WWE Money In The Bank 2017

MONEY IN THE BANK thoughts (rating scale is out of 4 stars)

WOMEN’S MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH
Carmella def. Lynch, Flair, Natalya, Tamina

This was somewhat tepid, fairly short (13m20s) for such a match with a bullshit booked finish.
MY PREDICTION: Flair or Natalya
★★


TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
The New Day def. The Usos by countout

This was a good, solid match all told until another dumb fuck finish that saw The Usos just give the match up, pick up their title belts and walkout of the match to retain via countout. Fuck these finishes so far! Are the bookers high on that good ish?
MY PREDICTION: The Usos
★½


WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Naomi def. Lana

Another tepid women’s match. Carmella and Ellsworth came out and teased cashing in her ill-gotten gains twice during the match, but ultimately didn’t do it. This match could have happened on Smackdown.
MY PREDICTION: Naomi
★★


WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Mahal def. Orton

Finally we get to an actual good match! The entrances for both guys were really milked and they were fun. Mahal recieved really good heel heat during his entrance which always makes me smile. Most of the match was Orton selling a hurt left knee after taking a fall to the outside early on which resulted in a very good methodical destruction of said knee by Mahal. It was a very old school, grounded match. Singh Brothers interferred (of course) after Orton hit an RKO on Mahal by putting Jinder’s foot on the ropes. Referee ejects them from ringside for this. The Singhs then try to intimidate Bob Orton at ringside which leads to Randy destroying them similar to Payback which ultimately leads to Mahal hitting Orton with The Khallas and The Modern Day Maharaja retains his championship. I think this is Mahal’s best match I’ve seen so far and the performance he really needed.
MY PREDICTION: Mahal
★★★


TAG TEAM MATCH (unscheduled)
Breezango def. The Ascension

A Fashion Files segment came on even though Breezango wasn’t on the card, but after a bit of humor (they had an ’80s style cell phone that was labeled as “Property of Paul E.”) a match was set up by the supposed people who trashed their police station and beat up Breeze last week which ended up being the return of The Ascension. I have no experience watching them, but the match was OK, but was short and could have been done on Smackdown.
MY (IMPROMPTU) PREDICTION: Breezango
★★


MEN’S MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH
Corbin def. Styles, Nakamura, Ziggler, Zayn, Owens

I don’t think I can convey much of any details about this match because of how many people were in it and how long it went on for, but it was the best match of the night! One thing I will mention is that Corbin attacked Nakamura during his entrance which meant Shinsuke gone for most of the match. Later when Nakamura made his triumphant return, there was Kinshasas a plenty to go around! Styles took multiple sick bumps onto ladders in the middle and later he and Nakamura had a great little showdown. Ziggler at one point hit Zayn off the ladder with a Zig Zag. I think I remember somebody getting destroyed by Corbin with a Deep Six. Definitely watch this and the WWE Championship match, but skip the rest.
MY PREDICTION: Corbin
★★★½


As you can tell, Money In The Bank 2017 as a whole was a pretty big shitshow with 2 good matches and a bunch other shit stinking up the place. Watch Mahal/Orton and Men’s MITB.
PPV RATING: ★★

Most Anticipated Games of the 2nd Half of 2017

Matterfall
After not hearing anything about this game since last E3, Matterfall finally showed back up this year with a release date of August 15th. This will make 2017 a two-game year for Housemarque as Nex Machina comes out in a week from this posting.

Yakuza: Kiwami
It’ll be fun to finally experience the first game’s story with fleshed out details and the Japanese voice acting that was missing from the original release. I think if there’s anything I might have a problem with, it will be the Majima Everywhere system. Apparently only by fighting Majima can you upgrade Kiryu’s original fighting style which means most of this game will be like playing Yakuza 0 with Yakuza 1’s story.

Senko no Ronde 2
One of the few Xbox 360 games I played when I had the system was the original Senko no Ronde when it was released stateside in 2007. It was an enjoyable shmup/fighter hybrid that was really hard to find competition online. I mostly ran into Japanese players that were still playing it.

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
Despite Capcom’s woes of late which I feel are largely way overblown, I am looking forward to a reworked MvC that goes back to 2v2 of the earlier games in the series.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
While I haven’t touched my copy of MachineGames’ first Wolfenstein yet, I’ve always enjoyed the series overall and have played all the previous games. I expect I will be down for this one once I play The New Order.

Windjammers
I participated in the Windjammers beta this past week and now I am more excited than ever to throw down in the final release later this year!

Most Anticipated Games of 2017

Gravity Rush 2
After playing Gravity Rush Remastered, I feel the original game benefited greatly from being ported to PS4 and it makes all the more sense that the sequel is PS4 only. Sorry Vita, you’re a great system, but you only hampered my enjoyment of GR.

Yakuza 0
The Yakuza series is one of my absolute all-time favorites so with the west receiving 0, Kiwami, and 6 now known, let the year of Yakuza begin!

Nioh
Based on the alpha and beta I have played of this game, Team Ninja will be the first to truly understand what made From Soft’s Souls series so special. They put their own spin on the formula and it’s looking to stand proudly beside From’s now legendary series.

Horizon: Zero Dawn
After a decade of pretty good, but mostly forgettable Killzone games, Guerrilla Games may just have a real gem in Horizon. It looks like a great game in the making and here’s to hoping they pull it off.

Nier: Automata
The demo points to a very strong second Nier game with PlatinumGames doing what they do best at the helm. I will be playing the first Nier before I ever touch this one and I look forward to it.

Yakuza: Kiwami
I am interested in experiencing the first Yakuza all over again with a new coat of paint and the Japanese voice acting missing from the western PS2 original release.

Nex Machina
Housemarque has been a very solid arcade style games maker and I have greatly enjoyed their output since 2007. Nex Machina looks to be another visually great dual-stick shooter from them.

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
I like that Capcom will be going back to the classic 2-on-2 style of X-Men / Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter. My biggest hope is for Gene from God Hand to make it in.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
It has been over 3 years since Ninja Theory’s last game. Very little has been shown of this title, but hopefully it’ll turn out well as I enjoyed their previous efforts.

Ys Origin
I’ve heard great things about this particular entry and now that it is coming to PS4 I can try it.

usagi704’s GAME OF THE YEAR 2016 Awards

In my Game of the Year awards for last year, I made the prediction that 2016 would be an extraordinary year in gaming, but as with many other things in 2016 it turned out to be a whole lot less impressive by the second half of the year when so many of the games that made me make that prediction were delayed into 2017. Now 2017 is looking legendary, but the second half the coming year will have to have a strong showing like the first half is now destined to have. Having said that, 2016 certainly had a lot of great releases and many others that I played for the first time from prior years.

THIS YEAR’S RULES FOR GAMES TO BE CONSIDERED FOR NOMINATION
(List of games eligible for this year’s awards)
– THE GAME MUST HAVE BEEN PLAYED FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR
– THE GAME DOES NOT HAVE TO HAVE BEEN ORIGINALLY RELEASED THIS YEAR

BEST VISUALS

• Puppeteer (PS3)
• The Last Guardian (PS4)
• Street Fighter V (PS4)
• Doom (PS4)
• Gradius Galaxies (GBA)

RUNNER-UP: Puppeteer (PS3)


Doom’s incredible visuals are a pretty stark improvement over Doom 3, not only in technical excellence, but also in art direction. It’s quite the marvel that id was able to even achieve this on console and at 60 frames-per-second!

BEST MUSIC

• The Last Guardian (PS4)
• The King of Fighters XIV (PS4)
• Street Fighter V (PS4)
• Gravity Rush –Remastered– (PS4)
• Chain Blaster (3DS)

RUNNER-UP: The Last Guardian (PS4)


While the visuals are certainly lacking, the music is anything but. I listened to the premium edition’s soundtrack non-stop for weeks after the game came out. A few stand-out tracks: Tiger & Dragon, Departure From South Town, Survivors Under The Sky, Saxophone Under The Moon, and Soy Sauce For Kodayofu.

BEST CHARACTER

• Greirat (Dark Souls III)
• Trico (The Last Guardian)
• Doom Slayer (Doom)
• Max Payne (Max Payne 3)
• Scree / Abdizur (Primal)

RUNNER-UP: Doom Slayer (Doom)


It’s hard for me to put into words just how affecting Trico is as a companion throughout the adventure, but suffice it to say he’ll likely be a character you’ll have a hard time saying goodbye to.

MOST IMPROVED FOLLOW-UP

• Final Fight Tough (SNES)
• Street Fighter V (PS4)
• The Legend of Kage 2 (DS)
• Dark Souls III (PS4)
• Max Payne 3 (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Max Payne 3 (PS3)


Final Fight started off with a bang in arcades in 1989 and quickly became one of the defacto beat-’em-up classics. Later Capcom decided to continue the series exclusively on the Super Nintendo with a very dull, lackluster sequel. Luckily Capcom continued onto a third game with Final Fight Tough (Final Fight 3). The addition of special moves and even super combos, brought in from the fighting game genre, added a good deal of variety to the solid gameplay foundation. Character variety was also bolstered by two new ones to supplement the returning Guy and Haggar. This game is everything Final Fight 2 should have been.

MOST SURPRISINGLY GOOD GAME

• Dead or Alive 5: Last Round (PS4)
• Chain Blaster (3DS)
• Doom (PS4)
• Project: Snowblind (PS2)
• The Legend of Kage 2 (DS)

RUNNER-UP: Chain Blaster (3DS)


I went into this game expecting a good game, but not as great as it ended up being. The graphics are very impressive for their time and the core shooting gameplay was much better than anticipated. What really put Project: Snowblind over the top for me was the huge variety of weapons and that pretty much all of them were useful and fun to use throughout the entire game.

FAVORITE GUILTY PLEASURE

• Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (PS3)
• Painkiller: Hell & Damnation (PS3)
• Hiryuu no Ken: Ougi no Sho (FC)
• G.G. Series: Score Attacker (DSi)
• The Legend of Kage 2 (DS)

RUNNER-UP: Painkiller: Hell & Damnation (PS3)


The Legend of Kage 2 is merely a decent game overall. Running through the stages is just as boring and lame as the game’s decades older predecessor. What this game has that makes it enjoyable at all are the boss battles. Figuring out how to dominate the bosses was a lot of fun for me so after I finished the game, I just kept playing the unlocked boss rush mode. Easily the best thing about this game.

MOST DISAPPOINTING GAME

• 3D Thunder Blade (3DS)
• Shinobi (3DS)
• Resistance 3 (PS3)
• Advance Guardian Heroes (GBA)
• Raiden IV: Overkill (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Shinobi (3DS)


I was hoping with the good things I heard about the single player campaign for Resistance 3 that I would be in for a much better experience than the first two games. It was better, but still mostly very standard and bland. Resistance 2’s online co-op was the only truly standout moment in the series, but the servers were shut down years ago.

WORST GAME

• Devil’s Third (WU)
• Shinobi (3DS)
• City Connection (FC)
• Advance Guardian Heroes (GBA)
• Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus (PSV)

RUNNER-UP: City Connection (FC)


The exact reasons for a game like this existing is why I think it’s the worst. I have no problem with fan service of this kind as long as there’s some substance and fun to be had among all the cheesecake. There’s nothing else here except a shallow, boring action game with zero level design.

GAME OF THE YEAR

• Puppeteer (PS3)
• Doom (PS4)
• Alienation (PS4)
• Max Payne 3 (PS3)
• The King of Fighters XIV (PS4)
• Gravity Rush –Remastered– (PS4)
• Dark Souls III (PS4)
• The Last Guardian (PS4)
• Project: Snowblind (PS2)
• Street Fighter V (PS4)

RUNNER-UP: The Last Guardian (PS4)


My runner-up and winner for Game of the Year couldn’t be more different in every way possible. I love both dearly, but ultimately Doom edged it out for having a robust, complete experience that is excellent technically and in gameplay too. The weapons all have multiple unlockable alternate fire modes that are satisfying to wield. The levels are large and complex like a ’90s shooter and have good reasons to explore them for finding hidden items, upgrades and even throwback Doom easter eggs. The firefights are a great antithesis of most modern shooters. There’s no taking cover, in fact, standing still will get you killed. Movement is paramount as well as quickly switch between weapons depending on the enemies and situation you find yourself in at any given moment. Doom is an example of taking a legendary series and rebooting it in a way that does it’s lineage proud without feeling like a tired rehash or something that feels too out-of-place. Rip and tear.

The Most Valuable Video Games in My Collection: PlayStation 2 Edition

This series of posts is where I look into my video game collection of over 1,000 games to find which ones are worth the most on each platform I collect for. I will only list games that are worth $40 or more on the secondary market.

This time the platform on hand is the Sony PlayStation 2, the greatest game system of all-time. All of the games in this list are complete in box.

ADK魂
ADK Tamashii
$160
ADK was a prominent third-party developer on the NeoGeo in the 1990s. This title collects five of their NeoGeo games: Aggressors of Dark Kombat, Ninja Master’s, Ninja Combat, Ninja Commando, and Twinkle Star Sprites.

Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia
$60
The value for this game is of the special edition version that included the art book.

Espgaluda
$60
One of only four shmups developed by CAVE for the PlayStation 2. This is one of my favorites.

北斗の拳 ~審判の双蒼星 拳豪列伝~
Hokuto no Ken: Shinban no Sou-Sousei Kengou Retsuden
$40
One of the rare good games using the Fist of the North Star license. This one is an Arc System Works developed fighting game, creators of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue.

鋳薔薇
Ibara
$140
Another one of CAVE’s four games on PlayStation 2. This is easily the most rare and pricey of the bunch and this port is the only home release of Ibara to date.

The King of Fighters 02/03
$50
While The King of Fighters 2002 and 2003 were released separately in Japan, when SNK brought ’em here a little later they did us a solid and put both discs in the same box. Fantastic ports of two great games in the legendary KOF series.

The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match – 闘劇 Ver.
The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match – Tougeki Ver.
$90
Speaking of KOF 2002, there was a remake of the game with new characters, backgrounds, etc., made for arcade and PS2. A year or less later they released this slightly rebalanced version named for the now defunct Tougeki – Super Battle Opera tournament series that ran for nearly 10 years in Japan.

Marvel vs. Capcom 2
$50
The very popular fourth installment to the Vs. Series developed by Capcom, this, the Xbox, and Dreamcast versions went for a good deal of money for some time. Surprisingly the value of the PS2 version has only dropped about $15 from its average after MvC2’s re-release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Mega Man X8
$40
Still the last game in the Mega Man X series to date. Maybe some day Capcom will actually want to make Mega Man games again, but right now they seem only interested in cameos and merchandise.

Metal Slug Anthology
$45
While I am not much of a fan of the Metal Slug series, I still have great respect for it regarding technical artistry involved with the presentation. This compilation includes Metal Slugs 1-6 and X.

虫姫さま
Mushihimesama
$40
The third of the four CAVE shmups made for PS2. This is the one I have lost the most money on in value since I purchased it as it’s worth about half of what I payed. Part of that drop has to be the recent-ish port to PC within the last year that actually came to the west.

Samurai Shodown Anthology
$40
A fantastic collection of the entire mainline Samurai Shodown series minus Samurai Shodown V Special.

新・豪血寺一族 煩悩解放
Shin Gouketsuji Ichizoku: Bonnou Kaihou
$55
This is mainly an upgrade to Matrimelee from the NeoGeo and includes a few new fighters and definitely my favorite of the Power Instinct series.

シューティングラブ。~Trizeal~
Shooting Love. ~Trizeal~
$40
Extremely small Japanese shmup developer Triangle Service has been around a quite some time producing visually unimpressive, but totally replayable shoot-’em-ups. In their 14 years of existence they’ve only produced about a half-dozen new games, a few of which made it to PC in the last year here in the west, namely XIIZeal and ΔZeal.

Sol Divide & Dragon Blaze
$150
A now very pricey compilation of two Psikyo developed shmups. I think most people want this mainly for Dragon Blaze because Sol Divide isn’t that good and it’s very cheaply available on the PSone in the U.S. for only a few dollars.

Steambot Chronicles
$45
A quirky JRPG with a sandbox world kind of design made by Irem.

Yakuza 2
$80
This version on disc is still the only way to play one of the best games in one of the best on-going series in the last decade for westerners.

翼神 GigaWing Generations
Yokushin: GigaWing Generations
$55
Developed by Takumi, best known for the Giga Wing series and Mars Matrix. This game is effectively a combination of the two aforementioned games.

The Most Valuable Video Games in My Collection: PlayStation Edition

This series of posts is where I look into my video game collection of about 1,000 games to find which ones are worth the most on each platform I collect for. I will only list games that are worth $40 or more on the secondary market.

This time the platform on hand is the Sony PlayStation. All of the games in this list are complete in box.

Arc the Lad Collection
$70
This elaborate collection of all four Arc the Lad games for PlayStation was released in 2002 in the U.S. by Working Designs because Sony was apparently against the idea of their own RPG series being brought over as they came out in Japan over the years of the PSone’s life. I expected it to be worth more in complete condition considering all the extras that could be easily lost.

Castlevania: Chronicles
$65
A port of the Castlevania game for the Sharp X68000 computer to PlayStation that also includes a remake of the game as well. As old-school Castlevania goes, this is a pretty good game, but not particularly great. This can be had on PSN for PS3 and PSP for only $6.

Elemental Gearbolt
$70
An interesting light gun game with RPG elements that was released in the U.S. by Working Designs.

Guilty Gear
$50
The original game in the Guilty Gear series started as a PSone exclusive that didn’t even have any kind of arcade release. It can be had on PSN as long as you aren’t in North America.

Mega Man Legends & Mega Man Legends 2
$40 & $90 respectively
The 3D polygonal Mega Man spin-off series that has been appreciated much more after their time and almost got a third game on 3DS until it was cancelled. Both games are on PSN for $10 each.

Panzer Bandit
$70
I’ve talked about this game pretty glowingly in the recent past. It’s a really great Guardian Heroes inspired beat-’em-up! Get it on PSN via your Japanese account.

Thunder Force V: Perfect System
$70
This is my favorite of the classic Thunder Force series of shmups. The U.S. PSone version is now reaching Japanese Saturn version values while those Saturn versions are even higher.

The Most Valuable Video Games in My Collection: Saturn Edition

This series of posts is where I look into my video game collection of about 1,000 games to find which ones are worth the most on each platform I collect for. I will only list games that are worth $40 or more on the secondary market.

This time the platform on hand is the Sega Saturn. All of the games in this list are complete in box.

Batsugun
$180
I’m sure you all loved the overabundance of shmups in my PC Engine list. Well, get ready for much of this list to also include shmups a plenty. The first game here is a shmup that most people consider to be the first true bullet hell shump or danmaku. It was developed by people at Toaplan that soon after went off to create notable danmaku developer CAVE as well as a few others such as Raizing and Eighting. This is Batsugun’s only home conversion to date.

Blast Wind
$250
If you’re looking for my highest value game, look no further. This is the money shot, but the game itself isn’t particularly good. It’s another shmup, but this time made by Technosoft who are best known for the Thunder Force series.

Capcom Generation 5
$60
One of many Capcom arcade collections, most of which didn’t come to the west for Saturn and PlayStation. This one did see a release here as Street Fighter Collection 2 on PlayStation, but this Saturn version stayed in Japan. It’s a compilation of the first three Street Fighter II games.

首領蜂
DonPachi
$55
This is the first game CAVE developed after forming from the demise of Toaplan. It’s a bit sloppy in the bullet patterns compared to its sequel. Speaking of which…

怒首領蜂
DoDonPachi
$70
This is the game where CAVE perfected the art of the danmaku. The bullet patterns are an art of majesty and it’s the quintessential bullet hell shmup.

Galaxy Force II
$40
One of the few Sega super scaler arcade games to get a fantastic Saturn port. No need to pick this one up unless you’re a crazy fan of ’em like me. This game is also available on the 3DS eShop.

Groove On Fight: Gouketsuji Ichizoku 3
$40
This is the third game in what is known as the Power Instinct series in the west. The game is a fighting game with a real-time tag team system that has a roster completely different from the rest of the series and plays differently too.

実況おしゃべりパロディウス ~forever with me~
Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius: Forever With Me
$50
This is a Saturn port of a Parodius game that was originally made for Super Famicom and is suitably upgraded for its arrival on more powerful hardware. Parodius Portable on PSP can also cover you on this one.

慶応遊撃隊 活劇編
Keio Yuugekitai Katsugekihen
$90
Better known in the west as Keio Flying Squadron 2, this sequel to the Sega CD original was only released in Japan and Europe and switch genres to an action platformer instead of a shmup.

Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter
$45
It’s a shame that the great Saturn ports of the Capcom developed Marvel fighting games stayed in Japan and that all we got at the time were some really shitty PlayStation versions. This and the X-Men one may only ever have these Saturn versions be the definitive home ports as that’s how it stands still today.

Out Run
$45
The other Sega super scaler arcade port to Saturn to maintain a high value is probably the definitive one of the bunch. A classic driving game by any standard and the Saturn version is possibly the best one. Pick this up on the go for cheaper on 3DS eShop.

Radiant Silvergun
$150
One of the most sought after shmups on Saturn. It’s not particularly hard to come by, but the demand is largely the factor for its high price. It can be had much cheaper on Xbox 360 as a download title.

セクシーパロディウス
Sexy Parodius
$50
Another Parodius title shows up on this list and it is arguably the best one in the series. Also available as part of the Parodius Portable collection on PSP.

Silhouette Mirage
$45
Cute and crazy action is the name of the game with this side-scrolling action game by Treasure. It came west exclusively on PlayStation, but was altered by Working Designs to be more difficult for some reason.

速攻生徒会 Sonic Council
Sokkou Seitokai: Sonic Council
$45
It’s one of the many super obscure fighting games in my collection, but one that actually has some value.

蒼穹紅蓮隊
Soukyugurentai
$50
A shmup that needs more fans. It’s not underrated, just unknown. Made by one of the off shoots of Toaplan, Raizing.

天地を喰らうII 赤壁の戦い
Tenchi o Kurau II: Sekiheki no Tatakai
$70
Released as Warriors of Fate in arcades in the west, this is a Capcom beat-’em-up sequel to what was released as Dynasty Wars in arcades. It’s not a particularly good game so I don’t suggest it for the asking price these days.

Thunder Force Gold Pack 1 & Thunder Force Gold Pack 2
$45 and $80 respectively
These are two releases that port the Thunder Force games from the Genesis over to the Saturn. They’re straight ports with no frills so stick with the Genesis versions to save money. Pack 1 includes Thunder Force II and III, Pack 2 includes Thunder Force IV and Thunder Force AC.