By ArbitraryWater 22 Comments
Hey guys! Remember that other list I made before you made all your lists? Well I made another one. I'd like you to see it.
My personal games of the year. As per usual, the optimal place to see this list is in the blog form, where any game marked with an asterisk (*) has additional commentary, and the ones that don't probably don't because I wrote something lengthy about them in the past and will no doubt have provided a link therein. This is probably not as exciting as my other list, but I bet this one will get more views.
|1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown|
Simply put, Firaxis has managed to make a modern version of XCOM that stays true to the original whilst still being its own thing, a precarious balancing act that I applaud. Admittedly, I feel like the game became far too easy by the end on normal difficulty, something that was well made-up by how poorly my attempts at Classic Ironman have gone.
Original Blog (also for TWD)
After I finished Dishonored, I immediately started another playthrough where instead of sneaking everywhere I murdered everyone and had just as much fun the second time. Say what I will about the underwhelming conclusion, the game's failure to use its setting to any real benefit, or the decidedly brief length it all takes place in, Dishonored is crazy fun and probably the best Deus Ex-type game since Deus Ex.
|3. The Walking Dead|
The fact that TWD got any sort of emotional reaction out of me is impressive, considering that I'm a robot with no feelings and the last game story that got any sort of major reaction out of me was Persona 3. Sure, the actual game parts are boring filler between the parts where you make horrible decisions and make people hate you, but I feel that the game is good enough with the pacing that it doesn't necessarily matter.
|4. Eador: Genesis|
As this is an ArbitraryWater list, it has to have at least one obscure game that you've probably never heard of, and if you have heard about it it's probably because I've been ranting about how good it is. Eador is that game. *
|5. Halo 4|
It's more Halo. Surprise. It's more Halo. Having not played a significant amount of Halo since the 3rd one, I'm totally fine with that. *
|6. Borderlands 2|
Borderlands 2 succeeds at being more Borderlands. This is fine. While the humor hits as much as it misses and I feel like Gearbox could have afforded to be more ambitious with its improvements, the core gameplay is still pretty fantastic.
|7. Dragon's Dogma|
Consider this to be somewhat preliminary, as I haven't finished it, but I've played enough Dragon's Dogma to tell you that it is a hella weird game that I'm pretty sure only someone like me could consider hella dope.*
|8. Hotline Miami|
Because indie games need representation too. Hotline Miami is the closest thing to an actual murder simulator, but it's also a puzzle game and kind of an action game? Either way, the soundtrack is probably the best thing.*
|9. Mass Effect 3|
Looking at the rest of your lists, my opinion on Mass Effect 3 isn't quite as an aberration as my opinion on Dragon Age 2, which I fully admit is a not-good game that I happen to like. Mass Effect 3 happens to be a perfectly good game with a terrible, horrible, not very good ending that Bioware has since gone and attempted to retcon the hell out of. It's all a messy business and the reaction is similarly messy, but talking about any other part of that game I can tell you that Mass Effect 3 is still totally alright. Even the multiplayer is totally alright.
|10. FTL: Faster Than Light|
Because spaceship rougelikes are fun? The final boss is still totally BS though. Video Games.
Vidya games indeed. Now onto special categories and junk!
Honorable Mentions: Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning, Diablo III and Civ V Gods and Kings
All 3 of these games were on my list at some point, but due to various circumstances (namely, me liking these other games more) they failed to make the cut. However, that being said, these games definitley deserve their props for being what they are. Amalur is interesting inasmuch as its combat and class system are concerned with some pretty great flexibility in how you want to approach the game, but the world is pretty dull and I could do without the whole "Single player MMO" thing it has going on. Admittedly, Dragon's Dogma does a lot of what I'm ragging on as well, but that game is... different somehow. In ways that I have yet to entirely comprehend. Regardless, I should probably play more of it because I think it is a preeeeeettyyy good game despite how much hates it with the burning fury of a thousand suns.
Speaking of burning fury, Diablo III was also totally good. While they apparently messed up the endgame (It certainly sounds that way) and told a dull, not especially exciting story that was as predictable as it was boring, they made another Diablo and (once again) I am pretty much ok with that. Loot is great, random people are ok, and being able to play with fellow bombers during the early days of launch was similarly fun. Of course, I only played through it on normal and then a bit of Nightmare, so I can only comment on it as someone who didn't necessarily see all that the game had to offer. Either way, it got the cut.
Gods and Kings fixes a lot of what I had against Civ V, most prominently how much I hated the AI in the base game, with their constant take take take only to get mortally offended any time I would so much as sneeze. It also adds a bunch of new civs that are cool, religion and espionage (which are kind of just additional screens, if anything). I guess the reason why it didn't make the list was because it still didn't motivate me to play a ton more Civilization V despite how much those small tweaks really did contribute towards me enjoying that game a lot more. Whatevs. You get the picture.
Dishonorable mention: Inquisitor
Hoo boy. Yes, technically Inquisitor came out in the Czech Republic in 2009, but it only came out in English this year, much like Eador, which as far as I am concerned is reason enough to give either a mention. However, whereas Eador is probably one of the single best fantasy turn based strategy games of the last 10 years, Inquisitor is basically a tribute to all that annoys me about old RPGs, a genre that you might have heard I think is preettttyy great. Maybe I'm being too hard on a low-budget Eastern European attempt at being a tribute to the classics, but while Inquisitor very much looks and plays like it would've come out 12 years ago, with such games as Baldur's Gate 2 and Icewind Dale, it does so rather poorly. The part where you play detective and read a bunch of text (one of the bragging features in the description is how big the script is. Most of it is redundant information) is alright, and I'm into the dark, dark dark tone even though I found the depicitons of torture to be... questionable. The part where it is a kind of terrible dungeon crawler in the vein of something like Diablo or maybe Divine Divinity however, is... really boring and more than a little bad. However, I obviously thought it was noteworthy enough to mention, and I'd really like to see if anyone else on these forums (i.e. not those crazies on the GOG boards) has a higher level of tolerance than me and would maybe be able to get something more out of it. Perhaps or , since those are both people who like old RPGs and not necessarily good old RPGs. No, I'm not going to fund you. I'm just going to point to the part where it's half off until the 3rd. Also the soundtrack is preeetty good.
Best game that you had no idea existed: Eador Genesis
Do you like Heroes of Might and Magic? Age of Wonders? Disciples? Master of Magic? I can name specific aspects of Eador that are taken from all of those games, but because it only just came out on GOG this month and I was the one who made the wiki page for it, I somewhat doubt you've messed with it. You should. As kind of a mish-mash of all of your (or rather my) favorite fantasy turn based strategy games, I can overlook the part where it could easily be mistaken for something to come packed in with Windows '95 and definitely being made by Russians. What it lacks in grafix it makes up for in being totally awesome. I'd go into specifics, like how you can hybridize your heroes at level 10, or how I'm pretty sure starting with a warrior is a great opening move, but I feel like then we'd be here all day and you probably have other things to do, like buy gifts for family members you forgot you had, so I'll just say: buy it and see for yourself. If you like those kinds of games. But really, you probably should. Also, a sequel is coming out with actual graphics, if you're into that. Vote it up on Greenlight.
Best Halo: Halo 4
I could not tell you if I like Halo 4 more than Halo 3, the last game in the series I spent any sort of significant time with (but man did I spend some significant time with Halo 3) but I can tell you that 343 succeeded, for better or worse, at making a game that is comparable to Bungie's work. While I'm not much for how the story sets up what is basically the exact same plot as the other Halo games, the campaign is solid and doesn't overstay its welcome (also I would like to confirm that playing 4 player co-op on Legendary makes what would be a frustrating experience an enjoyable one). However, having played almost 20 hours of the multiplayer thus far, I can also confirm that I like the Halo 4 muliplayer, for whatever complaints there have been about loadouts changing the nature of the game to a more mid-ranged affair. Now I just need to see what ODST was all about. I think I'd like it?
Best open-world game with a strong combat element but not necessarily a great story: Dragon's Dogma
On the surface, Dragon's Dogma holds a lot of similarities to Amalur, thus the comparison I made earlier. The difference is that Dragon's Dogma is weird, and not weird in the way that something like Saints Row the Third is weird. It's half Dark Souls, half Monster Hunter with some Skyrim thrown in for good measure, but at the same time it can't be considered analogous to any of those games directly. I'm not entirely sure what makes this game tick for me, but it's clearly made to appeal to someone with my tastes. I'm not even bothered by the lack of Fast Travel, for the most part. I think the game would be better with it, certainly, but I also think the combat is strong enough to stand on its own. Much like Dark Souls, I'd like to see how this viewpoint holds out once I actually finish it (preferably over the break), but like Dark Souls I doubt my opinion will change very much. I really need to see the bananas ending that every review mentioned. I have to.
Best Soundtrack/Murder Simulator: Hotline Miami
I don't particularly think this needs any more embellishment.
And then I was like: nah, I don't need to write anything about FTL. I wish you all a Merry Christmas, or whatever particular holiday you celebrate (Secular excuse to hang out with family and buy presents?)