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Richard's 2011 In Review

Rayman Origins Screenshot

2011 was a year of extremes for me, both in games and in life. I'll stick to the games here, since my personal life isn't worth wasting valuable internet real estate on. There was very little middle ground as far as my opinions went—I either loved it or hated it. Since everyone comes to me to feel good about themselves, I'm going to focus on things I actually liked.

Yakuza, Aliens: Infestation, Quarrel and Caspar Babypants

Yakuza 3 Screenshot

I'm still trying to complete Yakuza 3 before anything big comes in for review, and I'm almost done. If my guess is correct, there are only one or two chapters left, so I'm hoping to wrap it up tomorrow. I've got to say, out of the three Yakuza titles I've played so far, this one has definitely been the weakest.

Professor Layton and the Last Specter Second Opinion

Another Cup of Tea, Professor... I'm Falling Asleep

Professor Layton and the Last Specter Screenshot

HIGH Seeing more puzzles integrated into the story events.

LOW Buying all the clues to a puzzle and still not knowing how to solve it.

WTF Straightforward equations shouldn't count as puzzles.

Yakuza 3, pre-orders and DLC in Mass Effect action figures

Yakuza 3 Screenshot

Although there are some must-reviews coming down the pipe pretty soon, the industry is more or less in a big lull right now, and that's perfectly okay with me. I've really been enjoying knocking games out of my backlog, and the latest one up at bat is Sega's Yakuza 3. Straight up, I love Yakuza.

Solatorobo: Red the Hunter Review

Games about Giant Robots Should be Fun, Right?

Solatorobo: Red the Hunter Screenshot

HIGH The opening video is gorgeous.

LOW Combat is simpler and more boring than it first appears.

WTF Yay! New chapter! Wait…I have to go back and do extra quests just to unlock the next part of the story?

Video: Super Mario Bros. Crossover 2.0 trailer

Have you always wanted to take Ninja Gaiden's Ryu through the worlds of Super Mario Bros.? Wait, really? You have? Or how about playing as Link from The Legend of Zelda? You've wanted to do that too? Okay, well, now you can... online.

Super Mario Bros. Crossover 2.0 Trailer

Armchair Analysis: December 2011 NPD, Part 2—Software

Super Mario 3D Land Screenshot

Software sales were the highlight of November's NPD report. Strong Year Over Year (YOY) comparisons were the result of one of the strongest months of software releases in recent memory.

Five reasons you should write for free

Freelance Image

So for the last couple of months (and especially over the last few days) there's been a resurgence of "no one should ever write for free, ever, never never" among freelance games writers and paid career professionals. As someone who takes games writing very seriously and who's also worked as a mostly-unpaid-but-not-always reviewer for the last twelve years, I wanted to take a few minutes and share my thoughts on the subject.

Armchair Analysis: THQ watch

South Park: The Game Screenshot

After a weekend rife with rumors and denials, eyes should be on THQ this week to see whether any fallout results from the currently unsubstantiated turmoil.

Armchair Analysis: December 2011 NPD, Part 1—Hardware

Xbox 360 Kinect Image

December 2011 is a month that, upon review of the NPD report, continues the slide that the console video game industry has seen for much of the year. Hardware sales were down 32% from a December ago, with weaker Wii and PlayStation 3 sales leading the decline.

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