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Comic-Con Trailers, Jurassic Knight, True Persona

It's been almost a month since my last blog. Since then, Comic-Con brought some new movie trailers, Jurassic World became one of the biggest movies of all-time, one of the most anticipated second seasons of a TV series premiered, Batman: Arkham Knight has finally been released into the wild, and I bought my first PS Vita game. I'll break them down and then likely disappear for another month. :P

Comic-Con Trailers

So Comic-Con has come and passed and honestly, I was left a bit underwhelmed. The lack of Marvel Studios didn't bother me (in fact I almost found it refreshing) and I think there's a lot to be excited about by DC Comics upcoming movies. Hell, I even think Fox impressed with Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse with the very little that was publicly shown or captured with a shaky bootleg camera. Honestly, I just disappointed with the comic book news. I rarely buy comics today compared to my usual monthly checklist of around 6 comics. They are expensive to collect and read when you count everything up. Plus, I'm getting tired of DC killing off all of my favorite characters at the most random times just for shock value attention before they revive them months later and re-brand characters. The only comic series that I try to keep up with these days is Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo's Batman run. I only have a couple issues missing in my almost complete collection from issue #1. I'm proud of it, but I think I'll stop at #50 unless things get interesting. Back on topic, nothing really caught my eye in terms of comic books at Comic-Con. Lastly, I was yet again disappointed with the severe lack of animated series. With the brilliant Legend of Korra over (even if you don't like Avatar: TLA, I highly recommend giving this series a shot) and Cartoon Network completely screwing over their once excellent DC animated lineup, there isn't an American animated series to be excited about besides Star Wars: Rebels, which had a great season two premiere episode/special by the way.

The two highlights of Comic-Con for me this year were DC Comics' two full-length movie trailers for "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and "Suicide Squad." I'm not one to judge movies by their trailer. For example, Cloud Atlas had an awesome trailer but the movie disappointed while Dawn of the Planet of the Apes had a weak trailer but went on to become one of my favorite movies in a year full of greats. I thought that Batman v Superman had a great trailer that offered plenty of fan service. I've always supported Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne and now I'm not looking like an idiot for doing so. I think Affleck looks like he's going to own both roles. I personally enjoyed Man of Steel quite a bit, and I'm glad this movie is maintaining the same dark, consequential tone. I think it's a perfect contrast to Marvel's universe of action/comedy hybrids that rarely move their overarching story forward. That's not to say that one is better than the other, I'm just saying that if DC Comics movies were cheery and bright with one-liners sprinkled about, I'd be upset. But not only would I be upset, I would be bored.

Speaking on Suicide Squad, I was always on the fence about this movie leading into Comic-Con. On one hand, I thought that the casting was interesting and the director choice of David Ayer made perfect sense for a movie focused on an ensemble cast. The trailer didn't 100% sell me (in terms of hype, don't get me wrong, I'll see this movie almost no matter what), but I am more excited for this movie then I was going into SDCC. It's incredibly dark, character-driven, and features some awesome shots that fit well with the overlapping music.

Jurassic World

I finally got around to seeing Jurassic World just yesterday. I really, really enjoyed this movie. I don't think it's near being perfect, but what it was was a completely entertaining popcorn flick. The special effects were some of the best I've seen since Rise of the Planet of the Apes thanks to a ton of practical use. The story of brothers bonding was a surprising treat that made it easy to relate to. Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Jake Johnson played their roles well and brought some laughs to the movie that I think will age well with the movie. The true star of this movie was the dinosaurs however. It's so cool to see dinosaurs popular again. Overall, I'd give it an 8/10. This movie deserves its success. A lot of care was put into it.

Batman: Arkham Knight

After taking my time with the main story, I've finally completed the main story and all of the side missions except for The Riddler. Man, I just don't know what to think of this game. I'll try to bullet the pros and cons:

+ The main story is one of the best Batman stories told.

+ The game rarely had straight-up cutscenes. The story was experienced through cinematic gameplay which made it immersive. A huge plus.

+ Some characters stole the spotlight. Written and voiced perfectly.

+ This game is by far the most technically sound PS4 game I have played yet. It works almost perfectly. The framerate is steady, the graphics are scarily good, and the gameplay is smooth.

+ Gotham City is incredibly detailed and well realized.

+ Batmobile. Chasing vehicles around the streets of Gotham is a thrill.

- Tankmobile. Holy **** does this game rely on the Tankmobile. The tank shoot-em-up gameplay is rarely fun.

- The lack of boss fights is strange and ultimately disappointing, leaving for some underwhelming conclusions. Colin Moriarty of Kinda Funny put it perfectly, it makes sense that Batman doesn't have a boss fight with all of his enemies because he is significantly better at combat than most villains. Catching a certain villain and having that be that makes sense. But with the Arkham series' pedigree of boss fights heading into this game, it's bizarre that it hardly has one.

- The total number of villains was underwhelmingly compact. I was left waiting for certain villains to show up. They didn't. And the villains they did include weren't well incorporated into the main story as Arkham City's were.

Overall, I'd give the game a 9/10. It was amazing with what it did right. I just wish that the Tankmobile was used significantly less and that more villains popped up. It's tough to rank Rocksteady's trilogy but I would say that Arkham Knight is the worst, which isn't to say that it's anywhere near bad. Arkham Asylum was probably the best game but had a major flaw with its ending. I like its isolated nature. Arkham City was flawless but just entirely different. Arkham Knight controls and looks the best and might have the best story, but has its deep flaws.

True Detective Season Two

It's ok. Well put together, nothing special. People who are saying that it's bad must not watch NBC or CBS very often.

Persona 4 Golden

When I bought my PS Vita for $200, I had a plan of never buying one game. With more than a year's worth of "free" PS Plus games saved and ready to download (and the collection steadily grows), I never really feel the need to go out and actually buy a game. But there is one game I've had my eye on for a while: Persona 4 Golden. I've never played a game in the series before but I've heard that it's one of the best JRPG's ever made and by far the best game the Vita has to offer. I saw it for $20 new at Gamespot and just had to pick it up. I'm five hours in and I already love it. Like, where has this game been in my life? It's like the opening of almost any JRPG (Kingdom Hearts II, Final Fantasy IX, Legend of Legaia, Ni no Kuni) but all the time. In some ways. It might be weird to say this, but I can already tell that it's going to be one of my favorite games. The music, the characters, the turn based combat, the exploration, the mystery. This game just the game I've been looking for for a long time. I can't stop playing it.


That's all for now. I don't know how much longer I'll be on the sight. Maybe I'm in a slump or maybe I'm just losing interest in blogging, but I'm at a loss of creativity right now. That, and I've been busy. We'll see. I've always wanted to end my long Gamespot journey with one last blog series followed by a goodbye. I'm just wondering what that blog series is going to be. We will see. Until then, thanks for reading and please comment :)

- Dylan

Post E3: Top 10 Games & Trailers

After a crazy five days, E3 2015 is history. After a relatively lame E3 2014 that left many top tier developers and franchises in the dark, I went into E3 2015 with very high expectations. I had a feeling that this E3 was going to special. Somehow, my expectations were exceeded. E3 2015 was probably favorite showing since I've started livestreaming going back to 2009. With seven official conferences in total, this was the most crowded E3 yet, and they have left no shortage of awesome games to look forward to. This blog wraps up my five day celebration of E3. I will list my personal top ten favorite/best games from the expo and list list my top five favorite trailers that debuted a new game. After this, it's a farewell to an awesome week in video game news for me. Then, the waiting begins until these games hit shelves.

Top Ten Games From E3 2015:

*The only rule is that the game must have shown off some form of gameplay. So, games like Mass Effect: Andromeda are excluded.*

1. Fallout 4

"Game of Show" awards are almost unfair this year. This particular game has been perhaps impatiently awaited upon for years. False rumor after false rumor and no-show after no-show have sunken hearts for what seems like ages. After years of silence from Bethesda Game Studios, Fallout 4 was finally announced a few days before E3 this year, confirming that it will be shown off during Bethesda Softworks' first ever E3 press conference. The game was shown extensively and was confirmed for a November 10, 2015 release date. Personally, I always had hope in my heart that the game was going to release this year, even going back to late last year. But even so, actually seeing the release date blew my mind. We are playing Fallout 4 THIS YEAR. I still can't comprehend that. It's my most anticipated game ever and I know I'm not alone in that regard. So yeah, Fallout 4 was finally revealed heavily and it looks incredible. BGS has made many improvements/changes to the game, but it still looks to have that unique Fallout feel to it. This was the game to excite me the most from E3 (which is saying something) but it was also perhaps the most technically impressive. The game looks great and it has a ridiculous amount of depth to it. I'm losing my mind over this game already.

2. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

I've always loved Uncharted, but calling it one of my favorite franchises never really occurred to me until I replayed the trilogy recently. The series' presentation is relatively unmatched. I don't mean just its cutscenes that take the controller out of your hands. In fact, the most dramatic parts of Uncharted are in its gameplay. The final chapter in Nathan Drake's journey is the one that I'm most excited about. Not just in terms of story (the story is still extremely vague at this point, which is good), but because of its game design. Naughty Dog is obviously carrying over its brilliant game design from what they created in The Last of Us. It was clear from the PSX 2014 demo, but it's even more apparent with its E3 2015 demo. The game is still linear, but it's not as scripted. Its gameplay looks scripted, but it isn't. Nothing was forcing the demo player to clear an area in an exact way. When Drake is jumping off a shack, punching a guy in the face and stealing his gun while its in midair, it looks like the game is telling you to do that. However, if the demo player would have gone around the shack, something else entirely could have happened. It's brilliant game design that I haven't seen from anyone but Naughty Dog. The part of the demo where Drake is driving (actually driving, it wasn't on rails) through the city, the demo player could have gone through any alley way or side street he wanted to, it still would have looked scripted. In a reality where dreams like Fallout 4 aren't at E3, Uncharted 4 totally deserves Best of Show.

3. Kingdom Hearts III

I had heavy doubts that Kingdom Hearts III was going to be at E3 this year. The vertical slices from two years ago looked very early. As if the actual game development had not even begun. This year, we got to see Kingdom Hearts III gameplay to a surprising extent. Plus, we got a mysterious part of a cutscene talking about the Keyblade Wars. We did not get any sort of release window from Square Enix, but we did get word on the first confirmed Disney world: Tangled. I think Tangled is a really good movie that often doesn't get the credit it deserves for igniting the second Disney renaissance, but it was kind of underwhelming to have it be the first world revealed. This makes me nervous that Pixar worlds will not be included in the game, but also happy that Star Wars and Marvel might not (Marvel and Star Wars would ruin the Disneyness). But even so, KH3's showing was unexpected and strong. The gameplay looks flashy, the animation looks neat, and hearing Goofy say "C'mon!" was chillingly nostalgic. Hopefully KH3 isn't as far away as it seemed a week ago. Early 2017 looks promising, late 2016 seems possible.

4. Horizon: Zero Dawn

With so many "4's" and "3's" and "2's" being excitedly thrown around at E3 this year, it was refreshing to see some new IP. In fact, I don't think this E3 would have been so exciting this year without such a strong showing of new IP. Microsoft had something brand new, Sony did, Ubisoft did, Square Enix did, and even EA did. The most exciting of all the new IP's debuted at E3 this year was Guerrilla Game's Horizon: Zero Dawn. GG is finally spreading its creative wings by letting go of Killzone. Their new directions is refreshing: a future where humans have left the earth to escape its mistakes in deadly technology that has struck back in many forms, including robotic dinosaurs. Only a small number of humans remain and it looks like the main character is a female archer. It's an awesome concept, but just as awesome was the gameplay demo that was shown during Sony's conference. It had moments of calm adventure and it had moments of going head on with a T-Rex-looking robot. It's an open world RPG from a veteran developer who has done linear FPS's. I've never seen a jump in genre as drastic as this, so it's certainly ambitious for them.

5. Star Wars: Battlefront

I was one of the few who was always excited for Battlefront, even when it was revealed to have no campaign. The original Battlefront games didn't really even have a campaign, and if they did, it was essentially just playing the games' different modes and maps in a predetermined order. Battlefront's demo/trailer did more than just assure me that Battlefront is going to be fine. In fact, this game looks better than I could have ever dreamed. I don't to get too far ahead of myself, but this is the Star Wars game I've wanted to play for a very long time. One that has the spirit of the original trilogy right down to the sparks from laser blasts, the classic sound effects, the epic but nostalgic presentation, to the exciting war gameplay. This was perhaps the best shooter demo/trailer I've ever seen at E3.

6. Unravel

Not everything at E3 this year was guns and swords. Unravel gets the "Valiant Hearts award" for a small indie-ish game coming out of nowhere and totally endearing me. In Unravel, we'll get to play as Yarny, a yarn doll who 2D-platforms around the real world at a small size, much like The Secret World of Arrietty. It came from the EA conference, believe it or not and was introduced and presented by a super-nervous but extremely passionate developer. It was a really heart-warming presentation that totally sold me. I'm very excited for Unravel and I'm happy that EA is taking chances by giving a spotlight to smaller games.

7. The Last Guardian

A common theme of E3 2015 was seeing games that we thought were only dreams a short time ago. After six long years, The Last Guardian was finally re-revealed for the PS4. It looks as ambitious and unique as it did in 2009, but now it looks even better thanks to the power the PS4 offers. We got to see the same two characters (the boy and his guardian griffin) climb over ruins once more. Personally, the similarity between the 2009 demo and this one was strangely too strong to have it in my top five, but the fact that this game is still alive and that so many internet memes are no longer valid is exciting. Hopefully if there's another PSX this year, we will see a different side of this game.

8. Cuphead

Microsoft surprised me with its conference this year. It was less bro-mans with guns and more creativity. There was still a lot of the former, but to see games like Cuphead get the spotlight and steal the show, it was refreshing to see. Honestly, having never owned and will likely never own an Xbox, I'm jealous that this game might never come to PlayStation or Nintendo. It's really the first time I've ever wanted an Xbox "exclusive" badly. The animation and art style this game cleverly displays is extraordinary. 2D platformers are coming back in a major, retro way, but this game really has my eye. It's like a playable, early 20th century cartoon.

9. Gears 4

I've always thought that Gears of War was an interesting series that I sometimes wish was replicated by PlayStation. Ever since the "Mad World" trailer that had me thinking of Jak 3's second act. But never has Gears looked this interesting. The demo that closed out Microsoft's strong conference showed the shooting and running, but it also had a downtime moment of exploring a creepily abandoned village that was leaking atmosphere. If Gears 4 relies less on the shooting and running for cover aspects we have come to expect from the series, I think Xbox One owners have a lot to look forward to. The dropping of "of War" in its title to just "Gears 4" could indicate that its new developer could be taking the series to new, interesting places with a more diverse tone.

10. Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness

If this were a list of best video game titles, this game would probably be at the top. All kidding aside, I have no history with Star Ocean. Its teaser reveal last year wasn't exciting for me, but seeing this game certainly has me intrigued. We are seeing a renaissance of JRPG's, a genre that pretty much skipped over most of last generation. This game was the best looking traditional JRPG at E3 this year. Running with a team of colorful characters around an interesting backdrop and facing intimidating enemies has me nostalgic of some of my favorite JRPG's on the PS1.


Top Five Trailers from E3 2015:

*I've limited this to only games that were at E3, but did not show off any gameplay*

1. Final Fantasy VII

Perhaps E3's biggest reveal and the moment people will remember E3 2015 by, I had no idea this trailer was for Final Fantasy VII until I saw Cloud's sword at the very end. Looking back it makes sense now. People have wanted a remake for this game desperately for over a decade. Final Fantasy IX is by far my favorite FF game, but FFVII is the game that I've also wanted to see remade from scratch. It has the best story, a game world and style that was way ahead of its time, and perhaps the series' best characters. A remake makes sense for Final Fantasy VII. I'm interested to see if the game maintains the original's battle system or if it looks to Final Fantasy XV for inspiration in gameplay. I'm sure hardcore fans of this game will pick it apart no matter what. This game has big names attached to it, but they still have a lot riding on their shoulders. Oh, and how cool was the music during this trailer?

2. Mass Effect: Andromeda

To be honest, I was a bit underwhelmed that we didn't see gameplay from the new Mass Effect. I was expecting a huge gameplay trailer and that this game would be the main attraction at EA's conference. Only seeing a teaser trailer like this after the weird documentary tease from last year's E3 was bizarre. But the trailer itself was neat. Humans being in another galaxy does not make any sense whatsoever given ME3's ending and ME lore, so I'm interested in where the story is going. However, I think going to a new galaxy is precisely what this series needed going forward. A brand new start. But it's going to take some very deep explanation.

3. Dishonored 2

Add this game to the list of me being underwhelmed because of the lack of gameplay. It's been three years since Dishonored came out and we only have a cinematic trailer for it. I've wanted this game for a while now and I'm surprised we've had to wait so long. But I can see why. This game is not a lazy sequel they can push out by reusing the first game's assets, even if everybody would have been fine with that. I'm sad that the original's unique art style seems to be gone in favor of a more realistic design. I loved the odd shapes and murky colors that almost looked cel-shaded. On a positive note (and who knows what the game will actually look like), the story setup is awesome. Apparently, you can play as Corvo, or the more interesting option, the little girl you protect to become queen in the first game, who's throne has been usurped by some count-looking oddball. It's an interesting concept, although it does follow Infamous: Second Son in only carrying over the "good ending" of its predecessor, or so it seems.

4. Recore

Again, Microsoft is stepping outside of their comfort zone to interest a wider audience who doesn't just want sports and soldiers. Recore is coming from some big names, one being a video game legend. The trailer is vague and who knows what the actual gameplay is going to be like in the end, but I'm very intrigued by this game.

5. Nier

One of Square Enix's many surprises at E3 this year, Nier is coming back in a new way. I never played the first game, but I remember the first game in some capacity. It wasn't hailed as a great game, but I guess it has become something of a cult classic. The trailer interested me and while it might turn out to be a game that does not appeal to me whatsoever, I'll be keeping my eye on it moving forward. This, and Project Setsuna.


I was originally going to rank the conferences too, but this blog got out of hand in terms of size :P. I might still rank them in a separate blog in the near future. I want to talk about Ubisoft and Nintendo, since both were completely absent from this "best of" blog. Let's just say that it was for good reason...

In other news, my favorite movie of all time finally released on blu-ray this week. Spirited Away. I just picked it up today and I'm really excited to finally watch it in HD. I was even more than willing to pay Disney's ridiculous blu-ray/DVD price for the first time in a long while.

I'm currently bouncing back and forth between The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and replaying Fallout 3. I am really digging Witcher, but I promised myself a long time ago that I would only play Fallout 3 for a second time when Fallout 4 is announced. I could not resist. I may go for the platinum trophy, if I'm feeling up to switching between saves and grinding. Or I might just play it naturally.

Thanks for reading and please comment with what your favorite games from E3 were. :)

- Dylan

Pre-E3: Bethesda & Square Enix

The finale to my three part "Pre-E3" blog series focuses on two of the biggest publishers in the videogame industry who are both separately holding their first ever E3 conferences. Both publishers are rookies as far as E3 press conferences go, so we have no idea what to expect. Both Bethesda and Square Enix are huge videogame publishers with impressive lists of owned IPs. So why is 2015 the year that both publishers hold their first ever pressers? Well, they have a lot to talk about. Both have previously announced games to give updates on as well as a few surprises to drop, hopefully.


Heading In: Bethesda is heading into their first E3 press conference with their chins high. It's their first time at the rodeo, but that doesn't mean that they are the little guy. 2014 was a huge year for Bethesda. In just one year, Bethesda successfully launched a new IP with The Evil Within, brilliantly re-introduced the classic franchise Wolfenstein with "The New Order," and launched The Elder Scrolls: Online for PC. Their first third of the year saw the release of the standalone DLC Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. By the time E3 comes around in a couple weeks, Bethesda will also have released the PS4 and XB1 versions of TES: Online. Their only two confirmed upcoming games are the Doom reboot and BattleCry, a free-to-play multiplayer game. As of June 2, Bethesda has finally officially hinted at a new installment to their Fallout series by tweeting a picture saying "Please stand by" in the style of Fallout's iconic loading screen and launching a website with a similar image counting down to 10:00 AM eastern time on June 3. This is almost certainly Fallout 4, which would point it to be a key highlight of their E3 conference, which is very exciting.

The Big Question: How big of a presence will Fallout have at Bethesda's conference? Doom and TES: Online are pretty big, but all eyes will be on Fallout on June 14, which will almost certainly be present. But to what extent? Will we actually get to see gameplay or will it just be a wickedly cool teaser trailer similar to Fallout 3's? Wednesday's reveal should give us some indication. In any case, I will have a big, stupid grin on my face.

2 Predictions:

- Fallout 4 is premiered with a cinematic trailer (its already been leaked that Guillermo del Torro's studio has made it) that blends into a short gameplay montage of its open world, updated V.A.T.S. mechanic, and hints at the main story.

- The Elder Scrolls: Online is focused on heavily. Bethesda put so much into this MMO of its most popular franchise to see it fail. It is not appealing to usual TES fans and that's a problem Bethesda will try to correct at E3.

2 Hopes:

- Dishonored II gets a reveal with a game demo as a huge surprise. Now, that would certainly jam pack Bethesda's conference with three big premieres and seems unlikely at this point, but with Fallout 4 likely being revealed before E3, their conference has to come with a surprise. A sequel to Dishonored would certainly be that surprise. I loved the first game. It would even be my retroactive "Game of the Year" from 2012 over Assassin's Creed III, which I originally gave it to before playing Dishonored. Dishonored was filled with innovative gameplay mechanics, a great story, a unique art style, and some of the best level design from last generation. I am dying to see what Arkane is going to do next with more experience, higher expectations, and better technology.

- Fallout 4 gets a 2015 release date. 2015 may seem crazy, but Bethesda typically releases their games in a hurry. Whereas some publishers reveal games too early and have to live up to multiple years of hype, Bethesda almost always follows up reveals with releases rather quickly. Fallout 3 came out a little more than a year after its reveal. Fallout New Vegas (although developed by Oblivion) came out about a year after its reveal. Skyrim was revealed with a release date less than a year away and hit that date ready to go. Fallout 4 has likely been in development since 2012, so it has to be very far along. This game has been waited on for a very long time and doesn't need a full year of marketing and promotion to build awareness/hype. I wouldn't be mad at a 2016 release window at all. I'm just happy we are (likely) finally getting more Fallout! :)


Square Enix

Heading In: Sqaure Enix is a huge, global publisher. They own many properties and have the resources to put out more than a handful of sizable games each and every year. The fact that this is their first E3 conference must mean they have a lot to show the entire world. Their pre-E3 2015/2014 games include Thief, Murdered: Soul Suspect, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, their Final Fantasy XIV MMO for PS4, as well as definitive/remastered/re-release editions of Tom Raider, Sleeping Dogs, Kingdom Hearts 2.5, Final Fantasy X/X-2, and Final Fantasy Type-O. Currently announced, upcoming games are Just Cause 3, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Kingdom Hearts III, Final Fantasy XV, Bravely Second, a new Star Ocean, and a remaster of Final Fantasy VII. Their plate is already full, so I would not expect any major reveals from them at E3 this year. Even with little room for surprises, SE's conference is still exciting with a large group of games to look forward to seeing and learning more of.

The Big Question: Will we see more Kingdom Hearts III? It's been a while since we've last seen anything about KHIII. We of course had that awesome reveal at Sony's E3 conference a couple years back and then that out-of-the-blue miniature demo shortly after. With the game now on the fast track, I would expect to see more soon but that seems to good to be true given that its predecessor came out 9 years and a full generation of consoles ago.

2 Predictions:

- Sleeping Dogs 2 is announced with a teaser trailer. The first game was a hit a couple years ago and its recent remaster for new-gen consoles managed to reach more hands. A sequel confirmation could be the surprise that SE's conference seems to be lacking.

- Final Fantasy XI gets a release window of Spring 2016 after an extensive demo that looks more similar to the E3 2013 trailer with a more urban setting.

2 Hopes:

- Kingdom Hearts III gets a lighthearted demo set in a new Disney world with Sora, Goofy, and Donald. Perhaps that world is Frozen. Also, it ends with a more dark, serious story trailer.

- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided gets a big demo with a 2015 release date. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is perhaps the most overlooked game of last generation looking back. It wasn't exactly a cult favorite in 2011, but it has since kind of been forgotten despite being a truly great game. Its reveal last month came as a shocker, and it was certainly a pleasing one. Rather than the lame iOS spin-off that followed Human Revolution, Mankind Divided looks like it's the sequel that fans have been asking for. Despite the massive Game Informer reveal, we have yet to really see the game in action. I would be shocked if it doesn't appear at E3, but I am hoping that it gets the spotlight it very much deserves. It's one of my most anticipated games.


Other games I'm looking forward to seeing at E3 that aren't directly affiliated with a publisher having their own conference:

- Mad Max - I loved Mad Max: Fury Road and would be interested in exploring more of that world. The Game Informer cover story about it looked interesting but the recent trailer was a bit underwhelming for me. If the game is set in an open world, it needs to differentiate itself from other open world games, namely Batman: Arkham Knight and Middle-Earth Shadow of Mordor, both of which sharing a similar combat style and the same publisher. It needs to have a driving element that is better utilized than Id Software's "Rage." I'm hoping to see a booth game demo.

- Call of Duty: Black Ops III - I haven't bought a COD anywhere near launch since 2011's Modern Warfare 3, which had a fitting conclusion of a campaign but a rather terrible multiplayer component. After playing MW3, the series that I once loved felt stale. Last year, I picked up Black Ops II new for $10 and enjoyed its multiplayer. But what really surprised me with that game as its cinematic campaign, which had a well told story and some awesome FPS gameplay. So if there's one developer who can truly get me back on board with Call of Duty, it's Treyarch with an extra year of development. I'm just hoping it doesn't look as confusing as Ghosts and Advanced Warfare.

- Mafia III - 2K Games has stated that they have an upcoming big AAA game in development. The studio behind the first two Mafia games has only put out a tennis simulator game since their 2010 hit Mafia II. Personally, I haven't gotten around to beating Mafia II yet and I'm unsure if I ever will because of how poorly it already holds up today compared to some of the technically superior open world games similar to it that have you driving around an urban environment. However, there is a lot of untapped potential that lies somewhere in that series. Mafia II had short moments of greatness. But it also had a ton of stale gangster cliches, an empty open world, and some pretty bad writing. I'd love to see this series take a third try and finally deliver that mobster game that I've wanted for so long. Perhaps setting the game in the 70's, 80's, or even the 90's would give the game a fresh taste while still able to make us nostalgic towards GoodFellas, The Sopranos, Scarface, The Godfather, etc.

- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain - I think I might be the only "gamer" not excited for MGSV. I've played and loved past MGS (not all of them) titles, but I can't help but feel this game is unnecessary. In my opinion, MGS4 should have ended MGS for good, or at least the main series. It was just the perfect finale. I have an understanding of who Big Boss is but I have literally no idea what in the hell is going on with the MGS story these days. Not that it's entirely important to know the lore to enjoy a game (I'm loving The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt with no previous Witcher experience), but this game seems so set on telling a cinematic story that I fear even a casual MGS fan like myself won't be able to appreciate it. Maybe after playing Ground Zeroes I will be more excited (it is free on PS Plus right now), but in all likelihood, E3 will have to win me over if it wants my $60 this September.

- Yooka-Laylee - I am so excited that cartoon style character 3D platformers are coming back. Growing up playing Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, Sly Cooper, Ape Escape, etc., I've been saddened to see the genre die outside of Nintendo consoles. With a team full of ex-Rare employees, this Kickstarter project looks like it's trying to revive the genre with heart. I'd like to see some gameplay at E3 this year.

- Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 - I'm excited to see one of my favorite game series from my childhood come back, but under a new team, does this game deserve the "THPS" title it holds? Hopefully E3 will answer that question with a big "yes." I'd love to get my Chad Muska on again.

- Batman: Arkham Knight - I guess I could sit through a new game demo, but I've already seen enough to know that this game is going to be awesome and that I'll pick it up day one. Warner Bros. has done such a nice job with keeping secrets left for the actual game and not promotion (Arkham City nearly spoiled every appearing character) heading into their launch month, I'd hate to be spoiled over say, the Court of Owls or Man-Bat appearing out of the blue. Maybe at E3 this year Rocksteady can finally sell me on the Batmobile making sense for a non-lethal Batman. :P

- Indies - After subscribing to PlayStation Plus and picking up a PlayStation Vita, I've really come to love indies. They can be played here or there whenever, don't require a whole lot of time, and have a very cheap price tag if they aren't for free on PS Plus. I'm excited to see more about Adrift, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, Wild, Below, Soma, The Witness, What Remains of Edith Finch, Mighty No. 9, and above all else Rime. I'm sure I'm forgetting about some smaller sized gems too, but I'm mostly excited to see new indies pop up from either veteran teams or fresh talent. It's an exciting time for "indie" games.

- New IPs! The most excited of them all (well, except for Fallout 4 or a sequel to Red Dead Redemption) is brand new, fresh game experiences. Personally, I'm dying for a cool samurai game. Maybe one that's inspired by Rurouni Kenshin but with a water color paint art style. I think that's my dream game now that I've already explored Gotham City, the Wild West, post-apocalyptic Boston, the pirate infested Caribbean, and 1940's/50's L.A. Well, either that or an open world RPG set in the wizarding world of Harry Potter...


Woohoo Fallout!!!!! That's all I can think about right now. I'm so ready! Thanks for reading and please comment with what you want to see from either Bethesda, Square Enix, or a publisher not holding their own conference at E3. :)

- Dylan

Pre-E3: EA, Ubisoft

Part 1 (if you missed it) focused on Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft.

Continuing my three part "Pre-E3" blog series that started a few days ago, part two will focus on two of the video game publishers that have become staples at E3: EA and Ubisoft. Both publishers are coming into E3 2015 with their own cases of negative public perception that branch back to their previous respective conferences at E3 2014.


Heading In: Last year at E3, EA had that bizarre series of developer documentaries which all basically went, "Hey guys, we don't have anything official to show you, but here's some concept art and some rough alpha footage, I guess." The conference was severely lacking and was met with harsh criticism, asking why the company even held a press conference if they had nothing to show. Outside of E3, EA actually had a pretty successful year. They launched a new IP in Titanfall, which was met well by critics and Xbox/PC owners. Their robust sports lineup sold well, including their first attempt at a UFC licensed game, a FIFA game that was powered by the popularity of the 2014 World Cup, and Madden NFL game that made some major, risky changes for the long-running series. EA's crown jewel last year was the cross-generation Dragon Age: Inquisition, which picked up many "Game of the Year" awards. EA's only major release this year so far is Battlefield: Hardline, which took the series out of the battlefields of war and into the streets of cops and robbers. The game was met with mixed reviews and solid opening sales. Outside of its usual lineup of annual sports games, EA is releasing a Star Wars: Battlefront reboot (developed by DICE) with a hard release date of November 17th to coincide with the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Both BioWare and EA Visceral are working on additional Star Wars games, that have remained secret for some time now. EA is also hard at work on new entries to their Mirror's Edge, Mass Effect, and Need for Speed series. Criterion is also working on a new, funky driving IP.

The Biggest Question: We know about Battlefront, but what other Star Wars games are in development over at EA? Both Visceral (Dead Space series) and BioWare (Mass Effect, Dragon Age, KOTOR) are working on new Star Wars games that remain a mystery. Both developers seem perfect for Star Wars. Visceral's Dead Space is one of the best sci-fi games ever made and the developer recently hired Uncharted writer/creator Amy Hennig. If any developer can deliver the next best thing to the cancelled Boba Fett game "1313," its Visceral. With BioWare, we have already seen them make one of the greatest Star Wars games of all-time in Knights of the Old Republic, but they have since made their own deep space sci-fi epic in the Mass Effect trilogy. Whether its another KOTOR game or a brand new series, there is little reason to doubt that it will be great.

2 Predictions:

- In order to calm down the fans upset/confused that Star Wars: Battlefront doesn't have a campaign, EA's conference will open with a single player demo of one of Battlefront's missions/battles, going against AI bots. After around 5 minutes, the single player will be joined by other players playing cooperatively and competitively for another 5-10 minutes. Battlefront will undoubtedly be EA's big game for the conference that they will be selling the hardest.

- No less than three celebrities/professional athletes show up to talk about EA's new sports lineup. Who will they be? Odell Beckham Jr.? Rory McIlroy? Drake? We will have to wait and see, but you can bet that it will be awkward.

2 Hopes:

- The new Mass Effect gets a decent-sized reveal. I think its bankable that EA will formally announce their new Mass Effect in some capacity, but I have doubt that it will be little more than a cinematic teaser. But one can hope. Remember when they showed off Mass Effect 3 by Shepard running away from the giant Thresher Maw? How cool would it be if something similar to that happened to either open or close the show?

- Need for Speed: Underground is announced and demoed. It's a reboot of everybody's favorite NFS series with fully customized cars, pretty visuals that include bright neon lights on rainy, dark city streets with minimal traffic. This is the Need for Speed that I think everybody wants, mainly because we had nothing like it last generation. It was the only NFS series not to get a reboot.


Heading In: Last year at E3, Ubisoft had a pretty robust lineup of new video games to show off including Assassin's Creed: Unity, The Division, Rainbow Six Seige, Far Cry 4, and The Crew. The only problem was that everyone watching the conference had a hard time believing what they were seeing. Just before E3 last year, Ubisoft's "Watch Dogs" came out after years of hype. This game won not only won "Game of Show" awards from E3 2013, but E3 2012 as well. In both instances, we were shown a beautiful look at the game's open world version of Chicago, complete with individually lit light bulbs and seemingly realistic wind physics. The footage looked absolutely gorgeous. However, the Watch Dogs game that they sold hardly resembled anything that was previously shown by Ubisoft. Comparison videos that brought forth discussions of false advertising went viral online and many questioned Ubisoft for what felt like the first time. Fall 2014 saw Ubisoft's name get dragged through the dirt again and again. Assassin's Creed Unity was met poorly by critics and fans alike. It felt rushed, overambitious, overwhelming, unnecessarily connected online, and broken. Far Cry 4 was met with lukewarm reception and suffered technical issues of its own. The Crew came out and is already being forgotten, despite being an MMO. But perhaps Ubisoft's worst offence last year was their use of microtransactions. Being constantly reminded in-game that you could unlock anything in the game early if you pay for it with real world money is incredibly immersion-breaking, greedy. This year, Ubisoft is battling some harsh negative PR heading into E3, which is a shame because they actually had two great, smaller-sized games that came out in 2014 that were both thrown around in "Game of the Year" discussions: "Child of Light" and "Valiant Hearts: The Great War." Ubisoft started 2015 quietly, as usual. Their only notable releases are the smaller-sized games "Grow Home" and "Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China", the former being a PC adventure game and the latter being an 2.5 dimensional spin-off of Assassin's Creed. With The Division delayed into 2016, Ubisoft looks to have an end of the year that will be softer than usual. The only 2015 Ubisoft games that we know about are the recently revealed Assassin's Creed Syndicate and Rainbow Six Siege (assuming it doesn't get delayed).

The Biggest Question: How will Ubisoft win people back? After a disastrous 2014, many people who bought Ubisoft products (including myself) feel scammed and unappreciated. Ubisoft would be foolish not to address their negative reception on microtransactions, claims of false advertising, and their public perception of them shipping of broken games.

2 Predictions:

- Assassin's Creed Syndicate is the first game shown and it looks great. From what I've seen so far, this game makes sense for the series going forward. No multiplayer, a strong and fresh setting, and a story that seems interesting. I'm getting a Gangs of New York and Red Dead Redemption vibe from this game early on, which are two great things to be compared to. Assassin's Creed is Ubisoft's biggest series by far. It's too important to them to mess up, so I expect a return to form. To quote Stone Cold Steve Austin, "that's the bottom line."

- The Division is a no-show. Every year, there's always at least one game that everybody expected to see at E3 and then it never shows up, as unfortunate as it may be. This year, it's looking like The Division. It's already been delayed to 2016 and with all of the problems surrounding online, socially connected games that verge on being MMOs, this game could be looking at a re-imagining.

2 Hopes:

- Valiant Hearts gets a 2015 sequel that takes place during a new historical event/war. The trailer that they showed last year for this game actually brought me to tears. Practically anything with a dog will, but that trailer was something special. The full game of Valiant Hearts absolutely lived up to that trailer, in fact, it was one of my favorite games from last year and is maybe my favorite "indie" game, if you want to call it that. I'd love to see the people who made that game tackle another horrible time in history and bring humanity to it in a way that most video games can't.

- The first Prince of Persia game since 2010 is announced and shown off. The 2008 reboot had a lot of great things going for it, all to be derailed by both the movie adaptation of Prince of Persia (I still can't get over that terrible plot twist) and the 2010 tie-in game. I'd love to see this series make a triumphant return, even though I have never been a huge fan.


Out of all the press conferences, I'd say I'm least excited for these two. There's just so much negative energy surrounding both EA and Ubisoft right now and to be honest, I don't know if I can trust either one of them. I'd love to see Assassin's Creed get back on track (Black Flag was awesome and it came out only two years ago) and I'd love to see as much Star Wars as possible from EA. I'm interested in Mass Effect 4, but I'm hoping that it's more similar to the first two games where you're exploring the galaxy instead of shooting at it... So what do you think? What are you expecting from EA and Ubisoft this year at E3? What are you hoping for? Thanks for reading and please comment :)

- Dylan

Pre-E3: Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft

With E3 2015 a little more than a month away, we are on the verge of receiving an abundance of video game news. In fact, in the month of May, we always get pre-E3 reveals. We've already been slightly introduced to Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Star Wars: Battlefront, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, and soon Assassin's Creed Liberty. Plus, in the coming weeks, we will have no shortage of rumors and potential leaks. For instance, there are already Fallout 4 rumors whirling about. So before anything else gets spoiled before the biggest four days in the video game world, I am going to kick off my annual pre-E3 blogs right now.

First up, I'll look at the "big three": Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft. Both Sony and Microsoft will have their own press conferences at E3 while Nintendo will repeat what they did last year and livestream a mega-stuffed Nintendo Direct, methodically dropping one announcement/premiere after another.


Heading In: Out of the "big three," Sony has undoubtedly had the most notable start to 2015. The PlayStation 4, despite being the most expensive console, is blowing away its console competition, especially outside the US. The Order: 1886, MLB: The Show 15, and Bloodborne have made for a strong lineup of AAA exclusives. The PlayStation Store has been routinely stocked with quality indie games such as Shovel Knight, OlliOlli 2, Axiom Verge, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, Apotheon, and Titan Souls. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will surely end the drought of great third-party AAA games affecting both the PS4 and the Xbox One. The PlayStation Vita is continuing its 2014 trend of getting a healthy dose of great indies, but is being thrown under the bus by Sony as far as first-party support goes. All in all, Sony has won the first third of 2015, but it will undoubtedly have a rough finish unless they come out with at least one big reveal at E3 with a 2015 release date. As of now, Sony has Until Dawn, Persona 5, and a Ratchet & Clank remake expected for the rest of the year as far as AAA exclusives go.

The Biggest Question: Sony has a massive collection of first-party studios located all over the world. For the last couple years now, we still have no idea what they are working on for the PS4. Will we finally get a reveal from Bend, Media Molecule, Guerrilla's second team, Japan Studio, Santa Monica, or Polyphony? Quantic Dream and Level-5 are not owned by Sony, but are said to be working on PS4 exclusives. Surely all of this talent can't be kept quiet for much longer. And with Sony dropping out of Gamescom this year to focus on E3, I expect to see multiple reveals from this pool of developers.

2 Predictions:

- Guerrilla reveals their long-rumored sci-fi action-RPG IP with a full demo. We've seen some awesome leaked concept art from the developer featuring giant robot dinosaurs. I do not expect a 2015 release date or a release window, but I feel that the time is now to reveal it. Guerrilla has made nothing besides Killzone games in the past and they must be itching to spread their creative wings. The last two Killzone games (Mercenary and Shadow Fall) were more colorful and ambitious than past games, I think they are ready to break out with a great game.

- Uncharted 4: A Thief's End gets a new demo set in a new setting with some familiar faces next to Nathan Drake. We unexpectedly saw a lengthy gameplay demo last Fall in the first annual PSX and it looked incredible. I am dying to see more, especially some gameplay that breaks away from the jungle setting of the last demo. Uncharted 1 was about the jungle, Uncharted 2 was about snowy mountains, and Uncharted 3 was about the desert. Where could Drake go next? While I think that space and Atlantis are too out there for this grounded series, maybe a volcano could work? Imagine running away from molten lava!

2 Hopes:

- Jak & Daxter gets a revival from a new developer that wants to keep its cartoon art style origins intact. I'm not sure who that developer could be, maybe Sly 4's Sanzaru or Sony Bend? This is extremely unlikely to happen and I've pretty much given up all hope for my favorite game series returning, but I'll always have a small part inside of me that keeps this dream of mine alive. Side note: Peter Gabriel's "Don't Give Up" is currently playing while I'm writing this, so who knows, maybe this is the year.

- Level-5 and Studio Ghibli announce another collaboration. Maybe its a sequel to Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch or something else entirely, but I'd love to see these two talents collide again. With Studio Ghibli currently on hiatus from making feature length animated films (that could sadly turn into a permanent closure), the talented people there could spend their time designing the visuals and cutscenes for their second video game. Oh, and get Joe Hisaishi back too!


Heading In: Nintendo's biggest story of 2015 so far is their shake-up to their traditional approach. For the first time, Nintendo is developing games for a platform other than their own (mobile games). Nintendo is also finally getting used to the idea of downloadable content. And perhaps unsurprisingly, they have already announced that they are working on a new console, codenamed "NX." A major source of income for Nintendo is their Amiibo collectible figures that interact with various Nintendo video games. Mario Party 10 and Kibry: Rainbow Curse headline the Wii U's lukewarm lineup of games for the first third of the year. Unfortunately, the new Legend of Zelda for Wii U has been delayed out of 2015 and will not be at E3 this year. However, the 2015 lineup for the Wii U is still pretty strong with exclusives in Mario Maker, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Star Fox, and the upcoming Splatoon. The Wii U is still getting only a limited amount of third-party support, but one huge highlight is the recently announced Yooka-Laylee, a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie made by a team featuring many Rare veterans. The Wii U is selling at an increased rate thanks to 2014's system sellers Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros for Wii U, while the 3DS is continuing to sell well. The 3DS has had a quiet year outside of the long-awaited Majora's Mask 3D remake and has an even quieter rest of the of the year with not much announced for it at all.

The Big Question: What's coming to the 3DS? The only downside of the 3DS having an excellent last two year is that it might not have left much for 2015. The 3DS is what's keeping Nintendo successful, so it would be foolish of Nintendo to not support it well this year. Out of Nintendo's many huge franchises, what could be coming to the 3DS later this year?

2 Predictions:

- A new Super Mario is announced for only the 3DS. Whether it's New Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario 3D Land 2, or something new entirely, I think that it has been far too long since there's been a true Mario game released for the 3DS.

- Pokemon X2 and Y2 are announced for the 3DS with a worldwide 2015 release date. Nintendo has made Pokemon an annual series if the last few years are any indication. For the most part, this decision has gone over smoothly. Black 2 and White 2 were Pokemon's first true sequels that offered more of a great region, X and Y brought the franchise forward into a new 3D direction, while Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire were fan recognition. I would welcome the idea of returning to Kalos if some new ideas were brought forward and the story was as interesting as its predecessors.

2 Hopes:

- Super Mario Galaxy 3 is announced for the Wii U. Originally, I've been hanging out on buying a Wii U until a brand new Legend of Zelda was released. With that not happening any time soon, another game set in the Super Mario Galaxy universe would surely fill its shoes for me. As far as I'm concerned, both games are modern masterpieces that had a great art style. Imagine that art style in 3D and how the game could use the Wii U's features.

- A new 2D Metroid is announced for the 3DS. Nintendo has made good use out of its franchises with its two current platforms. Metroid is really the only Nintendo franchise that has been left in the dark. In fact, we haven't heard from that series since 2010's Other M, which I hated. Before that, you have to reach back to the ancient Prime series. If I'm not mistaken, you have to reach way back to 2004's excellent Zero Mission for the GBA to find the last true 2D Metroid. I would love to not only see Metroid return, but also to see it return to its roots.


Heading In: Microsoft has not given many people a reason to buy an Xbox One this year yet. Its exclusives this year are limited to the well-received Ori and the Blind Forest. Like the PS4, there haven't been any third-party AAA games that scream "must buy" yet. That will surely change with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and leading into later this year with Batman: Arkham Knight, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Star Wars: Battlefront to name a few third-party games. However, unlike Sony, Microsoft has put all of its eggs into the Fall with two high profile exclusives including Rise of the Tomb Raider (timed for this year) and Halo 5: Guardians. Reaching into 2016 (maybe 2015) and beyond are Forza Motorsport 6, Platinum Games' Scalebound, Quantum Break. Fable Legends, as well as new entries into Gears of War and Crackdown. While Sony is playing their cards close to their chest, Microsoft has laid everything on the table as far as upcoming exclusives go. It hasn't largely benefited Microsoft yet, but we will have to see how everything turns out in the future. One thing is for sure though, Microsoft has stepped into the ring with Sony and Microsoft in supporting its respective platform(s) with interesting exclusives.

The Big Question: How many of Microsoft's exclusives are nearing a release date and how many of them are only early into development. While Halo, Tomb Raider, and Quantum Break look ready to play soon, did Microsoft show/hint at Scalebound, Forza 6, Gears of War, and Crackdown too soon? We've already seen that turn out badly for Phantom Dust. While I have no dog in this fight (I'll likely never own an Xbox), I want to see more gameplay from Microsoft this year and not just teaser CGI trailers.

2 Predictions:

- Quantum Break is shown extensively in a re-reveal that kicks its TV/social components to the curb and it steals the show. We all know that Microsoft's huge TV plans have not worked out as well as they had hoped. So the original idea of having Quantum Break bounce back and forth between a game and a TV show doesn't really sound like a genius idea anymore. Remedy is a legendary video game developer with past titles including the first two Max Payne games and Alan Wake. Microsoft, don't screw up the chance to make a great new exclusive IP with them.

- Halo 5: Guardians kicks off the show with something of a "cold open" that features an excellent campaign demo, pleasing the whole crowd. We haven't seen this game's campaign in action yet, that will surely change with E3.

2 Hopes:

- The new Gears of War is revealed with a title and teaser trailer to end the show. I love the idea of Gears of War. I wish Sony had something like it, honestly. There's a rich sense of history behind that series and the first game pretty much invented the cover and shoot mechanic that we all use today, or at least perfected it. It's a series that means a lot to many people and it deserves a great new game from a new developer.

- Rare shows off its new game that has nothing to do with Kinect. Microsoft purchased Rare in the 2000's and essentially ruined the legendary developer to a point where most of the veterans behind its classic games no longer with them. Most of that talent is currently developing a spiritual successor to Banjo Kazooie called Yooka-Laylee, which looks like the Rare game everybody has wanted for years, except everybody will be able to play it on their console of choice. Well, that still leaves what is now Rare to reveal its new Xbox One game. Will it be Perfect Dark? Banjo Kazooie? A new IP? We will have to wait and see, but hopefully it has nothing to do with the Kinect, which they have been stuck making games for for the last handful of years.


I think this blog was longer than my research paper I recently wrote for my college geography class. :P Well, I had fun writing it at least. Look for a couple other blogs like this one about the other publishers showing at E3 this year including Bethesda, EA, Ubisoft, and Square Enix. Until then, thanks for reading and please comment with what you are expecting/hoping to see from the big three this E3 :)

- Dylan

One Year Movie Challenge: January - April

Since the very first day of 2015, I've been keeping a ledger (of sorts), tracking every movie that I have watched this year. New or old, I mark each movie on the ledger along with my rating out of ten. I had no real plan of what to do with this list of watched movies until now. I've come up with the idea of a "one year movie challenge", which would involve me continuing to keep track of each movie I that I watch. Then, three times a year, I will post my progress on my blog here. I will not only list the movies that I have watched, but I will rate them out of ten, provide a two-sentence max review, and rank them from best to worst (more like favorite to least favorite). Every four months until January 1, 2016, I will update the list in a power rankings-type way, providing two-sentence max reviews for the newly added movies. At the end of the year, a complete list of every movie I watched will be ranked, new and old.

I usually watch 3-4 movies on average per week and I do not plan to change that to go along with my list. I simply do not have the time to commit myself to this challenge, so it will be 100% natural. Although, I can almost guarantee that you will see the complete sagas for The Avengers, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, and Harry Potter on this list because it's almost tradition that I re-watch each saga every year.

There aren't really any rules that I'm setting for myself, only that I only count movies that I watched from start to finish.

Here is the first third:

1. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - 10/10

The movie that started the trilogy of the decade still holds up incredibly well in every way. Peter Jackson turned a classic masterpiece of literature into a classic masterpiece of a movie.

2. The Godfather - 10/10

The Godfather is always circling around the discussion for the greatest film of all-time, a discussion it well deserves to be in, a masterpiece right down to every frame and violin string. With its iconic creation of many film elements that are now cliched when imitated, it's hard to believe that The Godfather wasn't the very first gangster movie.

3. The Wolf of Wall Street - 10/10

There are movies that aren't nearly as good as you remember them to be from your first viewing, but The Wolf of Wall Street, seemingly like all of Scorsese's works, is just as good if not, better the second time around. It's Scorsese's best since The Departed, but seems to be more related to GoodFellas or Casino in the way that the movie does a superb job of pulling you into this world of a 'rise and fall' epic, as if you are being included.

4. The Avengers - 9/10

Now that we are almost 11 movies invested into this connected superhero universe (and rapidly growing), I feel as if we are already forgetting how cool it was to see Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, and Black Widow together on the same screen after so much anticipation. It still amazes me how it managed to live up to the hype with its popcorn action and witty humor.

5. Iron Man - 9/10

Iron Man was a collective effort by many people to start off The Avengers with a blast, but it's really Robert Downey Jr.'s iconic portrayal of Tony Stark that made this movie special in an irreplaceable way. That's not to say that he stands over all in this movie, as Jeff Bridges' villain is probably the best the Avengers saga has seen yet, just as Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts might be the saga's best supporting character as far as chemistry with the lead goes.

6. The Grand Budapest Hotel - 9/10

One of last year's many great movies, Budapest was probably the most original and refreshing. Its touching story is at the center of this movie, despite its artsy design and all-star cast in tiny roles, which considering how important the latter two elements are to this movie, shows how great its story is. That's not to say it takes itself seriously, it is the funniest movie of the last few years.

7. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - 9/10

In a genre full of movies that use violence to further their plots, Butch/Sundance is a refreshing take on a western about two outlaw buddies. It's a feel-good western of adventure.

8. Zodiac - 9/10

Moving from one of my favorite feel-good movies, to one of the only movies to truly get under my skin in a horribly good way, Zodiac is a movie that left me perplexed more than once. It's perhaps David Fincher's most overlooked movie he's done despite its popular, real-life topic and crazy good cast, which is a shame because its one of my favorites from him. It's a haunting movie, but not in the modern horror jump/gross-out sense. Instead, it uses suspense and real life themes to a greater effect.

9. For A Few Dollars More - 9/10

First off, I refuse to call the trio of Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood movies a trilogy as they reuse actors for different roles, but I will say that the trio of movies got better and better with every movie, largely because each movie felt like a unique western experience. In A Few Dollars' case, it's the movie that dives the deepest into supporting characters, making them actually feel like characters and not just (brilliant) western cliches, but it also has plenty of fun twists and action scenes.

10. Gone Girl - 9/10

One of my many favorites from last year, Gone Girl kept me guessing until the very end. It makes for a very good, stylish mystery in that way, but also a very smart one. The movie only centers on a few characters, and their respective actors kill their parts, making the movie all the more memorable.

11. Prisoners - 8/10

It's a depressing, relentless movie, but a very good one. Hugh Jackman gives his career best performance in this movie.

12. The Fast and the Furious - 8/10

It's easy to go back, look at this movie, and call it a bro-man flick that loses itself in pop culture trends, but because of its legacy it has left behind now seven movies in, the original Fast & Furious is as much of a character-driven movie as it is an action movie. It's fun to watch this movie and see how it all started more so than any first movie of a spanning saga.

13. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - 8/10

Make no mistake, The Hobbit trilogy must be watched and counted as a whole epic, more so than LOTR. And while this finale wasn't as heart-felt and fitting as ROTK was for LOTR, it did fulfill its promise in bringing a close to the Tolkien saga forever, ending one adventure and bridging itself to another than came out a decade ago. It's really sad to know that we will never return to Middle-Earth.

14. Captain America: The First Avenger - 8/10

One of my favorite "Avengers movies", The First Avenger stands well as its own adventure. It's set during World War II and is contained to Steve Rogers' transformation from a small Brooklyn kid with a big heart to a super-powered war hero standing for his country, making the ultimate sacrifice.

15. Fast 6 - 8/10

My second favorite in the series, Furious 6 was the first movie to really go all-in towards a ridiculous action movie, and it does so very well. It's the characters that keep this franchise going, allowing the series to be a chameleon in tone and genre. This is also the series' best example of using its cast of characters to its best advantage.

16. Furious 7 - 8/10

It is surprising some that this movie has earned over $1 billion at the box office, but I am very pleased that it did because the movie was so fun while also handling a real-life tragedy in a touching, sincere, and classy way. It's pretty amazing to see this franchise keep on bringing lively, giant action scenes to the screen without ever feeling stale.

17. Nightcrawler - 8/10

Jake Gyllenhaal was completely robbed of an Academy Award nomination with this movie, which I think was even better than the performance that won the award. He carries the movie in a creepy, captivating way.

18. The Way, Way Back - 8/10

A very refreshing movie that I think everybody can relate to in some way. A month later, I still find myself thinking about this movie and its characters every so often, which is really all you can ask for in a work of fiction. Great performances all around.

19. Fury - 8/10

Anyone worrying about the DC Comics Suicide Squad movie needs to watch David Ayer's previous two movies, Fury and End of Watch. Both deal with genres that have been worn out (war movies and cop movies), but both have a rich sense of character. In Fury, the bonding of the tank squad actually overshadows the tank action scenes.

20. The Princess and the Frog - 8/10

Behold, one of the most underrated, if not overlooked Disney animated movies. It takes a classic story, does it justice with a creative twist, and provides a cast of great characters. It's the tried Disney formula, and this movie does it well. As good as the story and characters are, its the animation and soundtrack that make this a great Disney animated movie. I feel as if you could pause this movie at any frame and the result could be a poster, which is sad considering that Disney (and almost the entire animation industry) has relatively abandoned traditional, 2D animation. Their last effort at it was perhaps their best.

21. Blue Jasmine - 8/10

Blue Jasmine is one of the best female-led movies I've ever seen. Cate Blanchett's performance in this movie is deserving of her Academy Award, and its supporting cast manages to steal and carry their own scenes.

22. American Gangster - 8/10

Looking back, it could have made much better use of its amazing all-star cast, but it is certainly a movie of epic scale with flashes of a modern day gangster classic.

23. The Whale Rider - 8/10

Probably the movie on this list you have most likely not seen, but it comes highly recommended. It's shot on the island of New Zealand and deals with the rich culture of the Maori, which it captures very well, featuring authentic acting performances.

24. Iron Man 2 - 7/10

Look, this movie isn't necessarily good and even has some Iron Man 3 level face-palm moments (that peeing in the Iron Man suit scene), but if you take it for a fun superhero movie, it can be very enjoyable. I really liked the villains of Justin Hammer and Whiplash, who both had an interesting chemistry with Tony Stark, a chemistry which its sequel heavily lacked.

25. Edge of Tomorrow/Live, Die, Repeat/All You Need Is Kill - 7/10

Whatever this movie goes by, I thought it was very enjoyable as a standalone sci-fi action movie. Emily Blunt's character was awesome.

26. The Incredible Hulk - 7/10

The Hulk scenes were destructively good fun and the Bruce Banner scenes had their moments of ups and downs. I'd like to see a Hulk movie that doesn't have a love subplot.

27. Yes Man - 7/10

A silly, underrated Jim Carrey comedy that always makes me laugh. However, I also think that its message is very important and admirable.

28. Dick Tracy - 7/10

I'm completely torn after watching this forgotten movie for the first time. Its art style and makeup were both ahead of their time, the cast does a really good job, the soundtrack and score are both great, and the way this movie was shot is interesting. However, its pacing is everywhere, the "kid" character is an annoying plot device, and I found myself way more interested in the scenes involving Al Pacino's over-the-top gangster character. As an aside, how is this movie rated PG? Nudity, point blank shootings, gruesome deaths comparable to a Scorsese mob movie, some heavy innuendos, this movie has it all. Not that I mind, I thought the tone was great but I could not imagine a kid younger than 14 or 15 watching this...

29. Thor: The Dark World - 7/10

It's not very good, it's not very bad, it's just there. Hey, it has a cool look to it, at least. Can the next Thor movie not have anything to with Earth?

30. Justice League: War - 7/10

This movie never reaches the heights that previous DCAU movies have reached, but it does provide a neat (albeit rushed) Justice League team-up that we haven't really seen in a while now. The final battle is underwhelming, but the movie got all of the characters right on.

31. The Lady Vanishes - 7/10

Definitely not a Hitchcock classic, but it does serve as a very smart, interesting mystery. It's probably the funniest Hitchcock movie, but it lacks any specific tone.

32. There's Something About Mary - 7/10

It's a shame that this movie had to stoop low to some gross-out humor scenes that seem very far out of place, because it's actually very funny in a witty way. Matt Dillon's character is comedy gold.

33. The Interview - 6/10

North Korea's attempt at censoring this movie backfired because the controversy probably made this movie funnier than it would have otherwise been in a dark humor type of way. Where Seth Rogen plays his usual character, James Franco really stole this movie with his character and the energy he brought to it.

34. A Million Ways to Die in the West - 6/10

Like There's Something About Mary, it's actually a shame that this movie had to stoop low for gross-out humor. It's otherwise a pretty funny movie that I enjoyed laughing at.

35. Iron Man 3 - 5/10

A terrible waste of what was probably the last solo Iron Man movie with Robert Downey Jr.


Well, that took much longer than I thought it would take! Until next time. Thanks for reading and please comment :)

- Dylan

Battlefront Doesn't Have a Campaign, and I Love That

Being a 90s kid, my generation (the now late teens/early 20s generation) was the last group to experience Star Wars before it was expanded into the prequel trilogy. I actually really like the prequel trilogy and would even rank Revenge of the Sith a peg above Return of the Jedi. I think that ROTS did a better job at saving its punches for the last round and ending its trilogy better than ROTJ did. But that's not my point. My point is that I've been around long enough to look at all this Star Wars frenzy in a way that brings up old memories of how exciting it was to see the prequel trilogy roll out. Face it, whether you are an original trilogy purist or not, you have to admit that it was fun seeing people care about Star Wars again. It's a nice, nostalgic feeling. And with five Star Wars movies coming out in as many years (three "Episodes" and two spin-offs), the Force is strong again. We have two amazing teaser trailers to look at and try to analyze and speculate for now. I remember reading magazines as a little kid, speculating on some of the characters that briefly appeared in Episode I's early footage who turned out to just be very minor characters in the actual movie. We have a new animated series to further expand the official Star Wars lore and give existing characters like Lando and Tarkin more depth. I'm speaking of course of Star Wars: Rebels, which is an outstanding animated series if you haven't watched the first season yet. As of March 17, we now have the first of presumably many new Star Wars games revealed with an in-engine trailer. That game is called Star Wars: Battlefront and it shares the same name as my personal favorite Star Wars games did a decade ago.

If you've been keeping up with the news and watching the trailer, you know about the early details, including:

- The game consists of many missions that take place during the original trilogy. You can play on the side of the Rebel Alliance or the Empire.

- You can play these missions by yourself or with/against friends both online and via split-screen.

- Up to 40 players can play together.

- You can play as iconic Star Wars characters. Darth Vader and Boba Fett have been confirmed.

- Despite early rumors, you can indeed play in the third person point-of-view.

- Classic Star Wars vehicles are playable.

- As of now, the game will not feature battles in space.

- Imperial and Rebel soldiers are somewhat customizable. The option to play as a female characters is present.

Despite all of this mostly awesome news, there is one bit of news that is turning many people away from the game, causing all sorts of angry comments online, writing the game off completely: Star Wars: Battlefront does not feature any sort of campaign.

Here's the thing thing though, personally, this bit of news actually makes me happy. I loved both Star Wars: Battlefront games as a kid. In fact, I still have the PS2 discs sitting in my small collection of PS2 games that I managed to hold on to after all these years. I have fond memories of playing both games after school with friends as we'd either take turns playing as the Storm and Clone Troopers on the different maps or play split-screen. Battlefront has always been about recreating famous Star Wars battles with friends. But at the same time, Battlefront has managed to keep single player gamers happy at the same time. The original games had multiplayer options and what they called "campaigns" (more on those later), but it was game modes like "galactic conquest" and "instant action" that kept me coming back to Battlefront. I played these two game modes almost exclusively (both alone and with friends). "Galactic conquest" was a mode where, if I remember correctly, you had to fight in these different battles for control over certain planets, with an ultimate objective of controlling all planets in a certain map of a galaxy. Looking back, it was kind of like my favorite board game "Risk". In "instant action", you could put together a queue of different battles on different maps/planets, creating you own wars. I had a vivid imagination as a kid, so I would even go as far as to make up my own storylines as to why the battles were happening on each planet . I had the best memories of Battlefront on these two modes, which I mostly played single player.

So today, when word got out that the new Star Wars: Battlefront, developed by EA DICE (the same people who made "Battlefield" 3 & 4, "Battlefront: Bad Company" 1 & 2, etc.), was not going to include any sort of campaign, people were quick to assume that this meant that Battlefront was going to be multiplayer only, which isn't the case. This whole ongoing outcry makes me sad. Why? Because EA DICE appears to be making the Battlefront games that we have all hoped for for nearly a decade. And just because it doesn't have a campaign, people are already feeding this game to the dogs. But if you actually played the original Battlefront games, you would know that the "campaigns" were little more than strung-together battles with the same basic game modes that could be played alone or with others in the different game modes that were offered. They weren't the "Call of Duty"/"Uncharted" type campaigns that we have come to expect from every modern campaign. And the games were still great. They are classics.

In fact, I would actually prefer that Battlefront never has anything similar to a modern campaign. It would ruin the feel of the game. It wouldn't be Battlefront. In Battlefront, you play as random, no-name soldiers who repeatedly die for their mission. A Call of Duty type hero with an Uncharted type story would not work in these games. I am sure that these types of games are coming from EA. There's a reason why Amy Hening, the former writer and creative director for Naughty Dog's Uncharted games, was hired by EA Visceral. But for now, we have Battlefront. And I'm excited about it.


Oh, and I have a new banner at the top of my page. I can't take the credit for most of the work, but I had a fun time piecing it together. If you can't tell, it's featuring the characters of my personal second favorite animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender. Thanks for reading and please comment with your reactions to the Star Wars celebration news blowout.

- Dylan

Three Remasters That I Would Buy

Bringing old video games to new platforms has been around for decades. "Remastering" old games by updating their graphics, adding new features, refining gameplay and overall performance, etc., and bringing them to new platforms is something many associate with Sony and their 2009 God of War Collection. This PS3 game consisted of the first two God of War games, which originally came to the PS2 towards the very end of its life cycle. But rather than just lazily porting these games to Sony's new console to ready gamers for the upcoming God of War III, the collection brought both games "HD" graphics and trophies. Two reasons to re-purchase these games. Dig deeper (and I'm sure you could go even deeper with such games as the Super Mario Advance series), and I would actually credit Nintendo for starting the remaster trend with its 2005 release of Super Mario 64 DS on, you guessed it, the Nintendo DS handheld. The game featured improved graphics, some minor new gameplay elements and mechanics, over 30 mini-games, and all sorts of features that utilized the DS's second screen. This game allowed older fans who had a N64 as a kid (I guess I was still a kid when the DS game came out too) to re-experience the revolutionary game with nostalgic memories but also with some new, added fun. It also allowed newer/younger gamers to experience one of the greatest, most important games ever created for the very first time. Everybody won.

Flash forward to 2015, and we've seen successful remasters of several old games, particularly from the PS2/GC/XBOX generation, such as Sly Cooper, Jak & Daxter, Kingdom Hearts, Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Halo: Combat Evolved, etc. Given that these games came out at a time in which the video game industry was rapidly changing and evolving, it made sense to remaster these games and to keep them alive in a way. After all, who still has a working PS2 and all their old games? Personally, I do for the most part because I am a very sentimental, nostalgic person. But it would be a shame to let games die with the past. Re-releasing games digitally via Sony's PS1/PS2 Classics or Nintendo's Virtual Console is brilliant for preserving games if nothing else. But having new excuses to play either your old favorites or games you may have missed out on is an even more exciting idea.

Towards the end of the PS3/Wii/360 generation, I remember having a conversation with a friend about whether or not games from the current (now previous) generation would ever be re-released/remastered for the PS4/WiiU/XB1 generation. The reason it became a discussion and somewhat of an argument is that, while the new generation would certainly mark various improvements, there wouldn't be the same "SD" to "HD" gap that the PS2 to PS3 (for example) bridged as a selling point. Just how better could the PS4 version of Mass Effect 2 look and play from the PS3 version, even four years into its life cycle? I guess we will have to wait and see for now, but the odds are that the remaster will not be as significant as say, Metal Gear Solid 2 was.

Neither me or my friend would have guessed that we would be getting "remastered" game or collections this early into the generation. Sleeping Dogs, Tomb Raider, and The Last of Us have been brought to the new generation with almost trivial levels of improvement or change. Just over the course of these past couple weeks, a PS4 remaster of God of War III has been announced while remastered collections of the Uncharted and Batman: Arkham series have been highly rumored. Now, I get the fact that many 360 owners jumped ship to the PS4 after not experiencing the PS3's library, or vice versa. Or maybe a kid just turned 17 and is now itching to play the M-rated games that he/she missed out on. I get the idea of remastering games, I really do. In fact, I'm all for it. However, I do think that time plays a very important role. I mean, Uncharted 3 and Batman: Arkham City released about 4 years ago. 4 very short years. Why not let these games reach their 10th birthday. At least the first games in their respective series (holy s***, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune turns 10 in two years!).

The other alternative is something that I think was well realized by both Rockstar and Microsoft with Grand Theft Auto V and Halo: The Master Chief Collection, respectively. The PS4/XB1 version of GTAV not only brought over the one year old game with better graphics, but also added a first-person mode, environmental changes, and roughly coincided with the launch of their online heists multiplayer mode. Halo: The Master Chief Collection collected and remastered Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2 with remade cutscenes, Halo 3, Halo 4, and soon Halo: ODST with their brilliant single-player campaign. For multiplayer, every Halo map ever was available to play. As added bonuses, a multiplayer beta for Halo 5: Guardians was included as well as the smash flop Halo: Nightfall mini-series. Both re-releases weren't lazy cash grabs, but rather celebrated the original games and improved them. They seemed like fan service while making a quick profit. If remasters of the previous generation happen so soon, they should look to these two releases as inspiration.

That said, here are three games that I would love to replay right now as remasters:

- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Collection

Includes: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3; remade campaigns; separate true-to-self multiplayer modes looking and sounding better; All DLC

Why: Hate or love what Call of Duty has begun, there is no denying its influence and relevance in both the video game industry and pop culture during its early Modern Warfare days. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is right next to The Last of Us, Bioshock, and Grand Theft Auto IV in my short list of the most influential AAA games from last generation. When that game came out, there was really nothing else like it. Its campaign rivals blockbuster movies and its multiplayer component had millions hooked. Its popularity was inescapable. And for good reason. I would LOVE the opportunity to play COD4's multiplayer all over again just the way it was. No new modes, no new perks, not just its brilliant maps thrown into what Call of Duty is now. But that's not saying there isn't room for visual, technical, and audio improvement. The original game is now overrun with hackers and features near ugly animations and textures. MW2's multiplayer has a special place in my heart as well. Anxiously trying to get the "nuke" killstreak would be even more intense with timely updates. Again, keep the core mechanics and layouts, perks, etc. Go ahead and make the horrible MW3 multiplayer as well, why the hell not. That's just the multiplayer. How great the Modern Warfare trilogy's campaigns were cannot be exaggerated that far from the truth. They are fantastic, well connected and are begging to be replayed with all of the most recent Call of Duty advancements. Here is where you can mess the mechanics and practically remake the trilogy to feel like a whole experience.

Possibility: 50/50. I can see Activision getting greedy and pushing out two Call of Duty games in one year. Making this a Spring release shouldn't mess with a new Call of Duty that badly. Or maybe just give Infinity Ward or Sledgehammer a fourth year to make their game while this collection comes out in Fall 2016 or Fall 2017, which would coincide with the 10th anniversary of COD4. On the other side of the coin, why ruin a good thing? Call of Duty is still wildly successful and I have a feeling that Treyarch's new Call of Duty is going to reinvent the series in a major, major way. They have become the top dog in Activision's platoon of COD developers. This collection could get in the way and ruin the hype behind a new Call of Duty. I really could see Activision going down either path.

- Fallout: Ultimate Wasteland Collection

Includes: Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition, Fallout: New Vegas - Ultimate Edition; remastered from PC versions

Why: I adore Fallout. Fallout 4 is the subject to my dreams. That said, I think that this game is at least one year away, and it should be in order to release as successfully as possible, with hopefully just as few bugs on the console versions as the PC version has and look better than even the best modded versions. Back to reality, I think it would be wise for Bethesda Game Studios to test the waters of the PS4 and Xbox One with a remaster of the two beloved PS3/360 games. It would be wise for them logically and from a business point of view. Eagerly waiting (and sometimes impatient) fans such as myself would eat this collection up. The thought of playing through Fallout 3 without nearly as many hiccups and bugs is a truly exciting thought. Perhaps Fallout 3 gets barrel sights and a few other improvements that Obsidian made with Fallout: New Vegas. And how about shorter load times and not having to worry about your save file growing and its correlation with frame rate issues like a ticking time bomb?

Possibility: Near 90%, eventually. It would be shocking if we never saw these games get the remaster treatment at some point. But having this collection come out before Fallout 4 could be problematic because I have hope that that game comes out a lot sooner than some people might think. Like maybe even this year kind of soon. Releasing this giant 400 hour collection could fatigue some casual gamers. It could even take away from Fallout 4 sales when you take into account gamers who haven't played Fallout yet.

- Red Dead Remastered

Includes: Red Dead Redemption, all DLC including Undead Nightmare, slightly remade version of Red Dead Revolver; improved graphics and sound, new weather cycle and environmental objects and effects, first-person mode, photo mode, downloadable soundtrack voucher

Why: Red Dead Redemption is my favorite PS3 game. I wrote all about my love for it a few blogs back in my Top 35 PS3 Games list. It's a just a special game. Rockstar always treats their fans nicely (their console-owning fans anyway) and this would be the ultimate celebration of one of the greatest games of all-time. A friend of mine and I had a long discussion of just how cool it would be to replay this game using GTAV's remaster as a template. It would be beautiful. Man, I love this game and I miss it dearly. The possibility of this remaster happening is the only thing keeping me from dropping another 250+ hours into this game.

Possibility: 70% With absolutely nothing official on their agenda (a RDR sequel and new IP are rumored time and again) for the first time that I can remember, they probably have multiple large scale games in development that are still multiple years away. I would be shocked if we get a brand new Rockstar game before 2017. They need something to fill that gap. This would sell hot. Rockstar, are you listening?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!?

- A special shoutout goes to a Super Mario Galaxy Collection, but I just want a Super Mario Galaxy 3. That's all I can ask for.


How about you? What remasters from last generation would you like to see? Thanks for reading and please comment :)

- Dylan

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


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


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.



(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



(A lot of indie rock, alternative rock)

5. Broncho - Just Enough Hip to Be Woman

- Best Song: Class Historian


4. Royal Blood - Royal Blood

- Best Song: Figure It Out


3. Phantogram - Voices

- Best Song: Bill Murray


2. Broods - Evergreen

- Best Song: Mother & Father


1. St. Vincent - St. Vincent

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

- Best Song: Digital Witness



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