Terraria

In 2009, the exceptionally small team at Re-Logic, headed up by Andrew "Redigit" Spinks, released "Terraria," a two dimensional, side-scrolling, exploration-driven title, that gave players virtually limitless ability to explore the game's world. Since then, the game has sold millions (with an "s") of copies on PC, and now 505 Games have helped bring this wildly successful release to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Retaining all of the core experiences of the PC release, the console versions received additional content, as well as a handful of other upgrades. It's not uncommon for games that are originally developed for PCs to have difficulty making the transition to a different platform, but, aside from a few quirks, "Terraria" seems to be right at home on Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network.
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There's a moment midway through the first issue of "The Last of Us: American Dreams" where Ellie, who seems a while away from meeting Joel, makes a grisly discovery in the frame of a truck she's been assigned to clean. That moment illustrates so many things about the character and her world: the ease of violence beyond the secure walls of the military-fortified compounds and more importantly, how quickly the young are forced to get used to it.

Based on the work in this Neil Druckman/Faith Erin Hicks-penned miniseries, not only will we be getting some background teen survivor Ellie, but also a broad look at the plague-afflicted United States in the upcoming Naughty Dog game. As far as first issues go, it works, giving us a first glimpse at a prickly, motivated young heroine and the precarious state of survival in this dying version of America.

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[Spoiler warning: details about the ending of "Bioshock Infinite" will be lightly discussed in the following review.]

"Bioshock Infinite" is certainly the most literate game of this generation (or really, that I've had the chance to play), blending pop culture, turn of the 20th century history, and science fiction together into a mash of a competent first-person shooter. But as well-sourced the Irrational Games' Creative Director Ken Levine's vision is, and as clever as its twists are, this journey to the floating city of Columbia suffers the same big budget malady of interesting worlds undercut by the thin characters that populate them.

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Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

No matter how you look at it, "Luigi's Mansion" was an anomaly, especially for a company like Nintendo. From creating a spooky game, to having it star the lesser-known Mario brother, there were a lot of things that were different about it, yet it still managed to make its way into the launch line-up for the GameCube back in 2001. Having sold 2.5 million copies over the life of the console, Nintendo's experiment with giving Luigi his own game certainly seemed to work out, but it still took 12 years for the man in green to get a sequel. "Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon" is the much anticipated follow-up to Luigi's first, and only, starring role, and much to our hero's dismay, he's heading back to the haunted mansions to bust some more ghosts.
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HarmoKnight

Rhythm games just aren't as big as they were a few years ago. The genre peaked with "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band" saturation, and, as such, now has somewhat of a stigma attached to it. However, that doesn't mean that the right rhythm games can't still be fun. Game Freak, the company best known for working on the Pokémon franchise, are stepping away from their pocket monsters for the first time in a long while to release a 3DS eShop game, "HarmoKnight," that pulls a lot of its inspiration from rhythm games.
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by Joseph Leray

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[This is a thorough runthrough of the campaign portion for "Gears of War: Judgment." Stay tuned as we'll be covering the multiplayer side of "Judgment" later!]

Gears of War” has always felt heavy.

Soldiers slam into cover, carried by the momentum of their weighty armor. Bodies explode in huge, chunky bits when tagged with a frag grenade, and the sawed-off shotgun kicks mightily when fired, more like a turn-of-the-century blunderbuss than the lightweight lasers that so frequently arm the heroes of other science fiction. The way Damon Baird clean-and-jerks the Mulcher onto a piece of waist-high concrete -- giving the Gatling Gun a little heave as he spins to face whatever oncoming monstrosity has crawled from the ground -- makes me feel tired.

At one point near the end of “Gears of War: Judgment,” the normally rambunctious Augustus Cole remarks that he’s running out of energy, that he can’t take much more abuse from the Locust storm troopers. The same might be said for the series as a whole: humankind’s inexorable march to victory over the enemy Locust reached its apex in “Gears of War 3,” and there’s nothing left to do but lay down one’s burdens.

It’s no coincidence that “Judgment” feels so stripped down, then. The heavy machinery of “Gears of War” has been dismantled and reconstructed by developers People Can Fly into something lighter, sleeker, more efficient, and more principled.
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LEGO City Undercover

"LEGO Star Wars" changed the game for plastic brick-based video games. Everyone has always loved the small, injection-molded blocks that have served as a bastion of childhood creativity, but something was always lost when those playthings made their way to video games. "LEGO Star Wars" cracked up the formula, and actually created a LEGO game with mass appeal. In 2005, Traveler's Tales took a major motion picture franchise, blockified it, and turned it into one of the most endearing games of all time. By bridging the gap between kids' love of LEGOs, and (geeky) adults' passion for "Star Wars," Traveler's Tales struck video game gold. And then they did again, and again, and again - with franchises ranging from "Pirates of the Caribbean" to Batman - creating wonderful experiences for all ages along the way. However, each of their LEGO games inherited an installed audience, since they were all licensed in one way or another. So, what happens when TT Games sets out to make an original LEGO title? They make the best game in the entire franchise.
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"Vergil's Downfall," the first story expansion for Ninja Theory's "Devil May Cry" reboot explicitly closes the loop between itself and the PS2-era series. Which is kind of a shame, because instead of the complicated, hero-turned villain of "DmC," Vergil is brought back around to the maniacal, unknowable villain of "Devil May Cry 3" by the time the credits roll on "Vergil's Downfall."

And while "Vergil's Downfall" offers some satisfying combat for its protagonist, the changes wrought for Vergil in this half-baked story are far less satisfying.

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God of War: Ascension

Kratos. Just hearing his name can simultaneously strike fear in the hearts of gods, and bring glee to gamers. The Ghost of Sparta has been the star of Sony's break-out "God of War" franchise since 2005, when players began taking on some of history's most storied gods. Over the years, Kratos has endured some of the most intense battles that video games have ever offered, while suffering through one of the most heart-breaking stories in the medium. Between accidentally killing his wife and daughter, and going head-to-head with some of Olympus' most powerful residents, it's pretty clear that Kratos has lived a challenging and stressful life. In his latest game, "God of War: Ascension" we get a better understanding of just how that life began, as it takes gamers through some of the earliest events in Kratos' journey.
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Runner 2

Looking back at WiiWare, Nintendo's first attempt at an online marketplace, it's pretty clear that there was not a ton of standout software. However, in the end, there was ultimately an entire franchise that rose to the top, Gaijin Games' "BIT.TRIP" series. The six games that were released under the "BIT.TRIP" moniker (Beat, Core, Void, Runner, Fate, and Flux) set the standard for what great downloadable games on a Nintendo platform could be. Their retro-inspired art style and unforgiving difficulty helped them carve a niche out on WiiWare in a way that no other game, much less franchise, could touch. Now, two years after the last game in the series was released, Gaijin Games have returned with a new adventure for Commander Video, "BIT.TRIP Presents... Runner 2 Future Legend of Rhythm Alien," and this time he's going HD and multiplatform.
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