Tagged With gut check

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Zen Studios' pinball renaissance on the Xbox 360 and PS3 is one of the best values in downloadable gaming on consoles this past year. Never better than when it's handling licensed tables -- the kind you always wished you got at the arcades of your misspent youth -- Zen returned this week with another four in its Marvel Pinball suite.

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RAAM's Shadow is the second piece of downloadable content for Epic's terrific action game Gears of War 3. It drops on December 13, and is much more substantive than the last DLC, mainly in that it's a prequel-style three-chapter adventure starring Michael Barrick (of the Gears comics) and Zeta team in place of series protagonist Marcus Fenix and his Delta squadmates.

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If they've been making versions of the Nintendo Wii's new board game for 20 years, if Nintendo themselves are publishing it -- choosing to sell this to us this holiday season instead of other Japanese games still awaiting translation -- then surely it must be good and worth buying?

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It's been playable for years, and has captured the imagination of millions of gamers around the world, but it's only now, in November 2011, that indie world-building sensation Minecraft has been officially "released". So it's only now, with a v1.0 after its name, that we feel safe enough to have this informal little pow-wow.

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Fusion: Genesis is a top-down, twin-stick sci-fi shooter meets old-school role-playing game. It's developed by a handful of ex-Rare designers, one of which was the lead designer for Perfect Dark.

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Didn't we just buy this game back in February? No sir and/or ma'am, this is Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, a re-release of the recent release packed with a dozen new fighters from both sides of the battle and enough gameplay tweaks and extras to keep fans fighting until Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Hyper Turbo Edition comes out sometime next month (probably not true).

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Despite the fact that they released high-profile games like Pure, Split/Second and Epic Mickey, The House of Mouse's console output's dwindled significantly. That makes their partnership with Microsoft an important one, because Xbox 360s sit in millions of living rooms across the world.

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It's been 10 years since Bungie gave Xbox gamers the first Halo game, a console first-person shooter that didn't feel like the weak sister to the genre's PC alpha dogs. From that single title grew blossomed one of video game's most successful franchises, one which reshaped what it meant to play video games with other people.

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2011 has already seen the release of one Rayman game -- Rayman 3D for the 3DS. It was good fun, but that is unsurprising, given that it was a 3D port of 1999's Rayman 2: The Great Escape. In Rayman: Origins we have a bona-fide new Rayman game.

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Next week, Volition will release the third game in the Saints Row series, appropriately titled Saints Row: The Third. What started as a Grand Theft Auto knockoff that merely tided players over while they awaited a true HD GTA morphed into something entirely different: the psychotic, chaos-addicted Mr. Hyde to GTA's increasingly grounded Dr. Jeckyll.

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Eight months after the 3DS' debut, Mario at last debuts on the handheld in Super Mario 3D Land. Nintendo is keen for a big hit to energise interest in the device, and they've put their best plumber on the job. Should you hire his services too?