Aug 272013
 
TeamAttack01

Yeah, team attacks are a thing. Don’t mind the fire.

NIS America has a reputation for making games with quirky characters and interesting situations, and Disgaea 2 doesn’t fall far from the family tree. I wish more than anything that I had the kind of time that needs to be devoted to a game like Disgaea, but honestly I need to leave my living room from time to time. There’s so much to do in this game, it can keep you playing for hundreds of hours. NIS seems to realize that the best way to get people playing a game is just make the level cap higher than most games even think of (standing at a whopping 9999), and that alone keeps people with their controller for days on end. It always feels like a grindfest to make sure you are ready to handle the next group of enemies and puzzles. The story focuses around a human named Adell who’s the only human left in his hometown. Everyone else has been turned into monsters by the evil Overlord Zenon, and Adell has made it his mission to defeat Zenon and bring his friends and family back to their original human form. His mother decides to help Adell by performing a summoning ritual to bring Zenon to him, only to accidentally bring forth the Overlord’s only daughter. As you can imagine, things get wacky from then on out.

The game hasn’t changed much from its predecessor as far as gameplay goes, keeping the turn based tile board RPG elements that made the game stand out in the Playstation 2 era. The addition of Geo Panels adds a layer (albeit small layer) of challenge to the combat to give something besides just beating enemies to death. The Geo Panels are on certain tiles of the battle maps and can do anything from increase attack, to send characters halfway across the map. None of these require too much thought though and can usually just be bulldozed through without having toSword2screen03-1 stress over thinking every move through. There is also the item world, which is where every item in your inventory has its own world inside it with its own horde of enemies and items and for each floor cleared the item you went into gets a small stat boost. This allows you to level your characters up as well as get your favorite weapons boosted up to have an edge against your enemies.

Skill-Adellscreen27Visually wise the game looks better than the original, and it even has a couple of fully animated cutscenes. The characters are still a little retro RPG looking, and the battle maps aren’t anything particularly special to look at. But the attacks that the characters perform are almost all explosive and over the top, the higher level moves you unlock are borderline planet destroying, and they’re all fun to watch. The game can be sped up and the attack scenes skipped, and that helps eliminate the line of repetitiveness that people can begin to feel after playing for a couple of hours. The music is all fun to listen to, and the only real complaint I have here is the Item world music. Each level had the same music over and over, and for a place I spent a majority of my time grinding my characters and getting better gear I would have preferred something different to listen to. Character voices aren’t too annoying, and having voice acted scenes is really a plus.

There really isn’t enough time for me to put into this game and be satisfied. The level cap is extremely high, and that alone can keep me playing for a long time. But even the inclusion of things like the Item world, which is a serious time add-on to your overall play time in the game just due to all the secrets you can find in it alone. There is also the Dark Senate, which can be used as a way to increase the choices in one of the shops in town or to unlock optional areas or special character types. You spend Mana, which is rewarded for killing monsters, to suggest certain topics to the senate and then can bribe them to join your side, and if no luck there and you’re powerful enough, just beat them into submission. Feel like your character’s not strong enough, even though he or she is a very high level? That’s ok, you can use the Senate to reincarnate your character from level one with a stat boost based on how much Mana you have to put into it. Disgaea 2 is a game that asks for a lot of time, but it’s so much fun to level up characters and see how powerful of a team you can actually make.

Playstation 3

Graphics

80
 

Audio

75
 

Gameplay

80

Creativity

75
 

Execution

85
 

Offset

83
    

8

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

ps031bu1602Prinny Trouble

And just cuz I can.

Sep 252012
 

Earlier this year, we kicked Diablo’s ass and enjoyed the hell out of doing it. Unfortunately, a few months later, many of us had lost interest in the game, it was good but just not as good as it’s predecessor. We turned our eyes towards the distant gaming horizon, Torchlight 2 was already in beta and it would be coming soon. Then we were sent some codes to get our hands on the game to review it. The big question that  we kept asking ourselves though was “Can the game offer us something we haven’t already been playing for the last few years?“. Easy answer, that text below tells you.

Now, I loved Torchlight, it was the first ARPG that I felt really “got it” since playing Diablo 2. There was tons of loot and smashing of many thing but even though it was an awesome game, it still felt a little linear. Ultimately, the game felt like a mad dash to the bottom of the mines, and while the game wasn’t the biggest ever, I just wanted more. Runic Games, fortunately, employ some sort of dark magicks or mind reading gypsies though because that is the first thing you will really notice about Torchlight 2, a large map just waiting to be explored. You know what was on that map? Tons and tons of loot. You know who got it? This guy, right here!

Character creation in Torchlight 2 is limited, thankfully in this case, to simple cosmetic changes to your character. Do you want them to be male or female? What class do you want? Which hairstyle do you want? Head? Pet? (You’d better pick that papillon, every other answer is wrong!) After going through this process, you name your character and pet and then get thrusted right into the story. No adjusting the depth of your chin or the saturation of your hair color, just the basics and then off you go!

Once Torchlight 2 gets started, it hits the ground running and never looks back. It feels like loot is much more frequent than the previous title, and with the open world approach, you will always have something different to do. Now, I started the game with my first character on the normal difficulty but after tearing through the first 2 major dungeons and fighting a pair of major bosses, I decided I needed to play the game on a harder difficulty. I wanted to feel that I was actually in some sort of peril when I was fighting, although I may have been simply really effective with my character. After getting into progressively more difficult modes, I felt that the demand and focus on gear was even higher, which is completely cool since this is what these games are all about.

The game’s story is rather simplistic, yet told in such a way that it doesn’t overburden any of the gameplay as well. More or less, the heroes from the original Torchlight have had a few inconveniences arise and evil has returned to the world, so new heroes need to step up and kick some ass in their stead. Like I said earlier, this isn’t just a one dungeon campaign either, Torchlight 2 is a global affair that will take you all over the world and feature many different sights than before. Did I also mention that the campaign is significantly longer? Well, it is and it is awesome!

Combat isn’t overly complex, although after leveling extensively, I was very glad to be using a gaming mouse since I could map abilities to the extra buttons. Clicking on your targets and burning them down with skills and auto attacks is the name of the game here and while it may sound boring, the numerous types of weapons really keep you coming back for more. I had a ton of fun with the Outlander, as  some of the guns that could be used were simply amazing. The feeling of fighting a cluster of enemies and then blowing them clear away from me with a cannon or shotgun brought a smile to my face. That isn’t to say that every other class doesn’t have it’s perks. In the multiplayer mode, this is even more entertaining, since positioning and combining attacks can have some interesting outcomes.

… Some harder to kill than others.

With that being said, let’s take a minute to talk about multiplayer. This was something that the original Torchlight lacked, and while it wasn’t absolutely necessary, it could have made the original even better. Well, no more bellyaching about not being able to play with friends now, because Torchlight 2 features an entire smorgasbord of online co-op awesomeness. Feel like playing with a couple of friends? Create an online game and up to 5 buddies can join you. As a fair warning, the more people in the game, the more hectic things can get. A few times, in smaller environments, it felt a bit cramped but even this wasn’t so bad since loot is dropped separately, so even if I am trying to figure out what the hell just happened, I can still get my precious loot. Torchlight 2 also features the ability to play via LAN, so no more logging into an external server if you want to quickly set up a game with a few friends in a more personal environment.

So what makes Torchlight 2 different from Diablo 3? Torchlight 2 is absolutely a better sequel! Everyone at Runic Games paid attention to what the players liked and disliked and painstakingly made the rare “better than the original” sequel that most games fail at. While Diablo 3 was indeed a good game, it pales in comparison of it’s predecessor. Torchlight 2 says “Remember all that bad ass stuff you loved about the first game? Well, we brought all that stuff to this party and we brought buckets of new stuff too!”. Yes, buckets. Also, a certain wheeled robot that is quite annoying.

PC Game

Graphics

80
 

Audio

100
 

Gameplay

100

Creativity

95
 

Execution

90
 

Offset

100
    

9.4

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Pros:

  • Flexible multiplayer
  • A great improvement upon the original game
  • Graphics that can run on almost any PC, yet look great
  • Beautiful soundtrack

Cons:

  • You may need to look for a challenge to get things started, yet will probably regret that decision later.

 

 

Aug 062012
 

Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

Orcs Must Die!

Windows PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Contains: Blood and Gore, Violence

Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.


Last year, Robot Entertainment’s tower defense strategy game, Orcs Must Die!, was easily one of my favorite downloadable games of the year. We got our hands on this year’s Orcs Must Die! 2, which was announced at 2012′s PAX East. So what can we expect? Well, the said that there was more story than the last, which happened to be one of the few cons about the last game. Also, there happened to be this little crazy thing called cooperative multiplayer gameplay… nothing too major, right?

The first thing that you’ll notice right out of the game is that there are 2 different characters that you can choose between. The Battlemage makes his triumphant and snarky return after saving the world in last game from the masses of orcs intent on invading and destroying everything. In the processes of stopping the Sorceress from leading her minions into his world, he sealed off all sources of magic and inadvertently weakened humankind. The second character you can choose is in fact the one time villain, The Sorceress. In what appears to be her final moments before falling victim to her former pawns, a magical rift opens up that allows her to escape the world of the orcs and brings her face to face with her former adversary. Both characters play off of each other amazingly, insulting each other and pointing out threats that may ordinarily go unnoticed. Each character has their own initial strengths and weaknesses with a myriad of different selection of gear available to them. You can play as either character, since dialogue happens the same either way. I do absolutely recommend playing as both, since it both characters will provide an entertaining experience.

Orcs Must Die! 2 came off feeling shorter than it’s predecessor but also delivers a much more satisfying story. While The Warmage and the Sorceress bounce tidbits of info into what is going on off each other, there are some developments in the game that really put things into a much higher gear. I felt that the levels did seem more difficult this time around but it made successes that much more awesome. There may not be much more in video games as a whole that feel as satisfying as clearing a late round in a later level without any orcs making it through a rift.

While there are certainly some new items and traps to be used in your slaying of orcs, the biggest improvement in the game has to be the multiplayer support. I played through the game once in single player and again on multiplayer, When playing co-op, the ability to work with your partner to set up traps and position orcs and traps more efficiently is amazing. There are a few achievements that can be unlocked during team play as well that promote co-op etiquette as well. There is no form of matchmaking lobby though, so if you have plans to play co-op, make sure you know someone that has the game already or plan on buying it.

I’ll put it out here right now, I REALLY like Orcs Must Die! 2. However, there was something that nagged me a bit while playing, Now, the game gives you access to a new character, new traps and new weapons but the bulk of everything is still right out of the first game. I feel the graphics may have improved as well but the improvement is slight. Ultimately, the game feels like it is a $15 DLC if you didn’t know what you were looking at. It’s so much more but it will take time to really set in. I credit this to things like the game’s soundtrack, which I loved (and still do) but it seems to be heavily rehashed in this sequel, it really isn’t. The music is so familiar to the original game that the songs are quite interchangeable but not carbon copies of each other. I blame it on the awesome harpsichord. I’d go as far as to say that Robot Entertainment took everything we loved about the first game, polished it up nicely, added some more stuff in and got Orcs Must Die! 2 out of it.

Upon beating the game, you are given access to Nightmare difficulty (which is absolutely accurate) and a few other spoils of war. I was still able to return to the game and play Endless Mode on my favorite levels as well as also being able to play through some of the classic levels from the first Orcs Must Die! in the appropriately named Classic Mode. This, right here, is what makes this game a great one. It isn’t a one-hit wonder, as it offers much more than just the standard story levels. There are plenty of unlockables and also new ways to challenge yourself on each map, while also experimenting with the aggressiveness of the Warmage’s abilities and weapons or the generally more manipulative style of the Sorceress. All in all, there is plenty enough to do in the game and it is well worth it’s $15 price tag.

PC Game

Graphics

90
 

Audio

95
 

Gameplay

90

Creativity

80
 

Execution

90
 

Offset

95
    

9

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Pros:

  • It’s even better than the first game
  • Co-op mode
  • New enemies, weapons and spells

 

Cons:

  • The game feels slightly rehashed

 

 

Jun 262012
 

It’s said year after year by many people “Why would you buy the new NCAA/Madden game? It’s the same as the last one.“ To those people I say they obviously don’t play them year after year as changes are always abound no matter what franchise’s month we’re in. We’re currently almost to July (breaking news to many, I’m sure) and that is of course NCAA Football’s month. Though football Saturday is still around 67 days away, the newest NCAA Football plans to tide you over until then.

Arguably the biggest change to NCAA Football doesn’t take place on the actual field itself, instead it is a new mode titled “Heisman Challenge.” In Heisman Challenge you’ll take control of some familiar athletes such as Eddie George, Doug Flutie, Barry Sanders, and many more as you try to match their Heisman totals which if you succeed will ultimately unlock them in Road to Glory mode. There are already DLC players being talked about such as Mark Ingram, Tim Brown, and everyone but no one’s favorite, Tim Tebow.

EA Sport’s is also slightly editing the way you control your QB during the game and altering the way you pass the ball to receivers. With “Total Control Passing,” they’re attempting to give you more control of not just who you throw the ball to but also how the ball gets there. I actually got a feel for this with the latest demo released on XBL/PSN and it seems to not ultimately affect the game too much but just enough to help you appreciate and recognize the difference between NCAA 12’s passing system and it’s predecessor.

If there was one thing that needed tampering with in the latest NCAA Football game it was the Dynasty mode. I’ve always been that guy that gets hooked on every aspect of it, from recruiting to taking my Vols to the national championship (someone has to do it) and even the slightest of changes gets me giddy in my seat and the fact that the main changes were to recruiting sold me on buying into the hype surrounding NCAA Football 13.

Now instead of basing your want of a player on his star rating and position alone, you can scout him further to determine his exact overall ratings and attributes. Letting you easily determine the differences between players, knowing whether they’re all about speed, strength, or a balance of both.  Another huge annoyance with the previous NCAA Football games was the fact that from the get go every recruit has their top 10 or top 12, and it’s literally impossible to break into that if you’re not in it at the beginning of the season. That is finally changing as well, now you can work a kid and if you keep on him long enough, you can break into his favorites and content for his letter of intent. EA Sports also promises a bottomline ticker running at the bottom of your screen, enhanced phone calls, and recruits labeled as athletes to be more dynamic and effective.

The only other significant change coming to NCAA Football this year seems to be the addition of Reaction Time. Reaction Time is a new featured installed into Road to Glory and Heisman Challenge that allows you to slow down time and pick apart the opposing team with more confidence. This greatly helps passing situations where the defense has an all-out blitz coming at you, allowing you to pinpoint that open receiver rather easily.  I’m sure it would also make playing cornerback and safety more fun as it would allow you more time to contend with a pass or for linebackers, more time to approach the running back or quarterback and lay a hellacious hit on him. It may not be the most “realistic” part of NCAA Football 13 but it definitely helps contend against some of the more frustrating aspects of the game.

While there isn’t a big blockbuster change coming to NCAA Football 13, this year’s model seems destined to be as fun and as addicting as previous games have been for college football fans everywhere. Combine these previously mentioned additions with new tackle and receiving animations and I say you have a fine product for any football fan drooling for their team’s first kickoff.

NCAA Football 13 hits store shelves July 10th,

May 092012
 

Over at GamesIndustry International, they’ve got the scoop on why news on a new Dragon Age title is scarce. According to industry analyst Michael Pachter, Bioware has been slow to begin work on a third entry in the fantasy RPG series because the team responsible for its development has been too busy working on Star Wars: The Old Republic. It was previously revealed that the team will make a sequel instead of developing additional DLC for Dragon Age II.

“Dragon Age III appears to have slipped to FY:14. We had previously expected the next Dragon Age to be released in Q4:13, two years after its predecessor. However, we believe that a significant portion of the BioWare team responsible for the game was reassigned to Star Wars in order to create content and fix bugs to keep the game’s audience engaged,” he said in the report.

The third game has yet to be officially announced, but we know that it will 1) feature a new protagonist, 2) use the dialogue wheel from the second game, 3) allow players to import save files, and 4) have a map four to five times larger than that of the first game.

Old Republic was supposed to be the game that would wrestle away control of the MMO space from World of Warcraft, or at least be the first game to coexist peacefully with it. Instead, the game is bleeding subscribers just months after launch, losing 400,000 just in the past two months. Meanwhile, Blizzard’s MMO-to-end-them-all trucks along with around 10 million active subscribers and a new expansion set for a holiday release.

Elder Scrolls Online is its next challenger, and my colleague Ryan Hillis has a few things to say about that.

Source: GamesIndustry International

Feb 032012
 

Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

FINAL FANTASY XIII-2

PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Contains: Drug Reference, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Simulated Gambling, Violence

Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.


Ah, a Final Fantasy sequel, something that is truly a rarity in the history of the series. Now, there have been sequels in the past (i.e. X-2, Wings of Discovery) and honestly, they were kind of stinkers. There is something different about Final Fantasy XIII-2 though, something that the other direct sequels lacked. Most importantly, Square Enix actually listened to the feedback from fans and critics of XIII and did their best of finding a way to appease the masses. Does it claim back what has been lost from the franchise? Is it a better game that it’s predecessor? Read on and find out, because there is a good amount to be said on this game.

The best place to start is by reexplaining that Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a direct sequel to XIII, that is to say the game picks up 3 years after the events of the last game. Lightning has oddly gone missing just moments after the ending events of Final Fantasy XIII. The game hits the ground running and starts moving as soon as you hit the start button. Yes, it helps to have played and preferable beaten the last game but there is a simple prologue that can be accessed at the title screen anyways. While this is a nice feature, it doesn’t really capture the emotion and despair of the ending to XIII so I really would advise you pick the game up first if you plan on playing XIII-2. Now, as an interesting side note, there is a “The Story So Far” that plays when you resume a game. You are treated to a small movie showing you the recent developments from the game, giving you a quick reminder of what your goal is currently.

I enjoyed XIII as a game and not necessarily as a member of the Final Fantasy family, so going into XIII-2 I have kept an open mind. One of the most noticeable features that has been added into XIII-2 is the Historia Crux, which is the ability to time travel and manipulate time while navigating a map. The Historia Crux is a simplistic menu that allows you to travel to different moments in time, often running into Paradoxes that need to be corrected. The doors in time can be opened and closed, allowing you to relive events and make different decisions, that way you are allowed to make different decisions than you have in the past. Jumping through time in a Square Enix game may remind some players of another game that existed in the companies catalog. Jumping through time isn’t the only parallel that XIII-2 shares with Chrono Trigger, another happens to be the inclusion of multiple endings. This is exciting since XIII was so painfully linear, the ability for in game decisions to shape the outcome is something that many fans have requested for quite some time.

One feature I was relatively surprised to encounter was the ability to recruit monsters to fight alongside you in battle. While this may remind many people of a certain Nintendo blockbuster, the new feature is much more involving. Normally, you are only going to have Noel and Serah in your party, so if you want to make use of a full paradigm you are going to need to add a monster to the group to fill it out. You do this by adding a monster to the Paradigm Pack, a 3 slot “holding area” for monsters you will use in battle. You will need to make use of all 3 since a monster can only use 1 paradigm category. My medic monsters usually got the most face-time but when it came to trying to stagger an enemy, I often found myself switching to the ravager class and then to the commando class for heavy DPS. Because of the way this feature works, battle in XIII-2 is much more cerebral than it was in the past. Monsters also do not level in a traditional sense from the Crystarium, instead of points they use items that you receive in battle and also purchase from shops, once again giving you the ability to level monsters as you see fit. There is a collection of rare monsters as well, each with special abilities and benefits for the party, so hunting them down and “capturing” them is highly advised. Monsters also use a limit break-like system, so if you manage your monsters right, you can drop a massive amount of damage relatively quickly.

When Square Enix set out to create this game, they absolutely had to have used the feedback they were given, like I said before. It is quite amazing to compare XIII and XIII-2 since the latter has many features the former just simply lacked. There are actual towns within the game, with characters that you can interact with and also receive side quests from. For those that played XIII, this blows Gran Pulse right out of the water. Many times, when you engage in conversation, you are also given the ability to alter the course of the conversation or give input on the situation at hand. These choices can yield items, uncover parts of the story and even potentially lead to a paradox ending. So it is wise to choose carefully and save often if you don’t want to play around with the Historia Crux doors in time.

While the game is awesome in it’s own right, there are a few things that really just did not work well for me either. The largest issue I had was with the music, many songs (like in XIII) are very electro-pop or rock sounding but really end up overbearing on the game itself. Personally, if I am playing a game where characters talk, I don’t want music in the background that actually has vocals as well. It just does not mesh well and gets old way too quickly. I was not a big fan of the lack of party members as well, this could have ruined the game if it wasn’t for the fact that the in-party monsters were executed so efficiently. The game’s plot is also quite odd, although everything is relatively explained thoughout the course of the game, many elements are very cliche and the entire story itself feels very retconned.

Ultimately, Final Fantasy XIII-2 is exactly what SquareEnix needed to release to show the world they can still produce a Final Fantasy game. It isn’t exactly the best Final Fantasy game of all time but it is absolutely the best Final Fantasy sequel and one of the better post-Final Fantasy 7 games out there. With the execution of this game, I can once again feel safe in eagerly looking forward to the subsequent releases of future Final Fantasy games. That is a major deal, SquareEnix… Now, about Final Fantasy XIII Versus…

I give Final Fantasy XIII-2 an 8 as my personal score. It’s a much more pleasing experience and non-linear approach to the series I grew up with. It still has a few flaws though that have to be dealt with.

Playstation 3

Graphics

90
 

Audio

65
 

Gameplay

85

Creativity

85
 

Execution

80
 

Offset

80
    

8.1

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Pros:

  • Monster collecting
  • Exploration
  • Random enemy encounters!
  • Engaging gameplay
  • Time travel allows for replay of events

Cons:

  • Soundtrack
  • Not the strongest story
  • Lack of controllable characters
  • The Paradigm System is still in place (I’m just not a fan)

 

 

Dec 112011
 

     ACTION/ADVENTURE GAME OF THE YEAR- Saints Row: The Third

Ok, I’ll be honest here, I haven’t actually PLAYED any of the games up for grabs in this section. However, after seeing gameplay for mostly all of them, I think it is safe for me to say that Saints Row : The Third should have the  award. LA Noir and Batman both look great, and LA Noire has major props from me for completely owning at the open-world crime solving theme it has going on. But alas, the detectives both lack one thing. Multiplayer. I realize action/adventure games are not always supposed to be judged for multiplayer, because few have anything worth mentioning in that regard. But multiplayer is what keeps people coming back, and when you give players the ability to cause as much damage as they want any way that they want, it is hard to keep them away. It is also for this reason that I don’t think Saints Row the Third should even be in this category. It should probably be under “Sandbox” or something.

 RPG OF THE YEAR- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Skyrim is definitely one of the greatest games I have ever played. And I’m not even near completing it. I’m currently about level 28, and I haven’t even scratched the surface of the customizations and the different ways to play. One thing I didn’t like about Oblivion is how user-unfriendly it was, but Skyrim tops it’s predecessor in almost every way. I love it how much better the Alchemy and Enchanting works. I hardly ever used them in Oblivion because it was just too complicated, but Skyrim was able to quickly show me the ropes of the two activitys, and I soon became addicted. Everything in Skyrim has built and improved off of Oblivion, like the map, the items, the physics, the gameplay, and even the quests. It is hands down Game of the Year.

 

    SHOOTER OF THE YEAR- BATTLEFIELD 3

Battlefield was one of my most anticipated games of my life, and for good reason. Virtually everything has been improved since Bad Company 2 and BF 2. The level system keeps things fresh, and the sheer number of ways to play is incredible. Want to play a pilot role? Sure thing, Jets and Choppers respawn all the time, and you can unlock upgrades the more you play with them. Want to destroy that building the team is using to defend their objective? Hop into an Abrams Tank and support your ground units. Every weapon and vehicle in the game has strengths and weaknesses, making each one fun to experiment with, and still keeping things much more complicated than the “Rock-Paper-Scissors” approach to balance. I picked up MW3 on black Friday for the heck of it, and can honestly say that it wasn’t worth the money AT ALL. I still play BF3 with my friend’s way more.

 

SPORTS GAME OF THE YEAR-FORZA 4

Don’t play sports games, but Forza 4 looks the best, and hasn’t turned into a money milking monopoly yet like COD, Madden, and NBA.

 

FIGHTING GAME OF THE YEAR- N/A

I REAALLLY don’t play fighting games. Please don’t riot outside my house.

 

PUZZLE GAME OF THE YEAR-PORTAL 2

Portal 2, Hands down. The single player was one of the most intense and mindboggling I’ve ever played, second to the Half-Life series. It threw you a curve-ball in nearly every chapter, and mixed learning new skills with using this skills in ways that the game doesn’t actually give to you. I love it how GLaDOS will give you the basics of the element within the game, then let you experiment with it to find one of the multiple ways to beat a level. The COOP was hands down the best I have EVER played. My friend Doug and I had so much fun with it. And getting all of the achievements kept us coming back for more.

 

INDIE GAME OF THE YEAR- MINECRAFT

Minecraft has kept me coming back longer than any game I have ever purchased. I have had the game since like March, and still play it fairly regularly. Terraria and Dungeon Defenders look great too, but it came down to the money I had at the time, and I didn’t pick either of them up, though I did play the DD Demo, and it was great fun.

 

PLATFORMER OF THE YEAR- LITTLEBIGPLANET 2

Only played the original at my neighbors place, and instantly fell in love. LBP 2 only looks to improve upon that. I also would like to applaud Rayman Origins for literally finding its origins and doing a great job with it.

 

FAMILY GAME OF THE YEAR- TIE- DANCE CENTRAL 2 vs. SESAME STREET: ONCE UPON A MONSTER

DC 2 is more of a party game, and while it is great fun and great exercise, being able to enjoy a CHILDS game as an adult and bond with your child at the same time is definitely a feat.

 

GAME OF THE YEAR- SKYRIM

As I mentioned above, Skyrim is definitely going to keep me busy for the longest, being that it constantly has something new for you. Battlefield and Minecraft are my runner ups. They both offer so much, but they both have the tendency to get old, and I tend to need a break from them occasionally.