A lot of what's in Birthright may force a certain sense of deja vu, but if you're going to borrow from a game, you could do a lot worse than borrowing from Awakening. I may have done a lot of nitpicking, but Birthright is still undeniably a solid Fire Emblem entry. Let's just hope that when the next game in the series is released, there isn't a reality show star with terrible hair living in the White House.
The game is a slow burn, and you have to work hard for virtually everything you earn, but the payoff is almost always worth it. This is one of the most uncompromising games to come out in years, but it's reason alone for "hardcore" RPG fans to consider getting a Wii U if they haven't already. If you've mastered everything involving plumbers, apes and pointy-eared Hylians, there's a planet called Mira that has a heck of challenge waiting for you.
The Resident Evil series clearly has experienced its fair share of peaks and valleys, and Revelations 2 hovers closer to the former. While I generally love me some co-op in video games, here's hoping that if Capcom adds it to future Resident Evil games, the AI characters are actually capable of outsmarting the zombies they're surrounded by.
Like the stories from which the characters are borrowed, Code Name S.T.E.A.M. truly is the video game equivalent of a page-turner, and I dare anyone not to be sucked in by its charisma. It may start off slowly, but before you can bellow "STAR SPANGLED SLAMMER!" you'll be telling yourself "just one more level."
In a holiday season rife with games that are riddled by bugs and glitches of all sorts, it's beyond refreshing to know that I can sit down and repeatedly wail on Mario or pummel Samus into submission to my heart's content in lag-free glory. Smashing truly never felt so good.
At its best, The Evil Within offers a few scares and decent, if bland and predictable, combat; at its worst, it's unoriginal, uninspired and plodding. If you're looking for something scarier, try playing through two other recent current-gen horror games, P.T. or Outlast. Heck, I'm betting my nephew's skeleton costume this year will be spookier.
I commend Nintendo for crafting a game that continues to cater to those who still love having friends over to compete, but Mario Kart 8 needs to step out of its comfort zone in other ways. Despite this game's gleaming high-definition sheen, there's little doubt this granddaddy of the karting genre is beginning to show its age.