Tuesday, November 26, 2013

best of 2013: miscellaneous pt. 2

As the entry title states, this is part 2 of my favorite miscellaneous things from 2013.

* Not all of these made their debut in 2013, but that's when I first played/used/saw them.

* This list is heavy on the video games, but I didn't have enough to give them their own list.(Making a list of 8 would have been kind of weird, and I couldn't bring myself to make a list of 5 and knock 3 deserving candidates off.)Some of them are available on more than one console; I used the cover art for the system on which I played it.Also, because the original reviews are too long to repost here, I've given a truncated version instead.If you want to read the full review, I've noted the month I reviewed it in parentheses.

* Just in case anyone's interested, I asked G-Vo what his favorite video game of the year was, and he said Bioshock Infinite.I really wish I'd been able to play that too because it sounds awesome, but it's first person and would make me vomit profusely.

* These things are listed in random order.

* As always, your mileage may vary.Man, the haters came out in full force for this game, but you know what?It's freakin' awesome!I had only played the very first Devil May Cry before this one, but G-Vo's played all of them and said this was his second favorite, so you know it was good.Dante teams up with his brother Vergil to take down Mundus, the demon lord who murdered their mother; cue lots of blood, snarky quips, and seriously hardcore action.My wrists hurt for two days after playing this, and I wasn't even mad about it.(April)In DS3 (the sequel to one of my 10 favorite video games of all time), you once again assume the role of space engineer Isaac Clarke.He and Ellie became romantically involved after DS2, but they split up and now she's canoodling with a total douche.But as much as Isaac would like to nurse his broken heart in peace, the Unitologists are up to their old tricks again, activating Markers and causing another necromorph outbreak.Isaac reluctantly takes up arms again in hopes of ending things once and for all.A gripping (if occasionally confusing) storyline is complemented by gorgeous graphics and hardcore gameplay that will make you feel like a total badass.(March)In NBC's Hannibal, Will Graham is an FBI profiler who has the uncanny ability to empathize with serial killers, which makes him a brilliant agent but takes a terrible toll on him psychologically.While investigating a killer nicknamed the Minnesota Shrike, Will asks for help from psychologist Hannibal Lecter.What Will doesn't know, however, is that...

(SPOILER ALERT if you've been under a rock for the last 22 years)

...Dr. Lecter is a serial killer himself, with the added bonus of being a cannibal.

This is by far the goriest show I've ever seen on network TV, but it's also one of the most beautifully shot, and the performances are terrific.It took me a while to warm up to Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal, but once I did, I accepted him in the role completely.(True, he's not as good as Anthony Hopkins, but those are enormous shoes to fill.)And as troubled Will Graham, Hugh Dancy breaks my heart.I just want to give him a hug and a cookie.This show won't be your cup of tea if you're easily disturbed, but it's really damn good.

Side note:I saw this Will Graham GIF on Tumblr and it cracked my shit up.(Obviously, this is not an actual quote from the show.)(Note: the picture above doesn't show what console this is available on, but we played the Playstation 3 version.)

While searching for the lost island of Yamitai, Lara Croft is separated from her crew.She desperately tries to reconnect with her shipmates, but wolves, vicious islanders, and a host of other dangers won't make it easy for her.The story is nothing special, but the graphics are stunning and it's a lot of fun; as G-Vo put it, it's like starring in your own action movie.(June)When Kotaku reviewed WataMote (the title is a shortened form of the Japanese title, which translates as No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!), they said it was the most meanspirited anime they'd ever seen and treated its socially inept main character like crap.I was curious about it, so I watched it on Hulu, and I gotta say: Kotaku was way too rough on this show.

Tomoko thought that she'd be popular when she started high school, but she was dead wrong.She suffers from social anxiety and can barely even manage saying goodbye to her teacher without freaking out.She tries to learn how to be "normal" by playing video games and reading manga, but of course, their version of normal doesn't always work in the real world.

WataMote can be funny as hell, but there are also many cringeworthy moments that anyone who is or was socially awkward will be able to relate to.Tomoko isn't always a sympathetic character, but I never stopped rooting for her to break out of her shell and really make an impression.It's like a funnier anime version of Welcome to the Dollhouse, and if, like me, you spent high school eating lunch in the bathroom (sad but true) and dreaming of better things, you'll relate to WataMote.(Available for free on Hulu)(Note: the picture above doesn't show what console this is available on, but it was released exclusively for the Playstation 3.)

TLOU takes place in a postapocalytic United States.A fungus called Cordyceps (which , but fortunately restricts itself to insects in real life) turns people into mutated monsters.In one of their most advanced forms, they're called clickers because they are blind and use echolocation, like bats, to get around.

Joel is a man worn down by tragedy.He lives in a quarantine zone in Boston and works as a smuggler with his friend Tess.One day they receive an unusual request: escort a teenage girl named Ellie across the country to a group of anti-government rebels called the Fireflies.Joel and Tess set out on their mission, but in addition to the infected, they must deal with soldiers, hostile bandits, and cannibals.

I wasn't sure that I was going to like this game because of all the stealth involved (not my forte, mainly because I'm the most impatient person of all time), but not only did I wind up loving it, it earned a place on my top 10 video games of all time.It's almost painfully intense, the story is intriguing and moved me to tears more than once, the graphics are mindblowing, and the voice acting is perfection.(July)Ever since she was born, Jodie Holmes has been connected to an unseen entity she calls Aiden.They're bound together by a spiritual umbilical cord of sorts; if he gets too far away from her, it causes her great physical and emotional distress.When Jodie's powers become too much for her foster parents to bear, she's sent to a military base and raised by paranormal researcher Dr. Nathan Dawkins.As she gets older and more in control of Aiden, the CIA recruits her, but she quickly discovers that she doesn't always agree with what they want her to do.Excellent voice acting (especially from Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe) and graphics, couch co-op, and the unusual addition of a "pet poltergeist" made this game great fun.(Full review coming in my November media update)Attack on Titan got a lot of buzz when it was first released, so G-Vo and I decided to check it out.

In the world of AoT, the world has been under attack by titans, enormous humanoid creatures who enjoy snacking on humans.After living inside walled cities for over a hundred years, people have gotten a little complacent.But after a titan breaches Wall Maria, an elite group of soldiers forms to take the titan menace down once and for all. Intense, violent, and filled with surprises, it's one of those series where you finish one episode and say "Okay, just one more because I have to know what happens", and then before you know it, hours have passed.We aren't done just yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if we marathon the shit out of it over the long holiday weekend.(Available for free on Hulu)
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