Review – Freedom Wars

Freedom Wars Review
We typically approach new games in search of an immediate clarity. Though the fundamentals might be familiar enough to allow us to find a quick footing, we want for instruction on the finer details of our abilities and objectives – the rules of the game.

Freedom Wars addresses this want by placing players in the role of an amnesiac in need of education regarding those points of play. And that, my dear sinners, is only the first of many crimes you’ll be punished for in this desperate new world.

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Review – Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd

Hatsune Miku Project DIVA F 2nd
After finally debuting in North America last year, Japan’s famous virtual pop star once again struts onto the PlayStation 3 and Vita. And while Hatsune Miku brings friends and tweaks to the familiar rhythm game formula, the Vocaloid personality also brings enough customization and music to have even casual rhythm game junkies waving a glow stick before long.

Beneath the candy coated exterior, there’s significantly more groove for the offering in Project Diva than the rhythm genre is typically known for.

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Review – Rollers of the Realm

Rollers of the Realm
Bringing traditional role-playing game elements to pinball introduces objectives beyond a high score in Phantom Compass’ Rollers of the Realm. And while the idea isn’t foreign to me, the implementation found me ramming my head against the game for a handful of hours before I stopped trying to simply keep the ball in play and learned instead to play with those elements the game offers.

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Review – Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

Review Luigis Mansion
Luigi steps out from the shadow of his famous brother, only to once again find himself cast into the shadowy halls of haunted dwellings, where legions of spirits wait to spook the hesitant hero. When the Dark Moon floating over Evershade Valley is stolen, the colorful poltergeists infesting the area begin causing mayhem, prompting Professor E. Gadd to summon Luigi’s assistance in getting his paranormal research back on track.

Rather than tackling one large mansion, Luigi will be transported to several locations, dispatched from the Professor’s bunker via a device that pixelates and transports him through security cameras, ala Tron.

The handheld release offers a stage layout for each area, where Luigi will accomplish small tasks toward recovering the pieces of the Dark Moon hidden within each, which feeds a quicker action based style of game versus a spiraling haunted mystery.

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Review – Lego City Undercover

Review Lego City Undercover
Lego City Undercover serves as my annual reminder not to make up my mind about a game prior to playing it.

Despite a well earned sense of exhaustion from numerous Lego videogames based on popular franchises in recent years, Chase McCain’s mission to save Lego City from seasoned criminal Rex Fury managed to sink its teeth in firmly, until I’d found myself saving said city some thirteen hours later and realized that I’d still only completed 18% of what the entire game has to offer.

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Review – Tomb Raider

Review Tomb Raider
Vegetation reclaims the land around ancient Asian temples. Turrets built during the Second World War rot into the cliffs overlooking ships that lay battered and broken against the rocks, where angry waves warn off any thought of escape. And the diaries of countless inhabitants throughout time are scattered across the ruins of an island rich with a dark history.

While Lara Croft’s first expedition uncovers an island prison run by years of stranded inmates, she also discovers a landscape that abandons the idea of singular globetrotting digs offering a sterile glimpse into frozen pockets of time, instead uncovering a complex web, where the strings of history intertwine around a mystery beating a rhythm of madness heard across the entire island.

And while Lara unearths the pieces to this puzzle, the franchise mirrors her efforts with a dig through the more recent history of the medium. It doesn’t take a gaming archeologist to see the influences running throughout Tomb Raider, particularly the unsteady ground and quick time events that fed Uncharted’s cinematic flow.

But as a student of history, Tomb Raider isn’t looking to simply copy answers during the test.

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Demo Report – Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan

Demo Report Etrian Odyssey IV
I love milkshakes.

I know they’re not necessarily the healthiest treat option available to me, so I try not to drink them too often. However, when I get my hands on one, I am relentless and guzzle it up, usually to the point that my wife has to tell me to stop making disgusting sounds as I suck the straw like an addict trying to get just one last tiny hit from his crack pipe.

The Etrian Odyssey IV demo is kind of like that.

I have tasted every last bit of what it has to offer and am starving for more. Atlus was generous to provide such a meaty demo, but in a sense, they were also a little cruel. If anyone takes the time needed to build a party of adventurers, traverse through and map out every square inch of the available labyrinths, level up their characters to the max that is allotted in the demo, and complete all offered quests, they are going to find it very hard to wait a couple more weeks to continue their journey into all that Etrian Odyssey IV has to offer.

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