An excellent animation from the folks at Collegehumor, The Fantastic Mr. Starfox blends the world of The Fantastic Mr. Fox with the award winning dialog of the Starfox series. Asking what if Fox McCloud had a mid-life crisis, this video is a must for fans of the Star Fox series.
Has it already been 25 years since the first appearance of The Legend of Zelda? One of the premier action-adventure series that made a few missteps but nevertheless had a consistent layer of quality and fun. Introducing me to the world of Hyrule, great dungeons, the Triforce and Link, The Legend of Zelda is perhaps my favorite series from Nintendo. Have a happy birhtday Link!
A little oudated, but the Zelda Retrospective by Gametrailers is still worth watching for the memories.
Dynasty Warriors is a series well known for its bad voice acting. While its improved in later installments Dynasty Warriors 2 and 3 have some of the best and worst scenes in the series as a result of their localization. Giving it an almost good/bad kung-fu movie feel the first few Dynasty Warriors games were truly something that shocked and amazed me with their awesome action and terrible terrible dialog.
I've been messing around with the EA Gun Club stuff recently. Until the release of Dead Space 2 they've been releasing weekly challenges and the such which was interesting but now it appears they've stopped. The theory of the program is great (creating challenges, comparing statistics etc) and I hope EA supports it further in the future. With the upcoming release of Battlefield 3 and other shooting games I hope.
As a reward program I find it somewhat lacking since they haven't offered any rewards besides access to the Medal of Honor beta and early access to a Sniper Rifle in Medal of Honor. Hopefully this improves in the future especially with Activision coming up with their Beachhead studio (although that will probably be more pay to play rather than rewards) for their Call of Duty franchise.
Compared to other rewards programs, Gun Club is still relatively new but once the ball gets rolling I hope Gun Club turns into a place I want to visit instead of a place I visit only to register EA shooting games.
The Show About Games Show on the Escapist perhaps did the coolest LittleBigPlanet tribute in a long time with this live action recreation of the mechanics and feel of the PlayStation 3 game. The attention to detail and coordination is amazing. I loved every second of this.
So 2010 just ended so it's time to take a look back and talk about some of my favorite (and not so much) games of 2010.
Top 360 Games A banner year for the Xbox 360, its a shame that mine Red Ringed shortly after Fable 3 came out. While Kinect didn't appeal to me, the core games that were released were very fun and entertaining.
5. Fable 3 A refined and streamlined sequel when compared to Fable 2, the idea of overthrowing a kingdom and then ruling was an appealing one to me. While the first half of the game (the revolution) is brilliantly executed, the second half is bogged down with not enough emphasis on being a king.
4. Halo Reach An action packed romp through the fall of the planet Reach which ties in nicely with the opening of Halo. The game refines a lot of mechanics from Halo 3 and Halo ODST and even improves upon the enemy mechanics (curse you jumping jackals!). My only complaint is the Noble team which is woefully underdeveloped so when the inevitable deaths begin to occur it was hard for me as to feel sad for their loss.
3. Dead Rising Case 0 The preview (mini-demo) of Dead Rising 2, this bite sized game was a perfect reminder of why I loved the original Dead Rising and was a great way to build up stats for the full game. Fun mindless zombie killing action and a showcase for the new mechanics this game was a steal at $5.
2. Deadly Premonition I can write pages and pages over the fun filled experiment that is Deadly Premonition. A game where whole design is better than its individual parts. A truely creative use of the open world genre and one of the most interesting main characters introduced in 2010 make this game one to try.
1. Mass Effect 2 Shepard returns in the second installment of this RPG turned 3rd Person Shooter series. Excluding the resource scanning, every part of this game is expertly paced and entertaining. From the ability to import the galaxy state from Mass Effect 1 to the brilliant Paragon/Renegade actions, the game makes you feel like the galaxy's savior and biggest bad-ass. While the DLC was a little hit or miss, Mass Effect 2 shows that when done correctly a sequel can exceed that of its predecessor.
Top PS3 Games The PlayStation 3 had a banner year for exclusives and multiplatform titles (Black Ops performance issues aside). The Move was somewhat fun (even though the basic idea is the same as the Wii) and the theory of PS3 exclusive Downloadable Content was an interesting one, the PS3 was probably my most played system this year (although the 360 breaking didn't help).
5. Heavy Rain Jason! Jason! Jason! An interesting experiment in the long lost story-adventure genre, Heavy Rain tells an interesting tale of multiple characters trying to catch a serial murderer. While I'd have preferred there to be more outcomes to ignoring some actions, the multiple endings (although I wished there would have been more than 1 ultimate killer) make this a game worth trying.
4. Call of Duty: Black Ops Treyarch finally proves that they can match the quality and pacing of Infinity Ward's Call of Duty games. While the PS3 version is plagued with technical issues (slowdown) when things go right Black Ops is an incredible experience. Proving that "Less is More" by cutting perks and changing certain killstreaks Treyarch helped make Multiplayer fun for me again (stupid MW2 nukes).
3. 3D Dot Game Heroes A love letter to the overhead Zelda games 3D Dot Game Heroes is a a clever tribute game that's just the right length to not overstay its welcome. While there's a slight over reliance on sword upgrading, the main quest and its clever referenced filled localization make this a tribute game worth playing.
2. Battlefield Bad Company 2 Destruction 2.0 makes everything better. My most played multiplayer game this year, Battlefield Bad Company 2 makes explosions fun, encourages teamplay and brings the Battlefield experience that I always wanted to the consoles. Ironically, I always though Bad Company was meant to be the 'single player' Battlefield game but the campaign suffers from being too generic when compared to the light tone of the first Bad Company. That being said, a must play if you're tired of Call of Duty and I can only hope Battlefield 3 and Bad Company 3 can live up to my expectations.
1. Red Dead Redemption While the PS3 exclusive content was disappointing (ooo a hat), Red Dead Redemption takes a lot of hints to fix what was problematic in GTA IV. Set in the era of the end of the 'Old West', this game shows that a great story and atmosphere are still key ingredients to making a great game. Perhaps the key thing being that while it takes a long time to get there, the buildup and ending sequence is one that make this game my top PS3 game of the year.
Top Wii Games Unfortunately I didn't get enough time to play all the Wii games I wanted (sorry Kirby and Donkey Kong Returns) but the machine still remains a great feature to having unique gameplay experiences (and fun at parties).
4. Super Mario All Stars Collection While a rushed and fast port of the old SNES version, Mario All Stars still features all the great NES era Mario games at a budget price.
3. Goldeneye 007 While it was somewhat crazy to remake Goldeneye, the remake plays well and shows the love and attention felt needed to the venerated N64 classic. Its a great shame that multiplayer felt 'off' when I played it trying for an arcade feel with a Call of Duty-ish update but the stages didn't fit the design.
2. No More Heroes 2 Desperate Struggle Travis Touchdown returns in this tribute to anime-action and crazy gameplay. While the ending is poorly paced and scripted when compared to the ending of the first game, the streamlining and improvements made were more than enough to keep me entertained.
1. Super Mario Galaxy 2 Nintendo continues to show themselves as the dominant game makers on their console with this sequel to Mario Galaxy. Creativity and stage design are top notch and the engine shows that the Wii can compete with games released on the 360 and PS3. My only disappointment was that the story heavy focus of Mario Galaxy 1 was thrown aside for a much more simplified approach but the gameplay more than makes up for this shortcoming.
Top Portable Games The PSP and DS are enter their prime with several notable releases, with some of their games being much more enjoyable that those released on consoles this year.
5. Valkyria Chronicles 2 The sequel to one of my top PS3 games of all time, Valkyria Chronicles 2 features the same great gameplay ideas refined to a smaller battlefield. While the story suffers from its split between a school setting and a civil war it's balanced out by the core gameplay remaining strong and several class refinements that help make gameplay unique (the resource gathering system sucks though).
4. God of War: Ghost of Sparta I liked God of War 3 but it was Ghost of Sparta that stood out to me more in the end. Playing as Kratos the newly crowned God of War, Ghost of Sparta helps resolve several plotlines that seemingly disappeared by God of War 2 and features great gameplay to back it up. With less emphasis on story and puzzles, Ghost of Sparta keeps its focus on the best part of God of War, the action.
3. Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth Miles Edgeworth returns to finally be the star of his own game. The same quirky writing and crazy cases present themselves in this adventure game. While I'd have preferred some tense court battles rather than logic duels (and the crazy stretched out final case), Ace Attorney Investigations is definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of the Ace Attorney series.
2. Professor Layton and the Unwound Future The Professor is back with his ever so faithful apprentice Luke. With much better pacing and puzzles (very few repeats when compared to Professor Layton 2) the core gameplay remains just a mind teasing as ever. While the story takes a few steps to the bizzare (the ultimate answer being very weird) it helps keep the charm to the weirdness of the Layton universe.
1. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker Hideo Kojima takes the reins of the Metal Gear Solid series once again on the PSP. Cutting a lot of his prized cinematics for bite-sized chunks of gameplay, Peace Walker feels like a leaner more action oriented Metal Gear Solid game. Featuring a nice PMC base building mechanic and a streamlined recruiting process when compared to Portable Ops, Peace Walker shows how Metal Gear Solid should have been done on the PSP to begin with.
Top PC Games PC gaming isn't a strong suit of mine, but several notable releases have eaten up my spare time.
3. Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale Capitalism Ho! Featuring a great localization, this different take on the dungeon crawler helped make me realize that the life of an item shop owner can be quite hard.
2. StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty Finally arriving this past summer, StarCraft 2 looks and feels just like StarCraft (and Brood War) while updating several key features. While the gameplay remains just as addictive as ever the campaign shines with each mission having a unique hook so they all play differently. It's a shame the story takes a turn for the weird since only 1 thing is really resolved with the rest assumingly being left for the upcoming Zerg and Protoss expansion packs.
1. Sid Meier's Civilization V Civilization returns with a much more streamlined interface and systems. While the loss of some complexity (religion for one) is sorely missed, the easier tracking tools and empire building (so long spaghetti roads) help keep this game as engaging as ever. You always know a game has its hooks into you when you ask for "Just one more turn" and Civilization V continues that trend set by its predecessors.
Honorable Mentions These are games I had fun with this year but for one reason or another weren't my top picks.
Scott Pilgrim versus the World Old school beat em up action.
Medal of Honor A worthy reboot but the distinct different feel between Multiplayer and Single Player felt really off to me.
Rock Band 3 The music genre craze may be over but that doesn't stop Rock Band 3 from being just as fun and value packed as previous installments.
Joe Danger It's like Excite Bike meets Trials HD.
Dead Rising 2 It took 4 years for a sequel and while there are a few notable additions, the core game systems should've been improved more.
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood While is feels more like an expansion to Assassin's Creed 2, Brotherhood manages to move the story forward and give us a better conclusion to Ezio's story arc.
Dishonorable Mentions Sometimes games are released that don't meet my expectations, other times they're just bad. It's a shame too since I was generally really looking forward to these games:
Ace Combat: Joint Assault Several changes to the Ace Combat framework make the game feel awkward and when combined with the god awful storyline really disappoint in what was usually a strong air combat game. Blowing up the evil corporation's headquarters was kinda cool though.
Command and Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight As the ending to the Command and Conquer tiberium storyline the abrupt change in key gameplay concepts and really strange plot decisions, its a shame that one of my favorite franchises story's ended this way. Here's hoping the reboot is better.
Front Mission Evolved Who can go wrong with giant mechs killing eachother? Apparently SquareEnix can. Clunky, awkward and one of the worst storyline's this year, Front Mission Evolved is not the way to do a heavy mech action game.
Final Fantasy XIII While featuring several battle refinements that I love (the ability to continue right before a battle is appreciated) and gorgeous visuals, this poorly paced, confusing game was a huge disappointment for the generally strong Final Fantasy series. Proving that style over substance is not a good thing, hopefully SquareEnix takes a hard look at the complaints while making the next Final Fantasy game.
This Dorkly bit reminds me of the older days of gaming when everyone played on the same screen and in the same room. Now my friends and I had a rule that usually a rule that the person with the lowest health got the health refill regardless of lives remaining, etc. Although, if the health levels were almost the same, then the fun begins in getting to the health first...