Author: Mike Ryan

Mike Ryan is a Staff Writer who has been playing video games ever since the Atari 2600. He loves fighting games, survival horror, and he sure plays a mean pinball.

Axiom Verge Review: Hack to the Future


Each generation of video game consoles has that one defining characteristic, that one aspect that changes the paradigm of gaming as we know it. The Nintendo 64 / PlayStation era introduced us to the analog stick and disc-based media. The joys of online play were introduced in the Xbox / PS2 era. And the Xbox 360 / PS3 generation expanded on what it meant to be an “entertainment system.” That, and we were subjected to microtransactions galore. Well, some distinctions are better than others.

I believe it’s fair to say that the significant shift in this current generation is the quality of indie titles, games made by small groups of talented developers who understand that a game doesn’t have to be a Michael Bay-esque explosion-fest in order to be enjoyed. Granted, there were a lot of fantastic indie games last gen, but the scene has grown tremendously over the past few years. These dedicated folks make games that they themselves want to play. And we love them for it, because the love and enthusiasm poured into these games are evident in both the art and quality. Additionally, they offer a breath of fresh air to otherwise stagnant genres. And every so often, a game is released that’s pieced together so lovingly it reminds even the most jaded gamer why they got into this hobby in the first place. Axiom Verge is one of those games; a true masterpiece. (more…)

Posted in PC, PS4, Reviews, Top Story | Tagged

Another clue points to Tom Nook, Pikmin Amiibos

posterMy wife is currently volunteering at my son’s school book fair. While setting up, she snapped a picture of one of the Nintendo posters available for sale.

Notice anything different? Animal Crossing‘s Tom Nook and Pikmin‘s, well, Pikmin, are front-and-center on this Amiibo poster. That’s quite odd, as Nintendo hasn’t made any official announcements regarding any additional Amiibo releases outside of the Super Smash Bros. and Mario Party 10 lines. Does this mean these two characters are still in the cards as future Amiibos? And does this mean they’ll be announced soon?

Now, don’t go thinking that this poster acts as of these figures. Actually, the art is the same as this GameStop poster (via Reddit) first seen back in December. But with the final design of the new Mario Party 10 Mario figure added to the mix, one can’t help but wonder why these other characters haven’t been taken out of the image. As with any Nintendo-related rumors, take this one with the ol’ grain of salt until you hear it straight from the Big N, but I like my chances of picking up Tom Nook and Pikmin Amiibo figures someday.

Posted in 3DS, News, Wii U | Tagged , ,

Alien: Isolation Review: A Beautiful, Beautiful Butterfly


I consider myself quite the survival horror veteran. I was fifteen when I cut my teeth on Resident Evil. In college, my roommate and I had to take turns playing Silent Hill, and Clock Tower has me wary of all things scissors-related to this day. More recently, I tried Dead Space with the lights off… for about the first two chapters. Point being, while most of these games scared the bejesus out of me (and yes, bejesus is a word – I looked it up), they put more of an emphasis on the “horror” aspect of the game than the “survival.” By the time I reached the end of some of these games, I had enough weaponry and ammo to mow my way through countless legions of evil. When I first heard about Alien: Isolation, I thought I was in for another familiar romp through the annals of the survival horror genre. Boy, was I wrong.

And I wasn’t just wrong, but wrong wrong. The kind of wrong that bludgeoned me over the head with its wrongicity (not a word). Like the kind of wrong I was when I thought Green Lantern would be a fantastic movie. Yes, I was that misguided. And quite honestly, I couldn’t be any happier to be wrong about my preconceptions of Alien: Isolation. Because not only is this an amazing adventure, but it also truly redefines what it means to be a survival horror game. (more…)

Posted in PC, PS3, PS4, Reviews, Top Story, Xbox 360, Xbox One | Tagged


The Walking Dead Season 2: No Going Back Review: Darling Clementine


The two adaptations of The Walking Dead produced by Telltale have been nothing short of amazing. Some of the best storytelling I’ve ever experienced in a video game has come from these titles. That’s why it makes the finale of Season 2 so bittersweet… it means I’ll have to wait another year (at least) to see what happens in Season 3.

Last season, this wasn’t much of a problem: I purchased the full season when it was on sale, but it stayed in my backlog until Season 2 was announced. Then, I blazed through the first set of episodes in a five-day emotional rollercoaster. Once it was completed, I only had to wait a few months for the next chapter in Clementine’s struggle for survival.

But for now, I must wait. And it will be excruciating. Because chapter five of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead Season 2, No Going Back, marks the conclusion of one of the greatest games I’ve ever played. (more…)

Posted in Mobile, PC, PS3, Reviews, Top Story, Vita, Xbox 360 | Tagged

Nintendo of America Needs To Fix Club Nintendo


Nintendo confuses me at times. On one hand, their studios are among the best. Nobody can deny that when an official Nintendo game is released, it will likely be a great title. On the other hand, some of their internal practices are questionable at best. Case in point: Nintendo of America’s handling of Club Nintendo. Many diehard fans (myself included) have been left scratching their heads at some of the Big N’s decisions. What started off as an amazing way to get Nintendo swag has devolved into a barren wasteland of repeating digital games and greeting cards.

That’s not to say it’s all bad. The digital offerings we get every month are appreciated (although I would like to have more third party Virtual Console titles), and they are reasonably priced. The limited-edition freebies, such as the Smash Bros. soundtrack and Hyrule Warriors DLC are a step in the right direction, but with Nintendo’s merchandising partners and deep pockets, one wonders why the physical rewards are near non-existent. Do they not feel physical rewards are economically viable? Are they just liquidating old inventory before bringing out a new wave of products? Did they run out of ideas, or do they just not care anymore? The truth is that we’ll never know why Nintendo is giving their North American fans the cold shoulder. We may never see an actual renaissance of Club Nintendo rewards, but here are a few ways Nintendo could fix Club Nintendo in the eyes of many gamers. (more…)

Posted in 3DS, Opinions, Top Story, Wii U |

The Walking Dead Season 2: Amid the Ruins Review: The Dark Before the Dawn


In the television world, the finale is perhaps the most important episode of the season. It needs to be exciting and emotional. It needs to provide closure, while at the same time end on a cliffhanger and leave unanswered questions. How else could we remain interested in the show during that excruciating, seven-month wait until the next season? This rings true for the current season of The Walking Dead TV series. Rick and the gang are once again in a dire situation, and we don’t know what’s going to happen next. What happened to Beth? What do the residents of Terminus want? Will we riot if Daryl dies? See, now I’m getting anxious just talking about it. OK, back on track.

In order for the season finale to pack a punch, you need the prior episode to provide a good set up – which usually means a duller entry. This is not bad; it just slows down the momentum a bit. But it is necessary in order to make the finale that much stronger. A calm before the storm, if you will. Ergo, Season 2 of the The Walking Dead video game is no different from its television counterpart. As we draw ever closer to the conclusion of the season, we need to have the penultimate preparation episode – as we get ready for the end. Episode 4 follows this same mantra, giving us a notably slower episode, but still enjoyable in its own right. (more…)

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Eight-hour, Super Smash Bros-centric stream hitting Twitch on Friday


Nintendo’s Treehouse branch (get it?) announced that an eight-hour long stream of Super Smash Bros. For 3DS will air this Friday, September 12th at 10:00 AM (Pacific Time). Not only will you get more Smash than you could ever hope for, the Big N is also planning on showcasing several upcoming holiday titles for both the 3DS and the Wii U. Rumor also has it that we will finally get a release date announcement for Super Smash Bros. For Wii U, so keep your fingers crossed for that.

You can view the entire stream on Twitch or Nintendo’s official site.

Posted in 3DS, News, Wii U | Tagged ,

Nintendo shows off new 3DS XL models based on an NES controller, Smash Bros, Persona Q

supersmashbros-3dsxlNintendo just announced three new models for the popular 3DS XL. The first is the previously Japan-only and North American-rumored Super Smash Bros. For 3DS model. This version of Nintendo’s handheld, releasing on September 19th, comes in both red and blue and features the game’s fighters on the cover. If you notice, that’s several weeks before the launch of the game so this bundle, which is priced at $199.99, will not include Super Smash Bros. For 3DS.

personaq-3dsxlNext up is the Persona Q Edition, a 3DS XL model based on Atlus’ upcoming game Persona Q: Shadow of the Labrynth. As you can see, the hardware is painted with Persona’s Grimoire tome, and includes character art on the back. This system is set for release on November 25th and is a GameStop-exclusive. Once again, the handheld has been priced at $199.99 and does not include a copy of Persona Q: Shadow of the Labrynth.

nes-3dsxlThe final new 3DS XL model, the NES Edition, is based on the original NES controller. The system’s box itself is decorated to resemble the NES system. The NES Edition is another GameStop exclusive and will be available through the retailer (for $199.99) on October 10th.

“More than 12 million systems in the Nintendo 3DS family have been sold in the U.S. alone,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “These new models give shoppers even more choices during the holiday shopping season. Based on past experience, these special editions likely won’t stay on shelves for very long.

Also, to clear up any potential confusion, these new 3DS XL models are NOT the “New 3DS” systems that Nintendo recently announced for the Japanese market. The Super Smash Bros. Edition, the NES Edition, and the Persona Q Edition are all the same 3DS XL systems that we’ve been playing for over two years.

Posted in 3DS, News | Tagged ,