Evil West Review - Undead Redemption

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Evil West asks a simple question: What if cowboys fought vampires? It's the kind of off-the-wall thinking that gets a Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford movie greenlit, and developer Flying Wild Hog certainly gets a lot of mileage out of its whimsical concept. Set in an alternate version of 1890s America, Evil West is the Wild West at its wildest. A familiar backdrop of swinging-door saloons, rolling tumbleweed, and abandoned gold mines are interwoven with Nikola Tesla-inspired electro-steampunk technology and an assemblage of ravenous bloodsuckers. Evil West shines in the heat of battle when that initial question can be answered, but its strengths are often diminished by the dated design wrapped around them.

The story is a fairly by-the-numbers affair, pitting a vampire-hunting organization against a vampiric enemy force threatening the continental United States. You're strapped into the spur-clad boots of Jesse Rentier, a typically gruff protagonist with very few emotions beyond mild indifference. His occasionally pragmatic response to the absurdity occurring around him is slightly endearing, but it's telling that I had to look up his name before writing it here. The narrative does periodically broach some interesting themes; for instance, one of the Highborn vampires is concerned by humanity's ever-expanding technology and the threat it will pose his fellow sanguisuge--but these threads never really go anywhere. The only one that does revolves around a smarmy and misogynistic government official, yet his comeuppance isn't as satisfying as it deserves to be.

Ultimately, these one-dimensional characters and cringeworthy dialogue replete with strained expletives are easy to ignore. The story is little more than a vehicle for its chaotic combat, propelling you from dusty town to murky swamp in search of new monstrosities to extinguish. The most surprising thing about Evil West is that it's more of a brawler than a shooter. The behind-the-back third-person perspective is reminiscent of the most recent God of War games, letting you get up close and personal as you pummel enemies to a bloody pulp. Jesse is equipped with a metal gauntlet that adds extra heft to each punch, while a charged uppercut can be utilized to launch smaller enemies into the air where you can follow up with a cannonball strike to send them careening into a conveniently placed spike trap or stack of TNT. Jessie's melee strikes feel suitably weighty, and the gratuitous gore that coats each arena in blood and crimson viscera really sells the power fantasy at Evil West's core.

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Call Of Duty: Warzone 2 Review - Al Mazrah Shines

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Although Call of Duty: Warzone 2 introduces the new Al Mazrah map, it integrates both new and iconic locations together to serve as a crucible for the battle royale's big overhaul to a lot of core features and the introduction of Modern Warfare 2's mechanics and movement. The end result is mixed, with some of Warzone 2.0's new additions making the moment-to-moment action feel fresh, while updates to other classic Warzone features feel like a step back for the battle royale title.

Warzone 2's 150-player skirmishes of solo, duo, trio, and quad combatants are played out on the new Al Mazrah map. The fictional desert region in Western Asia does a great job of combining new Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer maps with several nostalgic locations that longtime Call of Duty fans will recognize. Your adventures in Al Mazrah will take you through Rust, Terminal, Highrise, Afghan, and Quarry from the original Modern Warfare 2, and every location--old or new--blends together to create a vibrant and beautiful environment.

In comparison to Modern Warfare's Verdansk map, Al Mazrah feels more diverse, with its mixture of arid desert, large bodies of water, tight cities, and exposed small towns. Water was very limited in the original Warzone because Modern Warfare lacked swimming mechanics, but the sequel brings over all the features and mechanics of Modern Warfare 2, which means that large bodies of water, boats and swimming are now added to the mix, and they're meaningful additions that give you fresh ways to take on fights in Warzone 2. Being able to dive away from a bad gunfight or use it for stealth to flank an opponent in particular adds a new kind of dynamism to engagements.

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The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil In Me Review - Holmes Sweet Holmes

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When The Dark Pictures Anthology was revealed, its promise was immediately obvious: Take the team that gave us the excellent Until Dawn and have it tackle new horror subgenres at a clip of about once per year. Results have been mixed across the four released games, but on a steady upward trajectory that does not falter with the latest effort. The Devil in Me is Supermassive's latest slasher, and it outshines its predecessors--with a more cohesive plot, best-in-series characters, and a bit of clever gamification injected into the cinematic experience.

The Devil in Me takes us to Chicago, first at the turn of the 1900s to introduce--or, for horror fanatics, more likely remind us of--H.H. Holmes, sometimes dubbed "America's first serial killer." Holmes' "murder castle" was in fact a hotel that he had outfitted to operate as more of a maze of horrific contraptions that could make Jigsaw's works look like Mouse Trap. After a short flashback, the game jumps to the present day and follows an indie film crew making a documentary about Holmes.

To their excitement, they're invited to a scale replica of the killer's ghastly hotel that doubles as something of a museum where they're promised footage and exclusive background information. As it turns out, the curator of the grounds is less than well-hinged himself--who could've guessed?--and what unfolds from there is roughly five or so hours of quality slasher material.

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Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales Review - Miles Per Power

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Editor's note: Spider-Man: Miles Morales is releasing on November 12 for both PS5 and PS4. For this review, Jordan played on a PS4 Pro. Other GameSpot staff tested the game on PS5 and found it to be a largely comparable experience, with the PS5 version benefiting from improved visual flourishes and load times. For a technical-focused discussion of the PS5, and how Miles Morales benefits, check out our PS5 review. This review has also been updated by Alessandro Barbosa to reflect our experiences on PC.

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales feels like the second half to The City That Never Sleeps, a three-part follow-up expansion to 2018's Marvel's Spider-Man--the game even begins with the option to watch a short recap of the first game and its DLC in order to bring you up to speed on Miles' origins, reinforcing the notion that this is an extension of what's come before.

And, unfortunately, the gameplay in Spider-Man: Miles Morales (which I will hereafter refer to as SM:MM because I'll be damned if I try to write a full review that cleverly tries to make a distinction between Spider-Man/Miles Morales the game and Spider-Man/Miles Morales the character; I won't do it) never quite manages to break free of that feeling. That isn't necessarily a bad thing--I like 2018's Spider-Man for its engaging combat loop, so I'm glad SM:MM emulates it. It's just that sometimes SM:MM can feel too similar to what's come before, which can get in the way of establishing Miles as his own brand of superhero. Regardless, the familiar trappings of SM:MM are used to tell an entirely fresh story with a few brand-new faces. And it's that narrative and those characters that manage to distinguish SM:MM as an open-world action game that's compelling to play.

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Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Review - A Braviary New World

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While Pokemon Legends: Arceus dipped its toes into what an open-world Pokemon game could be, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet fully embrace it. This new approach to the tried-and-true Pokemon formula reinvigorates the mainline series and delivers one of the most challenging and rewarding Pokemon adventures to date. Where they really shine, however, is in non-linear progression. Scarlet and Violet make some subtle efforts to guide you to specific locations, but ultimately, how you forge your own path through the vibrant new region of Paldea is what makes it so memorable.

Scarlet and Violet start off like most mainline Pokemon games: You wake up at home, meet your rival, pick one of three starters, and before long you're exploring the world and catching a wide range of monsters. While the tutorial might still feel a bit overbearing for longtime fans, it moves at a brisk pace. Before long, Nemona, your peppy, battle-hungry rival, turns you loose, and you're free to explore a hefty chunk of the map, battle trainers at your discretion, and catch wild Pokemon. It does slow down a bit as it introduces characters and the three main questlines, but soon after that, you are free to explore Paldea in its entirety.

Scarlet and Violet's strength lies in their freedom, and that freedom extends beyond its open world. At the outset you are given three different paths to follow: The Path of Legends, which has you hunt down and defeat abnormally large Pokemon; Operation Starfall, where you deal with this generation's Team Rocket; and the familiar Victory Road, in which you take on eight gym leaders. Unlike previous games, there is no predetermined path through the story. Although trainers and wild Pokemon get tougher the further you get from Mesagoza, Paldea's centermost city, there's nothing outright stopping you from marching up to one of the toughest gym leaders in the game and challenging them to a battle. In fact, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet doesn't even tell you how tough a specific area is until you are actually there.

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