Thomas was the Lone Survivor in Miami

All of the trophies!

With the fairly big drought in video games I am interested in at the moment I decided to go through some of the PlayStation Plus games I had downloaded but never played. The three I tried out were Thomas Was Alone, Lone Survivor, and Hotline Miami. I knew pretty much nothing about any of these games going into them so I had no preconceived notions as to what these games were. I played all three of them on Vita. I also beat them all to 100% completion which means that what I have to say about each of these games is an indisputable fact and if you disagree with me then you are wrong (not really, I am actually curious to hear what you guys think of these games).

Thomas Was Alone

Behold the wonderful atmosphere (or lack thereof)

I want to get this one out of the way first even though it was the last of the three that I played. I honestly did not like this game very much at all. Thomas Was Alone is a perfect example of why some people simply dismiss all indie games in general. The platforming and puzzles are all fairly basic and none will take you more than a few minutes to complete. I plowed through all the 100 levels in a little over 3 hours. Even in that short amount of time I grew to be sick of the bland soundtrack.The platforming controls are fine but switching between characters with the shoulder buttons can be a pain the ass. You also have the option of using the touch screen to switch characters but most of the time the blocks are so small and they are so close together is is an equally big pain in the ass. These complaints would be forgivable if there was some incredible story that kept you moving forward. Unfortunately there isn't. That's not to say the story is terrible, it did make me smile a few times. The overarching plot just wasn't very interesting to me and there is no real payoff at the end. The whole game is just aggressively mediocre.

If for whatever reason you were thinking about picking this up but haven't yet I recommend you pick up a copy of LittleBigPlanet instead. There are literally thousands of platforming levels that people have created that are significantly better in just about every single way.

Lone Survivor

Light will also attract these monster/zombie/creature things.

As a huge fan of Twin Peaks, I am ashamed I did not play this game sooner. Lone Survivor is a survival horror game that is a combination of David Lynch and Silent Hill with Jasper Byrne also throwing in some of himself to give the game its own identity. When you first start the game, it recommends being in a quiet area with headphones on and the lights off in order to better build the atmosphere. I did all of these things which allowed me to become better immersed in the world that is incredibly unsettling and scary without ever utilizing cheap jump scares. The giant pixel art looks great and gives everything a blurry look that had me saying "is that what I think it is?" multiple times. The shooting mechanic is stiff but this appears to be by design and actually adds to the atmosphere. Combat is completely optional and I had just as much fun on my pacifist playthough as I did on my aggressive one. There are several other mechanics such as sleep, hunger, and pills that are never properly explained and caused me to not fully understand their point of until after my first playthrough. My first playthrough took about five hours with each subsequent playthrough taking less time as I knew the areas. The soundtrack is amazing and all over the place much like the story.

I'm a wizard, and that looks fucked up.

The story is completely insane and the first time I played it it made no sense. It wasn't until after the credits that I had the "aha" moment that made me immediately want to play through it again. I unlocked all five endings and I still am not entirely sure what the hell happened. Their lies the one complaint I have with this otherwise spectacular game. Not enough is explained. Don't get me wrong, I actually prefer it when stories are open to interpretation but Lone Survivor just doesn't flesh out enough of the world. After getting the platinum trophy I scoured the internet to try and get more info on the story and found this fantastic interview Rock, Paper, Shotgun did with Jasper Byrne (part 1 and part 2). I get why he left some stuff up to mystery, once again I love Twin Peaks and really liked how much of the crazy stuff is never explained and is instead left to the imagination. However, there is a line and I feel Lone Survivor is on the other side of it. I still don't really see the theme of nature vs nurture that he talks about in the interview.

That said it is still a really amazing game and what pieces of the story I could parse out were incredible. I highly recommend you all check this game out. Also check out that interview! They talk about some really interesting stuff.

Hotline Miami

First thing you see upon booting up the game.

I am pretty late to the party on this one. Several people in the forums here and the staff have talked this game up but for whatever reason I hadn't gotten around to it until now. The soundtrack in the game was the first thing that jumped out at me (some of the songs were by the creator of Lone Survivor). The music along with the visuals give this game a unique feel that I immediately feel in love with. Even the first image that you see when you start the game up on the Vita lets you know you are in for an amazing time. Much like with Lone Survivor, I was not really sure what the hell was going on for the first half of the game. One thing I really liked about the story here though was that, unlike with Lone Survivor, you are given enough information to get the basic gist of what is happening but the details are left up to the player to fill in. It is also amazing how much violence they are able to convey with their art style. Some of those melee finishers, like pouring boiling water on an enemies face, are absolutely gruesome.

The "Charlie" mask is my favorite.

The gameplay took me a while to get used to which led to me dying a lot of times as I got the hang of everything. Once I did though I ended up having a ton of fun with the combat. I really loved being able to move the camera and lock on to enemies using the touch screen and I honestly can't imagine having played it any other way. I played very conservatively on my first playthrough killing every enemy one at a time always careful not to alert everyone to my presence. This was fun but it led to me getting a shit score on all the levels. When I replayed everything to get an "A+" score I went running through the levels killing everyone in one big combo chain. This led to a lot of deaths but, much like with Super Meat Boy, it restarts you so quickly that through trial and error I was able to get a perfect score on all the levels. Another thing I really liked was how although the enemies will usually follow the same path every once in a while they go somewhere different making it necessary to always be aware of where the enemies are.

The aesthetic alone makes this game worth checking out. Couple that with some solid gameplay and you have a game that I have enjoyed more than anything else in the first half of 2014.

tl;dr

Hotline Miami and Lone Survivor are both really fantastic games that highlight the unique experiences some indie games can provide and are more fun than most AAA games. Thomas Was Alone on the other hand is a prime example of why a lot of people go "bleh" when they hear the word indie game.

So what do you duders think about these indie games? Did you actually like Thomas Was Alone? And are there any other similar games out there that you would recommend I check out?

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2 Steps Forward, 10 Steps Back

Was anyone else really bummed out with how inFamous: Second Son turned out? It was a step down from inFamous 2 in almost every single way. I personally absolutely love (loved?) the inFamous franchise. inFamous 2 one of my favorite games of the last generation. That said Second Son is easily the weakest game in the franchise.

Let me start with the positives

  • The game looks beautiful. It is easily the nicest looking inFamous game to date.
  • The graffiti mini games were neat.
It looks very pretty.

Now for the parts where Second Son shat the bed

This isn't even a boss.

Enemies. There was no variety to them whatsoever. It is the same damn concrete soldiers over and over again with like three variations and they are all shooting at you with guns. The first inFamous game had you fighting three different groups including Reapers, the First Sons, and homeless garbage people. inFamous 2 upped the anti and had you fighting red necks, swamp monsters and ice monsters. And these swamp and ice monsters came in several varieties including huge almost boss like giants that would appear in combat scenarios. Even the downloadable Festival of Blood had you fighting different kinds of vampires.

Boss Fights. inFamous 2 to had you fighting Godzilla sized monsters. The best thing Second Son has is a fairly small rock scorpion.

Story. Or lack there of. This games story is really really short. Like ridiculously short. It felt like it was in a rush to get to the end for whatever reason. Festival of Blood had a more interesting story and Bloody Mary was more fleshed out than anyone in Second Son. inFamous 2 also had a fantastic story that took its time and allowed you to see the group of friends you make all interacting as you all planed your next move. They even took the time to add in a scene of Zeke and Cole just chilling on the couch which is arguably one of the best parts of the series.

Side Missions: There was no variety to them whatsoever. It is literally the same five or so things done over and over again in each part of the city. What happened to the variety in inFamous 2? At least there they were having fun with it and you got goofy stuff like defeat this angry mob of street performers. The only thing close to the side missions of the old games in Second Son was the Cole's Legacy DLC missions.

Pacing. I strongly disliked how every side mission was available at the start of the game. You were also given the location of all the blast shards in the area as soon as you take down the DUP truck. inFamous 2 would give you a few side missions every time you completed one of the story missions so that there was always a small break between story missions. You also did not get the location of every blast shard on your map until after you completed all the side quests, which was near the end of the game.

Dodge/Roll/Cover. Why the fuck was this removed? This was a key ability that made it possible to leap into the middle of a combat situation and be able to survive. You would roll from enemy to enemy and if shit got too bad you would hide behind cover and shoot at enemies. Instead in Second Son you have the dash button that is only good for running far away and then running back. They easily could have had both. Festival of Blood gave you the ability to fly and you could still role and take cover behind objects.

Eye candy at its finest.

Powers. It is pretty funny that they gave this game the"enjoy your powers" tagline when it has the worst powers in the series. Yes you have access to four different powers. On paper that sounds great. Unfortunately, all the powers are limited to slight variations of a pea shooter, a missile, an immobilizing grenade, a dash and a screen clearing finisher. Whats more you can only use one power type at a time. inFamous 2 allowed you to mix and match your powers at will by simply allowing you to select which attacks you wanted to assign to each button. You could throw an electric grenade followed immediately by an ice missile if that is what your heart desired. Also what happened to the Star Wars like force push? It was one of my favorite powers and it allowed you to throw grenades and rockets back at enemies.

Traversal. Getting around with smoke powers through vents and getting pushed up was pretty neat. However, with the neon and video powers you just zip around the buildings to the point where traversal ceases to be fun and just becomes a chore. Grinding lines and hovering to get around in the other inFamous games was great and the smoke power gets close to recreating that but unfortunately the location is just not as interesting.

Location. The world is really really bland. Maybe that is just because Seattle is a boring place but the environment is incredibly stale. Empire City looked like a place where shit was fucked up. New Marais had the vibrant city on half the map and the hurricane struck flooded city on the other half.

UGC. Also known as user generated content. Was it clunky in inFamous 2 and Festival of Blood? Yes. But I still would have loved to see them try to iterate on it. There is absolutely 0 post game content in Second Son and that sucks.

In Conclusion

I am extremely disappointed with Sucker Punch. It is mind boggling how much of a drop in quality Second Son was. It really seems like their heart wasn't in it this time. If this is the kind of quality we can expect to see from their inFamous games then I would rather they work on a new IP and leave the inFamous franchise to someone who actually gives a shit.

I am really curious to hear what you duders thought of this game. Do you agree with my sentiments or do you feel like this was just as good or better than the old inFamous games? Had you ever played an inFamous game before or was Second Son the first one you played?

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My Top 5 Games of E3 2014

Despite what a few naysayers in the forums are saying, E3 this year was really damn good. All three console makers and Ubisoft were in peak form showing off some really amazing stuff. EA was less than spectacular but hey, 4/5 aint bad at all. I am only mentioning my five favorites here but there was way more stuff that I thought was looking good.

5. Hyrule Warriors

Hyrule Warriors looks like a really dumb, really fun hack and slash game. Thankfully they are allowing coop where one player gets the whole TV and the other gets the full gamepad (what the fuck Mario Kart 8?). There is not too much more to this one. It just looks like a fun game to turn off your brain and enjoy mowing down an absurd number of enemies. I remember playing and enjoying a Dynasty Warriors game (lord knows which one) way back when I first got my PS2 but I have never gone back to the franchise since then so I am excited to play another one of those types of games again after more than ten years.

4. The Crew

I have been looking forward to this game since last year. I was super bummed when it was delayed but what can you do? I am still sold on the premise of it and the gameplay looks better then it did last year. We haven't been able to customize cars in an over the top way since Midnight Club so I can't wait to spend too much time making something I a vehicle I am happy with. I am also really really interested to see what the story mode looks like in this game, especially after the creative director said that he was not taking it seriously because it is a video game about racing. It struck me as a shot to Need for Speed but he isn't wrong. Heres hoping that he delivers something truly goofy and over the top.

3. Assassin's Creed: Unity

The only Assassin's Creed game I have had fun with is the first one. After doing everything in it and enjoying it I immediately jumped into 2 which was a huge mistake. I got sick of it and all the Animus bullshit and so I never finished it. I bought the Vita one on sale and that game looked and ran like poop and so once again I never finished it. The boat combat they have been pushing for the last few games seemed dumb and so I had come to accept that this franchise was just not for me. However, the gameplay they showed in both the Microsoft and Ubisoft press conferences looks really good and reminded me why I loved the first game. Coop also seems like a great addition.

2. LittleBigPlanet 3

I love the LittleBigPlanet franchise. Like a bunch. The original was my favorite game of the last generation. I was completely surprised when this showed up at the Sony press conference with no warning or introduction. Sumo Digital is a talented studio and the demo they presented looked broken in that charming LBP way. It is also great to know that all the old levels people have created is going to make the jump to PS4. The soundtrack in these games is also always really amazing so I look forward to seeing what songs are included. The three new character they introduced look adorable. I can't wait to see what kinds of levels the community makes with these new characters in mind.

1. Super Smash Bros Fo(u)r 3DS/Wii U

Smash Bros is always good and it looks like Sakurai is addressing the problems people had with Brawl. The combat looks tight and all the new characters that they have introduced look like they are bringing something new and unique to the table. I was also happy to see that the Pac-Man they are using looks like the Pac-Man World version instead of the new Ghostly Adventures model. The Mii's look like a great new addition as well with their customizable move sets. The NFC figurines seem really pointless and don't appear to really add (or take away) anything but Smash Bros toys are Smash Bros toys and therefore I shall buy them all. The invitational tournament they held was also amazing. The gameplay looks fantastic and has made the wait for this game even more unbareable. And how could you not love Reggie telling Hungrybox that he was going to kick his ass?

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My 2013 Games of the Year

Amazing games I played this year that were not released in 2013

I want to start off by giving a nod to the great games I played this year that were not actually released this year. The real standouts for me personally were Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros. U, ZombiU, Forza Horizon, Killzone, Killzone Liberation, Ratchet: Deadlocked, Starhawk, Vanquish, God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Sleeping Dogs, and Pokemon Trading Card Game Online. Nintendo Land is an absolutely fantastic game that is grossly under-appreciated. It has provided me hours of multiplayer fun and the Metroid cooperative stuff is also really really really really really good. New Super Mario Bros. U is hands down the greatest 2 player sidescroller that is currently out there. ZombiU's king of the zombies multiplayer is a lot of fun (I still haven't gotten around to the campaign). Forza Horizon is the only Xbox 360 game I spent any significant amount of time with this year but the driving felt nice and unique and the open world was also pretty cool. The decal tools were almost as good as the ones in ModNation Racers. Killzone is a corridor shooter with a super cheesy and lovable story which also continues in Killzone Liberation. It is a shame they pissed away all that character development with Killzone 2. Ratchet Deadlocked is lots of fun to play through in coop although the framerate gets really iffy when things start to get crowded. Starhawk has one of the best soundtracks ever in a video game. I wish they had made the gameplay more akin to your standard third person shooter and fleshed out the story a bit more. Space cowboys is a fucking awesome aesthetic and I wish that they could have done more with the campaign. Vanquish is a bananas game. I had no idea what was going on with the story or even the levels but damn was it fun. God of War: Ghost of Sparta is another really great God of War game. The shield and spear weapon was fun to use. Sleeping Dogs is absolutely fantastic and I am ashamed that I did not pick it up sooner. Everything about it is just beautiful. Pokemon Trading Card Game Online taught me how to play the card game and I had a ton of fun battling online and building up a deck. It is free to play and I recommend you all check it out. Nintendo should work on bringing it to the Wii U ASAP.

List of 2013 Games I Played

Here is a list of every 2013 release that I played. In parenthesis I mention which system I played them on. I also say a few words about the games that are not in my actual top 10.

And now without further ado, here are my top 10 games of 2013.

10. Urban Trial Freestyle

This is my pick up and play portable game of the year. It is a knockoff of Trials and while the gameplay isn't as tight it is close enough and it can be played anywhere. Trying to get all five stars on all the levels is a fun challenge and so is collecting all the sacks of money that are well hidden throughout the tracts. I would often play this while listening to a podcast and it was great fun to just zone out to. It isn't the prettiest game nor is it the most original, but it is a lot of fun and at the end of the day that is what I look for in video games.

9. Soul Sacrifice

I really loved the way that this game told its story. The way that the book that told the stories was a character which also served as the menu was all very neat. While the main story was good what I found even better were the side stories. I would have loved it if they had included a few more of those short stories that followed different characters for a few levels. The gameplay itself was slightly repetitive but still a lot of fun. Fighting those giant enemies that would deal a ridiculous amount of damage with other players online was an absolute blast. The sacrifice mechanic was also neat with super moves leaving you extremely vulnerable and having some people take one for the team and sacrifice themselves to deal a good chunk of damage to the boss. I came very very close to getting the platinum trophy in this game but unfortunately my memory card got corrupted, I lost all my data and I never played it again. :(

8. God of War: Ascension

For those of you keeping count, this is the sixth God of War game. At this point most people know whether they love or hate this franchise. I personally still find the combat in these games second to none. Ascension has the best combat in the series and when playing on hard it is also the most difficult. Sony Santa Monica have mastered the blades of chaos and I can not imagine what else they could possibly do to improve them. While it is a bit of a bummer that the story is basically nonexistent and there are no secondary weapons at all, the enemies and locations are all really gorgeous. The part where you are riding on the snake trains in particular is one of my favorite set pieces in the franchise. The multiplayer is also a lot of fun and quite different from anything else currently out there.

7. Game & Wario

This game should have been ready for the launch of the Wii U, and it should have been the pack in game with the system instead of Nintendo Land. Game & Wario makes great use of the gamepad with its mini games and has tons of stuff to keep you occupied. Your mileage may very on these kinds of games but both me and my brother got pretty competitive trying to beat each others high scores in the varies mini games and they all lend themselves well to short pick up and play sessions. The multiplayer games (with the exception of the disco one) are all a lot of fun to play in a larger group, especially Sketch. If you ever have people coming over I recommend this game just as much as Nintendo Land.

6. Pikmin 3

Pikmin 3 is a video game that made me feel all the feelings. There are few things more adorable than Pikmin, and there are few worse feeling then the sight of 50 of them getting dragged to the bottom of a sinkhole and getting swallowed by an animal like Boba Fett. Pikmin 3 is a beautiful game that never really lets you soak it all in thanks to the dwindling sunlight and constant risk of starvation. The game can get really stressful at times and lossing a Pikmin is never not painful. The gamepad being used for the map and swapping between characters is very useful and helps you manage all the chaos. The Bingo Battle mode is also lots of fun to play and I wish that they had implemented online play for both that and the coop sections. Oh well, maybe they will add that to Pikmin 4 when it comes out in another ten years.

5. Super Mario 3D World

It is a cooperative 3D platformer. That in and of itself is really damn awesome. Add to that some awesome level design and gameplay and you have yourself a damn fine game. The variety of levels present is great and I really liked how despite the overworlds having single themes (desert, snow, lava, etc.) the actual levels themselves feature no sort of pattern or relation to the world they are in. The power-ups present are all really amazing and each of the characters has there own unique feel. The difficulty definitely starts to ramp up in the later levels but rarely does it feel unfair. I played through the game cooperatively and there was only one level that appeared very late where it felt like it was made with absolutely zero consideration for multiple players. Other than that I really loved just being able to play a 3D Mario game together with someone else.

4. The Last of Us

The Last of Us tells one of the best stories I have ever seen in a video game. In the hands of another developer I could have easily seen them taking this games story and splinting it into at least four different games, there is that much there. That said, for as good as the story is I felt that the combat was too clunky. I understand that an argument can be made for why it was designed this way to fit with the world and immersion and all that jazz but the game has a fucking flamethrower. I don't think there would be too many complaints if they had tightened up the controls a little bit. The online multiplayer is the best I played this year. Interrogation mode in particular is really great. The multiplayer fixes pretty much all the problems I have with the controls in the single player all while keeping the same vibe. If you have this game and haven't checked out the multiplayer for whatever reason then I strongly recommend it. It is way more fun to play then the campaign.

3. Pokemon X

The last Pokemon game I had played before this was Fire Red on the Game Boy Advanced. That said, when I played this game it seemed like a huge leap in quality from the Pokemon I used to remember playing. The new region looks good and the variety of Pokemon available is just great. The combat remains solid and mega evolutions are a welcome addition to the series. Being able to customize your character is also a nice addition although it is pretty limited. The minigames in Pokemon Amie provide a nice break from the the game and it is cool to see playing with your Pokemon have some actual effects on them in the single player. Both battling and trading online are smooth for the most part and help keep you coming back for more. That, along with the improvements made to EV training all allow a simpler way to train Pokemon that are competitive. I am not sure how iterative this is to the other DS Pokemon games but since I never played any of them but a lot of stuff here felt new and impressive to me. Especially those animations.

2. The Wonderful 101

This game has the best story I have ever seen in a video game. It is like a Saturday morning cartoon on crack. The characters and there interactions with one another are all charming and over the top in an endearing way. The gameplay takes a while to get used to but once it finally clicks it becomes amazing. I personally played through it with the Pro Controller and found drawing the shapes with the analog stick was fine. The gameplay is broken up several times by sections that are clear homages to other famous games. The whole game oozes passion and creativity and it will have smiling at the absurdity of it all. The soundtrack is also fantastic and I have found several tunes from the game stuck in my head since playing the game. I highly recommend anyone with a Wii U to pick this game up if for nothing else than to experience the goofy story.

1. New Super Luigi U

New Super Luigi U is a stupendous game. I dare say it is my favorite Mario game, in front of Super Mario World. While you could very easily sit down and simply play straight through the game, battle Bowser, and call it done, you would be missing out on what this game is all about. New Super Luigi U, for all its challenging platforms and short time limit, is more of a puzzle game then anything else. It is all about finding all the star coins as well as the secret exits in order to be 100% done with the game. The star coins and exits are all hidden in some ridiculously devious locations and you will bang you head against the wall trying to find them. This is where the true purpose for the time limit shines. It makes searching for these secrets much more difficult as you only have a short amount of time to search the area. Once you do finally get all the star coins and unlock Star Road you are greeted by some truley challenging platforming stages. I do not recommend you play this game with others. It is a single player with tacked on multiplayer that will only make your life more difficult. The hidden Luigi in each level is also a nice touch and shows the passion that went into making this game. If any of you are going to play this game, I highly encourage you to stay away from any and all walkthroughs. It would be like doing a Sudoku puzzle while the answer sheet is right next to you. What is the point? This game is absolutely spectacular and by far my favorite game of this year.

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The Definitive Game of Generation 7 List

With the release of Xbox One today it is safe to say that Generation 8 has officially begun. Therefore this seems like the perfect time to share with you all my 20 favorite games of Generation 7. I owned a PS3, Wii, 360, DS, and PSP so I could have played any game that came out during the generation. Because I owned all the consoles, that clearly makes my game of the generation list the definitive game of the generation list. However, I feel it is worth mentioning that I did not get the chance to play Beyond: Two Souls, Puppeteer, and Gran Turismo 6. Timing is such that I will likely not get to these games until some time next year and by then generation 7 will be but no more relevant than the Amiga or the ColecoVision.

Now, without further ado I present my top 20 games of Generation 7.

20. Spider-Man: Web of Shadows

I love superheroes, and Spider-Man is one of the greatest superheroes ever. Unfortunately, Spider-Man games are not always great. In fact it seems like we only get one good Spider-Man game per generation (Spider-Man on PS-One, Ultimate Spider-Man on PS2). This generation the good Spider-Man game arrived fairly early but man oh man was it great. Swinging around the city was perfected in this game and the good/bad morality system with powers and allies corresponding to each was nearly identical to inFamous which arrived the following year. The story was the best kind of goofy comic book nonsense and the differences between the good and bad powers made multiple playthroughs feel varied. If you have any affection for Spider-Man or the Marvel Universe in general and skipped over this gem I highly recommend you find a copy and enjoy one the most overlooked games of this generation.

19. Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet

Once again, let me just say that I really like superheroes. For those of you who are unaware, The Super Hero Squad Show was a lighthearted kids TV show that followed a team of Marvel heroes getting into shenanigans while also stopping bad guys. The show features lots of lesser known characters from the universe and introduces you to the gist of them in a cheeky way while having winks and nods to the people who really know there Marvel. The game pulls from a lot of the second season of the show and plays about how you would expect. It is mostly beating up bad guys with some light platforming and puzzle solving along the way and a handful of shooting gallery sections. The games campaign is fully playable with two players and I had an absolute blast earning the platinum trophy in this with my younger brother. There is a very solid variety of characters and they control in unique ways. The game also oozes charm. If you have any young family members who are Marvel fans then I cannot recommend both the game and the show enough (the entire series is on Netflix). With the current cinematic universe that is unfolding there is no better way to introduce children to who some of the more obscure Marvel characters are and what they do.

18. Resistance 3

Resistance 3 has the greatest single player campaign in any first person shooter to date. Fact. The variety of enemies that range from giant monsters to zombie aliens and everything in between are quite impressive. Equally impressive is the number of different locations you visit throughout the campaign. All this variety is great but what Insomniac is known for are their weapons and this game does not disappoint. While the story (which is fantastic) takes itself seriously the developers did not let that impede the fun of the actual gameplay. As the weapons get upgraded there attacks become more and more bonkers. These upgrades along with the ability to switch to any weapon keep the gameplay feeling varied throughout. I also appreciate that you need to find health pickups instead of just having regenerating health. It adds to the tension and keeps you moving in combat. This game is a must play for anyone who considers themselves a fan of first person shooters.

17. The Last of Us

Nobody does story quite like Naughty Dog. The Last of Us delivers another great story from what has become Sony's most prestigious studio. The campaign will make you feel all of the feelings and is extremely well done. The score is also quite exceptional, one of the best this generation. However, the really great thing about this game is the multiplayer. More specifically, Interrogation mode. Having a team where everyone is communicating and coordinating makes it one of the best online multiplayer experiences you can have. Both crafting and listen mode translate beautifully into the multiplayer and there are a wide variety of viable play styles you can adopt. The small team sizes keep the matches feeling intimate and the fairly low health each person has leads to several instances where there will be a firefight and both sides back off because neither feels confident in moving forward. It is a huge breath of fresh air from the countless other multiplayer shooters where as soon someone sees you they run at you guns blazing until one of you dies and then the process begins again. I have seen plenty of people praising the single player for this game but if you ask me the real star of the show is the multiplayer.

16. Alan Wake

You know what show is pretty damn awesome? Twin Peaks. It is one of the greatest TV shows you will ever watch. Alan Wake takes some very heavy inspiration from the show and it made me immediately fall in love with the world. This game absolutely nails atmosphere and while it is never scary it is always unsettling. The faux Twilight Zone show in the game is also very well done and adds to the overall feel of the world. The combat that always has you searching for more sources of light is neat and keeps you moving. The story is great and keeps you guessing the whole way through. By the time I finished the game I was not exactly sure what the hell had happened but it was a fantastic ride while it lasted. Unless you are a total chicken poop that is scared of anything even remotely resembling horror there is no excuse for you not to go play this game.

15. Gran Turismo 5

Cars are awesome. Gran Turismo has always been the go to game for car aficionados and despite a good effort by Forza there is still no one that does driving simulators with the same level of excellence that Polyphony does. The sheer number of cars available is ridiculous and the driving has a great feel. Maybe I am crazy but I even enjoyed some of the ridiculously long endurance races that were hours long. I would download some podcasts onto the PS3 before hand, put them into a playlist, and mesh it in with the in game audio to create a very zen experience. The variety of racing types was great and had Nascar, go karts and everything in between. If you love cars you probably already know how great this is. If you didn't have a PS3, you missed out.

14. ModNation Racers

ModNation Racers has the greatest customization tools of any racing game to date. The tools are very deep and allow you make just about any person and any vehicle you can think of. The community for this game was fantastic and has created tons of copyright infringing characters and karts. United Front Games gave this game a good amount of dlc support and the best part about it was that any karts or characters that were created using payed DLC could be downloaded and used for free by everyone. The racing was great but almost equally entertaining was simply waiting to get the match started in the lobby and seeing what creations others had come up with. I was beyond bummed when I found out United Front was working on LittleBigPlanet Karting and after the success of Sleeping Dogs (which is also really good) I fear that we will never see another ModNation again. :(

13. Midnight Club: Los Angeles

If you couldn't tell, I really like racing games. Midnight Club: Los Angeles is great in that it gives you a large city to explore and cops to try and avoid while also giving you the ability to trick out your car in the most ridiculous way possible. The polish and attention to detail help set it apart from similar games like Need for Speed. Both Forza Hoizon and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit came very close to scratching the same itch as this game but they lacked the detailed world and customizable vehicles. Running from the police in a car that is rocking neon and a body kit while burning through nitrous is simply a different level of goofy videogamey fun. Much like with ModNation Racers, I worry about the future of this franchise after the success that Rockstar San Diego had with Red Dead Redemption.

12. New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Co-operative 2D side scrolling Mario. If you had told me way back when I got my Super Nintendo that one day you would be able to play these games with multiple people I would have called you a dirty liar. Even as I played though this game with my brother I had trouble believing that it was actually happening. I really do believe that two players is the sweet spot at which these games are best enjoyed as once you start adding in more characters it simply becomes chaos. I don't understand why so many people strongly dislike the New Super Mario franchise, there is something magical about the care and craft of these games that is Disneyesque and it still manages to put a smile on my face.

11. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

I don't think I have ever been as hyped up for any game as I was for Super Smash Bros. Brawl. After the initial reveal I was completely solid on the game. I would constantly check the dojo for updates and any new information that could be found. When I finally got my hands on it it did not disappoint. Playing through the story mode was similar to watching The Avengers for the first time. I am seeing this happening but I am still having trouble believing it is real. This game was absolutely packed with content. I spent tons of time creating new stages to battle on and spending way too much time trying to decide which particular song was just right for the stage. Multiman Brawl was also where a lot of my time went battling through hordes of robots. As good as all this extra stuff was the most fun was always had by getting some people together and battling it out. Also they made Charizard a playable character. CHARIZARD!

10. Heavy Rain

David Cage once said that Heavy Rain was a game that people should only play through one time. David Cage is full of shit. As someone who has earned the platinum trophy and has seen just about everything there is to see in this game I can confidently say that playing through it multiple times only made me appreciate the game that much more. There are several entire scenes and subplots that can change or be missed depending on how you play through the game. The story is well done and the characters were all interesting to follow around. I can also say without a doubt that this is by far the best game that utilizes the PlayStation Move. The motion controls make the whole game more fun and it feels way better then using the DualShock. The soundtrack by the late Normand Corbeil is second to none and is the best score of the generation. If you have only played through this game once do yourself a favor and go play through it again making different choices. I guarantee you will be surprised how much you missed.

9. MAG

256 players on a map at once. This action game is pretty damn massive. MAG was the greatest online first person shooter of the generation. There was most definitely a learning at first where you had to learn that if your standing in the wrong place, you were going to get killed and never see it coming. Same goes for running at the enemy by yourself. However, once you learned the ropes and decided what role you were going to be playing in the match the game became a thing of beauty. I played this game enough that I had a load out for every class. Playing sniper was my favorite, looking for places to hide in the massive maps and take down other players. Field support was also great as you would go around healing people people and repairing/destroying vehicles, bunkers, and everything else on the field. This game was truly something special and it saddens me to no end that not only was the developer (Zipper) shut down, but the servers for the game are also being taken down in a few weeks. SVER forever! :(

8. Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles

I never played the original Resident Evil games when they came out. Umbrella Chronicles was a fun way to get up to speed on what has happened and who did what in the universe. I have always loved light gun games in arcades and would often wish there was a way I could play these at home. I owned several devices that claimed to "recreate the experience" at home but they would never work right. Playing this game with the Zapper was the arcade at home experience that I had always wanted. I played through the entire game with my sister and we had a blast going through it and learning the ridiculous Resident Evil lore. If you are interested in the back story of the franchise I highly recommend you play this instead of the originals. Trust me, those old games are unplayable pieces of poo, don't let any so called "fans" tell you otherwise.

7. House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return

As I was saying before, the arcade light gun experience is something I had always wanted to have at home when I was growing up. While Umbrella Chronicles was very similar to the games you would see in the arcades these House of the Dead games were actually ports of the arcade games. My uncle and I played this game a ton (specifically House of the Dead 2) but we never did manage to beat it. The furthest we ever got was reaching the headless dude with the little flying creature for the second time. It didn't matter though, we simply enjoyed the experience of playing it. I had a bit more luck with House of the Dead 3 and was able to completely finish that one once (not even sure how, I tried to do it again later and wasn't able to). While obviously this whole list is subjective both this game and Umbrella Chronicles in particular are some of my favorite games of the generation because of the experience playing them with others. They are probably not as fun if you play them by yourself but if you know any people who also enjoy these kinds of games with their cheesy dialogue and violence then I cannot recommend these games enough.

6. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted 2 has the greatest single player campaign of any Naughty Dog game to date. This game single handedly catapulted Naughty Dog to the front of Sony's first party studios and put them on the level of Bungie and Epic (I would argue that after The Last of Us Naughty Dog has become just as well respected as Irrational and Rockstar). I must have played through the campaign at least 5 times as I earned the platinum. I even played through it in Spanish once (the voice acting is pretty good). The set pieces in this game remain unrivaled in my opinion and the score is fantastic. The set pieces here never felt forced like they do in some other games (that includes you Uncharted 3). While I was never really able to get into the competitive multiplayer, I did have a blast with the coop mode. Fighting off hordes of enemies with two other people was never not fun. Those 200+ game of the year awards this game received were absolutely well deserved.

5. Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception

This games campaign is a slightly weaker one than Uncharted 2's. However, the reason it is placed higher on my list is because of the refinements they made to both the competitive and cooperative multiplayer. I also had a clan to play it in multiplayer making it that much more fun. Behold, the fearsome Chicken Alliance!

4. Fallout 3

I had never been a big fan of RPGs. However, this game generated a lot of positive buzz around its release and I was having it personally recommend to me. I didn't have any cash at the time but as fate would have it I actually won $100 on a lottery scratcher so I was able to get the game. At this time I was doing my video game playing on an old tube tv that was less than 20". This really added to the aesthetic for this particular game and it probably helped me fall in love with it that much more. At first I was having trouble with the game because I kept trying to do all the good things and the game was a pain. Then I restarted and started doing whatever the hell I wanted to. I ended up siding with Tenpenny but before I blew up Megaton I killed the citizens, took all their stuff, carried it all to one of the nearby abandoned houses and put it in a closet (I had to make several trips). After this, I blew up the town, then sold all their stuff over the course of a few days at the shops. The fact that I was able to think "hey wouldn't it be cool if I could do this" and then actually being able to do it blew my mind. This is the first game really felt next gen to me, something that was unlike any video game before it. It was an open world full of personality and new different quests were always just a short wander away.

3. inFamous 2

I mentioned it earlier in the list, but let me repeat it one more time. Superheroes are pretty damn awesome. inFamous 2 took everything that was good from the first game and cranked it up to 11. The story is goofy comic book fun and the two endings show that Sucker Punch has the balls to do what few other studios do. I loved the super powered enemies and monsters that were actually a threat to you in this game. When playing this game on hard (as you should be) a single rocket or shotgun hitting you will put you in danger where if anything else touches you you will die. In any other game this would feel unfair or cheap but here it helps give the combat more weight and consequence. Cole is more than well equipped to handle any of the enemies he encounters, the trick is knowing what to do; when to dodge, when to attack, and what attack to use. Being surrounded by enemies that all have the ability to kill you and zipping around taking them all out is satisfying in a way few other games are. Both the good and the evil powers have a unique feel and make it worth playing through the game at least twice. Me? I have played through it in its entirety like 6 times. This is the greatest superhero game of the generation.

2. Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5 is a really fantastic game and easily the best in the franchise. It took the really good controls from Resident Evil 4 and perfected them. Resident Evil made the full jump into being an action title with the game and that is ok. This game does not even try to be scary so any arguments about the second player ruining the tension are ridiculous. I am a firm believer that coop makes every game better and Resident Evil is no exception. Playing through the campaign on the higher difficulties with random people online and no microphone was made entertaining thanks to the games limited communications functions. Getting things done required a game of charades. This was also the case in Mercenaries mode. Mercenaries was extremely addictive and I spent tons of hours playing through it. I fell into a really deep rabbit hole for a few months with this game as I worked to earn the platinum. My save file was actually corrupted when I was one trophy away from finishing and so I played through everything again reupgrading, unlocking, and collecting everything. This is the last Resident Evil game that had real solid level design and variety. Both Revelations and Resident Evil 6 felt like they lacked the polish that 5 had. Also the scene with Chris punching the giant boulder alone makes this game worthy of being on the list.

1. LittleBigPlanet

If I had to describe LittleBigPlanet in a word, it would be "charming." Sackboy himself is an adorable creature and the primitive tools in the original LittleBigPlanet that allowed you to see the seems of the designs and what was holding the world together added to the charm. I got really deep into this game too and this is where the Chicken Alliance (that clan from the above Uncharted video) was formed. Yes, believe it or not LittleBigPlanet had clans. And besides building levels to show off your groups excellence there would also occasionally be beef with other clans. How would you attack them? Create a false account, befriend them and give them a level bomb glitch. For those of you who are sane and did not dive deep into the darkness that is the LittleBigPlanet community, a level bomb glitch was when you would create a bomb made out of a ridiculous game-breaking amount of tiny explosives, trigger them in a level someone is working on causing the frame rate to go between 1 and 4, and then turn off your system. This would cause the person level to become permanently fucked. Besides that you would also go into all their levels, plaster your logo all over, and upload the pictures to their pages. If this all sounds ridiculous and silly to you it's because it is. The community was all about goofy shenanigans and that is what made me fall in love with it. When you would play levels with others and shit would break down and glitch it was part of the fun to simply laugh at the absurdity of it all. I remember when the water dlc came out just messing around in create mode brought much entertainment as we figured out how stuff would react in water. This ridiculously charming game is the game I had the most fun with this generation and without a doubt the greatest game of generation 7.

Do you agree with my list? Disagree? Find a typo or incoherent sentence? Let me know.

40 Comments

Some words of wisdom taken from Platinum (via Gaf)

It seems like a lot of people discuss sales as if it has any kind of baring on how fun a game is. At the end of the day should it really matter to the consumer? Here are a few quotes by Platinum (talking about The Wonderful 101) that really stuck out to me and I felt like sharing.

"Buy the game and worry about the sales never. The fun you have will stay the same.

I get wanting to root for a winner, but the minute that crazy sales makes a game more fun is the minute that it becomes something worth worrying about as a gamer."

- PlatinumGamesJP

"We worry about making the fun. You worry about the playing fun.

Let other people worry about the sales."

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?p=71527751&highlight=#post71527751

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Favorites on the System: SNES

Hey duders I have decided to give a rundown of my favorite games on the systems I have owned. I will start with the first console I ever owned, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. I actually remember a lot about when I got it. I had been asking my parents to buy me a Nintendo 64 so that I could play that new Banjo-Kazooie game that looked so neat. However, when we got to the Target, the worker convinced my parents that the Super Nintendo was a better system because it was cheaper, had more games, and came with Super Mario All-Stars for free. So they ended up buying me that instead. To this day I am not sure if the worker said that because his manager wanted him to clear the old inventory or if it was because he legitimately thought it was a better system. Either way, I am thankful to him because I was able to play some amazing games that were before my time. The following were (are) my top five favorite games on the SNES.

I had the cooler looking SNES.

Note: In total I owned six SNES games. The game that did not make the list was Space Invaders. It was neat and I played it quite it bit but I did not like it as much as the other games. Other big games like Power Rangers I played at the homes of friends or relatives but I have decided not to include those games because I never spent much time with them.

Also I have not gone back and played any of these games (nor have I looked up footage of them). Everything I have written is based off of my own memory of the games. If I am remembering something completely wrong then by all means feel free to correct me.

5. Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City

I honestly do not remember where or why I got this game. If I had to guess it was probably because Michael Jordan was all the rage what with him being a living legend and movie star so I saw a game about him and could not resist. This game starred Michael Jordan fighting monsters with basketballs. I remember having a lot of fun with this game despite never making it very far. The story was told in a comic book like way which was neat because comics are neat. There were all sorts of special balls you could use like fire balls or ice balls or even this silver ball. You would throw these at bad guys while looking for keys to move forward, all while underground. This game is bananas. I would eventually reach a point where I could no longer keep going because I didn't have the key and so I would simply start all over again. Also, call me crazy but I am pretty sure that this game was the inspiration for that one Backstreet Boy action figure from Burger King. Shaq-Fu has nothing this game.

4. Donkey Kong Country

This one was a gift from an uncle. Before I had a SNES I used to love playing this at his house and one day after I had gotten my system he gave it to me. Once again this is another game in which I never made it very far but I still loved every second. Getting to ride on the animals was the best! I remember there was the rhino in the first level and then later on there was a water level with that neat swordfish. I am pretty sure I made it to the second section/world and then I got stuck shortly after passing this really tough mine cart level. The levels looked beautiful and blasting through barrels and trying (but very rarely succeeding) to get all of the letters was great. I always loved the aesthetic and the score in this game. To this day whenever I think of this game I can't help but hear the underwater song in my head. I also loved the monkey noise it would make when you hand slap between Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong. Hell even the sound that the bananas make when you collect them was fantastic and memorable.

3. Scooby-Doo Mystery

I loved Scooby-Doo as a kid. You cannot imagine the excitement I had when I saw a Scooby-Doo game at the Toys "R" Us. I brought it home and then after starting it up I was too scared to play. For the entire time I owned my Super Nintendo I was always too scared to play this game by myself. Luckily, I had an older sister and so we would play through the game together. It was a basic side scroller where you would go around looking for clues to solve the mystery. The main weapons you had were fish and a wagon that you would have to go pick up after throwing (rolling) every time. I know I completed the first level using dynamite and some other stuff but the details after that are extremely fuzzy. That said I do remember having a ton of fun with it. There was also a carnival at some point and I also remember walking on the top of a ship mast. By my memory this was a thoroughly enjoyable licensed game that did justice to the show and the characters.

2. Super Mario All-Stars

This is the game that was included with the SNES my parents bought me and thus was the very first video game I could call my own. I never passed any of the games included in this collection but I remember making it pretty far in both Super Mario Bros. and in The Lost Levels. The difficulty started to be too much for me shortly after the snow levels and thus I never made it any further than that. Also fuck those floating squids that appear early on in The Lost Levels. Those two were my favorites with Super Mario Bros. 2 coming in after that. I loved being able to pick different characters and feeling like the cleverest kid in the world when I found a way to fight Birdo early using Luigi (or maybe it was Peach?). Anyway, once again I never came close to passing it. I made it shortly past the part where you fight the mouse boss. Super Mario Bros. 3 was by far my least favorite of the bunch. As much as I loved the world, the power-ups, and the mini games I just felt it was too hard and too punishing. I never made it past the third world. This game still holds a special place in my heart for being my very first video game.

1. Super Mario World

If my memory serves me correctly this was the very last SNES game I ever got. I got it at a Best Buy and holy cow was this game amazing. Flying around with the cape and finding secrets that were located all over the place was a blast. Then there were the colored buttons to push and the keys that would take you to secret areas. I had a cousin who also loved this game and he was the one who showed me how to get into Star Road (by flying up in the first ghost mansion right?). Finding those colored Yoshi's was one of the most mind blowing things my young mind had seen with my favorite being the blue one that could fly followed by the yellow one that would stomp. This is the only SNES game in which I beat the final boss and got to see the credits (although I never passed all the levels, I used Star Road to skip to the end). Although I was able to complete Star Road, I was never able to pass the second Special stage. To this day I firmly believe that Super Mario World is the best Mario game. This is platforming at its finest and easily one of my favorite games of all time.

So what was your duders first console? Did you ever own a Super Nintendo? If so what were your favorite games? If not then were you ever able to play some of these classic greats later?

14 Comments

Sticking with the Wii U this year.

I have cancelled my PlayStation 4 pre-order and decided to stick with the Wii U (and Vita) this year. Every game I want to play this fall is coming out on Wii U (and Vita). I am probably one of the few people on this site that still enjoys playing local muliplayer/ coop and at the moment Nintendo are some of the few still releasing these kinds of games. Of the games releasing this year nothing on Xbox One looked appealing and the only thing on PS4 that really had my attention is Knack but that game looks like it is going to drop like a rock in price by early next year at the latest. I'll still get a PS4 sometime next year because I love inFamous and I am also arguably the biggest PlayStation fan on the site, I just won't be getting one at launch.

So is anyone else skipping out on the PS4 and Xbox One this year because of the weak software? Is anyone else on this site really enjoying the Wii U? Anyone? Bueller?

Edit: This IGN article actually sums up my feelings better then I could articulate.

87 Comments
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