Monday, December 27, 2010

Tales of Christmas

This Christmas was an odd one at best. At times it didn't even feel like Christmas. We held our usual Christmas activities during Christmas eve this year, including the opening of gifts, the big ol meal of awesome and so on... (due to work conflicts with various family members) so Christmas day (or rather the 25th) didn't really feel like Christmas... just a boring day :P Again because of work conflicts we didn't really go out and see anyone or do anything... twas an odd Christmas. Everyone's in decent health tho, so that's one plus.

How about you all? How was your holidays? Even if you don't celebrate Christmas, it's still tight to get some down time, right?

I've seen a number of blogs with people listing all the kewl stuff they got this year and decided I'd share something too. But rather than just flat out list a bunch of crap, I'll just include a few of the very kewl items that meant most to me:

First off, a simple Calendar. A Dexter Calendar at that :) Really kewl to begin with - as I LOVE Dexter - but what really shocked me is that it came from my father. Dad never seems to be the one who pays attention to one's likes and dislikes enough to pick up a kewl present like that and it really made me smile when I pulled it out of the random bag of goodies he presented me that morning. Very kewl indeed.

Next - another simple little item that just made me smirk and made my day. It's a small figurine of the mascot used by the phone company I currently have my cell through - Koodo Mobile's little Mucho-libre wrestler dude. The commercials involving this guy always make me chuckle and it's kewl that my bro picked up on that. *I got the one second from the left.

The third item I'm going to list... wasn't actually a surprise (as I stole the $10 movie cash out of it to see the new movie) but over all is still mega kewl. Tron Evolution for the PS3 as the Collector's Edition. Not really much in it for a "Collectors Edition" besides the aforementioned $10 ticket it included just the model Light Cycle... which is kewl... but I think they could of packed more in. The light cycle looks great... tho is a bit more plastic-y than I had hoped. Now I've got to figure out a place to put it :S

Last thing on my list... came from myself. It's something I've been looking at getting for a while now and thanks to some great pricing for the holidays, I finally just gave in and got it. A Sony Bravia 46" LCD HDTV and it's f'n gorgeous. It's replacing my Samsung 32" HDTV that I've owned for a number of years now and holy crap it makes my games (and blu-rays) shine. Kewl thing is, my sis offered to buy my old one (even before I got my new one) as she knew I was looking to upgrade and she needs a new one for her apartment (she currently only has a 20") and so it'll pay for like half of my new TV. Mega kewl.

Some games, movies, a new winter jacket along with odd little bobbles and nick-nacks fill up the rest of the list. But really... it's the top few things that really made my Christmas this year. Gifts from people who took a few minutes and looked for something they knew I would dig - really beat the hell out of just flashy crap any day.

Hope you guys had a good holiday as well :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holy Crap! Costume Quest is AWESOME!

I thought about doing a review... but then decided against it. Instead, I'm just going to write up this blog and explain to you how awesome costume quest is... it'll be review-ish, but w/e.

I noticed Costume Quest for two reasons, the first being the art style which really stands out above most other downloadble games as it seems to replicate a style not unlike a proper cartoon series. The second reason is the name Double Fine which I know to be Tim Shafer's studio and thus the man/team behind titles like Brutal Legend and Psychonauts... which means the title in question is at least worth a look.

Come launch day I go and download the demo for the game, hoping to find something I like. Roughly 15 minutes into the demo and I'm hooked, then a few quick button presses later and bam, I own the full copy and dive right into the story. The story itself revolves around 2 characters, Wren and Reynold whom are identical twins that have moved to a new town and set out to do some trick or treating. You get to choose which of the characters you want to play and before long, your sibling ends up getting kidnapped by monsters who think he/she's candy.

Your quest is to save your sibling from the monsters. This is achieved by completing various tasks given to you by NPC characters around the world as well as defeating monsters in turn based RPG style battles. The RPG system sounds a little odd at first but it really does work. It's light in that you have one attack button per characters and then one super move built up after a few turns. Your attacks, as well as defense rely on quick time button presses in a few different flavors, so the game always has you paying attention. As you progress the story you collect parts for costumes which you wear in the actual word - some of which have unique abilities, such as the quick roller skate glide with your robot costume or the shield protection with the knight costume - but also transform into amazingly awesome suits for battle when you transition into one of those RPG style battle scenes.

You gather a number of costumes and even a few friends along the way to aid you in your quest. Each of which is unique and really add to the story. The story itself is all text based - there is no voiced pieces at all through out the entire game. Jutting at first, you quickly learn that voice over is really not needed, as the script of the game is strong enough to hold up and make you laugh all on it's own. I did however, enjoy the hell out of the music that's in the game. Not once did it get old, or tiring or boring. There was always the right amount of enthusiasm in the score which you grow fond of as the game progresses.

Like I mentioned before, the art-style is superb and really above and beyond what most games try for. It's a simple cell-shading... but not once while playing did I see any noticeable imperfections or weird technical issues that take you out of the illusion that this is a cartoon.

The only thing that I found to pick on was A) an occasional FPS slow down at parts which helped break the illusion just as bit and B) your character (or ones following him/her) can get caught on things in the environment which takes some screwing with the joysticks to get loose. Other than those small technical issues... the game is near perfect in my eyes. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait for more. Seeing as an expansion is being prepped as I write this... I guess I won't be waiting long.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My top Anime (series) list

Okay, so a gamespot budd of mine has pushed me into this... or rather he's inspired this. The gamer with all the lovely Valkyria Chronicles avatars and banners, of course I speak of LightChaos :P His blogs outlining his favorite Anime series/projects really made me realize that we shared near none of the same tastes in this genre of entertainment... and so I thought I'd drop my 2 cents on what series matter to me.

How's about a top 10 count down? Sure, that's how we'll do it. This blog will only be for series, if I choose so in the future, I'll do a top list for anime movies.

Honorable Mentions:

These series didn't make my top 10, but are still worth looking into. They didn't make the top 10 because they were either bumped out or I haven't finished them and thus I'm not going to give them a final line of what I thought of them.

Black Lagoon - Decent so far, kewl main character.
Pokemon - Ahh good ol pokemon. The games made me like the series.
Elfen Leid - Bloody, dark, violent, heart-warming.

The top 10 list:

10 - Card Captor Sakura

Yep, Cute ^_^

Ahh, Sakura. A rather childish anime in which a young student is pushed into a world where she gains powers and must spend her time collecting these magic cards of which beasts and creatures come out of. Along with 2 friends and a little bear shaped guardian, she must set out to capture all of the cards and return the book (which the cards go into) back to it's resting place. It's an odd concept but the show is all charm. It's like... if you mixed Sailor Moon with Pokemon and came up with something that was uber cute. lol.

09 - Ergo Proxy

Vincent's story is a bit of a sad one

Ergo is an odd one. I really liked where they were taking the project... but it seems that the ending was rushed and tacked loosely together. It's got a few useless, crappy filler episodes and like I said, the end just kind of happens without a lot of build up... I would of liked if they spent more time fleshing it out. That said, what is there is pretty good. The story follows a guy and girl who are almost complete opposites, living once in a well maintained future city and later forced to wander the underworlds of earth which was abandoned long before. Technically it's well rounded, tho the animation is hit and miss. I think I dug the atmosphere most in this series with the characters coming in second to that. It's also got a decent emotion attachment linked with those characters. You feel sorry, proud and angry with them. Like I mentioned, the story just kind of ends... so that's why its much further down my list.

08 - Ah! My Goddess

Keiichi and Belldandy

This is one of the few comedy based animes that I really latched onto. It follows the trials of a boy who summons an angel (whom works for an angel hotline?) and is granted one wish. His wish is for this angel to stay with him forever... and lone behold that's exactly what happens. He deals with going to school, participating in his motorclub and trying to please his angel friend Belldandy. Belldandy, being an angel and all finds it difficult living in the realm of mortals and all kinds of crazy things happen all the while the main characters start to fall for one another. To mix things up nicely, Belldandy's sisters show up, furious that the main character would wish for such a thing and take their sister from them. It's wacky, funny and over all very light hearted.  Superb IMO.

07 - The Vision of Escaflowne

Main characters Van and Hitomi

This anime I grew up on at one point in my life, before I knew what anime was. Decent production values all around, but nothing that stands out technically. It's about a psychic-medium like character whom is teleported into another world by her mother's pendant. Once there she is caught in the middle of 2 loves whom are connected to a massive power struggle in the land. Giant battle suits and mythic armor is the name of the game and again the action is decent. The characters really shine through as a stronger part of the series however. I simply love the characters.

06 - Speed Grapher

L-R = Saiga, Kagura and Choji

Speed Grapher was an "Out of nowhere" series which I just randomly saw on sale and decided to drop some cash on to nab the DVD set of. Knowing near nothing about it really allowed me to get an unbiased opinion of it... and it paid off. The series felt kind of short and more or less was an escape plan by two main characters. The two character's aren't the strongest I've seen, nor the narrative too complicated...  but there's just enough weird bits mixed in with some decent voice acting, action and even an oddly strong sexual undertone - which actually works for the series. It follows a photographer whom has the power to kill people by shooting them with a camera (taking pics) which is given to him when he accidentally stumbles on a rich-person cult that worships this one girl whom they think is a god. The girl is drugged and forced to kiss these cultists in a ritual that either kills you instantly or brings forth a power like the aforementioned camera killer thing. The whole rest of the series revolves around him taking this girl and trying to escape the organization whom wants her back.

05 - DragonBall Z

It's over 9000! :P Vegeta - my fav character

Ahh, DragonBall Z. While not the most sophisticated anime and really... the entire plot of the series boils down to beating up the bad guy and screaming when there's free time... it's something that I enjoyed the hell out of when I was growing up and I will always have a fondness for. The video games made from this series have kicked some major anime-game butt and are a ton of fun to play. Over the top action and struggles are what propel it along with some rocking music and flashy animation. It's definitely not your thinking show - like others in my list - but it's a guilty pleasure of great fun.

04 - Eureka Seven

A good portion of the E7 cast

Eureka Seven... I love... but find annoying at times. The whole idea around the series revolves around love. Pure simple love. That said, you've also got a band of space pirates, giant mech battles and a cast of great characters. While the characters are great most of the time... there seems to be many a moment when those characters get on your nerves because of their stupidity. The back and forth between the two main characters is frustratingly hard to watch and you really wish they'd just get to what they want to say, rather than tip-toeing around it. The music is something special in this series, I even have it on my ipod for listening at times :P The animation too is clean and superbly done.

03 - Neon Genesis Evangelion

L-R = Rei, Shinji and Asuka
Evangelion was a bit of an obsession with me for a bit. I really latched onto the odd series and even joined a fan forum for the anime, which both A) got my introduced to forums and B) was the first place I ever discussed anime with others in such detail. Sadly that place is long gone... but the Eva series sure isn't. It's currently getting a re-cut as a 4 part movie series which aims to cut some fat and streamline the story of the series into something that is up to date. Personally I think the series is great the way it is... but seeing them add new stuff and tweak old stuff is really kewl. The story of this series evolves around 3 main characters of vastly different personalities who are thrus together as some of the few who have the ability to control these mech units which have been made after a discovery made by a science team. It touches on religions, the human condition and Oh so much more. This series really takes a number of views to keep getting stuff from it and even then it's not laid out, you've really got to think about it. The more you think of it... however... the more questions there are. It's quite like a poem, hiding beauty in even the most simple things. Some of the english vo for this is hit and miss but each character is portrayed perfectly to what I believe they should be, so it's a trade off.

02 - Cowboy Bebop

L-R = Spike, Ed, Jet, Ein, Faye
Cowboy Bebop screams originality. There's really no other anime out there like it. Like others in my top list, Cowboy Bebop was taken care of when it came to english voice acting dubbing, as it sounds very natural, matching the characters perfectly unlike many anime of today which seem to half-ass this idea. The idea of the series revolves around Spike Spiegel and his budd/fellow bounty hunter Jet Black, who team up with Faye Valentine and Ed (along with dog Ein) on their life of bounty hunting criminals. It's got an "old western cowboy" meets Jazzy interludes and futuristic technology vibe to it which sounds strange, but it's charming as hell. Yokko Kanno does the music and is superb. The movie (made after the series) got me into CB... but the series is equally awesome.

01- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
L-R = Togusa, Motoko, Batou
This series brought me into the idea of Cyberpunk, an idea that resonates very strongly with me and is probably one of my fave settings for stories, no matter the medium. Superb characters, properly done english voice dubbing, incredible music (by Yoko Kanno), clean and lavishly done animation all wrapped up in a wonderful package of thought provoking story lines and equally impressive action sequences. It's a smart series that makes you think - not only about the story and what it's saying, but also what it means to the world today. The story revolves around Major Motoko and her team at Section 9 - a fictional intelligence department under the Japanese government - who are the cream of the crop when it comes to fighting cyber-terrorism and related activities. Think, super special, small policing group who has resources to the awesome tech and whom are called in when others can't handle the job.


Welp, that sums it up. My fav series thus far. Spelling mistakes and such are likely dispersed through-out as I have no interested of re-reading and editing it :P

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A letter to fanjerks

*Warning, quite a few F'bombs thrown around.

I know, I know... I did one of these blow up blogs a while ago outlining just how stupid fanboy/girl -ism is ... but hey, I thought I'd do another :P

Where to start? Well, I'd like to address the fanboys/girls directly.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please shut the fuck up. Thank you. Ha, that's not even the beginning fool. Sit down and listen. SHUT THE FUCK UP. Ahaha, okay, no seriously, I've got more to say than just that. That one line, however, sums it up nicely.

To anyone with either a 360 or PS3 who ends up bashing the other console... gahh. You guys are running machines so gawd damn similar that there should be nothing but love between you. 90% of the games out there for these two systems are shared and the ones that are exclusive to each system make the respective system shine, letting gamers enjoy a great experience and check your hate at the door. I've noticed heavily that the strongest fanboys/girls on these systems generally are those whom own just one of these systems. Anyone with the resources to own both know that each system is competent and have great experiences for all. This is by far the rowdiest crew of fanjerks (we'll use that term instead of boys/girls), the most vocal and the group where the dumbest claims seem to sprout.

As of late the debate is over Kinect vs Move and it's driving me crazy! Each method takes a slightly different swing at the idea of motion gaming and as it stands; each works. You can think what you want per title for each tech but you shouldn't troll places where fans of each device and scream your brains out how much you hate said device and how it's garbage in comparison to the one you're supporting.

Sure, each company in question likes to fuel this kind of hate as they promote their ideas and claim "This option is best and on the best console" - sadly, people are eating this up. Companies are ALL about making profit and don't fool yourself in thinking other wise.

Which moves me to my next group. The snub fucking PC fanjerks. You fucks are quickly raising the ladder to becoming the ultimate jackasses of the fucking group. Forget hating on one system because you think the other is better, you dumb shits constantly scream that all console gaming is garbage and a burden to anyone who claims themselves "true gamers". In your eyes, No console game matches up, every PC version of a game is superior and if a port doesn't exist you point to other games and say "Fuck it, those are better than that game" and that PCs should be the only place to get games. I'd first like to point out that games aren't only resolution and textures as many of you point out the PC usually has higher standards for. Games are about the experience, one which consoles deliver to millions and millions of people every day.

Yes, the PC is just as much a contender for gaming as the major consoles out there, but to sit on a high horse and claim your system is the ONLY place for games is worse than the fanjerk-ism shown between PS/XB owners. Next, you can't buy a machine for $300 that can lay down the hardware sufficient enough to jack games into a resolution and smoothness that a console can provide. So stop telling people that you can. I've personally dropped over $400 into just a graphics card to run the games I want on PC in the way I want, forget the price of the rest of the machine... and that's buying from discount sources to get better deals than you would buying from a big name player with their commercial boxes.

PC can and a lot of the time does, run into problems with incompatibility. Still, you'll get a game, either boxed or from a digital source and get problems with differing operating systems, drivers, additional software packages, quirks, workarounds and the like. It can be a headache to even get a title working on the PC at times, so much more so for those not knowledgeable on the subject and a lot of PC fanjerks claim otherwise while point around to google for users to find answers for their complications. You shouldn't have to search google and comb through forums looking for someone to help you get your game running, it should just work... and yet PC fanjerks just sweep this under the rug and claim it's no issue at all. Fuck you, it is.

 In closing. Just STFU, enjoy your games and leave the rest of the world alone. We're fine without your hate.

Sincerely, hush404.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Reel Scene: Vol 1 - Assault Girls (DVD)

So... I found out about this movie by simply browsing around the movie section of my local Walmart. I wasn't looking for anything in particular and ended up picking a few titles to take home, this title of course, was one of them.

An eye pleasing cover design first caught my eye and not knowing a single thing about the title really pushed me to pick it out and take a look at the info sprawled on the back of the case. Something about a future where people interact quite often in online games that have shifted into almost reality based systems rather than the video games we know of today is what it outlined... and well that can go in either good/bad direction. But the thing that sold me on the idea was the line "From the director of Ghost in the Shell" - yep Mamoru Oshii directed it and that's really what pushed me over the edge to buying the disc.

I get it home, pop the disc into my PC's drive and go over the options in the menus found on the disc; which are mighty scarce. Special features are limited to one single trailer, audio options are only English in either 2.0 or 5.1 and there is just one option for subtitles too (english btw) which is... prob the worse serving of DVD I've ever seen. Really, who the hell ships a movie on a disc and includes no features what so ever? Not even options to change some audio? It kind made my raise an eye brow.

Anyways, I decided I wouldn't hate on it too much for that, simply because it was a cheap purchase to begin with. I went back to the main menu and started the movie. Right off the bat I noticed that while not the best looking thing I've seen, it had some decent visuals that did their job of portraying what they had to, to the audience. The whole movie takes in place in a large barren landscape consisting mainly of hills and loads of dirt/gravel. I believe there is a mix of real location with CG touch ups but it was honestly hard to tell, kudos to them for that. The suits that each character wore was equally as impressive. I really dug the look of each, which really fit for this kind of wacky future vision of a video game.

Each of the 4 characters are introduced as each of them log into this game server of sorts and go about trying to take down some massive sand-worm like creatures with guns and magic. Of the 4 characters there are 3 females (who make the cover) and a single male character whom... isn't mentioned for the most part (on the case of the DVD) but is essentially a main character... and one that felt had more of a backstory and stronger attachment to the layout of the movie than any of the 3 girls. Yet the movie is called 'Assault Girls' - who knows. Anways, the creatures are the only ones that appear in the movie and besides the characters and some CG aircraft... it's all you're really going to see through out the film. It really feels like that of an MMO project where you wander a wasteland killing creatures for experience and merely run into a fellow gamer here and there.

The story for this is as follows: The server these 4 characters are playing in is a special one that is only there for elite players of the regular servers of which the rest of the world plays on. Each of these elite players tries time and time again to bring down the big ol last level boss and continually fail. The system then prods them to work together to accomplish this task, claiming it the only way to win the scenario.

This part is where the movie drags, for me. You get long drawn out sequences showing the struggles of each character, how much each feels almost shamed that they need ask for a hand and honestly a lot of VERY slow montage like material that I wanted to skip so badly. The film even tries to make some rivalry between the characters as some of them trade insults aimed at each person's real life. Making it worse though, is the random dialogue! The script obviously wasn't meant for an English audience and the sentences really don't convey what they might to the original language. But what's really weird is that 65% of the time the actors, speak in very broken and laughably bad English but the other 35% of the time they switch to Japanese without the option to choose one or the other! I was glad I had the subtitles on because I was incredibly confused.

The characters eventually do get together to devise some tactics for their attempt at taking on the final boss as a team and the end battle is kind of kewl. I won't bother spoiling what exactly happens or whether they actually win the battle, but I'll just say that when the credits rolled... I wanted so much more. It honestly felt like a fan's pet project and their first attempt at introducing a set of characters. Had it been an opening to a series I would of thought it a good start... but seeing as it's a movie that's suppose to have a start, climax and end... I really was disappointed.

Movie: 4/10
DVD: 2/10

Friday, October 29, 2010

PS2 Retrospective

There have been a number of great blogs out there that have been taking a look back at the PS2 and it's glory days as this year (this fall specifically) marks it's 10th year in production; I thought I'd lend my 2 cents on the subject.

Yep, it's been 10 years since Sony released their much anticipated follow up to their first whack at a dedicated gaming console and the it's still selling today despite sharing space with not only it's successor but also that of systems by competitor companies and handhelds that pack nearly as much power as the PS2 itself.

Sony took a gamble and decided that DVD was essential to the success of the platform which turned out very well for them as gamers all around the world were getting the bonus feature of being able to play their DVD movies on the system in a time where DVD player's weren't cheap and competitors weren't taking advantage of this for their systems at all. Looking forward was smart, but looking back was just as smart as Sony decided that integrating the ability to play your entire PS1 catalog on the machine with nothing more than a PS1 memory card was something they would love to do. Jump ahead 10 years and most systems are emulating this idea to the fullest extent. They took a great controller that evolved on the PS1 and tweaked it for the PS2 - producing (arguably) one of the best gamepads for years to come.

Solid first party titles and very strong third party support threw the system into the limelight as competitors struggled to keep afloat. The Dreamcast fell and the GameCube failed to meet sales expectations, all the while PS2 sales soared. Titles like Rockstar's (actually DMA Design) Grand Theft Auto 3, Konami's Metal Gear Solid 2 and Polyphany Digital's Gran Turismo 3 made the PS2 the system to own.

Later Sony introduced an online adapter for online play, hard drive attachments, tried out motion contolls with the eyetoy and even redesigned the system in a very small "slim" model. Which is still selling today, 10 years after it launched. It's total sales reach nearly 147 million units, the likes of which no other console has seen yet (even the uber-popular Wii sits at a mere 76million) and is the only sixth generation console you can still buy brand new in stores - as gamecube and xbox production halted the moment their successors came along. Hell, there are still new games being created for the system! Various sports titles still have PS2 iterations (which share similar code with the Wii versions) and a lot of titles from both the Wii and PSP get to see light on the PS2 which is great for anyone who is either A) on a budget or B) missed the PS2 in it's prime time.

Back in 2000, this blogger was sitting in the ripe awkward age of 14, still enjoying the hell out of his N64 and only dreaming that a PS2 would be a machine he would one day own. The summer of 2002 was the year that I actually saved up enough to get my vary own PS2 and it took quite a lot of work in various jobs that I could find to do and make money at. Once I did save up just enough to get exactly what I wanted, I headed into Walmart with my mother and asked the bald man at the desk for a PS2, GTA3, a memory card and lastly decided on Turok Evolution because it was cheap and I assumed another full priced game would not fit into my budget. My mom was the key ingredient because without her GTA3 would of been a no-go, geez being 14 sucks, eh? :P Anyways, I got that sucker home and without too much hassle I got it up and running - the rest is history! Haha, seriously tho, it was fucking amazing. My sister and I played GTA till our eyes were bleeding. We both beat the game and sunk, literally hours into the title which my list of titles grew very slowly (again, being 14 sucks right...).

Through out the years my PS2 was a godsend. Titles like Metal Gear Solid 2, Burnout 3, Final Fantasy X, Soul Calibur 2, Kingdom Hearts, Xenosaga, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, God of War, Killzone, DragonBallZ Budokai and many many many more ate away my time and made me love the machine. Lots of my friends had the system, we traded and borrowed games, playstation magazines came packed with demo discs and hardware wise I never had issues. At one point I thought my PS2 crapped out on me... but a quick look to the internet lead me to a tutorial on how to clean the dvd lens which after doing made my PS2 work perfectly again.

Sadly, I sold my original PS2. It along with about 30 games went to the hands on a long white bearded man who drove a huge purple pimp van. lol, that sounds odd... but that's exactly what happened. It was shortly after I got my PS3 and I was sure that with my new machine's ability to play PS2 games that I wouldn't need my old system... kinda sad that I made that decision.... but money was tight at the time... after buying a $700 PS3 :P

The PS2 is in my top 3 of favorite consoles of all time and so, Happy 10 years PS2. :) You earned it.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

15 reasons 2011 will be kind to core gamers

Sure... 2010 was a great year for games, titles like: Alan Wake, Bioshock 2, Crackdown 2, Darksiders, Final Fantasy XIII, Just Cause 2, Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption, StarCraft 2, Super Mario Galaxy 2 ... and the list goes on, entertained us for hours and hours while other titles like: Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, CastleVania: Lords of Shadow, Fallout: New Vegas, Gran Turismo 5, Medal of Honor, Vanquish, Rockband 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops and others are just around the corner.

But, 2011 seems to want to up the ante and deliver an ever more action packed gaming year than the one preceding it. That's just with titles we know about! I guarantee you there will be many more announcements along the way that will keep our fingers busy for quite some time.

I however, wanted to focus some 15 top notch games (that we currently know about) I believe will rawk in 2011.

XCOM - 360, PC

This little title popped up at E3 and impressed the hell out of me. The era, the story, the unknown and a superb visual style to boot all scream unique.

The Witcher 2 - PC, 360, PS3

Thus far the team is merely working on the PC version but has promised to get to work on porting it over to consoles once the PC build is finalized. I'm currently enjoy the first one on PC and am pumped that it's getting a sequel. A sequel that looks fucking gorgeous and promises such freedom in story and playability that it's scary.

Batman: Arkham City - PC, PS3, 360

Batman: Arkham Asylum was one of my favorite titles of 2009 and I honestly can't wait for it's sequel. Harley is back and catwoman is confirmed too. Tons of other baddies and chaos under the Joker, what more could you ask for. Rockstead knocked it out of the park with their first game... one can only drool to see what they're improving.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - PS3, 360, PC

These screen shots really don't do the game justice... as it looks insane in game, something terribly spectacular. The setting and the fact that we're dealing with a cyberpunk like world excites the hell out of me. It's about time we've had a modern take on cyberpunk.

Crysis 2 - PC, PS3, 360

The game is set to appear on consoles... and it does look pretty fucking sweet on both... but the thing shines like nothing else when put on a powerful PC. The first Crysis blew me away, not just because it looked pretty, but because there was just such a meaty engine behind a well crafted and played out story. Every weapon felt powerful, every environment alive and when you got to control things like tanks and turrets the whole thing blew your face off with it's awesomeness. I expect the same from the sequel.

Dragon Age 2 - PC, PS3, 360

The first DragonAge is something I wasn't sure I would latch onto... as it seemed to follow a style not unlike the old school computer RPGs of the 90s... which I've, honestly, had my share of. But, it really surprised me, as the characters were so fleshed out and made the story special because of such strong characters. Bioware knows how to craft, that's for sure. The new title hopes to hone in on the characters even more with one main character (male or female) and a story that weaves around him/her. All the power to them if the detail to characters is still on par with their other projects.

Final Fantasy Versus XIII - PS3

Sure... not a whole lot is known about the project... and who knows if it'll even meet a 2011 launch date... but I'm pumped for it. It reminds me a lot more of a FFVII like game, one that will rely a bit more on reality mixed with some fantasy, rather than a complete fantasy game. FFXIII was kewl... but really the excitement for this game crushes any I had for XIII. I'm just hoping to get my ass whoop on when it does drop.

Gears of War 3 - 360

As far as I know, Epic has dropped the PC was a place for Gears... but that doesn't mean you can't pick it up for the 360. Sadly it's been delayed till next Fall for a release, but that just means they will be polishing it to the brim, right? The girls git to bring the cans of ass whoop this time around and it's looking even more eye-candy is being merged into the project than the second episode. Time to rip some suckers apart! :D

Killzone 3 - PS3

I've enjoyed every Killzone title I've had my hands on, should KZ3 be different? Hopefully not. Killzone2's single and multiplayer rawked in big ways and the new title looks to improve where ever they can. Jet packs, mechs and a large variety of environments are the bullet points of the game which sounds like a TON of fun. Of course, the game looks better too, some people wouldn't of thought possible after KZ2's surprising visuals.

Mass Effect 3 - PC, 360 (PS3?)

Mass Effect is prob my favorite series of this generation, hands down. The way Bioware crafts it's characters and the story around them in a world that beaming with life really just makes my heart flutter. It's exactly what I look for in a game! Parts 1 and 2 I've played on the 360 and later got for cheap for the PC and so I'll prob continue with those for the 3rd part (as to copy over my save) but the idea that ME2 is hitting PS3s this January and there's a massive probability that the ending chapter will have a launch on the system is quite an awesome deal. No word yet on a surefire release date for part 3, but we can hope it's a 2011 release. Sadly no pics for ME2 - so here's some I picked from ME2.

Portal 2 - PC, PS3, 360

Ahh, portal :). Such a unique and beloved puzzle game like no other. It oozed such personality and the sequel looks to throw that into a blender with a helping of "HOLY FUCKING SHIT" and come out with something that'll make your jaw drop to the floor. The game looks tight... and I can't wait to see what they have in store with boss battles :D

Rage - PC, PS3, 360

Think Borderlands was kewl? Son, you ain't seen nuthin. :P The game seems to hit, spot on, that idea of a wasteland and bandits out for number one. Forget all the technical mumbo-jumbo with megatextures and all that crap, this game looks to really envelope the player in a world that grows around them, all the while looking superb.

MotorStorm: Apocalypse - PS3

I've got a confession! I LOVE the MotorStorm series. It's not the best racing series out there, it's not the prettiest one either, but man oh man is it fun (albeit sometimes frustrating). The team takes straight forward arcade racing and kicks it up a notch with superbly designed tracks featuring multiple paths and a unique multiple vehicle feature that makes each of those paths a possibility for success. The massive destruction, intense AI, great sound tracks and adrenalin pumping action really gets you into it. The next in the series looks to drop building on you! :P Also nice to see is a visual upgrade... which IMO we lost in the second game.

inFAMOUS 2 - PS3

The freedom, expansive powers, sublime twists in the story and a good/bad karma system of teh first game really made me fall in love with it. The second game features more powers, more answers in a branching story, more enemies and a visual bump up that really just blows the first game out of the water. Can't wait to get my hands on Cole again.

Little Big Planet 2 - PS3

I'm not so much excited for LBP2 as a game that the developers put together for my to go through... looking for story and all that Jazz. Rather, I'm looking forward to LBP2 for the stuff that us gamers are going to create. This second project in the series really is about opening up to that idea and letting gamers make the games they want. I've seen footage from beta levels where people have begun crafting RPGs in the engine.... and it works rather well. I wonder if the series will ever evolve into a set of tools to allow gamers to full on make their own games?

Most images courtesy