Top 10 WTF Dark Souls Moments

Dark Souls II is almost here. The anticipation has been killing me and led me to finally overcome the challenges and beat the first Dark Souls. Now midway through my second/third/forth play through I’ve compiled the Top 10 WTF Dark Souls moments and I hope Dark Souls II holds many more.

Honorable Mention: Kill The Dogs First (Capra Demon)

F*** F*** F***!

F*** F*** F***!

You think you’ve figured it out. You’ve bested the Taurus Demon and limped out barely of the Gargoyle fight. Nothing can stop you now. You enter the fog gate and…find yourself trapped in a broom closet with an angry rapist and his rabid dogs. The fight with the Capra Demon was the make or break moment for nearly all Dark Souls players. If your undead makes it out alive you can be sure your confidence didn’t.

10) Crystal Cave Navigation

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The Crystal Caves are an interesting place filled with euphoric scenery and slippery paths left and right. Then you get stuck. The path just ends and you see no way to progress. Until you notice the crystals seeming to crash land onto thin air. You take a deep breath and walk onto nothing. The orange text barely comforts you with a “Good Luck” as you navigate the thin, invisible paths of the Crystal Cave. Of course, Seathe The Scaleless will promptly curse your ass and make you start all over.

9) Asylum Demon

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Ah, the classic first boss. The Asylum Demon crashes down with a mighty boom as your unequipped undead shits his loincloth. What do you do!? You’re five minutes into the game and a 30 foot tall monster is charging you. Most new players would drop their controllers right there and walk away, while most just run through the door on the left.

8) Saving Solaire

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Solaire, the upbeat knight who can be summoned for boss fights is on a quest to find his own sun. Unfortunately, this quest comes to an end when he gets his mind controlled by a Chaos bug in the Demon Ruins. You’re forced to kill the knight who encouraged your jolly co-operation…or are you? If you stumble across The Fair Lady and join the Chaos Covenant and offer 30 humanity to her, then the area with the chaos bugs will open early allowing you to kill them and save Solaire. This then allows him to be summonable for the final boss fight against Gwyn. (Aka Solaire’s Pops.)

7) Drake Tail

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What’s one of the best early game weapon? Why the Drake Sword of course! Getting one is tricky since it requires patience, arrows, and more patience. Most experienced players know the trick by now. Stock up on arrows and head to the bridge where the huge ass dragon is. By taking the bonfire shortcut you can navigate under the bridge and fire arrows at the bastard’s tail. After 15-30 arrows (depending on the quality) the tail will fall off and become the Drake Sword, providing you with a powerful weapon… at least until you grab the lightening spear.

6) The Great Hollow/Ash Lake

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Blighttown…. UGHHHHHHHHHH. Everyone’s favorite part of Dark Souls holds a secret the size of an entire level…because it is. At the bottom of Blighttown in the poison swamp there is a large tree that you can climb into, which reveals a secret chest. If you sneeze on your controller and accidentally attack the wall behind the chest it reveals an entire level called the Great Deku Tree (joking, but not really). From here you can grab a ton of items from Crystal Lizards as well as catch a curse or two on the way! Yippee!

5) Lay in the Coffin

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After facing another Titanite Demon in the catacombs you might find a coffin that allows you to lay in it. Initially, laying in the coffin does nothing, but 20 seconds later a douchebag skeleton locks you in and transports you to the home of Gravelord Nito. This allows you to join the Gravelord Covenant and access to a cool poison weapon. Sucks I literally kill him a few hours later for his Lord Soul…oh well!

4) Ceaseless Discharge Easy kill

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Easily the best named boss in Dark Souls (snickers). The Ceaseless Discharge is massive and intimidating. Many who are weak willed may run to the entrance of the area and look to escape. Well guess what, you being a coward is his main weakness. At the entrance to the boss area The Ceaseless Discharge will attack you, freeze, and then fall down the never ending pit on the side. Three things can happen at this point:
a) You celebrate your heroic and brave victory.
b) You scratch your head at what just happened.
c) You look ahead and realize the next area is made up of Taurus Demons and Capra Demons…Greattttttttt.

3) Kaathe The Darkstalker

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So you’ve obtained the Lord Vessel in Anor Lando and on your way back to the weird looking thing that sounds like Dumbledore. Well what happens if you don’t do that? If you beat the Four Kings in the Abyss without giving Frampt the Lord Vessel, then another serpent named Kaathe will appear. Kaathe is against Frampt and wishes to begin the Age of Man. This allows insight on the two serpents and what their motives actually are. Making the game’s final choice less vague.

2) Snuggly The Crow/ Asylum Return

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How’s this for a WTF secret. After unlocking the elevator between Firelink and the Undead Parish you can actually jump off the elevator. From here you can hardcore parkour the ruins around Firelink and actually have the huge ass crow take you back to the Undead Asylum. The Asylum is very different with tougher enemies and a new boss fight (they must’ve upped security after a certain undead brokeout…). Another secret here is Snuggly the Crow who sounds weird and asks for something “warm” and “soft.” Dropping certain items in his nest provides many rare items and different rewards to exchange with Snuggly. It’s convenient, but seriously WTF.

1) Gwyndolin’s Anor Illusions

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After beating Fatass McQuack and Speedy Gonzalez in Anor Lando, Gwynevere and her “Amazing Chest Ahead” that you should “Try Holding With Both Hands” will bequeath onto you the Lord Vessel. Don’t get your hopes up though, since you can attack her revealing the great beauty as an illusion (much like my dates). This transforms Anor Lando into an eternal night and opens up an optional boss fight with Gwyndolin. Good freakin luck beating the asshole since his mix of magic and rapid arrow attacks will deplete your life bar instantly (Zigzagzigzag). The cause and effect of these actions as well as the difficulty of uncovering this twist easily puts the Anor Lando Illusions as the most WTF moment in Dark Souls. If you agree or disagree and have more awesome moments I might have missed put them in the comments below!

Top 10 Greatest Title Screens in Video games

Title Screens are our first impression of many video games past and present. A successful title screen succeeds on the merits of mood, atmosphere, music, and/or relevance to the game you’re playing. The best title screens incorporate all of these features and stand high above their contemporaries. We do have to note that this is strictly limited to title screens and not actual game menus such as Conker’s Bad Fur Day’s bar scene. With that aside, these are the top 10 video game title screens that hypnotized us from pressing the start button.

10. Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)

The Title Screen for Xenoblade Chronicles tells us so much using so little. The somber theme overlays a beautiful backdrop complimenting it perfectly. The Monado in the grass with no game title as the wind blows delivers a pure minimalist experience. Those who beat the game would leave this title screen on repeat with their jaw on the floor. Xenoblade Chronicles’ title screen is simple, clean, and incredibly effective.

9. Mirror’s Edge (Multiplatform)

The atmosphere accomplished in the Mirror’s Edge is like a breath of fresh air. The white city backdrop shows us the playground before us, while the calming electronica music soothes us into the not so distant future. The title screen invited us to this world and most people let go of any skepticism they had and dove right into Mirror’s Edge.

8. Mass Effect 3 (Multiplatform)

The second you booted up mass Effect 3 you knew this was it. The orchestral theme complimented the feeling of awe most players felt watching their beloved Earth slowly get invaded by the Reapers. Many questions raced through our heads as this title screen played out. Who was alive? What could we do to stop it? Is the ending as shit as everyone says it is? With the success of the previous Mass Effect games this title screen firmly cemented the scary fact that players scrubbed from their minds. THIS IS THE END.

7 Metroid Prime (Gamecube/Wii)

What sells the title screen of Metroid Prime isn’t the creepy parasite-esque images, or the fading film filter…It’s the music. The music sets the unsettling mood of Metroid Prime with its mix of electronics and feedback. The Music is so sci-fi creepy that many players were terrified to press start. It is one of the most uncomfortable and effective title screens. Thank you Retro for sending chills down my spine.

6. The Legend of Zelda Windwaker (Gamecube, HD Remake on WiiU)

It is nearly impossible to not whistle the tune of Windwaker as the title screen begins. Giving us a tour of Link’s home island, Windwaker immediately paints a vivid picture of the flooded world of Hyrule. It prepares our sea legs as we zoom over the vast ocean before us, providing a sense of great adventure. Any prejudice towards toon Link was gone the second Windwaker’s title screen began. *Whistles*

5. Spec Ops the Line (Multiplatform)

A destroyed city, a massive sandstorm, a tattered upside down American Flag…Welcome to Spec Ops. The title screen’s iconic imagery accompanied by the loudspeaker Star Spangled banner proved Spec Ops wasn’t just another military shooter. The electric guitar licked through the National Anthem as the wind blew leaving players with an incredibly valid question “WTF AM I GETTING IN TO HERE?” Spec Ops’ title screen was an inviting welcome to a game that changed the way people perceive narrative within military shooters.

4. Braid (Multiplatform)

Braid’s “Not-so” Title Screen is easily one of the best. With no start button many players realize that you can actually move Tim on the title screen. Silhouetted by the fires behind him, Tim moves to the right into the last remaining house at the beginning of the game. This title screen allowed players to open their minds to this puzzle platforming masterpiece. The contrast between the actual game and its title screen showed that Braid’s narrative was much deeper than players initially thought.

3. Halo (Multiplatform)

If this title screen didn’t pump you up then you have no soul. Now lets listen to this on repeat for 3 hours then go punch buildings!

2. Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)

An iconic title screen, Super Mario 64 allows players to morph Mario’s face at their will, while jamming to the toe tapping new music. This title screen was our first true glimpse at 3D Mario and it easily brought a massive fully-teethed smile to our faces.

1. Super Metroid (SNES)

Ceres Station is under attack. The scientists bodies lie dead on the floor. A single Metroid Larva is incased in the center. Eerie sci-fi music sets the scene. Super Metroid’s title screen is flawless. The music sets the horrific tone of loneliness, the images are terrifying, and the mystery surrounding the attack is ever present. Super Metroid’s title screen set a bar in 1994 that will never be reached. Some title screens may be fantastic and incredible, but they still don’t come anywhere close to the masterpiece known as Super Metroid’s Title Screen.

Top 5 Smash Challengers

With many gamers anticipating the next Smash Bros. game we’ve compiled the top 5 MUST HAVE characters we want in the next Smash Bros. game. We had trouble coming up with 10 characters since our Super Smash challengers can’t be clones or lame inclusions (like a koopa or something.) Here’s our Top 5 Smash Challengers!

5) Shulk (Xenoblade Chronicles)

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To start our list is Xenoblade’s main protagonist, Shulk. Wielding the legendary Monado Shulk could be used as not only a great swordsman, but also as a great ranged caster. The Monado’s powers can also allow Shulk to defend himself with special shields and buffs adding more RPG elements to Smash Bros. His final smash could be his signature Buster attack attacking all enemies in a line.

4) Bayonetta

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Forget the fact that this scandalous witch is a little too mature for Nintendo’s taste. Bayonetta’s skill set will dominate her opponents. With her flexibility and dual pistols Bayonetta could unleash hell on other smashers with acrobatic moves and gun play. Her final smash could be one of her classic “Torture Attacks.” Of course she’ll also have her lollipop.

3) Sora (Kingdom Hearts)

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With the keyblade for melee attacks and different types of magic for ranged, Sora from Kingdom Hearts is a no-brainer.  Different abilities could be Sora’s glide ability, his guard break could break through shields, and magic that could be cycled between fire, ice, and thunder. His final smash would easily be his Valor form where Sora wields two keyblades.

2) Chrom (Fire Emblem Awakening)

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Chrom and his trusty Falchion need to be in the new Smash Bros. With his epic sword play and overall badassness, Chrom is a much better choice currently than longtime smash mainstay, Marth. Chrom’s dual-strike can inflict double damage to his opponents and his bow breaker could allow Chrom to dodge projectiles. His Final Smash could be his Rightful King Ability buffing all of his other moves as well as movement speed.

1) Banjo Kazooie 

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As a smash character the inclusion of Banjo Kazooie is the most obvious. Banjo handles the close quarters melee, while Kazooie can shoot eggs and handle ranged attacks. Kazooie would also allow for short term flight and great anti-air play. Banjo Kazooie’s final smash would be accomplished with the help of Mumbo transforming the enemies into weak animals that Banjo can easily pick off. If only Microsoft didn’t own the rights…sigh =/

Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2014

It’s a new year with new consoles out to prove what they can do. PS4 and Xbox One are looking to hit their stride with great looking games on the horizon. Nintendo is coming off a strong year for 3DS and have even more great games to keep that handheld held in our hands. WiiU may have struggled in 2013, but with a solid library now established Nintendo’s little console might have a huge year with many first-party games within our grasp. Lets also not forget PC gaming, which is still leading the indie boom and maintaining it’s digital dominance on the industry. The Hype train is leaving the station and these are our top 10 most anticipated games of 2014.

10. Watch Dogs

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(Release Date: Q2 2014)

Ubisoft’s third-person hacker game hits a soft-spot with me (I’m from Chicago), but it barely makes the top 10. Watch Dogs still has a ton of hype going for it since it looks amazing, but with an over-saturation of gameplay trailers and a painful delay of at least 7 months Watch Dogs has built a solid shelter to live in within the back of our minds till June. We hope it was worth it Ubisoft.

9. South Park The Stick of Truth

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(Release Date: March 4th, 2014)

Like Watch Dogs above South Park’s constant delays have us a little worried for the Obsidian RPG. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are keeping our hopes up, but as of right now the best thing they can do is to finally release this long awaited game…and give us more Randy.

8. Elder Scrolls Online

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(Release Date: April 4th for PC)

It’s Elder Scrolls…BUT ONLINE. From what we’ve played and seen so far the game is a solid entry within the MMO genre. The Elder Scrolls mainstays are still there with a great sense of exploration within a realized world. Just please no more arrow to the knee jokes.

7. Witcher 3 Wild Hunt

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(Release Date: Q2 2014)

What is arguably the best looking next gen title has the Game jam writers flipping tables. This third chapter in the acclaimed RPG series looks stunning and even more hardcore than Assassins of Kings. The life of a Witcher is tough, but we’ll do anything to be in the soggy boots of Geralt of Rivia once more.

6. Bravely Default

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(Release Date: February 7th )

The name may say “Bravely Default” but this JRPG screams “Final Fantasy IV.” With job classes, a high risk/reward gameplay system, and beautiful art Bravely Default is the JRPG you’ve been waiting for. It is also out as a demo on the 3DS Eshop right now!

5. Child of Light

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(Release Date: Late 2014)

This JRPG…from Canada looks fantastic even if it’s a drastic change from this team’s last game Far Cry 3. The childish art direction blends beautifully with the game’s tone and gameplay. It makes us throw our money at the screen more than any other Ubisoft game coming out this year.

4. Super Smash Bros. WiiU/3DS

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(Release Date: Whenever Nintendo Wants To.)

With each character reveal and update Super Smash Bros. changes more and more from “I want that game” to “I NEED THAT GAME.” Did the fans want the Wii Fit Trainer? Probably not, but we all know we will kick ass with her. The Villiger from Animal Crossing looks like the sadistic bastard we’ve always wanted with mega Man and Rosalina adding even more fresh ideas to this popular party game.

3. Persona 5

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(Release Date: Late 2014)

All we know is that there are 5 chairs and 5 chains attached. The screen reads “You are slave. Want Emancipation?” followed by the title Persona 5. This is all we know about Atlus’ upcoming entry in the hit JRPG series…and somehow we have massive boners already.

2. Titanfall

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(Release Date: March 11th)

Many gamers are writing this game off as another dumb “Bro” FPS and boy, they couldn’t be more wrong. Out of all the games at E3 2013 Titanfall was the only one to melt faces off. The game not only looks next gen, but also was the only game we walked out of thinking “That gameplay was next gen.” March 11th can’t come soon enough for any lover of FPS’s, mech combat, parkour, jetpacks, and high octane multiplayer. (Note: If you’re not sold on Jetpacks anyway you don’t have a soul.)

1. Dark Souls II

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(Release Date: March 11th)

The logical choice, of course is Dark Souls II. FromSoftware’s brutal 2011 RPG Dark Souls is still being talked about three years later. The game is now less confusing, but that doesn’t mean it is any less punishing. Dark Souls II will burn you with hot wax, gag you, whip you with no mercy, and make you wish video games had a safe word. Dark Souls II is easily our most anticipated game of 2014 as well as the only game to make us cry out “Pineapple!!!” at the top of our lungs. Bring it on Lordran…we’re prepared to die…again.

Top 10 Favorite Games of 2013

Yesterday was the worst. Today is the best. These are my top 10 favorite games of 2013. Chosen on the merits of story, design, gameplay, presentation, replay value, and fun factor. These 10 games were the pinnacle of gaming in 2013.

Honorable Mentions: Dead Rising 3, Ni No Kuni, Battlefield 4, Rogue Legacy, The Stanley parable, The Last of Us, Resogun.

10. Bioshock Infinite

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Bioshock’s new setting and gameplay features provided some of the best FPS action in years. The story is incredible, the world is fully realized, and Elizabeth is the glue that holds it all together. If only there was more replay value would it be higher on the list.

9. Path of Exile

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This free to play game doesn’t try and bleed you dry with micro-transactions, which is cool. What’s even better is how this free to play game is everything Diablo 3 should’ve been in the first place. Path of Exile is so well designed that it is a complete and utter steal at this point!

8. Gone Home

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Best story of the year. Gone Home achieved so much using so little and the story still resonates with me to this day.

7. Metal gear Rising Revengence

No Snake? No Problem.

No Snake? No Problem.

This spinoff by Platinum Games just rocked in every way possible! The combat was deep and rewarded the patient, the story was bonkers and awesome, and each play through satisfied that arcade itch to unlock more stuff and achieve a better score. No action game came close to the quality of MGR this year.

6. Super Mario 3D World

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Dammit Nintendo! Everyone wanted this game to bomb since it seemed like a recycled attempted at 2011’s Mario 3D Land. Instead what we got is an amazing platformer with great design and tons of charm. Plus beating your friends up in catsuits is a blast!

5. Rayman Legends

Rocking the Touchscreen with Murfy

Rocking the Touchscreen with Murfy

Rayman Legends’ design was nearly flawless with the perfect amount of challenge, unlockables, mini games, and quality boss battles. Nothing compared to the incredible music levels the game provided, which are easily one of the best moments in gaming this year. Plus the game’s art is amazing.

4. Fire Emblem Awakening

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This strategy RPG gives you your moneys worth and then some. The graphics are amazing on the 3DS while gameplay has been streamlined to be more accessible to newcomers. This still doesn’t take away from the game’s brutal difficulty and incredibly deep RPG mechanics. Fire Emblem will destroy you and you will love every minute of it.

3. Animal Crossing New Leaf

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This game ruled my summer. Between paying off debts, catching bugs, listening to bad jokes, fishing, etc. Animal Crossing provided a life sim. with so much charm that it was impossible to pull away. Each villager’s personality shined through and left me feeling a need to care for these townsfolk constantly. Mainly though, having my town them as Final Fantasy’s Victory Fanfare is icing on the cake.

2. The Legend of Zelda A Link Between Worlds

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I tried so hard to find a flaw with this game…but there isn’t any. Link’s latest quest provides more freedom and exploration while being much more accessible than past entries. Every challenge, boss, or puzzle works great and provides one of the most rewarding experiences in video games ever. Buy it!

1. Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag

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I honestly wasn’t expecting this at all. ACIV came out of left field after the disappointing third installment last year and god damn. The beautiful setting, fully realized open world, finely tuned gameplay, great freedom and exploration, and the return of something the series was seriously lacking; FUN. The navel battles were intense, stealth was a blast and there is an overwhelming amount of stuff to do in this game. Did I mention yet that you get to be a badass pirate!? Assassin’s Creed IV rose above the rest this year being my favorite game of 2013. Also, those damn sea shanties are still stuck in my head.

The 10 Worst games of 2013

2013 was a great year for games, but no one really cares about that. Lets take a look at the games that didn’t meet expectations and disappointed massively in 2013. These are the worst games of 2013.

10. Tomb Raider

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The reboot to Tomb Raider was a solid game that played like an arcade version of Uncharted. Unfortunately, tonal shifts in gameplay made Lara Croft’s survival story meaningless with semi-auto bows, an  awful supporting cast, and a severe lack of Tomb Raiding in this game. Lara Croft’s anticipated reboot was brought down by many split ends and not just within the hyped hair physics.

9. Ryse Son of Rome

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Launch title with a Roman setting, combat similar to Arkham and Dark Souls, and stunning graphics? SIGN ME UP. It didn’t take long though to realize Ryse was a repetitive boring mess. Combat consisted of hacking and slashing the same character models over and over, while micro-transactions ruined the solid multiplayer concept. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but at least it lasted longer than the forgettable Ryse.

8. Call of Duty Ghosts

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COD Ghosts almost seemed like a giant joke with Infinity Ward going on and on about the damn dog and the fish physics. Eminem’s new CD was the God damn pre-order bonus and many of the E3 press showings crashed and broke down. When it finally released Ghosts was no where close to the quality of the superb Black ops 2. Maps were too large, gun balance was off, the next gen graphics were underwhelming, and the story was a complete step backwards from Blops 2. Now will you please shut up about the stupid dog.

7. Batman Arkham Origins

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BARE BONES CASH GRAB.

6. Splinter Cell Blacklist

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Sam Fisher’s latest adventure was forgettable with gameplay features that were a step backwards from 2010’s Conviction.  Blacklist lacked the memorable scenarios, characters (Except Kobin), and level design of past games. There was also a severe lack of Michael Ironside in this game, which made his 30 something year old replacement seem much more out of place.

5. Beyond: Two Souls

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Ugh. David Cage. Stop trying to make video games into movies, but since you won’t listen anyway at least try and make them good. The awful storytelling and characters left players with a game that had very few redeeming qualities. Gameplay was mostly nonexistent and/or super linear. Walking Dead showed everyone story driven adventure games could work, but here comes pretentious David Cage to set the genre back 20 years.

4. Grand Theft Auto Online

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Broken for the first couple weeks after launch GTA Online underwhelmed with a broken economy, technical issues, missing content, and an awful community. Being spawn killed by profanity spewing 10 year olds shows GTA’s poor online design…especially after I had to wait 2 weeks to even get spawn killed.

3. Sim City

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Even after the dust cleared and the horrible month long launch disaster ended, gamers were left with the 3rd worst game of the year. Sim City’s economy is a wreck, AI is random and frustrating, city sizes are too small, and people that want to play by themselves are extremely screwed. EA has become a bull in a china shop when it comes to their franchises and thankfully Sim City was their only black spot….OH WAIT

2. Dead Space 3

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EA sacrificed everything that made Dead Space unique…to sell more copies to the Call of Duty audience. Dead Space 3 was a dull, generic piece of crap that alienated the series’ fanbase, while failing to obtain new fans in the process. The action heavy game was a mess in terms of story and design. The inclusion of microtransactions made things worse and easily killed one of the best new IP’s of the past generation. Way to go EA…

1. Aliens Colonial Marines.

GAME OVER MAN!

GAME OVER MAN!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA this game. THIS GAME. We waited 6 years for Aliens and how were gamers rewarded for their patience? With a buggy unfinished mess that made no sense and graphical looked like it was from the PS2. The drama was made worse with many demos and trailers leading up to release showing a completely different game than the one we received. Some sued for false advertising, while others moved on and let the constant disappointment of the Aliens franchise fade into the void of video game history.