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Reviews

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End Review

Indiana Jones made by Steve the Pirate

Uncharted has always been all over the place in terms of quality. The first title is pretty mediocre despite fantastic production values. Meanwhile I consider Uncharted 2 to be one of the greatest video games ever made, a game which I replayed many times and love every second of. Then the PS3 trilogy ended with Drake’s Deception, which offered a fantastic first half and a very inconsistent second half. So it feels fitting that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End overall ends up as a perfectly satisfactory game. A game with its moments of brilliance, yet never quite manages to bring the product as a whole up in the end.

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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Review Rewind

"I was hoping to come up with a question by slamming on my desk, Your Honor... I didn't."

I believe you can make a good game out of anything. Pulling off some concepts will be harder than others, but if the right approach is taken, then even the most boring or trite idea can be turned into something extraordinarily engaging and compelling. The reason I believe this is because of my strong love for the Ace Attorney franchise, video games where you play as a lawyer defending clients. Yet these are also games where just tapping “Present evidence” on a touch screen can have me shaking from anticipation and excitement.

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Ratchet & Clank (PS4) Review

Gameplay is king in this gorgeous re-imagining of the original Ratchet & Clank.

I have always had a strong love for the Ratchet and Clank series ever since I first picked up A Crack in Time for my then new PlayStation 3. I fell in love with its creative weapons, excellent sense of humor, and charming world and soon proceeded to blast through the series, replaying most of the titles over and over. When I eventually got around to trying the original game, however, I was quite underwhelmed. It felt like an experiment, a game with a good idea of giving a platforming mascot weapons, yet none of the ideas really came together. The franchise did not really find its footing until the sequel Going Commando with the third title Up Your Arsenal perfecting the foundation and future titles merely adding extra tweaks and polish. So when I heard the first game was getting remade with the modern design choices the sequels provided, I was naturally excited.

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Super Mario Maker Review

Mario Paint for the 21st Century, if it allowed your childhood dream to come true.

Most of us have played a 2-D Mario game at some point in our lives, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one that really wanted to make a Mario level and have others play it in years past. Granted, people have made attempts to make their own Mario levels with varying degrees of success, but Miyamoto and friends finally granted my wish for Mario’s 30th anniversary in the form of Super Mario Maker. As far as level creation tools go, Super Mario Maker is a great level creation tool that has seen over six million levels created since its launch last year. Needless to say, the game is a hit with Mario fans everywhere. However, there are still flaws it has to iron out.

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Metroid Review Rewind

Groundbreaking back then; still pretty good now.

To say the least, 1985 proved to be a very good year for Nintendo. They successfully launched the Nintendo Entertainment System in the U.S., introduced the Super Mario Brothers, and quickly won the love and devotion of many youngsters getting into console gaming for the first time. I wasn’t long before Nintendo became a name synonymous with high quality video game entertainment. And in 1986 (1987 in the U.S.), a game was created that would wow the crowd again and become a pillar of strength in the ever-growing catalogue of NES cartridges. That game, of course, is Metroid-- the first to introduce us to the bounty hunter Samus Aran. Breaking away from the simpler arcade elements found in most games of its day, Metroid went on to be a truly innovative title with a long-standing presence still felt throughout the gaming industry today.

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Mutant Mudds Super Challenge Review

If this was actually an old school game, Renegade Kid would’ve needed more than one byte for my death counter :(

257 - that’s the number of deaths I incurred on my voyage to 100% completion of Renegade Kid’s latest title and follow-up to 2012’s cult classic, Mutant Mudds. If you were wondering if it was indeed a “Super Challenge”, rest assured, it is. That being said, the original Mutant Mudds wasn’t exactly the easiest of games either. Certainly not the hardest, but a great old school challenge nonetheless. Mutant Mudds Super Challenge carries on the concepts of the original but brings 40 new, masterfully crafted levels that remove nearly all margin of error that the original game afforded.

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Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright Review

For Hoshido!

After three long years, Fire Emblem returns to the 3DS in the form of not one, not two, but three different versions. While the idea of “splitting” the game of Fire Emblem Fates into two retail releases (Birthright and Conquest) and a third downloadable title (Revelations) could be seen as a lazy cash grab from detractors, the execution is anything but. Each game packs in as much content as the 2013 Fire Emblem: Awakening, but gives players a choice in their playstyle preference. Birthright allows would-be tacticians to grind out levels in random battles, while the more challenging Conquest takes its cues from the older Fire Emblem games. This review is based on Birthright.

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Pokemon Silver/Gold/Crystal Review Rewind

It’s funny that the next game in the Pokémon series chose Gold for one of its version colors because sixteen years later and this is still what I consider to be the gold standard for sequels. In a world where video game sequels are usually expected to improve upon the original, this is actually extraordinarily high praise. Yet despite offering just more of the same, I cannot think of any title which delivered absolutely everything I wanted in a sequel as well as these games.

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Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow Review Rewind

I still remember when I first heard of Pokémon. My friends would show off their cards at school and once I started collecting my own, I needed more of them. I had no clue how to play the card game, yet I loved the designs to these creatures. I would hear of how much fun the video games were as well and I knew I had to try them. And once I got my first Gameboy, despite hating the idea of playing a game by navigating menus, I was hooked for life. Twenty years later, I’m still hooked to a formula that feels just as fun and addicting as it did so long ago.

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Final Fantasy IX Review Rewind

The greatest JRPG of all time?

In today's daily ephemera of new releases and dazzling technologies and breakthroughs, it's easy to forget about the Golden Age of the PSONE -- or, as we knew it at the time, the PlayStation. This is especially true of the JRPG's of the system, which today still have no parallel. While many consider the SNES as the glory days of the JRPG, to me, that has always been just a prologue to what we saw on the PlayStation. It is true that many of us cut our teeth on Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger, but the explosion of the genre catalyzed by Final Fantasy VII is a whole different matter. Not only were we treated to Square's trilogy of FF VII, VIII, and IX, but we also had Xenogears, Grandia, Wild Arms, Chrono Cross, Suikoden, among others. This was when the JRPG truly matured into an art form, and while we have had great games since, the depth and variety of them has never eclipsed what we saw on the PSONE. 

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