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Breaking Down My Top 35 PS3 Games

Now that my "Top 35 PS3 Games" countdown blog series is finally completed, I thought it would be fun to break down my list in an analytic light. Here is what I discovered:

By Year Released

*Due to counting the Mass Effect Trilogy as one game on my list, there will be two additional tallies here (accounting for all three Mass Effect games in their respective release year).

**Mass Effect 1 will be counted as a 2012 game, since it didn't come to the PlayStation 3 until that year. Bioshock came to PS3 in 2008.

2006 - 1

2007 - 2

2008 - 6

2009 - 6

2010 - 7

2011 - 5

2012 - 5

2013 - 5

My Thoughts: It does not surprise me to see that 2010 has the highest number of contributions to the list. We are talking about a year that had Red Dead Redemption, Mass Effect 2, Heavy Rain, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and Fallout: New Vegas. All five are in my top 15. The other two 2010 games on my list are LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. In the same year, the PS3 saw fan favorites such as Bayonetta, God of War III, and Call of Duty: Black Ops. 2010 also had an outstanding year on other platforms with Alan Wake, Halo: Reach, Super Meat Boy, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, Valkyria Chronicles II, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and God of War: Ghost of Sparta.

I also think that it's notable that the PlayStation 3's first two years on the market are not well represented on this list. It wasn't until its third year (2008) that the console finally started getting the great games it will be remembered by. Games like Fallout 3, Bioshock, and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots are considered near masterpieces. LittleBigPlanet, Call of Duty: World at War, and Battlefield: Bad Company also made my list to make 2008 the second most represented year on my list, tied with a stellar 2009. Dead Space, Devil May Cry 4, Valkyria Chronicles, Far Cry 2, and Grand Theft Auto V did not make my own list, but are all considered great games that came out in 2008. My point here is that while 2013 and 2014 may have been a bit disappointing for new owners of a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, the third year seems to be the charm. And with games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Halo 5: Guardians, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Batman: Arkham Knight (to name a few) on their way to a 2015 release date, this year could be 2008 all over again.

By Publisher

*The additional tally is to account for Batman: Arkham Asylum, which was co-published by Warner Bros. and Eidos.

Sony Computer Entertainment - 10

Activision - 4

Ubisoft - 4

Bethesda Softworks - 3

Rockstar Games - 3

EA - 3

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment - 3

2K Games - 2

Eidos Interactive - 1

Namco Bandai - 1

Square Enix - 1

Konami - 1

My Thoughts: Obviously, the glaring number here is Sony's 10 games that it published out of the 35. Whether the games were developed by one of the many developers in their growing collection or through a third party, Sony did a fantastic job supporting their console with their own resources. However, I think it is important to note that they only published 3 games on my top ten, all of which were developed by Naughty Dog. So if you didn't have a PlayStation 3 this past generation, it is safe to say that you still had the opportunity to play most of the very best games.

Ubisoft and Activision are tied for second thanks to their annual workhorse, flagship franchises Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty, respectively. However, I would not be surprised if they aren't as well represented on my Top 35 PS4 Games list if I ever decide to make that in the distant future. Reason being, Ubisoft has quickly gained a bad reputation over the past year with some of their actions and decisions such as putting out broken games, misleading fans with trailers, and dropping quality on all versions of their games to provide parity for a lesser platform. Activision, on the other hand, their most recent game on my list was 2009's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. That game is scarily approaching its sixth birthday. While I am excited to see what Treyarch does with their next Call of Duty, I can't say that I'm as interested in their franchises as I was at the turn of the decade. So which publishers do I expect to take their place? I am really excited for Bethesda and Warner Bros. as budding publishers. Both own IPs that I love and own/work with some young, super-talented developers. I am also pulling for EA and Square Enix to get their stuff together and go back to creating working, original games as well as play their IP cards better.

By Developer:

*Due to Rockstar having a myriad of development teams that all help each other, they will be counted as one. I will credit L.A. Noire as only Team Bondi's game even though Rockstar assisted them.

**Although I counted them as one game in my list, I will credit BioWare all three of their Mass Effect games here.

Naughty Dog - 4

Ubisoft Montreal - 4

BioWare - 3

Rocksteady Studios - 2

Rockstar - 2

EA DICE - 2

Infinity Ward - 2

Sucker Punch - 2

Irrational Games - 2 (Defunct)

Insomniac Games - 1

Sony San Diego - 1

Eidos Montreal - 1

Raven Software - 1

Level-5 - 1

Kojima Productions - 1

Obsidian Entertainment - 1

Quantic Dream - 1

Team Bondi - 1 (Defunct)

Bethesda Game Studios - 1

Treyarch - 1

Traveller's Tales - 1

Media Molecule - 1

Arkane Studios - 1

My Thoughts: It's impressive that one developer was able to put out multiple great games in one generation of consoles. It's absolutely incredible that one developer (although they have multiple teams) was able to put out four great games in one generation of consoles. Looking at this list, I see a lot of talent. And only two are sadly defunct. For the current generation, I'd like to see some of the smaller developers on this list spread their wings and create their own ideas. It would be cool to see Treyarch and Raven break away from Call of Duty. I'd love to see Obsidian create more large scale spin-off games in which they pretty much take an engine from a successful game and do their own thing with it a la Fallout: New Vegas. I'm excited to see where young developers Rocksteady, Quantic Dream, and Arkane go next.

By Genre

*Some games were split into multiple genres with multiple tallies.

Action/Adventure - 20

Action/RPG - 5

Military FPS - 5

FPS - 4

JRPG - 1

Interactive Drama - 1

Survival Horror - 1

Sports - 1

Puzzle - 1

Platformer - 1

My Thoughts: With a high step up in graphics, developers shifted away from cartoon-style action platformers and moved towards games with a more grounded look. Action/adventure games and FPS's flourished this past generation. Sadly, my favorite genres from the PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2, platformers and JRPG's were largely absent on the PlayStation 3 or at least in terms of quality. But with JRPG's on the rebound, I would expect to see the genre make a huge impact on the PlayStation 4. We are also in something of a renaissance in the survival horror genre, so I expect to enjoy that genre more as this young generation of consoles advances.

Other Interesting Facts:

- Highest non-GOTY: Mass Effect Trilogy (6)

- Lowest GOTY: Assassin's Creed III (28)

- Number of single-player only games: 17

- Number of PlayStation 3 Exclusives: 11

- Number of New IP's: 10

- Number of games with open worlds (or extensive hub worlds): 18

- Number of games with non-videogame-originated licenses: 5

- Number of games with playable female characters (in the single player): 10

- Number of games without guns: 4

- Number of games from prior-generation series: 16

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I bought a PS Vita last weekend! It made sense to me to buy one because essentially, I'll never have to buy games for it so long as I keep my PlayStation Plus subscription going, which I intend to. For the past year that I've had it, I've been downloading and cancelling every PS Vita game that I thought I might want that was offered through PS Plus, just in case I were to ever buy a Vita. I have a massive free game collection already. I am currently playing the brilliant Limbo and the okay-so-far Uncharted: Golden Abyss. I'm really looking forward to playing indie games and JRPGs on my Vita, two genres that I feel I've been missing out on, don't have the time to sit down and play on my PS4, and that have a slew of great games on the Vita. My experiences so far with my Vita so far are wonderful. I'm shocked with how neat the layout is, how fast you can jump in and out of games/apps, and how easy and fast it is to download games. It's screen looks great, the speakers work well, the touchscreens/pads are advanced, and the pick-up-and-go gaming experience is as fun as it was on my old PSP.

That's it for now. My GOTY Awards will be coming sometime later this month, so come back for those if you want, they are always fun. This year marks my fifth (!!!!!) annual milestone. Between now and then, I'm sure I'll stop back here and post again. Until then, thanks for reading and please comment :)

- Dylan

My Favorite Stuff From 2014 (Non-Gaming)

We are 23+ days apart from the year that was 2014. Another year is now just a memory. Personally, it's increasingly difficult to differentiate which memory belongs to which year. A way for me to remember is to look at books, movies, sporting events, albums, games, etc. that have set-in-stone dates. Naturally, I have memories that relate to each of my favorite games, movies, songs, etc. I can listen to a song and it brings back memories of when it first came out and when I first heard it. I can look at a game on my shelf, place a finger on when it came out, and remember what was going on in my life at the time I was playing it. I am a nostalgic person.

2014 went by in a flash for me, despite being pretty eventful. There are plenty of good memories just as well as a few bad memories. The movies, albums, and TV series/seasons listed in this blog are my favorites from 2014. I have memories of events in my life associated with each of these and thanks to their specific dates, I'll always know that those memories happened in 2014. Here's my favorite stuff from 2014:

*Note: My annual GOTY Awards will probably be posted sometime in February, so I've kept games off of this particular blog.

-

Movies

(I consider The Wind Rises a 2013 movie, otherwise it would be at the top)

*I have not yet seen "Gone Girl", "Nightcrawler", "Birdman", or "Interstellar." All of which could crack this list.

**Special shout-outs to "The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies" and "John Wick."

5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

After mixed reactions to "Thor: The Dark World" and "Iron Man 3", I was wondering if the Marvel Cinematic Universe was past its prime and more importantly, if they had any other good stories to tell. After all, I loved everything they had done pre-2013. 2014 saw the return to greatness for the quietly aging saga. One movie featured the darkest tone yet and the other had the goofiest. The thing is, they both worked. With Cap 2, the unlikely directing duo of "You, Me and Dupree" (a personal cult favorite of mine) took the character of Steve Rogers and did something really special with him. While "The Avengers" took his adjustment to the new world jokingly, "The Winter Soldier" focused on the struggles he now faces. Think about it, everything he knew and cared about is either dead or ancient. To keep himself busy, he becomes S.H.I.E.L.D.'s top agent for missions. Spoilers aside, everything in both his life and his new employer is turned inside out. The result is a hybrid between a modern action movie and an 80's political thriller. And it's a blast from start to finish.

4. X-Men: Days of Future Past

From the first trailer, I knew this movie was going to be special. Unlike most awesome trailers, this one did not let me down. It took both generations of X-Men, threw them into two interesting settings for these characters, and pit them against a threat that seemed new for a franchise that's more than a decade old. I loved the high stakes tension the movie had, its comedy was used sparingly and was well timed (unlike say, "Iron Man 3") resulting in some good laughs, it featured by far the best action scenes the series has seen yet, and it had some truly amazing shots that I think will become iconic with age.

3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Apes had one of the worst trailers I've seen in a long while. It looks so bad that I was unsure if I even wanted to see it, with Rise of the Apes being one of my favorite movies in recent years. It looked like a cheap action flick that lacked the thematic brilliance of its predecessor. I was completely wrong. The action was over the top at some points, but it was somehow even more thematically brilliant. I've talked about its message to great extents before on here and am hesitant to go on and on again, but basically, it all comes down to that the world is a beautiful place full of all kinds of different life that can learn to respect each other. But something as pointless as war tears relationships apart for trivial reasons speared by a couple of bad eggs. Even looking past its message, DOTPOTA was just a perfect movie for me. I loved everything about it. The flashbacks/references to the first movie were incredibly moving.

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel

There weren't many "Award-type" movies that I enjoyed this year (although I still have to see Foxcatcher, Birdman, and Nightcrawler). But Wes Anderson's latest and perhaps best (better than The Royal Tenenbaums I daresay) is a strong exception. I really got the feeling that a lot of passion and love went into this movie. The small details like the changing aspect ratios, the sets, make-up and costumes, etc. I also loved how the movie in general was so over-the-top in a self-aware way. The two main characters were great, but I especially enjoyed how there were only two main characters who ran into several minor characters who were played by an all-star lineup of Wes Anderson favorites like Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, and Bill Murray. I can't remember if Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, or Adrien Brody were in a Wes Anderson movie before, but they were exceptional among a great cast. The whole movie reminded me of some of my favorite short stories or novellas in that it wasn't overstuffed with filler, but just a great story with memorable characters.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy

Like I said before, Marvel avoided retreading their characters and stories as they did in 2013 by offering completely fresh experiences. Where "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" was a dark and gritty level of fun, Guardians was lighthearted (with more than a few raunchy jokes, don't get me wrong) and adventurous. The characters of Starlord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot were relatively unknown before this movie (I consider myself a fan of comics and I only new of them to a small degree), but after this movie, they are among everybody's favorites in the MCU. I for one miss them already. I have to watch it for a second time to make sure, but Guardians of the Galaxy might be my favorite movie in the franchise yet.

-

TV Series/Seasons

*Without lengthy write-ups to avoid any spoilers. It is impossible to talk/write about TV series without spoiling anything.

5. Arrow

4. House of Cards

3. The Legend of Korra

I will say something about Korra, though. A few years ago, I watched Avatar: The Last Airbender for the first time after I had missed out when I was a kid. In short, I LOVED it. It was a story about friendship, adversity, burden, and adventure. If you haven't seen it, you must. With The Legend of Korra, it is mostly about the same themes but in a more mature way, since Korra is a young adult avatar. Because of this, (and it still has plenty of laughs and a ton of heart) it goes into deeper, darker places. Where almost every Avatar: TLA dark moment was immediately followed up by a cheap laugh to break the tension and not scare children, The Legend of Korra goes all the way. There are many deep, emotional scenes to be found, some dark and menacing (the first season is about full-on terrorism and includes death), others relatable and sincere. Some episodes end on an absolutely gut-wrenching note. So yeah, LoK gets dark and sad, but for every one of these moments, there are three moments of pure fun and adventure. By the end of the series (like Avatar: TLA), I felt personally connected to the characters. But with LoK, I feel the Avatar creators had mastered their craft to make a masterpiece of a series. If you haven't gotten on board the Avatar train, I'd highly suggest giving it a shot, or a second shot.

2. True Detective

1. Game of Thrones

-

Albums

(A lot of indie rock, alternative rock)

5. Broncho - Just Enough Hip to Be Woman

- Best Song: Class Historian

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFo-Fp2eJWQ

4. Royal Blood - Royal Blood

- Best Song: Figure It Out

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dusl-8NE994

3. Phantogram - Voices

- Best Song: Bill Murray

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWmWSjJqlEg

2. Broods - Evergreen

- Best Song: Mother & Father

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqm2Eije1yA

1. St. Vincent - St. Vincent

(This is one of those rare masterpiece albums, I highly recommend it.)

- Best Song: Digital Witness

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7LsBjrqqHA

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Again, I have like four blogs coming up to go over my favorite gaming stuff from 2014. It's hard to believe it is going to be my fifth annual GOTY Awards! So keep a lookout for those some time in February. But yeah, those 15 movies/TV series/Albums were my jams for 2014. Thanks for reading and please comment with your favorite stuff from 2014 :)

- Dylan

Top 35 PS3 Games - Finale

Over the past few months, I've been looking back at the PlayStation 3, celebrating its library of games by counting down my 35 personal favorites. Before I get to the complete list, here are some honorable mentions that didn't quite make the cut:

- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Skyrim is a near masterpiece fantasy action-RPG. Picking up the game and completing a new objective or simply exploring a new section of the game's massive open world is always a mysterious thrill of adventure. The only problem is, upon the game's 2011 release, the PlayStation 3 version of the game was nearly unplayable with glitches and crashes. Fast forward to 2014, the PS3 version of the game now works fine and just now am I experiencing this game. It's fantastic. But its fumble upon its release and my terrible 2011/2012 experiences with the broken game prevented me from placing it on this list. It is however one of the best game of the last generation.

- Spec Ops: The Line - Spec Ops had one of the very best stories I've ever played in a video game. Its repetitive shoot-em-up gameplay holds it back.

- Batman: Arkham Origins - The non-Rocksteady Arkham game's main story and nearly everything related to it was excellent. Its open world and nearly everything related to it was empty and disappointing, which is a shame considering that the open world atmosphere is what made the first two Arkham games unforgettable.

- Burnout: Paradise - Without a doubt the best driving/racing game to be found on the PS3, in my opinion. I've never been a huge fan of the genre as a whole, though.

- Lost Planet: Extreme Condition - An underrated game, that was one of the very first games I've played on the PS3. It will always have a special place in my PS3 memories.

- Street Fighter IV - The best fighting game from last generation, maybe ever. It's a fighting game masterpiece if you are into fighting games. I am not.

It's time to finish it off. Here are my 35 favorite PlayStation 3 games:

35. LittleBigPlanet

34. Dishonored

33. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

32. Far Cry 3

31. Grand Theft Auto V

30. MLB 13: The Show

29. Call of Duty: World at War

28. Assassin's Creed III

27. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

26. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

25. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time

24. Infamous

23. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

22. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

21. Infamous 2

20. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

19. Bioshock Infinite

18. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

17. Bioshock

16. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

15. Battlefield: Bad Company 2

14. Assassin's Creed II

13. Heavy Rain

12. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

11. Fallout: New Vegas

10. Battlefield: Bad Company

9. Batman: Arkham Asylum

8. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

7. L.A. Noire

6. Mass Effect Trilogy

5. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

2009

Developer/Publisher: Naughty Dog/Sony CE

Genre: Action/Adventure

Very often, my favorite Uncharted game switches from Drake's Fortune to Drake's Deception to Among Thieves. The truth is, I have no particular favorite Uncharted game that is set in stone. I will admit however that it was Uncharted 2: Among Thieves that raised the bar for what an action game can be the highest. Uncharted 1 has the nostalgia and heart, Uncharted 3 has the fine coat of polish and the best story, but it's Uncharted 2 that has the most memorable moments, the most groundbreaking gameplay, and the most consistency. It's a modern day masterpiece that I find myself replaying every year. Its campaign has the flow of a Hollywood movie. Except, in Uncharted's case, you are playing the movie. You play as the now iconic Nathan Drake as you're jumping from falling cliffs in Tibet, exploring the legendary city of Shambala, and ascending from the caboose of a moving train full of enemies to its unexpected end, confronting an armed chopper head on. For a long time, it was thought to be the best exclusive game the PS3 would see.

GOTY Awards to its name: Game of the Year 2009

Favorite memory: There are many set piece moments to choose from, but the train sequence is the most memorable.

4. Batman: Arkham City

2011

Rocksteady Studios/Warner Bros. IE

Action/Adventure

Following up the amazing debut game of Batman: Arkham Asylum was no easy task for developer Rocksteady Studios. Instead of creating another "Metroid-vania" experience in a historic section of Batman's lore, the developer decided to give players the full Batman experience: Batman in an open world Gotham City (well, kind of). In Arkham City, you play as Batman with his entire arsenal of gadgets as you hunt down Gotham's most infamous villains including Two-Face, Penguin, The Joker, The Riddler, Catwoman, Ra's al Ghul, Mr. Freeze, Bane, etc. The bottom line is, Batman: Arkham City was the dream game of any Batman fan such as myself. Until Rocksteady's long awaited sequel releases, this game is the closest anyone is going to get to being Batman. The feeling of overlooking Gotham City from the top of a cathedral, gliding off (a perfect, often overlooked feature in this game), and taking down a random group of thugs with the game's freeflow combat system is empowering. Slowly walking through the streets of Gotham City and admiring every detailed alley, picking up cool nods to Batman's lore is chilling. Also to be found in Arkham City is one of the greatest Batman stories ever written.

GOTY Awards to its name: Game of the Year 2011, Best Action/Adventure 2011, Best Atmosphere 2011, Best Voiceover Performance 2011 (Corey Burton as Hugo Strange), Hero of the Year 2011 (Batman), Villain of the Year 2011 (Ra's al Ghul), Best DLC 2011 (Batman Beyond skin), Best DLC 2012 (Harley Quinn's Revenge)

Favorite memory (4-year-old spoilers): The Joker's death.

3. Fallout 3

2008

Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks

Action RPG

The fact that Fallout 3 is only at the number 3 spot on this list solidifies the greatness of this past generation of games. Fallout 3 is a game that I adore dearly. It's one of my all-time favorite games. I have memories of both playing this game and events that surrounded my playing of this game that I intend to hold on to forever. Fallout 3's isolated exploration, the wonder of seeing an abandoned shack in the distance, travelling there and exploring every inch of it, trying to put together the pieces of what happened there, is what makes Fallout 3 special. Bethesda gave players this game's huge, mysterious, haunting world, and didn't tell the player to do anything. As soon as your created character leaves Vault 101, the entire game is yours to explore. Right off the bat, you can go anywhere, do anything you want. I have my own personal memories of what I did in the Capital Wasteland, just like every player has his or her own. It's special in that way, no two playthroughs are alike. If someone wanted to, they very well could pickpocket a grenade into a main character's back pocket and watch as he scrambles for his life, which violently ends. There isn't a game over screen that takes you back to the checkpoint. The game goes on. There are many open world games, but Fallout is special. It's incredibly nostalgic. Even listening to the game's soundtrack brings back memories.

GOTY Awards to its name: GOTY 2008

Favorite memory: First exiting Vault 101. Standing there, looking out at the massive, truly open world is as unforgettable as gaming experiences come. 'What's that giant brown makeshift gate in the distance? What's it guarding? Let's check that out first.'

2. The Last of Us

2013

Naughty Dog/Sony CE

Action/Adventure, Survival Horror

One of the last games to come to the PlayStation 3 (before the PS3 launched) is also one of, if not, the best. I am very weary to give a game a perfect 10/10, but The Last of Us truly deserves one. It's as perfect a game as I have played. It has a very deep, haunting, emotional story to it, but that's really just the half of it. Games like Heavy Rain, Spec Ops: The Line, and Bioshock Infinite have amazing stories, but they aren't this high up on the list. The reason being is that TLOU has gameplay that fits right into its story. In fact, saying "it fits in" doesn't do the game justice. The gameplay is part of the story. While playing, every brick you throw, every person you strangle to death, every note to a loved one, is a part of the story, I feel. Every element of this game connects to make Joel and Ellie's journey. And from the beginning that brought me to tears to the ending that sent a chill down my spine, their journey is perfect told through the video game medium. The important gameplay element that I hope transfers to the current generation (and with Uncharted 4's gameplay demo, I guess it has), is that not every gameplay experience is scripted. The game and its brilliant AI adapt to your actions. For instance, if you were to throw a brick in a hallway, distracting a bad guy before smashing his head in with a bat/scissors combination you whipped up, the game plays out like that was meant to happen all along. The player thinks that it's part of the game. It isn't. If you go back and replay that part, you can find that same scenario where you threw that brick, you can decide not to throw it. Instead, you can pull out your pistol and use the few bullets you have left to go in guns blazing. This brings forth a new experience. It's a brilliant form of game design that I can't wait to play more of. That's just the gameplay and this is already the longest paragraph I've written in this blog. The characters are alive, the post-apocalyptic game world has hints that make it appear that it has history, even though it literally doesn't (it's just a videogame after all). When you enter a torn apart home, you can picture stories that happened there. The lives they lived, the horror that ensued with the apocalypse, and how nature has reclaimed it, with vines growing in and out of it. The Last of Us has a game world unlike any other. Even compared to Fallout. TLOU's original soundtrack is perhaps the best of a generation full of greats. And its multiplayer is a unique, intense experience every time you play it. This game is responsible for me returning to multiplayer after going nearly two years without playing it.

GOTY Awards to its name: Game of the Year 2013, Best PlayStation 3 Exclusive 2013, Best Action/Adventure 2013, New Character of the Years 2013 (Joel & Ellie), Character of the Year 2013 (Joel & Ellie), Best Moment 2013 (Calm before the storm), Best Multiplayer 2013, Best New IP 2013, Best Voice Performance 2013 (Troy Baker as Joel, etc.), Best Use of Sound 2013, Best Graphics (Technical) 2013, Best Trailer 2012, Most Anticipated Game 2012 (tied)

Favorite memory: The 'calm before the storm' moment. I don't want to spoil anything, but if you've played it, you know what I'm talking about.

1. Red Dead Redemption

2010

Rockstar San Diego/Rockstar Games

Action/Adventure

My list changed around quite a bit from the moment I first started putting it together over a year ago, but my number one spot was always going to be Red Dead Redemption. In fact, RDR is my third favorite game of all-time, only behind Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy and Jak II. Red Dead Redemption is the number one PS3 game that I hold close to my heart. I have unforgettable memories playing through its story, unforgettable memories exploring its open world frontier, unforgettable memories playing with friends online in its multiplayer, and unforgettable memories related to my life at the time that I was playing this game. At the time, I was going through the toughest part of my young life. This game and the friends I played online with helped me through that tough time. I'm truly grateful for my experiences with this game. Personal reasons aside, there's so many elements that combine to make this a perfect game that I myself put over 150 hours in (and counting, I still boot up my original save file to roam the wild west once in while). The very best element this game has going for it is its open authentic western setting. It's alive and full of everything you've watched in western movie. It's an open world bursting with fun activities to do. If there is one game from last generation that you cannot miss, it is this game. If you haven't experienced Red Dead Redemption, it goes without saying that I fully recommend it.

GOTY Awards to its name: Game of the Year 2010, Best Story 2010, Best Atmosphere 2010, Character of the Year 2010 (John Marston), Best Graphics 2010, Best Sound 2010, Best Action/Adventure 2010, Best DLC 2010 (Undead Nightmare)

Favorite memory: As great as the open world and main story of RDR is, my favorite memory from the PlayStation 3 was teaming up with friends online in the multiplayer and taking on the wild west together.

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That's it. I really enjoyed putting together this list and revisiting each game on it. It was a blast. Thanks to everyone who checked in to read any one of the different parts. I hope I've convinced somebody to go out and play one of these games. Each and every one of these game is well worth checking out, even if if means you have to dust off your Dualshock 3 controller. Thanks for reading and please comment with your favorite PlayStation 3 game :)

Long Live Play.

- Dylan

Thoughts on PSX, Game Awards, Star Wars

Just checking in here. I've been too busy with end-of-the-semester college work lately to finish my Top PS3 Games countdown (only the finale is left, which should be up by next week), but I did want to put forth my two cents on some of the cool news and trailers that popped up over the last couple of weeks.

Star Wars

I don't consider myself a huge Star Wars nerd by any means. I grew up with the prequel trilogy after all, which took away much of the magic of the original trilogy for me. As I recall, I watched the original trilogy back to back to back when I was in first or second grade. Then came Episode I almost immediately after, which was one of the first DVDs that I owned as a kid (Tarzan was my very first). Of course, I love Episodes IV and V and I always preferred the old episodes over the prequels. However, I do think that Return of the Jedi is a lot worse than people think it is. Ewoks, Boba Fett dying like a fool, the characters being split up, that cheesy ending, etc. On the flip side, I happen to think that Revenge of the Sith is a lot better than people give it credit for. There are just so many amazing scenes in that movie that make the entire trilogy worth it, in my opinion.

Anyway, the Episode VII was amazing. I was always skeptical of the new trilogy and I thought it was being rushed by Disney. This teaser put my worries to rest. After watching it about 10 times, I really get the feeling that JJ Abrams and his crew are really putting care into this movie. I get that by looking at the handmade props and practical effects and how everything just points back to the original trilogy and its magic. It's familiar, yes. But it also looks like a fresh approach to Star Wars. I really do hope that the guy at the beginning of the teaser is indeed an enlisted Stormtrooper. It would be such a fresh, interesting perspective over the whole been-there disguise thing. I really loved the opening scenes of chaos and fear just like I loved seeing the Millenium Falcon again with that iconic theme playing. I also loved the trailer's darker moments like the Stormtroopers getting ready to exit their vessel into the night and of course, the shot of the mysterious Sith staggering into the woods and almost furiously whipping out that badass lightsaber. The whole trailer was awesome and I can't wait to see more.

Jurassic Park

Before Star Wars stole its thunder, Jurassic Park had an awesome, nostalgic trailer that had everybody talking. I'm loving what I saw from it. I especially loved the shots of the lab experiment and the gates opening. Both shots really took me back to my childhood, especially because I've only seen the original one time (over this past summer) since seeing it over a decade ago. I especially loved the classic piano theme at the end. It gave me chills.

Terminator: Genesys

Well, we couldn't expect all three to look unbelievably good, could we? I'm sorry, but this movie looks terrible. I don't get what they're doing with this movie's plot and the acting looks pretty bad.

The Game Awards

So, this past weekend was a good time to be a fan of video games. Especially if you were a Nintendo or Sony fan (Microsoft was nowhere to be found this weekend at all and I seriously want to know how they plan on reacting to this weekend). Every year, we get some type of awards ceremony for video games. We used to have the over-the-top VGA's, we had the face-palm VGX last year, and not we have The Game Awards. The truth is, the actual awards that are handed out are usually questionable and forgettable at best and this year was no exception. But what I get excited for every year from these events are the slew of announcements, trailers, demos, world premieres, etc. that are shown between the awards. To be honest, I'd actually say that the awards are in between the world premieres. At the past VGA's, we were first shown giant games like Skyrim, Batman: Arkham City, and The Last of Us. VGX last year had relatively nothing worth remembering. This year's The Game Awards certainly didn't drop the mic with a Fallout 4 or Deus Ex teaser as I was hoping, but a lot of cool stuff came out of this ceremony in the form of trailers.

The highlights for me weren't really the big games which simply had new short trailers, but the smaller indie games. Which is funny because I'm not much of an indie game fan. I loved what I saw from Before, ADR1FT, and Tacoma. Especially "Before", which was my favorite game from the ceremony altogether. I love the art style, the open nature world look it has, and the sense of depth it looks to have for an indie game. It looks a lot like PS4's Rime, which is one of my most anticipated games right now.

As for the bigger games at the show, I was a but underwhelmed. The whole time I was expecting some giant announcement from Rockstar, a Fallout 4 teaser (even though Bethesda said they weren't going to show anything), or at least a trailer for the next Dishonored or Deus Ex game. Nothing like that ever happened. I did like what I saw from The Witcher 3 and Battlefield Hardline actually looks pretty cool. Then there was the unexpected demo for The Legend of Zelda Wii U (in the small corner of the screen for some reason) that featured Link riding around on Epona, dodging trees and shooting arrows in midair. This was cool and the game looked really good, but I was left wanting a bit more. I wanted a 5 minute trailer that showed the actual game and not just a tech demo. But hey, it's coming and it looks great. I'll finally pick up a Wii U when it is bundled with this game. There are so many games on the Wii U waiting for me, which should be fun.

Overall, I thought the ceremony was a step in the right direction. It was a night that celebrated video games and the people who make them and play them. There weren't any cheesy celebrity appearances (Sutherland and Imagine Dragons acted like they cared at least) and the jokes weren't too forced. I take my hat off to Geoff Keighley for hosting and bringing the show together. From this, The Game Awards can learn what worked and what didn't and simply improve. Also, I don't think publishers would be afraid to announce their giant games here in the future. It certainly had a huge spotlight in front of a live audience, their peers, and hundreds of thousands streaming online.

PlayStation Experience

I had no idea what to expect from the first annual PlayStation Experience. I suspected that some cool stuff was going to go down since it was held right next to The Game Awards in both date and location. Maybe a few announcements here and there, right? I had no idea that it would be some giant, E3-esque conference. In fact, I thought that this went over even better than Sony's E3 presence. Which, along with Nintendo's random "Direct" livestreams, could mean that the end of E3 is near. But seriously, this livestreamed keynote conference featured announcement after demo after trailer after announcment after demo after trailer, etc. There were an unprecedented amount of games shown in such a quick pace with no "Wonderbook" or "Powers" buffer in between. It was awesome.

The highlight of this conference was obviously the Uncharted 4 demo, which lasted about 15 minutes long. First off, holy **** does this game look pretty. There were animations in this demo that must be shaming big name developers in the industry right now. But that's just how it looked. It played amazingly and almost unbelievably. I would be skeptical right now if it wasn't for that one moment where the demo-er missed his jump and caused Nate to die in classic Uncharted fashion (flute sound and all). The way that this game played was like a dream. You can see the "The Last of Us" influence packed into it. It doesn't match TLOU's tone or grounded RPG-ish gameplay, but it does have that same level of approach. You are pretty much given an area of enemies and you get to decide how to tackle them. What the demo-er was doing looked scripted but it wasn't. He didn't have to slide down that slope shooting a guy, jumping off of it, and kicking him in the face. He didn't need to get caught climbing by the badguys, only to drop down and take care of them in dramatic fashion. The AI in this demo was insane. The programming and code that must have gone into it must be so advanced. The whole demo was insane. I'm pumped for some Uncharted 4.

The Order: 1886 looked much improved (with The Witcher 3 being delayed, I may just buy this game when it comes out), Until Dawn looked goofy but fun, Arkham Knight looked great as usual without showing much, Street Fighter V was confirmed to be a PS4 console exclusive which is HUGE (I don't care for fighting games personally, but a lot of people love Street Fighter and must be either pissed or happy about it), and BloodBorne looks like it's going to make a lot of people happy (not my type of game, but it looks impressive). I was also again impressed by the smaller, indie games, which is unlike me. The Forest looks interesting and What Remains of Edith Finch looks like the type of game I've been waiting for for a while now. I think it's cool that these games got to share the spotlight with the big dogs. Also, it was cool to see some older games being confirmed for the PS4/PS3/Vita like Yakuza, Shovel Knight, Bastion, and Final Fantasy VII. By the way, I feel a bit sad for Square Enix. No, this isn't the FFVII remake that people have been waiting for, but it does look like a neat remaster. I like that they kept the art style but smoothed the graphics up. It looks cool but all people did was complain about it not being an all-out remake. You just can't please some people, I guess.

Overall, I love the idea PSX had. I seemed like it was a gift from Sony to unite PlayStation fans. With the original PlayStation turning 20 last week (just a few months after I did), there's a lot of history for PlayStation fans to embrace as a culture. This experience just had a feel good vibe to it, which I loved. The event also made a lot of sense marketing wise for Sony as well, don't get me wrong. The Uncharted 4 demo has over 2 million views on YouTube while a small game like The Forest has over 700,000. It definitely raised interest for Sony's upcoming games. I would have loved to be there, but just streaming it was quite the experience. I'm looking forward to seeing what they do next year. Long live PlayStation!

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That was a much longer blog than I thought it would be! There's just so much to talk about from these last few weeks. Thanks for reading and please comment :)

- Dylan

Top 35 PS3 Games - Part VI

Well, I was originally going to postpone the top ten until December because of a busy school schedule for the rest of December, but my small town just outside of Buffalo, NY is currently being sacked by a record snowstorm. There's 48 inches and rapidly counting. Roads are closed and schools are cancelled, so I'm left with some time on my hands. Here's the first half of my top ten favorite PlayStation 3 games. From here on out, there are only games that I love and hold near to my heart. Here's the list so far:

35. LittleBigPlanet

34. Dishonored

33. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

32. Far Cry 3

31. Grand Theft Auto V

30. MLB 13: The Show

29. Call of Duty: World at War

28. Assassin's Creed III

27. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

26. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

25. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time

24. Infamous

23. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

22. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

21. Infamous 2

20. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

19. Bioshock Infinite

18. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

17. Bioshock

16. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

15. Battlefield: Bad Company 2

14. Assassin's Creed II

13. Heavy Rain

12. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

11. Fallout: New Vegas

10. Battlefield: Bad Company

2008

Developer/Publisher: EA DICE/EA

Genre: Military FPS

Last blog, I got into why I think Battlefield: Bad Company is an outstanding military FPS series in a marketplace full of them. The teamwork, the large maps with shifting objective areas, the vehicles, the humor, the characters, and the equality among weapon classes. BFBC2 may be the crowing achievement in the Battlefield series, but it's Bad Company 1 that will always be my favorite multiplayer shooter and military FPS. I have so many memories of playing this game online with friends that I truly cherish to this day. Sneaking up behind enemies (and occasionally friendlies) and launching them 45 feet into the air with C4, finally getting a four-man squad into a helicopter, ready to unleash havoc before realizing that not one of us knew how to fly a helicopter and spinning out to our digital deaths, waiting for hours for the new free map pack to release including a map set on a golf course, etc. Through the excellent multiplayer alone, I have so many memories with this game. Then there's the campaign, which is still the funniest that I have played through. Hearing Haggard and Sweetwater joke back and forth during the lengthy sections of the game that had you transport your squad on a number of vehicles was always hilarious. EA DICE dared to be different with this game against the likes of Call of Duty, which had all the buzz back then. Not only did they succeed to be different, in my opinion, they created a more memorable game.

Favorite memory: When I was was a young warthog back in the 7th grade, COD4 was all the rage. I played it at my friends' house when I didn't a have a next gen console of my own and I was hooked on it. It was unlike anything I have ever played. So when my brother and I finally saved up enough money to buy a $500 PS3 at Best Buy, it was time to pick my first PS3 game. I wanted to go with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Since it was rated "M for Mature - 17" and I was only 15 at the time in 2008 (my brother was 12), my parents refused to let me get it. Distraught, I went with Bad Company instead. I loved it. I ended up getting COD4 for Christmas later that year ("I better not see your 12 year old brother playing it"), and while I loved that game too, it didn't quite match Bad Company for me. Thanks, mom and dad.

Favorite map: Oasis

9. Batman: Arkham Asylum

2009

Rocksteady Studios/Eidos Interactive

Action/adventure

Before this game, Batman videogames were mostly garbage fare. Then came this game from a rookie developer with an ambitious vision: a 'metroidvania' Batman game set in an open for exploration Arkham Asylum. I still remember looking at the pre-release screenshots here on Gamespot and just thinking to myself, "this game is too good to be true" just like Batman: Vengeance, which had the style but lacked substance. Then, the game came out and I picked it up on launch day. From that point on, my experience with this game exceeded my high expectations. The 'metroidvania' game design fit right in with Arkham Asylum, which was home to some of Batman's most famous enemies. You unlocked pieces of the Joker-taken-over asylum through gadgets and unlocked doors piece by piece. Like Kingdom Hearts and its Final Fantasy and Disney characters, you did not know which Batman villain you were going to run into next. Victor Zsasz. Killer Croc. Bane. Poison Ivy. SCARECROW! Even when you weren't face to face with a member of Batman's rogues gallery, you were finding well placed easter eggs throughout the corners of Arkham Asylum alluding to almost every Batman villain you could think of from a poster for the Penguin's Ice Berg Lounge to the Ratcatcher's costume stashed away in the vents. Arkham Asylum's open world was creepily realized with such authenticity to Batman's lore. Every corner of this game was deigned with such detail. What glued this game's cool story, great characters with classic voiceovers, and atmosphere together was its combat system. In this game, you were either freestyle brawling with awesome animations and gadgets or stealthily taking down enemies one by one. This game brought Batman to life.

Favorite memory: The Scarecrow encounters were some of the very best moments from last generation. Especially the last one. I remember freaking out, thinking that my game was glitching.

8. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

2011

Naughty Dog/Sony CE

Action/Adventure

When it comes to action games, Uncharted 3 is currently the gold standard. While it may not be as special to me as Uncharted 2 was at the time that it came out, it is as good, if not better. It had more unexpected turns. Nobody saw the chapter where you played as a young Nathan Drake coming between chapters of the awesome set piece missions that Uncharted has come to be known for. And make no mistake, this game's set pieces are the most insane of any Uncharted game. Unforgettable moments like the ship chapters, the burning down castle escape, and the cargo plane liftoff and fight stand out in particular. It's cinematic, sure, but it's also very interactive, perhaps more so than its predecessors in the series. You're climbing these walls while looking down and up, shooting and jumping your way through levels just like Indiana Jones would. But here, you're playing as Nathan Drake through a movie-like production with the best story of the trilogy.

GOTY Awards to its name: Best PS3 Exclusive 2011

7. L.A. Noire

2011

Team Bondi/Rockstar Games

Action/adventure

Here's a game that probably wouldn't wind up on many people's top ten, but I believe that L.A. Noire is an often neglected masterpiece and it's certainly one of my favorite games. I've plugged in 200+ hours into this game, unlocked the rare platinum trophy, had this game's data corrupt with my old PS3 and replayed the lost progress over again, drove every car in the game, etc. If you could do something on this game, I've probably done it, maybe twice. I only unlocked this game's platinum last year, after three years of first playing it. That said, I am still not sick of this game. I could pick it up right now and have a blast. Don't let this game's publisher and open world setting fool you, L.A. Noire is nothing like Grand Theft Auto, which maybe turns some people off. Instead of pulling off bank heists, listening to crude jokes, shooting 100 people in the face, killing anybody you want with anything you want, you'll be playing as L.A. police detective Cole Phelps. As Cole, you get to play the game in so many different and sometimes unique ways. You'll get assigned a case, drive to the crime scene with one of your partner cops, investigate the crime scene, interview and interrogate witnesses and persons of interest, and from then on, anything could happen. A witness could flee and you'll be in a car chase in pursuit. You could get a location, drive there, and find more clues and interview more people. Or you could get to the location and enter a giant shootout. The diversity of this game's gameplay is unmatched. And in my opinion, it's all great and interesting. The story takes many unexpected turns and is great and all, but the highlight of this game has to be its open world. It's actually unbelievable. I really cannot imagine how people created its massive open world which is PACKED with detail. The random houses that you pass on your way to an objective is just as detailed around its corners as the crime scenes that you investigate. Even more unbelievable is how authentic it is to 1940's L.A. There are well over 100 cars that are detailed after cars that existed in that time period. The outfits that the NPCs wear are just like they would look if you went in a time machine and went back to 1948. There are entire real life buildings that are faithfully recreated. It's an achievement in game design. And the sad thing is, because Bondi didn't give you many side missions that made you experience their high level of detail, many people missed out when playing it. But for people like me who always take their time and explore every inch of a game's map, Team Bondi's controversial work ethics didn't go unnoticed.

Favorite memory: While the story was great and had many cinematic twists and turns, nothing beats just driving around in the 1940s cars, listening to 1940s jams on the car radio, and taking in all the game's sights.

GOTY Awards to its name: Runner-up GOTY 2011, Best Soundtrack 2011, Best Graphics (Technical) 2011, Best Innovation 2011, Best New Character (Cole Phelps) 2011

6. Mass Effect Trilogy

2012/2011/2012

Bioware/EA

Action RPG

So here's the cheat pick that I hinted towards last blog. While I have a clear ranking of which games are my favorite in the trilogy (ME1 is by far my favorite while ME3 is by far my least favorite), splitting these games up feels wrong. Because while the games progressively felt more shooter than RPG which I didn't really like, they are all the same overall Mass Effect experience. Your actions that you make in the first game will carry over to the third game. So essentially, everybody who played this trilogy had a different experience with it. For some people, ME1 characters played a major role in ME3. For others, they didn't even make it past the first game because of the decisions that you made. It's brilliant really. Unprecedented. But for every played of the game, you still experienced the same ME universe. Through both story progression and reading those little codex pages, you learned about the different races, planets, space stations, galaxies, important characters, and historical events that Bioware carefully created. They created their own lore and its all so interesting. As a player in this universe, you know firsthand why the Salarians talk so fast, why there are so few Krogan, why the Quarians where masks, etc. The overall story of the trilogy is great and so are the characters involved, but it's the gameplay options that make Mass Effect 1 my favorite in the series by far. In ME1, a mix of RPG elements and third person shooting made for a perfect one-two punch and both applied to the game's story wonderfully.

Favorite memory: Exploring the Citadel was awesome, first fighting Harbinger on that planet where everybody was frozen was eerie, using the Mako in ME1 is now nostalgic. But the memory of Mass Effect that I love the most is simply just talking to your different allies on the Normandy like Garrus, Tali, and Liara and learning more about them and forming a bond between these characters is what's unforgettable.

GOTY Awards to its name: Best RPG 2012, Runner-up GOTY 2010, Best RPG 2010, Best Sci-fi Game 2010

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It's still snowing hard by the way, probably up to 5 feet now :P. The finale is next! All five of the games are masterpiece 10/10's in my opinion. Thanks for reading and please comment :)

- Dylan

Top 35 PS3 Games - Part V

My seven part countdown of my top 35 favorite PS3 games resumes. From here onward, there are only games that I've come to love over the years. These 15 games defined a generation for me. Here's the list so far:

35. LittleBigPlanet

34. Dishonored

33. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

32. Far Cry 3

31. Grand Theft Auto V

30. MLB 13: The Show

29. Call of Duty: World at War

28. Assassin's Creed III

27. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

26. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

25. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time

24. Infamous

23. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

22. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

21. Infamous 2

20. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

19. Bioshock Infinite

18. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

17. Bioshock

16. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

15. Battlefield: Bad Company 2

2010

Developer/Publisher: EA DICE/EA

Genre: Military FPS

This generation saw an explosion in the popularity of online competitive multiplayer games, especially in the military FPS genre. And while it may not be as innovative as the only two military FPSs placed ahead of it, I believe that Battlefield: Bad Company 2 does online competitive multiplayer better than any game to date. As hinted at before, its predecessor Battlefield: Bad Company brought then relatively unheard of elements to the budding genre. Large, open maps with objective areas that change as the game progresses, drive-able vehicles, squad-focused teamwork, and of course, destructible environments that dynamically change matches at the press of a button. With its sequel Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the ante was upped tenfold. Most of the maps in BFBC2 feature genius design, full of challenges and opportunities for each type of player as the matches progressed. With the help from a new game engine, you could literally demolish an entire building, changing the landscape for the rest of the match. But the most impressive improvement that BFBC2 brought to the now sadly dormant series is the emphasis on squad teamwork. I don't know about you, but while playing Killzone 2, Call of Duty 4, etc., I always imagined how cool it would have been if your teammates actually worked together for a team victory instead of just looking after their own kill/death ratio. In BFBC2, you will not be successful as a selfish teammate. In this game, it is crucial that you work with the three other players in your squad or the other players on your team. And best of all, it's a blast to do so.

And that's just the multiplayer. BFBC2 also features one of my favorite FPS campaigns. Back for another adventure are the hilarious ex-convict military squad of Haggard, Sweetwater, Marlowe, and Sarge. Through a campaign of witty chitchat, the four find themselves working for the US military to take down a global threat. The action-packed, innovative, destructive shooter gameplay is fun but the way it doesn't take itself as seriously as many other military FPSs do makes it very memorable.

Favorite memory: After 100+ hours, my second platinum trophy was one trophy away. The objective: collapse buildings on a total of 20 enemies. This was much, much harder than it sounds. I remember travelling to a building near a future objective, lighting it up with C4 like a Christmas tree, hiding by a nearby vantage point, waiting and hoping for an enemy to enter the building, and then detonating my trap, hoping that the sucker was still inside the building, killing him. It was more than a process.

GOTY Awards to its name: Best Multiplayer 2010, Best Shooter 2010

14. Assassin's Creed II

2009

Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

Action/adventure

The original Assassin's Creed broke ground in an innovative way. There wasn't anything else like it at the time: control a character in an open world historical setting and assassinate targets in a variety of optional ways. However, after your fifth assassination, you had seen all that the game had to offer. Assassin's Creed II changed that and subsequently built the foundation of a still growing, super successful franchise. Everything in this alternate history action/adventure was done better and featured a cast of memorable characters including Ezio Auditore and Leonardo Da Vinci (yeah, that one), an amazingly detailed and fully open world of Renaissance Italy, and an unforgettable story of revenge. The most important change brought to the series however was how fun and easy it was to play. Climbing up beautiful Italian architecture and launching off of it into either a haystack or the back of an enemy target was exhilarating fun that is oddly still fun five games in the franchise later. The major thing to take away from not only this game but the Assassin's Creed franchise as a whole is that it constantly changes and innovates. Comparing AC2 to Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is surreal. Bravo to the folks at Ubisoft for not getting lazy as so may other annual and even bi-annual franchises have.

Favorite memory: Exploring every foot of Renaissance Italy while learning about it in the 9th grade. It made learning fun! :P

13. Heavy Rain

2010

Quantic Dream/Sony CE

Interactive drama

This game has a lot of harsh critics, citing that the "game" didn't give players enough control and that it was basically a movie with wheels. To this I say, who is anybody to say what a videogame should and should not be. I love that the game's director David Cage, Qauntic Dream, and Sony's wallet dared to be different. By doing so, they created one unforgettable experience that is unlike anything I have ever played. It's a relentless intense and emotional game from the prologue until the finale. But the thing is, it isn't a movie because as four characters, you must make impossible decisions and live with the consequences, forever changing not only the ending of the game, but the entire game thereafter. The level of choice forces some of the plot twists to have major holes, but really, they are only visible if you over analyze the game. Having no plot holes would take away options, making it a movie. Instead, if you suspend belief a little bit, you are right there with Ethan Mars, Naaaaaaman Jayden, and the other two characters on a thrill ride of emotions as they cross paths. The emotional story, the relate-able characters, the cinematic moments, the gritty game world, and the chilling soundtrack (RIP Normand Corbeil) all overlap to make one of my favorite PS3 exclusives.

Favorite memory: After playing an intense chapter (the finger one), I got an invite from some friends to watch a Buffalo Sabres game on TV (sad team, I know) and eat some pizza. I did, but during the entire first 20 minutes of the game, I just couldn't shake the game's experiences from my mind. Such a powerful game.

GOTY awards to its name: Best Innovation 2010, Best PS3 Exclusive 2010

12. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

2007

Infinity Ward/Activision

I don't think there is a game on this list that had a bigger effect on the world than Call of Duty had. It's basic fundamentals form both its multiplayer and campaign are still being imitated today, seven years later (God, I feel old). While recent Call of Duty games are dogged for being copy and paste material, it's hard to imagine that Call of Duty 4 was one of the most innovative games of all-time. It had a roller coaster campaign that the player plays through entirely in first person, shooting mechanics that still hold up very well today, a multiplayer leveling and perk systems that changed the landscape for multiplayer games, and perfect map design that hasn't been matched since. Seriously. Pipeline, Crash, Overgrown, Wetwork, Chinatown. come on... I bet that if recent COD games had equally brilliant maps that I would be on my way right now to pick up Advanced Warfare at midnight. But sadly, the team behind the achievement that is COD4 is no longer together and then Call of Duty franchise is lacking in creativity because of it (do we have three future warfare Call of Duty franchises now?). And while much of COD's initial 2007 audience might not want anything to do with what Call of Duty is now, Call of Duty is a piece of pop culture. It's bigger than videogames. How many non-Nintendo franchises can say that? COD4's influence is strong even today and my love for it is also still strong. I wish I could play it with my 2007 friends one last time.

Favorite memory: First playing this game at a friend's house. I was instantly hooked and decided to buy a PS3 for it. But there was a problem (more on that next blog ;))

11. Fallout: New Vegas

2010

Obsidian Entertainment/Bethesda Softworks

Action RPG

Oh Fallout, how I love you. Seriously, there isn't a pair of games that I adore more than Fallout 3 and New Vegas besides the Jak & Daxter series, which is an untouchable favorite. And if Fallout: New Vegas wasn't so badly infested with bugs and glitches, it would rank right next to or even ahead of Fallout 3, which won't appear on my list any time soon. The folks at Obsidian took Bethesda's brilliant code and design and did their own thing with it in the form a Fallout game set in the Mojave Desert. This open world atmosphere is filled with intrigue and is by far the most interesting I've ever explored in a video game. Nothing's more interesting in a videogame to me than coming across a random house or well or shack or cave, dealing with its inhabitants in a variety of ways, and learning of the place's story. Some stories are funny, others hauntingly sad. Then, there's the quests, which send you all over the game world as you deal with many different factions that hold very different values and beliefs of what the world's future after the one day nuclear war should be. And it's all up to you. You aren't forced to do a damn thing in this game. Want to side with the NCR and play boyscout? Go for it. Want to condone the sick ways of Caesar's Legion? All the power to you. Want to kill and ransack everything you meet? You're harsh, but this game will allow you to do so. You can kill any character at any point in this game and just have to deal with the consequences. I have my own experiences in this game with Rex the cyborg dog and Boone the bitter soldier that I hold dearly. It sound crazy, but I really do cherish this game's memories dearly.

Favorite memory: With Boone and Rex, I unknowingly wound up at Caesar's island base with the complete Legion army (including Caesar himself) attacking me on arrival. The three of us wiped the entire base out. It took every last stimpack and bullet to do so. This was somewhat early on in the game so I was instantly worried that I messed the whole game up. Nope, my adventure just continued, even with the main antagonist dead.

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Sorry if this post was a bit messy, I just have so much to say about these games now. I love them all :P Next up is the start of my top ten, which I'm still ordering. They include my favorite FPS, a bit of a cheat selection, one of the PS3's best exclusives, one of the best games based on a license, and a game that I think is often criminally overlooked. Thanks for reading and please comment :)

Top 35 PS3 Games - Part IV

We're at the halfway point on my Top 35 favorite PlayStation 3 games countdown. From here on, there are only great games that were very difficult for me to rank. I actually cannot believe that that numbers 18-16 failed to land a spot in my top 15. Here's the list so far:

35. LittleBigPlanet

34. Dishonored

33. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

32. Far Cry 3

31. Grand Theft Auto V

30. MLB 13: The Show

29. Call of Duty: World at War

28. Assassin's Creed III

27. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

26. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

25. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time

24. Infamous

23. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

22. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

21. Infamous 2

20. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

2007

Developer/Publisher: Naughty Dog/Sony CE

Genre: Action/Adventure

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is the worst game that Naughty Dog has released since the days of the PlayStation 1 (not counting the kart racers). That is saying something about the developer seeing that Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is a must-play PS3 classic. And not only was Uncharted the first truly impressive PS3 game, it is one of the most important games in the PS3's library as far as being influential goes. It brought the cinematic action, Indiana Jones-esque adventure, and breath-taking set pieces of a Hollywood blockbuster to video games. More importantly, it did so carefully enough that Uncharted still has the engaging, hands-on fun that Hollywood blockbusters can't offer. Whenever I play it (the Uncharted series is a blast to replay again and again), I can't help but feel like I'm on an adventure myself, maybe more-so than any other game on this countdown except maybe a couple RPGs. A crucial part of creating a good narrative adventure (movie or video game) is having the audience care about the characters taking part in the adventure. In Uncharted's case, Naughty Dog created three iconic characters in Nathan Drake, Elena Fisher, and Victor "Goddamn" Sullivan. All three of which may be Hollywood stereotypes, but their back-and-forth lines throughout the game make them anything but ordinary and mundane. From a gameplay standpoint, Uncharted is made fun to play though the game's unique mix of third person shooting, melee slugging, and inventive platforming. There's a lot to love about Uncharted that only got better as the series went on.

Favorite memory: First getting to play as Drake in the jungle after his failed parachuting escape from a crashing plane. At the time, I had never played anything similar.

19. Bioshock Infinite

2013

Irrational Games/2k Games

First-Person Shooter

Probably one of the more controversial, "love it or hate it" games on the list, but as I recall playing Infinite, I loved every minute of it. There are games that you complete by picking at them here and there, saying, "I guess I should finish this game", and then there are games that you cannot wait to play again between sittings. Bioshock Infinite is certainly the latter for me. It's riveting plot kept me guessing and hanging on every moment while the combat was simple but fun. The only thing that keeps Infinite from being a top 10 game for me is that the two elements do not compliment one another. It's almost like, "travel this path in the giant connected world (you literally step, fly, or hang-slide every inch of this game from start to finish in first-person without a single cutscene), shoot these guys, experience a crazy set-piece action scene, and then experience the story." Especially for a game that lets you look and act first-person through every dramatic scene, it was a missed opportunity to not let the combat have a purpose in the plot. But that's really my only complaint. Infinite may be the most technically flawless game that I've ever played. There wasn't a single glitch I ever encountered during my playthrough. What really makes Bioshock Infinite an exceptional game is its level design and atmosphere. As with the first two Bioshock games, every square inch of the game world is extremely detailed and full of mystery. Maybe my favorite parts in the game weren't the ones where Booker was shooting everything in sight but rather carefully exploring the floating city of Columbia, taking in all of its sights and discovering its mysteries. There isn't a modest part about Bioshock Infinite. Irrational Games was one of the best game developers in the business by the time Infinite came out and they were not afraid to boast about it through their game. And seeing as this was the last Irrational game, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Favorite memory: The mind-blowing ending. I sat through the entire line of credits just thinking about it. It's a brilliant ending, really.

GOTY Awards to its name: Best Shooter 2013, Best Atmosphere 2013, Best Voice Performance (Troy Baker as Booker DeWitt & other roles) 2013

18. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

2008

Kojima Productions/Konami

Action/Adventure

From one controversial game to another. MGS4 is certainly an odd game. Its stealth-based, boss fight drenched gameplay is absolutely great. Then, infamously, there are the sometimes 30+ minute long cutscenes. I certainly scratched my head a few times when I had to watch some kid cook eggs for like the fifth time in the game, but in the end, these custscenes are mostly immovable from the full game experience, which I think was 'once in a generation'. Each cutscene built character and continued to tell the plot of a very old Solid Snake on his final mission. And what a mission it was. As mentioned before, the stealth gameplay is great: just what you would expect from a Kojima MGS game. The other great gameplay aspect were the sometimes extremely difficult boss-fights in the game. Seriously. Vamp. Screaming Mantis. Crying Wolf. RAY. This game holds some of the best boss fights I've ever played. And since they were so rare across the the PS3/360 generation, extra points go to Kojima for proving that boss fights aren't just a retro gimmick. What we thought was the last MGS game was innovative, nostalgic, weird, and fitting. Everything you would expect from the series. (Side note: MGSV looks incredible)

Favorite memory: The ending. Tears were shed.

17. Bioshock

2007

Irrational Games/2k Games

FPS

I originally had Bioshock inside my top ten for this list. It's an outstanding game, but it has too many faults that restrain it for me. Its final 2 hours are a disappointing mess, it hasn't held up as well over the years as you'd might think, and it simply doesn't mean as much to me as it may to others. Do not get me wrong though, Bioshock is a fantastic game. It's an influential game in that it changed the way stories were told in video games. It leaves cutscenes to movies, and instead has the player trek through the game world completely oblivious as to what's around every corner in both the underwater city and the plot. All in first person. When a big moment happens, you experience it through the eyes of the character. It's not the first time it happened in a game, but it was never done as well and as inventively before, with such brilliant writing at its core. The star of this game isn't its innovative FPS combat, but rather the world of Rapture that you explore. Through masterful level design and a unique art style, Rapture offers a creepy, cool atmosphere open for exploration and discovery. Only the Batman: Arkham games rival Bioshock's atmosphere and level of detail.

Favorite memory: The Sander Cohen encounters.

16. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

2013

Level-5 & Studio Ghibli/Namco Bandai

RPG

Sadly, the only JRPG from last generation even worth mentioning. However, with Ni no Kuni, we got probably the best true JRPG since the genre's glory days on the original PlayStation. With its unexpected success even in the west, we may just see a renaissance of JRPGs very soon if we're not in one already. Playing this game (I'm still playing it which might be keeping it a bit low on this list) is really like nothing else. It's best described as a playable Studio Ghibli movie with classic JRPG gameplay of turn based combat and exploration. This means a lot to me personally, since JRPGs and Studio Ghibli (along with Dragon Ball/Z, Pokemon, & Harry Potter) brought my childhood a sense of wonder and magic. All five (none of which are American by the way, as I am) influenced my imagination as a child. When not watching, playing, reading, I would be outside with friends or family or by myself playing outside in nature, having our/my own adventures. It made my childhood special. With Ni no Kuni, that same sense of imagination and wonder lives on and I get to experience it all over again. Even the simple fetch tasks in villages brings back countless childhood memories, just as a Studio Ghibli movie would. Personal meaning behind, Ni no Kuni has a very touching story full with colorful characters that I won't forget. And the amount of content in this game is ridiculous. Even at 80ish hours in, there is still so much content. And all of it is fun and inventive, not just a retro throwback. Ni no Kuni is a very different game than most of the games on this list and I love it for that.

Favorite memory: First playing the game. I was amazed with its beauty; even in 3D, Ghibli's influential art design comes to life.

GOTY Awards to its name: Runner-up GOTY 2013, Best RPG 2013, Best Soundtrack 2013, Best Graphics (Artistic) 2013

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I told you it was nothing but top-tier games and personal favorites from here on out :P I still can't believe Bioshock, MGS4, & Ni no Kuni didn't place higher. But there is just no way that they could have. Keep a look out for Part V soon. It includes two of my favorite military FPSs that gave me days of hours of fun, a game that marked a turning point in a still popular franchise, one of the most bug-filled games that I ever played (but put up with because it otherwise would be in my top 5), and a game that really wasn't like anything before it. If I don't before next Friday, have a safe and happy Halloween! Thanks for reading and please comment :)

- Dylan

Top 35 PS3 Games - Part III

It's been a while (commuting college student grind), but here is part three (of seven) of my latest list that counts down my 35 favorite PlayStation 3 games.

Here is the list so far:

35. LittleBigPlanet

34. Dishonored

33. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

32. Far Cry 3

31. Grand Theft Auto V

30. MLB 13: The Show

29. Call of Duty: World at War

28. Assassin's Creed III

27. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

26. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

25. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time

2009

Developer/Publisher: Insomniac Games/Sony CE

Genre: Platformer, Action/Adventure

Ratchet & Clank, unlike my favorite Sony platformer duo Jak & Daxter, made the jump from the PlayStation 2 to the PlayStation 3. Unfortunately for Sony and Insomniac, everyone's favorite Lombax and robot pairing never achieved the same level of popularity it had on the PS2. This is especially a shame because not only would ACiT be the last major R&C release, but it was also the best, in my opinion. The series' quirky tone and crazy shooter/platforming gameplay was finally met with amazing art design, absolutely brilliant level design, and a great story that concludes the Future trilogy. What further sets the game apart from the older R&C titles is just how varied the gameplay is. In ACiT, it isn't just get from A to B to C by using all sorts of funky guns. You get to play as Clank in mind-bending puzzle challenges, explore the galaxy in Ratchet's space ship, zoom around large worlds with rocket boots, compete for medals in challenging arena matches, and who could forget the My Blaster Runs Hot mini-game?

Favorite Memory: The secret final level that had plenty of nods to the history of Ratchet & Clank had me emotional with all sorts of nostalgia. I also really liked the secret final boss fights that brought back villains from the past. Both were such treats that topped off an excellent game.

24. Infamous

2009

Sucker Punch/Sony CE

Action/Adventure

From one great 2009 PS3 exclusive to another (Uncharted 2 also released in 2009!). I remember being really down on Infamous leading up to its release. The graphics looked dull and I thought Sucker Punch bit off more than they could chew by entering the open world sandbox genre after two disappointing Sly Cooper sequels. When my brother bought it for me on my birthday, I was instantly proved wrong. There wasn't anything like Infamous at the time, making it an innovator. You control a man with lightning at his finger tips and the ability to scale the walls of skyscrapers. But the kick was that the game didn't tell you to be a hero in a rotting city. It left the choice of heroism or infamy up to the player. You could use your powers to save Empire City or leave the city dying in your path. The black and white karma choices were boring by the time Infamous: Second Son came out, but at the time, the sense of choice and living with the results of your choice was just as empowering as Cole McGrath's super powers. The game also came with a lengthy, heavy-hitting story.

Favorite memory: Blast shards. Oh god. There were 100+ of these tiny collectibles that you had to track down one by one for the 'infamous' BRONZE trophy. And it wasn't like the game's sequels that pointed you exactly where to go. No, you had to wander around the entire HUGE map searching high and low for each individual blue blast shard. The only help you received was by pressing in L3 (or R3, I can't remember) that would tell you on the mini map if you were almost literally on top of one. I found all but one shard without resorting to any online guide. Then, I lost my mind. After searching randomly for hours, I covered every inch of the map rapidly pressing L3 trying to find the damn thing. Eventually, enough was enough. I printed out colorful, unofficial maps that revealed every blast shard location, marked with a blue dot. I went to each and every dot in search of the one I was missing. I crossed out every single one before swearing that the game was glitched after probably 10+ hours looking for a single blast shard. So, I put the game away for over a year. One day, I threw in Infamous just to mess around in the open world. I found the damn thing by accident on a broken pier far into the ocean (colored blue on the maps I printed out). Trophy unlocked. Mission accomplished.

23. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

2006

Raven Software/Activision

Action RPG

A huge roster of Marvel comic book characters. Beat-em up gameplay. RPG elements. These three factors combined in excellent fashion to make the best Marvel game ever made. Almost every Marvel character imaginable, ranging from Spider-Man to Thor to MODOK to Enchantress to The Vision, is either a unique playable character, a boss fight, or a character that you can have conversations with, referencing their Marvel lore. The RPG elements and beat-em up gameplay complimented each other perfectly and were both very deep. You could even wear one of four different outfits for each character and match up different characters to form classic teams like The Avengers. What further made MUA (in my opinion) the PS3's best launch game is its well thought out story that had you travelling to different famous Marvel worlds such as Mandarin's Palace, Valhalla, and Tony Stark's pent house. It's the Marvel game to end all Marvel games. Literally. The sequel was awful.

Favorite memory: Talking to different characters in the different headquarters gave the game an interesting backbone. It also helped me get into Marvel lore which is currently paying off in all of these great Avengers movies.

22. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

2011

Edios Montreal/Square Enix

FPS, Action RPG

Deus Ex: HR is one of those games from last generation that is often forgotten despite being one of the greats. I've written three different paragraphs trying to back up its spot on my list, but the thing is, DXHR is such a complex game with many elements that all combine to make it great. So I thought it would be fitting to list them individually:

- One of the greatest stories ever told in a video game

- Complete freedom of choice as to how you clear levels. You can try (and likely fail) at shooting up everything, stealthily take out each enemy in a variety of badass ways, or even clear through the game without killing anybody (excluding boss fights, which are all awesome).

- RPG elements that let you customize and enhance your character, catering to how you wish to play

- A truly memorable, mostly open game world that includes hub worlds of futuristic versions of China and Detroit.

- Stunning art design. I can't imagine the game without its architecture and shades of gold.

- One of the best soundtracks in a video game, ever.

Favorite memory: Exploring the hub worlds of Detroit and China was especially memorable. Every alley, building, and room of the two cities had different puzzles to solve in order to receive credits and items, complete side missions, and learn more about the interesting game world. I remember not having the hack skill high enough to unlock a door to a fence that was protecting a building. So I stacked up different cardboard boxes in a stair pattern to vault over it. Cheating, maybe. But it was so worth it.

21. Infamous 2

2011

Sucker Punch/Sony CE

Action/Adventure

In my opinion, Infamous 2 is the best game in the series of three. It kept the soul of its predecessor but made it a lot more fun and exciting. I think a lot of that has to do with its setting, a rip-off of New Orleans. Where Empire City was cool in its dirty, dark way, the spooky atmosphere of New Marais is more exciting and features an open world that is packed with variety and activities. Outside of its setting, Infamous 2 improved by having more powerful gameplay. With each new power, you felt more in charge and doors opened that made playing the game more fun (much unlike Second Son). Where it matched the original game, was having an outstanding story that really pulled you into the fictional world to make you care about Cole, Zeke, Kuo, Nix, and the rest of the character cast. Most importantly, this superhero game felt like a superhero game. It wasn't like its lame sequel (Second Son) that tried too hard to be realistic. It was fun. It was flashy. It was exciting. It was everything I've ever wanted from Infamous.

Favorite memory: Both the good and evil endings. I played through both and was destroyed emotionally each time.

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Sorry if the paragraph that was supposed to praise Infamous 2 sounded more like a Infamous: Second Son rant. I was just so disappointed by that game. It traded the soul and heart of Infamous for shiny graphics and tech. You could really tell Sucker Punch made the game look good first, and then tried to throw in a half-assed story and boring side activities. Bummer. Anyhow, I am getting really antsy about finally playing a great PS4 game. I have some faith in Assassin's Creed: Unity but that series has such an identity crisis going on that I don't know what to actually expect. I hope its "going back to its roots" approach is accurate and not just a PR thing. Also, with how Ubisoft greatly downgraded Watch Dogs, I am paying little attention to how amazing they are making the game look. The tech parity between PS4 and XB1 has me especially nervous.

If the game doesn't turn out, at least we'll have 2015 with The Witcher 3 and Arkham Knight! I am so excited for each. Currently, I just started my second season in Madden NFL 15 and I just started playing Dead Space for the first time (just in time for Halloween). That's what I'm playing at the moment. How about y'all?

Thanks for reading and please comment :)

- Dylan

Top 35 Favorite PS3 Games - Part II

Time for the second part of my blog series that counts down my 35(!) favorite PlayStation 3 games. To catch up on the list and see my complicated list of rules and restrictions, here's a link to Part 1:

http://www.gamespot.com/profile/dylan417/blog/top-35-favorite-ps3-games-part-i/26062327/#livefyre

Now, for Part II. Part II contains my all-time favorite co-op game, two sequels of the same franchise, the lone sports game on the list, and one of my favorite licensed video games. Here's the list so far:

35. LittleBigPlanet

34. Dishonored

33. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

32. Far Cry 3

31. Grand Theft Auto V

30. MLB 13: The Show

2013

Developer/Publisher: SCE San Diego/SCE

Genre: Sports (Baseball)

While I am a shameless Madden NFL addict (every game, week 1 since 2005), I do admit that the series rarely innovates and is easily the lamest annual installment franchise around. That is not and has never been the case with MLB: The Show. Ever since 2006, the single team of Sony San Diego has continually innovated and constantly improved their Major League Baseball licensed series. Choosing from 2008, 2010-2013 was no easy task as far as which installment was my favorite, but I feel that MLB 13: The Show in particular found the perfect balance between fun and challenging/arcade-ish and realistic. The authenticity of the series (especially) is amazing and I wish every sports game could come close to matching it. Baseballs bounce in the outfield the way they should. Where you hit the ball on your player's bat is relative to where the ball ends up in the field. Players from Derek Jeter to Denard Span to Pat Neshek are superbly replicated in the series complete with their batting/pitching style, tendencies, and facial expressions. And believe it or not, the three play-by-play commentators never get old and repetitive; they sound authentic. On top of it all, the series packs two game modes that offer hours on hours of baseball. Both the actual gameplay and making managerial decisions like signing free agents, making trades, setting lineups, etc. It's a series that truly captures every detail of baseball and the timeless tradition that it carries.

Favorite Memory: Having a late game comeback as the New York Yankees in my season mode. I overcame a three-run deficit and earned a win as a relief pitcher in one late inning. Let's just say the signing of Brian Wilson (not the Beach Boy) paid off. What a rush.

Archived GOTY Awards To Its Name: As a series, Best Sports Game 2010, 2011, 2013

29. Call of Duty: World at War

2008

Treyarch/Activision

Military FPS

WAW (or COD5 as me and my friends called it back in the good old days; sh*t, this game is 6 years old) is a game that I learned to love. After all, who wanted to go back to World War II after experiencing modern warfare? Well, now that I look back at it, it is my second favorite Call of Duty game of all-time, only behind the legendary COD4. There is something compelling about using single shot rifles instead of Ak-47s and SCARs. There is more of an adrenaline rush but oddly less of a mayhem scramble. You simply cannot play WAW the same way as you played COD4. That takes balls from Activision's/Treyarch's end. Thankfully, it paid off for them. They made perhaps the last and by far the best WWII campaign to date with unforgettable moments that didn't just copy what COD4 did. On the competitive multiplayer side, it was certainly challenging given the weapons and perks that you had to deal with. But once you got past the learning curve, you would find WAW to be refreshing and unique despite carrying over COD4's basic features. But where World at War truly shines and makes the game unforgettable is its cooperative multiplayer mode known only as Nazi Zombies. At first a fun little reward for beating the game, Nazi Zombies became a pop culture phenomenon that inspired actually great DLC (who could forget the asylum or the swamp house!?) and revolutionized the zombie survival genre. This mode was an addictive adrenaline rush that I couldn't put down.

Favorite Memory: In the deep rounds of Nazi Zombies, all three of my teammates were down after a 2+ hour match. It was just me vs well over 15 zombies. I was the last hope to keep the game going. I mowed each zombie down one by one and kept the fun going for what felt like an entire night of zombie carnage. Unforgettable fun that I didn't think would ever be matched by a co-op video game (until Red Dead Redemption).

28. Assassin's Creed III

2012

Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

Action/Adventure

One of the PS3's more controversial games in terms of love it/hate it, ACIII is certainly a game that I will not soon forget. After all, behind maybe Batman: Arkham City, there wasn't a game that I was dying to play in anticipation more than ACIII. I am a huge fan of colonial American history and the war for American Independence. To me, there isn't a more fascinating time period throughout history. So I was always begging for a game set during it and when Ubisoft announced that their next game in their historical series would have the main character interact with George Washington, Sam Adams, Benedict Arnold, etc., I freaked out. It all seemed too perfect to be true. Well, it kind of was. While it is set in the time period and while the character does encounter historical fugures/locations/events galore, that is all he does is encounter this time period. Connor does not "ignite the revolution" as the advertising displayed, the revolution (and the Templar/Assassin war) just happens in the background during his personal quest. I enjoyed Connor's story (I wrote a lengthy blog on that topic in the past), but I did feel cheated by Ubisoft. That, combined with the game's many bugs and its extreme lack of player choice during stealth missions are what keeps this game from being higher. But there is so much to love about ACIII. It captures Colonial America BEAUTIFULLY and authentically. The hand-to-hand combat is great. The tree-climbing free-running is exhilarating. The huge open world game map is packed with activities to do. And the biggest surprise, the naval gameplay was a smash hit that inspired a great pirate game that I only left off the list because of its superior PS4 version which I played over the PS3 version. ACIII has its flaws that keeps it well out of my top ten (would have been otherwise), but it still has a lot to love.

Favorite Memory: Exploring the lovely frontier and doing EVERYTHING in it.

GOTY Awards: Game of the Year 2012, Badass 2012 - Connor, Best Surprise 2012 - naval gameplay, Best Atmosphere 2012, Best Graphics (Realistic) 2012, Best Voiceover 2012 - Noah Watts as Connor, Best Action/Adventure 2012

27. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

2010

Traveller's Tales/Warner Bros. IE

Action/Adventure

I am a giant Potter nerd. I've read the books again and again and I re-watch my blu-ray collection every year. It's a franchise that ruled my childhood alongside Batman and Dragon Ball Z. HP, alongside Spirited Away, takes credit for giving my childhood magic, creativity, and imagination. But what makes Harry Potter so special to me and my entire 90s kid generation is that it grew up with me until the final movie release a few years back. Needless to say, I always wanted a great videogame set in the wizarding world. While I hope a Hogwarts RPG is still on its way, LEGO HP is the best we've got. And it is great. Set in an almost open world of Hogwarts and its surrounding environments including Hogsmeade and the Forbidden Forest, you play through Harry, Ron and Hermione's first four years of adventure. It captures the magic of Hogwarts and their adventure completely. It isn't a lazy cash grab but rather a faithful celebration of Harry Potter for fans of any age to enjoy. It is simple and fun to play through, but it is the mass collecting that makes the game addictive and consuming. What is was really surprised with was how the HP story was told without words and while lightening the series' darker moments. It's faithful but makes its own fun by being genuinely funny. It may be impossible to understand for people who have never read or watched the series (who are you?), but for Harry Potter fans of any age, LEGO Harry Potter is a treasure.

Memory: Exploring Hogwarts' open world and collecting everything. Finding/unlocking character studs was my favorite.

GOTY Awards: Best Kid-Friendly Game 2010

26. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

2010

Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

Action/Adventure

In my opinion, this is the best AC game since Assassin's Creed II, which will have its place high up on this list. It builds upon Ezio's initial adventure without changing the formula. That said, it isn't just simply a Part II. ACB introduced the recruitment of Assassins to assist Ezio on his journey and a smart and unique multiplayer mode that didn't feel like a lame add-on. ACB of course takes place in Rome and its surrounding areas, complete with everything you would expect from the prestigious setting including the Coliseum, which is 100% interactive to climb. Riding along the Roman countryside on horseback was a delight as Ezio became a veteran Assassin fulfilling his mission started in ACII. In terms of gameplay, Brotherhood brought largely superior melee combat and perfected the stealth combat to near perfection. In fact, in my opinion, Brotherhood is as good as AC got with stealth gameplay before throwing it away with Revelations, III, and Black Flag. Although, it does look to be making a grand return in Unity, which I am really excited for.

Favorite Memory: The game's cinematic, hectic ending was very well done and was perhaps the high point in the Ezio trilogy. Overall, I had a hard time putting the controller down until Ezio's main story completed.

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That's it for Part II. The next part includes three PlayStation 3 exclusives, a 2011 gem that is often overlooked, and three of the best superhero games ever made. Then after that, it's on to the 9.5's and 10's. I can not tell you how hard it was to order those. Yikes. What's up with you all and any? Enjoying the news from TGS so far? What games are you playing? Personally, I had to pick my jaw off of the floor after watching the Final Fantasy XV and Metal Gear Solid V demos. As to what I'm playing, mostly Madden 15 and a few PS3 games I never got around to beating. Namely, Sly Cooper 4, Ni no Kuni (there is no end to this game and I love it), and Fez. In honor of Jak 3's upcoming 10th anniversary, I am thinking about replaying the Jak & Daxter HD Collection. If I find the time in the busy life of a commuting college student. Thanks for reading and please comment :)

Go Buffalo Bills.

- Dylan

Top 35 Favorite PS3 Games - Part I

The PlayStation 4 is on shelves and in homes. And while a few big upcoming games are only coming to the older generation (Kingdom Hearts 2.5, Persona 5, Assassin's Creed: Rogue), it's time to look back at the PlayStation 3 and its generation. Character platformers became rare, multiplayer shooters became pop culture forces, RPGs came back in a major way, and open world games became common. Gaming memories were made online with friends, late night trophy hunts drove us crazy, graphics became photo realistic and artistically beautiful, and storytelling in video games had a renaissance. It's the generation that changed gaming forever. Here are my 35 favorite PS3 games:

Here are some rules/guidelines:

- Games on the list must have been released on the PS3 before any other Sony platform and must be first released on a console from this generation (disqualifying "HD Collections" and "PS/PS2 Classics") [The one exception is any game that launched on the PS3 that previously existed on an older console.

- If a game released on the PS4 during the PS4's launch or after, it is disqualified.

- Games are based solely on their PlayStation 3 version, so don't expect to see Skyrim.

- This list does not take into account Game of the Year/Ultimate editions.

- Any annual sports game (Madden, FIFA, etc.) is represented by the best game in the series.

- DLC (including standalone spinoffs like Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon) are unaccounted for.

- Remakes are disqualified.

On to part one of the list:

35. LittleBigPlanet

2008

Developer/Publisher: Media Molecule/Sony CE

Genre: Puzzle/Platformer

LBP is a game that I fell in love with shortly after the infamous PSN outage of 2011, when the game was offered for free as an apology gift from Sony alongside a few other titles. From the tutorial level, it is undeniably charming and happy with a backbone of wonderfully innovative game engineering. But do not let the cuteness of Sackboy confuse you, LBP is a challenging game that requires perfect timing and some out-of-the-box thinking. Its Play, Create, Share feature is its contribution to gaming by letting players create levels and then share them with the online community to play. LBP will also be remembered for its catchy soundtrack that perfectly captures the spirit of the game.

Favorite Memory: After a terrible couple of days (2010 and 2011 were hard years for me personally), the tutorial level of LBP put a big, uplifting smile on my face.

34. Dishonored

2012

Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks

Action/Adventure

In a year full of sequels and franchises, Dishonored stood out as not only the best new IP that year, but one of the best games that year. The team that created the eerie atmosphere of Bioshock 2 broke out with this stealth-based first-person action adventure that put you under the mask of Corvo, a royal bodyguard who was wrongfully framed for the murder of a secluded city's beloved empress. Corvo then seeks revenge on the true conspirators in the bleak, pandemic aftermath. Dishonored packs a unique, gothic art design that compliments the game's creepy atmosphere and tone. In terms of gameplay, few games do stealth gameplay better than Dishonored thanks to the game's tight controls and clever level design. Dishonored further stood out by offering its players freedom as to how they want to clear a level. Just be warned, the way you play changes the game world entirely.

Favorite memory: The masquerade ball is one of my favorite levels in any video game.

Archived GOTY Awards to its name: Best Innovation 2012, Best New IP 2012

33. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

2009

Infinity Ward/Activision

Military FPS

Certainly a controversial game (read up on the unfortunate Infinity Ward/Activision clash if you haven't), but a fun one that I sunk days of gameplay into online nonetheless. And while the game is often bashed for being a rather lame sequel to Call of Duty 4, MW2 offered tremendous value even for $60. It came packed with a full-throttle roller coaster of a campaign that is iconic today, a series of cooperative "spec-ops" missions, and an addictive, obsessive multiplayer component. I believe that this is the last great game in the still titan-strong Call of Duty franchise. The main reason I say this is because competitive multiplayer is only as good as its map design and weapon balance. This was the last Call of Duty to offer great, fluid maps and a steady balance of power between weapons.

Favorite memory: Experiencing my first nuke killstreak, which was on Wasteland as a sniper.

32. Far Cry 3

2012

Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

Action/Adventure FPS

2012 saw the glorious return to the presumed dead Far Cry franchise. It pleased old FC fans and welcomed many new ones such as myself with its action-packed open world, interesting characters, great FPS gameplay, and compelling story. The idea of this game is pretty frightening: a character named Jason Brody and his friends are captured during an island vacation. You play as Jason Brody, who sets himself free and becomes a crazed mass-murderer in search of revenge. At the end of the game (minor spoilers), Brody's reunited friends (and himself) feel scared about how he has become accustomed to killing. It's an idea that kind of makes fun of itself and similar games but also makes a statement. But all philosophy aside, the game featured an incredible open world filled with engaging activities, my favorite being taking down enemy outposts, where you had to methodically plan out your attack. Not that it mattered most of the time thanks to the unpredictable open world that featured deadly wildlife creatures that posed as wild cards.

Favorite memory: Every Vaas confrontation.

Archived GOTY awards: Runner-up GOTY 2012, Best Shooter 2012, Best Villain 2012 - Vaas Montenegro, Best Moment 2012 - Burning down Hoyt's weed plantation, Most-Improved Sequel 2012

31. Grand Theft Auto V

2013

Rockstar North/Rockstar Games

Action/Adventure

GTA V is a game that crushed sales records and helped GTA become a worldwide pop culture phenomenon yet again. I personally did not care for GTA IV. I thought that the game was extremely bland, somewhat boring, and featured bad controls. It was an oft-regarded 10/10 upon its release that simply does not hold up today. GTA V on the other hand, was responsible for bringing back the Vice City/San Andreas fun to GTA. Frankly put, the game's size is truly amazing. There is so much to optionally do that it is overwhelming. You could easily sink 200+ hours into the single player alone. I personally never even touched the multiplayer, but that features even more activities to take part in. What makes this GTA one solid experience is the absolutely perfect driving controls, which you will need because GTA V consists of a lot of driving from A to B. But here's the thing: it never gets boring thanks to the city of Los Santos that feels alive. Also alive are the game's main missions which are action-packed and feature multiple ways to get the job done. What makes this game truly special and unique is the game feature that lets you seamlessly switch between the three great characters of Trevor, Franklin, and Michael.

Favorite Memory: The first bank heist mission where you escape on bikes. It was a "holy sh*t" moment.

Archived GOTY Awards: Most Anticipated 2012 (tied), Best Innovation 2013, Most Improved Sequel 2013

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That concludes part I of VII of my Top 35 Favorite PS3 games countdown. It's a blog series that I've wanted to do for almost a year now, so it feels good to finally be sharing the list. As for what I've been up to in terms of video games, I finally just beat Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Infamous and MLB 14: The Show got in the way, but ACIV is definitely a game that I enjoyed playing. At times, the naval gameplay pissed me off and left me wanting more classic, on-foot AC. But I guess that's coming with Unity later on this year, which I am very excited for. One thing I noticed, and maybe it's because I played it over like five months, is that the characters got confusing. When a character was reintroduced and killed off, it seemed like it was meant to be a big deal but wasn't to me because I could vaguely remember them from the crowd of other characters. Overall, I liked the game quite a bit and would give it an 8.5/10. Oh, and I loved the ending and the mid-credits scene :) Part II should be up next week, so look for that. Thanks for reading and please comment :)

Videogame Music of the Day: Dishonored - Main Theme

- Dylan