Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be

This last year has seen a lot in the way of end of life consoles and features. The Wii U is dead (finally), though frankly it was stillborn to begin with. PS3 will no longer support PS Now.

But this year also saw the release of the NES Classic console and a bevy of retro games (specifically on the E-Shop). And in the last couple of years, the “retro” 8 and 16 bit games have become increasingly popular.

But, how does this all stand up?

Don’t get me wrong – I grew up on the NES/SNES. Games like Contra, Zelda and of course, the titular Mario Bros games. And I do still love them. In fact, I recently got myself an SNES. But with the sophistication of current games – is simple nostalgia enough to keep us engaged?

I think of games like Mega Man. An absolute classic. I don’t think anyone could dispute that Mega Man 2 is easily one of the best games of the generations. That being said – how does it stack up next to say, Fallout 4 or The Witcher 3?

Obviously the older stuff isn’t as technically proficient. And, things like the controls are considerably more simplistic. But are those the deciding factors? Is there a way to say “X is better than Y”? Is that the question we should even be asking?

All I can say, from personal experience, is a lot of those games just don’t hold up like I (and I’ll say we and speak for some of you) would like them to.

I think of picking up the NES Classic, but then I look at those games and think: Do I really want to spend 80$ to play Bubble Bobble? Or, is the real fun of Bubble Bobble, in my mind – I mean, the memory of playing it side by side with my friends (and in my case, my grand mother) as a kid?

bub-2

And I know, for whatever reason, nostalgia is a huge part of this generation (age group). So I, by default, should be in love with all of the retro stuff coming out. And part of me is. But it’s just nostalgia for nostalgia’s purpose.

I think I’m more interested in where we are, and where we will be potentially over the course of the next few years. The potential in the gaming industry right now seems virtually limitless. VR, despite it being an early incarnation, has some very interesting possibilities. Games, in general, have gotten more complex in terms of actual gameplay, graphics, stories, etc. Even games that I thought there was no hope for the series – like Resident Evil – have surprised me and put out some super high quality games. Which is especially amazing, given the proclivity towards the retro, since Resident Evil 1 was easily one of my favourite PS1 games. In that sense, this nostalgic indulgence is definitely a positive for the future of the industry.

Ok, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great that indie developers are reaching back to our roots and showing us where we came from – and are doing some things to make them new and innovative. I also think it’s great that consoles like NES Classic exist for those who never had the opportunity to play through Zelda when it came out.

But this focus (read: cashing in) on the nostalgia of our generation isn’t something I can really get on board with. As far as my consumer dollar goes – I will be laying it down for the new and truly innovative. That is to say, there is nothing wrong with working on something new with a nostalgic twist to it. Every new Zelda has been as good or better than the last – with a few exceptions.

What do you think? Are we better off looking to the past for inspiration and fun, or keep our eyes on the horizon and wait to see what breakthroughs are sure to develop – some in the near future. Let me know in the comments.

– The Ego

Glad tidings

So my faithful readers, Christmas – the gift giving part at least – has come and gone. I hope you all had a great day, ate well, lived life and did what makes you happiest.

The question I have is: What games were underneath of the tree this year? Being that, as I usually do – what with me being an addict and all – I purchased the majority of the games I wanted this year long before the Christmas shopping began. So when it came time to grab that special game – well, I already had it. But there was a game that almost became a throw back and a forgotten game. That game is Sword Art Online: Lost Song. It didn’t review very well. And, for what it cost at release, it seemed a little hard to justify the price tag for something Gametrailers gave a 6. But, it’s Christmas. And, in the spirit of the season, I decided to give it a second chance. So it’s sitting back in my apartment just waiting to be opened. Being a huge mark for the anime, I feel like the game will have to work pretty hard to earn my ire. I just hope it holds up well enough to get some enjoyment out of.

This year saw me buying and trying a lot of games that I had already said no to, or, never considered at all. Along with SAO, I had thrown back Destiny at one point. I gave up on it, having played through the beta twice, I didn’t see myself stepping back into those space shoes. However, I had some people I like peer-pressure me into buying it. Which, normally, wouldn’t work for a second. But, we all have to fold occasionally. I have to say – I don’t regret it. Playing with them is fun, and the game really does have a lot going for it. I reserve the right to pass final judgement on it when I actually hit the level cap, but so far, so good. Only thing I wish Destiny had of kept from its initial run: Dinklage. Don’t get me wrong, Nolan North is great at what he does. That being said:

1. I love Peter Dinklage
2. I would love to play a game where Nolan North doesn’t voice a character

Nothing exceeds like excess. There is such a thing as too much. Right? Destiny boasts an all-star cast of voices from Idris Elba, Nathan Fillion, Lance Reddick and Peter Stormare. Why couldn’t they just keep Tyrion? I’ll admit, there are times having watched the video below that I like what North did better in terms of his take on the dialogue, but the complaints people had about Dinklage (mostly that he was too dry) make more sense than the animated persona done by North.

Anyway, that was a bit of a diatribe, but it was something I’d been thinking about since I bought the game, so I wanted to get it off of my chest.

I think the main reason 2015 was such a great year for the industry was that it really felt like the current gen consoles really hit their stride this year. Which, I think, is the most important thing we should take away with 2015 closing out next week. The reason being: 2016 now is going to be (and really, has to be) the year where the new platforms have to show us what level we should set our expectations on. 2015, along with some extremely good games, showed us a lot of remastered games. It’s definitely an important step. Showing us what we have compared to what we just gave up. But now it’s time to hit the ground running. Bust out those new IPs everyone is waiting for. Show us that our collective faith in Sony and Microsoft (and to a lesser extent, Nintendo) wasn’t misplaced. Not that I think many people feel that way. But it’s time to make the nay-sayers and hold-outs get on board.

Merry Christmas.

– The Ego

Skimming off of the top

So, I’m sure it’s come up at least a handful of times already, but let me put it on the record again: I’m not crazy about DLC. Now that’s not to say that I refuse to buy it. So, I’m certainly a part of the problem. I think the majority of gamers are in the same lot. We hate paying for stuff that should be included in the price of the game, but we simultaneously love that games we enjoy are supported, sometimes, long after their launch. Micro transactions are currently the bane of the industry – on the consumer side. Now my feelings can best be summed up by a good friend of mine: when it comes to micro transactions for things that are cosmetic, and not game breaking I’m fine with them. Especially when the money raised from them fund the developer’s ability to release substantial pieces of content free for the rest of the users.

I think what is both interesting and infuriating is that every game seems to come with a “gold” or “deluxe” version now.

assassins-creed-syndicate-gold-edition

In some cases, like Star Wars: Battlefront, the up-sell is 10$. For your 10$ you get a few weapons, some cosmetic stuff and a DLC map. Not a lot for your money, but you’re not breaking the bank. It’s the sort of stuff the die hard crowd goes for, and I get that. But then there are games like Assassin’s Creed Syndicate or Rainbow Six: Siege. The regular games are already at the whopping price point (in Canada) of 79.99$. To acquire the Gold edition, you’re putting down 119.99$ – before taxes. That 40$ gets you access to the season’s pass. Now, most games don’t even give you a complete list of what you can expect, in most cases it’s a vague blurb. In the case of Assassin’s Creed – you get a bunch of missions and an extra “hour” of associated gameplay. The justification is pretty thin.

If you’ve been reading along with me for some time now, you’ll know that my opinion of Ubisoft has only been climbing this year. This isn’t something they and they alone are guilty of. It’s a systemic problem. Not localised to any one company or sector of the industry. And, my qualm (this time) isn’t even pointed directly at the day one DLC/built in season’s passes. My issue is if you’re going to go the way of making a season pass, and promising expanded content – you really need to make it something specific, something great and something that can give me a reasonable answer to the question: Why should I give you another 40$ for a game I’ve already bought, played through and completed versus me going out and grabbing a new game?

Because the truth is: There is always another game out there. Indies, AAA’s and a bevy of games are at the consumer’s fingertips. Basically all retail stores (with even a modicum of electronics) carry games now (even your local drug stores and grocery stores) and digital media is just a few mouse clicks/taps on the analogue away from adding something else to the library.

For 40$, I personally need to walk away from my purchase saying: That was a great decision. Especially since, unlike physical media, there is no returning software that you’ve purchased. Regrets cannot be an outcome.

Now, again, this isn’t me picking on any group or company specifically, but I will use the Fallout series as a perfect example of money well spent. Every piece of Fallout DLC is virtually deep enough to be as large (or larger) as some indie games. For the price of (approximately) 10$ per installment (the same price that games like Assassin’s Creed’s offer) there is no comparison.

So, to the companies forcing that extra attempt at grabbing those extra consumer dollars – just remember that what you put out there is the reputation you have to stand on. Make sure that when you tell me I should give you that extra 40$, that there are choices abound.

– The Ego

Media blackout

What’s the right thing to do? Do you spoil it, or do you live in total ignorance?

Don’t worry, I’m not looking for any of you to make any kind of life-changing affirmations here. I’m just talking about games. Shocker, right? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately.

What with Fallout 4 finally launching last month, I sat and gave it some serious thought. Like most things in life, this is definitely one of those situations where you’re balancing on the edge of a razor. I know this is definitely a decision you, dear reader, need to make for yourself. Me, however, I’m going to spend the next 400 odd words debating the pros and cons.

downloadmediablackout

So, Fallout, the most recent, and most relevant example I can think of. Yes, I watched the Bethesda conference at the E word, and yes, I was totally psyched for its release. But I refused to read, watch or hear about anything regarding the game. I want to go in, experience what it has to offer first hand, for the first time. So I boycotted the media on it. I put my fingers in my ears, made strange noises and closed my eyes as I ran from friend and co-worker alike. But, is that the better decision?

The argument in favour is, I suppose, that you go into the game completely fresh. You found that cool national park with the raging Yao Guais on your own. You didn’t watch that twenty minute video showing you all of the new gameplay elements. So when you do something, outside of the missions/mission parameters, it’s completely original to you. Your experience, I’d argue, is infinitely better because you’re experience is unique and therefore, more immersive. In an age of “on-rails” games, having the ability to do as you like within the game world, is as close to real freedom you can achieve within a game, or for that matter (possibly) in your day-to-day as well. So there is definitely a strong argument for avoiding the hype, the wiki articles and the general press and forums.

The biggest reason against, then, would be: I knew nothing about how any of the systems worked going into the game. With a game like Fallout, it’s definitely advantageous to have an idea of how all of its systems work. The crafting aspect is so deep that sometimes it feel like I need someone sitting next to me at all times giving me a step-by-step tutorial. Now, I don’t mean that literally, but there have been aspects that came off as extremely convoluted. They’re not necessarily aspects that are required for completion, but are worth taking part in to get the most bag for your buck. It’s also tough because we exist in an era (bit dramatic, but I’m being intentionally hyperbolic) where tough choices have to be made with which games to buy. I rely fairly heavily on sites like Gametrailers.com for reviews, and from those reviews, I select which games are worth picking up.

Now, I’ll be honest, I don’t know what’s right. I’m sure it’s one of those subjective non-answers. But it’s a complicated problem. Obviously – spoiling things isn’t good. But neither is ignorance. Like many things, I don’t think there is much of a middle ground on the issue. If it were that simple, I doubt it’d be racking my brain nearly as much as it is. I can’t say it’s something I lose sleep over, but it is something I’ve asked myself time and time again. I guess the issue is that there just isn’t a satisfying answer. The happy medium, the middle of the road, just doesn’t exist. You can choose to look at some articles or some videos, but the truth is: You can’t control how much info is actually in there. And, for me at least, once you see something, sometimes it can’t be unseen. That’s why I don’t watch Game of Thrones teasers/or read wiki articles.

– The Ego

Back again

Wow, I really kind of fell off of this. To my loyal readers, a heartfelt apology.

And what, can you possibly guess, has brought me out of hiatus? This.

So, I was very anxiously awaiting my copy of Fallout 4 today. I woke up early, just like I did as a kid at Christmas, refusing to do anything on the off chance that the mail would end up coming while I was elsewhere. Of course, that wasn’t the case. But you know, as well as I do, that if I had of done anything else, they surely would have come in the mean time. I was actually curious to see who would get it to me first, Amazon or Bestbuy. I was glad to see my faith in Bestbuy was not tried. Pretty disappointed in Amazon. I’m sure you’re wondering why I ordered two. Well, when something like this comes along, you want to make sure someone is going to fulfill that order. Worry not, fair readers, I don’t intend to scalp the second copy. When it finally shows, it’s going to a co-worker at the price I paid.

But here it is:

Now, I purposely kept myself from watching videos, reading articles, etc before the release. One of my co-workers tried to show me an unboxing video, and I had to walk away from him. But then it arrived. The article I posted had caught my eye, but before I’d read it, I wanted to unbox my own.

Now, I’m not going to say that the article is 100% in the wrong. Yes, the Pip Boy is made of plastic. And yes, it looks like plastic. But my question to the author, and to the people who have complained the same: What were you expecting? Did you think it was going to be a working, metal, futuristic Pip Boy?

Hell, even Todd Howard called it like it is. At the E word, he said: “As far as stupid gimmicks go, this is the best fucking one I’ve ever seen,”.

In defense of the article, yes, it is expensive. Yes, it’s “junk”. But if you’re buying this collector’s edition for any reason other than you love Fallout, then frankly, you need to re-think how you spend your money. Find me any game today that puts out a collector’s edition, where the statue or collectible isn’t plastic. Even some of the better one’s I own, Darksiders 2, Skyrim – the statues, masks, etc – suprise! Are all plastic…

Even the Portal gun that I purchased, and that cost me more than the Pip Boy edition (and I didn’t get a game or steelbook with it). Is it plastic? Yes. Is it incredibly well made? Well, not really. Is it cool? You bet it is.

I think people’s expectations have gotten too high. I know I’ve said it before and I’ve likely posted as much. The entitlement is getting to be a bit much. Far be it for me to say that x is worth x amount of money. I think that’s a value judgement that each person has to make for themselves. But the truth is, this is what you should come to expect when you buy a set like this. It’s never going to be the high-quality work of art that you want it to be. The Portal gun is a great example. If you want something that is built with a little more heavy-duty plastic, moving parts that function, and circuitry that serves a real purpose – expect to pay real money for it. And, again, this is just a bit of fan service. Something that you can throw up on a shelf, and take down once in a while to show off. Trust me, the Portal gun doesn’t come off of its stand very often.

I wish that opinion pieces would take a bit more time and thought. Rather than just writing a complaint off of the cuff. Sort of like this one.

I promise there’ll be more.

– The Ego

Return of the king

So, I’m back. Pretty beat at the moment, but expect some new posts in the near future.

An update to my last posts, Bethesda posted a new video.

And as for the Assassin’s Creed reflections, you’ll be happy to know that Florence was everything the game made it look to be. The buildings, the Duomo – oh man. The roofs are even still shingled with the terracotta tiles. Breathtaking.

– The Ego

Service up

How amazing is Bethesda and Fallout? Right?! They wait and wait to reveal the fact that Fallout 4 is due out within mere months of it’s announcement. Then they start posting all kinds of info and videos, new merch and then things like this:

This is just amazing. It’s so simple too. Anyone who is worth their salt when it comes to videogames, and especially RPGs made by Bethesda, knows how the basic mechanics work. Strength is a given. But here’s a company who says “Let’s do something fun, anyway”. And they have succeeded on a grand scale.

Little promotional videos like this really resonate with me. Not just because they’re fun and funny. And not because it shows it’s a company that actually cares about their IPs. It resonates with me because it’s both of those things, but set in the world of their games, making it something that is actually relevant. And it’s not like today’s movie trailers where every cool plot point, or potential game changers, is run through the trailer – thus eliminating the reason to actually go see it. Seeing this or missing out doesn’t change the impact the game will have. It’s probably not going to bring anyone new to the franchise (this could be one of those rare moments where I’m actually wrong). It’s 100% fan service. Which, in and of itself, is generally not worth the time to watch it. This is one of those cases where the fan service is totally justified. Especially considering that Bethesda is all about their fans. Why else would they just release Fallout 4? Well?

Aside from the obvious, this being another method of delivering game info – without having to craft pages and pages of wikis to monitor and update, it’s the most fun way that the devs can say “check out the way that we’ve improved on something you love” without beating you over the head with it. They also do it in such a way that, even knowing the stat ability and what it usually entails, I still want to watch it. It’s fun and clever and puts a smile on my face.

This style of video is something that Bethesda, and only one other company has managed to do well. The other I’m referring to, of course, is Irrational Games and the Bioshock series. The old-timey commercials for their plasmids and vigors were in the same vein. It’s one of those great ideas that completely sets them apart from the competition. They create these rich and well thought out worlds and they build depth to them with basic concepts with tactical precision. They don’t carpet bomb the fan with media or force-feed concepts, it’s more like a firm handshake from an old and welcome friend.

Like I said a few posts ago – it’s experiential recognition that creates a brand that people are always going to be drawn to. Because, at it’s core, Fallout (mechanics wise) doesn’t do a whole lot than any of the other FPS or post-apocalyptic games don’t do. Yes, VATS is extremely well developed. But beyond that, it’s a shooter. FPS or third person, but it’s a shooter. It’s set in a space that a lot of brands are playing in. But the whole is so good, that no matter who you are, or what types of games you normally play – chances are: you’re getting Fallout 4. Hell, I contemplated buying the Mini-Nuke set for PC just for the box.

So no, the video hasn’t offered anything game-changing or mind-altering. But it has piqued my interest. It’s cool for cool’s sake. It doesn’t offer anything I couldn’t figure out in the HUD menus in a minute or so. But what it does show me is that Bethesda cares enough to put something like this out there, knowing it’s the core audience that is going to really appreciate it. What a great company. In my books, they can do no wrong. And, The Ego is rarely wrong.

– The Ego

Double dare

I defy you to check out this video and tell me Mad Max isn’t going to be a contender for the title this year.

Yup. I went there.

So, I’m slightly ashamed to admit it, but I missed seeing Mad Max: Fury Road in theatres. I can also, safely, admit that I haven’t seen the original. Frankly, never caught my eye. Mel Gibson being incredibly terrible in, well, basically everything. The only time I got excited when I saw him on screen was at the end of Braveheart when he’s being drawn and quartered. I kind of hoped someone had actually tied him to the horse for real, and they had a set “accident” like Bruce or Brandon Lee. No such luck.

Sorry, not relevant to my posting at all. Though I do smile when I think about it.

Business at hand: I try really hard when I see new games that I am really excited about coming out to keep myself as pure as possible. Same with movies. So I try not to watch trailers or gameplay videos. But it’s also a new IP. That makes it a bit harder for me to not make a judgement call about the game’s quality. And, not having played any of the Just Cause games, I don’t know what to expect out of Avalanche Studios. So I’ve been checking out a bit here and there. Man – choice is the word of the year for Q4 2015 and 2016 in general.

I think that it’s amazing that devs are starting to keep their finger on the pulse of the industry. For a long time, new IPs – see something along the lines of Assassin’s Creed 1 – where the games, not able to predict how fans will react, or what they’ll find to be the best part of the game, take the player by the wrist and drag them through the game kicking and screaming through the game.

Instead, this year we’re getting games where completing the tasks, or matches, put in front of us in whichever way we see fit. Want to play noisy? Want to play Dirty? It’s 100% up to you to do what you think is best, most fun or best choice for a situation – do it.

Seriously though, how cool is that? It’s such a small freedom. But that freedom is paramount. I see it every time I watch a review, read Metacritic or any forum like playstationtrophies.org, the number one thing people complain about is that the game is on rails, or doesn’t allow the player to impact the world or make the choices to take the game off of the pre-destined linear path. I see games like Assassin’s Creed trying to branch out that way. The other (potentially amazing) line-up they’re putting out as proof in the pudding. That’s enough about Ubisoft for now, though.

I really do think that Mad Max is going to be the game to watch. It’s almost too bad that the game is coming out in the same year as Fallout 4. I only say that because the game that is taking that award is definitely Bethesda’s big gun. That certainly won’t detract from the quality of Mad Max, but it’s Fallout’s GOTY award to lose.

If you can handle it, check out some more of the gameplay videos posted on IGN. The commentary on some of them (as a general rule) can get pretty tedious, but there is some extremely cool footage to work through.

I think the saddest part of the game is it’s going to just be showing up on my doorstep in time for me to go on vacation. Thankfully, that is going to be so cool and immersive, that I probably won’t even remember that it’s sitting there waiting to be played.

For the time being, I think that video is going to be the last one I watch before the release date. I’ll just have to avoid the internet. That shouldn’t be too hard right? Right?

– The Ego

Batteries (not) included

I love, yes love, collector’s editions of games. I have belt buckles, masks, statues and stickers. I think I even have a Kingdom Hearts keychain batting around somewhere. For a very long time, I would pre-order and hunt for basically every special edition that I could get my hands on. The few I regret not getting: Splatterhouses’ mask, the Alduin statue from Skyrim, the bobblehead/lunchbox from the Fallout 3 set and most of all: the Borderlands 2 loot chest. I came pretty close to shelling out the cost on the set when I found one on kijiji. But I didn’t.

With that in mind – I find myself getting pickier and pickier about which sets I’m going to pick up. Part of it: It’s getting way too expensive to just pick it all up. I mean, when I was doing it in the hay day of collecting, the prices of collector’s editions were somewhere in the area of 90-120$. Now, they barely add anything worth picking up (in most cases) and the prices are sky-rocketing. And frankly, I think that they’d have a pretty hard time justifying the price tags.

Compare this:

To this:

Now, granted, the Borderlands set ran somewhere around the 200$ mark (at least in Canada), but something that was 1.5 or 2x the cost of the WoW set – you’re getting a lot more bang for your buck. I like Blizzard, and the packaging and digital stuff is cool. The only thing is: Aside from the digital, and the box, all you’re getting for your extra money is a mousepad and a soundtrack.

Another great example of something worth the money is the new Fallout Pip Boy edition. Look at this thing:

So, it’s a Pip Boy and box I can display. Check.
Amazing videogame collectable. Check.
It actually functions with a smartphone and app. Seriously?

At 160$ – this is a license to print money. It’s no wonder that it sold out within the hour of being posts on Bestbuy and Amazon.

Todd Howard put it best when he said: “As far as stupid gimmicks go, this is the best fucking one I’ve ever seen,”. I don’t envy the people on the buying end of the secondary market.

If this is going to be an on-going trend, other companies need to step up their game. Mousepads, stickers and dinky bobbles are the collector’s prizes of yesteryear. They are going to have to be economical, they are going to have to be something that doesn’t take up an obscene amount of space and they are going to have to be next-level fun. If they can manage that, and I definitely think it’s in the realm of possibility (Bethesda is proof in the pudding). I get that not every edition will come with something that actually functions. Statues aren’t bad. Alduin would look awesome on my shelf – as awesome as anything made of plastic can be. It has to be fantastic. I’ve always liked about half of the pack-ins for the Assassin’s Creed sets. But there are only so many statues of their protagonists that I can reasonably handle. Especially since they’ve all kind of been duds since Ezio…

I hope, going forward, that companies take what Bethesda is doing and step their game up. Assuming they’re going to continue the trend. And why not? People will buy them and the manufacturing of a plastic statue, mousepad, some digital content or a steelbook is a low cost with high margins.

I know this is just a fan mock-up, but look at this:

I dare you to tell me that sucks. I’m not even a huge Star Wars mark, and I would happily display a cool stormtrooper helmet on my shelf.

I’ve already gone way over my image budget, but this:

Yup. If this was an Xbone exclusive set, I’d buy the console for it.

Both helmets, and the rest of the plastic that I have, and will continue to buy, will all look great next to my portal gun. Whooosh.

– The Ego

Wrapping up a generation

It’s been coming up a lot, probably because it’s that time. We need to say goodbye to the PS3/360 generation.

The last of the games are slowly coming out, marching slowly to the funeral dirge. That being said, before we weep those last tears and forget about them, I think I’m going to give a quick “best of” so you loyal readers can take another look back before it’s all over, and move on free from regret.

1) Bioshock 1, Infinite: I’ll be honest – you can skip Bioshock 2. It improved on the mechanics from the first, but lacks the depth the original story had. If you missed out on the first or Infinite, and have a PS3, fret not. Bioshock comes as a free download with Infinite. I recommend going through B1, completing it, moving on to Infinite and do yourself the favour, buy the DLC. You won’t regret listening to me. If Ken Levine (writer on both, but not 2) asked me to – I would have his love child.

2) Red Dead Redemption: Rockstar doesn’t publish a lot – but they know quality. L.A Noire being the exception that proves the rule. They re-imagined and set a new standard in the GTA series with GTA IV and they did something even more special with RDR. Mechanics – oh boy. What a game. Story wise, I was truly sad to see it end. Saying goodbye to John Marston was tough for me. I had zero exposure to the previous titles, and had no clue what to expect. But this was a winner is every category. Even doing something as cliche as zombies – worked. Can’t say that for every other attempt.

3) Fallout 3/New Vegas: With Fallout 4 on the horizon, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t be playing either of these games instead of reading my incessant prattling on. While I hold my blog in high regards, we’re talking Fallout here people! Todd Howard is the other person who’s esteem is so highly rated in my books, he can do no wrong. I really hope I don’t have to expound the virtues of either of these titles. I mean, they’re revolutionary in scope and magnitude.

4) Batman series: Skip Origins. You’ll thank me later. With Arkham Knight having recently come out – play Asylum and City. The quality is there.

5) Alice: Madness Returns: Highly, highly underrated title. The sequel to American McGee’s Alice, twisted beyond words, but very engaging. The story is fantastic in every sense, the gameplay is of a high caliber, but lacking in the precise style I’d become accustomed to. Still, definitely worth a play through just to see the twisted world in Alice’s head.

6) Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions: So far, Marvel’s only contender for the Arkham throne. I completely skipped the sequel, and I’ve never lost a wink of sleep. But if you want to see Spidey at his best, with fun and varied play styles – buy it.

7) Skyrim: Because Skyrim.

8) Transformers: War for Cyberton: One of the few, playable Transformers games. The sequel took away the choice of which Autobot or Decepticon you got to play as, so that was a bummer, but the series managed to stand on it’s own two feet. Doubt we’ll see another of its ilk.

9) Darksider 1+2: With THQ folding, the future of this series in under question, but you won’t regret checking out the post-apocalyptic titles as you attempt to figure out how the end of times was brought about before its time. Great combat and overall enjoyable playstyle. I mean, it’s basically Zelda and God of War.

Honourable mention: South Park Stick of Truth and Splatterhouse. Seeing South Park characters acting out a D&D session with the humour only Matt/Trey could produce was really something. Splatterhouse – you can beat enemies to death with your own severed limbs. You can imagine my delight.

Part of me really wants to include the God of War series. But there are just too many of them. Three was the best, so wiki the lead-in and finish the game.

– The Ego