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"Perhaps It Is Crueler To Let You Live" - Hands-On With Conan Exiles

It's been almost a week since FunCom released their fantasy sandbox survival sim, Conan Exiles. And the prognosis is...better than initial launch. The game looks great, and the loop of scavenging and survival is well worth it, sure. It's also the only game with (and this is obligatory since it's been the only news coming out about this game other than the lag info,) an endowment slider so you can choose the size of your character's breasts, or, if you are so inclined, pendulous lower extremities. But while the game has a lot of interesting systems and some absolutely gorgeous graphics, the extreme lack of balance, lag and rubberbanding issues, and just downright uncooperative AI mean that this game will have a lot of polish to deliver before its final release.

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Trillion: All Sizzle, No Steak - A Review

There can be such a thing as too much of a good thing with games. Trillion: God of Destruction is a good example of that.

The game is packed with systems, subsystems, and various synergies, all of which Compile Heart does fairly well when they can. It's also packed with grinding, obtuse onscreen tutorials, and wonky controls. It's like someone took all the best parts of Compile Heart games and mashed them all together, and then also somehow the worst parts got in there, too. It's a phenomenal mess, and unpacking just how much of one will probably take the rest of this review. 

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Syndrome: Haven't We Been Here Before? A Review

All my life, I've wanted nothing more than a proper successor to System Shock 2Bioshock was always way too easy, even on the hardest setting. Dead Space relied on jump scares and didn't create the necessary level of existential dread. Hell, even Amnesia was just Myst on a very bad drug trip. There hasn't been a game that blends claustrophobia, outright horror, desperate combat, and the feeling that something is terribly, terribly wrong in the same way as Looking Glass Games' classic first person horror/RPG/Adventure. When I saw Syndrome, though, I had hope. The claustrophobic corridors, non-working lights, and twisted imagery made me think of my old standby for any list of horror games. I had a lot of hope.

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Clustertruck Review

Imagine someone took the simplicity and design philosophy of SUPERHOT and applied it to a platformer, and you'd get Clustertruck, the latest by Landfall Games. A platformer that finds you playing "the floor is lava" on the back of featureless trucks, where one bad bounce leads to a hilarious demise and making your way through the level is about as much luck as it is skill, Clustertruck is one of those few games like the aforementioned SUPERHOT or Nidhogg where adding anything more to it would be stupid. It only has to be what it is. And it's fun like that. 

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Zombasite Review

A few months ago, I reviewed an ambitious early-access game known as Zombasite. I was quite impressed with it back then, a title with staggering depth and a very low learning curve, where you could participate however you liked. It had an interesting mechanic with warring clans and an impending zombie apocalypse, and it was a lot of fun. It also had a lot of problems, some serious UI issues, and a definite problem with being overwhelmingly huge. It also couldn't quite make up its mind as to what kind of game it wanted to be, instead deciding to be all of them at once. 

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Perfectly Fine: A Koihime Enbu Review

Roger Ebert once said "Of each thing, ask, who is it for?" He was of course talking about the medium of film, but it's a useful metric for criticism in general. For instance, critiquing a racy visual novel on the quantity of fanservice is kind of useless, since that's exactly why people are playing it. Similarly, critiquing a fighting game for average fighting game things isn't really intuitive to the people who want to know if a fighting game's any good, regardless of whether or not the reviewer is actually any good at fighting games.

So with this in mind, I decided to figure out whether or not Koihime Enbu, the 2D fighting game based on the Koihime Musou visual novel series, is a good fighting game, regardless of whether or not I like fighting games all that much. 

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Demetrios: The Big Cynical Adventure: A Big Cynical Review

Having been an afficionado of adventure games over the years, I understand that they aren't without their difficulties. For every Monkey Island or Space Quest, there are four that take the route of Phantasmagoria* and about six different games featuring puzzles with solutions that read like poorly translated stereo instructions. While it's the easiest genre to design for (no combat algorithms or anything like that, clean narrative with a few branches) it's also one of the easiest to screw up. All it takes is one puzzle where processor speed determines difficulty, or pouring whiskey into the gas tank of a car to fuel up a spaceship, or an infuriating pixel hunt and instantly people will throw up their hands and uninstall in annoyance. 

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Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart Review

Okay, so for the past few years, there's been a franchise known as Hyperdimension Neptunia. The general conceit is that the games industry is anthropomorphized as a land called Gamindustri, ruled over by warring goddesses who have "console wars" to determine supremacy and games companies are depicted as anthropomorphized anime characters. 

Inexplicably, this has grown into a massive franchise of games, one of which is Hyperdevotion Noire, an alternate universe game where the anime goddess representing the Sony systems has taken over everything. 

It's also not very good.

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