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Checking In

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Hey, all and any, just stopping by to say that I haven't left Gamespot for good. It's been about three months (crazy busy) since my last post and I've missed blogging. I plan on posting my Top (some number) PlayStation 3 games soon! I realize that most of my old Gamespot buddies have left the site and that my double-digit comment count days are behind me, but there's something about blogging. It makes my subject material (games, movies, TV, comics) more enjoyable for whatever reason.

Here are some quick rundowns/reviews:

- Non-Stop - (has it been that long? Yikes.) Decent action/thriller that Liam Neeson shines in, yet again. Fun at the time, forgettable weeks later. 7/10

- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Sony is destroying Spider-Man quickly. Excellently cast characters are let down by an awful script and a lame plot with too many even more lame subplots. I liked the dark ending, everything else was a disaster. 5/10

- Captain America: The Winter Soldier - After the punch-to-the-gut that was Iron Man 3 and the 'just okay' Thor: The Dark World, Marvel Studios redeemed themselves with what might be the best movie in the entire saga. It did everything right and then some. 9/10

- X-Men: Days of Future's Past - Brilliantly connected the scattered X-Men franchise with a clever plot, truly amazing cinematic scenes (Quicksilver!), and great balancing of many characters. 9/10

- Game of Thrones season 4 - The show that continues to amaze with every episode. Plenty of unforgettable moments that rank with the previous seasons'. Almost every character had something big going on, leaving Westeros changed more than ever heading into season 5. Dany's plot was the only letdown. 9.8/10

- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - A rare summer blockbuster masterpiece. Half of the lines were in subtitles and the pace didn't skip a beat. A movie with a deep message that says a lot about our society. 10/10

- 22 Jump Street - Saw it with a few friends, worth a few midnight laughs. Not as refreshing as the original, but just as funny. 7/10

- Guardians of the Galaxy - From Cap 2 to X-Men to Apes to Guardians, the first half of 2014 has been a blast at the theaters. I cannot remember a string of movies this good. Guardians of the Galaxy was a delight. I feel it's unfair to compare it to the Avengers for a couple of reasons. One, we met the Guardians characters in the movie while in The Avengers, we already knew Cap and the gang. And two, the two movies have different tones. Avengers was a superhero team-up to stop the bad guy. Guardians was a sci-fi with unlikely anti-heroes who bonded while saving their galaxy. If I had to choose one above the other, I would choose Guardians. It's laugh-out-loud funny with great action (like The Avengers), but I felt more connected to the characters, and the plot was actually interesting. Starlord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot are characters that I already have stuck in my head and I can't wait for them to return. I also enjoyed how heartfelt it was, something that the superhero genre has been lacking. A 9/10 that could turn into a 10 with time.

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Thanks for reading and please comment :)

- Dylan

Top 10 Games of E3 2014

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Rather than breaking down each E3 conference/digital event, as I had originally planned, I decided to instead just list my top ten games from the somewhat lackluster week that was E3. Nintendo, Sony, EA, and Microsoft each displayed what little they have coming in 2014 and only hinted at what's to come in 2015 and beyond. I would probably crown Ubisoft as the victor of E3 because unlike the other four, they had a lot to show from their 2014 lineup, while also showing extensive gameplay for two of their big 2015 games. I don't know they are doing it, but Ubisoft seems to just keep on bringing out great games year round, year after year. The bridge between generations didn't slow them down. And they just launched Watch Dogs, which set sales records for the publisher. If I had to pick one loser, I would point at EA. They showed their annual sports games, a Battlefield 4 re-skin, and only briefly showed off concept footage of their '2015 and beyond' games. But hey, it was either that or take a page from the Microsoft playbook and just show cinematic trailers that may not represent the actual game in the slightest. Overall, I felt each conference lacked a "holy s***" moment. Halo 5, Uncharted 4, and Legend of Zelda each had pretty neat teaser trailers for their respective consoles, but we knew about those games. There really weren't any big surprises. That said (and now I'm just rambling), I do think that whether you own a XB1, PS4, or Wii U, E3 gave you plenty to look forward to. Just not Fallout 4... :(

Here are my top ten games from E3 this year (I didn't count teaser trailers):

But first, some honorable mentions:

- Splatoon

- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/for 3DS

- Madden NFL 15

- Ori and the Blind Forest

- LittleBigPlanet 3

10. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

The trailer for the probably far-off follow-up to Ground Zeroes, did everything I want from a trailer by looking really good but not revealing too much of the plot. I haven't played Ground Zeroes yet (not paying $30 for <4 hours), but from the trailer, it looks like the prologue wasn't kind to Big Boss. Again, it wasn't very clear what in the hell was happening, but then again, do we ever know what TF is ever going on in a MGS game? Regardless of that answer, the main MGS games have always been amazing experiences. And I highly doubt that MGSV will break the chain. Oh, and extra points to Kojima for the Mike Oldfield jam that definitely helps set the trailer apart.

9. Pokemon: Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire

As I stated in a previous blog, I couldn't be more excited for this game. Over a decade ago, I put an insane amount of time into Pokemon: Ruby. It was the last Pokemon game that I really cared about and put significant if any time into until last year's Pokemon Y, which finally brought the franchise forward in an innovative way. The sizzle trailer at Nintendo's digital event, confirmed obvious rumors that the game will use Pokemon X/Y's engine and many gameplay elements to remake the fan favorite GBA games. Personally, the trailer crushed me with nostalgia. I easily recalled every reimagined location, character, and Pokemon from the trailer. Combining X/Y and Ruby/Sapphire looks like its going to be pure gold.

8. Valiant Hearts: The Great War

The first video game trailer to ever bring me to tears. The entire trailer was pretty emotional, but the last shot of the dog at the cemetery emotionally wrecked me, being a dog owner and all. Games that provoke emotion are special, but this game looks more than just that. The art style is absolutely gorgeous (making good use of Ubisoft's Rayman Legends/Child of Light engine), it deals with the first World War (which is rarely covered in any form of entertainment), and I'm really interested in the adventure/quest gameplay mechanics. And it comes out next week!

7. The Order: 1886

The Order's presence at E3 set aside some of the fears I had for this game. Mainly, it assured me that the game wouldn't be a generic over-the-shoulder-third-person shooter. The demo of the knight running away and fighting the werewolf-man looked suspenseful and almost reminiscent of Uncharted, which is a great series to be compared to in terms of gameplay diversity. Secondly, the game aesthetically looked stunning and the transition from cinematics to gameplay is literally seamless, meaning that the trailer we saw last year wasn't just a CGI representation. I'm really excited for the developer of the PSP's Daxter and God of War spin-offs to finally get their chance to make a AAA console game. It would great to have another top-tier developer in business.

6. Assassin's Creed: Unity

Assassin's Creed III and Black Flag were both really good games. They covered the two topics I wanted to be explored by videogames: the American Revolution and pirates, respectively. However, they deviated very far from what made Assassin's Creed so great. I miss the tall buildings, the cities with rich histories and beautiful architecture, the stealth, and the sense of open freedom as to how you wanted to tackle an objective. From the cinematic trailer and two gameplay demos at E3 this year, as well as the concept footage from earlier this year, it looks like Assassin's Creed is getting back to its roots while innovating. The game is set in France during its revolution period, which means that the tall, beautiful buildings just begging to be traversed are a go. And with Unity, it looks like it will be just as fun to climb down from the buildings as it is to climb up them. Also new for the series is the new stealth feature that will finally let you crouch out of view. The game isn't going to be available on the PS3 or 360, which is very telling of how great this game is going to look as well. But perhaps the biggest takeaway from ACU's E3 presence was its co-op multiplayer, which lets you team up with up to three players to complete objectives at any time in the game.

5. Rainbow 6: Siege

The sad death of Rainbow 6: Patriots brings the promising Rainbow 6: Siege. From the multiplayer demo, it looks like everything that made R6 great, back in the day, is coming back. The high tension, the hardcore one-death-and-you're-out stakes, the planning ahead, the propelling down a building, and the tactical shooting. It's all back and it looks fun.

4. The Division

Last E3 brought this game's big reveal at the Ubisoft press conference. This E3 brought the assurance that this game looks promising. I'm still not sure how the co-op system works or if it can be avoided (hear me out), but The Division reminds me of Fallout 3, The Last of Us, The Book of Eli, and The Road. An apocalyptic crisis happens, forcing people to drop everything that they are doing and try to survive. Only a few people manage to survive including the character that you follow. Now, the world is divided and open for your character to explore if he/she can stay alive. Count me in. But the thing is, if The Division is anything like Fallout (I hope so and it looks so), I wouldn't want a single other player in my world. I love the isolation of Fallout, and games like Fallout. In any case, the game does look to be coming along great.

3. Far Cry 4

I really liked Far Cry 3. The story, the characters, and the open world were all great. Far Cry 4 looks like its taking that successful formula and taking it to the max. Which I am all for. The gameplay demo of the opening when you first meet the game's Vaas-esque villain was all about the story and characters. The gameplay demo of assaulting an outpost was all about the hectic open world gameplay. It looks very similar to Far Cry 3, which is 100% okay by me. And you can play the game with a buddy if that's your thing. Again, personally, I don't know how I feel about another player entering my game world. I like to do things my way, alone when it comes to single player games. I like playing multiplayer in different game modes. But mixing the two doesn't seem like it's up my alley.

2. Batman: Arkham Knight

We finally got to see the third final chapter in Rocksteady's Arkham trilogy in motion at E3. We saw the Dark Knight's new armor, an overlook of Gotham City, the rainy weather on the streets, the new and improved hand-to-hand combat, the fast-er paced gliding, the explosive Batmobile, Kevin Conroy's iconic Batman voice, and a surprise Scarecrow encounter. It all looked jaw-dropping. It's a bummer that it was delayed into 2015, but for a game that looks this promising, I want it to take all the time it needs to perfect itself.

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

I've never played a Witcher game, but The Witcher 3 looks exactly like everything that I want from a video game right now. It's an open world, medieval/fantasy action/adventure. But unlike, say, Skyrim, The Witcher 3 looks like it has very tight, somewhat tactical gameplay. This allows for almost cinematic sword fights and the like. The griffin hunt/damsel in distress demo was action-packed and exciting while the village demo showed the more mellow side of the game where you can pick up new quests, cash in your loot, upgrade your gear, talk to characters by choosing from pre-set options (think Mass Effect or Fallout), etc. This is a game that I could sink 100 hours into. The type of game that I want on my PS4 right now.

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That's that. I was really bummed that Fallout 4 wasn't announced. But it does make sense. Bethesda doesn't have their own conference at E3 and why would they want to announce their next game at Sony's or Microsoft's conference, a conference that they have no control over? I do think that we are close to a Fallout 4 announcement. Bethesda Softworks' last game, Skyrim, came out in 2011. That's three years ago. How long can they keep a secret? Maybe by next E3 we will see some gameplay? I hope so. I'm already excited for E3 2015. Thanks for reading and please comment with what excited you at E3 :)

- Dylan

Pre-E3 2014 - Part II

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Excerpt from Part I - "This blog series will be split into 2-4 separate blogs because, simply, this year's E3 is going to be huge. Last year, we were shown more of the recently revealed Xbox One and PS4. This year, both consoles are on shelves and in homes (mostly) across the globe, meaning that the next generation of gaming is here. PS4/XB1 holdouts are looking for reasons to spend $400/$500 while early buyers have played through the few games that caught their interest and are now looking for more. Infamous, Dead Rising, Forza, and Killzone are neat and all, but where are the big dogs that people bought their pricey consoles for? Where's Uncharted? Where's Halo? Where's Fallout? Nintendo has a long road ahead of them thanks to their under-performing Wii U and their hot handheld that currently doesn't have much promised for it looking ahead. Nintendo would be foolish to pass through E3 with a small bark. Almost every developer is hard at work on next-gen titles (some have been since 2010 and long beforehand), so it only makes sense that we will get big reveals and more information on previously announced games this year at E3. All while carving out a half hour for Wonderbook (Sony), TV (Xbox), and brand name cash grabs (Nintendo). :P"

Basically, this blog series is a hype train leading to E3. I go over each game that I'm looking forward to seeing at E3 (via livestream, of course) and describe what we know about it and why I'm personally interested in seeing it.

Part I covered the games that we already know about to some degree, such as Uncharted 4, Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, and Batman: Arkham Knight. Part II is all about the games that we were introduced to a while ago, and well... that was that. These are the five games that need to break their silence in the style of a re-reveal similar to last year's Final Fantasy XV.

- The Legend of Zelda (Wii U)

First Revealed: 2011

Developer/Publisher: Nintendo/Nintendo

What We Know: When the Wii U was first revealed, at E3 2011, the biggest takeaway was the brief demo of an HD Legend of Zelda game. It turned out that the demo was specifically designed for demo purposes only and that the game was indeed not representing an in-development LoZ game. It wasn't until early 2013 when Nintendo officially announced that a new Legend of Zelda game was in development for the Wii U. Fast forward to today, and we still know nothing about it. It has been confirmed that the game will be at E3. But to what extent?

Why I'm Excited: The Legend of Zelda is one of the important franchises in gaming. Different games separated by decades helped define video games, especially the action/adventure genre. Without Link, we probably wouldn't have Uncharted, Jak & Daxter, The Elder Scrolls, etc. After more than a dozen unique games, there hasn't been one half bad entry. The series continues to innovate and define console generations. That said, it's hard to imagine that the series hasn't entered the world of HD yet (other than the brilliant remake of Wind Waker). What does the Wii U and its HD graphics mean for the series? Will text bubbles and mumbles turn into voiceovers? How will Link be rendered? How awesome will Hyrule look? I've stated this before and I think others will follow suit: If my dream HD LoZ releases for the Wii U, I will buy a Wii U. And then I'll buy Mario Kart 8, DKC: Tropical Freeze, Super Mario 3D World, and the impressive lineup that Nintendo is building for its console.

- Rainbow 6 Patriots (PS4, XB1, PC)

First Revealed: 2011

Developer/Publisher: Ubisoft/Ubisoft

What We Know: R6 Patriots was originally announced in November 2011 with a vague, gritty, cinematic trailer that left viewers puzzled. Some light was shed in GameInformer's December 2011 issue soon after. Apparently, in the game, there's a terrorist group rising in New York City with its eyes set on Wall Street and the American political world. You play as Team Rainbow in squad-based gameplay. The game went dark, with heavy rumors of its cancellation, until last year's E3 when Ubisoft confirmed that the game was still in development, though now for the new generation of consoles.

Why I'm Excited: I have fond memories of playing Rainbow 6 games in the past and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I always thought that the series had huge potential but just needed its Modern Warfare moment. Patriots could be that game if Ubisoft takes the right, tactical but fun elements from past games and fuses them into the interesting concept and story that appears to be at hand. By the way, the story looks like it could be on the same level as Spec Ops: The Line, which I think had the second best story of last gen behind only The Last of Us. If Ubisoft can tell a story with the same impact as Spec Ops did but with great, tactical combat and a deep multiplayer component (both are staples in R6 games), we could be in for something special.

- The Last Guardian (presumably PS4)

First Revealed: 2009

Developer/Publisher: Team Ico (of SCE Japan Studio)/SCE

What We Know: In development since 2007, TLG was first gloriously revealed at E3 2009 with a gameplay video that stole the show. It's a third person action/adventure (think Ico or Shadow of the Colossus) about a boy and a giant griffin-type creature. That's all that we really have to go on given that the game has been silent ever since its 2009 reveal. In March of this year, a Sony representative stated that the game is still in development.

Why I'm Excited: If I were a betting man, I would bet that this game will be at E3 this year. Along with other games on this list, The Last Guardian probably had the same development dilemma as Final Fantasy XV had. By that, I mean that somewhere in the game's development, the developer/publisher figured out that the next generation of consoles was upon them and that maybe it would make more sense to release the game on a console of that generation. So, the game is probably very far into development. So far, that I wouldn't be shocked if the game hits this year for the PS4.

- Agent (TBA, likely PS4)

First Revealed: 2009

Developer/Publisher: Rockstar North/Rockstar

What We Know: In 2007, Sony made an announcement that Rockstar was working on a new franchise for their recently released PlayStation 3. At E3 2009, it was announced that this new franchise would be called Agent and that it would be exclusive to the PlayStation 3. Set during the height of the Cold War, Agent is a stealth/action game that deals with counter-intelligence and espionage (think FX's series The Americans). The game has been cold ever since with rumors that the game was cancelled. In 2013 and again in 2014, Take-Two renewed trademarks related to the game.

Why I'm Excited: How cool would it be if the game was re-revealed for the PS4 at this year's E3 with gameplay? Originally, I thought that the game would go multiplatform similar to Final Fantasy XV. Then, I realized that FFXV was probably originally going to be a PlayStation exclusive at the decision of Square Enix, who always had a great relationship with Sony. Almost a decade later, it made little sense for Square Enix to leave out the Xbox One from a business perspective (same with Kingdom Hearts III). With Agent, I'm guessing that Sony made a deal ($$$) with Rockstar for an exclusive game on their console. Rockstar presumably owes Sony this game. As to why I'm excited for Agent, A. it's Rockstar and B. a Cold War spy game sounds fresh and really interesting.

- Whore of the Orient (presumably PS4, XB1, PC)

First Revealed: 2012

Developer/Publisher: Team Bondi/none

What We Know: Following their accusations of unfair labor and an unhealthy work ethic, the developer behind L.A. Noire (one of my all-time favorite games!), couldn't (and still can't) find a publisher for their next planned game. The game, questionably titled Whore of the Orient (can't be helping their publisher quest), is set in 1930's Shanghai, where the government is polluted with mob corruption. 2013 was a noteworthy year for Whore of the Orient. Unfinished gameplay leaked on the internet, Team Bondi received $200,000 in funding from Australia, and it was announced that the game would be released on the next generation of consoles.

Why I'm Excited: I freaking loved L.A. Noire. It was so different from anything I had ever played thanks to its clever innovation and insane amount of detail. Seriously, if you go out of your way to just explore the open world of 1940's Los Angeles, you would see why the game was controversially made. It baffles me how this game was made; it's so advanced and packed with detail. That said, it's an absolute shame that Team Bondi can't find a publisher to release their next vision. I'm just hoping that surfing on small funds and their L.A. Noire royalties will get the job done. I'd love to be a fly on the wall of Team Bondi's HQ.

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Some might say that it's extremely unlikely that any of these games will at E3 this year. To that, I'd say have a look at Final Fantasy XV or Kingdom Hearts III. Anything can happen at E3. Thanks for reading and please comment :)

Videogame Music of the Day: Metroid: Zero Mission - Title Theme

- Dylan

Pre-E3 2014 - Part I

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I originally planned to post my annual pre-E3 blog(s) next week, but with all of the recent leaks/reveals, I thought it would be more fun to post it now before even more information surfaces before June 9th.

This blog series will be split into 2-4 separate blogs because, simply, this year's E3 is going to be huge. Last year, we were shown more of the recently revealed Xbox One and PS4. This year, both consoles are on shelves and in homes (mostly) across the globe, meaning that the next generation of gaming is here. PS4/XB1 holdouts are looking for reasons to spend $400/$500 while early buyers have played through the few games that caught their interest and are now looking for more. Infamous, Dead Rising, Forza, and Killzone are neat and all, but where are the big dogs that people bought their pricey consoles for? Where's Uncharted? Where's Halo? Where's Fallout? Nintendo has a long road ahead of them thanks to their under-performing Wii U and their hot handheld that currently doesn't have much promised for it looking ahead. Nintendo would be foolish to pass through E3 with a small bark. Almost every developer is hard at work on next-gen titles (some have been since 2010 and long beforehand), so it only makes sense that we will get big reveals and more information on previously announced games this year at E3. All while carving out a half hour for Wonderbook (Sony), TV (Xbox), and brand name cash grabs (Nintendo). :P

The first blog of the series focuses on the games that we already know about to various degrees, but want to know more about.

*Note: I'm keeping Super Smash Bros. off of this list. I'm pumped for that game and would be willing to buy a Wii U mainly for it if Nintendo didn't make the poor decision to also release it on 3DS, a system I already own. And get this, it will be released on the 3DS multiple months before the Wii U version. But the thing is, we already know so much about that game. Do we really need to know about every single character on the roster? Can't we have surprises? It's the Batman: Arkham City of fighting games! :P

- Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire (3DS)

What we know: Earlier this month, Nintendo shocked the gaming community by announcing remakes of Pokemon: Ruby and Sapphire that will have a new, "dramatic" story set in the world of the popular GBA games. Even more shocking, the games drop worldwide this November.

Why I'm excited: Besides maybe Silver/Gold, Ruby/Sapphire is my favorite generation of Pokemon. I dumped probably 200+ hours into Ruby back in the day. I played it so much that it broke me. I passed up Red/Blue and Gold/Silver remakes completely and only tasted Diamond before immediately deciding that the series turned sour at some point. I later dipped my foot back into the franchise with the 'meh' Black/White version. Then came Pokemon X/Y, and for the first time since 2005, I was hooked once again. With X/Y's bold new steps for the franchise that will likely carry over to future games, there isn't a better time for a return to Hoenn. In Ruby, loved the game world, the new Pokemon, the gyms, and all of the sweet little features the game packed like the hidden forts and fashion shows.

- Uncharted (PS4)

What we know: The next installment in the Uncharted series was announced at the PlayStation 4 launch event with a teaser trailer and much excitement. Since then, the game has had nothing but bad press. Writer/creative director Amy Henning and game director Justin Richmond both left the studio in March, taking the only publicly cast voice/performance actor with them who was reportedly set to play the main villain.

Why I'm excited: I love the Uncharted series. All three games are among my favorite games in the entire PS3 library. They are incredible experiences during the first playthrough and are a delight to replay again and again. I'm dying to see what Naughty Dog can do with the PS4 and I'm really excited to get my Nathan Drake back on. The game is confirmed for E3 and I'm expecting to see a brief gameplay demo to keep fans' worries at bay.

- Star Wars: Battlefront (PS4, XB1, PC)

What we know: The series' revival was one of last year's surprise highlights at E3. Battlefront was announced with a very short teaser trailer set on the planet Hoth. EA will publish with its brand new exclusive Star Wars license while Battlefield vets DICE will develop. It's rumored for a 2015 release that would coincide with Episode VII's theatrical release.

Why I'm excited: Battlefront's absence from the last gen was heartbreaking and honestly confusing. The series sold very well in the PS2 generation and alongside a slew of other SW games, became all-time favorites for SW geeks and gamers alike. Despite this, like I said, Star Wars swung and miss a few times in the PS3 generation, with not one of the 'swings' being a BF game. I'm itching for more Star Wars. The series goes so well with videogames. Give me some Storm troopers, Rebels, and famous SW lore locations/characters and I'll be more than happy. I'm just really concerned that EA is behind it, given their online mishaps lately.

- Kingdom Hearts III (PS4, XB1)

What we know: Like Battlefront and too many other PS2 generation series, KH sat the bench all of last gen besides a few handheld spin-offs. Last year, in a teaser trailer that gave me goosebumps, the third chapter in the epic saga was finally announced with a confirmation that it was in development. Strangely, the game was also confirmed to make its series debut on a Microsoft platform (Xbox One), alongside the PS4. Storywise, we have a lot to go on given the plot-advancing ending to Dream Drop Distance. Basically, Sora and friends will be back to stop the evil Master Xehanort. I'll be surprised if we hear from KHIII again, this year, but I will be looking for some Kingdom Hearts 2.5 Remix info as well, including a release date.

Why I'm excited: It's Kingdom freaking Hearts :P But really, I posted an entire blog about my hopes and dreams for KHIII a couple weeks back. I, along so many other fans, have been waiting forever for this game.

- Final Fantasy XV (PS4, XB1)

What we know: Before KHIII stole its thunder last year at E3, Final Fantasy Versus XIII was finally re-revealed with a huge gameplay trailer with a new, more traditional name of XV. As fans do not need to be reminded, FFvXIII was first revealed at E3 in 2006 with a promise that the game will depart from the series' traditional gameplay into something of a third person action-RPG while also having an overall darker tone. The game is believed to be far into development.

Why I'm excited: Given how Japanese game developers usually keep their cards close to their chest, I wouldn't be surprised if a late 2014 release date for Japan is announced. The trailer from E3 last year looked far from what's going on with the franchise right now, which I think is well-needed and welcome. I'd like to see a straight-up game demo presentation.

- Assassin's Creed: Unity (PS4, XB1, PC)

What we know: AC: Unity was leaked, then soon confirmed by Ubisoft in March with a pre-alpha trailer that showed off gorgeous visuals of Revolution-era France and a quick look at a brand new assassin. It will release on PS4, XB1, and PC. The game is said to be in its third year of development.

Why I'm excited: I really dug Assassin's Creed III and, to a lesser degree, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, but neither game truly felt like a true Assassin's Creed experience. Ubisoft did a great job with recreating the American Revolution and turned in a pirate game with everything I could have asked for, but I want an AC game that takes the series back to its roots of stalking the bad guy, then planning and executing assassinations. There's a certain thrill of it that worked so well in AC2 and Brotherhood. I think a lot of that has to deal with the setting of tall buildings, but also the whole lore of Assassins vs Templars that never really came back after Revelations. I think that Unity can bring both elements back.

- Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4, XB1, PC)

What we know: The final chapter in Rocksteady's trilogy was revealed in March with a cinematic trailer and a lengthy GameInformer article. The game takes place one year after the events of Batman: Arkham City. 'Batman's villains all unite to finally take him down' is the story that is being pushed. But if you have played Arkham City or Origins, you would know that the story being pushed isn't necessarily guaranteed to be the core story of the game. Both Hugo Strange and Black Mask played second fiddle to The Joker in Arkham City and Arkham Origins, respectively. But this time, without The Joker, who could the wild card be? It looks like that wild card is going to be a new villain named the Akrham Knight, who is supposed to be on par with Batman himself, making for a formidable foe. I have a theory that the Arkham Knight is secretly Hush. Other tidbits of news include that Kevin Conroy is back to voice the Dark Knight, the Batmobile will be fully drive-able, all of Gotham City will be open to explore, and that there will be no multiplayer so that the developers can focus solely on their single player vision.

Why I'm excited: This is the game that I am most looking forward to at E3. I'm a huge Batman nerd and I adored Arkham Asylum and City. It's been biting me to know whether or not Rocksteady would be back to do another Batman game. They are, and I couldn't be more excited. I would love to see a floor-room game demo.

- Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (everything but the Ouya)

What we know: Earlier this month, the internet exploded with a leak, followed by a reveal trailer of the latest annual Call of Duty, which is set with a November 4th release date this year. The trailer shows that the game takes place in 2054 and shows off exoskeletons, hover-bikes, wall-climbing gloves, cloaked aircraft, and Kevin Spacey. Sledgehammer is solely behind the game, kicking off a new three-year/three-team development cycle next to vets Infinity Ward and Treyarch.

Why I'm excited: I haven't really gotten into a multiplayer game since 2010's Battlefield: Bad Company 2. I disliked Call of Duty: Black Ops and MW3's multiplayer components (loved the campaigns!) and haven't gave the series my money since. To be honest, I am itching for some military multiplayer. I really want to like this game so I can have some mp fun. Bring it on, Microsoft's E3 conference.

- The Order: 1886 (PS4)

What we know: The game has been in development by Ready at Dawn (Daxter, God of War PSP games) since 2010. It was first revealed at last year's E3 with a stunning in-game footage trailer. The game is set in alternative history London, where an order of knights with sci-fi guns defends against monsters. The game has an early 2015 release window.

Why I'm excited: The game has a very interesting concept and visually, it looks better than any videogame yet. I'd love to see more of this game at E3 and I'm very pleased with the delay into 2015. I've never understood why folks get upset when games are delayed. It just means we are getting a better game.

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Other notable games that I'm interested in (with less writing):

- DriveClub (PS4) - I'm dying for a next gen racing game and this one looks like a beauty.

- Below (XB1, PC) - The only thing that caught my eye from Microsoft's E3 conference last year and it looks great. I really like the art style and the old school LoZ inspiration it has going for it.

- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PS4, XB1, PC) - Looks very interesting, I'm all for a medieval-fantasy game. I've never played a Witcher game, which makes me a bit nervous. Need to see more, but I really want to like it.

- Game of Thrones (TBA) - Announced last year by the TellTale guys who pump out the episodic adventure games. As a big GoT fan, I'm intrigued. Zero information is out about it, I'd like E3 to change that.

- Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (PS4) - I have no idea where this game is heading, but I'd like to. Made by the team that made Dear Esther.

- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS4, XB1, PS3, 360) - Confirmed to be at E3 this year in some fashion, needs to win back fans after the controversial Ground Zeroes.

- The Division (PS4, XB1, PC) - Ubisoft's *big breath* multiplayer open world third person shooter with RPG elements stole the show at last year's E3. I'd like to learn more about it. Looks like it has Fallout elements, which I'm all for.

- Destiny (PS4, XB1, PS3, 360) - Very similar to The Division in terms of its approach. It's from Bungie and its first-person. The GameInfomer cover story a few months back picked up my attention, but I still have quite a few questions about it. Releases September 9th.

- Rime (PS4) - This game is an under-the-radar exclusive for PS4 that could be a surprise hit. It's a third person open world adventure with a great art design. Really want to see more.

- Far Cry - Rounding out the long list is one of my most anticipated games for this year. FC3 was a great game that had a breath of fresh air to it. Here's hoping this sequel builds on it while not wandering too far from the formula that made FC3 so good.

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That was a lengthy post! :P I'm super excited for E3. Stay tuned for Part II, which deals with a handful of games that have been previously revealed, but are in need of a re-reveal.

I'm currently replaying Red Dead Redemption, one of my all-time favorites. I am pleased with how much it has held up over the past few years. There is still nothing quite like it. Thanks for reading and please comment :)

- Dylan

Top 10 Dramatic Performances by Comedic Actors

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The recently released trailer for Bennett Miller's (Capote, Moneyball) new movie Foxcatcher turned some heads given that Steve Carell, an actor with tremendous comedic talent and a goofy filmography, is starring as the main character. Foxcatcher is a dramatic movie based on the true story about a paranoid wrestling manager who is convicted for murder. Not exactly comedic material. Early reviews last year were very positive, praising Carell's performance to a point where there was Academy Award talk. The movie's wide release was delayed.

Carell is certainly not the first funnyman to take on a more dramatic role. Here are my top ten (recent) dramatic performances by actors best known for their comedy:

*note that TV does not count*

10. Mike Myers, Inglorious Basterds (2009)

Mike Myers made a name for himself in the 1990s and early 2000s as a Saturday Night Live cast member and the main character of comedy movie series Austin Powers, Wayne's World, and Shrek. Then came The Love Guru's flop and his sudden decline. For Inglorious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino cast Myers in a small but important role as a British army lieutenant who has a great one-on-one scene with Michael Fassbender's character. Myers, along with the cast of Inglorious Basterds won the big prize at the SAG award ceremony. Half a decade later, Myers hasn't appeared in a single movie other than voicing Shrek once more.

9. Seth Rogen, Funny People (2009)

Seth Rogen first came to the small screen in 1999's Freaks and Geeks (my favorite TV series!) where he played an awkward teenager alongside then-future collaborators James Franco and Jason Segel. It wasn't until the mid-2000s when he became a household comedic actor and has since starred in some of the best comedies of recent years including Superbad, Knocked Up, and Pineapple Express. He has also launched a career of screenwriting and directing. In the midst of his rise to fame, Rogen starred alongside Adam Sandler and Leslie Mann in the Judd Apatow comedy-drama Funny People, a movie about a comedian (Sandler) who deals with being diagnosed with leukemia, influencing him to reconnect with an old love interest (Mann). Rogen plays his writer and friend who offers him support. The movie was met with positive reviews and acclaim for the comedians' strong performances. Funny, sure, but Funny People is also very touching and mature.

8. Ed Helms, Cedar Rapids (2011)

Helms came to small fame as a correspondent on The Daily Show in the early 2000s and joined as a fan-favorite cast member in the hit TV comedy series The Office and starred as part of the "wolf pack" in The Hangover trilogy. The small indie movie Cedar Rapids came somewhere between the Hangover movies where he starred as the main character who has a life-changing weekend at an insurance conference trip in Cedar Rapids, Iwoa. The movie is best defined as an indie comedy and packs more than a few laughs, but it also comes with some great dramatic acting from Helms and his co-starring cast that includes John C. Reilly. If you haven't checked this movies out, it comes highly recommended from me. It's a movie that grows on you.

7. Steve Carell, Dan in Real Life (2007)

Nope, Carell isn't necessarily a stranger to dramatic acting. He also proved his abilities in Little Miss Sunshine, The Way, Way Back, and his tear-jerking final episode on The Office. It was his iconic Michael Scott character on The Office that made him a household name. Around the same time, Carell gave great comedic performances in Anchorman and The 40 Year Old Virgin. Dan in Real Life is a personal favorite of mine. It's a comedy-drama about an unhappy newspaper columnist who finds love at a family reunion. There's one scene in particular in this movie that gives me chills every damn time I watch it.

6. Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris (2011)

Woody Allen's strange movie titled Midnight in Paris is in my top ten favorite movies of all-time. It's about a struggling author (Wilson) who takes a trip to Paris with his fiance and in-laws, where every night at 12:00 am, he meets famous, long-dead Parisians from decades ago. It's a really quirky movie that I fell in love with when I first watched it back when it got Academy Award buzz. I consider it to be one of the best movies made in the 21st century with large thanks to Owen Wilson, who gives a great performance that is far from his usual 'buddy' roles alongside Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jackie Chan, etc. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance. This wasn't Wilson's first nor last movie where he gets to spread his acting wings as he does a great job in a number of Wes Anderson movies, Permanent Midnight, and Wedding Crashers.

5. Jonah Hill, Moneyball (2011)

Jonah Hill made small appearances in comedies before he appeared in the 2007 hit Superbad alongside Michael Cera. Hill continued to be cast in comedic roles throughout the 2000s and 2010s. In 2011, he earned an Academy Award for his portrayal as an assistant to the Oakland Athletics general manager played by Brad Pitt. Far from just another baseball movie, Moneyball is more about the front office part of the game that scouts, signs, and trades ballplayers. Pitt's and Hill's characters revolutionize the way teams with small budgets build their teams. His acclaimed performance led him to a role in Wolf of Wall Street, where he again plays an assistant in a business and again was nominated for an Academy Award (still bothers me that WoWS didn't win anything by the way, but any boring, gloomy film dealing with AIDS or slavery will always win, I guess). Hill is set to star in dramatic movies alongside Mark Wahlberg and James Franco in the next couple years while still making us laugh in comedic roles as well.

4. Will Ferrell, Stranger than Fiction (2006)

We all know Will Ferrell as the biggest name in comedy. He's one of the all-time great SNL cast members, has starred in some of the most popular comedies that defined the genre including Anchorman, Old School, Elf, The Other Guys, Step Brothers, and Talladega Nights, and has stole movies with his cameos. Stranger than Fiction is another favorite of mine about a man with a plain, organized life as an IRS agent. Eventually he discovers that he is the main character in book currently being written. The movie landed Ferrell much praise for stepping outside his comfort zone. More recently, Ferrell starred in Everything Must Go, a small indie movie that again proved he has talent outside of making people laugh.

3. Adam Sandler, Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

Before Will Ferrell, Sandler had a similar rise in comedy by being on SNL and headlining big comedies. Today, Sandler's movie career is a mess and it's hard to imagine he has acting talent. But he does. Alongside Spanglish, Funny People, Reign Over Me, and (in a few scenes) Click, Punch-Drunk Love showed a different, more dramatic side of Adam Sandler. In Punch-Drunk Love (directed by Paul Thomas Anderson), Sandler stars a compulsive small business owner with a terrible temper who finds love. It's a decidedly odd and powerful movie that won over critics and earned Sandler a Golden Globe nomination. If only he would do more movies like this or at least put effort into his Happy Madison comedies. Or at least stay away from Dennis Dugan.

2. Jim Carrey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Also in my top ten favorite movie of all-time, Eternal Sunshine is a complex, dark movie centered around the idea of technology that erases memories associated with pain. Carrey steps away from his usual comedic roles (that go as far back as his In Living Color days in the early 90s that led him to big, brilliant comedies like Dumb and Dumber and Liar Liar) to play the depressed main character who meets a spontaneous woman (Kate Winslet) who turns his world upside down. Despite being completely opposite, the two draw towards one another. Trippy sci-fi scenes involving memory ensue. It's hard to describe the movie as it's really out there. The movie gathered critical acclaim and has since become a cult classic. Carrey was nominated for a Golden Globe. Carrey also provided dramatic acting in The Truman Show, The Majestic, and The Number 23.

1. Robin Williams, Good Will Hunting (1997)

When you think Robin Williams, you tend to think Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin, and his fast-talking popular comedic characters. He's also one of the best stand-up comedians of his generation. But Robin Williams has talent beyond comedy as he proved in the late 1980s and 1990s with Academy Award nominated performances in Good Morning, Vietnam and Dead Poets Society. Good Will Hunting won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor along with a boatload of praise. It's one of my favorite acting performances of all-time. See The Final Cut and Insomnia for more of his great, dramatic work.

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Well, that's the list. It hurts not to put Paul Rudd, Ben Stiller, Jason Segel, or Bill Murray on here. They've all done great work as well. Steve Martin would have made the list if I decided not to stay recent, I almost decided to leave Williams off of it as well. And I tried to think of comedic actresses in dramatic roles, but I honestly couldn't think of any worth mentioning, which is sad but true. There are many funny women in the business (Kristen Wiig, Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and every female cast member currently on SNL) but I haven't seen them in any great acting roles that would knock off anyone on the list. I'd really like to. Speaking of lists, I'm real close to finalizing my Top 35 PS3 Games list. I'm really excited to start posting it. I just need to finish Mass Effect 3 (4 hours in and I do not like it so much but I'll give it more time) and Ni no Kuni (baffles me how long and packed this game is) before I place them in them in the right place. Thanks for reading and please comment :)

Videogame Music of the Day: Viva Apespania - Ape Escape 2

- Dylan

My Kingdom Hearts III Wishlist

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While playing the original Kingdom Hearts in the PS3 Remix Collection late last year and earlier this year, I couldn't help but start brainstorming yet again about the finally announced Kingdom Hearts III. It brought me back to the days when I first played Kingdom Hearts on the PS2 in 2002. When I finished what I could of it (I'm ashamed to say that I've never beaten KH1. On PS2, I got as far as beating Riku; on the PS3, the giant shadow gargoyle from Fantasia broke my will after the 60th attempt), I started to dream about which Disney worlds would appear in the sequel that would come four long years later. Some of the worlds that I dreamt of like Mulan made it in to Kingdom Hearts II, while others like The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Treasure Planet didn't make the cut (Notre Dame was in Dream Drop Distance in 2012, which was one of the game's few highlights). And of course, there were worlds like Tron and The Lion King in KHII that I never even thought of or at least never thought could work.

So while playing Kingdom Hearts again, I started to think about what worlds I'd like to see in the upcoming and probably at least three years away Kingdom Hearts III. I went through the Disney archives and did a bit of outside thinking and I think I've come up with a list of both new and returning worlds I'd like to see. This list has been filed away for a few months before a couple days ago when IGN wrote a feature about what they would like to see in the much anticipated sequel. I read it and, well, I hated it. See that list for almost everything I don't want to see in KHIII. No Marvel. No Muppets. No Star Wars. No Final Fantasy XIII. No Indiana Jones. And while this might upset some, no Frozen. I just think it's too hot right now (and probably a bit hotter than it deserves to be) and too recent that a Frozen-themed world would feel cheesy and/or uninspired. What's cool about Kingdom Hearts is returning to worlds that you haven't seen in a long time. There was a certain nostalgic, magical feeling to exploring Atlantica or Olympus in Kingdom Hearts. I just think that Frozen is too recent and wouldn't feel it's own. Don't even get me started about Disney's properties in Star Wars, Marvel, etc. They simply do not belong.

- Returning Worlds -

Pirates of the Caribbean

Port Royale (and Tron's world) in Kingdom Hearts II was so unexpected because it wasn't based on an animated movie like the entirety of KH1's worlds. Somehow, it worked and turned out to be one of my favorite worlds to play through. Given the technological advancements since the dawn of the PS2 in 2006, a Dead Man's Chest world with Davy Jones and company could look awesome and truly bring KH into the world of HD. Davy Jones and/or the Kraken would make for such a kickass boss fight.

100 Acre Wood

The mellow tone of 100 Acre Woods was special in Kingdom Hearts and probably brought me closer to my childhood in a nostalgic way more so than any other world when replaying Kingdom Hearts this past year. There are a lot of places the story could go in KHIII to provide some comic relief from fighting off the Heartless.

Olympus Coliseum

It would not feel like a true Kingdom Hearts game without Hercules, Phil, and Hades. I know that Square Enix has rung this bell three times in the series so far and managed to touch on different areas of Hercules' world from the Underworld to the Coliseum itself to Hercules' origin, but something must be thought up to keep this world a staple in the KH series.

- New Worlds -

The Sword In The Stone

This world has already been teased in the original Kingdom Hearts when Merlin is teaching Sora magic. He said that he too lost his world to the darkness. But let's assume that all was restored and that the story of King Arthur hasn't been told yet. Sora, Goofy, and Donald could team up with both Arthur and Merlin as they take on Mim the Witch in her various transformations. Just imagine how cool of a boss fight that could be. Overall, just exploring the Dark Ages would be something new for the Kingdom Hearts series and again, it would fit into the series' lore given how Sora is already acquainted with Merlin.

Treasure Planet

While some show this movie hate and say that it was in the middle of Disney's drought in the 2000s, Treasure Planet has always been one of my favorite animated Disney movies. I'm sure a lot of this has to deal with me being a big fan of Robert Louis Stevenson, but I thought that a futuristic take on Treasure Island was a brilliant idea that brought to life a cast of likeable and a bit complex characters. It could be one of those worlds that Sora returns to a few times. This is the one world that I am really pulling for.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Like Treasure Planet, this movie has been kind of forgotten over the past decade and has become a cult classic of sorts. I have a rather vivid memory of first seeing this movie in the almost brand new IMAX Theater with a group of friends for like my 8th or 9th birthday. I remember being so amazed by its visuals (I'm sure the fact that it was my first time at the IMAX had something to do with it) and I also remember having this toy replica of the ship they used to get to Atlantis, by the way. Anyway, seeing as we're never going to get an Uncharted: Atlantis, how cool would it be to finally get to explore the lost city of Atlantis in Kingdom Hearts? Very cool.

*Here's where things get a bit out-of-the-box*

Gargoyles

As a 90s kid, I LOVED the cartoon Gargoyles. I know that this isn't exactly a Disney world or even a movie, but I think they still do own the rights to this long dead franchise. It could offer one of Kingdom Hearts III's darker worlds with its gothic design and overall dark tone. This is a longshot for sure, but one can imagine and hope.

Infinity and Beyond

People are on the fence as to whether or not Pixar should be in Kingdom Hearts but I'd personally love to see that happen. However, I don't think a Toy Story world should be attempted. I just think it's too precious to too many people to be tampered with. That, and I think the visual style would be tricky. So why not take something that Disney has always owned in the direct-to-VHS hand-drawn animated movie starring Buzz Lightyear? Zurg could be one of the coolest KH villains to date. Maybe the boss battle could show subtle inspiration from Toy Story 2's video game opening. I'm sure Tim Allen would be game to reprise his role too.

A Bug's Life

This would be the Pixar movie that would make the most sense besides maybe Brave (which nobody likes, so forget about Brave). Team up with Flik and the circus bugs to take down Flik and his Heartless insect army. Boom. Easy.

The Incredibles Prologue

My favorite part of my favorite non-Toy Story Pixar movie is the prologue which features Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone in their glory days. It reminds me of Watchmen in a few ways, I love it. Setting the world of The Incredibles in this time period first would make sense seeing as The Incredibles movie can't be explained without its backstory. Maybe Kingdom Hearts IV in 2032 can tackle the Family/Syndrome stuff.

Mars (John Carter) or Narnia

I'm not sure where the legal ownership is at with these two series of novels turned movie(s), I just know that they both could work extremely well in Kingdom Hearts. I was one of the few who actually enjoyed John Carter by the way and I'm sad it will never get a sequel. The most recent Narnia movie was garbage and John Carter was a flop so I doubt that Disney wants anything to do with these series at all moving forward. But there is a lot of potential here.

The Haunted Mansion

No, not the bad Eddie Murphy movie. I think that it would be neat if Kingdom Hearts took their world inspiration from classic Disneyland/World attractions and simply did their own thing with them. Splash Mountain, Country Bear Jamboree, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Space Mountain could all lead to some pretty cool worlds as well, unless Disney would be against this idea. They did make billions off of their inspiration from a Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. I picked out Haunted Mansion in particular because it was my favorite during a childhood visit years back.

*Just a little side note here, I remember visiting Disney World in 2005 with my family and connecting almost everything I saw with Kingdom Hearts. :P*

For some reason, I think that Disneyland/World is going to play a big role in Kingdom Hearts III.

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I had so much fun writing this! I hope it was fun to read. What worlds would you like to see in Kingdom Hearts III? Disagree with me about Star Wars, Frozen, or Marvel? Let me know in the comments :)

Videogame Music of the Day - Buzz's Arena from Spyro: Year of the Dragon

- Dylan

Back from my Hiatus; PS4 Impressions

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It's been a few months since my last blog on here (my GOTY Awards finale), where I hinted that I might be leaving GS for good. I was flustered by the new site design and how it lacked almost everything I liked about GS. But, here I am. I'm pleasantly amazed that blog notifications are finally working and that game collections (or at least a thin shadow of what they used to be) are back. What's mostly not back is a lot the great users that I've met on here over the years. Unlike myself, it appears their exodus was permanent. But, there are still quite a few faces here on GS that I've come to know and respect. I've went over two months without writing about games and gaming just didn't feel quite the same. For me, writing about games (and movies, comics, TV, sports, etc.) is a lot of fun and it adds an element to the hobby of gaming itself, whatever it may be. So as long as I enjoy writing about games (and whatever, really), I'll continue to do so here on GS, even if this site isn't nearly what it used to be.

So, with this blog, I'd just like to write about what I've been playing and what I plan to post in my blogs looking ahead. I may not be able to really get into blogging again until midway through May (I have a crucial end to my college semester coming up with at least two huge papers to write) but right now, I somehow have the time.

PlayStation 4 At Last

Since mid-February, I've finally bought a PS4! I guess I'm rather fortunate because I still have yet to see one on a shelf at a store and as of right now, they are out of stock on Amazon. The story of how I got my console is a pretty neat story actually. First off, I take great pride in saying that I paid for my PS4 and the Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag game that I bought with it almost entirely with my 1st place winnings from my fantasy football league. So, I'm sitting in my car after my classes (very exhausted), just kind of relaxing for a few minutes and checking my Twitter account before I was going to embark on my 45 minute commute back home. Then, I find out via someone on Twitter that Amazon just received a brand new shipment of PlayStation 4s and that they currently had them for sale for a limited time. I originally thought that I wouldn't be able to get my hands on one until June at the earliest because of how hot they were (and still are), so I instantly decided that now would be only opportunity for a long while (I would have been right). I'm part of a rare breed of college teens that decidedly doesn't have a credit/debit card so if I was going to buy this PS4, it needed to be with an Amazon gift card sold over the counter. I safely-but-quickly-as-could-be drove all the way to my home (a lengthy commute I remind you), pick up my fantasy football winnings stash of $500, and drove to the local grocery store knowing that they have Amazon cards. I spotted a $500 Amazon card on a gift card rack and took it up to check out. The cashier lady looked at the card like it was some type of mystical object from outer space and said, "I had no idea they sold these this expensive" and was even more amused when I paid in 50, 20, and 10 dollar bills. Again, I drove home in a combination of speed and safety wondering if the PS4s were still even in stock and how dumb I would look returning the gift card if I even could. Thankfully, they were still in stock and I placed my order with Amazon Student Prime. It arrived two days later.

My impressions of the PS4 after a little less than two months with it are extremely positive. The graphics aren't nearly as improved from PS3 to PS4 as they were from PS2 to PS3 (or PS1 to PS2 for the matter) but the transition is very noticeable to say the least. The frame-rate and texturing details are the most impressive while the overall graphic quality is moderately higher than PS3's best. The DualShock 4 controller is a thing of beauty. It just fits and feels natural in my hands opposed to the uncomfortable DualShock 3 and the Xbox One's triangle controller that feels as it could slip from your grip at any moment. The touchpad is pretty cool for sifting through maps and when used as a gimmick, it actually does feel immersive if utilized the right way by developers. The speaker in the controller is also pretty nifty. I could see it becoming annoying if overused, but again, it does bring you closer to the game your playing. Infamous: Second Son (more on that later) uses the controller's features in some pretty cool ways like when Delsin (the protagonist) receives a call from his phone or sound effects as you absorb powers.

Moving on to the share feature, this is something that I am very excited about looking forward. Capturing a screenshot (whether you share it with friends or just want to keep for browsing) is very cool but clicking the share button to look back at your last 15 or so minutes of gameplay and keeping or sharing it is absolutely awesome. It's something that truly amazes me in a "only next-gen" way. Sony is soon to release an app where you can edit your captures video into bits and combine them to other clips. The end result can be a montage of your greatest moments while playing the game. I already have a few captures ready to be edited and combined as soon as the app hits. Again, it's something that really excites me because you really couldn't do this before without expensive equipment and the know-how. I'm already imagining my Fallout 4 montage!!! *Slow down, Dylan*

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the PS4 is how quick and powerful it is. It literally inspires awe. You can play a game (downloaded or on-disc), press pause, go the PS4 home screen, look at your trophies, talk to Jimmy and Josie, watch an episode of House of Cards (loving that show) on Netflix, instantly connect to the store without any loading whatsoever, see what your friends are playing, and then resume playing your game. All within a snap of your finger. It's like *snap* that. It's actually identical to what was shown in the advertising.

So yes, I am very pleased with my PS4 and can't wait to see what the future holds for it. And that's just it. This console (and presumably the XB1) is built for the future and will certainly be much improved five years from now. Compare the PS3 in 2007 to what it was in 2013 and imagine what the PS4 can turn into. The one thing I'm a bit bummed about is the lack of games for it. I have Assassin's Creed IV, Infamous, and Resogun and that's all that I want. Killzone looks boring, Knack and Battlefield 4 are supposedly broken, etc. The tough thing is, there isn't a whole lot that's on its way (the same can be said for the XB1) in the coming months and even leading into the end of the year. Of course, we do not know about every game yet (E3 is right around the corner), but only Batman: Arkham Knight has me excited for the PS4 in 2014 and we have yet to see it in action. I have serious questions about The Order 1886, Driveclub, The Crew, Watch Dogs, The Evil Within, and Destiny. Of course 2015 and beyond will be incredible (and my PS3 and handy 3DS are still receiving just as much attention), but what's on deck for my PS4 until then? We'll all find out at E3 I guess.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

What an odd game. At one moment, it feels like a greatest hits mission of the AC I've come to love, and only minutes later, it feels nothing like an AC game at all. I don't know if that's necessarily a good thing. Assassin's Creed I like and I've always wanted a pirate game, but together they do not feel right. Again, all the AC stuff you would expect is great, but the pirate stuff (the at-sea stuff in general) can be anywhere from fun and engaging to a major turnoff and a pain-in-the-ass. I'm not saying it's an unwelcome addition to the AC franchise, but I hope that Assassin's Creed: Unity has nothing to do with a damn ship and a lot to do with sneaking among crowds, climbing famous architecture, and assassinating a secret Templar. This series needs to return to its roots.

I will say that Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag looks and plays absolutely beautiful on the PS4. It was the first PS4 game I played and I was initially amazed and I still do just kind of stop in the game, look around and admire how great it looks. The verdict is still out on its score from me. Likely an 8.

Infamous: Second Son

This blog is getting long! :P Here are some bullets:

- The main story I astonishingly short and uneventful. It's mostly fun and shows signs of greatness at its best moments, but the main story felt like a missed opportunity when you compare it to the rest of the game and wonder about what it could have been.

- The superpower gameplay is addicting, empowering, and completely fun. It controls almost perfectly. Each of the powers feel unique and fun. The leveling system is tried but true.

- The game looks extremely sharp. The scenery of Seattle and the resolution of Delsin's powers is jaw-dropping.

- It uses the PS4's features very well. The new Photo Mode feature can't be missed.

- Characters aren't drawn out well at all; mostly forgettable. I felt great chemistry between Delsin and Fetch (the neon chick) but then she disappears until the end, which again, I didn't have to wait very long for. Major missed opportunity, this game's story should have been at least twice as long.

- Thankfully, there's a ton to do in he sandbox world. No, there aren't any cool side missions with stories a la Red Dead Redemption, but battling the DUP and exploring is super fun.

- The game is a bit challenging, which I think is good.

- I still think that Infamous 1 is the best of the series. It was so fresh and cool with an interesting story. Plus, I felt connected to the world of Empire City. SS doesn't have that going for it.

- Overall, I'd probably rate it an 8.0/10, maybe an 8.5 if you catch me in the right mood. I hope Sucker Punch does something completely new next while a different, smaller developer could take the reins of this series and provide a sequel with a lengthy story with a cool plot while maintaining the tech. I'd love to see the same supporting characters back again but used more like Nix and Quo from Infamous 2.

Castle of Illusion

Last year's Castle of Illusion Mickey Mouse remake was free for PS Plus subscribers this week. Played it, liked it. I didn't play the original, but this game reminded me of old-school game design which is really cool. It's 2.5D and quite challenging. At moments, the game design is nothing short of genius. But it has its large share of flaws and is as short as you'd expect from a little downloadable game. Can be beaten in two sittings with nothing intriguing to go back and do. No Platinum trophy neither. It's worth it if you can score it for free. I'd give it a 7.0/10.

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That's all for now. If you read this before or during Easter, I'd highly recommend taking a look at the PSN sale going on right now until Sunday. There are like 30 downloadable games for sale for just $1. I just bought the last Spyro game I needed (recently replayed 1 & 2) and all three Crash Bandicoot games for less than $4. It's a crazy deal, check it out. My Top 35 PlayStation 3 Games mega-list is coming soon! Thanks for reading and please comment :)

- Dylan

2013 GOTY Awards Finale: Game of the Year

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Links to Parts I-IV:

Part I: Tech Awards

Part II: Random Awards

Part III: Genre Awards

Part IV: Platform Awards

The finale to my 2013 Game of the Year Awards consists of three awards including my 2013 Game of the Year selection, the runner-up Game of the Year, and my Most Anticipated Game of 2014. I will also have an Olympic style award count for each game.

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Game of the Year

Winner: The Last of Us

There were four or five 2013 games that I played that are Game of the Year worthy. Pokémon Y, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Bioshock: Infinite, and maybe GTA V could have gave my 2012 GOTY Assassin's Creed III a run for its money. 2013 was a great gaming year for me. And I haven't even played LoZ: A Link Between Worlds yet. But above all of these games for me is The Last of Us, hands down. Over this last generation, we've seen a renaissance for story telling in videogames. But the problem is, some games get too carried away with their story that the gameplay often has to sit in the passenger seat. A perfect, well-treaded example of this is Bioshock Infinite. One moment consists of defeating all sorts of enemies with guns and super powers and the next moment consists of a cinematic moment that advances the plot. They hardly ever overlapped. In The Last of Us however, I never sensed a drop-off between the story and the combat. Both the gameplay and story are unmatched in my opinion. I felt like I was with Joel and Ellie throughout their adventure and that each strangle, gunshot, or step felt like part of the story that I was controlling. And despite the infected, it felt like a true story because of how gripping and emotionally draining it was from start to finish. At times, it showed (through story and gameplay) how dark and miserable our world can be and also how beautiful and hopeful our world can be. I could get into each and every aspect of the game and why they all combine to make The Last of Us my Game of the Year like I did over the past four blogs, but I think the game speaks for itself. It's a rare masterpiece that I feel will leave an impression on video games heading into the PS4/XBO generation.

2012 Winner: Assassin's Creed III

2011 Winner: Batman: Arkham City

2010 Winner: Red Dead Redemption

(The rest are just looking back and deciding what would have been my GOTY)

2009 Winner: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

2008 Winner: Fallout 3

2007 Winner: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

2006 Winner: Kingdom Hearts II

2005 Winner: Star Wars: Battlefront II

2004 Winner: Jak 3

2003 Winner: Jak II

2002 Winner: Kingdom Hearts

2001 Winner: Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy

2000 Winner: Spyro: Year of the Dragon

1999 Winner: Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage

1998 Winner: Pokémon Red/Blue

1997 Winner: GoldenEye 007

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Runner-Up Game of the Year

Winner: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Ni no Kuni is almost the polar opposite of The Last of Us in just about every way. And it happens to be one of my favorite games of this generation and maybe of all-time. That just goes to show how versatile videogames can be. Ni no Kuni is a throwback to the JRPGs I played on the PS1 when I was a little kid like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy IX, and Legend of Legaia. Through and through, Ni no Kuni is a JRPG with its exploration, player choice, turn based gameplay, inventory system, and pick-up-whenever-and-play (for hours) mentality. But it's a bit more than that. JRPGs have had a hard time adjusting to the advancements in the videogame industry (just look at how far Final Fantasy has fallen. Ni no Kuni did things right. It has that old school feel to it, but it looks and plays very modern. It tells a touching story with unforgettable characters, has a brilliant art style done by none other than Studio Ghibli, has a wonderful score by the legendary Joe Hisaishi, and it borrows elements from the right games while making them their own. What's scary but true is that not a lot of people (myself included) would have even thought about getting this game if it wasn't for Studio Ghibli. Ghibli sold the game (figuratively) and it felt like a Ghibli experience married to my favorite JRPGs. There isn't more I could ask for.

2012 Winner: Far Cry 3

2011 Winner: L.A. Noire

2010 Winners: Heavy Rain & Mass Effect 2 (tie)

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Most Anticipated Game of 2014

Winner: Infamous: Second Son

It's kind of odd to explain why I am looking forward to Infamous Second Son so much. I really liked both Infamous game on PS3, but I wouldn't put them in the same league as some of my all-time favorite games that have had sequels that had me super-hyped. I think that's because Infamous: Second Son looks like its own game and own fresh experience. It looks like Sucker Punch is moving on from Infamous into something greater. It has more of a realistic but even flashier design, a protagonist who is excited to have his super powers and doesn't have to deal with any burden, and gameplay with different objectives and a new feel. Over all of these aspects is that the game looks like the first true next gen game alongside a select few games that are still far away. It looks like it's taking the powerful PS4 tech on a joyride, set to show off all its bells and whistles. I'm excited to get my super powers and just go explore this dystopian Seattle and interact with everything. I love sandbox games. Infamous: Second Son has a chance to take sandbox games into a bold new place. On top of it all, Sucker Punch hasn't given away too much about it; there is still so much we don't know about unlike some of my past anticipated games that had new information released every week about it. It's a mystery with an almost guaranteed chance of being spectacular.

2012 Winners: Grand Theft Auto V & The Last of Us

2011 Winner: Jak & Daxter Collection

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Final Award Count:

(excludes awards for Most Anticipated, Biggest Disappointment, Best Handheld, & Best Console)

- The Last of Us - 10

- Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch - 4

- Bioshock Infinite - 3

- Batman: Arkham Origins - 3

- Super Mario World 3D - 2

- Grand Theft Auto V - 2

- Resogun - 2

- Forza Motorsport 5 - 2

- Pokémon X/Y - 1

- Metro: Last Light - 1

- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker - 1

- Injustice: Gods Among Us - 1

- Tearaway - 1

- MLB 13: The Show - 1

- Gears of War: Judgement - 1 (by default)

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That's that. This might actually be my final official blog here on Gamespot after five years. It's just not the same site anymore. It may not be my final blog here, I don't know. If it is, I'll have a farewell blog soon. I've already decided to move to another site for blogging (more on that later), but I might still copy and paste the blogs to here on GS too. But until then, thanks for reading and please comment :)

Videogame Music of the Day: The Last of Us Main Theme

- Dylan

2013 GOTY Awards Part IV: Platform Awards

by on

The second to last part of my five-part Game of the Year Awards blog series is all about how the different platforms line up against each other. The major platforms anyway; I will award the best exclusive for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, and 3DS. I will also recognize one console and one handheld as the best of the year 2013. One award that sticks out from the bunch would be the Best Re-Release, which accounts fro remakes, re-masters, HD updates, remixes, etc. Here we go (in a Mario voice):

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Best Xbox One Exclusive

Winner: Forza Motorsport 5

Like its PS4 rival, the Xbox One did not launch with a killer exclusive. It's three major exclusives: Ryse: Son of Rome, Dead Rising 3, and Forza Motorsport 5 each gathered divisive reviews from critics and gamers alike. Ryse was scorned for being too repetitive and QTE-heavy. Dead Rising 3 disappointed long-time fans of the series and didn't appeal to a broad audience. Forza 5 didn't bring much to the veteran Xbox series, but few would deny that it is a fun and quite good game overall. Racing games have become a showcase for a console's graphics, and Forza 5 does make the Xbox One look good.

(1st Annual)

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Best Xbox 360 Exclusive

Winner: Gears of War: Judgment

According to my research, this was the only exclusive Xbox 360 game of 2013 besides a few not-so-noteworthy Xbox Live exclusives. The game was received well by critics but poorly by fans of the series. In any case, it was the only retail exclusive. I'm not kidding. So yeah...

2012 Winner: Halo 4

2011 Winner: Gears of War 3

2010 Winner: Alan Wake

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Best PlayStation 4 Exclusive

Winner: Resogun

Like I said with Xbox One's exclusive games at launch, there wasn't much to write home about. Not yet. The big guns for the PS4 and XB1 are yet to be released. But unlike the Xbox One, the PlayStation 4 did have a bite-sized exclusive in 2013 that was received very well be critics and is currently giving PS4 owners a modern but old-school arcade experience. Resogun is easy to pick up, challenging to master, and hard to put down.

(1st Annual)

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Best PlayStation 3 Exclusive

Winner: The Last of Us

The PlayStation 3 had a wide variety of exclusive games to choose from in 2013. In almost any other year, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch could have had a good shot but for me, it was The Last of Us that left the biggest impression. It was a game unlike anything I've ever experienced and it was just a modern masterpiece that I think will have a huge effect on gaming. It had an unbelievably strong and personal story with fresh gameplay experiences that fit right into the story from start to finish. It also had a haunting and addictive multiplayer component.

2012 Winner: Journey

2011 Winner: Uncharted 3: Drake's Fortune

2010 Winner: Heavy Rain

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Best Wii U Exclusive

Winner: Super Mario 3D World

Safe? Yes. Revolutionary? No. Innovative? Yes. Fun? Yes. On the heels of 2012, which brought a 2D Mario using and avoiding the same adjectives, 2013 gave Wii U owners Super Mario 3D World, which brought Mario and friends into the realm of HD 3D. While some would be shocked that it has taken this long, SM3DW looks and plays like a next-gen game that could only be put on shelves today. The latest Mario game has an emphasis on four player co-op (four people fighting over the Wii U pad while the others get stuck with the Wiimote, reminds me of giving my friends the MadCatz controllers) and cats, both of which could be constants for the Super Mario series going forward.

2012 Winner: New Super Mario Bros. U

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Best PlayStation Vita Exclusive

Winner: Tearaway

Tearaway isn't a game designed to appeal to a large crowd in the way that Super Mario or Assassin's Creed do, it's something of an experimental game from Media Molecule that showcases everything that makes the PS Vita a great piece of technology that unfortunately isn't getting any love from publishers or consumers in a similar way to the Wii U. Tearaway is everything you could ask for from a small game tailor made for a specific platform; it's creative and has an authentic visual style that makes it charming. I'm among the crowd who doesn't have a Vita, but games like this make we start to think about buying one, hoping that developers and publishers recognize that the PS Vita has potential.

2012 Winner: LittleBigPlanet Vita

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Best 3DS Exclusive

Winner: Pokémon X/Y

Before you mention A Link Between Worlds, which I have yet to play but know exactly what it would offer, I think that Pokémon X/Y did a more impressive job of breathing new life into a long-running franchise to ensure that it has a place in the future. While ALBW plays more on nostalgia of one of the greatest games every made while implementing new gameplay concepts, Pokémon X/Y is a complete refresh button for one of gaming's most notorious franchises. After going about six years without playing a Pokémon game, I picked up Pokémon Black a couple years back and was immediately unimpressed and realizing that the series has gone nowhere except maybe downwards since Ruby/Sapphire. The Pokémon themselves were lame, the gameplay felt rehashed and I found it to be missing that sense of wonder that Pokémon had on my childhood of exploring an extraordinary world and obsessing over your personal Pokedex, "catching them all". I will say that Pokémon Black had a very interesting story that actually kept me playing, but in the end, I thought that I had made a huge mistake by augmenting my Pokémon memories from my childhood and thought that Pokémon was going down the drain the same way most series do after a certain amount of time. Enter Pokémon Y. I was caught off guard with everyone else when Nintendo revealed that Pokémon would be coming to the 3DS and bringing so many interesting changes to the series that I used to dream about when I was a little dylan417. No more grid walking, the game world is in 3D. Each Pokémon has their own set of animations (which are beautifully realized). Pokémon from past generations are all together in one content along with brand new, surprisingly awesome Pokémon (a bunch from this generation are probably among my top twenty all-time favorites). Throw in some more elements like mega-evolution and player customization and I was all in ready to get me Pokémon on again. Unlike Pokémon Black, this return to Pokémon was/is (I'm still playing the buttons off my 3DS) the joy I was hoping for. I can't wait to see where Pokémon goes from here (I'm personally dying for a Ruby/Sapphire remake in 3D).

2012 Winner: Kid Icarus: Uprising

2011 Winner: Super Mario 3D Land

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Best Re-Release

Winner: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

As much as I would love to give it to the awesome Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix that I have actually played, I have to give this award to The Wind Waker remake that I have yet to play fully, seeing as I do not own a Wii U yet (A new LoZ officially announced and shown is all I ask). The hour or so that I did play at a sibling's house was jaw-dropping. I remember Wind Waker looking good back in the GameCube days, but damn. The artistic style of Wind Waker looks glorious in HD and it feels next-gen when you play it. Thanks to the Wii's funky motion controls (I hate motion controls with a passion outside of Wii Sports) and oddness overall, I forgot what it was like to play a legit Legend of Zelda game. Even the simple stuff (which is mostly what I played) like wandering around a village out gold, green, and blue and talking to residents and collecting Rupees is a pure delight. I can't wait to buy a Wii U (2015 most likely) and play the impressive lineup of games it has just two years in, with this game at the top of the queue.

2012 Winner: Jak & Daxter Collection

2011 Winner: ICO Collection

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Console of the Year

Winner: PlayStation 3

While I do like where the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U are headed, PS3 wins by a landslide. There weren't hardly any games that came out last year that the PS3 was lacking. Instead, it was the other consoles that were on the outside looking in. PS3 exclusives included new IPs like The Last of Us, Ni no Kuni, Puppeteer, Dragon's Crown, and Beyond: Two Souls while existing and loved franchises like Sly Cooper, Gran Turismo, God of War, and Kingdom Hearts all got new releases. PlayStation is known to pack the exclusives, and 2013 was one of their greatest years yet in this regard. Also very important as a leg up on their competition was seeing PlayStation Plus blossom into one of the greatest deals in entertainment history. A year subscription for $50 would have bought you great games like Borderlands 2, Hotline Miami, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, Hitman: Absolution, OddWorld: Munch's Odyssey, Battlefield 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Saints Row The Third, XCOM Enemy Unknown, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Sleeping Dogs, Spec Ops: The Line, Vanquish, and Mega Man 9 & 10. All for $50 on top of constant discounts, savings, and other features. PS+ is growing strong and puts Xbox Live to shame in a rather embarrassing way. Most importantly, 2013 saw tremendous sales for the PS3, which was at one time as dead as the Wii U is right now. While PS3 still has a lot of life left in it, 2013 will forever be remembered as its swan song year that brought everything the PlayStation 3 stood for.

2012 Winner: PlayStation 3

2011 Winner: Xbox 360

2010 Winner: PlayStation 3

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Handheld of the Year

Winner: Nintendo 3DS

Even though the 3DS again had almost no competition from the PS Vita and would have won this award anyways, the 3DS had a truly amazing year full of great games that could only be experienced on the grandchild the GameBoy would be proud of including The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Pokémon X/Y, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Project X Zone, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, and Fire Emblem: Awakening. it's the best lineup of games for a single platform in a single year that I can think of at the moment. And there wasn't even a true Mario game. The outlook for the 3DS in 2014 looks weak at the moment, but don't forget that both LoZ:ALBW and Pokémon X/Y were announced in the same year they released. The 3DS is on a roll, it's keeping Nintendo afloat even with the disastrous start of the Wii U, and I doubt they would abandon it. I've been a Nintendo owner since the age of like 6 when my uncle gave me his old GameBoy (the OG, fat one) with the original Tetris and Super Mario Land. I love Nintendo and all that they stand for. I honestly think that they are going to successful this generation with the combo of the Wii U and the 3DS, they are just going to need to do it all themselves because nobody is willing to make games for a system nobody owns. It just does not make sense from a business perspective. Give the Wii U a Super Mario Galaxy type game of innovation, a brand new modern Legend of Zelda that blows people away, Mario Kart, DKC, and Super Smash Bros. and then tell me that the Wii U is still dead. I see all these games happening before 2016 hits and at the end of the 2016 year, Nintendo will be back where they belong. The monster year that the 3DS had in terms of sales and games is the kickstart that Nintendo needed.

2012 Winner: Nintendo 3DS

2011 Winner: Nintendo 3DS

2010 Winner: PlayStation Portable

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Just to let whoever know, I did not write this all in one sitting :P This kind of explains why it took so long to post, that and I've been super busy with college and a bunch of daily stuff nobody here cares about. The only free time I've had outside of socializing ad whatnot went to playing games and watching movies. I've platinumed my eighth PS3 game and started to replay some favorites, more on that next blog. Thanks for reading and please comment :)

Song of the Day: Legendary Music from Pokémon X/Y

^ Hearing this was one of my favorite 2013 gaming memories! :)

- Dylan