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For as long as I can remember, I've been a gamer. I was born in the 80s and grew up during the 90s. I was first introduced into gaming by my father when I played video games with him on our family's DOS PC. Some of those old titles included Commander Keen, Duke Nukem, Jazz Jackrabbit, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Wing Commander.

What really cemented my identity as a gamer was when he bought my brothers and I a SEGA Genesis for Christmas in '95, that was the day I was introduced to Sonic the Hedgehog.

From that day I've been fascinated with all facets of gaming and the culture that surrounds it. And despite starting out as a notorious SEGA fanboy (a habit I admittedly haven't entirely shook) I now spend my free time playing a wide assortment of genres across a variety of consoles.
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Call of Duty has become something of a phenomenon in the Gaming industry. The series' is almost consistently winning awards, breaking sales records and being released to widespread and critical acclaim. Admittedly, I missed Modern Warfare and the original Black Ops when they made a splash earlier this generation because I haven't been interested in first person shooters since their earliest incarnations on DOS PCs. However, I wasn't content to be on the outside looking in and with the purchase of my shiny new Wii U I decided to finally take the plunge and see just what all the hullabaloo surrounding the series was and I've walked away from the experience with mixed feelings.

Today's blog is going to differ from my regular format because this game requires no introduction to the vast majority of the gaming public. Chances are you've already chosen a firm stance in regards to the Call of Duty franchise and my words won't sway you either way. Nevertheless, I felt the need to organize my thoughts online in hopes of starting a dialogue about Black Ops 2.

"Are you looking at me?"

The first thing that leads me to scratch my head in confusion is the game's plot. Some people may accuse me of wanting too much from what should essentially be videogame junk food but I don't think it's asking too much for a game's story to at least be enjoyable. Instead Black Ops 2 does everything in it's power to deliver a very basic revenge story in the most convoluted fashion imaginable. The game feels the need to shift perspective between characters and settings to the point of disorienting the player. The game's antagonist sees an unrealistic rise to power and his character suffers from an extreme lack of motivation. Menendez's lofty goal's seem entirely disproportionate to his reasons for having them in the first place.

Black Ops 2 really delivers some thrilling set-pieces

I was really glad that the developers aimed to have a smooth running game. Black Ops 2 seemingly runs at a consistent 60fps and that really complements the action on screen. Another positive note for me was just how much diversity there was to be found in the gameplay. The game delivers one action-packed arcade sequence after another. You'll operate such a wide variety of futuristic military technology and it really helps to keep the core experience from becoming stale. However, my lack of ability did hamper my experience and even on the easiest difficulty I found myself dying frequently. I couldn't help but think that the action would be much better framed and that the opposition would be much more manageable if the easiest difficulty level was played on-rails.

I'd like to stress that I still had a lot of fun with this game. It's certainly not my favourite game on Wii U but I certainly don't regret my purchase. Call of Duty is obviously competently made and I can concede that any gripe I have with the game may simply stem from the fact that I'm not part of the series' target audience. Regardless it's a franchise I'd like to maybe revisit in the future. I'd also like to hear from you guys, is there anything keeping you from getting the most out of Call of Duty? Let me know in the comments below.

A few short weeks ago tragedy struck as my PS3 met the same fate my Xbox 360 did a year prior. The aging console (a model 1 80gb unit from 2008) that had been plagued with inexplicable freezing and lock-ups for months finally gave out under the pressure and called it quits. Similarly to my 360 a year prior, it's warranty was well past expired and I simply could not afford to pay for the console's repairs. Admittedly I was initially upset but I decided to collect the deceased console's accessories, controllers and 50+ games and sell them to my local independent game retailers in town to raise funds for a new console. Perhaps against my better judgment I decided my recent income was enough to supplement the cost of a new Wii U ZombiU Deluxe Bundle.

Go big, or go home.

I was initially very excited. It was the first time I had bought a new console in some time and I had forgotten how palpable the thrill of unwrapping a new console was. The promise of something incredible was just around the corner and I hooked up the new hardware while anticipating what would come next. I played the software that came with it and I purchased some more titles from Amazon and Nintendo's eShop. However, while shopping I noticed a distinct lack of quantity in the Wii U's software library. In fact, unless I was mistaken, the game selection hadn't grown at all since the console's release last year.

I remember hearing about these titles during the consoles launch last year.

Nevertheless, I continued to play and I found the Wii U to be a great deal of fun. The gamepad made a lot more sense to me in practice than it did during Nintendo's E3 presentations. The console's social features were well implemented and easy to use. In fact, I found the whole experience to be a little intoxicating and the hours quickly melted away as I continued to play more and more. However, I couldn't help but be a little curious about what was coming next for Nintendo's new hardware. As it turns out, not a whole lot.

There's more coming... we swear!

I took to the internet and read as many Wii U related news stories I could find and what I discovered was upsetting to say the least. The Wii was suffering from a slow release calender in it's last few years but that was to be expected to some degree. After all, Nintendo was gearing up to release it's next flagship console. But for the Wii U to be echoing the same performance after less than a year is just disappointing. I have no doubt that Nintendo will release a handful of great quality titles for the Wii U during it's lifetime that will make the hardware worth owning, I just hope 3rd parties don't give up too quickly due to Nintendo's slow start. Unfortunately, every news story posted recently about the Wii U reads to the contrary.

Left and right developers and publishers can be heard saying that they're reluctant to release software for the console because they view the market for Wii U software as too small or risky. And during this release drought Nintendo themselves have been MIA, unwilling to comment on what the future holds for the Wii U. I know this situation can be turned around and I know that Nintendo is just the company to do it, I just hope that Nintendo doesn't find their footing too late for the console to be home to some great 3rd party content. Do I have buyer's remorse? Not yet, I can't find myself crying foul after so little time with the system thus far. But I understand how Nintendo's customers may feel spurned in light of recent revelations. Still, I want more games.

It's no secret that the internet can be an overtly negative place to hang out sometimes and when it comes to bloggers and journalists, there's certainly no shortage of the angry critic. While several internet personalities are quite talented at implementing their perceived rage when approaching a review or retrospective I see no point in trying to do something that has been done before on countless prior occasions. Instead, I'd like to try things a little differently and speak up for the underdogs out there. For Your Re-Consideration is a series of overviews that highlights the brighter aspects of games, hardware and other things in nerd culture that seem to be the whipping boys in their respective fandoms. To be clear, these articles are not meant to be unbiased critiques, many of the negative attributes surrounding these subjects are well-known popular opinion. Instead, this is just an encouragement to give something another look.

The Ninja Gaiden series has become something of a hallmark in our industry for brutal difficulty. From the series' inception the Ninja Gaiden franchise has always been remarkably unforgiving in just how much room for error the player was allowed. This remained unchanged when Ninja Gaiden was given the reboot treatment in 2004 leading to a new trilogy for Ninja protagonist Ryu Hayabusa. The first two titles in this new trilogy were released to critical acclaim for their tight controls, insane difficulty and somewhat old-fashioned sensibilities but the third title has garnered much negative publicity through it's initial release and inevitable re-release. Despite this, Ninja Gaiden 3 has completely renewed my interest in the franchise and become one of my favourite action games of this generation.

Ninja Gaiden 3 is easily one the most violent games I've played in recent memory.

I'll admit that I wasn't entirely familiar with the series' lore when I decided to start playing Ninja Gaiden 3. I had only previously played the arcade original and Ninja Gaiden Black very briefly. But Ninja Gaiden 3 does an admirable job of getting players up to speed in a very unobtrusive opening tutorial. Before too long I was cutting enemies down to size and quickly traversing the environment with ease. Combat has a certain visceral thrill compounded by the title's new "Steel on Bone" mechanic that causes the game to slow when Ryu's sword penetrates an enemy and forces the player to rapidly tap the attack button while the DualShock 3 controller supplies force feedback. While not a game changer by any means it was a simple touch that made the otherwise repetitive nature of this style of gameplay more enjoyable to me for longer play sessions. Ryu is also equipped with a wide variety of combos making fights with enemy sword fodder more varied than is typical with action brawlers. All of this is accompanied by copious amounts of blood & gore, Ninja Gaiden 3 is easily one of the most violent games I've played this generation and it deserves a spot next to similarly bloody games like BulletStorm or Mortal Kombat.

Players are given a chance to learn more about Ryu as a character and the game does an admirable job of humanizing our protagonist and making us feel his struggle.

In Ninja Gaiden 3, Ryu is afflicted with a curse called the Grip of Death. Made possible by his killing sprees in previous titles, the curse has afflicted his right arm and is slowly killing Ryu. Now, our hero must save the world from almost certain destruction with his diseased hand slowing him down. Ninja Gaiden 3 has an underlying theme regarding the morality of Ryu's actions as an assassin and the game manages to convey this to player not only through the title's plot but through enemy reactions. When left to die NPCs will crawl away slowly, begging you for their lives and it had the surprising effect of causing me to hesitate (at least initially) before killing. It was a great implementation on the developer's part because it weaves the story's central theme into the gameplay.

While hacking & slashing your way through countless victims you'll visit a plethora of varied locales and witness some really over the top set pieces and enemies. Where Ninja Gaiden 3 sees it's greatest success is in it's ability to deliver a spectacle. The game revels in it's ability to throw the most impossible obstacles at Ryu only for him to dive head first into danger and dispatch the opposition with ease. Ninja Gaiden 3 has been heavily criticized for it's reduction of the series' trademark difficulty but this is another positive for me. Ninja Gaiden 3 was always at the perfect difficulty curve for me to enjoy it, beginning to end. The game always managed to keep me engaged and I was never bored during the entirety of the game's length. If you're in the market for some especially nail-biting, white-knuckle action perhaps you should give Ninja Gaiden 3 some Re-Consideration.

Ninja Gaiden 3 and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge are available in retail stores everywhere. This article was written after having played the game's original release on PS3. If you have any suggestions for another article, please leave it below in the comments and let me know what you think has been overlooked by our community.

For as long as I can remember I've been a gamer. Playing videogames has brought me some of the most vivid experiences of my life and I can't imagine what life would be like without the unbridled joys gaming has to offer. That being said, I'm not a typical gamer. Despite being alive during the medium's golden years there are many popular games and genres that were big when I was young but I somehow managed to miss out on and breaking out of my comfort zone can be a tall order because, well, I've never been particularly good at playing videogames. You heard correct, I'm just not that good. Oh sure, I've played a large number of titles during my gaming career, many of them difficult and even finished most of them too but I've always lacked a certain natural ability for play that I know others around me have. I've been playing games long enough that I can instantly wrap my head around a controller and a game's basic mechanics but completing any title always requires a lot of persistence and an easy mode. This series will highlight major games and franchises in the industry from an Outsider's Perspective that I've only recently delved deeply into.

The Street Fighter series is most famous for popularizing the one-on-one fighting game genre. The second entry in the series was so popular in fact that (with the help of it's rival Mortal Kombat) it spawned an immense quantity of lackluster imitators throughout the 90s. The game's feature a large cast of characters representing a wide variety of fighting styles and backgrounds. Each title in the series tasks the player with defeating every other fighter in a tournament until ultimately facing off against an overtly powerful opponent in a final face-off.

Street Fighter features fast and fluid fighting gameplay with a surprisingly intuitive control scheme. I was delightfully surprised with how simple it was to control my fighter's basic actions even during the heat of combat. Blocking, jumping and executing attacks feels very responsive and immediate. I even found that performing special attacks was much simpler than I would have thought. Instead of inputting cryptic command codes special attacks are implemented using fluid joystick motions and corresponding button presses. For the most part specials can be discovered by observing the opposition and experimenting a little. Practicing with multiple fighters turned out to be a lot more fun than expected and I quickly had a personal collection of favourite characters I'd use in multiplayer matches.

The series definitely boasts a uniquely animated style. Characters come to life with a diverse looking plethora of movements, reactions and attacks. It's easy to take note of an impressive level of attention to detail in everything in the games' environments. The soundtracks are also worth mentioning because the music really accommodates the action on-screen with a memorable selection of great tracks.

Perhaps, because I had no history with the series, I was strangely drawn to Street Fighter III. It's easily the most difficult in the series and I never managed to defeat Gil, but it's also the fastest one I played in the series and I found the parry system to be very rewarding. The strange cast of characters would no doubt be oft-putting to longtime fans but I enjoyed the roster of new faces and learning the basics all over again. Street Fighter III was easily the most technical in the series but investing time in the title gave me a greater sense of accomplishment.

Street Fighter offers a great multiplayer experience locally. Two players with equal experience can easily pick-up-&-play any title in the series and have a good time. I also played a great deal of online matches in II, III and IV. I was surprised that with a little bit of experience the games' match-making services were well equipped to pit players against others with comparable ability. My biggest fear when I decided to get into the Street Fighter series was that it would be near impossible for a beginner to learn the ropes but instead Street Fighter lends itself as the epitome of the arcade experience. Every game is easy to play but difficult to master and it has a perfectly calibrated difficulty curve to accommodate it.

When I was young I asked my father for a copy of Street Fighter II for my birthday. Instead I received a copy of Streets of Rage 2. I was initially disappointed until I played the game and had a blast but my father's mix-up had the unfortunate effect of me missing out on the fighting game boom of the 90s. After playing the Street Fighter series I'm glad I convinced myself to take this plunge because these games have quickly become favourites of mine.

This overview was completed after having played the following titles:

I remember a time when the local EB Games (or GameStop as it's more commonly known as in the States) was my favourite store in the city. When I was younger it would always be the first place I'd want to visit during our trips to the mall. In fact, my fondness for the local Electronics Boutique didn't start to dwindle until very recently. Even as online gaming pundits began a maelstrom of negative publicity towards the chain of game retailers this generation, I still happily visited my friends at EB without much consideration for the bad press they had attracted. However, as the clerks I was most familiar with left the store one by one to pursue greater personal interests I found they were instead replaced with staff that were much more typical of your garden variety GameStop that has become the topic of conversation on many forums across the internet. Friendly chatter about my hobby has been tossed aside in favor of an overwhelming sense of negativity and self-destructive business practices. Although my visits to the store had become less frequent over the past few years I never consciously established a reason for my absence with myself, until perhaps now. I'd like to share with you the details of my last visit to an EB Games.

With some spare cash burning a hole in my wallet and time to spare I decided it would be best spent at EB Games. I hadn't actually been looking to purchase any retail titles for some time and I thought that browsing the store may lead to something new to play as I had been dying to find something to sink my teeth into since the holidays. As I entered the store I was greeted by a member of the staff who asked if he could help me find anything. I politely turned down his offer, I've never been one to elicit the help of the staff and I feel more comfortable when I'm left to think for myself in situations like this. After only a couple minutes of browsing one of the discount bins at the front he chimed in again insisting I let him know exactly what I was looking for so that he could help. I hesitated, and proceeded to named off a few topical titles I was planning on looking into further if and when I found them in the store hoping it would buy me minutes of silence to peruse their wares. He returned shortly after with the availability and pricing of the games I mentioned and I told him I was going to pass because the titles in question were too pricey. Despite being more than a year old each they were still full price. He said he would collect the titles at the front counter for me in case I changed my mind, a move I found dubious after having given him a definitive "no thanks".

I made my way across the store slowly looking up and down at the available selection, from PS3 to 3DS and then finally Wii. As I began taking one last look through the titles the staff member approached me once more. "Are you looking forward to the new Aliens game?" he asked while pointing to the game's trailer currently displayed on the store's television set. I was delighted that he was seemingly interested in talking games but my elation was short-lived when I realized he was trying to secure a pre-order. Working in customer service myself I understand the pressure on staff to up-sell but his suggestion was curious. I'm not a huge fan of the FPS genre and the titles I mentioned before were Adventures, RPGs and Platformers. I have my favourite shooters to be sure, but they are few and far between and it isn't a genre I find myself returning to frequently. I told him that pre-ordering was something I no longer practiced because I had been burned by retailers in the past and that Colonial Marines wasn't a game I was interested in playing on day one. He suggested that I really should pre-order a copy because otherwise they would be in short supply, a point I considered moot.

I decided I would cut this visit short. I had no interest in staying any longer so I decided to leave with one title and I brought my choice to the counter hoping for a speedy exit, unfortunately that wasn't going to happen. He then tried to sell me a subscription to Game Informer, a part of the GameStop procedure I had never been a part of prior to this visit. After saying "no thanks" he then tried to sell me on their "scratch guarantee" warranty. I'm very careful with my discs so I declined. All of this finally culminated with him informing me that the game I chose was the last copy they had in stock. Now, all the staff members familiar with me know that I don't take last copies of new titles out of personal preference but none of them are around anymore. GameStop and I have two different definitions of the word "new" and I will not purchase an open product at retail price out of principle. I tried to tell him that I would instead pass on the game but he didn't seem to want to take no for an answer, insisting that it was still technically a new title. This point always makes my blood boil but thankfully the man was called to the back room by a co-worker requiring assistance and I left without completing the transaction.

I'm certain many of you have heard or experienced worse incidents at an EB Games or GameStop and you'll tell me that this was just an average visit. But that's exactly what bothers me about my visit, this was an average visit to one of these stores and purchasing a game or looking around a store shouldn't be this joyless or bothersome of a chore. Maybe I was just one of the few fortunate to have a good EB nearby and maybe that's what makes this change all the more difficult. I remember a time when I would've gone out of my way to find a retail copy of the latest game but now I'd much rather buy it online. Anyways, I'd like to hear from the rest of you here on Destructoid, what have your experiences been like at GameStop recently? Let me know in the comments below.

It's no secret that the internet can be an overtly negative place to hang out sometimes and when it comes to bloggers and journalists, there's certainly no shortage of the angry critic. While several internet personalities are quite talented at implementing their perceived rage when approaching a review or retrospective I see no point in trying to do something that has been done before on countless prior occasions. Instead, I'd like to try things a little differently and speak up for the underdogs out there. For Your Re-Consideration is a series of overviews that highlights the brighter aspects of games, hardware and other things in nerd culture that seem to be the whipping boys in their respective fandoms. To be clear, these articles are not meant to be unbiased critiques, many of the negative attributes surrounding these subjects are well-known popular opinion. Instead, this is just an encouragement to give something another look.

At the outset of 2012 Konami proclaimed that it was to be the year of Silent Hill. In fact, their press releases certainly seemed to back up their claims with the planned release of a multiplayer title for the Vita, a new theatrical film and an HD collection of the series best titles. Unfortunately the celebratory year for Konami's landmark horror series never really happened. The handheld title from WayForward was met with decidedly mixed reviews, The 3D attraction in theaters was a positively dreadful experience and the HD collection (that should have been a no-brainer slam-dunk for the publisher) came out undercooked. Amongst the rest of this new Silent Hill content was the release of the latest entry in the games' main series, that title was also met with much of the same negative feelings the rest of the year's Silent Hill releases saw. However, Silent Hill Downpour has quickly become one of my favourite entries in the franchise and one of my favourite releases this generation.

Downpour features the most atmospheric version of Silent Hill seen to date

Silent Hill Downpour introduces the most interesting protagonist the series has seen since James Sunderland. You play as Murphy Pendleton, an ex-convict who's past is, at first, a mystery to the player. As you play, the game slowly reveals a breadcrumb trail of clues to help you come to a conclusion about who Murphy is as a person. This style of narration isn't new to the franchise in any way, but it's the first time since Silent Hill 2 that I was genuinely curious about the main character, who he was, what his motivations were and why the town summoned him. Downpour may seem to be walking a well traveled path in terms of it's story telling, but it's back-to-basics approach will come as a relief to players who have grown weary of the franchise's convoluted plots and occult overtones. This game is a personal story about Murphy's past, loss, mistakes and redemption. Plus, the story changes depending on how you play the role. The town of Silent Hill is still an omnipotent, malevolent and conscious entity but that fact never becomes the central focus of the story and never clouds the narrative, instead Silent Hill becomes a vehicle to tell a much smaller story.

The game's combat manages to be a focus without making you feel too capable against the town's hordes of monsters

Taking time to look at Downpour's mechanics reveals that Vatra Games took the survival horror genre very seriously. Where horror games thrived on the original PlayStation, they've really found difficulty in finding a home in this generation. Silent Hill Downpour manages to walk the line between old and new without any of it's traditional elements weighing down the experience, all while allowing the modern-day elements of the game to broaden it's appeal to a wider audience without sacrificing the series' trademark scares and sense of tension. The game successfully combines the innovations that were introduced to the franchise in Climax's Shattered Memories with the original gameplay found in the first three titles. Because of this Downpour has more gameplay variety than any prior Silent Hill title. As Murphy Pendleton you'll have to explore abandoned neighborhoods and buildings, fight overwhelming numbers of creatures, solve inventory based puzzles and run for your life. To do so you'll be equipped with limited supplies and weaponry but Vatra has found a compromise to these old-fashioned sensibilities by introducing a more intuitive interface, a quick-heal button and checkpoint saves all without removing the fear of death.

In fact, Silent Hill Downpour was seemingly unfairly judged. Measured up to the series' legacy it manages to stay true to the Silent Hill name while moving the genre in a much needed new direction. The game stands to be one of the best Survival Horror titles to be released this generation and one of my favourites. If you've been holding our for some exceptionally good horror maybe you should give Silent Hill Downpour some Re-Consideration.

Silent Hill Downpour is available on Xbox Live Games on Demand for $39.99 USD, also available on Xbox 360 & PS3 in retail stores everywhere. This article was written after having played the game on PS3. If you have any suggestions for another article, please leave it below in the comments and let me know what you think has been overlooked by our community.