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The Healing Power of Video Games

Or: How Diablo 3 helped me fight some of my personal demons.

Recently, I came out of “review retirement” to give a glowing report of the PlayStation 4 version of Diablo 3. In that review I talked about how the game really pulled me in this second time around and wouldn’t let go. It’s a fantastic console port and I have no qualms about double dipping on it. If anything, I got more enjoyment out of Diablo 3 on PS4 than I did on the PC, but a lot of that had to do with it being the right game at the right time. While the review platform wasn’t the appropriate place for it, I need to explain just why the act of obliterating hordes of demonic foes for a hundred hours was so cathartic for me. In light of the recent gaming culture landscape I think it’s important to remember how great video games can be, and in rare circumstances even healing.

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Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Ultimate Evil Edition Review

Loot lust: the 8th deadly sin.

When Diablo 3 came out for the PC in 2011, I don’t think I really understood what it was. Don’t get me wrong: I loved it. It was the first game I awarded five stars to at PixlBit and it went on to become my game of the year. With all of that said, I treated it like every other one of my games: I played it, enjoyed it, and moved on to the next thing. It wasn’t until I plunged back in with the PlayStation 4 “Ultimate Evil” edition that I finally let Diablo get its claws into me, and now I’m trapped.

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Mega Man Review Rewind

Rise of the machines.

The original Mega Man was the perfect NES action game: powerups, platforming, shooting, and controller-tossing difficulty merged with ‘80s story conventions: the convergence of man and machine, greed, and technology gone rogue. I can only imagine what people were thinking when they picked it up in 1987 and saw a silly middle-aged fellow stuck in an uncomfortable pose with his pistol on the box cover; I’ll bet they wouldn’t be thinking that in a few decades there would be people dressed up as Mega Man along the streets of Hollywood, making a quick buck posing with tourists. It all started with a great game that is still great today.

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Nerds Without Pants Episode 58: Free to Play

You can listen for free, but if you want to throw 99 cents our way we'll take it...

Well hello, there! Unfortunately it’s a two man band again this time, as Patrick was out for work reasons. Angelo and Julian hold down the fort by talking for FAR TOO LONG about mobile games, free to play philosophy, and Christmas shopping.

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Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Review

He is the snake to my mongoose. Or the mongoose to my snake. Either way, it’s bad. I don’t know animals.

I could write a perfectly standard review of Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. I could go point by point and explain how this is a third person action game with heavy emphasis on stealth and melee combat in the vein of Batman: Arkham Asylum/City. I could talk about the great graphics and the satisfying fighting mechanics, and how some of the stiff animation and problems with context-sensitive button prompts are the reason why it doesn’t get five stars. I could do all of that and you would have a good idea of what Shadow of Mordor is, but you wouldn’t understand what makes it new and special. So I have a different idea.

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"Keep"ing the Identity of Dragon Age Intact

BioWare has a nifty way of continuing your adventure, but does it work?

The Dragon Age series has something of an identity crisis, due in large part to its disjointed development history. Even though Dragon Age: Origins came out a couple of years after the first Mass Effect, it was actually announced way back in 2004 as a PC exclusive. The roots of Origins could be found in BioWare’s classic Baldur’s Gate series, and the design sensibilities of the game were far removed from the company’s more recent action/RPGs like Jade Empire and Mass Effect. Dragon Age 2 was clearly very influenced by the success of Mass Effect 2, and the input of now BioWare parent company EA was easy to see. While Dragon Age 2 alienated some fans of Origins it also created a new set of people invested in the world of Thedas. Now we have a third entry in the series that has the difficult task of keeping old players invested while trying once again to do a “soft reboot” of the franchise. How does BioWare hope to craft a new adventure but still make players feel like they made their mark on the world? Enter the Dragon Age Keep.

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Resident Evil Revelations 2 Hands On Preview

Featuring an interview with Capcom’s Mike Lunn.

I really enjoyed Resident Evil Revelations on the Nintendo 3DS. It carried over the tight shooter gameplay from Resident Evil 4 and brought back the scares that seemed to have been forgotten about in the main-line series. Revelations 2 plans on continuing that tradition.

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Azure Striker Gunvolt Review

Full disclosure, there are no electricity puns within this game review.

I would call Azure Striker Gunvolt two things; one would be the perfect replacement for a lack of a new Mega Man X/Zero title, and the other being a very meaty 3DS eShop release with high production values. With easy to understand gameplay, a fantastic graphical style and a slew of abilities and optional gear to collect, Azure Striker Gunvolt is a great call back to the 16-bit era of action games and an all around great game despite some design flaws. It even comes with the free game as well!

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LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Hands On Preview

Now with more Adam West!

I didn’t really expect what I got when I started playing Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. To my understanding, this newest entry was going to focus on Batman, and the rest of the Justice League as they tackle some of the more cosmic threats on the DC universe. While that still stands true, parts of the game – like what I played at the New York Comic Con – are very unique and full of fan service.

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Valiant Hearts: The Great War Review

Puzzles spiked with emotions.

Valiant Hearts is about one of the more horrendous moments in 20th century history, a moment seldom portrayed in movies, TV, games, or other media -- probably because it is not pleasant to relive.  While World War II can be fun, despite its carnage, in pretending to do battle against a true, villainous evil – the first World War lacks such black and white delineations, and for lack of a better word, was simply insane. 

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