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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Yaaaay Art School

So I'm in college now and I made this comic because I haven't made one in a while and I need a good reference level for my artistic skill as it develops through the magic of MS Paint and programs beyond. I'm in for Media Arts & Animation at the lovely Art Institute of Jacksonville. Now if I can only get some part-time work going so I don't go broke while trying to edumacate myself...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Comic: Unemployment



So we're approaching the one year anniversary of anything being posted on this blog. What's happened in this year long span? Well Darris has disappeared, Dillon started online college, Ryan bought some Gundam models, and that Amber chick... well let's not go there due to legal reasons. Me? Well I was using my job as an excuse to do nothing but play video games and sleep a bunch. WELL NOT ANYMORE! I got laid off. Yes, I'm part of that percentage now. Anyway, I like this blog and I like writing and drawing crappy MS Paint comics and crap for it so I'm gonna do that now. Anything else that happens, happens.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Impulse Buying While Depressed




Have you ever bought anything on impulse while you were depressed? I have. In fact it seems as my mood goes down excess crap goes up. I find there is a sudden rush as the transaction completes, an injection of relief from the sinking sadness as I open the package, hope that beams from the prospect of a fresh purchase. But oh, how quickly that euphoria fades. I find myself with shelves of unread art books and classics I’ve always wanted to read and felt that I could somehow assimilate into myself through touch and ownership. I have a sushi making kit I never use and boxes of craft odds and ends, stacks of unplayed games, and reams of forgotten sheet music I swore to myself I would learn; and I always have every intention of keeping that promise. When you’re down and looking for a ladder to pull yourself back up to feeling okay again, you’ll promise anything if you can just find that first rung and start the climb. Somehow I never quite make it to the top. I’ve heard stories of people who have made it, burnt themselves out by knitting a dozen Afghans or baked enough croissants to feed a Boy Scout troop, but I never get there. I always make it past the first step, the “beginner” phase before the drive peters out and I’m back where I began at the bottom of the ladder. Such is my life. I can talk about everything from how to build Tryndamere in League of Legends to the importance of sanding every part of a ukulele body except where the neck will be glued at the top. But I can’t stop the cycle. It’s why this blog seems to get going in spurts before falling dormant again until the next creative explosion.

I was surprised to learn that my behavior could be described as self-medicating and I’m not the only one who does it. Wikipedia describes this as: “a human behavior in which an individual uses unprescribed drugs to treat untreated and often undiagnosed medical ailments.”  Impulse buying can become an addiction and I’m never truly proud of myself when it’s all said and done. I think about how much I could have had saved if I could have controlled myself a little better, and if you can’t do something without regretting yet find yourself continuing to do it it’s never a good sign. Self-medication doesn’t have to be limited to drug use; it could be any negative behavior you use to find relief. Wikipedia goes on to say: “The psychology of such behavior within the specific context of using recreational drugs, psychoactive drugs, alcohol, and other self-soothing forms of behavior to alleviate symptoms of mental distress, stress and anxiety. including mental illnesses and/or psychological trauma, is particularly unique and can serve as a serious detriment to physical and mental health if motivated by addictive mechanisms.” And then sums up with: “Self-medication is often seen as gaining personal independence from established medicine.” Lol.

So how does someone like me get better? It’s not as easy as my father would say, “just stop doing it. You know you’re doing it so stop.” If I could do than it wouldn’t be a problem. Some people have suggested hiding your credit card and only working with cash but in this day and age where websites save your payment information and plastic prevents you from losing loads of dosh or having it stolen from your wallet that’s not really an option. You could always try REAL medication but the thought of that is usually more depressing than where you are currently at. What I have found to be a reasonable solution is to make a list of things you want, call it your wish list, Santa Letter, whatever. Put on this list a bunch of things you wish you had, materials for hobbies you wish you could learn or a movie you wish you had seen or a book you’ve always wanted to read, maybe put ‘lessons’ on there instead of material goods so you can actually get some more motivation to complete your goal. In fact, if you’re going to go with lessons or a hobby another good way to stick to it is to tell someone you trust to ride your ass till it’s done. Guilt trips are marvelous. But anyway, when you feel yourself sinking and you need to scratch that itch, go to your wish list. Always put small things on this list, budget items you know you want and you know you can get that release from acquiring; think thrift stores and eBay. That way you can get your fix and still have enough cash left over to pay the light note. No, it’s not a perfect solution but there seldom is in life and all its whimsical little struggles.

I’m going to try to keep the blog going this time, an article a week is my goal with a little bit of comic mischief in the mix. Don’t expect Penny Arcade quality, I’m working with what I got over here. As for the rest of the crew: Darris is dealing with possible homelessness so he’s a bit tied up at the moment trying to save up or move, Ryan is split between saying he’s going to study for his A+ certification and buying a million video games he’ll never play (irony), saying Dillon will commit to anything is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, and Auverin is so bogged down with college work it’s a wonder the pressure hasn’t turned her into a tiny diamond Auvey. I’m in a perpetual rift caused by my love of music, art, and writing with the bane of video games always snapping the life away from me with its instant gratification and sweet graphics. But I’m gonna try. I know it seems like I’m not always successful, but I’m still gonna try.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fat4all's Top 10 Games of 2012

Twenty twelve. What an interesting year for gaming.

When you think about it, 2012 is going to be the very last year where it's this generation of consoles only. '13 is bound to have the next PlayStation and Xbox biting at each others heels with new fantastical visuals and exclusives. While 2013 won't be the last year amazing PS3 and 360 game will come out (one would hope), it's no longer the 'current-gen' market going into 2014.

SO! How did 2012 do? In my opinion... pretty damn good!

It's easy to look at any year ahead and expect it to be the "Best Year in Gaming" since 1998. Hell, this year has 'BioShock Infinite' and 'Grand Theft Auto V' just ready to eat GotY nominations up. But when it comes to the gaming year as a whole... I love surprises. Pleasant surprises, mind you. Not 'Aliens: Colonial Marines' surprises...

With all that 'ado' out of the way, I present my Top Ten Games of 2012!





NUMBER TEN
Asura's Wrath

'Anime Show: The Game' is most likely the easiest way to describe this epic. Not everyone will love it like me. Hell, I expect a lot of people to flat-out hate it. Quick time events are the main form of gameplay with some combat button-mashing thrown in. What makes 'Asura's Wrath' above-par is the scope of the story and the characters within it. Calling it an "epic" is no joke, this is on a 'God of War 3' level of hugeness when it comes to the tale being told, along with the battles unfolding. It's one hell of a ride that get sadly overlooked as time goes on. All I say is give it a shot, you might be surprised.


NUMBER NINE
Borderlands 2

I was addicted to Borderlands and I'm almost one hundred percent positive I wasn't alone. What drove people to play the ever-living-hell out of that game, beating it multiple times and acquiring some of the most fantastic weapons known to mankind? Well it sure as hell wasn't the story. The two massive driving forces in its popularity was the loot and the personalities. Not only was collecting, trading, examining and using every gun fun and ENSLAVINGLY FUN (made up word), but every character was actually fun to talk to. Every voice actor put a lot of work into making each character recognizable and interesting.

Borderlands 2 is the first game times a thousand. The characters are more amazing and funny as ever, the gun collecting is just as habit-forming as ever, and whoever wrote the script must be some sort of genius. Play with three friends, enjoy the ride.


NUMBER EIGHT
Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward

Take everything you might have known about this series (I seriously wish more people would have played '999', which is an amazing DS game) and amplify it. Make the tension more intense. Make the deaths more gruesome. Make the characters more bizarre. Make the puzzles more challenging. Make the story much longer and more complex. Welcome to a game you will not win. Part visual novel, part intense puzzle game, 'Virtue's Last Reward' thrives on tension, subtle hints and massive reveals. Each character looks fairly cut and dry (or just like freaks) from the start, but as you unravel the mystery while avoiding death each character starts to make more and more sense.

Also, you won't win on the first try... Or will you? With 24 different endings, the ways you can approach this games narrative is MASSIVE. I still suggest playing '999' first to get a general feel of the story, but it's not necessary to enjoy this game to it's fullest.


NUMBER SEVEN
Hotline Miami

The 1980's are alive and well... and dripping in mass quantities of blood. This is ultra violence in the most 'ultra' way possible, yet still tells a striking and simply narrative that ties it all together (whether you notice or not). 'Hotline Miami' is a mixture of so many different elements that it's hard to describe efficiently. Top-down beat-um-up, shooter, stealth, "neon-noir" bundle of arcade madness.

It's simple enough to play and understand. Get a mission, grab a mask, kill everyone in a building then leave. But the way the plot builds, the way you take on every enemy, the way the action ramps up, the way where even killing one henchmen can be as dangerous as killing a boss... This game is much more deep then it lets on with it's "in your face 16-bit gore", and is addictive to boot. Give it a go and wear your sunglasses at night.


NUMBER SIX
Journey

Unique. Beautiful. Uplifting. Depressing. Amazing.

This isn't blowing smoke, this is the real deal. 'Journey' is 2 hours of breathtaking visuals, one-of-a-kind multiplayer and stunning concepts. I don't want to give too much away, as I know there are still some people who haven't played it yet, but the interactions you have with other players alone is wonderful in it's simplicity. You just kind of meet someone. You can't talk to them, see their name or chat with them. You communicate only in beeps and flashes. The title is not just a word, it's the game you are getting. You and this random person you run into take a journey together, and it's one you won't forget anytime soon.


NUMBER FIVE
XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Turn-based strategy is back with a vengeance! Simpler than it's old-school counterpart, 'Enemy Unknown' take a much more accessible approach to turn-based combat and resource management, yet still leaves enough detail and difficulty for the hardcore fans to take notice. Aliens are landing on Earth. Abductions, killings, UFO sightings and crash landings... the fight has begun.

You are in command of the only hope for the human race, "XCOM". Using your brains you must out-maneuver and out-smart an enemy we know next to nothing about. You must research them, dissect them, learn their technological secrets and use this knowledge to drive them away. Just make sure you remember to take cover.


NUMBER FOUR
Spec Ops: The Line

I don't know a single person who saw this game before it came out and didn't dismiss it right away. Hell, from the time it was announced to the time it was released, the most people knew about the game was "HEY, THERE'S A LOT OF SAND. SHOOT STUFF TO MAKE SAND FALL ON BAD GUYS, KTHXBAI".

Who knew that hiding under the guise of yet another brown modern shooter was one of the best games I'd play all year. When you think of a game about war getting deep story wise, you imagine the whole "horrors of war" story. That's not this game. This game is about the horrors of man. Any man. Every man. What a person will do to convince themselves they are right in their actions, that what they do is just. That what they do has a purpose and a meaning, one they are willing to go to the ends of the earth to prove. They are willing to get themselves and the people they know killed just hoping in the end someone will say "what they did was right".

This game starts as you average shooter, turns slowly into 'Apocalypse Now', and then becomes something even greater. Original.


NUMBER THREE
Rhythm Heaven Fever

"Darris", I hear you say through my computer screen, "... you pick only one Wii game for your Top Ten and you DON'T pick 'The Last Story' or 'Xenoblade Chronicles'?!?". And to that I say "HELL YES, LOSERS!", and then I ride away on my motorcycle looking awesome and cool and stuff.

Rhythm Heaven Fever is perfection in my eye, whether or not it's perfection in your eye comes down to one question: do you have rhythm? If so, then your new favorite game is here! SO weird. SO strange. SO wonderful. Colorful. Musical. FLAVORFUL! No motion controls, you just use the A button and B trigger and still this game is pure gold joy-splosions.

Painstakingly ported from the nearly identical Japanese version, Nintendo did fans of the series (yes, there IS a series...) very well. The music is the same, but with English singers and translations that actually make sense! The challenges and character you meet become like old friends at you strive to "Perfect" every single stage. All I can do is leave you with a slight taste of what the game is like. Enjoy the strange wonder.


NUMBER TWO
Persona 4: The Golden

'Persona 4' is everything that was right with Japanese RPG's and was one of the most original and inventive PS2 games of all time. 'Persona 4: The Golden' somehow found a way to perfect perfection. New characters, new Personas, new social links, new cut-scenes and new voice acting all make a game everyone though was complete even better.

For those who don't know much about P4G, or the Persona series as a whole, then here's a little synopsis. In the Persona games you have creatures you can summon to fight called Personas. These evolve and form not by traditional RPG methods, but instead by a unique system called "Social Link". You literally make friends and you gain access to new Personas. The stronger the link in the real world, the stronger the creature fighting by your side. In 'Persona 4', a small Japanese town has been turned upside down by a series of very strange and very cryptic murders.

Aaaaaand that's all your getting out of me. Go play this game. Don't want to get a Vita? FINE THEN, GO PLAY THE PS2 VERSION, GOSH.

But when you do get a Vita eventually... Don't forget to grab your glasses and turn on the telly.

(God, I love this opening... so cheerful!)


NUMBER ONE
The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

Yeah yeah yeah, I know. Everyone suddenly loves this game. Jump on the bandwagon and enjoy the ride, because this game is one of the single best gaming experience you can have. Let's forget for a moment that Telltale Games has been making original and funny games for YEARS now (Sam & Max never gets any love...), This game is exactly what the gaming industry needs more of; CHARACTER DRIVEN EXPERIENCES.

This isn't hard to nail down people. Put likable, funny and interesting characters in danger and we will care for them so much more. Even if you are not a fan of 'The Walking Dead' TV show or comic series, there is a story here that needs to be heard. One with (seemingly) real people, in deadly and dangerous situations. People who haven't lost their sense of humor and can still joke occasionally. People who know that their actions carry more weight than ever with the threat of death always on their doorstep.

While it might seem like the main character is You/Lee, this isn't entirely true. It's mostly Lee's story with some slight variations. The story doesn't change all that much in reality for a "choose-your-own-adventure" game, but it does change enough to feel major decisions effect your own personal conscience. You make brutal choices. Ones that weigh on your mind well after you turn off the game.

Also, while the game was originally going to be a download only game until the first two episodes got massively popular, I find the ending quite ballsy for a game that has now been played even by casual gamers. This game has a story to tell, and there is nothing that is going to stop it.

Season 2 can't come soon enough.



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wood Elves are Closet Cannibals



Oh, the beloved elf.

I must admit that I am very partial to elven races in pretty much any game I play. So it’s only logical that I produce an article about them, right?

Elf characters are definitely not suited for everyone. If you’re looking to hack and slash your way through a game with as much blood and as many execution kills as possible, I would suggest you choose a different race. But you know that already, don’t you?

Let’s talk about the elf race in general for a minute. Now, when I say elf race, I am thinking of wood elves. Dark elves, high elves, moon elves, and the like are another beast entirely. Keeping that in mind, it’s safe to say that no matter what game you’re playing (or what movie/book you are watching/reading), you can expect certain things out of the them. They’re generally described in the same manner across the board: shorter than other races, pointy ears, blonde to copper hair, green/brown/hazel eyes. All that good stuff. They’re people deeply rooted in the land, and they dress and act accordingly. Simple clothes, armor/weapons made from natural material, you get the picture. Because of their land (or tree) dwelling lifestyle and generally smaller stature, they’re very nimble. Elves are known for their agility and stealth skills, making them a good choice for those who prefer a sneak-and-snipe style of gameplay.

Look at those..that dagger. Yeah, the dagger.

What else are the elves known for? That’s right...archery! Almost every elven race you encounter, no matter what the game, is guaranteed to excel in the marksman skill set. And their affinity for bows isn’t arbitrary; it’s a natural choice for their race because of their sneaking ability and their connection to the land. (I imagine it’s a damn hard thing to make a useful sword out of wood or animal bone, but you can make a hell of a bow out of a tree branch or deer rib if you’ve got the skill.) Besides, most elven races rely on wild game as a primary source of food. And unless you’re wuld nah kest-ing your way through a hunting area, you’re not going to bring that elk down with a longsword.

All that said, you can probably guess how skills are broken up with elven races. Dexterity is the big one. I’ve never encountered a wood elf class that doesn’t have some bonus to dexterity/agility. Speed is up there too. Elves are quick little shits, because they have to be to make up for their general lack of strength and endurance somehow.  I’ve seen some games give elven races a boost to intelligence or magic skills. (This is usually truer for dark or high elves than wood elves, but it does happen.) The only purpose I could see for giving a wood elf those perks would be for healing/restoration magic.  (Unless we’re looking at Dragon Age, which I’ll get to.) You’ll also see perks in areas like marksmanship, light armor, alchemy/herbalism, short (or one handed) weapons, sneak, dual-wielding, and the like. Some games (read: TES), include other perks like poison/disease resistance, special abilities with animals, and so on.  Put all that together, and you’ve got a good foundation to build a ranger, rogue, or scout character. But watch out...elves are seriously lacking in terms of strength/endurance/constitution.  If you get unnerved by a low health bar, buck up, become an orc, and wield a warhammer instead.

Unless he shoots that bear square in the mouth, this isn't going to be a pretty fight. 

So there is the wood elf stereotype, if you will. And really, the stereotype doesn’t just apply to their character builds. You can also see it in the lore behind the characters. Games across the board put certain key elements into wood elf lore and culture. First off, they are almost always discriminated against. The Dragon Age series is probably the best example of this. The elves are enslaved or kept in alienages inside the city walls, where they live in poverty. They’re essentially second-class citizens. Same goes for the Elder Scrolls series. Although it’s not as blatantly obvious, elves can run into some serious discrimination in cities. This is particularly true in Skyrim, but one must also consider that the Nords hate just about everyone. Still, there has not yet been an Elder Scrolls game that takes place in the wood elven homeland, so you’re pretty much stuck being a foreigner no matter what. (TES III: Morrowind does take place in the native land of the Dark Elves, but they're not the ones we're concerned with.) Those big pointy ears don’t help you blend in, either.

The Elven Alienage in all its..erm...splendor.

                Wood elves also lend themselves to a pretty rich history if you do some digging. A lot of games (I’m specifically looking at TES and Dragon Age, because they have strong elf lore, but you can find it in other games as well. Forgotten Realms has an interesting and detailed elven history.) Usually, the elven history has a lot to do with the elves being somewhat reclusive, and contact with other races usually doesn’t go well. Take the Dragon Age Dalish, for example. Their tribes have little contact with humans, and what contact does occur usually does not end well. (See: every city elf in Thedas.) In Tamriel, the Valenwood Bosmer get involved in lots of conflicts with many different factions, including armies from Cyrodiil and Elsewyr.

Tribal Dalish. Good stuff. 

 In addition to that, the wood elves are usually pretty spiritual. I’m gonna refer you to Elder Scrolls on this one, because frankly I find it fascinating and I don’t care if it’s a little irrelevant. Most wood elf races have a deep connection to the land and the gods that guard it. If I may refer you to the Green Pact in Elder Scrolls lore…the Bosmer made a pact with the forest god Y’ffre that they would not harm any of the vegetation in their homeland. So they rely on rock and imported timber for building supplies. Weapons and armor are made from animal bone and hide. But that’s not the best part. Because of the pact, the Bosmer are almost strictly carnivorous. But they don’t just eat wild game. They eat the enemies they kill in combat. A Bosmer warrior is expected to eat his fallen enemy within three days. If he so chooses, his family can help. Wood elves = cannibals. Who knew they were so intense?
Valenwood concept art for The Elder Scrolls Online.

But I’m not just here to blabber on about the elves as seen in games. I love the race. I really do. So I wondered where they came from and how they came to be portrayed as they are today.  Elves sprung up in Germanic mythology/folklore. They first popped up in Old English and Old Norse texts, and they’re highly popular in both British and Scandinavian folklore. They were originally fairly ambivalent creatures. They could help or hinder humans with their magical abilities as they so chose. But as time went on, they became more and more sinister.

Old school elves were not very attractive. 

The origin of the word elf is Old English (aelf). It’s believed this comes from an even older word (albiz) that means “white.” Elves appeared in many mythological stories all over Europe and the British Isles. They were generally sneaky and mischievous creatures, although sometimes portrayed in a positive light. Usually, they were kept away from. They went from mythology into fantasy fiction around the 20th century, after the Brothers Grimm and a few others collected folklore/fairytales and retold them to a general audience. The prominence of elves in fantasy fiction was cemented in the early 1900s with the release of two novels: The King of Elfland’s Daughter (Lord Dunsany) and The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien).  That’s right friends, we have Mr. Tolkien to thank for the elves we know and love today. Elves were central to his Middle-Earth mythology (especially in The Silmarillion). Because his books earned such a large fanbase, the elf reemerged into modern popular culture. Elves and elven language began to emerge in all sorts of books, movies, and role playing games.  The Tolkien fantasy elf was particularly popularized by Dungeons & Dragons, in which they were portrayed as being not only more beautiful than mortals, but also wiser, more perceptive, and with sharper senses.  They were said to be skilled archers who were also proficient in magic and loved nature, art, and music. And thus the modern elf was born.

I would punch a baby for that perfect elven skin.

If you’ve never played an elven character before, I highly suggest that you try it at least once. If nothing else, it’s research, right? And besides, who can complain about being short, beautiful, and deadly?
You can't say they're not beautiful. Come on.

Pick your bows up, Bosmers. Mischief awaits.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thirteen Games To Get In 2013

(Assuming they don't get delayed)


The following list is games that I feel everyone should look out for in the coming year. While there will be a few noticeable titles missing (such as The Last Guardian or Project Destiny), it will mostly be due to the fact that they will likely be either delayed to 2014 or instead released on a next-gen system (say, the next Xbox or PlayStation). I hope that these games see the light of day in 2013 and if they do you should consider getting a bit hyped for them!


13. Bioshock Infinite


While this is almost positively without a doubt coming out in 2013 (despite YET ANOTHER delay...) it is best not to tempt fate. Bioshock Infinite is a game I've been looking forward to for the past two years and it has everything but gone golden by now. I've been a fan of Irrational Games since back with the release of System Shock 2, and since then have always expected a level of polish and potency in their story nearly unmatched in today's top-tier game developers. I really need this game, and I will hopefully have it when it launches worldwide on March 26th, 2013 for PC, PS3 and 360.


12. Aliens: Colonial Marines


Being in development technically since 2001, this game has been a long time coming. Taking place between Aliens and Alien 3, Aliens: Colonial Marines looks like a mix of run-and-gun shooter infected with 'Left 4 Dead's point-to-point structure. With no 'on screen' HUD to tell you how much life you have, bullets you are carrying, or even where your teammates are it's promising to be a tense game with even more scattered and frantic online play. The current release date is set for February 12th, 2013 for PC, PS3, 360 and WiiU.


11. The Cave


Let's delve into the indie game territory for a quick spell to discuss The Cave. Ever since working for LucasArts in the early 90's, Ron Gilbert had a vision in his head for a character based Metroidvania type game set in a labyrinth-like cave. Since that time he drew concept art, wrote back-stories for characters, and even programmed puzzles for the game in his spare time in-between other projects. After leaving LucasArts, forming his own studio then eventually teaming up with former co-developer Tim Schafer at Double Fine, he finally had the resources and ability to make his game come into reality. You play as three out of seven different characters, divided by time and space, to come together and solve the different puzzles in the cave and learn about their futures. Not only that, but they must face some dark decisions they have made in their past and eventually overcome them. The Cave releases sometime early 2013 for the PC, PS3, 360 and WiiU.


10. Tomb Raider


It's been five years since the last game in the series and there has been a hell of a lot of games in said series, but now Crystal Dynamics is ready to reboot it one more time. Tomb Raider looks amazing. It's an open-world, survival, RPG, action-adventure game with plenty of climbing, killing, hunting, running and PAIN to go around. Set as a sort of prequel to Lara Croft's full and varied history of killing men, tigers, dinosaurs and ancient evils, this game takes a more practical approach as to the events that lead to her to being the bad ass ass-kicker that she eventually evolves into. Running on an upgraded and beautiful version of the Crystal Engine (Crystal Dynamic's in-house engine that they've basically built all of their games on), Tomb Raider is going to be on hell of an experience when it comes out. Set for March 5th, 2013 on PC, PS3 and 360.


9. Metro: Last Light


Metro: Last Light... Ever since the release of 2033, people have wanted a follow-up. They've wanted more. More tension. More scares. More terrible accents. More amazing gameplay and atmospheric level designs. 4A Games, the company behind the Metro games, was founded by former members of GSC Game World, the team responsible for the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. It's no coincident that the games feel nearly related, almost as if separated at birth, growing up and going in different directions in terms of pacing. The Metro series is more linear, but gives the player a very precise and well paced amount of story, horror and peace at any given time. With Last Light, 4A is looking to take their experience even further and deliver another dose of amazing right into our eye sockets. Look for it sometime in March, 2013 on the PC, PS3 and 360 (and maybe WiiU).


8. South Park: The Stick of Truth


With South Park: The Stick of Truth, Obsidian Entertainment is looking to do something I think all licensed game developers have hoped to do in the past but have failed at: making a game that could pass as the original. Well, they are getting quite close, if not hitting the nail right on the head. The animations and design of the game look nearly identical as the show, and Obsidian has been getting directly involved with the shows creators to try and match it as close as they can. What comes from that collaboration is a game that not only looks like it captures the style of the show, but also the humor and tongue-in-cheek writing of the series as well. Also, it's an RPG and I love Obsidian's RPG's, so how can it go wrong? Currently set for March 5th, 2013 on the PC, PS3 and 360.


7. SimCity


The first I ever played was SimCity 3000. I was in love. Building a town, city, country and designing it however I wanted it. Tinkering with transport, taxes, energy and the demands of the Sims who lived there. Building a thriving economy, all the while getting ready to send meteors down just to see what happened... Fantastic. If you even had the chance to play a previous game in the series for an extended period of time, then you already know the appeal of SimCity. The fifth game in the series, it adds new levels of detail on could have only dreamed of back in the old days of discussing issues with your town consultants. Want to build a city dedicated to specific forms of economy like the arts? Gambling? Technology? Production? Want to go with nuclear energy? That's fine, but be prepared to deal with ground pollution that can serious damage land property and cause you citizens to get sick. Wanna go green instead? That's fine, as long as you are ready to deal with the increased price of upkeep, transportation of energy and taxes that could occur. SimCity is looking to be the ultimate play box of city builders and comes out March 5th on PC.


6. The Last of Us


Fresh off the release of the (for now) final game in the Uncharted Trilogy, Naughty Dog is back with a whole new game to make even the most hardcore 360 fan's eyebrows raise. The Last of Us is a post apocalyptic survival shooter that takes place after an event that causes humans to be infected by a fungus. This fungus basically turns them into zombies. So its a big zombie shooting survival game set in a big city with plenty of climbing, killing, and melee take downs as you fight the infected and even other survivors looking to kill you for your supplies or weapon. The game looks beautiful, and has some of the best visuals I've seen in a game to date. Naughty Dog's in-house engine has always looked amazing in the Uncharted series, and the beauty of it continues to amaze with this title. Also, the creative designer behind Enslaved: Odyssey to the West worked very closely on this game, giving me much hope for it's success. Expect it May 7th, 2013 for the PS3.


5. Grand Theft Auto V


What can I say? I love the Grand Theft Auto series and with the upcoming release of GTA V I honestly can not wait to return of San Andreas. Los Santos is looking beautiful and open, with a vibrant community of people just waiting to dive out of the way as I nearly crash my jet into the ground. Rockstar is promising that the in-game map will be bigger than GTA: SA, GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption combined. Not only that, but there will be an ocean floor to explore, wild animals on the outskirts of town, and dogs in town. If ever a game needed to be in my hands at this very moment, I'd say Grand Theft Auto V is one of them. Rockstar says it's coming out Spring 2013 and will be available for the PS3 and 360.


4. Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs


Oh yes... Oh hell yes... Ever since the sequel for Amnesia: The Dark Descent was announced I've been on the edge of my seat wanting more. So far we know that Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs will be set in the same universe as the first game but will feature a new time period and new characters, as well as new horrors. This game will introduce not only the series staple of claustrophobic indoor horror, but also introduces terrifying open outdoor areas to keep you constantly paranoid that something may be watching. It is watching, by the way. It is always watching. Frictional Games are now well known for making not only scary games, but also ones that have complex and challenging puzzles. I can;t wait to wrap my head around this Machine sometime early 2013 for the PC.


3. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch


What happens when the anime masterpiece makers over at Studio Ghibli team up with one of the best Japanese development teams out there? You get Level-5's Ni No Kuni, a Japanese role-playing gamers wet dream. Released in the East on the DS and PS3 back in 2010 and 2011, we finally get our hands on this title next year. The story follows a boy named Oliver. When his mother dies while saving his own life, Oliver travels into a parallel world full of monsters and mystery to find her. With the help of his doll come to life and a magical book full of spells, he journeys into the world with little more than hope and the help of the people he meets along the way. Ni No Kuni is dripping with beauty and has animations by Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke) which stand out as some of the best on any JRPG out there. Look for it to hit on January 22, 2013 for the PS3.


2. Star Wars 1313


Not much is known about Star Wars 1313, other than it looks incredible. First shown off at E3 2012, the game plays much like Uncharted, with cover-based shooting and climbing. It takes place on the planet Coruscant in the subterranean underworld of it. You play as a bounty hunter taking on a large criminal conspiracy surrounding the underworld, and as such you use plenty of different gadgets and weapons as you go. Here's a look at the game from E3 2012.



Star Wars 1313 is set to come out sometime in 2013. What system's it's going to be on is unknown right now, but the game was demo'd on the PC running Direct3D 11.


1. Watch Dogs


Ubisoft had on hell of a show at E3 2012. They showed off Assassin's Creed III, Rayman Legends, ZombiU, and many other superb titles, but saved one announcement for last. Watch Dogs is a genre-mixer that throws together open-world sandbox design with assassination style gameplay, layered over hacking elements in the city of Chicago. It also looks almost too good to be true if they didn't demo it live on stage. In a time where technology is consuming our lives more and more, you play a hacker designed to manipulate that impulse for his own benefit and for the benefit of others. If you haven't seen the gameplay video, or just want to see it again, then here it is in all it's glory.


Watch Dogs is set to come out sometime in 2013, and was announced for the PC, PS3 and 360.