Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag

I have always been a fan of the Assassin's Creed franchise and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag continues that. The game builds off of one of the best parts of Assassin's Creed III, the ships. There is a large chunk of the Caribbean in the game that you can sail around and be a pirate in. You play as Edward Kenway, the grandfather to AC3's main character, Connor. The story was fun to play through and provided the opportunity to meet many famous pirates. Throughout you can see some pretty big character development for the main character and it contains one of the best AC stories in my opinion. The meta story in the present day is pretty great as well and contains what seems to be an in game version of Ubisoft as an Abstergo Game Development company. The game looks pretty good (played on 360) and is very colorful to match the Tropical setting. While most of the game was fun to play, it seemed like this one had way more tail/eavesdrop missions which are just not fun to play anymore. In addition the combat felt a little strange at times and would change targets for seemingly no reason from time to time along with freerunning feeling just as clunky in spots as before. I think this is one of the best entries in the series but I wish Ubisoft Entertainment would spend time to rework some of the main systems of the game and get them feeling fresh.

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Borderlands 2

I started playing Borderlands 2 a few months ago and mostly played when I didn't feel like playing something else. I enjoyed the game but never really felt compelled to keep playing. Part of the reason was I just wanted a certain type of gun but it is difficult to find a good version of what I want (they always had weird affects or something). The other is I played mostly solo and the few times I played Co-op I had way more fun. That being said the game is still really fun. It controls pretty well and each class seems different enough. I think my favorite part of the game is the art style. The game looks fantastic and is full of many different environments to play in. There are tons of quests to complete as well. Towards the end I skipped a few because I just wanted to see how the main story arc but I will probably go back at some point to finish them up as most were enjoyable. I also will play the DLC as I have heard they contain some of the best content.

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

I started playing this game last weekend and within a few days had finished it after spending many hours each day playing. I hadn't played a Zelda game since The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and I was ready for a new one. The gameplay is very similar to other 2D Zelda games but with the addition of being able to turn into a painting and walk along the wall. This creates some very interesting puzzles and adds a nice new dynamic to the puzzle solving. For the first time in a Zelda game you can rent all of the required items from near the start of the game (except for 1 item that is story related). This allows you to conquer the dungeons in whatever order you want. In place of a unique item, each dungeon has an option treasure to find that upgrades your gear. The game looks phenomenal and has a lot of the great Zelda music in it. The story is pretty standard for the series but still has some nice moments in it. If you are a The Legend of Zelda fan, you will definitely enjoy this one.

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Batman Arkham Origins

I have been a hug fan of the Arkham games and this game does not disappoint. The game plays pretty much the same as Batman: Arkham City with only a few gadgets changed around. It retains the same open world structure and you can even recognize a bunch of the same locations that are in City. The game is an origin story and you can see how people are scared of Batman at the beginning and slowly realize that he is there to help Gotham. The game focuses on a bunch of the lesser known villains in the story which I thought was cool. My only problem with the story being so early in the Batman fiction is the lack of easter eggs referring to other characters like the previous two games had. The story however was well done and did a good job of showing the beginnings of Batman and the villains of the universe.

Origins also added a multiplayer mode. The mode consists of two teams of player controlled grunts, controlled as third person shooters, that are trying to kill each other. There is then a third team of heroes (Batman and Robin from what I saw) who are trying to kill as many of the other guys to slowly build up the fear meter. The mode features typical call of duty style leveling and unlockables.

I think the Origins game is a great addition to the Arkham series though it does not add much new to the single player experience.

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Pokemon X/Y

I have always been a fan of the Pokémon series from when I was a kid (cards, tv show, games, etc.). I hadn't played one of the games in a while so I decided to pick up one of the new ones. I started the game back when it came out and got sidetracked after a while and just recently got sucked back in. It is still very much a Pokemon game with the same type of combat and skill system. The graphics look great and battles have a lot of cool animations. My favorite part of Pokemon has always been trying to collect as many as I could. This generation brings the total count up to 718 and with the release of the Pokebank provides a nice way to store them that can be accessed in current and future games. The story line lasts a good amount of time although it gets a little weird towards the end. Overall the game was a ton of fun and I am going to keep trying to collect as many pokemon as possible.

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Surgeon Simulator 2013

I had tried playing Surgeon Simulator 2013 a few months ago and got frustrated by the controls and gave it up. Recently a friend of mine was talking about it so I decided to give it another shot. This time I took the time to figure out the controls and had a blast. I did pretty much every surgery (including the alien ones) in one sitting while getting a bunch of the achievements. I love the ridiculous way the game deals with the surgeries and the funny moments that can occur mid surgery. I did end up having fun with the game but it was frustrating at points while learning the controls.

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Hammerwatch

Hammerwatch is a fun top down dungeon crawler. The game consists of running around the floors of a castle, collecting gold, killing enemies, and looking for secret rooms. You can play as one of four different classes and can have up to three coop members playing at the same time which I would recommend. The game can be completed in a few hours if you don't search for many of the secrets. The graphic and sound design fit with the theme pretty well and I enjoyed them. Overall the game was a fun way to spend a few hours with some friends.

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Gunpoint Finished

Gunpoint is an interesting blend of puzzle and action genres. It uses a cool mechanic in which you wire different objects in the world to each other (such as a light switch to a door which opens the door when the switch is flipped). In each level you have to figure out the correct way to wire these objects together while avoiding or killing the guards found throughout the levels. Each level is pretty short but they do get fairly complex and there are a good amount of them. There is a story that is slightly confusing but full of funny dialog. The game takes about 2 hours to complete but it is well worth playing.

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Gone Home finished

I played Gone Home with my girlfriend over the weekend. We had a ton of fun rummaging through this mansion to find out why no one is home. There is a main narrative focused on the main character's sister's troubles over the years. Along the way you can also find out what has been going on in other family member's lives. You learn about these stories by looking around the house and picking up objects (which can trigger the main narrative moments) or reading notes/letters/books/etc. Even though the game took a few hours to complete, it felt pretty much spot on in terms of pacing and overall content. This game was a great bit of storytelling and anyone who enjoys some mysterious stories should enjoy playing through this game.

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Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon

Having recently finished Far Cry 3, I was in the mood for some more of that type of game. Luckily Ubisoft Entertainment made an offshoot game with the same engine. Blood Dragon features the same basic mechanics of Far Cry 3 set in a futuristic 80s action movie setting filled with a ton of jokes and cliche action movie plot elements. My only complaint is that some of the one liners for doing certain things such as picking up some collectibles are repeated fairly frequently to the point of them being annoying. Apart from that the story lasts just long enough to not wear out the cliches used and thus it is a fun adventure all the way through.

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