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When I play games, I don’t often do it for the challenge. I’m the guy that picks Easy in the difficulty settings. In my mind, games are meant to be enjoyed, not studied. I want to play to take a break from a long day of work and multitasking to do something rewarding. When Monster Hunter: World arrived I was intrigued by the open world and cooperative focus. What I discovered was much deeper. What have I gotten myself into? When I began my first hunt, I realized there is more than meets the eye in Monster Hunter.

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I caved and bought a PC just under a year ago… and, to tell you the truth, I can’t even remember why I did it. There was probably a pros and cons list involved, though. “Oh yeah, I need it for work” was most likely at the top of that list. To be fair, I’ve been very productive with it since I’ve had it. I’m writing this from it right now, actually. So maybe that “pro” was more justified than I thought. But the real reason I bought a PC was to take my gaming to the next level. I’d spent years looking on as PC gamers played games I’d never get to and I’d been keeping tabs on them ever since. My first few months as a PC gamer were spent exploring this enormous backlog.

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For better or for worse, EA stayed well in the limelight this past year. Star Wars Battlefront II was a major controversy even before it was officially released. Between microtransactions, an abysmal AMA on Reddit, and drastically changing the games core progression due to customer feedback, the company took a major hit to their public image. With 2018 now here, the gaming community patiently waits to see if EA has learned their lesson with their newest line-up of games.

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How do you feel when you play a game? Happy? Sad? Angry? Games have the ability to make us feel these things, and often times these feelings are as real as they come. Games that make you truly feel something for another character are the ones that stick with us forever; they have a lasting impact on us as players and as people. For me, the feelings of empathy, admiration and love have been the most impactful.

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The first Final Fantasy I ever played was Final Fantasy 2 (or for those die-hard fans, Final Fantasy 4). I was 6 years old and I had absolutely no idea how to play it, who was who and what was going on. But that did not stop me from sinking many, and I mean MANY, hours into Final Fantasy. I loved the colors, I loved the names of the characters, I loved the random encounters and sense of adventure. Since then, not many games have been able to replicate that feeling for me…until now. Square Enix’s Project Octopath Traveler didn’t just replicate that feeling, though. It exceeded it.
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Have you ever walked in on a surprise birthday just for you? What about an unexpected raise at work? These are the kinds of surprises that make us feel amazing. With video game releases, these surprises can be few and far between. For years, gamers have lived with the expectation that after a game has been announced, it won’t release for another one, two or even three years. Our initial excitement quickly fades, and what first brought us to the edge of our seats turns into a singular source of frustration. But things don’t have to be that way. How special would it be to see release windows within a few months of a game’s reveal? Well, we’re in luck; gamers may start seeing that more often.
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I look back on my memories of the original Crash Bandicoot with a fond smile. The pits I jumped over, the crates I smashed, the times I almost snapped my controller in half because of that damn rolling boulder; I remember all of it. The Crash Bandicoot remaster was a selfless gift, a gift I didn’t realize I wanted until I had it. That being said, and wonderful as this was, I worry that the success of this remaster will cause developers to capitalize on our nostalgia instead of exploring new and interesting areas of gaming. I mean, I don’t want to sound ungrateful or anything, but did we REALLY need to have a remastered Modern Warfare? Continue reading

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