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[Review] Crimson Alliance

Available on: Xbox 360; Publisher: Microsoft Studios; Developer: Certain Affinity; Players: 1 – 4; Released: September 7, 2011 (Steam); ESRB: Teen; Official Site

When looking back on the games that we remember, it’s always the most groundbreaking or well thought-out games that stand out the most. Games on the other end of the spectrum stand out as well, if only for the laughs that people get reminiscing about how low their standards were as children. Fortunately for Crimson Alliance, it does not fall into the latter category; unfortunately, it does not fall into the first either and merely rests in the realm of mediocrity.

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[Review] Dead Block (PS3) – Trapped Without Quality

Also on: PC, Xbox 360; Publisher: Digital Reality; Developer: Candygun Games; Players: 1 – 4; Released: July 19, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Site

Dead Block Review Shot 2

Trends will inevitably hit gaming and certain genres or themes will be exploited to the point where they are present in virtually every other release. Like in games and movies, zombies are now swarming a multitude of games, from Call of Duty: Black Ops to Ryu ga Gotoku Of the End (Yakuza of the End). The latest to try its hand at zombie bashing action is Dead Block, which fails with its weak game mechanics and will have a hard time keeping players’ attention when there are so many better options available.

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[Review] Trenched – Out in the Trenches

Available on: Xbox 360; Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios; Developer: Double Fine Productions; Players: 1 – 4; Released: June 22, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official SiteTrenched Shot 2

With recent games, there’s been a slow trend towards combining different genres; at times, it may seem like an odd match, but come to work like a dream. Trenched throws together several genres like a hodgepodge of features, including shooting, mecha customization, and tower defense. Most people would look at this formula and already be turned off by the pitch of such a convoluted game. However, it is nowhere near convoluted in practice. If anything, it is a unique and enjoyable fusion that few have dared to experiment with before.

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[Review] Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax – Deceptively Long

Available on: Xbox 360; Publisher: Marvelous Entertainment; Developer: Marvelous Entertainment; Players: 1 – 4; Released: June 29, 2011; ESRB: Everyone; Official Site

Half Minute Hero Shot 1

Don't be fooled. She will be glad to take your money.

It’s always amazed me how people with full commitments, such as a job, girlfriend(s), and school, can still manage to power through a 50-something hour RPG. That is probably one of the reasons that casual games have begun to rise. These short bursts of gameplay allow people to have fun without really having to commit a large portion of their time to gaming. Originally released on the PSP, Half-Minute Hero and Xbox Live Arcade brethren, Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax, offer all the nostalgia and elements of a 90s RPG along with the short bursts of gameplay casual gamers love.

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[Review] Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury – Hardcore Treasure

Available on: Xbox 360; Publisher: D3Publisher; Developer: Treasure; Players: 1 – 2; Released: May 4, 2011; ESRB: Everyone; Official Website

Missile Fury Shot 8

The digital market’s continuing trend of delivering both great indie games and ambitious yet risky titles. Thanks to this, gamers are able to get their hands on Bangai-O HD Missile Fury, a new iteration in the classic variety shmup. The niche nature of the game made it impossible to be released outside of a digital market. Some may call it masochism, but hardcore gamers and shmup fans are definitely getting their fill with this iteration of Bangai-O.

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