Video Game Reviews

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Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures
FreakZone Games / Screw Attack Entertainment
Reviewed On: PC (Exclusive)
Street: 09.20.13

If you don’t know who the Angry Video Game Nerd is, I’ll wait for you to catch up—he’s angry, he plays and reviews retro games, and you’re missing out by not watching his web series. If you do know who the Angry Video Game Nerd is, then you know exactly what kind of game you’re getting yourself into. Armed with an NES Zapper as his weapon, AVGN Adventures follows the eponymous Angry Video Game Nerd in a side-scrolling action-platformer based on old-school platforming games. Filled with constant references to episodes of the show and the horrifyingly bad games that AVGN has forced himself to review, it’s brutal but fair, utilizing reflexes and dexterity that I haven’t needed to use in years. It’s hard enough to make you want to break your controller, fun enough to keep you coming back, and hilarious enough to be the perfect tribute to one of the greatest retro video game critics on the Internet. Whether you’re blasting your way through the bright, puke green of the future, being chased by Robotic Operating Buddies or riding giant demon sharks through hell, the mix of constant potty humor and old-school nostalgia makes me feel like a kid again—an angry, hateful kid playing horrible, wretched games and having the time of my masochistic life. –Matt Brunk

The Banner Saga
Stoic
Reviewed On: PC (exclusive)
Street: 01.14

Every time I sat down to play Banner Saga, I would immediately lose three hours. I became immersed in a world full of Vikings and Varls—which are giants with some bad-ass horns. Your party travels in a caravan—avoiding the Dredge that have begun to plague their world. I was reminded of Oregon Trail as my caravan traversed the frozen, desolate environment. I kept waiting for someone to die of dysentery—and, while people died frequently, it was usually due to a poor decision I’d made. The game forces you to think carefully about your choices, but sometimes I couldn’t resist the option to knock out one of the characters. You have to keep your caravan’s supplies stocked and keep your clansmen happy so they perform well in battle—the high morale allows your units to move some extra spaces and perform special attacks that are unique to each character. The game is done in traditional, hand drawn animation—which is vibrant and gorgeous. It really shines during combat, causing me to relish my battles all the more. For 25 bucks, it’s a steal for the animation alone. –Ashlee Lippert

Dead Rising 3
Capcom Vancouver/ Microsoft Studios
Reviewed on: Xbox One (Exclusive)
Street: 11.22.13

Why do we play video games? Is it escapism? An appreciation for the art? Is it because it’s what our friends do? Maybe it’s because we really don’t have any friends? Ultimately, I think we play video games because we enjoy them, because they are fun—and if that is the main point of video games, then Dead Rising 3 hits the mark. It’s not anything like the medium-defining titles we saw last year, like Bioshock Infinite or The Last of Us, and it’s not the most beautiful game of all time—but you can powerbomb a zombie whilst wearing a sundress and a Lego head, and goddammit, if that’s not a game-selling feature, I don’t know what is. On top of that, the amount of zombies you have to deal with is absurd. In 16 hours of gameplay, I have managed to slay just under 10,000 zombies, and that’s probably on the low end for someone with that much time in. But, like I said, this is not a game changer—it is, however, ridiculously self-aware, batshit crazy, stupid and, most importantly, fun. –Blake Leszczynski