Peter Galvin

Gamer: Sony PlayStation Vita top picks (and games to skip)

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Read Peter Galvin's review of the Sony PlayStation Vita in this week's Gamer column.

Most of the Vita's launch games exist to show off what the system can do. Mini games, short races, puzzlers; a lot of this initially sounds like phone gaming. But, even with all of Sony's efforts to ape the success of Apple's app store, don't discount the Vita's sticks and buttons, a fundamental that phone gaming has yet to overcome. Real games have buttons, people.

Little Deviants
This mini-game collection came as a pack-in with early orders of the Vita and seems specifically designed to show off the system's novelties. Think WiiSports, but instead of a remote, you have touch screen games and "augmented reality" that uses the rear camera to allow you to shoot aliens in your house. Each game is fairly one-note and, for all but children, the novelty will grow old fast.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss
For everyone who thinks their phones can play games, play Golden Abyss. While this third-person shooter may stack less favorably against its console brethren, as a handheld title it's simply stunning. An Uncharted adventure with very few concessions, Golden Abyss is closest to a home experience you're likely to get on a handheld. Read more »

Viva la Vita

Quick and slick, the Playstation Vita is tech geek heaven

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GAMER News of the Vita's death in Japan has been greatly exaggerated. Sony's new handheld console arrived on Japanese shores last November, with meager sales compared to 2005's PSP and even fewer than the much-ballyhooed Nintendo 3DS launch last spring. Analysts were quick to point to the 3DS's disappointing launch as the beginning of the end for dedicated handheld systems, and Sony's comparatively low sales had many pundits patting themselves on the back.Read more »

The bottom of the top

YEAR IN GAMER 2011: It's only when you approach the bottom half of a video game critic's top 10 that the real debate begins

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YEAR IN GAMER One of the most exciting release windows in recent memory, this year's fall gaming onslaught is officially behind us. And while most gamers are quick to rank the marquee experiences — battling dragons (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim), thwarting diabolical clowns (Batman: Arkham City), and riding giant birds in a green tunic (The Legend of Zelda: The Skyward Sword), it's only when you approach the bottom half of a critic's top 10 that the real debate begins.Read more »

Ezio come, Ezio go

Assassinate your way through this technically brilliant tale of 16th century Istanbul 

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ASSASSIN'S CREED: REVELATIONS

(Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft) Xbox 360, PS3, PC

GAMER Historical fiction tale and science fiction soap opera about a man who relives his ancestors' memories through a special machine, Assassin's Creed is a satisfying fusion of the stealth and platforming techniques pioneered by publisher Ubisoft with its Prince of Persia and Splinter Cell franchises. And each year fans cringe at the prospect that the ambitious saga is spreading its potential thin with an annual release model.Read more »

Combat fatigue

Battlefield 3 offers an immersive multiplayer war experience. Shame about the story mission, though.

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Battlefield 3

(DICE, Electronic Arts)

Xbox 360, PS3, PCRead more »

Three is the so-so number

Resistance 3 

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GAMER Take a look at your favorite games from the past few years and you'll find most were released not only on one system, but on two or three. The days of platform exclusivity are waning, and all these multi-platform releases mean console exclusives like Resistance 3 are increasingly important to manufacturers interested in maintaining their position in the industry.Read more »

The Duke abides: Gamer takes on "Duke Nukem Forever"

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Duke Nukem Forever
Xbox 360, PS3, PC
(3D Realms / Triptych Games / Gearbox Software / 2K Games)

Duke Nukem Forever is an exploration of myth and ego, a commentary on celebrity-obsessed culture...

Oh, who are we kidding? Duke Nukem is a steroid-popping meathead who loves beer, blow jobs and blasting aliens. DNF is a direct sequel to Duke Nukem 3D, a PC game that debuted in 1996 – in those dying days of action movie excess, nu-metal and witty one-liners – and the sequel does not stray far from its roots.

That it took 15 years to release a sequel makes DNF the oldest video game joke in the industry. Following numerous delays, funding issues and company closures, its imminent release is a moment being watched by many gamers with cautious anticipation: Will the game enjoy the same success it might have had in the 90s? Or has the world changed too much, lending this joke a pitiful punchline? Read more »

Gamer road trip: E3 report!

Hyped at E3, first-person shooterBioShock Infinite will be released in 2012.

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If last week's E3 press conferences in Los Angeles are any indication, game consoles are no longer just about games. The Electronic Entertainment Expo, the year's biggest video game industry event, lavishly presented gamers with a sneak peek at the most-anticipated titles and hardware goodies looking to lighten wallets later this year. Read more »

Pulp gaming

Notoriously pop-culture obsessed Rocksar Games uses a cinematic style to please noir aficionados

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For all the serious discussion sparked by the Grand Theft Auto series, Rockstar Games' blockbuster is not the most serious bunch of games. Notoriously pop-culture obsessed, the company's otherwise earnest game stories are peppered with movie references, goofy caricatures, and dick jokes. The separation between atmosphere and content became most difficult to overlook when the series joined the current console generation with Grand Theft Auto IV. Read more »

Portal 2

A video game's second installment leaves its cult credibility unscathed

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Valve Corporation

(Xbox360, PS3, Mac/PC)

GAMER Portal 2 reminds us that "first-person" is a point of view first and a game type second. With combat-themed shooters incestuously fumbling over one another to produce the most similar experience, it takes a certain amount of marbles to deliver a shooter about strategy and narrative instead of death. But for developer Valve, Portal's sequel was never a risky gamble.Read more »