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Review: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1

Subtitle: 
Put On Your Old Running Shoes.
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From the moment the SEGA logo sings “Sayyy-gahhh!” nostalgia will set in, and Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 does a great job of recapturing the feeling of the original 16-bit games (though sometimes too well). With levels named and created very similarly to those of Sonic 1 through 3, there isn’t much that’s new.

From the moment the SEGA logo sings “Sayyy-gahhh!” nostalgia will set in, and Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 does a great job of recapturing the feeling of the original 16-bit games (though sometimes too well). With levels named and created very similarly to those of Sonic 1 through 3, there isn’t much that’s new.

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Review: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Subtitle: 
Castlevania finally nails 3D gaming while injecting some new blood into the series.
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Mention the name Castlevania, and many memories start to stir: Dracula’s monolithic castle looming above its explorers, a labyrinthine interior fitted with secret passageways and deadly traps, the crack of the Belmonts’ whip… Since the stellar Symphony of the Night, the Castlevania series has consistently produced top quality games time and time again, and has become almost synonymous with action-exploration 2D gaming. Where the series had often failed, however, were its ill fated forays into the third dimension. Lords of Shadow, the latest installation to the Castlevania franchise, finally conquers 3D gaming while adding a double espresso shot of action to a series that had been suffering from stagnation.

Mention the name Castlevania, and many memories start to stir: Dracula’s monolithic castle looming above its explorers, a labyrinthine interior fitted with secret passageways and deadly traps, the crack of the Belmonts’ whip…  Since the stellar Symphony of the Night, the Castlevania series has consistently produced top quality games time and time again, and has become almost synonymous with action-exploration 2D gaming.  Where the series had often failed, however, were its ill fated forays into the third dimension.  Lords of Shadow, the latest installation t

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Review: Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Subtitle: 
If Nathan Drake Escaped The Matrix
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<p> I can&rsquo;t quite figure out why people are raving about Enslaved. Though it&rsquo;s an entertaining adventure game and the characters interact well, I feel like I&rsquo;m the only one bothered by the fact that the game is a post-apocalyptic Uncharted, with elements from Prince of Persia, Resident Evil 4, God of War, Jak &amp; Daxter, and Gears of War thrown in like some sort of &ldquo;Will it blend?&rdquo; video. And though it does blend well for the most part, it often feels as if a beefed-up Nathan Drake and a useful, hacker version of Yorda from ICO (who speaks your language this time) entered the non-computerized part of the Matrix world, but with more plant life.</p>

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Review: Dead Rising 2

Subtitle: 
Creatively Maiming Zombies Never Gets Old.
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Drinking coffee at my desk, I can feel just how weighty my mug is, probably enough to smash a forehead or two into hamburger helper. Actually, come to think of it, my stapler’s on the hefty CQC-conducive side too. Oh yes, I could turn into a corporate commando. These are the things you start considering after playing Dead Rising 2. It celebrates the every-day MacGyver, the person who’s stopped and said, “why can’t I attach a super-soaker to a keg?” Or “That coat-hangar’s a Bat’leth crying to happen.” And though you may not be trapped in a pool with an Orca, you’re facing that other great threat to civilization: Zombies. So if you’re fond of weaponized arts and crafts as well as facing the undead, welcome home.

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Review: Valkyria Chronicles 2

Subtitle: 
Are You Up On Your War Studies?
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<p> Giving an underrated game a sequel on different system would normally be a death sentence but Sega has handled the transition from console to portable superbly with Valkyria Chronicles II, proving that bringing the series to a mobile platform was a great choice. The World War-style third-person shooter/SRPG battles work well on the PSP because of the simple fact that the system can be put to sleep and taken with you - a big plus for a game that can range between 30 and 100+ hours.</p>

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Review: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Subtitle: 
I Wish I Could Forget This One.
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<p> I don&rsquo;t get it. I simply don&rsquo;t get it. Developer Frictional Games&rsquo; new baby, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is getting positive review after positive review. Critics go wild for its haunting atmosphere and sense of terror. They talk about its rock solid game design and wonderfully executed mechanics. At the time of this writing, Amnesia has a metacritic score of 85, with a user score of 9.4 out of ten. I guess these guys have only played the first hour or so of the game, because as good as Amnesia begins the game doesn&rsquo;t hold up to the promise of its start.</p>

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Review: Mafia 2

Subtitle: 
Can a gamer impose on a game?
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<p> Empire Bay greets you at the main menu with a lovely cityscape, complete with a faux-Empire State Building. One of the first sights you see in the game is the majestic towers rising powerfully into the sky. As you play, those structures are always there, in the background. They seem to whisper, &quot;You have stepped into a large world. Welcome and enjoy everything this universe has to offer you.&quot;</p>

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Scott Pilgrim Vs. Its Video Game References

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<p> Shortly into the first chapter of the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World comic we are introduced to The Sex Bob-ombs band, the first of many video game references Scott Pilgrim&rsquo;s illustrated world throws at us.</p>

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Review: Halo: Reach

Subtitle: 
Combat Evolved Gets a Sequel.
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<p> It&rsquo;s not often that I play a game knowing that I&rsquo;m going to die. I&rsquo;m usually the Marine that jumps into a helicopter at the last second, the genetically-engineered subject with that last-ditch power, or the Cop who can sure take a lot of bullets, the chosen warrior, the fallen god. I usually know that my preferred- protagonist rewards card will almost always see me through even the most irradiated, explosive, contagious, undead, psychological, high caliber, caramel-filled, and existential disasters possible, but never have I fought a losing battle. Where as in the previous chapters of Halo, where victory is only possible because you&rsquo;re Earth&rsquo;s most highly trained super soldier, your armored hands barely holding everything together, in Halo: Reach it seems everything can&rsquo;t help but fall apart around you.</p>

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The Creation of Worlds

Subtitle: 
Or, On Exploration
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<p> Throughout human history, one of the principle objectives of media has been the creation new worlds for man to explore, learn from, and with which to entertain.</p>

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