Zelda: Skyward Sword

I also really liked how the story was the ultimate prequel to the series. There was no Ganon, Zelda isn’t a princess, and there is no Kingdom of Hyrule yet. The story was fresh and the main villain for most of the story is the demon Ghirahim who wishes to revive his dark lord. He was also the most memorable boss of the game for me as when you first fight him, he can catch your sword (not in a cut-scene either) and toss it on the other side of the room.

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War of the Roses

Swinging a weapon though, can be a slightly awkward affair. You press the mouse button to swing and then swipe your mouse to swing your weapon in that direction. It works well enough when you get used to it, and these combat mechanics are touched on in the tutorial. That said, I think that this could have been handled in interesting fashion with say, a second analog stick on a game controller as well.

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NES Remix 1 and 2

The remix part comes in with 60 plus special challenges that completely change the familiar levels and games around. Playing Donkey Kong with Link (who can’t jump) or plowing through lights-out Excitebike are just two of the awesome tweaks that make this the mode worthy of the purchase. Some of the challenges are downright brutal. For example, imagine playing Balloon Fight (aka C-List Joust) while the screen continually shrinks. The remix levels are hands down the hardest to complete, and they will certainly test your 8-bit mettle.

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Elven Legacy

One returning feature I am not particularly a fan of is the time-based gold/silver/bronze system, where you have a certain number of turns to meet your objective, and it seems like gold in several of these is virtually impossible. When you try to rush to complete objectives, you tend to lose more units and overlook things you might have found if you took the time to scour the map a bit, which is a shame. Still, the rewards for gold completion are usually quite nice – solid gold earning, usually a free troop and it unlocks a parallel mission that does not really affect the outcome, but is interesting all the same.

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Kid Icarus: Uprising

The non-flight sections are almost like Zelda meets Metroid Prime. Pit can travel around dungeons and castles with plenty of secrets. At the same time defeating enemies and bosses with different strategies and weak-points. The online-multiplayer features two modes with a versus mode and battle royale though while they are fun the better part of the game is the story mode.

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Dungeons

Do you know what one of my favorite feelings in all of gaming is? Sure, there are a handful of correct answers here – like an emotionally satisfying story, finding an Easter egg, beating a friend in multiplayer and becoming lost in a graphically amazing moment are all among them. However, I really, really love stumbling onto a great game that I had low to moderate expectations for. Dungeons unfortunately is not one of those feeling-inducing games.

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The Wolf Among Us

This is a story driven game that uses its surroundings and language to give the gamer a true feel for each character they encounter. While episode one is a little on the short side, it’s still long enough to introduce several key characters, and even re-writes one well known childhood story. That’s not a bad thing either. The story will give you many choices, and will remember each answer you give. Characters will take note of your responses, and their future interactions will reflect your previous approach to the game.

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Rage

In each city there will be a shop of sorts where you can purchase upgrades and ammunition. All of the strange items you may find along your way can be sold at these shops. Be careful what you sell though, as some of these items can be used to make helpful items. While shoes can’t be used for anything other than cash, there are plenty of other things that can be used to make useful items. A bunch of rags can be used along with some antiseptic for a nice little health boost, and those are always handy.

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Dark Souls 2

One major tweak that might infuriate gamers is the new health bar reduction. When you die, a small portion of your health bar is permanently removed. The only way to restore it is with a very rare item called an effigy; these also essentially replace humanity from the first game. This new twist on the formula made me a lot more cautious at first, but eventually I just learned to function with half a health bar at all times.

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Mega Man 9

Here’s the problem though. Mega Man 9 is hard, and any fan of the series should expect that. However, Capcom has taken that mentality and multiplied it, creating some absolutely absurd level designs that even die-hard masochists will frown upon. While past Mega Man games relied on memorization and precision, Mega Man 9 requires a higher level of both. You can almost hear the level designers laughing at how devilishly difficult certain segments are.

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Batman: Arkham City

While the premise and setting are very effective, the actual plot has some significant problems. The most immediate concern is that the game’s writers seem to have forgotten to include a beginning. The central conceit of the game, that Gotham would rededicate an entire district for a prison, run by known madman Hugo Strange, is pretty outlandish, even for a comic book property, and this is only made worse by the total lack of explanation.

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Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360)

These opening scenes set the tone for the game. The car arriving represents the onward thrust of modernity into a west that, in 1911, was still very wild. The land of Red Dead Redemption is one of liars, thieves and murderers. But it is not a soulless world, and that is something that lends the game a stark beauty. Amidst the gorgeous yet savage setting, there are people with good hearts who need saving but who also, frequently, offer help to Marston.

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World of Tanks

If you love blowing up tanks with other tanks, you couldn’t ask for a better game. While the content is a little dumbed down from the PC version, you still can choose between multiple vehicles from American, German, and British stables. Upgrading said vehicles can become a chunky grind. Even if you are willing to throw down real cash for a new ride, you still have to play multiple matches with each vehicle to move to the next tier.

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Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

Jedi Academy captures the excitement of lightsaber combat perfectly and not to far into the game allows the player to select between single, dual or a staff lightsaber. The problem with Jedi Outcast was the amount of tedious levels you had to play before you got your lightsaber, in this game you have it from the start and can customize it to your liking. I tend to favor dual lightsabers in green and purple, I have no idea why. After completing the single player I was actually surprised when I logged into multiplayer to find servers still running and being played online.

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