The Game Guy

FC4What’s it like to be a stranger in a strange land; to be in a place where both culture and nature are working toward your demise? The “Far Cry” series has always attempted to shed light on this question. It’s one of the rare series that is able to take an earthly environment and make it seem otherworldly.

Ajay is a young American who travels to fulfill his mother’s final wish. She wished for her ashes to be laid to rest in her home country of Kyrat, a fictional mountain country in the Himalayas. What begins as a routine trip to a foreign land quickly spirals out of control, and Ajay finds himself on the front lines of a brutal civil war. It’s the rebels versus Pagan Min, a ruthless dictator who keeps the poor oppressed and kills anyone who opposes him.

Upon arriving in Kyrat, Ajay learns of a bond between himself and Min. Min and Ajay’s mother have a history; one that Ajay will learn more of as the story in Kyrat unfolds.

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The following review has been updated as of 11/21/14 to include a review of online features in "Super Smash Bros." for Wii U. Online features went live at 12:00 a.m. on 11/21/2014.


Mario jumps on turtles. Donkey Kong collects bananas and plays bongos. Samus hunts space pirates, and Link is a sword-swinging adventurer. What would happen if you threw this ragtag group into a battle arena along with the rest of Nintendo’s deep bench of characters? The result is the “Super Smash Bros.” series; one of the company’s most successful and beloved franchises.

It has been almost seven years since the release of “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” for the Wii. The new “Super Smash Bros.” for Wii U has some serious hype to live up to, and it’s never easy for a game like this one to please its broad audience. It has to wear many different hats. A “Smash Bros.” title has to please the competitive crowd, while being a fun party game for friends. It also has to attract newcomers to the series. There are few games that can pull off this tall task, but “Super Smash Bros.” for Wii U just might be up for the challenge.

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LBPcoverWhat is the defining characteristic of the “LittleBigPlanet” series? Most would say it’s the creativity that the game unlocks, or the ability to let imagination run free. While that’s not wrong, I would argue in favor of its charm. “LittleBigPlanet” has always had an intoxicating charm to its stitchwork worlds and characters that keep an everpresent smile plastered on my face.


The fourth game in the series, “LittleBigPlanet 3,” is no exception. New developers to the series xDEV and Sumo Digital have kept that charm intact while adding some new wrinkles to the story and gameplay. The series’ structure of running, jumping and typical tomfoolery is all there. While I still believe the Vita’s “LittleBigPlanet” is still the best game in the series, “LittleBigPlanet 3” is a close runner up.

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The following review has been updated to include impressions of “Halo: The Master Chief Collection’s” online matchmaking offerings. Find the update at the end of the review.



What comes to mind when you think of “Halo”? It probably depends on which “Halo” game you’re considering. Each core game of the series ruled its own era, and influenced the entire video game medium in different ways.


“Halo: Combat Evolved” proved that it was possible to bring a high level competitive shooter to consoles in a time ruled by PCs. “Halo 2” defined Microsoft’s Xbox Live service as one of the premier gaming services available. “Halo 3” added to that groundwork and helped define the Xbox 360 era.


It’s hard to find another series that was or is as culturally significant as “Halo.” To celebrate its long list of achievements, Microsoft and 343 Industries are releasing an unprecedented compilation of all four games featuring the legendary protagonist, Master Chief, on the Xbox One. Since this is new hardware handling old games, each game received its own facelift for the new generation.

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It happens every year at this time. In a span of three months that make up the holiday season, the video game industry has its biggest and busiest time of year. Publishers try to cram their heavy hitters into release dates between October and December. Unless you have an endless supply of cash lying around, you have to make the tough decision of what games deserve your money.

This year seems like a landmark holiday season with releases with huge titles like “Super Smash Bros.” for Wii U, and “Sunset Overdrive” and “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” for the Xbox One. But it’s easy to forget just how packed every fourth quarter can be. I looked back to 2010 and each year in between to see what major releases hit shelves between October and December. Which year took the biggest toll on your wallet?

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Evolvecover2K’s and Turtle Rock’s “Evolve” Big Alpha arrived last week giving the public its first hands-on look at the team’s upcoming big idea. The arena-style game pits four hunters against one player-controlled monster. The gameplay is basically a boss fight for four players, and a game of cat and mouse as the monster.


Since this is just an alpha that contains early gameplay, everything experienced should be taken with a big grain of salt. Things will be changed and improved. Weapons and classes will be balanced. A lot will happen between now and the game’s February release date. Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let’s dissect all the action from the “Evolve” alpha.

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The Evil Within boxartThe final release of “The Evil Within” completes the roller coaster ride I’ve had with the title. In a twist more shocking than anything the story could’ve provided, the ride ended on a high peak rather than the expected ghastly drop. My expectation couldn’t have been lower for this game following a PAX East demo that was, without exaggeration, the worst live demo that I have ever witnessed. Everything about “The Evil Within” seemed like it took everything good about modern game world building, threw it out the window and instead replicated a game from the early 2000’s.

Thankfully, “The Evil Within” stands as a chief example that previews and demos are not indicative of the final product. It didn’t have to do much to exceed my expectations, but I wasn’t prepared for “The Evil Within” to be what “Resident Evil” should have been for the past six years. “The Evil Within” is the second coming of “Resident Evil 4.”

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SDReview note: I’m not going to get into the story, mechanics and gameplay in this review. For that information, consult my original review of “Sleeping Dogs,” which can be found here. The review of the “Definitive Edition” will observe the game as a bigger picture.

“Sleeping Dogs” was a sleeper hit of 2012 that took open-world, “Grand Theft Auto”-style gameplay to the streets of Hong Kong. The game borrowed driving and exploration from the popular Rockstar franchise, but free flowing combat and a rich RPG leveling system made it stand out on its own.

Now it receives the “Definitive Edition” treatment like so many other titles have in 2014. This new version contains a few new things to collect and see around Hong Kong, and has updated graphics for the PS4 and Xbox One. But the burning question that looms over any remake also applies to this new “Sleeping Dogs” package. Is it worth buying again?

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