12 Things to be Excited About in 2012

By Matt Peters

This year is scheduled to be one of the biggest of note in the world of comics, video games, and all-around geekiness. We here at Pads & Panels would like to give you twelve reasons that 2012 will be awesome. Let’s hope our Mayan overlords don’t return from outer space until we get to experience most of it. Take a look below for some of the highlights:




Title: Shadows of the Damned

Platform: 360, PS3


Publisher: EA

Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture

Review By: Eric Stuckart

Rating: ★★★★☆

It’s pretty standard fare by now to know that when going into Grasshopper Manufacture games, the player is likely to find a satirical, oftentimes unique gaming experience with humor and personality to spare, but it isn’t going to be the most polished experience out there. However, I have yet to be disappointed so far with this expectation, and Shadows of the Damned is no different.

In fact, the main thing that I think really pulls people into Grasshopper mastermind Suda51’s games is his way of always spinning a great, albeit weird, story. Well, that and how it factors into his games’ typically quirky “anything goes” approach. The X factor that might draw some otherwise curious gamers into this outing, however, is the involvement of Shinji Mikami, known for creating the Resident Evil series, as well as composer and sound designer Akira Yamaoka, known for his work on the music for the Silent Hill games. (more…)


#7 Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

Publisher: Nintendo – Developer: Nintendo

Super Mario Galaxy was arguably one of the best games in the famed Mario series, reinventing the series once again in phenomenal fashion. At the same time it reminded us of some classic Mario titles, it didn’t rely on nostalgia and references to win us over. Its spherical platforming took the series to new heights. But in providing such a fantastic experience, it definitely set a high standard for a sequel. (more…)


Update: This contest has ended. Winners have been contacted and codes have been delivered to: Doug, of Leesburg, Ohio (fresh02_88); Guy, of North Bergen (totoguy); Andy, of Normal, Ill. (ajpacho); and Kimberly, of Sterrett, Alabama (IceeLady). Congrats! And thanks to everyone who entered. More contests to come.

Last month, EA’s Bright Light studio release Spare Parts, a robot-based platforming game that features both local and online drop-in cooperative play. The game focuses on that cooperative play, with special moves that can only be initiated by two players working together. The game is available on both Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, and Electronic Arts was swell enough to send us four (4) redemption codes for the XBLA version of the title to pass along to our fine readers, so by the end of the week, that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Read on to find out how easy it is to win yourself one of these codes. (more…)


Best Games of 2010 – Honorable Mentions

Creating a Best of List for Pads & Panels is no easy task. It involves everyone putting in feedback, a get-together and copious amounts of drinking, when we argue our cases for what belongs where on the list. Inevitably, fantastic titles don’t make it to the top of the tower, and we’re left feeling bad for not honoring the enjoyment some of these games provided us throughout the year. So that’s where the Honorable Mentions come into play. These are the list of games that didn’t quite make our Top 10, but we think you should be playing them nonetheless. Plus, it’s always kind of fun to make our readers wonder, with titles this great on the honorable mentions list, what is going to make our Top 10. They are essentially our #11 through #20 picks, but are presented in no particular order. Enjoy! (more…)


2010 Holiday Gift Guide – For the Sports Gaming Fan…

By P&P Staff


NBA 2K11


Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of all time. Fact. He also hasn’t appeared in a basketball game in quite some time. So gamers should be enamored that 2K Sports isn’t taking his license lightly. With NBA 2K11, they have crafted not only a basketball game good enough to scare off the competition, but also a mode that forces gamers to recreate some of Jordan’s most memorable career moments. A fantastic gift for any basketball fan. The PS3 version also features optional Move support. (more…)


2010 Holiday Gift Guide – For the Racing Game Fan…

By P&P Staff


Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit


The series is Need for Speed. The developer is Criterion Games (Burnout: Paradise). How much more do you need to know to realize this is a wise choice for the holidays? How about a wide array of vehicles, including Lamborghinis on both the speeder and cop fronts, with gameplay designed around fast chases and spectacular crashes. If that doesn’t get you, the addicting Autolog system surely will. (more…)


Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Hands-On Impressions


Archie’s Take

EA’s Need for Speed series has gone through many changes and iterations over the past few years. The series has delved into both sim and arcade play styles a few times, gone “Underground” into the world of street racing, and most recently has undergone changes to put players directly in the driver’s seat with Need for Speed: Shift.

The upcoming title, the Criterion developed Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit isn’t so much another revolution as it is a reimagining of one of the most popular iterations of the series. Bill and I got a chance to check out the new title at a special preview event held at Debonair Social Club in Chicago in August. (more…)


Title: Madden NFL 11

Platform: 360 (PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, DS, iPhone)

ESRB Rating: E

Publisher: EA Sports

Developer: EA Tiburon

Rating: ★★★½☆

Review by: Dan Braun

With EA owning the exclusive rights to football for the past few years, every fall, gamers face the same question: “Is this year’s Madden worth buying?”

It’s a nagging question, as nearly everybody on this side of the pond loves (real) football, but nobody wants to shell out for a paint job and roster update. Madden NFL 11 delivers enough to justify its place for both new users and veterans, but may not be the best update for the franchise. It looks wonderful and plays smoothly most of the time, but terrible play calls, online issues and a few other question marks and it’s hard to dub this the pinnacle of the series. (more…)


Title: Risk: Factions

Platform: XBLA

ESRB: E10+

Publisher:  Electronic Arts

Developer: Stainless Games

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review by: Dan Braun

As far as remakes are concerned, classic board game titles like Risk always run the gamble of straying too far from their tried-and-true formulas, or otherwise remaining too similar to the originals to justify new iterations. Risk: Factions does neither, and is a near-perfect update for this popular game. (more…)