By bonbolapti 3 Comments
It's been a long ass time since I've done one of these, huh? Sunday Social Club, oh all the memories we've had together. All the stupid things to say, all the making fun of others, all the terrible, terrible jokes. Let's take this time to make the most of it. December is halfway over, so let's talk about 2012. Let's talk about the games that I've enjoyed this year. Let's acknowledge the fact that this list is two games short.
I hope you look at this list and go "WHY ISN'T (Specific Game) ON HERE?" Well there's two ways I can answer that. I just haven't played it yet, or I never liked it all. If you feel you need to address that kind of thing, make a comment. If not we can all relish in the fact that these are words you are capable of reading, and they all come together to explain why such games are on my list in the first place.
I like to think that this will be a strange list to most, I'm okay with that. So let's begin:
I think if we could do a concrete jungle sandbox game once a year, I'd be pleased. Though my heart will always belong to GTA, I will happily (and mindlessly) play anything else, as long as it carries the same tropes. Driving around listening to the radio? check. Beating up randoms? Check. Creating chaos because I can? Check.
It actually doesn't take much to amuse me with these kinds of games, but to be honest I spend more time driving around listening to the radio than anything else. What makes Sleeping Dogs stand out a little better than most games of this type? There's a lot more grounding in reality. Compared to most, Sleepy dogs actually takes itself more seriously. There was no actual amount of absurdity in the main game, being full on police drama. ( though, the DLC will probably tell you otherwise, but I haven't played it yet.) Every character far from being a stereotype or social commentary. Wei Shen, wasn't even an audio folder chalk full of one liners every time he did something. It stuck with it's serious tone right from the beginning, and that in itself was pretty cool.
So yeah, a serious game but I have one caveat. In terms of it being a sandbox, it felt incredibly limited of fun shit that you could do around the city. Any characters you meet and could call up, are really only once or twice, most side quests you could never really go back to for shits and giggles (except for restarting missions of the main story). Though, through it's limitations, you could still find ways to have a serious amount of amusement: as demonstrated by AjayRaz or whenever Vinny showed it off.
Never in my wildest dreams, could I imagine Sega's Yakuza studio to capture ever so perfectly, an old school american-ass action flick. Characters wonderfully stereotyped. Tacky, cheesy dialogue. Robots and guns, OH LAWDY. At first I didn't exactly warm up to the idea of this game. I thought it was ugly. The designs of the robots, the doofy humans. Sometimes Sega studios come up with character models that just make me shrug. Plus, it's just another goddamn shooter, from Japan of all places! It's not something I would ever look forward to in first glance.
But over the months, I saw more of it, got more information. Eventually of course I have to pick this up. Granted, the gameplay is not it's selling point. It's what this game does with the characters that makes it so enjoyable. Playing with the stereotypes is one thing, but creating these individual people that you get to know, partner with, order around, separate from and meet up with elsewhere, gives it a special kind of variety. The characters themselves manage to be the best part of the game, with emphasis on you being the squad leader. Throughout the game, they do well with them interacting with each other, especially when you get to choose who you're going through the stage with. So you end up playing through with characters based on their personality, and they have their chance to warm up to you, or hate you just as much. Though the story does take a turn for something you could see a mile away, how it's presented just made me enjoy it.
Plus, it's Multiplayer is interesting enough. I'm saying this coming from the perspective of losing something I've enjoyed and finding something new. You see, Metal Gear Online was shut down this year. It was one of my favourite multiplayer shooters for a long time. So with it being gone, I've been looking for something to fill that void. The kind of game that Binary Domain is, manages to fill that void perfectly. Though it's not the same gameplay, it's competent enough. Aside from the typical Death-matches, the Horde mode is surprisingly good. There's a neurotic sense of urgency that happens when you play with 3 other people, and Horde mode style games aren't something I enjoy. Perhaps it's just the kind of game that this is, that makes me warm up to it a little better.
I encourage this game be played, in-fact I have been since the beginning. But games now a days are very hard to convince people to buy at full price for some reason.
Imagine if you will: An Earthborn man that never knew his parents, grew up to be the one with enough cojones to lead a galaxy to war against a threat so incomprehensible they gave you an extended cut for free. Actually, let's just set that aside for a second. Let's also set aside that the only reason why Shepard is doing ANYTHING, is because Earth is in danger, though clearly the entire galaxy hit the shit storm long before he even started to care.
Actually, let's just set aside any flaws about this game I could probably bring up that'll make me wonder why this is a list of 8 instead of a list of 7. The truth is, I don't really care about how bad this game probably is. I never did. In-fact you guys lost me completely when the complaints started rolling in. I was probably enjoying the game too much, to sit there and think about it too much. I was there since the beginning and I wanted to see it end.
The one thing I like about video games like this (or in general if you prefer) is that I'm enjoying the experience. If I could take anything out of the experience as a whole is that It was an equal amount of good and bad. Good, was the game. the WHOLE game. I wanted an ending, and from the beginning to the end was exactly what I asked for. Sure, there are some things that probably happened too fast, some things didn't make any sense, some things were never explained, but this game was the end of Shepard, not the end of the lore. Everything else that happened around him was in a codex, was a self contained side story, is part of a franchise that I know there's going to be more of.
But Sheppy? That dude can happily retire.
Another thing I love about games like these is that they're always open to so much discussion. What it has, what it does, where it's going. One of the things that came as a shock to me this year is to 'be careful who I'm talking to', or ignore who's talking about it…. one of those two. This game's largest drawback is not the game itself, but the community that surrounded it. I can understand being upset with how something ends, or how a story goes about it's ending, but it's never anything worth getting blood-thirsty over. If you spend time out of your life explaining in a 30 minute video on youtube, what kind of video game Mass Effect is supposed to be? Then I guess the only question is, how far does your insanity have to go for you to think you have creative control over something so desperately?
It's not as good as Mass Effect 2 was, I can admit that. But in terms of it being the end of a trilogy for a character, I'm perfectly content. The Universe has loads of other games, and books, and iOS apps to sort itself out later.
I really really really like this game, but perhaps I'm a little disappointed by it at the same time? I'm not to sure, because it's not a serious disappointment. I'm just saying I'm disappointed because I play a lot of Demon's/Dark Souls in my time, so I always imagine what the next step should be. I often picture an open world game, with D Souls design philosophy and Die by the Sword gameplay. Dragon's Dogma is not quite there.
Though, it's not like it's bad. The open world questing and giant monsters/large mobs, is one of the things that makes me wander around aimlessly. Remember all that talk at the beginning of how I like to drive around in sandbox games? This satisfies that part of my brain where I don't have to care about what I'm playing. I can't keep thinking about how I'm disappointed by this. Because I want to feel like this game is a chore, I want to be having a difficult time, I want to be AFRAID to fight the giant monsters.
So I guess it managed to find some sort of middle ground.
I've also liked it enough to keep giving it my money. "But Bon," You would say, "All the DLC is on the disc! Why would you encourage this!?" I'm not at liberty to have that conversation because I don't care. Truth to be told, if I like something enough I'll show my support even if it's something as silly as locked content. And this is the year that I actually let myself loose with the idea of buying dlc. Capcom of course, does make a lot of bad business decisions, but I'm not going to harp on them for trying. With the kind of content locked away it wasn't too crucial to the game, so those arguing the full experience is not had with a game like Dragon's Dogma, are rationalizing nothing. It was all plain ass extra content. Content I decided I was okay with giving a little extra money to get. Because fuck it, I'll give a little extra money to a company I like, about a game I'm enjoying.
I would complain that I never really got anywhere in the game till I hit level 30, but that's only because of my stubbornness to keep going through an area that was too high level for me to pass through. but once I went through that, everything was breeze. I also ran around a lot on purpose. I don't need to friggin quick travel, I'm old school! When I was your age we walked back in forth in video games all the time! It took an hour, AND WE LIKED IT.
It does seem to go a little backwards when it comes to systems and gameplay mechanics that seem to be standard for most modern games. But this is their first try. I imagine when they make the second outing, they know exactly what they'll have to work on. I honestly hope one of those things will be multiplayer.
I had a lot to say about this game before. Yes, I am a "FANBOY" of the Resident Evil franchise, I'm man enough to admit. I would happily, defend or argue points over the dumbest shit that this franchise is capable of. I eat up the fiction as if it were my favourite cereal. Leon S. Kennedy is the dude, as far as I'm concerned. I could sit here and buff Resident Evil all night, but then again, RE6 is not number 1 on the list.
Yes, there's a lot to dislike about this game PROBABLY. Many things you can nitpick, as the RE games no longer play like the games they used to be (I hear it disappoints scholars). Sure, disappointment is valid. It's close to an experience like Resident Evil 5, but takes a hell of a lot of liberties on how it wants to present itself.
Jake could have been the only other Wesker to still be alive, instead of being the son of that Matrix-clad asshole. OH! and also, Where's Barry? Did Jill strait up retire from the BSAA? So many questions stilllll. But I also like where this is going. Bio Terrorism is a fucking serious thing in this universe, it's no longer about zombies. I would complain that it just shouldn't be about zombies anymore, because the viruses themselves should have evolved beyond the point of "REMEMBER HOW GREAT RESIDENT EVIL USED TO BE? I WISH I WAS STILL PLAYING THE SAME OLD GAME."
I always thought Biohazard was a better title. That way, it could be allowed to be so much more than the games of old. So I'm always going to welcome anything they try to do with the franchise. Yes, I'll always remain skeptical on what they would actually do with the next game in the series, though I always try to keep an open mind at the same time. The game was an enjoyable roller coaster, as I've probably said months ago, it's more thriller than Survival Horror, and it was a very interesting direction. I will always recommend these games be played, but only if you're invested in the series the same way I am. The gameplay, as we go further and further down the cycle of gaming, will never be what you want it to be. But if you've always liked the characters, then let those be the ones to take you along for the ride.
I bought a vita at launch. That's the end of that anecdote.
Well, when I bought it, I happily had a job and I was spending money all over the place. So when I bought it (because it was new technology) I pretty much bought a crapload of the launch games at the same time. The funny thing is, Virtua Tennis 4 is the only game that kept my attention for longer than a day. I guess it's not really saying much because most days I never really shut-up about how much I like Tennis as a sport. I play it when I can, and when I'm not playing it outside, I'm playing it in video game form because I'm so bloody cool. Virtua Tennis is just the be-all-end-all tennis game for me. Nothing else really compares to it, Mario Tennis comes close, but there's too much emphasis on the bullshit fantastical levels and power-ups with that series, that I ended up turning the other cheek when it touched itself upon the 3DS.
So, there really isn't that much to say about it. Virtua Tennis 4 is a solid experience. It's been the only game I really enjoy on my Vita, and it's probably going to be for a very long time.
So a long time ago, I was a serious advocate for Afrika. Run around, take pictures, buy better cameras, take more pictures. It was a surprisingly fun experience and I enthusiastically Platinumed it. So in that respect, Tokyo Jungle is absolutely NOTHING like Afrika. But that's how I saw it. I looked at Tokyo Jungle in the same way: This incredibly bizarre Japanese game, Probably doesn't appeal to a serious amount of western audience, (though I could be wrong... about AFRIKA M I RITE?) It just speaks to me in this 'Cult Classic' kind of way. There's not a lot of games that manage do something so weird, and have it be awesomely executed.
Though the Survival mode is the meat of the game, they hid a Story in there. Story that you unlock from things you pick up in the survival game. It grabbed me in a way where I wanted to find out more about this world I'm playing around in. Documents of news clipping, diaries and whatnot explaining the fall of man spread throughout the play field. Then the sudden inclusion of Dinosaurs attacking you, a beagle, on it's way to Marking some territory.
It's a weird experience, that would be just as much a shitty social game on Facebook. Perhaps that's why it lends itself to just being something you can pick up and play whenever you have some time to kill "How long am I going to survive as a chicken today?" Quick answer: "Not very long." "Fuck it, I'm going to be a Business man!"
BURST, the most commonly used word in the game. used to execute something amazing, or if you want to be cynical about it, used to continue the story. Fun fact about the fighting gameplay, it's just filler. This game is nothing more than an interactive anime. NOTHING MORE.
Why is this my number one game of the year? Because there's been no other game like it. CyberConnect2 took their strength and created an experience that it more like something worth watching than playing. I don't know where to begin. It is a wonderfully crafted story, amazing characters that are supremely over-the-top. Demigods all falling forward in a master plan while having their own ulterior motives. A story that spans SO MANY YEARS with a character far too angry to die. It's just so cool what they do with this game. There's a lot of mashing and pressing buttons at the right time, but every little button press/analog flick, just feels SO satisfying. Not a lot of games out there give you something so tedious and present it in such a way that makes sense. QTE's and cutscenes are such a perfect marriage in this game.
I'm still so surprised by how much this experience stuck with me. As a full price game for me, it's managed to be worth every penny. The DLC episodes are just as cool, especially those 2D animated ones, artwork is genius, music was pretty awesome. I'm willing to start foaming at the mouth with excitement when I start talking about how cool it was.
At the same time, I understand that this is going to be soooo niche. This is not a game for the average gamer. Definitely not something that would appeal to a huge majority of the western demo. At best, you'd get people that will want to play it, but may take as long as to wait for it to be 20$ in order to give it a try. It breaks my heart a little to know a game like this, will never be considered worthy of a larger audience.
Cyberconnect2 was onto something. It's beautiful, it's amazing! Anyone should give it a try. But at the same time, It would be cool if this game was only done once. It become such an amazing experience that it would be too hard of a thing to replicate. Even if Cyberconnect2 made a sequel they would have to change how they did everything gameplay wise. It's something so great because it's the only thing of it's kind, the kind of feeling that may be diminished if there ever was a sequel.
Asura's Wrath had been my favorite game this year, because there has been no other experience like it that has managed to stick with me. If months of games go by, unable to knock over my enthusiasm for this game. Then I encourage you to give it a peak.
Best Mobile game: Fortune Street Smart
It takes a surprising amount of skill to keep my attention when it comes to playing a game on my phone. I have a fair amount, but I just can't be bothered most of the time, because I like to keep my phone as JUST my phone. What an idiot I must be if I have a 4S, I should just downgrade to a silly little flip.
Well then, I wouldn't be cool, would I?
So remember how awesome of a game Fortune Street was on the Wii? Did you know they made a Fortune Street for iOS? Well now you do. It's still as cool as it's ever been, and quite the game to roll around on, for those long bus rides. I just wish there was Multiplayer to it. With the amount of iOS games that you CAN play with other people, and with it being turn based, there's no way that it shouldn't be.
Also it's typical of it micro transactions of buy more maps, get more characters. While the map variety is well enough, there's nothing cool about the characters, when the franchise itself has a history of Dragon Quest Alumni. Sure you want to appeal to a larger audience, but half the characters in the Wii game, nobody would have recognized anyway. Keep one of the cooler things about the game, in the game. Oh and add Multiplayer. THEN WE GOT A DEAL.
Biggest Dissapointment: Final Fantasy XIII-2
The worst sequel to the Worst Final Fantasy game ever made. I don't have to explain it, you don't have to defend it. And it's not just my opinion, it's basically fact.
Best song this year: Into Free -Dangan- by B'z
SO, with that, I've got nothing else to say. With 2013 coming around, I'm already spending less and less time playing or even caring about video games. I'm still interested, I still pay attention to the business, reluctantly pay attention to the community, but I'm going to be spending a lot more time concentrating on the life I want to have. Half the year already kind of went that way, you'll be surprised on how much a career get in the way of silly hobbies. I enjoyed these games, I enjoyed making this list, and if I'm lucky I'll get to make another one at the end of next year.