be forgiven as hopes are at their highest come the next season. That simple glimpse of what could be always makes fans come back. Sports games fans are no different.

Each year for the past 24 years a new Madden game has been released. As a die-hard Eagles fan and someone who has played nearly every one of those Madden games, I can tell you that I do not fall outside of these aforementioned fans. Hope is highest right at this moment – each and every year. For some, all hope is lost following that moment. But for others, hope remains stagnant. This is simply due to a difference in one’s expectations of what is to come. And it is my sincere pleasure to tell you that regardless of how high your expectations of Madden NFL 13 might be at this very moment, hope will not be lost this year.

But, there are of course those few outliers who just live to hate. Those of you can click that big X button in the upper right corner of your screen – or upper left you silly Mac users you. The rest, enjoy what follows after the break.

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Review: Darksiders II
By: | August 20th, 2012

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Darksiders. There was no real sense of progression, no New Game+, no real reason to come back, and most of all, I felt like it borrowed a bit too much from its source material.

Although people are quick to compare the franchise to Zelda, I think Soul Reaver is a better fit: especially given the more ethereal nature of both stories. Still, despite borrowing from a few of my favorite franchises, it was a bit too similar to really make a mark on me.

Thankfully, Darksiders II improves upon the first game, all while forging its own identity.

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Review: Wreckateer
By: | August 14th, 2012

Kinect games are always a sticky wicket from the time of announcement until review time. At first glance, it’s easy to relegate them into the arena of gimmickry, and assume that like many other games of its kind, the controls “just won’t work.”

Although there have been examples of horrid motion control design on the 360 (Steel Batallion immediately comes to mind), there are a number of developers who do it right (Gunstringer). Wreckateer is included in the pantheon of positive motion design, but as for the game itself, what you see is basically what you get. Read more… »

Dust has been flying under the radar quite considerably for the past few years. Intiially slated to be an Xbox Live Indie title, it was eventually slated to be an Xbox Live release in 2011, only to be delayed into the Summer of Arcade in 2012.

Considering I had relegated it to “that one game with animals in it”, I was utterly shocked at how great Dust really was. Essentially created by a one man studio, Dust outshines nearly every other major studio action platformer on the Xbox Live Arcade: and then some. Read more… »

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Review: NCAA Football 13
By: | August 9th, 2012

The NCAA Football franchise has always been a shining example of how yearly iterations of sports games works and works well. One of the top reasons why this was the case was its consistency in innovation. But, as you will notice, the past tense was used here.

NCAA Football 13 fails to do what it always did best. Instead, EA Sports has played it safe this year and brought very little to the table to make veteran players even slightly interested. If you are a newcomer or have not checked out NCAA Football in years though, I’d keep reading. Read more… »

Activision may have stopped making Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero games, but that isn’t stopping former developers who worked on both franchises from creating their newest title: Epic Skater.

The game is going for a targeted release date of December 2012, and will be hitting the iPhone, iPad, and Android platforms. Keep an eye out for some coverage of the upcoming Epic Skater beta, as we’ll be giving you the latest on this intruiging project.

Considering that I’ve been replaying all of Neversoft’s old Tony Hawk games, this announcement couldn’t have come at a better time! If you want to contribute, head on over to their Kickstarter. Read more… »

Can you believe that Kingdom Hearts is celebrating its ten year anniversary in 2012? The mere thought of said celebration is enough to make most of us gamers feel extremely old.

Speaking of dated, recent iterations of the Kingdom Hearts franchise have had their ups and downs, and have had their own share of dated gameplay to boot, leaving gamers to clamor for Kingdom Hearts 3. As time goes on, worlds are reused, and the charm wears off, it’s easy to see the franchise as a relic of the past.

Thankfully, there’s nothing old about Dream Drop Distance. Read more… »

It seems as if the developers of Awesomenauts have an affinity for retro games, as the PC version of Awesomenauts has a hidden 8-bit Smash Bros-esque game embedded in the Steam download. All you have to do is head to the following directory to access the game:

\Steam\steamapps\common\Awesomenauts\Data\Rofl

All in all, it’s great to see indie developers packing in extra content just for fun, rather than gating it behind many industry standards we deal with today. There’s no AI component, and it’s local play only, so grab some friends! You also can’t remap the controls, so try remapping them with a program like Joy2Key, and playing with some gamepads.

Read most headlines regarding Star Wars: The Old Republic Tuesday and you’ll see a lot of attention mongering, with the internet practically shouting at you that the game has gone free-to-play. Before we start running out the door proclaiming from the hilltops, let’s be clear — the MMORPG from BioWare and EA is getting a free-to-play option. This will run side by side with the subscription model already in place.

For a first day buyer and early subscriber like myself, this allays many of the fears and frustrations swirling around the move, one they have been publicly flirting with for several months. It arises new hopes that this pulls SWTOR out of its slump and fans get a MMORPG that is worth the growing pains as well as the money they have already pumped into it.

All speculation and sighing aside, the move itself is quite savvy.

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This past weekend, I was able to attend the Washington DC Wii U Experience event, which basically had every Wii U game currently announced for domestic release on display.

That list includes Project P-100, Just Dance 4, ZombiU, New Super Mario Bros. U, Game and Wario, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Ninja Gaiden III, Nintendo Land, Rayman Legends, and Pikmin 3.

Are you curious as to what the event had in store for me? Of course you are! Read more… »

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Review: Deadlight
By: | July 30th, 2012

While zombie games are a decidedly flooded market these days, one can’t help but recognize that the majority of them are fairly quality in nature.

TellTale’s The Walking Dead, the Left 4 Dead series, and many more have pushed the boundaries of their respective genres, and transcended the typical “post-apocalyptic” tropes that we’ve seen many times before.

Deadlight will no doubt draw comparisons to Limbo, Oddworld, Out of This World, Blackthorne, and any number of bleak, dark, platformers. The only problem is, Deadlight isn’t as good as any of these games. Read more… »