Note: Grand Theft Auto III details complete.

Note: The sleep did me well. Mass Effect 3 is done.

Note: With Luigi's Mansion done, I'm going to SLEEP.

Note: Mass Effect 2 and BioShock Infinite! Look at me go!

Note: And now Mass Effect has some details!

Note: The Walking Dead details (spoiler-free!) are now added. Just don't think about the scoring system too hard.

Note: I have now added details on my time spent with Half-Life and Goldeneye 007

I read Reiner's blog recently about his favorite games of this year. But as I prepared to make an equivalent blog, as he suggested, I decided instead to write about not just my favorite games so far this year (I haven't played a lot of 2013 releases thus far), but to write about any game I've beaten this year. As of today, this will simply be a list, but soon I will get to writing descriptions of my time with those games (once I've got some finals out of the way).



 First of all, let me say that I am primarily a console gamer. I love a good game, regardless of whether it is a PC or console title, but I prefer consoles. This was one game I needed to play on PC (I believe a PS2 port exists, supposedly it is inferior). When I bought this game, I was using a desktop with low specs, but it could run 1998 games at least. At the point when I got a laptop with good specs, I restarted, trudging through with *shudder* a touchpad. That was awful. I then restarted with a mouse, and it was much more enjoyable. There was another restart in there somewhere, but I don't even remember where. Anyways, from the asparagus monster to the space bus, I enjoyed my time with this game. The highlight for me was taking down that helicopter (finally; screw you, helicopter), a very triumphant moment. The worst part was the dull environments, in the last few chapters set in Black Mesa. Overall, it was a game significant enough to gaming history that I thought I should play it, and I'm glad I did. You should too.

The Score: 9.25 Sonic Wave-Emitting Space Puppies out of 10 Gordon Freemans Hiding From G-Man Behind a Space Bus Seat

Goldeneye 007

Like the above game, this was a title that redefined the FPS genre. I consider Wolfenstein 3D and Doom the foundation of the FPS's first generation, and the first two games on the list founders of the second (among others). Half-Life did that for PCs, and Goldeneye 007 did it for consoles. Now, right off the bat, Goldeneye 007 has a few bonuses for me-it is a console game, so I should naturally be better at it, and it is a James Bond game, and he is awesome. As for being better at it...it was an on and off playthrough like Half-Life, but I was not about to restart this. My memories of this playthrough are rather varied, from loving the classic Dam and Facility levels, to eating pizza in front of the TV while playing this game, in a room with no furniture - just some shelves off to the side on the wall, a Nintendo 64, and a TV. Throughout the game, I enjoyed being put in the shoes of a much better Bond than Daniel Craig - at least at the start of my playthrough. But if it wasn't for Craig redeeming himself (in a fantastic way) with Skyfall, I might not have had the enthusiasm for James Bond to go back to this. I'm glad I did - I will say that it is my favorite FPS of all time (I might go back on that later, don't hold me to it). I also played the beloved multiplayer with a friend - timeless.

The Score: 10 Incoherent Quantum of Solace Plots out of 10 End Credit Polygonal Makeouts


The Walking Dead

This game has possibly the best writing this side of Breaking Bad, and better writing than the TV show (good, but inconsistent). From the beginning, I was on Lee's side. The crime he commited - murdering a state Senator who his wife had an affair with - isn't excusable, but isn't heartless either. Even before anyone gets bit, the morality of the characters is brought into question, and I love it. Throughout the episodic experience (which I played in bulk), I felt like I was developing real relationships with the characters, and my choices revolved around those relationships. I never cried during this game - maybe a little bit, once, do you expect me to have a memory? - and I blame that on the Mountain Dew that got me through two and a half episodes in a night. At 3:00 A.M., when I witnessed the conclusion, I was numb. I had gotten some spoilers, though I had avoided the details. It still came as a shock, since I knew only the most general idea of it. As my eyelids drooped, and my fingers fumbled for the keys (should've gotten this on 360 anyway for my obsession for achievements and other stat tracking methods larger screen), I was too tired to wrap my head around it all. I went to bed. Anyways, that little story without a moral being over, the highlight of my time with the game was the second episode (best writing this side of Breaking Bad for sure). The lowest point? The magical levitating battery glitch in the first episode. Entertaining, though.

The Score: 9.75 Dick Grayson Detective Water Fowl out of 10 MacGyver Laser Pointer Heroics



Mass Effect

Now you can discover my shameful ordinary list of games I haven't played yet from this generation. As of 2012, I did not own any Mass Effect games (take a minute to calm down, it's fine). I know, I know. I love RPGs - I should be put to death for my lack of Mass Effect. But in December 2012, I decided I had sat idle long enough. But alas, my wait did have its benefits - there was the Mass Effect Trilogy bundle, all three games for the price of one. When I popped the first game into my 360, I could not have predicted what the next few months (I know) would have in store. This game...as I reminesce on my love for this game, I am tempted to throw something out a window. I am so glad that I just had to play them in order (with the story and save transfers of this trilogy, how could I not?). If I had played more than a measly few minutes of Mass Effect 2, or 3, before this, I might not like this game. As fantastic as the story is, the gameplay and the optional missions don't hold a candle to Mass Effect 2. Don't even get me started on the autosaves in this game...but regardless, I loved it, because I hadn't played the much improved sequels. The standout element of this game series is the story, and I couldn't get enough of it in the original Mass Effect. Captain Anderson is great, I despised Udina, and Saren was an amazing villain. Also, I punched a reporter in the face! But my favorite part, by far, was how well the choices reflected me. I was mostly Paragon, with a hint of Renegade, which showed up when dealing with characters I didn't like (the reporter, the Council). Instead of going all Paragon, or all Renagade, for possible achievements (that is NOT like me), I went with what I really thought, and it paid off. Plus, the Citadel is amazing in this game! I also got robbed on the romance system, but that's a story for another day.

Dream Team: Wrex and Garrus

Significant Other: Ashley

Casualties: Kaidan Alenko, The Council

(Highlight to see the Casualties, if you haven't played it, don't; casualties do not include unavoidable deaths)

The Score: 9.25 Bicentennial Autosaves out of 10 Smooth Talking Shepards


Mass Effect 2

After my slow but enjoyable trudging through Mass Effect (I should not have had that hard a time beating it), I began Mass Effect 2. Right from the beginning, I was hooked. The plot was amazing, and the ties to my choices in the original were quickly established with a memory test from Jacob and Miranda. The returning characters were welcome, and the new squadmates fit in perfectly (Mordin! Grunt!). The side missions were much improved, as demonstrated by my gamerscore. I amassed a mere 390 from the original, as I wasn't interested in the side quests due to my frustrations (even though I love it). From Mass Effect 2, I got 730 (maybe that's wrong, but it was between seven and eight hundred). The loyalty missions were great, ignoring one minor flaw (see my low point for that). The morality system was fantastic, as I loved the flashing prompts, like little angels and devils on Shepard's shoulders. The Illusive Man was a fantastic character, and only later did I discover that it was Martin Sheen! And while I'm on the subject of Martin Sheen, Apocalypse Now to Flatland. Let that sink in for a minute. Apocalypse Now to Flatland. Moving on, Garrus and my Shepard became the best of bros, and Grunt did not dissapoint. And Mordin! My high point with the game was the loyalty missions, and my low point was the possible failure of the Thane loyalty mission due to a timed sequence (no on-screen timer, just vocal indications), as well as the redesigned Citadel. Overall, a better experience than Mass Effect.

Dream Team: Garrus, Grunt, Mordin (in Rotation)

Significant Other: Miranda (almost Kelly, story for another day)

Casualties: Thane, Legion, Kelly, Half of the Normandy's Staff

Same drill with the casualties, no unavoidable deaths included either

 The Score: 9.75 2D Martin Sheens out of 10 Krogan Headbutts

BioShock Infinite

Ah, BioShock Infinite. The Internet's true love, if you will. When I picked this game up a week or two after release, maybe three, the hype was immense. I had a friend who was gushing about it (spoiler free, thank you), along with GameInformer, Reddit, and much more to back him up. Going in, I followed my friend's advice - I could spend 15+ hours with the game if I looked around, so I did. I took in the gorgeous scenery, and I became invested in Booker DeWitt's mysterious story (loved the nod to the Pinkertons). Columbia came to life, and the strange Christianity-nationalism-racism fusion of a religion demonstrated some of the most mature storytelling in gaming. The serviceable gunplay complemented an array of exhilirating vigors and an engrossing story, and Elizabeth proved to be an actually helpful companion. I'm sorry this entry is so short, but I can't risk spoiling anything. Anyways, was it a perfect game, or a ten in my book? No. Was it fantastic? Yes. The high point - the story of Comstock bending religion to put himself on top - or maybe not, I can't wrap my mind around this game's plot - was chilling, and Booker DeWitt was a great protagonist. The low point - the difficulty spike of the final sequence. Ugh.

The Score: 9.25 Debts to Repay out of 10 Ken Levines!

Luigi's Mansion

This game had been waiting to be played since I bought it used the day I saw Rock of Ages (the movie). See it. Anyhow, when the Super Replay began I decided it was time. My plan was to take a break from gunplay, complex plots, and wireless controllers to play through this acclaimed title in a day or two. Took me a week of playing here and there, got all 50 Boos, between 7 and 10 hours. As demonstrated and discussed on the Super Replay, it gets a bit tedious by the end. The fantastic protagonist (like Booker DeWitt, if you think about it) and refreshing break from Mario, Mario, Mario was welcome (don't get me wrong, Mario's great). The spooky theme was appreciated, and when I watched The Evil Dead (the original, 1981 (or maybe 82?)) shortly after my playthrough of this game, I thought of a Luigi's Mansion version of that movie (let's not get into that). I don't know why. But from trembling with fear on his brother-less adventure, to solving Toad's mid-life crisis brought on by dropping a key in the toilet, Luigi proved to be just fantastic. This game's quick and great, so go play it.

The Score: 9 Shivers the Spooky Butlers out of 10 Toad Severe Depressions

Mass Effect 3

My goal throughout my playthrough of the trilogy was to prepare for what I knew was coming - the Council was wrong, and a Reaper invasion was inevitable. By the time I started Mass Effect 3, I cared about the characters around me. I wanted to fix all the problems, and be the best Shepard I could be. I'd brought as much of my team through Mass Effect 2's suspenseful and fantastic Suicide Mission as I could. I had powerful military and political allies throughout the galaxy. But as the story of this game progressed, it became obvious that my side was the underdog (as if it wasn't obvious anyways). So I had to work - I had to work, because to me it would all be validated if I could save just one more of my favorite characters. I watched as my Readiness Rating went up, and up, and up; I wasn't about to rush through this. I didn't want to be David without a slingshot, not when Goliath has giant lasers and such. Mass Effect 2 improved on the original's formula in nearly every way, and the Citadel was much more interesting than in 2 (not sure if it tops the original's, but still good) if I may make note of that. The whole kid-nightmare thing wasn't as interesting to me as it could have been had they used a deceased squadmate. Was it sad? Yeah. Was it personal? Not really. Regardless of that, the mission was personal. It was time for revenge. I felt like Arnold in Commando's famous suiting up scene. The fantastic build up throughout the series paid off in a meaningful, fantastic, and personalized way. And I didn't even install the Extended Cut.

Dream Team: Garrus, Liara

Significant Other: Liara

Casualties: Mordin Solus, General Oraka, Ashley Williams, Cortez, James, EDI, Legion II, Commander Shepard

The Score: 10 " Love 'em and Leave 'em" Shepards out of 10 Krogan Babies

Grand Theft Auto III

Last year, when I saw all of the core Grand Theft Auto titles (GTA, GTA 2, GTA III, GTA: Vice City, GTA: San Andreas, GTA IV, Episodes From Liberty City) for sale for about $12.50 on Steam, I couldn't resist. It was a great chance to fill in some holes in my gaming history (I would have preferred console, but the only PC port that seems to be somewhat of a downgrade is GTA IV, and maybe the 2D ones). I began with Grand Theft Auto III, planning to play through the III Era first. Grand Theft Auto III was one of the founders of the modern open world genre, featuring gameplay elements from the earlier GTA titles translated excellently into 3D. The story centers around a silent protagonist (if you get into GTA lore, his name is Claude) who is betrayed in the opening cutscene by his girlfriend and partner-in-crime Catalina. Playing as Claude, you work your way up through the ranks in Liberty City's criminal underworld. Characters such as 8-Ball, Luigi, and Tony provide missions, some of which have aged fairly well, and others which have aged so damn badly. Regardless, it is a very fun game, thanks in part to GTA's signature satire on American culture. Tuning the radio to Chatterbox FM as you play through a mission is just great. All of Rockstar's little touches hold up better than the mission design, though this is still a great game, and one to play if you enjoy open world titles.

9 Ammu-Nations out of 10 Cartel Cruisers


Halo 4

Injustice: Gods Among Us