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Sengoku Souls

The most enlightening part of “Nioh” is how plainly it presents what elevates its spiritual predecessor. It’s gameplay, pure and simple: the balancing act of punch and counterpunch, the careful tracking of health and stamina, the thrill of risk and reward inherent in every lingering combo, all stacked against the asymmetrical odds of each encounter.

Beyond the Sea

"BioShock" is banned from Valve Studios. The team behind the legendary first-person shooter "Half-Life" has declared that none of its employees is allowed to touch the game. Managing Director Gabe Newell explained to "Nobody gets to play it until Orange Box is done—that's our reward to ourselves as a company; everyone gets a copy of 'BioShock." When Valve openly praises another company's FPS, it becomes clear that something has gone very, very right.

Consult Physician Before Use

Platform: Wii

Gamers have been subjected to many things over the years. Fighting the Nazis: Check. Hunting dinosaurs: Been there. Stuck on a hostile planet surrounded by both vicious aliens and all-consuming parasitic lifeforms: We've got the T-shirt.

Great Overlooked Games

"Breakdown" for the X-Box

Flat World, Deep Game

When reviewing a game like "Super Paper Mario," it's difficult to avoid comparing it to its predecessors. "SPM" is technically the sequel to the two "Paper Mario" games released on the N64 and Gamecube, which were loose continuations of "Super Mario RPG," a Square-made Super Nintendo gem. Despite this, "Super Paper Mario" is a whole new game, sharing only some of the elements of the original "trilogy." It's still a solid title, but the changes may be a bit much for a fan expecting the same kind of game.

Back In The USSR

In 1972, Arkadi and Boris Strugatsky, brothers who were celebrated Russian science-fiction writers, published a short novella called "Roadside Picnic." It chronicled a man's journey into "The Zone," a quarantined area where alien forces had crash-landed, spreading strange radioactive anomalies. The main characters, Stalkers, broke through military cordons and made their way into the Zone to search for artifacts, strange pieces of alien technology beyond humankind's imagination. For years after-ward, Stalkers who entered the Zone suffered unexplained deaths and disabled children.

Ice, Bugs, And Guns. Perfect.

"Lost Planet," despite being a modern, high-tech title, brings me back to the days of gaming long past, when top-of-the-line graphics were 8-bit, when you could spot a hardcore gamer by his untidy mullets and his Alf T-shirt, and when dedicated players keeled over dead from exhaustion—not while farming for gold in "World of Warcraft" but by going for the top score in "Donkey Kong" or "Galaga."

Intergalactic Failure

Why do people make bad video games? I can't even begin to describe how awful "Rogue Galaxy" is. In fact, I believe that if you were to smash the "Rogue Galaxy" disc into tiny shards and then drink them, you would be having approximately 35 times as much fun as you would putting the game in your PS2 and playing it.

The Wait is Over


Needs More Speed

Platform: PS2 | PS3 | XBOX | 360 | GC | WII | PC