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The best and worst games of the week

Review Round-up: Week ending 11/9

November is here and the holidays are just around the corner. And while most of this year’s major blockbusters have already hit, as we gear up for the inevitable onslaught of the next generation, there are still some surprises left. Just look at all the eights we gave out!

Taking the poll position for this week’s review’s was F1 2013, the first of our 8.0s. We followed up with the quirky, tough as hell rougelike,The Guided Fate Paradox and rounded the week out with another pairing of formal rivals inMario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. On a more somber note, we also bid farewell to our longtime reviews editor Mr. Jim Sterling, as he handed out a mediocre 5.0 to the latest in the Call of Duty series: Call of Duty: Ghosts.

F1 2013(Xbox 360 [reviewed], PS3, PC)Developer: CodemastersPublisher: CodemastersRelease Date: October 8, 2013MSRP: $59.99

Somehow, even with some of the criticisms I had, I enjoyedF1 2013. For me, it was less about the technical side, like managing tire wear, or learning the kinetic energy return system, and more about just going really fast. That said, there were times that I was somehow able to hone in and sort of fall into the zone, which made it feel like I was going even faster.F1 2013is rewarding in a way that an arcade racer could never be.

While I’d have a hard time recommending this game to casual fans of racing, those that like steep, technical challenges will be thrilled, as will fans of the sport. I want to be clear, though. You will have to have a lot of patience and time on your hands to makeF1 2013a rewarding experience. It’s tough.

Verdict: 8/10

Read the full F1 2013review

The Guided Fate Paradox(PS3)Developer: Nippon Ichi SoftwarePublisher: NIS AmericaReleased: November 5, 2013MSRP: $49.99

The Guided Fate Paradoxmay not have the mostengrossing story, and at times, it can roll at a snails pace when in full swing, but its overall attention to the little things is what makes it one of this year’s surprises. You’ll die, you’ll cry, you may even reboot some saves ad nauseam, but that’s the sadistic charm of a great roguelike — a game that may not be for everyone, but one that offers enough addictive carnage for veterans and newcomers alike.

Verdict: 8/10

Read the fullThe Guided Fate Paradox review

Call of Duty: Ghosts(PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: Infinity WardPublisher: ActivisionReleased: November 5, 2013MSRP: $59.99

Call of Dutymay have picked up a reputation as one of the laziest, most callously developed cash cows in the business, but I’ve always believed that reputation was undeserved.Call of Duty: Ghosts, however, with its slapdash campaign and unambitious multiplayer, contains enough factory-standard cynicism to earn itself plenty of scorn. NothingGhostsdoes is especially bad, but nothingGhostsdoes is worth paying any attention to. It exists to exist, a stopgap bit of filler spat out as the industry transitions from one generation of consoles to another.

Contrary to the old saying, youcanteach an old dog new tricks.Black Ops IIdemonstrated that with style.Ghosts, however, is a dog that simply doesn’t want to change. It knows what it is, and sticks with it. It would be a respectable endeavor, if it didn’t lead to such an underwhelming and predictable little product. What a sleepy, sleepy dog.

Verdict: 5/10

Read the full Call of Duty: Ghosts review

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes(Xbox 360 [reviewed], Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, 3DS, PC)Developer: Traveller’s TalesPublisher: Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentReleased: October 22, 2013MSRP: $49.99

LEGO Marvel Super Heroesis the Avengers game we’ve always wanted, and maybe even more than that — the Marvel game we’ve always wanted, and I say that well-aware of the fact thatMarvel: Ultimate AllianceandUltimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3are out there.Sure, it’s in LEGO form, but whether you’re a casual super hero fan or take a trip to the local comic book store every Wednesday, there’s no question there’s something for everyone here.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Read the fullLEGO Marvel Super Heroes

Rayman Fiesta Run(Android, iOS [reviewed on an iPhone 5])Developer: UbisoftPublisher:UbisoftRelease Date: November 7, 2013MSRP: $1.99

Fiesta Runisn’t really a difficult or deep game in any sense, unless you’re going for a perfect 100 score on every level. At that point it becomes insanely difficult, as you go for run after run, missing thatonetiny Lum up in the corner somewhere, forcing you to do the entire level over again until you get it right. It’s an odd design for sure, especially since an increasing amount of games let you keep your progress after revising a level to encourage completion.

[…]Rayman Fiesta Runflirts with the concept of unacceptable microtransactions, but thankfully, there’s still a ton of bang for your buck here if you can deal with the progression requirements. With a wonderful set of visuals and an even better control scheme,Raymanfans have a lot to be excited about.

Verdict: 8/10

Read the full Rayman Fiesta Run review

Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games(Wii U)Developer: Sega Sports JapanPublisher: NintendoRelease: November 8, 2013 (EU) November 15, 2013 (NA)MSRP: $49.99

At it’s core,Mario & Sonic 2014is fairly competent at what it does, but never manages to be outstanding. There are some clever ideas hidden in there, amongst some shiny visuals and the occasional design headache, but it never pushes the boundaries far enough to be especially unique or interesting. And that’s a shame because there isn’t a lot of depth here to keep players engaged outside of the extrinsic sense of competition provided by playing with friends.

Mario & Sonic 2014is a decent party game, but it isn’t going to win any medals.

Verdict: 6/10

Read the fullMario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games review

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