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NeonNinja Blog

Dear charizard1605, you're not allowed to talk about shooters again

Motherf*cker is insane.  Says Half-Life 2 hasn't aged well because Valve didn't focus on game design, they focused on the physics and graphics.

Replaying it for the first time since 2007 (sale on Steam, went for $2.50) and this is better than almost every shooter released after it.  Do you know why?  Because good design holds up no matter how old a game gets.  There's no "yeah it's pretty good but it hasn't aged well" argument.  A game is either good or it's not.  It's why I can play an old-ass game like Ys and give it a 9 without saying "it would have been superb for it's time" no, it's just a freaking awesome adventure that I'd play again, whether it's 1988 or 2013.  It's just good.

What's next guy, huh?  Is it going to turn out that Skyward Sword is one of the best Zelda games ever made?  I mean, it's sitting at a 93 on Metacritic and the only two people who told me that score is too high are you and Tom McShea, and nobody likes Tom McShea.  SO WHY DON'T YOU TELL ME GUY, WHAT'S NEXT, HUH!?

A Psychopath is Born

Tomb Raider begins as we expected, as a quivering, shaking, tortured Lara Croft, assaulted by savage men, learns to hunt for her survival, defending herself from stronger opposition and explores the mysterious island of Yamatai.  As powerful as those opening moments may be they serve little in the way of stimulating gameplay, often focusing more on Lara as a character who has to survive specific parts designed to torture her.  Fail those events and the poor girl dies in brutal fashion, including strangulation and being impaled.  Playing past the opening moments of the game however will take Tomb Raider into far more familiar territory.  The idea of Lara Croft as a survivor is never fully realized; instead, as those opening moments fade you will be left with a highly polished action title with its fair share of platforming and basic puzzles.  Tomb Raider may devolve into a formulaic experience but it ends up as one of the best examples of following the formula.  You will enjoy the experience for what it is rather than what the design team wanted it to be: a goofy action game that's a lot of fun to play.

Tomb Raider sets a rookie Lara Croft on a ship, the Endurance, with a ragtag crew of sailors, archaeologists and film crew, in search of the ancient land of Yamatai, thought to be in the Dragon's Triangle (its like the Bermuda Triangle).  The ship gets caught in a storm, sinks and the crew is left to survive on the island.  It should go without saying at this point that the entire plot is a gross failure and that there should be little to no praise given for the end product.  The writer clearly believed that players would be emotionally invested in the experience at hand, but that's hardly the case.  All human drama drops flat.  The writers kill characters off with the belief that players are invested in these caricatures.  One of the dorky male characters, I honestly do not remember his name, is shown as a love interest to Lara, and as he dies, guns blazing no less, he responds cockily, "How often does a guy like me get to be the hero?"  Its a stupid moment that holds no impact if only because he still is not the hero in this game, the girl is, and now he's dead.  And the only person broken up over it is Lara.  Not you.  You witness this girl's story arc, you don't experience it.  And that story arc is nowhere near as interesting as every would-be feminist would have you believe.  Lara goes from whimpering college graduate trapped on an island to gun toting badass in an hour.  From that point on there's no reason for the story to continue.  Her arc is finished and what you are left with is trite writing that uses an entire cast of characters as objective markers to move Lara from one new area to the next.

In fact, with its writing, Tomb Raider, rather unintentionally, attempts to show the opposite viewpoint of other far more successful story-driven games like The Walking Dead and BioShock Infinite.  In both of those games, older men with violent pasts try to come to terms with their sins and attempt to protect the younger women that travel with them.  And while certain groups may find that storyline to be against feminist standards, they have provided engrossing and tragic narratives that have shocked and entertained in very meaningful ways.  Tomb Raider attempts to put the story through the eyes of the young girl.  So while the end credits will roll as the young girl survives (or does she?) after the fall of the man in those other games, Tomb Raider continues when the man with the violent past can no longer protect.  It attempts to continue the narrative, to show, as the marketing campaigns have claimed, that a survivor can be born.  We aren't left to guess the fate of Lara as we guessed the fates of Clementine and Elizabeth, we continued playing as her with no difference in the gameplay.  The writing and design of the game failed to capitalize on that potential.

What Tomb Raider did instead was essentially turn Lara into that violent man.  She isn't a survivor; she's a psychopath, just as much as the cultists she fights.  This is no Spec Ops: The Line, it doesn't show us that we are weak and easily broken.  This is no BioShock Infinite; it doesn't show us that the violence and hate we create can harm those we love.  This is no Walking Dead; it doesn't show us that we can love each other enough to make the sacrifices others would not.  This is no Hotline Miami; it doesn't make us stop to realize how brutal our actions were. This is Tomb Raider, and it gives you some weapons, a lot of athleticism and desensitizes you to death.  It tells you that you are a survivor, a normal person thrown into an abnormal situation but it never shows you that.

It is then to the credit of Crystal Dynamics that the game remains so fun to play, because despite the grand failure of the narrative they have at the very least designed a game where combat, exploration and platforming are all very fun.  There are some basic puzzles involved throughout the game and they work nicely, never breaking the pacing of the game.  In short, prepare to be an acrobatic killer, and prepare to have fun doing it.  But don't expect to be intellectually stimulated by the larger experience at hand.

The island of Yamatai is beautiful, and well designed, making exploration to learn more of its history one of the more entertaining aspects of the game.  After I had unlocked every piece of equipment Lara had I set forth to discover ever hidden relic, document and GPS cache the game had tucked away and it helped showcase the excellent level design.  The various hidden tombs in the game also provided some of the greatest highlight moments, and while brief, were just a joy to discover and raid.

I expect fans and feminists alike to discuss how Lara suffers in the beginning hour or so of the game and how she overcomes those hardships.  I expect those same people to discuss how Lara is an endearing and strong-willed female character in a male-dominated world.  I don't expect to hear those people criticize the writing of this game as the poor joke that it ended up.  I don't expect them to discuss how Lara's character arc ends 14 hours before the rest of the game.  But despite that, Crystal Dynamics have created a game that is so polished and fun to play that it can still command a solid 15 hours of your life.  If all you want is a fun game to play, Tomb Raider fits the bill by being an extremely polished and well paced adventure.  Come for the hours of fun, just leave your brain at the door, you won't need it for this ride.

Score

The GoG sale was good to me

Five indie games get!

Strike Suit Zero- 75% off- This one is next in line to play after I finish Tomb Raider.  It was the first game I purchased.

Dyad- 66% off- It's a trippy looking PSN game ported to PC that gives me a slight Rez vibe.

Fez- 50% off- Violence this, violence that.  Even with the creator's stupid ego and lazy attitude I think Fez is a game worth checking out.

Hotline Miami- 66% off- I have the Steam version but I wanted it DRM free.  Good to have it on hand.

Torchlight- 100% off- I lost my disc.  GoG essentially fixed that problem.  Thanks all.

Last day of the sale, go take advantage of it if anything suits your fancy.  Telltale's games are 85% off, they have bundles of RPGs, Strategy, Adventure and Platformers sold at 75% off.  It was a great sale, and even though two of the games I ended up with I already had before, the other three look really exciting in different ways!

That and I'm still streaming Dust: An Elysian Tail's soundtrack on Spotify.  It's really too good.  Hyperduck did a fantastic job with the OST.  I never saw any love for the soundtrack on GotY lists when it first released on XBLA last year, which is a shame.  This is one of the best soundtracks of this gen if you ask me.

As for Tomb Raider, I got it for $17 off of Eurogamer's digital service.  It's actually a lot more fun than I thought it would be.  It's a very cinematic game mind you, but I've bought into its gimmicks.  I'm enjoying it very much.  That and does anyone else think they made Lara look like Jennifer Lawrence?  I swear, this is like The Hunger Games but not totally terrible and unwatchable/so boring to read that you'd rather pick up an issue of Highlights.

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

Dust: An Elysian Tail is one of the best adventures of its kind. Impressively, the game is largely the work of a single man and yet with its beautiful visuals, fascinating exploration and fun combat the game feels like the effort of a significantly larger team. And while there are flaws throughout the game's individual parts, it ends up greater than the sum of those parts. Dust is a lengthy and memorable adventure that has a little bit of everything and does more right than wrong in the process.

You begin the game as an amnesiac who is given the name Dust by the two characters that find him, the talking sword Ahrah and the blade's guardian Fidget. As the adventure progresses the banter between the three develops in a natural way to show them as companions and later friends. Dust is largely a children's game and while it seems silly to explain why a game with an anthropomorphic yes man and his companions who right wrongs for everyone they come across is clearly aimed at a younger audience, the game has received off-hand criticism for being aimed at a different target audience.

Dust's Everyone 10+ rating is a proper indication of who the audience should be. The game exudes that after school cartoon vibe from the 1990's with its kid-friendly aesthetic and humor. But it combines it with more than its fair share of melodrama as a story of betrayal and genocide plays out. A lot of Dust's dramatic lines are dealt in a heavy-handed way, similar to when I would watch anime as a child, and one of the themes it tries to push for that younger audience is that sometimes even if you do everything you were supposed to do it might not be enough to save everyone around you. While adults will likely figure out who will die when and many of the dramatic story beats, but the younger gamers out there will be in for a treat, and maybe feel bad along the way as well.

Then there's the humor. As a child I grew up with a lot of other children. There were five of us at roughly the same age, but as I grew up others were born, at the age of fifteen the youngest was seven years old and so we often had to watch his shows. Today the youngest are in preschool and elementary school. I speak from experience when I say that Dust's humor totally gets it. These kids will find it absolutely hilarious. I guarantee you that if you're reading this you probably won't laugh at the game's jokes but they obviously were not written for an adult's sensibilities.

Despite the writing and setting, it's hard not to appreciate how beautiful Dust is. The in-game visuals are so lush and beautiful they almost give off the feel of a Don Bluth production. From beautiful forests, underground caverns with their own societies, haunted meadows and more, Dust will have you scaling the giant, headless statues of ancient animal warriors, through villages ravaged by war and avalanches on mountaintops. And as beautiful the game looks, the team at Hyperduck manage to complement the visuals with an amazing soundtrack. The UK team has provided a beautiful musical score that will stay with you even after beating the game. The OST is full of wonder with some haunting melodies and even a few tracks that are reminiscent of the best Metroid and Castlevania tracks.

And even if Dust is aimed at a younger audience, the gameplay is old-school fun that players of all ages can enjoy. Dust is essentially a 2D beat-em up focused on chaining together large combos. Attacks can be performed with regular and heavy strikes. Furthermore, your flying companion Fidget fires projectiles that you can cause massive chains with that can rack up into the thousands. The projectile attack can't be maintained for long so you will have to mix in regular strikes to give it time to recharge. The longer your combo chains the more bonus experience you will earn, so there is initially incentive to go for the combos. The combat is fun, however it is fundamentally flawed. Combo chains do not end up requiring very much skill as simply using Fidget's projectile ability and mixing it with a few regular strikes. It is the best way to rack up combos and the only effort required will be to simply dodge or parry enemy attacks to not break the chain. Most of your various combos will take a backseat to simply hitting the attack button in between projectile chains. Leveling up is an interesting predicament as well, because the game allows to choose four different traits to level up. However, it will not let you specialize. It forces your hand into leveling up every aspect equally, which really misses the point of giving you the choice of how to level up. By game's end every bar I had was at the same level and almost maxed out. And while leveling a certain skill will often prove useful as you figure out your flaws, it wouldn't have made any difference at all if the game simply boosted your stats each time you leveled up.

Despite the flaws in combat and leveling, Dust remains an enjoyable time because of its focus on exploration. Every hidden key, chest or character is a joy to discover. As you gain more powers you will be able to return to areas you have previously explored to climb higher, boost across air currents or double jump over high cliffs. Every hidden item makes the game a joy to explore and while it doesn't quite reach the highs of the best Metroid and Castlevania titles, but the influence is strong and makes for an old-school experience that's just a lot of fun to play. And expect a lengthy adventure, particularly if you look to explore every nook and cranny. It took me almost twenty hours to find everything in the game and it was all worthwhile. The majority of hidden items are keys, treasure chests or locked cages, there are a few exceptions here and there, but for the most part it will be those three. Treasure chests require one key to open, cages however require four keys. The treasure chests often drop jewels, health items and blueprints for better gear, the cages feature locked characters from various indie games. Finding the characters is worthwhile however because it will lead to health increases as well. And each cameo is a worthwhile one because of how the game plays to that game's style if only for a room. But they all should bring a knowing smile to the face of someone familiar with each game.

Dust: An Elysian Tail is a fantastic children's game, it might not sit at the top with Mario and the other heavy hitters, but it provides a memorable experience that brings its share of humor and melodrama to the scene and combines it with old-school gameplay that, despite some flaws, is a lot of fun. Completionists will find so much to love here, and really, if you're playing a game like Dust you have to be a completionist, with all the hidden treasure and character appearances. The visuals and soundtrack are beautiful, and while the writing is overtly heavy-handed, it hits the right notes for the target audience. I guarantee you that children will be sad at various parts of this game, including the ending. The last time I saw a children's game go this route was Klonoa and that remains one of the best platformers I have ever played. Dust may not be at the same level, but it feels all the more impressive when you consider so much of this was largely the work of a single person. It's a game that was crafted with love and heart and it does enough things right to make it instantly recommendable.

Score

I hate to say I was right about how Sony would copy MS, but....

I was totally right.

I just learned that those motherf*ckers now require you to pay to play online.

Allow me to point out what has happened since 2006.

Me: "Sony's going to switch to a pay to play model for online with their next platform.  MS was too successful with it."

You all: "Neon, you're crazy.  Free online is Sony's advantage!  If anything MS will drop their pay to play model!"

Seven years.  Seven years it took for me to finally be able to say, f*ck all of you.

Also, lol "next-gen" consoles.

I don't pay for XBL, I won't pay for PSN, no thank you.  You know what's free?  Every other platform.  Who would have thought that Nintendo's little Wii U would end up looking like the best machine out of the three?  Six months ago I would have laughed if you told me that.

---

Games Bought

Still jet-lagged, but I've spent one damn day in the US and I already own more games than days I've been in the country.

Humble Bundle with Android 6- I dropped $1 and came away with four games.  I would have paid over the average but I own the two extra games: Broken Sword and Frozen Synapse, so I cheaped out.  A buck got my Aquaria (scratch that off the wishlist) and three other games I'll likely never play: Stealth Bastard, Fractal and Organ Trail.  Then again, maybe I will.  Indie games are kind of fun.

Dust: An Elysian Tail- Well I went and bought it.  I do that from time to time.  Pay full price for games that I think look cool.  Scratch that off the wishlist too.

So, since I got back:

  • Strike Suit Zero
  • Dust: An Elysian Tail
  • Aquaria
  • Fractal
  • Organ Trail
  • Stealth Bastard Deluxe

I'll start either Aquaria or Dust today.  I'm in an adventure-y mood.

Stateside

I'm back from 23 day journey. I wish I could have spent more time overseas, the stories I can tell of the people I met, the crap that happened on the way and the lessons we learned that we can apply toward ourselves. Still, I'm back home and jetlagged as hell, so it's time to post about the games I freaking want!

The Night of the Rabbit- It's a point and click game that looks absolutely otherworldly. I've never played a game from Daedalic, but they've never caught my attention like this. GoG has it on sale for 20% off right now, but their #NoDRM sale is massive and will go until July 5 so I'll wait for the price to drop more.

Dust: An Elysian Tail- I might just cave and purchase this one right away (like today, afterall, I'm bored and jet lagged to hell). It looks incredible and a real SotN style game has been missing from my diet for quite awhile.

Gunpoint- I want I want I want I want I want! It's a stealth puzzle game that's just giving me goosebumps at how fun and humorous it looks. I know, weird combo to give goosebumps, but that's what I get from it.

Monaco: What's Yours is Mine- I only started paying attention to this one after I saw Gunpoint, so it's not as pivotal but I still want to play it now.

Games Purchased

Strike Suit Zero- GoG had it for 75% off. So I bought it! And now it's off the old wishlist and I'm ready for some space dogfights.

Electronic Entertainment Expo

I'll be honest, most of what I read about E3 was usually in the hotel room bathroom when I was taking a dump. But as most of you know, I don't care for E3's corporate nonsense anymore. I'm happy that Nintendo has pulled out of it and can do without the event altogether. It's unnecessary and just tries to get people excited for either the same junk or worse junk they never wanted. Nevertheless, when Microsoft isn't trying to sell me on crap and Square Enix isn't renaming decade old games to generate hype some cool games did stand out head and shoulders above the competition. The Xbox One and Playstation 4 aren't pushing for the next gen, they're playing catch-up to the PC so all this talk of "next-gen" is kind of dumb. The graphics shown aren't all that impressive mostly because we've had these level of graphics for a while now. And all the additional features aren't necessary.

My disenchantment with corporate jargon, three underpowered consoles locked in to limiting hardware and the Kinect 2.0 aside, I did catch some games that looked really quite cool and these were my favorites.

Favorite Games from E3

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt- This game looks like the greatest thing ever conceived. The single greatest thing. Ever.

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number- It is going to be the final Hotline Miami title and will feature multiple storylines that take place before, during and after Hotline Miami to flesh out the universe and bring all the story threads to an end. Dennaton states they want to make a game where the story is about coping with things coming to an end. That's a badass concept and I'm ready for it!

Bayonetta 2- I had my doubts that Platinum could do it without Kamiya directing, but this game looks freaking epic!

Destiny- It looked like Borderlands 2 without the humor at first. Then they busted out the public event and it's obvious that Destiny is going to be one of the coolest cooperative shooters when it releases. I trust in Bungie's gameplay sensibilities. Where they take the story and the chances of it actually being good isn't nearly as solid but if the game is fun to play alone and with others it should be a great time sink.

Titanfall- It's multiplayer only. It's about damn time a major studio decided to not tack on a stupid campaign and just make the game they wanted to. Infinity Ward and the CoD series never had great campaigns. The focus was multiplayer. They finally got some sense in them and dropped the four hour pissfest and in the process came up with a fantastic looking multiplayer shooter.

Thief- I'm really enjoying this whole stealth action comeback with Deus Ex, Dishonored and now Thief. All three are different, Deus Ex more about solving a mystery, Dishonored more to do with revenge and Thief should be self explanatory. It looks like it plays a lot like the other two and that's more than enough. Get some solid, open level design and this should be a classic adventure.

I likely missed a lot of stuff while away, seeing as how I was more focused on travel at the time. So if you guys think there's something I'd totally be in love let me know. But of the major titles getting coverage, this batch of five (and the small Hotline 2) here caught my attention the most.

The Top 18 Middle of the Road Games of this gen EDIT 1

As borrowed from hart704, the idea behind this list is a group of games not designed with blockbuster sales and massive budgets in mind.  And yet they still provide a solid and entertaining time that often rivals, if not surpasses their blockbuster counterparts.

All links provided lead to my own reviews of the games, also, this list is by no means scientific.  So don't freak out if you think a game on here has too high of a budget.  You'll survive, I promise.

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
El Shaddai is one of the most surreal and beautiful games ever created.  It's really easy to see why the visuals are so wonderful when you consider the game's director was the art director for none other than Okami!  Even that game's battle system carries over for El Shaddai, and while it isn't the greatest combat, it still manages to keep you entertained long enough to see all the zany sights, characters and liberties taken with an ancient biblical story.  It's really damn cool!

Tales of Vesperia
The Tales series has never been anywhere near the level of Square-Enix's blockbusters.  Usually going for far simpler animated graphics than their monolothic competition.  But Namco-Bandai have found a way to carve a niche for themselves as one of the more well-known RPG series out there, and Vesperia is one of the best examples in the long-running franchise.

Lost Odyssey
Both Lost Odyssey and Tales of Vesperia might draw some curious looks from folks as Mystwalker's game is likely one of the more big-budget releases on this list.  But creating a throwback to the JRPG glory days on a console with a fanbase not particularly interested in that is like expecting Serious Sam to outsell Call of Duty.  The game screams vintage 90's with the good and the bad, but that's what makes it such a great nostalgia trip.

Eternal Sonata
Easily the most low-budget of the three JRPGs mentioned in a row here, Eternal Sonata was tri-Crescendo's first game and released early into the 360's life.  Animation was stilted, voice acting was wooden and yet the game has a battle system that's absolutely my favorite in the JRPG genre, a setting with beautiful graphics that make it even more inviting and one of the coolest final bosses in history.

Klonoa
A remake of a PS1 platformer that sold at almost half the cost of a new Wii game.  What more do you need to know about Klonoa and its sales expectations?  But I'll be darned if it isn't one of the greatest platformers ever created.

Mirror's Edge
In between all of the Battlefield games and their Bad Company spin-offs, DICE went and created one of the single greatest platformers of all time.  A game that was designed for replays where you would become faster and more efficient in how you understood the game's mechanics.  Most people just whined about the shooting mechanics.  Protip: you aren't supposed to shoot anyone.

No More Heroes
Suda 51's most mainstream title of the time (until he got involved in crap like NMH2: Desperate Struggle, Lollipop Chainsaw and Shadows of the Damned), No More Heroes is a total low-budget, C-quality experience that screams of an old 70's action thriller that has a beat up film reel intentionally peppering your vision with scratches and cuts while making a statement on how we view life and videogames and the thrill of seeking out excitement in the mundane.  And it remains one of the single most badass experiences of this gen.  It's premise, characters and narrative take you for a ride that no videogame came close to replicating until Hotline Miami hit last year, and even that game went in a different, zany direction of its own.

Madworld
Another Wii brawler, MadWorld was Platinum's first release and you can tell it was just a small, low budget beat em up that they did for fun and little else.  It was meant to pave the way for the eventual heavyhitters Bayonetta and Vanquish, but MadWorld, despite being a budget experience features one of the coolest narratives of this generation and a surprising amount of irreverent style that just makes it a cool game to play when you want to feel as cool as you think you are.

Ys: Origin and Ys: The Oath in Felghana
The Ys series is absolutely stellar.  One of the greatest, more hardcore action RPG experiences on the market.  They are total budget games, Ys Origin releasing for $20, and Oath in Felghana for $15 (and the move to PlayStation Portable and Vita) should say enough about the niche audience the series gathers.  But it's one of the greatest series I have ever played and can't wait until September when Memories of Celceta releases and I purchase a Vita for that game alone.

Spec Ops: The Line
You've got Call of Duty and Battlefield.  Then you have their copycats.  Then you have Spec Ops: The Line, which channels Heart of Darkness on the outside, but on the inside provides one of the most scathing criticisms of the military shooter genre and one of the most important experiences videogaming has ever produced.

The Witcher: Enhanced Edition
We look at CD Projekt Red now and they are the golden child of RPG game development.  They hate DRM, they managed to create one of the most beautiful, deep and involving RPGs in The Witcher 2 and have massive games in development in Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt (and a few smaller, unannounced games they've made mention of).  But before they managed to take the PC gaming world by storm they were a little, unassuming development team using BioWare's Aurora engine, and under their watchful eyes in Canada, produced a dated looking RPG that provided tactical depth, an involving story and one of the most compelling game worlds ever made.  AND THEN they got big.  Like, WAY BIG.

The Walking Dead
Did anyone expect The Walking Dead to be anything at all like it turned out to be?  We're talking Telltale Games here, we're talking Sam and Max, Wallace and Gromit, goofy stuff you know.  Even their licensed games that came before were considered duds (Jurassic Park, anyone?).  And here we have one of the greatest pieces of interactive fiction ever made.  And you know you love it.  You know you love these guys beating out the big guns for Game of the Year honors at many places.  It's a testament to well-written stories, fully developed characters and the emotional impact videogames can have on you.

Metro 2033
This game looks fantastic.  It also has like a quarter of the budget of the competition (Apparently it's even bigger and better looking sequel has a small budget too).  It's a very guided experience, similar to Call of Duty's campaigns but with the ability to play stealthily as well.  Metro 2033 isn't one of the elite level shooters of this generation, but it manages to impress from a technical standpoint moreso than the majority of games on the market, and it manages to tell an interesting story on top of it all.

Torchlight and Torchlight II
What do you do after creating the Diablo series in one of the world's largest development teams?  Stick it to the man, strike out indie and dedicate your time to creating an MMO.  What do you do when Blizzard creates the world's most important and biggest MMO?  Stick it to the man by going back to your Diablo roots and making it better than Blizzard's version.  I've put hours and hours into the Torchlight games.  Well over 50 with both games combined and I didn't even beat the second one.  It's got a much smaller budget than Diablo, sold at a third of the price and yet Runic games mention that they make just as much profit either way.  God damn, Runic.  God damn.

Punch-Out!!
Nintendo's Punch-Out!! sequel of sorts is one of the most entertaining games on the platform when played with motion controls and a true test of skills when played with a regular controller.  But those motion controls make it a genuine blast to stand in front of a group of people and swing like a mad man at the air.  It's clear that Nintendo never expected the game to be in the same league as their Mario, Metroid, Zelda, Xenoblade games, but for such a smaller-scale game, Punch-Out!! provides one of the coolest experiences on the Wii!

Binary Domain
From the developers of Yakuza, Binary Domain doesn't strive to be anything more than your typical cover-based shooter in a post Gears of War world.  But with insane boss battles, a healthy dose of dudebro writing and a beautiful, neo-Tokyo setting, Binary Domain ends up as one of the most fun and entertaining third person shooters of this gen!

Arrested Development

Why didn't they focus on the dysfunctional family aspect?  The cast is hilarious as an ensemble, not with each character being given individual episodes.  Honestly, what's the point of Arrested Development if you aren't going to focus on the family as a whole.  There are way too few scenes where they are all dealing with one another.  So stupid that they botched such a key piece to the actual comedy behind it all.

It was still funny, but nowhere near what it could have been if they didn't pretend like having an ensemble cast wasn't important to a show about a freaking family.

Dear Platinum

Metal Gear Rising Revengeance announced for PC literally made me jump out of bed.  As in I literally jumped out of bed and shouted "WAHOO!"  Literally.  Klonoa fans know that feel.

So, I'm going to buy your game.  Because your Platinum and I think you're the sh*t.

But let's also get a steady stream of ports going yeah?  There are at least two other games I want from your catalogue in my collection again.

http://terminalgamer.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Bayonetta-1.jpg

http://maryvillepawprint.com/files/2011/01/vanquish_e3.jpg

And if you want, you can release Anarchy Reigns too.  But the other two games are much, much more important.  I don't have a 360 any longer and I need these two again.  So do something about it, please! :3

Still, I get to fight the Desperado Elite!  That's pretty badass in its own right!