Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Review

There’s something hypnotic about a Rube Goldberg contraption. The way one little event like a falling ball bearing or a tipping of a domino can cause a chain reaction to something bigger and more spectacular never ceases to amaze me. In Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, that joyful aspect is really just the icing on top of a much more satisfying cake that is the story and characters of the game.

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Professor Layton and the Unwound Future Review

Movies in general always require a suspension of disbelief, but it’s especially true for a kids movie. It isn’t necessarily for the more fantastical stuff like dragons and spaceships and whatnot, but just for the fact that the entire movie has been scrubbed clean of foul language and/or blood and/or excessive violence. For far too many kids movies, doing so probably doesn’t net you anything you might consider of entertainment value. The kids might fall for the sight gags and bathroom humor, but us adults will just be bored to tears. Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, like all of its previous iterations and undoubtedly its future iterations as well, requires a generous amount of your suspension of disbelief.

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Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume Review



$19.99

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Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: tri-Ace
Platform: DS
Genre: Role Playing
Players: Single
Input: Touchscreen, Gamepad
Fantasy Violence
Mild Language
Mild Suggestive Themes
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Replaying games, especially ones that doesn’t have a multiplayer component, usually depend on the game’s replay value.  What incentives are there to replaying the game?  Are there different paths that you can take through the game?  Other factors come into play of course.  I’ve never come across one where replaying the game is basically mandatory.  That was before I played Covenant of the Plume.

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Ratings Guide

RRB Games uses a 5-point ratings scale. Here’s how it works.

Enshrine It

Philosophically speaking, video games cannot be perfect because they’re created by imperfect beings, us lowly humans, but if a game, despite its imperfections, simply outdoes itself and has left the reviewer in a catatonic state of awe, we award it with our highest possible rating. If we actually knew how to build shrines, we would build one for games that receive this award.

Praise It

Games can’t all be superstars, but they can still be excellent. They can still bring a smile to us even in our worst of days. Although these games may not be the zenith of gaming design or creativity or technical achievement, they’re still worth our time. To these games we award our second highest rating. These are the games we would talk highly of to our friends.

Play It

Greatness doesn’t come overnight. It is borne from uncountable number of trials of differing levels of success. As such, not all video games can earn our two highest ratings, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth looking at. These games may lack the quality or the polish of the great games, but these games still does it well enough to warrant some attention. In these cases, we say that they are still worth playing, if nothing else is available at the moment.

Forget It

Edison experimented with over ten thousand filaments before finding the perfect combination for the lightbulb. Although video games doesn’t have nearly as high a failure rate as Edison’s search for the perfect lightbulb, failures cannot be avoided. When a game simply fails to achieve that special, unknowable combination of design, execution, and imagination, we regrettably must use this rating. We value our time too much to be bothered by such failures.

Trash It

Nobody sets out to make a bad game. Or at least that’s what we try to tell ourselves when we ponder about the games that gets this rating. These games didn’t just fail. They offend the very box that holds them. Their stink wafts through the air like asbestos on a windy day. Karma’s mood must have taken the turn for the worst during the production of this game. Such abominations require far more than simple ignorance. Action must be taken against these “games”.

Peggle Dual Shot



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Publisher: Pop Cap Games
Developer: Q Entertainment
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Arcade
Players: Single, Multiplayer
Input: Gamepad, Touch Screen
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By now, I don’t think Peggle even needs any kind of an introduction.  In case you do, here it is.  You shoot balls at a layout of pegs.  Any peg that’s hit by the ball disappears after the ball falls off the screen.  The object of every level is to clear out all the orange pegs.  Simple right?  It is.  And therein lies the beauty of it. [Read more...]

Lord of the Rings: Conquest



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Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Pandemic Studios
Platform: DS, Xbox 360, PS3, PSP
Genre: Action
Players: Single
Input: Gamepad, Touch Screen
Fantasy Violence
Mild Language
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You’d think by now they’d stop making games based off the Lord of the Rings movie license.  After all, the last one in the trilogy came out over 5 years ago.  That’s right!  It’s been that long!  When you play this game, you really can’t help but feel like the delivery truck that was delivering this game to retail stores went through some portal that propelled the truck 5 years into the future before it finally reached store shelves because the game feels very, very 2003. [Read more...]

Chrono Trigger



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Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Role Playing
Players: Single
Input: Gamepad, Touch Screen
Animated Blood
Mild Fantasy Violence
Suggestive Themes
Use of Alcohol
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The seminal RPG of the Super NES gloriously returns on the DS. [Read more...]

EndWar



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Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft
Platform: DS, PSP, Xbox 360, PS3
Genre: Strategic Combat
Players: Single
Input: Gamepad, Touch Screen
Animated Blood
Drug Reference
Language
Mild Violence
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The console versions of Tom Clancy’s EndWar are tactical games played in real time, complete with voice commands and high production values. Seemingly as an afterthought, we have the game of the same name for the PSP and the DS, and what results has little in common with its bigger cousin. The handheld version is turn based, and as far as graphics are concerned it looks like it was produced with the leftover budget of its 360 and PS3 brethren.

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Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia



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In Stock
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Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Platform: Nintendo Ds
Genre: Platform
Players: Single
Input: Gamepad, Touch Screen
Blood
Fantasy Violence
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The Castlevania series took a slight misstep with the last iteration, Portrait of Ruin.  It was short, a bit too cartoony, and a little bit easy.  Fortunately, the newest iteration in the Castlevania series, Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, will fix that.

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Contra 4



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Publisher: Konami
Developer: WayFoward Technologies
Platform: Nintendo Ds
Genre: Platformer. Action
Players: Single, Co-Op
Input: Gamepad, Touch Screen
Blood and Gore
Fantasy Violence
Language
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Contra 4 is a solid 2D platforming shooter much like all of its predecessor. Though the graphics harken back to the 2D platformers of the Super NES era, and farther back, the gameplay is really what counts. The simple mechanics of jumping and shooting have so much depth in them that the entire game feels fresh through out. It also helps when the game diversify what it is that you actually do from level to level as well. [Read more...]