Peter Galvin

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 »

Gamer: does the dismal "Homefront" have a silver lining?

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Can Homefront’s failures inspire change in the game industry?

I’m almost reluctant to add to the media blitz that first-person shooter Homefront (now available) was and is getting. Even with low scores and plummeting stocks, the game managed to sell 300,000 copies on its first day, so to a degree it would seem the publicity has paid off. But, after being personally subjected to an overwhelming number of posters and billboards, hundreds of balloons, an anti-Korean rally, and a long schoolbus ride to a barbed-wire-laden warehouse, I was disappointed to find that behind this velvet curtain was a pretty flimsy product. Maybe Homefront will be the game that gets the ball rolling on an important issue that has been brewing for a while: game pricing.

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...And gaming for all

The Game Developers Conference in San Francisco provided plenty of hype -- and even a little controversy.

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GAMER For a second there, the mighty PR machine seemed poised to devour the Game Developers Conference. The communal, feel-good GDC was built on sharing ideas, and in recent years the modest think tank had grown exponentially, as established game developers and publicity houses descended on downtown San Francisco with glossy preview events and headline-stealing announcements that previewed things to come at the summer E3 expo. Read more »

Dreadfully fun

Turn out the lights, turn up the sound, and enter Dead Space 2.

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Dead Space 2

(Visceral Games/Electronic Arts), Xbox 360, PS3, PC

GAMER Survival horror might be the game genre most affected by the environment it's played in. You'll see the best results when a player agrees to meet the title halfway: turning out the lights and turning up the volume. Then it's up to the developers to deliver on their half of the equation. Though generally lauded when it released in 2008, the original Dead Space launched with promise but ultimately was content to repeat itself for the majority of its playtime.Read more »

Admit it, you're addicted to Angry Birds

YEAR IN VIDEO GAMES, TAKE ONE: Forget Hollywood, this was the year that tiny screens held our attention

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GAMER 2010, TAKE ONE Although a large portion of the world remains blissfully unaware of a shift, the game industry has silently surpassed Hollywood as the wealthiest entertainment medium. The year was more transitory than breakthrough, but 2010 boasted a number of changes. Here are seven.Read more »

Shoot 'em up

Cold War globe-hopping from Cuba to Russia, Laos, and Vietnam in Call of Duty: Black Ops

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P>Call of Duty: Black Ops

(Treyarch / Activision), Xbox 360, PS3,Wii, PCRead more »

War — what is it good for? Video games!

Medal of Honor tackles contemporary warfare, beards and all

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Medal Of Honor

Danger Close, Electronic Arts

(Xbox360, PS3, PC) Read more »

No brains required

Postmodern, sure -- but no complex moral exercise: the point of Dead Rising 2 is to kill a lot of zombies

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Dead Rising 2

Blue Castle (Capcom)

Xbox 360/PS3/PC

GAMER If Dead Rising was a videogame homage to Dawn of the Dead (1978), then Dead Rising 2 has taken a big leap forward in the George Romero zombie timeline, landing somewhere near the patchy neighborhood of 2005's Land of the Dead.Read more »

Good enough, fella?

The gangster lifestyle ain't always shits and giggles in Mafia II

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Here's a game that piles on hot-rods, collectible Playboy centerfolds, piano joints with framed Bogie posters, and one instance of a full-fledged Sinatra sing-along. Mafia II (2K Czech/2K Games, Xbox 360/PS3/PC)is the sequel to 2004's Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, a well-received PC game that put players in the shoes of a cab driver as he rose through the ranks of the 1930s mafia. Its sequel mines similar Coppola and Scorsese territory, set this time in the 1940s and '50s, as you play a young war vet looking to settle his late father's debts.Read more »

Chaos channel

Crystal Castles harness the power of punk to initiate a trance

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