The best PC games of 2016

posted in: Games, Highlights, top 10 | 1

Notable PC games this year: Overwatch, Dark Souls 3, Owlboy, Stardew Valley, Battlefield 1, The Witness, Inside, Dishonored 2, Gears of War 4, Titanfall 2, DOOM, Abzu, Planet Coaster, Hitman, SUPERHOT, Overcooked, The Division, Zero Escape 3: ZTD, Mirrors Edge Catalyst, COD Infinite, Steep, Quantum Break, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Firewatch, Civilization 6, Darkest Dungeon, Thumper, Dead rising 4, Oxenfree, Watch Dogs 2, Street fighter 5

 

Top 5 Games of the Year

5. Battlerite

How the hell did this sneak on here?
I may have mentioned before that when I bought Battlerite a few months ago, I literally set a timer so I could decide whether or not to refund it just before the 2 hour mark. I’m now at 61 hours or so, which is more than everything else on this list. It’s a MOBA arena game which just manages to do everything pretty well – Any complaints of ‘not enough characters’ and ‘shit cosmetics’ will almost certainly be resolved later on down the line, as will the ‘high’ price tag of £15.

 

4. Planet Coaster

It has been X years since Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, and naturally we were itching for a modern release (as, let’s be honest, RCT3 was pretty barebones in terms of 3d graphics). Then just at the right time, along comes Planet Coaster, with all of it’s gorgeous visuals, it’s curved paths, it’s ‘how fucking many?’ Rollercoaster types and practically infinite ways to decorate your park and shops (provided you have the time). Aside from optimization and maybe some more variation in shops/rides, it’s hard to really think what else could be improved on in Planet Coaster as far as single player experiences go.

 

3. Zero Escape 3: Zero Time Dilemma

Kotaro Uchikoshi does it again. Whilst not quite on the same level as it’s predecessors, ZE3 has some great puzzling, and interesting branching story. Best of all, even though you know there is some weird shit going on, the revelation moment will still manage to catch you off guard and give you that holy shit moment. I have to say though that eric in team Q is literally the most irritating character i’ve come across.

 

2. DOOM

Doom did not mess around, it threw you into this linear world filled with hellspawn, gave you a shotgun and then proceeded to just wail guitar and dubstep noises at you relentlessly until you finished the game. It was in your face, dumb and myself and just about everyone else who played doom fucking loved it’s straightforward nature. Shoot things in the face, move on, repeat – No cover, No long story sequences, No vehicle traversal between areas. Anyone looking for a fantastic singleplayer FPS campaign should give this a play.

 

1. The Witness

The witness undoubtedly gave me the most ‘holy shit’ moments in gaming this year, whilst I wasn’t particularly fond of the ending, the puzzles and the unique ways in which you need to approach them are absolutely amazing, similarly the world and it’s mystery and secrets provided plenty of additional things to do between getting stuck. I also really loved that the game basically doesn’t tell you anything, even the tutorials I don’t remember the game explicitly giving me any directions but rather ‘here is something simple, figure out the rules for yourself’ – and I love that, especially in an age of videogaming where developers feel the need to really hand hold the whole way through out of fear of losing the player, Blow’s masterpiece does the polar opposite and sets off with or without you. I’d imagine anyone who has played through the game will agree that it’s puzzles are genius in both creativity and design, and those who have played through and doesn’t probably didn’t ‘get it’, which is of course is a big problem in a game where all of the enjoyment is derived from eventually ‘getting it’.

 

Bonus!

Just missed the list:

Inside – Short and sweet, I completed it in a sitting or two and it was a fantastic experience throughout. Didn’t really do anything groundbreaking but it was incredibly polished and had just the right quantity of mystery to push you forward.

Hitman – A fantastic return to form for the series, it’s a shame there are so few levels, but the levels that are there are some of the best in the series. The new detection system works well too, making more sense than the old blood money system while not being as daft as the absolution ‘ima just hide my face’ system.

Dark Souls 3 – More of the same, and that’s hardly a bad thing, though I have to admit it’s not gripped me quite as well as it’s predecessors.

 

Biggest Disappointment:

Titanfall 2 – I absolutely adored the first Titanfall, hitting the level cap multiple times over, so when Titanfall 2 was announced I was super hype, the potential for basically the same game with new maps, more weapons, more abilities, customization and so on sounded awesome. And then the beta dropped, and somehow they had just gotten everything wrong, the movement was slower, they changed certain mechanics, and whilst the retail version of the game has fixed some of these changes, the result is still more ‘Call of Titanfall’ than the Titanfall I fell in love with. I’m yet to really clock much time with it because I just have no urge to play, the gunplay is as solid as ever but it feels like TTK is down, the titans are crazy fragile and rarer, the new abilities are rubbish, no custom titan loadout choices, can’t change the AI voice and the maps are all really forgettable and boring. A cry everytime.

 

Best Singleplayer Experience:

Titanfall 2 – Okay so yeah I just finished talking about everything I’m not keen on with Titanfall 2, but you’ll notice there was no mention of the campaign that they added. The campaign was awesome, i’d actually argue better than DOOM’s. It was literally the opposite of everything I just said in the paragraph above. Awesome level design, titans feel satisfying to play with the added shield, clever use of game mechanics and a super interesting part which you won’t see coming. The short but sweet campaign was memorable and great fun.

 

Most Overhyped:

Overwatch – I’m still struggling to see the appeal of Overwatch, the time i’ve spent with it was ‘okay’ at best, lacking much satisfaction when you do well and being a real slog if you are on the back foot.

 

 

Game whose servers are going to be empty by this time next year

Steep – Calling it now. that game is boring, people just haven’t realised it yet (or maybe they have?).

Top 10 of 2015 : Anime

posted in: Anime, top 10 | 0

Better late than never? Here are my favourite anime picks of 2015

I can’t be bothered to write a proper description or review for these shows.

also to make things interesting, no sequels (second seasons) allowed.

zplayer 2016-01-06 20-52-41-29

#10 – Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata // Comedy // 13 Eps // 冴えない彼女の育てかた

Enjoyable character driven comedy about making a video game together, has some pretty fun tongue in cheek segments and meta remarks.

 

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#9 – Etotama // Action Comedy // 12 Eps // えとたま

Daft and often nonsensical action comedy, again with the meta-humour. Mixes CGI action with dumb catgirl 2d for an enjoyable but not particularly award winning 12 episodes.

 

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#8 – Assassination classroom // Action // 22 Eps // Ansatsu Kyoushitsu

Big ol tentacle octopus thing but he doesn’t actually rape anyone because he’s a cool dude. It’s like a retelling of GTO (great teacher onizuka, fuckin classic, go watch it) except the teacher is now a neon yellow octopus and all of the children and trying to murder him.

 

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#7 – Yamada kun and the 7 witches // Harem Comedy // 12 Eps // Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo

All guys have had the ‘what If I could switch bodies with a girl’ thought before right? Well this is that in anime form, plus a bunch of other girls who have interesting powers.

 

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#6 – Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (Danmachi) // Adventure // 13 Eps // Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatte Iru Darouka

Trapped in a video game MMORPG but without actually being trapped in a video game MMORPG? Despite the title, danmachi is actually pretty light on the harem stuff, choosing to primarily focus on adventurer bell and huge chested ribbon tits hestia.

 

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#5 – Monster Musume // Harem Comedy // 12 Eps

Don’t look at me like that.

 

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#4 – Ore Monogatari // Rom-com // 24 Eps // My love story

It feels kind of refreshing to actually see the goofy guy get the girl, Ore monogatari gets the confession out of the way quickly and instead goes for a mixture of daft comedy and drama.

 

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#3 – Shokugeki no Souma // Superpower cooking? // 24 Eps

12 minutes talk -> 2 minutes cooking -> 6 minutes of elaborate orgasm faces and describing of food textures

 

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#2 – Prison School // Comedy // 12 Eps

This is the funniest comedy of the year. All of the characters are fantastic. Sure it’s oversexualized but just close the door and pretend you’re watching real titties instead of anime ones instead.

 

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#1 – One Punch Man // Action // 12 Eps

50% ridiculous over the top action scenes, and then the other 50% is this, one punch man is well worth your time, it’s like the Bayonetta of the anime world.

 

Shows good enough to get remembered but not good enough to make top 10: Kishi Cavalry, Shomin Sample, Utawaremono, Ani tore EX, Yurikuma Arashi, Kancolle, Death Parade, Koufuku Graffiti, Punch Line, Hibike Euphonium, Plastic Memories, Shimoneta, Himouto Umaru-Chan, Saenai Heroine no sodatekata

 

Top 10 PC Games of 2015

posted in: Games, top 10 | 0

Perhaps getting more and more jaded each year, but haven’t had a chance to play many of this years big releases :(
That and a bunch of this years big games were only on console- bloodborne, until dawn, splatoon, xenoblade chronicles X, GH Live….
Still haven’t really had much incentive to buy a new console, especially considering how underpowered they seem to be, 20something FPS on games only a few years after release doesn’t really bode well for the future of the console. Majority of the games thankfully have had PC releases as well.

So without further ado, here are the best games i’ve played this year – emphasis on ‘I’ve played’, i’ll list a list a bunch of the big releases that I haven’t played at the bottom for reference.

 

#10 – The Beginners Guide

Walking Game // Everything unlimited ltd // £7

Something of an alternate game, The Beginners guide sends you on a rollercoaster of emotions and twists in the 90 minute or so runtime, while it’s undoubtably the least ‘fun’ game on this list, it’s (hopefully) fictional story elicits emotions rarely found on this medium, and that’s impressive in it’s own right.

#9 Fallout 4

Action RPG // Bethesda // £40

Yeah, sure, it’s more Fallout, it’s a good game, the base building stuff was a nice addition, as well as generally streamlining a bunch of stuff, the gunplay is more satisfying this time round as well which is always a good thing. Yet in true fallout fashion, at some point I left the game for a week or so and just found myself fed up and tired of it all, the 40something hours I spent with it were great though.

#8 Her Story

Puzzle? // Sam Barlow // £5

Surprise indie hit this year, Her Story did a lot of neato things we haven’t really seen before in video games, including lack of a proper video game ending, letting you simply finish when you think you are done. Her Story doesn’t hold your hand at all, doesn’t remind you what has happened or well… do anything aside from present a chopped up bit of video and let the player have at it. That said, the story and the unique way it unfolds is incredibly memorable, as instead of having key points of plot revealed to you, you have to piece it all together yourself, making you really feel like a detective.

#7 Keep talking and nobody explodes

Party/Puzzle // Steel Crate Games // £11

Oh man, best local co-op experience of 2015? I think so! KTANE is a truly genius game, and one that isn’t out of place at a party or small social gathering filled with ‘normies’. This bomb defusing puzzle game is equal parts accessible, challenging and hilarious, regardless of which side of the asymetrical gameplay you are a part of. For those unfamiliar, one player sits at the computer and defuses a complicated bomb with the help of experts – and by experts I mean your idiot friends sitting on the couch in your room with you, staring at an equally complicated defusal manual where they must use logic to decipher the correct steps to relay to the defuser.

#6 Invisible Inc

Stealth Strategy // Klei Entertainment // £15

I did a full review of it way earlier in the year, but Invisible inc was a surprise gem this year, with it’s turn based stealth action and roguelike features, Invisible Inc was metal gear solid meets FTL in the best of ways, providing a challenging but fair game with some great rewards and replayability for those that get invested.

#5 Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

Shooter // Treyarch // £40

Surprisingly, this year’s Call of Duty instalment is genuinely fun and the first title where i’ve truly enjoyed the multiplayer since MW2. There is some fair value for money here, with a full 4 player co-op campaign, zombies co-op campaign, dead ops 2, zombies, and of course the multiplayer (though good luck finding much other than TDM/Domination on PC). Guns in online seem fairly balanced and specialist weapons are less annoying than expected (though that flamethrower quite desperately needs a nerf), it’s still not as good as TItanfall in my opinion, but it’s probably still the best online shooter i’ve played this year.

#4 – Cities Skylines

City Builder // Colossal Order // £23

A fantastic city builder, after the fiasco that was the latest Sim City I think everyone was really gagging for this sort of game, and developer Colossal order’s stance on modding really helped push Cities Skylines to it’s maximum potential, with the community fixing all of the minor gripes people had issues with.

#3 Life is Strange

Story Adventure // DONTNOD entertainment // £18

I’m a sucker for a good time travel story, and Life is strange hooked me in from the first episode with it’s interesting approach to being able to see all of the decisions you can make. My biggest mistake was not waiting for all of the episodes to be out before playing it, but thankfully that’s now a non-issue. The plot is a real rollercoaster of emotions, in a good way, and though there were a few tedious segments which slowed down the pace of the game (i’m looking at you, bottles and stealth sections) LIS was a very enjoyable 10 hours or so.

#2 – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Stealth Action // Konami // £46

It was a painful shame that the latter part of the game wasn’t as good as the first, but thankfully the first 20 hours of the game are so good that you’ll probably be able to forgive it’s lackluster ending and unfinished story.

#1 – Undertale

RPG // Toby Fox // £7

Don’t let the very vocal diehard community put you off, Undertale is an incredible game – fantastic gameplay coupled with brilliant writing, lovable characters and a great soundtrack, the game is short but oh so memorable, and undoubtedly this year’s must play game, and game of the year. I was still getting chills down my spine listening to bits of the soundtrack weeks later.

 

Special mention: Grand Theft Auto V (PC)
Only just got released for PC this year, but obviously the game has been out for much longer than that, Seeing release in 2013 originally, 2014 for next gen, and 2015 for PC. I held out and didn’t play it until this year and holy shit the amount of content and sheer enjoyment packed into this game is fantastic, so glad I waited for this version. If I was treating this game as being released in 2015, it would probably be number 1.

 

Unplayed: Bloodborne, Witcher 3, Arkham Knight, SW Battlefront, Rise of the tomb raider, Rainbow Six Siege, AC Syndicate, Halo 5, Until Dawn, Rocket League, Pillars of Eternity, Mad Max, Xenoblade Chronicles X, GH Live, Amplitude, Helldivers,

Top 10 PC games of 2014

posted in: Games, top 10 | 0

2014 Marked an almost upsetting year for video games, even with the new consoles released last year, we saw depressingly few truly good games on the PC (Though to be honest, this list could probably cover consoles as well because destiny was supposedly crap, and Smash bros isn’t really my jam anyway)

I practically had to scrape together this list, and even with all contenders there were only 12 choices (Watch_dogs and Alien Isolation are just off the list)

Nonetheless, here are my favorite 10 PC games from 2014.

 

10theevilwithin

#10 The Evil Within // Action Survival Horror //

I mean, yeah the last 1/3rd of the game was pretty shit, as soon as you start introducing enemies with machineguns in a survival horror game, things tend to go downhill pretty rapidly. However the rest of the game was pretty tense, there were some pretty damn scary enemies, and the action portion of the game was decent too – even if the upgraded handgun was overpowered.

 

09shadowsofmordor

#9 Middle Earth Shadows of Mordor // Open world Action // October

Shadows of Mordor went ahead and basically stole everything that other games in the genre had done well, and mashed them all together to make a game that was great fun, but somewhat lacking in depth. It doesn’t keep you gripped for long, but the short time it does have you entertained is an enjoyable one.

 

08wolfensteinneworder

#8 Wolfenstein: the new order // FPS // May

A trip back to the olden days of FPS, where ADS is merely cosmetic, and you can dual wield sniper rifles. Wolfenstein gave no fucks, and the result is a satisfying and fast shooter. It also had some pretty damn good graphics and ran well, which is a nice bonus.

 

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#7 Divinity: Original Sin // RPG // June

I often find it hard to get into these sort of games, but Divinity:OS really captures the RPG feeling, forcing you to pay attention to the story and lore. The combat system is also pretty good, and less RNG reliant than similar games in the genre. It’s also a pretty damn long game, i’m not sure how long i’ve spent on it, but it’s a while for sure. Also, gorgeous graphics for a top down RPG game.

 

06jazzpunk

#6 Jazzpunk // Comedy // February

With some very hit-or-miss comedy, Jazzpunk isn’t for everyone, but if you are on the same wavelength as the developers and their sense of humour, Jazzpunk is goddamn hilarious. Try not to spoil it for yourself by watching letsplays, just grab it when it’s cheap (or the other thing) and enjoy the ride.

 

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#5 Battleblock Theatre // Masochistic Platformer // May

Battleblock isn’t really what it’s advertised as, I expected a fairly plain platformer game with some multiplayer built in around it, but what I got instead was an impressively deep masochistic platformer in the vain of Meatboy, and a whole campaign and slew of community made levels for co-op play, forcing you to use head boost jumps or similar to progress. It’s really good fun to figure out some of the puzzles, and pure satisfaction to complete some of the harder levels (of which there are plenty)

 

04southparkstickoftruth

#4 South Park Stick of Truth // Comedy RPG // March

Admittedly more of a playable Episode of South Park than a full on video game, the combat was fairly simplistic and binary, much like the gameplay, but the feeling of being able to walk around south park, the attention to detail in all of the environment, the story, the cutscenes and humour… It was a south park fan’s dream come true, and more than enough to make you overlook the actual game component of Stick of truth.

 

03darksouls2

#3 Dark Souls 2 // Masochistic Action // March

Maybe a year or two ago, I mentioned that I didn’t ‘get’ the dark souls series, and here we are, at the end of 2014 with Dark Souls 2 in a top 10 list, and Dark Souls 1 completed as a side result. Some portion of me still doesn’t ‘get’ the Dark Souls series, I play, I die, I get fucking furious, and yet I can’t stop playing it until it’s beaten. I kind of don’t want the improved version out next year, because it mean’s I might have to play this piece of shit again, and i’m not sure I want that because so help me If I have to beat the smelter demon again.

 

02titanfall

#2 Titanfall // FPS // March

Titanfall is an odd one, I rarely feel the urge to play it, and often in between rounds i’ll feel like I want to quit out, but 100% of my time spent actually playing Titanfall is great fun and pure adrenaline rush. The movement system is fantastic and fluid, the gunplay is solid, the time to kill is just right, the weapons (though few) are balanced well, and being able to murder waves of real players in a gigantic robot is exhilarating and even leads to videos being made.
As sad as it is, I wish there were more bullshit carrot on a stick things like Call of Duty does, because if there were, i’d probably be playing this constantly.

 

01shovelknight

#1 Shovel Knight // Retro Platformer // June

Goddamn shovel knight is so good. Probably easily the best game this year despite it’s simplicity. Tight controls, great level design, catchy music, it just does everything so well, and feels like a game designed by gamers, for gamers.

 

(Untried and thus unjudged, Dragon Age Inquisition, Grimrock 2, Talos Principle, Super Time force

Top 10 of 2014 : Anime

posted in: Anime, top 10, WYSBW | 0

Probably an above average year overall for anime, with every season having at least two standout shows. For my own sanity, we are counting shows that started in 2014, not those that ended in it.

 

10akamegakill

#10 Akame ga Kill // Action // 24 Episodes

Whilst a fairly standard shounen style dudes killing each other with superpowers thing, the interesting part of Akame Ga Kill for me is that plot armor is pretty nonexistent, main characters both friendly and hostile are introduced and then killed off and the story runs with it without making any attempt at trying to bring them back from the dead, characters truly fight to the death and possibly because of this, the story actually feels like it progresses somewhere rather than in other shows like bleach where people spend 3 episodes fighting, only to show mercy on their opponent and have to fight them again later.

 

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#9 Barakamon // Comedy Slice-of-Life // 12 Episodes

Lovely relaxing Barakamon up at number 9, it’s nice to have a calming show like this every now and then, and the inclusion of adorable little girl is still as effective as it was back in 2011’s Usagi Drop.

 

8nozakikun

#8 Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun // Comedy // 12 Episodes

One of summers little surprises, Nozaki-kun turned out to be a lovely little comedy with quirky characters. Would have liked to see a little more progression in terms of plot, but I suppose it’s to be expected from an anime derived from a 4 panel manga

 

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#7 Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders // Action // 48 Episodes (Ongoing)

Somewhat of a love it or hate it affair, Jojo’s Part 3 doesn’t waste much time beating around the bush, after an initial introduction it plays enemy of the week for 20 straight weeks, introducing and then rapidly removing characters – fantastic for those that just want constant action, with the result being almost a boss rush in anime form.

 

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#6 Parasyte – the maxim // Action // 24 Episodes (Ongoing)

Parasyte has almost managed to feel like two separate shows since the incident a few episodes ago, however this works in it’s favour. We’ve had a great chance to see both sides of the coin, with shinichi going from fear of his power to his acceptance of it. It’s been a very solid action show so far, and the plot is progressing nicely so far.

 

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#5 Haikyuu // Sports // 25 Episodes

Sometimes simple is best, Haikyuu throws a sports team together and then has them train and compete in the interhigh competition, it’s a tried and tested formula but Haikyuu does it exceptionally – filled with likable characters and powerful rivals, it’s a great watch from start to finish though the pacing sometimes can be a little dragged out. I also thought the final battle of the show was really interestingly done, though i’ll leave you to find out why.

 

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#4 Space Dandy (1+2) // Sci-fi Action Comedy // 26 Episodes

The show where anything goes, the pure episodic nature of Space Dandy is both it’s strongest weapon and it’s weakness – the show lacks in episode quality consistency due to shifting directors and story writers almost every episode, however this is also means you really have no idea what to expect when you start watching, perhaps you’ll get a romantic comedy episode, a surreal dreamlike episode (Goddamnit plant episode) or maybe you randomly get a goddamn high school musical episode complete with 80’s training montage.
PS, the dub is actually solid for this one, so feel free to go for that if you can’t be bothered with subs.

 

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#3 Ping Pong // Sports // 11 Episodes

Style for days, Ping Pong may look rough around the edges but proves that style and direction is more important than art. Scenes have clearly been well thought out, and there is an additional layer of symbolism hidden behind a fair portion of the shots to give the show that extra depth. Back this with an interesting story and killer soundtrack and ping pong is one of the best shows of this year for sure.

 

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#2 Nisekoi // Love Polygon Comedy // 20 Episodes

I love this show so much, the character interactions and the ridiculous misunderstandings they get themselves into really remind me of the fantastic School Rumble from back in the day – which is high praise imo. While some of the girls are less lovable than others, Nisekoi really succeeds in making sure there is a ‘best girl’ for everyone (#teamonodera). Some typical ‘Shaft’ animation really helps the show do it’s thing, and while the plot is fairly slow moving, you’ll be happy to just see the characters interact.

 

1shigatsunouso

#1 Shigatsu wa kimi no uso // Drama // 22 Episodes (Ongoing)

Yeah, it may be premature considering the show hasn’t even hit the half way mark at time of writing, but when you take to twitter to proclaim that something is AOTY every episode, it probably is. Shigatsu no Uso really has a full package of beautiful visuals, amazing BGM and a slew of lovable characters with interesting personalities and backstories. Every episode feels 5 minutes long, every week feels like too long until the next episode comes out. As if it needed more accolades to it’s name, even the opening song (Hikaru nara, by goosehouse) is the best this year. It really does feel like a while since a show aired that demanded to be watched as soon as it’s put up on the internet, and I envy those that have the opportunity to marathon it in the future. Best show. AOTY.

 

 

Some honorable mentions: Amagi Brilliant Park, Tokyo Ghoul, Seha Girls, Kokkuri san, SAO2, Mikakunin

My Top 10 Favorite Arcade Games

posted in: Games, top 10 | 0

Considering how often i’ve been frequenting a certain arcade lately, I thought it would be fun to write up a top 10 list. So in no particular order, here are 10 of my favorite arcade games from years gone by, hopefully you’ve at least played some of them?

 

Time Crisis 2

Time_crisis_2_cabinets
If you haven’t seen one of these in the wild, you probably have never been to an arcade.

An Oldie but goodie, and probably one of the most common cabinets in the world? Time Crisis 2 released in 1998(!) redefined and refined the shooter genre with it’s sweet pedal reload, it’s loudy force feedback guns and its innovative asymmetrical multiplayer gameplay. Truly a classic game – though a shame unless you’re a god you won’t see much past area 1 with one credit, let alone continue into the forest stage.

Ghost Squad

In my opinion, the best arcade shooter made to date. Snappy controls, great pacing and holy shit that fucking gun with the force kicker in the stock. I must have put at least £30 into this machine in single credits, and i’ll still happily play it today, despite completing the whole game 20 times over. Good players can blow through the whole game in one credit, better players can increase the difficulty on the menu to introduce more challenges and make the event scenes harder. Ghost Squad was also one of the first few games to introduce cards which allow you to save your progress and unlock new equipment and weapons as you play.
Confidential Mission by Hitmaker was also in this list, a similar style of game which was well polished and refined, but Ghost squad just edged it out, purely because the burst fire on those plastic UMP’s were awesome.

Beatmania IIDX

Somewhat expected if you’ve been following my blog recently, almost 900 songs and counting with each release, IIDX goes from casual to hardcore, to casual hardocre to insanity – allowing players to play with 3 difficulty levels and with 7keys or 14keys (and 2 turntables). The replay factor of this one is it’s main strength, not only will you probably need to play a few hundred credits to be able to get good at the game, you can then get involved in fully completing the game (completing every single song) or score chasing with friends and strangers alike. The later machines are cleverly made to record your scores on an online network which is accessible on all devices, letting you keep tabs on your friends scores and being able to compare them to your own. It’s a slippery slope, but for rhythm gamers, one hell of a fun one.

Fighting Mania

(Skip to 66 Seconds)

Modelled after the Fist of the North star series, how could FIghting Mania not be good? The game is played by physically punching pads at the right time as they flick out at you, with cues via video and audio to alert you to the status of the fight. The machine is almost always hilariously loud, with kung-fu noises exploding from the machine as you smack the pads with little regard for your own safety (safety gloves? pffft). Each level features a different enemy, with their own unique special moves and your own special finisher for each one – fans of the manga/anime will be happy to know that all their favorite moves and scenes are present in the game, from the hundred crack fist of the north star, to the slow deliberate punches on heart. Be warned however that the game is hard as hell, and will often demand more of your money before you can even kill 2 enemies. (ps. Theres a cab at astro in southend)

Afterburner Climax (Super Deluxe Cab)

As a game itself, afterburner climax was decent though nothing to blog about, the super deluxe edition of the arcade cab however, is a completely different story. A gigantic screen mounted upon a moving platform with the seat affixed as well. You need to put a seatbelt on to play, which probably says a lot in itself. As the game starts, the seat rumbles and the surround speakers in the headset come to life, from here your ups, downs and pans are all physically recreated by the moving platform, the screen and seat whip around with you attached. It’s really a fantastic experience, though sadly due to the high price of the machine, the game is very rare to find now, meaning if you didn’t already get a chance to play it, theres a fair chance you won’t.

Jurassic Park 2: The lost world

^Skip to 2:35 for familiar music

Speaking of crazy arcade experiences, I think Jurassic Park Lost world is one of the first arcade shooters to pioneer the sit-in cabinet with curtains, this let them dim the lights and turn up the volume and bass for a more thrilling experience. Way back in the day (10+ years ago?) there was a full enclosure version at Segaworld in London, which would have a spinning seat and giant fans/water effects for when the T-Rex attacks you, it was amazing. Of note also is the speed of the game, raptors really sprint at you, yet can be taken out in one or two well placed shots, with a satisfying burst particle when shot. Who can forget also the music that plays during the first level, often blaring reeeaally loud from underneath you.

Star Wars Arcade

Another classic, Star Wars Arcade was memorable for it’s joystick rail shooter segments on the death star, hoth and endor, as well as the lightsaber battles which would have you deflecting bullets or slicing away at darth vader himself. These cabinets were gigantic, and sitting inside the cab, the screen would really engulf you. Graphically the game was pretty good too (for the time) and of course accompanied by that famous soundtrack.

Spikeout

The evolution of gauntlet, or an arcade version of streets of rage, Spikeout was a 3d multiplayer brawler where a credit could last you surprisingly long. Arguably it didn’t do anything particularly groundbreaking, but I remember oriental city having a full row of 4 cabs hooked up for multiplayer, and you could just sit down, pump and credit in and join in the fight with whoever else was playing – a great way to socialize a little and just in general a lot of fun

Gunslinger Stratos

Found only in a few arcades in Japan last I checked, gunslinger stratos is an online shooter which puts players in 4v4 battles against each other, it plays out very similar to the many free to play third person shooter PC games from korea, except for the part where you are fighting with other people in the same arcade, and are standing there dual wielding lightguns (as standard). These two pistols are magnetized too, so when you’ve finished your pistol/uzi ammo, you can combine the guns side by side and your character will take out a machine gun or shotgun for example, detaching them again and placing them one on top of the other will materialize a rocket launcher or other heavy weapon. It’s full of novel ideas, and who doesn’t enjoy dual wielding as standard.

Panic Park

Where the hell did this game go? I need this in my life again. Panic Park was a series of minigames in similar vain to bishi-bashi, except the minigames were platformers by nature, and designed to take advantage of the unique control scheme – Panic park is controlled by 2 handles, an designed for two players, the problem is these handles exist on the same horizontal axis, meaning if player 1 needs to go onto the right side of the screen, he’s going to have to push player 2 out of the way. As you can imagine then, many of the games involve narrow pathways, or doorways only large enough for one player – forcing players to fight each other for these objectives. Arguably one of the best two player arcade games out there.

Special mentions:
– LA Machineguns – One time, it was on freeplay and I started losing feeling in my arms
– Outrun Coast to Coast
– Drummania

Top 10 of 2013: PC Games

posted in: Games, top 10 | 0

Given that I don’t think ive bought a 360 game all year (aside from maybe Dance Central 3), this list is going to be solely on games that can be played on the PC (aka. the glorious master race). It’s been sort of a mixed year for games, with some nice highs and then some complete draughts where nothing of note comes out.
I’ve already reviewed a majority of these games over the course of the year so if you wan’t a more indepth read about any of the games on the list, have a look on the review list page.

number10 - Gunpoint

# 10 – Gunpoint // June 2013 // Tom Francis

Gunpoint was a nice little surprise of a game, especially considering it was essentially a single man job, the gameplay hook, premise, ridiculous story and great writing make Gunpoint an especially fun romp for the short time period it lasts. The only thing that could have made this game better would have been if it were longer.

number9 - element4l

#9 – Element4l // May 2013 // I-Illusions

Showing up as a bit of a surprise is Element4l, I really enjoyed this game back when I played it in June, however I never would have thought it would be enough to make top 10 of the year, the only explanation perhaps, is that I enjoyed it even more than I thought I did. The game is beautiful, with strong but simple gameplay mechanics, and backed by a fantastic soundtrack.

number8 - Outlast

#8 – Outlast // September 2013 // Red Barrels

I never finished Outlast, which is, perhaps, a testament of how good of a horror game it is. If it was their intention to make a truly scary game filled with a mix of cheap jumps and true atmospheric fear – mission complete. Outlast is as simple as your local ‘house of horrors’ funfair ride, but takes it to new extremes with great effect.

number7 - rogue legacy

#7 – Rogue Legacy // June 2013 // Cellar Door Games

A play on the traditional roguelike, Rogue Legacy was fantastically addictive when I first started playing it, the rewards and upgrades system is well thought out and keeps players coming back for more. Rogue legacy is also incredibly challenging, killing your player off whenever it feels, but thanks to the progression system, this rarely feels frustrating.

number6 - Guacamelee

#6 – Guacamelee // August 2013 // Drinkbox Studios

Metroidvania platforming refined to near perfection. Whilst Guacamelee is tooo short, it is able to deliver constant fun and laughs as you play through Juans tale. The skill ceiling is also surprisingly high thanks to a well thought out combo system, dimension switching mechanic and some unexpectedly hard platforming.

number5 - gunslinger

#5 – Call of Juarez: Gunslinger // May 2013 // Techland

COJ Gunslinger is an odd one, on one hand it doesn’t do much particularly new or groundbreaking, but goddamn the gunplay in this is fun and satisfying, and then the showdown finales are tense and great fun.
Gunslinger is possibly the most refined shooter I’ve played since Max Payne 3, no gimmicks or twists, just fantastic perfected shooter action.

number4 - payday 2

#4 – Payday 2 // August 2013 // Overkill Software

There aren’t enough robbery games, pure and simple. Payday 2, whilst not perfect, is a fantastic excuse to join a group and unite for some multiplayer first person PVE, couple that with a very extensive item drop, exp and cosmetic system, and then throw in regular updates to the game including (apparently) regular free DLC and you have a winner. I still play Payday 2 on and off thanks to the continual content updates.

number3 - Stanley Parable

#3 – The Stanley Parable // October 2013 // Galactic Cafe

The Stanley Parable is an incredible piece of media which will make you question the games you play and the way you play them. Crafted in such a way that it almost appears to read your mind as you play, the Stanley Parable has a bunch of quirky endings and things to discover as you play through again and again, all backed by some fantastic writing which is in turn backed by some incredible voice work.
This one isn’t the type of game you’ll be playing for days, or even hours, but the impact it will have is sure to dwarf that of other game experiences you’ve have

number2 - Tomb Raider 2013

#2 – Tomb Raider // March 2013 // Crystal Dynamics

The first in what is going to assuredly be a new series, the latest Tomb Raider game was an absolute blast to play – a perfect mix of pseudo open world, progression and action. Despite playing almost every Tomb Raider game since the PS1 era, I think this is the only one I actually completed. The story was mostly retarded, but the beautiful world and solid third person shooter action will have you not caring less.

number1 - Bioshock Infinite

#1 – Bioshock Infinite // March 2013 // Irrational Games

Yep. You probably saw it coming, but in my opinion, Bioshock Infinite takes crown for best PC game released in 2013. An interesting twisting story, fantastic gunplay, interesting varied and beautiful world and the best reverse escort mission ever. Bioshock Infinite has it all.
Waking up on that beach in Columbia and just being completely taken back by the sheer beauty of it all is also probably one of the best moments in single player gaming I’ve encountered.

Top 10 of 2013 : Anime

posted in: Anime, top 10, WYSBW | 0

A Strong Q2 and Q4 for 2013, though sadly only just enough actual good shows to form a top 10 list. There are no runner ups, everything that isn’t on this list was relatively mediocre. That said, at least you can rest assured that everything that actually made it onto the list is good.

no10 - tamako market

Tamako Market // Slice of Life // 12 Episodes

At the ‘worst of the best’ of 2013 is Tamako Market, great for a relaxing watch, featuring minimal storyline or progression as is normal for these sort of shows, but featuring some very likable characters. Tamako Market won’t be for everyone, but if you enjoyed K-On and the likes, give this one a try.

no09

Oreimo 2 // Comedy Drama // 13 Episodes

The barrier for entry for this one is to have seen the first season, Oreimo really isn’t for everyone given its somewhat incestual undertones but the character development is certainly there. Season 2 was more interesting than the first (imo) due to it having a slightly more serious overall tone and an expansion of the love triangle sort of set up in the first season.

no08

Hataraku Maou Sama // Comedy // 13 Episodes

Geared primarily as a comedy, but ‘Devil is a part timer’ has a good lick of Romance in there as well to keep things interesting. All of the characters are lovable and the series has just enough progression to keep viewers interested while still being a light watch. One of many from 2013 which need a sequel asap.

no07

Dia no Ace // Sports // Ongoing (13+ episodes)

Ace of the Diamond feels like watching Major all over again, the story of a pitcher determined to be the best, with a unique pitching style and tons of hidden potential. I love a great zero to hero story and this is certainly one of those. The show is still relatively early days so consider picking it up before it balloons into what will likely be more than 2 seasons long.

no06

Yowamushi Pedal // Sports // Ongoing (38 episodes)

Yowamushi Pedal is the story of nerd who finds out he is a cycling beast. It can probably be most easily compared to Hajime No Ippo in that the main character experiences some crazy growth during the series. The show itself has been confirmed for 38 episodes, which should be plenty of time for our hero to join a competition and face some interesting opponents. I was actually shocked at how enjoyable this one is, mostly because one logically kind of asks just how interesting a show about bike riding could even be, but as it turns out, the answer is very.

no05

Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting! – Rising // Sports // Ongoing (25 Episodes)

Anyone who has seen the previous 2 seasons will know how incredible Hajime no Ippo is, and this latest season is no exception. A new, cleaner art style and some fantastic fights and what looks like the most evil boxer of all time, this season has started strong and looks to end even stronger. If you haven’t seen the previous seasons, you should probably go and watch those first since they are even better.

no04

Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko // Harem Comedy // 12 Episodes

A fun show not to be taken seriously, filled with slapstick and ecchi fanservice. Henneko is the biggest guilty pleasure this year, and you’ll hate how fun it is to watch. The Tsukiko sisters are incredible and the main character doesn’t even bother trying to be a decent sort. If you need something dumb to watch, Henneko will be waiting for you, just don’t be expecting much plot (or not a sensical one anyway)

no03

Watamote : No Matter How I Look at It, It`s You Guys` Fault I`m Not Popular! // Comedy // 12 Episodes

Watamote follows Tomoko as she battles her social anxiety issues, a topic which likely strikes close to home with many of its watchers. Sometimes watching someone else do so much worse than yourself is comforting and entertaining, and watamote brings this by the truckload. Many complain that watamote was simply too cringe to be watchable because of just how painful it is to watch adorable Tomoko be so damn bad at life, it all kind of depends on what sort of perspective you have, but I thought Watamote was one of the most entertaining watches this year, along with having the best ending song of the year.

no02

Kill La Kill // Action // Ongoing

Kill La Kill is the anime version of a video game ‘boss rush’ mode, and made by Platinum Games. The result is a visual explosion for your eyes, ridiculous fight scenes coupled with catchy musical hooks and insane boss enemies nearly every episode. KLK doesn’t take itself seriously, and as long as you don’t either, you’ll be treated to one of the best action shows ever made.
Literally every single character is incredible, personality wise, badass wise, or simply visually well designed and concepted, and when they bring them in en masse like Kill La Kill is currently doing…. Well… I can’t wait for the next episode.
Oh. and Mankanshoku Mako is the best comedy relief sidekick ever.

no01

Shingeki no Kyojin // Action // 25 Episodes

Yup. Everyone that actually watches anime by this point has probably seen, or at least heard of Attack on Titan, and the hype is completely warranted.
The show is full of twists and turns, and while the pacing starts to falter towards the season half of the series, it’s still a fantastic watch. Attack on Titan may very well be not only the best anime show of 2013, but the best show. Period.

 

anime2013
My 2013 in anime. Unlabeled are some of the stuff carried over my last year, big empty one in the middle is Space Bros (still going after 1.5 years)

Guest Top 10 2013 – Henrik (GrantDN) Overview

posted in: Games, Guest, top 10 | 0

Howdy folks! I really wanted to do proper write-ups on all the fantastic games I managed to sneak time into playing, so I figured my GOTY Top 10 would also be a venue into doing proper posts about all of them. I hope you enjoy reading them, and I will also use this post to give direct links to each spot on the Top 10.

Also, I have included a Runner-up section within each post, keep in mind that this wasn’t Runner-up for THAT spot, rather Runner-up to be in the Top 10 in general. I made it because on one hand I could give that game its propers, and also because I felt bad not being able to give it some credit.

Nr.10
Nr.9
Nr.8
Nr.7
Nr.6
Nr.5
Nr.4
Nr.3
Nr.2
Nr.1

Hope you enjoy reading through ’em as much as I enjoyed writing ’em, and if not, I still appreciate you skimming through ’em. Take care and let’s hope next year will be another great year for games!

Top 10 Most Overrated Games of all time.

posted in: Games, top 10 | 2

Many games released are well received, most of these are legitimate good games being touted as good games, and yet some other releases manage to secure a long running series for themselves despite being underwhelming.

Of course, like any Top 10 list I do, this is completely my own opinion, and accounts for my tastes only. I know for a fact that many people will disagree with these, because they are overhyped – In just making this list I am more than aware I am swimming against the current, pointing out games I think are bad but everyone else considers good.
The Majority of the games on this list actually have a metascore about 80, and whilst I do not actively dislike all of them, the following are all games I feel are unworthy of the praise they receive.

o10x

Recent Metascores: 92, 94, 88, 83

Too Easy? The Call of Duty franchise achieves record breaking sales every goddamn year, yet only half of the game is worthy of being called playable – the multiplayer portion, of which I’ll admit is addictive and fun. The remainder of the experience is a game which plays practically identical year after year, with reused assets, ideas and engine year after year. Even the new call of duty: ghosts revealed for next generation consoles really doesn’t look much better.
For what its worth though, CoD does a lot of things right, big lobbies for console online, fun multiplayer, 60fps and more, hence why its only the tip of the ‘overrated’ iceberg as it is somewhat worthy of its praise.

o9

Metascore: 69

Resident Evil 6 holds a score of around 69 on Metacritic with at least 50 or so positive reviews from various websites, this to me, is mind blowing. Were we playing the same game? This broken mess of a game filled with horrific design choices managed a 69?, its shit like this that infuriates me because people buy it, which in turn secures money for a sequel.
Resi 6 was a mess of just about every single genre, it was a shit third person shooter, a shit survival horror and a shit whatever else it tried to be (movie? puzzle game?).

o8

Metascore: 93

Overhype confirmed for Brawl.
Every Nintendo generation since the 64bit era has come with its variation of the Super Smash Brothers series, a series which I’ve never really enjoyed that much. Legitimately the most entertaining part of the smash bros series so far has been the character reveals , the actual game itself almost always devolves into button mashing and death with you mostly unaware of what just happened.
Something which occurred to me whilst writing this is that perhaps I do not find it particularly enjoyable because of the features it has, an easy pick up and play style and non-reliance on skill.
I can definitely see why people would enjoy smash, but it’s just not for me and in my opinion the game is somewhat of a mix between a mediocre fighting game and a mediocre party game. How does Melee/Brawl achieve ‘universal acclaim’ when actual fun games like Kung Fu Chaos only do ‘ok’

o7

Metascore: 92

Fallout 3 was far from a bad game, however it was one which I feel left the most bitter after-taste. After finishing FO3, or even after you’ve clocked a fair amount of hours, you begin to realise its all so very samey, you may even realise that the game isn’t actually much fun at all. Looting stuff mindlessly for money which has little use, a small selection of weapons with no unique characteristics, few enemies, boring environments…..
Oh, and then there’s the binary combat system, I hate the VATS system so much it pains me.
Maybe it’s just that there are so few games of its kind (Open world FPS RPG) but I really feel that Fallout 3 was rated higher than it is worth.

o6

Metascore: 96

Starting to get deep into “Screw you that’s my favourite game” territory now…
Some people say the original Bioshock is the best game ever made, ‘the combat was so good’, ‘the twist was amazing!’, ‘morality system’ etc etc.
The one thing Bioshock excelled at was its Audio and Visuals for its time, the graphics actually still hold up okay today, which says something.
The combat was the real let-down for me, especially considering thats the majority of what you will be doing during the game, near all the guns felt oddly balanced and combat in general just didn’t feel particularly satisfying.
Score in the 90’s? Yes, Great game? Yes, ‘Best game ever made? Not a chance.
(Not really sure how it scored lower than Bioshock Infinite either, and don’t even get me started on Bioshock 2, jesus christ.)

o5

Metascores: 97 , 95 , 94 , 83 , 91 , 87

A 6/7 game series, with a further 3+ and a TV show by Spielberg scheduled…
All centred around a boring game with a confusing plot.
I’ve played practically every Halo game, and yet outside of the multiplayer, I don’t think I’ve actually enjoyed any of them. How is it even possible that I’ve completed all the core Halo games and I have NO IDEA of ANY of the story.
And then there’s the multiplayer, where headshots count for virtually fuck all unless you have the sniper rifle, a game where by default you get a radar that shows where your enemies are…
I get it, and I understand that the game is balanced around it, and maybe it’s not all that bad, and capture the flag is a lot of fun, but there is something really messed up about the fact you can hit a guy in the dome 3 times and he still be allowed to turn around and kill you.

o4

Metascores: 68 to 84

Okay, now Monster Hunter is a game I ‘get’, and yet it’s a game I cannot comprehend.
The Japanese LOVE MonHun, perhaps for the community they have there, this has sort of resulted in a positive feedback loop in the east, and a negative one in the west – where everyone  owns Monster Hunter because everyone owns Monster hunter.
Let me elaborate for those who haven’t a clue about the game, MonHun is a game where you kill big monsters, then with the items you get from killing that monster, you forge new equipment and do it all again. Eventually, you become unable to kill said big monsters without the help from other players. The concept is very cool, and it works well for co-op (and hence why I said ‘I get it’ earlier), it all breaks down however if you ever try playing it. The combat in this game is atrocious, Monster Hunter combat is literally the complete polar opposite of Bayonetta – where Bayonetta is fast, fun and responsive; Monster Hunter is slow, dull and you could probably compose a 7 minute orchestral symphony in the time it takes for your character to swing his sword – and god forbid you ever actually want to try to evade anything.

o3

Metascore: 77

Oh Jesus Christ Awesomenauts.
It looks/sounds alright, a 2d MOBA with a colourful art style.
And then you play it, a boring mess of a game featuring not enough of anything – not enough players (3v3), not enough maps (4?), not enough characters (8 or 13) and worst of all, not enough fun. How does a moba manage to be so dull to play even after taking out the farming aspect?
I played one game online and that was already more than I could stand – Partially because the matches take about 4x longer than they should.

o2

Metascore: 89 , 89

Sooooo…. Dark Souls, a masochistic game with surprise death traps and not so surprise death traps. Now this isn’t the same type of masochism as that present in fun games like ‘I wanna be the guy’ – you die unfairly, “haha that’s so messed up why would the moon just fall on me like that”, you spawn and you have lost 4 seconds of progress. In Dark souls you die and you may have just lost half an hour of progress and more. It also comes with a horrific combat system similar to that of Monster Hunter, with its horrifying overanimated attacks and movements – every weapon controls with the fluidity of a cube rolling on a flat surface.
Why is this game on its 3rd iteration? Where’s the fun? Because it certainly isn’t in the combat, the dull environments, or the cheap tricks. Maybe someone can enlighten me.

o1

Metascores: 93, 94, 91, 79

The motherload of all ‘overhype’, I’ve never really cared much for gears, I’ve played through 1 and 2, though 3 and onward look pretty much the same. Gears of War for whatever reason thought that the Halo health system was a fantastic idea, and created a third person shooter littered with chest high walls and a ‘downed’ system which means that when you play on-line you not only have to plug your enemy with 200 bullets to the face, but have to be in melee range to finish them off as well – oh joy.
The story campaign is both one up and one down on the Halo franchise in that I can at least remember some of the ….. hm… wait. Nevermind, apparently I don’t remember any of that story either. I guess it’s just 1 down then, at least Halo had enemies easily dispatched with headshots.
Again, I’m not saying that the Gears of War series is bad, but it is a game which has gained more praise than it deserves, from a review – “It’s all about the gameplay, and Gears of War delivers in that department so completely that it wouldn’t matter if you were playing the game in 16 bit graphics” – ….. Wat. Did we play the same game?
Meanwhile, Vanquish sits in a corner somewhere relatively unheard of,

ob

Like, seriously? Why is this game so popular? Its like bejeweled but with limited moves and most of the time it is literally impossible to complete the level based on the initial spawn of the blocks, and then of course once you realise you can’t even complete the level, there is no way to reset the level easily. What further confuses me is the type of people who play this game, ie. My mum and other non gamers, who seem happy enough to play this borderline impossible match3 game, but dislike other puzzle games? I really don’t get it. Also please stop sending me Candy Crush Invites, I don’t have the leet skills required to play that shit.

~~~~~~~~~~

Aaaaaaaaand cue shitstorm number 2.
I’ll go ahead and repeat that these games arent necessarily bad, just not as good as the reviews and sales figures would have you believe.
Also gonna go ahead and say that this post took me way too goddamn long to write.

Honorable Mentions: Metal Gear Solid 4, Team Fortress 2, Final Fantasy 11, Darksiders, Heroes of Newearth, Gran Turismo/Forza, Duke Nukem, Final Fantasy Series, New Super Mario Bros series, Assassins Creed Series

The Top 10 Best Games of Ever.

posted in: Games, top 10 | 2

This is MY PERSONAL LIST, nobody else will agree with this list 100% (or maybe they will, who knows),everyone has different tastes and I can only tell others what I like.

num10

Ragnarok Online // PC // Gravity Co. // 2003

Ragnarok Online was probably my first major MMO experience, and it was fantastic! A ton of diverse classes and locations, heaps of world bosses and an addictive (if somewhat grindy) leveling and drop experience. I also want to point out that I still think that RO has the best equipment upgrade and slots system in any game to this day, even WoW with its enchant system doesn’t have shit on the addictive, almost gambly nature of RO’s blacksmith and card system.

num9

Phoenix Wright: Trials and tribulations // GBA/DS // Capcom // 2004

Yes I flipped the picture, Yes it looks weird with Godot on the left, Deal with it.
Phoenix Wright 3: Trials and Tribulations, was in my opinion the best of the series so far, that’s not to say that the cases were significantly better than the other games, but by this point in the series all of the characters have been so well fleshed out, they really get an opportunity to shine. This let the game feel deeper without it even needing to try as the foundations were already laid, it is around PW3 that we started to see recurring side characters and such too.

num8

The Walking Dead // PC/360/PS3 // Telltale games // 2012

Yep. Telltale’s TWD is in yet another Top 10 on my blog, I could go on and on about the incredible experience this game provides, but you’d have heard it all before. My personal favourite game of 2012 has managed to make it onto my list of favourite games of all time.

num7

Gitaroo Man // PS2 // iNiS // 2002

Oooooooooh Gitarooooo maaaan~
Back in the day when rhythm games were virtually unheard of, Gitaroo Man managed to get published in the UK, I can’t imagine it would have done particularly well commercially, but this was really one of the best games on the PS2. Original and quirky characters and gameplay, and a very memorable soundtrack. It was also hard as hell on masters mode.

num6

SSX Tricky // PS2/GC/XBOX // EA Canada // 2001

The SSX slot very almost went to the rebooted SSX Deadly Descents, but I went for tricky because the music and tracks were significantly more wacky. This fun and playful style of SSX is exactly the direction the game should have continued going in (as opposed to the open world ‘real mountain’ style they went with), anyone who has slid through Aloha Ice Jam, or the 3 laps of Tokyo Megaplex will agree that this is the best snowboarding game ever made.
It also has a brilliant cast of characters, an unlock system which rewards replay and a beasto soundtrack.

num5

Jet Set Radio // Dreamcast // Smilebit // 2000

The best thing to come out of the dreamcast (followed closely by Power Stone 2), Jet Set Radio was and still is, incredible. It’s crazy premise and story backed up by fun gameplay and characters, JSR was near perfect aside from some totally bullshit areas. JSR also rocks one of the best soundtracks to come out of a video game.

num4

Super Mario Galaxy 2 // Wii // Nintendo // 2010

Whilst many other games on this list are unique and innovative, Mario Galaxy 2 is pretty much the polar opposite – A well tried and tested formula based on a series which has been going since 1985, Mario Galaxy 2 almost felt like a tribute summarizing everything Nintendo had learnt so far, instead of trying to innovate, they just went for something they knew worked and went all out to simply create the best 3d Mario game ever. Galaxy 2 was a perfect platforming experience.

num3

Bayonetta // X360/PS3 // Platinum Games // 2009

Oh my good lord Bayonetta.
This in my opinion, is the game which really got Platinum Games on the map, it was a pure adrenaline rush throughout, with incredibly tight controls, great replay value, slick visuals and framerate and an insane world to discover.
Bayonetta is everything Devil May Cry always wanted to be, and then some.

num2fix

Chrono Trigger // SNES // Squaresoft // 1995

In an alternate universe, Chrono Trigger is totally no.1 , but for now, Chrono Trigger has to sit content at number 2. It was fantastic all the way through and so very ahead of its time (pun maybe intended?). A masterpiece in every way, characters, battle system, music, story…. everything.
It really makes you wonder what caused Square to fall so far.

num1fix

Final Fantasy VII (7) // PS1/PC // Squaresoft // 1997

Yes it’s cliche, yes it’s massively overrated, but honestly, FF7 really is one of the best games of all time (and certainly my favourite). With its great story and plot, melodic tunes and abundance of activities to occupy you, FF7 is the peak of Final Fantasy’s legacy. I’d imagine everyone has played this legendary piece of work by now, but if not, you probably should.

~~~~~~

Aaaand cue Shitstorm.

Fun fact: This post is mostly just so that I, myself, can look back and reference it for when someone asks, because prior, I had no idea myself what my favorite games were.

Honorable Mentions: Bioshock Infinite , DJ Hero, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Phantasy Star Online, GTA: San Andreas, Katamari Damacy, Metal Gear Solid 2, Red Dead Redemption, Viewtiful Joe

 

Top 10 of 2012 : Anime

posted in: Anime, top 10, WYSBW | 0

#10 – Sword Art Online
Just barely beating out the honourable mentions is SAO, which had an incredible first few episodes and generally good first arc, but then the second arc started to become a little bit shit, and the ending was admittedly pretty bad. However the first arc was strong enough to carry the rest of it into my top 10. Had it kept going at the first arc for the whole 25 episodes this would probably rank much higher.

#9 – Lupin 3rd : The Woman Called Fujiko Mine
Highly stylized self contained episodes worked in this show’s favour, and reminded me how badly we need more shows like Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. This is a great standalone watch even for those completely unfamiliar with the Lupin 3rd series.

#8 – Psycho Pass
One of the more serious shows on this list, Psycho-pass is an interesting gritty take on the sci-fi police detective genre. Still only half way through the season as its a 2-cour but it has convinced me enough in 11 episodes to make it onto my top 10 of the year.

#7 – Sakurasou
Guilty pleasure of the year, with a formula and story which seems unoriginal and almost out of a newgrounds dating sim, this show somehow still manages to tick enough boxes to be a very entertaining 13 episode watch.

#6 – Chuunibyou demo koi ga shitai
Emotional rollercoaster, from straight comedy to romantic comedy, to romantic drama, to drama and all the way back. A good watch all the way, and very moeeee~

#5 – Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou

Schoolboy sketch show comedy, hit and miss jokes, but the hits can pack some serious punch (also, literary girl is the best background character this year)

#4 – Yuru Yuri 2

Still holds the award for most entertaining ‘pointless schoolgirls doing fuckall’ shows.

#3 – Binbougami Ga!

Fantastic comedy all the way through, brainless as fuck and with lots of needless fanservice, but i’ll be damned if that ever stopped me from enjoying a show. Very lovable characters who get some good development as the show goes on.

#2 – Waiting in the summer

Lighthearted romantic comedy featuring an alien, with some not so lighthearted extra relationship drama thrown in. A few bumps here and there, but a great watch overall.

#1 – Kids on the slope

An amazing drama from start to finish, Friendships and relationships are formed and crushed, and the climax half way through features one of the best moments in anime.

Honourable Mentions: Another, Kokoro Connect, Tonari No Kaibutsu, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Phantom Blood, Spaces Brothers (which has been consistently good all the way through, but runs at a slower pace than the others)

A summary of everything i’ve watched in 2012, red blocks are shows uncompleted/dropped half way, green blocks are shows finished. 

Top 10 of 2012: Video Games

posted in: Games, top 10 | 0

Lets do it.

#10 – Diablo 3
Didn’t keep me engaged for as long as I would have hoped, but I cannot deny the time I spent with Diablo 3 playing with friends was great fun. It feels a shame the game was in such a broken state when it first came out, I believe they have made some significant changes now which I would love to go back and try but its too little too late really. Still though, a fantastic game for the first 2 playthroughs, and amazing fun with friends.

#9 – Guild Wars 2
I still haven’t had time to explore all of tyria, dat value for money.
Read more here

#8 – Quantum Conundrum
Puzzle game from people who made portal, of course it was going to be good. Similar to the original portal however, the game suffered from being about 1 hour long (or it felt like it was seriously short anyway). But, for the short time the main game lasted, it was great fun to play and one of the better 3d puzzle games out there.

#7 – FTL (Faster than light)
Indie roguelike goodness, where every enemy encounter has a reasonable chance of killing you and ending all progress you’ve made on that particular playthrough.
its great fun though, maybe i’m just a masochist. Read more here

#6 – XCOM
A surprise which came out of nowhere for me, installed after being urged by a friend. The game hooked me into its addictive SRPG bullshittery. I lost many hours to this beast and regret nothing. You can read more here

#5 – Max Payne 3

Max payne 3 is a sequel to Max Payne 2, major differences being the lack of comic book panels and max’s hair. But everything else is intact, the dry wit, the clever writing, and all the satisfying slo-mo shooting one would expect. Max Payne 3 does nothing special, but what it does, it does so very very well.

#4 – Hitman Absolution
Probably a controversial pick, but I really enjoyed this instalment of Hitman.
Yeah sure it wasn’t blood money, but guaranteed if it was, a ton of people would complain that it was too similar to the past game. I really feel like most of the complaints on this are completely unwarranted though, i’ve seen reviews saying ‘you only assassinate 5 people’ or whatever and these people are dumb as shit, you get to assassinate loads of people – and there is always the online ‘Contracts’ mode if you want to assassinate more, infact – the online contracts mode is probably the Blood Money most people were looking for. And to those complaining the game is too easy with ‘instinct vision’ (which lets you see people through walls and so on), try to play the game on hard or expert, then complain.

#3 – Sleeping Dogs
An overlooked gem, Sleeping dogs absolutely nails the open world sandbox genre, whilst stealing all of the good features from a ton of other games, the result is a game which seems to do everything right.
Fun melee combat, Fun and actually skill based shooting combat, Driving mechanics which dont feel awful, a level up system, clothes shopping, car shopping, optional races, a bunch of collectibles which arent forced upon you (and can be found on the minimap for those achievement hunting), and most importantly a Story which wasn’t complete garbage.

#2 – SSX 2012
Winner of ‘most underrated game of 2012’ for sure, SSX was a blast to play, 80% of the tracks are a pure adrenaline rush to play when accompanied by the amazing soundtrack which suits the gameplay perfectly. The live audio mixing and visual feedback from linking a perfect set of tricks down the side of a mountain is as great to experience as it is to pull off. The online system is also fun and well thought out and the Single player story does well at keeping each set of levels fresh and challenging.

#1 – The Walking Dead
An easy decision here, and a well deserved win for The Walking Dead video game, whose great storytelling has already been recognized on sites larger than my own.
Though the game is a mediocre point and click adventure, its incredible characters and story will keep you glued to the game from start to finish. You can read more here

Honourable Mentions: Sniper Elite V2, Hotline Miami, Mark of the Ninja

Stuff which would probably be on the list if I had a chance to properly play them:
Assassins Creed 3, Far Cry 3, Zero’s Escape: Virtue’s last reward
Assassins creed in particular I feel has top 6-10 potential, and Virtues last reward could probably make top 5. I’ll be getting the latter within the week I hope so I’ll blog about it when I finish it.

End Note:
Its been a reasonable year for video games, and whilst sequel fever probably isn’t going anywhere for a while (6/10 games on this list are sequels, 7/10 if you consider sleeping dogs was once intended to be part of the true crime series), its nice to see a few games changing it up.