The GamerSushi Top 10 Games of 2011

Back at the end of 2010, a glance at 2011’s calendar either sent gamers into a fit of excited trembling or utter despair. How were we going to play all of these games? What surprises were in store for us? Which ones were going to be worth the money? Could the long-awaited sequels live up to the years of promise? At the beginning of 2012, we now have all of those answers and then some. And thus, the GamerSushi Top 10 Games of 2011 list is born.

It sounds like we’re using hyperbole, but we truly feel like 2011 was one of the greatest years of gaming we’ve seen in quite some time. That much is evidenced by each staff member’s ballot – the submissions we used to determine our final top 10 (and yes, your votes for Game of the Year counted as one of our submissions, as well) were wildly different and full of an astounding variety of games. One thing was certain – gamers had a wealth of choices last year, and everyone benefited from it.

So, without further ado, here is our list of the top 10 games of 2011. Enjoy, dudes.

Continue reading The GamerSushi Top 10 Games of 2011

Random Encounters II

Every now and then, I will sound off on a number of topics that are on my mind lately. As the Triple-A titles start rolling in this week, here are a few of the things occupying my grey matter this week:

1. Shadow of the Colossus is such a great, artistic game that makes you feel like a tiny ant next to these behemoths, while also making you feel like a bad-ass when you take them down. But then you feel terrible at seeing such majestic creatures tumble in agony and you question whether or not you are the hero in this game. Also, I love the simplicity of it. Find a Colossi, kill it. That’s it. No fetch quests, no nothing. Want more like this. Can’t wait for The Last Guardian

2. Final Fantasy XIII-2 comes out on the 31st and I am pretty excited. I don’t really care for much for the story of this game, but the time-travel aspect has me more intrigued than I should be. As long as the battle system is improved or unchanged, I know I will enjoy my time with this game. Having spent the extra twenty bucks for the Collector’s Edition, I can’t wait to hear the soundtrack that accompanies it.

3. The SOPA blackout was a success as the legislative momentum has died out, but I would like to see more alternatives to combating piracy from the groups opposed to the bill. The solutions I see most are getting more content in an easier place for people to access, but most things are already plenty easy to obtain. The most pirated movie of the year in 2011 was Fast Five, which clearly shows we are dealing with a species unfamiliar with quality. Fast Five was still successful, but also making the list was Source Code, I Am Number 4 and Sucker Punch, all of which had lackluster revenues. I can’t help but think piracy had something to do with this and I would like to see the brilliant minds of the Internet devise a workable solution to limiting piracy.

4. I drive myself crazy trying to decide whether to trade in a game or keep it. Some are easy: Dead Space 2 and Killzone 3 were fun, but I don’t see myself ever going back to either of them. But Uncharted 3 and Batman: Arkham City are so fun and there are moments I want to go back and relive or in Batman’s case, collect all those Riddler trophies. I always tell myself that I will do it when I have the time and have no other games to play, but will that ever happen again? I have less time every day and more games coming out every week to play. I honestly don’t know what to do.

5. I hear talk about people Occupying E3 for some reason that I have not bothered to pay attention to and all I have to say is: No. Stop it. As ardent a liberal as I am, the Occupy Movement had its place and it raised awareness for the issue of income equality so much that it is being used to damage certain candidates in the Republican Primaries. It was a success. To leverage it into a protest at E3 is just annoying and unimaginative. It’s become a trend and it should be stop before it becomes the political version of a flashmob.

6. Finally, I plan on getting Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii, which releases on April 2nd. It’s only being sold through Nintendo’s website and GameStop. Trying to avoid ever setting foot inside a GameStop again, I went to Nintendo’s site and there is a disclaimer that they will begin shipping at the end of April. The game comes out on the 2nd! WTF! Sorry, Big N, but you just drove me right to GameStop. Why would they make it such a terrible deal to get the game from them? This is Nintendo! Surely they can pull some strings and get better shipping times for people! My only hope is that enough people buy this game that Nintendo decides to bring The Last Story to the U.S. as well.

Well, that’s my take on these topics. What’s your view on any of these? And what else is on your mind? Pull up a chair, pour yourself a nice cup of coffee and let’s just talk.

GamerSushi Asks: Games You Played in 2011?

Man. We are straight up milking this 2011 thing, huh? You’d think that we had nothing better to talk about for 2012 with the way we’re going back to that well. Don’t worry, we realize that we can only get a little bit more mileage out of last year, and probably only another week or two at that. That being said, the following question is one that I legitimately want to ask you guys, because I like hearing what you say about games.

The title for this post is extremely self explanatory. I want to see a list of all the games you played in 2011. This will be cool for two reasons: 1) It gives us an idea of what kinds of stories to target/write and 2) you guys are pretty cool yourselves.

What follows is a list of games that I played in 2011: Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Games You Played in 2011?

GamerSushi Asks: Getting Your Attention?

Skyrim Whiterun

At 10 hours into Skyrim, you’d think that I would be a walking bad ass by now. Townspeople would weep or cry out in joy at my passing. Animals would steer clear of my manly musk. Dragons would swoop down to bow before me in reverent awe. My weapons would sing with the crackle of lightning and the sharp hiss of steel and silver. In short, you would think that I’ve already started bending the world of Skyrim to my digital will.

Actually, I’m picking flowers just outside of Whiterun. You see, I’m trying to learn some new recipes and the properties of various ingredients for alchemy, just so I can sell some potions and make enough money on the side to buy a house. You know the type: a starter home, with a nice view of the Jarl’s place up on the hill. It’s quaint, but it’ll get me by long enough to stow all of my stolen items until I can contact someone in the Thieves’ Guild to purchase them for me. I might get around to that once I’ve searched the nearby brewery or taken a few more Smithing lessons up at the Skyforge. That’s just how I roll.

While none of those things sounds particularly exciting, they’ve somehow gotten me totally snared by Elder Scrolls V’s dark and fantastical clutches. Every preview of the game showed spellcasting, shield bashing, dragon shouting and dragon fighting. Yet all I’m doing is the mundane, the ordinary, the stuff that nobody in their right mind would do.

And I love it.

You see, I’ve got certain triggers when it comes to video games. Certain things that scratch just the right spot or catch me at just the right moment. This happens from time to time, and even though it shouldn’t surprise me, it still totally does. I wrote just a few weeks back about how Batman: Arkham City made me feel like a kid again. Skyrim is sort of similar, but there’s something more to it: it just has my attention.

I can’t really describe what it means when I say that a game has gotten my attention. The only mental image I have is of a small child, with a street performer snapping in front of him to hold his gaze while he does a sleight of hand routine. And I guess that’s what video games do to us. The best ones leave us transfixed, totally beholden to whatever spectacles are playing themselves out on the screen. I won’t declare Skyrim game of the year or say that it’s one of my favorites. But I will say that it’s already put me under its spell.

So my question to you guys is this: what does a game have to do to get your attention? What kinds of things tend to really suck you into a game and keep you from doing anything else? Does it have to have a good intro? A great story? Great mechanics? A combination of those things? What types of games tend to leave you obsessed? Go!

GamerSushi Asks: Gaming Trick-or-Treats?

MGS 2Happy Halloween, Sushians!

Or I suppose it’ll be the day after Halloween by the time you read this, but that’s no reason to be any less festive, is it? Every year, we try to give some kind of feature towards the day of ghouls and goblins, and 2011 is no different. While in the past we may have covered a list of scariest games or done a Halloween Pop Quiz, this year I wanted to skew in a bit of a different direction. Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Gaming Trick-or-Treats?

The Complicated Process of Buying Games

Skyrim Collector's Edition

What happened to the simple days of our youth, when we had no idea that a new game was coming out until we saw an advertisement on TV or accidentally stumbled across the actual title on store shelves? In the age of information overload (which I’ve written about here before), such an occurrence is less and less likely to happen.

It’s funny thinking back to my anticipation level for titles over the years as I’ve grown up. It started with magazine subscriptions and previews and eventually worked its way up to disc-based demos, kiosks and ultimately the Internet. Nowadays, it’s getting much more difficult to ignore all of the media associated with the games we’re dying to play. No matter where you look, there’s some kind of data bombardment, beckoning you to pre-order from this or that store, trying to get you to buy the ultra mega editions and watch every last 10 second non-game footage teaser trailer.

What happened to simplicity? That’s what Kotaku writer Kirk Hamilton (or Eddy’s boyfriend, as Nick refers to him) asks in a hilarious piece which looks at buying a book versus buying a video game. In it, he lampoons pre-order bonuses, betas, previews and everything else under the sun.

It’s great stuff, and really makes one wonder about just how far we’ve come. Although you could also wonder just how much gaming sites contribute to all this madness. Just a thought. What do you guys think about all this? Do you think video game purchasing has become needlessly complex? Go!

Source – Kotaku

Review: Batman: Arkham City

batman arkham city review

2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylum was not just a landmark title because it was really, really good, it’s also one of the very few games in recent memory to take a super-hero license and use it well. Arkham Asylum was a faithful adaptation of the Caped Crusader, one where players actually felt like they were Batman as opposed to just slapping his moniker on a bland brawler and calling it a day.

Developers Rocksteady clearly have a deep love for the Dark Knight and when the follow up title Batman: Arkham City was announced last year at Spike’s Video Game Awards fans eagerly began salivating at the prospect of another chance to be Batman. Did Rocksteady follow up Arkham Asylum with a worthy successor or should they be locked up? Continue reading Review: Batman: Arkham City

GamerSushi Asks: Tackling Life with a New Game Plus

Mass Effect 3

The kinds of features that become commonplace in video games can take on a life of their own over the course of each generation. Things that we couldn’t have imagined a decade ago are now a staple, it seems. Cover-based shooting. RPG elements attached to everything, the list goes on. One of the more recent trends in games would have to be the idea of the New Game Plus.

Granted, this has been around for some time (Chrono Cross had it on the Playstation, for instance), but it’s only been in this generation that we’ve seen it become a fixture. The appeal behind New Game Plus is certainly appealing. Combined with the advent of RPG mechanics, this mode allows players in games like Batman: Arkham City and Mass Effect to take their skills with them into an entirely new adventure, making exciting strides and seeing things from a more powerful perspective than before.

In keeping with this idea, Kotaku writer Lisa Foiles tackles the rather philosophical question of if life had a New Game Plus, how would you replay it? The concept itself is very Groundhog Day, but it’s a fun idea that I’ve thought about from time to time. I know that many of us are still young, but I just thought I’d throw the same question at you guys: how would you handle a New Life Plus feature? Any differently?


Source – Kotaku

Batman: Arkham City Impressions

Batman: Arkham City impressions

Swooping out of the shadows with a vengence, Batman: Arkham City has finally arrived and it’s being hailed as one of the greatest games of this year (and that’s saying a lot). People are calling it “Crackdown with Batman” and it currently sits at a 95 on Metacritic (97 on PS3).

I played the game for a few hours last night and I’m seriously impressed so far. Arkham City runs on the Unreal engine just like Gears of War, but I’d go as far to say that Batman actually looks better than Gears. Checking your cryptographic sequencer on a rooftop with the Gotham skyline in the background and the spotlights casting lens flares all over the screen looks really really good. As nerdy as that sentence is, I just can’t get over how awesome the game looks.

The combat has also been refined too, so it’s a lot smoother than Arkham Asylum if you can believe it. There’s an upgrade system that works like Deus Ex’s where when you gain 2000 experience you will get a talent point that can be used to upgrade your suit or gadgets. The story is pretty cool so far too, but I still don’t get why someone thought building a giant prison in the middle of Gotham was a good idea (or how they got all the criminals in there) but I’m sure that will be explained later. I’m also enjoying Hugo Strange as an enemy; he’s of a different breed than the Joker, although the Clown Prince of Crime makes his presence known too (voiced deftly by Mark Hamill once again). I’m also enjoying the more open nature of Arkham City as opposed to the hub and spoke design of Asylum. Stalking the rooftops as Batman is just as awesome as you think it would be and the ability to glide between buildings makes it all the sweeter.

So far I’m really liking the game, but as with every massive release, we here at GamerSushi like to get your opinion on it. So, are you playing Batman? What are your thoughts?

Today’s WTF: Early Versions of Classic Games

Ocarina of Time

While it can be maddening to wait for word on an anticipated game release, it’s probably a good thing that more developers don’t tip their hands too early. Very often in creative processes, the seeds of an original idea morph into something that the creators don’t quite anticipate, both for good and ill.

It seems the same is true with gaming. You see, Cracked has put out a hilarious (and somewhat frightening) list of 6 Baffling Early Prototypes of Your Favorite Video Games. Although you’ve no doubt heard some of the highlights of this list (Super Mario Bros 2 and Halo come to mind), there are others that are downright shocking. Ocarina of Time as an FPS? The original Super Mario involved a gun-slinging plumber? This is the stuff that rocks world views, my friends. And perhaps even socks.

Personally, while I can tend to be an information hound, I have to say that I’m glad that sometimes we don’t know every little detail of development as it’s going down. Think of all the fan overreactions we’d hear about on a daily basis if we saw extremely early iterations of games that more than likely changed over the development cycle.

What do you guys think of this list? Are you glad that developers hold back on what they have to show until closer to release? Or do you wish that they would show us sooner?

Source – Cracked

Poll: Most Anticipated October Release?

We’ve made it through September dear friends, but don’t get complacent: that was merely the first wave of the game industry’s onslaught this fall. Their effort to totally bankrupt us of time and money is just getting started as you will see below. The month of October brings a whole heap of gaming goodness, including some under-the-radar gems that I have my eye on.

Vote for which game you are most looking forward to and leave a comment as to why. If you chose Other, let us know what it is! For the record, Dark Souls and Arkham City are my must-haves of this month, with Aliens: Infestation right behind it. There are several that I want to play once they drop in price, though, so this month is actually kind of killer.


Which October Release Are You Most Looking Forward To?

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Prioritizing the Remaining Video Games of 2011

batman arkham city

I won’t lie to you, GamerSushians, I’m a little worried about the rest of the year. I’ve been managing to squeeze in every big title so far this year, but I think I’m going to lose track of everything come September. Gears of War 3 is already pre-ordered, as is Battlefield 3. Beyond that, though, things get a little out of control.

With three games that I want to get coming in one day, and a couple more must haves before that, I’m going to have to start making cuts. First on the chopping block is Batman: Arkham City. I really enjoyed the first game, but I don’t think that the second is going to draw me in; I’m just doubtful that Arkham City will give me a different experience than I had with Arkham Asylum. Don’t worry, I’m also passing on Modern Warfare 3 so you can’t give me flack for that.

What about you guys? Which titles are you passing up this year, if any? Why are you giving them up for different games?

Handing out the 2011 Game Awards Early

Batman Arkham City

If there is such a thing as gaming nirvana, then I think 2011 is approaching that status. Basically, 2011 is the nexus around which all other years revolve and aspire to. That’s putting it in dramatic terms to be sure, but more games keeping getting added to the list of greats that we’ll be playing by year’s end. Now we’ve got the NGP to look forward to, and even a few surprises like Saint’s Row 3. As we’ve said before, it’s exciting to watch it all unfold.

However, some people don’t want to wait, and have already started crowning their champions. GamesRadar recently released a Preemptive 2011 Game Awards list, and while I think it’s kind of ridiculous, it’s still fun to speculate. They’ve pegged Guild Wars 2 as the most addictive game of 2011, Skyrim as the best RPG, and Batman: Arkham City as game of the year. The possibility of Arkham City actually being better than Portal 2 seems like a long shot to me, but one that I’ll be happy about if it ends up being true.

So what do you guys think of their preemptive game awards? What do you think the winners are going to be in all of these categories by the time 2012 hits? Go!

Source – GamesRadar

Batman: Arkham City has Beautiful Screen Shots

batman arkham city
Consider us blessed, fellow gamers, as some kind soul has posted screen shots for RockSteady Studio’s upcoming Batman: Arkham Asylum follow-up Arkham City. I don’t know what they’ve done to the engine this time around, but the screens are looking really good. If I had to guess, I’d say this is a capture from the PC version of the game running on a super-beefy rig, but with still images this good, I’m not complaining. The new pictures also give us a look at the redesigned Harley Quinn, Two-Face and a, I’m almost ashamed to say it, very sexy Catwoman. More delicious Bat-Screens after the jump! Continue reading Batman: Arkham City has Beautiful Screen Shots