Reviews

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Review: Resident Evil Revelations 2 on Xbox One

The undead of Resident Evil are a fitting metaphor for a franchise with one foot in the grave.

Since the departure of Shinji Mikami, Resident Evil has arguably become a decrepit shadow of its former self, mutated with spin-offs and genre hybridity as Capcom seek to broaden the brand's audience.

Resident Evil 2 is widely regarded as one of the greatest horror games ever made, and is a personal favourite. Watching the franchise rot like one of its iconic undead monstrosities has been a painful endeavour. What made Resident Evil 5 scary wasn't to be found in chilling atmosphere, tense and vulnerable gameplay, but instead in catastrophically poor design choices. Resident Evil had become a linear action arcade shooter with wilfully awful controls and an utterly absent minded plot. Resident Evil 5 had no idea what game it wanted to be, and I felt so wronged by it that I haven't touched the franchise since, until now.

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Slender Man (or Slendy, as his friends call him) was created by a forum poster in 2009, according to Wikipedia. A blurry, faceless man added to old photographs, the character soon caught the imagination of online horror fans of all ages. YouTube videos and several indie games followed, most notably a free downloadable title called Slender: The Eight Pages.

That game would serve as the inspiration for its much larger sequel Slender: The Arrival from Canadian developer Blue Isle Studios. This one casts players as several severely screwed people who are being stalked by the sinister Slender Man and his minions. Slender: The Arrival has just arrived on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, after launching on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows in 2013 and 2014.

Slender might just be the scariest game I've played. Read on for more details and to witness me freaking out in our exciting hands-on video!

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When it comes to preventing damage to your smartphone, there are a number of different options that offer varying levels of protection. If you are a Lumia 1520 owner, you may be looking for something that shields your device without adding much weight or bulk to the already monstrous monolith of a phone.

If that is your goal, you may want to consider the BodyGuardz UltraTough clear full body skin for the Lumia 1520.

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Thanks to the existence of several standout titles like Rogue Legacy, Binding of Isaac, and Crypt of the NecroDancer, the Roguelike genre has exploded in popularity over the last couple of years. Characterized by randomly generated levels, the inability to continue when you die, and minimal room for error, games in the genre are addictive and tough to master. Although Rogue Legacy has been announced for Xbox One, Microsoft's console has long been without a Roguelike – until now.

Ziggurat comes to Xbox One and Windows from Spanish developer Milkstone Studios, who started out making numerous XBLIG titles for Xbox 360. Their first ID@Xbox release is a magic-themed first-person shooter in the vein of classic FPS Hexen. It also happens to be an FPS Roguelike, of which there are very few games so far.

Can Ziggurat's wizardly appeal and addictive randomness overcome a few technical issues and sometimes unfair difficulty? Read our full review with video find out!

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Welcome to our new feature, Steam Spotlight! Every weekend we will look at a different game available on Steam, the popular digital distribution platform for Windows computers. With the indie gaming scene exploding on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, many of these titles will eventually make their way to consoles. But why wait when you can play exciting titles on your Surface Pro or PC right now?

Today's Spotlight title is Crypt of the NecroDancer from Brace Yourself Games and Klei Entertainment, makers of XBLA hit Mark of the Ninja. Take one part dungeon crawler, one part rhythm game, another part "Roguelike," mix them cleverly together and you have NecroDancer. Exploring super-tough dungeons while hopping to catchy beats is a fresh and engrossing experience.

Read on for our detailed impressions and slam dancin' video review!

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Indie games can drive consumers to buy consoles nearly as much as AAA releases. What else are you going to play in between the big retail releases, and where else would you find more creative and experimental game designs? With this in mind, Team17, creators of the Worms series have started an indie initiative in which they help fund a publish indie games. LA Cops comes to Xbox One from this initiative and has looked promising since it was announced.

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The Xbox One launched with a pretty killer fighting game – that little exclusive known as Killer Instinct, to be precise. Microsoft has implemented innovative pricing strategies with Killer Instinct, allowing players to use one rotating character for free, and then buy either individual characters or a season pass containing a group of characters. But how would a Japanese company handle piecemeal character delivery in a fighting game?

The answer is Dead or Alive 5: Last Round from Koei Tecmo, recently released on Xbox One and 360 and PlayStation consoles (the Xbox 360 version is simply an update for DOA Ultimate). Last Round is the latest evolution of Dead or Alive 5, with all the characters, stages, and modes from the previous versions of DOA5 plus some new characters and features. Fighting fans can buy the whole game outright for $40 (a steal), try a free demo with four characters, or grab the Core Pack of eight fighters for $10.

Does Last Round stack up with fighting game greats? Find out in our detailed review with video!

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Many gamers would agree that the Xbox One has a strong lineup of exclusive games, especially now that Halo: the Master Chief Collection's multiplayer matchmaking finally works. However, Microsoft doesn't have a lot of new retail exclusives lined up for the first half of this year other than the already-released ScreamRide. Thus, it falls on downloadable exclusive titles like Ori and the Blind Forest to represent the gaming possibilities that only Xbox One can bring.

Developed by Moon Studios and published by Microsoft, Ori and the Blind Forest is an exploration-focused action-platformer, also referred to as a Metroidvania game. With stunning and colorful visuals, a massive world to explore, and lots of upgrades and secrets to find, platforming fans will find lots to love in Ori. But you'll want to bring your gaming skills, as the Blind Forest is more challenging than most of its genre brethren.

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Review: Evolve for the Xbox One

This is my first review for Windows Central, and frankly it's a tough one. Evolve has been the subject of much controversy. Many gaming outlets have run articles examining DLC and 'value for money' as a result of the game's business model. Evolve features a prolific amount of paid DLC out of the box, in addition to being a full priced title. For a game that focussed almost exclusively on 4v1 multiplayer, many gamers felt that Evolve may not live up to the asking price. This review carries the danger of becoming yet another article on the issue of value in gaming. Ultimately - I want to help you decide whether Evolve is the kind of game you'd consider worth your cash.

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Review – Trident Cyclops case for Surface Pro 3

The Surface Pro 3 is one of the most versatile devices to hit the personal computing scene in quite a while. And for the high number of students, office dwellers, and home users that own one, a laptop sleeve or portfolio cover is usually more than enough to keep theirs safe.

However, if you are someone who totes your Surface around to different job sites, out of your vehicle, or are just plain clumsy, you may find that you may require something more robust.

Whatever the reason may be, anyone looking for extra protection for their Surface Pro 3 should consider the Trident Cyclops case.

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Transport Empire: Windows Phone and Windows 8 review

Every game publisher has its strengths, and many of them have their niches – particular things they focus on as well. European publisher Game Insight practically owns the city building genre on Windows Phone, having released numerous entries like 2020 My Country, The Tribez, and Big Business Deluxe. Of course they all vary in theme, and sometimes quality.

Lucky for fans of the genre, Game Insight has just released one of its best city building games on Windows Phone and Windows 8: Transport Empire. In Transport Empire, you'll manage a network of trains, ships, and airships (but mostly trains) as they travel across a fictionalized Europe to deliver goods and reap profits. If you like trains, this free to play title is worth a look.

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If there's one game developer that knows roller coasters and theme parks, it's UK-based Frontier Developments. From 2003-2005 they made a name for themselves with three Roller Coaster Tycoon games and several expansions before switching publishers to develop a pair of Thrillville games. Eventually Frontier produced Kinect Disneyland Adventures and 2013's Zoo Tycoon for Microsoft, perhaps to less player acclaim.

Now Microsoft and Frontier team up once more for the Xbox One and 360 exclusive ScreamRide. Billed as a spiritual successor to Roller Coaster Tycoon, ScreamRide is a roller coaster building and riding game with a focus on destruction. With three campaign modes and a full sandbox mode with coaster sharing, ScreamRide is surprisingly robust for a game about coasters. But those gameplay pieces don't always fit together as well as they should, threatening to derail the fun.

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With the starting price of a Surface Pro 3 hovering around the $800.00 mark, it is important to do what you can to protect it. A screen protector is a good start and can be found for a fairly low price.

However, not all screen protectors are equal. They may do some things well, but create issues for you in other areas. The Tech Armor anti-glare screen protector for the Surface Pro 3 is a great example. Upon early investigation, it seemed like a real winner, only to end up having one fatal flaw.

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These days most electronic devices, especially high-end ones like the Surface Pro 3, have durable, scratch-resistant glass screens. That makes screen protectors much more of a personal preference than a must-have accessory.

They can also serve other functions, such as glare filtering. Since I often work in a very well lit environment most of the day, I find having a glare filter can be beneficial, so I decided to try a few. Today I will be looking at the JOTO Screen Protector Film Guard for the Surface Pro 3.

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Microsoft Lumia 435 review

Microsoft isn't short on Windows Phones at the lower end of the price and hardware spectrum but that didn't stop the launch of another. The Lumia 435 is the new entry level point for a Lumia Windows Phone.

It's a crowded space, though. With even some of its own stable mates to compete against, does the Lumia 435 have what it takes?

Let's find out.

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The Dell XPS 13 has been a huge hit since it knocked us off our feet at CES earlier this year. And we have been almost equally impressed with Waterfield Designs' cases for the Surface Pro 3.

So when WaterField Designs announced their new line of custom laptop sleeves for the Dell XPS 13, Lenovo, and ASUS laptops, we were pretty excited. I was fortunate enough to get one to check out firsthand.

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Sometimes the simplest of games can be the most enjoyable. Rocket Fireworks is a Windows Phone game that hopes to fall into that category. Rocket Fireworks includes three gaming options where basically get to shoot fireworks on your Windows Phone. Sounds relatively simple, right?

Rocket Fireworks three gaming modes are designed to test your memory, reactions and tapping speeds. You also have time constraints and color sequences to match to keep the game from becoming too easy. The game concept is simple but mastering it may take some time. Available for low-memory Windows Phones, Rocket Fireworks comes across as a nice fit for the simple but enjoyable Windows Phone mold.

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Lenovo's new 8-inch tablet has a few tricks, but taking notes is probably not one of 'em.

Besides catching that wrath of security and privacy hounds worldwide recently, Lenovo is also known to make some interesting consumer devices. One of those is the Yoga Tablet 2 with AnyPen, announced earlier this year at CES.

Luckily, this tablet is not part of the Superfish scandal, which only applied to a few notebooks.

The 8-inch Windows tablet is a port of sorts from the popular Android version, but with a twist in the form of AnyPen. The $250 tablet is now available and I besides the unboxing, I give you a quick tour and some initial thoughts about this exciting consumer tablet.

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Gun Strike 2 is an action packed Windows Phone game where you play the role of a local mercenary who faces a wide assortment of combat assignments. Game play is along the lines of a robust Hogan's Alley styled game with your enemies popping out from behind walls, through windows and other areas of cover. While the missions vary in context, the ultimate goal is the same, take the enemy out before they take you out.

Available for low-memory Windows Phones, Gun Strike 2 has plenty of weapons upgrades and mercenary types to unlock. The game has its fair share of challenges and comes across as an enjoyable title for our Windows Phone gaming library.

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Farmville is a popular online game developed by Zynga and has many Facebook users addicted to farm life. Farmville 2: Country Escape brings the Farmville concept to our Windows Phones and Windows 8 devices with a slight twist from the original game.

While the original Farmville was more free-play in nature, Country Escape is more task or quest oriented. You still have a farm to build and manage with crops to grow and livestock to raise, but the game seemed to have more structure.The Farmville gaming genre is a fun way to pass the time and Farmville 2: Country Escape came across as a nice installment.

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From its immaculate screen to its horsepower under the hood, the Lumia 1520 is an impressive smartphone. But let's face it, its size and slick polycarbonate chassis make it a little hard to handle sometimes. And being that it is also pricey, the last thing you want to do is drop it.

So as soon as I bought mine, I also picked up some snap-on cases to give my Lumia 1520 some added grip. One of the cases I got was the Nillkin Ultra Slim Case, which I really like. The other is EnGive's Quicksand Hard Matte Skin Case.

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Mash&Co is one of the latest Windows Phone games that is the product of Microsoft's AppCampus. For those not familiar, the AppCampus is a collaborative effort between Microsoft and Aalto University to help build Windows Phone content. AppCampus alumni include such hits as Dark Lands, Mossad, Sheep Up and Zombies got a Pogo.

Mash&Co. hopes to continue the AppCampus string of successful Windows Phone titles by bringing an interactive children's game to the table. Mash&Co. is a multimedia, episodic learning app (plays out more as a game) for pre-school children. The game includes performance monitors for parents to review and see how their children's skills are improving.

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The other week we took a look at the Windows Phone game Field Goal Tournament where you try your skills at kicking field goals from various spots on the football field. The same developer has released a similar game that centers around the basketball court to see how good of a jump shot you have.

Basketball Tournament has two gaming modes that will challenge your ability to make a basketball shot from various spots on the court. Some shots are gimmes while others send you downtown. As with Field Goal Tournament, Basketball Tournament is available for low-memory Windows Phones and is a fun game to pass short bits of time with.

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Grand Theft Seagull is another endless runner installment to the Windows Phone Store that has you guiding an pesky seagull down city streets. You duck, dodge and avoid a wide range of dangers that includes cars, pedestrians, wrecking balls and more.

Oh and you get to shoot poo at various targets as you soar down the street. Grand Theft Seagull is available for low memory Windows Phones and has a slight level of appeal. Unfortunately, while the game tries to stand out from the crowded field of endless runner games, it falls a little short of the mark due to annoying ad-support.

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