A man out of time...

I hope everybody had a great Christmas, I finally got (in addition to  few other things) the killer apps for the 3DS, Super Mario Land 3D and Mario Kart 7. They are great games to be sure, classic examples of a near perfect formula Nintendo has been relying on for decades, but it also is a fairly blunt reminder that they haven't really tried anything truly new for awhile. Mario Land 3D is classic hop-n-bop play, but aside from some nifty 3D effects, it isn't any huge leap forward. Mario hasn't really had a huge leap forward since Super Mario 64. Galaxy was a refinement of that, and 2 was even more of that. Great games, but nothing truly new. This one actually takes a step further back by re-introducing a time limit on levels that actively discourages really playing around in the areas and exploring. Granted the areas aren't that big, but it's still annoying.

But Mario Kart 7 commits far bigger crime. Again it's a good game, a very fun game, but it's also an incredibly lazy game. The cast of racers is pretty small, the long overdue customization options fairly limited and the new tricks like gliding and going underwater don't do anything. I got Mario Kart DS 6 years ago and still play it to this day, it is arguably the best iteration of the series. Now it's always hard to top the high point, but this one doesn't even try. When Nintendo with "7" for this title, most people's reactions amounted to, "it's only the 7th game?" meaning fatigue was setting in and this title has done nothing to even really try and stop it.

Now these aren't bad games, far from it, but they are really showing Nintendo's reluctance to actually try new ideas. If they can't learn to do this, people will stop buying the same game with a new cover at some point, and they won't have any clue how to fix that...

That's all for today, I should have another post up in the next couple of days. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Prometheus


Vita=epic fail?

So the PS Vita launched in Japan. While the PSP wasn't a success worldwide, in Japan it was right up there with the DS, an essential thing for people to own. Now while it's turned things around with a solid library and a massive price cut, the 3DS was kind of a bust after the initial hot sales. Well, the PS Vita certainly avoided those issues right?

Well, not according to the initial launch figures. It actually did significantly worse than the 3DS performed, and considering it did have a solid launch lineup and came out during the crucial Christmas season (which if you aren't aware is just as big in Japan as it is here) that implies far worse trouble down the road. What was the problem? Well it pretty much boils down to price. At minimum buying a Vita, a game and a memory card would run you over $400! Did Sony learn absolutely nothing from the horribly botched PS3 launch? The ridiculous expense was cited as a major factor for no one buying it at first, and here we go again. Maybe they'll be able to pull a major u-turn much like the 3DS has been able to do. But, considering Sony as a company has been hemorrhaging money for several years and they have repeatedly shown a rather bull-headed approach to... well, everything; it's unlikely they'll get the message that in a world of a pretty savage economy and cheap mobile games, that a portable system costing more than a big screen TV isn't going fly.

That's it for today, I will try and get another post in before Christmas, but no promises. In the mean time, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: The Hobbit


The Top Ten 2012 games I'm looking forward to.

Christmas is nearly upon us and most of us gamers will hopefully have a heaping pile of games to play with, but that's no reason to not already be thinking about all the awesome games we already know are due out next year. While there will certainly be some surprises coming, here's 10 that I'm really looking forward to checking out:

#10. Final Fantasy XIII-2: A lot of people were divided over FFXIII with it's very linear structure and the fact that about 90% of the game felt like a tutorial. I still enjoyed the story and battle system so this is something I'm really looking forward too. And seeing that it's coming out at the end of January it should be a good rpg fix to hold me over right until Mass Effect 3 hits in March.

#9: A Game of Thrones: I haven't watched the TV show yet, but I've spent the last couple months completely engrossed in the absolutely amazing fantasy series by George R.R. Martin, so I'm very potentially excited about an RPG based on it. Granted the margin for error is high, but hopefully the importance of the license will make the developers actually give a rat's ass. After all, this isn't something you can market to a wide audience to begin with given the subject matter.

#8: Xenoblade Chronicles: Aka a reason to turn on your Wii in 2012. In what will certainly be it's twilight year, with the Wii U on the horizon and releases slowing to a crawl, the Wii may still have one of it's best years for core gamers with a few rare gems coming out and Xenoblade Chronicles being one of them as it's one of the best reviewed Japanese rpgs of the last few years.

#7: Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time : As much as Ratchet & Clank are the definitive Sony platforming series, Sly Cooper had a series of completely awesome games and then seemed to be sadly forgotten. But then we got the Sly Cooper collection and the announcement of a new game for the PS3! It should easily be one of the most awesome platformers to come out this year.

#6: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch: Level 5 hasn't had the greatest track record as of late but they made some of my favorite PS2 rpgs and this collaboration with the legendary Studio Ghibli looks absolutely gorgeous and promises to be a worthy and magical experience like most of their films.

#5: Luigi's Mansion 2: Luigi's Mansion on the Gamecube didn't really get a fair shake, but then again it was a good quirky title not a showcase title or killer app that sells a ssystem. It was a really fun game, and so I'm happy to see a much-expanded sequel happening, plus I've always been very partial to Luigi over Mario, so seeing him get some spotlight again is awesome.

#4: Bioshock Infinite: After the second Bioshock, I think most people thought the steam had run out and were wary of yet another adventure in the underwater utopia gone astray. Infinite went pretty much the opposite way. taking things to the sky, adding an actual protagonist and a skyline you can ride to boot. All the previews have looked incredibly stunning and this looks to be GOTY material already, I don't know who wouldn't be excited about it.

#3: Paper Mario 3DS:  Aside from a brief showing at E3, we don't know a whole lot about this newest Paper Mario game, but given all the previous ones have been completely excellent, the mere existence should be enough to excite any 3DS owner. The Paper Mario games always deliver compelling gameplay and humor, this one should be no different.

#2: Kid Icarus: Uprising: AKA the game that the 3DS should've launched with. I mean seriously, this is the game that got everybody excited, and they've been fine tuning it for goddamn ever. So it better be awesome. Luckily all the evidence points to it making another strong case that while the 3DS did have a rough first year, it's really turning things around in 2012.

#1. Mass Effect 3: Yeah it's an obvious choice, but that doesn't make it wrong. The epic final chapter of arguably the greatest franchise of this generation of consoles, can it possibly live up to the massive hype? My money is actually on yes and I can't wait to save the galaxy with Mordin, Garrus and the rest of the crew of the Normandy.

That's all for today. I should get another post up Tuesday. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Santa Rockstar 4



It's a well established fact that everyone's favorite speedy blue hedgehog has had a rough go overall this generation, his best game being a rather half-hearted attempt to mix the glory of his past with the shame of his present. In fact anyone who started with this generation might justifiably wonder why anybody ever held Sonic in high regard to begin with. If you want to show or see why, check out this week's XBLA release of Sonic CD. Few even played this as it was released on the very terrible Sega CD, but it was not only one of the few great games for that system, it is also generally regarded as the best Sonic game made so at a measly $5 it is well worth your time to download this classic, maybe as a gift to yourself or possibly even your kids who have only seen the terrible modern Sonic games.

And with the year almost out, we finally have a full list of the free GBA games for those of us who were early 3DS adopters. It isn't officially confirmed for the US, but it seems pretty likely we'll be able to download them tomorrow with everyone else in the world. I'm sure there will be some bitching, there always is, but I haven't gotten to play a lot of these games and they are all highly regarded so I'm pretty stoked, especially about Mario Kart Super Circuit (only Mario Kart game I've never owned) and Minish Cap. I know it was off to a pretty rocky start and the slide pad still seems awful and unnecessary but it's got some solid titles now with more on the way and is selling incredibly well so as usual the prophets of Nintendo's doom are way off.

That;s all for today, I will try to get another post up for tomorrow, until then here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: G.I. Joe: Retaliation


The week of half-assed updates

So if you own either a 3DS or a 360 there was a big update this week. That didn't seem fully fleshed out. The 3DS added a couple of nifty things like 3D video recording and a much evolved Find Mii sequel so that's cool, but how about some other games or more ways to collect coins to use in them? Nintendo Zone seems like an potentially interesting idea, but if it's a guessing game of us taking our 3DS' to various locales just hoping for content that's kind of lame. And where the hell are the last 10 free games? Nintendo has been swearing us early adopters should be getting them by the end of the year, and that's fast approaching with no set date.

But Nintendo's update wasn't a big deal to begin with so maybe we shouldn't expect so much. Microsoft's yearly update is considered a big del however and it has stumbled right out of the gate. Not even offering half of the promised content such as Youtube or HBO Go(which is now just coming at some point next year), bricking some 360s and maybe I'll get used to it, but the new "metro" design seems clumsy as hell. Pretty much the only good improvement I see is the Bing search feature which does make it easier to look for stuff. But it seems like Microsoft really dropped the ball here.

That's it for today, I'll hopefully get in another post this weekend. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Mario Mini Golf


A little rainfall...

You can find petitions and causes for just about anything these days on the internet. Most of the time it's pretty pointless and nothing gets accomplished but once in a rare while the internet shows it does indeed have some pull. Firefly would not have gotten a feature film without the internet. Futurama would probably not have gotten a second life without the internet. And the future of the brilliant and criminally underwatched Community may hinge on the internet since that's the reason it's on the cover of TV guide this week.

There are many game petitions as well and with good reason since a lot of quality games never see the light of day over here. Of course 99% amount to nothing, but the folks over at Project Rainfall may have actually accomplished this rare feat, as one of the major games they are campaigning for, Xenoblade Chronicles, is now due for a stateside release next year, thus giving Wii owners an actual reason to turn on their Wiis next year. Sales of Xenoblade Chronicles may lead to the release of the other 2 titles Operation Rainfall is petitioning for, Pandora's Tower and The Last Story (which I have been salivating over and hoping for myself). I certainly plan to purchase Xenoblade Chronicles in April, and I hope the core Wii gamer speaks up for once and gets it too. It may prove there's a bit more life left in the system after all.

That's all for today. Here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: The Cabin in the Woods


The Top 10 actors who should be considered for the Doctor Who movie...

A Doctor Who movie is coming, no use whining about it. The fact that David Yates is the one directing gives me some faith because he managed to do a pretty awesome job with the last few Harry Potter films and could turn Doctor Who into the worldwide phenomenon it deserves to be if it's done correctly. Of course key will be casting someone who pull off the many facets of personality the make The Doctor. Someone who can be in turns funny and serious, goofy and terrifying, and above all insanely brilliant. Very few actors can fit that role nicely, but I've compiled a list of 10 I think could give it a very good go. I have stayed away from obvious top nerd picks like Nathan Fillion (He can't be in everything people!) and Simon Pegg (he could do goofy sure enough, but I would never think of him as a serious threat), but I think most nerds would be pretty pleased with this casting as well.

#10: Stephen Fry: Not a chance in hell, but British comedic legend Stephen Fry would absolutely kill in a off-kilter casting decision. Maybe as a more worn-down tired of saving humanity's ass time and time again and needs to find a reason to keep going. Fry has the ability to show the real brilliance that shines through in the best Doctor Who moments, and the acerbic with and lack of tolerance for idiocy the Doctor has when he's at his wit's end as well. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure Michael Bay has a better chance of winning best director than of Fry's name even being suggested.

#9: Eddie Izzard: Slightly more likely than Fry but not by much. Bitingly and savagely brilliant though, which would make him an unusual casting choice but a great fit with the right script. And he can do good serious drama as he's shown in a few roles over the years. I think if this was strictly a British affair he might at least get a serious audition if he was interested, but they are understandably going for a bigger worldwide audience.

#8: James Marsters: Already a huge sci-fi icon, and an actual Whoverse alum, playing Captain John Hart in the spin-off series Torchwood. He's shown huge range, namely in his longest running and most well known role as Spike the vampire in the Buffy and Angel shows. He went from terrifying killer to hero and being an occasional goofball in-between effortlessly. Also in keeping with the fact that the Doctor seems more ageless with each incarnation, he's nearly 50 and looks like he's in his late 20s. A bit of a dark horse because obviously he hasn't landed that huge breakthrough role, but this could be and should be it.

#7: Helen Mirren: The Doctor doesn't have to be a man, but has always been played as one. Mirren is easily at the top of the list of a few women who could bring every great nuance needed to the role of an ancient yet timeless soul. The best thing about Mirren and what makes her perfect for the role is that she is absolutely fearless and seems to get more so every year, which any real top choice for playing the Doctor should be a per-requisite. If they are going to go for the first female Doctor, Mirren should really be the only one they are even looking at.

#6: Robert Carlyle: As great as most of the previously named actors are at playing some of the more well-known facets of the Doctor, one thing any actor playing the Timelord needs to be able to do is show just how haunted he is. This is a man who makes difficult, universe-altering decisions on  regular basis, and not everything gets wrapped in a tidy bow, Friends have gotten hurt or killed, innocents get murdered, entire races are destroyed and never to the Doctor's enjoyment. He doesn't like destroying his enemies, and it weighs on him a lot. Few actors can do haunted like Robert Carlyle. So if you want to do something of a more serious time-traveler who has been weighed down by all the decisions he had to make over the centuries, Carlyle should be right at the top of the list.

#5: Chiwetel Ejiofor: Much like there has never been a woman Doctor, there has yet to be a Black Doctor, and there are few Black actors out there who would be able to pull off and not overshadow the role, because while Ejiofor is certainly a known face and respected actor he isn't a Denzel or a Smith. It could be the overdue breakout role for him (assuming he is not cast as Black Panther, which would be awesome).

#4: Gary Oldman : Whether it's as the one good cop in a corrupt city, or crazy villain in league with a sentient evil force, Gary Oldman is one of the most awesome actors living today, and a complex role like the Doctor is pretty much his bread and butter. He's got enough talent to do the role justice and enough star power that he might actually be considered, so let's hope he's at least in the running.

#3. Alan Rickman: But if there's someone more awesome than Oldman, it's Alan Rickman. And to date, he's never really played a big damn hero role, really Severus Snape is the closest thing, and that was obviously a tragic hero. This could be his long overdue chance. He can play to the Doctor's comedic, dramatic and brilliant sides with great ease. He;s probably almost too perfect for the role, so we probably won't get that lucky.

#2: Hugh Laurie: Though he's become famous for his role as brilliant jackass Dr, House, Laurie's roots are in comedy, and the fact that he can cover both so flawlessly and is a huge international star makes him an easy top contender. He'd probably play it closer to Christopher Eccleston's take and be a bit harder and jaded than most, but he'd do it well. He also recently stated that after House ends, he's pretty much done with TV, so this would be a great next project for him.

#1: James McAvoy: Ok, this being Hollywood, they will want a franchise, arguably with some hot up and comer. You want someone who will do the role justice and yet meet those criteria? I give you James McAvoy. He already has played roles he's nerdy and a little goofy or a bit of prick yet serious threat, and of course he's hot of practically re-inventing Professor X from the surprisingly excellent X-Men: First Class film. Arguably if you want someone Hollywood suits can get behind without ruining the Doctor Who name, James McAvoy should be at the top of everyone's list.

That's it for today, I should have another post up this weekend, until then here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Fall Damage


Sony Smash Bros?

So the latest crazy, yet seemingly likely rumor is that Sony is developing a fighting game featuring its stable of characters, much like Nintendo's Smash Bros series. Some may scoff at the sheer insanity of pitting Nathan Drake against Cole MacGrath or Sweet Tooth against Captain Qwark, but it's no crazier than Solid Snake mixing it up with Nintendo's stable of characters. I'm willing to take the cautiously optimistic approach here, it could be fantastic if done right, and hopefully it will.

In incredibly stupid ideas, rumors have started flying about the next systems from Sony & Microsoft, and sadly the most seemingly concrete one is that for the next Xbox, Microsoft is again going the multiple sku route of one completely bare bones model and one aimed at the hardcore gamer that actually has a hard drive and probably a few other bells and whistles as well. While from some financial perspective this probably makes sense, it's still a really bad idea for developers, because they more or less have to work on the assumption that the audience doesn't have a hard drive less they cut off a potential section of the audience. This obviously also cuts people off from being able to access the growing digital space that Microsoft pretty much has always touted as their strongest weapon in the console war. This means a significant portion of developers won't be able to readily rely on it and that's handicapping them right out of the gate.

That's all for today, I honestly didn't mean to not update for a week, but the holiday was busy and exhausting, I should be back to regular posting this week. Until next time, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island


The Legacy of Zelda...

Today is the day Wii owners and Nintendo loyalists have been waiting for as Skyward Sword finally releases, being the shining example that the Wii can do amazing core games that truly incorporate motion without being in a wagglefest. I've pretty much already touched on the fact that there is really no excuse for this, we should have been getting a regular stream of games like this from years, but frankly we didn't either from Nintendo or their biggest supporters. This is why the Wii is basically done and the 360 and PS3 both still have a lot of life left in them.

Lately this seems to be the Legacy of Zelda. If you look at the N64, the Gamecube, and now the Wii, Mario probably (deservedly) got the spotlight, but Zelda has always been a core showcase, a lengthy challenging fun adventure that really shows off what the system is capable of. And often it's too little too late. Maybe it's just the trap of the long developmental cycle to make games this good, but that's one team in one company. Hopefully they really have learned their lesson and strive for longevity with the Wii U, because a cash-in fad won't work a second time.

That's it for today, I should have another post up Monday or Tuesday. Til then, here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:


To buy or not to buy at launch....

Gaming has always been a expensive hobby, but with more and more quality titles coming out virtually every year around the same time with fancy collector's editions (and bugs to boot), it does beg the question, why do we all buy games at launch? If we wait, we can get the bugs fixed, the price dropped and hell eventually usually some game of the year edition with most if not all of the bugs fixed and all the dlc included for probably half the price it was when it originally came out. So why? Well it may be irrational, but me personally, if I don't get a game right when it's launched, I usually don't end up getting it. Wait a few months and there's something else vying for and usually worthy of my attention over some game that clearly wasn't important enough for me to buy when it came out so it can wait longer, probably forever. Also, even with a wife and a job I'm a pretty regular gamer so my backlog usually isn't very big so usually I don't have a ton of different games to play at any given time. Also, I rarely pay full price for a game, usually I'm trading something in and trade-in values can decrease rapidly.

But also a game is treated very much like an opening weekend for a movie or a premiere night for a TV show. If it doesn't hit right out of the gate, it's pretty much considered a failure. Now there are games that build a steady audience over time and succeed that way, but that is the exception, not the rule. So if you want the games you like to continue to appear on shelves, you should probably buy them as soon as you re financially able.

This really isn't a pro-buying games at launch argument, times are tight and gaming is a luxury some of us are lucky to be able to afford at all. Just keep in mind if everyone waited til games were bargain bin prices, bargain bin games might be all we get.

That's all I have for today, I hopefully should get another post up this weekend. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Hunger Games


That old familiar feeling...

Arguably the biggest complaint you can have against Skyrim is that's it's not any kind of massive improvement from Oblivion despite the 4-year gap between games. Combat is intense but clunky and while the character models look better, they still are awkward. That being said, the little touches that they have made make the difference. Combat is more varied and visceral with the ability to dual wield just about anything. There's a ton more stuff to do and all of it as easy as having the right items whether it be smithing, cooking or alchemy. Lock-picking, which seemed nearly impossible to do manually in previous titles, is easy to understand. And waypoints are much clearer. I've gotten about 12 hours in already, more than enough to beat your standard action game, and I've barely scratched the surface. So this should keep me busy through the rest of the year and possibly beyond quite easily. There's a growing sentiment that games are giving you less and less bang for your initial buck especially when it comes to single player. Skyrim is a big strike against that argument.

So the demos for 2 other big games dropped this last week and I did get some time in with those before Skyrim. That being Lego Harry Potter years 5-7 which came out Friday and Rayman: Origins, which comes out this week. The newest Lego Harry Potter suffers from pretty much the same issue many of the latest Lego games have been suffering from, it's all too familiar. I think they really need to go somewhere fresh and possibly unexpected for their next game if they want to keep at least somewhat entertaining. Granted maybe the young kids who play this won't care, but the Lego games initially were true family entertainment and with so little of that in gaming it'd be sad to lose it.

Rayman: Origins is absolutely beautiful game. That is also a complete rip-off of New Super Mario Bros. Wii. I mean, c'mon you can even "bubble up" in it (anyone who has played Mario Bros. Wii knows exactly what I'm talking about). That being said, if you don't own a Wii it's a great way too experience that insanely fun game without buying a Wii. But this is another game that seems like it shouldn't be released in a huge holiday season because it will be virtually ignored. Too bad, because supposedly if it does well that bodes well for Beyond Good & Evil 2. But given that the wonderful critically acclaimed original Beyond Good & Evil also released during a huge holiday season and was virtually ignored you'd think Ubisoft & Mr. Ancel would've learned their lesson.

That's it for today, with a little luck I should've have another post up tomorrow. In the meantime here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Kit & The Octopod


Too little, too late?

So yes, Skyrim is out today. I plan to talk all about it in my next post, because it's 7:30 am right now and my Gamestop doesn't open til 10. So let's talk about two other huge games that aren't even out yet, but the reviews are coming in, most extremely positive, showing examples of what the unique hardware can do. Those titles are Super Mario 3D Land and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Mario finally provides an original game for the 3DS that actually makes the 3D more than a nifty gimmick, and Skyward Sword may just be the best Zelda game to date, making great use of the motion + and proving the Wii hardware is capable of more than just gimmicky minigame collections.

So, for both the 3DS and the Wii, but especially the Wii, the question arises, why are these experiences so few and far between? It's like console business 101.  You can start off a little rough but a continuous flow of quality software is pretty much necessary to keep the system going. This is the real reason why this far into this generation of consoles the 360 & PS3 are still gaining steam while the Wii is pretty much done. It really might not have been had a stream of steady, quality releases been a constant. There are a number of quality titles on the system to be sure, but infinitesimal to the number you find on the competition. How excited am I supposed to be about a system that got maybe 4-5 top quality games a year? Sure that's good for my wallet, but not for the gamer in me.

Now obviously the 3DS has not even been out a year, so it's in a slightly different boat, but a lot of the signs are there. A gimmick over quality gameplay, unnecessary add-ons that are confusing and again a serious lack of quality software. Ok Mario is almost here. What else? Mario Kart in December and... yeah, that's what I thought. We have Kid Icarus sometime in future and that's really about it. Nintendo claims the quality games are coming, but we seem to be having a similar issue here to the Wii, where quality is a far distant second to cashing in on gimmickry. And if that's the path the 3DS follows, it's going to fall a lot quicker than the Wii did.

That's it for today, hopefully I will get one more post in this weekend with Skyrim impressions. Until then, here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:


An age of Dragons...

We are a mere two days away from arguably the biggest release of the year and easily the biggest rpg in several. I am beyond excited as I easily spent a few hundred hours on Oblivion, its predecessor, and never even got anywhere near finishing the main quest. That is my big worry, actually, that if Skyrim is a little too similar to its predecessor. I tried to get back into Oblivion recently and was bored because I guess I spent too much time on it previously. It's why I couldn't really get into Fallout: New Vegas, frankly. It wasn't different enough from Fallout 3 and frankly the modern Fallout games share a lot in common with the Elder Scrolls games as well, so they feel pretty similar too. If all Bethesda is throwing in is fancier graphics and Dragons, I probably still enjoy it, but not on the multi-hundred hour length I enjoyed Oblivion. Either way, this is the last rpg release until well into next year, and it should actually have the content to keep most players busy that long.

That's pretty much it for today, but I should have another post up either Friday or Saturday with impressions of the Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 and Rayman Origins demos and thoughts on Super Mario Land 3D. And maybe some Skyrim impressions if I've gotten enough time in on it. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Xenosquad


Call of the Battlefield...

Sorry for no other posts this past weekend, but it just seemed to get away from me with work, a relative in town, and my mother-in-law's birthday. I should be able to get in at least 3 posts this week pretty easy.

I have gotten through a solid chunk of Uncharted 3 and I can honestly say it ups the ante on set pieces to completely insane levels. Most of the time this is insanely fun. But occasionally its just insanely cheap and difficult, especially dealing with snipers, armored agents with sawed-off shotguns and guys with rocket-launchers all at the same time. As fun s the game is, stuff like this is almost enough to make me quit and it's been  constant issue in the series. I hope they work on making them a little more balanced next time.

The other big shooter of the year comes out this week as Call of Duty 3: Modern Warfare finally comes out after all that controversy surrounding it. Is it better primary competitor Battlefield 3? Can the magic of 2 be recaptured after the defect of so many key members? I've repeatedly stated I'm not a huge shooter fan, In fact the last shooter I seriously got into was the original Modern Warfare. I think if this wasn't such a huge month game-wise I might be willing to give it a try but frankly Skyrim, out Friday, should be enough to scare just about any other game releasing anywhere close to it.

That's it for today. I should have another post up tomorrow hopefully. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Safe House


Playstation+: Still worth it...

Yup, I just re-upped my Playstation plus membership. While I continue to question and seriously doubt the value of my Xbox live membership, I have no qualms about re-upping my Plus. I mean seriously, is a slicker interface truly worth $60? Because that is literally all they offer over the competition. Thanks to plus I've enjoyed betas, themes, discounts and most importantly, free games. And not shitty games no one cares about. Back to the Future, Sega classics, great indie gems. And just for re-upping I will get Telltale's Jurassic Park, which already nearly covers half the membership. This is one of the best things on PS3 and MS would be wise to take some lessons from.

I have not played War in the North or Sonic Generations nor do I really plan to. The reviews have been mixed at best and my schedule barely allows time to play the games I already have. I've really barely scratched the surface of Uncharted 3. It did get me thinking about a quote from Naughty Dog, the developers.  Saying in essence that they have no intention of stopping at a trilogy and will keep making Uncharted games as long as fans want them. It makes me wonder how many will be interesting though. I mean they've done just about every place you can have a huge Indiana Jones-type adventure. You can't do another Jungle or Desert or Snow romp, it's been done. They might be able to do something with Atlantis or some lost underwater city, that's about all I can really think of.

Ok that is pretty much it for today, I should have another post up tomorrow though. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK:  21 Jumpstreet


Dude Raider 3....

It is kind of amazing to think that arguably the premier exclusive series on the PS3 was originally labeled as an obvious Tomb Raider knockoff. This is arguably the main reason I even own a PS3 as other exclusive series haven't really been of enough interest on their own. This is a series that you can really point to just about anybody as a really good reason to own the system. The great characters and amazing graphics combined with some unique multi-player really make it something other games just haven't been able to replicate. I'd actually rank this as my favorite series of the current generation of consoles. It may lack the length & depth of some massive rpg like Skyrim, but in terms of a game being a pure blast from beginning to end, it's incredibly hard to match, and I sure as hell don't think it's been topped. All early reviews point to the latest entry impossibly being even better than the second one so I'll be extremely excited to grab it this week. I am going to do my darndest to get it Tuesday but admittedly this is a hugely busy week so that may not happen.

As I mentioned yesterday Uncharted 3 may be the biggest release of this week but it brings with it a whole flood of games that may have been better off waiting til the slower months of the year. Key among them Sonic Generations & LOTR: War in the North. Generations already seems like the best Sonic game since the Genesis era with it's back-to-basics approach but who's going to give it  chance when we've been burned so many, many times before and there's all this other stuff to play? LOTR is always a popular license, but it's not at any kind of high-awareness right now, and the last few games haven't been very impressive. All this and not a whole lot of hype for the game either and it seems like something destined to be completely buried in the wake of fantasy action/rpg goliath Skyrim which is out in just under 2 weeks. I do plan on at least renting one if not both of these titles so if I can I'll give my impressions on all 3 this week. Until then, here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:


The month of too many games...

I think I can live with one less kidney, right?

You know pretty much every year for the past decade or so, consumers have been advocating a more balanced release schedule. The average gamer is now grown up with a job and family, so they don't really have the time or money to buy every game they want to right when it comes out.

Yet it seems like every year, more and more games come out during the holiday rush, and this might be the biggest ones to date. I mean off the top of my head this month you have Uncharted 3, Modern Warfare 3, Skyrim, Rayman Origins, Super Mario 3D Land, Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Sonic Generations, Assassin's Creed & Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Granted, Having only one system can make it slightly less daunting, but many households have multiple consoles these days so some tough choices will be made. I'm a huge Zelda fan but frankly Uncharted 3 & Skyrim have really caught my interest so that's probably all I'm getting this month and possibly for the rest of the year. Since my 3DS hasn't gotten a lot of play there's a decent chance I'll grab Super Mario 3D Land if I can, though.

But those of course are just the really big titles, there's a large number of smaller titles that probably won't be given much of a chance, namely games like Rayman: Origins, which looks absolutely gorgeous and promises insanely fun 4-player action. I certainly don't think I'll have time to play the new Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 which is a shame because I've found most of the Lego titles absolutely delightful.

So maybe it's in futility but again I beg game developers to stretch out their releases more reasonably across the year. Many of these could be released in the much slower months like January-March or June through August and get a much better chance to get attention. Instead, at least half of these titles will probably end up ignored and in the bargain bin.

That's all for today, I certainly plan to post tomorrow about some of the massive amount of games releasing on Tuesday, most notably Uncharted 3. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Kit and the Octopod


You almost had me Sony...

Really you did. I was slowly becoming convinced that the Vita might actually shown that you've learned not only from your mistakes but also Nintendo's. The $250 price point (because I don't see a lot of people paying $300 plus a monthly data plan to be screwed by AT&T every month) seemed pretty fair even with the 3DS' massive price cut because you were offering a second dual-analog stick already included in the design, gorgeous-looking games and a competent online component. And your launch actually has a real killer app in Uncharted: Golden Abyss along with several unique titles that could be awesome in their own right like Little Deviants.

But as usual Sony has to be Sony and have at least one glaring, possibly fatal flaw, and that's their obsession with proprietary media. And this is what might potentially kill the Vita. Because it doesn't have a hard drive, and it doesn't use that most ubiquitous of memory storage, the SD card, so common and cheap you can get it virtually anywhere. No, it uses an expensive memory stick. And not even the pro duo sticks that are already in existence, so it's not like someone could use one from their Sony Camera or PSP. While Sony claims the sticks aren't "required", that's like saying the Xbox 360 doesn't require a hard drive. This is an extremely bone-headed move. There is virtually no reason Sony couldn't throw in some bare minimum 2-4gb stick if it's pretty much necessary to save most files or download any content. If someone wants to pay out the ass for a bigger one, that's their call. But when someone buys a system it should come with everything that is necessary right off the bat, considering that key games like Golden Abyss won't even boot up without one in the system, I'd say that makes it pretty necessary. So in summary, Sony just lost a Vita sale, and I'm sure it's not the only one.

Ok that's the post for today.  I was admittedly having a little trouble actually sitting down and writing this week, hence why no post till now, but I should have at least one more post this weekend and I'll certainly try for two. In the meantime, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: The Secret World of Arrietty


Ratchet & Clank: The Arcade game

So assuming you could even find one these days, Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One is pretty much what you would expect had you walked into an arcade and found a game cabinet baring its likeness. Whether or not this is a good thing is up for some debate. All 4 One delivers plenty of the trademark humor, huge fantastic boss battles and colorful fun worlds the series is known for, yet strips away a lot of what fans love. There is no exploration and minimal upgrading to your weapons, which is done by buying them through bolts acquired rather than through continued use. While the 4 characters have a unique special attack, for all intents and purposes they play the exact same. And the game removes a lot of incentive for co-op play in the first place, since only the host retains any bolts or skill points gained in play. I should say that while this may make it sound like a game I'm completely bashing, I still find it a fun and enjoyable title, but it doesn't have a lot of what makes a Ratchet & Clank game, and things that could've kept the multi-player interesting and long-lasting weren't implemented well or at all. Would I happily pop in a dollar and play this on occasion with buddies at an arcade? Absolutely. Is it something that would be constant presence in my PS3? Not a chance. It's fun but pretty much instantly forgettable with no real hook to bring you back once you've gone through it. Hopefully the next R & C game will be a return to form.

Nintendo is clearly pulling out all the stops in order to really convince people that it's worth buying a 3DS. In addition to Reggie's plug here, they had yet another big conference this past Friday, announcing things like a sequel to Find Mii (yes!) And bonuses for people who buy games and join club Nintendo such as  chance to win a Mario-themed 3DS. Will all this pay off with big holiday numbers? And if it does, will they buy the ugly-ass slide pad add-on? We'll just have to see. I would certainly take a lot of convincing to buy a $20 add-on controller that requires an extra battery frankly.

That is all for today, I should have another post up Tuesday or Wednesday. Until then, here's you BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:


Top Ten Heroes that deserve the Rocksteady treatment...

I really didn't see much of a point in posting impressions on Arkham City, it seems blindingly obvious to everyone that this is one of the greatest games ever and you can see that within minutes and I pretty much agree. Rocksteady has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Asylum was no fluke. If anything it was a warm-up. The real question is what's next? While a third Batman game is almost a certainty, I would love to see a Rocksteady-esque take on other superheroes. Here are the top ten I'd really love to see Rocksteady get their hands on:

#10: Superman-Might as well get this one out of the way, because it's so goddamned obvious. Superman has yet to be in a good game, and is in fact responsible for one of the worst titles ever. Sure, he's nearly invincible, which presents a challenge in keeping true to the character and yet making the game interesting. But I think Rocksteady would see this as a challenge, not a problem. He's also got a large gallery of friends and villains that haven't been well-represented either. I think you could make one based in Metroplis, focusing mostly on his Earthly enemies such as Luthor and Toyman, and if that works well maybe expand to his more otherworldly foes like Darkseid and Mongol in a sequel. This might be the hardest one to get right, but it seems like it's an almost necessary next step.

#9: Green Arrow:  A huge criticism of Green Arrow is that he's basically a Batman clone with arrows. Both rich billionaires who regularly employ teen sidekicks, it's easy to see why. What better way to establish differences than have Rocksteady take a crack at him saying, sure he's got a lot of similarities to Batman, but how do we highlight the differences? The most obvious way would be to really focus in on distance fighting and stealth. Arrow is no Batman in hand to hand combat, so he'd have to be a little more creative, but creatively using his arrows could be a lot of fun.

#8: Green Lantern: Arguably as hard if not harder to get right than Superman, but oh what a game this could be if done right. Although something based on Earth could work, a space-based adventure would be far more fitting, and something completely different for Rocksteady to tackle.

#7:  The Question: I think the Question would actually be quite easy to make a game for with the L.A. Noire template. Just throw in a little stealth and action, but focus on the investigation and interrogation side of things and you've got a game that fits Q downpat. He wouldn't even need a decent rogue's gallery, you could throw in  some major but normal DC mob boss like Zucco or Falcone as the primary villain. Throw in some crazy conspiracy mystery and you'd pretty much have the essential Question game.

#6: The Punisher: Much like the Green Arrow, the Punisher draws a lot of comparisons to Batman. Family was murdered by criminals, becomes a vigilante, yadda yadda yadda. Some would argue he's basically Batman with guns, and they wouldn't be horribly far off. An easy thing that would work is take the basic Batman template and throw in guns, but I would expect Rocksteaady to be more creative with that, really ramp up the action and make it run and gun gameplay, maybe something a little like Uncharted.

#5: Dr. Strange: Aside from a few supporting roles, the Sorcerer Supreme hasn't had much of a role in games, and it's a shame, because while his powers are a little vague and hard to define, he's got an interesting enough rogue's gallery and universe to make a more compelling game than most more famous heroes. You could go a lot of different ways with this but an action-rpg where you can upgrade abilities and learn new spells as you go would be extremely awesome.

#4: Daredevil: This one's almost too goddamn easy. Daredevil pretty much is Marvel's Batman in terms of the fact that he deals with mostly with regular mobsters and crooks in a crime-ridden slum and his style of fighting is pretty identical as well. You could probably just copy Arkham City filling it with established Daredevil enemies like Kingpin and Bullseye instead. And I'd be more than ok with that frankly.

#3 Aquaman: Yes Aquaman, even with your sliced off hand, you are still not a badass. You are still the joke of the DC universe no matter how many times they try to re-invent you. You know what could easily fix that?  A kickass game from Rocksteady. This could easily big the biggest challenge for any team because it could be goofy, but put his biggest villains in a Bioshock-like sunken city with some solid combat and I think you'd have a winner in your hands.

#2: Deadpool: Rocksteady might not be able to top a game as awesome as Arkham City, so why try? How about instead make a game that pokes fun mercilessly at it? Deadpool is huge right now and a game that features him spoofing good and bad superhero games alike could be very cool. It could be like the Serious Sam of superhero games.

#1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: To someone who has only seen the cartoons or movies, this may seem like an odd choice. But anybody who has read the original graphic novel knows there is a much more serious side to the green dudes who are mainly known for their love of pizza and goofy antics.  You could have some seriously awesome ninja stealth and combat, loaded with fanservice, but keeping to more normal enemies like Baxter Stockman and the Rat King with of course Shredder as the main villain. Co-op play would be a good idea, but not a necessity. This is easily the title I would most like to see Rocksteady or really any solid developer tackle and give it a serious run.

Ok that's the list. I should be back Thursday or Friday with an All-4-One review and possibly other stuff. Til then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: The Binding of Isaac


Character packs are the new horse armor...

Arkham City, arguably the biggest game of the year comes out Tuesday, already crammed with fanservice. In an unusual move of confidence, most reviews are out already so clearly there was no embargo but as expected the reviews are stellar so it's not like they had anything to worry about. The worrying thing is what's being offered in terms of DLC. You've already got Catwoman requiring either a brand new copy or $10 extra, then there's Robin & Nightwing, costing $7 a piece. Granted, none of this stuff is necessary, and of course perceived value is relative, but that seems a lot for one character not too mention it seems like milking the game bone dry already. I can't wait for the Blue Beetle & Booster Gold packs myself. I'll probably have a lot more on Arhkam City itself in my next post, which will most likely be sometime Tuesday after I've had a little time with the game.

Another huge game that's coming out Tuesday, but probably shouldn't have is Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One. Because Ratchet & Clank is a truly great series that has been a reliable staple for Sony, but it's never been a mega-hit on the level of God of War or Halo, and to stand out in the shadow of Arkham City it would need to be that. Surely, it offers a solid alternative with its humor and co-op play, but if it had merely been released say in September which was overall a weak month, it would have gotten plenty of attention. I certainly am getting it along with Arkham City because I love the series and it offers a different kind of multi-player from the usual fragfests most mp offers.

Ok, that;s pretty much all for today, I might post again before picking up Arkham City & All 4 One, but if not my next post will definitely be impressions of those 2 titles. In the meantime, here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:


It's Felicia Day!

In case you aren't aware of the incredibly talented (and downright adorable) Felicia Day, today brings you several ways to get yourself acquainted. First up, the 5th season finale of her incredible web series, The Guild is up on Xbox live today. It's easily the best web series out there, far funnier than most network sitcoms, managing to dole out more laughs in 5 minutes than they do all season, and it's free to watch so if you haven't seen it yet it's easy to catch up which since the episodes are so short you can probably do in a day (seriously, each season runs at most a couple of hours).
Then she's pulling double duty for the Dragon Age franchise, starring in a new web series based on it called Redemption, which you can watch the first episode of below:

And she's also a character in the latest Dragon Age II dlc, Mark of the Assassin, which seems to be a good way to keep yourself busy until Arkham City hits next week. In other words, it's an awesome day to be a Felicia Day fan, And frankly if you aren't there's something horribly wrong with you...

That's it for today, but I think I'll be able to post once more this week (most likely the weekend). Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Dragon Age Legends Remix



I know there are a couple of surprisingly good core titles for Kinect such as Child of Eden and The Gunstringer, but releases like this starring a guy who is clearly desperately clinging to his last minute of fame are much more representative of the overall catalog and keep Kinect pretty much at an expensive niche at best (do you really want to pay that much just to say voice commands in Mass Effect 3?) and just a silly Wii wannabe knockoff at worst.

Speaking of Mass Effect 3, multi-player has pretty much been confirmed, but with not a whole lot of details on how it will play out so far. I think this is a terrible, terrible idea. The gameplay in this series does not lend itself well to multi-player at all. This really seems like a desperate attempt to shoe-horn this in so it can have a wider appeal. But I can't imagine anyone who had no interest in the series before picking up the latest chapter simply because it has multi-player. I would support an MP-focused game set in the ME universe, that would make perfect sense. But it would require a pretty drastic change to how Bioware games play in general so I'm willing to be this will be a spectacular failure. But frankly as long as the single-player doesn't suffer, I could care less.

And that's really all I have for today. I have a pretty packed week, but I should be able to get at least one more post in, most likely Wednesday. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: The Raven


PS2 games on the PS3? What a novel idea...

It's not as big a deal as it used to be, but there was a pretty big stir when Sony decided to no longer make PS3's backwards compatible, especially since the Wii offers complete backwards compatibility & most original Xbox titles work on the 360. Now granted, this was a lot more important when quality PS3 titles were few and far between in the early days of the system, but it's still something Xbox and Wii owners  can lord over PS3 owners. I know I was pretty pissed when my backwards compatible 40 gig died and my options were to either spend a ridiculous amount on ebay for another or buy a new one that lacked the feature for far cheaper.

Well now Sony has decided to sporadically release "rare" PS2 titles as downloadable titles for the PS3. These will be straight and dirty ports with no enhancements, so if you already own the games, not a whole lot of incentive. The good news is the rumored price point is $10 for these games. This is good news when most good PS2 games easily run $20 or more used, and can be ridiculously high brand new (i.e. Godhand, which is in the first batch, is a weird little cult game but goes for $70 brand new on Amazon). So this may end up being a good move, depending on what gets released. I personally would love to see Persona 4 show up for $10, it still runs around $40 most places. What would really make this a sweet plan is to see some imports that never made it stateside, but that might be hoping for too much.

That is all for today, I should have another post up by Saturday. In the meantime, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: The Last Stand

Batman's still > than Spider-Man..

Ok seriously, what has happened since that supposed watershed moment in 2009 when Arkham City was released? This was supposed to bring in a huge renaissance of awesome super-hero based video games. We have had plenty of super-hero games in the last 2 years, and nothing has really changed, has it? Still one craptacular licensed game after another with no real sign of improvement. The one that stood out from the crowd was Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. It actually got rave reviews. I am a huge Spider-Man fan, I would love for there to be a great Spidey game. Shattered Dimensions was far from it. The camera was awful, the dialogue a pale imitation of any of the Spider-Men in it and the controls were pretty sub-par. Especially the incredibly terrible, nearly unplayable "Noir" levels which were a pale imitation of Asylum's whole stealth motif.

So I'm not horribly excited about the same developer releasing another Spider-Man game, which comes out tomorrow. That being said, they certainly trimmed the fat here, only focusing on regular Spider-Man and the 2099 version, which seems to form a more cohesive story. I guess if they actually improved the camera and combat it might be worth a look. I might rent it if I have time and opportunity, if so I'll post a review.

The other big release this week is RAGE from shooter gods id Software. But a lot has changed since the glory days of Doom & Quake. The FPS landscape is ruled by the likes of Halo & Modern Warfare & Battlefield. Rage will have to be something really special to stand out in what is an incredibly crowded field. My hunch is it won't, and as I only play shooters once in blue moon as is, I doubt I'll get around to it anytime soon.

-That's pretty much it for today, I should almost certainly have another post up tomorrow, but til then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK:  The Grey


My Top Ten RPGs of all time! For now...

Yup here it is, my totally flexible, ever-changing current favorite rpg list. I look at a lot of all time bests list and they seem so rigid, especially the ones seemingly completely stuck on previous eras as the only "golden age" of gaming. Also while I am a huge rpg nerd, I certainly have not played every game currently out there, so this is just a best of list of the ones I've played so far, which over the years is a fairly large amount.

#10. Kingdom Hearts: The second game might have been a lot more polished, but it's hard to top the original in terms of the wonder and wow factor that came along with the seemingly impossible but completely awesome merging of two universes like Disney & Square. Interacting with legendary characters from both never loses its appeal. I have gone through the game many many times and what it manages to really capture better than most is a pure sense of fun and imagination, Now if they'd just finally getting around to making another one for home consoles instead of releasing portable spin-offs...

#9. Lunar: The Silver Star: Now most probably played the very good re-release on the PS one but that was just a little extra polish to what was already a fantastic game and one of the few reasons to own a Sega CD. The battles were admittedly a tad simplistic and didn't require a whole lot of strategy overall, but what really makes the game stand out is the fantastic music and extremely fun and funny characters along with some of the funniest npc dialogue you'll ever run into.

#8. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars: Mario in a rpg? Surely you must be joking! It's amazing to see that what probably started off as a novel experiment has become one of the great rpg franchises. I have played and loved every Mario rpg since the first, but the series wouldn't have gotten anywhere if the original hadn't been completely fantastic which it was with a great fun story and the really novel idea of actually teaming with Bowser to stop a common foe along with the introduction of a turn-based yet interactive battle system that was really innovative at the time and still implemented a lot to this day. I'd really love to see a full-on sequel incorporating favorites from this and the Paper Mario series someday, but that's probably too much awesome to hope for.

#7.  The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion : I have actually never beaten Oblivion. I probably could have done it quite easily, the main quest is very direct and not all that.... oooohhhh what is that fortress/cave/temple over there?!? As most who have played it can tell you, there's just so much to do in Oblivion that it could take you years to actually get around to doing the main quest. Who has time to stop invading demons from another dimension? I'm busy becoming the head of all the guilds! I seriously do not think there is another game I have poured so much time into, it easily clocked in at a couple hundred hours by the time I finally stopped playing. If Skyrim is actually better, I may never need another game ever again...

#6: Rogue Galaxy: The PS2 was host to a ton of fantastic rpgs, and IMHO Rogue Galaxy was the best of the lot. It had a fantastic and fun story about SPACE PIRATES! Which needs to be a theme more often. The battle system was just a lot of fun and you could lose tons of hours doing side stuff such as synthesizing equipment or hunting down bounties or even competing in insect tournaments. All balanced by a fun and memorable cast.

#5: Shining Force II: I love me a good turn-based strategy rpg. And while there have been plenty of great ones since the 16-bit days, none has really held me in it's thrall quite like SF II. The huge cast, tons of classes and unlike most games in this genre, you could bring a huge party into battle (where as most limit you to a small party no matter how many characters you have) making it really feel like you had an army at your hands.

#4. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: The year was 2003. George Lucas had just tried his hardest to destroy any love for Star Wars with the absolutely terrible Episodes I & II. Star Wars was pretty much beginning to lose traction, something previously unthinkable. Then KOTOR happened. The history of Star Wars games is not great to say the least, but Bioware is pretty much like the Pixar of the gaming industry, and this was their Toy Story. Throwing out a lot of what fans were familiar with and placing it back in a time when Jedi were plentiful worked pretty brilliantly.  A great story with a fantastic twist few saw coming. This was also the first game to really go into the whole morality system that has anchored most Bioware games since, which really allowed for the feeling that you were truly driving the story rather than just along for the ride. Add in a cast that stands right up there with the best Star Wars characters and you've got an epic classic that's hard to top.

#3. Final Fantasy IX: No list of best rpgs is complete without a Final Fantasy in there. I've enjoyed nearly the entire series, but IX is my favorite, mainly because it does an excellent job of blending what the FF series was in the 16-bit days to what it was moving towards in the future at the time. I won't argue whether the FF games have gotten worse or better, but this was a fantastic mix of the old and the new, along with a really fun story and battle system, along with my favorite FF character, Vivi. Also one of the best endings I've ever seen in a game, period.

#2: Secret of Mana: Magical. There's really no other word to describe how playing Secret of Mana feels. To be fair it lacks the fantastic story and truly memorable characters of a lot of other great rpgs, but it manages to create a wondrous journey backed by a beautiful soundtrack and managed to do right a lot of things modern games still don't do like have multi-player in an rpg! Not to mention mostly competent A.I. partners that didn't get themselves knocked out every couple of minutes (I'm looking at you, Donald Duck, though that can apply to characters in KOTOR and Rogue Galaxy as well). A great weapon upgrading system and a battle system that never got boring. You can easily still see this game's influences to this day, even if it's not really given credit for it.

#1. Chrono Trigger: This shouldn't really be a surprise, but then it's hard to be surprised by pure perfection such as Chrono Trigger. The combo-attack system was revolutionary then and I haven't really seen anything that comes close. The huge number of possible endings was a first and is still rarely topped. The easter eggs added tons of extra hours to a game that was already pretty lengthy. It also manages to tell a touching story filled with all the comedy, action, drama and romance you could pretty much ask for. This is the perfect rpg, and while I remain open to the idea that something better may eventually come out, I seriously doubt it.

Ok that's the list, but it's not a statement of fact. Better games may and in fact will probably come along, so if I need to do a big update to this list at some point I will. I should mention I excluded games where you might actually argue that they aren't rpgs, such as Legend of Zelda & Mass Effect, otherwise those would definitely be near the top. I might have another post tomorrow, but most likely it'll be Monday. Until then, if there's a game on this list you haven't played, you really owe it to yourself to check it out however you can.


Too Mutant...

I rented X-Men: Destiny and played it for a few hours this morning, it's extremely reminiscent of Silicon Knights last effort, Too Human, which overall isn't a good thing. It's got some big positives, any X-Men will be thrilled at interacting with many minor and major characters from the comic series, and the customization that is allowed is fun and interesting, if a little simplistic. But the game just feels sloppy and unfinished in a lot of ways. The whole game looks like an original Xbox title with a slight HD upgrade. The combat is pretty sluggish, which makes you less effective at fighting than you really should be, and there's just not much variety to the combat. Admittedly I had fun with what I did play, but I was several hours in and nearly every other review clocks a playthrough at roughly 5 or 6 hours. This would be fine for a downloadable title, and frankly, if this were say a $20 downloadable title, I'd actually probably recommend it overall as it would be a fun romp for a few mindless hours, but as a full retail release this is pretty unacceptable. Maybe hardcore X-men nuts caan justify it, but everyone else should probably give it a pass and just wait a few weeks til a far superior super-hero game is due out (that'd be Arkham City).

That's really all I got for today, but I should have another post up either tomorrow or Friday. In the meantime, here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:


Terra Nova needs TUROK!!!

Ok not really, but I'm watching the much-hyped Dino series Terra Nova, about people from the future going back to a time when Dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and it seems given all the giant reptiles that want to make a tasty snack out of humans, someone like Turok could've been very useful. What do I actually think of the show? The pilot works as a fun mindless action romp, but I'm not really sure it has any legs. It was entertaining enough for me to give it a chance, and it seems like Fox will give this at least a full season unlike many promising sci-fi shows.

The biggest video game release (at least that's a new game and not a re-release) this week is X-Men: Destiny. It seems on the surface to have some of the ingredients for Arkham Asylum, such as no movie or TV series tie-in and has a fairly original concept of having an original hero and choosing between either the X-Men or the Brotherhood. That being said, developer Silicon Knights doesn't have the greatest track record as of late, the 3 choices of characters seem like lame stereotypes instead of  custom character most games would let you make, and frankly it doesn't look very good graphically. I will probably still rent it and give opinions tomorrow, but until then, we'll probably chuck it up to another disappointing licensed game that probably could've been great.

That's pretty much it for today, should have another post up tomorrow or Thursday. Until then here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: The King's League


What the hell has happened to Level 5?

Gah, sorry about only posting once last week, I've been working a ton and it's kind of left my creative batteries drained. I should be able to post 3 times this week, I'll see if I can do more to pick up the slack. Anyways, this is something I've been thinking about for a little while now, but Level 5 seems to be yet another great company that thrived in the PS2 era and inexplicably has pretty much lost it's magic in the PS3 era. I mean seriously, in the PS2 era, they were rpg superstars, they made several of my favorite rpgs on that system-Dark Cloud 2 (the original was decent enough, but 2 was a massive improvement), Dragon Quest VII (my favorite in the whole series) and Rogue Galaxy, which is one of my my favorite rpgs of all time (I should probably do that list sometime, maybe later this week if I can). Not to mention a little puzzle series on the DS called Professor Layton which is generally considered one of its best franchises.

So it was no wonder when the PS3 was about to launch, one of the most hotly anticipated titles was White Knight Chronicles from Level 5. It looked epic, with you being able to turn into a giant knight in order to fight giant demons. Of course, aside from the fact that it took freaking forever to actually come out (you were seeing footage of this game before the PS3 actually launched, it finally came out in North America just last year), it was pretty mediocre. Ok, no huge deal, Dark Cloud was fairly mediocre IMHO, but 2 was a massive improvement and remains a favorite to this day, they should have no issue making a decent sequel right? Well no as it turns out. White Knight Chronicles II was released earlier this month and the reviews are just as bad if not worse than for the first one. I've said several times this year that we seem to have a serious lack of solid console rpgs so for a great rpg company like this to be making big missteps is worrying. Granted, maybe all they need to do is realize that the whole concept isn't working, just drop it and move on to the next thing. Hopefully they have not lost their touch, because their next game due out here is a collaboration between themselves and the legendary Studio Ghibli.

No obviously the game looks incredible, and is already getting praise like "the most beautiful game I've ever played" thrown at it. So hopefully this is Level 5 getting their act together, because I don't think I will take it very well if a collaboration between these two awesome studios doesn't turn out well.

-Ok that's it for today, I should definitely be posting again tomorrow with thoughts on X-Men: Destiny (probably not a review, but Wednesday is a possibility for that). Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Man on a Ledge


The Top Ten Videogame Villains that deserve their own game...

Video games used to be pretty simple. You were the hero, there was  bad guy, and you beat him and saved the day/princess/planet/whatever. It's taken awhile, but we are starting to just now really get games that to least allow you to choose to be the bad guy or at least morally ambivalent. But truly interesting villains should get their time in the spotlight s well, so here's 10 that are most deserving:

10. The Purple Tentacle: From the awesome Day of The Tentacle, Purple has all the makings of  classic villain. Created by toxic sludge, he's arrogant and a super-genius, and wants to enslave the world. With adventure games making a comeback, one starring Purple with the trademark Maniac Mansion humor involving executing such a world-conquering plot would be pretty awesome.

9. Psy-crow: Earthworm Jim's arch-enemy and most competent antagonist could do very well in a hardcore yet humorous action title that would be essentially the same as classic EWJ game play. It wouldn't even be that hard to make a concept for, just have him constantly thwarting Jim and his buddies.

8. Lechuck: The main villain of the Monkey Island series seems like he has a lot of potential for a great pirate-themed title, be it an adventure game or something along the lines of Pirates! or Age of Booty. Something that showed his rise from nobody to legendary pirate would be pretty interesting.

7. Dr. Robotnik: While Sonic has been damaged more or less beyond repair at this point, Robotnik getting his own title might stand a decent chance. He always has a wide variety of vehicles which could be very fun and interesting to actually use. The structure could be easily done as well-progress through levels scooping up adorable furry critters for your robot army and each stage boss is a lame friend of Sonic's you get to ultimately destroy which would be very cathartic for long-suffering fans.

6. Captain Qwark/Dr. Nefarious: Granted Qwark has evolved from egotistical villain to ego-driven sidekick but Dr. Nefarious is still full out villain and either would be great in their own game. For Qwark, something that allows you play as the hero Qwark actually thinks he is would be awesome. As for Nefarious, pretty much anything involving a scheme of conquering the universe will do.

5.  Magus: The initial (though not true) villain of the best rpg of all time (FACT), Chrono Trigger, Magus is probably the only one on this list who would work in  game where he isn't necessarily the villain. The quest to redeem himself after the events of Chrono Trigger would certainly be interesting but just as good would be his rise to power. We know he started off a spoiled brat in a technologically advanced society, his journey from the doom of that culture to the most powerful wizard of the Middle Ages would be something to see.

4. Frank Fontaine: The main villain of Bioshock, but also the leader of  huge class struggle between himself and Andrew Ryan, the founder of Rapture. It would be extremely interesting to see this class war erupt at Rapture's high and then see the volatile downfall, with you being Fontaine, causing it ll to come crashing down around you.

3. Saren: This one is so easy it pretty much writes itself. It's the tale of Saren's corruption, from heroic Spectre to agent of the Reapers. Was he always someone who played way outside the lines to get things done, like a renegade Shephard, or was he more of a paragon that was slowly turned by Sovereign? I think we deserve at least one game starring him to find out.

2. Bowser: It's actually really surprising Bowser doesn't have his own game by now. Sure he kidnaps the Princess eleventy-billion times, but former Mario adversaries Wario & DK have theirown series of awesome titles, and the Koopa King has been playable in some form in numerous off-shoot titles.  A platformer or rpg actually starring Bowser is long overdue.

1. Ganon: Nintendo's equivalent to Darth Vader would be a great inspiration for a game. We pretty much always see Ganon as a fully developed warrior to be reckoned with, but we know from OOT he started off as a petty thief. A God of War or even Prince of Persia-esque game about his quest to aqcuire the Triforce of power seems like such a no-brainer. Maybe it's to keep some of the mystery, but Ganon easily seems like the villain most worthy of a game to me.

Ok that's it for today, I should have another post up later in the week, in the meantime here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: J. Edgar