Nick Pinkerton

Nick Pinkerton

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Telltale Games has a recent history of expanding existing games, film, and comic book franchises into episodic adventure games. The San Francisco studio has taken its formula from The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us and applied it to the Borderlands first-person-shooter series, spawning “Tales from the Borderlands” (TftB).

I had played part of Episode 1: Zero Sum at PAX Prime last August and enjoyed Telltale’s blend of original storywriting and comedic references to 2K’s IP. Tales from the Borderlands certainly gives us a break from the run-shoot-loot formula from 2k’s games, which we had gotten tired of with Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

Raptr has just posted its Most Played PC Games for October 2014, a list highlighted by the release of FIFA 15 and a 75 percent-off sale for PAYDAY 2.

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Assassin’s Creed has taken us to some historical, exotic locations and introduced new gameplay varieties in each installment. The newest title, Assassin’s Creed Unity ($60), returns much of the gameplay focus to the original formula: stealth, well-timed combat, and puzzle solving.

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Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag offered swordplay, dramatic naval combat, hunting, and deep-sea diving. AC IV provided a diversity of action in its open-world setting, resulting in a game rarely put down.

Tesoro is a fairly new gaming peripherals company, producing mice & surfaces, keyboards, and headsets. We’ve previously looked at Tesoro’s Tizona G2N mechanical keyboard, which we gave a modest review. Today, we’re reviewing Tesoro’s mid-level Gandiva H1L gaming mouse.

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The Gandiva H1L is a high-DPI gaming mouse with a unique aesthetic presentation and a familiar, welcomed feature set. At an MSRP of $60, it competes with a large range of mid-level gaming mice, including:

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is not a Lord of the Rings game. There are no epic battles between a wizard and a balrog, there are no disguised female noblewomen slaying wraiths, and there are no hobbits singing jigs and jumping on top of cave trolls. However, having demoed Shadow of Mordor at Monolith Productions, I had not wanted any of that in the finished product.

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Sure, Peter Jackson’s films have translated well to a couple of titles, and some of our readers may have been satisfied by the more recent War in the North or Lord of the Rings Online, but there’s more to be had. What the Tolkien universe has needed to keep us inspired and excited is a logical, original interpretation of Middle-earth. Shadow of Mordor offers this originality by stripping the Tolkien world down to brains and blood, and the game is better off because of it.

Raptr has just posted its Most Played PC Games for August 2014, a month that welcomed 3 MOBAs into the top-5 for the first time.

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The monthly top dog, League of Legends, hosted its LCS playoffs last month, helping increase its Share by 2.82 percent over July. "Share" represents gameplay time as a percentage of the total time spent on all the PC games played by Raptr members.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor—not Destiny—is my most anticipated game of September. I’m taking the road less traveled in games media by honing in on a game that, rather than offering me a horizontally-expanded refresh of its series, integrates a gameplay-enhancing system for a fresh take. Monolith Productions has prioritized the preservation of hack-and-slash combat with a Nemesis interface and engine that gives more weight to players’ battle decisions and encourages them to keep mixing up how they take control of a territory.

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I visited Monolith at their Kirkland, Washington studios and spent the afternoon previewing Shadow of Mordor's gameplay and story.

Double Fine continues to surprise with how they craft their take on various game genres. With Massive Chalice, the company has unified the turn-based strategy of XCOM and Crusader Kings with the long-term strategy elements of Civilization, looking through the genetics lens of Fire Emblem. This complex offspring of those games explores the concept of the smallest action having an impact in the longer term – a terms as long as 350 years.

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Massive Chalice Lead Animator Geoff Soulis showed us how all the pieces fit together in a hands-on demo at PAX Prime. We’ll start by overviewing Massive Chalice, then describe its classes, explain Double Fine’s flavor of turn-based combat, and tie together combat with prolonging bloodlines.

Goldeneye and Halo: Combat Evolved introduced me to PVP first-person shooters. I eventually worked up my chops enough for my friends to target only me when playing a free-for-all mode, but one day while playing Halo, my friend called me out for “screen-cheating.”

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I never heard of such a term and, given that split-screen multiplayer still puts it out there to use the whole screen space to win, I never thought of this dubious act as one that’s frowned upon. Given that he was (and still is) my friend, I instantly quit screen-cheating and never returned to form.

Far Cry 4 has had an interesting journey since its unveil earlier this year. Far Cry 4 features lush environments and gameplay ingenuity, but initially struggled to communicate why it takes the franchise into new themes and settings.

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Some of the Himalayan air has cleared between Ubisoft and the community, allowing folks like us to judge Far Cry for what it is as a game.

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