The Best And The Worst Final Fantasy Spin-Offs

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Big franchises often take advantage of their fame and appeal with a variety of spin-offs. The RPG juggernaut Final Fantasy is no different and throughout the years it has experimented with many different flavors. Some worked out much better than we ever expected; others were complete disasters. One thing is certain: Final Fantasy spin-offs aren’t going away.

Square Enix just launched Final Fantasy Explorers this week in North America and World of Final Fantasy is currently in development. But we didn’t want a list that just discussed ‘respectable’ games like Crisis Core or Revenant Wings or select average titles like Final Fantasy: Chocobo’s Dungeon and Final Fantasy Dimensions. What good does that do? We wanted to zoom in on the best creations, while also looking at the games that went horribly wrong.

Why You Should Buy Rise Of The Tomb Raider’s Baba Yaga Story DLC

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Rise of the Tomb Raider’s first story-driven DLC released this week, and while it doesn’t expand the main storyline, it does have some interesting moments and a worthwhile final battle. Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch is $9.99, or you can play it as part of the $29.99 season pass. Depending on your insistence on finding everything there is to see in the DLC, it clocks in somewhere between two and three hours. The short answer to whether or not you should buy and play it depends on if you want more Rise of the Tomb Raider, which if you’ve played the game (or seen our review) then you know that answer is yes.

Baba Yaga is not set after the events of the main campaign. Instead, it is embedded in the middle as a large sidequest. When you enter your save file, a large pink marker on the map points you to a woman named Nadia, who is under attack by Trinity soldiers. After saving her, she reveals her grandfather went on a suicide mission to get revenge for the death of her grandmother, who was killed by Baba Yaga. Nadia wants Lara’s help going after him. Baba Yaga is a monster of Slavic folklore – a witch who lives in a home that walks on gigantic bird legs. You can read more about her history here. Lara is skeptical of the witch’s existence, but as Lara reiterates to Nadia, some truth always exists behind the legend.

Blog Herding – The Best Blogs Of The Community (January 28, 2016)

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We had a great week of blog entries, so there is plenty of good content to indulge in. Plus, this week marks the return of community playdates. Get psyched!

Community Blogs For January 21 – January 27:

Top 10 Games That Still Live Up To Their Name... StarterPack had me at Super Mario. But really, only so many games can stand the test of time. I may not agree with every entry on this list, but it's a great article to get some debate going. Side note: I would totally put Jungle Beat on that short list. But how good is that number-one series?

10 VR Games That You Can (And Should) Play This Year

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10 VR Games That You Can (And Should) Play This Year

At a recent HTC Vive event near Valve's headquarters in Seattle, we got a chance to play several upcoming VR projects set to release this year. Many of these games aren't exclusive to the HTC Vive either, so even if you've already pre-ordered an Oculus Rift, these are 10 VR projects you should keep on your radar for 2016. Unless otherwise noted, these games are all set to release alongside the Vive sometime later this Spring.

Space Pirate TrainerPlatforms: Rift, Vive

Infinite Doom: Why SnapMap Is id’s Secret Weapon

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Infinite Doom: Why SnapMap Is id’s Secret Weapon

Doom has always had a vibrant mod community, giving gamers the ability to create their own maps an more. That legacy is moving forward into the next Doom thanks to SnapMap.

In our video interview with Doom's game director, Marty Stratton, we talk about how the new SnapMap creation feature will give modding tools to even the most novice designer. 

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Why There's More To The Witness Than Drawing Lines

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The puzzles in The Witness are based on the simple idea of tracing a path from one point to another. So what's so challenging about that? You might be surprised.

Join me and Jeff Cork as we play an early chunk of the game, solving the initial puzzles and exploring the ways The Witness layers on complexity to create brain-bending scenarios. A grid with a few symbols on it might not seem daunting at first, but in The Witness, it's a reminder of how much you still have to learn. If that sounds too philosophical, just watch the video anyway; there's a pretty great fart sound effect. 

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These Four Awesome Puzzle Games Help Decode Coding

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A new crop of puzzle games is blurring the line between entertainment and education by putting players in the role of a virtual programmer. They also happen to be among the best puzzle games I've ever played.

People often think of computer programming as a dull and laborious activity, but writing your own code has more in common with puzzle games than you might guess. Puzzle games are built on presenting players with a series of problems and a set of tools to solve them. Programming is no different, except instead of lining up colored objects or pushing around blocks, you use variables, statements, and basic mathematical operations to reach the desired outcome.

That might still sound dull and laborious, but the games outlined below are among the richest and most rewarding puzzle games I've ever played. Why? Most puzzle games introduce a set of mechanics and then ply players with variations on the same theme. The best puzzle games, however, continually evolve their formulas, providing a steady stream of "a-ha" moments as you expand your understanding of the tasks at hand.

Gravity Rush Remastered Reminds Us Why The Sequel Has Great Potential

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Gravity Rush, the Vita launch title about a gravity-manipulating amnesiac, is making its way to PlayStation 4 with a new coat of paint. Along with taking a look at the upgraded version of game, we also discuss the game's minor legacy.

Gravity Rush was a Vita launch title, and at least until now, a true exclusive for the handheld. It was later given away for free as part of PlayStation Plus. The protagonist, Kat, was included in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale as a downloadable character. Sony clearly had high hopes for the game and its fiction, but it didn't garner much passion. Most who played walked away lukewarm, neither loving or hating the game.

I'm a bigger fan than most (along with former GI editor Dan Ryckert), which I outline in the video below. I love the gravity-manipulating mechanic and I see it as a well-executed base for what I hope will be a good sequel.

10 RPG Franchises We’d Like To See Come Back

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These days it seems like anything is possible in the gaming world, thanks to the growth of crowdfunding and social media. Series that were once relegated to memory are suddenly coming back. Did you ever think we’d have a chance at Shenmue 3? How about Square Enix reviving the Nier and SaGa franchises? This got us thinking about our favorite RPGs of yesteryear. While plenty of great series have vanished, we think many have potential to thrive again. Without further ado, here are the 10 RPG franchises we’d love to see return.

Note: This list is presented in alphabetical order

Chrono Trigger/Cross

Lego Marvel Avengers: How To Unlock Jessica Jones & Daredevil

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The stars of Netflix's hit shows, Daredevil and Jessica Jones, are playable in Lego Marvel Avengers. You likely won't recognize Ms. Jones, as she's masquerading as Jewel, her secret super hero identity that was only mentioned as a joke in the show. Daredevil also isn't sporting his Netflix attire, and is instead in his classic comic book red. Both characters are fun to control, especially for overworld navigation. Jones can freely fly across the city, whereas Daredevil uses his billy club to swing across it like Spider-Man. [Excerpt[

With over 200 different characters in the game, most of which must be located and unlocked, finding these two heroes is no easy task. Lego Marvel Avengers doesn't offer a map of its New York City overworld, and outside of the Statue of Liberty and Avengers Tower there aren't many landmarks to use for guidance. For these two specific characters, we recommend using the bridge as a means of pinpointing where you need to be on the map. Both characters are standing in the overworld, waiting to give you a mission. They are represented as purple dots on the radar. When you near them, Daredevil and Jones' faces will appear.

Daredevil is located near the water on a pier loaded with crates and construction gear. The pier is located on the opposite side as the bridge.