Review: Resident Evil – Operation Raccoon City (X360)

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Capcom’s Resident Evil series has gone through a lot of changes over the years, some good some bad, and Operation Raccoon City’s laser focus on its third-person action is one of the series’ riskiest moves. Eschewing terror for bullets, the game asks players to go back to where it all started and to see things from the bad guy’s perspective.
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Review: Asura’s Wrath (X360)

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Asura’s Wrath is an unusual game. It’s short, at around five or six hours, and heavily scripted with Quick Time Events telling you what to do. It’s a wash of chaos, blinding colors, and cosmic explosions interrupted only by a little story daring to pause the relentless face punching it delivers.

In some ways, it’s also like a series of anime episodes complete with “to be continued” in between each act as its Unreal Engine powered leads ponder their next step before launching into even more over-the-top madness. But with as much hand holding as there is, there’s fun to be found here.
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Review: Syndicate (X360)

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In 1993, Bullfrog Productions introduced the world to an isometric, future dystopia where augmented “Agents” were used by megacorporate empires to take the battle for market share out of the boardrooms and into the streets.

It was a tactical game spread across fifty cities across the world as you guided your team of four to cripple the competition by any means possible even if it meant using civilians as meat shields. The Atlantic Accelerator mission still gets a nod from me for its ruthless difficulty, and that was before the expansion pack made things even worse.

Since then, it’s become a cyberpunk classic so when EA and Starbreeze announced that Syndicate would reboot as an FPS, more than a few people were upset. For some, it reminded them of what FASA under Microsoft had done with Shadowrun. Even I had doubts. At the same time, it’s also easy to understand why. In a market dominated by Activision’s Modern Warfare, it’s a safe guess that they were trying to answer how to get an audience that may not have even played the original game to give this a shot.

And now after moonlighting as a new Agent, I can safely say that while it won’t knock your cybersocks off, it doesn’t quite leave the operating table littered with leftover body parts from the original, either. 
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Review: Kingdoms of Amalur – Reckoning (PS3)

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Bethesda Softworks’ first Elder Scrolls game, Arena, took FRPGs by storm in ’94 packaging an entire continent on a set of eight 3.5″ discs requiring only 25MB of space on your hard drive and experiencing it all in first-person.

The randomly generated terrain and quest system created the illusion of endless adventure spanning a vast wilderness rife with cities, isolated towns, secrets, swamps, and barren deserts. Nearly 20 years later, new entries into the series herald hundreds of hours of lost productivity and countless memes as players take extended vacations into the worlds that Bethesda crafts under its banner.

Others have also tried, with varying success, to emulate that success and now 38 Studios’ freshman effort has boldly staked its own claim. After years in development and with EA taking on the publishing duties on this sandbox, history could be repeating itself.
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Review: The Darkness 2 (Xbox 360)

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Jackie Estacado isn’t your typical Mafia Don. He’s young, brash, and possessed by a gut ripping terror from beyond known only as the Darkness. For him, the voices in his head are all too real.

In the last game, it was an unexpected birthday inheritance that put him at odds with the dark power passed down to him from his father. At the same time, it also allowed him to tear apart his gun toting enemies with ease in revenge for the death of his childhood sweetheart, Jenny.

Two years had passed since then and while Jackie still pines for her, life has gone on. And he has turned his back on the Darkness, suppressing it since then. That’s until someone tries to take him out, nearly killing him in the process forcing him to dip into the Darkness’ bloody well once again.
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Review: Soul Calibur V

Soul Calibur V leaves a good first impression, but after putting some time into the game, one discovers that this (mostly) sword-fighting game is not going to earn itself a place in the book of legendary titles.

The latest chapter in the Soul Calibur series begins with a quite impressive opening scene that builds a desire to jump right into the game. Soul Calibur V’s story mode is typical for a fighting game. The hero goes through a series of battles until you reaching an
over-the-top end guy. Where Soul Calibur V starts to fall short, however, is in the development of the hero character, Patroklos. He comes off as whiny, ill tempered and it seems as though
he kills innocent people because he believes them to be “malfested.” These traits make it
very difficult to get behind the character and root for him to win.


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Review: FFXIII-2 (PS3)

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Square Enix’s FF13 was a controversial title to a number of longtime fans of the flagship series. Much has been made of its heavily linear area designs, overly long tutorials, shallow world, and its twitch-centric combat system. To more than a few, for a game expected to carry the series forward, it seemed to be heading in the wrong direction.

FF13-2 wants to change all of that. Or at least head back in a direction that won’t burn as many bridges behind it. Boasting a new story packed with all of the ludicrously beautiful visuals that HD televisions squee with delight over, Square Enix took much of what was criticized about the first game by focusing on hammering out the rough edges.

It’s not the first time that they’ve followed up on one of the series’ major chapters in this fashion as FF10-2 can testify, but it is probably the first time that the changes aren’t so much experimentation as they are a belated do-over of what didn’t work as well the first time around.
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Batman: Gotham City Imposters delayed to February

Gotham City Imposters, a downloadable FPS in which players play as characters pretending to be characters from the Batman universe, has been delayed from a January release to a February release.

The game is set to be available for PC download, PlayStation Network and XBox Live.

Warner Bros. Games announced the postponement today. The game looks nothing like the publishers popular “Arkham” series of Batman games. Instead, it looks a bit like the vigilantes who Christian Bale’s Batman mocked in “The Dark Knight” for fighting crime while wearing hockey pads got a bunch of guns and started shooting at people dressed like the Joker, who also have a bunch of guns.

In other words, the game’s aesthetic looks more like a Team Fortress-style wackiness instead of Call of Duty-style this-is-so-hardcore-ness.

As far as whether the game turns out to be any good, I guess we’ll find out in February.

NFL Blitz available for download today

NFL Blitz, the game in which NFL football players can catch fire and compete against robots while playing a 7-on-7 game, is available for download today.

The intentionally ridiculous game started as an arcade title and evolved into a console game. Stores sold console versions from 1998 to 2003, and NFL Blitz now returns as a downloadable game for PlayStation 3 and XBox 360.

The game costs $14.99 on PlayStation Network or 1200 Microsoft Points on XBox Live.