2012 The Best Of Games Pt. 1

It’s about that time when I start thinking about which game will be crowned as my game of the year. 2012 has had some shining moments for gamers and even boasts the addition of two new consoles to our repertoire, Sony’s Vita and Nintendo’s WiiU. However there’s not one that has clearly led the way and several who weren’t initially on my radar that came out of nowhere and just blew my mind.

Over the course of a few articles I would like to discuss some of my favorites before I decide on that one game that gave me the most entertaining experience this year. At this point I’m not even sure what game I would consider GOTY but interestingly my best of 2012 is radically different from what I thought it would be and for the first time includes a PSN only title.

The first game that I will mention came out in February but has still held on to being one of my favorites of 2012, The Darkness 2. While I enjoyed the first game it was nothing compared to its sequel. Back in the lead is our favorite anti-hero Jackie Estacado, a mob boss who possesses a supernatural power known as the Darkness. Jackie struggles with the grief of having lost his beloved girlfriend Jenny as well as keeping his supernatural powers at bay but a failed hit on his life sets the motion of the events of The Darkness 2 in place.

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The game is a first person shooter but the supernatural twist and slight role-playing elements gives the game a unique edge. The look of the game is also stunning and achieved with a cel-shading technique that gives it a style that compliments its graphic novel origins. Gameplay is smooth and responsive and a big improvement over the first game. And who doesn’t love a game that offers you the ability of quad-wielding weapons.

In the end I feel the story suffered a little from the not so perfect conclusion thus keeping The Darkness 2 from the coveted game of the year title but even still it was a worthy game and one that earned a spot on my best of 2012 list. So geeks, as another year comes to a close which games were your favorites or not so favorites of 2012?

A Geeky Review- Bioshock Infinite (No Spoilers)

I’ve been anticipating the release of Bioshock Infinite for quite some time. Often when I place such high regards on a game, I’m disappointed. It’s not necessarily the games fault either but rather the unrealistic bar I set for it.

Bioshock Infinite arrived in my life shortly after midnight on Tuesday March 26. The next 48 hours would be filled with sleep deprivation and obsession. Seriously, I played Bioshock Infinite every chance I could and when I wasn’t playing, it’s all I could think about. Even upon completing my first play through my mind has been swimming with thoughts of what I experienced in Bioshock Infinite.

I recently started my second playthrough. I often play games more than once, rarely immediately after completing it for the first time. Bioshock Infinite is darn near perfect. A bold statement I know but I’d even go as far as saying it just might be the best game I’ve ever played. I’m haunted by events that took place in Bioshock Infinite. The game takes place in a fictional 1912 but presents the player with social commentary that could be applied to present day events.

It’s also worth mentioning that the poignant story is not presented with a heavy hand. If you game for the sole purpose of escapism, Bioshock Infinite also has much to offer in the ways of fun gameplay, gorgeous graphics and intriguing characters. The heart of the story is the relationship between Booker and Elizabeth. Both characters will go down as some of the most memorable gaming has to offer. The fact that Elizabeth is non-playable never deters from her charm. And for once the tag along NPC character you must look after, isn’t a thorn in your side. In fact at times Elizabeth is downright useful and never gets in the way.

It’s difficult to fully discuss the events of Bioshock Infinite without being spoilerific, so I won’t even try. I think it would be a crime having this game spoiled in even the slightest. I implore every player of this game to stop and think about the ending before judging it. I myself played the last part which is largely cutscenes a few times before I was fully able to process what just happened.

Hidden clues are found amongst the voxophone recordings as well as the sightseers that are scattered around Columbia. Speaking of Columbia, it’s easily one of the most beautiful worlds to ever grace gaming. For all its beauty and lightness, Columbia masks an underlying darkness of racism and civil war. At the forefront of this hatred and exceptionalism, is the self-proclaimed prophet, Zachary Comstock, Infinite’s answer to Andrew Ryan.

Fans of the Bioshock series will be familiar with the gameplay but I found it a little less challenging than the previous two endeavors and would suggest playing the game one level of difficulty higher. Finishing the game will unlock the 1999 mode which is an increasingly tougher mode with limited ammo and stronger enemies plus respawning will cost you $100. Should you not have enough money to pay the toll, you are sent back to the main menu.

It’s kind of bittersweet that the current generation of consoles is being ushered out by the masterpiece that is Bioshock Infinite, considering Bioshock helped kick it off. Kudos to you Ken Levine and Irrational Games. Bioshock Infinite just set a new standard in the world of games.

Angry gamers pursue class action lawsuit over Aliens: Colonial Marines.

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It was bound to happen really, gamers have banded together to show just how pissed off they are about Aliens: Colonial Marines. Turns out people don’t take to well to demos not being the final product they paid hard, cold cash for.

“Each of the ‘actual gameplay’ demonstrations purported to show consumers exactly what they would be buying: a cutting edge video game with very specific features and qualities. Unfortunately for their fans, Defendants [Sega and Gearbox] never told anyone – consumers, industry critics, reviewers, or reporters – that their ‘actual gameplay’ demonstration advertising campaign bore little resemblance to the retail product that would eventually be sold to a large community of unwitting purchasers.” -Polygon post

Both Sega and Gearbox Software are named as defendants in the lawsuit and neither have bothered to comment on the news. Can’t say that I blame those folks, it certainly looks like both companies misled fans. We’ll watch and see if this goes all the way, hopefully it does. Publishers and developers should be held accountable for this horrible mess.

Nintendo consoles are now the official home of Sonic the Hedgehog!

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If you played video games in the 90′s, you knew there were two mascots fighting for your gaming dollars: Nintendo’s Mario and Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog. Both starred in awesome games, both had cameos in comics and both, both were damn endearing. Once Sega bowed out of the console market that left Sonic a free agent. Since then, we’ve seen him on the Xbox 360, PS3 and even a Nintendo console or two. That was shocking but the latest from Sega is even more shocking.

Sega and Nintendo have struck a deal to make Nintendo the official home of Sonic! That’s right geeks, long time rivals Mario and Sonic will now permanently live under the same console roof. Sega will still make the games but they will only be on anything Big N, at least for the next three titles.

Back in my childhood gaming I would have never thought, I imagined it, that the foes would become BFFs. Now they can braid each other’s hair, make pies and chase after evil doers together forever. Chalk this one up to the strangest exclusive ever!

SEGA of America Inc. and SEGA Europe Ltd. today announced details of an exclusive partnership with Nintendo of America Inc. and Nintendo of Europe GmbH for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. The new agreement will make Nintendo consoles the number one destination for Sonic gaming over the next three titles. The first two titles of the deal were announced today via Nintendo Direct, and details of the third Sonic title will be revealed at a later date.

“Sonic the Hedgehog has performed incredibly well on Nintendo platforms and this exclusive partnership is a natural fit for the next evolution of Sonic games” commented Jurgen Post COO SEGA Europe Ltd. “The Wii U and Nintendo 3DS are ideal platforms to showcase Sonic and we are looking forward to working with Nintendo on these three exciting adventures.”

Sonic the Hedgehog first appeared as a videogame character in June 1991 and instantly became an icon for a generation of gamers. Defined by his super-fast speed and cool attitude, in the years since he first raced on to videogame consoles Sonic has become a true global phenomenon with over 75 million videogames and smartphone apps sold worldwide. SEGA’s iconic blue blur has also gone on to enjoy incredible success in many licensed areas, such as toys, apparel, comics and animation.

More Saints Row IV shenanigans!

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The Saints are back at it again with a new video for your viewing pleasure. It’s a tad on the short side but it does give you a taste of the telekinesis power your presidential gangsterness will have at your disposal. What’s that, you didn’t realize you were the president in the next Saints Row game? Shame on you. Hopefully you know that this time around you fight aliens and have super-duper powers that make the game go to 11 on the crazy scale.

We also get a good look at the “Commander-in-Chief” box art. The sunglasses tell it all, the action is going to be intense. Saints Row IV will hit Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on August 20th. Get your purple swag ready now geeks, it’s going to a blast! Hit the jump and check out the quick snippet in the Saints Row IV Hail to the Chief video series, just watch it all the way.


The Last Of Us Demo: A Peek At Greatness To Come

I recall in late 2011 hearing about a new franchise coming to Sony’s PS3. Little was known about it other than it was rumored to be a survival horror where people who suffered from some sort of infection took on zombie-like character traits. Sure, I was curious, but the game soon to be announced at that years VGA‘s, wasn’t immediately high on my radar.

As I watched, or perhaps I should say, suffered through Spike TV‘s annual gaming awards show, something amazing happened. The aforementioned game that turned out to be called, The Last Of Us, became much more desirable once that Naughty Dog logo was attached to it. I’m a bit of a Naughty Dog fanatic and my mind was blown to learn they had been working on a new franchise.

Now more than a year later, which included one short but no less heartbreaking delay, The Last Of Us is set to debut on a PS3 near you. Naughty Dog’s new IP releases June 14 and it’s almost sad how excited I am for that day to arrive. Months ago I pre-ordered the super deluxe and ber expensive Post-Pandemic Edition. This past weekend I got to play the demo to what I’m sure will be an instant classic.

The Last Of Us demo is somewhat short and consists of an area called The Outskirts. In this small glimpse of the game, you meet Joel, Ellie and another woman named Tess. I’d say aside from an introduction to some of the Infected, playing the demo is unlikely to spoil any of the game if you were concerned about spoilers.

I learned from the demo, that one of the most important defense mechanisms of The Last Of Us will be, sound. Knowing where and exactly what type of enemy you are dealing with beforehand will greatly help your rate of survival. Apparently there will be some type of weapon / item crafting system but in all honesty the demo was much too brief to really understand how it works.

I enjoyed the fluidity of the controls and how easily Joel moves and interacts with objects. Speaking of objects, I’d recommend searching every nook and cranny in hopes of finding items that will help you survive. That shouldn’t be much of a problem since even amongst the decay and ruins of your surroundings, Naughty Dog has crafted an amazingly beautiful and detailed environment for The Last Of Us.

The Last Of Us will be out on Friday, June 14, 2013. I for one can’t wait! Stay tuned to Don’t Hate The Geek for all of your The Last Of Us news, including my thoughts on the game after I’ve played it.