games / Columns

The Gaming 5 & 1 12.30.11: Money, Money, & More Money Edition

December 30, 2011 | Posted by Sean Garmer

Hello everyone, I hope everybody had a happy Christmas and got all the gifts they wanted for the holidays. I finally got to get me a Kinect and Dance Central 2. So I can look like an idiot attempting to zombie walk and dance my butt off. I found that I kinda like using the voice stuff more. It’s quite satisfying to say “Xbox, Apps, Play Netflix, Play Doctor Who.” It’s been a quiet week in the gaming world as everybody is coming out of the holidays. Everybody seems to be coming out with their “best of” lists and I will do that in this column as well; since this is the last one before 2012 hits. So as I try to find other things to talk about this week let’s head into column # 2 of the Gaming 5 & 1.

Before We get started I’d like to link up my other Gaming 5 & 1 Brethern. We have officially taken over the site now that this column is up. However here are the others to follow around as well. First on Monday’s we have the ever busy Jeremy Thomas with the Music 5 & 1 Then we have my gaming zone buddy Stewart Lange coming from down under with his MMA 5 & 1 This column comes out on Thursdays. And then on Saturdays we get a double dip of Steve Gustafson with the Hollywood 5 & 1 And Greg DeMarco with the Wrestling 5 & 1 Man that’s a lot of gossip and girls for one website to hold.

Versus: Game of the Year Edition

So for the first month I’m gonna be doing a versus to let 411 readers decide which game is in fact “Game of the Year.”

After the first round and 63 votes, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword defeated Uncharted 3 by a vote of 36 to 27. This week we have a triple threat match, where Nintendo’s Skyward Sword tries to get through another week against the hilarious and fun sequel Portal 2. I also threw in the mix, Atlus’s Catherine that I have recently began playing. I love the originality in the game and the box puzzle solving. The story makes you actually think about something that happens in real life and the game makes you want to go through both. Not to mention it’s so weird it kinda freaks me out. So go ahead vote already!


A Look Back At Some Games

The 411 Games writers work hard each week to give you reviews and previews of your favorite titles. So why don’t we take a look back and see what they had to say…

Kung-Fu High Impact (Xbox 360 Kinect Review)

Kung-Fu High Impact is enjoyable for the first half hour or so, but then you’ll grow bored, frustrated, and tired by the gameplay. The combat registers well with Kinect, but the gameplay is so boring and so bland that you’ll end up flailing your arms around like a monkey waiting for all the enemies to die. High Impact is a game that’s technically impressive, but there’s no real game to enjoy. The story is short, the story isn’t that fun to play, and the other modes are merely a distraction from the main game. Rating: 5.5

By: Mark Salmela (Reviewer, Games Zone Savant and Comedian)

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Nintendo Wii)

A perfect score for Skyward Sword means that I recommend this game with no qualifications, no reservations, and no hesitation. Do you have a Wii? Do you have fifty dollars? If your answer to both of these questions is yes, then you should pick up this game. If you haven’t taken the Wii plunge yet, Skyward Sword is the most compelling reason to own the system. Rating: 10.0

By: Justin Weinblatt (Reviewer, Resident Games Zone Fill-In Guy)

Trine 2 (XBLA/PSN Review)

All the faults, however, still can’t hold back Trine 2. It’s a tough but rewarding puzzle-platform game that looks absolutely gorgeous. It nails the feel of a living, breathing fairy tale world better than any game, movie, or TV show I’ve seen this generation. Rating: 9.0

By: Vince Osorio (Reviewer, Writer of Bytes/Flops)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Hardened Edition (PS3 Review)

Call of Duty: Hardened Edition is the perfect gift for the most hardcore of hardcore gamers and especially first-person shooters and Call of Duty fans. It comes with a ton of extra duties and some extra special online access. It does cost over $100, but it gives a lot of bang for your buck if you are so inclined.

By Jeffery Harris (411 Games Reviewer and Features Guy)

Apples to Apples (XBLA Game)

“Overall, Apples to Apples on XBLA is a pretty bare-bones presentation of the game, but presents it nicely. Besides the single-player, a lot of fun can be had with multiplayer. If you have some friends online looking for something to do, definitely keep this game at the top of the list. Rating: 7.2″

By: Adam Larck (411 Games Editor, The Bossman if ya will)

WWE 12 (Also on PS3 & Wii)

“This game is still a great pick-up for any WWE fan out there, especially for those that love to create, post those creations online, and then use them forever in universe mode. There is plenty they can do to continue to improve the game in the future and I think that’s a good thing. But for now, WWE 12 is what it is, providing the closest thing you can get to WWE TV possible, while also sharing with you some of the company’s flaws as well.” Rating: 8.0

By: Sean Garmer (Reviewer, Writer of the Games 5 & 1)

Games Video-A-Go-Go

I was excited to learn Dream Drop Distance will be coming out some time in 2012. I don’t currently own a 3DS but I might pick it up for this game because I’m a huge fan of the Kingdom Hearts franchise. So other fans of the series enjoy! And let’s hope they come out with a KH 3 pretty soon. So since we are all in the season of giving, I figured it’s time to give out my awards for 2011.

I’m actually going to stay on-topic this week and talk about games. 2011 has been an awesome year if we talk about the video games themselves. However, The company’s have not had such a good year. Nintendo has had a down year as the Wii has finally came back down to earth after it’s epic rise into revolutionizing the future of gaming. Nintendo’s newest handheld the 3DS had to get a big price cut so people would buy it, which made Nintendo have to introduce the “early adaptor program” to keep the launch buyers from rioting.

Nintendo did announce the Wii U which is supposedly aimed at the more hardcore gamer, but I’m wondering if this is going to be similar to the Gamecube. I’m sure the system will have it’s standout first party titles but are the graphics really going to hold up against the new machines Sony and Microsoft will put out in a year or two? They also want us to use the 3DS as a controller similar to the GBA with the Cube. I don’t understand why Nintendo had to be forced to say something about having more than one tablet controller at a time, since when do people not like to play together? My main concern is that Nintendo finally understands that making third party titles is an important facet of your system. I shouldn’t be able to count on my hands and maybe toes how many really good third party titles a system has had in it’s lifespan. It is not good if your system becomes port over central and doesn’t stand out like the Wii did. They also have to fix the limitations on the online portion of the Wii U. They have to allow patches and all full DLC, not doing so makes the Wii look second rate compared to the other two systems, they cannot do this again for the Wii U. Overall, I just want Nintendo’s new system to succeed because it’s good for gaming.

There isn’t a game this year for the Wii that touched what Legend of Zelda:SS did for the system. It is just such an epic game and perhaps one of the best the series has ever offered. If you haven’t bought a Wii yet this is one reason to do so. Hands down there is no other game that even sniffs Wii GOTY but Skyward Sword (# 2 on my GOTY list.)

Sony had the hacking incident earlier this year that has marred them and made people question the security of their information on the PSN Network. Sony has raised the banner for exclusives this year and severly outdid Microsoft in that department. I don’t own the Playstation 3 so I can’t really comment much on it’s games but if I were to look at things objectively I’d have to give my PS3 GOTY of the year to Uncharted 3 because it is clearly the best of the exclusives. Even tough I’ve heard that many didn’t like the ending of the game, there is plenty of reason to enjoy Uncharted 3. Looking to 2012, Sony has to worry about the launch of the PS Vita in Europe and America. Will people react the same way as they did to the 3DS? 249.99 is now the same price as the PS3, how many people are going to want to buy a portable system for that price. We all know how the PSP didn’t really deliver that well on games, it will be interesting to see how Sony counters that this go around. They are also charging an exorbitant amount for a memory card, and that may be another reason not to like the system. Launches usually do well, what’s more important is does the system have staying power. Nintendo has proved over the years that having “cool multimedia” on your system is not important for handhelds. If Sony doesn’t get their games in check for the PS Vita, it’s not going to last long.

The 360 continues to be the console de jour for gamers for all their third party and online needs. They even managed to launch the Kinect and thanks to Sesame Street, Dance Games, Voice Control, and Gunstringer, the Kinect went over well. It’s the lack of first party content that shows Microsoft is a little too reliant on “everything else in media” to get them by. I understand that Microsoft knows they will sell a ton of copies of HALO and Gears of War but you have to make more stuff from Microsoft than that. You also can’t just rely on First Person Shooters forever, they have to make their own games from different genres as well. Microsoft may still have us up in the air about when their new console is coming out but we do know that Live TV is coming to the 360 as well as some more apps early in 2012. There is nothing wrong with making your system something other than a gaming machine. Though I understand that Microsoft is the OS for the PC and will probably never give the 360 or their next system a web browser. If you are going to act like the I-Phone of the industry, what’s the point of leaving out the browser?

I’m sure Microsoft will continue to lead the pack as I don’t think people will stop buying Mass Effect 3, Skyrim, and HALO 4 for the system. I just wonder if their focus is in the right place. And because it was really the only exclusive worth anything (not HALO related) MS brought us this year, Gears of War 3 wins 360 GOTY.

The 411 Staffers are actually in the voting process right now for an official 411 GOTY Awards Roundtable that will come out no later than the middle of January some time. So I don’t want to divulge too many of my picks, but I’ll get some more in here just because I think these games deserve some recognition.

Most Original Game

This is the Persona team’s first HD title and man does it live up to the Atlus monkier. This is probably the weirdest game to come out in 2011 and I feel it’s the most original as well. This isn’t like Ar Tonelico that tried to be an RPG/Dating Sim we’ve seen that before. This is a puzzle game that takes place in someone’s nightmares, complete with talking sheep. Not only that but the game’s story is very well crafted that it makes you want to play through it. The game has three endings and follows Vincent as he attempts to choose between his longtime girlfriend and a young hot blond that he apparently had a one night stand with. The game asks you real life questions about relationships and marriage that determine whether you are good or bad. I’m not the greatest at puzzle games and there were quite a few times I wanted to throw the controller at my plasma TV because the puzzles can be rather difficult. However, you can put it on easy mode if you want to coast through just for the story. I think it’s the whole package that makes this game special. The game rewards you every step of the way with an engaging story and gameplay that will really make you feel like it was an accomplishment to beat. I put it in my top 5 games of the year (Its actually # 3 for me) and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

Best Action Adventure Game

The sequel to the best licensed game ever could only get better right? And it sure did. This was a more open world Batman than the original cape crusading adventure. It’s kinda like the “Dark Knight” of gaming, in that this title had some lofty expectations to live up to and I feel that it did all of them better than the first. It even harmlessly added Catwoman to the mix and that has to mean they did something correctly. This is # 5 on my top games of the year.

Best Music Game

I always have to take time to thank Harmonix for continuing to make music games. For a music lover like me it’s great to have a company that prides itself in dedicating itself to the music as much as making great games. They don’t go the route of Guitar Hero and destroy the band concept by allowing four drummers or adding extra notes to the song to make it “more fun.” Rocksmith may be a nice tutorial on how to play Guitar, but Dance Central 2 showed everyone how to make use of Kinect. Two people can play at once and battle it out if they want. You can also import songs from the first game, there is DLC every few months, and it has a fitness mode. I use it for an hour every morning to kinda wake me up for the day. While Ubisoft tries to oversaturate the market with “Just Dance,” Harmonix takes care of it’s products and helps the dying genre.

Overall Game of the Year

An open world with Dragons is enough to put it up there in the upper echelons of gaming. It’s not just that really, the game is utterly massive. Sure it has some bugs, but what game doesn’t. The under stories that live and breath around the main quest are very well written and there is a lot to do in the game as well. Many consider Oblivion a dissapointment and I think this brought Elder Scrolls back to the forefront. Bethesda worked their hearts out on this game and it shows impressively. Some people may feel differently, but I feel that this is the best game of this year. (Just in case anyone was wondering, Portal 2 is my #4 GOTY since I revealed all the other ones.)

Now it’s time for… The 5 Buttons (News Items) of the Week

5. What’s Old Could Be New Again Thanks to WWE

WWE has registered a trademark for the name “WrestleFest” in the video game arena. WWE WrestleFest was the iconic arcade game in the 1990s made by Technos that had a Royal Rumble and tag team mode.

I don’t particularly remember this game, but WWE knows how to make some fun video games. It looks like there is talk about WWE bringing this back as a XBLA/PSN title. I wouldn’t mind them giving this a remake using it similar to All-Stars. I wouldn’t be surprised though if this is just WWE trademarking this to keep people from using the name as well. Who knows, but I’ll keep you posted on anything that comes out about it.

Here enjoy a little bit of the original game made in 1991. This is some classic gaming WWE goodness. It reminds me of old Wrestlemania’s.

4. Star Wars Fans Rejoice!

EA has announced some impressive first week numbers for Star Wars: The Old Republic. The game garnered over 1 million players in the first day, and over 28 million hours played. However, according to previous reports, EA still expects over 2 million players to call the game a success. In addition, over 3.8 million characters have been created.

This is to be expected for this game. MMO’s tend to start off strong and then die off as people get their use out of them. Unless of course you are Blizzard and World of Warcraft. I want this to succeed just because Blizzard needs some kind of opposition in the MMO market or we could very well see this type of game die completely. 2 million is not too lofty of a goal for EA to have for this title. It really isn’t about what happens in the first few months, it’s going to be about how they continue to add patches and add new content. Let’s see how many true fans the game ends up having first before we call this a total success.


Well you can say what you want about films 1-3 of the Star Wars franchise but they got the right person for the role she played.

3. Viacom (former MTV Games) set to lose more money

Late last year, former Harmonix shareholders sued Viacom for failing to pay bonuses, which led to Viacom suing them for “contractual overpayment.” The second lawsuit led to an arbitration clause in the contract activating, causing Viacom to be ordered by a private arbitrator to pay the shareholders $383 million.Viacom told the LA Times about the arbitration, and that they have already filed in a Delaware Court to have the judgment overturned due to evidence that was “improperly excluded.”

Everyone files appeals I don’t expect Viacom to win their appeal. The evidence that was presented originally showed Viacom cheated them out of some money by flubbing sales numbers and that’s pretty sorry. I’m glad Harmonix went independent again and continue to support their games. MTV Games was probably one of the few things that actually involved MTV with something that had to do with music as it is. I hope this makes them realize that lieing gets you nowhere in life. The money is actually going to shareholders of Harmonix and they will decide where the 383 million is going to go. Maybe some of it actually trickles down to the company and maybe some of it doesn’t, but a win for a small-ish company like Harmonix is a win for the games industry.


Rihanna just had a 3 pack of songs released for Dance Central 2 last week

2. Nintendo Might Make You Pay More on the 3DS

Nintendo is finally bringing paid DLC to its games. According to Nikkei, the company is bringing paid DLC to Fire Emblem in 3DS in Japan. Also, Nintendo will reportedly bring DLC to the Wii U, but nothing is planned for the Wii.

So the company that says “it’s a disservice to our consumers to make them pay for extra content” is finally giving in to the market at large. It is about time Nintendo gets their act together about this. I don’t understand why they don’t allow free content to be added to their marketplace either, but that’s another topic. So the Big N is officially going to bring their own DLC to Fire Emblem and I don’t see a problem with it. I’m glad to hear they are going to bring their own DLC to the Wii U as well. Anything that makes our games better and extends the life of games we already own is a win for all gamers.

It’s in Japanese but here is a look at the new Fire Emblem game set to hit U.S. shores in 2012.

1. This is a Wonderful Gift For A Cheap Price

Harmonix announced Wednesday morning that they will be bringing RUSH’s 2112 Medley to RockBand 3 on Friday December 31, 2011 in three parts (January 3rd on PS3.) Those who buy the pack can play the whole 20 minute song in one go, similar to the Abbey Road Medley in Beatles RockBand. The best part is the whole thing costs $5.50 (440 MS points) Pro upgrades are also given to everyone that buys the pack for free and are automatically included as well.

I’m sure there are better ways to bring in the new year, but for gaming purposes this is pretty awesome! I’m a huge RUSH fan and this is one of the most epic gifts to music in general. Yes, I know they already had this on GH: Warriors of Rock but I played that game and it made me realize why I don’t like Activision. It’s nice to see more RUSH content and now they have a huge library songs on the RB franchise. Every instrument has something difficult and fun to play, it isn’t that great for vocals as they will be quiet for long stretches, but come on this is RUSH. This is a very nice gift to the fans as to say thank you for a great year in RB DLC and successful launch of Dance Central 2. I think more companies should do this, come on Activision give out some free COD stuff.

Here’s a Preview… Greatness personified.

So, Here We Go Everybody’s Favorite…

So I since it’s New Year’s and it’s just been the Holidays I felt like being in a giving mood. Since this show has it’s own video game series I thought I’d do Jeremy Thomas one better and do…

May I Present: The Girls of Glee (The reason guys watch the show)






Twitter Break

@Sean Garmer
@411Games
@411Music
@411Wrestling
@411Movies/TV
@411MMA

Before Turning Off My Console

The 411 Games Section and other sections of the site have some magnificent writers and it is time to honor them here. There are many other great columns on 411, if I didn’t link your favorite writer, it means right now I don’t read their column or news report because I probably don’t have time. There are a lot of damn columns on this site. But, if you want to explain to me why I should read more 411 stuff, by all means go right ahead.

Sundays:

My buddy David Martell and the guys at the Triple Threat I filled in for Zach this week.

A female wrestler has her own column on this website, her name is Terra Calaway and it’s all about the Hot Stuff

Mondays:

Trace Aber has the Living LIVE News Report

Matthew Sforcina brings us Ask 411 Games

Stephen Randle handles the Wrestling News Experience

Another shout out to Steve Gustafson with his Big Screen Bulletin

Tuesdays:

Stewart Lange has taken over Games: Fact or Fiction And done a great job with it.

I always read News From Cooks Corner to get my wrestling news.

I’m usually on this, but this week I’m not. Check out the Music Top 5 Christmas Songs organized by Ben Czajkowski

Wednesdays:

Lee Price going retro with Retronomicon This week he looks at Quackshot a 16 bit classic.

Stephen Randle also organizes the Four Player Co-op every week and as a person that knows what that’s like, I’ll tell ya it is a doozy to produce. I’m on this edition this week along with fellow 5 & 1 man Stewart Lange talking about gifts.

Music Fact or Fiction organized by Joseph Lee. David Hayter faces off against Mr. Lee in this one as they discuss the existence of a 27 club, more trapped in the closet and more.

TV’s Rants and Raves is great! And usually stars Ben Piper. This week Dimitri Dorlis is filling in for him talking about two of my favorite shows Glee and New Girl. He also mentions a little bit about Saturday Night Live as well.

Matthew Sforcina also does Ask 411 Wrestling Which is always an interesting read and he also has one of the coolest banners out there.

James Wright Brings You The Heel Report Ranking the Heels in wrestling is a hard thing, but you know he does it in style.

Thursdays:

Of course you have to read the Games Top 5 I mean seriously it’s all about 2011’s best portable games for goodness sakes.

I don’t know if this comes out every week, but Vince Osorio is kind enough to give us his take on the End of the Year awards for gaming on this edition of Bytes And Flops

Besides this column, you also have Wrestling Fact or Fiction Fellow Games Zone guys Chris Lansdell and Jeffery Harris battle it out in this one.

I’m a big music guy so I’m always interested to know the next great thing Ron Martin will uncover for us in 411 Music Buy Or Sell There’s an Adelita’s Way track in there, Freaking T-Pain of all people, and another track off Watch the Throne.

I love Joseph Lee’s look at Horror Movies in A Bloody Good Time Read as gives you the best of 2011

Steve Gustafson has a special interview with Chyna that was a very interesting read.

Fridays:

Jordan Williams brings another round of Working Title Awards in his column this week.

Dan Watson also brings you his year in review in the Average Gamer

The 10th Hour is done by a guy named Armando Rodriguez and I just figured out he lives near me lol. Enjoy his Top Ten games of 2011.

Al Norton has one of my favorite columns on all of 411 with his Two Tivos to Paradise I would know nothing about the ratings on TV if it wasn’t for him. Here are his end of the year awards.

Movies/TV Fact or Fiction is always fun, The one that hit 411 this Friday has Me vs. Ron Martin for one half and then it’s Me against Larry Csonka once again for the other half. I just can’t escape Larry this week.

Saturdays:

Shawn Lealos is a really good writer and he makes my weekends with Alternate Takes This time it’s about The Ultimates.

Don’t forget to check out my friends and co-writers out over at New Game Plus as well. Drew Robbins, John De Large, and myself do some awesome stuff over there.

Well I think that’s all for this week. I hope everyone has a Happy New Year. I’m headed off to Miami for three weeks to visit my mom, grandma, and sister. I hope my Dallas Cowboys can get into the playoffs on Sunday. Once again, happy new years and I’ll see ya next week. Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @SeanGarmer and check out my facebook page Sean Garmer

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