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Brian Hoss

SecondVariety
SecondVariety
SecondVariety
SecondV

50 games reviewed
82.2 average score
80 median score
86.0% of games recommended

Brian Hoss's Reviews

Having gone from game development to criticism, Brian's reviews tend to focus on game design. Ultimately, the question is, "is it fun?"
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Apr 23, 2016

Fans of 'Aliens,' myself included, should be pleased when they see Ripley and co in action in a pinball setting. It certainly makes me think of the heyday of licensed pinball tables. And that's just the beginning as the two other tables in the 'Aliens vs. Pinball' pack make for a great set with a nice degree of design and presentation variety.

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Apr 14, 2016

'Dark Souls III' delivers. It scratches a special itch that only its developer has managed find. So while the bounty of 'Souls' games in recent years has spoiled this reviewer, it's impossible not to enjoy, and recommend the game to both new and returning players. In fact, only 'Bloodborne' players seeking that game's particular speed and setting may be an exception.

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I enjoyed carving out a hero's path during my time with 'Stories: The Path of Destinies,' and I even entertained a non-gamer with the melodrama inherent to game's branching story. Action game fans will wish for a greater challenge, and everything that the game does well will make players wish that there was more of it.

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I found 'Day of the Tentacle Remastered' to be a shining example of how to do a remaster, and the visuals really stand tall. The original game is more accessible (and nearly modern in some aspects) than I recall. Coupled with the included 'Maniac Mansion' and Vita support, this ought to make a great adventure game romp for a great swathe of players.

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Mar 4, 2016

'Street Fighter V' stops short of being an online-only experience, but players need to want to play online nearly all of the time to get much mileage currently. The roster is impressive, but undercut by the game's insistence that players pre-select a single character before going online. In essence, the fighters are more accessible than what the game modes facilitate, but there's no denying how each human vs human match can be marvelous. With the framework in place, and an incredible fighting system delivering on being a new numbered 'Street Fighter' installment, what's left is for Capcom to deliver on their promised content and feature pipeline.

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Dec 7, 2015

Being an unconventional indie game, 'Her Story' is like to illicit a strong response. The heavy use of FMV is also like to turn many away, and the interface isn't the friendliest. Fortunately, those that do play the game will find a special experience that easily justifies the price. This is definitely a "have you ever played it" kind of enduring title.

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Nov 30, 2015

'Just Cause 3' does a few things that are just ok, but it also does explosions and crazy physics on a big scale very well. By easing up on some of the restrictions typical to openworld games and dialing up Rico's special abilities, 'Just Cause 3' survives its early rough opening to become a worthy diversion for many and an endless playground for others.

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Nov 9, 2015

Load up, head out, and see the world. Haul some of it back. Be a law-bringer or a scoundrel. See what's behind the curtain, and make some battery-powered friends. It's all here and more. I wish the visuals of 'Fallout 4' were better, even much better in places, but the gameplay eventually had me hooked. I wanted to see what was around the next bend, and if I could take it. I wanted to see if I would dish out pain or aid, and if the reprehensible machinations of the powerful would yield fascinating, if deplorable, results.

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Messing with the core 'Call of Duty' gameplay is tricky work, but Treyarch has delivered a AAA beast with 'Call of Duty: Black Ops III.' On the one hand, there is an accessible speed and mobility that keeps everything moving in a guns up way. On the other hand, new abilities will make even the least adept player feel like a powerful part of a team. No doubt, the performance on the PS4 will spoil players. With robust options ranging from a slick co-op campaign to a moody underworld trip into zombie purgatory, playing 'Call of Duty' "just for the multiplayer" has new meaning.

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Nov 2, 2015

'LEGO Dimensions' pulls from a lot of fantastic licenses and even gets the player to use actual LEGOs. At the same time, the game strays too far from the proven LEGO formulae for a series veteran, pulling out the meat of the game design without providing enough balance or sense of progression. There are bright things in the future for 'LEGO Dimensions' I'm sure, but the growing pains of early adoption are too harsh for me.

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Oct 20, 2015

In 2015, it's takes a real statement game to justify excitement in the rhythm game genre. 'Guitar Hero Live' is that statement game. With a New guitar, new gameplay, two distinct modes and a new content delivery method that should see players awash in free, marquee songs, 'Guitar Hero Live' is packed. FreeStyle Games has gone back to the drawing board and returned with both a rock star vision and a streaming music/video gameplay model that ought to attract fans old and new. Alongside the normal AAA titles to look forward this holiday, 'Guitar Hero Live' should be of special interest to home theater enthusiasts on account of the sound quality and the enjoyable novelty and passion to be found in the gameplay and visuals.

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I'd have to go back to the PS2 days to find a 'Transformers' game that was as faithful and fun as 'Transformers: Devastation,' and I think 'Devastation' has the edge in both categories. 'Devastation' is a wonderful counter-point to both the checklist openworld games and the endless parade of indies that are flooding the consoles. Not since I first watched the 20th Anniversary Movie DVD has my Transformers nostalgia been so engaged. The game is a must for fans.

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'Skylanders SuperChargers' is that game that can make the toys to life concept feel exciting again. It can pull together different family members locally or online, and you better believe it will make players want to get a boat and plane to augment that vehicular fantasy. There is depth and variety, but some areas are much more polished than others. It's an obvious buy for existing fans, but the vehicle dynamic makes it a nice choice for anyone who might want to dip their toes.

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Sep 8, 2015

'Forza Motorsport 6' is much more evolutionary than it is revolutionary, but it is nevertheless a significant upgrade over 'Forza 5.' Key features, like the Drivatar system, can't be found outside of the franchise, and the stealth feature that looks to have serious legs is the addition of Leagues. 'Forza 6' is more serious, deeper, and more demanding than 'Forza Horizon 2,' but I expect many players will embrace both games while others are polarized. The Stories of Motorsport career mode is a welcome change, but still feels in need of a more major shake-up. Even so, the look and feel of racing in 'Forza 6' in dry or wet, offline or online, makes the game a crown jewel offering for the Xbox One platform, and it's a game that feels teeming with content.

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- N++
Jul 28, 2015

It's possible that the 'N' in 'N++' stands for niche, but within that niche, the game easily bests almost everything a fan could ask for. For me, the co-op test with a next-gen kiddo beat expectations in a way that only winning gameplay can muster. The newest, and best version of a game whose subtitle could be 'Poetry in Motion and Killer bots' is a triumph on the PS4. Only users who absolutely hate everything about platformers should think hard before giving 'N++' a deep look, while everyone else should partake and celebrate the final form of this landmark series.

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Mar 31, 2015

'Bloodborne' is neither perfect nor is it a slam dunk to suit all kinds of players. It's still an acquired taste, but for those that take the plunge and survive that first crest of difficulty, the ensuing experience is as satisfying as anything on the market today. Furthermore, fans of H.P. Lovecraft have something wonderfully nebulous to enjoy on the PS4. On the Night of the Hunt, one of this generation's great exclusives has arrived. I expect it to withstand the test of years while sustaining the hardcore and newcomers alike.

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No matter how many times I cringed at the ugly environments, or was flustered as story details were pushed out in favor of fixing lifts, at the end of the day, I enjoyed 'Resident Evil Revelations 2' so much that I want Capcom to make a number '3' in a similar mold. That really sums it up.

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Forget JRPGs, 'Final Fantasy' games alone are enough to form hard lines between various fans. 'Type-0' plays like it's meant to be enjoyed in bite sizes and in marathon sessions, and the story is so much more palatable and enjoyable than what one might expect from the past 15 years. For better and for worse, 'Final Fantasy Type-0 HD' is a hit PSP game reborn. It's been made available for a worldwide audience, and should that audience see past the lingering limitations of the PSP, 'Final Fantasy Type-0 HD' will be held up as a new standard bearer for JRPG gameplay and story.

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'DmC: Devil May Cry' was always destined to be the game that wasn't enough like the numbers 1,3 & 4. But with the passage of time, the new Dante and his enjoyable combat can now be considered as their own fun action set, worthy of a hardcore audience. Add in the full offering of DLC (like the playable Virgil), the impressive visual upgrade, and the new modifiers, and 'DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition' is a great pick-up.

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'Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered' does exactly what users should expect from a remaster, it shines a light on all of the original game's strengths, which are worth noticing. Likewise, the majority of the original game's failings are back in full force in this restrained remaster. Longtime fans will find a technical and content upgrade worth the purchase price, while new players now have the definitive version to try.

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