Matt Sainsbury


1215 games reviewed
73.1 average score
80 median score
59.9% of games recommended
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If I haven't made this clear enough - this is a bad game. And yet, I couldn't stop playing it. Perhaps because it's so simple, it's easy to tune out to while I'm playing it. Like a bit of pulp fiction (or, indeed, the typical manga), Romance Dawn is a "page turner" without being remotely memorable.

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It's not that the game fails to offer something compelling; I sit there and take any individual piece of what went on in Professor Layton Vs. Phoenix Wright, and I liked it. It's just that the attempt to mesh two very different kinds of games together without any real attempt to adjust how either plays simply doesn't work as well as it should on paper.

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How much value you get from this game largely depends on how comfortable you are with online challenge and competition. Taken as an single player experience, Mario Golf: World Tour is either expensive with all its DLC, or a little too light in raw content for its own good from the base package. But either way, compared to Camelot's previous 3DS effort with the tennis game, this is a massive step up.

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Disgaea games never set out to be deep and meaningful narrative experiences, and it takes a real time commitment to start reaping the rewards of the combat system of any of the games in the series. But they are irresistable and ridiculous, stupid fun once they get going. Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited is the kind of game that can ruin sleep patterns and kill productivity. But it's all worth it because it'll keep you chuckling right up to when that favourite Prinny hits level 9999, dood.

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The gothic horror atmosphere of the game is as brilliant as ever, too. Though Diablo 3 was never the most immediately beautiful game, everything within it - from the character design to the environment layouts, the way enemies shamble about, the haunting ambient sounds and music, and the incredible (if overblown) cut scenes create a tense, dark environment that is so complete that it remains a rare achievement among games.

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The ultimate concern with any rhythm game is whether the actions that the game is asking players to take (swipes, taps and so on) reflect the movement and mood of the music. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call nails this, and makes for a music game that is both fun and rewarding. Especially for the Final Fantasy fans out there.

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I can all-but guarantee that the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. will be game of the year based on the raw quality of how the 3DS version plays and the assumed value of the local multiplayer on the big screen. But if we were too look at 3DS version in isolation, it does miss the point of why people play Smash Bros. in the first place.

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Feb 3, 2015

The biggest problem with Gunman Clive 2 is that for all the attempts to expand on the original game's formula, it remains a very limited game. It's not just that it's over quickly, but it doesn't do anything to really make it something memorable. It's fun, it's not much more than that, but that might well be enough to give it a go.

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It's a little hard to grade this one. On the one hand it's an genuinely entertaining dogfighting sim on the Nintendo 3DS - a genre so rare that its only competitor is its predecessor. On the other hand re-releasing the exact same game and selling gimmicky Amiibo miniatures unlocks as the major new addition is... well, it's not exactly adequate. This kind of feature would be a $5 DLC add-on elsewhere.

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So it is not a perfect game and as you come to grips with its systems it stops being difficult even on the highest difficulty levels, but Hyperdevotion Noire is a deliberately silly, irreverent game that is hugely entertaining and technically competent. As someone who can't get enough of the tactics JRPG genre, this is one I couldn't put down.

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With Majora's Mask, Nintendo's premier franchise was no longer childlike in innocence. Having addressed the core themes that sit around death, and the inevitability of it, the series transitioned into a place darker and more knowing. Subsequent releases have either paled in comparison to the revelations of Majora's Mask, or represented a nostalgia for the "good old times" of innocent adventuring. In other words, The Legend of Zelda series has become the incarnation of an adult, and for better or worse, Majora's Mask is the coming of age story that made us all grow up.

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Xenoblade Chronicles 3D doesn't really belong on the Nintendo 3DS. In fact, Nintendo would have been better off going the other way and doing a "HD" version for the Wii U in the lead up to the next Monolith Software release on that console. But, that aside, this is a classic game, and having that experience on the go is not a bad bonus reason to purchase the New Nintendo 3DS.

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Apr 9, 2015

Boxboy! is confident, assured programming. It's brave to make a puzzle game in which players control a box with two little slits for eyes. It requires the confidence of the entire development team that they're going to be able to imbue character into the experience despite the minimalism, and that the level design and puzzles would be interesting enough in their own right to maintain the player's interest. HAL has succeed in doing just that, and the Boxboy! development team was justified in their confidence.

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May 26, 2015

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M is disappointing because it could have been a far better game. With a developer with such experience in tactical games as Intelligent Systems has, there is no excuse for a game that is this limited, this garish, and this incohesive. If this is to be built into a franchise, it's going to need a dramatic improvement by the next game.

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Ar nosurge has instantly become one of my favourite games of all, up there with the likes of Nier and Persona 4. Even when it's not at its best, it's still better than almost anything else. Emotional and poetic, deep and intelligent, it's the kind of game that will fly under most people's radars, but it's also one of those games that will hold a place of pride in the libraries of those that are lucky to discover it. This is a game you will hear me celebrating for many years to come.

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Sep 25, 2015

Again I want to emphasise; Etrian Mystery Dungeon is a terrible Etrian Odyssey game, missing the point entirely in what an Etrian Odyssey game is meant to offer. But as a roguelike, it is such a clean, traditional example of the genre that I found it very difficult to put down.

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Persona 4: Dancing All Night gets almost everything right. There’s a narrative that not only follows on from one of the finest stories ever written (and I'm not just talking in terms of video games) but succeeds in actually enhancing it.

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But it is still fun to try and beat friends and family on the leaderboards. Long live pinball.

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Devil Survivor 2 is not even close to Atlus' finest moment, but it is a very fine game nonetheless. It does a good job of offering a narrative with thematic depth, and mixes in well with some deep character development and monster fusing mechanics. If it wasn't for the generally uninspired effort to pull the game into shape from a visual perspective, it would be in the running to be one of the better examples of the genre on a console loaded with them.

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