Hot off of some Holiday overload (and for yours truly some 3D as well), is the December Recap.  This month brings the largest Recap yet, jam packed with great content.  What better way to celebrate then by having a bunch of Recap veterans with me?  Returning this month are stayedstar, blaze6106, & mojomonkey12.

The breakdown for this month is as follows:

Part 1 (This): Question Of The Month & Connect

Part 2: Main Articles (Rainbow 6 Patriots, Star Wars: TOR, Playstation Vita) & Previews

Part 3: Reviews

Part 4: This Time Last Year (30 Characters Who Defined A Decade) & Our Favorite Cover(s)/Cover Stories of 2011

As always before I get started, a few plugs:

-Be sure to check out stayedstar's website for all kinds of gaming related posts such as reviews of various games like Dead Nation as well as links to Recap content.

-Also, be sure to check out "The Indie & Mojo Show" here on GIO for all kinds of gaming related goodness.  I'm also proud to say the Recap has been mentioned on there before!  For now, all I have is a link to the latest post

-Lastly, GI has opened up voting for Reader's Choice: Best of 2011.  If you haven't voted already (I know I have), go ahead and do so.  There has been a ton of great games released this year, so be sure to support your favorites!

And now, to the Recap:

Question Of the Month: Which video game enemy scares you the most and why?


For me, this was an easy question to answer.  I will never forget playing the first Dead Space late at night and then going to bed with nightmares about Necromorphs.  I think they are creepy and disgusting.  Even worse, is that there isn't just one type, there are many, each more uniquely gross than the one preceding it.  I guess what creeps me out the most about them is a combination of them popping up and out of nowhere, they can't be killed by traditional means, and they are made from the remains of human beings.  Kudos to the team at Visceral Games.  This is the first game to literally scare the heck out of me, and I'm not afraid to admit it.  The necromorphs are a really unique breed of enemy and here's hoping we haven't seen the last of them.


I’ve always found the Big Daddy/Little Sister combo in BioShock to be creepy in the most awesome of ways. Scary isn’t exactly how I’d describe it, but dealing with the iron juggernaut ( equipped with a huge drill for an arm ) before deciding the fate of a little girl with dead eyes is quite the unsettling experience. I trust Irrational Games will create some equally disturbing enemies and situations in the upcoming BioShock Infinite.


Dragons! Especially Skyrim Dragons. The first sign of a dragon is the flapping of wings, then the strangled cry it lets loose. By that time, the dragon is already upon you. Whenever you first come face to face with these mighty beast, it is quite terrifying indeed.

Also, Kefka, not because he is scary like something from a horror show, but because he is mentally unstable and can destroy the world. Joker falls under the same category. Not physically scary, but mentally disturbed.


Well this is a tougher question than I thought it would be.  I will say Zombies. Until recently, I had been terrified of zombies in video games, to the point that I mostly avoided those games. As to the why?

Many people already know that I wasn't much of a gamer until I was in my mid twenties.  I bought a PSP and a GBA and then a used Gamecube. I bought RE4 for the Gamecube. Remember, I was not a seasoned vet.  I've never been a fan of scary stuff in general.  I played RE4 for about a half hour and it scared the crap out of me! After that, I avoided Zombies. I slowly got used to playing games that had a bit of a chilling atmosphere, I think once I conquered Bioshock, I was able to handle creepy games a bit better.


Grand Theft Auto V Announcement Reactions:

This month's Connect kicked off with Rockstar's official confirmation of the existence of the next installment of Grand Theft Auto.  While it was huge when it happened, I can't help but wonder if it would have made a bigger impact being announced at this year's E3 like I had personally hoped for.  And it may not be the rumored return to Vice City I was really hoping for, but nevertheless I am excited for the new GTA like most people are.  Here's hoping we don't have a notorious often delay heavy Rockstar wait ahead of us for this one. Regardless, when GTA V does hit, it will be big.  I asked the guys if they were excited about the announcement and here is what they thought about it:


For sure. I’ve been with the series from Grand Theft Auto III and straight on. I remember just how hard it was to acquire a copy when underage, with parents and GameStop employees always foiling my fun. It was even harder to play the game in secrecy once I obtained it, but it was definitely worth it. Lately I’ve been replaying the Saints Row series to catch up to Saints Row 3, and the sandbox style gameplay reminds me enough of the GTA series to make me feel nostalgic. Saints Row and GTA are vastly different in gameplay, tone, and execution, but I’d have to stand by GTA as my favorite of the genre. 


Never was into Grand Theft Auto, but I respect what it did for gaming and games of its kind. Many gamers have fallen in love with Rockstar and the GTA series in particular. I can't say that I'm really excited for this or anything, but I understand why one would be, and rightfully so.


Kind of. I haven't played much GTA, the only one that has released since my gaming rebirth was GTA IV. I did play a few hours of it, but I quit because at the time my son was very young and he always wanted to watch me play it.

I will most likely buy GTA5. I like Rockstar's work, I thoroughlly enjoyed Red Dead Redemption, and as much as I have publicly shared my displeasure in LA Noire, I know that was only Published by them, I doubt they had much influence in the development, or at least overall gameplay.

Ezio Joins The Cast Of Soul Calibur V:

The major announcements in Connect continued with the reveal of Soul Calibur V's guest character, Assassin's Creed's very own Ezio.  In my opinion, this is probably the one guest character that fits the most within the Soul Calibur universe.  Ezio has a similar look to most of the classic fighters and he bears many weapons just like them too.  I can't wait to "take a stab" at playing as Ezio when Soul Calibur V launches early next year.


I think guest stars in a game like Soul Calibur works fine; it’s a series that established early on that it likes to include known characters from other games or media in its roster. Link, Spawn, Yoda and Darth Vader and others were all welcome additions, and Ezio looks to fit nicely among their ranks. What confuses and upsets me is the inclusion of an Ezio costume in DLC for the upcoming FFXIII-2. What is that all about? Granted, I didn’t do research to find out why the armor is in the game - and I suppose there could be some totally plausible reason - but I don’t think I’m being unfair in saying that it’s an odd decision to merge two totally dissimilar games in such a fashion.


I didn't know who to expect from a guest character in Soul Calibur V. History has iconic characters, but some that felt a little awkward for the series. While playing as Yoda and having a lightsaber was awesome, it really doesn't fit the Soul Calibur Motif.

Ezio, on the other hand, is the perfect inclusion. He is incredible with a blade, and while his moves are a little flashy in the Soul Calibur game, he is the best fit since Link in Soul Calibur II. I can't wait to play as him myself.

His gun gives him a bit of an unfair advantage, when the series does not focus on projectiles, but still, he seems to be balanced out with the rest of the cast and a nice fit in the universe.


Wasn't there two guest characters in SCIV? Or was it just one but each console had a different person?  Not a huge fighting game guy, I don't possess the necessary skill to pay the proverbial bill! My fingers cannot move that fast, nor remember enough detail to pull off the awesome combos. 3-4 buttons in God of War is hard enough for me!

I do know a little about Ezio though, and I think it is a very odd fit. Ezio is more stealth than anything, and while he can throw down against guards that are trained to always give him the advantage, something tells me characters of Soul Calibur will not always let him win.

With my limited knowledge of the genre, I would say somebody like sack boy would have been a more fitting guest character! Or if it has to be multiplatform, why not Simon Belmont, or Batman! Yeah, Batman would be awesome, might make me buy the game.


2011 Spike Video Game Awards Teasers:

The 2011 Spike VGAs are right around the corner (This coming Saturday actually) and as usual there are some big reveals lined up for the event.  Connect provided a brief look at 3 of them: The Next Alan Wake Title, A New Game From BioWare, & More Details on Metal Gear Solid Rising.  Like quite a few people, I'm mainly in it for said reveals, because if it is anything like last year, the awards show on its own will be a train wreck.  I'm interested to hear more about each game announcement briefly touched on in this GI, but if I had to pick, I'd say I'm most excited to hear about the next Alan Wake since I enjoyed the first one.


Alan Wake is in my top 10 games of all time, so I’m extremely excited to hear about what’s to come for the troubled writer. Some screenshots I saw earlier led me to believe that the game will be a downloadable title rather than a full length game. I recall hearing that the game didn’t receive much fan recognition despite being well reviewed, so it would make sense for the sequel to go the downloadable route. While I’d prefer a full-fledged sequel, I wouldn’t mind playing an XBLA game just to jump back into the shoes of one of my favorite characters in some time.

Of course, I won’t let the other two reveals slip past me unnoticed. I’m more than ready to sop up BioWare’s news about a new game, and anything Metal Gear interests me because I plan to run through the entire series sometime in the future ( aided by the recently released HD pack. )


The Spike VGA's are coming up, a great time to see all of the best games the past year has had, but also a place to take a glimpse at the future. That is just what they are doing this year, with several exclusive trailers, three of which have been hinted at in this issue.

None of which excite me more than the reveal of a new Bioware title, and most likely a franchise. KOTOR was my first foray into the western RPG, and Mass Effect is my favorite Western RPG and one of my favorite games ever, so of course I'm excited for a new Bioware franchise. I really don't know what to expect from the screens of the game, but I'm pumped to see what Bioware will do after they finish Mass Effect.

2011 Holiday Buying Guide:

Seeing as it is December, it is only fitting that the annual Holiday Buying Guide graced the pages of GI.  Instead of us going through everything in its pages, we all answered this simple question: If money wasn't an issue, what you buy from the guide?  For me, it wasn't really anything expensive.  I've always wanted a cardboard standee and when I saw the Mortal Kombat one, more specifically Sonya Blade, it was a pretty easy choice.  I'm short on money now with the flood of releases that just got done, but I may get one of these eventually.  Hopefully...


If money wasn’t an issue, the Sony Bracia 65-inch HX929 Smart TV would be nice. Of course, space would have to be no issue as well. Considering we’re playing the “if money is no issue” game, perhaps I could buy a new place to house my shiny new TV.

The concept of a “3D ready” TV is enticing for me, being someone who would only make use of 3D about 10% of the time. Despite such a low percentage, I hate to be behind the times, even though I’m not even a fan of the recent 3D craze. I prefer good old regular movies, shows and games. Watching the NBA in 3D might be exciting, but it seems like more of a bucket-list experience than a new way to watch the sport.


Asking what I would get on this list if money wasn't an object is like saying "hey you want all of this stuff." I would probably get everything, but I'll limit it down to five.

1.) Mass Effect SSV Normandy Ship Replica- Mass Effect is one of my favorite series ever, and having a replica of the ship in my room would be amazing. I don't know how many would get it, but whenever they come in the first thing they would ask is, "where did you get that cool looking ship?" I would tell them to go ply Mass Effect. You get attached to the Normandy, and once mass effect is over I'll be able to remember the love I had of the series on my shelf.

2.) Pac Man Blik- How awesome would it be to walk into your room and feel like your in a game of Pac-Man? Awesome, right? Yeah, that's why I want this wall paper. It would be a lot of fun to feel that same experience in real life. Plus the Black one looks really cool.

3.) Iphone 4S- I was never really that into the Iphone, until I saw this baby. It talks back to you, how cool is that? I have a go phone right now, and it would be really awesome to upgrade. Siri, Icloud, the amazing app store, a camera quality camera on a phone, and easy to use. How could you go wrong.

4.) Wolf Link and Midna Statue- Even though Twilight Princess is one of my least favorite Zelda games, this statue is amazing. Wolf Link looks amazing, and they got all the detail right. Midna looks very cool as well, also detailed very nicely. 15' inces tall, and full of awesome!

5.) Alienware M18x Laptop- Alienware. 'Nuff said. I need a gaming PC, something that can run super high quality games at fast speeds. Not to mention I'll be off to college soon and would really like a laptop for that. Perfect combination. This thing is almost God like.


I would really like the entire set of the squid kids ink ten-Doh's. They are so cool, but a bit pricey. I have a lot of the stuff in there, but I don't have an ipad yet, I will probably get one someday. Also, somehow left out is the N7 Replica gun. I want that BAD!  As you know, I love video game related merch(a passion we share it seems), so I drool over this kind of stuff.

The Essentials:

The last topic of this portion of the Recap covers GI's current generation essentials list.  Personally, I think it is a REALLY solid list and without devoting a lot of time to it, I can't really think of any games they missed that I would add.  Great job, you guys!  That was a really well put together and thought out list!


I believe GI did a good job creating their “Essentials” list. Looking at it through the eyes of someone who hasn’t really played a certain genre ( or an entire era of video games, in  some cases ) and is looking to catch up, the list can be an extremely handy tool. My only question is why Oblivion is listed under “Open World” games after Skyrim released and unanimously bested its predecessor in every category. Also, I’m glad and surprised to see Lost Odyssey on the RPG list. As my friend often points out, there’s an extreme shortage of JRPGs on modern home consoles, and it’s nice to see that they’re not forgotten. 


I love the list, like the Gameinformer staff put some great titles on there. If I were too add any/remove some it wouldn't be much.

I would definitely add Skyrim, which destroyed Oblivion in quality. I guess they didn't have the game prior to release of the magazine, but Skyrim is vastly better than Oblivion. I don't think anyone should spend money on Oblivion, just go straight to Skyrim.

That's about it, the rest of the list is incredible.


So perhaps this is my PS3 fanboy side talking, but I had a co-worker looking through the list because he recently got a PS3 and wanted to know what some good games were. I had the mag in my desk, and handed it to him.  He kept commenting about the game not being on PS3, so finally I asked him to show me. He was just glancing at the covers and thought that meant what system they were on. So i looked closer and sure enough, most of the multiplat games are showcased with either the 360 or PC covers!  Of course wii lovers could cry foul more than PS3 fans!  For the record, I love my 360, I just play the ps3 by default.

To answer your question however.....It's very hard to argue with this list. It is quite thorough.  The shooter category was kind of lacking i think. It didn't specify FPS, but I noticed Gears was snubbed(see I love my egggzbox), so was Resistance and Killzone. I think those games were all great shooters, and in my opinion deserve some recognition. We are talking about a whole generation of games. I also think Singularity and Catherine deserve a nod somewhere. Opinions!

That does it for this portion.  Within the next few weeks, I'll have some more December goodness to share!