Before EGM became a magazine run by frat boys with little more to qualify than a journalism degree, every so many issues would be packaged with a buyer's guide. The difference? It was more like previews from games across every genre, but without reviews. I can't be sure as to when they stopped doing the buyer's guide, but it's probably safe to say that it was about when the whole magazine was overrun by idiots. Of course, they didn't have the mental capacity to do anything more than lame jokes, bad screenshots, and completely inaccurate reviews. Every now and then, you'd see previews of rare import games worth mentioning (like Capcom's Dungeons & Dragons Collection), but it became increasingly-rare, and there still could have been more. The point is, you'd be hard-pressed to find a yearly guide of recommended titles worth a damn these days when such features are only composed by magazines like Game Informer and @Gamer, which are owned by corporations like GameStop and Best Buy.

Of course, The purpose of these magazines is to generate revenue and profit, so their lists are nearly identical. Their lists of best games aren't anyone's recommendations; they are merely a list determined by the highest bidders for what titles are to be promoted for sale.


Ridge Racer Unbounded
[Namco / Bandai]

I was bored of the Gran Turismo series since I first played it in the late 90's. The grinding-based, slower-than-death system and gameplay turned me off immediately. I wasn't really a big fan of Ridge Racer, either, until Ridge Racer 64 caught my eye, and I then gave Ridge Racer 6 a chance. It was then that I saw just how much better it was than the Gran Turismo series. Even without real cars and brands, the series has managed to stay afloat because it's still cool and fun. After Ridge Racer 7, it really seemed like the series had fallen off the face of the Earth. Even when Ridge Racer Unbounded was announced, news came slow, press release news was slower, the release itself looked like it was outright canceled, and then it seemed Namco had opted for a digital-only release. Eventually I saw the hard copy release, and I'm glad Namco decided against a digital-only release. Even if it the game's limited-run is saddening, at least now we can own it for the money we pay for it.


Batman Arkham City
[Warner Brothers]

Yes, this is a good game. We don't even need to talk about why. Everyone knows why. Everyone knows every site has nothing but positive reviews on it. Everyone knows it's considered to be a perfect game. It's good, but not perfect. I'm not the biggest fan of "stiff-neck" Batman, but I'd say his best game was the 16-Bit Batman Returns by Konami. This newest Batman borrows a lot of what made Batman Returns such a great game, but they ruined it with boring shit like monotonous flying and binocular parts. Had this game been just good 'ol fashioned beat-'em up goodness, it could have been a great spiritual successor...


Devil May Cry HD Collection

This really came as no surprise. The Devil May Cry series is to the new generation what the Strider series is to my generation. So, I wasn't really surprised to see that Capcom had quietly prepared an HD-enhanced collection of Dante's PS2 antics. From the overly-serious first game to the overly-playful and convoluted third game, it's (almost) all there. It's missing the original version of Devil May Cry 3, and yes, it is different from the included Special Edition of Devil May Cry 3 (we won't detail it here, but SolSadGuy knows). Dante really had the personality of a dead moth in DMC, and in he was a real turkey in DMC3SE. Dante in DMC2, however, strikes that happy medium with Lucia there to even him out. I've always liked DMC2 the most (for a lot of reasons), and seeing it re-done in HD was nice. With a lot of games, the new coating of HD paint makes things look sharper, but DMC2 looks deeper. The depth is brought-out so much that it feels like you're playing on a 3-D TV!

Double Dragon - Neon
Everyone knows I love Double Dragon, and everyone knows everyone else liked it too; at least, before everyone felt an obligation to only play what a big name websites or magazines recommend. The latest installment, Neon, was surprising to see because of what happened with the last [HD] game. The company who made it folded, and Microsoft was obligated by contract to pull it from the Marketplace. It's still playable (even online) if you have it saved, but it's gone forever once you erase it, making Double Dragon [HD] probably the rarest game on the Xbox 360. Seeing Double Dragon - Neon was like a miracle. Hey, this one is made by another name I never heard of, but at least someone still cares about the series (since obviously none of the bigger-name companies do). I could do without all the high-fives in this game, but it's still definitely worth buying. Game fans will love it because of the sleek, new design, and Top Gun movie fans will love it because of all the high fives. It still baffles me why bigger-name companies continue to ignore such a nostalgic, profitable series...

Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Like another game on this list, what do I say about this game that hasn't already been said? No wasted time here. It was always a trend to idealize the first Tekken Tag Tournament, and Namco finally just went ahead and released a sequel. Fans got a sequel, but did they ever really want it?


Resident Evil 6
Capcom did a lot with Resident Evil 6. So much that "fans" couldn't grasp its incredible complexity, and apparently the media couldn't, either. Then again, maybe Capcom didn't send out enough "swag" or free shit to media outlets (in addition to the free copies of the game they probably get). Yes, these things matter, and it wouldn't surprise me if media outlets gave the game bad ratings to get back at Capcom. Then you got self-proclaimed "fans" who aren't happy no matter what. They cried for Leon (with his ridiculous, outdated hairdo), Ada (with the personality of a dead moth), and mobile shooting, yet still weren't happy when they got exactly what they wished for. Nothing new can be appreciated by a generation of "gamers" who have such a profound sense of entitlement. Funny, because they probably download, steal, pirate, and scam more than any previous generation.

The point is, Capcom made it the most robust RE experience, yet. The game is absolutely huge, sprawling over entire cities from every corner of the globe. Its environmental scope is huge, and it drives an epic story that (contrary to what critics say) makes sense. There's so much to explore and discover, how could anyone get bored of it? Of course, there are a good mix of new and old weapons, but there are more moves than ever before. Part of what makes RE6 so deep is the emphasis on functionality; there are a lot more ways to evade and inflict damage. This didn't come without a price, though, because it's easy to see that critics had completely glossed-over all of this depth. Don't critics praise challenge and depth? No, probably not when they're not getting paid-off, and this is proof. Lastly, bringing the environmental depth and complex system full-circle is; this feature enhances the game tenfold. It gives all players (from beginner to expert) objectives and rewards to play the game for even when it seems all has been done. RE6 is deep. So deep that even those who actually like the game haven't even scratched the surface, yet...

DoDonPachi Maximum
This one brings a smile to my face simply because it forces shooting "fans" to open their minds. It's great that there's a shooting and/or "shmup" scene, and that it's growing. What's not great is how minds in the scene haven't grown. This stylish shooter forces them to expand their feeble minds and acknowledge mobile/portable shooters if they want completion. Hopefully, it will get some minds outside the box that assholes who rule the scene made. Like the band Throwdown says, "Open your minds!"

Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode II
After the complaints of "fans" to get a "completely" 2-D, new Sonic game, Sega came out with Sonic 4: Episode I. As usual, "fans" didn't appreciate it. By rights, Sega should have never even made Episode II since fans didn't even appreciate Episode I, but they have heart and did it, anyway. Seriously, what more could a Sonic fan want?! A new Sonic game in HD! Oh, yeah, I forgot that "true fans" only like the same games released over and over each generation...


Dragon's Dogma
The only reason Dragon's Dogma isn't closer to number one on my list is because there were some other titles that I thought had higher priority for different reasons. Dragon's Dogma deserves high praise, though, simply because it's a spiritual successor to Capcom's older 32-Bit side-scrolling Dungeons & Dragons brawlers (Tower Of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara). Based on that fact alone, Dragon's Dogma is a must-have for any longtime Capcom fan. So many of things from those old games are present in this new spiritual successor, and it was great to see it all come back. Like Dead Rising, though, Capcom intentionally marketed the game as something else when in reality it's a fantasy brawler like those old Dungeons & Dragons games. Sure, developers are discouraged by big Internet sites and YouTube idiots from making brawler games these days, but don't be afraid, Capcom; those masterpiece titles you made in the Golden Era are what made you what you are today. Likewise, to longtime game players out there, don't be afraid to play what you used-to like before big media brainwashed you into thinking only big budget games are worth your money and time...


Capcom Digital Collection
One day after I came back to the States from overseas, I had an itch to play one of my Capcom Digital titles. To my dismay, I discovered that because I was playing off-line, I couldn't play that title or any of the others I had downloaded. It saddened me Capcom did that, because the makers of Double Dragon and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time - Re-Shelled allowed for off-line play. They have fixed that, however, with a better solution than just allowing for off-line play. Konami came up with two collection discs to address the same issue with their digital titles, and thankfully Capcom followed suit. They did so with a collection of eight (actually nine) titles that would easily weigh-in at over $100.00 when purchased as separate downloads.

I had wanted Capcom to do this even before Konami came out with their collections. Commando 3 is my second favorite game of this generation, and it was bittersweet every time I played it because I knew it would be lost in the fractures of time if they never released it on a physical medium. So many of these downloadable games will be forgotten when the Xbox Live/PlayStation Network servers and everything for this generation are shut-down. Nobody really cares about so many of them because they're not well-designed, overpriced, or just not fun at all. Quality games like Commando 3, however, deserve preservation. Final Fight - Double Impact is also preserved in this collection; a combination of the original Final Fight and Magic Sword, both enhanced in HD! And yes, it is different than the original Final Fight; there's a billboard in the background of the Uptown stage that wasn't in the original. On another side note, they really need to make a Capcom Digital Collection 2 to compliment this with all the Capcom Digital fighters like Marvel VS Capcom 2, Marvel VS Capcom Origins, and Dungeons & Dragons - Mystara Chronicles...


Street Fighter X Tekken
This game was absolutely stunning. Not just because of the unrivaled animation and design, but because it came out of nowhere. Nobody expected it. It should have never happened. Street Fighter and...Tekken in the same game? And that is exactly why it deserves appreciation. "Fans" and overzealous wanna-bes will try to sway you the other way, though. To understand what makes this game so great is to understand how making the Street Fighter and Tekken universes collide was no easy task. Capcom not only accomplished the near-impossible, but did it in the style and quality they are known for. All the "better" ideas most people came up with to "fix" this game are either half-baked or just plain dumb to begin with. The DLC bandwagon trend doesn't matter, either, because who says you need to have every single character in the game? Even the ones you don't like? Nobody's forcing you. Don't buy shit you don't like. If you want all the characters without having to download them, get the PlayStation Vita version. This game really should have never existed, but Capcom did the unthinkable and made it a reality! Show them your appreciation for their hard work and own a piece of gaming history; go out and buy a physical retail copy of it...


Akai Katana Shin
This is shooter of the year for 2012. Bar-none. Aside from Cave's own, no other shooter mattered in 2012. That's how great Akai Katana Shin is. So great, that I think it should be game of the year, overall. If you buy any game from 2012, make it this one. Why? Because not only is the game a new endeavor for Cave, but it was the final work of the game's dying soundtrack composer. Now deceased, Akai Katana Shin is a testament to the quality of his works across notable titles from Ketsui to DoDonPachi. His high-intensity soundtrack compliments the blistering pace and masterful craft of the game perfectly. Each track he composed for the game is as intricate and deep as the game's overall design and theme. Ironically, even his mysterious, untimely death echoes the tragic conclusions of the game...