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It takes a lot of guts to open up the engine of a great annual sports game, rebuild its core mechanics, and toss a pile of new features on top of it all. It takes even more cojones to do so when you’re the only game in town on the Xbox 360.
The promise of next-generation sports has, in many cases, turned into a curse. Trying to meet the demands of hardcore fanatics without rendering casual players inept has proven more difficult than anyone imagined at the start of the 360/PS3 cycle. Nowhere has that paradox been more evident than in the baseball realm, which has proven to be tough as nails for all but the most dedicated to crack.
A lot of modern games sacrifice depth and playability in pursuit of other goals, but Mark of the Ninja enjoys an abundance of both. Fast yet measured, breezy yet deep, and above all highly replayable, this sneaky side-scroller is a refreshing example of stealth action done right.
Comics fans are pretty blissed out right now, as they just got one of the best games ever to be based on a comic book with Batman: Arkham Asylum. It really raised the bar for superhero games, and will affect how all future games based on caped crusaders are judged. Which leads us to Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, and how the action-RPG series is starting to look like it’s on the wrong side of “evolve or die."
Thanks to Marvel vs Capcom 2 we finally know who’d win in a fight between The Hulk and Jill Valentine (it was Jill, with her ability to summon a bloody great Tyrant). We’ve also managed to settle that age-old debate about the relative merits of pre- and post-adamantium Wolverine, and make Captain America beat up a small girl.
Marvel vs Capcom 3 is a celebration of everything that makes videogames great. It's a celebration of Capcom's heritage. Of comic books and super heroes. Of laser beams, celestial brush strokes and grenade launchers. A celebration of button mashing and obscene complexity of control. Of combos, juggling and finishing moves. But most of all, it's a celebration of everything that makes the very word 'videogame' excite our minds. And it's time you joined the party.
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