You ever buy someone a gift for Christmas and while they are mercilessly ravaging the gift wrap you see a feigned sense of appreciation?  They stare blankly at what lies beneath and in the same breath they turn to you and say “Thanks (insert whoever you are to that person), I love it”, but you know that’s not the case.  You ask yourself why this person could be so callous in receiving a gift—well — it’s because you bought them a shitty gift.  Everyone says it’s the thought that counts, but not if you didn’t put any thought into it.  Most sites will tell you what to buy someone, but will seldom tell you what to avoid.  So let this list be your warning for what you should be averse to this year when you are doing your holiday shopping.  You’ll be a better person for it, trust me.

Ride To Hell: Retribution (Xbox 360, PS3)

ride-to-hell-retribution-ps3Why you shouldn’t buy it: Unsuspecting shoppers might stroll by this game and think it might be good time because it looks like the popular TV show Sons of Anarchy, but trust me when I tell you that Charlie Hunnam wouldn’t even wipe his ass with this game.  Messy controls, horrible story and abysmal voice acting firmly cement this as one of 2013’s worst titles.

Knack (PS4)

Knack-boxartWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  Knack isn’t necessarily a bad game, but sporting a $60 price tag poses an issue.  It has the flair and charm reminiscent of older Sony platformers like Ratchet and Clank and Jak and Daxter, but this game is only next-gen in the graphics department and even saying that is a stretch.  With a multitude of other next-gen games that will actually make you think you own a next-gen system you’d do best to avoid Knack—at least for the time being.

NBA Live 14 (Xbox One, PS4)

nba live 14 box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  NBA 2K14.

OUYA (Android game console)

ouyaWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  Alright I know the list says games, but the OUYA is a device that plays games so hear me out.  The OUYA had everyone’s attention when it was first announced because it was supposed to change the landscape of living room gaming, well it didn’t.  What we have now is a device that is poorly supported and to my standards is overpriced.  This device is primarily for the gamer that needs to have every device no matter what it does making it a very niche collective of people.  If you are really clamoring to buy someone an android device get them a tablet or MADCATZ’s MOJO that supports stock android, already making it a better alternative.

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (Xbox 360, PS3)

walking dead box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  It’s no secret that The Walking Dead has transcended its cult comic book status and became an entertainment phenomenon, but with that distinction comes the poor use of creative licenses like this game.  The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is no more than a cash grab and if you had the displeasure of playing this game you’d probably feel robbed as well.  This is a Walking Dead property in namesake alone and if you care about the future of this franchise you won’t buy this game.

Aliens: Colonial Marines (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

aliens box art

Why you shouldn’t buy it:  Aliens is no doubt one of the largest and most beloved science fiction properties out there and Colonial Marines was on pace to propel it to greater heights.  After numerous delays and studio swaps what was left was a soiled shell of a game equipped with poor controls and horrifyingly inconsistent AI.  If you want to make that Aliens’ fan in your life happy, start by not buying them this.

Fighter Within

fighter within box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  Kinect 2.0 promised a lot of things for the Xbox One, one of them being a viable option for gaming.  Unfortunately for early adopters they are stuck with what is another haphazardly designed and aimless motion game—Fighter Within.  Combining awful gesture recognition with a completely pointless story you have Ubisoft’s sophomore effort missing the mark.  Kinect 2.0 is an impressive piece of tech—don’t sully your view of it or your living room for that matter with this garbage.

Star Trek (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

star trek box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  Remember when I was talking about the poor use creative licenses?  The Star Trek game that came out a month prior to Into Darkness was a disastrous lead up to the summer blockbuster.  The game was ridden with a myriad of tech issues on top of an incoherent narrative.  This is one trip on the Enterprise you should overlook.

Fast and Furious: Showdown (Xbox 360, PS3, WiiU, 3DS, PC)

fast and furious showdown box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  The Fast and Furious movies are the mainstream representation of the tuning sub-culture.  They have ridiculous over-the-top stories, but at each film’s core it’s about racing cars dangerously.  Showdown fails at that in every conceivable category, making it possibly of the worst racing games ever made and something that you shouldn’t even entertain as a Christmas gift, unless you are a terrible person.

Dark (Xbox 360, PC)

dark box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  Vampires are still kind of the rage these days, but like the deluge of TV shows and Movies based on Vampires—most—not all video games don’t do them right and Dark is no exception.  Poor controls, inconsistent AI and just bland gameplay make this game garlic to the Vampire genre.   Do yourself a favor and don’t let this game suck a dime out of your wallet.

This is but a small taste of things you should avoid when doing your holiday shopping.  Be wary of bargain bins and flash deals because more often than not—it’s something shitty.  Share the list with grandma and grandpa, hell your whole family for that matter.  I’ve given you the means to at least prevent one terrible gift, but only you can prevent the rest.

Sound off in the comments with your advice to uninformed holiday shoppers or even tell me if you disagree with a selection on this list by telling me why someone should buy it.


Irrational Games announced today that their highly anticipated title, Bioshock Infinite, was being delayed yet again, but not by much.  The game is now scheduled to release on March 26th, exactly one month after the game’s previous release date of February 26th.  According to a report on IGN, Creative Director Ken Levine said the game required some additional polishing and bug fixing to deliver an experience worthy of our hard earned money (thanks Ken).  This delay is the second one to beset Bioshock Infinite as I am sure most of you remember its original release date of October 2012.

I don’t believe this delay will diminish anyone’s excitement for the upcoming game, but Bioshock Infinite has now entered a fairly crowded month for games including Tomb Raider, Gears of War Judgment, God of War Ascension and a little game called Grand Theft Auto V amongst many other high profile titles.  So while excitement may not be in jeopardy, time and money may become an issue for gamers deciding which titles to commit to come March.

What say you reader?  Will this delay affect your gaming in the month of March or will you not skip a beat?  Let us know in the comments and for everything Bioshock Infinite and gaming keep it tuned to The Gamer’s Abstract.

In June of 2000, gamers the world over were introduced to something, that at the time was just a Dreamcast game, but would later be revered as a transition for the medium.  Gravitating away from just being simply entertainment, but being appreciated as an art form; Jet Set Radio was that turning point and to this day remains one of the most important games released on any platform–and also the main reason why you should play it.

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Another E3 has come and gone and with it some awesome new stuff to look at and some things we would have rather not seen.

Here at the TGA we are going to show you the top 10 the best things that you should look at and the 5 worst things from E3 2012.

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Nintendo had big shoes to fill at this E3. All eyes were looking to Nintendo and what the Wii U was going to bring to the table. Most of the conference was spent on Wii U with 23 titles shown during the conference and little of 3DS as well. Let’s get down to business and see if Nintendo hit a home run this year at E3.

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Next up on the list at E3 is Sony. Right out of the gate Sony does a great job at really dropping a bomb on the world with the announcement the makers of Heavy Rain are developing a new title. Not much is known about this title other than the trailer released at E3, but with Quantic Dream making this project it will sure to be nothing other than a smash hit. With Beyond: Two Souls you will play as Jodie Holmes and go through points in her life spanning 15yrs. But there is something very special about Jodie; she is surrounded by an invisible and powerful unknown presence that she talks to. In the video we see her sitting at a local police station not saying a word to a jabbering officer trying to help.  The officer later becomes frightened when the coffee mug he placed on the table is lifted off and thrown against the wall, and chooses to leave Jodie. Left alone she starts to interact with this supernatural being stating that she knew that SWAT was coming for her. Right after SWAT members start to storm the building and position themselves to try to capture Jodie. The door to where she is opens than the video than cuts to an amazing montage of what else is in store for the game. The video alone was enough to give me goose bumps.

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Out of the big 3 of press conferences Microsoft did not choose to step up to the plate. However, Microsoft had a very strong start and quickly gained momentum by revealing Halo 4 gameplay. Master Chief is in search of a ship that crash landed as it flew over his head. When the gameplay starts we were greeted with the trusted Battle Riffle (my favorite gun) and shortly after a familiar enemy, The Covenant. At this point I had yet to be impressed as Halo 4 seemed like it was just a graphically better Halo game, but quickly I was proved wrong as I saw new and interesting things. A strange red beam takes out the last Covenant as he disintegrates directly in front of you. As Chief pushes forward he as ambushed by a group of mechanical AI dogs. Once those are cleared another new enemy appears as well as a new gun. The new gun as equipped reminded me of something out of transformers and looked bad ass, Cortana recognizes that the tech is Forerunner. This new gun looks sick as does all the new Forerunner enemies. I was not sold on Halo 4 given that Bungie was no longer part of the project, but after seeing this at E3 I am sold on buying it. But don’t take my word for it, watch it for yourself and see.

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Final Fantasy XIII-2 is the newest installment of the FF franchise.  Trying to make up for the amount of complaints from the FF XIII and possibility of lacking creative ideas Square Enix attempts another console FF sequel.  The first thing that came to mind was, “Why?”  After the travesty that was FF X-2 I was very resilient to think that doing another FF sequel would be a good idea.  The feedback that I received from reviews and word of mouth put my worries at ease and also stating that the complaints I had about the first one were also changed.  Did the title live up to or exceed its predecessor?  Let’s take a look and see.


The gameplay of FF 13-2 is very similar to that of FF13. The battle system is based off of 6 interchangeable class types and managing those into 6 on the fly class combos in order to heal, stagger, or devastate your opponents. If you played FF13 than you will feel right at home with the battle system. There were minor tweaks in place that now give some enemies the ability to wound your health making you unable to heal wounded damage, also some of the class abilities aren’t as vast as they were in FF13, and now your 3rd battle partner is a monster. You now have the ability to capture, infuse, and level up monsters in the game.  While this makes it able to build the ultimate monster for each class type I would much rather have static characters that I can level up just like Noel and Serah.  Having to worry about grabbing new monsters or not knowing which ones are good to level up can be frustrating at times. Monsters can only be leveled up, depending on the class of monster, using items you can either buy or earn in battles. This can also be very frustrating as you have a limited number of items and don’t want to waste them on monsters that aren’t going to ever be as strong as the monster you are using now. The crystarium system of leveling up is back again but with a small change. In the previous title you could level up one of the 6 classes and each one had a cap and you could dump XP into any one you wanted. This time around you dump those points into each class type and get stat boosts in strength, HP, and Magic depending on which class you level. Each time you do that specific class will level up and each class caps at level 99. Each time you fill an entire crystarium field you also get a bonus which can range from boosting a class or raising your accessory limit amount. In this game you can’t just wear any accessory you want as each accessory has a number attached to it. If you don’t have a high enough number cap than a lot of accessories are dead to you and this really limits what you can wear to 1 maybe 2 accessories at best. Overall I feel gameplay took a step back from FF13



The game has Serah in search of her sister Lightning who she saw in a dream fighting in Valhalla in the beginning. Shortly after she is met with the last human in existence from the future, Noel as they both travel through time solving paradoxes created in the timeline in order to bring back Lightning. You travel to a great array of places scattered all throughout time as well as multiple versions of the same time but changed after fixing paradoxes.  In each time you spend anywhere from 30min to 3hrs following the trail of the next time period unlocked by gates. Since the previous title was too linear this one is too open. I quickly felt overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that I had open to me in the timeline, and had to also revisit the same places to see if I could find more fragments in each time. The storyline was sub-par at best as it unfolded with a cast of characters that never moved or inspired me. Over the 38hrs of my time with the game I found myself playing it more out of not having anything else better to play rather than wanting to know what happens next. Most of the game posed no difficulty except for the final boss that resulted in me spending another 5hrs of leveling and creating stronger monsters in order to just barely win. The ending (spoiler free) infuriated me with the direction in which it played out. Overall, I would have rather played through FF13 a 2nd time than my one play through of FF13-2.



Visuals are usually a department that Square Enix does right. This title is an exception to that rule. The vast array of locations and geography always made it seem fresh. I would jump from one time period to the next and be immersed in a whole new world completely different from where I just was. However, the character models often seemed pixelated and it looks like there wasn’t a lot of effort into making this a well-polished and visually astounding title. The turnaround is that the cutscenes look as good as would be expected, but the environments, characters, and everything else outside of cutscenes looks like ass.



The soundtrack for this game is atrocious. Most music consisted of not just music but some of them also had someone else singing in the background. I found the music to be so horrible that I would try to leave certain time periods quicker than others or play over the video game music with stuff from my computer because it just hurt my soul. I took the time to listen to what those people were actually saying I hung my head in disgust to hear that the lyrics were horribly written. Below I have linked some Youtube links to a few examples of what I mean.


Lasting Appeal:

The game has a vast amount of content with 160 fragments to collect, multiple endings, and a casino to blow all your money and time at. The only problem is that it was hard enough to stomach one full play through that I could never see myself going back to playing this title ever again.  Do yourself a favor and do not waste your money on this game.


Final Score: 58/100

I completed this game on the PS3 with a time of 38:27:20. I was able to collect 77/160 fragments in the game and was able to reach 56% trophy completion

What did you think about FFXIII-2? Post your comments in the section below and remember to follow us on

2011 Multi-Game Reviews

Posted: June 11, 2012 by shalashaska8986 in Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s been a while since I have had the time to be able to write an article. I was buried under the black hole that is retail as well as the start of my next college semester. However, some my time was well spent as I was able to polish off a number of hit games that came out during the holiday season that I will be reviewing today.

My time with Saints Row: The Third can be summed up in one word, Amazing.   My 30hrs spent lost in the nostalgia that was Steelport was nothing short of an incredible ride.  From the very beginning you get a sense of the crazy antics you should expect as you progress.  The game not only met my expectations it exceeded them.  From sprees of beating people with a giant purple dildo bat, killing waves of mascots in Prof. Genki’s, or tiger escort missions and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Needless to say that I never wanted my experience to end.  This game boasts one of the best soundtracks incorporating a wide range of genres and song selections that could satisfy any gamer’s musical tastes.  The gameplay is the heart and soul of the game giving you power ups as you level your saints, guns, cars, cribs, gang members, or yourself.  The game plays out just like your standard open sandbox world video game, but quickly you will notice that this game relays heavily on the WTF factor.  While the side missions are a fun means to tack on more hours the storyline is what ties the game together into the beautiful masterpiece that I experienced.  The closer you get to game’s end the more I could only sit there bursting out laughing at character interactions and the objectives that I had to complete.  The game also has a great deal of customization allowing you to customize any article of clothing or vehicles to the color or style that you want.  The graphics were not anything impressive, but that’s not why you’d be playing this game in the first place.  Places look as though a city would with a nice amount of detail but it’s a standard look that we’ve seen before from this type of game.  There are a few times that my gameplay got drastically slowed for having too many things on the screen, but this only happened a few times.  With co-op, single player, whored mode, challenges, plenty to upgrade, and a wide variety of side missions this is one title that will be a long and enjoyable experience from start to finish.

Gameplay: 18/20
Presentation: 19/20
Visuals: 17/20
Sound: 20/20
Future Playability: 20/20

Final Score: 94/100 I spent a total of 30hr playing this game, achieved 80% of the trophies, and completed 98% of the total single player experience.

Next up is the strange and horror filled love experience that was Catherine.  When I started the game I had no idea what to expect.  You play as Vincent a man who is tied down to his long term girlfriend Katherine, but after a long night at his usual bar he finds himself in a love triangle.  The story becomes so compelling that you will want to spend hours solving the games incredibly difficult puzzles in order to see what happens next. The game is divided into 3 sections: the part you watch, the part you play, and the part where you interact and shape how the game will progress. Each morning you are greeted with a series of cut scenes that reveal what troubling situation Vincent got himself into next.  The visuals in the animation are beautifully done in mostly an anime style of drawing.  Outside of these cut scenes the game does a good job at making the rest of the experience to be visually detailed even if you are too busy to pay attention as you run for your life.  The second is spent at your favorite bar The Sleeping Sheep where here you interact with people, text the two K/Catherines and try to help people with their problems and woes.  You can also play the bar’s arcade game which can help you work on your climbing skills, or sit and drink to increase the speed of Vincent as he climbs.  Once you leave the bar is where you’ll be running for your life.  Each night is the same in that you have a series of levels and you have to climb to the top in order to make it to the next stage. The difficulty curve climbed exponentially quick with the introduction of new block types and more difficult puzzles to try to climb up.  By the second night my opinion went from thinking the game was easy to Holy $&#* at this rate I am not even sure I will beat the game.  The game does a great job at immersing the player into a constant state of panic as you tackle each new puzzle.  However, no matter how difficult and frustrating they may be once the game sinks its teeth into you there is no stopping you from trying to finish the night to see what happens next.  The voice acting as I would expect coming from a Japanese game is impressive.  The score of the game sets the mood for the epic and puzzling climbs that you will have to make each night.  With multiple endings, high scores and medals to achieve on each puzzle, and a challenge mode that unlocks from getting enough gold medals in campaign there is plenty that will keep you coming back for more.

Gameplay: 19/20
Presentation: 20/20
Visuals: 16/20
Sound: 16/20
Future Playability: 20/20

Final Score: 91/100 I spent 12:38 playing through the game and got 35% of the games trophies.

Ezio Auditore and Desmond are back in another hit installment of the Assassin’s Creed series in Assassin’s Creed Revelations.  In order for Desmond to make it out of the Animus with his mind intact he must complete the tale of both Ezio and Altair that blur memories within his own timeline.  The gameplay hasn’t changed much since the previous installments with combat seeing very little performance tweaks.  If you love the fight, climb, and move mechanics of the previous titles than you’ll feel right at home in this one.  The game adds a new feature to create bombs to help kill, distract, or infect the minds of opponents. Another new feature is tower defense which has you strategize troops of assassins to stop invading forces from taking over your controlled bases. Truthfully, I feel that with each new Assassin’s Creed title the developers try to add more and more content that can be a bit too cumbersome at times.  The game would consistently break the flow of my game experience by wanting me to rush back to the complete other side of town in order to protect my bases.  The stealth mechanics are more difficult this time around as the developers want to try to force you to craft bombs to help progress even as it felt against my will to want to.  The Presentation is set in Constantinople as Ezio is trying to track down the keys to unlock the truth behind Altair’s secret room.  The journey will take Ezio through a love interest, building the Assassins Order in Constantinople, and becoming involved in a struggle for power over the crown. The game also adds backstory scenes involving Desmond before he went to Abstergo in the first one and Altair after the end of the first Assassin’s Creed took place.  The story developed in Revelations within Constantinople was bland and my only driving force was to continue the storyline shaped from previous titles. The visuals are on par with the last two Assassin’s Creed titles with nice visuals stretching as far as the eye can see from rooftops and the soundtrack fit the setting of the game. With tower defense, tons of collectables and gear to obtain, 2ndary objectives, an Assassin’s Order to manage, and multiplayer this is a game that could keep you busy for a long time to come. If you’re looking to continue the story I would recommend playing it just to see what happens. Otherwise there are far superior Assassin’s Creed titles in the lineup.

Gameplay: 14/20
Presentation: 14/20
Visuals: 16/20
Sound: 16/20
Future Playability: 12/20

Final Score: 72/100 I spent 12:01 playing through the game with 56.52% completion and 36% trophy completion

What did you think about any of the above games? Post your comments in the section below and remember to follow us on

With E3 beginning in just a few short hours we here at The Gamer’s Abstract would like to throw out some predictions for the major press conferences. Alongside those predictions will be stuff that is most anticipated and the biggest shocker announcement of E3. This will be written in the order of the press conferences themselves.

You will see the big heavy hitter first party titles here. Expect to see some new clips involving Epic Games new Gears of War title, and also more in depth with Halo 4. Microsoft will want to reinforce why gamers choose Xbox 360 above all else with the strength of their first party IP’s and how they have exclusive content first to the market. Microsoft will remind users that Xbox is the only place to get Call of Duty content first on the market and show some gameplay footage from Black Ops 2. Look to Microsoft to have a dedicated time slot to just showing off the Kinect. As always this might include a bunch of kids or adults doing silly things on stage in their 2 minutes of fame. Xbox 360 seems to want to become more and more integrated for being the only media device one might need for a household (cable, dvd, bing, ESPN, etc.) . It will come as no shock to see that Microsoft will announce further integration with the mobile market and moving more into a cloud based system. Microsoft wants to be like Apple in that all their devices will talk and communicate with one another.  I do not anticipate that there will be any announcement or buzz for the new Xbox and will be absent from E3 until next year.

Sony may never outsell Microsoft but they do gain more and more ground with their IP’s each year. Look for videos of the new Assassin’s Creed, Sly Cooper  4, The Last of Us, The Last Guardian, God of War: Ascension, and the newly announced All Star Battle Royal. The Last of Us and All Star Battle Royal will be the highlight of the unreleased games during the press conference. The big push will not only reinforce why gamers choose the wide variety of exclusive games on the PS3 but will also focus on the Vita. Vita sales are less than what Sony would like them to be and gamers need a reason to go out and buy a Vita. I would recommend that Sony get Kevin Butler to do this segment as if anyone could get people pumped about buying anything gamer related it would be him. Expect Kevin to make an appearance at the conference and just like his appearance in 2010 people to be hanging on his every word. Vita will be seeing a price drop due to lackluster sales in the range of $50-$100. PS Move seems to be something that didn’t and still hasn’t caught on. Move will be mentioned but not to very much extent. Sony has been rumored in doing a strictly streaming based form of gaming sort of like onlive, I expect to see more details announced as to what exactly is in the works. With the PS3 still strong and the Vita in need of more sales it would not be smart for Sony to announce a new system at E3. I do not expect that this will be in the arsenal for Sony

All eyes are on the Big N this conference with buzz and hype all centered on Wii U. The name is here to stay as recent pictures of the tablet controller have the Wii U branded logo all over it. People want to know what it is, what the intended way to play this new system is, and what the recently leaked Rayman Legends trailer with Wii U means. (For those of you who do not know there was a trailer that showed putting action figures on the Wii U tablet controller and being recognized on the screen as an item, possibly game, or character. ) Consumers will see a release date of Early 2013 and no price point yet. There will be announced 1st and 3rd party games for the system possibly in the realm of Metroid, Mario, and Super Smash and how these games will work with the new tablet controller. Pikmin 3 along with the New Super Mario Bros 2 and the popular upcoming 3DS titles like Paper Mario and Luigi’s Mansion 2. And last as always we will be graced by the wonderful and charismatic personality of Reggie Fils-Aime. Who always manages to bore and annoy the crap out of me every E3 press conference.

With Predictions also comes the most anticipated already expected stuff that here at The Gamer’s Abstract are itching to know more about or can’t wait to see. Below is a list of what we here at TGA will be looking out for. Those things would be:

Castlevania DS and Lords of Shadows
Wii U (We want to know wtf this thing is)
Kevin Butler as always makes a great addition
Paper Mario and Luigi’s Mansion 2
Bioshock infinite
Resident Evil 6
Tomb Raider
Assassin’s Creed 3

The biggest shocker prediction to hit E3:

Valve will finally man up and announce Half-Life 3
What do you think will happen at E3? Post your comments in the section below and  remember to follow us on