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 (PS3).

Straight up, I love Yakuza. Love it. It's got some of the best writing and characterization in the history of video games, and it's so damned mature in the truest sense of the word (most of the time, anyway) that there's really nothing else out there like it for me. Having started Yakuza 3, I was trying to remember exactly why it was I let myself get two games behind in the series, and being honest, there's really no excuse. I am now mad at me.

I'm not sure if I'm going to review it since I suspect my review schedule is going to fill up rather quickly, but I may do some sort of feature or retrospective… the series is so criminally overlooked by critics and players alike that I feel a responsibility to help get the word out.

More to come.

Portables-wise, I've put money down on a Vita (WiFi version) and reserved Army Corps of Hell as my first game. After having spent a brief period of time with a unit at the most recent PAX and being pretty impressed, I know that it's a sexy piece of kit. I've also really enjoyed my PSP despite its many tribulations—it really does have quite a few excellent games on it, and it's never gotten the respect I think it deserves.

(Although to be fair, Sony shoulders most of the blame for the catastrophic mishandling of the system, yo.)

Anyway, I may be a bit of a Pollyanna here, but I'm hoping that Sony has learned their lesson from past mistakes and will get the Vita into the proper position. Job number one? Games, games, games and more games. Job number two? Get some goddamned advertising out there. The system is nearly here, and I haven't seen a peep about it anywhere except for some hands-on previews from the usual media outlets. Job number three? Games.

In other portable news, I just started Aliens: Infestation on the DS.

I wasn't able to put much time into it, but I'm looking forward to doing so. I'm really intrigued by the reported "perma-death" of the player's squad members and how faithful the game will end up being. It took me a long time to find a copy in a brick-and-mortar, so this one has been on my radar for quite a while.

I've been on the fence about buying Mass Effect 3 (Day One) ever since being burned with the worst game of 2011, Dragon Age 2, but I finally decided to go for it. I may be feeling like the world's biggest sucker if BioWare doesn't get their act together, but Mass Effect 1 is still one of my favorite games of all time and despite the lackluster performance of Mass Effect 2, I am hoping against hope that the end of the trilogy will restore the series to greatness and deliver the kind of experience that I want.

Regardless of how it turns out, I definitely plan on reviewing it, and make no mistake, if it's not up to snuff, I won't be shy about saying so.

While on the subject of Mass Effect, I just learned from @PeterSkerritt (who you're already following, right?) that the action figures based on the game will each come bundled with some sort of mystery DLC, and apparently the only way to get these unknown things is by purchasing these figures. Personally, I think this is pretty cheesy and extremely aggravating to the completist in me, but it's pretty clear that DLC is here to stay. I doubt this will hardly be the last time we see some unusual cross-promotion of this sort.

I don't plan on buying any of these figures because I really don't think they look that great, but in case you're interested, you can check them out at Big Bad Toy Store. I've done tons of business with BigBadToyStore over the last ten years, and they are an outstanding online retailer. They've got a pretty incredible selection of stuff, too.

My opinion on these particular figures aside, BigBadToyStore gets my highest possible recommendation.

Brad Gallaway
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