Friday, October 16, 2015

Kung Fu (NES)

When I was trying to decide where to begin my journey through the NES game library in my quest to get good at video games again, I wanted to choose a fairly simple game in order to ease into it. Looking at my collection, one game in particular seemed to satisfy the "simple" requirement: Kung Fu, a launch title for the NES by Irem. I didn't know that it was the port of an arcade game called Kung Fu Master, but I did know that it was a side-scrolling beat-em-up with five levels, and even in elementary school it felt like a very short and simple game. The early NES games were classified into 'Series,' and Kung Fu was part of the Action Series; they tended to be fairly straightforward.



Thomas's girlfriend Sylvia has been kidnapped by the mysterious Mr. X and is being held at the top of his dojo. Thomas must journey from right to left (and from left to right on the even-numbered floors), defeat the Kung Fu Masters at the end of each floor, and save Sylvia at the top of the dojo.

One interesting aspect to the gameplay of Kung Fu involves the different point totals you receive for defeating enemies with different moves. Thomas can punch or kick, crouch to do a leg sweep, or do a jump kick. Punches are worth more points than kicks because the enemy needs to get closer for you to perform the move. There are some particularly high-scoring maneuvers: on the second floor, balls fall from the ceiling and erupt into Dragons when they hit the ground. Kicking the Dragons before they disappear results in 2000 points, while kicking normal thugs gives you only 200. There's also a time bonus for quickly making it through a floor, and a health bonus for the health Thomas has remaining. It seemed to me that it was more profitable from a score perspective to hurry through the floors as quickly as possible, rather than "farming" the endless enemies with crouching punches.



After a few attempts, I managed to get to the fourth floor pretty consistently. The poisonous moths that emerge on that floor were no real problem, but the boss was a different story: the Dark Magician. If you kick him in the head, his head falls off and he reveals himself as an illusion, appearing once more, with head intact, a few feet away. The only move that truly damages him is a crouching punch, and in order to safely pull that off you need to do some bobbing and weaving in order to avoid his fireballs, which he throws at a couple different angles.

Mr. X on the fifth floor is a very defensive fighter... but he seems to be weak to sweep kicks, because spamming that move allowed me to defeat him pretty handily. My daughter Naomi was over that morning, and if anything she was even more excited about my victory over Mr. X than I was. Another thing that she was really amazed at: after you win, Sylvia gets kidnapped again and you have to play through the game again! This is pretty standard stuff for games from the early to mid Eighties (and especially for arcade ports), but for a six-year-old today that's apparently a big Plot Twist.

The internet tells me that if you play through the game fifty times, then Mr. X is replaced by Sylvia at the end! I don't know if that's true or not; I might do some research after this to see, but even with a game length of about ten minutes, I don't think I have the patience (or the skill!) to try that feat for myself.

Here's the score for my winning run, which came to an end halfway through the second loop:

10/15/15           LYS            (2-4)          225,420

I'm pretty happy with Kung Fu. It is a pretty simple and fast game, but that makes it snappy, and I could see trying for score on multiple loops being a fun enough diversion.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Bad at Videogames

At some point I became bad at video games. When did this happen? Was it the arrival of adulthood? Was it the moment that I stopped having more time than money, and started having more money than time (even if barely)? Was it just the type of games that I'd play, transitioning into longer-duration RPGs or more forgiving adventures? Time was when I'd rocket through Super Mario Bros. in a single sitting, but I haven't been able to do that in years. What happened?

I'm going to change that! I have a basement filled with NES games, and a working NES. Why not exercise those muscles again?

Well, the basement is a good place for classic games in the spring and summer (with the first floor dedicated to current consoles), but as autumn progresses into winter that's not going to be a great place to spend a lot of time; not with frozen knuckles and frost-bitten reflexes.

So I moved my NES setup upstairs!

Looks great to me!

I think this is going to be a great setup for re-learning my old games, and maybe for introducing my daughter to some of the classics. And when my wife gets back today, I'm sure she'll be totally fine with my having hauled all this old stuff upstairs. Of course she will!

I'll let you know!

Dice approves.
UPDATE: 'Why is there a TV up here? It has to move before the holidays.'

TRANSLATION: She's totally cool with it, you guys! ;)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Games of Summer

Some games just feel like summer to me. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. Forgotten Worlds (experienced originally on a Sega Genesis, more commonly of late on various collection disks, like Capcom Classics Collection). Chrono Cross. Super Mario Sunshine (for better or worse, mostly worse!).

But I haven't played any of these this summer, at least not yet. No, my time has been taken up with a game that I never would have thought of as a summer game: Batman - Arkham Knight, which takes place on a rainy Halloween and is the very definition of a grim Autumn game. It's fantastic! Full disclosure: I do work in the games division of Warner Bros., though not on anything Batman-related. But it's pretty great, and I even like the Batmobile, which seems to have been a divisive addition. This might be the first Arkham game I try to get the full 100%, and that includes the 243 Riddler Trophies.

I haven't just been brooding on rainy rooftops with Bruce Wayne, though. I've also been diving into Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix with Sora and crew. Maybe I'll get into my thoughts on that (and the other games in the series, which I have yet to play -- there's a lot of KH in my future, if I let there be!) later this summer. Summah-time is the perfect time... for video games!






Friday, September 5, 2014

Pocketful of Final Fantasy: FF1 Memories

I have the first nine Final Fantasy games on my PSP. Young me at twelve years old would never have believed it, on two levels: first that any video game series could reach NINE games (and truthfully it's a lot more than that, now!); and secondly that so many games could fit on a portable device. At twelve years old the original-recipe Gameboy was just about to arrive, in all its two-tone glory, and even the first Final Fantasy would have taxed the system. The original FF to appear on that Gameboy, The Final Fantasy Legend sounds by all accounts to be an odd duck, but not quite in the same league as the NES Final Fantasy.

The FF1 and FF2 on my PSP
Final Fantasy Origins was released on the original Playstation, and contained enhanced versions of Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II. The first game was a massive influence on my childhood, but this collection was the first time that the sequel appeared (legally) in America. I'll talk about FF2 in a  future post, but for now my handheld trek through the series begins with the first game. And oh, what a game it is!

In FF1, you form a party of adventurers, each bearing an Orb, and travel to the kingdom of Corneria/Cornelia, depending on the translation you prefer, old or new. I grew up with Corneria, so that's the one I think of, but the Origins version calls it Cornelia. The names I grew up with resonate to this day, so I always begin my journey at Corneria, travel to the Temple of Fiends (not Chaos), eventually confront Kary (not Marilith), and curse the low encounter rate for Warmech (not Death Machine) on the bridge to Tiamat.

The structure of FF1 always impressed me. Like in its near-contemporary, Dragon Warrior, your quest in the beginning of the game is to rescue a Princess. That gets resolved after half an hour or so, but the game keeps going, and turns into a much more grand adventure to light the Orbs by defeating the four Elemental Fiends that threaten the land. These days we often turn our noses up at fetch quests (I feel like I'm guilty of doing that on this very website, in fact) but there was something satisfying about the early chain of Find and Deliver on which you embark in this game:

Crown -> Northwest Castle -> Eye -> Matoya's Cave -> Herb -> Elf Castle -> Mystic Key -> Castle Corneria -> TNT -> Dwarf Cave

Phew! Never has a kid felt so successful as when I untangled that long series and sailed through the TNT-created gap in the western land to reach Melmond. In fact, I have a lot of memories about the original Final Fantasy:

+ In 1990, I bought my copy for the NES at the Crystal Mall in Waterford, CT. I must have been in sixth grade by then, and it was a school night, so I only had a few minutes to play before bedtime. Wouldn't you know it? The very next day, I woke up with a sudden sickness! No school for me, what a sad day. I guess I'll just stay in bed and recuperate. My mom went off to work, and, well, I guess I'll just *have* to play a little Final Fantasy, and... uh oh. She hid the controllers!

+ I remember going to my friend Ben's house in sixth or seventh grade and playing Final Fantasy on his dad's enormous wall-filling TV, the largest TV I had ever seen. These days maybe it wouldn't seem as giant, but at the time it seemed incredible. I remember that Ben's battery-backup save file was at the Earth Cave, and we fought Giants in the Hall of Giants to level up. Eventually we played through the entire game on subsequent afternoons and weekends, because I remember us fighting Chaos, but for some reason the only other dungeon I clearly remember after the Earth Cave is the Waterfall Cave where you get the Cube from the robot.

+ I also remember walking along the bridge to Tiamat to try and encounter Warmech, which Nintendo Power magazine told me was the rarest enemy in the game. I walked along the bridge for what seemed forever, on several different occasions. Eventually I encountered it, and it killed me with NUKE, and I gave up. I would later kill Warmech in one of the remakes, when his appearance chance had been modified. It didn't feel the same, though.

Next time, I'll wrap up with Final Fantasy and move on to Final Fantasy II, widely-regarded as one of the lesser entries in the series. Let's see if that's true!


Monday, August 11, 2014

A Gap in the Collection Filled!

My fascination with video games began with my dad's Apple IIe and the few games we had for it: Zork, Apple Adventure (the Apple port of Colossal Cave), Frogger, Sabotage, Repton (perhaps not originally called 'Repton' -- this was essentially a version of Defender), but the fascination became a straight-up obsession on the Christmas I received a Nintendo Entertainment System. This meant, however, that I missed out on the phenomenon of the Atari 2600. My neighbor Mikey had one, and I remember playing Pole Position and Pitfall II on it, but I never had one of my very own.

Until now!
My future father-in-law is an expert at finding hidden treasures at garage sales and thrift shops, and he unearthed this little beauty: an Atari 2600 with two joysticks (the red one is a third-party stick, the 500XJ Epyx, by Konix), a storage case (check out the faux-wood panelling; very Eighties!), and eight games.

It's been awhile since I've tried to hook anything from this era up to a TV, so it took a little doing and a trip to Radio Shack. Some internet research told me to look for an RCA to Coaxial converter so I could take the A/V output from the Atari and turn it into something my TV's input could understand, but Radio Shack seems to be attempting an image change and their collection of adapters isn't as grand as I remember it being when my dad would bring me there in childhood. I did come back with an RCA to BNC adapter and a BNC to Coaxial adapter, and felt like a smart cookie in the process, so there's at least a happy conclusion to the tale.

The crown jewel of my new collection: Pitfall!
Sarah thought I'd get bored with the Atari after a couple minutes, but actually I'm finding these old games to be quite fun, even if the system itself is older than I am (by one year!). Pitfall is the clear winner, but I've also put quite a lot of time into Moon Patrol and Donkey Kong. It's not the best version of Donkey Kong (it seems to only have two levels, instead of three), but it's a testament to Nintendo game design that even this stripped-down port of the arcade game manages to keep the basics fun and intact. Some of the games are less successful: Video Pinball and Super Challenge Football.
Pictured: Less successful. But I did score a touchdown, somehow!
I remember when I was in sixth or seventh grade, you'd often see Atari games and consoles at garage sales, but with the dawning of the internet age you don't see video games on sale as often; now it's easier to find out how high demand is, and what things are worth, and Amazon and eBay are the prime source for old video games. But every now and then you find a surprise, and now I've filled a gap in my game collection. Huzzah!

Friday, May 16, 2014

PS+ Free Games So Far, PS4

If you have a PS4 and want to play online multiplayer, you'll need to pay for a PS+ subscription. This was one of the announcements that was quietly snuck into the Playstation victory lap last E3, when Microsoft couldn't do much of anything right, and this announcement went mostly unnoticed in the din. Since Killzone: Shadowfall was one of the launch games I intended to pick up (dire single player campaign, but the multiplayer was really well-done) I dropped the money on the PS+ subscription without really thinking about it. Now I can't imagine doing without it -- getting a game or two for free every month is a pretty great way to feel good about the PS+ experience. Here are my impressions of the games that have been offered for PS4 thus far.

Resogun - A video of this game convinced me I had to have a PS4, so you're welcome to guess how I feel about it! A side-scrolling cylindrical shmup inspired by Defender, where you have to Save The Last Humans? Yes, please! It could have used more variety in the levels, which all share the industrial/city sort of look, but this is a very slick game. Voxels, voxels everywhere!

Contrast - There are some neat ideas in this early 1900s shadow-manipulation puzzle adventure, but sometimes the platforming feels a little finicky and I ran into a couple bugs that blocked my progress. It's worth a play for the stylish look and the atmosphere (and a Limbo-inspired section about halfway through), but there's not a lot to come back to once you've played through once.

It's all about manipulating the shadows to reach higher places, like this one.
Don't Starve - An inventory management survival game with the atmosphere of an Edward Gorey illustration. I really like this sort of game, since it's all about managing your resources and paying attention to the clock; you don't want to be stuck away from your fire/home when night falls. My only dissatisfaction with this one is that the opening exploration of the island generally seems to go much the same, without a great deal of variety. I find myself doing mostly the same things and experiencing the same difficulties for a pretty long stretch in the beginning, which means that it can start feeling awfully samey, and keeps me from wanting to start new games as often as I usually would in a game like this.

Outlast - You're an investigative reporter who has received a tip about unpleasant goings-on at the Mount Massive Asylum, and before you know it you're trapped in the place and being hunted by lunatics. It's scary, and tense, and just an awesome experience. This was one of the great PS+ surprises for me -- it wasn't even on my radar beforehand. You have no combat skills, so you need to sneak around in the dark, using the night-vision on your camcorder to see and to avoid the lunatics loose in the asylum. You're also collecting documents and recordings as you go, which builds up the story and gives you a peek inside your character's thoughts. During one amazing sequence outside the walls of the asylum, during a lightning storm, you see a quick flash of *something* in whose existence your character has been doubting, and the document you get has one line: 'God help me. I think I've just seen the Walrider.' Chills! And two thumbs way up. I need to buy the new DLC for this, Whistleblower.

Dead Nation - Didn't really like this one that much. It's a zombie game with a Smash TV feel, but the characters are so tiny and the lighting is so dark that it didn't do much for me. I only played the first couple levels; maybe it gets better later on, or it's preferable to play in co-op.

Mercenary Kings - This game looks like one thing (Metal Slug or Contra) but is actually another thing (Monster Hunter). I've never played Monster Hunter before, but it apparently involves selecting missions to go defeat monsters and grabbing items that you can use to craft weapons that allow you to defeat bigger monsters. That's what Mercenary Kings is too, which seems to be off-putting to people expecting a 2D action game like Metal Slug. The time limit on every mission, the way bosses will run away and appear in another spot in the level after you do a little bit of damage, the way the missions seem to mostly involve grinding for loot drops... these are all design decisions that ramp up the frustration at the expense of the fun. Still, though, I'm having a reasonably good time with it. The key is to only play a mission or two at a time; short play sessions allow you to maximize the fun and keep the repetitive annoyances to a minimum.

It sure looks gorgeous, though!


Stick It To The Man - I didn't think they still made games like this! This is another of the big surprises of PS+, and not a game I expected at all. Reminiscent of classic LucasArts point-and-click adventure games like Day of the Tentacle, in this one you control a guy named Ray who has a pink spaghetti grabber hand coming out of his head -- he can use the hand to peel stickers out of the environment and stick them onto people or things to solve puzzles, and he can also use it to read people's minds. For example, if you need to get by a guard, you might read someone's mind and hear 'Man, I shouldn't have stayed up all night eating burritos! I'm so tired!' That makes a thought bubble with Z...Z...Z... appear over his head, which you can grab, and then you can stick the Z...Z...Z... sticker onto someone else's head to make them fall asleep. It's clever, and funny, and all around I had a blast. A great game!

Memorable characters and funny situations. Also: a cool sticker book art style!
I think the lesson here is that while an individual game may not be to your taste, the net effect of the experience is overall very positive thanks to the variety of the offered games. Just looking at the list up there, you've got two arcade shooters, two quirky adventure/puzzle games, a Rogue-like adventure game, a horror game, and a Monster Hunter-style grinding game. I might have only purchased one or two of these sight-unseen, but most of these proved to be genuinely worthwhile games that I'm very glad I got to experience. Maybe not Dead Nation. I might give it more of a try and see if I can find more of the fun; and if I do and I do you'll probably hear about it. :)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Year in Review, 2013!

Happy New Year! Before we start looking ahead at what awaits us in the gaming world of 2014, let's look back and see what we've already done! I've compiled a list of the games I finished in 2013, with maybe a few thoughts about each one. So what exactly was I up to in 2013?

Resident Evil: Director's Cut (PSN)
Resident Evil 2 (PSN)
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (PSN)
For Christmas I had received the Resident Evil Anthology, which included vouchers for digital copies of REs 1-5 and RE6 on the disk, so I rang in the New Year with PSN versions of the first three. Tank controls aside, these held up pretty well, though the randomized puzzles in RE3 are still a slog to this day.

Spec Ops: The Line (PS3)
This game received a lot of praise for its storytelling and for its unflinching look at the horrors of war, but as a result most of the experience wasn't terribly surprising. It also makes you take actions that you, as the player, know you shouldn't be taking, and then delights in telling you the horrible things you shouldn't have done. Reasonably effective even so.

Resident Evil 4 HD (PSN)
It's the best Resident Evil, and now it's even sharper. For being such a long game, the action flows incredibly and the variety is just great. After this game, Leon can stand toe-to-toe in the pantheon of RE greats like Chris and Jill. He's still no Barry, though.

Dishonored (360)
This one was a surprise, and the game most like Thief: The Dark Project I've played in years. The world was fascinating, and the wide-open levels with multiple sneaking routes through them gave me happy memories of Lord Bafford's Manor and Cragscleft Prison. The 'infiltrating the party' mission in this game was even better than the similar one in Thief 2: The Metal Age.

Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness (PC)
Early in the year, I thought I might try playing through all of the Ultimas, as I'd never completed them before. This first one was quite good in a 'history of videogaming' sort of way, limited in the sort of ways you might expect: no set dungeons, for instance -- every dungeon you enter is randomized on entry, even when you leave and come back in. There's a peculiar space combat game halfway through this one, but the version I got on GOG.com ran it well and I was able to proceed; other versions of Ultima I've tried through the years always got stuck at that section.

Quest For Glory: So You Want to Be A Hero (PC)
This was the VGA version, with clay figure style animation for the characters. It's the one I grew up with, and it's still a great experience.

Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress (PC)
Just terrible. I slogged through this one with the aid of a walkthrough and it was still a tremendous pain. Whenever Richard Garriott claims to be the best game designer in the world and that no one else knows how to do it, I wish someone would remind him that he's responsible for Ultima 2. If there were a Director's Jail for games like there is for movies, he'd still be in there, maybe with time off for good behavior (and Ultima 4). I started the third game in the series after this one, but the poor taste of Ultima 2 lingered and you won't see it on this list.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PS3)
I'm a huge Metal Gear fanboy and even I didn't expect this to be that good, but it's phenomenal. Short and sweet, but very gratifying swordplay and crazy over-the-top action. It has the most ridiculous soundtrack, but the songs for every boss fight are just amazing, and the way it layers the vocals on top when you reach certain stages in each fight is brilliant and really gets the blood pumping. A very strong contender for my Game of the Year, if I really sat down to think about it.

Resident Evil 6 (PS3)
This game had been patched a few times before I got around to playing through it, so many of the complaints I've seen online had been fixed already. Not all of them; it's still a very flawed game in many respects, but there's certainly a ton of game here. If anything there's just too much of it -- everything wears out its welcome long before you're done with it. Four different campaigns of roughly eight to ten hours each, and you need to play them all to really understand the story. Capcom went absolutely bonkers with making content for this thing, and I do feel bad that it was received so poorly: it's not like they didn't try. No, I think the problem with RE6 is that they tried and tried and tried and just didn't manage to execute it that well. I enjoyed my time with it and there's a good list online of the order to play all the chapters in if you want to see the whole story in roughly chronological order, which I think is interesting. "A spectacular failure, but not a failure of spectacle," - Level-Minded Lys.

Bioshock Infinite (360)
This would have been more interesting as an RPG, I think. The shooting really drags it down and the story doesn't go anywhere surprising. I wasn't as infatuated with Elizabeth as some others were; she's no Alyx Vance, though Ken Levine really, really wants her to be.

Mega Man (3DS)
Mega Man 2 (3DS)
Mega Man 3 (3DS)
Did you know you can download Mega Man games on your Nintendo 3DS? I discovered it and played through some of them!

The Bouncer  (PS2)
I didn't play this at release, but I remember all the talk about how short it was. I had no idea it was *this* short, however. Done in about two hours, this one felt awfully ephemeral. It's tough to believe this was a graphical powerhouse at the time, or that it came from the House of Final Fantasy.

Sonic Adventure  (XBLA)
I spent a lot of this year catching up on games I never played the first time, but always wanted to experience. Playing this port of Sonic's early attempts at 3D reaaaaally made me appreciate the hedgehog's more refined, modern games.

Sonic Generations  (3DS)
I only have a couple physical retail games on my 3DS (decided to go mostly digital), but this is the one that I usually keep locked and loaded. It's not as good as its big brother on the consoles, but it does provide a really solid portable Sonic experience. The last boss is awful, though, and it's the sort of fight that means you can get stuck and have no idea how to progress: it feels like you're doing everything right, but it just doesn't work. I eventually had to look up what I was doing wrong. A sad blemish on an otherwise solid game.

Dead or Alive 5  (360)
I've always liked the ridiculous storylines in fighting games, and this one doesn't disappoint. It turns out that taking the approach to campaign from the new Mortal Kombat and transplanting it into other fighting games works just as well, as long as you don't mind playing more than one character throughout the story. Works great here.

Resident Evil: Revelations  (3DS)
This was one of the first 3DS games I played that felt like it could have been a full-blown console release, and what do you know? HD ports of it appeared this year as well, so I wasn't alone in thinking that. It's a surprisingly long and effective Resident Evil, and Raid Mode provides a lot of grindy fun too.

The Last of Us  (PS3)
The Walking Dead, Season One  (XBLA)
Two "zombie" games, and though the zombies are quite different, the emotional beats they tackle are similar and extremely well-done in both. I wrote about The Last of Us earlier. As for Season One of The Walking Dead, just know that of the comic and the TV show, the videogame seems to be the very best Walking Dead related media.

King's Quest I  (PC)
King's Quest II  (PC)
I wrote about these as well! They were fun to revisit.

Sonic and the Black Knight  (Wii)
This game is supposed to be terrible, isn't it? Well, I'm here to report that yes, it is sort of terrible, but for some reason (change of pace? Bargain-basement price? Low expectations? Take your pick!) I really enjoyed the experience and played a ton of it. The controls are pretty awful: you waggle the Wiimote to swing the sword that Sonic wields in this one, which means that you end up swinging your arm for most of the level. There's very little of the usual Sonic trappings (no Robotnik, though there are some short remixed levels that contain old-school enemies and spring-boards you can unlock if you play enough). Boss fights are terrible too. But the music is fantastic, possibly one of the best Sonic soundtracks in years, and while the graphics are Wii-muddy, some of the level themes are visually pretty interesting. It's by no means one of the "good" 3D Sonics (Sonic Generations, Sonic Colors, and... not sure I'm ready to put Sonic Lost World here yet), but I still had fun with it.

Bayonetta  (360)
Finally got around to getting through this! Very enjoyable, with crazy bosses and over-the-top ridiculousness in every level.

Saint's Row IV  (PS3)
Speaking of ridiculous, I also finished Saint's Row IV. It's the best Matrix game ever.

New Super Mario Brothers U  (WiiU)
The big discovery of this game was how much my four-year-old daughter Naomi loved to play too. Her familiarity with touch screens (via her mama's iPhone or my iPad or even her own LeapPad) meant that she could use the WiiU Gamepad to create platforms for Mario very intuitively. For daddy it was a very fun (if familiar) experience, much like the NSMB games on DS and 3DS, but a little bigger in scope and more polished.

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse HD  (XBLA)
A fun stroll back down memory lane. Not essential, but a good way to spend an afternoon. I believe the company was shut down either immediately after or shortly before this was released, but I would have loved for these guys to take a crack at Quackshot, my favorite Sega Genesis Disney game.

Steamworld Dig  (3DS)
I loved this on 3DS, and it's apparently out now on other systems. It's a good "exploring deep for minerals to get more money to explore even deeper" sort of game, and it has robots. Lots of fun, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it actually has a story to tell. I wish an endless mode with random challenges unlocked when you finished. Maybe in a sequel!

Grand Theft Auto V  (360)
This one's a behemoth. Ridiculously massive, with stuff to see and do absolutely everywhere. Some of Rockstar's attempts to shock you feel as obvious as they have in past games, but I really enjoyed the story in GTA5 - the setup and execution of the heists, in particular, was really interesting and well-done. A stunning game with memorable characters, but by this point in the series you really have to know what you're in for. If you're not a fan going in, you most likely won't be a fan going out.

Beyond: Two Souls  (PS3)
Sonic Colors  (Wii)
Injustice: Gods Among Us  (360)
Ryse: Son of Rome  (XBONE)