Kid Icarus: Uprising
Project Sora/Nintendo
Reviewed on: Nintendo 3DS (Exclusive)
Street: 03.23
Kid Icarus proves that odd controls and zany mechanics can make one of the most entertaining game experiences in years. Having never played the original, I came in with a fresh perspective hoping that Nintendo would simply give me quality and not another rehash of an I.P. I think we can all agree that Nintendo phoned in Super Mario 3D Land. There, I said it––the latest Mario was lazy and disorganized, and got way more credit than it deserved. Icarus, however, deserves all the accolades it can handle and then some. The first eight missions are simply a refresher of what Kid Icarus is all about. You battle the original bosses in order and even get to see their original NES versions before the fight begins. Once you finish the trip down memory lane, the game kicks into action. You battle the armies of the Underworld, Earth, and the Sun God and his army of “Invaders from Space” (not to infringe copyright or anything, it’s not like the characters looked exactly like the Space Invaders anyway). Saying that I’m in love with this game is a subtle understatement. Nintendo bundled everything together in a perfect package. Once you’ve finished the stellar single-player experience, you can spend more time building weapons to use in the multiplayer addition. The fast-paced combat of light vs. dark powered by the weapons you unlock during the single-player mode gives hours of additional replay. Since Ocarina of Time, I can’t think of a game that is a “must own” on the 3DS. Do yourself a favor and snag this one, repurpose the $40 you’d spend calling that mail-order bride from Russia and get something that will satisfy your being completely. –Thomas Winkley

Mass Effect 3
BioWare/Electronic Arts
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also on: PS3, PC
Street: 03.06
It’s tough to say goodbye to things that we love. Such was my lament during the final moments of Mass Effect 3, the concluding chapter in BioWare’s sprawling intergalactic RPG. Before I get all misty-eyed again, let’s talk shop. In keeping with BioWare’s trademark ability to keep their source material gold while adding some new bells and whistles, Mass Effect 3 is like bumping into that girl you liked back in junior high and seeing that she cut her hair short and got a tattoo. When you’re not brokering treaties among the galaxy’s most powerful races, you’ve got some asses to kick on multiple visually stunning planets. The gameplay still consists of the familiar duck-and-cover combat system, but this time around your character can seamlessly maneuver through enemy fire to take cover behind crumbled cinder blocks and overturned vehicles. As per RPG rules, the more killing you do, the more points you get to pump into skills particular to your character’s style. As your skills get more advanced, you need to choose which direction you’ll take them. Do you want to do more damage to single enemies, or do you want your combat abilities to last longer? Some new additions are an online multiplayer mode, and the option to use the Kinect to bark orders at squad members. Despite the mounting controversy surrounding the game’s ending—according to BioWare’s social forum, the creators will be creating downloadable content with disappointed fans in mind—the Mass Effect series has truly achieved video game greatness. It represents a rare alchemy in which gripping story, memorable characters and sweat-inducing firefights come together to create an experience that isn’t available anywhere else. –Alex Springer