Reviews Archive

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Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015 review (XBLA)

Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015 was developed by Stainless Games and Wizards of the Coast and published by Microsoft Studios. It retails for $9.99 and was released on July 16, 2014. A copy was provided for review purposes.

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Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015 is this year’s digital Magic: The Gathering card game. Since 2011, Stainless Games has produced four substantially fun, challenging and balanced games. Magic 2015 is quite a different experience, and there are some amazing new features that players have asked for since the first game was released. Unfortunately, the phrase most suitable for the changes to 2015 is “be careful what you wish for.”

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Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions announced

Geometry Wars Retro Evolved Explosions

Activision recently announced Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions in development by Lucid Games for Xbox Live and other platforms. Geometry Wars was one of the Xbox 360′s first and most popular downloadable titles, for good reason — it defined a modern standard for retro twin-stick arcade shooters. Such a title steeped in arcade gameplay of the 1980′s needs a publisher suited to the time period, and Activision has rebooted the storied Sierra publishing brand as an indie-focused wing of Activision to help make Geometry Wars 3 continue to define the shoot-em-up genre for the next generation. Geometry Wars 3 will add five new battle modes and a full single player campaign, in addition to the shooting we have come to adore. The “Dimensions” subtitle comes from an announcement about 3D gameplay, though we don’t yet know what that means for the gameplay. The game will launch during this year’s winter holiday season — the sooner the better if the previous two games are anything by which to measure.

Sierra was responsible for numerous franchises throughout the 1980′s and 1990′s, perhaps most famously for King’s Quest (and it’s numerous spin-offs) and The Incredible Machine. In an interview, senior director of external development Bob Loya notes that the Sierra name carries a lot of historical weight: “It certainly helps that there’s a generation of gamers and developers who are fond of the label. More importantly, the Sierra name has a “feel” to it that really helps everyone align with the objective of creating truly special, independent games. It just works well when we talk with potential indie developers about Sierra’s vision. We really like the idea of developers being able to interact and be represented by a brand they have a personal connection with.”  A King’s Quest sequel is also in development by Sierra, but without the direct involvement of Ken and Roberta Williams, the original programmer and designer of the franchise respectively.

Source: gamesindustry.biz

Disclaimer: Image is taken from Geometry Wars Retro Evolved

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Abyss Odyssey review (XBLA)

Abyss Odyssey was developed by ACE Team and published by ATLUS. It was released on Xbox 360 for $14.99 on July 16, 2014. A copy was provided for review purposes.

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At first glace, Abyss Odyssey seems relatively simple. It looks like a basic side-scrolling hack and slash game with dungeon-crawling elements, but it is weirdly different. It’s actually more of a rougelike, sporting a combat system better compared to a fighting game than an action one. Taking place inside of a warlock’s dreams, a dungeon of multiple levels has been created, with monsters breaking through the surface and causing destruction to the world above. It’s up to you to take control and put an end to the warlock’s carnage, one floor at a time. Ironically enough, Abyss Odyssey has you descending its depths in hope of reaching the final foe – all while lacking “depth” in the process.

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Guacamelee Super Turbo Championship Edition review (Xbox One)

Guacamelee Super Turbo Championship Edition was developed and published by Drinkbox Studios. It was released on Xbox One for $14.99 on June 6, 2014. It is also available on Xbox 360 for $14.99. An Xbox One copy was provided for review purposes.
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Guacamelee is an already well-reviewed and very fun game, so adding a dash of super, a bit of turbo, and a pinch of championship creates a slightly more delicious version. The folks at Drinkbox Studios have updated the title with a variety of new features, all of which are enjoyable for everyone, including Guacamelee veterans. The sense of humor involved with Guacamelee is great, and pays homage to Metroid, Mario, and Castlevania titles constantly. This is a classic side-scrolling experience and it really is one of the better titles to surface via the ID@Xbox program thus far.

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Contrast review (XBLA and Xbox One)

Contrast is developed and published by Compulsion Games. It was released on Xbox One for $14.99 on June 6, 2014. It is also available on Xbox 360 for $14.99. An Xbox One copy was provided for review purposes.

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A shadow is the absence of light behind an object. Shadows know nothing else besides darkness and only exist in attachment to another. Shadows emit fear, mystery, the unknown. A shadow adds another layer to an object, a person. Often over sought, we often only view what’s on the surface, we don’t think twice. What’s on the surface is rather accordingly never as it seems, yet a shadow can show exactly what it seems. The warping of light and spacetime; the peeling back of our layered complexities; and questioning of what is reality are all captured by the beautiful artistry of Contrast.

Set in turn-of-the-century Paris, Contrast tells the story of a young girl, Didi, as she sets out upon the nocturnal Parisian streets to bring her family back together. Her mother works late nights at the gentleman’s club, and her father is deep in debt with the gangs. Didi just want to have one happy family again. Tagging along is her shadowy companion Dawn, who uses her mysterious powers to warp into the shadows and complete complicated platforming puzzles based upon the manipulation of light and shadows cast on the walls. Thus, the game becomes an existential experience that comments on family, science and emotion.

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Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition review (Xbox One)

Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition was developed by Martial Hesse-Dreville and Éric Chahi and published by The Digital Lounge. It was released on June 25th, 2014 on Xbox One and is priced at £6.39/$9.99. An Xbox One copy was provided for review purposes.

Another World_ Logo highresThe nature of video games has changed a lot since the original version of Another World (A.K.A Out of this World) was released on the Amiga and Atari ST back in 1991. For a start, even the humblest of modern consoles is almost immeasurably powerful in comparison to the systems available when Delphine Studio’s original game made its debut. The Sci-Fi worlds that these systems play host to are often unimaginably vast, with incredible three-dimensional graphics and rich, uncompressed digital audio to bring them to life. Gamers have changed as well – no longer is enjoying digital media reserved only for solitary fourteen year old boys with thick rimmed spectacles and a math degree. On the contrary, in fact – games are now played by almost everyone from the average adult male, to his mates, to his girlfriend and in some cases, even his mum! So, in an era of casual gaming and high definition, can this carefully crafted remake of an ultra-hard classic still make an impact on today’s audience?

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R.B.I. Baseball review (Xbox One)

R.B.I. Baseball 14 was developed by Behaviour Interactive and published by MLB.com. It was released on April 9, 2014 on Xbox 360 and June 24, 2014 on Xbox One for $19.99. An Xbox One copy was provided for review purposes.

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Baseball, America’s pastime, has long been a revered genre of video games, with some real gems appearing over the years for both simulation and arcade fans alike. The original NES R.B.I. Baseball and its successors remain well-liked, and this revival of the series by MLB.com looks to reignite this passion and to give all gamers — especially those console gamers without any baseball game choices at all — the opportunity to take their favorite team all the way to becoming World Series champions. R.B.I. Baseball 14 sets out knowing it must strike a balance between the classic controls, gameplay and nuance of the original, while also being a fun, accessible game for those baseball fans new to the series.

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Blood of the Werewolf review (XBLA)

Blood of the Werewolf was developed by Scientifically Proven and published by Midnight City. It was released on June 11, 2014 on Xbox 360 for $6.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.

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In Blood of the Werewolf, players take on the role of Selena, werewolf mother out for revenge. The game is made up of various combinations of two types of gameplay — indoors, Selena is a crossbow-wielding vampire hunter, and at night, she transforms into a vicious werewolf. The game attempts to recapture the best of classic games like Capcom’s Ghouls ‘n Ghosts by focusing on difficult sidescrolling gameplay. Unfortunately, it is an attempt only, thanks to extreme repetition of the worst elements of those games without success at carrying over much of the charm of the classics.  A lack of enemy variety and a failure to integrate many of the game’s abilities into the core gameplay hampers what might have been an enjoyable experience.

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Sixty Second Shooter Prime review (Xbox One)

Sixty Second Shooter Prime is developed and published by Happion Laboratories. It was released June 18, 2014 on Xbox One for $4.99. An Xbox One copy was provided for review purposes.

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ID@Xbox is shaping up to be an excellent and very welcome platform for independent developers to bring their beloved games to the Xbox One platform. With the program, we’ll see exciting creative directions and artistic expressions. But then there comes along a game such as Sixty Second Shooter Prime that brings out the worst plague of the mobile market today: cloning.

Sixty Second Shooter Prime is a twin-stick shooter that tasks the player with traversing a two-dimensional plane, blasting away hordes of geometric enemies, each with different patterns and tactics the player must evade. The catch? The player has only 60 seconds and one life. Rack up as many points as you can while collecting powerups and multipliers and try to topple your friends’ high scores. Sound familiar?

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Valiant Hearts: The Great War review (Xbox One)

Valiant Hearts: The Great War was developed by Ubisoft Montpellier and published by Ubisoft. It was released on June 25, 2014 on Xbox 360 and Xbox One for $14.99. An Xbox One copy was provided for review purposes.

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All Quiet on the Western Front aside, popular media has largely ignored World War I over the years. It’s that other world war that happened before World War II and didn’t get a Steven Spielberg movie inspiring the video game industry to make oodles of games about it. With 2014 being the 100-year anniversary of the war’s start, Ubisoft Montpellier thought it was the perfect time to step in and make a game about the brutality of trench warfare. Well, that’s half-true, at least. Valiant Hearts: The Great War is as much about this incredibly violent and semi-forgotten war as it is about those who fought it and what it took from them.

First-hand stories like those taken from Audio Director Yoan Fanise’s great-grandfather’s letters from the front helped the team add an air of authenticity to Valiant Hearts‘ campaign, which follows the war-time experiences of five characters of differing nationalities. The puzzle-adventure game’s comic book art style can feel incongruous during the game’s more somber moments, and some of the sillier game-y elements further highlight the disparity between the austere story and its lighthearted presentation. Somehow, though, Ubisoft fuses it all together into an experience that will make you feel the horrible pains of those consumed by this “great” war, and the friendships that somehow develop through it.

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