The Game Guy

 

SniperElite3coverI picked up “Sniper Elite 3” as a review assignment without knowing much about the series. I knew it started as an original Xbox title and has since grown to a third installment on next-gen platforms. Based on the generic name and appearance, I assumed I was in for a typical WWII-era shoot ‘em up. My eyebrows quickly raised after my first pull of the trigger.

The setting is a new spin on the all too familiar era of WWII. The game is set in Northern Africa, which creates the opportunity for lush foliage and waterways. But when you boil it down to the basics, it’s still just nonstop Nazi killing. There isn’t a semblance of a story. The sniper is targeting bad guys in an attempt to dismantle the German forces. It’s basically every WWII story ever told.

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2K Games and Gearbox Software announced “Battleborn” today, an upcoming first-person shooter for Xbox One, PS4 and PC. The game is being solely developed by Gearbox Software, the team best known for their work on the “Borderlands” series.

Set in the distant future, the game looks to combine genres similarly to how “Borderlands” combined the first-person shooter and loot-heavy gameplay. “Battleborn” is being billed as a “hero-shooter.”

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ValiantHeartsCoverThere’s a constant stream of ultra-violent video games that explore war. Most dramatize gunplay like the “Call of Duty” series, but rare finds like “Spec Ops: The Line” delve into the psychological toll of the battlefield. Similar to the latter, “Valiant Hearts: The Great War” illustrates the impact that war has on family bonds.

“Valiant Hearts” is set in World War I-era Europe. The story tells the tale of four people whose paths cross, drift apart, and cross again throughout the course of the war. Karl is a German farmer living in France. He’s pulled from his home against his will in order to fight alongside the German Army.  Following these events, Karl’s father-in-law Emile chooses to fight for his native land of France. Freddie is a physically imposing American fighting for the U.S. while fueled by vengeance. Rounding out the cast is Anna, a medic who finds herself wherever medics are needed, which during wartime is everywhere.

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I first laid eyes on Hyperkin’s Retron 5 at E3 2013. This device claimed to be five retro consoles in one: a Famicom, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis and Game Boy Advance (Game Boy Color games work, too). The dream device was packaged in a little black box with four top-loading slots for cartridges, plus additional slots for original controllers. It was love at first sight.

The Retron 5 was originally slated to release in the summer of 2013, but faced numerous delays. The console is finally available to the public a full year after that E3 encounter. I was able to track one down at a local game shop in my area for $140 (prices will vary based on the retail store). Here are my impressions of this all-in-one retro gaming solution.

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SuperSmashBrosLogoFor the past week I have had people begging, pleading and politely asking for a preview of “Super Smash Bros.” for the Wii U. To those people, I say that I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I played it at E3 2014. I played a couple of four-player matches. This is also the bad news. I only played a couple of four-player matches.

A game like “Super Smash Bros.” demands time; time to analyze characters, maps, items, moves, spacing and every other form of minutia that is deeply entrenched in this rich brawler. This goes for both camps of fans who adore the series: those who enjoy it as a party brawler among friends, and those who dissect the fine details for competitive purposes. Everyone is after the same information, and of that information I only have a small bit.

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Sunset Overdrive cover“Sunset Overdrive,” the upcoming title from Insomniac Games, was one of the larger talking points of E3 2014. Nintendo had “Super Smash Bros,” Sony had “The Order: 1886” and Microsoft’s gem was “Sunset Overdrive.” Coming from a well known and respected development team, expectations are high for this open-world playground. While sliding, gliding and taking out mindless zombies looks like a blast, I worry that it will grow stale after a couple hours.

 

The year is 2027 in the fictional metropolis of Sunset City. The FizzCo Corporation is on the brink of unveiling a new energy drink called Overcharge Delirium XT. The powerful company has been able to skip the FDA approval process for the beverage thanks to its hefty bankroll.

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The wide world of “Forza” racing is going open world again in the follow-up to 2012’s “Forza Horizon.” Developed by Playground Games and Turn 10 Studio, the minds behind the “Forza Motorsport” series, are ushering in a new driving experience for the Xbox One and Xbox 360.


“Forza Horizon 2” looks to bridge the gap between racing game and MMO. While the game isn’t quite an MMO, it does borrow gameplay from the popular genre. For starters, the game rewards exploration. It’s an open-world game, meaning you can drive wherever you want. You don’t even need to stick to roads. If you want to go careening through someone’s vineyard on a sunny day, you can do that. The world is there for you to explore.

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“Mortal Kombat” is one of the most consistent mainstays in all of video games. It’s seen a release on every generation of home console, and was the highlight of any arcade before home consoles were the best way to play. “Mortal Kombat X” continues this tradition for the new generation on the Xbox One and PS4.

 

“MK X” takes place 25 years after the events of “MK 9.” Most of the character roster remains a mystery, but the only current returning characters are Sub-Zero and Scorpion. The rest of the cast consists of completely new characters.

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