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2016 was a great year for video games. There were tons of really high quality titles that went out for gamers to spend their precious time on. Below are some of my favorites that came out in 2016.

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Final Fantasy XV

I had a huge backlog of games for this year. A list of games that I have not finished since the start of this console generation. However, when I got hold of Final Fantasy XV, I made sure this game is not going on that list of titles that I put on hold, unfinished or unplayed. I powered through the story and completed Final Fantasy XV. And I was happy. I have been a fan of this JRPG ever since I got hold of the PS1 Classic FFVII. Although this game looks far different and plays different, it never dawned on me that this was not a Final Fantasy game. FFXV is littered with all the tropes of a Final Fantasy title: Cid, Shiva, Ifrit, Ramuh,Chocobos, Moogles, huge bosses and even down to a confusing storyline. I have not played any other game religiously after I finished the main campaign and as of writing, I’m only 7 goals short of a platinum trophy.

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Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Nathan Drake’s last (?) outing proves us why Naughty Dog is the BEST video game developer in the world. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a master class in storytelling, voice acting, gameplay and graphics. A rare feat only achieved by a handful of developers can achieve. This game, as long as it was, was never boring for me. I loved Nate’s interactions with his supporting cast. They’re funny, heartfelt and genuine. This is the reason why Nolan North, Laura Bailey and Troy Baker never ran out of voice acting work. They are outstanding in their jobs. Storywise, I am glad this game is grounded. No supernatural forces to fight, only human beings, it kept the whole game believable. I was fully immersed in this world and it was especially hard to put down the controller finally when the game ended.

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Rise of the Tomb Raider

Yes I know technically this game came out in 2015 on the XBox One but I am considering Rise of the Tomb Raider a 2016 game because it was only this year that us Playstation owners got to play Lara Croft’s 2nd adventure after the 2013 reboot. This game I liked. It’s not as great as Uncharted, but Tomb Raider has it’s moments. I preferred the exploration on this game. I loved that you can upgrade Lara and her weapons and the action on this title is just awesome. I honestly didn’t care too much about the story, but tomb raiding in this game is my favorite activity. Everytime I complete a tomb, I feel a tad smarter.

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The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

I know this is just an expansion, but dammit Blood and Wine is way more addicting than any of  the big game releases of this year! This expansion’s main campaign is way longer than all of the shooters that came out this year combined. If it isn’t obvious yet, I really fell in love with this expansion. The Witcher 3 in itself was a masterpiece and Blood and Wine is the cherry on top of a beautifully crafted cake. The map is huge. The story is engaging and it’s a  very challenging game. I had a hard time finishing this chapter more than the main campaign and Hearts of Stone.

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Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

This is a game that’s meant to be replayed. I only played through the story of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided once, but I know there are tons of side quests and collectibles that I have missed. The freedom to go through any mission the way you want to is incredible. I had fun attempting to go stealthy on my playthrough only to go on an all out killing spree whenever I get detected by my enemies. It is not the fault of the game, it is mine. In any case, the story of Deus Ex, is a little bit lacking, but I have to put it here because I really loved the gameplay. I enjoyed leveling up Adam Jensen into a character that suits my play style. The world I played in was small, but there is a lot to discover. Like I said, one playthrough is not enough when playing Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.

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XCOM 2

I don’t really know why I keep buying strategy games. I’m not that good at them. They’re just games that add up to my backlog. But there’s something about XCOM 2 that I can’t stop thinking about this game. I get attached to the soldiers on my roster. 2 people already died from my team and I’m really devastated. They were two people I have invested experience to and they’re gone. And it hurts. I do not know why I was so affected like this by a video game. Maybe because I can alter their looks the way I want them to look. And name them. And give them their equipments. This is such a great game and I can’t wait to play more!

QUICKIES:

DARK SOULS 3 – This game is pretty… pretty hard… I just played the first hour though.

MAFIA 3 – Great story. Too repetitive to complete.

DISHONORED 2 – Haven’t started the game so no impressions yet.

(all images courtesy of Google)

 

 

 

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Batman: The Arkham Knight

Gotham City is in peril once again thanks to Scarecrow and his newest partner, the titular Arkham Knight. The third title from Rocksteady Games and their conclusion to the Arkham trilogy, was hyped up by the fans ever since the title was announced last year. Undeniably, it’s current-gen iteration is the most beautiful I’ve seen in their three games. The action was superb and as always you get a pitch perfect performance from Mark Hammill and Kevin Conroy.

However, as much as I would like to love this game, it really isn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the technical aspects of the game, and I feel it has improved a lot since Arkham City. But it just did not hook me. I don’t know. I didn’t like the whole Batmobile sequences (and there is a LOT!). Driving in video games has been my weakness ever since, and this game has a lot of it. So much so, that you can’t progress further into the story if you don’t utilize the vehicle. And I hated it.

Good thing Youtube has videos of all the cutscenes for this game. I have no patience to solve all of Riddler’s trophies and puzzles. I know there are over 200 of those around Gotham City. It’s too bad really because if you take those out, Arkham Knight is a brilliant Batman game. It has a solid combat system. Every villain has their own play style and fuck, all of Man-Bat’s appearances begin with a jump scare!!! The story has its flaws, but it’s engaging. It’s gripping, and they almost always require you to think on your feet. You really do become the Batman when you’re playing Arkham Knight.

But my idea of being Batman is one where I don’t drive the Batmobile a lot.

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Until Dawn

Sony’s sleeper hit last August is one of the few games I actually finished this year. In the advent of huge open world video games, it’s refreshing to play a short story driven game. I loved video games that you can finish in one weekend, and this is one of the bests that came out in 2015.

Until Dawn follows 8 teenagers headed by Hayden Panettiere,  who return to a cabin one year after a tragedy befell two of their friends. What originally was set to be a reunion of some sorts turned out to be a nightmare inspired by all of our favorite scary B-movies.

In my gameplay, I only saved 3 of the teens, but this game has a lot of choices and consequences that it is possible to kill or save them all. I watch of gameplays online for Until Dawn, and rarely do I see similar scenes per gameplay. No, it is not an open world game, unlike the other titles on my review, but there are still a ton of things to keep your attention to. There are collectibles, clues, totem poles, sometimes I delay the story so I can walk around and find loot.

I truly enjoyed my 8 hours of playing Until Dawn, if it weren’t for my huge backlog, I would give another try with this title. Hopefully, with all kids surviving next time.  This is not Game of the Year material, far from it. But in terms of pure enjoyment, Until Dawn delivered in droves. It is tense, suspenseful and can be funny when it needs to be. I finished this game in one weekend because while playing, I found myself not wanting to let go of the controller. I wanted to find out what will happen to Mike, Chris and the other kids I got attached to in the 8-10 hours I played this game.

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Oh Kojima you brilliant son-of-a-bitch. I have played and finished most of the Metal Gear Solid games since I first discovered it in 1999. I remember enjoying all the unique and absurd things that you can find littered all over the world of Solid Snake or Raiden or Big Boss.

However, The Phantom Pain felt different. It felt unfamiliar. It looks like something new. But not the bad kind of different, don’t get me wrong. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was excellent!

For one, this game is now an open world. You are free to wreak havoc on Afghanistan or Africa in any way you want. You can be stealthy, you can go guns blazing. You can choose to have a dog as a sidekick or a robot, or a sexy sniper. There are several ways you can go about completing missions, and you are only limited by your imagination.

There is no game like this one before. My initial impression, specially after playing Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is that I’m not going to like this game. Trailers, kind of made it look difficult. Complicated. It certainly is overwhelming, if you have not played this game before. It will not hold your hand. This game will treat you like a smart person, because it expects you to be one.

Honestly, I don’t remember the story of this game that much, because majority of my playthrough of this game was spent running around the map, fultoning people and animals to bring home to my mother base. In TPP, everything has a purpose. Soldiers you kidnap will become your followers which you can use to expand your base or to complete tasks or gather more resources. Animals you fulton will go to your own private zoo. There are over 250 missions/side missions to complete in this game. Considering how much games are these days, It’s more than worth what you paid for.

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Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

Assassin’s Creed is slowly becoming a tired concept. I have played several games in its franchise with varying levels of enjoyment. Black Flag and AC2 being the best ones in my opinion. Unity, even after all of its patches remained a broken mess when I tried to play it again a couple of months ago.

Fortunately, Syndicate is one of the good ones from this series. London is a great place to run around in. Maybe because it’s finally easier to traverse the huge map, that’s why I like this game. But the thing is, it’s still the same Assassin’s Creed.

You are shown a map with its little icons for treasures, missions and sidequests that you need to check off. 10 hours in and it’s become a bit of a chore. A chore that I don’t want to do anymore.

Jacob and Evie Frye are definitely interesting characters, that may initially play different, but eventually are the same. They are interesting characters, definitely. It’s such a shame though that their world isn’t.

I guess I’m just tired of playing around the world of Assassin’s Creed. It is no longer that awe-inspiring world. I don’t feel the vertigo anymore whenever I jump off eagle’s perches. It is a stealth game that does not really feel too stealthy. Maybe I just got spoiled by how great MGS:TPP was at stealth action. Or maybe it’s really just time for this franchise to go away for a little bit and find its purpose again.

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Fallout 4

This has been the only game I played since it came out a few weeks ago. It has totally swallowed up what little free time I have. Fallout 4 probably will be the only game I’ll be playing until the next big game comes out in the next couple of months.

So far in the 60 hours that I have played Fallout 4 I have walked all over the upper half of Boston. I found 5 Power Armors. I freed and befriended a Super Mutant, a Synth detective, a dog, a pretty investigative journalist, a Minute Man and a heavily outfitted soldier. I finally learned how to put up a decent house, and built a three-story fortress. I have started about a hundred quests and sidequests, finished only a few and still have not moved forward in my main mission which is to find my kidnapped son.

Just like all the other Bethesda games, this will devour all of your free time. Fallout 4 will keep you playing until your head hurts and your eyes begin to deteriorate. I have spent a couple of sleepless weekends already trying to find new locations on my map. But it’s because I have been a huge fan of the developer ever since I played The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

I get though that this is not for everyone. Walking around the wasteland can be a bit boring. It’s not as fast as your typical first person shooter and not as engaging as your typical linear games. Fallout 4 requires you to be patient. It wants you to enjoy discovering. It asks you to not be afraid of its world.  This game has bugs and glitches, which are I guess a staple of the developer already. Some might say, that’s the game’s charm, but we’re now on the latest generation of consoles where everything is powerful now, so we expect games to not have floating corpses or flying Brahmins. That turns me off a little bit. Fortunately, I have not experienced and game breaking bugs on my playthrough.

But I guess, the question now is: is this a Game of The Year type of game?

It could be.

(Images courtesy of Google)

 

We are now halfway through 2015, so it’s about time I do a quick review of the huge games that came out during the first six months of the year. So it’s sort of my Game of the Year Watch.

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The Order 1886

This is certainly the most beautiful game to come out of the next gen console. The graphics is unbelievably breathtaking, very detailed and definitely pushes the latest console hardware. Too bad gameplay and story was sacrificed to make this game pretty. It’s technically not a bad game, but it was incredibly short. This was a game that ended just when the story started to become interesting.  I guess the developers of this game (Ready At Dawn) wanted this to have been more of a cinematic experience more than a gaming experience. Everything about the gameplay was standard, the shooting, the stealth but it was really linear. It’s more go here, movie, fight, movie, go there. It is about a Victorian London set tale with Order Knights derived from King Arthur lore protecting London from werewolves and insurgents. Plot-wise, it was very predictable. It is a game that has a lot going for it, but unfortunately wasn’t executed very well. Hopefully, the sequel will improve on everything that 1886 is lacking.

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Bloodborne

From Software’s first game for this generation’s console is probably their best outing. It is practically a Souls game, only it’s faster and it strips you of a shield. It’s definitely a challenging game. It’s going to kill you hundreds of times. It’s obviously frustrating and during your first play, you’ll probably want to quit and break your copy of the game. But… if you’re patient. If you study how to beat your enemies… and you farm the shit out of those villagers… Eventually you’ll become smart and strong enough to sweep the floor with your enemies. And I’m telling you, it’s the most satisfying thing you’ll do in your life. This is a game that’s not for everybody. Unless you’re patient enough to read the game’s lore, you will definitely get lost in the story. Just to reiterate, this game will kill you again and again and again and again and again… and again. If this was another game, I would have already quit on the first area with the horde of cursed villagers. And that’s the same level where probably 75 percent of those who bought this game where they said this game is not for them. But once you get through that… Once you understand why that part was created that way… you will realize that Bloodborne is not that hard at all.

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

If you ask me, this is right now my Game Of The Year. The closing chapter of Witcher Geralt of Rivia is the best RPG of this console generation. Wild Hunt is HUGE!!! As in 200 hours long huge (that is if you want to play all the missions and side quests of course). Geralt of Rivia is looking for his lover and surrogate daughter and during the course of his search encounters monsters, kings, witches, wife beaters and all manners of characters that will make you not want to go out and have a real life anymore. Your choices in this game have real consequences. One day, you think you’re saving children, the next day you find out you slaughtered and entire village and caused a woman to become an orphan. You take contracts. You play gwent (which for me is probably more addicting than the game itself). And then one moment, while you’re sailing through a river, you realize the sunset on this game looks more beautiful than the actual sunset you see outside your window. Developer CD Projekt Red created a true masterpiece with this game.

So these are just some of the big games I have that’s come out this year.

Maybe on my next post, I’ll review Mortal Kombat X, Elder Scrolls Online, Arkham Knight and Metal Gear V: Phantom Pain.

(Images: From Crave Online)

I’m not going to wait for the year to end to post this. I have work on the 31st so I don’t think I will be able to have the time to write a post then. So I’ll write this while working on Rizal Day.

All images captured from Google.

BEST MOVIE (International)

LAST YEAR: Gravity

The best film is the type of film wherein days after you’ve seen it you still think about what you saw and it still gives you the chills. Whether it’s how awesome the characters are or how disturbing the story was, it still leaves something. Gone Girl is my best movie of 2014. What a disturbing movie!!! I watched it twice and in both showing, I notice how everyone in the cinema were really talking seriously about what they just saw. It was disturbing. It was emotional. It was shocking. It was a very very effective film. On facebook, whenever I post about a film I just saw, I normally just get likes, but when I posted about this, people really wanted to discuss the movie. You don’t really get that a lot. And for that reason alone is why Gone Girl is my best film of the year.

RUNNER UP: Captain America: Winter Soldier

BEST MOVIE (Local)

LAST YEAR: OTJ

I know in terms of quality, the indies take the cake for brilliance in the local film scene. But in all honesty, I have not been exposed to it as much as I want to. But to be honest, 2014 hasn’t really been a good year for us in terms of quality films. Even the indies had fewer noteworthy titles to choose from. So bear with me as my pick this year is reflective of the mainstream Pinoy films that we all love to hate. But then again, truth is we still pay to see these films. We swoon when we see kilig moments. And we still smile watching all the same cliche’s film after film after film. Honestly, all Pinoy films tell the same story but with only different actors. Okay, enough ranting. The best of all jologs Pinoy cheesy films of 2014 is Starting Over Again. And I choose this solely because I love Toni Gonzaga.

RUNNER UP: Bride For Rent

GAME OF THE YEAR (Console)

LAST YEAR: Grand Theft Auto V

2014 is the start of the current generation of consoles, so it’s quite understandable that the games are not of the same standards as the brilliant games that came out last year. Honestly, this year only 2 games are vying for the title of the best game of 2014. A choice between gameplay innovation and sheer size. Admittedly, Shadow Of Mordor’s Nemesis system is the best thing to come out of video games this year. It gives players the ability to tell it’s own story uniquely his. But Dragon Age: Inquisition consumed most of my idle time ever since I bought the game a few weeks ago.  I have poured in 60 hours into this game and I don’t think I’m halfway done. There are literally tons of things to do in this game world and it’s clearly worth what I paid for. Oh and just like with previous Bioware Games that I choose to win GOTY, it really helps that they let players have gay sex.

RUNNER UP: Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor

GAME OF THE YEAR (Handheld)

LAST YEAR: Tearaway

I bought my PS4 this year, and have played no other console as much as I did with my PS4. So my choice for Game Of The Year for Handhelds for 2014 is the only game that I played the most. Nintendo is great at creating games that allow you to kill time. With titles like Mario Kart, Smash Bros, Pokemon or even Animal Crossing, you could literally lose thousands of hours playing those games. But my 2014 Handheld game of the year is nothing like the innovative games I mentioned above. It’s a return to form for classic JRPGs. Bravely Default is the best turn based RPG I have played since the time of the PS2 era JRPGs. It’s tactical, challenging, and really addictive. I love getting new costumes as that meant that I will have new abilities. The characters are charming and funny and it has a very Japanese story which is quirky, imaginative and confusing as shit. Just how I like my Japanese Role Playing Games.

RUNNER UP: The Walking Dead: Season 2

BEST OF TV DRAMA 

LAST YEAR: The Good Wife

So the past few years I have been skipping on this show as the best US Drama series because there have been a lot of outstanding shows. That’s why I think I’ve given this award to almost all of the best shows out there. That’s why this year, I’m giving the award to one of my favorite shows of all time. Shameless. It’s a family dramedy about a VERY dysfunctional family. The show is so taboo I don’t think this will ever be allowed to be shown in our country. Regardless, the show is damn funny, brilliantly acted, and just like drugs, is so addictive. It is tasteless sometimes. It is filled with morally questionable characters and your heroes are pretty much all criminals in the making, but they are the most relatable and likeable characters on tv. I fucking love Shameless!!!

RUNNER UP: Game Of Thrones

BEST OF TV COMEDY

LAST YEAR: The Mindy Project

I am no longer the target market of MTV. I actually want to puke whenever I see something teenybopper on television these days. So imagine my surprise when I found myself glued to the television watching this year’s winner. Faking It. It’s a show about a couple of high school girls faking being lesbians so they will become famous in school. Just like the usual coming of age stories, one of them turns out to really be gay and falls in love with the best friend. But as cliche as this story gets, it’s actually funny and it doesn’t take itself too seriously (hello Glee). The show, now on it’s second season, has now moved on from it’s original premise and I think is getting better for it. This show may never win an Emmy, but I think it’s the closest we’ll get to seeing how American teenagers really are this generation. It’s a cool show.

RUNNER UP: The McCarthy’s

BEST OF TV (Local)

LAST YEAR: Got To Believe

What is a Gillboard Best Of post without an appearance of something directed by Cathy Garcia Molina. It would be nothing. And this year, I’m giving out the recognition of Best Pinoy TV Series to Forevermore. I love how this show makes me feel younger. It is a very Pinoy Soap Opera. It checks on a lot of boxes in the How To Make a Teleserye Handbook. The poor girl / rich guy love story. The evil future mother in law. The scene stealing supporting characters. The funny barkada of the guy. The third party. I’m pretty sure someone will get kidnapped by the end of this show. But then again, even if you do it, if you do it right. Get the script right. Get the chemistry right. Filipinos will buy the shit you throw at them. Unfortunately, I’m one who buys those shit. And come on, there really isn’t anything really good on Philippine TV apart from our news and current affairs stuff. Is there? Anyway, back to Forevermore. What I like about it, is that it’s smart enough that even if it ticks all those soap opera cliches, it gives us a bit of a twist that keeps us guessing if what we predicted will come true or not.

RUNNER UP: The Voice Of The Philippines

BEST IN MUSIC

LAST YEAR: Just Give Me A Reason

Let me be predictable for once. I like me some melancholy songs. And my song of the year goes to a singer who really writes great sad songs. The male or gay version of Adele as they say. Sam Smith’s Stay With Me resonates for a number of  reasons. One, the song is really really relatable. Who among us have that one night stand that we wished was not just? Oh god, if I heard that song like 8 years ago, I would have sung that to that unforgettable one night stand. Two, Sam Smith. Wow, that voice!!! You could really feel his emotions in all of his songs. He’s my favorite artist this year, bar none. Three. It was not overplayed unlike John Legend’s theme song of the year. Four. It’s just one song from an album that’s full of great music. Actually, let me take back the award from Stay With Me. The Best In Music this year for me is anything from Sam Smith.

RUNNER UP: Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud

BLOG OF THE YEAR

LAST YEAR: Wickedmouth

I know I haven’t been the most active blogger this year. I think I visit only a handful of blogs. And let’s be honest, there haven’t really been a lot of active bloggers anymore. The greats have now moved on  to better things in life. But there’s been no one really who’s been as consistent in writing posts as this year’s winner. Regardless the posts are read or not, he still writes. I heard it’s something he needs to do. For me, he is the epitome of the adage, “we write to express, not to impress”. He’s one blogger that I have known from like when I started blogging a few years ago, yet, he’s someone I’ve never actually met in person. I admire this blogger because it is difficult to find things to write, but he never seems to fail to find one. From trysts, to heartbreaks, his job, to family matters. They may sometimes be deep, but they are very well written. I have given this award to people who are no longer in the blog world, but I’m quite positive, we’ll be seeing his posts for quite some time more. Cheers Kuya Joms of L’Heure Bleue

RUNNER UP: Geosef’s Alphabet

Quick Reviews of this year’s biggest video games…

Dark Souls 2 (PS3)

This game is notorious for being a very difficult game. It is frustrating and it’s definitely catering to hardcore gamers only. But that is the reason why this game is also a satisfying game to play. Every small kill is a victory, and when you level up, you really feel your strength and abilities are increasing. But it’s still one hard game to play.

Infamous: Second Son (PS4)

Technically, nothing beats this game aesthetically. Their version of video game Seattle is really gorgeous! The colors are so alive, that if you’re epileptic, you’ll probably have an episode everytime you play Second Son. But for a huge sandbox game, there isn’t really that much to do. Delsin’s story is not that interesting. He does have a cool power set though.

Watch Dogs (PS4)

This game suffered from being overhyped. My initial excitement for this game was through the roof just because the demo/trailer for this game made us feel that Watch Dogs will be revolutionary. Unfortunately, the end product felt like a poor man’s Grand Theft Auto. The game was so simple. The hero, bland and the story was not that interesting. It’s a huge sandbox game though, so there were tons of things to do in Chicago. But it brings nothing new to action games.

Destiny (PS4)

This was my first experience in playing a Massive Multiplayer Online Game. Of all first person shooter games that I’ve played, this has the tightest controls. The world is big. But this is an empty game. There is no story. It asks you to do only one thing, no matter what planet you’re in. And it’s really boring. The only reason I play Call of Duty type games is the story, and this one fails miserably on that point. Too bad, I liked the world I was in, the short time I played this game.

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PS4)

This year’s most innovative game for sure. The nemesis system is the one thing all games should have moving forward. While, this only asks of you to kill orcs and uruks for the duration of it’s whole game, it does so with some really original tweaks. If you fail to kill one orc, when you die, he gets promoted. He becomes more powerful and he will remember what he did to you. Same thing happens if you let one escape or live, the next time you meet, he will bear the scars from your last encounter. Yeah, it plays a little bit like Assassin’s Creed, but the game is so immersive, you wouldn’t mind doing the same chore over and over again.

Alien Isolation (PS4)

Alien Isolation is fucking scary!!! Do not believe the reviews about this game that gave it a ridiculously low score. It is a game that you have to really experience to enjoy. I spent most of the game crouched and walking slowly, because I get paranoid. The alien AI is really smart, and unpredictable, that you really feel the stress of the character you’re playing. But it still lets you enjoy the beauty of space, before it scares the living shit out of you again.

Assassin’s Creed Unity (PS4)

Due to the influx of games the last few weeks, I haven’t really played a lot of this game. I think maybe I’m about 10 hours into the story. But man, Paris is big and beautiful. Yes, this game is full of bugs (one time the game crashed when I jumped down a small box). And yes, last year’s Black Flag was miles better than this one. But it’s still Assassin’s Creed. Parkouring around Paris is still awesome. And the sheer number of non playable characters in this game is massive. But, I’ll get back to this one after I finish all the other games I purchased.

Dragon Age: Inquisition (PS4)

It’s been one whole year since the PS4’s launch, and it’s only now that we get our first real western RPG. Let me tell you, the game is worth the wait. Among my latest purchases, this was the one I spent the most number of hours in. Inquisition is one massive RPG. I spent approximately 15 hours just wandering around The Hinterlands without progressing through the story. Doing quests have weight in your plight as an Inquisition Leader. And the lore… I think, the content in all of Ferelden could fill a book as thick as the bible. Game of the year contender for me.

Far Cry 4 (PS4)

They say that this is the same game as Far Cry 3 only in a different setting. They say it as if it’s a criticism. But why tamper with a formula when there’s nothing wrong with it. Far Cry 4 is crazy!!! I’ve only put in a few hours on this game, but let me tell you, crazy thing s have already happened in the few hours I played it. One of my first missions is to liberate a camp that was invaded by a rival group. Since I only started, I didn’t have a lot on my player yet. I spent a few minutes hunting animals so I can ungrade my weapon holster, wallet and loot bag so when I get to that camp, I’m prepared. But lo and behold, when I get to that camp, it was already being liberated… by a couple of elephants. Elephants!!! Crazy, right?! Now why would you change something as unique as a Far Cry experience?

Alright, this year, I think I spent roughly about 50k on games alone.

And I’m wondering why I have not had any savings yet in my name.

Another season ended for everyone’s favorite fantasy epic, so it’s time to update my list of the most unforgettable moments in Game of Thrones.

I limited this to twenty because the list would not have ended if I add them all. But there are definitely a lot that I have missed (Theon’s torture scenes, Jorah and Daenerys breakup,  Ned vs Jamie, all of Ghost’s kills, and every scene with Lady Olenna Tyrell) ,  feel free to let me know in the comments the ones that you think should have been here.

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20 Sansa’s Wedding Night (Season 5 Episode 6)

Season 5 is chock full of horrible events one episode after the other. We saw a child burned at the stake at the order of her father (some might say that this was more unforgettable… but for me Shireen’s a minor character). A teen-ager poisoned after she had a heart-to-heart with her father. And a pedophile who beats on little girls getting stabbed in the eyes. But for me, the worst / most unbearable thing to happen this season was Sansa’s Wedding Night. She married the vilest living villain in the series now, and he raped her while his slave Reek was watching.

 

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19 Valar Morghulis (Season 2 Episode 10)

Jaqhen H’ghar and Arya Stark had a very interesting relationship in Season 2 of the series. Jaqhen was doing Arya’s bidding. And by her bidding, I mean he’s assassinating Arya’s targets. Everything culminated by the end of t he season. For Arya to escape her captors, she blackmails Jaqhen to kill more men. And in the middle of their escape, Arya bumps into Jaqhen and tells her what he really is… a faceless man. Apparently, they are the coolest people in the whole of Westeros. They parted ways in the end, but what’s awesome is that there is a chance Arya’s path is towards that of the Faceless Men.

 

brienne bear

18 Brienne Vs The Bear (Season 3 Episode 7)

Game of Thrones is at its best when they pair up characters. Tyrion and Bronn. Arya and the Hound. Varys and Littlefinger. Lady Olenna and whoever. Season 3’s best pairing however was Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister. It was an odd pairing that started antagonistically. Brienne was tasked to bring Jaime back to King’s Landing in the hopes that the Lannisters will be returning the Stark daughters back to Catelyn. But what started as antagonistic ended in friendship. In Harrenhal, Jaime went back for Brienne only to find out that she was thrown into a pit to fight off a bear. To save the lady, Jaime jumped into the pit and threatened not to come out unless she’s with him. And so begins Jaime’s redemption.

white walker

17 White Walkers (Season 2 Episode 10)

While technically Game Of Thrones is a Fantasy show, the series is too grounded that we sometimes forget that there are dragons and shadow creatures lurking around Westeros. But one of the more fantastical creatures of the series was finally introduced in the Season 2 finale of the show. We finally get a glimpse of what the soldiers on The Wall are finally guarding. Fucking Zombies!!! And they are scary as shit!!! Winter is coming indeed.

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16 Sandor Clegane Vs Berric Dondarion (Season 3 Episode 5)

Oh I put this on the list because who does not like a fight where one of the fighters uses a flaming sword? One of the coolest scenes on television. Ever.

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15 The Death of Viserys Targaryen (Season 1 Episode 6)

Viserys has been a jerk. Ever since the moment we first laid our eyes on the elder Targaryen, we knew he was an ass. He sold his sister to the Dothraki so he can build an army. He let Khal Drogo rape his younger sister all for the uncertainty of them helping him take over King’s Landing. He was a vile, irrational and pretty much annoying. Not only to the viewers but mostly to the Dothraki tribe. So when the time came he demanded to have a taste of the Dothraki women, and be treated like a king, Drogo fulfilled his wish. He poured a pot of melted gold. Yes it was sick, but it was only the first of many gruesome deaths that the show has in store for us.

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14 The Death of Ned Stark (Season 1 Episode 9)

This was the Oh Shit moment of the first season. The first time that we realized that no one is safe in Westeros. Not even it’s lead character Ned Stark. Sean Bean was the face of Game of Thrones. And he did not even live long enough to finish the season. My jaw dropped when I first saw this episode. Just like the millions of people who have seen Game of Thrones, we cried for the elder Stark. He was the one we were all rooting for to sit on the Iron Throne, and he just got beheaded. WTF right?! But it is awesome that the show has the balls to drop it’s lead star just like that. If he hadn’t died, Arya, Robb, Sansa, Jon Snow and Bran, would probably just be bit players til now.

dragons

13 The Birth of the Dragons (Season 1 Episode 10)

This was what kept me from dropping the show. Watching the first season finale, I was so depressed. By that time, they have killed two of the most loved characters of the series (Ned Stark and Khal Drogo). I thought Arya alone would not be able to make me sustain my interest on the show. But then, by the end of the episode, Daenarys rose out of the fire, and with her dragons. Baby fucking dragons!!! I’m glad I stayed and stuck with this show.  And we’ve got Khaleesi’s babies to thank for that.

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12 Cersei’s Walk Of Shame (Season 5 Episode10)

This is a bravo moment for me because Cersei really deserved all the shit that she got for all the horrible things she’s done to the show’s ‘heroes’. But even if it’s well deserved, it was still horrible to watch. It’s humiliating. De-humanizing. Just truly awful, what she had to go through in what obviously was a long walk back to the Red Keep. Imagine yourself doing that, you’d probably not last a meter without fainting. What’s sadder, I guess is that it happens in real life and not just in the fictional world of Westeros.

 

tyrion trial

11 The Trial of Tyrion Lannister (Season 4 Episode 6) Just read this chilling speech and tell me you’re not getting goosebumps imagining Peter Dinklage’s emmy worthy performance.

“I did not kill Joffrey, but I wish that I had. Watching your vicious bastard die gave me more relief than a thousand lying whores.

“I wish I was the monster you think I am. I wish I had enough poison for the whole pack of you. I would gladly give my life to watch you all swallow it.

“I will not give my life for Joffrey’s murder. And I know I’ll get no justice here, So I’ll let the gods decide my fate.

“I demand a trial by combat!”

Chilling.

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10 How To Train Your Dragon (Season 5 Episode 9)

In terms of the cool factor, I think Daenerys takes the biggest slice in this series, mainly because she has dragons for her children. And the penultimate episode of Season 5 gave us the most chilling scene with Drogon. The last fifteen minutes of episode 9 starts with an epic gladiator match with Jorah kicking ass, followed by an ambush by the Sons of the Harpy. Everyone has a moment, and in the end, when everything looked dire, we hear an ear-piercing scream. Drogon arrives and kills a lot of his mother’s enemies. And in a How-To-Train-Your-Dragon moment, Danny rides it and they fly off. I literally screamed like a little girl after seeing that ending.

 

blackwater

9 The Battle of Blackwater (Season 2 Episode 9)

You see that flash of green destruction in the picture above. That’s some shit that’s both deadly and beautiful at the same time. This I think is the first time that Game of Thrones shows it’s viewers that they can do Lord of the Rings style of war and destruction. When I saw this episode I remember being overwhelmed by how big the whole battle was. It’s like watching a big budget movie. And then this is the episode that elevated Tyrion’s hero status. He showed great leadership and made us want to root for the people of King’s Landing even if their King is an idiot.

arya

8 Hound Vs Brienne / Arya Leaves The Hound (Season 4 Episode 10)

I have to cheat on this one, these are two great moments that I had to combine since they all occurred together. It started when Brienne crossed paths with Arya and The Hound. Some witty banter were thrown and then Brienne and Sandor got into the most gnarly fight I have ever seen on television. Groins were kicked. An ear was bit off. And then we end the whole scene with Arya. Just staring at the Hound who was begging her to kill him. That look, it says more than any line would ever have. We know that The Hound is on Arya’s list of people she wants to kill. But she’s not going to let him die in his own terms. Instead, she leaves him to die a long and lonely death. That’s dark.

jon snow

7 The Battle for Castle Black (Season 4 Episode 9)

Mammoth-riding giant archers!!! That alone easily puts this moment or episode at the top of the most awesome GOT moments list. In season four’s penultimate episode, we are taken north of Westeros, on The Wall where the Wildlings for some reason find it’s time to finally take over the giant landmark. You can’t help but cheer for the  crows on this one. Jon Snow showed effective leadership, as well as that other guy who we disliked on previous episodes when he disagreed with Jon Snow’s suggestions. Plus, it gave us that long seamless shot of the fight inside the wall that was just breathtaking. Oh, and anytime we see some direwolf action, you know there’s no wrong in direwolf scenes.

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6 Hardhome (Season 5 Episode 8)

What an incredible 20 minutes. It’s intense. It’s action-packed. It’s terrifying as shit. And it delivers it’s goal of letting us know just how scary and formidable the White Walkers are. This is close in terms of action to the Battle on the Wall from Season 4 as one of the best action set piece of the entire series. The slaughter of the Wildlings from zombies was hard to watch. We may have been introduced and attached to some of the elders, so seeing them die was quite difficult to watch. And then in the end, during the staring match between the Walker King and Jon Snow, when the King raised his hands and all of the dead came back to life, all I could think of was a resounding “Oh. Shit!!! Winter is here!!!”

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5 The Viper Vs The Mountain (Season 4 Episode 8)

Oh you can tell from the picture above that  this one ended nasty. All season long we know that Oberyn Martell came to King’s Landing for one thing only. Revenge. He knew The Mountain did it. He knew that the Lannisters were behind it. He just wanted a confession. And when Tyrion demanded a trial by combat, the Viper knew it was his chance to finally get what he wanted. The fight  was epic. It’s like David vs Goliath, and the Viper had the upper hand. Miraculously, he was able to stab The Mountain in the chest. That was great until, for one moment, while showboating, he set his eyes away from the enemy. Immediately The Mountain put him down, knocked his teeth away and slowly, while confessing crushed Oberyn’s skull. Along with the hopes of Tyrion winning the trial.

tyrion

4 Tyrion’s Revenge (Season 4 Episode 10)

For two seasons, Tyrion has been humiliated, stripped of his power, wrongly accused of murder and sentenced to death. Right now, he’s one of the very few characters in the show that we consider as the hero. And with the death of Oberyn a few episodes prior, everything looked hopeless for everyone’s favorite imp. Fortunately for him, he still has friends in King’s Landing, and he escaped. But not before he exacts his revenge. I think his father’s death was a bit disappointing, but what he did to Shae was incredibly satisfying. Hearing her neck snap was painful to watch but you can’t help but think that she deserved it after betraying Tyrion twice.

joffrey

3 The Death of Joffrey (Season 4 Episode 2)

The asshole king is dead. It was a long frickin’ death. The turd deserved it. And it was so satisfying. ‘Nuff said.

red wedding

2 The Red Wedding (Season 3 Episode 9)

This was awesome. But to be honest, this is one of the most painful scenes to watch in the entire run of Game of Thrones. This effectively eliminated some of the show’s biggest heroes. In a wedding nonetheless. And they spared no one. Not even the pregnant wife of Robb Stark. Not even the direwolf. And worse, they cut off it’s head and sewn it to Robb’s lifeless body.  It is awesome because this is when GOT nails in the head the fact that no one is safe in George RR Martin’s opus. Absolutely no one. Until now, I can still hear Catelyn Stark’s last cry of pain.

dracarys

1 Daenerys Takes Over Astapor (Season 3 Episode 4)

In total, I think I have replayed this scene like 15 times. This is my favorite scene of the entire series. It’s a spectacle. It’s grand. It’s a perfect scene.  It started with Kraznys showing off his Unsullied at the same time bad mouthing the mother of dragons, calling her a pig and bitch. He was using the Valyrian language thinking the Mother of Dragons could not understand him. But then, in a grand showing of power, Dany spoke in Valyrian, telling Kraznys that dragons are not slaves and ordering the Unsullied to kill everyone holding a whip. Dracarys. With one word ending the life of the slave master and destroyed a city. The scene ended with Dany marching out of the city finally with an army she can call her own. Epic.

IGN recently released their list of the Top 100 Games of the Generation. The list of the best 100 games of the last generation of video game consoles (XBox360, PS3 and Wii).

I have to admit that I was not able to play them all, but for the most part I am familiar with a lot of the triple A games of the last 8 years. So with that, let me list down my Top 5 favorite games of the last generation.

I don’t have a Wii so I’m sorry if there won’t be any Wii games included on this list.

fallout

5 Fallout 3    

Bethesda has perfected the first person open world RPG. One would argue that their best outing was in Skyrim, and that is not a false claim. But I say that they would not have been able to do so, if they did not perfect Fallout. This in my opinion is where everything started to come together for the developer. It had a tight gameplay, breathtaking visuals and a gripping story. I loved walking around post apocalyptic Washington DC.There are literally hundreds of things to do. This was a revolutionary game for the last generation and just gave us a glimpse of what is possible in gaming for the Xbox 360 and PS3 generation.

 

mass effect

4 Mass Effect Trilogy

When I found out that your saved game from the first Mass Effect would have an effect on your gameplay for the sequel, my jaw dropped. Can you do that? Is it possible in gaming. I think it was the first time I have ever heard of such a thing. That is how I got invested in the whole Mass Effect Trilogy. I stuck with my Commander Shephard from beginning to the end. I re-played the game just to get the best endings. In Mass Effect 2, half of my crew got massacred, so I played it again until I got everyone out of the game safely. This was the game I replayed the most. It had a wonderful story. Great gameplay. Awe-inspiring graphics. Superb voice acting. And towards the end of Mass Effect 3, my Shephard got to make love with Kaiden Alenko, my video game crush. Gay sex!!! You don’t get to do that in video games.

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3 Red Dead Redemption

Rockstar Games. What can I say? They are the industry’s best sandbox games developer. Grand Theft Auto is possibly the most successful franchise in the history of video games.They are controversial, but they never fail to deliver what is expected from them. While they’re mostly known for the GTA series, their best work came in another franchise. Red Dead Redemption. This game will always be etched in my mind as this was the game I was playing when I got the love of my life. But beyond that, Red Dead was a revolutionary game. It had a tragic story, a great and twisted cast and a wide array of activities to keep you away from the real world for more than a hundred hours. Heck, I’m happy just looking at the sunset atop of a cliff. That alone was worth the price of the game.

drake

2 Uncharted Series

I don’t think there’s any action game, current or last gen that can top Uncharted. Set piece after set piece, playing this game is like being in a very expensive and elaborate action film.  Developed by Naughty Dog, Uncharted quickly became Playstation’s flagship game. Playstation 3 became the must have console because of this title. And why shouldn’t it. This is a sophisticated action game that had a great story. The cast has great chemistry. It’s got breathtaking action sequences and just playing as Nathan Drake is beyond exhilirating. The thing here though is that, this is not Naughty Dog’s best game.

tlou

1 The Last Of Us

This is the game that closed the last generation, and Sony saved the best for last. This is Naughty Dog’s best game ever. This game pushed the system of the PS4 to it’s limits. Graphics wise, this is the most beautiful I have seen for a console game. Story wise, The Last of Us went beyond the conventional storytelling and gave us something deep to think of whether it’s the conclusion or the decisions that all of the characters had to make. Blurring the line of morality has been done before, but this is the game that makes you think about it even more. Gameplay is perfect, stealth, crafting, shooting have never been perfected in a horror/action game. 90% of the praise this game is getting is due to it’s story, but it is well deserved. This is the most poignant, deepest, most engaging story a game could ever get. It is now an art form. And if this is what we should expect for the current generation of consoles, then bring it on!!!

 

What’s your game of the last generation?