All posts by Larry Davis

Here’s hoping the playerbase doesn’t fall as quickly as the first game, which was narrowly beaten for our 2014 Best Multiplayer Golden Gizmo by some weird semi-browser game full of bugs and insanity. You have George (and the aforementioned exodus of players) to thank for that one.

No date is given in this very short, unsubstantial teaser, but it’s prooobably safe to say that it’ll be late this year or early next year. It does mention a “worldwide reveal” on June 12th, because I guess this trailer isn’t a reveal, and the internet isn’t worldwide. Man, what have I been doing all this time?

Here it is, on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, the most prestigious awards in video games: The Golden Gizmos! This is where we honor the greatest games of the year, or at least out of the ones we actually played. After that, we have the real show: The Golden Gremmies, awarded to the dregs of the industry. So let’s get it on!

NOTE: Games released in late November or December of this year are eligible for the following year. This includes titles such as Xenoblade Chronicles X, Yakuza 5, Just Cause 3, and Aviary Attorney.



2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
3. Super Mario Maker
4. Rise of the Tomb Raider
5. Evolve
6. Read Only Memories
7. Tales From the Borderlands
8. Undertale
9. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
10. Her Story

Despite my best efforts, I could not get Rise of the Tomb Raider above the #4 spot, as I am the only asshole on staff with an Xbox One. Expect it to crop up again next year when the PC and PS4 versions are out. That aside, MGSV (that’s V, not 5) seemed like the obvious winner. Despite Konami’s post-launch fuckery making the game actively worse as a result, even though the FOB metagame was the least enjoyable part of the game to begin with, the core game is so finely-tuned and just plain fun that it’s hard to argue against. As Hideo Kojima’s last Metal Gear, it’s underwhelming — a completely unnecessary, as well as extremely predictable, end-game twist makes it clear that MGSV is a side-story rather than a direct sequel, and we’ll likely never see the true Metal Gear Solid 5. But as a video game… A real-ass video game? It’s the best Metal Gear by a country mile, with a compelling gameplay loop, tight controls, fantastic animation, and a story that makes sense and doesn’t wear out its welcome with endless cutscenes about information control and nanomachines.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, meanwhile, has its own take on an open world adventure. Less concerned with emergent events, and more with interconnected storylines resurfacing when you least expect them, it’s an RPG with character. Whether Geralt is telling a demon to fuck off or hunting a vampire by getting drunk, the side-quests are often as entertaining, if not more so, than the actual main quest. It doesn’t hurt that The Witcher features one of the strongest supporting casts of any video game, especially when it comes to female characters — Yennefer and Ciri in particular are notable for eschewing stereotypes common in video games, although in this game Triss is mostly ineffectual and barely present. Wild Hunt nevertheless acts as a total conclusion of the series up until now, with more hopefully to come, as they finally made the game playable for non-maniacs.

Super Mario Maker is the type of game I hate: one focused on outsourcing the creativity to the users — more of a tool than an actual game. And yet… It’s fantastic. There are two keys to this: An intuitive, tile-based level creation system (made even easier with the Gamepad), and the core gameplay being Mario, so it’s rock solid. That’s something that LittleBigPlanet could never get right, leaving players to fumble with extremely deep yet convoluted creation tools, only to be rewarded with a floaty mess of a platformer when playing the levels. Mario Maker has its issues (mostly with level discovery, now aided by an external website), but constant additions mean these could be remedied fully in the near future. Even as it is, Mario Maker is by far the best “creation game” ever made. Sorry, Lode Runner.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a hell of a game. Much like its predecessor, the simply-titled Tomb Raider reboot, it’s what Uncharted should be. Upgrades, a Metroid-like sense of discovery in an somewhat open world (expanded further in this game, including side-quests and accompanying rewards from NPCs in the various hub-worlds) and characterization that actually gives Lara some depth. RotTR sees Lara seeking “The Divine Source”, essentially the Fountain of Youth, in a race against some clearly evil bad guys. It seems cut-and-dry, but Lara’s motivation to clear her late father’s name, along with main villain Constantine’s misguided beliefs, create personal stakes beyond the supernatural. Even when things go batshit, it’s a human conflict at its core, one warning against confusing faith with fanaticism, and combining those concepts with an action blockbuster that’s more impressive than this year’s Call of Duty or Battlefield games.

Evolve, contrary to what you might think, did not flop. It apparently sold quite well, which is good news for me, as I enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately, the playerbase dropped considerably, at least on PC (from what I understand, it, along with Titanfall, which suffered a similar fate on PC, are doing fine on XONE) which has led to the belief that it was dead on arrival. That, along with the misconception of its DLC available at launch (all gun and monster skins, which are either useless or actively handicapping the monster by making it easier to see) have caused an undeserved negative reaction. The post-launch DLC, consisting of extra Hunters and Monsters, was no more egregious than Mortal Kombat X‘s character DLC (although MKX also featured consumables as microtransactions, which I view as a far greater sin) but, again, invited controversy. Maybe all of this is because people were mad that they were duped into playing a first-person MOBA. I’m not sure what they were expecting.

Read Only Memories is a blast from the past. Although its most obvious influence is Snatcher, it takes certain cues from more modern adventure games as well. ROM is a rumination on the effects of human interference in artificial intelligence development. Nature vs nurture, via circuit boards and microchips. It also has Hassys, YMO posters, catgirls, and cyberpunks. Literally.

Tales of the Borderlands would be the winner of Best Surprise, if we had thought to make that a category. I hate the Borderlands games, as they are anti-humor incarnate, with a dull slog of a game to go along with it. The shooting doesn’t feel good, and that’s all you do. Luckily, Telltale managed to salvage a fantastic game from that universe, by doing one simple thing: Not really making a Borderlands game. Tales is, for the most part, so far divorced from the core series that it could easily have been a completely original game. Sure, the Hyperion corporation is there, and you see Psychos or Vault Hunters sometimes, but the main cast is entirely new, focusing on a couple of regular people trying to make their way in the galaxy while dealing with the nightmares that are Pandora and corporate infrastructure.

I didn’t play Undertale. Josh will have some stuff to say about it. Tumblr seems to like it a lot. I dunno.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. Finally. A playable portable Monster Hunter. Although I played the first Monster Hunter on PS2, it really sucked. I fully got into the series with Monster Hunter Tri on Wii, thanks to its support of regular controllers so you can move the camera around with a second stick. Crazy, right? According to Capcom, it is, because the series has largely been handheld-focused, with the most popular entries on PSP and 3DS. Luckily, the New 3DS’s extra analog nub, while not a full stick, is fully capable of camera control and thus makes playing the game a much more enjoyable experience. The game itself, meanwhile, continued the series’ refinements of its basic tenents: find monster, kill monster, use its parts to make new weapons or armor, repeat. It sounds simple, but remains engrossing after all this time.

Her Story comes from the creator of my favorite Silent Hill game, Shattered Memories. Told in a nonlinear fashion, as you have complete agency over what you see and when, you unravel the mystery of a murder case. There’s only one cast member, Viva Seifert, and without a performance as good as the one she gives, the whole concept could be rendered worthless. Typing search terms into a computer, you find clips and piece together your own conclusions. There’s no win state. You’re done when you think you’ve figured it out. That format can cause some problems — I stumbled upon some pretty key scenes fairly early on, and was finished with the game before it actually asked me if I was done. Regardless, everyone should experience it, and the low price point ($6) makes that recommendation even easier. — Larry Davis



2. Tales From the Borderlands
3. Undertale
4. Her Story
5. Lisa*

Read Only Memories takes direct influence from Hideo Kojima’s Snatcher, which is a sentence I never thought I’d type out in 2015. Everything about ROM, from its setting (Neo San Francisco, I mean c’mon) down to its narrative, is cyberpunk as hell. That it manages to pay homage as much as it does, as well as being its own thing, isn’t something a lot of smaller games these days can boast. — Joshy

* Lisa released in late 2014, and thus was eligible for this year’s awards.



2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
3. Read Only Memories
4. Tales From the Borderlands
5. Her Story

Undertale isn’t the revolutionary game that a lot of people have been presenting it as. But it does a lot more with its story than most other games, in general. By tying how many monsters you’ve killed or spared to your overall moral standing in the game, it manages to give the player an attachment to what would otherwise be grinding fodder that hasn’t been seen in games since Cavia’s NieR. That it also manages to be fuckin’ hilarious most of the time just seals the deal. — Joshy



1. THE ORDER: 1886
2. Star Wars Battlefront
3. Evolve
4. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
5. Batman: Arkham Knight

Congrats to The Order: 1886 for winning a Golden Gizmo, albeit on a technical award. This is kinda like when The Life of Pi wins an Oscar for Best Visual Effects or something. Hopefully, if there is a sequel, Ready at Dawn will actually bother to finish the game.Larry Davis



2. Rainbow Six: Siege
3. Splatoon
4. Star Wars Battlefront
5. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Evolve is a great time, but you can read my review (linked in the GOTY portion) for my thoughts on that. Rainbow Six: Siege, meanwhile, was a late entry to this category, only coming out this month. Still, I’ve sunk a lot of hours into it. The attacking/defending dynamic is tons of fun, even if the Terrorist Hunt mode is a mere shadow of its heyday from R6 Vegas. It’s the 5v5 mode that’s the main draw. Splatoon was a surprise this year, as Nintendo is not exactly known for online multiplayer games. Even so, they delivered a great experience, albeit with a dearth of content early on, which has since been expanded via free updates (the earliest of which were already on the disc and “unlocked” at certain points post-release). Star Wars Battlefront is equally sparse, but you get to pay for its expansions! Yay! Snarkiness aside, it’s very fun, and the fanservice aspect is nothing to sneeze at. There’s never been a Star Wars game that looks or sounds as good as this (nevermind some of the terrible celebrity sound-alikes, Vader in particular) and blasting fools on The Forest Moon Of Endor as Han Solo never loses its appeal. Monster Hunter also shines its brightest when you’re in a team of 4, taking on the biggest, baddest monsters you can find. 4 Ultimate takes this even further, with the new weapon class that’s essentially a weaponized bagpipe. You play songs on it to buff your teammates like a Bard, and then you can bash monsters with it. What’s not to like about that? — Larry Davis



2. Inspector Jenks (Contradiction: Spot the Liar!)
3. Fiona (Tales From the Borderlands)
4. Turing (Read Only Memories)
5. Venom Snake (Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain)
6. Code Talker (Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain)

Let me tell you about a skeleton man named Papyrus. He has amazing culinary skills, spaghetti being the only dish he can make. He has an insanely varied wardrobe (a cape, shoulder pads and boots that he wears at all times). He has a rug with a flame pattern that     wouldn’t look out of place in a 10-year old’s bedroom, which compliments his sweet car shaped bed, a bed that I would like to speed down a freeway in. Papyrus is just a Cool Dude, with a capital “C” and a “D”.  — Joshy



2. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
3. Undertale
4. Tales From the Borderlands
5. Read Only Memories

Yeah, okay, Hotline Miami 2 was disappointing in a lot of aspects, but the soundtrack was not one of them. It still had the same hard-hitting, bass-bumping, ear-piercing, murder-everyone-in-this-area vibe that was present in the first game. Other games this year, like MGSV and Tales From the Borderlands made great use of licensed tracks. After all, I did have Rebel Yell as my helicopter music for the entire game, even if MGSV also features The Cure’s “Friday I’m In Love”, which did not exist in the game’s time period. A strange oversight considering the rest of the attention to detail. Read Only Memories and, I assume, Undertale, feature retro-inspired original music that fits the games’ tone in a way that elevates the entire experience. — Larry Davis




There are no other nominees this year. Contradiction is the only one that matters. The story of the intrepid Inspector Jenks, who goes to a sleepy English countryside town to investigate a murder that will, at midnight, be rendered a suicide. The game, an FMV point and click adventure, isn’t the best in its construction: its main mechanic is pointing out lies or contradictions within the various characters’ dialogue, but these solutions are sometimes awkward or nonsensical. It’s also very rigid in what, exactly, it will accept as an answer. This can lead to the old adventure game trope of “trying everything on everything” even if, in this case, it’s trying dialogue options on dialogue options instead of items on other items.

But that doesn’t matter. Not really. What does matter is the colorful cast of characters, overacting like they’re William Shatner in a Farrelly Brothers movie. I’m still not entirely sure if the cheese is intentional — they seem to claim as such, but so does Tommy Wiseau. Regardless of whether or not the hamminess is genuine, it remains enjoyable, and really must be seen to be believed. This is, as far as I know, the only investigation game where your character can go around throwing up devil horns to everyone he meets. Hail Satan. — Larry Davis



2. Theron Shan (Star Wars: The Old Republic)
3. Ocelot (Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain)
4. Two-Face/Jason Todd/Red Hood/Arkham Knight (Batman: Arkham Knight)
5. Erron Black/Shinnok/Fujin (Mortal Kombat X)

Phew, that was a close one. We almost didn’t have enough nominations to completely fill this category out, but thankfully the new story content for The Old Republic, Knights of the Fallen Empire, continues the storyline with the Baker-voiced Republic SIS agent Theron Shan. Still, even in a year full of more Troy Bakers, Rhys is his greatest accomplishment. The voice is the closest to Kanji Tatsumi that he’s done since Kanji Tatsumi, and he does make him likeable… For being an overly-ambitious corporate stooge turned con man, that is. Unfortunately, despite using facial capture to have Troy’s real-life beak prominently featured on the character, his Ocelot is a big wet fart. It’s not bad, per se, but he’s so incidental to most of the storyline that Ocelot could have been voiced by a desk fan and it would have been almost indistinguishable. As for the other entries: fuckin’ whatever.  — Larry Davis



2. Dying Light
3. Screamride
4. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
5. Batman: Arkham Knight (PC Version)

The story of Afro Samurai 2’s development, I’m sure, will be an interesting one. Because the end result is such a horrible unmitigated trainwreck that it’s surprising it was even allowed to come into existence at all. Publisher Versus Evil apparently felt the same, eventually pulling the product entirely, and going so far as to over refunds to absolutely anybody and everybody who bought the game. Think the Arkham Knight PC fiasco, only if WB had more of a “scorched earth” mindset. Rumor has it there’s a digital landfill full of Afro Samurais. — George Brundle



2. Bethesda
3. Redacted Studios (Afro Samurai 2)

Ok, look. I tried to get Valve on this list last year, but George and Josh were still drinking the Steam Kool-Aid. Now, they have seen the light. Let’s look at all of the things Valve have been fucking around with this year:

  • Steam Machines, which I am still baffled by. They cost more than a real-ass PC, yet run SteamOS, which not only has less compatibility with games than Windows, but actually runs games worse. And the things are ostensibly made FOR PLAYING VIDEO GAMES. They also have those dumb controllers, even though current controllers already work. The argument is that they can be used for games that normally would not work with controllers, but there are things called keyboards and mice for those.
  • VR, because we need yet another entry into that market which has yet to even be proven on a large scale. That’s ok, Valve, I think Oculus, with all that Facebook money, and Sony will be fine. Just let them try it out.
  • Sales being even worse, which is really saying something. Their metagames reached a point of extreme absurdity with the clicker thing this summer, and since then they just gave up with doing anything. No daily sales, no flash sales. The current one has trading cards, but they don’t even craft into a badge. So I guess they’re just for selling? But then why are people buying them? I don’t know. I don’t… I don’t know.
  • Not making games. Fucking Blizzard is putting out more games than them. This was my main argument last year. Remember when there was a leak from an internal QA queue that listed Left 4 Dead 3? That was in like 2013 or something. L4D3 shows no signs of life, but goddammit, they’re still cranking out more Dota garbage.
  • That “paid mods” business earlier this year. Rather than following the TF2 or Dota method of having users create content, which Valve then sells and gives a portion of the money to them, they instituted a Wild West policy of letting anyone upload anything and charge any amount they want. This led to people taking mods from the Nexus and charging money for them, while the original creator had no idea. Valve then backed out of this, but emphasized that their only mistake was doing this with a game that already had a thriving mod scene (Skyrim) instead of launching alongside a game. I am very surprised they didn’t bring it back with Fallout 4, but maybe they had a rare moment of common sense and realized nobody would stand for that either.
  • Then, to top it all off, even after we had already decided Valve’s pure shittiness made them a shoe-in for this award, on Christmas fucking Day they have a massive data breach. Simply by going to any page on the Steam store, you would be logged into some random user’s account, able to see their personal data. This was not the work of hackers: it was Valve’s own insane ineptitude.

Bethesda just took forever to shit out another game that’s near-identical to a game from 2008, and Redacted (which, judging by their website, is not a real game studio) made a game so bad it was purged from everything. In many cases, either of them would have a shot at the top spot. But not this year. Not with Valve around. Fuck Gabe Newell. — Larry Davis


2. WB Games

While discussing the worst developer of the year, we were all pretty much in agreement that Valve ran home with the Golden Gremmy, but when it came time to name our worst publisher of the year, we had to really get into it. It was clear that the only two real contenders were Konami and WB, but it was only after laying out everything Konami did in one go that it became clear who the winner was. Sorry, WB, there’s always next year.
Konami, from top to bottom, has just been the worst in 2015. It all started when it was announced that Kojima’s role within the company was not only greatly reduced, but that he would outright no longer be affiliated with Konami once MGSV’s production wrapped. Since then, more and more details came to light on Konami’s unethical and downright disgusting treatment of employees, which included reassigning producers to work on pachinko production lines, or in Konami health spas rather than task them with actually making video games. It also became apparent that Konami just didn’t really want to do the whole games thing anymore, as they announced they would significantly roll back production for games on consoles, instead shifting their focus to mobile platforms. Of course, it’s well known that they cancelled the hotly anticipated Silent Hills –  breaking Del Toro’s greasy heart in the process – and more recently decided that Hideo Kojima would be unable to leave the country to accept his award for Action Game of the Year at the Video Game Awards.
Hey, maybe president Takuya Kozuki can hop on a plane and fly down here to accept the Golden Gremmy on Konami’s behalf. Somehow I don’t think that would be as much of a problem. — George Brundle



2. Konami Sends Kojima to the Pachinko Mines
3. Afro Samurai 2 Is Purged From Everything

Don’t think we’re letting WB off the hook entirely, because they’re still getting a Golden Gremmy for the absolute clusterfuck that was Arkham Knight’s PC port.
It’s been well documented by now that Arkham Knight launched on the PC with some serious issues, including missing graphical effects, issues with memory caching, stuttering problems, and downgraded textures. WB tried to make good by removing the game from Steam and other digital retailers, something that until this point was unheard of for a AAA release, but in the months following they made little progress in fixing the myriad of issues that plagued Arkham Knight. In the end, they threw the game back up on the market place with a lot of crippling issues still intact, which they proceeded to admit will probably never get fixed. Granted, you can still get a refund regardless of how long you played the game, provided you do so by the end of the year, but the game should have never released in such a sorry state. — George Brundle




At their PlayStation Experience, Sony announced a release date for Yakuza 5. Previously set for the nebulous timeframe of “Fall”, and later “mid-November”, which went by with no mention, Yakuza 5 will now see our baka gaijin shores on December 8th.

That’s great, but the big news here is that Yakuza 0, the next game in the series, a prequel focusing on Kazuma and Majima in the late 80s, will also come out in “the Americas” (meaning “fuck you, Europe!”) in the future. Unlike Y5, which is relegated to a digital-only release, 0 will also received a physical edition here.

No date was given for 0, but it will likely be late next year or early 2017. Or maybe 2317. Who knows.

In the recent attacks in Paris, France, most deaths occurred at an Eagles of Death Metal concert. In the above video, the band speaks with Vice about their experience in the horrific event. Many of the band members, especially co-founder Jesse Hughes, are visibly shaken by recalling the events. Their merchandise manager, Nick Alexander, was among the casualties.

I have to question the decision to bring in co-founder Josh Homme (of Queens of the Stone Age), apparently due to name recognition. He rarely plays live with them, and was not at this show. That said, this video is worth watching. EODM have no plans on abandoning their tour, mostly in defiance of letting the terrists win. Because fuck you, terrists.

Below is the video for EODM’s lead single for their newest album, Zipper Down, “Complexity”:



WARNING: This is a long-ass article. Click “Continue Reading” knowing that you will be greeted by a whole lot of text. But it’s worth it. I promise. This isn’t some Derek Smart situation.

In late May of 2013, a Florida-based organization calling themselves Kansai Club, led by one Andrew Nevo, began a Kickstarter campaign to translate and release an edition of The Crater, a lesser-known work from Osamu Tezuka. This is not a new concept, as DMP have been doing the same thing for quite some time. Being a fan of Tezuka’s work, I backed it. Later, it became apparent that there were difficulties in completing the project, and one of the first things I wrote about on this site was an update in June of last year.

That was the last update.

Continue Reading

"WOOOOOO! WE LOVE LINKIN PARK!" exclaimed these nu metal fans, unaware that they had been gathered for one specific reason. Soon, the gas would begin seeping into the venue, and they would all drift off into an eternal, dreamless slumber.

“WOOOOOO! WE LOVE LINKIN PARK!” exclaimed these nu metal fans, unaware that they had been gathered for one specific reason. Soon, the gas would begin seeping into the venue, and they would all drift off into an eternal, dreamless slumber.

Look, I’m not going to have weekly updates here about Rock Band DLC. Hell, I got bored with nobody reading my Criterion round-ups, and those are infinitely more interesting than whatever songs Harmonix is shoveling out every week. But this, I think, is a very special breed of suck.

Hey gang!

We are excited to announce that chart-topping 2000s rock from Audioslave, Godsmack, and Linkin Park are available in the Rock Band™ Music Store for Xbox One and PlayStation®4 now!

Featured on rock supergroup Audioslave’s self-titled debut album in 2002, “Like A Stone” was the number-one single on both the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and Hot Modern Rock Tracks charts. 2000’s “Awake” is one of Godsmack’s record-breaking fifteen appearances at number one on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Linkin Park scored their fourth consecutive number one on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks with “Lying From You” upon its release as a single in 2004.

Each track can be purchased individually for $1.99.

  • Audioslave – “Like A Stone”
  • Godsmack – “Awake”
  • Linkin Park – “Lying From You”

Okay, “Spoonman” is pretty rad, but other than that, I have no interest in anything from Audioslave, despite enjoying Tom Morello’s work greatly in other forms. But Godsmack and Linkin Park? It’s like Harmonix is trying to piss me off! I understand that they’ve, by now, already made most of the classic hits available. There are noticeable gaps, though, and I would rather have the entirety of David Bowie’s catalog than one more fucking song from fucking Godsmack. Maybe next week we can get a hot Slipknot update, or a nice sorbet of Limp Bizkit?

These tracks are $1.99 each. You know what’s cheaper than that? A bullet. So if you’re thinking of buying these songs, consider that option instead. You can just ask someone to borrow their gun.


Pictured: Director David Lynch decides he has better things to do than release Twin Peaks on the previously-announced schedule.

Today in completely unsurprising news, the new season of Twin Peaks, which has already been plagued with numerous production issues (including Lynch walking away from the project, only to be wooed back, presumably for a big bag of cash), has now slipped from its projected 2016 air date. No further details are available, including when, exactly, in The Year Of Our Jericho 17 it will premiere, but for now we just have to take solace in the fact that at some point, we’ll all get to know the answer to the real question:


How’s Annie?


Dead, probably, I dunno.

Above, you can see a full sketch from Netflix’s continuation of Mr. Show. Featuring David Cross, Bob Odenkirk, Paul F. Tompkins, John Ennis, and Jay Johnston (plus the voice of Hot Saucerman, apparently taking over announcer duties from Tom Kenny), you can see that the gang is (almost) all here. Mr. Show recurring cast members like Brian Posehn and Dino Stamatopolous are also set to appear. With Bob and David will shit out all of its episodes on Netflix on November 13th. Between that and Jessica Jones, I guess it’s time for me to re-subscribe.

That’s pretty much all there is to say on the matter! Above is a short clip with Kitano saying something about “big brother,” I believe, probably referring to a character and not the Orwellian concept. Or maybe he’s saying “Kept you waiting, huh?”

Meanwhile, here’s a hot n phresh trailer for Yakuza Kiwami, the Yakuza 1 remake: