I am sitting here looking at games in my steam library already installed such as Hitman, Hotline Miami, Darksiders 2, Witcher 2 and Syndicate amoung others. I'm not going to get them done before the end of the year though, so I'm going to cut off my list now. I don't think it has been a "disappointing year" like a lot of people. I've had fun.
If you manage to read it all, thanks for checking out this blog. Let me know your thoughts.
10 Games That I Enjoyed But Not In A Specific Order
1. Persona 4: Golden
Yes, it is a remake of a PS2 game for a struggling and expensive platform. Doesn't matter. They perfected an already incredible game. So many of the gameplay faults have been tweaked and fixed to make it a much smoother and enjoyable experience, not to mention the additional content that will make existing fans happy and provides a larger and much richer experience for newcomers.
I was really impressed with all the extra social events. it would have been easy to re colour some enemies and throw in a few new dungeons, but they didn't. it has the polish and scope of a full RPG even in the new content. Ultimately ,being able to spend more time with the characters I loved from persona 4 was more than enough reason to get this (even at the premium of importing it, since the UK release is a few months off).
2. Mass Effect 3
The story and dialogue elements in Mass Effect have had me hooked from the begging and I did everything I could up to the release of 2 & 3 to ignore the cries that it was being dumbed down. I still maintain that the things I love about the series have remained intact all the way through. I have also tried to stay out of the raging arguments about Mass Effect's ending, Bioware's failures, the quality of the game etc, but I feel I can say here that I don't care.
I enjoyed the game I played, and I enjoyed the ending that I got. I much preferred the Extended Cut ending that I got to the original, but unlike Jeff and Patrick I can easily replace the ending of my story with the one I played a few months later. It's all fictional, so why not? Well, it's easy for me anyway. Enough with the negativity. Some great characters, fun gameplay and a satisfying conclusion to pretty much every thread left hanging from the years I've spent in the universe.
3. Borderlands 2
Borderlands 1 was fun, but felt there was a serious lack of polish and refinement. A lot of it felt slapped together, big and open but slightly empty. I guess getting away from the space western vibe helped Borderlands 2 for me. The style, graphics, writing and gameplay all reached a level where it finally clicked with me on a level where I am enjoying myself as much as I can when playing a game.
Adding a leveling system to anything is an easy way to get me hooked, and even though this game is more Borderlands I never found that to be a bad thing. We get a lot of shooters, but I feel OK supporting a shooter that tries something different. It has it's own vision, and own goals for what it wants the player to do. Throwing homing MIRV grenades that spin through the air slowly chasing enemies. You don't see that a lot. Not that crazy weaponry is what I was looking for.
Honestly the thing that surprised me the most was how much I enjoyed the story. It has some twists, strong villains, recurring characters from the first game. Pretty much all I wanted from Borderlands 2.
I actually got this free with my graphics card, but I knew I wanted it anyway as I had played it earlier in the year at the PC gaming convention, Rezzed where I met some very lovely Giant Bomb fans. One even wearing a Duder shirt. Oh, also Matt. He's OK I guess.
4. Halo 4
I have played Halo 1 and Halo 3. That's not a lot of Halo in the last 10 years when you consider how many Halo games have been released. I really enjoyed both of those games so I figured it would be a good time to go back to it. I was right to do so. I'm not sick of fighting the covenant or using the same weapons, because it 10 years I've spent less than 30 hours between 2 Halo games. They're still fun to fight. In general the combat feels a lot like my memory of previous games, which is incredibly tight and satisfying. Nothing feels like a bullet sponge, a problem a lot of shooters have. The weapon variety gives you a lot of options.
Also, for an Xbox game it is incredibly pretty. I was impressed, but wished that it was higher resolution. I could very much tell this was on an Xbox360 and that bothered me. There's no other choice though.
This might have come out in 2011, but that doesn't mean I had to stop playing it. I spent hundreds of hours playing the game in 2011 and hundreds in 2012 as well. I haven't even touched any of the DLC yet. Mods, as with Oblivion, have expanded the life of this game so much. I wouldn't want to play without them now that we have the steam workshop available.
I have written some extensive blogs about my experience with Skyrim, so I don't really have much more to ad. I spent a lot of time with the game, and it remains one of the best games I've ever played.
6. Max Payne 3
Rockstar like to make games that are like movies. This game is even more cinematic than almost any other Rockstar game. The gameplay is almost an afterthought. The writing and presentation take precedence. I am totally OK with that. I had some fun shooting and diving through the air, but the character of Max Payne going through these crazy situations, and the turns the story makes kept me going. I don't believe in strong gameplay mechanics being important. Something as stylish and well presented as Max Payne deserves to be experienced by people, and it's unfortunate that it comes at the price of not being the best playing game but I never went in to it for that reason.
7. Sleeping Dogs
Nobody expected this to be any good, so I tuned it out. Until I saw it, then I was enchanted. "Look at that wet road!" I said to myself. I just had to see that road for myself. I'm only half joking, I really like the way the road looks. A great looking PC game overall. I can't quite articulate why I actually enjoyed playing it, but I did. Fun characters, interesting setting, strange plot. It stands on its own beside Saints Row and Grand Theft Auto. Not really trying to outdo either of them, but it does its own thing really well and has a certain charm to it missing from the bold, cinematic polish of Grand Theft Auto or the balls to the wall crazy of Saints Row.
8. Spec Ops: The Line
That story... man. I played the game, I listened to the podcast that Jeff was on with the writer and found it interesting. Most games don't even try to be interesting. They try to tell a straight story full of cliche's. It can be tedious at times, but the gameplay ties in to the story in some interesting ways and makes it worth it in the end. Not everyone will find it so interesting, but I did.
9. Alan Wake
I completely forgot this came out in 2012 on PC. A weird development history, and yet years after the console release it comes back home. I'm glad I waited, as the PC version looks very sharp compared to the blur-fest that is... well, any console game. I enjoyed everything about the game, and its only downfall being tedious repetitive combat. I've already mentioned how i don't care about mechanics that much, which is why I was able to keep going and enjoy the atmosphere and storytelling. Yes it's not exactly new, but it came out in 2012 for PC and I spent a good long time with it this year.
10. The Darkness 2
This will be overlooked by a lot of people since it came out so early in the year, and made a lot of changes over the first one that put fans off. Not me though. The more over the top style was jarring at first but I came to love it. It is a very different story that calls for a different tone. The story tries to make some serious points and shocking twists, which I thought might suffer due to the action being much better but thankfully that is not the case.
A late 11th Entry
11. XCOM Enemy Unknown