Other Top Stuff of the Year

So I did my top 5 games of the year, so now it’s time for other categories. So I didn’t play every game that came out this year, but I wanted to, and that’s what counts, right? Well, I’ve made a bunch of lists for those games and others that pretty much sum up 2010 in games for me. Let’s do this.

Top 5 Honorable Mentions

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

AC: Brotherhood was a surprise for me. Ubisoft didn’t really push their single-player for this game at announcement and leaned more towards talking about multiplayer. Well, fortunately the game is solid on both accounts. The singleplayer is very substantial, even if it does only take place in Rome, but there is so much to do, you’ll be spending hours in just one area of the game. Late in the game, just looking at my map was crazy. There were an inordinate amount of icons littering the screen. You have to scroll through the legend, just to see what everything is. The multiplayer is just as fun and super intense. Well worth the price of admission

Bayonetta

This shit is crazy and fun as hell…that is all.

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit

Just playing this online is really really really fun. The guys at Criterion have perfected arcade style drifting to the point that just seeing a large turn on the mini-map gets you excited. The cars look great, especially when they are getting beat up, and the tracks look pretty. There is an alarming lack of slip-screen multiplayer and custom races, but somehow that is okay, because I’m still having fun.

Just Cause 2

It looks great. It plays well. It’s incredibly open. It’s fucking bananas. The voice acting sucks. The story sucks. It’s fucking bananas.

Fallout: New Vegas

I love Fallout 3 very dearly, so when Fallout: New Vegas was announced, I was overjoyed. Then I got the game and immediately loved it as well. By the end of the game, I still loved it. The story lines and choices staggered me, but my chosen path was clear and I kept a level head. I managed to do exactly what I set out to by the end and it gave me a great feeling inside. Actually feeling like I molded what happened instead of the game. It was awesome. I really felt that way through the whole game. I felt like I was pretty much in control of everything I encountered. I had choices. It’s a shame how busted that game engine is…

Honorable Honorable Mentions:

Heavy Rain

Bioshock 2

Pokemon: HeartGold/SoulSilver

Super Mario Galaxy 2

Mafia II

Metro 2033

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Halo: Reach

Top 5 Games I Really Wanted to Play This Year But Didn’t

Mostly because I’m a poor college student…

StarCraft II

The seemingly definitive real-time strategy game got a sequel this year, and I was nowhere to be found. Part of it was the daunting skill level required for high level play. Part of it was that I didn’t have the cash…mostly it was because I’m a nincompoop.

Vanquish

This looked really fun, but I never got around to playing it. No real excuse here.

Limbo

I really wanted to play this. The atmosphere looked fantastic and the gameplay seemed tight and intriguing. But the $15 price mark for what is said to be a three hour game turned me off a little. Someday…

Civilization 5

My computer is poopy…

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

My video card is also poopy…

Top 3 Games of Earlier Years of 2010

The older games that I played a whole lot of.

Minecraft

Technically this game isn’t out yet if you want to talk specifics. I played far too much of this over the summer. I was that weird guy that would hang out with friends, then tell them about what great times I had with virtual building blocks. Sometimes I still do. But I still love it. I would sit in class, bored to tears, then whip out a notebook to begin basic blueprints for buildings. I would try and build weird structures with odd contraptions for no real reason. Traps for people that didn’t exist. Fake libraries. Fake city halls. Fake shops. Why?! It’s a great little game that has brought me hours of creative and time-wasting entertainment.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl

I finally gave this game a chance, and I am so glad I did. Install a mod that fixes all the busted stuff in the game and it becomes an incredibly immersive first-person shooter. This had some of the most intense gameplay I had played in years. The monsters and the bandits all had me on edge the entire time. The scarcity of ammo and food left me searching every nook and cranny for supplies. I was in survival-horror heaven. It was fantastic and eerie and moody and violent. Sneaking around never felt so good and so intense.

Borderlands

I put hours into this game. Hours! I was collecting new weapons and armor, doing fetch quests for some measly experience points and maybe a decent pistol. I was shooting hundreds of skags and hundreds of psychos. It was fun as hell and I played as much as I could. The last few hours of the story were awesome, even if the last boss is one of the worst final bosses ever created. You could just about stand still and spray at him until he’s dead. But that is all beside the point. The game was good. Really good. I played too much of it, but I still want more.

Top 3 Huge Dissappointments

Final Fantasy XIII

This game is a grind. It’s the same battles, with the same animations you have to sit through, with the same enemies, walking down the same straight line. And that’s for the first 15 hours at least. The battles becomes a chore and a bore. I found no incentive to keep playing past where I did, even if the game does “open up”. I didn’t care at that point. The characters are fine actually. They were pretty memorable in the cutscenes, but all of their flavor got thrown out of the window anywhere else. The battle system was kind of cool, but it boiled down to constantly switching paradigms over and over. The leveling system…oh, I’m sorry, the system where you just hold a button to watch a little light go to the next gem, was boring. I tried to like it, but it was boring.

Dead Rising 2

Why did I do this to myself. I knew I didn’t like the first Dead Rising, but I had hopes for 2. Hopes they would fix the problems with the first. Did they? Kinda. Dead Rising 2 is fun, only if you just fuck about. The whole time limit aspect becomes a nuisance and can royally fuck the player over if they aren’t quick enough. The survivors can usually hold their own, but having to take them all the way back to the safehouse is the worst. Not only that, get them there, loading screen into the safehouse, then loading screen out of the safehouse. It’s a needless and annoying step. Then there are the psychos who seem impossible to beat most of the time. Sometimes you will happen upon them accidentally, then you hate to beat them, except you won’t. You will die because they take far too much damage, and they usually run around. The combat system is design for lumbering zombies, not fat chefs that run around a kitchen faster than you do.

Crackdown 2

It’s more of the same, which is okay, but they fixed very little from the first, and even added a few more issues. What a letdown.

————————————————–

If you want to dispute me, agree with me, tell me I’m crazy, or tell me I should stop living, there is a sweet comments section down below here. Its purty kewl.

Advertisements

Top 5 (or 6) Games of 2010

Yes, I know I’m late to the whole “Game of the Year” deal, but I’m going to go ahead and do it anyway. Admittedly, I have not played every game release in 2010 on my very modest budget and lack of every gaming platform on the market, but I did play plenty of games that I really enjoyed the hell out of. 2010 came with some surprising classics that have innovated on the tired market that games have been subjected to in recent years. The following games are put into no particular order. I love them all more or less, equally…

  • Red Dead Redemption

It’s really a shame that there aren’t more Western themed games. One could always find a copy of Mad Dog McCree and start memorizing exactly which windows the bad guy will pop out of, or even play the original Red Dead Revolver. But the fantastic thing about Red Dead Redemption is the complexity and tone the game chooses to deal with for a Western, presenting its content with class, style, and integrity. It starts with a seemingly simple story about a man on a mission to bring back his wife and son. The specifics are little muddy and so is the background of the main character, John Marston. We find that he used to be a bandit of sorts, but quit all of that to start a family. The fact that he chooses not to reveal his situation with the characters, but willingly becomes an  errand boy for various shady folks at first seems like a fault of the storytelling, but it becomes apparent through much of the dialog and the various situations what the central theme of the game seems to become and what drives the motivation for Marston to the brink. The wild West is dying and is stubborn to change. Who would trust a man is seemingly working for a government bent on industrializing and modernizing the West? John understands this and thus skirts the issue on why he is seeking help. The game has a methodical pace that flows extremely well, and when it reaches the truly final end, it just feels so right.

Having a gameplay system that works solidly, with intriguing side missions, and a multitude of other business to take of all set in a beautifully rendered landscape backed with an incredibly soundtrack really makes this game a complete package, and easily one of the best games of the year.

  • Mass Effect 2

I’m pretty sure that the world of Mass Effect, if it isn’t already, will become a staple in the science-fiction world. It breathes so much life into its characters and its universe, it is hard not to be captivated by all of it. The game is brimming with completely entertaining and interesting back-stories, people, and aliens. The side-missions and loyalty missions, which no doubt take up the bulk of the game anyway, are the story’s greatest assets. It also doesn’t hurt that the game look gorgeous.

The third-person shooting and combat is incredibly tight. Cooperating with your squad-mates to unleash a barrage of biotic, tech and soldier powers at once never got old. Having differing classes with unique abilities added to my number of play-throughs, as did the various choices in conversation and actions.

Every step of the way, Mass Effect 2 presented an awesomely solid, mature science fiction game that felt like a huge breath of fresh air from the soul-suckingly generic science-fiction forays of previous games.

  • Alan Wake

I really don’t know what it is about Alan Wake that I love so much. I do know that playing it allowed me to enjoy some of my favorite moments playing a game this year. Alan Wake is dark, frightening, exciting, fascinating, and baffling. The story within a story (sort of) led to questions throughout the entire experience. It was like a finger constantly curling back and beckoning me forward, that I could not resist. What helps are the characters in the game. Admittedly, almost all of them are more interesting than Wake himself, but of course that would be the case, as Wake is played as a sort of everyman. His agent Barry, being one of my favorite characters of the year, tags along for a little bit, but never becomes an annoyance, but rather a welcome presence.  The Twin Peaks inspired atmosphere comes complete with a great cast of screwy characters. There are two insane brothers who are “rock gods”, a super shady psychiatrist, a creepy old woman, a douchey cop, an oddball radio host, a ghostly writer, and a woman is utterly obsessed with lights (and for good reason).

The main enemy in the game is darkness itself. It covers the town making things insane, including machinery and cars. So naturally your best weapon is light. This concept is used to full effect. Flashlights, lamp posts, fireworks, car lights, flares and flashbangs all help to fend off the inky blackness. I never got tired of bursting light at an enemy then immediately popping a few bullets into him, as he disintegrated before me. And it was terrifying every time a car flew down the street looking to take off your head. The movement helps the game become wonderfully fluid. The dodge move is cool as hell, bringing back memories of Remedy’s Max Payne, and the shooting feels like it has impact. The game looks incredibly and the lighting effects are the best I’ve seen. The world is chock full of interesting tidbits and little treasures, like the TVs and radios that play awesome side jokes and story elements. Alan Wake is truly a unique experience that I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of.

  • Tropico 3

It was probably the music that got me hooked into playing so much of Tropico 3. It was so cheery and relaxing that it got me to play a remarkably interesting city-sim, with a twist. Unlike  SimCity or CitiesXL where the city itself is usually the main focus at a macro level, Tropico 3 usually goes down to a mirco level, where the people on your tropical island can decide the ultimate fate. The player too has an El Presidente avatar that can go to construction sites to boost worker morale, or make speeches to the people from his mansion balcony. But it becomes very interesting and problematic how one citizen can turn a decent island into a violent warzone if the player isn’t careful.

The options on how to run your island are pretty diverse. A player could be a kind and giving presidente, or malevolent and rule with an iron fist. If a citizen is upset with conditions, they will probably start a peaceful protest. The player must make a decision, whether to fix the problems they are having, or silence the leader of the protests, potentially scaring the others into cooperation. If the player does nothing, the protesters could form a rouge  militia group who hides the forest and occasionally attacks farms and factories. The more damage they do, the more people are will to join their cause. Construction workers aren’t happy, nothing gets built. No good economy, people won’t migrate to the island. Fights always occuring? You can forget about any tourists boosting the finances. Does this sound like a crazy city simulation? That’s because it is, and it is awesome.

  • Super Meat Boy and/or VVVVVV

Fuck you, you magnificent bastard.

VVVVVV is fun on just about every level. The controls are tighter than a [Expletive Deleted; Editor’s Note: inappropriate] on a Sunday morning. The levels are challenging but never beyond the realm of unrealistically difficult. For the two hours it took to complete, it was a joy for every second of it. The music is great, and the Intellivision style if bright and clean. There is not much to say than that VVVVVV is just pure fun.