Gamer

Fantastic fantasy

Dragon Age II is as elaborately polished and stage-managed as its predecessor was rough-hewn and idiosyncratic

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GAMER When they first announced a new game called Dragon Age: Origins, the prizewinning developers at BioWare were enjoying the success of Mass Effect, their wildly popular space opera, which had just introduced the public to the intergalactic potential of the studio's imagination by creating an entire sci-fi universe from scratch. If Mass Effect was all about the future of role-playing games, Origins was all about their past. Read more »

...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 »

Game over(load)

YEAR IN VIDEO GAMES, TAKE TWO: Games have gotten better -- and there are many, many more of them.

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GAMER 2010, TAKE TWO For the first time in my life, in 2010, I feel the weight of games yet unplayed. Soon, 2011 will begin, and the ghosts of my gaming fecklessness will lurk, dormant, on my hard drive, pregnant with the possibility of fun.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 »

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 »

Armchair generals unite!

Civilization V will suck your present life into the past

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Civilization V

(Firaxis, 2K Games)

PC

GAMER The release of a new Civilization game always results in time-management Armageddon. Notorious for its addictive, epic gameplay, the long-running franchise has been the bane of term papers, careers, and marriages over the course of its nearly 20 years in existence.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 »

Worth the wait

Starcraft II took a while to get here, but the new version is right on target

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StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

(Blizzard Entertainment)

PC, Mac OS X

Even for a company known for its notoriously long development cycles, Blizzard took its sweet time with StarCraft II. Though thousands of people now have their fevered hands on a copy, the reality of its arrival hasn't really sunk in. Playing it feels like the first time I listened to Chinese Democracy, except with fewer unnecessary keyboard tracks.Read more »