Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew Review - Spectacul-arrrr

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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is an ideal summer movie. The franchise went on to become single-mindedly obsessed with its breakout star, Captain Jack Sparrow, but the first movie was an agile, lightly spooky swashbuckling adventure. Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew shares that movie's spirit of goofy haunted slapstick with a heart and real dramatic stakes, and blends it with an expertly crafted stealth-strategy campaign. It all comes together into one of my favorite games of the year.

Shadow Gambit centers around the Red Marley, a living, talking ghost ship with an undead crew who have fallen to the Inquisition of the Burning Maiden. You play primarily as Afia, as she revives the cursed compatriots one by one and gathers information on the hidden treasure of the Red Marley's captain, Captain Mordechai, who is conspicuously absent. The search for Mordechai's treasure is an intriguing hook that propels the plot forward and balances well against the often eccentric subplots of the individual characters.

The crew is distinctly drawn with one-of-a-kind visual attributes and backgrounds that makes discovering each team member a joy. Afia is permanently seen with a spectral sword sticking out of her chest, which she draws to eliminate enemies. Suleidy looks as if she's been partially consumed by plant-life. Pinkus is a fancy lad in a powdered wig, while Quintin the treasurer carries around his own golden skull. For a game about the undead, the personalities are just crackling with life and personality.

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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Review - Thrill Of The Hunt

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1974's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a horror landmark. It's gritty like no other, unflinching in its brutality, and downright terrifying as often as it wants to be. Bringing those same qualities to a video game adaptation of the movie milestone would be paramount, which is exactly what Gun Media and Sumo Nottingham have done. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (TCM) is every bit as nauseatingly tense as the classic movie, all while cleverly gamifying its scares in ways that are satisfying and built for the long haul.

Asymmetrical horror multiplayer games have been experiencing a golden age for several years now, but TCM is already my favorite of them. In TCM, a unique 4v3 setup allows each round to play out like an actual horror movie. What I didn't realize until I played it for review is that to properly balance this particular game, creating an even playing field isn't necessarily the best approach. Each round is a horror story, and its team of "victims" intentionally have the odds stacked against them, often coming down to just one Final Girl (or Guy) who might limp off the property to salvation. The high-stakes game of hide-and-seek is better for it.

A cast of five victims and five Slaughter family members, including two newly created characters who fit right into the world, make up the roster. While those playing the family have what are essentially class-based villains to pick from, the victims are closer in performance to each other, save for a special ability they each uniquely possess and starting stats that make up their various but customizable builds. As the victims start out in the basement impaled on meat hooks, the goal is simple and exciting in horror movie terms: Get the hell out of there. That encompasses first needing to climb off the hook, then unlocking an escape route, then traversing a labyrinthine and treacherous outside section no matter which of the game's three maps they're on, all while being hunted. Needless to say, survival is never easy.

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Atlas Fallen - Before You Buy

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Atlas Fallen - Before You BuyAtlas Fallen (PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S ) is an action RPG with sand-powered weapons in a fantasy world. How is it? Let's talk. Subscribe for more: ▼ Buy Atlas Fallen: Watch more 'Before You Buy':

Stray Gods: A Roleplaying Musical Review - Worthy Of An Encore

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I've played plenty of video games over the years that have both rewarded and punished me for the choices I've made, creating this powerful sense of agency in the narrative. Those games feel like I have a hand in shaping the outcome of the story, one in which successfully navigating a tricky conversation is empowering and not quite finding the words for a tough heart-to-heart is devastating. Stray Gods: A Roleplaying Musical builds on that sensation but within the three-act structure of a musical. This combination is an impressive accomplishment, and it's incredible to watch how all those choices can build on one another, culminating in a finale that you helped shape. Together, it makes Stray Gods one of the most memorable gaming experiences I've ever had.

Set within our world--but one in which there's an ounce of truth to the myths surrounding the Greek gods, titans, and their multitude of offspring--Stray Gods starts off like your typical visual novel. Conversations pause in order to present you with a multitude of dialogue options, some of which allow you to gain additional insight into other characters while others push the story forward to the next scene. Almost immediately, you have a chance to flirt with your cute best friend and kickstart one of several different romances. There's comfort in this familiarity. And then the game quickly reveals what separates itself from its contemporaries: the music.

You can adjust the settings to remove the time limit when it comes to selecting choices during songs.
You can adjust the settings to remove the time limit when it comes to selecting choices during songs.

You actively participate in every musical number during Stray Gods runtime, of which there are many across its three acts. Like conversations in choice-driven visual novels and RPGs, each song can branch, and the effects of your choices impact not only the direction of that particular song but every performance that succeeds it. Choices are divided into three categories--Kickass, Clever, and Charming--informing both the method by which you're trying to convince someone of something, and how a song can transform. Kickass choices are aggressive and confrontational and make songs take on a more punk rock vibe, while Clever choices are thoughtful and strategic and lean into jazz. Charming choices, on the other hand, are empathetic and caring and create a more melodious tune. Though all of the songs might begin one way, they can drastically change depending on what you choose.

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WrestleQuest Review - Not The Excellence Of Execution

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Comedian and HBO host John Oliver once said "wrestling is better than the things you like." The same can't always be said of wrestling games, but WrestleQuest, a new role-playing game (RPG) from Mega Cat Studios, had the potential to give truth to that statement. Unfortunately, though, WrestleQuest is marred by a litany of issues. Some are directly tied to its gameplay mechanics, while others are related to its presentation. Together they mean that what could've been a promising offering for fans of wrestling has its charm wear off in a short span of time.

Your journey in WrestleQuest starts with podcast hosts regaling you of an exciting tale, one where athletes come from humble beginnings, taking on all challenges before reaching the big leagues. You're introduced to one of the main characters, the Muchacho Man Randy Santos, an obvious nod to Macho Man Randy Savage. With big goals and big dreams, Randy is joined by friends who are also seeking to prove themselves in the squared circle.

Soon thereafter, you meet Brink Logan and his siblings from the cold north. Without the pink and black motif, you might not notice that Brink is a reference to Bret "The Hitman" Hart, until he starts talking about being the "excellence of execution," along with moves alluding to the Sharpshooter and a getup akin to a mob hitman.

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