My Playstation All-Stars Battle Royal 3rd Party Character Predictions

It’s official – Sony has finally announced their own Super Smash Bros. clone. I feel like I should be excited for this… but I’m not. As of now, the only characters that have been revealed are Sly Cooper, Sweet Tooth, the Fat Princess, Kratos, Parappa the Rapper, and some dude from Killzone who’s name I don’t know. Sony just doesn’t have the amount of superstars that Nintendo does, which is really making it hard for me to get hyped up for this game. However, this could easily be remedied by the addition of some good third party characters. The following post will contain the five third party characters that I believe are most likely to appear in Sony’s first stab at a crossover fighter.

1. Konami – Solid Snake (as Old Snake)

This one should be a no brainer. There aren’t many third party series out there that mean more to an individual console than the Metal Gear Solid series does to Sony. Snake is the face of the franchise, and is one of the most popular characters in all of gaming. Solid Snake is really the only character that I would be shocked not to see in this game.

Other Konami Possibilities – Some may say that Snake’s appearance in the Smash Bros. series could hurt his chances of appearing in Sony’s version of the game. Because of this, it is possible that they may go with a different character from the MGS series. Raiden would be the most likely, especially considering he has a new game scheduled to come out this year. However, he doesn’t have anywhere near the following that Snake does, and I would be pretty surprised if this were to happen.

2. Square-Enix – Lightning

First of all, I should say that I DO NOT want this to happen. I think Lightning is a boring character who has no business representing the Final Fantasy series. However, she is one of the most popular characters in the franchise’s history (for reasons beyond my comprehension), and is still in the spotlight. She is the one who makes the most sense. She will likely have another game coming out in a year or two, and her presence in this game could be used to increase the hype. A lot of fans were also butthurt over the fact that she was given the shaft in Final Fantasy XIII-2, so this may be a way to appease them. Basically, I’m picking Lightning for the same reason Lucario was put in Super Smash Bros. Brawl – because she can be used to generate buzz for another game, as well as a way to appease a large fan base.

Other Square-Enix Possibilities – Of course, Cloud Strife seems like he would be a pretty obvious pick. He is generally regarded as the franchise’s most famous character, and is from one of the most popular games in the series. This makes the most sense for the fans, but I could see how Square-Enix wouldn’t have as much to gain by putting him in. If I had to guess, I would say that Final Fantasy will have two representatives – Lightning and Cloud.

For the same reasons as Lightning, Noctis from Final Fantasy Versus XIII may have a decent shot at getting in. But I’m not willing to realistically discuss his “candidacy” until we learn more about FFvsXIII.

Finally, I think Tidus stands a decent chance of getting in. Final Fantasy X is getting a HD remake that is supposed to come out around the same time as this game, so his presence could also be used as a hype-generator. While Tidus isn’t exactly the most popular character, FFX is still one of the most popular games in the series. It would sure as hell make me happy… although there are some Final Fantasy characters I would still rather see than him.

3. Valve – Atlas and P-Body

I’m sorry, but I’m going to be a little bit subjective on this one. Valve and Sony seem to have formed a pretty strong relationship over the last couple of years. The PS3 version of Portal 2 came with a lot of exclusive content that the 360 version did not, which may be an indicator of Valve’s “loyalty” to Sony. Valve is obviously a PC-first company, but this would be a great way to get some easy publicity. GLaDOS is obviously the more popular character, but her physical appearance and abilities would make it hard to make a moveset for her (she would be a pretty bitchin’ boss fight though). Atlas and P-Body would be perfect, and could function as this game’s version of the Ice Climbers. Portal guns open up endless possibilities for a moveset, and I want to see it happen!

Other Valve PossibilitiesGordon Freeman is certainly Valve’s flagship character, but I don’t think we really need another gun-wielding fighter in this game. Considering that the dude from Killzone, Nathan Drake, a dude from Resistance, and Solid Snake’s presences are all but inevitable, I would be pretty disappointed if we had yet another soldier-like character. He makes the most sense, but my weak heart cannot help but swoon over the thought of Atlas and P-Body’s portal gun-based moveset.

4. Capcom – Leon S. Kennedy

Resident Evil 6. That’s all that needs to be said. Not only does Leon make the most sense from a “hey let’s hype up our new game” point of view, he also makes sense from a popularity standpoint. Resident Evil 4’s success made Leon one of, if not THE most popular character in the series. He fits in perfectly with Sony’s demographic, and would also make tons of fans of the Resident Evil series happy. However, the fact that Capcom already has their own series of fighting games may not bode well for Leon’s chances. It all comes down to whether or not Capcom is willing to allow it, and I don’t think there’s any good reason for them  not to.

Other Capcom Possibilities Ryu is no stranger to fighting games, and represents what is currently Capcom’s most popular series. But this game isn’t your traditional fighter, which may end up hurting his chances. Leon just makes more sense in pretty much every way possible, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to go with a Street Fighter representative. Frank West would be another decent choice as well.

5. Ubisoft – Ezio Auditore da Firenze

With as much as I’ve used the “let’s hype up our game” argument, I’m not going to use it here. Ezio is by far Ubisoft’s most popular character, and this would be the perfect way to send him off once and for all. Even though Connor would make more sense, I think Ubisoft is smart enough to see how much people loved Ezio. In my opinion, Ezio is the most iconic character introduced in the seventh generation, and leaving him out of this game would be a joke.

Other Ubisoft Possibilities – The aforementioned Connor Kenway from Assassin’s Creed III has about an equal chance of getting in as Ezio does. Sam Fisher would be a good choice too, but he’s been out of the spotlight for a little too long. Rayman would fit in nicely with characters like Sly and Parappa, but it seems like he has a much larger following of Nintendo fans than he does Sony fans.

Well, that’s about it for my predictions. However, this isn’t necessarily the list of all of the characters that I want to see in the game (although I do really want Snake and Ezio). That’s for a separate post that will be coming your way soon :D

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My “Favorite” Game of 2011

I apologize to my non-existent readers for the lack of posts (broken water heater, Christmas stuff, fantasy basketball drafts, and laziness). Anyway, let’s carry on with subjective opinions and nonsense! *clap*

Today, I’m going to be talking about what was my “favorite” game of 2011. Don’t get me wrong; Skyrim, Skyward Sword, Uncharted, etc. are probably better games, but the game I am about to talk about deserves some love too. I understand that not many people have played this game, or probably even heard of it, but damnit, I’m going to write about it anyway!

:D

Most people just said “lol wut,” while a very small number of awesome people just said “yessss.” That’s right, screw all your fancy lookin’ shooters and western RPGs, my favorite game released in 2011 is Atlus’ Radiant Historia for the Nintendo DS.

As I have discussed in previous posts, the video game market we are in this generation has forced a lot of JRPG developers to switch to handheld systems. While this may be alarming for some, Radiant Historia may help relieve some of your fears. Radiant Historia shows just how great JRPGs on handheld platforms can be.

Radiant Historia has everything that its console counterparts have, and in some cases, it offers even more. Great gameplay, music, graphics, story, and length; the restriction normally placed upon handheld games absolutely do not apply to Radiant Historia. Once again, Atlus has proven that it is the true king of the JRPG genre.

Instead of treating this like a review, I’m just going to point out a couple of things that make Radiant Historia stand out as my favorite game of 2011. Perhaps the best thing about Radiant Historia is its battle system. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but Radiant Historia MAY have one of the best battle systems of all time. It’s a bit hard to describe without seeing it with your own eyes, but think of the battle system as blend of traditional turn-based combat with some additional real time strategy aspects thrown in. Enemies are placed on a 3×3 grid. You can use your characters’ skills to push and pull enemies across this grid. If you can get multiple enemies on one block, you can attack that block to deal damage against all of the enemies standing in it. Also, one of your characters can lay down traps, while the others can try to force them into it. It sounds kind of complicated at first, and my shoddy description isn’t really doing it justice, but the strategical aspects this game offers is what makes it that much more fun.

Another strategical element Radiant Historia offers is the option to manipulate your characters’ turn order. You can allow your opponent to attack earlier so you can get more consecutive turns later. You deal more damage when you have a higher combo, so stockpiling turns is usually a good way to dish out a ton of damage against bosses. However, if you give your opponent too many turns, they will kill you. Radiant Historia also has a nice amount of difficulty to it. You need to know what you are doing; you can’t just spam your strongest attack and expect to win. However, the game still eases you into this system flawlessly. Take it from someone who normally blows at anything having to do with strategy and contemplation, the game will make sure you are comfortable with its battle system before it throws anything overwhelmingly difficult at you.

Radiant Historia’s also boasts an amazing storyline filled with a cast of endearing characters. You play as a man named Stocke, a young soldier working for a country named Alistel. Due to his skills as a soldier and the compassion he shows for his companions, Stocke is granted the power to travel back and forth in between different timelines. Stocke must use his time traveling abilities in order to find a way to end a long lasting war between Alistel and the nation of Granorg, while also ensuring the safety of his comrades and friends. The story has its fair share of twists and turns that will keep the player entertained and interested in what will happen next.

While the story itself is very good, what really makes it stand out is Stocke. Stocke has become one of my personal favorite lead characters in any RPG game. What makes Stocke such a good character is that he (for the most part) is fully developed at the beginning of the game. Most JRPG protagonist have to go through some sort of life-changing process that finally shows them what kind of person they should be. It’s refreshing to see a character who doesn’t start out as either a complete asshole (I’m lookin’ at you, Squall), or a complete wuss (I’m lookin’ at you, Tidus). Instead, Stocke always does what is best without bitching and moaning about how his actions may or may not negatively impact himself.

Stocke shows how good JRPG characters can be by finally going against typical JRPG tropes

So… When I first decided to do a post on Radiant Historia, I only expected it to be about 300-400 words long. Yeah… I was wrong. This just shows how much I loved this game. In my opinion, Radiant Historia is the best RPG to be released since Shin Megami Tensei: Person 4 (December of 2008). It has absolutely everything a JRPG fan could want, despite the fact that it is on a handheld system. Even if JRPGs continue to be forced onto handheld systems, I will have absolutely no gripes as long as they can match Radiant Historia’s quality.

My Take on Spike TV’s Video Game Awards

While I don’t believe that any website, magazine, or television channel’s video game awards should be taken as gospel, I do think it is important to discuss what has become the highest profile video game award show out there. Spike’s VGA’s have almost become a mini-E3; an event where new games are announced to the gaming public. At this point, it seems like the awards play second fiddle to the game announcements, celebrity appearances, and bizarre performances. Still, Spike’s Video Game Awards is still a pretty eventful and exciting day for all gamers. Let’s discuss some of the bigger awards:

Best Xbox 360/PS3/Wii Games

Who won: Batman: Arkham Asylum (360), Uncharted 3 : Drake’s Deception (PS3), The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

Who should have won: Gears of War 3 (360), Uncharted 3 : Drake’s Deception (PS3), The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

I really don’t see any problems with the choices for each system’s best games. The only debatable one is Batman, considering the fact that it isn’t a 360 exclusive. Every nominee in the PS3 and Wii categories were console exclusives. Why wasn’t the 360 held to the same standard? I know it would have likely resulted in two relatively bad games being nominated (possibly Halo and some Kinect game), but it still should have been held to the same standard as the other systems. Gears of War 3 probably should have won the award to keep consistent with the consoles, and it was a pretty damn good game as well. It feels like this award went to Arkham Asylum simply because they felt obligated to give it a few awards since they “robbed” Mark Hamill and Tara Strong of the voice acting awards.

Best Handheld/Mobile Game:

Who won: Super Mario 3D Land

Who should have won: Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

I know that this I am probably alone on this, but Ghost Trick is just my kind of game. Ghost Trick combines innovative gameplay with an amazing storyline to make one of my personal favorite games of 2011. While I knew it had no actual chance of winning, I am very “proud” of Spike for giving it some attention. Mario is great and all, but I feel obligated to give Ghost Trick some much deserved love.

Best Shooter:

Who won: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Who should have won: Gears of War 3

I’m not one of those people who hates Call of Duty with all of their being, but I do believe that this particular entry in the series is quite flawed. There’s even less new content in this game than there have been in previous Call of Duty entries.  I can understand why it is so popular, but it doesn’t deserve to be called the best when it is still the same game it was four years ago. While a lot of the same could be said about Gears of War 3, it at least offers a pretty good single player campaign that people actually care about. Gears of War 3 is a fine conclusion to a good series, and should have taken home the trophy. Still, looking at these nominees makes me worry about the future of the shooter genre. Nothing really stands out as great, but it still continues to be the most popular genre. I really hope developers will be able to add some new elements to the shooter genre to make it a bit more exciting than it currently is.

Character of the Year:

Who won: The Joker

Who should have won: Ezio Auditore (not even nominated?!)

In the overall scheme of things, the Joker is clearly the better character, but I really believe that this award belongs to Ezio. Ezio has become one of my favorite characters introduced in this generation. It is hard to find compelling characters in a generation that focuses less and less on single player campaigns and character development. Over the years, we have seen Ezio grow from an irresponsible teenager into a man responsible for an entire order of assassins. Since Ubisoft did such a great job at concluding Ezio’s story in Assassin’s Creed Revelations, I believe he deserved this award. I don’t have any serious gripes against the Joker winning this award, but I think it is an absolute crime that Ezio wasn’t even nominated.

Game of the Year:

Who won: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Who should have won: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim…. Aaaand?

I’m not going to argue with the decision to give Skyrim the game of the year award. Out of all of the games released this year, it was clearly the one that stood out the most. They made the right decision here, and I couldn’t agree more that Skyrim was the best game this year. However, it wasn’t my personal favorite game that was released this year. That game will be saved for another post, but I can safely say that no one expects it, and that only a very small number of people have played it. By no means do I think this game was the best game released in 2011, but it was my personal favorite, and I NEEEEED to write about it! So, congratulations to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’s well deserved award!

Can Sony Pull Off a Smash Bros. Clone?

The above photo is supposedly a leaked image from Sony’s next big project, Title Fight. Title Fight is rumored to be Sony’s version of Super Smash Bros, a fighting game filled with the companies biggest characters battling it out against each other.

The thing that makes Super Smash Bros. such a powerhouse is the rich history of great and iconic characters Nintendo has. Mario, Link, Pikachu, and the rest of Nintendo’s characters give the Smash Bros. series the star power and the mass appeal that have allowed it to become one of the best selling fighting games of all time. But does Sony have enough memorable first party characters to actually pull this off?

When we think of the great characters who have appeared primarily on Sony consoles, we think of people like Cloud Strife, Solid Snake, Crash Bandicoot, and Nathan Drake. Unfortunately for Sony, only one of those (Drake) is actually a first party character. Even though those characters are known for appearing on Sony consoles, their rights are still held by another company. Now, this may not end up being a problem, as Nintendo has had third party characters appear in Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Sonic the Hedgehog, and the aforementioned Solid Snake). But is Sony going to be willing to pony up the cash to get these characters in their game? They’re going to have to if they want to have any where near as much star power as Smash Bros,  and they’re going to need a lot more than just Cloud, Snake, and Crash.

Sony’s current list of memorable first party characters looks rather short. Uncharted’s Nathan Drake and God of War’s Kratos stand atop the list, but what stands underneath them is rather disappointing. Other characters include Sweet Tooth from Twisted Metal (pictured above), Sackboy from LittleBIGPlanet, Cole McGarth from inFamous, and Ratchet from Ratchet and Clank. These characters are fine, but they don’t come close to even the bottom tier characters on Nintendo’s list. After that, they are really going to have to start scraping the bottom of the barrel for characters from series’ such as Killzone and Resistance.

Title Fight could end up being an amazing project, I just really hope we don’t end up with a fighting game in which 60% of the playable characters are shooting guns at each other. Let’s just hope Title Fight’s roster looks somewhat similar to Sony’s “Michael” ad campaign*drools over a possible Ezio v.s. Solid Snake matchup.*