Blake Peterson


35 games reviewed
75.4 average score
70 median score
48.6% of games recommended
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Fallout 4's Vault-Tec Workshop DLC would be more than worth it for most players if all it did was make the cavern space available to build their own vault. That it adds a 4-5 hour quest on top of making these assets available, for the same $5 price as the other workshop DLCs, makes it a really fantastic value, and one that will give a far greater return to anyone who's wanted to take their experience from Fallout Shelter to the main game. But if you're the type of player who expects a fuller story-based DLC from the Fallout series, this may not be for you.

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This is a real treasure and a tribute to all-things Witcher, perfectly captured in the final moment before the credits roll: a close-up of Geralt, who turns to look directly at the player through the screen with a subtle grin, as if giving thanks for the chance to tell one last Witcher story.

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Agent 47 is a cipher for how you want to play the game; he exists to unlock its secrets while also letting you establish your own style—within the game's parameters—and it's great to see how that evolves in this second episode.

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Apr 21, 2016

I had a good time with Star Fox Zero, but it feels like a game whose design is built on contradictions; the desire to have the new targeting control, but with the classic Arwing gameplay keeps both from being entirely functional. It prizes arcade-style progression, but lacks modern concessions for console titles, like adequate checkpoints or multiple difficulty levels. It's at its best when it diverges from traditional gameplay, but does so only fleetingly, as if its scared to commit to different experiences. This mix of playing it safe, relying too heavily on old-school conventions, while also pushing a control scheme that doesn't quite match, makes the points where it works glorious, but only fleetingly fun.

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The first episode of Hitman is a solid starting point for the full game content, which is Contract-driven, with each environment focusing on a single mission with multiple objectives. This is a solid structure for the franchise, even if it's a little jarring to finish the first mission and realize you have to wait for the rest of what would have been released as a complete title.

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What this all makes for is a much tighter and more precisely balanced game than Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, where decisions matter, even in Casual mode. The story in Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest is stronger, but still feels somewhat like filler meant to set up the true narrative to be revealed in Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation. While this feels like a vastly superior game, it also feels very much like part-two of three, in a three-part title. Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest is an excellent, challenging SRPG that requires a great deal of forethought and precision, rewarding the player for hard choices, and keeping your characters in play. While the story is stronger with more engaging characters, it still feels like another "bad ending" setting up the player to have to purchase the third campaign when it releases in March.

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In that sense, as a stand-alone title Fire Emblem: Fates: Birthright is not a particularly good game, though it's not a bad one either. It's an above-average tactical RPG with excellent production value and moderately good gameplay scenarios, but it feels surprisingly one-note and dissatisfying if taken on its own merits as a self-contained game.

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Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam is an odd game, a semi-successful title that achieves a lot of success in its different elements but fails to come together as a cohesive title. Where gameplay is good, it's got subtle strengths and intense engagement. Where it's bad it borders on game-breaking design, likesome of those Toad-capturing sections, and RPG-lite mediocrity. Hopefully, the game is representative of growing pains for the series.

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Xenoblade Chronicles X is epic and a really great game, but one that requires the player to approach it in a specific way. It's an oddity on the Wii U, a full-fledged massive RPG experience from a first-party Nintendo developer. Parts of it are so Japanese—character design, animations, anime/manga-esque plot—that it feels like it should be an Atlus or Nippon-Ichi title; but if it were that niche it would never have been able to develop the expansive environment. There's certainly nothing like it on the Wii U, or anywhere else. It's definitely worth picking up if you have the platform.

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Nov 16, 2015

Right now, it's bigger than life, feels good while you're enjoying it, but is somewhat disappointingly hollow.

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