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Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy review

Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy review

The Final Fantasy series has fallen out of favor recently. After a long string of missteps (some of which I've documented), the series has lost its luster. What was once one of the most revered names in video games has become a symbol of the bygone era of Japanese dominance. Whatever mistakes the series has made in upholding its legacy, however, that legacy is still known for some truly stirring music. Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy is mostly a tribute to that legacy, and functions as a musical museum with a few clever rhythm game ideas of its own.

Read more: Nostalgia with level-grinding »

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Shack Staff's E3 2012 disappointments

Related Topics – Features, E3 2012
Shack Staff's E3 2012 disappointments

Earlier this week, we took a look at our favorite moments of E3. Now, we reminisce about what disappointed us at this year's show.

While this year's E3 was home to a number of great games, many felt disappointed by the lack of truly big announcements by the big three. "As much as I enjoyed the shows for Halo 4, Pikmin 3, and God of War: Ascension, I'd rather have revelations that are truly shocking, even if they're for B-tier franchises," Steve lamented. "We want to see something fresh and surprising."

Read more: A look at show-stoppers... the bad kind »

"Watchdogs, Splinter Cell, Zombiu, and Last of us were looking awesome! "
- alllivestaken    See all 14 comments


Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor review

Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor review

An AP shell hits our right-side leg, and I hear steel bend and warp at the force. I start to prepare a shell to fire back, but I have bigger problems now. My VT is filling up with smoke. Visibility is poor, and we're all starting to cough. My eyes and lungs burn. I reach for the ventilation lever, only moments to spare before we all suffocate in a hot metal box. I pull back, hard, venting the cabin and saving us all -- but enemy VTs are still bearing down on us. Allowing only a brief sigh of relief, I try to withdraw my hand, only to find it won't obey my commands. Instead of holding the yoke, my hand flips open the Self-Destruct compartment. I remain perfectly motionless, terrified that the slightest touch will reduce us to smoldering rubble. I can't trust my own hands, so I'm left unsure of how to keep myself from hitting the button that will immediately kill my entire crew. I slowly, deliberately try to pull my hand away, but it disobeys me again.

My hand presses the button.

We explode.

Read more: Kinect squanders series potential »

"I'd also love to see more games like Happy Action Theater, Child of Eden, Fruit Ninja, etc., ..."
- the archvile    See all 7 comments


Shack Staff's E3 2012 favorites

Related Topics – Features, E3 2012
Shack Staff's E3 2012 favorites

It's been a week since E3 2012 closed its doors. For some, it was an underwhelming show due to the lack of next-gen announcements. For others, the deluge of high-quality games at the show made it sufficiently exciting. The Shacknews team looked back at the show, and reflected on some of their highlights.

Read more: A look at show trends, and show-stoppers »

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The Walking Dead game review

The Walking Dead game review

When Telltale initially announced its plans to make a game based on The Walking Dead, fans were a bit skeptical. Telltale was best known for Sam & Max adventures, not gory action games. Fast-forward a little over a year, and fans are even more skeptical. The TV series, while hugely popular on AMC, has had a disappointing second season for fans and critics. Telltale's reputation has also been marred, thanks to the disastrous release of its Jurassic Park game. Fans rightfully have every reason to worry about the video game adaptation of the revered zombie comic franchise.

As the Xbox 360 turned on and I played the first episode of the game, I also had low expectations. Thankfully, this is no Jurassic Park. By firmly establishing itself in Robert Kirkman's comic book universe (and not the TV series), the game is a wonderful extension of the franchise. Focused on player choice, The Walking Dead invites comparisons to the Mass Effect trilogy and Heavy Rain--but with zombies.

Read more: 'Easily one of Telltale's best' »

"second season disappointing!?! everyone i know, even people who aren't into zombies, games ..."
- deathagent2001    See all 15 comments


Mass Effect 3 review

Mass Effect 3 review

I sit mentally slack jawed considering the completion of Mass Effect 3. The word epic gets bandied about a lot in describing video games. That's a shame. Never has it been more applicable and I want to convey just how momentous this event is. Mass Effect 3 concludes this classic sci-fi saga in truly epic fashion. The heroic Commander Shepard leads the universe in its final desperate fight to survive against the overwhelming might of the alien Reapers in a scenario that would be equally at home on the pages of a New York Times bestseller or a blockbuster Hollywood production.

Read more: 'Renegade vs. Paragon: The moral dilemma blurs' »

"I'm just saying there are stupider endings. I know. I've read all the Dune prequels and ..."
- SinisterInfant    See all 117 comments


Street Fighter x Tekken Vita characters will be available on console eventually

Street Fighter x Tekken Vita characters will be available on console eventually

In just a few days, fans will be able to play what should've been an impossibility: a crossover between the world warriors of Street Fighter and the kings of Tekken. Ahead of its March 6th release, Capcom held a launch party for Street Fighter x Tekken in downtown Los Angeles. There, I caught up with Capcom's community manager, Seth Killian.

I brought up the recent announcement of the Vita version of SFxT and how it would introduce a dozen new characters. While it was exciting to learn about the new additions (including Killian's personal favorite, Elena), I brought up concerns of how soon these characters would reach console players. Killian assured me that console players would get these characters at some point. "We'll find a way to make sure that console fans are happy, as well."

Read more: Killian defends gems, talks up 2v2 »

"I have no plans to pick this up either way, but hopefully developers/publishers will eventually ..."
- Freon    See all 3 comments


Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Vita review

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Vita review

Capcom proved a console-quality fighter could be pulled off on a portable with Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition on Nintendo's rival handheld. With Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 (UMvC3) arriving on the PlayStation Vita, it faces the challenge of standing out amongst Sony's strong day-one offerings. Despite the stout competition, UMvC3 reinforces the fact that players don't need a big screen and a fight stick to brawl with the big boys.

Read more: 'One of Vita's best launch-day buys' »

"I've been playing this version for several days now, and gameplay wise it's identical to the ..."
- zigzagitry    See all 3 comments


Twisted Metal review

Twisted Metal review

It didn't take long for Twisted Metal to tug on my nostalgic heartstrings. Developer Eat Sleep Play's reboot manages to invoke memories of the original PlayStation classic--a game that carried me through a chunk of my adolescence. Despite hitting some speed bumps down memory lane, Twisted Metal on the PS3 feels like a worthwhile update to a classic series.

Like many, I wondered if the multiplayer magic was still there. Would playing online click the way it did when I played split-screen with friends all those years ago? I immediately ventured online to find out. I was ecstatic to find that the basic essence of Twisted Metal multiplayer remained intact. Power-ups littered the field and players blazed through the course trying to make roadkill out of one another with homing missiles, shotguns, and remote bombs. It was Twisted Metal, just as I remembered it.

Read more: 'A fiendish demolition derby' »

"Damn memory failing me, I thought the first one had like mega huge areas of ..."
- mcpstoner    See all 12 comments


Shank 2 review

Shank 2 review

The Shank series owes much of its identity to revenge flicks of the 70s and 80s. Its hero communicates primarily through stab wounds as he makes his way through the paper-thin plot and a long line of themed goons to be ironically hoisted by their own petards. Much like those films, the flash and style of Shank 2 make for some satisfying moments of violent comeuppance, but it ends quickly and doesn't leave much substance behind.

Read more: The many murders of Shank »

"Loved the first title and I am loving this sequel. They definitely stepped up the challenge ..."
- HaVoK308    See all 4 comments


Review: Beat Hazard Ultra (iOS)

Review: Beat Hazard Ultra (iOS)

Cold Beam Games' Beat Hazard has been turning beautiful music into twin-stick bullet hell for over two years. It went Ultra via DLC in June 2011, and has slowly made its way across several platforms, from PC to PS3. Shockingly, Beat Hazard had yet to make the leap to handheld devices. Fortunately for iOS owners, that's no longer the case. Beat Hazard Ultra is now available for iOS and the transition couldn't have gone any smoother.

Read more: Assessing portable hazards »

"I've tried this game on my android phone and it's nowhere near as good as playing on PC with a ..."
- 1wikkid1    See all 8 comments


Resident Evil: Revelations review

Resident Evil: Revelations review

Resident Evil games work best when focused on frightful environments filled with infected creatures. It’s the very definition of the survival horror genre Capcom helped write. Spin-off entries, like a rail shooter or straight-up action game, go astray from that core principle, much to fans' dismay. Resident Evil: Revelations, Capcom's first installment for the series on the 3DS, stays true to the series' essence for the most part, albeit inconsistently.

Read more: Survival horror succeeds on the 3DS »

"The quick-turn feature is still in and you'll be using it a lot for the boss fights. The AI is ..."
- OzzieMejia    See all 13 comments


Soul Calibur V review

Soul Calibur V review

I count Soul Calibur as pretty much my favorite fighting game. "Pretty much," because at this point, its hold on that spot comes from sentimentality for the first two entries in the series. Over the third and fourth outing, its grip grew increasingly tenuous. I wasn't alone in that thought. The developers promised a return to what made the original games legendary. In seeking that elusive quality, Soul Calibur V counts nothing as untouchable--neither the character roster nor the game's fighting system systems. Even with the groundwork for a return to form laid by these bold moves, Soul Calibur V's bid to recapture its mystique renders a split-decision.

Read more: A strong return in the ring, just don't look around too much »

"Ugh they cast that one voice actor chick as Ivy.. now everytime I hear her speak shes going to ..."
- HL3dsx    See all 10 comments


Final Fantasy XIII-2 review

Final Fantasy XIII-2 review

Final Fantasy XIII left me of two minds. The satisfaction of managing its frenetic but elegant battle system stood on one side, in stark opposition to its maudlin, convoluted plot and overlong tutorial. To my surprise its sequel, Final Fantasy XIII-2, manages the seemingly unlikely feat of furthering the rift between the two. While the combat and adventure structure show improvements that directly address its predecessor's critics, the story manages to spiral deeper into an unintelligible narrative abyss. The result leaves me torn once again.

Read more: a game that so badly wants to be liked »

"Bring back the Final Fantasy Legend series to iOS!!! And also, a proper HD port of Final ..."
- matrixneo42    See all 46 comments


Darksiders 2 preview

Darksiders 2 preview

Death is an impatient soldier. Unlike his brother--the strategist War--Death takes no pause. He quickly dispatches all foes, and never utters a word of satisfaction. He is stoic, lead designer Haydn Dalton told me. "He just wants to get sh-t done," Dalton said.

An early look at Darksiders 2 featured Death navigating through a colorful, living, underground cavern. It is a far cry from the first game's muted and bleak surroundings. Bubbling lava squirts into the air, fountains of fire stream throughout the world.

Read more: Death Lives in Darksiders 2 »

"They didn't show us anything other than the roll defense. It was a hands-off demo."
- XAVdeMATOS    See all 18 comments




Top Games

  1. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
  2. Resistance 3
  3. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
  4. Space Pirates and Zombies 2
  5. MX vs. ATV Supercross
  6. Hearts of Iron IV
  7. DayZ
  8. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
  9. Grand Theft Auto V
  10. Batman: Arkham Knight

Most Anticipated

  1. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
  2. Space Pirates and Zombies 2
  3. MX vs. ATV Supercross
  4. Hearts of Iron IV
  5. DayZ
  6. Batman: Arkham Knight
  7. Survarium
  8. Kerbal Space Program
  9. The Walking Dead: Season Two
  10. Dragon Age: Inquisition

Top Rentals

  1. Grand Theft Auto V
  2. Beyond: Two Souls
  3. Batman: Arkham Origins
  4. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
  5. Call of Duty: Ghosts
  6. Battlefield 4
  7. NBA 2K14
  8. Diablo III
  9. Madden NFL 25
  10. The Last of Us