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The Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of 2014

I think most of us can agree that the Xbox One and PS4 are off to a slow start. Excluding launch titles, both consoles have struggled to release quality games. The only two that really come to mind are Infamous: Second Son and Titanfall. I have some good news though for all of you hungry gamers out there. It looks like the drought might be over. The remainder of 2014 looks outstanding.


10. Alien: Isolation

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Wait… a game based on the Alien franchise is in your top ten list? What is this madness!? If you find yourself saying this then you might want to rethink your opinion. Alien: Isolation is an ambitious  survival-horror title from the masterminds behind the Total War series. The game is set in 2137, 15 years after the events of Alien and 42 years before the events of Aliens. Judging from some early gameplay footage,  Alien: Isolation looks superb. It really captures the look and feel of the Alien universe. The gameplay looks intense. The video itself had me on the edge of my seat. I can’t wait to see what The Creative Assembly has in store for us later this year. Keep your fingers crossed Alien fans!

9. Dying Light

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Dying Light… or as most people call it, Dead Island + Mirror’s Edge. Is this a fair judgement? Yep. Is this a bad thing? Nope. Dying Light started out as a Dead Island sequel, but Techland turned it into a completely new IP.  Dying Light will contain a ton of new features, such as a massive open world, new zombies, real time day/night cycle, “next-gen” graphics, new game mechanics, etc. They also promised to fix the bugs that plagued the previous Dead Island games. Hopefully Dying Light won’t suffer the same fate. Out of the ten games listed, this is the one that I’m the most skeptical about. It’s a boom or bust title. Can Techland deliver? We’ll find out later this year.

8. The Evil Within

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Another horror game? That’s right. 2014 is going to be an excellent year for the genre. The Evil Within is a survival-horror game from the creative mind behind the Resident Evil series. In fact, The Evil Within is very reminiscent of the older Resident Evil titles. You know, the ones that were actually scary? The Evil Within strays away from the zombie craze and in turn focuses on demonic forces and monsters. If you thought Resident Evil was scary, wait until you see The Evil Within. Be prepared to be scared this August when the game officially releases worldwide.

7. Assassin’s Creed: Unity

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Not much is known about Assassin’s Creed: Unity, but it’s safe to say that it will be one of the biggest titles of the year. Black Flag was a ton of fun and most could argue that it was the best Assassin’s Creed game since Assassin’s Creed II. What makes Unity so special you ask? It’s being built from the ground up for the PS4, Xbox One and PC. Unlike Black Flag, it will take advantage of the “next-gen” hardware. Ubisoft has been on a role lately, and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. Assassin’s Creed: Unity is due out later this year.

6. Dragon Age: Inquisition

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Fans rejoice! Dragon Age is back! Most of us fell in love with the series after playing Origins. It was a breakout title for Bioware, earning rave reviews and selling over 3 million copies worldwide. Some could argue that it was one of the best RPG titles of the PS3/360 era. Overall, Origins was a smash hit. Two years later, Bioware releases a sequel. Let’s just say it’s a forgotten memory to most Dragon Age fans. Dragon Age II felt like a downgrade in almost every category. Bioware has heard the fans loud and clear and have promised to deliver an incredible Dragon Age experience with Inquisition. It’s a highly ambitious title that plans on raising the bar not only for Dragon Age, but RPGs alike. Dragon Age: Inquisition is scheduled to release later this Fall.

5. The Order: 1886

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Most people would agree that Infamous: Second Son will be the best Playstation title of the year,  but most people tend to forget about a little game called The Order: 1886. Some of you may think this game is a little high on the list, but if you’ve done your research on this ambitious title from Ready at Dawn and Sony Santa Monica,  you would understand why it sits in the top five. Though the games are completely different, The Order: 1886 was heavily influenced by Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The game is set in an alternate history London, where a war wages between man and beast. The Order: 1886 looks outstanding and it’s sure to be a must-play title for PS4 owners. Keep an eye out for it at E3 this year.

4. Batman: Arkham Knight

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Arkham Asylum exceeded most people’s expectations. Arkham City blew our expectations out of the water. Arkham Knight is looking to obliterate any expectations we may have. Rocksteady is back with what could possibly be the best Batman game ever, and sadly their last. The game’s main storyline is set one year after that of 2011′s Arkham City. For the first time ever, you will access to the Batmobile. You will be able to perform stunts, shoot missiles and even eject from it and glide across the city. Like Batman, the Batmobile can be upgraded. This is just one of the many new features coming to Arkham Knight. Get ready to return to Arkham City this October when the game officially releases.

3. Watch Dogs

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As I previously mentioned, Ubisoft has been on a role lately. They look to continue that streak with the highly anticipated new IP, Watch Dogs. Ever since the game was announced at E3, people have been dying to get their hands on it. The game is set within a fictionalized version of Chicago, Illinois. The single-player story is told through the eyes of a highly skilled hacker named Aiden Pierce, who has the ability to hack into any electronic in the city. You can hack bank accounts, traffic lights, cellphones, and even shut down power to the entire city.

The game also features an asynchronous one-on-one multiplayer element. Player One carries out their current mission at hand, unaware that Player Two has spawned into their world. Player Two’s task is to find Player One and hack into their cellphone. Player Two must be within a certain distance in order for the hacking process to occur. Once hacked, Player One is notified that someone is stealing data from their smartphone. Player One’s task is to find Player Two and eliminate him or flee the area, halting the download. This is an awesome feature that I think will really add to the experience. You never know if the person beside you is an ally or an enemy. The game will also feature an online free-roam mode. Don’t worry gamers, the wait is almost over. Watch Dogs releases next month!

2. The Division

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That’s right, three Ubisoft titles crack the top ten list. Ubisoft has been amazing these past few years, but 2014 is going to be something special. Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Watch Dogs will be great titles no doubt, but I believe The Division will be something truly remarkable. It was tough for me not to put this game at the number one spot. Just like Watch Dogs, the game will integrate multiplayer into the single-player experience. Team up with friends in co-op, with the ability to jump in and out at any time. Seamlessly engage in PVP, player-to-player trading, and experience suspenseful scenarios where danger can come from anywhere and anyone. You will be able to loot items from corpses, craft new ones, and even improve any older items that you might have. Customize your agent with thousands of weapon types, skill combinations, gear and much more.

The story itself is very intriguing. This can be found on the official site. “A devastating pandemic sweeps through New York City, and one by one, basic services fail. In only days, without food or water, society collapses into chaos. The Division, a classified unit of self-supported tactical agents, is activated. Leading seemingly ordinary lives among us, The Division agents are trained to operate independently of command, as all else fails. Fighting to prevent the fall of society, the agents will find themselves caught up in an epic conspiracy, forced to combat not only the effects of a man-made virus, but also the rising threat of those behind it. When everything collapses, your mission begins.”

The Division will be the first game to use the gorgeous Snowdrop Engine. The engine takes full advantage of the new consoles with dynamic global illumination, stunning procedural destruction and an insane amount of detail and visual effects. The game looks stunning. The engine runs like a dream. If you haven’t seen any gameplay then I highly recommend opening up a new tab right now and searching up videos on YouTube. I am dying to get my hands on this game. The Division has no official release date, but it’s slated to come out sometime later this year. Keep your fingers crossed!

1. Destiny

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What did you expect? This is a no-brainer for most of us.  Destiny has been on my radar since it was officially announced a few years ago. Players could find references to the upcoming Bungie title in their 2009 game, Halo: ODST. Who remembers, “Destiny Awaits“? Destiny will be Bungie’s most ambitious game to date. They have left Halo and their exclusivity to Microsoft behind and have their eyes set on a Destiny franchise.

Destiny is an MMO, RPG, and FPS all wrapped into one. The game is set seven hundred years into the future in a post-apocalyptic setting following a prosperous period of exploration, peace and technological advancement known as the Golden Age. Bungie has emphasized that the universe of Destiny will be “alive”. Events may happen in-game that are not necessarily controlled or planned by the developer, which will help to create a dynamic developing experience for Bungie and a dynamic playing experience for gamers. Bungie has avoided defining Destiny as a traditional MMO game. Instead, the game has been referred to as a “shared-world shooter.” Similar to Watch Dogs and The Division, players will be able to team up with friends in co-op and take on other players in a seamless match-making system. At any time, the game can match you with players around the world. This can mean matching you with players who can help you fight, or matching you with players who will want to end your life. The system is incredible and makes the gaming experience feel very natural.

I was never a fan of Halo, but Destiny has really caught my attention. It’s something different and it feels fresh. It’s a new direction that I’m glad the developers are going in. Bungie has something special on their hands and I think they’re well aware of it. The CEO of Activision Blizzard has even stated that he expects the game to be the “best-selling new video game IP” ever. Those are big words Bobby Kotick. The game is set to release on September 9th. Get ready, Destiny is going to blow some minds!

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Three things Sony must do to win E3 this year

One of the biggest events of the year is just a few months around the corner. The biggest and brightest minds in gaming are gearing up for what is sure to be an exciting E3. It’s the best time of the year for developers to showcase their new games. Millions of people around the world will be watching the event as it unfolds live. As important as video games may be at E3, the event is a make or break moment for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo’s new gaming consoles. E3 is their chance to show off new exclusives, services, bundles, price cuts, etc. It’s a defining moment for each respective company. What can each company do to win the war at E3? What would solidify them as the winner? Let’s talk about Sony. What can they do to win E3 in 2014?

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Games. Games. Games. Show off new exclusives, trailers and live demos. Release a new trailer for Uncharted. Announce The Last Guardian for the PS4. Do a live demo of The Order: 1886. Have Rockstar Games confirm the existence of the Sony exclusive, Agent. Acquire exclusive content for future games like The Division, Destiny and The Witcher 3. Remember, games are the most important part of E3.

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Talk about Playstation Now. Announce an official release date for the Gaikai-based streaming service. Most importantly, make it affordable for everyone. Playstation Now could be HUGE for Sony, but only if they play their cards right. Don’t spend too much time demonstrating the service at E3. We all watch the event to see new games and content, not long demos of games we’ve already seen before. Just announce a release date and a reasonable price tag and move on. We all know the service works, so make it brief.

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 Show off Playstation Plus. Make it known to everyone what a wonderful service it is. Release a new line-up of free games for the Summer that will blow people’s minds. Give us new features that will make Playstation Plus feel like an even greater experience. I know it’s mandatory now for PS4 owners to own Playstation Plus for online multiplayer, but most of us still pay for the service just for the free games and great discounts. Continue to give us great deals Sony. Remember, games come first!

What do you guys think? What would Sony have to do to win you over at E3 this year?

Infamous: Second Son Review

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Developed by: Sucker Punch
Platform(s): Playstation 4
Release Date: March 21, 2014

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A New Beginning for Infamous

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For me, Infamous has always been an enjoyable series to play. I received the first two for free thanks to Sony’s Playstation Plus Program. The first Infamous was a pleasant surprise, even if it was a little rough around the edges. Infamous 2 was a nice improvement, but the series still felt like it was lacking something. Festival of Blood was a great expansion, and I really enjoyed the vampire theme. Still… something was missing. After playing Infamous: Second Son, I realized what that something was… a heartbeat. The previous games lacked a soul. There was almost no depth to the characters and the world around you didn’t truly feel aliveInfamous: Second Son changes that and breathes new life into the series.

Story

You play as Delsin Rowe, a 24 year-old punk with an attitude who has a knack for Graffiti. The game is set in Seattle, Washington, which is under heavy control by the DUP. Shortly after taking control of Delsin, you are introduced to his brother Reggie. Delsin has a typical “loving” relationship with his brother, who happens to be a police officer for the local Police Department. All seems well in Seattle until a nearby car crash catches Delsin’s attention. After helping a man out of the wreckage, Delsin is attacked by the stranger. Unknowingly, the stranger is a man by the name of Hank Daughtry, a crazed conduit with a license to kill. After being grappled by Hank, Delsin absorbs Hank’s Smoke power. Hank flees the scene, leaving Delsin confused and frightened. Delsin shortly catches up to Hank in a burning building down the road, where he confronts Hank about his power. Hank, who shows no interest in helping Delsin, attacks him and tells him to stay away. Hank then leads Delsin on a wild goose. After chasing Hank out of the building, you both are confronted by Augustine, the director of the DUP and a prime conduit. She offers Hank no remorse, and freezes him in place with her special power. She offers Delsin a choice, to come clean or face severe consequences. This is where you are given your first Karma choice. After you make your decision and it plays out, you are later awoken in a “hospital”. Patients can be seen sparingly throughout the place, all suffering severe injuries caused by Augustine. Delsin and his brother Reggie decide to pack up and go to Seattle. Reggie wants to help Delsin find a cure but Delsin has other plans. This is where the game really begins. Welcome to Seattle, a city filled with raging Conduits, terrified civilians and ruthless DUP members.

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Delsin meets an array of crazy characters while on his adventure throughout Seattle. One in particular is a conduit who goes by the name Fetch. Abandoned by her parents as a child, she ran from town to town with her older brother Brent, taking in as many drugs as they could get their hands on. After a massive conflict with her brother, she was taken in by the DUP. They experimented on her and taught her how to fight. She later escaped and vowed to burn Brent’s name into the chest of every drug dealer she got her hands on. Fetch plays a vital part in the story, but so do a handful of other great characters. Sucker Punch did an outstanding job this time around with giving their characters intriguing back stories. The visuals for a character’s back story are done in the art style of a comic book. Some might prefer a more traditional cinematic, but I personally like the comic book art style. I think it suits Infamous to a tee. The story goes off track at times. The presentation for the story starts off strong, but it somewhat diminishes throughout the game. There is several key moments that really pull you back in, but by that time you feel like you’ve already lost some interest in what’s going on. Now, time for one of the biggest problems that I had with the game. The story is WAY too short. I managed to beat the game three times in a two day span. I beat it twice in one day. One of my completions was done within six hours. For an open world game, this is just inexcusable, especially since there is no real side missions(other than The Paper Trail which wasn’t available for me to play at the time).

All in all, the story for Second Son is the best yet for the Infamous series, even if it falls short in length. It’s a step in the right direction in terms of the story, but it’s a big knock in terms of content. Let’s all hope that they will add side missions and a lengthier main story in the next installment.

Graphics

Speaking of Second Son’s art style, Sucker Punch did an incredible job this time around with their art design. The graffiti you see throughout Seattle is masterfully done. Each piece of graffiti is very clever and/or humorous, not only in its design, but also where it’s located. Visually, Seattle is absolutely gorgeous. Sucker Punch wanted to bring the city to life, and for the most part, I think they succeeded. They took portions of the real life Seattle and made a map of their own. The character design is well done this time around. It’s a huge upgrade from Infamous 2. Out with the generic looking Cole and in with the badass named Delsin.

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It’s the little things that make Second Son so beautiful. Delsin’s jacket blows in the wind. You can see the threads that are weaved throughout his beanie. The city’s reflection bounces off of the puddles. Delsin’s powers look gorgeous when on display. The lighting in the game is stunning. The way the sun beams down on Seattle is breathtaking. The way your Neon Power looks on a rainy night. The way the lighting reflects off of wet surfaces. It’s all just a thing of beauty. Overall, Infamous: Second Son looks superb. This is one thing that I think Sucker Punch really excelled at and it really shines… literally.

Gameplay

Infamous fans are going to feel right at home. Though the gameplay offers more this time around, the core gameplay itself is more or less the same exact thing that it was in the previous Infamous titles. Is this a bad thing? Well it depends on if you liked the previous games or not. For me, this isn’t a problem. Look at games like God of War or Call of Duty. They’ve had the same core gameplay for almost an entire decade now. Do you want to know why? Because there is nothing that needs to be changed. Most people would agree that the gameplay is perfect for those two games. Can the same thing be said about Second Son? I have no gripes with the gameplay other than the fact that scaling a building felt pointless because all of your powers could literally take you from the ground floor to the rooftop in two seconds flat. In the previous games, climbing buildings is something that you had to do a lot. In Second Son… not so much. What’s the point of climbing a building when you can basically fly up it, right?

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A new feature that Sucker Punch added was the ability to do graffiti. Can you do graffiti on any wall? No. Just like “tagging” in GTA, graffiti can only be done in exact locations around the map. Second Son offers you two choices when you approach a graffiti location. One will earn you good karma, while the other one will earn you evil. The “good” graffiti is usually something pleasant or offensive towards the DUP. The “evil” graffiti is usually something rebellious and something that anyone in Seattle can take offense to. My one gripe with it all is that no matter what the graffiti ends up looking the exact same. It doesn’t matter how you spray it on the wall. It just makes the whole “mini-game” that you do feel pointless. They were better off just making Delsin do it himself rather than making you spray it. It would have been much quicker and less tedious. I won’t spoil any of the powers for you, but I will tell you that they are all ridiculously awesome. Smoke is cool at first, but it starts to feel obsolete once you unlock the others. The final two powers are completely badass. That’s all I’m going to say. Don’t spoil yourself!

The skill tree for each power is well implemented. Just like in the previous Infamous titles, certain abilities for certain powers depend on where your karma stands. If you are a Hero, you will not have access to any of the evil abilities and vice versa. The melee system is pretty much the exact same thing that it was in the previous games. Nothing much has really changed. Enemies are still aggressive, but they’re not as bad as they used to be. You can actually walk past a majority of DUP members as long as you’re not on their turf or inside an area that you’re not suppose to be. Be sure not to use any of your powers around them though or they will go will berserk on you in a heartbeat. The only time that I found the A.I. to be truly challenging was when I was outnumbered. Never once did I have a problem with just one single person. The boss battles are fun, even if there is only a few of them. There is two fights that really stick out to me, and they were both with the same person. Each boss battle is pretty epic though, making me reminisce about another Sony Exclusive. One battle in particular felt as if it was ripped right out of a God of War game.

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Blast Shards make a return, and boy are they fun. If you’re a fan of doing collectibles in a game, then fret no further because Second Son is your answer. Just like in previous Infamous titles, blast shards add to your powers and abilities. This time though, there is a little catch. They don’t just sit around anymore for you to just pick up… you have to go catch them. They are now a part of these little remote controlled crafts that fly around Seattle. You have to shoot them down in order to collect your blast shard. Shards also come in DUP Armored Vehicles which can be extracted after blowing them up. Switching between powers is different this time around. Instead of having control of them all at once, you can only have one power at a time. Let’s say you’re using the smoke power but you want to switch to neon. In order to do that you have to find a power source that offers you that power. Once you find it and drain it, you trade the ability to do smoke for neon. It’s a nice change and I actually prefer it over the previous power system. It makes you think about what power you want to go into battle with, or what power you want to use to traverse Seattle. Sorry newcomers, but no buildings or cars can be entered or used. Did I mention that Delsin can’t swim? Nothing felt more dull then when you were in a heated battle and fell into the water. You would have to press a button to warp yourself back to land, but doing so just broke up the immersion and made me feel like less of a badass.

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Seattle is littered with DUP stations and radar jammers. You won’t be able to see any blast shards on the radar until you clear that area of the main DUP power source. Radar Jammers blot out a section of the radar, but they are easily taken down with your powers. The PS4′s touchpad is a welcomed feature to the series. It’s used in the game to drain energy from power sources and to do various actions throughout Seattle like opening doors and pulling levers. For what it’s worth, Infamous: Second Son offers great gameplay and a fun experience even if the core gameplay itself is unchanged from previous installments. Infamous fans and newcomers alike will enjoy what Second Son has to offer.

Sound

Everything from the soundtrack to the voice acting is top notch. This is an area that I think Sucker Punch really needed to improve on with the Infamous series and I think they delivered. Players who use headphones are in for treat, especially those with the official Gold Stereo Headphones from Sony. Troy Baker does an outstanding job as Delsin. He has wonderful chemistry with his friend Travis Willingham(Reggie), and it shows in the way they talk throughout the game. Being a big fan of Seattle, I was hoping to hear a little bit more grunge music. It’s not a knock in any way, but it would have been pretty awesome if it found its way into the game. I guess I should be happy that a Heart-Shaped Box cover found it’s way into the credits, even if it isn’t the original from Nirvana.  Overall, Second Son sounds glorious. This is an area that I think Sucker Punch really nailed.

Lasting Appeal

Infamous: Second Son isn’t a massive game in terms of size. It isn’t packed with a ton of great side missions. What it does offer though is a story that you will want to play through more than once just so you can see every choice played out. Wiping out every region in Seattle of DUP scum will take some time, and collecting all blast shards and doing all graffiti spots will give you a few extra hours of gameplay as well as some shiny trophies to go to your collection.

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I managed to beat the game three times, do a 100% completion playthrough, and earn all trophies within a five day span. Those five days included me going to work and going out with friends and family. I would love to say that this game will last you for a long time but I would be lying to myself. The average gamer will probably finish the main story in about 6-8 hours. When you throw in the collectibles, you’re looking at anywhere from 10-14 hours. The game has replay value, but it’s mainly due to the fact that you will want to see both sides of the game played out. Once with good karma, and another with evil.

Final Verdict

Infamous: Second Son is the best Infamous title to date. It blows the previous games away in pretty much every single category. A short main story and a lack of side missions really damper the replay value, but don’t let that scare you away. Second Son is a step in the right direction for Sucker Punch and it’s a must-play for PS4 owners.

8.8 / 10

“The Division” GDC Trailer is a stunner

Ubisoft released a new trailer at GDC this week for their upcoming game The DivisionThe trailer showcases what the beautiful SnowDrop Engine is capable of. Everything from the textures to the lighting is absolutely gorgeous. Ubisoft has been on a role lately and it doesn’t look like they plan on stopping anytime soon. The Division is sure to be one of the best titles of 2014 and I can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us. Bring on E3.

What did you think of the new trailer? Are you hyped for The Division?

Welcome to DigitalHoodlum!

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Hello, and welcome to DigitalHoodlum. What better way to start off my blog than a nice introduction. My name is Eddie Cardwell, and I’ve been gaming since I was old enough to pick up a controller. I’m a Virginia native who’s always had a strong passion for entertainment. I’m a lover of film, video games, football and music. I’ve always had a strong opinion of these things and what better way to show them than to create my very own blog. I will be doing reviews, top 10 lists, best of, worst of, and anything in between on a daily to weekly basis. I encourage you all to follow me on this journey and any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for checking out DigitalHoodlum and I hope you enjoy your visit!

Honest Reviews, Detailed Previews, and In-Depth News on the hottest titles in gaming.

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