Bran made a top 10 list!

This year felt insane both in terms of bullshit happening to me and the rest of the world, it also seems like it was the longest year of my life. I was shocked to find out that not only monster Hunter world but also Dragonball fighterz and far cry 5 all came out early this year which feels like a lifetime ago.

Before getting into my list I have to say my dishonorable mentions is nearly as long as my list itself but specifically battletech and soulcalibur 6 are top of my pile of shame, these games are deeply my shit and I should have played them.

10. Into the breach and hitman 2

You may begin to notice with this entry that I am an unapologetic cheater when it comes to making lists. These are two games I've spent a combined three hours playing, but I already know enough to say they are going to be things I come back to over time.

9. Artifact

Oh boy, this thing has been through some turmoil recently. It's not something I play every day, but sometimes I want to play a card game and this will be the one from now on. The correct amount of depth and rng, systems that remove some of the things that annoy me in other card games.

8. Escape from tarkov

An early access game! Blasphemy? Don't care. This game is incredible, of all the early access games I've played I have seen the most progress here. The risk/reward gameplay still causes my heart to go into arrhythmia even after all these hours. No other game quite captures that feeling of being so deadly, yet so vulnerable.

The games also graphically phenomenal

7. Dragonball fighterz

I'm a casual fighting game player at best, dbfz makes it fun not only to do your basic dragon rush spam but also to learn some of the deeper mechanics with the perfect level of fan service.

6. Marvel's Spider-Man

I love Spider-Man, I love what insomniac is doing with the characters here, the gameplay is a blast. I hope they find a way to keep me more engaged through the middle section of the game next time though.

5. Red dead redemption 2

There were times when I thought I hated this damn game. The more you try and play this game like a game the more it pushes you away. This is an experience, this is a sim, but most importantly it's a story. Trying to run through and check every challenge and mission off as efficient as possible is going to result in tedium and frustration, but if you soak it in, if you take the time to do what you think Arthur would do it will reward you in the end.

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I lucked into my Arthur's redemption tale making sense, I decided early on that Arthur had very few limits when it meant providing for his family. That meant he was nearly as bad as he always said he was in the early game. It frames the late game side quests in exactly the way they must be for this story to have it's maximum impact. I also used my horse, Ice through basically my entire game so that special thanks really hurt.

4. Monster Hunter world

My name is Brandon, and I am an addict. I am addicted to loot. MHW came out at a time when my previous loot provider ran out of supply, it was serendipity that it was also fun, had a decent amount of depth, and a lot of cool people I like were playing it. That depth is kind of fake however, and the repetitive nature of the movesets for each weapon drove me back to my old faithful eventually.

3. Dead cells

I think personally the best way to represent speed in a video game is afterimages. The devs of dead cells agree. They are also damn good at making an action game that feels essentially perfect to play. It has some of the most interesting loot of any game on my list, they are able to make some things incredible powerful since they do end up taking it from you if you die.

2. Destiny 2 forsaken

I have so much to say about forsaken, about how it saved my favorite franchise from becoming just another shooter, about how they brought story elements I personally loved and never thought I'd see in the game and put them front and center. It also doubled down on the deep lore, made it even crazier, it's given me and many others reasons to theorize and talk about what's coming and it's wonderful.

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At the end of the day though, it's about the loot, of course, and forsaken delivered. Random rolls make every drop at least potentially interesting. It's not a perfect system but it gets better week by week. They continue to deliver raids that are unlike anything else in the shooter space, I love figuring out their crazy puzzles. won't you join me o’ reader mine?

1. God of war

To be honest my top three are interchangeable based on the day. I keep coming back to dad of war, as my top game though. In case it isn't clear I am not super into single player story based experiences. If they are good I'll check them out but I likely won't finish, or even if I do it'll take me weeks. That was not the case with God of war, it wasn't one specific thing, I liked the story it was engaging throughout, yes boy getting uppity was annoying but that was intentional. The gameplay was surprisingly deep and satisfying, moment of the year is recalling the Leviathan axe don't @ me. Punching draugr into dust is quite fun

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It's also just the novelty of caring about the story in a god of war game, kratos has never been much of a character so much as an anger and revenge factory. They make that part of his character in this game, they address how bad he used to be, and take steps to redeem him. The loot pretty good as well.

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Virtual Reality is here but it's not ready to be judged

With the Release of the Oculus Rift, most of us are getting our first glimpse at what these headsets are capable of, after hearing how incredible it looks and how amazing it is to occupy these spaces i think we were all excited to see how it actually worked once you got it out of the box. I think for some of us that excitement led to a bit of forgetfulness about how new this technology is, and what kind of experiences should be expected.

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I think a lot of us were disappointed when we tuned in, or the few who actually got kits, plugged in and saw what was on offer. Shallow experiences that don't have lasting appeal, simple games that don't explore what this headset is capable of, or ports that simply replace the cursor with head tracking. This gamut i understand and want everyone to understand, is not meant to be watched, these are meant to be seen in the headset and i think thats important, but something Sony gets, that i hope Oculus and the Vive get, is that you have to be able to see something of these games before dropping the money they are asking. In any case, by all accounts there are very few experiences that are even good in the Rift, and none that anyone is willing to say clinches the purchase for them.

Having said that, i think they know. Oculus knows that this is the first step in a long and difficult road. I think you need only to look at the fact that a small developer has 2 fairly full size games games for the Rift, the iteration on VR development is rapid, as new things tend to be.

“We’re on the first step of what should be a long journey of exploration for the industry,” says Price. “Most of us who have been developing in VR right now, have been developing in VR for a very short time, and the rate of discovery that’s occurring right now is pretty incredible, as we figure out some solutions to problems that, in some cases, we didn’t even know existed.”-Ted Price,Pres of Insomniac games in an interview with IGN.

So yes, the Rift store is filled with a bunch of slightly overpriced tech demos right now, and its not looking that much better for the Vive, or even PSVR, but im not making a decision on the tech as a whole based on that, and i don't think you should either. I know, if your like me you felt like obligated in some way to buy in, that if you want this to be a thing, you should vote with your wallet, but i don't think we need to this least not yet. Oculus is taking orders, but even if you order right now you wont get your kit for a full 4 months. They clearly sold every unit they made. I don't think Oculus or Valve, or HTC is thinking this first wave will make them a profit. Maybe they are hoping the games will sell enough to make them a bit while they work on the next (hopefully cheaper) version of these headsets.

Sony, who is making a profit on each headset is a different matter. A week ago i thought i would grab a PSVR at some point this holiday, but after seeing how EVE Valkyrie runs on a PC with a GTX 970, a GPU that is considerably more powerful than the one in the current PS4, i am much less secure in that thought. I now believe that any VR game that is a port will be severely hampered on the PS4, and that is one of the main motivators behind this PS4K/PS4.5 move.

The point is, wait and see, on all this stuff, and i see a lot of people making decisions on the future of VR based on the tiny amount we have seen so far. We have a long way to go before we even see the games that could make this thing big, and even longer to see how small games could be in this things future.


Ryan Davis, will be missed

Its odd when a writer you like passes away, as Ryan has, i haven’t been a member of Giant Bomb very long, but i have been digging the site for a while, and have made up time by watching old TNT, and other live shows.

That fact that i am so profoundly upset, yet haven’t met him or even known of him very long is at odds with the void that i know he has left. I suppose it ultimately comes down to this- Ryan, along with the rest of the staff has been with me for at least 3 hours a week for the past 3 years. It really sad to think that a part of the team i loved is gone, that the dynamic has permanently changed, and how terrible it must feel to be in the office without him, because, every video i watched, every I love Mondays, every mailbag, it was clear how happy Ryan was, just to be there with his friends, doing what he loved.

So for as much as it sucks for us, i am so, so sorry for the gents in the office, i cannot imagine.

Hey everybody…its Tuesday.

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The Dilemma of finished books

Horns, was a very compelling story. Joe Hill is a master of forcing you to think, of thrilling you, and frankly terrifying you. Being afraid while reading a book is so different from how “scary movies" operate. books seem to operate on creating empathy, and connecting you to the characters. obviously they have more time to do so than a movie, but i feel horror films should be known by the new moniker, Startle movies.

Now though, i am faced with the descion of what to move on to, Hill has a series of graphic novels, but i am mid way through 2 other books.

what an issue huh? life…

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Rediscovering PC gaming-A love letter

In a time before, before the juggernaut of savings and convenience that Steam is, before you simply had to slot in your components, before you could just download a mod, and have it work; I played pc games. I try not to imbibe the heady drug that is nostalgia, but its hard to look upon those days in the mid to late 90s when i played counter strike until the world was nothing but dust and magnum sniper rifles to me, i commanded and sometimes conquered, looted from el diablo, and devoured the worst the “tom clancy” name had to offer, and loved every pixelated, clunky second of it.

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That was until i found myself in a GI joe modded server of CS and suddenly this mystical machine that brought me so much joy, simply broke. Even today i couldn't tell you if it was the countless CS mods i installed or perhaps the constant stream of AOL keys and NETscape CDs my mother fed it. Being ignorant of all things electronic, i believe we just threw it away. As in, tossed the tower in the trash. In my defense i'm about 11 or 12 at this point.

What took the place of that apparently fairly high end rig, was a cow pelt patterned gateway box, knowing what i know today, i doubt it even had a video card, as even those garbage delta force games were nigh unplayable. even considering i could play them we had moved and the internet had taken a hit, now i was lucky to play a crap space ghost coast to coast flash game. So i turned to the original playstation that had been collecting dust, and amassing one hell of a back catalogue while i wasn't looking. I could strategize in real time, nor shoot in first person, but i could race cars, and i kinda liked cars for some reason at this point. perhaps because i hadn't driven one yet, discovering what a hassle they actually are.

Onward to PS2, eventually, nabbing the xbox and realizing, wait this thing can play shooters pretty damn well. Maybe it actually is the stick layout, but i rediscovered one of my favorite genres, thus prompting me to switch teams and get the 360 fairly early, a first for me, typically i wait for a drop. Hard to believe that was in 2005, and i am still playing that system. Well not that system, i have gone through several.

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Interestingly it was the 360 that made me realize i needed a PC again. Halo wars, and supreme commander while decent console RTS games, just made me want to turtle for real. This wasn't the first time i'd thought about it, but this was the first time i actually looked into what it would cost to build a rig myself. Even if i could afford it, i could never justify paying $2,000+ on a new computer. Around $900, split into several piecemeal purchases though? yea, i could make that work. It turned out to be an easy and fun experience, there is something to hunting for deals, and doing research. Also to delayed gratification, getting a graphics card you can't use for another month or two is rough at first, but once i got this bad boy running, it was glorious.

So here i am, over 10 years later, playing counter strike again...turns out i'm terrible at it. I assume a lot of people never stopped playing it, so i don't feel too bad about it. besides there are so many other games to play i don't really even want to play CS. Over the past 2 months i have purchased 37 games, and spent probably the equivalent of 5 or 6 full games. maybe much less. I honestly feel bad about it at times, if this is how everyone uses steam, how do developers make money?

I am simply overwhelmed by my options, being a primarily console gamer for so long teaches you to play one or two games at a time. both because of cost and convenience, when you're paying $64.79 for every game you don't buy 37 every two months. You also dont have the option of just quitting out and switching to another game like some crazed taste tester. It sounds so trivial but actually getting a disc out of a tray and replacing it with another IS a limiting factor.

Not only that but apparently games are free now? Or you can just sell your game before its done at a discount. This new MMO Neverwinter is a perfect example. A game that would have represented an investment of at least $60 plus a $15 fee for the next month, is now completely free, and thats one thing, but the game is actually good, this coming from someone who despises MMOs. Being an adult sucks, and we all know this, but never has my lack of time slapped me in the face as much as when i look at my list of games, none of which i have finished.

In my defense, when are you really “finished” with sins of a solar empire, or Natural selection 2?

Despite my ever growing back-log, im interested in stuff i missed, if anyone has suggestions, let me know.

If your interested in joining my strange exciting journey back into the fold, join me-