Reviewed by: Jamaal Ryan
Chop, bludgeon, shoot, die. Chop, bludgeon, shoot, die. While this cycle of extreme violence is the bread and butter of Hotline Miami (minus the hypnotizing beats and colorfully hazed 16-bit pixels), Dennaton’s cult classic was damn near perfect, merited by both its synergistic novelty and sublime execution on the top-down, twin-stick shooter sub-genre. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, however, is nowhere near as modest or as lean as the original as it’s characteristically manic in every way shape and form. It’s talented, charming, attractive, and a hell of a lot of fun, but it’s also overly ambitious, tangibly incohesive, and carries on for far too long. Read more.


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Thursday, March 5, 2015

By Jamaal Ryan
As Evolve began its rapid transformation from an intangible, freshly announced concept into a frequently played, comprehensible love-child of Turtle Rock, there was plenty of skepticism surrounding the developer's approach towards four versus one asynchronous multiplayer design. Would Evolve be unbalanced thanks to the Wraith? Would Evolve feel complete if you didn't opt in for the obnoxious pre-order bonuses? Would Evolve ever live up to being the second coming of the co-op driven shooter after the studio’s success with Left 4 Dead? All of these were valid concerns, especially considering the worrisome alpha and beta, which quickly revealed discrepancies in this angelic silhouette.
Leading up to its release, the coverage of Evolve was borderline idealistic, with like-minded members of the press asking questions about coordination, verbal cues and advanced team strategies, all of which the type of player Evolve was catering to would want answers for. They are the party chat goers, the Battlefield clansters, and the high-fiving tea baggers. But I’m not one of those players. I play multiplayer games for little more than self-merit, and I find that the most effective use of my mic is to silence the voices coming out of my television. I am not a social player. Yet this is a social game. So here's the question I asked: Could players like me, isolated competitors, enjoy a game like Evolve? Read more.


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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Reviewed By: Jamaal Ryan
The name “Titan Attacks” might be a bit misleading to some. Amongst numerous games that have made use of the word “titan”, including Puppy Game’s very own and more appropriately named Revenge of the Titans, Titan Attacks! is simply a straightforward Space Invaders game built for the modern indie era. Bold neon pixel art mixed with solid shooting flair and dash of current video game trends encapsulate what this bit-sized arcade title – now brought over to the 3DS from Steam and PlayStation platforms – has to offer. Read more.


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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

By Jamaal Ryan

I have a confession to make: I'm addicted to shooters. There's something about the immediate gratification of painting your target with the cursor and pulling the trigger at the pixel-perfect moment that delivers heaps of dopamine with every round. It’s the genre that first broke me out of my unwavering (yet surprisingly limited) Nintendo fanboyism after never getting that horrendous Mario first-person shooter that I obsessively fantasized about. So whenever an interesting new title is introduced to the genre, my cravings begin to swell.

As we look forward in 2015, this year certainly has its fair share of high profile titles from the genre, including Turtle Rock’s long awaited Evolve, 343’s promising return with Halo 5, and a yet-to-be announced title that’s currently being worked on by the immensely talented multiplayer level design studio, Certain Affinity. But even among the promise and pedigree of these upcoming releases, and even looking at this year’s big name installments such as Uncharted 4, Batman: Arkham Knight, and the new Legend of Zelda, Splatoon comfortably sits as my most anticipated game of 2015. Read more


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Thursday, February 5, 2015

By Jamaal Ryan
Warning: Brief spoilers for Far Cry 3.
Seeing Citra plunge a knife into Jason Brodie's chest following an uncomfortable sex scene before the credits rolled wasn't the only element of Far Cry 3 that displeased me. Yes, the intended satire failed to land on its feet (or even take off for that matter), and yes, the cast featured a gaggle of smug, upper-middle-class pricks who earned no sympathy from me in the 20-or-so-hour campaign. Above all else, however, I also found the game itself to be deeply flawed. Read more.


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Thursday, January 29, 2015

By Power Up Gaming Staff
Show Notes: We're five shows in now, which means it's time to take off those training wheels. In this special episode, it's time for the panel (mostly) serious. Of course, that means that our chief news rater Scott Russell wasn't invited to the party. Sorry, Scott. It does, however, feature the debut of everyone's favourite news editor, Jon Nielson.
This week's show kicks off with the customary rating of the latest video game news. In Scott's absence, Tara Jayne steps up to the plate to grade everyone's stories, which include yet another Xbox One price change, a man dying from too much gaming, Elder Scrolls Online going free-to-play, and Microsoft's announcement of its HoloLens AR project.
Moving on, the panel discuss their most infuriating and frustrating gaming moments. From gagging themselves on their controllers, to punching their opponents in the face, each of the participants has a funny recollection of a time when the rage just got a little too much.
We then get down to the meat and potatoes of this episode: a roundtable discussion on representation in video games, and the movement that has been termed 'GamerGate'. In a well thought-out and articulate debate, the panelists all weigh in with their thoughts on what has been, rightly or wrongly, one of the most burning issues in the video games industry over the past year.
The guys then each briefly talk about the games they've been playing over the past couple of weeks, as well as those that they're looking forward to in jam-packed February. Listen here.

By Jamaal Ryan

Writer's Note: This article was also featured on Kotaku. Special thanks to Patrick Klepek, and be sure to check out more thought provoking commentary on games in Worth Reading.

If there was one important theme to pick from the last 12 months, it would be: “Don’t you realize? Everyone’s a gamer!”

Now, this is a two part statement. In one aspect, it succinctly highlights the demographics of the video game community, using the term “everyone” as a way to illustrate exactly who plays video games today. It also acts as an assessment of cultural awareness; a reality-check if you will. The question “don’t you realize?” challenges any form of neglect or dismissiveness in order to re-orient those who choose to remain resistant to progressive diversity. And while signs of industry growing pains have been present throughout the entirety of 2014, game makers have clearly listened, ultimately making significant adjustments as to who is represented in our games. Read more.


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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Shared by Jamaal Ryan
These senior citizens end the debate on violent video games.


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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

By Georgie Catto and Jamaal Ryan
Since the dawn of the information age, people have had the ability to communicate with people half a world away. While the information super highway has brought with it many benefits, this increased interconnectivity does occasionally have its downsides. Here are a few thoughts from two gamers (who incidentally live half a world away from each other), on why this invasive electronic advancement isn’t necessarily a good thing. Read more.


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Thursday, January 8, 2015

By Jamaal Ryan

Even though video game streaming services have been floating around the industry for quite some time (look no further than OnLive and pre-Sony acquisition Gaikai), PlayStation has made a big splash in the market with their own take on cloud gaming, PlayStation Now.

Earlier this week, Sony announced that players who subscribe to PlayStation Now will gain access to a catalogue of more than 100 PlayStation 3 games, which will stream to various platforms and devices including PS4, PS3, Vita, and selected Sony branded televisions. Read more.


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Thursday, January 1, 2015

By Jamaal Ryan
At the start of this year, some friends and I talked about what some of our most anticipated games were for 2014. Alien: Isolation, The Evil Within, Destiny, Batman: Arkham Knight, The Witcher 3, Evolve were but a few of the many titles that were feverishly discussed. The funny thing, though, is that half of those games were delayed until 2015, and the other half were incredibly divisive.
The past 12 months caught a lot of gamers off-guard, including myself. It was a year of broken promises that changed the way that game reviews were treated, and a year where fan favorites appeared seemingly out of nowhere. But by the end of this 52-week wildcard we call 2014, five games have resonated with me the most, earning a spot on my Game of the Year list. Read more.


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Monday, December 29, 2014

Reviewed by: Jamaal Ryan
We’ve all come to know games that heavily strive for a particular tone that, in the end, often compromises the value of the experience. Azura’s Wrath, Blue Estate, and Anarchy Reigns are just a few examples of titles that really push their over-the-top message to unexpected heights (and lows), but ultimately fail to connect with the player in anything other than the occasional provocative images and sequences.
As purposefully outlandish as Sunset Overdrive’s tone is, such is not the case here. Its aggressive style of internet meme jokes and punkish flavor is evenly matched by its incredibly deliberate and surprisingly accomplished game systems, making it not only one of the best original open world games of 2014, but possibly even Insomniac’s best game yet. Read more.


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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

By Jamaal Ryan
They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery; but in this case, imitation is the greatest form of skullduggery as Vlambeer – the talented indie developer behind Super Crate Box and Luftrausers – has had one of their games cloned yet again.
If you’re unfamiliar with Vlambeer’s series of cloned games, last year, just before they launched what would be one of 2013’s best mobile titles, Ridiculous Fishing, dev studio Gamenuts released a near identical rip off of Vlambeer’s previous game, Radical Fishing. Soon after, what was then their upcoming title, Luftrausers, was also cloned; not to mention that Ridiculous Fishing artist Greg Wohlwend then went on to work on Threes! (another successful mobile game) which was also ripped off by multiple clones.Read more.

By Jamaal Ryan
"Nintendo is at their best when they're desperate."
There isn’t a quote that is as timely and relevant as this one, since in the past we've seen some of the best work come out of the house of Mario when they’re cornered and on the ropes. At a time where Nintendo has never quite been in a worse position in the console market, we're beginning to see the company take some calculated risks, much like they did in the GameCube era, and very much unlike what we saw last generation. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is the latest title to come out of Nintendo's forced creativity, taking their tried and true concept of a platformer, and flipping it on its head... as well as all sorts of other directions. Read more.


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Thursday, December 18, 2014

By Jamaal Ryan
In the wake of Sony’s massive security hack that has revealed everything from personal information, to private emails, to films under the Sony label, one movie negotiation deal that has surfaced amidst the leak was a Super Mario Bros. film.
Yes, you read that correctly: Super Mario Bros., as in Nintendo’s biggest franchise, now has a film adaptation being negotiated between Nintendo and Sony Pictures.
It’s shocking enough that Sony seems to be neck deep in striking a deal with Nintendo’s biggest property (but hey, Microsoft is making bank off of Minecraft which is one of Playstation’s best-selling titles), but what’s more unbelievable is that they’re taking another swing at making a Mario film after this ambitious train wreck: Read more.


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Friday, December 12, 2014

By PUG Staff
Since 2006, the PlayStation 3 has hosted an outstanding amount of games that have ranged from awe-inspiring to diabolically shocking. Here at Power Up Gaming, we aren't interested in those bad eggs, so instead we've crafted a list of 25 delicious gaming goodies – both exclusive and multi-platform – for your consumption.
These games may not be tomes of perfection, but they definitely hinge on it. They represent an entire generation's efforts to create masterpieces time and time again, a feat that the PS3 has definitely accomplished.
As PlayStation celebrates its 20th anniversary, we invite you to browse our wares, and to comb a list that is so filled with wonder that you will fall in love with each of these titles, all over again. Enjoy.
25. Catherine
Harry Bowers: If there’s one thing that video games get slammed for, it’s attempting nothing new. Atlus’s Catherine was one of those rare games that truly stepped up to challenge this. The result was weird, to say the least. Catherine follows the romantic inadequacies of its hapless protagonist, Vincent. Drama, heartbreak and indecision ensue as Vincent attempts to choose between long-time partner Katherine and new impromptu flame, Catherine.
Here’s where things get weird. Moral implications are presided over by a mystical body of demonic nightmare-inducing sheep. Gameplay fixes are administered by proxy of tricky gauntlet-like puzzle sequences where a sleeping Vincent meets retribution for his nefarious practices. The game skirts between the mundane and the wacky as Vincent attempts to come to terms with what he truly wants from life.
Call it luck, or call it vision – either way, team Atlus struck gold here. The story was gripping and the cast completely empathetic. Gameplay matched story pound for pound. There was something exhilaratingly epic about monkeying your way up a rapidly crumbling tower to some iconic classical bangers. Catherine entertained from start to finish, all the while offering up searching questions about relationships, people and humanity. Catherine was an ambitious game which succeeded in doing something honestly different. That’s sadly an accolade very, very few console games can claim to. Fancy a change of pace from beefcake bro-shooters? Then give Catherine a spin; you won’t be disappointed.
24. Journey
Jamaal Ryan: Journey is a product of sharpened craft, the epitome of the emotional language thatgamecompany has used to communicate with players since its early days. Its glistening sights, award winning sounds, and freeing controls can melt any hardened exterior with effortless grace.
Journey conveys a wide range of themes quietly and metaphorically: isolation, partnership, fear, struggle, death, euphoria. This complex palette is delivered with the utmost subtlety, made even more impressive by being compressed into 2 hours. Because of this, Journey is profoundly therapeutic, plucking you from whatever mood you're in and gently placing you into a better place within a short space of time.
Journey is a timeless work of art, a multi-purposed classic that isn't just one of the best games on PlayStation 3; it's one of the best games ever made. Read more.


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Thursday, December 11, 2014

By Jamaal Ryan
It seems that no matter which console you have, 2015 will treat you with a platform defining title; the next gen follow-ups to the biggest franchises the big three have to offer. Last month, Halo 5 showed off some controversial (though admittedly needed) upgrades to its combat repertoire with boosting, ground pounding, and (OH GOD NO!) aiming down the sights, all in which make it my most anticipated shooter of 2015 next to Evolve.
With Sony and Nintendo’s biggest titlesnot yet fully revealed I’ve waited with bated breath to see when I can get my hands on some of my favorite franchises. Read more.


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Thursday, December 4, 2014

By Jamaal Ryan

Watch some of the industry's most prominent males weigh in on the issue of gender inequality.

Reviewed by: Jamaal Ryan
Even by this current generation’s standards, GTA V’s San Andreas is the most dense, detailed, ecosystem-driven world built in gaming. From its massive skybox, to its immensely populated streets, to the spontaneous wildlife both above ground and below sea level, there’s a seemingly endless amount of activity to witness and partake in.
The city itself was overwhelming when Rockstar released their latest lovechild on last gen hardware, but to see Los Santos and Blaine County through the eyes of your avatar in GTA V’s new first person mode is nothing less than a game changer, and is one of the most daunting and uniquely exhilarating experiences I’ve been privileged to in recent years. Read more.
By Jamaal Ryan
Remember when Microsoft pimped their big television initiative?
Remember how they were going on about turning Xbox Live into a TV programing platform delivering original content, giving us subscribers VIP treatment?
Just a few short months after their huge coming out party back in April, Microsoft had closed down Xbox Entertainments Studios, their internal branch in charge of what was Xbox’s original television program. It was an ambitious, almost adorable attempt on Xbox’s part as we watched them talk about their upcoming original series such as: Every Street United (a show about soccer/football!), Gun Machine (a nail biting detective series!), and of course, another Halo original.
Can you pick up on my sardonic tone? Read more.