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Shin Megami Tensei has always been a fairly niche franchise. Outside of the increasingly successful Persona series, recently seeing a great deal of success with Persona 4, most Mega-Ten games have a fairly limited appeal in the west. While modern Persona games are appealing due to their social links, bright colors, and emphasis on flashy High School drama, the SMT series proper is essentially its antithesis, with an emphasis on  isolation, desperation, and generally, an insular heavy theme.

In fact, “insular” is probably the best way to describe the newest iteration in the SMT franchise, as  SMT IV does very little to welcome new fans. But for those of you who are already in, you really can’t go wrong, even if a few corners were cut to bring the game to the 3DS. Read more… »

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Review: Project X Zone
By: | June 25th, 2013

Ken, KOS-MOS, and Kurt Irving, oh my!

That’s right, in Project X Zone you’ll be able to team up with the likes of Street Fighter, Xenosaga, and Valkyria Chronicles characters respectively, as the mega-developers Capcom, Namco Bandai, and Sega have teamed up for a fan service offering of gigantic proportions.

But as many people know, not all fan service games are created equal. Read more… »

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Review: Game & Wario
By: | June 24th, 2013

Wario is one of the strangest ideas Nintendo has ever created. He’s not quite a “main” Mario character, as he almost never appears in the core titles like Galaxy or the New franchise, but he’s popular enough to warrant a ton of best selling games, and garner some of the most creative talent Nintendo has to offer.

Fast forward to today, where everyone is clamoring for another WarioWare entry to take advantage of the unique hardware mechanics the Wii U has to offer. Except, we aren’t quite getting that game, as Game & Wario is not actually a proper WarioWare title. Instead, we’re getting a minigame collection with 12 [mostly] solo games and four strictly multiplayer games.

And that’s completely okay with me.

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Mutant Mudds was one of my favorite games released last year. While some may bill it as a “slow” platformer, I heartily enjoyed the Gargoyle’s Quest “hover” style technical gameplay, and it offered up some of the most challenging retro tasks in recent memory outside of Super Meat Boy.

Now, developer Renegade Kid is ready to unleash the Deluxe version, exclusively for the Wii U. To be blunt, it’s the definitive version of the game, even if it doesn’t offer as much new content as one would hope. Read more… »

Animal Crossing is a strange series. What may seem like a chore simulator to one person is a lovable, living breathing world to the next. There’s really no silver bullet explanation as to why the franchise is so great — you basically have to experience it for yourself, and make an immediate decision as to whether or not it’s for you.

While the newest iteration, titled New Leaf for the 3DS may not be as “new” as the moniker lets on, it’s still a solid entry point into the franchise. Read more… »

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Review: Sanctum 2
By: | May 24th, 2013

The original Sanctum quickly became one of my favorite PC titles of all time. It had a ton of charm, but most of all, it was difficult. On some maps you had to juggle scores of towers, make elaborate mazes, and blast your way to victory without a second to waste. Sanctum had a level of strategy practically unparalleled in other tower defense games, if only due to the mere fact that twitch skills and strategic thinking were required.

Sanctum 2 on the other hand, is more twitch based. In fact, it’s practically all twitch based, as a lot of the strategy elements were thrown out the window. Whether that’s a good thing or not is completely dependent on how much you value the FPS genre. Read more… »

Resident Evil Revelations was a solid effort by Capcom to attempt to marry the old and new philosophies of the Resident Evil franchise. Although it wasn’t really their top work in either regard, Revelations look incredible on the 3DS, and pushed the system to its limits.

Now, we’re back to that fateful cruise ship once again as we relive the terror with Jill and Chris, but this time, in HD.

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Review: Soul Sacrifice
By: | May 13th, 2013

As soon as I saw the first footage of Soul Sacrifice, my eyes lit up. A Monster Hunter-like, with a Dark Souls vibe, created by the legendary Keiji Inafune? On paper, it sounded like one of the best ideas of all time.

Of course, not every idea actually plays out how it should, and some amazing concepts end up in the bargain bin of life, forever doomed to “woulda coulda shoulda.” Soul Sacrifice is not one of those throwaway games.

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Black Rock Shooter: The Game is a pretty unique prospect. It arrived in Japan in 2011 as the first videogame follow-up to the popular manga and anime series, and now, two years later, it’s ready for an international release.

As a mix of both RPG and action concepts, describing Black Rock Shooter: The Game is fairly difficult. One thing is for sure though — the experience is the very definition of “niche.”

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No one saw Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon coming. As a full-on digital-only game that’s completely separate from the core experience (and thus, doesn’t require Far Cry 3 to play), Blood Dragon takes the foundations of Far Cry, runs with it to the absolute maximum, then cranks it up to 11 and lights it on fire with a concentrated blacklight.

Complete with VHS tape style loading screens, a tutorial that makes fun of other tutorials, and classic sci-fi actor Michael Biehn, this is one wild ride that you — ::puts on shades:: — will never forget. Read more… »

Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins review

Who would’ve thought that on rookie cop Chase McCain’s first day on the job he’d find himself traveling all over Lego City trying capture elusive criminal mastermind Rex Fury? Well, you probably did because both characters are right there on the box. Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins is a 3DS prequel to the Wii U release that came out earlier this year.

While developer TT Fusion should be applauded for their ambition–trying to bring an open-world Lego City game to the 3DS–ultimately the hardware’s own limitations are what keep The Chase Begins from truly shining.

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At first glance, it’s kind of hard to tell what Monaco even is. It’s been shown at various trade shows for the past few years and has garnered a solid amount of hype and buzz behind it, but without a full release, it was hard to really nail down what made Monaco so special.

Well, it’s out now, and after actually playing it, I’ve seen the magic right before my eyes. Monaco is essentially an Ocean’s 11 simulator — and it’s awesome.
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