The Steam Summer Sale Guide

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Summer is a beautiful time. Birds are flying through the air. Bees are scaring the crap out of children and me. The heat gets so intense even as a man you have to pull out the old Daisy Dukes and wear them to the mall. It’s great. But your computer doesn’t want to get forgotten in all of this, so it asks Steam to keep you in. Steam agrees and puts everything on sale for a ridiculously cheap price. Continue reading

Hotline Miami Review

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Platforms: PS3, Playstation Vita, PC
Release Date: October 23, 2012 (PC); June 25, 2013 (PS3, Playstation Vita)

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I’ve got a dog mask covered in blood, a room littered with mangled corpses, and I still need to pick up my phone to answer to some more mysterious phone calls about murder. No, this isn’t Michael Vick’s latest twisted fantasy/scandal, it’s obviously a possible scene from Hotline Miami, a PC indie game that has finally arrived on the Playstation Vita and Playstation 3. Sony’s newfound indie push has brought us some great games like Guacamelee!, but titles like the 1980s-inspired Hotline Miami showcase the true innovation behind these smaller developers. Hotline Miami is a demented, wholly unique title that fits perfectly on the Vita (works great on the PS3 as well) and will find a way to get its hooks into you.
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Bioshock Infinite Review

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Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: March 26, 2013

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Stuck in a near development limbo and hailing from the prestigious Bioshock franchise, there was both fear and cautious optimism surrounding Bioshock Infinite. It always looked stunning, but the long period of silence and lack of actual gameplay footage was quite disturbing. After multiple delays, we finally get the finished version of Bioshock Infinite to judge and see if the long development cycle actually paid off. Somehow, it totally did, combining an extremely engrossing world, tactical shooting combat, and an unforgettable story all within a game with an increasingly grim outlook.

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Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time Review

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Platforms: PS3, Playstation Vita
Release Date: February 5, 2013

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Sly Cooper is a master at the art of staying hidden because it’s been a small eternity since we’ve seen him. The ringtail had a small cameo in Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale (may it rest in peace), but 2005 marked the last named entry in the series. After beautifully handling the Sly HD Collection, Sanzaru Games was given the reigns to the series to resurrect for the PS3 in the form of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. Sanzaru Games has mostly accomplished their mission in faithfully continuing the journey of Sly and the gang, even if it was a little too faithful.

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The Last of Us Review

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Platform: PS3
Release Date: June 14, 2013

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Naughty Dog has gradually ascended the ladder of seriousness. From the slapstick Crash Bandicoot to the wavering tones of Jak and finally to Uncharted‘s witty atmosphere, the coveted developer has slowly but surely injected a more mature tone, although maintaining a mostly lighthearted ambiance. Naughty Dog’s newest release, The Last of Us, is a natural tonal progression for the team, subbing in a wise-cracking treasure hunter for a desolate fungus-driven apocalypse. The tone is grim and the subject matter is admittedly worn, but through sublime design, impeccable storytelling, dramatic acting, and open-ending gameplay mechanics, Naughty Dog has expertly crafted one of the greatest, most emotional rides in all of gaming.

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Tomb Raider Review

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Release Date: March 5, 2013
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC

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Raiding tombs hasn’t been as profitable as of late especially when compared to years past. Lara Croft’s erratic quality and draining relevance has led to her valued name to gain tarnish over the multiple console cycles. As if that wasn’t enough, the Uncharted series single-handedly stole the spotlight from Lara, leaving the teacher as the one getting schooled. To stay relevant, the Tomb Raider series has undergone a reboot. Simply named Tomb Raider, Lara has returned but with a completely different atmosphere. Having no prior field experience and lacking her signature dual pistols, this reinvented Lara must survive on a hostile island in a game that doesn’t completely nail any one aspect, but does enough right in each area to yield satisfaction.
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Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Review

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Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: April 30, 2013

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I did not grow up in the 1980s, nor was I even alive for a nanosecond of it. Michael Jackson, Ronald Reagan, and cocaine were all legendary aspects of that era that I’ve only grown to hear about in my later years (with cocaine being the only survivor). Such is not the story for the creators of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, a downloadable standalone title loosely based on 2012’s spectacular Far Cry 3. Taking Far Cry 3‘s winning first-person shooter formula and letting it soak in a radioactive 1980s cesspool, Blood Dragon pays wonderful homage to this coveted decade along with neatly mixing a level of oft-requested stupidity and open-ended, play-however-you-want gameplay.

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Injustice: Gods Among Us Review

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Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U
Release Date: April 16, 2013

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On the nerd Venn diagram, the overlap of Mortal Kombat and comic books is pretty significant. Well aware of this fact, developer NetherRealm attempted to combine to two ideas for 2009’s Mortal Kombat Vs. DC. Finding a lukewarm reception between gamers and critics, NetherRealm stuck to what they knew best and created 2011’s incredibly violent and spectacular Mortal Kombat reboot. This split didn’t leave DC completely out to die though. Instead, it led to Injustice: Gods Among Us, their new fighting game significantly lacking in fatalities and people named Sub-Zero. Stepping back in over the top violence but subbing in a more popular universe, NetherRealm has crafted a fighting game stepping far enough into familiar territory but carving out enough of its own path to become worthy for any fighting game enthusiast.

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