Category Archives: Reviews

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review

Chances are you already know if you are a fan of the Call of Duty formula. The Modern Warfare and Black Ops series value their ‘feel’ above almost anything else, and Black Ops 2 certainly delivers on that part.

The single-player campaigns of the Call of Duty series are far from the main draw but Treyarch‘s latest efforts are, if not the most enjoyable, definitely the most interesting installation yet.

The story follows two separate storylines: the first is set in the 1980’s where you play as Alex Mason – once again voiced by Sam Worthington, who only barely manages to suppress his Australian accent – the main character from the first Black Ops. It is this storyline is where you are introduced to Raul Menendez, an evil Nicaraguan drug lord with one eyeball and a thirst for vengeance! Or something.

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Cold War era horse battles. So rad.

The second storyline is told from the point of view of Alex Mason’s son, David, who sports the pretty excellent codename ‘Section’. This part of the campaign is set in 2025 and is largely dominated by futuristic weapons, robots, and even the occasional laser beam or two. It was actually really satisfying to be running around in the jungle with a crappy AK-47 in one mission, and then in the next be wearing an active camouflage suit with an assault rifle scope that can see through walls.

Perhaps the main hook of the single-player campaign, and the thing that compelled me to go back and play through missions a second or third time, were the various branching story lines. Player choice seems to be a major theme in games released this year and Black Ops 2 takes a crack at it with great success.

There are the examples you would expect: the ‘press A to kill this guy, press B to spare him’ moments but there are also some very subtle decision points, some of which I didn’t even realise I was making. I can’t get too deep into these without getting into pretty serious spoiler territory, but there was a point where I thought the scene was playing out fairly ‘on rails’, and when I tried to change the outcome it just sort of worked out the same way anyway. I kept playing through the game, and it wasn’t until the end that I saw my slight variation on what was supposed to happen dramatically changed the final moments of the story. I was genuinely surprised, and I haven’t felt like that about a video game in a very long time.

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Nothing like a bit of casual robot spider retina scanning to liven up an afternoon.

Many people come to Call of Duty every year for the multiplayer game. Each year the developer promises new and improved systems, revolutionising the way multiplayer feels and plays. Ultimately, it’s always more or less the same and this year’s instalment is no different.

The new feature for this year is the “Pick 10” system, where you have ten points that are used to select your loadout. Your primary weapon, attachments, perks, lethal grenades, and tactical grenades all take up one point each so, using the ten points as expected, you would end up with a pretty standard Call of Duty loadout. The game changer here is the “Wildcard” system. By spending one of your ten points you can get an extra perk, carry two primary weapons, get a third attachment and a variety of other interesting options. This boils down to giving you complete customisability over the loadout you bring into battle. You can carry a full six perks, but only bring a combat knife with you, or you can bring just your trusty combat axe and a handful of frag grenades. The system is interesting to play around with but I personally end up forgoing the Wildcards and bringing in the standard loadout almost every time.

Black Ops 2 also brings with it the lackluster return of unlock tokens. Every time you gain a level you gain access to a weapon or two and you also gain an unlock token. To use a weapon or perk, you must first spend an unlock token in order to equip it. This places a hard limit on the number of options you have when choosing your loadout, which seems to go against the grain of the highly customisable “Pick 10” system and I don’t really understand it. I would much prefer having access to all the guns and being able to pick and choose the one I liked best.

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Silly terrorists.

The other change to the multiplayer system is the new “killstreak” system. In previous games getting several kills in a row without dying allowed you to call in air support to help your team, order yourself a minigun, or drop a nuke on the battlefield. Black Ops 2 changes the “killstreak” concept to “pointstreaks”, where you get considerably less credit for a kill, and considerably more for capturing flags, securing hardpoints, or otherwise completing team objectives. I understand what they were trying to do but I can’t help feeling unsatisfied when I manage to kill five enemies in a row and still be some way off calling in an attack helicopter to tear up the enemy team.

As I mentioned before, Call of Duty is a franchise that values it’s “feel” extremely highly and Black Ops 2 is no exception. The polar opposite of the slower, vehicle-based combat of games like Battlefield 3 or Planetside 2, Black Ops 2 succeeds with fast-paced, hectic combat that rewards skill and reflexes more than the size of your tank. When I first started, as a “noob” if you will, I couldn’t help but feel like being good at Call of Duty boiled down to who spots who first. Flanking and getting the jump on your enemy is key to victory but being able to tactically hold down choke points and survive mismatched gunfights is supremely satisfying and ultimately is what keeps me coming back for more.

Black Ops 2 is not the best game in the franchise, but it’s trying to do new things; successfully in the single player, less so in the multiplayer, but well worth looking into if you haven’t already.

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So boardgames are pretty cool

I used to play board games all the time. When I was a kid I remember having an old, beat up Scrabble and Monopoly set that looked like it was 20 years old at the time. One of the newer games in my childhood collection was called Squatter and it had something to do with grazing sheep, or trading sheep. I don’t know, it was on a farm and just bored me to tears.

As I became more acquainted with video games their analogue brothers just fell by the wayside. It didn’t help that I found (and still find) Monopoly to be tedious and Scrabble is great but when you’re a kid and playing with your parents you don’t really stand a chance.

Flash forward 16 years later and I’m going through a huge board game revival that was sparked, in part, by Shut Up & Sit Down and my introduction to Ticket To Ride.

Recently I got together with a group of friends and we ran through a selection of games from our collective…collections.

I took some photos and I will add some words to them in the hopes that you’ll find something you like. Maybe you’ll dust off the old box of Risk you have in your closet and get freaky with the cardboard and dice. It could happen, I don’t know you.

Deadwood

This town aint big enough for the both of us.

Deadwood is a worker placement game from Fantasy Flight Games and sees the player controlling their own gang of cowboys as they vie for control of the old west town.

A railroad is being constructed in Deadwood and with it comes a boat (or train) load of cash. There are three types of cowboys that each player can place on the board and their aim is to control, or “annex”, buildings. Doing so will earn them money, allow them to place down more building tiles, add more track to the railway or a host of other options that will help them gain control of Deadwood.

Taking it in turns players can choose to either hit the town, by annexing a building, or return one of their cowboys from the board to their hand, or “ranch”.

Players only start with three cowboys so it’s up to them to earn more money and hire additional help by annexing certain buildings. The more cowboys you have, the more buildings you can annex which will ultimately earn you more cash.

Deadwood is simple to understand and can be played in around one hour and there is a surprising amount of strategy that can be brought to the game. All players can see each other’s ranch so they know how many cowboys, wanted posters and how much cash everyone has. This is important because there are very specific moves that will bring the game to a quick end and you want to make sure you have the most cash when that happens.

Attacking other players by engaging in a shootout is the only way to annex a building that they occupy. Starting a shootout will earn you a wanted poster which you will have to pay for when the game ends, potentially costing you the few extra dollars that would win you the game. So you have to weigh the benefits of taking a certain building with the risk of receiving a wanted poster which you may not be able to get rid of before the game ends.

Deadwood may not be as in-depth or engaging as some of the other games in this article but it does enough to hold your interest for the length of the average game. It’s simple, quick fun that is definitely worth a look.

Catacombs

Catacombs is an odd beast. It’s a fantasy themed dungeon crawler where players take the role of one of four adventurers fighting monsters and, if they’re lucky enough, hunting down and killing the Catacomb Lord.

Catacombs sticks with fairly standard fantasy heroes: the barbarian, the wizard, the elf archer and the thief.

All of the monsters are controlled by another player who acts as a sort of Dungeon Master (to use Dungeons and Dragons parlance) and tries their hardest to kill the foolish heroes as quickly as possible.

Hiding within the circle of pillars is a good way to protect your vulnerable heroes.

I said “lucky” before but that’s not really the right word for this. The core mechanic of the game sees players flicking their character discs around the board.

Hitting a monster with your character disc counts as a melee attack, the Elf has two smaller discs she can shoot as a ranged attack and the wizard has a variety of spells that use different sized discs in different ways, depending on the effect.

This makes Catacombs are real game of skill and dexterity. Flick your character just a little too hard or a little to the left or right and you might completely miss your target, leaving yourself wide open for the inevitable retaliation from the dungeon’s multitude of angry hell-beasts.

Each character also has a limited number of hit points. The wizard has a single healing spell and there is an opportunity to visit a healer during the game. However, the healer charges 300 coins per health point restored (!) so you often find yourself dangerously close to death throughout large sections of the catacombs.

Even if you do manage to make it to the final room in one piece, you still have to face off against the near omnipotent Catacomb Lord who is far more dangerous than any monster you have previously encountered.

The skill based gameplay, the horrible monsters you will face and the fragility of your heroes all come together to make Catacombs one of the most intense, stressful and ultimately rewarding board games I have ever played.

It also lends itself incredibly well to a variety of drinking games so get excited, responsible adults.

Small World

I love the video game Civilization V, which you would already know if you’ve listened to the podcast. Does it then stand to reason that I would love civilization board games like Small World?

Let’s take a look: I can play as “Commando Halflings” or “Bivouacking Skeletons” among others, I earn gold for conquering new territories and it has an art style that I can really get behind. Of all the games we played last night, this was probably my favourite. And I’m not not just saying that because I didn’t not win.

Those trolls have fortified positions, making those territories incredibly difficult for other players to conquer

In Small World you take control of a fantasy race with a particular special ability and you conquer territories on the game board. As stated above the picture you earn gold for each territory you hold and, depending on your race or special ability, you can earn certain bonuses.

However, you have a finite number of tokens with which to conquer and when you feel like you’ve gone as far as you can with a particular race you can choose to go into “decline”. After going into decline you select a new race and start conquering again.

There are 14 different races and 20 special powers which can lead to a tonne of different combinations and play styles

This mechanic means that, sooner or later, you are going to butt heads with other players because all of these active and declined races take up space and, as the name implies, it is a small world.

Days of Wonder, the folks behind Small World (and the equally terrific Ticket To Ride) always put a lot of effort into the production of their games, and it really shows in Small World. The art is bright and fun, there are roughly 500,000 pieces to deal with but the box is specifically designed to hold all the pieces in organised rows and stacks.

The pieces themselves feel good. Yeah they’re just coloured cardboard but it’s nice to know that they at least feel like something that came out of a box that cost you upwards of $50.

This is also a great game for people that aren’t huge gamers. They may struggle a little knowing when the best time to go into decline is or what combination of races and abilities are the best for their situation but overall it’s a pretty easy game to grasp.

The box also comes with four or five quick references rules sheets with information on all the races and abilities on the back so they can use that as a quick reference throughout the game.

If you want to start getting into board games you could certainly pick worse places to start.

Those were the three games we played as a group, there were a few others brought along that didn’t really get a look in but I’ll talk about them later.

For now, go out and play some games.

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So Spotify is pretty great

Update: I have been pointed toward this picture about what Spotify and services like it mean for the musicians. In my excitement about giant libraries of streaming music I forgot about the artists that create that music. I don’t know where these figures have come from so so take it with a grains of salf.

Remember kids, if you can buy directly from the artist, always do so!

It has been a week since Spotify launched in Australia. One week of “free” music streaming and sharing and I’ve got to say that it’s pretty great.

The service

You’re offered three subscription options: Free, Unlimited ($6.99 per month) and Premium ($11.99 per month).

Spotify’s basic service only gives you access to the desktop client and social features and is free in kind of the same way that television is free. You get the access to the songs but ads are peppered in every so often. It’s clear that the free service is really only their to tempt you into paying money for the Unlimited or Premium options. Considering the relatively low price of the service they could have just done away with the Free model all together but at least they give you the option to try before you buy.

The Unlimited plan removes the ads and offers you the radio mode which creates random “radio stations” (read: playlists) based on genre or band selection. However, the sound quality in both Free and Unlimited is kept at 160 kbps.

The radio station is a great way of stumbling upon new artists

Finally we have Spotify Premium, which is really where the party is at. Sound quality is boosted to 320 kpbs, you get access to the mobile apps and there’s an offline mode for playing your favourite playlists without an internet connection.

The mobile app is really what makes Spotify worthwhile. Having access to 15 million+ tracks wherever you are is supremely cool. Considering only having access to that library through your desktop is incredibly limiting, especially in 2012, it really seems like the Premium services is the way to go and I’m sure that’s exactly why the app feature is left for the most expensive tier. The folks at Spotify ain’t dummies.

Social networking is very “in” this year

The other big feature that they love to talk up is the social aspect of the service. Spotify is completely integrated with Facebook. You can share playlists, find friends and let people know what you’re listening to at any given moment. You can also subscribe to various playlists so they are automatically updated whenever the author of the list makes any changes. This seems like the perfect place for musicians to share playlists of their own. I’d love to find out that the One Direction kids are actually super into screamo.

I’m not necessarily a huge fan of Facebook integration, I certainly don’t need to know what dumb celebrity articles that girl I knew in primary school is reading but this is actually a useful way of sharing music. It’s also an entirely optional feature so who really cares, right?

Downsides?

It’s certainly not perfect, I’ve already discovered several songs that I’ve been unable to find on the service, forcing me to go elsewhere and throw down a few dollars. Obviously you also don’t get to keep the songs you listen to, this is a streaming service after all. If songs ever end up being removed from the service then it’s just tough luck. However, Spotify has been around for a while (even though it has only recently arrived on our shores)  and appears to be going from strength-to-strength.

I’ve tried other streaming services not available in Australia through VPNs and other forms of online trickery and Spotify’s service doesn’t seem particularly unique. Also keep in mind that it has only been available for a week, maybe after extended use its problems will become more obvious. However, it does offer an established, quality, legitimate music streaming service that lets me laugh at your taste in music. And really, what more could you ask for?

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Review: The Muppets

When The Muppets was first announced, there was a lot of concern about whether or not Jason Segel was the right man to play the lead, let alone to pen the script.

How could the guy from such films Forgetting Sarah Marshall or Knocked Up possibly do right by the family-friendly puppets? Well, curious hypothetical reader, you’ll be glad to hear that Segel has written – and stars in – about as perfect a Muppets movie as you could want in 2011 (or 2012 if you happen to live in Australia).

It looks like they have everything under control

Another big question was whether or not the Muppets would even be relevant in 2011. It’s been 12 years since the Muppets last graced the silver screen and the film is well aware of this with many a references to the fact that nobody cares about them any more.

The film sees Gary (Segel), Mary (Amy Adams) and Gary’s Muppet obsessed brother, Walter, visit Los Angeles from Smalltown to take a tour of the Muppets studio only to find that the studio is run down and about to be exploited by the oil baron Tex Richman. Obviously it’s up to Gary, Mary, Walter and Kermit to get the Muppets back together for one last show so they can buy back their studio.

The studios have certainly seen better days

What follows is roughly 90 minutes of non-stop, unfettered, all-singin’ and all-dancin’ fun.

It’s the sort of fun that you hadn’t realised was missing from film until you sat down to watch this one.

Part of that is nostalgia, for sure, and it will be interesting to see how kids react to the film. Being a Muppets film it is obviously 100% kid friendly but the reality is that it’s the parents and older “children” that will have the fondest memories of the Muppets from when they were young.

Oh, also I would be remiss to not mention the songs – written by Flight of the Conchords own Bret McKenzie – which are exceptional and will have you wanting to sing and dance in the aisle (or maybe that’s just me!).
Of note is the now Oscar nominated song Man or Muppet which not only features a Muppetised version of Segel, but the most expertly cast cameo performance for the human version of Walter.

One of these men is an Oscar nominated song writer

Because it took so long for Australian cinemas to get their hands on The Muppets, there’s not a lot left to say that hasn’t already been said before. However, I will venture to say that The Muppets provides a kind of child-like joy that is hard to find in film these days.

Even if you’ve never heard of the Muppets before or never really had any affection for Jim Henson’s felt creations, you should probably still check this movie out. I cannot remember the last time I’ve had so much fun in a cinema.

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First Impressions: Star Wars: The Old Republic

I’m not super into Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (MMORPG or just MMOs). There’s something about being forced to interact with internet people in order to complete objectives that never really interested me.

However, I was taken in by BioWare‘s Star Wars MMO and, knowing some friends were equally interested, I imported a copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic from Amazon.

I had to import it because, for whatever reason, it was decided that Australia wasn’t to receive a launch at the same time as North America and Europe.

Were they worried that Mad Maxian gangs riding kangaroos would deliberately target their servers for vicious hit-and-hops?

Pictured: Australia according to Electronic Arts

Once I selected a server to play on (no Australian servers yet, obviously) I was presented with the choice of playing a Republic or Sith character.

Space racism abounds!

I like the idea of playing someone who’s kind of a dick but unfortunately, at the time, I had no friends playing Sith, so I hopped on the Republic side to roll with some buddies.

There were a handful of classes to choose from, covering the classic Star Wars archetypes: Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular, Smuggler and Trooper. I chose a smuggler because even though I had to be a good guy, I wanted to at least be a little bit of a wiener.

Next up was species selection and this was my first introduction to the space-racism that permeates the Old Republic. I was told that “Human’s are versatile and the norm against which other species are judged”. Um…ok, I guess I should be one of those?

The character creation options seemed pretty standard – if a little light – for an MMO. I figured it would only be appropriate to model my character, Brychan, after the great Aussie actor Errol Flynn.

I think I did an alright job of it!

How does it play?

Guess what, guys, SW:TOR is an MMO-ass-MMO game! There are quest givers with quest markers who usually just tell you to “got to X and kill/destroy/gather Y”.

You have a skill bar mapped to hot-keys, they have a cool down and you gain new ones as you level up.

BioWare isn’t trying to revolutionise the way you play MMOs, and that’s totally fine, I enjoy the combat and the smuggler has some cool abilities utilising cover that make him a bit more interesting in combat.

Where SW:TOR sets itself apart is with its story. Now I’m not going to speak to the quality of the story – it seems fine enough and keeps you interested in exploring more of the world – but the way they deliver that story is pretty great.

Every character in this game, even one-time quest givers, engage you in fully voice acted dialogue scenes, with that all-too-familiar BioWare dialogue wheel. It is here that the game feels the most like Knights of the Old Republic, which can only be a good thing.

Flashpoints

The other day I finally got out of my beginners area and played a “Flashpoint” with a friend who was playing a Jedi Sentinal.

Flashpoints are “action-packed, story-driven adventures that test a group of players to their limits, putting them up against difficult foes in volatile situations.”

Essentially they’re long quests with difficult enemies and they’re a lot of fun. Each player gets to vote on what dialogue option they want with dice rolls dictating which is chosen. This can lead to some interesting conversations.

But the best part about the Flashpoint I ran was being able to just goof around with my mate and kick some dudes in the bean bag.

Lag?

The biggest problem with not releasing the game in Australia is not that the game isn’t available locally; Amazon shipped the game in a matter of days so that really wasn’t a hassle.

The biggest issue is the lack of local servers forcing any Aussie players to look to North America or Europe.

I was worried this was going to result in some serious lag but I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far. I can only think of one issue during the Flashpoint where I experienced any real issues with lag and it was only for about 20 seconds so anyone with a decent internet connection should have no issue playing in Australia.

Impressions

So far I’m having a tonne of fun in SWTOR. I’m only about level 13 so I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’ll explore the Sith options a bit more and really test how solo-able the game is.

It seems that BioWare has succeeded in creating an MMO that I’m genuinely interested in. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re a Star Wars fan and like talking to people on the internet, then you should definitely give it a shot.

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Top Ten Games of 2011

The “Shades of Gray” Edition.

Alright, more listicles for you to sink your teeth into! This is part one of a four part series of “best of 2011” type articles. Starting with games, I’ll then move to films, music and finally books. I might even sneak in some guest lists as well!

I play a lot of video games but I couldn’t get around to playing everything that came out this year and some of the games on this list I didn’t even finish. However, the few I did not finish, I played for at least 10 hours and the fact that they could beat out games I have finished based only on those 10 hours should say something. Anyway, without any further ado let’s get into it.

10. Jetpack Joyride

God damn if iOS games haven’t been ruining my life this year. Jetpack Joyride is a little gem from Halfbrick Studios, the Australian developers responsible for the equally fantastic Fruit Ninja. In Jetpack Joyride you play as Barry Steakfries as he tries to escape a secret lap with a machine-gun jetpack.

I love Cuddles the dragon.

The game is super easy to play but gets incredibly difficult as you fly further and further with your jetpack. Combine that with different missions you can complete on every run and a series on unlockables I found it almost impossible to put this game down until I had unlocked everything. Case in point, about two days after throwing down the $0.99 for the game I had already sunk over 15 hours into it. I think that fact alone ears it a spot in my top ten!

9. L.A. Noire

Oh L.A. Noire, what a strange beast it is. The game used a “revolutionary”, brand new technology for recording facial animations and the developer, Team Bondi, hired real, recognisable actors to bring the characters to life. Without a doubt L.A. Noire has the best facial animations bar none and this is double important because the game relies so heavily on the reading of facial cues. Also the recreation of 1940’s Los Angeles is just dripping with noirey (totally a word) atmosphere

However, the somewhat ambiguous interrogation mechanics and the repetitive mission structure is one of the reasons why I am yet to actually finish this game.

8. Dead Island

Definitely not a game for the squeamish

This game really had no right being as good as it is, and it is far from perfect but it has one of the most unique first-person melee systems I’ve seen.

It takes a while to get the hang of but I found that the analogue combat actually drew me in more and made fighting off hordes of zombies about as realistic as a video game can.

Also I can’t get enough of the opening cut-scene rap – in a totally ironic but not really ironic way – “performed” by one of the characters, Sam B.

7. Batman: Arkham City

Who would have thought that within the space of a few years we would have received not one, but two fantastic Batman games? Certainly not me, that’s for sure.

The series of Batman games coming out of Rocksteady Studios have managed to do something that no previous Batman game has done. They’ve managed to make you feel like Batman.

The combat really makes you feel like a bad-ass!

I wasn’t a huge fan of the open-world stuff in Arkham City, it just felt like it was completely unnecessary and wasn’t particularly fun to navigate. However, once you enter a building you’re back to that amazing gameplay you first experienced in Arkham Asylum, and I can’t get enough of that.

6. Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine

Despite being given one of the most generic video game names ever imagined,

Unsurprisingly, these guys are pretty heavy

Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine does something unique: it got the feel of a Space Marine spot on. Captain Titus has a certain weight to his movements that just feels right for a character that is essentially an eight foot tall walking tank.

I have a deep love for the Warhammer universe and Space Marine was the first non-RTS Warhammer game I’ve played and actually enjoyed. So, props to Relic Entertainment for that!

5. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

A dirty cyberpunk world with cyborgs where you play a super cyborg that can explode like a claymore? Sign me up!

But really, the best part of Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the dystopian world in which you get to explore. Transhumanists versus pro-human protesters, industrial espionage and lots of “shades of gray”.

It’s unfortunate that the combat is easily the weakest part of the game and yet it is central to defeating bosses and progressing the story. However, I’d be happy to revisit that world just to hack into more computers and read people’s emails.

4. Bastion

God damn you, Supergiant Games, your game is so good it hurts! Bastion combined beautiful art, fun gameplay and amazing music to create what I think is not only the best downloadable game of the year, but one of the best straight-up games.

If you haven’t bought this game yet then you are a fool and owe it to yourself to rectify that situation immediately.

3. The Witcher 2

Easily one of the best looking games of the year, particularly running on an up-to-date PC.

Many people complained about the difficulty of the combat and it’s true that the game does a terrible job explaining the combat systems to you. The Witcher is a vulnerable dude. You can’t just run into combat and hack-and-slash your way to victory. You have to plan, be cautious and use every tool at your disposal, which I found incredibly satisfying.

He's going to need a bigger sword!

The Witcher 2 also present a dark, gloomy fantasy world filled where everyone is kind of an a-hole and every decision is the wrong decision for someone. 2011 was all about shades of gray, people!

2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

I know, I know! Skyrim isn’t my game of the year? It shocked me too. Skyrim seems to be the game that Bethesda has been trying to make for years, and they finally got it right. Oh did they ever get it right!

Skyrim was the first game this year where my jaw actually dropped from the sheer beauty of the world they have created. On a PC with everything turned up to “ultra” settings it is simply stunning.

If it weren't for all the war, generally poor hygiene and racism, Skyrim would be a lovely place to live!

The main quest was somewhat disappointing but everything else in the game was a delight. Also, lots of fantasy racists and more of everyone’s favourite: shades of gray.

Skyrim was going to be my Game of the Year until I took a giant purple dildo to the knee…

1. Saints Row The Third

I love this game dearly, it’s the only game I played that let’s me roll around in an open world with an auto-tuned pimp or jump out of the cargo hold of the plane only to free fall back through the cockpit of said plane, through the cabins and then back out the cargo hold again, all while shooting dudes in the face. This game is always turned up to 11.

The shooting never gets boring or frustrating like many games of its type and the sheer lunacy of the world you inhabit is intoxicating.

Did I mention there's a TRON level?

Comedy is such a hard thing to get right in video games. People have tried and tried and tried and never got it right. Saints Row The Third makes it seem effortless, there was never a moment in this game where I was not smiling or outright laughing and that goes a long way to making this my game of the year.

Oh also Burt Reynolds…

PLAY SAINTS ROW THE THIRD

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