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Xevious Review Rewind

A Game Changer

Every time I play Xevious on one of Namco’s "museum" compilations, I can’t help but reminisce about the time when I first discovered the game in 1992 on the Atari 7800 (a system which also familiarized me with other Namco classics outside of Pac-Man). Back then, our family couldn’t afford the Super NES or Sega Genesis. So, in a move of what I think was out of pity, a friend of ours gave us her 7800 with a huge bag full of games. While rummaging through the cartridges, I came across the little oddity known as Xevious. It was probably the first game I had heard of that started with an “X”, and the name intrigued me. I quickly fell in love with the unique enemy designs and mysterious land structures peppered throughout the game.

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Ridge Racer Revolution Review Rewind

Over the Highway

I’ve always enjoyed the early Ridge Racer series. I fondly remember playing the original game over a friend’s house, wishing that I had a PlayStation of my own to play it on. It was very accessible and didn’t take a tremendous effort to make it past the learning curve. And not much has changed here in Ridge Racer Revolution. On the surface, it plays much like its predecessor. It even starts off with a Galaga ‘88 mini-game similar to the Galaxian one in previous game. Some regard Revolution as “Ridge Racer 1.5” due its similarities to the original, which is somewhat understandable since this game went for full price upon its initial release. Even so, Ridge Racer Revolution received a few nice tweaks that made it a decent step up from its predecessor.

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Ridge Racer Review Rewind

Kicking the 32-bit generation into high gear.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again-- a new video game console is only as strong as its launch titles. Such was the case of the PlayStation when it was released stateside on September 9, 1995. As Sony’s first video game system to go toe-to-toe with Nintendo and Sega, the PlayStation came out swinging with Ridge Racer. Developed by Namco and ported from their arcade machine, the game was early proof that the PlayStation was capable of providing a convincing arcade-like experience at home in a way that simply couldn’t be done on the Super NES, Sega Genesis, or any other 16-bit console. Ridge Racer sent a clear message-- the 32-bit generation was going to be awesome and the PlayStation would lead the way.

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Dragon Ball Xenoverse Review

A promising new beginning.

If there is anything I’ve learned from being a DBZ game fan over the years, it’s that an anime fighter/simulation sequel is nearly always better than the original. They usually clean up the formula the second time, as in the case of 2002’s Dragonball Z Budokai, which was followed up by sequels with enhanced graphics and tightened gameplay. 2005’s Budokai Tenkaichi provided a blueprint for its sequels to later refine the gameplay and expand to one of the biggest and most diverse rosters in the series. If you ask me, it’s a safe bet Dragonball Xenoverse 2 will probably be an amazing game. Of course, that is not too helpful to us at the moment. Right now, we have Dragonball Xenoverse, which leaves me wishing they could’ve done it right the first time. 

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SoulCalibur II HD Online Review

A Tale of Swords and Souls, Retold.

I spent a lot of time playing SoulCalibur II on the GameCube during that era. It looked pretty, played well, and featured guest characters that were appealing – especially Link. SoulCalibur II HD Online pays a nice homage to its original port, and it stands up quite well. The fighting remains tight, and the game remains visually pleasing.  Unfortunately, the slim online offering makes this one a tough sell especially if you still own the original.

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Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z Hands On Preview

I sorta want Tenkaichi back...

I wanted to be impressed by this game. After more than a few disappointing outings in the genre, I was ready for a Dragon Ball Z fighting game on the level of 2007’s Budokai Tenkaichi 3. Unfortunately, aside from some nice visuals, Battle of Z seems to continue the recent tradition of bad fighting mechanics and gimmicks.

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Tales of Xillia Review

A Triumphant Tale, Indeed.

As a huge fan of the Tales series, I was obviously excited for Tales of Xillia, but I also came to the game with some skepticism. I was worried that some of the luster of the franchise was starting to wear off for me, as I didn’t get into last year’s Tales of Graces f as much as I thought I would. However, I was pleased to see that the series still has more than enough kick left in it. Tales of Xillia is one JRPG that shouldn’t be missed, despite some flaws.

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Tales of Xillia Preview

Five Reasons Why You Should Be Excited for Tales of Xillia.

Whether you began with Tales of Phantasia or got into the series with later entries like Tales of Symphonia you should be pleased to know that the latest to hit western shores, Tales of Xillia, has a lot to offer. Here are five reasons why you should be looking forward to the latest in this series:

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Backloggers Anonymous Enslaved Part 1

Ninja Theory sure has a thing for redheads don't they?

We're digging into another game from our backlog:  Ninja Theory's Enslaved. We start by getting Julian's take on backlogged games from 2012, then we talk about what kind of a game Enslaved is.

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Tales of Xillia Coming to Western Territories

Namco Bandai finally reveals U.S. And European Release.

Western Tales series fans have a lot to be happy about with this year's releases of Tales of the Abyss 3D and Tales of Graces f. Apparently, these releases were successful enough to warrant the release of the latest main series game, Tales of Xillia. 

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