Game Review – HarmoKnight

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HarmoKnight (3DS)
Developer: Game Freak
Price: $15

Stripped of the singing and dancing, Glee’s high school dramatics are simple. Trite even. It revels in discussing social issues – like homophobia and, just recently, Chris Brown – to varying degrees of success. But that’s not the point. Other than the requisite Brittany quips and Sue Sylvester’s bullying, people are tuning in to hear their beloved characters sing “Call Me Maybe.”

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Game Review – Gears of War: Judgment

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Gears of War: Judgment (360)
Developer: People Can Fly, Epic Games
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Price: $60

“15 seconds of amazing gameplay is all you need as long as you keep finding exciting ways to repeat it,” said Cliff Bleszinski, a former game designer of the Gears of War trilogy. At least I think he said it. I can’t find the quote anywhere, but I know he said it. I know.

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Yak ‘n Slash

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Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PS3, 360)
Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Konami
Price: $60

Nanomachines in Raiden’s brain — technology akin to Lost’s island that’s used for anything enigmatic in the Metal Gear series — repress his ability to hear the thoughts of adversaries. When he ignores the microchip’s effects, the cybernetic samurai suffers from depression when he mindreads soldiers worrying about overdue rentals and rising taxes. It’s a moment of existential crisis for Raiden as he sulks on the battlefield like a child who opened a janky Yu-Gi-Oh! booster pack. This junior high mentality ends when he chooses to stop listening. This is a grand metaphor for the player though, as you cease to care for what anyone has to say in Metal Gear Rising: Revegeance because you’d rather keep butchering.

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New Super Mario Bros. U Review

New Super Mario Bros U

New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U)
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
MSRP: $59.99

Think back to when you started your first sudoku. Solving the simplest puzzle was a reward, with each subsequent effort helping to build your repertoire of skills. This sort of pattern recognition is also integral to the Mario experience and one that has been ingrained in gamers for decades. Recklessly jumping through Iggy’s Castle with more than a few scratches may prove rewarding if it’s your first time playing, but finishing each level inevitably becomes the bare minimum. The real challenge of the stages becomes hunting for their secrets. Learning how to find these hidden goodies takes practice, much like figuring out where that 2 belongs in an expert level sudoku, but the dedication pays more than a few 1-ups worth of coins.

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