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Review: Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure

I'd noticed ads around town for Skylanders, proclaiming it as the first game that let you take your toys into the virtual world (or something). I'll admit, I was intrigued. I'm man enough to admit I still pick up the odd action figure from time to time. But then I discovered it was a Pokemon-style system that required you to collect figurines to use in the video game and my interest quickly soured. Games like this feel like the most cynical cash grabs, the kind that prey on a child's desire to own everything related to their interests. All of the 32 playable characters in Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure are on the disc, but can only be unlocked when you own the corresponding figure. And each figure comes in a three pack that cost $20 each. Oh and the starter pack (game, three figurines...

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Review: GoldenEye 007: Reloaded

No one from my generation can't help but get wistful at the mere mention of Goldeneye. The N64 title was the impetus for endless nights of delirious multiplayer gaming. It set the standard for Bond games that to this day hasn't been matched. And now, like so many other games, Goldeneye is being run through the reissue ringer. But unlike many PS2-era games, this isn't the same old thing with some hi-res textures thrown on top. Instead, developer Eurocom has rebuilt the whole experience from the ground up, making a whole new game that manages to retain the feel of the old.

In many ways, this version of Goldeneye feels very similar. It still follows the general plotline of the 1995 movie of the same name, albeit with some dramatic license taken to fit the video game form...

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Review: Spider-Man: Edge of Time

Last year's Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions wasn't a groundbreaking title, but the game did have a good hook. By offering up four Spider-Men to play with, Shattered Dimensions offered a unique take on the superhero game genre. Now developer Beenox returns to the well, but shaves off two Spider-Men in the process, leaving us with only Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099. There are pros and cons to this approach. As fun as it was to play as four different Spider-Men, that approach led to a thin narrative, and ultimately two of the four characters simply weren't as enjoyable as the the other two. So dropping the count down to two allows for a fuller story, but you do lose some variety in the gameplay. And what's left isn't all that great.

In the last game...

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Review: FIFA Soccer 12

What's It All About:
I grew up entrenched in soccer, starting play at the age of five, and playing year-round until I was in high school, when I took up football, wrestling and hockey. There's still a part of me that instinctively enjoys the sport, and I'll watch a game here or there (especially during the World Cup) and I've even encouraged my daughter to play the game. But in my heart, my sport is hockey, which combines the skill and artistry of soccer with the aggressive physical play of football. Thus, my sports video-game fix is EA Sports' NHL franchise, but from time to time I'll give a soccer game a spin, including EA Sports' FIFA series. It's always been fun playing soccer...

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Review: X-Men Destiny

There are two types of games these days: Games that let the player choose how they want the game to go, and those where the game makes the choices for the players. One approach isn't necessarily more effective than another. For example, the first Mass Effect was so enamored with player choice that it forgot to include enjoyable gameplay (a flaw brilliantly corrected in its sequel), while God of War put you on a strictly linear path that was gripping, gory, and thoroughly exhilirating. In other words, the element of choice doesn't make or break a game. When done right, though, the ability to have player decisions affect the larger game can add a sense of immersion and interactivity that you can't get in any other medium...

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