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Talos Principle Review

Profoundly Puzzling by Marcus Stewart on Nov 17, 2023

The Talos Principle II often left me staring at my screen in awe. Sometimes, from sheer intimidation in the face of a seemingly formidable puzzle. Other times, from my incredulous pride after unraveling said problem. But most of all, the experience regularly gave me pause as I pondered a philosophical idea or argument that challenged my viewpoints on the nature of existence and humanity’s place in the cosmos. These moments spurred me to solve the game’s 100+ puzzles in search of answers, and I’m largely satisfied with what I discovered.

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Mario RPG Review

Toady Nostalgia by Kyle Hilliard on Nov 15, 2023

The original Super Mario RPG, released for Super Nintendo in 1996, felt like it was meant to be your first RPG. In an era when Final Fantasy tried its best to tell mature stories within the medium's limitations and Dragon Quest demanded hours and hours of your time, Mario’s adventure felt much brighter and more manageable. Familiar characters, a lighthearted story, a reasonable length, and timed button-pressing during combat made it stand out against the competition. Revisiting the game more than 25 years later in this new remade shape shows the original formula did not need much tweaking to deliver an engaging and enjoyable journey. Super Mario RPG is not entirely innocent of the sins of video games past, but old fans will relish the chance to see the game in a new light, and I’m confident newcomers will find something to love.

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Ghostrunner 2 Review

Finding The Utopia In Dystopia by Wesley LeBlanc on Oct 23, 2023

The first Ghostrunner is one of my all-time favorite games, and I've been excited for its sequel, Ghostrunner 2, since its reveal more than two years ago. I didn't need much to be satisfied with another parkour venture into developer One More Level's cyberpunk dystopia; I just wanted more Ghostrunner. And when Ghostrunner 2 is doing what put its predecessor on the map – fast-paced first-person action-parkour gameplay – it shines. But a few new attempts at expanding this world, both narratively and mechanically, don't shine as bright, however interesting and admirable they are. Nonetheless, Ghostrunner 2, with its exceptional action, soundtrack, and beautifully oppressive world, kept me smiling in delight for most of my 15 hours.

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Super Mario Bros. Wonder Review

Getting Its Flowers by Brian Shea on Oct 19, 2023

As a series that has been around for nearly four decades, Super Mario Bros. should have shown signs of slowing down years ago. But continuous thoughtful reinvention has helped the franchise remain a genre leader. Super Mario Bros. Wonder represents the next step of evolution, delivering the tight, tried-and-true gameplay in the context of the most creative 2D entry in nearly 30 years. Simply platforming through a stage is often a pure delight; Mario and his large roster of friends have never felt, looked, or sounded better. A joyful soundtrack full of upbeat earworms I’ve been humming since I first turned on the game complements superb gameplay. And the new expressive art style accentuates the most important parts of the characters and world.

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Spider-Man 2 Review

Sticking The Landing by Matt Miller on Oct 16, 2023

Being the sequel to two excellent games is not a guarantee of success. But it does set strong expectations. Thankfully, Spider-Man 2 meets and exceeds those expectations, providing uniformly stellar superhero action characterized by blazing-fast combat, smart mission design, and regular injections of thrilling set-pieces. Behind all that excitement, it also houses a fervent and heartfelt commentary on second chances, rehabilitation, and redemption. As a result, even in its dark moments, Spider-Man 2 delivers a wholesome and optimistic adventure rooted in joy.

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Forza Motorsport Review

Keeping Pace by Brian Shea on Oct 04, 2023

It can be rare for a newer franchise to challenge a well-established genre leader for the throne, but that’s precisely what the Forza Motorsport series has done since its first entry in 2005. Since then, the sim-racing genre has featured dueling front-runners, with Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport taking turns in the lead. The latest entry, simply titled Forza Motorsport, takes a back-to-basics approach to keep pace with its chief rival.

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Mortal Kombat 1 Review Review

Gory Glory by Brian Shea on Sep 15, 2023

Mortal Kombat 1 brings the tight gameplay of its predecessors to the next level. Every punch, kick, throw, and special move feels impactful in the dances of death in which its characters participate. Once you get a few fights under your belt with your character of choice, the gameplay really starts to sing as you learn how to chain together combos, specials, and this entry’s new addition, Kameo Fighters.

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Lies of P Review Review

Master Of Puppets by Wesley LeBlanc on Sep 13, 2023

Lies of P developer Neowiz proudly calls its The Adventures of Pinocchio-inspired action game a Soulslike, drawing direct attention to its From Software inspiration. The proclamation is a bold and risky move. While there are great contenders in this action subgenre, even the best are a few marks from what From Software creates and I went into Lies of P with that expectation. But then I put 40 hours into Lies of P in just five days, something I rarely do with any game. And then I doubled back on a save to get a different ending. And then I started New Game Plus because I wanted more. Lies of P masterfully wields familiar Soulslike combat and worldbuilding and infuses it with a few twists to set it apart from its various inspirations. The result is a pondering and memorable exploration of a fairytale everyone knows built within a deeply rewarding action game. Simply put, Lies of P is utterly fantastic.

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Starfield Review Review

Overwhelming Scope by Matt Miller on Aug 31, 2023

Even in the increasingly crowded marketplace of big, expansive games, Starfield stands out. Leveraging the gameplay Bethesda popularized with The Elder Scrolls and Fallout games, Starfield expands the breadth of exploration to a galaxy of solar systems, planets, and ships. It populates those environments with a rich palette of activities and missions that tap into the outer space fantasy. It’s a staggering span of content to wrap one’s head around. At times, that scope threatens to impair the focus and pacing, and moment-to-moment gameplay is not always a strong suit. But players can expect to uncover hundreds of hours of experimentation in a richly imagined sci-fi playground, and that thrill is worth experiencing.

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