Digesting Game Reviews

More than the high cost of games (and clothes for my growing daughter), my limited time to play games prohibits me from buying everything under the sun. As a result, I put high value into the information I can get out of game reviews. But it’s not enough to just look up a score – you need to properly break down a game review and figure out what it’s actually telling you.

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Monster Hunter X

While in Japan I was lucky enough (read: my wife was kind enough) to get my hands on a copy of Monster Hunter Cross. For fans of the series, this game represents something of a massive refinement of everything that’s come before (as well as a load of new features). For newcomers, it’s another excellent and friendly chance to finally hop in (though why everyone isn’t already playing is something of a mystery to me). Though I have pretty much no Japanese under my belt, this isn’t my first time playing a Monster Hunter game in Japanese, and it’s even better than last time.

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Mario 64 and Pure Mechanical Fun

Recently, I’ve had a real thing about games that are just damn fun to play. Dark Souls 2 (well, if I’m p,aging it fast and loose while dual wielding), Metroid 2 (don’t judge me), and of course, all the 3D Mario games (64, Sunshine, Galaxy, etc). There is a pure fun that comes about from interacting with really well designed mechanics that I just can’t get out of my usual go to (if you’re curious – it’s RPGs with simple, repetitive systems that can be executed with or without full attention (see also Pokemon and anything old)). With the rise of story being important in games, perhaps we should take a look at something that moved in the opposite direction – a series of totally unrealistic worlds trapped in paintings that were just incredible fun to move through.

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From 3U to 4U: How Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Does It Right

This post was written at the request of T1GZ of ns4g.com. Really, it could stand to be trimmed down a lot, but damn do I love Monster Hunter, so I went crazy.

It’s important to preface this with a disclaimer that I’m a giant Monster Hunter fan. I got into the series with Monster Hunter Freedom 2, and have been locked in ever since. I mean hell, I got a tattoo of the health bar and clock HUD across my chest. This isn’t going to be about a strict and critical analysis of the Monster Hunter games – it’s going to show how 4 Ultimate took everything 3 Ultimate did and made the game so much better and you should stop reading this and go buy it and play it right now.

Still reading? Okay, it’s time to look at the specifics and show you why Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate deserves to have you playing it (especially if you played any previous entry). The changes can be classed into three categories, each one having a very different impact on the experience, but vitally important to making 4U the pinnacle of hunting monsters.

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