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loveplus1a

Platformers tend to go in either one of two ways: elaborate fusions of experimental gimmicks that ooze style, or barebones, minimalist endeavours that harken back to a simpler time when platformers were the dominant example of the video game artform. Love is an example of the latter, taken to its logical extreme.

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Infamous: Second Son is the first big exclusive game PS4 owners can use as a weapon and shield against advocates of the other systems in the ongoing circus-act that is the gaming community. If you were a fan of the previous two games on the PS3, you might be wondering how there could be a sequel, when Infamous 2 ended so decisively. The answer to that is quite simple: Infamous: Second Son is practically a reboot of the franchise, with hardly any connections at all to the previous two games beyond the fact that it takes place seven years after the end of the second game. I was paying very close attention to all the story scenes and there’s nary a mention of Cole MacGrath, Zeke Dunbar, Empire City, New Marais, Kessler or The Beast.

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bs1a

Editor’s note: Seeing as this review concerns a piece of DLC, it may contain things that could be considered spoiler-ish. If you haven’t played Infinite or the first Burial at Sea episode, perhaps go do that before reading this review.

While BioShock Infinite was a stellar game that whetted our appetites for more, the first two eagerly-awaited DLCs were a bit of a let-down. Clash in the Clouds was an ill-conceived attempt to bring some Horde-style gameplay into the world of Columbia, but the less said about it the better, especially when one considers the fact that the combat was one of the very few criticisms against Infinite. Burial at Sea Episode 1 was a far better and more ambitious attempt to reunite us with Booker and Elizabeth, but the short length, uneven gameplay and unresolved ending left many fans wanting. Luckily for us, the third time’s a charm, as the latest installment in the Burial at Sea sub-series is a satisfying conclusion to everyone’s favorite story-driven FPS.

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Editor’s note: There are aspects of this review that could be considered spoiler-ish. If you haven’t played The Last of Us, but plan to in the future, you may want to steer clear of this review and come back to it once you’ve finished the original game.

You’ll have to imagine my wistful sigh here as I start off by saying: you know, when the last generation of consoles showed up with their proper online support, I expected great things from the whole DLC concept.

But what we got, mostly, were pathetic little weapon packs, skins and multiplayer maps, released online at the same time as the game’s launch to tease a few more pennies out of those who didn’t pre-order. Blatant money-spinning instead of attempts to create fresh, new content after-the-fact for players who really enjoyed their game and wanted more.

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Dark souls II Cover

Last year I made the bold claim that Dark Souls II was the best reason to keep our last-gen consoles. Well, the game came out recently and after many hours and even more deaths, is what I said still true? Hit the jump for our review.

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When I bought this game, I got a lot of uphill from my friends who work in the game store. “You don’t even like Metal Gear!”, they said in jest – but with a barb of accusation just barely visible beneath the surface. And I feel I’ve been misrepresnted a bit.

I’ll admit I take every opportunity to remind people of how awful Metal Gear‘s writing is every time it comes up, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like the gameplay. True, I think the story is more kitsch, over-written and melodramatic than the most ridiculous anime I’ve ever seen, but I also think the games are pretty reliable for presenting us with unique and innovative play mechanics. I guess you’re not welcome at the Metal Gear fan club unless you’re a blind devotee – and if that’s the case, I’m happy to just enjoy the game on my own terms, trying to tune out as much of the abusively-long cut-scenes and briefings as possible until I manage to dig out the mission objective from the caked-on melodramatic horseshit.

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Source-based mods have made quite a bit of headway recently. It wasn’t too long ago that we were treated to the wickedly experimental Stanley Parable, while the ever-popular Black Mesa is slated for a commercial release soon, much to the delight of our resident news reporter Chris Kemp. With this in mind, we present you with another Source mod worthy of your attention: UnderhellIn all honesty, I feel a little guilty referring to Underhell as a “mod”, because it’s loaded with so much character and content that it is, for all intents and purposes, a game in its own right. And considering the fact that it was recently greenlit on Steam, a lot of other gamers feel the same way.

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Project Spark header

Creation tools that double as games seem to be gaining in popularity, and it’s easy to see why. Many of them allow our creativity to run wild, and give us gamers a chance to feel like developers. Microsoft is throwing their hat into the ring with this creation from Team Dakota, but will it allow you to truly project sparks of imagination? Read on to find out.

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race-the-sun1

Clearly Star Fox and Temple Run got drunk one night and hitched up together, because Race The Sun is very obviously the resultant offspring.

But seriously. Race The Sun is a clean, clear-looking mash-up between an endless runner and a simple racer, with aesthetics that appear as if they’re an evolved version of what would have been found on Nintendo’s classic 16-bit system.

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rayman_legends_header

First things first: for Nintendo’s sake, it is a damn shame a bigger effort wasn’t made to keep this game a Wii U exclusive. Rayman Legends would have sold Wii U consoles – something Nintendo really needs to do right about now. On the opposite side of the coin, it would have been a complete travesty having this game locked into a platform with a limited audience; it’s a game that deserves to be experienced by as many people as possible.

Rayman Legends is pure, unadulterated gaming. There’s no fluff and padding to artificially elongate the experience. It sticks to its refined mechanics and pulls off the whole package with honesty and style, but without taking itself too seriously. In fact, there isn’t an ounce of seriousness to be found anywhere, which is refreshing considering the vast majority of contemporary gaming themes. The game is unbridled fun and a grin-inducing ride from start to finish. Ubisoft did the right thing delaying the title in order to turn Rayman Legends into a multi-platform release.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Ubisoft’s latest platformer is a brilliant game, but it’s not without some minor annoyances. Do those annoyances detract enough from the experience to be considered a problem, glaring or otherwise? Absolutely not.

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