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Halo: Combat Evolved HD Remake Wishlist


With all the rumors surrounding a supposed 10th Anniversary Halo: Combat Evolved HD Remake, I thought it would be fun to create a list of things I would like to see, and maybe a few that I wouldn't. So without further ado, here we go:

  1. Brand New Graphics Engine Don't get me wrong, even to this day Halo: CE is still a beautiful game to look at, but if I'm going to buy it again I want a complete overhaul. The first rumor that pointed to the game running on the Reach engine is the optimal situation for me. Having it be the first Halo game not developed by Bungie is bad enough, having a new engine made by someone else seems even worse. I say use the Reach engine because it was made for Halo, it looks beautiful, and it's already there waiting to be used.
  2. Achievements Considering that it would be an Xbox360 game, this goes without saying, but I would like them to be unique. Halo: CE was filled with Easter Eggs that players could find if they were determined enough. I say that would make for some great achievements. Legendary runs, co-op Legendary runs, stealing the Banshee and skipping the last half of Assault on the Control Room (or getting the Banshee in the part of AotCR right after you get the tank, but before you go underground, that part's pretty tricky), shooting Captain Keyes, or killing Zuka 'Zamamee in the elevator on The Maw would all make for cool achievements.
  3. Online Co-op This is a must, in this day and age having co-op that isn't online just doesn't cut it. It doesn't have to be more than 2 players, although if it ran on the Reach engine everything would already be there to do up to 4. Either way, I want co-op and I want it online, make it happen Microsoft.
  4. Theater Mode We don't need all the modes from Halo: Reach like FireFight and Forge to be in Halo: CE, but I would love to have the Theater Mode. Saving films of awesome games is a mode worthy of any game.
  5. Online Multiplayer It has to have this. No excuses, online multiplayer had better be in any remake of Halo: CE. That's the one thing that the original didn't have and that's the main thing that those of us that still love Halo: CE want to see. No online multiplayer, no buy.
  6. Halo PC Additions Halo PC was really the definitive version of Halo: CE as it featured everything the Xbox original did, but it also had online multiplayer, higher res graphics, the Banshee, Flame Thrower, Fuel Rod Cannon, a new Rocket 'Hog in multiplayer, and 6 new multiplayer maps. I would love to see all of these things in a Halo: CE remake, especially the maps. The 6 Halo PC maps were some of my favorites, especially Timberland and Infinty.
  7. Continuation of the Single Player Campaign Now I know that this one is a long shot but it would still be awesome. The 3rd Halo novel titled, "First Strike", picked up directly where Halo: CE left off and told the story that took place between Halo: CE and Halo 2. There was some great stuff happening including the Master Chief returning to a glassed Reach and finding members of his Spartan team still alive, as well as introducing us to the SMG and the Battle Rifle. There is also a huge fight on a Covenant docking station that includes Brutes, all things that were introduced in Halo 2. Like I said, I know it's a long shot, but this would be so friggin' awesome if they did something like this.

Things I don't want to see

  1. New Guns I don't want to see anyone trying to inject weapons from later Halo games into Halo: CE, it just wouldn't work. If they added some new single player missions after the main story then great, add newer guns, but don't try to shoehorn them into the original storyline, it just wouldn't work. Same goes for vehicles.
  2. New Controls One of the things that makes Halo: CE so great are the controls. Halo: CE's controls had a very ..... organic feel to them, and they still feel great to this day. So please, whoever (if ever?) is making this, don't fix what ain't broke.
  3. New Music/ Voice Actors Now I know the gut reaction is to say that they would never do this, but still, anyone involved in remaking the original Halo should be warned that 50% of what made Halo: CE great was the Music and voice acting (in my opinion).
  4. Alterations to the Original Storyline Again, seems like a no-brainer, but we all know how people love to put their mark on things. So here's to hoping they don't screw up the single player campaign by adding or changing things.

Well that's all I got for now, let me know what y'all would like to see or not see in a Halo: CE remake.


It's Time For A Change


Hi, my name is Ben, I'm a hardcore Halo/Bungie fan, and I'm glad that Halo: Reach is Bungie's last Halo game.

   Do I think that Bungie is a bad developer, or that their ruining the Halo franchise? Of course not, I've absolutely loved every single Bungie developed Halo game so far.

   Do I think that another developer could make a better Halo game than Bungie? Not really, Bungie created the Halo universe and they know it better than anyone else.

   Then why am I glad that Halo: Reach is Bungie's last Halo game? It's simple, the fans are holding them back.

   My son and I have been playing the Halo: Reach beta every single day since it went live on the 3rd. My inital impression the first time I played it? I hated it. Now this is coming from someone who has read every single Halo novel, participated in every single Bungie community event since Halo: Combat Evolved came out, bought more swag from than you can shake a stick at, read every single Bungie Weekly Update, and has been a member of since the beginning. I am extremely excited about the single player campaign for Halo: Reach, but so far I am not that impressed by the multiplayer.

My problems with the Halo: Reach beta go farther than just the weapons, gametypes, maps, or gameplay. My problem is that Halo's fanbase has Bungie on such a short leash that they are unable to bring Halo's multiplayer into the modern age. Now I know that this is "just a beta" and that "things could change", but I particpated in the Halo 3 beta and while some things did change, overall it was the same game from the beta.

In the years since Halo cemented first person shooters as a dominant genre on consoles, Halo's multiplayer hasn't changed that much, while companies like Infinity Ward have really raised the bar in terms of character progression, rewards, and features. While armor abilities feel like Bungie's way of acknowledging these advances in modern first person shooters, they don't go far enough. At this point the ability to "run" should be a standard feature in all first person shooters, kind of like the ability to "jump". Especially when you factor in the fact that in Halo your playing as genetically enhanced supersoldiers wearing highly advanced armor that further enhances their abilities.

And why even bother with loadouts if you can't customize them? That's what makes loadouts awesome in Modern Warfare, that ability to customize them to your own personal play style. And why take out the Battle Rifle? Why can't the DMR and the Battle Rifle coexist? You know what they say about someone who tries to make everyone happy? They end up making nobody happy.

I feel like, and of course I may be completely off here, Bungie probably would be willing to take more of the features that the Call of Duty and Modern Warfare games have brought to the table and incorporate them into Halo were it not for the inevitable public outcry from the Halo community. In recent years, the Call of Duty and Modern Warfare games have become so popular that many have begun taking sides: either your a Halo player or a Call of Duty/Modern Warfare player. I am both and that is why I would like to see a merger of the two. As soon as Bungie announced that Halo: Reach would have "loadouts", fans immediately began to cry foul.

I just hope that whoever develops the next non-Bungie Halo game doesn't let the fans scare them into just rehashing what has already been done. Don't be scared to take the franchise, and more specifically the multiplayer, in new and fresh directions. Bring Halo's muliplayer into the modern age. Give us a game where the ability to "run" is as normal as the ability to "jump", or where 60fps is the norm. Don't treat Halo like it exists in a vacuum, look at what has become standard in other modern first person shooters and see where it can be improved upon.

In closing let me just say that if you need proof that fans can ruin a franchise you need look no further than Socom. Socom: Confrontation for the PS3 is a prime example where trying to please the hardcore fans ruined the game. Socom 3 was easily the best Socom game (and if you don't agree with this then you are part of the problem), not only did it finally feature Navy Seals that could swim (gasp!), it featured double the player count of Socom 2, awesome vehicles, wepons and attachments, and ginormous maps. But Slant Six let the hardcore fans bully them into making a game that was a step backward from Socom 3, and then those same fans still bitched because it wasn't made by Zipper and it was just more of the same.


To be clear, I now like the Halo: Reach beta much more than I did when I first tried it, but I still can't shake that feeling that it's not enough.

So my advice to developers: Don't be afraid to break the mold.


Call of Duty, Infinty Ward, and Charlie Zombies

Up until recent events, it seemed that it was pretty popular to be an "Infinity Ward fan" while not necessarily being a "Call of Duty fan". Now I understand that the reasoning behind this is that poeple love to hate Activision, or more specifically, Bobby Kotick, and I don't blame them one bit. EA was once the "evil empire", but after a few years of less sequels, more new IP's and just a general makeover in public opinion, EA has successfully found themselves back in gamer's good graces. Activision on the other hand, doesn't seem to give a damn what anybody thinks about them, especially their customers.

I myself am a "Call of Duty fan". I am probably one of the few people that feel like the Call of Duty series has only gotten better with each new installment. The first time I played the original Call of Duty, I liked it, but I wasn't blown away by it. Then CoD2 for Xbox360 came along and I was officially "blown away". The graphics, the sound, the gameplay, the "wow" moments, all these things really drew me into the game world.

Next came CoD3 which, while obviously not a giant leap over CoD2, it did improve on the CoD2 formula incrementally, which is better than not being as good. Then came CoD4:Modern Warfare, which was a giant leap over it's predecessor. Not to mention it drug the series out of WWII and into modern times, which was a huge breath of fresh air. CoD4 was the first CoD game that really got me into the muliplayer and managed to pull me away from Halo3 for a while.

Next came Call of Duty:World at War, one of my favorite CoD games, and a game that continues to be particularly divisive. I personally feel like CoD:WaW is second only to Modern Warfare 2 as an overall package, and second to none in terms of single player campaign. I also feel like, while Spec-Ops is a very cool idea, it was inferior to WaW's "Nazi Zombie" mode in execution. Not offering matchmaking for Spec-Ops was a huge mis-step by Infinity Ward. Not getting new Spec-Ops missions as DLC also left me scratching my head.

Finally we have Modern Warfare 2, which we all know how amazing it is, even if everyone seems to have jumped on the Battlefield bandwagon lately. I have already played more Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer in the few months that it's been out, than almost any other game ever. Modern Warfare 2, like World at War before it, is a masterful refinement of the formula that is the Call of Duty series. Love it or hate it, Call of Duty isn't going anywhere for quite a while, which brings me to my next point.

Popular opinion these days is that, given the firing of Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella, and the fact that Infinity Ward seems to be hemorrhaging veteran personnel, the Call of Duty franchise is doomed. Personally, I see this as an opportunity for us, as gamers, to end up with two world class game franchises. I seriously doubt that everyone that works at Infinity Ward is gonna leave, hell I'd be shocked if even half of them left. So that leaves us with alot of Infinity Ward employees to make future Call of Duty games. While at the same time we have Respawn Entertainment which will have, I'm sure, at least some of those veteran Infinity Ward guys making games.

Just because key people leave a team, it doesn't always spell doom for the future of that team. look at God of War, every game in that series has been headed up by someone different and they've all been great. Honestly, I think people want to see Call of Duty and Infinity Ward fail because they want to see Activision fail. And that's not fair to all the people that work their asses off to make these games. Like everyone else, I was really down on Activision when the news of Jason and Vince being fired broke, and for the most part, I still am. Activision handled this whole thing very poorly and now they are paying the price. But we have to remember that every corporation has execs like the ones at Activision, they just don't all talk as much. But it's the people making the games that we have to think about, they are the ones that need our support, and they should get it if they continue to put out great games.

So ultimately I think that things will work out for both sides. The guys and gals at Infinity Ward that love doing Call of Duty and Modern Warfare will probably get the chance to step up and play a larger role in the future of those franchises, and all the folks that are sick of doing those games can move on to Respawn or where ever and make something new that they are passionate about. Not to mention we still have Treyarch making fantastic CoD games. I personally can't wait to see the setting of the next CoD game from Treyarch, and especially what the new "Zombie" mode will be. I was watching "Apocalypse Now" just yesterday and, although I realize that war was pretty controversial even to this day, from a gameplay perspective I think it would make a great CoD game.

"Charlie Zombies" anyone?


God of War III Final Thoughts (Spoilers)


Kratos is a hard guy to size up. On the one hand you love him because he's so over the top and brutal and on the other hand he can be a real dick. I couldn't even begin to list all of the mythological characters and creatures and innocent people that have fallen at the hands of Kratos. Even Perseus, the main character from the tale that the God of War series takes most of it's inspiration, was not immune to Kratos' wrath.

   But behind all that hate and anger, you (or maybe it's just me) always hope that Kratos is not without some piece of humanity. Carrying the weight of having accidentally murdered his own wife and daughter always seemed to me like an understandable reason for Kratos' anger, but only if properly used at the end of the saga. If something is used as a means to an end then it is acceptable, but if that end is not reached, then it feels like it was all for nothing.

And that's how God of War III's ending made me feel, like it was all for nothing.

   That's not to say that the ending was all bad, he does manage to get his revenge by killing all of the Gods and the Titans, but for what? So he could kill himself? I was truly hoping that the good folks at Sony Santa Monica would use  this supposed last game to grant Kratos (and us players) some redemption. Give him a chance to right all the wrongs he's committed over the last 4 games. I would have loved to see an ending where Kratos is finally reunited with his wife and daughter in the afterlife and Athena really just wants to let mankind rule themselves.

   One of the beautiful things about video games is their ability to connect with the player. This is why most players refer to in-game actions as things that they themselves have done as opposed to the character that they are controlling. But sometimes having that sort of a connection to a player means that you want that character to do things that you would do, and when they don't it creates a disconnect between the player and the character. It's a balancing act to be sure, but one some developers manage to execute on with incredible precision.

   For anyone who stayed until the credits finished rolling, I think it's fair to say that this isn't the last we've seen of Kratos. Although given the state of things I'm not sure what direction is left to go.  I really loved the game as whole, I just felt like the ending was a missed opportunity.


Infinity Ward founders moving on to greener pastures?

After being completely caught off guard about the whole Infinity Ward/Activision situation, and soaking up as much info as I could about it, I decided that I believe that the founders of Infinity Ward, Vince Zampella and Jason West, will join Microsoft Game Studios to create some as-yet-unannounced IP. It makes perfect sense especially when you consider how tight Microsoft and Infinity Ward were in the months leading up to the release of Modern Warfare 2. I can remember people saying that there were times when you would have thought that Microsoft owned Infinity Ward, instead of Activision.

Also when you consider the rumors going around that Zampella and West were showing off a new IP to another publisher, if true then I believe this lends even more credence to the idea of a possible partnership with Microsoft. When you look at the big third party publishers out there, Activision, EA, and Ubi Soft, we can pretty much eliminate two of them immediately, Activision because that's who just fired them and EA because that's who they originally worked for. And I don't think that they are gonna go to Ubi Soft because they already have their own unique stable of shooters.

Microsoft, on the other hand, seems the perfect candidate because a) Console manufacturers tend to have a better understanding of the industry and what fans want than third parties that are just trying to games only b) Microsoft had to learn the hard way by letting Bungie go, and would be less likely to repeat those mistakes, and c) judging by the job they are doing with Halo thus far, Microsoft has a good understanding of how to expand a franchise without stripping it of it's core value.

Whatever the case turns out to be I think that we as gamers will benefit most from this in the end. Zampella and West will form a new studio that will most likely make amazing games, while the rest of the team at Infinity Ward will go on making amazing CoD/MW games. It's a win/win situation.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about then you should probably click here.


A Halo disc that only works in my PS3?


So last night I decided to sit down and watch the Halo Legends BD that I bought a week ago. Normally, seeing as how I'm a big Halo nerd, I would have watched it the day I bought it, but since my son also loves Halo he wanted me to wait until he could watch it too.

I have to admit I was a little worried about it going in because, although I don't have anything against Japanese anime, I'm not this big anime fan either and I was worried how it would fit with Halo. Luckily it fit wonderfully and even managed to give me a new respect for anime.

I loved how each episode had it's own unique art style and story telling techniques. Going in I assumed from the previews that the CGI episode would be my favorite, but that actually turned out to not be the case. here's a breakdown of what I thought of each episode:

Origins : This one is tied with "The Duel" right now as my favorite. Cortana, showing some signs of rampancy, talks to the Master Chief who is still in cryo sleep after the events of Halo 3. It doesn't specify how long they've been floating through space, but Cortana decides it's a good time to spill the beans on the origins of the Forerunners, the Flood, and the events leading up to the Forerunners firing the Halo rings and wiping out all life in the galaxy.

Origins is technically two episodes, "Origins I" and "Origins II", but the second one picks up right where the first let off so it's like one long episode. Origins II has Cortana talking about humans and our desire to kill each other through war. I don't want to give too much away for those that are interested but haven't seen it yet so I'll just end by saying that it's really cool stuff if your a fan of the Halo universe.

The Dual : This one was really cool and unique because it tells the tale of (I assume) the first Arbitor, the great Sangheili warrior who defied the Prophets and is the reason that being named Arbitor is a mark of shame. One of the most interesting aspects of this episode to me was seeing what a female Sangheili looks like in the form of Han, Arbitor's wife whom he loved very deeply.

He was a great general of the Covenant and possibly Sanghelios' greatest warrior at the time. The armor worn by all of the Arbitors after him is (again, assuming) either his original armor or made to look like it. I found it very poetic that the last elite to be named Arbitor and wear that armor would not only defy the Prophets like the original Arbitor, but he would ultimately play a major role in bringing down the entire Covenant and expose the Prophet's lies.

Homecoming : This episode tells about Daisy, a Spartan who escapes the Reach training facility to get back home to her family. Upon arriving she learns that when she was taken by the UNSC, they replaced her with a clone so as not to raise any questions. Daisy is then forced to make a very hard decision.

Odd One Out : I have to admit, the first time I watched Halo: Legends (I've watched them all at least 2 or 3 times now) I actually skipped past "Odd One Out" because I really didn't like the idea of this goofiness being applyed to Halo. After I finally did watch it I was pleasantly surprised. The humor was well done and they managed to have this cookiness about it without having to throw out the Halo fiction and feel. My favorite part was hearing a Prophet say, "I need a vacation" after trying to tell a minion which way to run.

Prototype : This one didn't do much for me in terms of Halo fiction, but it still managed to tell a great story. The story is that of a regular marine called "Ghost". Ghost is the leader of a demolition squad that is tasked with destroying a prototype weapon so that the Covenant can't get their hands on it. After seeing every member of his last squad die in a single mission, he vows to not let the same thing happen twice and dons the prototype armored suit to fend off the Covenant forces and buy his team enough time to escape the doomed planet.

The Babysitter : I really enjoyed this episode for telling what is just a really great story. It tells of a group of ODST's (including Dutch from Halo 3: ODST) that have just learned that they're next OP will be lead by a Spartan. O'Brien, the ODST squad's sniper, is bitter because instead of being the shooter like normal, he now has to play back up to Cal-141, a Spartan.

Their mission is to assassinate a Prophet and document Forerunner ruins. Along the way they have several Covenant encounters including one that leaves O'Brien and the other ODST's with a new found respect for their Spartan teammate.

The Package : The funny thing about this episode is that, going in, this is the one I thought I would like the most. I really like CGI and so after watching the previews I thought I would like the computer animated one the most. While I did really like it, it was definitely not my favorite. Although I must say that I really did enjoy seeing Blue Team in action. Seeing the Master Chief fighting along side Kelly and Fred was really cool.

Also the whole plot was basically them rescuing Dr. Halsey from a Covenant ship, which brings up a whole slew of other possibilities itself. I really like how they went out of their way to show that Cortana was basically an AI representation of Dr. Halsey. All in all I just wish we could've seen more of Dr. Halsey and Blue Team and maybe found out why the hell Dr. Halsey was being held on a Covenant ship.

Overall Halo: Legends is fantastic to watch if your a Halo fan. Even if you don't like Halo you still might find something you like. Whatever the case it's definitely worth checking out.

*note: I wrote everything up to "The Dual" about 2 or 3 days ago and everything else just now, which is why I start out talking about how I just watched it for the first time and then later say I've seen it 2 or 3 times. Just wanted to clear that up.*



(Suicide) Mission Accomplished


Mass Effect 2 is a fine example of how to do a sequel right. BioWare appears to have taken all of the things that people didn't like about the first game and either fixed them, or flat out removed them. The graphics are better, the gameplay is better, and the missions are better. Everything is just better. I really liked the first Mass Effect, but felt that it failed to reach it's full potential. Mass Effect 2 on the other hand, does not make that same mistake.

My biggest problem with the first game was the sense of scale, or rather the lack there of. Mass Effect 1 felt really small, even though you were supposed to have the entire galaxy at your fingertips, and driving the Mako around barren wastelands did not equal fun. But where Mass Effect 1 was unable to bring about any feeling of grandness, Mass Effect 2 has it in spades. The vast amount of solar systems, complete with technical details and histories for each planet, is staggering. I had a lot of fun with the planet scanning mini game, and coming across the occasional "anomaly detected" side mission was the icing on the cake.

But what I thought was really interesting and cool about Mass Effect 2 was the structure of the game and the missions. Basically, the majority of the game consists of you hunting down and recruiting members for your team. Sure, there are a few missions that don't involve recruitment, but looking back I feel like those were the most enjoyable and prominent missions of the game. I also really enjoyed the "loyalty" missions for each of the team members, I can't wait to go back and try them again but with different choices made. But ultimately the whole game is just you gathering up your team and preparing for the "suicide mission". But by no means is that a bad thing, on the contrary, it's a nice retreat from the normal RPG structure.

I really love how all the decisions made in the first game affect the new one. Your constantly being approached by characters that you interacted with in one way or another in the first game. It really brings a sense of connection between the games that is not found in other game series.It also made me think extra hard about every decision because I knew that it would affect the third game in some form. I actually made the last, big decision of the game based solely on the idea that it might positively affect the next game, which is something I have never done before in a video game.

There are lots of games these days that allow for a new game+, where you can start over from the beginning and still have all your guns and abilities, but it's not something I usually indulge in. When I finished Mass Effect 2 on the other hand, I immediately started a new game+ because there were so many decisions that I made throughout the course of the game that made me want to try it the other way. BioWare really went all out in Mass Effect 2 by delivering a grand adventure while still having enough time to put in little stuff like model space ships and "space hamsters". I cannot recommend this game enough, it really is that great.


Am I the worst blogger ever?

Maybe, but that's what happens when you work a full time job and have a family to tend to. Don't get me wrong though, I love to write, unfortunately I rarely have the time to do all the things that I like.

Like, for instance, gaming; obviously I love to play games, and I still buy a lot of games, I just don't have the time to play them all. I've got at least 4 to 5 games (Batman:Arkham Asylum, Bayonetta, BioShock 2) that I've bought over the last few weeks that I haven't even put in. Which is a damn shame when you consider the plethora of quality games that are steadily coming out.

Of course, there's also Mass Effect 2, which is probably the main reason I'm not playing anything else.

That game is good, really good. I've actually spent most of my time scanning planets the last few nights. It's a strange addiction because it's not that scanning planets is great fun or anything, but at the same time I can't seem to stop doing it. I even added up how much of each element I needed to buy every upgrade available. I even have a system that I use: I start at the top of the planet, rotating it left to right while slowly moving down until the planet's resources are depleted. Yes, it's pretty sad.

Of course coming across the occasional "anomaly detected" also helps to mix it up a bit. Even though these "side missions" are pretty shallow, they still help to break up the monotony of planet scanning. (MINOR SPOILER AHEAD) Last night after having scanned planets for a good 2 hours, I was starting to think that maybe I'd had my fill of it, and then I came across a star system plainly named "local cluster". Curious as to what this "local cluster" was I entered the system, it only took a second for me to realize that I recognized the names of these planets: Pluto, Uranus, Neptune....wait a second, this our solar system!

Something so small as including our solar system on the galaxy map, even though you can't really do much with it, makes such a huge difference to me. I've spent so much time exploring alien worlds and star systems that just seeing our solar system, and more specifically Earth, brought a smile to my face, it was "home". I feel like it adds some "gravity" to the game. Just being able to go back and fly my little Normandy around Earth is calming.

It's the little things like this that are making Mass Effect 2 such an awesome game for me. I can't wait to see what happens next.


Calidan777's Game of the Year Awards

Xbox360 Game of the Year

Forza Motorsport 3

This was a tough one for me. On the one hand I am a huge Halo fan, having consumed pretty much every piece of Halo media ever released, but I am also a big racing fan. I refuse to conform to the idea that your either a "sim guy" or an "arcade racer guy", which is why I love Forza 3 so much. It is truly the first racing game to genuinely appeal to both audiences. Don't like sims? Turn on the full driving line, anti-lock brakes, and stability control. Liberal use of the "rewind" feature also means that you'll never make it through an entire race only to wreck at the end and lose.

This game does so many things superbly that I couldn't begin to list them all, but the biggest thing it does is manage to push forward a genre that's been around almost as long as video games themselves, and that my friends is no small feat.

Runners-Up: Halo 3: ODST, Halo Wars

 Xbox Live Arcade Game of the Year

Shadow Complex

No game this year got the nostalgic juices flowing quite like Shadow Complex. It took everything that we loved about old school action-adventure games, and drug it into the modern age. Using 3D graphics powered by the Unreal Engine, while at the same time keeping a side-scrolling 2D camera angle, Shadow Complex showed us that not only was there still life in this kind of game, there was still room for innovation. Whether I was scouring the complex trying to find the next upgrade or using the grappling hook and triple jump to scale a seemingly unscaleable wall, Shadow Complex sucked me into it's world like few games have.

Runner-Up: Marvel Vs. Capcom 2

Xbox Live Indie Game of the Year


This game is the very definition of the term "indie game", it game was made by one guy ( James Silva) in two weeks and released on Xbox Live Indie Games for one dollar (80 Microsoft Points). Word of mouth spread like wildfire on how fun the game was, making it the highest rated indie game ever. The game is basically a twin stick shooter with lots of weapon types and enemy types, but what makes it special is one of the best theme songs since Portal's "Still Alive" and 4-player co-op. For a dollar you can't go wrong with this game.

Runner-Up: Miner Dig Deep

PlayStation 3 Game of the Year

Uncharted 2:Among Theives


There's not really anything that I can say at this point that hasn't already been said about Uncharted 2, so I'll just sum it up by saying that Uncharted 2 is the best game on the PS3. While I really loved MetalGearSolid4, Uncharted 2 is the complete package; amazing single player, tons of great multiplayer modes, and plenty of fun unlockables. Uncharted has successfully planted itself as one of the great games in video game history and a game that folks will appreciate for years into the future.

Now enjoy some fat Drake.

Runners-Up: Demon's Souls , KillZone2

PlayStation Network Game of the Year


For me personally, Flower was the most surprising game of the year, as I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that I would love a game about flying around flower petals as much as I love Flower. The best way to accurately describe Flower is "relaxing". Aside from being an incredibly beautiful game to look at, Flower is also a very addictive game, as I found myself playing through it multiple times trying to get all the trophies and making sure I didn't miss any flower petals. Flower is one of the most unique games I've ever played and easily wins my best PSN game of 2009.

Runners-Up: Shatter , Pixel Junk Shooter

Wii Game of the Year

House of the Dead Overkill

No Wii game this year kept me coming back for more like House of the Dead Overkill. Everything from the over-the-top "grindhouse" style graphics and story to the multiple weapon unlocks and upgrades had me playing through it over and over again. The 2 player and 4 player co-op modes are also very well done and addictive. Overkill proves that you can do a great shooter on the Wii, but you don't have to do it the same way as on other consoles.

Runners-Up: Punch-Out! , Wii Sports Resort

Multi-Platform Game of the Year

Assassin's Creed II

I loved the first Assassin's Creed, it was the first "open-world" game that was really able to really grab me and never let go. Unfortunately it received alot of criticism for repetition in it's missions. Luckily the guys and gals at Ubisoft Montreal were listening and used these criticisms to craft the best game they could. Assassin's creed II isn't that much different from the first game, it's just more refined. The story in the first game is what really drew me in and the story in Assassin's Creed II takes it to the next level. I loved the combat in the first game and for Assassin's Creed II the addition of dodging and disarming, along with a plethora of new weapons and armor, makes every encounter fresh and fun.

This is everything a sequel should be: superior in every way from the first game but without losing what made the first one great. I imagine that I'll still be playing this when Assassin's Creed III comes out, and that can't come soon enough.


2009 Game of the Year

Modern Warfare 2

I usually like to gauge how much I truly like a game by how much I play it. I've read plenty of game of the year articles around the internet and one thing that kind of stands out to me are the ones where someone says that they like a particular game more, but give the award to another game because they feel it "does more for video games". I'm not really sure what that means, but it sounds like BS to me. Ultimately games are vying for our time, so in the end, the game that controls more of your time is the one that wins that battle. For me, that game is Modern Warfare 2.

I love all the games listed here, but only one of them has been played at my house every single day since it lauched and that is Modern Warfare 2. As it stands my total playtime in Modern Warfare 2 is 14 days, 7 hours, 37 minutes, and 41 seconds. That's campain, spec-ops and multiplayer combined. Eleven of those days are just multiplayer. Infinity Ward did such a great job at making sure that you are always progressing and earning XP in Modern Warfare 2 that you never want to put it down. In Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare I had no interest in going Prestige, but in Modern Warfare 2 I intend to Prestige all 10 times. Five down, Five to go.

Modern Warfare 2 is the complete package: incredible campaign mode, ultra addictive co-op mode, and the best competitive multiplayer available on any platform. Modern Warfare 2 has set an extremely high bar for first person shooters, now, let's see if they can do it again with Modern Warfare 3.

Runners-Up: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves , Assassin's Creed II

Gran Turismo 5 Time Trial Demo Impressions

     So the other night I downloaded the GT5 Time Trial demo to try and get an early taste of GT5 before it hits next year (hopefully).Now before I go any further let me say that, like most racing fans, the GT series was my introduction to racing sims. I spent a good portion of my life playing the first two GT games and loved every minute of it. But by the time GT 3 & 4 hit they just felt like more of the same. And then Forza Motorsport came along and stole GT's thunder (for me anyway).
     Forza Motorsport on the Xbox really sucked me in when it first hit because it had all the things that GT had and more, it took the racing sim genre to the next level. Fast forward to early 2007 when I bought my PS3 and the first thing I did once it was hooked up was download the GT Concept demo. I was floored. The graphics in that original demo were amazing (although the gameplay still felt kind of dated). Even when Forza Motorsport 2 shipped a few months later, it couldn't stack up to the GT Concept demo graphically.
     So here we are, almost 3 years later and the roles have reversed yet again. Forza Motorsport 3 shipped back in October sporting some of the best looking visuals ever seen in a racing game and tons of new features that manage to push forward a genre that has been stale for quite some time. And while the jury is still out as far as GT5's feature set is concerned, if the new GT5 Time Trial demo is represntitive of the final game, then Forza 3 has won the graphics battle hands down. The first thing that I noticed when I fired up the GT5 demo yesterday was that, compared to Forza 3, the graphics looked almost cartoony. Now I know I'm gonna get flmaed for that comment, and I don't mean literally cartoony, I just mean that the graphics lack the complexity that Forza 3 has. Everything from the cockpit view to the enviroments just didn't look up to par. I would even venture to say that it doesn't even look as good as that old GT Concept demo.
     The controls felt fine, though it was really hard to tell since it was just one car. Ultimately I'm gonna hold my final verdict for when the full game ships, because I hope it's worth the wait. But this isn't a good sign if polyphony is looking to recapture their crown.

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