Top Of The Table – Blood Rage

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Top Of The Table – Blood Rage

A few weeks back, I looked at Flick ‘em Up, one of my favorite casual games to play with family and friends, thanks to its simple rules and rewarding dexterity-based gameplay. If you’re more of a classic strategy gamer, this week’s spotlight should be right up your alley. Blood Rage is hands-down one of my favorite strategy board games of recent years. Challenging tactical decisions and a richly imagined Viking mythology theme drive the gameplay, accentuated by some awesome miniatures and excellent art by Adrian Smith. But it’s the briskly moving turn structure, intricate balance, understandable rules, and quick play times that help to distinguish Blood Rage from many of its competitors in the genre of area control war games; it’s a standout example of the way modern board-game design can be accessible and deep at the same time. 

A Look At The Second Wave Of Pokémon Gallery Figures

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A Look At The Second Wave Of Pokémon Gallery Figures

Earlier this year, Pokémon fans were able to grab new premium figures of Pikachu, Mew, Eevee, and Magikarp as a part of a new line called Gallery Figures from the Pokémon Center. Now, a new wave featuring four more of the series' most popular creatures is available.

Just like with the first wave, this second line of figures features the Pokémon performing signature moves from the games. Vulpix is performing a fire spin attack, Cubone is using bone club, Psyduck is performing confusion, and Jigglypuff is, of course, using sing.

The company sent us all of the figures to check out for ourselves. Each character features a high level of detail and cool move effects surrounding them. This time around, Jigglypuff and Vulpix are the tallest thanks to their move effects, with Cubone being the shortest of the four figures. You can see all of them and their packaging below. The figures are currently available on PokémonCenter.com and retail for $16.99.

Game Informer's Top Scoring Game Reviews Of 2017

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Game Informer's Top Scoring Game Reviews Of 2017

Game Informer reviews tons of games every year, but only a select few are able to obtain special commendations reserved for the highest scoring titles. Games that earn an 8.5 or 8.75 obtain a Game Informer Silver award, while a score ranging from 9 to 9.5 earns that game a Game Informer Gold award. While most of the best games of the year fall into that range, the most elite titles ascend to the next level to earn a Game Informer Platinum award (9.75 or 10 score).

To help you keep track of the best of the best, we've compiled all of the top scoring games of 2017 here. Check out the games we've thought are the best of the year so far, and if you want to learn more, you can read the full review with a simple click-through. Also, be sure to save this page so you can check back each month to see which new games we think should be added to your "must-play" list.

For more of our favorite games from recent years, head to the links below.

The Top 10 Games On Wii U

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The Top 10 Games On Wii U

Since its debut in 2012, the Nintendo Wii U has seen both rough seas and smooth sailing. From the third-party developer exodus that occurred shortly after the system hit the market to the outstanding releases that only Nintendo can deliver, the waters of the Wii U can be tricky to navigate.

Whether you’re just now grabbing Nintendo’s most recent home console or you’re just looking to expand your existing library, this continually changing list represents the games you should play on your Wii U.

Here are Game Informer’s current picks for the Top 10 games on Wii U.

A Look At The Funko Pop! Collectible Phenomenon

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A Look At The Funko Pop! Collectible Phenomenon

If you have spent time in a store that sells collectibles in the last few years, you may have noticed that a certain brand of vinyl figures have seemingly taken over its own share of the market. Funko Pop! Vinyls cover a wide variety of licenses and brands, including film and television series, video games, sports teams, and even cereal mascots. Love them or hate them, there’s no denying the all-encompassing phenomenon they’ve become. We spoke to Mark Robben, director of marketing for Funko, to get some insight into the Pop! Phenomenon, and learn about the licensing and production process for the figures.

Robben says that the now-iconic Funko design came out of a collaboration with DC Entertainment around 2010. 

“There were just discussions with DC in particular, about coming up with a new stylized take on some of the characters,” Robben says. “And our artists at the time were influenced, in that case, by Japanese art and character design, looking at some of the things that have been done there with anime figures and whatnot. There have also been some early designs with plush, that had kind of a similar shape and feel to them, and it just kind of evolved naturally.”

Ups and Downs – The Best And Worst Games In Long-Running Classic Franchises

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Ups and Downs – The Best And Worst Games In Long-Running Classic Franchises

Some video game series enjoy long and prosperous runs, filled with blockbuster sales and critical acclaim. However, even our favorite franchises miss a beat here and there. For every Rocky, there is a Rocky V, and for every Empire Strikes Back there’s a Phantom Menace. Here are the five best – and worst – games in some of our favorite series.

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back vs. Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of CortexIn the late 1990s, Crash Bandicoot was the de facto mascot for the PlayStation brand, and his games turned developer Naughty Dog (Uncharted, The Last of Us) into one of the biggest names in the business. Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, released in 1997, remains the pinnacle of the series, perfecting the run-and-jump formula of the original while balancing the difficulty, fixing some of the wonky camera angles, and otherwise bringing the series from “great” to “all-time classic” status.

After Naughty Dog finished its run on the series with Crash 3: Warped and Crash Team Racing, Eurocom developed a party game spin-off, Crash Bash. A new mainline platforming entry didn’t come until 2001’s Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, developed by Traveler’s Tales, the studio that would later go on to create Lego Star Wars.

RPG Grind Time – Turn-Based Battle Systems Need To Evolve To Survive

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RPG Grind Time – Turn-Based Battle Systems Need To Evolve To Survive

To stay relevant, evolution is necessary and many RPGs have gone bigger and flashier, often choosing open worlds coupled with action combat. I don't begrudge this at all, but I don't think any RPG has to fit a specific mold to be fun and successful. Lately, I've been thinking about the turn-based battle system, especially considering it's the core of Persona 5, the upcoming Dragon Quest XI, and the recently launched Cosmic Star Heroine. I'm glad to see developers aren't backing away from it entirely, because I still find value in this form of combat despite more and more RPGs moving away from it. Even Final Fantasy, a long-time stanchion, abandoned it in its latest iteration.

How A Set Of Golf Clubs Captured Some Of Call of Duty: WWII’s Best Sounds

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How A Set Of Golf Clubs Captured Some Of Call of Duty: WWII’s Best Sounds

Assembling and capturing the sound effects for battles on the scale of World War II is a daunting task, one that Sledgehammer Games’ audio director Dave Swenson and his team are taking on for Call of Duty: WWII. From camping out to capture sloshing water in rivers to bashing up bits of trees and timber, Swenson’s hunt for the perfect auditory sensations takes him to interesting places.

One of the more interesting captures for Call of Duty: WWII happened on a golf course.

“One of the cool things I did… I love planes. Especially WWII planes, they sound really great. They’re hard to get though – not everyone has a WWII bomber that’s functioning and flying around,” says Swenson.  “So I was reading the newspaper and there was a day where a whole bunch of WWII bombers were flying in and going to be doing a lot of takeoffs and landings at the airport." 

Everything We Know About Call of Duty: WWII

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Everything We Know About Call of Duty: WWII

On November 3, Sledgehammer Games and Call of Duty: WWII will take players back to a popular war era and setting – the European Theater of World War II. The franchise returns to the boots-on-the-ground setting fans have been clamoring for, with no jetpacks, power slides, or lasers. Here’s everything we know about Call of Duty WWII right now.

The Campaign

You spend much of the campaign as Private Ronald “Red” Daniels in the 1st Infantry Division. A 19-year old fresh out of Texas, you’re as green as they come, a common man thrust into impossible situations.  In stark contrast to many modern Call of Duty titles, you’re not a super soldier or anything even close to it; you’re vulnerable and inexperienced. You rely extensively on your squadmates to survive brutal battles and conflicts, and they will rely on you as well.