Super Mario Maker Review

If you’re like me, as a kid you had notebooks full of level ideas for your favorite games. For us, Super Mario Maker is a dream come true. Nintendo’s latest release makes level creation fast, easy, and most impressively of all, fun. Lots of games have let you make your own levels, and many of them have been built around that feature–but Mario Maker is without a doubt the best one yet.

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Super Mario Maker Review

Tearaway Unfolded Review

LittleBigPlanet developer Media Molecule is best known for its creative approach to design. All their games feel hand-crafted, filled with childlike glee and exuberance. Tearaway, originally released for the Vita in 2013, was no exception, with its adorable papercraft world and storybook setting. That original release has been revamped and expanded in the form of Tearaway Unfolded for the Playstation 4, more akin to a remake than a simple port.

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Tearaway Unfolded Review

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Review

[Video review edited and co-narrated by Gage Paul.]

Metal Gear Solid V once again casts you in the role of Big Boss, awakening after a 9-year coma induced by the tragic events at the end of Ground Zeroes to once again lead your mercenary company to greatness. It’s the game that finally bridges the gap between eras, and almost certainly the last entry from series creator Hideo Kojima. It’s at once an evolution of the series and a fundamental restructuring of its ideas. As a Metal Gear game, it will be controversial–perhaps even moreso than 2–but taken free from the series’ baggage, it’s an amazing title that excels in nearly every category.

MGS5 moves the series’ stealth action to the open world, and this opens up a ton of new options for how to complete your objectives. You can approach enemy bases from any direction, and there are tons of ways to approach each mission.

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Review

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition Review

Gears of War’s 2006 release was a seminal moment in the last generation. Its cooperative cover-based shooting set the standard that AAA games would follow for years, and while many of its innovations have been driven into the ground in the decade that’s followed, Gears’ legacy is still a strong one.

Now, nine years later, Microsoft has released Gears of War: Ultimate Edition for the Xbox One, updating the original’s visuals and bringing its online features to the current generation. But is this a worthwhile revision, or just another in a long line of mediocre remasters?

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Gears of War: Ultimate Edition Review

The Magic Circle Review

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Games about games are usually terrible. They’re usually a collection of memetic in-jokes and corny parodies designed to cover up the inadequacies of uninspired third-person shooters and platformers, existing more as quick gags to punch up trailers and marketing materials rather than real tributes to the medium of games. Martin Scorsese’s 2011 film Hugo was a tribute to movies, but it wasn’t a collection of jokes about cinematography and editing, or barely subtle references to characters of great movies past. It was about people. It was about the relationship between people who love movies and the people who make them. The wonder and joy in how Hugo portrayed that relationship reminded me of my passion for games, and made me wish there were a game that so artfully explored its own medium.

The Magic Circle is a game about the relationship between the people who love games and the people who make them. But where Hugo was joy and wonder, the Magic Circle is fear and paranoia. It’s about the love of a medium turned to dangerous possession. It’s about the digital identities we create out of our own insecurities. It’s about the void that the act of creation fills in us. It’s about the control that we have inside digital worlds and the vertigo of having that control taken away.

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The Magic Circle Review