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It's been nearly 2 months since my last blog and that's mainly due to a load of University assignments but now its the Easter break so I've got time for some blogging. A lot has happened since I last blogged when it comes to games so I'll just mention a few things.

I've played and completed 3 great ps3 games in the last couple of months. Firstly Bioshock and Bioshock 2 which I got fairly cheap and thoroughly enjoyed. There's not much between them and I'd give both a 9/10 but the original just gets the nod. If you've played it then I'm sure you'll get the reference in my blog title. In between those I played my brothers copy of Dishonored. It was what I felt Hitman Absolution should have been. Dark but truly mature with a lovely aesthetic and choices that actually felt tangible. I'd give it 8.5/10.

In February, Nintendo held a 3DS Nintendo Direct. From that I'm looking forward to Mario and Luigi: Dream Team and Inazuma Eleven 3.

Also last month we had the ps4 reveal. None of the games announced so far appealed to me but I'm certain there's a lot more to come so e3 should be good when it comes to sony. Whether I'll get a ps4, I don't know but I definitely won't be getting it within the first year of its launch.

Finally I'm looking forward to at last getting my hands on some new games for my Nintendo systems. Both Lego City Undercover on Wii U and Luigis Mansion 2 on 3DS are released here on March 28th and both are looking like fine additions to my gaming library.

Thanks for reading.


23rd January 2013 Nintendo Direct- A bright future for Wii U

Hi everyone,

In the last hour Nintendo has revealed a huge amount of Wii U information via a Nintendo Direct broadcast. They have announced new features and new games and I am very excited. A lot of it was just hints but they promise an exciting E3 and a bright future for the Wii U.

Here's a round up of the announcements.

  • Zelda Wii U rethinking the series conventions and still some way from release
  • Zelda Wind Waker HD remake to be released this autumn
  • 3D Mario and New Mario Kart to be playable at E3
  • First Smash Bros 4 screens at E3
  • Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem crossover in development
  • Suceesor to Xenoblade Chroicles in development
  • New Yoshi game in the style of Kirbys epic yarn in development
  • Virtual console coming to Wii U in the spring and to include Gameboy Advance games
  • Miiverse updates coming including communities and photo sharing(screenshot function in Pikmin 3 shown off)
  • Lego City Undercover to be released on March 28th in Europe

Nintendo has finally shown their hand and have much more likely to come at E3 too.

What are your thoughts and are you as excited as I am by the announcements?

Thanks for reading.


Hitman Absolution: A failed attempt at mature gaming

Hi everyone,

I have recently been playing Hitman Absolution and I feel compelled to write about the games attempts to create a mature story, characters and world.

One of the main reasons I play games is for escapism. Much like Machiavelli when it came to history, I like to feel like I am the protagonist and get involved in their story and game world and immerse myself in interactions with the characters I meet. With Hitman Absolution I found this impossible. That is due to the sheer abhorrent nature of every single character in the game and the disgusting, horrible game world that you are placed in.

Every single character I have met in the game so far has been cruel, vile and sadistic. I understand that the people a hitman met wouldn't be the most pleasant characters but I am fairly sure they wouldn't all be as extreme in their depravity as the ones in the game. The total absence of redeeming characters is also unbelievable. Not even the protagonist (a term I use loosely) is an inviting character to know. Agent 47 is simply put the blandest player character I've ever played as. Even the characters in 1980s games like Joust have more personality. The game is aiming for a mature, gritty tone with its characters but it goes to far. One or two such horrible individuals would be fine but when every single character is like that, it is not mature and comes across as juvenile.

Staying on the theme of immature characterisation, the portrayal of women in the game is even worse. Every female character appears to have been designed to appeal to teenage boys in the worst way. They are all big breasted, scantily dressed and flirtatious regardless of their role or job. This is inexcusable in the modern day. To make matters worse the developers thought that making many of the women just as violent and cruel as the men in the game would make them examples of strong, independent women. This is another serious misjudgement and has the opposite effect to what may have been intended.

Moving on to the game world as a whole this backfiring attempt at maturity continues. Every location is designed to be gritty, dark and dangerous. In conjunction with the characters this made me want to leave the game and not return for it is too depraved to want to be a part of. I assume this was an attempt at a realistic recreation of the shady underworld of society. Far from representing the aspects of the world that you'd rather not know about but have to face in order to tackle them such as poverty and world hunger it merely comes across as a deliberately exaggerated and unrealistic world of perversion that is over the top, immature and not nice in any way to experience.

Unusually for a Hitman game, Absolution involves a story that aims to get you emotionally involved with Agent 47 and his experiences. However as I have already mentioned he is the most lifeless and bland character in gaming and his lack of emotion shows. The story is soulless and completely forgettable. Tackling a number of hits in a variety of locations would have been a much better direction for the developers to take because the story is yet another negative.

Finally I would like to compare Hitman Absolution to 2011's Deus Ex: Human Revolution. For me Human Revolution does a much better job at what Hitman is trying to do. Deus Ex has a dark, gritty world too but it is one you want to be immersed in. Its characters are much more fleshed out and whilst it contains villainous personalities none of them are as extreme and immaturely designed as those in Absolution. It also has many likeable characters and a much better story with a protagonist who can actually show emotion. Its portrayal of women is much better too. There are female characters who are strong through their work, personalities and emotions not through sexualised violent means like those in Hitman which seem to have come straight from the mind of Frank Miller(which is not a good thing).

It's a shame that Hitmans attempts at mature characters and storytelling fail so miserably because if you extract the gameplay mechanics they are fundamentally sound. However for the reasons I have discussed the game is not one I want to spend any length of time in. I will finish it because I have paid for it, but I won't enjoy it.

Thanks for reading.


My top 10 most anticipated games of 2013

Hi everyone,

Now that I have concluded my list of the 20 best games I played in 2012, it is time to look ahead to this years releases. In December I did a vague blog about games I was looking forward to in 2013. Now I am listing my top 10 in order. I am only including games that I know will be released in 2013 so there is no Professor Layton 6, Smash Bros Wii U or Star Wars 1313. The games have to be officially announced too.

10- Lego Marvel Super Heroes

9- Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

8- Pikmin 3

7- The Last of Us

6- Tomb Raider

5- Rayman Legends

4- Lego City Undercover

3- Luigis Mansion: Dark Moon

2- Animal Crossing: New Leaf

1- Pokemon X/Y

What games are you most looking forward to in 2013.

Thanks for reading.


My top 20 games of 2012 part 4 #5-1

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the final part of my top 20 games of 2012, the top 5. To see the previous 15 games look at my last 3 blogs and remember that the games here don't need to have been released in 2012, I simply have to of played the for the first time in 2012.

5- Batman: Arkham Asylum (ps3)

2009's Arkham Asylum finally provided a superhero game worthy of the word super. Its biggest triumph is that it actually makes the player feel like Batman pulling of brutal combos and utilising his array of gadgets. It also has a really good grasp of the Batman universe with many favourite villains appearing and bios of many more to find. Its let down by the quality of the boss fights but until the sequel was easily the best superhero game ever.

4- LA Noire- (ps3)

Rockstar turned the tables in LA Noire and cast you as a cop in late 1940s Los Angeles, tasking you with solving crimes rather than being the criminal. Its combat is solid but its real strengths are the story, characters and investigations. Investigating crime scenes, interviewing suspects and piecing together clues all feel like second nature due to the ease with which they are implemented and for me being a cop is much more enjoyable than being the criminal. The game also makes excellent use of motion capture for its characters. I hope for a sequel.

3- Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception (ps3)

Uncharted 2 was a major improvement on the first Uncharted but somehow Uncharted 3 managed to improve by the same amount again. The story is in my opinion much more engaging, the set pieces even more spectacular and the action even better. Add to that a fantastic musical score and brilliant online multiplayer that I keep returning to and you've got one of thebest action adventure games I've ever played.

2- Batman: Arkham City (ps3)

The second helping of Arkham action upped the anti on the original with more of the same and improvements to boot. With a larger game world, even crazier characters and much more to do it improves on the original in many ways. MOst importantly though the boss battles are much more enjoyable and that elevates the game to the next level. The first game was great but this makes it looks mediocre by comparison.

1- Mass Effect 3 (pc)

I am a huge Mass Effect fan and for the second year running the series wins my game of the year. I only experienced the first 2 in 2011 but it is already one of my favourite series. Mass Effect 3 increases the scale with huge space battles, a sweeping score and even more action and excitement. Importantly it retains the story driven characterization to balance the action as well. I struggle to find fault with it with only the lacklustre ending blotting its copybook.

So that's my top 5. I shall now add Mass Effect 3 to the list of my game of the year winners. Below is my GOTY for the last 6 years. Remember it is games I played for the first time that year although for all but 2011 the winner was released in the year in question. Thats why for 2011 I am putting the game that was runner-up in brackets because if it was games released that year it would have won.

2007- Super Mario Galaxy

2008- Super Smash Bros Brawl

2009- Pokemon Platinum

2010- Super Mario Galaxy 2

2011- Mass Effect 2 (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)

2012- Mass Effect 3

Thanks for reading.


My top 20 games of 2012 part 3 #10-6

Hi everyone,

Welcome to part 3 of my countdown of the top 20 games I played in 2012. To see the first 10 games look at my previous 2 blogs but in this blog I will be revealing numbers 10-6. A reminder that these games don't have to of been released in 2012 but I have to of played them for the first time in 2012.

10- Ratchet and Clank HD Trilogy (ps3)

I missed out on the original 3 Ratchet and Clank games when they were first released but had been wanting to play them for a while before this year. I was therefore ecstatic to hear that they were been released as an HD trilogy. I got it on launch and was not let down. They are funny, challenging and full of great characters(my favourite being Captain Quark). The original trilogy is definitely the highlight with better stories, funnier scripts and crazier weapons than the ps3 games. 3 of the best platforming games around.

9- Pokemon Conquest (DS)

When this crossover between Pokemon and Japanese strategy series Nobunagas Ambition was first announced I simply thought it was a ridiculous idea and that I would never get it. My opinion didn't change until about a week before it was released when I read a glowing review and something clicked and I suddenly though I actually really want it. I got it on launch and it is easily the most surprisingly good game I played last year. Somehow it seems to work perfectly and I would look forward to a sequel.

8- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (ps3)

Uncharted 2 represents a vast improvement on the already good Uncharted. With a much wider array of locales and grander set pieces, it is in many ways more of the same but so much better. The combat is also tightened up with less deaths that feel like you have been cheated and it makes even better use of Drakes acrobatic skills.

7- Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (3DS)

2011's Spectre's call was a good game but weak compared to Laytons usual standards. Last years Miracle Mask was a fantastic return to form for Layton as he made the move to 3DS. With a much improved story and the same calibre of puzzles as the series best it is arguably the best Layton yet. Roll on Layton 6.

6- Deus Ex: Human Revolution (ps3)

Human Revolution draws you into a world full of moral choices and shady characters as advances in human genetics and their ethical problems take centre stage. The story is interesting and twisting and the combat quality too. The boss fights are truly poor but everything else about it oozes care and attention from the development team and is well worthy of any action rpg fans attention or fan of a good story with free form choices in general.

Thanks for reading.


My top 20 games of 2012 part 2 #15-11

Hi everyone,

Welcome to part 2 of my countdown of the top 20 games I played in 2012. This will be numbers 15 through 11. To see part 1 visit my previous blog. Before I reveal the next 5 a reminder that these are games I played for the first time in 2012 and don't have to of been released last year.

15- Uncharted: Drakes Fortune (ps3)

Last year I got and played all 3 Uncharted games on ps3. When I first played the original I found it to be very good and its limitations only really became apparent upon playing the sequels and experiencing the improvements they brought. Nevertheless Nathan Drakes first game still featured a good story with engaging characters and made good use of acrobatic abilties and set pieces. Not as good as its sequels but still very good.

14- Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time (ps3)

Another series I was introduced to last year was the Ratchet and Clank frnachise. In fact I ended up playing all 3 ps3 adventures and the HD trilogy. A Crack in time was the best of the 3 ps3 games in my opinion. Tools of Destruction was fun but I didn't like the new characters or villain and Quest for Booty was quite weak really. A Crack in Time was much better with its time bending story and the return of Dr Nefarious. Not as good as the 3 ps2 originals but a return to form.

13- New Super Mario Bros U (Wii U)

I was cautiously optimistic before the release of Marios first Wii U outing and in all honestly expected a rehash of New Super Mario Bros Wii. That wasn't the case though. The game felt completely fresh with new worlds and much better level design and variety. I also felt that the jumping didn't feel as floaty and slow and this improved the experience a lot for me. How much I enjoyed this game was one of the biggest gaming surprises of last year for me.

12- Super Paper Mario (Wii)

It took me 5 years to finally get around to buying this game because I just couldn't find it at a decent price after overlooking it upon its first release. It was worth the wait though. Count Bleck was a great new villain for Mario to face off against and the game had a good story with plenty of humour. I felt the 3d to 2d flipping was implemented well and not overused. The best Wii game I played last year.

11- Jak and Daxter HD Trilogy (ps3)

I received this for my birthday last year and as it is all on one disc I am counting it as one game. Jak 3 is the best of the trilogy in my opinion with the difficulty level of Jak 2 making it the worst. I did prefer the setting in the original but the vehicle and gunplay sections of the later games added a whole new dimension to the series. If anything its the difference in gameplay styles and in the tone of the story between the original and the later 2 games that is the best feature because the quality is maintained throughout and so is the general feel of the franchise despite the shift.

Thanks for reading.


My top 20 games of 2012 part 1 #20-15

Hi everyone,

Welcome to part 1 of my countdown of the top 20 games I played in 2012. As if with my top 25 films to qualify for this list a game does not have to of been released in 2012, I simply have to of played it for the first time in 2012. In total I played just over 30 games last year that fit this criteria and some fairly big name games didn't make my top 20 for various reasons. This includes Resident Evil: Revelations, Modern Warfare 3, Kirbys Epic Yarn, Gran Turismo 5 and Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction.

I will be doing this list across 4 blogs each containing 5 games.

Now on with the first 5.

20 - Playstation All-stars Battle Royale (ps3)

As I said in my impressions blog this isn't on par with Smash Bros at all and it lacks that special quality and can feel a little bland. However it is a solid and fun fighter in its own right and is simply missing polish, depth and brevity.

19- Motorstorm Apocalypse (ps3)

I played 2 racing games last year, this and Gran Turismo 5. Gran Turismo 5 was the worst game I played all year and I hated it but Motorstorm was much better. I liked the crazy set pieces that occur as you race and the speed of the racing makes for frantic, exciting races. The story and characters are terrible but that doesn't matter when the racing itself is so good.

18- Inazuma Eleven 2 (DS)

The sequel to 2011's football based RPG from level 5 didn't let me down. It improved on the original in almost every way with a bigger world to explore and an even better story. An underrated series in my view.

17- Little Big Planet 2 (ps3)

I couldn't get to grips with level creation myself but I had a good time playing on the widely varying levels created by other users. That coupled with the crazy imagination of the story levels meant I got a lot of fun out of it.

16- Rhythm Thief and the Emperors Treasure (3DS)

Sega's rhythm based adventure set in modern day Paris is a sadly overlooked 3DS gem. The puzzles are the only weak element and thankfully they only make up a small portion of the game. The 50 rhythm games you encounter during the course of the story are much better and add to the compelling narrative that I was eager to see through to conclusion.

Thanks for reading.


My top 25 films seen in 2012 part 2 #14-1

Hi everyone,

Welcome to part 2 of my countdown of the best films I saw last year. For numbers 25-15 and a full list of every film I saw for the first time last year check out my last blog. I was going to do 3 parts but I decided to put all the top 14 in this blog so that I can move on to my top 20 games of 2012 before getting too far into 2013. For those blogs I will definitely elaborate on my game choices with written reasons but for this film blog I have decided not too.

Remember that to qualify for this list the films do not need to have been released in 2012, I merely need to have seen them for the first time in 2012.

14- Ratatouille (2007)

13- Planet of the Apes (1968)

12- The Muppets (2012)

11- Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

10- The Adventures of Tintin: The secret of the Unicorn (2011)

9- The Pirates in an adventure with Scientists (2012)

8- The Hunger Games (2012)

7- Kick-Ass (2010)

6- Dredd (2012)

5- Gattaca (1997)

4- The Amazing Spiderman (2012)

3- Skyfall (2012)

2- The Avengers (2012)

1- The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

What do you think of my choices and what were your favourite films that you saw last year?

Thanks for reading.


My top 25 films seen in 2012 part 1 #25-16

Hi everyone,

Happy new year and welcome to my 400th blog. Today is part 1 of my countdown of the best films I saw in 2012. To qualify for this list the films don't need to have been released in 2012 but simply need to have been seen by me for the first time in 2012. In total I saw 48 films this year that I hadn't seen before. If you wish to see a full list in no particular order to see what films didn't make the cut then click the spoiler below.

[spoiler] The Muppets, The Pirates in an Adventure with scientists, The Avengers, The Amazing Spiderman, The Expendables, The Expendables 2, The Dark Knight Rises, Dredd, Skyfall, Judge Dredd, Contagion, Kick-Ass, The Hunger Games, Planet of the Apes(1968), Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Megamind, Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman and Robin, The Incredible Hulk, Ratatouille, Kung Fu Panda 2, Super 8, The Hangover, The Hangover part 2, Attack the Block, Easy A, Spirited Away, Iron Sky, Cowboys and Aliens, The Fighter, Real Steel, Sin City, Dr Strangelove, The Candidate, Public Enemies, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Puss in Boots, Gattaca, The Muppets take Manhattan, Tower Heist, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo(2011), GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Full Metal Jacket, Ted, Superbad, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn [/spoiler]

Now for the first 10 entries, For parts 2 and 3 I will give details of why I chose the films but for these 10 I will not elaborate.

25- GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra(2009)

24- The Incredible Hulk(2008)

23- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo(2011)

22- Super 8(2011)

21- Real Steel(2011)

20- Superbad(2007)

19- Dr Strangelove(1964)

18- Full Metal Jacket(1987)

17- The Expendables 2(2012)

16- Cowboys and Aliens(2011)

15- Megamind(2010)

Parts 2 and 3 will be up in due course and not will be followed by my top 20 games of 2012 split across 2 blogs.

Thanks for reading.