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Gamerrob’s Top 10 Games of the 7th Generation

Before we get started, everyone who doesn’t know this needs to: “generation” refers to a time period of gaming, not how many more gigaflops the PS4 has over the Wii U (so, on a side note, Wii U is next gen, goofballs). Anyway, that means a Wii title will be present in this list, and even a PC title. Why? Because it’s my list and I can do whatever the hell I want. So, enjoy my top 10 games of this past generation of gaming!

10.) Civilization V (PC)Scenario Gameplay

The epitome of board-based strategy-centric time management gaming would be an understatement. This was my first real, genuine addiction to a strategy game, and like any good addiction, the addict never forgets the first time.

9.) Transformers: War for Cybertron (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

This was the first game, in my humble opinion, to master the whole three player co-op experience. Not to mention it’s one of the best third person shooters available, and has a little franchise called the Transformers in it. Optimus Prime could slice open five decepticon spiders while Bumblebee was flanking the enemy tank with assists from Ratchet, all while your friend was shouting through a headset blasting “The Touch” in the background.

8.) The Amazing Spider-Man (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)untitled

Most of this game is stolen from Arkham Asylum, but not only does it capitalize on its stolen elements, it perfects them and throws in some touches of its own. Featuring the best boss fights in third person action-adventure history, extremely fast-paced and fun traversal of an open world and the best stealth/open-combat gameplay around, The Amazing Spider-Man was a movie tie-in to best all other movie tie-ins.

7.) Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

This game, next to the original Super Mario Bros., is my all-time favorite Nintendo game ever. Featuring every awesome Nintendo character under the sun, not to mention Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog, unbelievable amounts of content and insane bouts of nostalgia tickling fan service, this remains the best fighter I’ve ever played.

6.) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)news_20_minutes_of_skyrim_gameplay-11878

Middle-earth meets Grand Theft Auto, with an entire universe of lore behind it from previous games. Skyrim was its own universe, complete with frost trolls, sorcery, mystical dwarven ruins, legendary swords and best of all, dragons. Lots of dragons.

5.) Dishonored (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

Quite possibly the best first person action adventure title to ever grace consoles, Dishonored housed some of the most creative level design, gameplay and art direction I’ve ever experienced. It’s remains one of the only two games I’ve played through the campaign of more than three times.

4.) Portal 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

Creative puzzle solving? Check. Awesome co-op? Check. Great characters and dialogue? Check. Portal 2 was just a blend of a lot of very good things which fused together to make something even better. Pulling off a puzzle game this good isn’t just a challenge, it’s borderline impossible.

3.) Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)deus-ex-human-revolution-fight

RoboCop meets Hitman sounds good on paper, and plays even better on my TV. Human Revolution took what was a cult classic and revitalized it into a living, breathing universe worthy of the current generation of gaming. Not to mention the TRON-esque art style created a level of atmospheric immersion that no other game in recent memory could even come close to pulling off.

2.) Sonic Unleashed (Xbox 360, PS3)

This will probably win the award for most controversial pick of all-time, right next to the debate of who’s better in the first Hitler vs. Vader Epic Rap Battle of History. While half of this game is just barely satisfactory, the other half is so undeniably revolutionary for Sonic the Hedgehog that it definitely deserves a high ranking spot on this list. It remains one of my favorite games of all time.

1.) Vanquish (Xbox 360, PS3)vanquish-sega-new-screens-1

Five playthroughs of this game later and I’m still having a rocket-boosting slow-mo-shotgunning ball with it. Gameplay this tight and addicting can only mean one thing: It’s made by Platinum Games. There’s a reason they’re one of my favorite developers of all time, and this game is that reason. Its six hour long single player only campaign has provided me with more fond memories than any other game this generation. It’s that good.

Video Games

Violence in Video Games: A Perspective

Yes, this is a post about video game violence. No, it’s not one from an overly-concerned parent. In all honesty, it’s just from a regular video gamer who recognizes the over abundance of blood-splattering shooters on the market right now.

Video gaming started off with stuff as simple as Pac-Man, a little yellow disc eating even smaller glowing circles. Zoom forward a couple decades, and now Pac-Man would be an HD M Rated game about a giant yellow Predator mercilessly stabbing ghosts’ intestines out. Forgive me if I tarnished a couple of childhood memories there, but let’s get real: violence in video games is becoming about as common as sugar in cake.

Heck, things weren’t this ridiculous as little as four years back. The Wii was the acme of gaming, harmless platformers like Mario and Sonic were dominating gaming shelves in every household, and the gaming scene was one that parents and kids alike could get behind and enjoy. But as time went on, the Wii began to show its age, and the Xbox 360/PS3 started adopting these younger gamers who were so keen to keep up with technology. Sadly, they were brought into this generation when titles like Call of Duty were becoming blockbusters. That brings us to the modern day, where swarms of kids who have yet to hit puberty are dismembering limbs with shotguns on high-definition screens.

This is all due to the basic desire to evolve and improve technology, that much is fact. My personal opinion on why violence became the primary theme in gaming today? Because the fall of the Wii literally paved the road for young gamers to jump to adult oriented consoles like Microsoft’s and Sony’s.

The Wii really brought a lot of fun, friendly titles to the table. Nintendo was spewing out some REALLY fun titles (think New Super Mario Bros. with friends), and third party developers like SEGA were making classics like Sonic and the Secret Rings (I freakin’ love that game). It was a good, E for everybody time and there was some solid fun to be had. Developers recognized this, and were appealing to the kid crowd assuming that these types of games were the only ones young children would play. Sadly, when the Wii started its descent into obscurity, no one could’ve anticipated how many kids made the jump to HD consoles.

When they reached these consoles, flagship titles like Gears of War, Halo and God of War were dominating the market. They had pretty graphics, fun gameplay and everything essential to a good game, but also an extreme abundance of blood and gore. Parents, not understanding the video game medium, and kids, having nothing else to play with their new consoles, started playing this stuff, and developers of these mature titles saw their sales numbers going up. So why take a gamble and try to develop a kid-friendly game when kids will just as easily play the Darkness 2 along with a gazillion other adult gamers? Why try and make a game as friendly and creative as Rayman Origins when Call of Duty 17 would sell just as well with a lot less effort? These were questions with no logical answers from a sales viewpoint, and so we got exactly what we demanded: More games of a violent nature.

And so we arrive back at the present day, where one out of every three games released is a shooter. I am NOT saying on ANY front that video games are a cause for stuff like the situation in Conneticut, and I’m deeply offended when the media stresses that a psychotic lunatic is also a known “gamer”. I mean, that’s like pointing out Hitler might’ve been a painter. Does it have ANY relevance to what he did? No. So the media can go to hell. But what I am saying is that gaming would get a far better reputation if Treyarch put a little money into developing a more family friendly title, instead of spamming Call of Duty titles every year. The game could be just as entertaining and fun, it would just forego the splattered hearts and brains. I will personally admit, I’ve been known to get a hell of a lot of enjoyment out of titles like Vanquish where swearing and blood-splats are frequent, but I’m one hundred percent behind moving away from titles like that in favor of more Rayman Origins-esque fun, as long as it gets the industry away from the oversaturation of mature games it currently has.

Video Games

RE Review: Sonic Colors for Wii

RE Reviewing season is back, folks. As I look upon my earlier works, I realize my original takes on Sonic’s adventures sounded like something out of a *insert negative place here*. So, I’ve got two re-reviews in mind, starting with Sonic Colors, my first review ever. Thanks to Colors, I would later become the reviewing wonder we all know and value today, so what better a game to re review?

Story: Eggman abducts aliens. Sonic stops alien abductions. Giant epic final boss on a space bridge.

Sound: From the title song to the orchestrated final boss theme, the music is fantastic. I still listen to it today, and enjoy every awesome track this game has to offer. It’s got the perfect blend of pop/techno mixed with real instruments. Sound: 9/10

Presentation: The first few seconds of the first level are on par with any Xbox or PS3 game, but after that the whole SD factor of the Wii starts to take its tole. Graphics are good, but could’ve been sooo much more if only they’d reached an HD console. On the bright side, environments are super-varied and explosively creative, which is enough to distract from the 480p resolution. Presentation: 9/10

Gameplay: A little too 2D for my tastes. The platforming itself feels a little dull, and there’s so much of it that the minimal time spent in 3D feels revolutionary, even though it really isn’t. With that said, it’s still a fun gameplay experience that gets mixed up by the Wisp power-ups, but just isn’t the definitive Sonic experience that Unleashed was. The Wisps feel pretty gimmicky at times, with the cube and hover feeling completely unnecessary. I mean, a third of the time the Wisps have abilities Sonic already had in previous games? Lightspeed ring dash and spindash used to be Sonic’s basic move-set, but now they’re confined to green and pink aliens. Ooookay.
On a better note, the boss battles are fantastic. I like that the fourth through sixth battles copy the formulas of the first battles, because the original three were amazing. This is probably the only game where I replayed the battles out of sheer fun, either for the great 2D level design or the best 3D gameplay in the entire game. Gameplay: 7.5/10

Multiplayer: Do you AND a friend have a need for speed? Well, Colors has you covered. Now, both of you need to be good at the game or it’ll pull a New Super Mario Bros. Wii and kill off the slower one of you, but as long as you’re both fast and relatively good at platformers the two-player levels will be a fun diversion from the main experience. Multiplayer: 7/10

Length: The story lasted like four hours. Not cool. On the bright side, there’s hours and hours worth of collectibles outside of the initial runthrough, and Super Sonic as an unlockable was genius, so all going through all of the extra effort to collect every hidden item is well worth it. Length: 7.5/10

Overall: Sonic Colors gets an 8 out of 10. It really was a good Sonic game, just not the mind-breaking revolutionary one that critics called it. For that, look to Sonic Unleashed, my next RE review. For a blast from the poor grammar-filled past, look here for my original Sonic Colors review!

Video Games

RE Review: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

This game probably needed a re review the most. Here’s my original review of the epic platformer/fighter: Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Sound: The music for this game is made up of pretty much every Nintendo character’s soundtrack to date. If that weren’t enough, there are even a few non-Nintendo soundtracks included (Sonic the Hedgehog, Metal Gear Solid). And aside from the thousand-some song list, there’s also custom themes and tracks for each character. The voice acting is okay for the game, not really noticeable though. Sound: 9/10

Presentation: At the time, the visuals were pretty slick for a non-HD console such as the Wii. So props to Nintendo for creating so much detail, so many unique environments, and overall graphically pleasing surroundings. Characters themselves have received a lot of polish, with Mario looking almost gritty and the impressive stylization of Wario. Lastly, cutscenes are really detailed CG movies, not cheap animations like most other games. Presentation: 9.5/10

Gameplay: The gameplay is amazing for Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It’s perfectly balanced between characters, and every fighter has a chance at winning. That’s saying a lot, considering there’s over thirty characters on the roster, almost all of which are fun to play as. Controls are simple enough, so if you know one character’s move set it won’t be impossible to learn another’s, unlike *coughStreetFighterXTekkencough*. Aside from balanced gameplay from a pure fighter standpoint, stages are also unique and add various hazards to the arena, providing a sense of uncertainty which keeps things intense. But what is a SSB without power-ups? This game is chalk-full of them, having dozens of different items that either help yourself or damage your opponents. My favorite of these would have to be the assist trophies, from which a character from a series that isn’t in the game comes out and wreaks havoc on everyone. But of course, the big twist in this installment to the series is the smash ball, adding the most unpredictable twist to a fight. Each character has their own unique smash attack, and things get wild with for everyone. All of that is just for the basic freeplay brawling, though. The story mode, being an extremely lengthy yet fun adventure, does a surprisingly good job translating a fighter into a 2D platforming adventure. The story itself is intriguing, if a bit dark compared to the usual Nintendo, but is all around amazing and has a good learning curve. Gameplay: 10/10

Even Lucario can smash!

Multiplayer: If you spent days worth of hours on singleplayer, be prepared to give up your own and a friend’s life over this game’s outstanding multiplayer. I can’t count how many hours my friends and I sat around a couch bashing each other’s head in with our favorite Nintendo characters. Online mode is probably the only detriment to what is a seemingly perfect experience, suffering from minor lag and long matchmaking times. Multiplayer: 9/10

Length: Longest game I’ve ever played, in terms of replayability. I no doubt spent an unhealthy amount of hours playing, even after completing story mode, boss challenges, all-star mode, classic mode, training and multiplayer. Freeplay and the basic formula of the game itself is just THAT good. Length: 10/10

Overall: This game is no doubt a testament to why Nintendo is still in business. I’ll give it a score of 9.5/10. I recommend everyone and anyone get this game, regardless of whether you’re a casual, hardcore, Nintendo fanboy or anti-technology mom gamer. It is a game everyone with a soul can enjoy.

The Scrap Yard

Review of Batman: Arkham City for Xbox 360

The long-anticipated sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum has finally arrived! Does Rocksteady deliver another grand-slam licensed game, or does this game just damper the legacy? Read on to find out!

Story: Hugo Strange has taken control of Gotham, transporting all villains from the destroyed Arkham Asylum over to a quarantined facility named Arkham City. Meanwhile, Joker is recovering from a titan-syrum accident (from the last game) but also has plans for this newly founded criminal metropolis. Batman is aware of this and takes action, only to be captured and locked in himself. He must put a stop to Strange and Joker’s plans before all is lost!

Sound: This game’s soundtrack takes a far turn from the classic “Nananananananana Batman!” that we all remember so fondly. Instead, it provides a dark, disturbing and atmospherically fitting soundtrack that makes you feel like you really are in a city run by murderers, psychopaths and freaks. The gloomy, unsettling music is perfect. Voice-acting is also high quality, with Joker’s voice actor (Mark Hamill) delivering a perfectly mad performance, so mad in fact that I consider it to be the best voice acting I’ve heard in a game yet. Sound: 10/10

Presentation: This game looks pretty freakin’ bad-ass, running on multiple critically-acclaimed graphical engines which create a beautiful city. Every building houses unique details such as posters, signs and special decour to fit the villain ruling that particular turf. Traversing Two-face’s territory? Expect a lot of Oreo-colored surroundings. Waltzing through Joker’s facilities? Creepy carnival structures will be everywhere. On top of that, characters themselves are extremely detailed, with Batman’s costume slowly wearing and tearing as the game progresses and Mr. Freeze’s suit radiating cold mists. It’s little things like these that make this game a work of art to look at. Presentation: 10/10

Gameplay: Batman might not have superpowers, but he’s got one hell of a utility belt and some wicked fighting skills to make up for it. Arkham Asylum’s award-winning combat is back and better than ever, with the basic X=attack and Y=counter still being the bread and butter of the experience, but now there’s grapples, grabs and a lot more available to you. On the front of his gadgets, he’s got his original roster of tools, but like a gazillion more have been added into the frey. Some favorites amongst these new additions are the zipline and this handy little taser gun that can be used for almost any situation. Platforming is more fun than ever, with miles and miles of digital space to glide around in, diving through buildings and running on rooftops. Controls are extremely tight, but they are responsive ninety-nine percent of the time so it’s all good. This game is extremely difficult though, so all of the things listed above need to be completely honed and mastered within the first quarter of the game for you to be successful in playing. This sharp learning curve is quite a problem if you haven’t played of much of (if any) Arkham Asylum. Specific reasons for this game’s difficulty are that AI are horrifyingly smart (which is especially bad when they are equipped with firearms) and stealthy gameplay requires exact calculations and movement, with the consequences being instant death. I do like a good challenge, but this just blew me away. One major gripe I personally have with the game is the fact that it’s just so damn big. Really, most modern games have you following a linear path, but here they expect you to backtrack and traverse this criminal-infested world like it’s your job or something. Eventually your inner-Bat senses start to kick in and you start automatically getting in to the flow of the game, but it takes a while and a lot of roaming around like an idiot for that to happen. Overall, Arkham City’s gameplay is loads of fun, but is an acquired taste that requires you to think like a skilled detective and requires a lot of patience and diligence to get good at.
If you get a brand-new copy of the game, you’ll also get the DLC code for Catwoman’s missions. These missions are extremely short and relatively simple, but do alter the story a little and have unique gameplay methods that veer away from the typical Batman adventure. Catwoman is equipped with lighting-fast speed, Bolas (rope-ball things), cattrap spikes and all sorts of other goodies that are a fun change of pace to the action, and I really enjoyed them.
Gameplay: 9/10

Multiplayer: N/A

Length: A lot is to be said for the amount of effort Rocksteady put in to replayability in a singleplayer, campaign-based game. The first time through the campaign is long, lasting a good ten hours or so. But then there’s new game plus, which has you replay the story, but with all of your upgrades available right from the start and increased enemy difficulty (as if it wasn’t hard enough). On top of that, there’s hundreds of Riddler trophies scattered throughout the city, encouraging you to find them all if you ever want to actually confront the Riddler. Besides that, there are loads of side missions to do. But no, there’s even more! Challenge maps are unlocked as you play through the storymode, enabling you to fight hordes of enemies or play stealth-based assassination missions and compete for the highest score/best time on online leaderboards. Length: 10/10

Overall: Arkham City gets a 9.8/10! Not quite the perfect game, but pretty frickin’ close to it. If you have a craving for a fun, challenging singleplayer action-based game that goes above and beyond most video game standards, then I highly recommend you go out and buy this epic title.