The future?

You can finally buy a virtual reality headset and use it in your home. Right now -- today -- that is possible. It doesn't cost $10,000 and it doesn't come with caveats like, "This is made for developers." Samsung is officially the first to market with an accessible, impressive virtual reality headset, all powered by software from Facebook's recently acquired Oculus VR team. That alone is very exciting: We are standing at the precipice of a new medium, finally technologically possible. Wireless, consumer-grade virtual reality! In your home! Today!

Samsung's Gear VR is both an astounding feat and an illuminating vision into our near future; it's the closest anyone's come to making virtual reality into a palatable consumer experience, and a stark example of how far we still have to go before that dream is completely realized.

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In the course of the last console generation, Ubisoft has gone from "the French publisher behind the Tom Clancy games" to the world's leading creator of lucrative open-world sandbox franchises (by quantity, if not quality). This success hinges on a simple formula shared by all of Ubisoft's open-world games: Large, interesting worlds plus tons of things to see and do equals happy customers. Based on massive sales and a decade of largely positive critical response, this seems like a solid and, more crucially, reproducible formula.

With The Crew, Ubisoft and developer Ivory Tower hope to apply those principles to the world of arcade-style racing games while also tacking on an omnipresent multiplayer component that supposedly makes the game's world -– an abridged take on the entire contiguous United States -– feel more alive, while also making it simple and fun to race around the country with your friends online. It's an idea that's undeniably ambitious and, if executed properly, could propel The Crew to the front of the racing game pack. Unfortunately, this racer is more Yugo than Porsche.

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Earlier this year, Amazon entered the crowded field of streaming set-top boxes. But while the Fire TV sounded like a real winner on paper, in practice it was more of a mixed bag. For round two, the internet retail giant scaled back its ambitions and the price. The Fire TV Stick is a streaming dongle similar to the Chromecast or Roku Streaming Stick that's focused mainly on serving up video and less on gaming. Plus, the $39 price tag dramatically lowers the bar for entry. But, even at less than half the price, the Fire TV Stick would be a hard pill to swallow if Amazon didn't iron out some of the kinks from its first-generation device. So has a few more months of polish addressed our concerns about Fire OS on the big screen? Without giving too much away, the answer is mostly yes.

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"Who would win in a fight?" is the lighthearted crux of the Super Smash Bros. series, and it's impressive how extensive that conversation has become. Pitting beloved video game characters in unlikely rivalries seems as amusing as it did during the series' 1999 debut, especially when it involves a mix of iconic faces and left-field picks. With fresh contenders, several new competition types and a lite resemblance of Pokémon training in the form of Amiibos, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is a meaty talking point that proves the "Who's the best?" debate is still well worth having.

Smash's bouts remain layered –- newcomers can focus on throwing basic attacks by combining button presses with tilts of the joystick, learning deep-cut mastery of evasions and timing in-air knockouts as they add matches to their career. Whatever nuances your play style adopts, everyone's victory involves launching opponents from shared platforms, heaping damage on them to make banishing them to the oblivion beyond the screen's edges more feasible.

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EE has evolved rapidly since it became a household name two years ago after switching on the UK's first 4G mobile network. Today, it's more than just a carrier, with a home broadband business and a selection of own-brand mobile devices, among other things. And now, EE's decided to turn its hand to home entertainment, having recently launched the EE TV set-top box. Free and available only to customers of EE's mobile and broadband services, it's essentially a Freeview DVR with a few tricks up its sleeve. Tying into EE's primary focus on mobile, one of the fancier features is the box's ability to stream live and recorded video to multiple smartphones and tablets simultaneously. But is a free DVR with a couple of advanced capabilities enough of an incentive to get you signed up for the required services (which is sort of the point)? Not really, no.

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There's a moment in LittleBigPlanet 3 where Hugh Laurie's villainous Newton, an effete British lightbulb with an egg timer built into his bowler hat, faces down his conscience, berating him with his greatest fear: that nothing he creates will ever be good enough, has never been good enough. It's a fear that LittleBigPlanet players will be familiar with, given the creative possibilities presented by the series. The feeling is more pronounced this time around, and the overwhelming diabolical genius at work in LittleBigPlanet 3 is almost a cause for alarm.

The first and second games in the series felt like a toy box, with developer Media Molecule providing about 3 or 4 hours of examples of how it could be utilized. In contrast,LittleBigPlanet 3, now helmed by Sumo Digital, is the first to feel like the pre-formed game at its core is meant to be a showstopper, an abundant showcase of greatness, a dare to the player to push the envelope even further. Lucky for us, for those who decide to rise to the challenge, they have never made creation easier or more satisfying than it is now.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition is an immense fantasy epic, a sprawling adventure across the many landscapes of Thedas, unapologetically mature in its exploration of politics and brazen in its combat. Inquisition is also developer BioWare's redemption song. It's everything that a sequel to Dragon Age: Origins should have been, and time will slip by as players enjoy the hundred hours of escapades it delivers.

The end of Inquisition's spectacular first act gave me chills. The last time I can recall that feeling is when the Normandy was reintroduced in Mass Effect 2. It's the chill of being at the beginning of a grand story and anticipation for what's to come.

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Before Halo 2 launched in 2004, I must have watched the trailer a hundred times –- easily accessible from its permanent home on my college computer's desktop. Like many fans, my anticipation for the Xbox follow-up was ... let's say substantial. And, like many fans, I was a little disappointed by the campaign and its abrupt, cliffhanger ending. Thankfully, a genre-defining multiplayer suite did more than enough to salve any abrasions left behind by the rough campaign.

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It was the best of Assassin's Creed, it was the worst of Assassin's Creed. So it goes with Assassin's Creed Unity, the newest game in Ubisoft's alternate-history series, where sci-fi tech allows you to relive the secret war between Assassins and Templars. Unity succeeds where it needs to, but it falls short of the metaphorical, fall-breaking haybale almost everywhere else, landing with a sickening thud on hard pavement.

Unity is capable of inspiring loving adoration while simultaneously bringing you to boiling hatred. It aims high, fails more often than it triumphs, and is in dire need of a technical re-tweaking. At the same time, whenever the pieces align, it feels like coming home.

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Google Nexus Player review: a strong, but flawed, introduction to Android TV

Google has been trying to get into the living room for a long time, but it hasn't always worked out. The Google TV platform it launched four years ago never really took off and the curiously shaped Nexus Q was so beleaguered by its limited functions and high price that it didn't stand a chance. Last year, however, Google finally managed to get a taste of success with the Chromecast, an inexpensive video-streaming dongle that was so simple it eschewed the need for a remote control or dedicated UI. Almost too simple, some would say -- you still need another device lying around to cast content to it and the lack of a UI means it's not quite as user-friendly as a Roku or an Apple TV.

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You get just a novel snippet of peace in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. In this shooter's future, technology has trumped terrorism, rooted out the last evil masterminds and flexed its bionic muscles in total defiance of lead-footed politicians who'd rather talk than get things done. "The world is running out of bad guys," your partner says, hopeful but tragically unaware that he's basically describing a video game glitch. Call of Duty never runs out of bad guys.

This one gets points for honesty, though, in that there is no pretentious cover-up of why the good guys beat the bad guys (or why the plot finds them easily interchangeable). In Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, you win because you have better guns, stronger sights, super abilities and superior movement. Whether it's in the rich and varied multiplayer mode, or the frantic, thrill-a-minute single-player campaign, you're constantly relying on cool weapons and combat data to make taking lives easier. Advanced Warfare front-loads the benefits of power in a franchise that has always made technology the exalted, almost fetishized solution to every problem. And you know what? It's more fun when it admits as much.

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TiVo Roamio OTA review: TiVo made a DVR for cord-cutters, but is it worth it?

Cable TV and TiVo go together like peanut butter and jelly, or at least they did until now. The company that, for all intents and purposes, invented the DVR has, after 14 years, released one specifically designed for people who don't want to pay for a TV subscription. If you look past the marketing, the $50 TiVo Roamio OTA is actually the same as the standard-edition Roamio, but with a nonfunctional CableCARD slot and no option for Lifetime Service. So, is this the one box a cord-cutter needs? Just as important, is the price right?

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Slingbox M1 review: A pricey streamer, but worth it for frequent travelers

It's been 10 years since Sling Media was founded, and here we stand with the fifth-generation Slingbox, the M1. Like all Slingboxes before it, the M1 can stream live and DVRed programs to your mobile devices, but this time, it's $150, making it the least expensive model yet. In particular, it's $30 cheaper than its predecessor and boasts the same feature set, but with the addition of built-in WiFi, so you don't need to park the box next to an Ethernet jack. So do the price cut and built-in WiFi make it a more worthwhile purchase? Let's find out.

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Here's the thing about Amazon: We can't figure the company out half the time. Few things embody that quite as well as the Fire TV. The company is adamant that the set-top box is not a gaming console, but it's invested heavily in original game development for it and even produced a shockingly good gamepad accessory. Still, video games are just a "bonus." One of the pillars of the streaming-media box is supposed to be openness, but there's no denying that other services like Netflix are treated like second-class citizens here. They're invited to the party; they just better not outshine the host.

The Fire TV may be the next step for Amazon as it tries to build its own ecosystem, but it's also yet another entry in the crowded streaming-media market. And the big question is: Do we need another? We've got TV set-tops for cable, satellite and fiber (at one time joined by a disc player for movies and maybe a game system or two). The next-gen game consoles do double duty as entertainment hubs, and there's no shortage of cheap boxes designed specifically to stream Netflix, HBO Go and Pandora. Add in smart TVs and the rise of pint-sized dongles, and the question of what to watch becomes how to watch. The Fire TV is trying to muscle out competitors with its $99 price and a strong focus on performance, search and openness. Now that we've spent a few days living with one, we can judge whether it's just another option among many, or truly a standout that finally fixes problems the others have so far ignored.

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Titanfall is strictly coiled around the player. You couldn't excise even one piece without slackening it like a ruined kidnapper's rope. The serpentine level design, the liberating sense of movement, the flawless controls and yes, the enormous bipedal tanks dropping from the sky, are equally indispensable in this arresting shooter.

Given the studio's splintered status as a former Call of Duty custodian, Respawn Entertainment has made a multiplayer game fit for those who have spent years peering through the eyes of a speedy killing machine – a seasoned six against six in battles for land or a higher kill count. A history with rapid-fire aim and fleet-footed 3D movement is not essential here, but recommended.

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