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Rate the last game you played

ReturnofMCH

One Who Rebels Against Authority
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Final Fantasy I PSP
7.5/10
still a great game after all these years, but the mechanics of the NES are starting to show their age, and it's a remake of a remake of a remake all within 5 years of each other. (origins collection in 2003, dawn of souls in 2004, and psp in 2007)

as for the game I'm playing right now...

The legend of zelda: twillight princess
8.8/10 9.4/10
I never got why people thought it didn't live up to the hype. skyward sword didn't live up to it's hype, but TP did imo.
 

Reila Nimu

Take me away from here...
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Bravely Default. 8/5

Could be better if they toned down the lame anime tropes that kinda hurt the story of the game. I really don't mind the repetitiveness of chapters 5~8, on the other hand, but that's thanks to the game's battle system being ridiculous fun. Also, best thing about this game? The music. Seriously.

Shame Bravely Second seems to be nowhere near as good as Default.
 

Like_Fahrenheit

You are beautiful to me, exile
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I finally played Bioshock. 9/10

I was expecting this game to have more horror, but it had a nice balance of terror and action. The story was pretty good, and I loved how the world was built through the interviews and monologues strewn throughout Rapture. I heard there was a twist, and I was anxious to know. I liked it, it was simple and wasn't earth-shattering. It fit nicely into the story. The gameplay seemed slightly repetitive, but the story, level design, and plasmid/weapon choices kept it interesting. Crossbows, I thought, would do less damage than the pistol, but it took splicers out with 2 hits (or 1 to the head). So I used it mostly in the last levels.

Big Daddies. Definitely the toughest opponents in the game. It took me so long to realize they don't attack you on sight, it was such a relief. Killing them took most of my first aid kits. But they were really fun to fight, albeit terrified when I heard their moans. I rescued all the Little Sisters so I got the good ending.
 

MachDragonX

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Resident Evil Zero HD (Xbox One) – 6/10

I could write an essay on the problems I had with this game, but I'll try to keep this review relatively short. If I had to describe Resident Evil Zero in just a handful of words to a person who never played it before, I'd call it "clunky," "tedious," and "a missed opportunity."

You would think that a prequel to Resident Evil (REmake) would focus on the ordeal of S.T.A.R.S Bravo Team in the Spencer Mansion prior to the arrival of Alpha Team, but nope! Bravo Team is barely in Zero. Instead the entire game focuses on Rebecca Chambers and an escaped convict named Billy Coen trying to navigate their way through Umbrella's Research and Training Facilities. You hear from Bravo Team's captain – Enrico – a few times throughout the game, both in person and via walkie talkie dialogue with Rebecca, but aside from him none of the Bravo Team members from Resident Evil (Richard, Forest, Kenneth) are featured whatsoever.

What the game does explain is how and under what circumstances the T-Virus leaked in the mansion, but did this really need explaining? To me it was never really important how it happened, just that it did. But even this was made into a more convoluted story element than it needed to be, with the "leak" apparently being a purposeful act carried out in order to take revenge on Umbrella for an assassination attempt that occurred 10 years prior to the events of the game.

Gameplay-wise, Zero also failed to deliver. You control Billy and Rebecca at once, but since only one character can be your "avatar" at any given time, the game's A.I. controls the other character. You can freely switch between the two characters, allowing you to split them up to utilize their unique strengths and weaknesses for certain situations. While this sounds fine, it isn't implemented well at all. You need to keep both characters alive at all times and manage both their inventories simultaneously, all while attempting to navigate the game's cramped environments. Billy and Rebecca have only six item slots each, and in this game the larger items and weapons take up two slots of each character's inventory, making item management a chore. Instead of using item boxes, the game allows you to drop items that you want to discard from your inventory, except that unlike the "discard" option from later Resident Evil games, Zero allows you to pick up those discarded items later on from wherever you left them. But this isn't as good of a feature as you would think, since it requires that you backtrack to very specific spots on every map rather than to just few item boxes in static locations.

There are a number of other elements that bothered me, but rather than discuss them in detail I'll just briefly list them: The in-game CGI cut scenes were not in HD; instead they were taken straight from the Gamecube version without touching them up at all. There were too many enemies with one-hit kill moves. The recurring character's voices weren't consistent with REmake aside from Rebecca. And while this isn't a flaw, I was hoping Capcom would program defensive items into this port, but they didn't.

As for positives, the game features a number of fantastic environments that rank among my favorites in the series. The Umbrella Research Center in particular is one of my absolute favorites, consisting of a very creepy and well designed labyrinth-like facility full of intricate item quests and good puzzles. There is a lot of old-school Resident Evil style goodness when it comes to the game environments and tasks that you have to complete, which, given the direction the more recent games have taken, earns Zero high marks in my opinion. The HD port also adds Wesker Mode – an amusing and fun way to play the campaign that has Wesker taking the place of Billy.

Edit: After playing through this game a few more times, I'm lowering my score to 6/10. I think 7/10 is too generous.

IMV this is the worst game in the series (yes, even worse than RE6). Despite the positive aspects I pointed out above, it just wasn't fun to play at all.
 
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Like_Fahrenheit

You are beautiful to me, exile
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BioShock 2 - 9.5/10

Wow, what a game. I was curious what the plot would be considering the end of the first game, and I was pleasantly surprised. The story, I think, is better than the first one. The horror aspect didn't seem as prevalent as the first one imo. There were certainly tense and creepy moments and pretty disturbing imagery (cribs being inches away from Sofia Lamb's face on television screens for example), however.

The combat was less repetitive with the addition of new plasmids, enemies, weapons, and a better hacking mechanic. And the levels seemed bigger, more maze-like. Still fun to explore. 8 years after the first game, Rapture definitely shows the signs of it with more water and rotting scenery.

Big Sisters. And I thought Big Daddies were bad. Unlike BDs, Sisters will attack on sight and their speed and use of plasmids makes for a much more formidable foe.

I didn't mention this in my previous post, but the voice acting is top-notch. It's a big reason why I pick up every tape recording.

I noticed from Steam that I finished this game in 13 hours, and 21 in the first game. I don't know if that's because there were fewer levels, shorter levels, shorter story, whatever. But I don't care. I've had a lot of fun with these two games. Imo, because of the ending I think the series could end here and I wouldn't mind. So now I'm interested and excited to see what Infinite has in store.
 

pokeslob

Χριστιανός
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Yakuza 5 - 10/10
for a game that was released in 2012, it's still pretty damn perfect. 5 stories the intertwine perfectly, with brutal combat, excellent narrative, and stunning visuals.

Dragon Quest Builders - 8/10
Barely scratched the surface, only 3 hours in, but the depth to city building and the gigantic world are hooking me in. The combat isn't perfect, but it gets the job done.

Pokemon Soul Silver - 9/10
On a pokemon forum, little explanation is needed ;)
 

Like_Fahrenheit

You are beautiful to me, exile
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Half-Life - 9/10

So this wasn't as much a horror game as it was sci-fi action. I have no problem with that as the game set up the tone perfectly in the beginning. For a debut game by a novel developer in '98, this game impressed me. I played on easy and every enemy was still tough to beat. I don't think I'd be writing this if I played on medium or hard. Some great mystery too: who was that guy in the suit (I spoiled myself a bit by learning he's called the "G-Man"), and who his "employers" are - the government, perhaps? And why does the gov't want Xen? At first I chose to refuse the G-Man. Shouldn't have done that.

My biggest gripe with the game was the physics for moving boxes. It was really annoying. Also I had to crouch in conjunction with jumping in order to get to certain heights.

Some great design for the levels. Not two places looked alike and they all felt like they served a purpose, there weren't areas that felt like Valve got lazy with.
 

DarkLordLeafrider

Dark Lord
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Civilization 5 (With Expansions)
9/10
Positive:
+Combat is better and more strategic then Civ3 and 4
+Religion has more in depth and is able to give the civilizations some more benefits that the unique abilities and social abilities don't cover/give
+Has access to Steam Workshop
+Unique Abilities make Civ's a bit more unique rather then relying on two Leader Traits

Mixed:
+/-City States are nice but takes up space that I rather have for my empire
+/-Espionage is better then Civ4 but agents are automatically created and no way to safely train them without playing them on the defensive

Negative:
-AI is aggressive to spread their religion
-Civ's with UA's that rely around, involving, or having any special bonuses in regards City States are either out right crippled or won't have as much as a advantage when some people, like me, don't choose to have zero city states when playing

Criticism:
I only two real criticism that I have for Civ5 is that:
It heavily relied on adding new features in expansions that either should of been in the base game or would of been easily fit in one expansion.

Because Civ5 has access to Steam Workshop, the ability to create custom civ's with its own UU, UA, UB, UI, Color Scheme, symbol, and have it's own spy names, and custom religious symbols in game rather then being forced to figure out how to create just the UU, Leader name, and City names and seamed like it would be a perfect fit.
 

DJ iOmega

Itadakimasu!
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Borderlands: the Pre-Sequel! For PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox one, PC, Mac, Linux
8/10
- I mean, it's not the best one from its series but it certainly has potential. It still retains a lot of the series' hilarious dialog, action, quirks and... Claptrap! This game was a huge risk, especially when it was first released because it was something completely different from its predecessors, Borderlands and Borderlands 2. I honestly believe it could've been as huge as the first Borderlands if the developers of the game, 2K Australia, didn't go bankrupt. With 2 DLC Characters, 1 DLC story and 2 DLC arenas, I feel as though it still has plenty of room for more, right before the next installment is revealed.
Ups:
- Nice Combat
- Plenty of guns
- Still retains the same Borderlands feel.
- Well-balanced character abilities
- Easier ways to obtain rare equipment
-Hilarious dialog
- More dialog between playable characters and NPCs
- Claptrap
Downs:
- Too short.
- Some bugs and glitches.
- Not much DLC compared to its predecessors.
- Claptrap
 
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Cap'n Jack

I will burn my dread!
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The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D

I have a lot to say about this game, but for the sake of saving space, I'll put the less-important bits in a spoiler. The paragraph I've left un-spoilered is what I really want you to take away from this.

Finally beat this game for the first time. I bought it on release day because the reputation that Majora's Mask has built up over the past fifteen years is immense. It's touted by many to be the deepest, darkest, most emotionally-investing Zelda game there is, and I think I might just agree with that statement. You can take my word with a grain of salt, though, considering this is only the third Zelda game I've beaten, the others being Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, two games that I also love to death. If three Zelda games is not enough for you, then consider this a newbie's perspective on Majora's Mask.

I've never played the original on Nintendo 64, but what I've seen of it involved a lot of slogging through menus, standing around with nothing to do, and the usual sluggishness of a platform as old as that one. This 3DS remake adds a fair deal of features intended to stream-line the experience, which I believe it accomplishes. Couple these new features with the vastly superior visuals, and I'd tell you that this is the definitive version of the game.

One new feature is something called the Sheikah Stone, which gives you hints when you're stuck. I'm not sure if I would have ever completed the original 64 version of this game, because I admit, I had to consult the Sheikah Stone a few times, and by the time I finished the game, I still hadn't found one of the masks (the postman's cap) and I had a couple of side-quests that I couldn't figure out. That's probably my biggest complaint about this game; some of the solutions to the puzzles the game presents to you require a lot of critical thinking, which of course is a good thing, but sometimes the solutions are so obtuse that they get exponentially more frustrating and not fun until you find the solution, if you ever do. Ask me about the Skulltula houses if you want to read a rant about frustrating puzzles! (You have to punch the pots?!?!)

I mentioned side-quests, but believe it or not, that's actually the majority of the game. It's also the best part of the game, because as fun as the boss fights are, there are only four real "dungeons" in this game, and they were all pretty frustrating to me (that's where the Sheikah Stone comes in) and I hardly set foot in them after I completed them the first time. The best part of this game for me was following this cast of characters slowly coming to grips with the fact that the moon is going to crash into the planet and kill them all in three days.

And paragraph break here because I have a lot to say about that part of the game. This entire game consists of repeating the same 3-day cycle over and over again, watching the moon get closer and closer and the sky turn all sorts of sickly, unnatural colors, as the residents of Termina realize that they're about to die and there's nothing they can do about it. Jeezus! That's pretty dark for a Zelda game! Now I hope you see where this game gets its reputation from. The best part of this game was trying as best I could to help as many people as possible before the 3 days were over and I had to do it all over again. These are the strongest characters in any Zelda game I've played (yeah, all three of them); characters like the traveling circus troupe leader who misses his life back on the farm and drinks himself silly to dull the regret of trying to enter showbiz, or the singer who's lost her voice and had her seven children "egg-napped" (she's a fish), or the little girl whose father has turned into a zombie, or the other little girl who gets abducted by aliens and something traumatic done to her if you don't protect her in the middle of the night, or her older sister who's trying to keep their dairy business afloat despite her competitors trying to sabotage her through vandalism and other shady tactics that really got under my skin. Just about every character in the game, no matter how small or stationary, has a sort of arc as the 3 days go on. Seriously, I can't stress this enough; I was astounded by how many dialog options every character has, depending on when you speak to them, which objectives have been completed, what mask I was wearing, and so on. I was finding dialog options I had never seen before all the way until I beat the game yesterday! Watching everybody get more and more depressed as the 3 days go on, knowing how intricate and complex their characters had been plotted out by the developers to make them as convincing as possible, simultaneously disturbed me and encouraged me to try even harder to help them as much as I could. I made absolutely certain to work out a speed-run of sorts where I completed as many side-quests and helped as many people as possible before going to fight the final boss (call it a "kindness-run" or something). That should tell you how much this game got to me, emotionally.

I hesitate to call it a 10/10 because of the occasional frustrating puzzle, but it's easily a 9/10 and you'll probably see me rank it a 10/10 in due time.
 

leetic

¡Prepárate a morir!
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Codename Steam. Just started playing it, and it has an interesting turn-based combat system. I really liked the comic-influenced artstyle. And the concept is interesting to say the least. 8.5/10
 

Like_Fahrenheit

You are beautiful to me, exile
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Half-Life 2 (including Episode One and Episode Two) 9.8/10

Other than a few glitches and bugs, this game is flawless. It amazes me this came out in 2004; it certainly could be released today as a new title. There's more, better puzzles than the first, and a more compelling story. The combat is excellent, and the difficulty is more relative than the first, in my opinion. I was playing on easy and it felt easier than Half-Life did on easy. Moving boxes was a lot more manageable, which was my biggest problem with first game. This is easily one of the best sci-fi games and best FPS games ever made, and I now understand the demand for the third one.

Still great mystery around the G-Man, and I loved the few instances I met him. He's genuinely unsettling.
 

Scarlet Sky

Violet Detector
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Ratchet and Clank: 7.5/10

A game I had some ups and downs with. On one hand, the humor and dialogue are top notch. On the other, the gameplay has its good and bad moments. For one thing, I think Ratchet and Clank has some of the worst ice physics I've ever seen in a video game, which makes a couple of levels a real pain in the ass to complete. Combat doesn't feel particularly refined unfortunately, but I'll give that a pass since this was the first game. Certainly wasn't the worst combat I've experienced in a game, that's for sure. I think my biggest gripe though, is how long the game takes to complete and the fact that it kind of felt like I was dawdling on some planets rather than advancing the story. I don't mind long games so long as they can hold my interest the whole time. My interest kind of lapsed whenever I wasn't going to an important planet though.
That basically sums up my issue with the game. It kind of feels tedious at times. .w.; Otherwise, it can be fun. Not the worst game I've ever played, but not the best either. It was good enough to motivate me to play Going Commando though, which so far is a huge improvement.
 

DJ iOmega

Itadakimasu!
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3D Sonic the Hedgehog and 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Nintendo 3DS
9/10
- These classics are what I grew up with. SNES was my first console ever, but Sonic was my first favorite video game character ever. and now with a company like M2 publishing this game for Sega on the 3DS, the 3D feature really compliments the retro, graphical art that these games have. they also have some interesting features that can change the way you play. Both games have the option to choose between the Sega Mega Drive 1 and 2, both have the option to choose between the Japanese and International versions, They even have the option to choose a standard screen, or a TV screen like how we used to play the game on those old TVs from the 2000's.


They both also save states which you can use if you want to put the game down and save your progress (or if you're like me and save before entering a special stage in case you fail at collecting the Chaos Emeralds). The first 3D Sonic gives you the option to choose if you want to use Spin Dash or not. while it may seem like the easy way out, it can be useful, especially in areas where Sonic is required to pick up speed to roll, or the need to go uphill somewhere. In the second 3D Sonic, however, they have a mode called "Ring Keeper Mode", which is basically the same game, but if you get hit, instead of losing all your rings, you only lose half of the total you had. which makes it easier to survive. There are a few errors here and there, but I still think it's a great way to modernize old classics. Now all we can do is wait and hope that M2 releases Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles in the same game to make "3D Sonic 3 & Knuckles".

Ups:
- Same as the originals
- 3D features
- Save states
- Different modes and styles to choose from.

Downs:
- few bugs and graphical errors.
- No Debug mode
- Super Sonic bug still exists in 3D Sonic 2
 
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Zeb

what is your spaghetti policy here?
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Assassin's Creed Syndicate 8/10

A few years back I told myself I'd not buy another Assassin's Creed game. But I heard good things about Syndicate (both reviews and people I spoke to) so I figured I'd give it a chance after having the break from the series. And.. the game isn't bad at all. Loved the setting and most of the characters (Jacob is kinda annoying for a protag but whatever, Evie is cool). The zipline, skill points/levelling and more streamlined controls/movement (compared to past games in the series I played) are all big positives I enjoyed though. Also having the base as a constantly moving train is not only a neat idea it's also incredibly cool. There's a lot of bloat in the repetitive side tasks but the main missions are fine and I liked how the final assassinations in each sequence opened up and gave you various choices and options you could take, if you wanted.

Also way too many collectibles, the map is a god damn mess.

But still, really enjoyed it and I was expecting otherwise so can't complain at all about that!
 

Scarlet Sky

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Metroid Fusion 9/10

An enjoyable game for sure. The difficulty caught me offguard in some places, but it was a very rewarding experience imo. Metroid Fusion also has the distinct of being the first Metroid game I've ever cleared too. (The only other one I've played was Metroid II: Return of Samus, when I was a kid.) The soundtrack was very atmospheric and genuinely unsettling at times, going very well with the plot feeling like something out of a Sci-Fi Horror film. I think one the main reasons I can't give the game a perfect score is the relatively short length of the game. It's honestly not a game you'd spend much time on unless you're aiming for 100% completion, and even then I doubt it'd take that long. Nevertheless, a title I do not regret picking up at all. The game was definitely a much-needed break from all the RPGs I've been playing as of late. .-.;
 

MachDragonX

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Quantum Break (Xbox One) – 9/10

This was a much anticipated title for the Xbox One, and while it has some flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The time manipulation powers are super fun, the graphics are good, and the story was pretty good too, although it can be hard to follow and has some plot holes and unexplained bits.

This isn't simply a straight-up shooter – it actually has a lot of variety to its game play. There are some environmental puzzles scattered throughout the levels, a lot of items to find and documents to read, and optional prompts and decisions that add to the story. It's single player only, which I love, but this is one game where I actually would not have minded a multiplayer mode! That is something I rarely want; I'm pretty much a single player-only guy, except when it comes to a few franchises. And this actually ties into my biggest complaint about the game – I wish there was more of it.

I also don't think they went far enough in terms of action and combat. While there are some challenging fights scattered throughout the game, most of the time you are pretty overpowered in comparison to your enemies, and I actually think Jack Joyce (the main character) should have been facing off against entire platoons of soldiers rather than fighting small groups of them in isolated skirmishes throughout most of the game.

The time powers are pretty cool; they allow you to do things like dash to nearby cover almost instantaneously, create a temporary bullet-stopping shield, kill enemies with blasts that are reminiscent of the ki/energy blasts from Dragon Ball Z, slow down time, stop certain types of environmental obstacles, and more. While it seems like you would be too overpowered (and like I just said, to a large extent you are), the game includes certain kinds of enemies that make some of the combat scenarios relatively challenging, which is good – if that weren't the case the game would probably get boring pretty quickly despite all the cool things you can do.

The game is split up into acts – 5 acts in total – with each act containing a number of sub-acts. The campaign is about 8 to 10 hours long, but there is so much to do, read, and explore that I imagine the length can vary among individual players and playthroughs. The story is variable/malleable too, which is a rarity in a lot of games today. The actions you take can actually have significant consequences on the events that unfold, meaning no two playthroughs are necessarily alike, adding replay value to the game.

Quantum Break actually started out as one of Microsoft's attempts to meld multiple media formats together (in this case, live action TV and video games), and as a result the game features live action elements in between acts. I've heard mixed things from other people about the quality of these live action cut scenes, but I loved them. I thought they were really well done, although some of the effects looked wonky.

If you have an Xbox One or a gaming PC with the right specs, I definitely recommend giving this game a try.

Edit: Since writing this review, I have completed a playthrough of this game via my Twitch channel. You can find the replays of it on my YouTube channel. Clink on the link in my signature if you want to check it out.

Dead Space (Xbox 360) – 7.8/10

This seems like a game I should absolutely love given the genre, setting, and game play elements, but strangely I don't. If I had to describe Dead Space, I'd say it is kind of like a mixture between Resident Evil 4 and Halo – basically Resident Evil 4 in space. You play as Issac, a member of a rescue crew trying to save his girlfriend Nicole, and the members of the USS Ishimura, a mining ship that has been seemingly attacked and left adrift in space.

Issac is one of these protagonists that never talks. I don't have a problem with this trait in general (most player characters in Pokemon are the same way), but IMO it was a poor choice for this game. You know nothing about this guy except that he's trying to save his girlfriend, and thus it's kinda hard to care about him, which in turn hurt my motivation to continue playing. The game is also pretty linear, which again, isn't a feature I have a problem with in general, but the game lacks a lot of variety in terms of its environments and gameplay. Most areas look and feel pretty similar to one another and the actual missions you have to complete to progress the story forward are pretty similar and generic too – retrieve this item, get this generator online/offline, kill this enemy/these enemies, etc.

What I'm saying is that the game lacked variety and uniqueness. There wasn't much here that you couldn't find in similar franchises or games. And I also didn't find it scary, although that isn't a negative since I also don't find any of the Resident Evil games scary either, and Resident Evil is one of my absolute favorite franchises/series of games. Dead Space is more intense than anything – it tries to be scary in terms of its enemies and situations, but IMO fails.

That said, the game isn't bad by any means; it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Xbox One) – 7/10

Meh. It's CoD. It has a new coat of paint and some new toys to play with, but at its core this is the same basic game as most of the other entries in the series post-Call of Duty 3 – an interactive movie featuring gameplay sequences of "run-and-gun" style shooting.

It is nowhere near as polished as the first Modern Warfare game though.
 
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Cap'n Jack

I will burn my dread!
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Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES - 10/10

This is an updated re-release of Persona 3 which adds an extra "epilogue" sort of thing called "The Answer", and retroactively titles the main story "The Journey". I bought this game in December, and I finished The Journey two days ago. It very nearly became the first video game to bring tears to my eyes. It took me 156 total logged hours to get to this point, I haven't even touched The Answer yet, and I will gladly go through The Journey all over again in a New Game Plus soon enough. Have I sold you on this game yet? Let me explain.

[Editor's note from the future: there are only very minor spoilers below, except for the one link that I provide, but it's in a spoiler tag because it's a big wall of text that I don't want to shove in your face without your consent. Really, I want people who are unfamiliar with this game to read this because I want you to play it. This game means a lot to me. Thanks, I guess.]

Wikipedia describes this game as a turn-based RPG mixed with elements of a dating sim because that's the best they can come up with to describe how unique this game is. The game takes place in a fictional Japanese city called Iwatodai, over the course of one calendar year, almost every day of which is spent playing one-by-one (now 156 hours is making more sense, right?). Basically, the mechanics of this game are that by day, you are a Japanese high school student figuring out how to spend each day, and by night, you crawl around a huge dungeon battling enemies. It's so much more than that, though.

This game has a dedication to its own story that blows just about any other game out of the water. Just read this interview (the first question is a spoiler, so skip it): Persona 3 Official Design Works – Interview with the game's director, Katsura Hashino, and character designer Shigenori Soejima, and see how an interview about a video game, of all things, morphs into a conversation about life and death, to see for yourself just how much deep thought was put into the game's design, not just from a story perspective, but a mechanical one as well. To give some examples of how this game blends story-telling with game-play mechanics:

- You fight enemies called "Shadows" with something called a "Persona". Anybody who has read Carl Jung's work on psychology should instantly recognize those terms which he used, respectively, to refer to the uncomfortable feelings that we hide from other people, and the "mask" of sorts that we present to the outside world. The Personas (Personae? Personapeople? ... Whatever) take the form of actual figures of many real-world mythologies and religions. Many of the party members have figures of Greco-Roman mythology as their Personas/Personae/Personapeople, like Hermes, Cerberus, Athena, Nemesis, and so on, but there are over 150 of these things that the player can summon to cast spells, up to and including things like Satan, Vishnu, Lucifer (as opposed to Satan, I guess?), the Four Heralds, Metatron, and Messiah (the description of the latter states "He is a universal figure, appearing in myth around the world", denying any special mention to Jesus; Now That's What I Call Edgy). In using such important religious figures as your "summons", to use Final Fantasy terminology (and indeed Final Fantasy pretty much does the same thing), I think the game is making a sort of statement; that there is no difference between religion and myth, and that humans created these things for their own purposes, specifically, to protect them from their fears. When you look past the sheer brashness of a game that allows the player to summon Satan and stuff, that's actually not a fully cynical or misanthropist thing to say, and that's what allows Persona 3 to get away with something that less mature writers would put in a game (or death metal lyrics) for simple shock factor.

- Even the method of summoning one's Persona is something that people like to single out. If you haven't heard, word on the street is that these kids shoot themselves in the head!!! Yeah, that's pretty much it. Every member of your Shadow-fighting team (except Aigis, who's a robot, and Koromaru, who's a dog) uses a gun-shaped device called an "Evoker", by putting it to their head and pulling the trigger. Again, this is something that less mature artists would put in their work simply for shock value (the cover of Borderlands, anyone?), but Persona 3 again gets away with it because it holds a meaning; the story of the game is all about death, and I spent 156 hours with these characters coming to terms with the inevitability of death. In the opening cut-scene that starts the game, Yukari is seen struggling to practice using the Evoker because the simple euphemistic act of pretending to shoot herself is too uncomfortable. The player has not been introduced to the Evoker at this point, and so to the player, it appears like this girl is just trying to build up the nerve to kill herself with a pistol. Then, when the player and Yukari encounter the first enemy of the game (a Shadow), Yukari again puts the Evoker to her head, and again can't seal the deal. At this point, the protagonist picks up the Evoker, without any hesitation despite not being told that it's not a real gun, and puts it to his head and pulls the trigger, summoning their Persona for the first time. This establishes within the first hour or so that the protagonist has no fear of death, as the player should not. As the game goes on, you will see these characters shoot themselves in the head over and over and over and over and over and over again, which kinda dulls the impact of what it means symbolically, but the one-liners that the characters give before they pull the trigger do noticeably grow less scared and more confident as the game goes on, showing that the characters are growing more mature in their acceptance of death's inevitability. I spent 156 hours with this game and I never forgot what the Evoker is meant to symbolize.

- When you spend time with characters during the day, you level up something called a "Social Link", which gives you benefits in the dungeon-crawling part of the game. Doesn't that sound like a shallow video game approximation of a real relationship simply included as an excuse to level up a stat? If the writers hadn't given the Social Links so much time and effort and attention to detail, this could have been the case, but the Social Links are all about getting to know a character who's dealing with a problem; a young man with a terminal illness, an athlete whose determination to inspire his little cousin gets in the way of his health, an old couple who still can't stop reminding themselves of their dead son, and many more. You'd think the mechanical benefits of leveling up a Social Link would be the main reason why I chose to advance them, but because they take up so much of the most valuable resource in this game and real life - time - I abandoned some of the Social Link characters that I found annoying or rude... just like in real life! You might think that making some of the Social Link characters unlikable is a bad decision, and it is, but the thing is, because the characters are so well-written, opinions differ as to who is annoying and who is likable. If you ask me, I'll tell you that Kenji is a smug, egotistical prick who fails to notice how smug and egotistical he is, but others might tell you that he's a sweet romantic in a cynical world. Yeah maybe he would be if he would shut up for one second about his stupid high-school romance and-- my point is, these characters are written like real people. I really sympathized with Maiko in her over-the-top efforts to stop her parents from getting a divorce, but other players might have gotten tired of her whining and complained and left her in the dust. Those people are monsters, but hey, that's just my interpretation.

Even if Social Links are not to the player's liking, the main cast is a group of nine excellently-written characters who really feel like they're maturing as people over the course of the game. It's hard for me to pick a favorite, not because they're all perfect, but because none of them are perfect. Junpei has a bad habit of lashing out childishly if he feels upstaged, Yukari also lashes out similarly in an attempt to feel better about herself, Mitsuru would rather keep a secret than tell someone the unpleasant truth, Shinjiro comes across as rude and stand-offish, Aigis is a robot and so she's sometimes awkward and tactless (and a little creepy. Nobody else agrees? Just a little creepy? Okay...), and the list goes on. However, all of their flaws contrast their positive qualities, just like real people; I knew Junpei always had my back in a pinch, I knew Yukari's abrasive attitude came from a place of frustration and confusion, I knew Mitsuru just wanted the team to focus on what's most important and she would never mean us harm, I knew Shinjiro had a soft spot for doggies and cooking, and I knew Aigis would protect me until the end and beyond.

I've been trying to keep my thoughts as brief as I can manage, but man, I have so much to say about this game. I don't want to give away a single bit of the ending, but it damn nearly made me cry. In the past few days, I've found myself just sitting around, staring into space, unable to believe that the game is actually over because I spent 156 hours getting to know these characters that feel like friends to me now. (I might have to go through a New Game Plus just to get it out of my system and accept that I'm really done with it!) Unfortunately, my copy of the game stuttered and then just kinda gave up during the end credits, but that's what I get for buying a PlayStation 2 disc that was printed like eight years ago. I bought the game for about $15 on Amazon, brand-new, straight from the publisher, and if I knew how deeply this game was going to touch me with its story about death and making the most out of the limited time we all have here on Earth, I would have paid full retail price if I had the option. It would have been worth it, and even more. If I had to choose only one game to play for the rest of my life, Persona 3 FES would be it. Atlus deserves every cent and more, for taking so much time and effort to lovingly craft a game that goes above and beyond anything else I've ever played in its dedication to using the medium of the video game to tell a story with a meaning beyond the confines of my TV screen. The best $15 I've ever spent, the best 156 hours I've spent staring at a screen, and the best video game I've ever played.
 

MachDragonX

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Ryse: Son of Rome (Xbox One) – 8.5/10

A surprisingly good game, albeit a little too short. When this game first came out a lot of people viewed it as more of a tech demo designed to show off the Xbox One's graphical capabilities than anything, but that sells the game short. There's actually a lot of depth to the combat once you have to fight multiple opponents at the same time.

The story is solid, but the main issue this game suffers from is its controls – they aren't as fluid as they should be at certain times. Sometimes when I would hit the A button to block an incoming attack or the Y button to break an opponents defensive stance, sometimes Marius (the player character) wouldn't perform the action at all, even if I pressed the button well in advance and with accurate timing.

But control issues aside, this is a solid game that I had a lot of fun playing. Considering you can pick up copies of the game for as little as $20 on Amazon, I thoroughly recommend it.
 

Zeb

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Uncharted 4: A Thief's End: 9/10.

Fantastic game, absolutely loved it. The combat is so much better than previous Uncharted games, allowing for more stealth options rather than having to have shootouts with endless waves of enemies. It's fun to play, the rope/grapple is really fun to swing around especially in the middle of fights. More puzzles and exploring feels relaxing and less frenetic to let you absorb the areas. The story feels more personal and interesting, the characters all as good as ever (even the antagonists for a change). Loved the pirate background story that was going on as well. And the graphics and animations are absolutely staggering in quality.

It's probably the only Uncharted game I'll ever replay thinking about it, just because it does everything so damn well.

A good send off for the series, I loved it. Only reason I wouldn't rate it a 10 is because it's finished the series and I could have played it for another 15 hours to just enjoy the game and its characters more :p :(
 
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