Monday, May 19, 2014

Ignorant American Gaming: Xenoblade Chronicles

Availability: The game was released exclusively on the Nintendo Wii June 2010 in Japan, August 2011 in Europe, September 2011 in Australia, and then April 2012 in the states. With minor research it's hard to tell why it took so long to come to America but when it did it was sold exclusively through Nintendo and GameStop. Despite selling very well the print was limited with little to no re-stock after selling out. There was even a controversy accusing GameStop of reprinting the game and selling it at an astronomically high $90 "used" price tag, claiming the game was rare and valuable. I don't know how true the story is. Regardless the game is definitely now considered valuable. It goes for at least $50 for a cheap copy, skyrocketing into the $100-$200 range for a sealed copy. I hesitate to call it rare because if you go to eBay or Amazon you'll find a lot of copies available. I got mine on Black Friday for $40 from GameStop. But if you want it now you'll have to pay up at least, if not more than a new, AAA PS4 or XBox One title.

Version I Played: American release.

Review: The Wii is a console I don't talk about a lot, and that's because the Wii doesn't have a ton to talk about. Sure you could mention how for a couple years it was the coolest toy to own but that will go down as a fad than anything else. Gamers will look back and remember how grandma paid $200 for a virtual bowling machine. So while the Wii sold stupidly well it also had a large number of people who owned maybe one or two of it's now 1200+ game library. And chances are those games were Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort. Still if you dig through the massive pile of shit that is majority of the Wii's game library you'll find some pretty incredible hidden gems. So anyway blah de blah de blah a lot of Wii games sucked, some examples of hidden gems would be nice, yadda yadda yadda, Xenoblade Chronicles is a hidden gem.

One thing the Wii does have going for it with hidden gems are RPGs. It's somewhat ironic that the little console that could is able to pack huge experiences all on a single game disc, especially when it's competitor the XBox 360 needed multiple discs for games like L.A. Noire and Final Fantasy XIII. But to be fair that was more so for the crazy high tech look and feel to these games. Still there's something to be said for the size of the world Xenoblade Chronicles provides. So I guess we'll start there before anything else.
First, the scope of where the story begins. The whole story takes place on the bodies of two titans. The game actually opens showing these two titans fighting in what appears to be an endless ocean. In a fatal, final blow they both stand frozen, lifeless, with the exception of their earth-like environments that live on them. Titans so massive with landscapes so massive you forget you're not on regular old earth, you're standing on one of these bad boys...

...and I'm not kidding when I say you forget. And I'm also not kidding when I say the Wii impressed me on the scope of the game...

And these aren't just set pieces. Unlike other JRPGs you can explore almost everything you seen. Matter of fact if you can reach it, you can explore it. Meaning that there are areas on top of cliffs or on top of buildings you of course can't explore, but everywhere else is fair game. I point out JRPGs because obviously games like Skyrim are freaking massive. But how many games have you played on the Wii where you can explore multiple open-ended environments that literally take minutes to walk across much like a Skyrim game? Yeah, didn't think it was much of any. Come to think of it, exploring every inch of every map in this game would take up a few hours of gameplay alone. Granted one thing that helps is the game does look like a PS2 game. But that shouldn't take your overall opinion of the game into account for a couple reasons:

1. This is on the Wii, you know it was behind the times even when it was new (minus the motion control)
2. I'm sure you still love playing Ocarina of Time so get over the graphics.

And even though the game isn't in 1080p, even though it doesn't even look like an early XBox 360 game it still feels far more huge than some of the AAA games I've played on Wii's competitors. But it's not huge for the sake of being huge. There's a ton to do in the game. TONS! I played for over 80 hours working mostly on the main story and leveling up. I paid casual attention to the side missions but there are hours of them to go if I ever wanted to finish them. I think I once read somewhere that the main story is about 60+ hours, but all the side missions nearly double that! Of course most of them are the typical RPG side missions. Go find this item, talk to this dude, kill this many monsters, etc etc. But I didn't mind the monster part cause then you get to see the variety of creatures to fight!
And the variety seen in these monsters and maps are fantastic! It's pretty standard kinda past-like, kinda futuristic JRPG fare but the attention to detail put into it is what really counts. There is a unique style that can be a bit too steampunky for my tastes but it doesn't go too overboard. Especially since there are sections that are in swamps, snowy mountains, deserts, that jump somewhat away from the expected (only to dive head first into the cliche of video games having a stage for every element). Each of these environments are beautifully put together with lots of reward for exploration. Again, you'll still be blown away by this game's beauty even though it came out at a time when these graphics were considered a generation behind.
Going back to that exploration, there's more to the reward than simply a side mission or new weapon, it also provides experience points. This I definitely liked, especially since there were multi-hour chunks I spent grinding just to beat a new boss.
Which leads sorta to one of my first complaints. I know some people like grinding but those people tend to be the same that like MMOs. A genre I have tried so many times to get into but never could. I like the concept of an MMO but outside of the subscription fee one of my main reasons I don't like them is because I'm not alone in them. I've always been more into the single player experience for the immersion. It's hard for me to get immersed into a world where I'm supposedly the hero when I see a trillion other people doing the exact same thing I'm doing. Sure it has it's benefits in boss fights, otherwise I find it annoying. Like paying someone to be forced to play with your weird classmate from elementary school.

SO COOL! Look how expansive this is! I can't wait to explore this world and see what it has to offer. This is going to be an amazing exper...

...well shit.

So what's cool to me with Xenoblade Chronicles is it offers that massive experience (to a point) in a single player setting. Something I'll talk about a bit more in a bit cause I'm sure some of you are screaming "You can do that in Skyrim!" What I originally wanted to comment on was how you get the same kind of experience points from discovery as you do from fighting battles.
In a way this makes total sense! Why not get EXPERIENCE points for your experience in the adventure? There's more to progress in these games than just killing bad guys. A part of it is gaining knowledge of the world, both geographically and culturally. I feel the characters gain something even if all they're doing is walking around talking to other people and looking for treasure. I don't know if other RPGs have done that in the past, let me know if they have. But this was a nice addition since it meant I could do some leveling up without having to constantly get in the same battle over and over again for hours upon hours. Now I just have to do that MOST of the time. Blegh.
But seriously, getting back to the grinding. It does spend a lot of time forcing you to grind. If you plow through the game naturally then you'll hit a brick wall eventually. Like I said earlier, I only casually worked on the side missions. Occasionally going back to them for variety. By the 70 hour mark I was at least a couple levels away from defeating a new boss. I was so sick of running around in circles I figured I may as well do something more interesting. Go back to old maps, discover more, and do my grinding that way. And you know what? There's enough content in the game where it works.
And that's what I mean by it having a massive world. An MMO-like experience for just one player. The game may be linear in the sense it constantly has an arrow telling you where to go next, but the paths you can take along the way are long and winding in a good way. And without the need of DLC! If I wanted I could easily spend over 100 hours completing the main story plus side missions. All on a little Wii disc. And while I'm sure some of you are still screaming about being able to do that in games like Skyrim, but please let me explain.

There are two reasons why I'm insisting on this being a special exception to the rule when other games have done similar things.

The first is a matter of context with where it came from. If you're not familiar then you should know that JRPGs tend to be a lot more linear, whereas Western RPGs are the open ended ones. This has changed for the better and worse somewhat over the years. While many JRPGs have expanded to bigger worlds some of the most popular titles are more linear than ever.
I'm not the first to say Final Fantasy XIII had it's issues. And to reiterate it was, for the most part, like walking down a hallway and fighting monsters along the way. It was not a very exciting experience and had plenty of cutscenes to show you it wanted as little to do with you as possible. However there were a lot of people saying it got good about twenty hours in. Not a good thing to praise it with but I do know what they're referencing. There's a portion of the game where it is in fact more open ended. FFXIII did have a section where you could run around freely doing just about whatever you want. It was a breath of fresh air that would be suffocated too soon but it was nice none the less.
Now imagine that but in the ENTIRE game like it should!
Japan, please take note of this. It's been harder and harder to get into some of your games because of your inability or lack of interest in innovation. I played a demo of Lightning Returns and while it was better it was not up to snuff for me. Japan, you used to be this wonderland of uniqueness and now it feels like you're behind the times for the most part. Please progress to the future! Or the present at least...

The second thing is the game's size.
Thinking about the expansive nature of the game it is easy to compare it to games like Skyrim, or a better example for me being Fallout 3. But the major difference between those two is the use of their size. One one hand Skyrim and Fallout 3 are maaaaaaaaaaaasive world! And I think it's fantastic what they're able to pull off. But they tend to be too much world. It's like they're too big or are big for the sake of being big. I realize in a post-apocalyptic world there's not exactly gonna be a ton of people running around. But there were times when I was running around for a long time before running into someone else or something worthwhile. Of course there's the fast travel feature but that defeats the purpose of the large open world, then.
In Xenoblade Chronicles not only does it have a huge world but it also has a lot to do. There's of course all the side missions, but then there are the enemies. Since this game is technically an action RPG it has all the enemies running around the environment and you fight them in real time, not turn based. And since there's so many in just the right areas it neither drowns you with enemies nor does it make you wonder if this world has any living creatures at all. It's all very well balanced. Meaning if you need to grind you will always know where to go to find someone your level to give you a good amount of experience.
And P.S. Xenoblade Chronicles also has a fast travel system. Not anywhere. Just areas you've discovered. Even then only particular landmarks.

Speaking of combat, the combat system in this game is well done and easy to use. Whenever you jump into battle all your stats come up as do a series of commands at the bottom of the screen. Throughout the battle your character will auto-attack until you tell it to do something else. All of these "special" attacks serve as your basic bundle of attacks, all of which can be leveled up individually. Meaning you don't have to be forced to use anything you don't want to. After you select the attack it will temporarily become unavailable until it had re-charged. And since each character has their own unique set of attacks (not simply Fire attack or whatever) it helps you build the perfect team to progress. There's a lot of variety in the combat especially as you toy around who works with who.

Having the ability to level your character in such a specific way also isn't new. That's been in RPGs longer than I've been alive. But the way it handles it here is so much more appealing than others. It presents you with so many possibilities but an easy way to handle it. It's not overbearing or require a masters degree in accounting to understand the next to impossible math in other RPGs. You build up ability points. When you're ready to use them you go into the easy to navigate menu where you level up your abilities on a scale from 1-10. Then there's tons of other things that can help your combat abilities. You craft gems to increase strength, defense, and more specific tech specs. Then you can build relationships with your fellow combatants, so if you have a better connection with them you have a better outcome in battle. Plenty of detail I could go into in all this but I don't need to. Despite having a ton of little, little things players could get caught up in they won't need to, to enjoy the experience or beat the game. That's because the game is really approachable.

And that's the best way to describe this game. It's approachable. The game is very easy to get used to in gameplay. In the open world there's always an arrow above your head telling you which direction to go ala other open world games like GTA. In combat you're constantly auto-attacking until you select a more specific attack. And since it's an action RPG it's a heck of a lot easier to jump in and out of battle. No random encounters out of nowhere like turn based RPGs. Then when in battle, heck before battle, you can see how powerful your enemy is letting you know if you're up to the task. The way the controls handle, the way the game looks, feels, plays out, it's all very approachable. The only major issue I have with the game is the story.

Complaining about a JRPG's story is like shooting fish in a barrel. Unless you're a fan of anime or paint by numbers hero stories you're likely not gonna get too into a JRPG's story. Regardless of what you say a lot of them can be pretty unbearable with little hints of interest sprinkled throughout. At least the games in the Playstation era and earlier had the common courtesy to have it entirely text based so we didn't have to listen to the hero sulk around left and right.
And this game isn't much different. It even went so far as to (unintentionally I'm sure) name it's main character Shulk. May as well have gone the whole nine yards and removed the H from that name cause that's what he does most of the time. Sulk, sulk, sulk!

Disclaimer: There are a lot of JRPG stories I have liked despite some of the cliches that come around. FFVII as a whole has a great story and Persona 4 is bad ass! I just generally speaking don't care for the overall execution in most.

But again Xenoblade Chronicles stands out. The story actually had potential to be really cool. It's not like the convoluted mess of some Final Fantasy names (you know what I'm thinking) or the painfully bad humor of Disgaea 3 (like the gameplay, hate the story, thinking of skipping all cutscenes from here on out). This game starts off with the battle of two titans! Remember?! I mentioned it earlier. And their dead bodies is where life in this world thrives. It's a cool start! Then comes this man vs machine war that kicks everything off. For the most part it's played out really well in the setup. The first thing you do in the game is fight in an epic battle with your sword of choice, the Monado. A badass weapon that is almost like getting the best weapon from the start.
Then you start off on the adventure and it's the usual ragtag team of quirky individuals. Textbook anime style, too. The weak and sulky hero, his buddy whose got that 'can do' attitude, the love interest who has no interest but the hero, the old adventurer, a quirky Jar Jar Binks-esque sidekick, and the list goes on. And this game has tons of cutscenes. I mean... TOOOOOONS! Almost every time you reach your destination via the arrow above your head you're in anything from half a minute to 10+ minutes of cutscenes. It all gets way too drawn out in way too many moments. One of the reasons why the game took be around 85 hours to complete, with the exception of doing some side missions and grinding.

Oh yeah, let me take a break from the story for a second. I'm guessing unless you mastered relationships in your party or mastered gem crafting there is a ton of grinding you'll have to do in this game. I'm talking 1980s JRPG bad. There were times when I was blazing section to section with the greatest of ease. Then I hit a boss battle who is way more powerful that I am and I was forced to backtrack to grind so I could level up. This wouldn't be too much of an issue if it didn't take so long to level up as is. After a while I started to notice I was averaging leveling up about once an hour (including cutscenes of course). By the end of the game my team was averaging level 85-86. How many hours did I play? About the same. Taking out the cutscenes would have eliminated that time by only a couple hours all things considering. But once I got to the final boss I think I was somewhere around 79. I couldn't do it so I ground and tried again. Rinse and repeat until I won. But that added at least another 4-5 hours onto the already massive game. And I was at the end! It's one thing to have a game so massive it takes an eternity to finish. But in this case it was easily padding out gameplay. I could have completed other, smaller games in the time it took me to level up to the final boss.

Speaking of endgame, I want to talk about the last good chunk of the story. So SPOILER ALERT!
The story wasn't engaging me much through most of it. I'm not a fan of that overly serious, overly stylized for the sake of stylized direction a lot of these games go. I had hope. The beginning was good so surely the ending would be good with everything in-between being filler. Well it was, sort of.
At about the 60 hour mark my party literally met their maker. They are approached by their god Zanza where a lot is revealed. Including the reveal that you, Shulk, have been nothing but an empty shell for Zanza to carry out his bidding (essentially, these stories get pretty complicated so wiki it if you want to). There's a period here where it seems like Shulk is as good as dead. But after he is (somehow, I don't remember) brought back to life he and your party team up to fight and kill Zanza. Yep, this game just went that direction from somewhat typical adventure to "KILL GOD!" Although that's not as uncommon as you may think. There's a really good examination of this featured in the web series Game Theory. It's interesting and you can watch it here.
The game played out pretty much the way you would expect. There's a hot pursuit with some minions trying to stop you before you get to Zanza. Then the final confrontation of Zanza in three forms. A big, epic battle that has you on the edge of your seat. Then the game ends with a stupid twist that Zanza was once a man who became a god. Making the story go from expansive and huge to as small as a science experiment in a petri dish. I didn't like how it did the bait and switch, cause when the game concludes with a reborn world for you and your friends it feels so unimpactful. As a religious man I'm not necessarily saying I wanted their god dead. I'm just saying it makes the story more interesting if their god was the actual god of this entire universe. Cause if Zanza was someone who became a god then what about beyond that in this game's world?
It's clear the game is anti-religion or at least anti-god. Or beyond that it just has an odd perspective per the Game Theory video explanation I directed you to. But then again there was a part when Shulk flat out says he wants a world without a god... period... as he makes his killing blow.
Zanza was painted to be more of a tyrant or dictator than a god I felt. Yes, dictators have a god complex, but again as a religious man I guess I have a different understanding and perspective of a god than some others would. Your party is rebelling against this god when in other circumstances he has the right and ability to do with his world as he pleases. When there is a god it's purpose is to watch over. And being the all knowing, all powerful being a god is then it's their way. They know best for their creations. Of course this is easily explained away with human flaw since Zanza was once a normal dude.
This is a topic that could be talked about forever. Instead I'll just stop here with my final words that this game's story could have been more interesting and impactful if handled just slightly different in the end. With that said SPOILERS END HERE!

All in all this is a fantastic game that is easy to get into. Even if you haven't played many or any JRPGs, or RPGs in general this is a good one to start with. It's super fun, will fill your time, and has plenty to expand on when you dig deep. It didn't have the impact Final Fantasy VII had on the world but I feel Xenoblade Chronicles has the same approachable feel to it, if not more so. The high price tag is for rarity but it would be well worth your money. I was able to pick up mine for $40 and when you do the math I averaged out to paying less than 50 cents an hour for how much I put into this game. Much better deal than a ten hour, $60 AAA title that you'll probably sell to Gamestop for $15 in a few weeks anyway. This game definitely justifies the Wii as a solid gaming system. A gleaming gem piled underneath a pile of crap that built over six or more years during the Wii's life.
I just hope you're able to get past some bad/obnoxious anime-esque cliches in the process. Unless you're into that sort of thing.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Review: Godzilla

Okay, okay, so listen. This movie was awesome.

I mean, get this. These guys are digging in the ground and they're like "Holy shit! We found a skeleton!" And down there they found some scary shit... like ALIVE shit! Confirmed by the Japanese dude (it's a Godzilla movie there's gotta be a Japanese dude). Then they cut to a shot where it was veeeeeery clear SOME... THING has escaped and is gonna tear shit up!
That's when Walter White shows up and is all like, "I'm a smart guy who knows something isn't right." But his wife is all like, "Quit stressing out. Let's just take it easy cause it's your birthday." So he was all like, "Yeah you're probably right. I'll just ignore the inevitable that you'll be dead in a few minutes." Should have listened to instinct buddy. Cause next thing you know he's at his power plant when it falls apart and his wife was in the wrong place at the wrong time. TOTALLY BLOWS FOR HIM! But totally sweeeeet for setup. Cause this means he gets to grow up to be a crazy guy. But before that...
...his kid grows up to become a Channing Tatum look-a-like. And his son married an Amanda Seyfried look-a-like. So it's like the couple in Dear John had a kid together and decided it would be awesome to live in a world with monsters, which they're right. It looks like they're living a happy life especially since Channing's home from overseas duty. But of course his now crazy dad fucked up back in Japan (oh yeah, chan-chan grew up in Japan, that's where the power plant was and that's where Walter White still is) so now he's gotta go get him out of jail. And this all came up just before Chan and Sey-sey were about to do the ba-donk-a-donk for the first time in 14 months.

So Chan gets to Japan and rescues his dad from jail. That's when he gets a face full of crazy back at his dad's apartment. An apartment wallpapered in more crazy than a cuckoos nest. He starts blabbering on about signals and earthquake-like stuff and conspiracies and so forth and so forth. Well of course his dumb son thinks he's just a crazy guy. But dumb-dumb is still convinced by crazy dad to go back to their old house where the power plant collapsed an there's a ton of radiation. It looks totally awesome cause it's like a scene out of Fallout 3... minus the twist of no radiation. It's here they find his old data on 1990s floppy disks (Never underestimate. Those things once held Optimus Prime's memory, bringing him back from the dead).
Of course they get arrested cause that's what got Walter White arrested in the first place. But before they get them to jail they are held in the fallout of the power plant where there's a giant, flashing, night club cocoon. Cutting to the chase shit goes down, they try to kill the cocoon, and then the Cloverfield monster with wings comes shooting out. Bam-ba-blam he tears it up and flies away.
Cut to Hawaii and Godzilla shows up for round one of an epic battle! Cloverfield is all like "RAAAAAAR!" and Godzilla's all like "RUUUUAAARRR!" They throw each other around until they both retreat leaving a pile of rubble behind and a ton of survivors thanks to the fact the little girl on the beach was the only smart one to realize they needed to run.
Cut to Nevada and we find out there's another Cloverfield monster. Only in this case it's a sexy female Cloverfield monster. That means they're gonna get Cloverbusy and the world will be overrun by Cloverbabies. Godzilla saw this and he's all like, "HEEEEEELL NO!" except it sounds more like "RUUUUAAARRR!" So they lay the smackdown on each other.
So Godzilla's like, "Get outta here or else you're dead!" and Cloverfield is like, "Leave my woman alone!" but then Cloverlady is like, "Leave my babies alone!" and the military's all like, "What the hell's going on?" but the other military guy was like, "Shut up and get the bomb!" and then it was boom, bang, ROAR, pakeeewww....

I don't mean to spoil the whole movie but it was an amazing smack fest that Rolland Emmerich should be forced to watch Clockwork Orange style as his formal punishment for the 1998 atrocity.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Quick Review: Grudge Match

Version I Watched: Redbox rental, theatrical cut. No extended cut around.

History: Not much history available or interesting connected to this movie. The plot is clearly a comedic perspective on how both Stallone and De Niro were in boxing movies a long time ago, and now this is their 'VS' movie in a way. The movie was released Christmas Day 2013. Despite the big names and strong supporting cast (including Kevin Hart and Alan Arkin) the movie was a box office disappointment. It cost $40 Million and that's pretty much what it made back and some change. On top of this the movie received mostly negative reviews from critics. It currently holds a 29% on Rotten Tomatoes, on the other hand it hold a 6.6/10 on IMDB.

Personal History: First viewing. Didn't know much of anything about it before watching.

Review: It's the rematch everyone's been waiting fo........ oh.... maybe not everyone was.....

When I first saw the posters for this movie I didn't know what to make of it. I did think what everyone else was thinking. "Looks like Rocky vs Raging Bull." Something that's pretty obvious and if one of these actors didn't want to do it or weren't available it likely wouldn't have happened. I should have figured it was a comedy right from the start since no one would have taken this concept seriously. But when I did find out it was a comedy I was happy about that. I decided I wanted to see it but never got around to it theatrically.
Yeah, I actually anticipated seeing this. I thought it could be pretty dang funny! I've mostly seen Stallone in action and whatnot but De Niro has made me laugh plenty of times. I knew he had it in him. Also, the movie was directed by Peter Segal. He directed not amazing comedies, but movies that have made me laugh. Including Get Smart, The Nutty Professor II, and The Naked Gun 33 1/3. All in all the movie had the possibility of being pretty funny.
But of course the world tends to make it difficult to enjoy things it doesn't like. This movie is in a long line of movies the internet bashes because it stars old guys who used to be action stars. Sure it's a heck of a lot harder to be an action star when you're in your late 60s but it doesn't mean it can't be done. While I didn't like The Last Stand or Bullet to the Head, I did like Escape Plan and both Expendable movies. Still the world seems to have a stick up it's butt and can't accept the fact these old guys still have fans. Some of which are my age, not just the people who saw Rocky in theatres when it first came out.

Now it's a bit in my nature to root for the underdog so that's one of the reasons why I still support the stuff these old guys do. I still think they have the ability to be awesome and are fighting to get that chance. That's why it's a bit sad when I think about what this movie wound up being compared to what it could have been.
First off, the plot feels like it came out of the 80s. Seriously. The flow, the length, the way everything played out felt out of date and cliche. Two old boxing rivals are approached with fighting one last fight that the sports world has been waiting 30 years for. While one is all for it (De Niro) the other (Stallone) has a sense of pride or privacy or some bullshit and doesn't want to do it. Then he thinks about how broke his ass is and decides to go through with it.
Oh! Also the directions each of them took in life was a bit too predictable. De Niro became a high flying spokesperson who only cares about money and sleeping around. While Stallone went blue collar and now can't help but think of what could have been if it weren't for the mistakes and betrayals of his past. It was about as opposite as opposites could get in every way you expected them to.
What resulted out of this is, much like some comedies of the 80s, were changes in tone faster than your slow ass running to an outlet when you see your computer's battery is almost dead. It was goofy, goofy, goofy, goofy, dead serious for a few moments, goofy, goofy, dead serious, etc. Thankfully it wasn't as heavy or jarring as some other movies but there were still there and still unwelcome. It didn't help the laughs didn't start coming in until later in the movie.
I did laugh at this movie. There were plenty of funny parts. It's just a shame they took a while to come around. The first half of the movie was a slow burn with a few chuckles here and there and a lot of "you're old" jokes. One of the ongoing jokes being the disconnect between young and old with technology. Some bits were based on the fact Stallone and De Niro's characters didn't know what viral meant and so forth. A style of joke that is usually done to death and stops being funny pretty quickly. But they kept bringing back the viral aspects of the story, where most of the publicity is about these two screwing up at public events or promotions.

Still somehow through all that crap I was able to find some laughs. Not outrageous laughs, but some good laughs none the less. Part of the fun was how I was watching it with my dad and we had some good commentary on it. Not really making fun of it. Talking about it as it was happening which made the laughs a little bigger. So if you watch it with a friend it may get more laughs than if you're alone. Still it is a shame it couldn't have been funnier. Not to mention there were some wasted opportunities. People being underused.
Alan Arkin is a brilliant actor who can do so much. Yet I felt he did little to nothing outside of being Stallone's old buddy/trainer. But aside from being the old guy Stallone is helping financially I felt he didn't have a lot of weight in the story. So much more! Then there's Kevin Hart who is a VERY funny guy. He was used even less even though he's billed as the fast talking promoter of the fight. Yet in the end, a lot like Alan Arkin, I felt he didn't have a lot to do in the movie or have as much of an impact. Sure he helped promote them, but a lot of what Stallone and De Niro did by accident got them more promotion than Kevin Hart's work. Instead we are forced to be invested in characters that were hard to care about. Stallone's ex and De Niro's long lost son.
It was so hard to care cause I knew how it all was gonna play out. Stallone still has feelings for Kim Basinger (who looks about as good as Stallone) but is still holding onto the fact she cheated on him with De Niro 30 years earlier. But because of that hook up she had a bastard of a son with De Niro who didn't know about it until now. AND of course this unknown son has a son and they're trying to finally connect with De Niro. But of course De Niro is gonna do something to make his previously unknown son walk out, causing conflict. Blah-de-blah-de-blah you know the deal. If you ask me these can still be there but maybe focus elsewhere. We know their lives are falling or have fallen apart. So maybe cut some of that stuff out and focus more on the politics of the sports world. Give a different perspective we know will be present. Instead we get two guys bitching at each other for an hour and a half, then they fight, and that's about it.

This really could have been a better movie. The direction it took was just too much of a shame. Focus less on some of the oversaturated stuff and more on stuff we barely saw. This is a sports movie right? I can't believe I'm saying this (cause I'm not a sports guy) but couldn't we have had more sports?

Still if you've got an empty afternoon and need a Redbox double feature, you could do much worse. It has it's laughs and charms. It's clever from time to time with some likable characteristics. Just not worth too much over the rental fee. At least it has that going for it.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Top 100 Favorite Games/Top 25 Games I Want to Play

05/23/14 Update: I made a grave oversight on my first run through. Something that belonged pretty high in the list. So that title is now included with one of the lower rated titles gone. Points if you can figure out what's now included and what's missing.

Not a full explanation why for each one. I just thought it would be fun to exaggerate top lists by giving you my top 100! This will be a challenge since many will not be fresh in my mind.
To those of you who read my top 10 games post already you'll know what's coming for those numbers... but in this case I made very specific choices when it came to naming an entire franchise as a favorite.
Then in part 2 I will talk about games I've been wanting to play with a quick comment why.

Disclaimer: Obviously opinions change over time, especially in part 2 where the list obsolete immediately after playing them. So take this as my opinion for the moment, but I can tell you my top 100 will stay pretty solid unless there's something that REALLY catches my attention (like Persona 4 Golden did just last year, jumping into my top 10). I will list the format I prefer for the game. Many of this have been released on more than one console.

100. Dance Dance Revolution (Arcade) - While I burnt myself out on this game ages ago I still find it fun. I could easily see myself busting a move on it if I were to find it in the arcades again. Pro tip: Might want to be a fan JPop if you want to get into this game.

99. Bonanza Bros. (Genesis) - A simple, classic Sega Genesis game that brings back a lot of fun memories. You play as two robbers who have to sneak their way in and out of a robbery. Not much else to say. But try it. It's a great, undermentioned Genesis game.

98. Tetris 2 (NES/SNES) - From my understanding this game has gotten a lot of hate. Yes it is nothing like the original Tetris but I like the way the game plays. Think of it like Legend of Zelda 2 or Halloween 3: Season of the Witch. All being very different from their initial creation but great none the less. If I could compare it to anything it would be Dr. Mario.

97. Samurai Showdown (Arcade) - A classic fighter that time seems to have forgotten. A pretty vicious fighter that I felt was very rock solid and fun to play. It also was an early example of intense violence in a video game for me. I remember seeing that demo play in the arcades and being blown away by it.

96. Star Wars Rebel Assault 2: The Hidden Empire (PC/Playstation) - A game that has not aged well over the years. This is another FMV style game (a style I LOVE). The action is very limited but to a big Star Wars fan in the 90s this was an excellent side story that felt like new scenes from the movies because of live actors. Here's a gameplay video to show you what I mean!

95. Cruisin' USA (Arcade/N64) - I first played this a lot in the arcade and again on N64. I did enjoy both versions but anyone who knows this game agrees the arcade is far superior. It's a very silly, easy to play racer that is just buckets of fun despite being very shallow. Sidenote: in the arcade you can run over cows crossing the street and their guts splatter all over the windshield.

94. Rogue Trip: Vacation 2012 (Playstation) - From the makers of Twisted Metal comes the goofball comedy version of the car combat genre. Very silly and at many times low brow. None the less a very fun game in the same light as the games that came before it and a hell of a lot better than Twisted Metal 3 or 4!

93. Kirby's Pinball Land (Game Boy) - A surprisingly solid Game Boy pinball game starring Kirby. Very approachable, very cute, and of course incredibly fun especially for Kirby fans like myself.

92. PaTaank (3DO) - The only game I really adores and was a 3DO exclusive. You play pinball but from the perspective of the ball. I've never seen anything like it before or since. It's a really fun game I wish I could play again but I'm not gonna buy a 3DO just for it. Maybe a rom?

91. Chu Chu Rocket (Dreamcast) - A quirky puzzle game that is literally a game of cat and mouse. Very challenging and nowhere near short of puzzles to play through. Also ported to iOS if you don't have a Dreamcast. And I must say. It's a pretty great port!

90. Clay Fighter 63 1/3 (Nintendo 64) - I agree this game is pretty broken. It's not a stupendous fighter. But for the same reasons people like me watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force it is delightfully fun in it's humor. There's something special about playing as a sumo wrestler Santa who literally uses his belly for hits. Also love the stop motion clay fighters.

89. Aladdin (Genesis) - I like it for most of the same reasons I liked The Lion King. Same era, same console, similar execution. A very fun and exciting game that is less challenging, but more accessible. Overall I found it to be a lot more fun and easier to control since you're controlling a person this time and not awkwardly a lion.

88. Galaga (Arcade/Playstation) - I first played this classic arcade game at the start of Tekken. That's right, the first Tekken game let you play through a brief section of Galaga as the game loads. A gimmick I wish lived on in other games. Since then I have come to really enjoy Galaga over other arcade shooters. Especially over Space Invaders, a game that never grew on me until Infinity Gene for PS3.

87. Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast) - Was about as fun as games get back in the day. I loved the crazy driving stunts you could pull and how driving through water doesn't even slow you down. A top notch arcade driving game that is still fun to this day. Just try and get used to hearing the same couple Offspring songs over and over again. Even fans get sick of it.

86. Warioware: Smooth Moves (Wii) - Rarely do mini-game collections get it right. This one definitely does. I love the spontaneous and unpredictable nature of the games and the silly things it makes you do to succeed. I haven't played the DS games but if there anything like this then I'd be all over them.

85. Pokemon Yellow (Game Boy) - I'm somewhat of a closet Pokemon fan. But since the last portable console I owned before a Playstation Vita was the Game Boy advanced I haven't exactly kept up. This is the one I had the most fun with and I wish I had it again. I also wish I still had my Pokemon special edition Game Boy Color because those fuckers are rare now and I could make a few bucks off it.

84. Earthworm Jim (Genesis) - Grew up on this crazy fun game. Always got a laugh from it's Ren & Stimpy style humor. Also it adds a lot of great elements of a run and gun shooter with platforming. A classic that still holds up today. If you don't have a Genesis (or SNES, or Sega CD I guess...) then you can buy the HD re-release on modern consoles... which I have! It's great!

83. Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (Nintendo 64) - Despite multiple sections of the later stages being clunky and rough this game has one of the best Hoth stages ever developed. Nothing like that opening sequence to get you pumped. And despite my slight criticism the game as a whole is still a blast for Star Wars fans. A fun connection/side story between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

82. Gauntlet Legends (Arcade) - I have played the original Gauntlet games but this one I still hold nearest to my heart. Something about it does so much for me that the other games didn't. Timing most likely. I hope to pick this one up for Dreamcast sooner than later so I can relive the experiences I had playing this game a bunch in the arcade.

81. Myst (PC) - A true classic that has been ported to just about everything. Plenty of tough challenges in an immersive world make for a great experience in the point and click adventure genre. Not much else to say since everyone knows this game.

80. Samba De Amigo (Wii) - A music/rhythm game where your instrument are maracas. Originally released on the Dreamcast with maraca controllers but is now rare and pricey. Until then this is a worthy port that works very well with the Wii controllers. Very fun with high energy songs that make you move.

79. Sonic Spinball (Genesis) - Not a very beloved game overall. Yes it doesn't have very good pinball mechanics but I still love it for what it is. Even if it can be a pain in the ass most of the time. Also this is the only time when comic/SATAM supporting cast appeared in a Sonic video game. Personally I have a lot of fun with it and can put up with the crappy aspects.

78. Virtua Fighter Kids (Saturn) - While flawed I find it to be a fun and charming addition to the series. These days I could only see this as being DLC. Something about playing as your favorite Virtua Fighter characters as kids with giant heads is just too much fun. That and Shun Di still looking old while being a kid and drinking for fighting is one of those simple, shallow laughs that makes me smile.

77. Pac-Man (Arcade) - A classic. Sometimes games stand the test of time for a reason. Simple, addictive, fun, just everything about it is great. One of the reasons why Namco is in my top 5 favorite game developers.

76. ToeJam & Earl (Genesis) - Filled with tons of variety and unique characters on a console not exactly known for said things. A random level generator provided a sense of unpredictability in what is a fantastic, somewhat hidden gem. Or at least forgotten about over time.

75. Costume Quest (Playstation 3) - Brings out the adolescence of imagination and trick or treating. A bit short and the add-on doesn't expand much. Still the overall game is very fun despite it's simplicity. Also if you're a trophy whore you can get all of them quite easily without too much tedious running around. Sorry... no platinum.

74. Time Crisis 2 (Arcade) - A unique approach to the light gun genre. You had a peddle where you can duck for cover instead of constantly standing out in the open like other light gun games. Also I chose the arcade because the recoil on the gun controller was a small but also huge addition to the immersion. It added a heaviness not seen in the console port.

73. Metal Slug (Arcade) - Fast paced, action packed, and always exciting. Neo Geo always knew how to make amazing arcade classics and this is definitely one of their best. The sequels are great, too, but for the sake of argument I wanted to go with the one I played growing up at the roller rink. Great cartoonish violence allowing them to get away with way more blood than otherwise. Not to mention some hilarious over the top cartoon humor!

72. Dr. Mario (NES) - There were tons of Tetris clones back in the day. Most of them very forgettable but not this one. I find this to be one of the best and I still play it on my computer. When I worked full time overnight hours at a hotel a couple years ago this game helped me get through lots of slow nights where I felt like falling asleep. Addictive, easy to learn, plenty tense in the later stages.

71. Tokyo Bus Guide (Dreamcast) - Much to the surprise of many, I'm sure, is that a game where you're required to follow all the rules of the road is also one of the most fun driving games I've ever played. It's really easy to import on the Dreamcast so if you have one I highly recommend checking this one out. Also see my full review.

70. Arkanoid (Arcade/NES) - If Pong was video table tennis then this is video racquetball... sorta. Not the first of it's kind but it is my favorite. There are few things in gaming that have given me more joy than chipping away those blocks. Especially when you get it stuck up top and it takes out a ton at once!

69. The House of the Dead 2 (Arcade/Dreamcast) - I was a big fan of light gun games back in the 90s. I felt this took the formula of games like Area 51 and Virtua Cop and expanded on it. Much more tense and exciting that just about any light gun game that came before it. And there are zombies, which wasn't as common when this came out. Meaning it was still awesome.

68. Rampage: World Tour (Nintendo 64/Playstation 3) - Silly fun with hilarious parodies of classic movie monsters. I love how this sequel made the gameplay faster, smoother, and even funnier than the original from way back when. Still an excellent party game to play with friends today. Easy to pick up and play and can kill a lot of hours if you need it killed.

67. Grand Theft Auto 2 (Playstation) - A fantastic sequel to a great game. Grand Theft Auto III and beyond never did it for me like the rest of the world. And that's because I became so satisfied with this early installment. Top down perspective and all.


66. Final Fantasy VII (Playstation) - If you asked me 15 years ago this would have been number 1 on my list. I still give it props because it did get me into JRPGs, which is now one of my favorite genres. And yes I do still revisit it every so often because it does have a special place in my heart despite it's issues.

65. Riven: A Sequel to Myst (PC) - Like Myst but even bigger and more challenging making it even more satisfying when you get it all figured out. Definitely not talked about as much and that's a shame.

64. Duke Nukem 3D (PC) - A juvenile game that is still fun after all these years. Sometimes it's fun to play as someone who is delightfully one dimensional. It never gets old fighting the giant aliens and pig cops in this FPS classic. I like the PC version the most with Saturn and Playstation after. Avoid the Nintendo 64 and iOS versions, though.

63. Area 51 (Arcade) - I may have said House of the Dead 2 did it better, but I still like this one more. A fast paced, action packed light gun game that is still fun to this day. Whenever I saw it in the arcades I would always play it. Seeing those aliens get blown away again and again always excited me. I also loved doing the cheat where I got to play as the alien. Ironic that you still fight the aliens, though.

62. Daytona USA (Saturn) - Driving games, for the most part, aren't my thing. Especially simulators. I've tried multiple versions of Gran Turismo and it never did it for me. But Daytona USA did. While not a terribly realistic simulator it has enough of a weight to feel that way. Mix that with arcade style gameplay and it makes for a prime Sega Saturn and Arcade driving experience.

61. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (Game Boy) - The sequel to a great game and manages to be even better! This is a prime example of what the Game Boy could do despite being a generation behind in technology. It's expansive and filled with enough variety to go up against the mainline console games themselves. Even some of the modern ones.

60. Intelligent Qube (Playstation) - One of my favorite puzzle games. And like others it is easy to learn but rough to master. All you've got to do is clear all the gray blocks while avoiding the black blocks. A lot harder than it looks but is crazy addictive to play.

59. Virtua Cop (Saturn) - A light gun game that isn't terribly stylized, but manages to get my attention more than others. It's simplistic and straightforward but does just about everything right. It's very approachable with enough challenge to keep things exciting. Add a branching path to a couple levels for a little bit of replayability and you've got a good excuse to bust out that Saturn light gun!

58. Sonic R (Saturn) - A very rough around the edges racer where everything can be unlocked within a couple hours of playing. It's the nostalgia that hits me hardest on this one. I still love it to this day even if the racing gameplay shits all over itself.

57. Juggernaut (Playstation) - A fairly recent review in the grand scheme of things. Despite pointing out how flawed the game is I still can't help but love it. The creep factor is what does it for me. It gives a sense of ambiance and scare that few do, and in such a unique way. Whether they are intentional creep factors or not (old school pre-rendered graphics at work here.) See my full review.

56. Mortal Kombat Trilogy (Nintendo 64) - Minus some of the BS put into Mortal Kombat 3 this had just about all the good stuff of all three games. Big bosses available from the start with nearly a full lineup. Easily the definitive Mortal Kombat game for that era especially if you have a Nintendo 64 (Never played it on Playstation).


55. Silent Scope (Arcade) - The Dreamcast version is fine as is. But when you play it in the arcade your controller is a scope gun proper. It's like other light gun games but with a sight. It's a great immersive experience where my only complaint is my eyes hurting after a while because I'm only looking through one putting strain on the other keeping it closed.

54. inFamous (Playstation 3) - I really am not a fan of a lot of the samey AAA titles. This one was an exception. It has super power-esque abilities without being the typical super hero story. There's a nice good vs evil internal conflict in the game and it really doesn't get old blasting people to death with lightning bolts!

53. Kirby's Dream Land (Game Boy) - Way simpler than most games you'll play. Kirby games do tend to be very "baby"ish. Still for longtime fans of the franchises it pulls you in with the fun it delivers for all ages. It won't take you long to complete this one, but at least you're having fun along the way.

52. Kaboom! (Atari 2600) - My favorite title from the Atari age. Like Root Beer Tapper it has a simple objective but the addiction level is through the roof. A game that only gets harder and harder and doesn't end until it ends you.

51. Peggle (Playstation 3) - Specifically on the Playstation 3 is where it captured my imagination. This is one of those puzzle games where "one more level" turns into another thirty to fifty levels. Like a good puzzle game it succeeds through it's simplicity.

50. PaRappa the Rapper (Playstation) - A music/rhythm game where you play as a rapping dog who raps about learning kung fu, getting his driver's license, and so much more. No licensed songs here. All original, all catchy, and all very fun to listen to. I really want the soundtrack to this game!

49. Jet Grind Radio (Dreamcast) - Yes I know it's technically called Jet Set Radio in Japan, but I grew up playing the American copy. While not as realistic as other extreme sports that's clearly not the point. It's mega stylish and mega fun spray painting all over town. One of the best soundtracks you'll hear on the Dreamcast to boot! (Minus the forced licensed songs)

48. Resident Evil (Playstation) - Creepy empty mansion invaded with zombies. You never know what's around the corner so not only does it keep you on your toes but it keeps your mind moving. Not a simple run and gun like the sixth installment. Badly written? Yes. Scary as hell? OH YES!

47. Soul Calibur (Dreamcast) - I never touched the sequels much after this. Probably because I got everything I wanted right here. It made it so satisfying to wield an absurdly huge arsenal of weapons in both numbers and size. Lots of out there characters, too, which are always welcome in my fighters. One of the best launch titles for the Dreamcast.

46. Mortal Kombat (Playstation 3/Vita) - After some samey sequels that followed Mortal Kombat 4 this was a breath of fresh air. It takes it back to the game's origins in story while tightening the 3D Mortal Kombat fighting experience that just wasn't quite right in the previous sequels. Also love the challenge towers which gives a lot of variety instead of just the main game. And of course the many, many unlockables!

45. Twisted Metal Black (Playstation 2) - I can't think of a way the franchise could have been better on the PS2. So much was expanded on from the original franchise and the characters were given tons more depth (even if they were a tad too dark for darkness sake). Sadly it lost the dark (ironically) sense of humor it once had but at least they stuck with the style they went for. Staying consistent within the game.

44. Burnout 3: Takedown (Playstation 2) - One of my most played games during high school. I'm not a car guy so those four wheeled creatures meant nothing to me. I do love arcade style racers and this one did that supremely well. I love the crashes, I love the tense races, I love almost everything about this great racer... cept the soundtrack which sucks big time...

43. Panzer Dragoon (Saturn) - One of the most unique rail shooters I've ever played. A shining example of what a great game can be on the Sega Saturn. Very imaginative, very fun, and very worth your while. I'm picking up a Saturn again really soon and this is in my top games to buy immediately!

42. God of War II (Playstation 2) - A worthy sequel to an amazing game. God of War II adds more epicness to the franchise while setting up the incredible third installment in the franchise. It didn't capture me as much as the sequel but definitely worth playing none the less. One of those stories that had to be told to get to the epic of epicness that is God of War III.

41. D2 (Dreamcast) - The sequel to one of my top 10 favorite games that is unlike the original in every way. This takes the route of a survival horror with you fighting against evils stranded in Alaska after a plane crash. Very flawed but I absolutely dig it's very insane story. Loved the final boss, too! A very surprising way to defeat the enemy!

40. Virtua Fighter Remix (Saturn) - An upgraded version of the original that is fun despite the still remaining issues. While the sequel is still better this is a better version of the original. If you have the option play this one for a better example of the franchise's origin.

39. Star Fox 64 (Nintendo 64) - The first game I ever pre-ordered. I don't have it anymore but that pre-order should show my love from the start. I always loved playing over and over to go down the different paths. And let me tell ya, seeing that alternate ending with Fox's dad... loved every second of it! And the mutiplayer is great fun. I could still see myself playing that today (way more than Goldeneye).

38. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (Playstation 3) - Took Pac-Man, upped it to HD, and gave you a ton of fun challenges that go beyond just collecting all the dots in a level. My favorite parts are the intense speed of the game and the mega ghost crunching combos. Another good quick trophy catch, too.

37. Fallout 3 (Playstation 3) - Never having played the previous Fallout games I didn't know what to expect in theme. But having played Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion I sort of knew what to expect since I heard it was similar. This was a far better experience that provided me with hours upon hours of post-apocalyptic fun! I eventually plan on going back to it to experience more of the side missions and would also like to download the add-ons as well.

36. The Typing of the Dead (Dreamcast) - Is literally House of the Dead 2 but translated to a typing simulator. Sounds silly, but seriously, play this game. Somehow turning it into a typing simulator enhances the game so damn much! You can find the demo for the PC version very easily.

35. Tetris (Game Boy) - Something about this version handled so perfectly for me. I played this so much on the go. And even when I was in high school I would from time to time lay in bed playing through this specific version again and again before going to sleep. It's a simple and fun game so it makes sense being on a simple and fun console. Best version of Tetris I've played.

34. Power Stone (Dreamcast) - A unique 3D fighter that lets you run around an entire arena instead of just face to face like classic fighters. One of the best multiplayer games you can get on the Dreamcast. Also the DBZ-esque over the top special moves are a nice touch.

33. Marvel vs. Capcom (Dreamcast) - Street Fighter was never my cup of tea. Then this came along and gave me the push I needed to get into Capcom's fighters. It's not just that there's super heroes, so much is done right with the fighting mechanic. The changing of characters, the fast paced action, the amazing combos, tag-team, all of it is just so damn fun! The sequel is a great entry as well.

32. Sim City 2000 (PC) - It's never been quite the same on any other platform. I love Sim City 2000! The variety, the disasters, the fun of putting in a cheat code for millions of dollars and building all the fun architecture, it's just a blast. Sim City 3000 was a good sequel... but not the same. And while I like the other Sim games (especially Sim Tower) this is number 1 in my Maxis book.

31. Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (Playstation) - Have always liked this one over any other Crash. It improved on the first game and had a certain charm that I didn't see in any of the later games. Expanded on the greatness of the first game and offered a lot of variety. Too bad the final boss battle is way too easy. One of the few downsides to this experience.

30. Final Fantasy Tactics (Playstation) - One of the best tactical RPGs you can play. The game is so expansive and immersive it is nuts! Provides more than enough challenges and you could easily go beyond 100 hours with this game. Even if you're not a fan of the Final Fantasy name it is worth checking out. Because it is very different from the main game entries. Even the ones being released around the time of this one (like VII and VIII).

29. Resident Evil 4 (Gamecube) - Gave Resident Evil a much needed technological facelift (I'm still okay with tank controls to be honest). Still not quite in the same horror light as the previous games, and it did turn the rest of the games into action instead of horror. But this game is still very fun to play and would easily pick it up again. A perfect formula that could never be repeated.

28. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Genesis) - A true gaming classic that has stood the test of time. Considered to be the best example of a 2D Sonic game. Great control, great level design, great everything. Easy to see why everyone loved it so much, making it a great pack in title with the Genesis way back in the day.

27. Shadow of the Colossus (Playstation 2) - A game very ahead of it's time that consisted entirely of boss battles. Not only is it far more epic than most (if not all) games on the Playstation 2, but also one of the most emotionally damaging. You have beautiful scenery mixed with amazing creatures and a story that grabs you tight only to make you feel drained by the end. It's not in my top ten favorites but if you have a Playstation 2 or 3 I highly recommend you pick this one up. And while I haven't played the HD re-release, I imagine it's just as good if not better. This be one of the BEST games you ever play.

26. Demon's Souls (Playstation 3) - One of the hardest games I've ever played. But unlike other hard games it is as equally satisfying. If you can overcome the odds of Demon's Souls then you will know gaming satisfaction that hadn't been seen for many years prior to this game. Sadly it is overshadowed by it's sequel Dark Souls, which I hear is hard but not as hard as Demon's Souls.

25. God of War (Playstation 2) - The one that started it all. A true surprise when it first came out as I just assumed it'd be another random action game. Little did I realize it would be one of the most epic and fun to play games on the Playstation 2 and create many sequels that would be just as epic or even more in the later generations of gaming!

24. Virtua Fighter 2 (Saturn) - The first fighter I really fell in love with. Has remained a classic for years despite not aging well over the years. Was essentially one of the pioneers of 3D fighters, and it did a fantastic job way back in the mid-90s. If you're going to play any of the Virtua Fighter games, make it this one. Currently for sale for cheap on PSN. I'd rather play it on my Saturn.

23. Katamari Forever (Playstation 3) - This is a best of previous Katamari levels with new ones included and it's all in HD. The same romp as the previous Katamari games filled with the same charm and fun music. The best recent one seeing as how Touch My Katamari for PS Vita was a step backwards in many ways. If you need a good intro to the franchise either pick this one up or the original via the Playstation store.

22. Worms 2 (PC) - Gave worms the look and feel most of the later games would follow suit in but was never captured again the same way. An endless variety of maps and scenarios to fight in making it a colorful yet challenging strategy game. The first game I ever played against other people online as well.

21. Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut (PS3) - A cult classic the instant it hit shelves. This Twin Peaks rip-off is one of the most unique and entrancing games in recent memory. There's a lot of flaws in the gameplay to get used to, but the overall experience with the bizarre story is worth it. If you're a fan of horror, mystery, or generally fucked up shit then I HIGHLY suggest this one. See my review.

20. Metal Gear Solid 2 (Playstation 2) - Despite getting the bait and switch finding out Raiden is the main character this is still an incredible game. It took the source material of MGS1 and improved on it in many ways. Still like the original more, but I have played through this game more than most, especially back in the day when I couldn't afford as many games. And now I have the Vita port so I can play it whenever, wherever. Awww yeah!

19. Nights into Dreams (Saturn) - Old school and very Sega if you know what I mean. One of the most popular Saturn games is also one of the most magical and imaginative. Easy to learn but very difficult to master. You'll find yourself playing each stage over and over for the best rating possible and you won't mind. It's super fun and definitely worth your while. Also it's available on modern consoles for very cheap.

18. Assassin's Creed II (Playstation 3) - So much of an improvement over the first game it's hard to believe. And it has a story that expanded across three games where it (mostly) stayed interesting. Ezio is such a cool character that when I started Assassin's Creed III it just didn't feel right anymore. I give this one my honest honor in the franchise. If you're gonna play just skip right to this one. The first one is a pile of shit by comparison. Look up a 'let's play' to get the story details. Or go ahead and play the first to see how much of an improvement this one is.

17. Twisted Metal 2 (Playstation) - A beautiful sequel to an already amazing game. While I don't like it's style as much as the first this one did do a lot of welcome improvement. This is a great car combat game with a lot of variety and even a dark sense of humor throughout. Something not seen as much in the first, and definitely lost in the later games.

16. Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64) - The 2D games may be classics but I really give it to this one. 3D platformers are crazy tough to pull off especially when it's a transition from 2D and this one hit it solid! I've probably put more hours into this Mario than ANY other one. It's easily my favorite and I plan on picking it up again via virtual console so I can play it all over again.

15. Fighters Megamix (Saturn) - Take all the characters from Virtua Fighter and Fighting Vipers, mix in some additional characters from other Sega games (including the car from Daytona USA), and you've got a crazy fun fighting game that I could play for hours. Definitely one of my favorite fighters for the variety alone!

14. Metal Gear Solid (Playstation) - A true classic and easily one of the top ten best for the console. Engaging story despite being far too complex at times. The cinematics make it what it is, making me not even mind the lengthy cutscenes. Would later be improved in gameplay but for what it is it still works great. Also it has a supreme sense of humor that I love. So much of this game is right and you should go play it right now!

13. Sonic Jam (Saturn) - Not the most expansive collection of Sonic games but one of the best. It includes Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Sonic & Knuckles. But what makes this game so special for me is the 3D world you run through with Sonic as a bonus feature. It's not an actual level but a hub for accessing (at the time) pretty exclusive content about the Sonic franchise. Commercials, game videos, stories, history, it's got just about everything for a Sonic fan from the mid-late 90s.

12. Shenmue (Dreamcast) - One of the top ten best games you'll play for the Dreamcast. It's one of the most immersive games I've ever played. Actually forcing you to keep a schedule with real in-game time. A gimmick that's been used since but this was the pioneer for what would come. Really no other game has come along like this aside from the sequel.

11. 3D Dot Game Heroes (Playstation 3) - A prime example on how to make a retro style game in a way that's expected but is surprisingly not obnoxious in it's execution. The cosmetics are obviously pixel art but once you get into the game you forget about the pixels until the game does closeups for bosses. Not a terribly deep RPG but enough to do to keep you occupied for at least 40+ hours. I still want to get the platinum trophy!

For a full explanation of numbers 10. through 1. go to my previous post right here. Otherwise for now here is the quick breakdown of those games.

10. Sonic Adventure (Dreamcast) - Sonic in 3D proper for the first time and it's one of his greatest adventures.
9. D (Playstation) - It may be outdated by today's standards but it's still an excellent horror experience.
8. God of War III (Playstation 3) - An epic conclusion to an epic trilogy of epic proportions.
7. Persona 4 Golden (Playstation Vita) - Part JRPG, part high school simulator, equals an amazing experience!
6. Killer7 (Playstation 2) - An assassin with multiple personalities in a bizarre world.
5. Tekken 2 (Playstation) - My favorite installment in the franchise, one of the best fighters I've played.
4. Twisted Metal (Playstation) - The early days of car combat is still sweet today.
3. Katamari Damacy (Playstaton 2) - One of the most popular quirky games ever released.
2. Illbleed (Dreamcast) - An underrated horror satire that provides both laughs and deep disturbing scares.
1. Root Beer Tapper (Arcade) - Who would have thought bartending could be so much fun?!

Top 25 I Want to Play, or If I Can Keep Myself Focused Enough and Save My Money These Are The Next Games I Plan On Buying:

25. Steel Batallion (XBox): This is at the bottom of my list because I don't know if I'll ever get around to playing it seeing as how I don't own and don't plan on buying an XBox. I should specify that I'm referencing the first entry and not the recent Kinect version. Basically I want to try it out because of that insane controller. I've got to see what it is like to play a game with such an elaborate control set that models so well after the machine you operate in the game. I love unique accessories like this one!

24. Lunacy (Saturn): One of a few FMV horror adventure games for the Saturn I want to pick up. Simply put, I love this style and much like the other two I'll be pointing out... it got my attention really quickly based on this style of play alone. Also... Atlus game.

23. Yellow Brick Road (Saturn): A Japan only release game that is based on The Wizard of Oz. Nuff said.

22. Virtua Racing (Saturn): Before I decided I wasn't interested in collecting for the Genesis anymore I wanted to play the port of this game for that. Even though the Saturn version will be more enhanced I still want to see what this early example of a 3D racer is like. Even if it won't be the laggy experience seen on the Genesis (something that would be an experience in and of itself).

21. Snatcher (Saturn): There was a time when I wanted to get a Sega CD. That time has passed. My interest in some of it's games has not passed, though. I can still play the Lunar games on Playstation, and I know there's a port of this for the Saturn. A Japanese port so it won't be the same experience. What it will be is a financially cheaper one that I'll experience with a guide next to me so I know what I'm doing.

20. Segagaga (Dreamcast): A Japan exclusive RPG that merged together a ton of different Sega IPs into one massive game. Critics and gamers alike say it's an excellent game! The only reason I have it lower on my list despite my intense love for Sega is because it'll all be in Japanese. I'll probably have to play through with a fan translation or at the very least a guide next to me so I know what and how to do things.

19. Hoshigami (Playstation): I am sometimes a masochist who loves playing insanely difficult games like Demon's Souls. I hear this game is along those same lines but potentially worse. The game has crazy long battles and permadeath, meaning when a character is killed in battle he is gone for good. My curiosity is through the roof on this game as it appeals to both that element but also my love for Atlus games. They rarely do wrong in their publishing.

18. Ogre Battle (SNES/Playstation/Nintendo 64): I'm putting this directly ahead of Hoshigami because they have a similar play style from what I can tell, minus the insanely high difficulty. None the less Ogre Battle is a franchise that has been praised throughout the years with many installments across many consoles. My choices are large as I could pick the SNES, Nintendo 64, Playstation, etc version. Big epic battles in a tactical RPG. Still would probably be easier for me to comprehend than the Ultima games which I recent started trying to get into again.

17. Milon's Secret Castle (Game Boy): It is reported to be a million seller in Japan despite also hearing how bad and cryptic the game can be. I know everything I need to about the NES version from the Angry Video Game Nerd. But I want to see what the game is like in that similar state on one of my other favorite consoles, the Game Boy. Not Advance, not Color, just straight up Game Boy.

16. Limbo of the Lost (PC): Between all the stolen assets and the supposedly fucked up story and more fucked up ending... I can't think of a reason why I wouldn't want to play this.

15. Dream Eye (Dreamcast): A camera add on for the Dreamcast. I'm mostly curious about what it all does and what it's about. Doesn't seem to have a large set of games it will work with, or I just haven't researched it enough.

14. The Unfinished Swan (Playstation 3): Like a couple other games down the road here I did play the demo and really liked what I saw. This game is a first person "shooter" but the only shooting is done by shooting black paint across the level to discover the path you need to take. It's a pretty innovative idea with puzzle-like elements that had me hooked and wanting more. Looking forward to see what other ideas come out as I play through the game one day.

13. Death Crimson (Saturn): Considered to be the worst game released on the Saturn. This is a light gun shooter I want to play so badly because it feels like it's the Plan 9 From Outer Space of Saturn games. Despite it being so terrible the game had a couple sequels (both for Dreamcast) which I will consider a part of this list by default.

12. Chibi-Robo (Gamecube): Quirky, Japanese game from the early 2000s where you control a cute little robot. Feels really off the beaten path and up my alley in style. That and I've heard some amazing reviews from sources I trust, both online and from friends.

11. Flower (Playstation 3): The demo is amazing and I want to play the rest. It's from what I can tell the best, if not the only good use of the sixaxis feature on the Playstation 3. Your character, the wind. Your mission, bring life back to an otherwise empty field with blooming flowers. On paper it doesn't sound the most exciting but it is critically acclaimed and I've been wanting to play through it really badly!

10. Mansion of Hidden Souls (Saturn): Much like Lunacy... an FMV heavy point and click adventure game that takes place in a haunted mansion. Screenshots show clips of spirits and other creepy stuff. Feels very D-like. Right up my niche alley!

9. Real Sound (Saturn/Dreamcast): A music game with no graphics... I'm not sure what else to say to make it stand out. Other than that it was a Japanese exclusive game. Got to see how this is pulled off with no graphics whatsoever! I don't think it'll matter too much if I pick it up for Saturn or Dreamcast.

8. Nier (Playstation 3): Received mixed reviews on it's release. However I have heard that this is one of the most underrated games of the last few years. I hear it requires multiple playthoughs in order to get the full experience but it is totally worth it. If anything sold me on this game it is how (spoiler alert) in one of the playthroughs/endings the game requires you to delete your save file and it makes sense in context of what's going on in the game (spoiler end). Even knowing that before picking up the controller kept me interested to know what it's all about. Thankfully this game is plenty cheaper than many of my other picks.

7. Densha De Go! (Dreamcast): Any of them would be fine but I specifically have my eyes on the Dreamcast version. A train conductor simulator may not sound exciting to most but you're reading the blog where it gave Tokyo Bus Guide (a driving sim where you follow all the rules) a positive review. More specifically I want to play it with the special train conductor controller. It's a unique experience we here in the states doesn't get very often.

6. Clock Tower (Playstation): Unlike the critics I actually liked Clock Tower 3 for the Playstation 2. It was very flawed but overall a great horror experience. However long before I played 3 I've been interested in the franchise as a whole. Clock Tower for the Playstation isn't the first in the franchise, just the first to come out in America. But I love the horror feel the franchise gives and want to see what it was like before a lot of things were changed for the third installment, which was mostly in how you control. Plus, big ass scissors!

5. Journey (Playstation 3): You play a mysterious man walking through the desert with the goal of reaching the top of a mountain. The purpose of the game is to make the player feel small and that they're on a truly epic and engaging journey. Slowly throughout the game you see the mountain get bigger and bigger making you feel smaller and smaller, or so I've interpreted. It's supposedly one of the best single player experiences on the Playstation 3.

4. L.O.L. Lack of Love (Dreamcast): A game with a name that has nothing to do with laughing out loud, nor do I think it actually has anything to do with the lack of love. From what I've read this is an evolution simulator. You play as a little creature who starts from the lowest of low life forms and you slowly progress to become bigger, stronger, and just try to survive. If I'm gathering my information properly it sounds like this game is similar to E.V.O. on the SNES and Seventh Cross Evolution also on the Dreamcast. Great soundtrack by the way!

3. The Last Guardian (Playstation 3): This is a sad option because none of us may ever get to play it. The game revolves around a young boy who befriends a giant griffin-like creature and the rest of the plot can be self-explained from there. Team Ico, famous for their last two monumental works Ico and Shadow of the Colossus started work on this game back in 2007 with an estimated release of 2011. However the game has been plagued with many problems (game breaking bugs, making it literally unplayable) causing many delays. As of now the game is still marked as in development. But once a game goes on like this long enough it's hard to say if it'll ever come out. Could be amazing but we may never know. At this rate I may have to buy a PS4 just to play it unless it takes after it's big brother Shadow of the Colossus by being a late entry in the PS3's life.

2. Panzer Dragoon Saga (Saturn): This is mostly on the list because I want to own it more than anything else. Specifically the American copy is one of the rarest and most expensive Sega Saturn games, sometimes with a starting price of around $300. Still curious to see how the game grew and expanded from it's rail shooter origins. I hear the story isn't amazing but the game itself is pretty solid. I could always get an import copy that is much cheaper and play with a guide. But that would ruin the experience quite a bit I feel. I know it's raising expectations in a way. It is hard to justify that price, though... still interested in the game, may just import in the end.

1. Enemy Zero (Saturn): The middle child in the supposed D trilogy and was only released on the Sega Saturn. Unlike D and D2 which are straight up horror, this game takes a horror/sci-fi approach. Because the game is limited like D since it is all FMV I've heard each and every fight in the game is crazy tense and scary. Not only are you fighting terrifying creatures, but the outdated game mechanics too! I love the soundtrack as I've had it for the last four to five years and have listened to it at least a hundred times. I'm in love with everything about the game and all I need to do is play it. But now comes the question. Do I shell out for the Americna copy or get the cheaper import?