Saturday, June 8, 2013

God of War: Ascension (PS3) Review

Just before E3 starts, we have the first review of June to share with you. It's a big one, too. Whether you love or hate Kratos, his games and the God of War series have been consistently solid. Let's see if the case continues with my review of God of War: Ascension.

Ascension in the Ranks


Kratos is one of the angrier heroes around (seriously, he looks like he has a perpetual case of hemorrhoids), but even if he is somewhat unlikable, the fact that he can kick so much ass and look like a god doing it makes for an entertaining character regardless. The God of War series constantly throws in a tremendous story line of redemption and revenge, tremendous set pieces, and combo-heavy combat that makes fans return to the franchise time and time again. God of War: Ascension is the latest in the series, and the second new installment to hit the PlayStation 3. Does God of War: Ascension light up the sky like Zeus, or does it fall faster than a damned soul to Hades?

God of War: Ascension is a prequel to the original God of War trilogy. It begins with Kratos's imprisonment and subsequent torture by one of the Furies for breaking his blood oath to Ares. The Fury becomes too reckless and actually inadvertently helps Kratos escape from his chained imprisonment. The story moves from past to present, showing the events leading up to Kratos getting captured. The game is all about getting revenge on the Furies and escaping their grip over Kratos, resulting in many illusions throughout the story. While the Furies are competent foes, they really don't hold a candle to Zeus or Ares. That said, God of War: Ascension's story is well told, and one that is just as epic as the set pieces the game contains.

The chains that bind...
If you're familiar with how God of War games are played, then you'll feel right at home with God of War: Ascension. Combo-filled combat is performed when there's a roomful of enemies to eliminate, there's exploration to be had, and platforming and puzzle segments break up the fighting to make a nice pacing throughout the game.

The beginning of Kratos's quest
Kratos may decidedly be a one-dimensional character, but the gameplay of the God of War series is anything but one-dimensional. Ascension features similar combo-happy combat, blocking, and evading of its predecessors, but it also introduces new concepts to combat, such as the ability to pick up and use one of five subweapons, such as a sword, a club, or a javelin, for instance. There's also the idea of elemental attacks. As you go through the game, Kratos will reach certain gates that will bestow him with new magical abilities. For example, the Ice of Poseidon can not only freeze foes or at least slow them down, but outside of battle it is used to grant Kratos the ability to breathe underwater.

When Kratos is through with you, you'll have
your obituary printed on some nice Papyrus scroll.
When Kratos connects with attacks, his rage meter builds. When it is at maximum, Kratos's attacks dish out more damage and by pressing L3 and R3, he can unleash a powerful blow to a given enemy. The meter goes down as Kratos is damaged, so it's important to keep evading and blocking while tossing in some hits on foes.

The combat in God of War: Ascension is a lot more skill-based than what was seen in previous games. That isn't to say past titles were blatant button-mashers, where slamming onto the attack button guaranteed victory. Regardless, Ascension requires more finesse to stay alive. Sure, even on normal mode getting hit by an enemy's attack takes off a small sliver of health, but in order to survive and keep a combo going, you need a skill set of proper timing for attacks, blocking, and evasion that goes above and beyond what something like the original God of War required.

Even enemies have elemental abilities to them.
God of War: Ascension is an incredibly violent game, but its violence is more on the fictitious side than the side of realism. What else can you say about a game where the main character slices in half the cranium of a bipedal elephant, revealing its brain? Yes, it's glorified violence, but man, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't satisfying!

As for the exploration, platforming is a huge part of that. There's your superhuman climbing that would make even Nathan Drake jealous, leaping across pits and other chasms, and scaling and sliding down walls. Discovering chests is a common element of God of War games. There are still magic-increasing Phoenix Feathers and health-boosting Gorgon's Eyes to uncover in hidden chests around the game, and there's multiple treasures to be found that, once the game has been beaten, unlock cheats for the player to use (though these will not allow you to unlock any trophies if they are turned on). Many items and treasures can be found with a minimal amount of exploration, but some are tucked away in truly clever locations.

The boss fights are really enjoyable.
Puzzles are an important part of the God of War series as well, and Ascension delivers in providing some interesting puzzles to flex a player's mental muscles instead of just their finger muscles like combat does. There's sensationally simple ones such as pushing a block to a wall for Kratos to jump on and reach an otherwise inaccessible area, but there's also more complex puzzles, many of which feature relics that Kratos comes across in his epic quest.

The Amulet of Uroborus grants Kratos the ability in combat to levitate a fearsome foe while he can dish out damage to them, but it is mostly used outside of combat. Certain pulsating objects can be healed or decayed to, for instance, construct what was once a broken bridge to make it whole again or to decay a colossal chain to sever it and open a closed door.

Let's see Bob Vila fix something this fast!
Then there's the Oath Stone of Orkos, which Kratos comes across in the second half of the game's thirty chapters. It summons a direct copy of Kratos, allowing him to essentially be in two places at once. While one Kratos holds a switch that holds open a gate, the other Kratos can slip through the opened gate, allowing the player to progress.

For the first time in the God of War series, online multiplayer is an option, offering skirmishes between up to eight players. First, players align their custom warrior to one of four gods, Zeus, Ares, Hades, or Poseidon. Their choice makes the difference in what kind of combat play styles their warrior has. Through battles, players earn experience points which in turn earns them new magic, upgraded or totally new weapons and armor, relics, and other helpful treasures.

There are four modes to be found in Ascension: Team Favor of the Gods, Match of the Champions, Trial of the Gods, and Capture the Flag.

Take on friends and foes online.
By far the most fun mode I had the most enjoyment playing was Team Favor of the Gods. The goal of this is to have your team, either the Spartans or the Trojans, acquire the requested amount of points through killing opponents among other tasks before the other team does. Match of the Champions is more of a deathmatch-themed Team Favor of the Gods, only being a free-for-all instead of a team affair. In the middle of matches, your aligned god will request Labors. Complete these certain objectives give your warrior more experience points, so they are good to follow, as long as you don't sacrifice your team's chances of victory for them.

Fe-fi-fo-fum, multiplayer has finally come.
Meanwhile, Trial of the Gods is a cooperative affair that pits two players against waves of increasingly more difficult creatures. This is all while in addition to fighting the enemies and bosses, fighting the clock. This mode can actually be played solo too. Lastly, Capture the Flag is your traditional team-based mode where you must take the opposing team's flag and run with it back to your own flag.

Multiplayer can be somewhat chaotic, maybe too much so, as there is a lot of things happening on the screen at the same time. I don't just mean action, I mean there's icons for treasures, kills, requests from gods, etc. It can be a bit overwhelming at first. Ascension's multiplayer also has bouts of slowdown when there's a good deal of action on the screen at once. That said, the multiplayer is something I can definitely see myself coming back to, if only to increase the options available to my own warrior. It's not the greatest that the PS3 has to offer, but it's competent enough to be fun.

God of War: Ascension looks absolutely amazing, as would be expected from a late-gen game from one of Sony's own studios. Environments and characters are meticulously detailed and outside of multiplayer everything runs at a steady frame rate. The set pieces, while not as glorious as past God of War games, can blow one's mind. From climbing aboard colossal stone snakes that slither in the sky to climbing aboard an enormous jaw-dropping statue of Apollo, God of War: Ascension does not fail on delivering memorable locations. As is standard for each God of War game, Ascension also uses a fixed third-person camera that generally works well. The only time it doesn't do so well is when the game zooms out really far to create a sense of immense scale. While it's cool to see a gigantic creature, it's not so cool to see Kratos and the creatures he's fighting look like ants on the screen in comparison. It's sort of difficult to dodge, evade, and heck, even know which character is Kratos.

Some vantage points are just jaw-dropping.
As for sound, God of War: Ascension is a top-tier title in this regard. The music is dynamic, powerfully orchestrated, and enhances each set piece and area splendidly. The voice acting is also tremendous, displaying proper emotions and reading each line remarkably well.

God of War: Ascension does stray a little too close to the traditional formula of the series than I'd like. The game's ascension is more like a trip from ground level to the fifteenth floor of a 50 story skyscraper rather than a trip to the very top. That's not to say Ascension doesn't impress. It does, but I really think the series needs a serious shakeup. There's far more familiarity than total surprise with God of War: Ascension. That notwithstanding, God of War: Ascension treats players to a wild adrenaline-pumping ride, full of masterful combat, engaging puzzles, and tight platforming to make a game that is an essential purchase for God of War fans and action fans alike.

[SPC Says: 8.5/10]

Friday, June 7, 2013

Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of E3 2013

E3 2013 is but a handful of days away, and as is customary on SuperPhillip Central, we're going to list our ten most anticipated games for the show. From first-party offerings to third-party offerings, these are the games that get our mouths wet and our adrenaline running.

10) Rare's new game (XONE)


We start off with a game that isn't even known yet. What a great way to start a most anticipated E3 games list than with something without a known name. We do know, however, that Microsoft is going to be showing off Rare's Xbox One title next week. What will it be? Could it be a return of Killer Instinct? Banjo-Kazooie? Battletoads? We realize Rare is merely a shadow of its former self, as most of the original talent left long ago. However, there's an abundant charm and quality with Rare's game even in their post-Nintendo age.

9) Batman: Arkham Origins (Multi)


A Batman Arkham game without Rocksteady as the lead developer? Holy changing of the guard, Batman! The same team that worked on the Wii U's Batman: Arkham City - Armored Edition (not the same game, not the same content) are working hard to make sure the third entry in the Arkham series is of the same, if not better, quality than Rocksteady's efforts. We're really looking forward to seeing where the Dark Knight and his gallery of rogues will take us with Batmam: Arkham Origins.

8) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Multi)


Yesterday it was officially confirmed that Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland would be voicing Big Boss in the upcoming fifth mainline installment of the Metal Gear Solid saga. We think it works perfectly, as we've always likened Hideo Kojima to a failed Hollywood movie director, so this is great! Regardless, even though MGS V will no doubt follow the previous games' formula of 9,000 hours of cutscenes split up between five minutes of gameplay (we might be exaggerating a little), we're excited to see which direction the Metal Gear Solid franchise takes us and gamers around the world.

7) Rayman Legends (Multi)


February 26. That was supposed to be the release date for the former Wii U exclusive, Rayman Legends. Now, more people get to play the game, as it is being released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita. Nonetheless, the Wii U Challenge App has only whet our appetites for the full game, releasing this September in North America. We deem Rayman Origins as one of the best 2D platformers ever concocted, and Rayman Legends is looking to blow that game away. We just want to see more Rayman Legends in action to tide us over until the game finally launches.

6) Knack (PS4)


Mark Cerny's potential masterpiece, Knack, is an upcoming platformer for PlayStation 3 that we, as huge platformer fans, are anxiously awaiting more information on. The titular main character has the ability to absorb metal, ice, and a smorgasbord of other substances into his body to solve puzzles and defeat enemies. This collaboration between Mr. Cerny and Sony's Japan Studio is our most anticipated PlayStation 4 title, and learning more about the game is making us quiver with excitement.

5) Mario Kart U (Wii U)


Mario Kart 7 was a wonderful entry in the long-running franchise. Mario Kart U will hopefully continue the series' success, great gameplay, and splendid track design. Sure, many state that Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed took the kart racing crown from Mario Kart, but we're still in the Mario Kart camp, regardless. We wonder how the game will be played, if the Wii U GamePad will have any novel uses (using it as a wheel to steer perhaps?), and what crazy tracks we will see this time from the masterful minds at Nintendo.

4) Dark Souls II (Multi)


A game which stands on many of the more hardcore gamers' top games of the generation lists, Dark Souls was a brutally difficult game where the risks were sometimes greater than the actual rewards. Don't get us wrong-- the gameplay of the title and its predecessor, Demon's Souls, was rewarding as it is. Dark Souls II was originally announced at the Spike Video Game Awards last December. Fans across the globe anxiously await some light to finally shine on the particulars of this title.

3) Unnamed The Legend of Zelda project (3DS)


What many fans are affectionately calling "A Link to the Past II", the newest handheld entry in The Legend of Zelda franchise returns to the world of the Super Nintendo classic, but introduces many new gameplay concepts and dungeons. For instance, Link can become a drawing, slipping through narrow passages and moving around the walls to access new areas. If you have a 3DS and you have not yet watched the 3D trailer of the game, you definitely need to. This is one of those must-have-the-3D-slider-turned-up-all-the-way games that will make you appreciate the 3DS's main selling point. All this and 60 FPS with or without 3D on, and you have a game we, as Zelda whores, can't wait to see more of.

2) 3D Super Mario U (Wii U)


Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel are two of the best games of the generation, and of all time. Just where Nintendo EAD can take the portly plumber after going into space of all places makes us absolutely giddy. He's been in the Mushroom Kingdom, a tropical island, and outer space now. Where can he possibly go next? We'll find out when Nintendo unveils the newest 3D Mario game for Wii U. It's always an event when a 3D Mario comes out, and it will be an event when it is finally unveiled.

1) Super Smash Bros. (Wii U, 3DS)


We were just anticipating seeing the first screenshots of the new Super Smash Bros. game. However, Masahiro Sakurai has a different plan. He revealed this week that at the Nintendo Direct the debut trailer for the game will be shown to all. Pardon us, we have some drool oozing out of the corner of our mouths. We love the Super Smash Bros. series, its waves to Nintendo's past, its addicting gameplay, its roster of legendary characters, its fun and creative battle arenas, and its epic amalgamation of all things Nintendo. The new Super Smash Bros. is our most anticipated game of E3 for these reasons. Nothing else comes close.

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Three days in a row that were lists? We're crazy! While we still have your attention, what are YOUR most anticipated games for this year's E3? There's so many intriguing games to choose from, that it's hard to keep a list trimmed to just ten. Feel free to list as many or as few as you like in the comments section!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tales of Xillia (PS3) New Trailer

The next installment of the Tales franchise hits North America August 6, and fans couldn't be more excited. If you own a PlayStation 3 and have been yearning for more Tales action, then Tales of Xillia seems like a no-brainer. Watch this content-rich trailer to get your anticipation to a fever pitch level!

Top Ten SNES Soundtracks

The Super Nintendo is one of our favorite systems of all time. We don't say that out of pure nostalgia either. A lot of the games available for the system that we enjoy are classics that remain as good now as they did then. Rather than talk about our favorite games for the system (we can do that at a later date), we want to talk about the music of the software for the system. Picking and choosing ten out of the immense library of great games with great soundtracks is no easy task. We know we left out favorites of people. That's what's so great about the Super Nintendo-- there's so much good music and so many excellent games to select from. We hope that at least you will understand our reasons for picking the ten titles that we have. Let's get to the sensational sounds, shall we?

10) Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island 


The first game our list is a game that starred Yoshi as the hero, with Mario in the backseat, so to speak, in baby form. It's Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, a classic in every sense of the word, from its gameplay to its level design and of course, music. You have such catchy tunes like Flower Garden and Athletic, but then you also have dramatic tunes like Castle & Fortress, Boss, and Final Boss. It's a grand soundtrack, for sure, and one that evokes memories of tossing eggs and screaming babies.

9) Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars


A soundtrack fitting for a game set in the mystical Mushroom Kingdom, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is a marvelous masterpiece of magnificent music. The soundtrack was composed by Yoko Shimomura, whose works you might recall from the Kingdom Hearts series. No doubt fans of this game are really familiar with the themes heard in the game such as Beware the Forest Mushrooms, Fight Against an Armed Boss, Rose Town, Let's Do the Fooka Fooka (Nimbus Land), and Goodbye Geno.

8) Donkey Kong Country


David Wise needs employment at some big studio. He's deserved that, hasn't he? Is he still out of work? Someone answer us!! Anyway, we exclaim all these things because Mr. Wise's work on the Donkey Kong Country trilogy is absolutely phenomenal. Don't believe us? Foolish mortal! Take a listen to these atmospheric tracks that are not only catchy but full of delightful ambiance. There's Jungle Groove, Mine Cart Madness, Treetop Rock, Ice Cave Chant, and Fear Factory. Glorious, glorious music! The Donkey Kong Country soundtrack is a work of art, but it's not Wise's best work on the system. Stay tuned for that game coming up on this list!

7) Mega Man X


Right when you press start and enter the opening Central Highway level, you're greeted with this rocking song, letting you know you're in the thick of some seriously awesome action. Then, after the initial level has been completed and Zero has saved X's hide, you get a great stage select theme. Don't miss out on the excellent level themes, such as Flame Mammoth, Storm Eagle, and Sigma 1st. Choosing which Mega Man X game from the original SNES trilogy was a tremendous challenge, and it was a toss-up between X1 and X2. We figured we might as well go with old true blue.

6) Super Mario World


We put Super Mario World's soundtrack at the sixth position for a variety of reasons. Well, actually two. 1) We have a good bit of nostalgia that comes out when we hear this soundtrack, and 2) It's just a well done soundtrack. Koji Kondo provided the simple yet virtuoso-like tunes for Super Mario World. The classics are so classic that we don't even need to describe them to most people. Just listen and be taken back to your childhood, or if you were born in the year 1995 onward, we're so sorry for your misfortune. There's Overworld, Athletic, Underwater, Castle and Ending.

5) Breath of Fire


The original Breath of Fire is one of our favorite RPGs of the 16-bit era. Even though it has been outclassed by other games of the same genre, we still hold a special place for Ryu and the gang in our gamer hearts. Breath of Fire's soundtrack was composed by Alph Lyla, what was then Capcom's in-house composition team, featuring Mari Yamaguchi, Minae Fuji, Yasuaki Fujita, and Yoko Shimomura. Like any great RPG soundtrack, you have a wide range of feelings that you get from listening to the music. From sadness with Fate to a warm feeling of nostalgia with Day and Night. Then there's memorable themes like A Road, Battling, and Dawn.

4) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past


The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is one of most well regarded games in the history of this fine hobby of ours. Not even Zelda's creators could create a 2D Zelda that topped it. You're free to disagree, however. Regardless, the soundtrack is also something that made A Link to the Past so special, composed by Nintendo veteran Koji Kondo. There's, of course, the Overworld Theme, which plays in virtually every Zelda game, but this one is one of the more majestic versions. Then there's Hyrule Castle, The Dark World, Forest of Mystery, and the introduction of a legacy theme for the series, Zelda's Lullaby. Bah! Now we want to replay A Link to the Past for, like, the fiftieth time!

3) Chrono Trigger


The third best SNES soundtrack comes from the marvelous mind of Yasunori Mitsuda. Well, actually that isn't entirely true. You see, Mr. Mitsuda was so stressed out with the undertaking of composing the music for Chrono Trigger that he needed the assistance of Final Fantasy series composer Nobuo Uematsu to contribute some tracks. Regardless, this team effort stands as one of the greatest SNES soundtracks. How could you not enjoy this time traveling epic with songs like Zeal Palace, To Far Away Times, Battle With Magus, Brink of Time, and Battle 2?  

2) Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest


David/Dave Wise had a little support composing the soundtrack to our next game, but most of the music comes from him and him alone. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest features a wide array of musical styles that are as atmospheric as the levels they are played in. Plunder the deep with Lockjaw's Saga, party like it's 1975 with Disco Train, get mellow with Hot-Head Bop and Stickerbrush Symphony, and hear the melody of DKC's Gangplank Galleon with Snakey Chantey. David Wise's music accentuates each level splendidly, and the masterful compositions are ones that sound great to this day.

1) Final Fantasy III


Not just our favorite Super Nintendo soundtrack, but also one of our favorite soundtracks of all time, Nobuo  Uematsu's Final Fantasy III (or as it's now known in the West by its true name, Final Fantasy VI) provides a wide range of musical styles and emotions. The forlorn and beautiful Celes brings tears to our eyes, the sound of Terra makes us ready for adventure, and the town theme of Kids Run Through the City Corner gives us such a warm feeling with its instrumentation and melody. Final Fantasy VI also possesses several of the greatest boss battles themes from a game, such as The Decisive Battle, The Fierce Battle, and Dancing Mad. Final Fantasy III is a music composition triumph, regardless of what medium it is in.

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We've named our favorite Super Nintendo soundtracks, and there's many we wanted to add but had no room, like Super Metroid, Final Fantasy II, Secret of Mana, Mega Man X2, and Kirby Super Star! However, even though we've listed our favorites, there's just the matter of answering this one question: What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments section.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Eidos Life President Says Nintendo Should Put Their Franchises Elsewhere. We Disagree.

Life president of Eidos, Ian Livingstone, said something that is one of the most tired-- no-- rehashed arguments in the gaming industry. This is what he said:
"Nintendo should have their IP on every platform. Otherwise a whole generation of young people will miss out on their games."
Mr, Livingstone, we presume...  you are wrong. Yes, this constant argument that Nintendo should either put their IPs on iOS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation Vita, Wonderswan, SEGA CD, PC, Mac, Linux, Steam, and whatever else you can come up with is one that just isn't going to die, it seems.


First of all, did anyone else get a severe sense of irony from Mr. Livingstone requesting Nintendo should put their franchises on every platform when Eidos doesn't even put their franchises on Nintendo platforms? Practice what you preach, Mr. Livingstone. Also, why don't we get arguments for Microsoft to put Halo on other consoles? That way we wouldn't have to get the Xbox One, then. The argument that putting a franchise on more platforms will give a series more sales is such an obvious one. Well, no duh that if you put a franchise on platforms with a combined user base of over 300 million that you'll sell more units than if you put it on one exclusively with only 10 million, for instance. That's not the issue, however.

So, then when's Halo 4 coming to the PS3?
Nintendo doesn't just make money off of their hardware. They make the most money off of-- you guessed it-- software. A common argument is that Nintendo would make tons of money putting their games on smartphones and tablets. Let's look at some numbers for Nintendo DS games. Note that these numbers come directly from Nintendo, and they are rather dated, too:
New Super Mario Bros. - 30.38 million units
Mario Kart DS - 23.34 million units
Nintendogs (all versions) - 23.94 million units
Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day - 19.00 million units
Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day - 14.88 million units
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl - 17.63 million units
Imagine if those games were on other platforms, particularly iOS and Android. Imagine they sell the same amount on those platforms. However, since they're on a service like the AppStore, the game prices would be much lower. Not only that, but Nintendo would have to give a percentage of each game's profit to Apple. Compare that to Nintendo currently getting a multitude more of money as a first-party. Not only do they sell their games at a higher price, they get more profit, and they sell a lot of games. Even New Super Mario Bros. U on the Wii U is a success, despite it being on a shameful selling console. Nintendo still sold over two millions units of the game, and they get the lion's share of the profit. We didn't even list the best sellers of the Wii and Nintendo 3DS. That's even more money for Nintendo and only Nintendo.

Let's not even get into how much money
a little title named Wii Sports gave Nintendo.
We understand the argument that Nintendo putting their games on iOS would mean they'd have a much larger audience. However, not only would they not be able to gain money from their own hardware, but could the profit made from selling their games at a much lower price point to more people make up for being unable to sell their games at a higher price point on their own system? We don't think so here at SuperPhillip Central, and both sides of the argument can't really prove the other wrong.

It also amazes us the hypocrisy of those wanting Nintendo games on other platforms. There honestly seems to be a load of the same people who claim they no longer care about Nintendo games, yet they argue that Nintendo should go third-party. Why? So these same people who "no longer care about Nintendo games" can finally play Nintendo games without buying a Nintendo console. It's baffling and stupid.

Why would people want Nintendo to leave their first-party status anyway, besides their own selfish reasons? Nintendo constantly diversifies their hardware from the competition. We can safely say that we do not want three consoles that are essentially carbon copies of one another. We like choice. We like variety. That is what Nintendo offers, even if for two generations now they have gone the under-powered route.

Now, we could be totally off on our views of Nintendo. We're not industry experts. We don't try to be. We just give our opinions as gamers and people on the outside looking into the window that is the game industry. If you disagree with our points, feel free to interject and set us straight. Even if you do agree, feel free to interject with approval. Also, we mean no disrespect to Mr. Livingstone. We do mean disrespect, however, to his argument. What do you think? Post your thoughts below to get the conversation rolling.

SuperPhillip Central's Top 100 Games of All Time (100-91)

If you're not in the loop, let us enlighten you. Five years ago on this very day, one person started a little blog. Little did he know that this small blog would evolve into something many readers would stick with worldwide. Little did he know that he'd need more staff to help him deliver content on every weekday. Little did he know that his blog would reach over 400 reviews. And little did he know that his blog would reach one million views on the very same day as the site's five year anniversary.

Yes, today is SuperPhillip Central's five year anniversary, and the site that was just about SuperPhillip has shifted focus since its inception to become an all-encompassing game site full of news, reviews, editorials, interviews, top ten lists, and more.

We're celebrating in a big way. SuperPhillip Central's staff have come together to come up with our top 100 games of all time. These don't necessarily have to be the best, but they are indeed our favorites. Coming up with an order for these games has been an immense challenge. We're sure you won't agree with our order-- heck, we don't even agree with our order. That said, for the next ten weeks, we will be counting down our favorite games of all time. Please join us for this great undertaking. Let's get to the countdown!

100) Chrono Cross (PS1)


Chrono Cross is the successor to the 1995 Super Nintendo classic Chrono Trigger. Many staff from that game moved onto work on Chrono Cross, including director Masato Kato, composer Yasunori Mitsuda, and art director Yasuyuki Honne. The game followed the exploits of Serge, a teenage lad who, in an alternate reality, is dead. You see, parallel worlds is a theme of Chrono Cross, and one that makes the plot so appealing. From the turn-based battle system, where players could run from every battle if they so choose, to the immense amount of characters that could join Serge's party, Chrono Cross is one of the PlayStation's better RPGs to grace the platform.

99) Saints Row 2 (Multi)


So often the press and gamers are so eager to name upcoming games as the *insert game series here*-killer. That was true with Saints Row 2. Unlike the original Saints Row, Saints Row 2 was a multiplatform affair, and one which was all kinds of wacky. While Grand Theft Auto IV went in a more realistic route, Saints Row 2 captured the fun and craziness that made past Grand Theft Auto games so enjoyable. Being able to customize your character however you wanted, participate in a myriad of off-the-wall side missions, and exploring the living, breathing city of Stilwater are all facets of Saints Row 2 that make it one of our favorite open world games.

98) Tales of Symphonia (GCN)


Tales of Symphonia released on a system, the GameCube, that didn't really receive a lot of RPGs. Now, we're not saying Tales of Symphonia is only worthwhile because it was on a system that didn't get many RPGs. No, we're listing this game because it was very good. Tales of Symphonia sported a beautiful cel-shaded art style, a great soundtrack by Motoi Sakuraba, and an entertaining battle system that made battles not a chore but a fun experience. We can't wait to replay the game when it hits the PlayStation 3 in HD form. We salivate at the very thought!

97) LocoRoco 2 (PSP)


A platformer like no other, LocoRoco 2 is played with the shoulder buttons of the PSP. Pressing the L button would make your LocoRoco move to the left, while the R button-- you guessed it, you smart, smart reader-- would move your LocoRoco to the right. Hitting both shoulder buttons at the same time made your lovable blob jump in the air. LocoRoco 2 featured a wealth of platforming challenges, a notable art style and musical score, and loads of charm. Between saving Muimui characters, finding all of the fruit in a given level, and saving the world from the Moja threat, LocoRoco 2 is one of our favorite PSP titles.

96) Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (3DS)


We're going to admit something. We are not very good at rhythm games. We love them to death, but the skill that we need to play them just alludes us. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is one of those rhythm games that we were actually good at, and that's not the only reason the game makes our list. The game was a Final  Fantasy fan's dream, filled with a multitude of music from all thirteen mainline Final Fantasy games. Leveling up characters, getting a high rank on a given song, defeating powerful enemies through tapping, sliding, and holding the stylus on the touch screen, and unlocking new heroes and heroines all made us giddy with excitement. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is an excellent, excellent rhythm game that strays from the norm.

95) Professor Layton and the Unwound Future (DS)


There have been five Professor Layton games that have been released in the West, but our pick for the best and most memorable is the third entry in the series, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future (or The Last Time Travel, if you're a PAL pal). The amount of puzzles in the game made for some late night brain-busting. We could honestly feel our craniums grow as we solved puzzle after puzzle. That was just one part of the game, though. Unwound Future possessed one of the most touching stories in a Nintendo DS game-- actually, in a game in the past ten years. It really made us emotional. What, we're man enough to admit that!

94) Mario Golf (N64)


Phil's very first golf game was Mario Golf for the Nintendo 64, so we had to include it on this list or else he would give us grief for the rest of eternity. Mario Golf was a tremendous golfing title, featuring familiar Mushroom Kingdom characters as well as "normal" characters like Charlie and Plum, six well designed courses, a memorable soundtrack by Motoi Sakuraba, and more modes than you can shake a 3 Wood at. Many nights Mario Golf was the game of choice-- trying to get that ever-elusive albatross or hole-in-one, acing that fifty foot putt, and trying to come out top in a tournament. All of these activities made for one excellent golf game.

93) Hot Shots Golf Fore! (PS2)


From one golf game to another, we go from Mario to the world of Hot Shots Golf with the fourth installment of the series (and the second on the PlayStation 2), Hot Shots Golf Fore! We all agreed that Hot Shots just inched out Mario Golf as the top golf title. It featured more characters, more courses, more challenge, and more options than its competition. We especially loved unlocking new characters like Ratchet and Jak (from their respective PlayStation franchises) through Match Play, new caddies to support (or criticize) us while we play, and recording our favorite shots. Hot Shots Golf Fore! is one of those games that we get very nostalgic for, despite mostly featuring a cast of one-time golfers.

92) Golden Sun (GBA)


Camelot knows how to make games. We've already featured them on this list with Mario Golf. They know how to do more than golf games, however, as evident by Golden Sun, one of the best RPGs to be found on the Game Boy Advance. We prefer the original Golden Sun, as the game was much more novel than its successors. Golden Sun featured the addicting turn-based combat, Djinn-obtaining, summon-summoning, puzzle-solving action that made it a unique title in the GBA's wide catalog of software. Using the wide amount of Psynergy (magic) in the game's many towns and dungeons to solve puzzles and progress was something that we hadn't seen so much out of an RPG. Couple all that with an engaging battle system, and you have the #92 game on our list.

91) Dead Rising (360)


One of our favorite Xbox 360 exclusives is Dead Rising. It came from the mind of one of the folks behind Mega Man, Keiji Inafune. Dead Rising was quite unlike anything at the time. You played as Frank West, a photojournalist who has covered wars, y'know. However, no war could really prepare him for a zombie outbreak in a Colorado town's mall. To survive, Frank would need to utilize as many things in the mall to stay alive, including chainsaws, lawn mowers, baseball bats, soccer balls, hammers, and much much more. This was all the while Frank had to carefully watch a clock, for if he could miss story-related events and survivors to save. The former of which meant that the player would have to restart the game, though they would keep all of Frank's upgrades. Dead Rising is a technical marvel, sporting hundreds of zombies on screen at the same time. It's also just an innovative and special title in the Xbox 360's library.

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Our first of ten features on our favorite video games of all time is now in the history books, much like the games we've talked about and are going to talk about. Every Wednesday for nine more weeks we will be counting down our top 100 games of all time. We hope you'll join us, and we hope you continue to enjoy SuperPhillip Central's content for the next five years!

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