The End Of An Era… But The Beginning Of Another.

As with so many things, gaming has changed a hell of a lot since the start of the decade.

It’s been a progressive ten years, seeing the arrival of the Playstation 2, Playstation 3 and PSP – as well as rival consoles from Nintendo and Microsoft that helped push Sony to improve.

Games are a much bigger part of life now – more mainstream than ever before. Most houses will have one of the consoles, if not more, as parents and children play (sometimes together 🙂 ).

METAL GEAR SOLID: One of the original Playstation’s finest moments

There can be no doubt that Sony was the manufacturer of the decade – the continuing success of the PS2 secures them that accolade.

But in the current generation of consoles they sit in last place. XBox 360 started so well and then Nintendo arrived with the Wii to rape and pillage the ‘casual market.’

However as time has gone on the PS3 has made great strides to catch up with the XBox (I just can’t take the Wii seriously as a platform) and seems to finally be getting the games to back up it’s hardware.

GOD OF WAR: The series that showcased just how much was left in the PS2

As this decade comes to a close we’ve seen various companies go bust. From well established ones, like Acclaim or Midway, through to lesser known but good studios such as Pandemic no-one seemed safe from the threat of extinction.

I’ve had some big changes in gaming since 2000 – swinging from FIFA to PES back in 2001 and then back to FIFA again in 2009. Going from casual gamer to setting up my own blog and reviewing games.

The main difference for me now is in online gaming. With XBox Live on the 360 and then the PSN for PS3 gaming became even more social than before – with friends lists and even the inclusion of Twitter updates of your in game progress (Uncharted 2).

KILLZONE 2: The game that has defined online gaming for me this decade

I never thought I would ever play with a headset – but as online games have developed it’s often essential to be able to communicate to the people you’re playing with, not least to be able to dish out some friendly ribbing now and then 😆

Games are so well developed now that people who were just casual gamers are finding themselves completing games and playing online.

It’s a great time to be a gamer and with a slew of great titles confirmed for 2010/2011 it looks like it’ll just keep getting better and better.

UNCHARTED 2: The complete gaming package

For the record here are my Top 10 favourites games of the decade:

1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)

2. Killzone 2 (PS3)

3. GTA: Vice City (PS2)

4. Pro Evolution Soccer 5 (PS2)

5. Metal Gear Solid (PSX)

6. God Of War II (PS2)

7. Dead Space (PS3)

8. Fallout 3 (PS3)

9. Resident Evil 4 (PS2)

10. GTA IV (PS3)

And because of “it’s great balance of Final Fantasy and Disney” my wife has submitted her game of the decade: Kingdom Hearts.

So that rounds out the decade!

See you all in 2010! 😎

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GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games: The Top 5!

GTA3

Well, we have finally arrived at the last installment of GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 games and it has been a pleasure (plus a lot of hard work 🙂 ) to compile this list and share it with you.

Usual system applies:

I decided, as so many games mean so many different things to me, I should come up with a fair way to judge them. This is what I came up with:

Time Spent Playing

Storyline

Difficulty

Fun

Ground Breaking?

A few provisos before we hit the last few games…

Firstly this is my list of my Top 100 games. I certainly don’t expect you guys to agree with it (though hopefully you’ll agree with some of the choices 🙂 ) and would welcome any comments.

Secondly, I’m not planning on putting the scores or totals up, just listing the games in the order they came out in.

Lastly, I never owned a Nintendo or Microsoft console so my experiences on these games were limited to friend’s houses etc – bite me 😆

Like some of the rest of the Top 10 each game will also have a video for your viewing pleasure and I’ll recap the Top 100 in full before I reveal No.1.

So let’s get it going on!

 

5. KILLZONE 2 (Playstation 3)

Killzone2

I’m sure a lot of you have read my review of Killzone 2 so this isn’t completely unexpected but I was a touch surprised that a game released in February of this year made the Top 5. The explanation for this is as follows: multi-player. The single player story mode of Killzone 2 is immense and I’m sure the game would easily have made the Top 20 based on that alone (and you can read why in the full review). But for me this is the most fun I’ve ever had playing online.

The sense of achievement in ranking up is unreal and playing with friends is great. I never thought I would get a headset but Killzone 2 made me cross that line – and often the conversation and banter between me and my friends in our own game room is some of the funniest stuff I’ve heard in a gaming environment. Even in multi-player the graphics are superb and the sense of panic created by the fantastically well designed levels is just amazing. If you own a PS3 you need to own this – even if you don’t like first person shooters you should give it a whirl, I know several people who were never into them before that are now dedicated recruits. Mr Veitch I’m looking at you.

 

4. METAL GEAR SOLID (Playstation)

MetalGear

Metal Gear Solid is one of those few games when all the crazy feature ideas and over the top story come together to make an absolute classic. Taking on the role of Solid Snake you had to stealth your way through the levels with an array of gadgets and skills – including the infamous cardboard box disguise.

Metal Gear Solid broke the mould – not only for bringing Stealth as a genre to the forefront but for showing that games could match Hollywood movies for plot and substance. The list of characters was brilliant and the boss battles were legendary – the Pyscho Mantis battle still makes me smile just thinking about it. What other game would have a look at the other saves on your memory card and then use it to taunt you?! It freaked me out completely – then there was the whole control pad thing… anyway he was one of many great boss battles: Revolver Ocelot, Sniper Wolf and of course Liquid Snake, were all highlights. The best Playstation One game, without a shadow of a doubt.

 

3. RESIDENT EVIL 4 (Playstation 2)

ResiEvil4

Resident Evil 4 marked the beginning of a new chapter for the franchise. Gone were the bumbling, shuffling (but still pretty lethal) oafs of previous Resident Evil games who were replaced by a very more ‘human’ threat: “Los Ganados.” Essentially humans infected with the La Plagas virus as opposed to mindless zombies – these guys can attack you with weapons, run, dodge attacks. It takes everything to a whole new level.

They are fast and usually attack in numbers, often leading to you retreating as they swarm your way. The level design was brilliant and you were shepherded through lots of different environments, with the inital village setting one of the most impressive. Some of the boss battles; the giant fish and El Gigante being two that were particularily memorable. The monk-type dudes in the citadel freaked the hell out of me with their weird chanting… I was too scared to move at first then realised they weren’t going anywhere so I’d better get on with it 😆 Resident Evil 4 really is a great game and everyone should have at least played the opening village level – it really is mind-blowingly good. Maybe less so now but at the time it was simply the best thing I’d ever played.

 

2. GRAND THEFT AUTO III (Playstation 2)

GTA3 2

Was this really released almost EIGHT years ago?! Our first trip to the three dimensional Liberty City was something none of us will forget. It was a unique experience on the Playstation 2 – you can steal cars? Buy guns and shoot people? Out run (and out gun) the cops? But it wasn’t about the controversy – this was a solid game with an involving storyline. Sure your character never speaks but there is plenty said by the other characters to keep things ticking over. So many classic characters: Don Salvatore Leone, Donald Love, Phil Cassidy (the One-Armed Bandit), 8-Ball and Toni Cipriani to name but a few.

GTA3 3

It was a whole new way to play – you could do whatever you wanted. Fancy ignoring the story and taking on some cops for a bit. Go for it. Wanna make some money? Steal a cab and do some work as a Taxi Driver. There was so much to do it was almost overwhelming. Eventually people just got down to it and did whatever the hell they wanted. As long as you knew the basic controls you didn’t have to touch the story – you could just mess around for hours.

But that would’ve been a mistake because the plot of GTA III was excellent and certainly worth playing through. The comedy was close to the mark but spot on – no-one was safe from a jibe. The game also featured the car radio system for it’s music content, which was great and all the songs were really good, if little known. As the game progressed you certainly found yourself tuning the radio to your favourite station as soon as you got into a car.

GTA3 4

GTA III was a groundbreaking title for many reasons but the main one has to be that it completely raised the bar for every other game out there. Us gamers had been given a glimpse of the future – what gaming could be like… a sense of freedom married with a concise, funny and involving storyline. The trip to Liberty City was a great one and the journey got better and better…

 

Which brings us to the finale. Before I reveal my top game, here is a quick run down of the 99 that preceeded it:

 

100 Ghostbusters

99 Splatterhouse 2

98 Ghouls N Ghosts

97 Lethal Enforcers

96 Golden Axe

95 Hard Drivin’

94 WWF Royal Rumble

93 Chase HQ

92 Singstar

91 Resistance 2

90 Destruction Derby

89 Pacman

88 RockBand

87 Syphon Filter

86 Tomb Raider

85 Red Dead Revolver

84 Out Run

83 Resistance

82 Time Crisis

81 Toejam and Earl

80 Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior

79 Donkey Kong

78 Super Punch Out

77 Final Fight

76 Micro Machines

75 Manic Miner

74 Donkey Kong (SNES)

73 WWE Legends Of Wrestlemania

72 Twisted Metal

71 Kane And Lynch

70 Black

69 Resident Evil 5

68 Space Harrier

67 Motorstorm: Pacific Rift

66 Goldeneye (N64)

65 Football Manager

64 Mario Kart (N64)

63 SOS: Final Escape

62 WWF Smackdown 2

61 Track And Field

60 Paperboy

59 Rainbow Six Vegas 2

58 Heavenly Sword

57 Street Fighter IV

56 Desert Strike

55 Captain Commando

54 Mirror’s Edge

53 Robocop

52 Space Invaders

51 GRID

50 inFAMOUS

49 Alien Trilogy

48 Resident Evil 2

47 Alien 3

46 Robocop Vs Terminator

45 Super Monkey Ball

44 Horace Goes Skiing

43 FIFA 95

42 Gauntlet

41 Speedball 2

40 Assassin’s Creed

39 Roadblasters

38 Streets of Rage

37 Sensible Soccer

36 Premier Manager 98

35 Manhunt

34 The Warriors

33 Hitman Blood Money

32 Theme Park

31 Fahrenheit

30 Grand Theft Auto

29 Rainbow Six Vegas

28 Bioshock

27 LittleBigPlanet

26 Road Rash

25 Shadow Of The Colossus

24 Mad Dog McCree

23 Operation Wolf

22 Football Manager

21 GTA San Andreas

20 God Of War: Chains Of Olympus

19 Guitar Hero

18 Mortal Kombat

17 God Of War 2

16 God Of War

15 Uncharted

14 Pro Evolution Soccer 5

13 Metal Gear 3

12 Dead Space

11 Metal Gear 2

10 Sonic The Hedgehog

9 Street Fighter II

8 Resident Evil

7 Metal Gear Solid 4

6 GTA IV

5 Killzone 2

4 Metal Gear Solid

3 Resident Evil 4

2 GTA 3

 

So there you go, I’m sure a few of you have already guessed by it’s absence on the list so far but I can confirm that GregHorrorShow’s Game List No. 1 is…

 

1. GRAND THEFT AUTO: VICE CITY (Playstation 2)

GTA VC

We wondered what on earth Rockstar would do to follow up GTA 3 – how could they come back with a new game after that? Well, they went away and raised the bar even further! Setting GTA Vice City in the 80’s was a stroke of genius and including some of the characters from GTA 3 as their younger selves was truly inspired. You see these guys with their hopes and dreams – and you know what they end up like from seeing them in GTA III, truly brilliant.

GTA VC 2

This setting also meant a chance to do everything bigger and better – fast cars? check. Lots of neon? check. Cheesy music? check!!! The music on this game was amazing and they did such a good job of picking the tunes. There was a radio station for everyone as they upped the content. One of my fondest memories of this game is driving beside the beach at sunset with “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson playing on the radio.

GTA VC 3

But it wasn’t only the music and setting of course, the storyline was great, borrowing from plenty of great gangster films and the game had plenty of new features – allowing you to buy property as you earnt more money, each one having different side missions attached to it. There were helicopters for you to fly and your character actually spoke and took a bigger role in the plot.

GTA VC 4

It also featured my favourite ever GTA mission – the bank job. Just amazing. I won’t spoil it with details for people who haven’t played it but my word what a mission! If you’re not worried about SPOILERS then watch the glorious 10 minute clip below and appreciate a work of gaming genius!

I remember having to go to a gig with work a couple of days before GTA: Vice City was released. As we went past HMV they had a sign up saying they were selling it early. I didn’t hesitate. I had the game on me all through the gig and I couldn’t wait to get home. Once I got back at the end of the night I couldn’t resist and stuck it on – it was so good I played it until about 4am before what little perception of reality I had after a night on the beers saw me get some sleep.

 

Even as a big gamer that is something that happens to me very rarely with a single player game and so it’s with a large smile and a lot of happy memories that I confirm Grand Theft Auto: Vice City as Number 1 in GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games List! 😎

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Top 20 Kick Ass Female Characters: Part 2

CherryDarling

So we kicked off our Top 20 Kick Ass Female Characters earlier this week with numbers 20 down to 11, which can be found here.

And now the countdown continues…

 

10. Chun Li (Street Fighter)

Chun Li

Chun Li was one of those characters that everyone remembers, with her Lightning Kick and Spinning Bird Kick moves.

She enters the Street Fighter competition to avenge her father’s death as he was killed while investigating Shadaloo, M. Bison’s crime syndicate.

Chun Li was the first playable female character in a fighting game, which is pretty kick ass in itself.

But anyone who’s played as her only needs to hear her shout ‘Spinning Bird Kick!’ to know how kick ass she really is.

 

9. The Boss (Metal Gear Solid)

The Boss

Well without giving too much away from the (already confusing and downright wacky) Metal Gear Solid storylines, The Boss is a former C.I.A operative who was active throughout World War II and the Cold War as part of The Cobra Unit.

She has elite army training and is the founder of a specific type of close quarters combat using a combination of knife and gun to take down opponents.

The Boss was  a superspy who worked with lots of different organisations but her hand to hand prowess was almost unmatched and would easily take down squads of men before they realised what was going on.

 

8. Sarah Connor (Terminator)

Sarah Connor

Sarah Connor is a prime example of the maternal instinct – although in this case it’s also for the world’s benefit that she protects her son from harm.

After becoming pregnant following a liasion with a time travelling soldier 😕 Sarah Connor conceives her son John – who goes on to save humankind in a war against the machines.

Quite frankly anyone who can survive the advances of a Terminator is pretty hardcore in my book and you’re spoilt for choice with this entry as you have Linda Hamilton (film series) and Lena Headey (TV series) both playing the role so there’s twice as much carnage!

 

7. Miho (Sin City)

Miho

I think when I saw Sin City I was completely blown away by Miho – but in compiling this list all I could recall was her being handy with Shuriken. Well I checked out a clip on YouTube which confirmed her place in the Top 10.

Be warned this is VERY graphic violence from Sin City so don’t click the link if you like body parts remaining where they started:

Well I don’t feel like I have to add much but for those who didn’t watch the clip it basically showed Miho using her Shuriken and samurai swords to take out several bad guys.

Great skills but it’s the fact she doesn’t flinch once when killing these guys that makes Miho out as particualrly hardcore.

 

6. Buffy Summers (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)

Buffy

Buffy Summers has done her fair share of kicking vampire ass over the 8 seasons of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

While the show had a kind of camp, comedic quality the actual fight scenes and hand to hand combat were really well done.

Her ‘Watcher’ (mentor) Giles always had her training with the heavy bag and her skill set included lots of different types of martial arts.

She had to be at the top of her game to battle with the undead every night and there was a lot of high kicking and vicious punching in amongst the stakes through the heart.

Plus she was pretty handy with a crossbow. 😎

 

5. The Bride (Kill Bill)

TheBride

If you are looking for an assassin you could do a lot worse than The Bride, the cream of the Deadly Vipers assassin clan.

Her outrageous battle with The Crazy 88 is the stuff of legend and her use of the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique is hard to better.

She’s able to wield swords, guns… you name it, she’ll use it. The Bride is also good at adapting plans on the fly and just using whatever she can get her hands on to kill her target.

You better hope it’s not you she’s coming after. 🙂

 

4. Jill Valentine (Resident Evil)

Jill Valentine

One of the survivors of the original T-Virus outbreak in Resident Evil, Jill has been non-stop ever since.

Initially a member of the Special Tactics And Rescue Service (STARS), Jill is highly skilled in hand to hand combat and gun play.

After leaving STARS, she helped Chris Redfield try to blow the lid on the Umbrella Corporation in various other games in the series.

She’s survived so many Zombie attacks it’s a testament to her skills that she is still alive to tell the tale.

 

3. Cherry Darling (Planet Terror)

 Cherry Darling

You might not think a go-go dancer from Texas would be such a kick ass character but then again perhaps you haven’t encountered Cherry Darling.

Following on from a virus being released into the atmosphere that has turned the locals into flesh eating zombies 😎 it’s up to Cherry and a gang of uninfected peeps to save the day.

After a car accident sees Cherry thrown from the vehicle and one of her legs eaten by zombies 😮 she recovers in hospital and is eventually given a custom made machine gun instead of a false leg 😀

Cherry uses her new found weapon to help stop the spread of the virus but unfortunately the spread does continue, albeit on a reduced scale.

From there on out Cherry leads what remains of mankind to a fort on the sea line, where they will do battle, defending the fort and living the best lives they can in the meantime.

 

2. Ripley (Aliens)

Ripley

Ellen Ripley’s nightmare began when her ship the Nostromo encountered a distress signal and decided to investigate.

We all know how that ended but Ripley shows guts and determination during the Alien series of films.

Protecting Newt and even some Colonial Marines in the second film, she has a sense of leadership that others look to in times of trouble.

Ripley might not have the combat skills of the rest of the Top 20 but her heart and all out action style would give any of them a run for their money.

 

1. River Tam (Firefly/Serenity)

River Tam

River is smuggled aboard Firefly by her brother Simon as the pair of them are on the run from The Alliance.

Upon coming out of hiding on the ship she is shown to be simple and most of the crew presume she has learning difficulties or the like.

That wasn’t true. Her emotional problems stemmed from botched brain surgery at ‘school.’

River came from a rich bakground and was considered a child prodigy. Sent to a private school called The Academy at age 14, which turned out to be an undercover government experiment that was trying to create the perfect assassin. 😀

Highly skilled with firearms and deadly in hand to hand combat River can be triggered at any time, which activates her assassin ‘mode.’

Check out this fight scene from the film Serenity – absolutely kick ass 😎

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PSP Go!ing To Be Reborn?

pspgo

Well while the dust is settling on E3 I thought now would be a good time to do a piece on the PSP that I’ve meant to do for a few months.

My PSP gets plenty of use, I have a long journey into work (2hrs each way) so I have lots of time to play.

I would say 85% of my time has been spent on Football Manager. Firstly because it’s addictive as hell and secondly because there isn’t much else I’m bothered about playing on PSP.

Most of my friends with PSP’s barely use them nowadays and they sit unused and unloved in a corner somewhere.

Basically us PSP’ers get a handful of shoddy PS3 ports and loads of retro games (which I love but bloody hell could Midway squeeze any more of the same games on a slightly different compilation?! :mad:).

pspgo2

The last decent game was God Of War: Chains Of Olympus which was short but immensely awesome 😎 That was released in 2008. 😦

Then all of a sudden a few months back a shedload of games were announced:

Assassin’s Creed Blood Line

LittleBigPlanet

Motorstorm: Arctic Rift

Indiana Jones: Staff Of Kings

Madden 10

RockBand

I honestly thought it was joke. At this late stage in it’s lifecycle (almost 4 years in!) we are being treating to a plethora of excellent games? 😐

There were even a few other games that didn’t interest me but some people would be excited about (Final Fantasy and the like).

I googled and checked my favourite game sites… It seemed to be a genuine announcement. As a last precaution I checked the date wasn’t April 1st.

Nope, it was true. Brilliant. 😎

pspgo3

And then further down the line the rumour mill went into overdrive about a new PSP – ‘PSP Go!’ It doesn’t need UMD’s – it’s completely digital. I saw the mock up photo (which was pretty much what the final product looks like) and I liked it very much 🙂

Since then we’ve had E3 and the full PSP Go! announcement.

pspgo4

My reaction had many stages:

1) Seeing it – Yay! Looks great 🙂

2) Closer inspection – Ah, it doesn’t have a second analogue stick 😦

3) Hope and digital confirmation – Still looks great and I’m used to one analogue stick now. Digital is cool, don’t care how I get my games and longer battery life is sweet. Think I’ll replace my old (original) PSP with one of these 😎

4) Epic fail – $250???!!!!!!! 😡 That’s £150 directly converted but I imagine it will retail at £200 here in the UK. For a new digital version of a device I already own? FAIL 😥

If you don’t already own a PSP and are cool with getting your games digitally this (possibly) isn’t so bad.

I certainly won’t be getting one until it drops dramatically in price (I’m talking dropping to £120 at least) and I should think even people who want a PSP and don’t have one may think twice about a handheld that costs more than an XBox 360!

PSP Go! looks like a lovely piece of kit but the price has killed it for me (for the time being). Maybe if I get my hands on one and it’s loads more comfortable etc I might reconsider.

But that wasn’t the only PSP news at E3, we also had the following announced:

pspgogt

Gran Turismo

pspgo6

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Oh yes.

A new Metal Gear game 😎

I’m not a huge fan of Gran Turismo on PS3 – it’s ok and 5 looks sweet but I don’t have the commitment to stick with it. But PSP could be a different matter as I could (technically) play it everyday.

These games (and the inital list above – except Madden) aren’t ports, they are being specifically designed for PSP.

Jade Raymond confirmed in an interview that Assassin’s Creed on PSP will reveal the link between Ailtair and Enzo. This is exactly the kind of content and side story that is perfect for the PSP platform.

We’ve also had the (slightly) limited but very fun Resistance Retribution in the meantime – again not a port but a Resistance game in it’s own right.

pspgo7

So to put it bluntly after nearly 4 years of moaning that there are no decent PSP games on the horizon I find myself excited to own a PSP going through the rest of this year and into 2010 – rumours of another God Of War game make me smile and I hope they are true but even if they aren’t there is enough coming up to keep me satisfied.

And Football Manager 2010 should be out towards the end of the year as well 😉