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Not many games are marketed on the strength of their physics engines, but then not many physics engines have the brand recognition of Natural Motion’s Euphoria. It’s the thing that makes bodies collide with weighty authenticity in GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption, and here it makes a first sporting venture into Madden territory.
Much like its name (it’s pronounced Bah-hah, if you didn’t know), we think Baja: Edge of Control is likely to be misunderstood… Off-road games, with the exception of a few notable rally titles, generally fall into the ‘over-the-top, “whoa dude” extreme sport’ mould, where realism takes a back seat to outlandish arcade racing.
Let’s get this out of the way up-front: Band Hero essentially IS Guitar Hero 5, but for tweens. There are really no substantive changes made in terms of the core gameplay, features, and extras found between the two.
Nuts & Bolts truly is the return of Rare. Enough with the papery menagerie, let’s get back to N64 basics: the wordplay, the self-deprecating humor (pops are taken at their own distastr-o-game Grabbed by the Ghoulies), the design philosophy that states ‘object + googly eyes = endearing thing’. And in a winter of bleak, dreary games, the lightness of touch is very, very welcome indeed.
Bastion's presentation is beautiful. Its vibrant watercolor art style and melodic soundtrack make its appeal immediately apparent. It's not just window dressing either – Bastion has all the trappings of a superb hack-and-slash action game, with just the right amount of RPG-ness to add substance. The combat feels satisfying, each weapon in your arsenal feels distinct, and the customization and upgrade options are meaningful and plentiful...
Arkham Asylum had only one major flaw – the game was so painstakingly, overwhelmingly, wonderfully thorough in its depiction of the Batman universe, we couldn’t imagine what was left to cover or accomplish in a sequel. The developers at Rocksteady got every element of the character right, from his combat to his gadgets to his previously neglected detective skills. They featured half a dozen of Gotham’s greatest villains, then included hidden references to nearly 30 more just as fan service. They created a setting with enough macabre detail to capture the comics’ horror, but with enough epic scope to somehow fit a Batcave, Batmobile and Batwing. This was it. This was the perfect Batman game.
Yet from the moment we started Arkham City, all we could think was: Arkham Asylum was practice. Compared to its sequel, the “best superhero game ever” and our choice for Game of the Year 2009 seems like a tech demo, a first draft, merely a blueprint for what the perfect Batman game can actually be. This is it...
Pretty, isn’t it? Like the forthcoming Street Fighter IV, Battle Fantasia’s 3D graphics power 2D gameplay, and it looks almost as good as Capcom’s new fighting king. Battle Fantasia is a departure from Arc System Works’ heavy-metal fighter Guilty Gear, and no, before you ask, it’s not nearly as good.
BattleBlock Theater is a bizarre game about teamwork, betrayal, and crazed cats. Sound good enough to play? Find out in our review…
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