Tuesday, November 29, 2011

MOVIE - The Muppets.

I don't know about you, but I loved re-runs of The Muppet Show when I was a kid. I had no idea who all the dead or otherwise culturally-absent celebrities employed on the show were, but the Muppets were magical, to a wide-eyed child of the eighties.

When I heard a new Muppet movie was on its way, I didn't care. I didn't care about The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Muppet Christmas Carol or Muppets from Space - though I took the time to watch them when they showed up on basic cable.

They were okay. They were mediocre, and the magic was gone.

A week or two ago The Muppets hit theaters and reviews began to appear. I read one glowing review. Then another, and another.

...seriously? I thought. A really good Muppet movie? This can't be a thing.

I informed Kayla of my research and asked her if she wanted to go. She gave me the "is he fucking with me?" look and said "sure." I gave her the "is she just telling me what I want to hear?" look and said "really?"

Last night, we went to see The Muppets, and it was frickin' awesome. They - somehow - got the magic back. The only mark against the show is that writer/star Jason Segel is really not much of a dancer - but when that's all I can point to, that alone is pretty impressive. Amy Adams is, as always, sparkling.

It was funny and touching and entertaining and hilarious and self-aware and original and reverent and... wonderful. I laughed, I cried. Literally.

If you too looked at the release of this most recent Muppets with a similarly cynical eye, I encourage you to give it a shot.

ParaNorman - the next thing from the folks who made Coraline.

Oh my. Also - I love this song. (Thanks, Matt!)

Skyrim patch is live on PSN.

Among the fixes...

  • Improved occasional performance issues resulting from long term play (PlayStation 3)
  • Fixed issue where textures would not properly upgrade when installed to drive (Xbox 360)
  • Fixed crash on startup when audio is set to sample rate other than 44100Hz (PC)
  • Fixed issue where projectiles did not properly fade away
  • Fixed occasional issue where a guest would arrive to the player's wedding dead
  • Dragon corpses now clean up properly
  • Fixed rare issue where dragons would not attack
  • Fixed rare NPC sleeping animation bug
  • Fixed rare issue with dead corpses being cleared up prematurely
  • Skeleton Key will now work properly if player has no lockpicks in their inventory
  • Fixed rare issue with renaming enchanted weapons and armor
  • Fixed rare issue with dragons not properly giving souls after death
  • ESC button can now be used to exit menus (PC)
  • Fixed occasional mouse sensitivity issues (PC)
  • General functionality fixes related to remapping buttons and controls (PC)
Oooh, I'm so glad I finished up AC:R. Back to Skyrim tonight!

Monday, November 28, 2011

REVIEW - Assassin's Creed: Revelations.

The Assassin's Creed franchise seems prone to fits and starts. The hugely ambitious but problem-riddled original was not the most auspicious debut for a new IP, despite a massive amount of hype, but the property was salvaged entire by the sublime Assassin's Creed II which made massive strides by cutting away the chaff and fixing what was broken.

It was a total triumph, which highlighted the best in Ubisoft Montreal - its fantastic art direction and platforming - and gave us one of the most enjoyable protagonists of the current generation.

The bland, proud, stoic Altair was replaced with the fiery, funny, sexy Italian Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Here was a charming, engaging fellow who loved his wet work and still came across as righteous, and noble. After II and Brotherhood - two titles which only improved the Assassin's Creed name - it's disappointing to admit that Revelations is not quite as strong as its two predecessors.

The handsome young nobleman-about-town, who we watched grow into a master assassin and then master of assassins over the course of the past two games, deserved a better send-off than this. What should have been Ezio's greatest triumph and defining moment is instead just another stepping stone on Desmond's path, and a set-up for the inevitable Assassin's Creed III.

To be sure, there are a few improvements to the formula, here. Zip lines prove an efficient and stylish method of transportation, and Revelations is packed with far more fantastic set-pieces than previous entries. These mostly take place during what have been the best part of the franchise since II - wonderful, directed interior sequences which highlight how fast, responsive and elegant Assassin's Creed's platforming has become. During these jaunts underground, Ezio scrambles across crumbling beams and mighty chainworks - as one looks back on their time with the Italian, they will no doubt recall these thrilling moments before any in his previous adventures.

The hook blade - a modification to Ezio's right-hand hidden blade - is another winner. It's always bothered me that Altair and subsequently Ezio could never just book it up the side of a building like Altair did in the first trailer for Assassin's Creed, and while - on taller towers - ascents are still slow, with a proper layout Ezio can now zip up a two-story building in three seconds flat.

It also adds an immediate layer of risk-reward to the platforming, as the extra half-foot of reach the hook provides will allow you to (sometimes) stretch out your arm at the last moment, with a press of the circle button, and save yourself from a fifty-foot fall.

In terms of pure mechanics, Revelations' platforming - always the series' greatest strength - is the best it's ever been. Unfortunately, the world design does not quite live up to the standard of II and Brotherhood.

Take, for example, the hanging lanterns they introduced in AC:B. These lovely, stylish modes of transport and the pulley systems that would zip you up to a rooftop were liberally sprinkled about Rome last year, and while they return in Revelations - with the opportunity to turn a ninety-degree swing into a fifteen-foot long jump if you use the hook at the last moment - they aren't nearly common enough in Constantinople.

Where Brotherhood's Rome was a constant joy to simply travel through thanks to clever design and constantly thoughtful layouts for platforming, Revelations' Constantinople is comparably spartan, and bland. The zip lines are assuredly a nice touch, but the use of lovely little shake-ups like the pulleys and lanterns are rare treats instead of fun, familiar friends.

The platforming itself - on a mechanical level - remains slick, satisfying and gorgeously animated, in fierce competition with inFamous for the best platforming on the PS3, but the city simply does not showcase the game's locomotion at its best.

It also pales in comparison to the European cities of previous games. Constantinople boasts a few lovely vistas, but is never as consistently gorgeous as Rome or Venice.

The narrative we guide Ezio through is also relatively lean. He arrives in Constantinople and shortly sets to work pulling a Rome - setting up guilds in every corner of town and training up a loyal army of acrobatic assassins. As in previous games, this opens up into a menu-driven minigame of managing your murderers - you send them to foreign cities to pull jobs, they disappear for a while and cannot be called to your aid as you wander the city - and they either get killed on their journey or return in a minute or twenty with a bit of experience.

Leveling your Assassins offers little, in terms of real gain. You'll get a little coin in your pocket if you take over a foreign city (not that you'll need it), and once you cap their level they will prevent enemies from taking over one your guild halls - but given that the whole affair is text-driven, it leaves one feeling rather bored. After puttering around with it for a while, I ignored my Master Assassin duties and started letting the Templars take back the guild halls I'd opened.

Or... I would have let them take 'em - but they won't just take them. They'll "attack" them. You have to show up and direct your forces in a weird stationary, over-the-shoulder view tower defense minigame that quickly becomes just as boring as the text-driven management. I had hoped the Templars would just take the damned things over so I could be super-cool, sneak into their newly-acquired fortress and re-assassinate their captain - but alas, no matter how long I left their attack unopposed, they never successfully took control.

At that point, one will be forgiven for ignoring these salty additions to the game's core formula and returning to the main quest line - which allows you to actually get down to the business of dashing up walls, flying off rooftops and assassinating fools with maximum style.

It is here where the graying Ezio finds his footing, and shines once again. Ubisoft remain masters of the delicious act of moving a character from one platformer to another in three-dimensional space, and the game plays beautifully. Throwing in a bit of context - saving a maiden fair or punishing a traitor - only makes it more engaging.

Dashing across rooftops in the moonlight, perching atop a spire and directing your honor guard to dispatch a target far below with a sharp whistle retains its thrill, and thanks to the game's largely excellent presentation and (still) exceptional animation, it's wonderful to watch.

Combat has seen another (minor) improvement, which still leaves it well short of a dedicated brawler. Whereas in Brotherhood you could chain together insta-kills, enemies in Revelationswill interrupt your chain by attacking - which is easily remedied by counter-killing them before continuing your chain. It remains stylish and great fun to watch, but not nearly as much fun to actually play.

Thankfully, the sublime platforming, pitch-perfect controls and fantastic presentation go a very long way.

It's a testament to Revelations' often-excellent gameplay and Ezio as a character that this game makes one want to invest further in the world of Assassin's Creed - and a bit telling that it instead whispers that one should, perhaps, go back to II or Brotherhood to really enjoy his high adventure.

If Ezio had a defining moment, it was not during the events just prior to the end of his life. It was his battle against the Borgias or the Catholic Church, back in Italy - not in the port of Constantinople. Worst of all, Revelations fails to even provide our hero with a worthy ending - leaving the true send-off of one of this generation's most successful, engaging protagonists for a twenty minute short film Ubisoft would ask you to purchase off the gaming network of your choice.

Like much of Revelations, that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth - but it's also not the whole story. If there is indeed more value in the journey than the destination, Revelations is a path worth walking - but only for those hungry for more of Ezio after the excellent Brotherhood - not those who are hoping to see its brilliance exceeded.

  • Ezio is still awesome
  • excellent presentation across the board - voice work, costume design and graphics tech are all top-notch, with regular spikes of quality in art direction
  • the music is particularly great
  • the game's platforming mechanics have never been better
  • it's still fun to explore a beautiful, romantic, ancient city
  • the story missions which allow you to really marry stealth, assassination and platforming are pure pleasure
  • perfect controls
  • the romance of Ezio and Sofia is wonderful to see, if too lightly-explored
  • regular diversions into linear, indoor sequences provide a wonderful focus on the game's excellent platforming, and are chock-full of spectacular set pieces and thrilling escapes
  • ohhh, that explains some things. Not everything, though.
  • the overall story is a bit of a misfire - we never really care about the new narrative or enemies
  • not enough of those awesome indoor sequences
  • Constantinople's not as cool, fun or pretty as Rome
  • the combat is still rather rote
  • Ubi, do you really think I bought an Assassin's Creed game to play tower defense and send awesome assassins on menu-driven, invisible missions?
  • those Desmond missions are awful
  • Ezio has had greater adventures than this. If we weren't going to give him a proper send off, we should have left him where he was - Mayor of Awesome Sexy Badassville.
  • speaking of which, way to make Altair even more boring


It's nice to spend more time with Ezio - and while this is still a good time, it's not quite the good old days.

This Dead Space tribute mix is awesome.

Spoiler alert!

This spoils all kinds of stuff in both Dead Space and Dead Space 2. The music also - though I'm no Evanescence hater - wouldn't have been my first choice, but the editing is incredible and if the next four minutes and nineteen seconds don't leave you dying to throw one Dead Space or another into your console, you and I are on two different wavelengths.

To me, it just says "yes, Dead Space and Dead Space 2 really are as awesome as you remember."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Awesome Skyward Sword art.

Because the Revelations review isn't coming along as well as I'd hoped. Open in new window/tab to enlarge.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Monthly Hate - Nintendo games.

The Monthly Hate is a (rare and non-monthly) feature
where I try to complain about things.
I'm not a huge complainer, but I'll do my best.

I'll start with swearing more.

On Black Friday I went out and purchased The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword at a discount.

This seems stupid, to me. As I was wandering around the store with Kayla, securing paper and bows for wrapping, I found myself laughing at how idiotic it was that I continued buying, trying and discarding Nintendo games.

I keep wanting to love them - I keep wanting to see what others do - and while I should note that I haven't yet put Syward Sword into my Wii, I suspect it will suffer the same fate as Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Kirby's Epic Yarn, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Donkey Kong Country. I'll try it for an hour or ten and decide it is either a mediocre game or a good game that's not as good as all the stuff I could be playing on my PS3.

This feels like... a sickness. As if there's something wrong with me, for disliking these games - but when I play them, I can't help but think the only reason the press and gamers give these titles a pass is because they've got the Nintendo stamp on them - that we wouldn't accept these games, or be particularly enthused about these games, coming from developers on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.

Every year Nintendo will come out with at least one release that ends up gleaning 9/10s from the enthusiast press. This year it's Skyward Sword and Super Mario 3DS, last year it was Galaxy 2 and in 2009 New Super Mario Bros. Wii, with Kirbys and Donkey Kongs sprinkled about.

I keep trying. I want to recapture the feeling of sitting in the basement in Saskatoon with my older brother, holding all-night gaming sessions as we explored the incredible next-gen reality of Super Mario World to a soundtrack of cheesy 90s hip-pop. Once upon a time, Nintendo games were not merely well-constructed and adorable, but state of the art video gaming.

Those days are gone.

Why can't I love a Nintendo game any more? At first I thought it was just me who felt the controls in Super Mario Galaxy - controls every reviewer lavishes with praise - were, in fact, loose and twitchy and, well, crappy at allowing you to actually inform the game of your intentions. After conferring with a few gaming friends I discovered I was not alone.

I don't believe Super Mario Galaxy is actually a 9/10 or 10/10 game. I concede that it boasts a massive amount of content - which is lovely - but not that its design or mechanics actually put it at the head of the pack for 3D platformers. I do not concede that its gameplay is, in fact, anything special when compared with similar experiences you can find elsewhere. Better-playing platformers - which is the core of the experience, for me.

Everyone (in the online space) tells me these games edge dangerously close to perfection, and I just don't see it. Given that I seem to be a relatively lonely voice to the contrary, I must think that I am, in fact, wrong.

It's like standing in a crowd of a thousand people - everyone screaming 'yes!' and being that one, sad-sounding fellow in the back who you can only just hear saying 'no'. Going on averages, that guy is wrong. Perhaps these games really are the pinnacle of gameplay, control and design - but more and more I get the sense that I'm the only one at this party who didn't drink the Kool-Aid.

PS3 titles often simply seem like better games to me - and it's not just about looks. Let's ignore the obvious differences.

Let us posit, for a moment, that the leap in technology from the PS2 to the PS3, from the Xbox to the 360, was actually significant. Let us consider whether or not it granted an opportunity to refine mechanics and offer gameplay and experiences which would not have been possible on the previous generation.

I suggest that it has. I suggest that Mirror's Edge and Grand Theft Auto IV and Assassin's Creed II and inFamous and BioShock and Dead Island could not have been successfully made - in a way which retains their crucial core experience of play - on the previous generation.

That is - often - the difference between a Wii game and a PS3 game.

There is an argument to be made for 'less is more,' of course. Take The White Stripes - they confined their arrangements to a single guitar and drum kit in order to stretch themselves creatively, and offer something you couldn't find elsewhere. Similarly, by confining itself to out-of-date technology and an unusual controller, Wii development demands an environment of creativity - but in gaming, creativity is often the enemy of quality. Originality, more often than not, suffers from lack of iteration and refinement, and the results are hit-or-miss.

Take, WinBack for example. Never heard of it? Well, that's 'cause it wasn't particularly good - but it introduced cover-based shooting. How about KillSwitch, which further refined it in 2003? Getting warmer? Okay then - have you heard of Gears of War?

Ah, there we go.

Originality is great - it provides new experiences and mechanics that can ultimately be refined into exemplary gameplay - but it almost never happens overnight. In the same way it took Rockstar seven years (from GTAIII's release in 2001 to GTA IV's in 2008) to make an open-world game with capable shooting mechanics, Nintendo's regular reliance on half-baked gameplay or control hooks more often than not leaves me wishing I was playing other, better games.

I wonder if the lion's share of folks' reaction to recent Nintendo games is, in fact, largely driven by brand loyalty and nostalgia. "It's a new Mario game - it will be awesome!"

Will it? Will it really? Are you comparing this Mario game to anything but the last Mario game? 'Cause there are other games and franchises out there that are pretty awesome too.

Nintendo is uniquely positioned in the industry with a stable of beloved characters, many of which are over twenty years old - and they leverage that in their current gen. It's not bad that they do - we would be pissed right off if they didn't - but I feel they're somewhat abusing the loyalty and goodwill of their fans by, ultimately, offering a lesser product than the competitor.

When games like inFamous, Sly Cooper, Assassin's Creed II and Mirror's Edge are all successfully reshaping what we can demand of a 3D platformer, I feel Nintendo is resting on its laurels and giving us gimmicks instead of a better product.

At the same time, to be the one guy in the crowd of a thousand saying 'no' begs the question "why do you feel this way when (seemingly) no one else does?"

The Wii is my first Nintendo console since the Super Nintendo - and I feel that is where my problem lies. I played Super Mario 64 - I remember it like it was yesterday. I walked into a Toys 'R Us and they had a cabinet you could play it on. It was... incredible. Sublime. I have always subsequently described it as "a religious experience" - as if I had been touched by the finger of God.

But I didn't invest in Mario 64 like a generation of gamers did. I didn't get every star, I didn't play Sunshine - I didn't spend the last ten years of gaming on Nintendo's consoles - and so when the time comes to have a conversation with their latest console, I find we're speaking different languages.

Perhaps the controls in Galaxy really are perfect, and I just can't get to that place with them because I haven't been playing Nintendo platformers for the past ten years - instead spending time with Sly and Ratchet and the Prince of Persia - but I don't understand why this rule should apply only to Nintendo's games, and not to popular titles made by any other developer.

Obviously - in terms of sales - Nintendo doesn't have a problem. I do.

But I still want that magic back. I want to love a Zelda the same way I loved Link to the Past - but whenever I try with the similar style of Spirit Tracks or Phantom Hourglass, I feel the new titles are lacking some vital anima that powered Nintendo's classics.

I'll keep trying. I'll throw in Skyward Sword once I'm done with Skyrim and Revelations.

Oh, Nintendo. I'd love to love you again.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Six minutes of Spec Ops: The Line!

Ohhhh I have been waiting so long for this!

...hm. Nolan North. Again. And I love Nolan North, but... yeah, you get me.

This may seem counter-intuitive, but the whole thing is giving me a bit of a Dead Space vibe. Yes, it's an action game - but there's such a great emphasis on world-building and atmosphere, it doesn't feel like a run-of-the-mill shooter.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

2011 in Review - biggest regrets.

I played thirty-one games to completion and reviewed them in 2011, but that doesn't mean I've come close to actually accomplishing every game-related ambition I had this year. There is a serious bumper crop of games I've heard nothing but great things about which I've been unable to indulge in. Every example has reasons - I prioritize some games over others, I lack unlimited funds and I certainly lack unlimited time - but that doesn't mean the following games, despite their relative absence from the blog, aren't worth attention.

Last year, just writing this post seemed to provide me the impetus I needed to go after a few choiceier morsels (Alan Wake, Limbo, FFXIII). Perhaps this post will offer the perspective I need to realign some priorities.

These are the games I wished I'd played in 2011.

honorable mentions

Yakuza 4, Little Big Planet 2, Trenched,
Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, SideWay: New York,
Battlefield 3, Gears of War 3

I ended 2010 by picking up an Xbox 360, playing Alan Wake and Limbo and taste-testing Mass Effect in anticipation of Mass Effect 2's (then) upcoming PS3 release. ME2 had garnered nothing but stellar, uniform praise throughout 2010 for its 360 version, and after the joy I found in Dragon Age: Origins I was chomping at the bit to play another BioWare RPG.

Mass Effect 2 is pretty much everything folks say it is - but, similar to Final Fantasy XIII, once I put about thirty hours into the game I simply found myself interested in other games. With ME3's 2012 release looming ever closer, I regret abandoning the Normandy and her mission more and more.

Similarly, Child of Eden - spiritual sequel to cut-hit rhythm shooter Rez - earned nothing but adulation when it debuted on the Xbox 360 earlier this year. I considered buying it then and I always pause when I come across its PS3 version now, but I can never move myself into purchase.

I've no idea why - it's perfect for me. A gorgeous, artistic, short experience that I could blitz through and blog about - but for now, Child of Eden remains in the 'woulda' shoulda' coulda'' pile.

Okami remains one of my favorite games of all time, and despite my displeasure at its sequel getting squeezed into a DS cart, it was with a hopeful heart that I picked up Okamiden and borrowed a DS to play it on.

I wanted to like it so much, but the story failed to hook me, the art direction failed to move me, and the central mechanic - which should've been a no-brainer with the DS's stylus - wasn't even as capable as it was on the PlayStation 2.

I'd like to return to Okamiden, but I must admit - I don't feel that great a need to.

In a lot of ways, Rayman Origins seems like a game that has been custom-designed to suit my tastes. It's an old-school 2-D platformer with big, gorgeous sprites and loving animation.

Why don't I own it? It's Fall, and I haven't the time. I'm up to my eyeballs in Skyrim and Revelations.

To be entirely honest, I'm wrestling with the idea of picking up Skyward Sword at tomorrow's Black Friday sales. [update] Yeah, I totally did.[/update]. I have no idea why.

I don't expect Skyward Sword to be any better than Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess - neither of which really captured my imagination like older entries in the series. At the same time - as with Okamiden - I choose hope. I want to fall in love with Zelda again - and I'm terrified that, perhaps, I am simply not able to.

Resistance 3 is the game that bothers me most. The fact that I haven't played it gnaws at me. It cruelly roughs my gamer heart with five-grit sandpaper of regret.

Beyond being rather fond of Resistance and its sequel (which, unfortunately, I never completed) - and particularly the core Ratchet & Clank titles - I have a significant affection for developer Insomniac. Given that R3 is possibly their last great go at a Sony-exclusive, triple-A title, I feel it doubly necessary to support and critique - but when the time came to choose, I (see: you) chose Dead Island.

It wasn't the wrong choice - Dead Island is fantastic - but I still feel very wrong about not having played Resistance 3. Of all the games I erroneously failed to play on this list, R3 is the mistake I am most likely to correct.

* * *

And of course, if I manage to squeeze in any of these games in time, they will therefor enter the running for this year's GotY deliberations.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Silent Hill HD collection has some creepy/sexy art.

The above image (open in new window/tab to enlarge) appeared yesterday as part of an announcement from Konami that you will be able to enjoy the original voice work for Silent Hill 2 in the collection if you choose. This comes as something of a relief to many fans, who feel that the new voice work recorded for the collection isn't quite up to snuff. Personally I don't feel it's so bad - but rule #1 of bringing back old games is that you shouldn't muck with people's nostalgia - because what you think is special about a game doesn't necessarily reflect what everyone else feels.

Either way, I'm very pleased by that cover art - but I have a fondness for things that are creepy/sexy. Speaking of which, check out this Shin Megami Tensei Angel persona cosplay:

Seriously. Walking around a game convention dressed like that? You, lady, are hard to the core.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Eye of Sauron awaits at the end of this Spec Ops trailer.

At first I was all ooh! New Spec Ops trailer! - but turns out it's just a bunch of atmospherics, and descending into the inhumanity of conflict and et cetera. It's great to know the game is still 'coming soon,' though, as we haven't heard much of it in a while.

For the record, Spec Ops: The Line holds an esteemed place as The Only Military-Themed Shooter I'm Interested In - having secured it with that wonderful VGA '09 trailer and last year's E3 offering. Check those out to get a better sense of what you'll actually be doing in the game.

Skyrim PS3 patch coming soon.

Yesterday a co-worker approached me to thank me for suggesting Skyrim to her - she had been playing a borrowed copy, and now intended to buy one for herself. She owns a 360 and lives with her boyfriend who has a PS3, and wanted to know which system she should buy it for.

"Well, it's a Bethesda game, so there's going to be bugs - you just have to accept that. The PS3 version is so far fine, but after a certain point your save game will exceed five megabytes and the game will start slowing down after about two hours of play. For me that's a non-issue - you just restart your PS3, and you're good for another two hours. If you get the 360 version, be sure not to install it to the hard drive, 'cause it will lower the resolution of all the textures in the game. So there, your options are faster load times or uglier textures."

She looked at me like I'd just kicked her puppy. Them's the breaks, when playing a Bethesda game.

When Bethesda reached out and said they were working on patches for all of Skyrim's versions, I was doubtful. I don't actually recall a patch ever coming out that really fixed the bugs that plague their games - and didn't expect one now. Well, GameIndustry.biz today suggests that a fix is coming for the PS3 version as early as next week:
"PS3 and 360 updates have been submitted for certification. PC coming too. Current estimate is they will be live the week after Thanksgiving. On the list for this update is improved performance for long-term play on PS3."
Here's hopin'!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Best of 2011 homepage.


Don't have time to read all these posts?

The form of how I handle this didn't really take shape until last year - being a much more laissez faire affair in 2009 - but I'm quite fond of the structure I used in 2010, so I'll utilize it again, here.

Today I'll note what games could possibly receive adulation. There are two criteria that must be met:
(1) the game was released in 2011
(2) I played and completed the game.
The second qualifier removes ninety-seven per cent of all games released this year from consideration. I'm sorry, Valkyria Chronicles 3 - I loved my time with you, but didn't finish you - for your are in Japanese. Sorry, Resistance 3 - I just didn't find the time. Sorry, Zelda - I'm just not that into you, and sorry, Mario 3D Land - I'm not about to buy a 3DS for you alone.

Such is the way the cookie crumbles. What remains is a slice of gaming media which I found noteworthy, money-worthy or otherwise time-worthy in 2011.

and the nominees are...

* * *

A mere twenty-three games. Certainly not a significantly large list - but what it lacks in quantity it largely gains in quality. Keep in mind - more than a few of the above games will be entirely absent from this year's proceedings, unless I submit a "biggest disappointment" or similar category. Please note, I do not - at this point - have all the categories planned out.

At some point, in the coming days and weeks, you'll begin seeing Best of 2011 posts pop up here on the blog - likely after I have concluded my time with Skyrim and Revelations.

What's that? You want a preview? Oh, all right - Duke Nukem suuuuucked.

Jak & Daxter is officially getting an HD collection.

Call me when it's Ratchet & Clank - or better yet, Okami.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dear Gio: Considers the options.

Muahahahahahahaaah! Also - consider all the games I didn't list here.

* * *

The current gen of consoles is somewhat unique in that we enjoy much greater variety of excellence than previous generations. Often the only place you could find so many genres represented in such high quality was the PC, but with consoles' domination in the last two gens and the processing power of the current gen, we have world-class studios working on console games for almost every genre under the Sun.

It's a wonderful time to be a gamer. Oh - and in response to the below post - it is very nice to have games, too.