Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best Video Games of 2013

It's the end of the year so I felt it appropriate to conjure up a list of my favorite video games this year.  This list only reflects games that I have actually played.  Not really numbered but I guess you can say I preferred the games I listed first.

Bioshock Infinite
The Bioshock franchise is a pretty well regarded in the gaming community but personally I couldn't finish Bioshock 1 or 2 as I was never fully interested in the setting or atmosphere those games.  So what was so different about Bioshock Infinite that clicked with me?  It's hard to say but I found myself immersed in the story and Columbia as a whole while I delved into all of it in almost one sitting.  Maybe i'm a sucker for time travel / parallel world stories but it also helps that the game was actually fun to play as gliding around the skyrails, shooting things, and using vigors all felt like second hand nature.

Grand Theft Auto V

I think Rockstar hit it out of the park with this game, while I was skeptical about how switching between three main characters would work out it wasn't such a big deal when you actually sat down and played it.  I haven't really had as much fun with a GTA game since San Andreas.

Fire Emblem: Awakening

When I finally bought my 3DS this year Fire Emblem: Awakening was one of the first games I bought and I was pleasantly surprised as I am personally not too familiar with the Fire Emblem franchise but I have delved into other SRPG's in the past and this has become one of my favorites in the genre.  Great tactical gameplay, a great cast of characters, a pretty interesting story, and tons of replay value makes it one of the best games of the year in my opinion.

The Last Of Us

I probably fall into the camp who is under zombie game fatigue but The Last Of Us put enough spin on it to make it interesting and says a lot about a game if you can empathize with the characters emotionally.  It's definitely one of the best stories in a game this year and worth playing.

Super Mario 3D World

I'll be blunt and say the Wii U in general was a disappointment but if there was anything that made me glad I actually bought one was this game.  The Super Mario franchise always seems to deliver in terms of fun factor and this is the first time I actually had fun with a Super Mario game in quite awhile.  Playing with my nieces and nephews with it's coop multiplayer is something I couldn't find anywhere else this year and deserves a spot on my list.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Assassin's Creed games have always been fun in some way or another and I don't want to say the series has lost steam over the past few games (Revelations and AC3 to be more specific) it certainly lost it's shine.  Assassin's Creed IV is just fun and certainly brings the franchise back to top form with this recent installment.

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

I haven't played many JRPG's recently and Ni No Kuni was one of the first games I picked up this year.  What impressed me the most is the animation quality as I felt this was pretty much the closest game that resembled an actual Anime in motion(probably should mention Studio Ghibli was a part of this project).  I think the story is pretty charming and the gameplay is kind of grindy but I couldn't help myself and kept trying to find new creatures and evolving more powerful versions.  Worth playing if you are into JRPG's.

Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm

While HOTS is an expansion I still felt it added a good amount of content and refreshed SC2 where I found it enjoyable to play again.  SC2 is SC2, not much else to say that it's still a superb game to play.

Tales of Xillia

Again I was yearning for JRPG's this year and I haven't played a Tales franchise game in quite awhile (last being Symphonia on the gamecube).  What else can I say other than the combat system is still one of the most unique and fun combat experiences you can have in a JRPG.  If anything Xillia has gotten me interested in some of the past games I've missed out on.  The story was decent and it's worth playing through twice as you can choose a different perspective depending on the main character you choose.

The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

I'll be honest, it's a recent purchase and I haven't put many hours into it but it's already feeding off my nostalgia as I think Link To The Past is one of my favorite games of all time and while it certainly has similarities the game is still pretty damn fun to play and interesting as a game of it's own.

Monday, June 10, 2013

E3 Day 0 Impressions - 2013

PlayStation 4 vs Xbox One

Certainly the biggest news out of this years E3 was the certainly the initial price point of the brand new consoles. Microsoft certainly had the initial advantage having their conference in the morning and while the Xbox One seems impressive the 500$ price tag slapped me back to reality. Sony on the other hand just threw salt on the wound with a 400$ price tag. With all the controversy surrounding Xbox One's DRM and online requirements, the PS4 certainly has the upper hand after today in my opinion. Oh and a great troll video by Sony below.


Just some trailers of games that impressed me and looking forward to in the future.

Final Fantasy XIV


The Witcher 3 - Wild Hunt

Dragon Age Inquisition

Battlefield 4

Dead Rising 3


Tom Clancy's The Division

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dark Souls 2 Gameplay

So IGN just released a 12 minute Dark Souls 2 gameplay reveal.  Dark Souls probably one of my favorite games of the past five years so I was certainly excited to see footage of the game.

My initial impressions are that it certainly looks like more Dark Souls, which isn't a bad thing.  There is certainly a graphic fidelity and physics improvements and hopefully it's a lot more optimized than the first game which had some performance issues.   Things like lighting torches don't seem to be great feature improvements although if a lot of areas in Dark Souls 2 are like the Tomb Of Giants in the first game then it's definitely a welcome addition to the game.  Enemies breaking through walls certainly seems like it could be a frightening feature where you are trying to avoid tough enemies but they keep coming after you.   Also another thing to notice is that dual wielding could somewhat be an option as there seems to combat animations that complement such a style.  Hopefully we'll see some more in the near future.

adding the gameplay trailer as well.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Favorite Winter 2013 Anime

Winter 2012-2013 season is basically wrapping up with quite a few anime shows ending this week.  Even though i haven't watched all of what was available during the season I felt that I needed to make a small list of my favorites that I watched.

The second season of Haganai (Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT) is what I found the most entertaining and funniest shows you can watch this season..  It basically keeps the momentum going from the first season with Kodaka and the rest of the Neighbors Club getting into hilarious situations practicing friend making skills.
I felt this was probably one of the best "slice of life" shows out this season which is mostly about a group of high school outcasts who live in Sakura Hall which is meant for so called "troublemakers" of the school.  There was certainly funny moments, a fair amount of drama to sort of get the emotions going, and an amazing casts of characters which make you miss them when it's all over.

Blast of Tempest

What I liked about Blast of Tempest (Zetsuen No Tempest) is that it tells a well thought out story about two friends who both share a tragic past due to someone significant in their lives passing away, thus spiraling into a chain of events that involves magic, apocalyptic world trees, and a bit of Shakespeare.

A spin-off story from the Zettai Karen Children (Psychic Squad) series, if you don't know much about the universe it's more or less about a criminal organization named P.A.N.D.R.A. and their leader Hyobu Kyosuke. He commands a group of Espers(physic power users) who seem to have an agenda against normal humans and ultimately wants to wipe them out.  The action scenes are pretty exciting and the characters are fairly likable for the most part.  Add in some espionage to the mix and you get a fairly interesting plot.  For a 12 episode anime it's really well put together and fun to watch.

Robotics;Notes I found a pretty interesting because I found the story a bit of a mind twist as it definitely played the on it's strengths of tossing in a plot and turning it on it's toes just when you think you have figured it out.  Watch if you are interested in conspiracy theories, sci-fi, little bit of video games, robot building and fighting.  Not to mention that it takes place in the much heralded Steins;Gate universe.

I do watch my fair share of harem themed shows though most of the time I find them repetitive but Oreshura seems to be self aware of itself and the plot is certainly dumb but it is all good fun and comedy as you watch Eita Kido get blackmailed by Masuzu Natsukawa into a fake relationship and does his best to avoid his childhood friends finding out their relationship is a fake since they are all in love with him.

Didn't finish watching or ongoing that is still probably worth watching.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Games I've Been Playing - March 2013

I think it's been a pretty slow year in terms of games that have interested me but I'll go ahead and give my thoughts on some of the games I've been playing this month.

Starcraft 2 - Heart of the Swarm

I think what I am most impressed about Heart of the Swarm so far is the way it is telling the story.  I have not seen any other RTS deliver a proper story in the same kind of way.  You can tell Blizzard spent a decent chunk of money to create the CG cutscenes and story elements.  While interactions and conversations aren't as interesting as the Wings of Liberty stuff it is still pretty cool to go around and talk with zerg creatures about how to approach missions and whatnot.
As for gameplay in the campaign I think most of it is fairly interesting so far.  Most of it revolves controlling Kerrigan who plays a major role in each mission and is basically your go to unit to achieve victory.  It almost feels like cheating having her around all the time.  The upgrade systems work a bit differently than Wings of Liberty but you effectively enhance each of your units with a special power.  For example zerglings have two upgrade paths, one evolution is that you can have them able to leap up and down from cliffs or evolve them to spawn three at a time instead of the usual single unit.  Kerrigan also works in a similar way, she can gain levels and at various tiers she can gain a new ability from two different branches of power, you can freely respec abilities so it's not a deep commitment into what abilities you want to use which is a big change from Wings Of Liberty
Don't want to make this sound like a review as I'm only around the halfway point in the game but I still feel that Heart of the Swarm is a great RTS for what I have played so far.   I still haven't gotten deep into the multiplayer but that is mostly due to being scared of getting blown away by people who have been playing since Starcraft 2's launch.

World Of Warcraft - 5.2 patch

I've sort of been playing Mists Of Pandaria the past few months, though I pretty much don't log in as often as i used to.   But 5.2 content patch was released recently and I've been doing a few of the new LFR(Raid Finder) instances.   While the difficulty isn't up to par with normal raid instances I still enjoy them but I don't know if it's MMO fatigue or what I feel that the boss encounters just don't feel unique anymore.   It's like all the design aspects of a raid encounter have been exhausted, some may be due to some mechanics being stripped out for LFR and some of it is just reuse of older boss mechanics.     I think my time in WoW is winding down to it's end but I still enjoyed Mists of Pandaria alot more than Cataclysm.

Bioshock Infinite

The game is under my radar so i'll leave this spot blank for now but it's probably the biggest release to come out this year so far.