Here it is! Developers have vied for this top position all year long, yet only one can win. Well, I suppose several can win because I'm going to have a couple of categories going here, but that's beside the point. Publishers, look no further for your box quotes and little ribbon-dealies to throw obnoxiously on your box art, because DanielJW's GotY begins... now.
Let's also keep in mind the very limited scope of games I played this year. Of course I am open to discussion and disagreements, let's just remember that little factoid.
Best Use of Divide and Conquer
Wii Sports Resort!
After sword fighting with some friends, I can safely say they are no longer friends. As good as the Wii Motion+ was, the controller was never closer to a real sword then it was when I was striking my buddy across the face with it.
While I thought sword fighting was definitely a highlight, nearly every other game offered an equally fun and enraging multiplayer experience. Whether laughing at how ridiculous people looked competing to row that damn boat across the line, or how delightfully stupid and fun flying a plane down a volcano is, I thoroughly enjoyed my all my time with the game.
On top of that, it's got some great sticking power. Still lots of fun to take out with friends around, and I think it always will be. It's single player life runs a little thin, but hell, if you have a Wii, you should be playing it with other people. It's a social console!
Game that probably-would-have-been-a-contender-had-I-played-it!? : New Super Mario Brothers: Wii
Best Game That's Totally the Game I Played Last Year
Hey look, it's Madden. You can tackle, snap, throw, run, and get first down. This is all I know about football and that's all I want to be able to do in my football games. Well, that's not entirely true. I'd like to be able to play as Master Chief, or maybe a scorpion. Somebody make it happen.
But let's try and put something meaningful here. Madden is Madden and it's going for the same audience as always. Football doesn't change, and the people who are in to Football don't change. The formula works, and people buy it. When it comes to sports games, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Best Character of 2009
My main man Eddie. While the game play of Brutal Legend was decidedly janky and left something to be desired, I felt character development and feeling was spot on. Jack Black lent his voice well, and there wasn't a time that I felt I was playing a Jack Black sound board on my PS3. A feeling I get from most of his movies.
The emotion conveyed through characters is unlike what I've seen in games before. Being someone new to Double Fine's games, I'd assume these art styles and feelings are something they've been doing well for a long time. If not, then kudos to them for nailing it this time. Brutal Legend pulled me in to the story more than any other game I played this year.
You can make a pretty strong case for the power behind the characters by stating my total dislike for the genre. I pushed through an RTS for the cut scenes. I couldn't play through an RTS if it would save my mother's life, which subsequently is a big part of why my mother is dead.
Character who'd have been a contender had I played his game!?: The Joker
Best Game That Doesn't Belong in the 2009 GotY Awards
This game just sunk in to my skin like so many heroin needles. And by heroin I mean insulin. Nevertheless, this game is incredibly fun. Having picked it up just a couple of months ago, I've yet to put it down. Even the behemoth that is Modern Warfare 2 has been shelved on occasion for this baby. I love the handling of the cars more than any other racing game. Theres a very distinct surrealism to the handling. It's not so much that you can stop on a dime and make any corner, but it allows you enough control that it feels good. Racing games, to me at least, have to handle nicely.
Another aspect of games I generally hate, collectibles, were handled gracefully here. They become a very natural part of the world, and most importantly, you never really have to go out of your way to find a ton of them. On top of that, they aren't just another trophy. The short cuts provide valuable aid for the tougher races in the game.
The variety of cars is nice too. The different boost styles go a long way in how you play, especially online. I jumped in to a few games with the sole mission of crapping everyone up, only to be wrecked every time I turned a corner by a truck. I am not one with patience, hence I cannot drive a larger vehicle. It is not my cup of tea. Needless to say I left the game, exhaust pipe between my legs.
My Runner-up!: de Blob
Best Multiplayer Experience
Modern Warfare 2
Surprise! Betcha' didn't see that one coming. Modern Warfare had a way of appealing to the motivation part of my brain. Few games have given my a sense that I need to level up and unlock the next gun, or the next perk, or the next camouflage. Yet here I am, level 40 somethin' in Modern Warfare 2, still going strong.
There's just something so satisfying about getting a kill in that game. Whether it's the incessant clicking of the gun, or the screaming of twelve-year-olds, I love it. The new perks, especially Bling, have given me a new drive to unlock gun attachments. Anything to get the edge over that jack ass who shot me last round. The game seems very fair and balanced to me. I hear complaints about double shotguns, but the rare occasions I've seen folks with those, they weren't doing too well.
The call signs and emblems are really neat too. While I would like nothing more than for "Joint Ops", "Blunt Trauma", "High Command", and all those who wear them to disappear off the face of the Earth, the other ones are quite good. It adds another level of customization, as well as a "That's cool, how'd he get that one?" factor.
Game that probably would have won, if I still only had just a Wii!?: The Conduit
Game of the Year
Hooray! Congratulations to Sucker Punch, you're winner! The level of polish on this game was outstanding. Everything from the story, to the gameplay, to the upgrades, to the sunglasses on Zeke's beautiful face, this game was excellent.
I plowed through this game, and even started a second play-through, which I am currently enjoying. I don't think I've ever felt the need to play through a game twice, and I want to here. The story is wonderful and the comic book style in which it's told, is not only emotionally powerful, but visually stunning. Cole got my empathy and ran with it, charging my emotions with his manly, electric hands.
Ahem, moving on, the action in this game is fantastic. The movement feels really great, and the powers feel... well... powerful. You hit an enemy, and you know you've done some damage. All the acrobatics and climbing work really well, especially in conjunction with the electricity shooting thing. I really appreciated that you could fire off some damage from virtually any location. Grinding train tracks? Perfect! Hanging from a street lamp? Wonderful! Rolling behind an exploding car? Even better!
The overall atmosphere and feel of this game was just flat out great. Something totally unexpected and unique for me this year. Every side mission had meaning, the moral choices actually required thought, and most importantly, it played great as a game. When I was thinking about what game I'd choose for GotY and I asked myself; "What brought together everything that I love about video games?" it was really no contest. The score, the story, the playing, the moving, the climbing, the electricity, the baldness, the fatness, the gravely voices, the angst, and the loud mouthed photographers, piled up for my game of the year.
If I had one complaint, it would be that the facial animation in the game is very stiff. Cole looks like his face was glued into position.
That's all folks, and thank you so much for reading. It's been a great year, and I'm especially excited for 2010. Have a happy holiday, and keep your eyes peeled for my next blogola.
I, much like many of you, have been playing the crap out of Modern Warfare 2. If I were a more kind person, I might help kill the endless Modern Warfare discussion by swapping it out for another game I've been playing like Torchlight. However that ain't my style son. Besides, I always need something for my next blog. So let's get goin'!
Modern Warfare 2
I had a lot of fun with this game. Shocking, right? I think it's pretty alright. The campaign was very short, yet sweet. As one who gets frustrated very easily, I rather enjoy a shorter and more manageable campaign to a longer, more drawn out one. A lot of times during the single-player I got the same feeling I did when I watched the original Die Hard. As ridiculous and detached from reality as the events in this game are, I had no problem, and actually took great joy in, removing myself from reality. If I could shoot down a helicopter with three sniper bullets in real life, I sure as hell wouldn't be here right now. I'd probably be at a carnival winning over-sized bears with that absurd accuracy.
Of course, there's some multiplayer in this game. Which, needless to say, I've also played the crap out of. As someone who enjoyed copious amounts of split-screen multiplayer with my chums, it felt good to finally get online on my own. You know, against people who aren't sitting four feet from me.
I find great satisfaction in leveling up and unlocking new guns. Even if I only use the M4, it's nice knowing I have options. Something about how the guns feel just makes getting a kill that much more rewarding. I've become way in to this experience and will likely continue playing this for many moons.
As fun as all that is, I still find myself a tiny bit disappointed in this game. At least for me personally, it was a victim of it's hype. I went in expecting a mind blowing experience like the first Modern Warfare, but just got more of the same. While there isn't anything wrong with "more of the same", it was a touch disappointing to be able to say; "Yup, it's Call of Duty."
I have not delved in to spec ops yet, but if you would like to do that, or if you just want someone to play online with, my PSN ID is WeUnsweatThem.
This is an old game. With that out of the way, I love it. The driving feels really good, and the wrecks are face-melting to watch. The problem I have with a lot of driving games, is that they punish you fairly steeply for a crash. Here, however, I felt far more comfortable knowing that crashing was god damned nuts. I enjoyed wrecking and seeing the debris and scrap metal fly all over the place.
The sense of speed is in full force with this game. When you're tearing down the highway holding down that boost button, you feel like you're about it crash through the God Barrier and drive right into the eye socket of Hercules. Flying off ramps at these speeds could not feel more satisfying. The flashes of cameras, the view, the feeling of "OH CHRIST AM I GOING TO LAND THIS!?", it's all very soothing. The game also dumps a fair number of collectible style items in the form of shortcut gates and billboards for the smashin', but I didn't find this offensive. Mainly because just driving around is a lot of fun in this game. Usually when a game says here, find 400 of these, I say, no thank you. Here, I was more than happy to try and track down all these flashing yellow sons of bitches.
My main gripe with this game would have to be the freedom. There's a delicate balance that I think needs to be struck between structured play and free roaming. While in open world games you generally want free time to explore, I found it a little disorienting in this case. The game starts you off with a very basic tutorial, and then dumps you off with a; "Alright it's a driving game, GO!". I do enjoy the free-will and all, but I kind of wish it gave me a little push to do something specific once in a while.
Lastly, why are other racing devils like myself easily wrecked, but as soon as I touch a pedestrian car, I'm gone. My car will flip to the moon before it takes down a station wagon. I'd hate to see what would happen if I tried to hit a bicycle.
I've been thoroughly enjoying my gaming recently. Tons of great titles out that I haven't even touched yet. Come Christmas I'll be picking up Uncharted 2, along with Demon's Souls and Little Big Planet, so expect thoughts on those sometime soon. In the mean time I will continue to play and enjoy Torchlight. I'll probably throw in a little bit on that next time around too.
So keep checking back folks, more from DanielJW coming soon to a screen near your face.
With this wonderful season of brand spanking new video games, I'm playing... mostly old ones. Partially due to the fact that I wanted to catch up on the story for a newer, very well liked game. That said, I've been having fun with them for the most part. So please, kick back and read ahead as I spin you tales of gaming.
I finished this fella up last night. I don't think I can say a lot that hasn't already been said. The story is wonderfully engaging and funny, however the game play, not so much. I found that I was more often than not frustrated to the point of turning the game off with a lot of the stage battles. The controls weren't able to keep up with what I felt I had to do. But no matter how many times I threw the game across the room, I happily skipped over to grab it again to see more of the story.
I would almost feel better about this game were it an animated film. All I really ended up playing the game for was the cut scenes anyways. All this voice talent packed into a movie written by Tim Schafer would be incredible. Come Brütal Legend the movie, sign me up, please!
Perhaps it was less of a "the controls were bad" issue and more of a "you're bad" issue. I've never been the best at RTS games but damnit I tried! It shouldn't be this difficult to the average person, especially given it's target audience. If it wants to draw in people with Jack Black and metal themes, than make a game that caters to that audience, not Age of Empires with chrome and ladies. Sexy, sexy ladies.
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
Cinema! I feel like I'm playing too many games that either should be or feel like movies. In Uncharted this is a good thing. A lot of the action is very filmesque and feels out of place in a good way. The game is still essentially shoot-em-up hard ass Nathan Drake rolling through some jungle ruins, but these cinematic elements are certainly welcome. In fact, those are the only things about this game that are welcome. Gun fights, platforming, please leave the room, I want some alone time with quick-time events and camera angles.
I have never been enraged by a game more than I was during the gun play in Uncharted. The enemies soak up bullets like a Sham Wow in a tea cup. Not only was I consistently running out of bullets, but the enemies were riddling me with theirs. Laser scopes, bum rushing automatons with shot guns and flanking men with assault rifles barreled down on me and my piddly little pistol throughout the entire game. On top of that the grenades are entirely useless. Spending the time to mangle your arms into unthinkable positions to aim a grenade with six-axis in the middle of a battle is impossible and inviable. Yet, enemies toss grenades like Tom Brady on a good day.
Though the platforming was generally done surrounded by stunning environments and beautiful scenery, it could not hide the utter genericism of the climbing. It wasn't done particularly horribly and controlled competently, but was just straight-up grueling. The environments often made it hard to distinguish what you could jump to and what you couldn't. Nor did the game do a very good job of pointing you in the right direction. Any time I have to turn on my laptop to consult a guide on where my next jump should be, is a strike against the developers.
However I hear Uncharted 2 fixes some of those issues and it's gotten pretty OK reviews, so I plan on giving it a shot around Christmas time.
That's what I've been doing for the past few weeks. I just picked up Burnout: Paradise for $20 at my local Wal-mart, and I'll be grabbing Modern Warfare 2 come November tenth. If you liked whatcha' read here, than you should totally check back in with me later for my thoughts on those games. Spoiler for my next blog;
I bought some more movies. Including, but not limited to the following:
These purchases come along with the other DVD's I recently picked up including; Stand By Me, One Hour Photo, Moulin Rouge, Rocky Balboa, Coraline, and Edward Scissor Hands. So as you can see, finding $5 DVD's lying around in Walmart and Future Shop has prompted me to finally start building a collection. Some of these I had previously seen, some I had not. Those I had not we're generally wonderful treats.
Being someone Relatively interested in Film as a career I have deemed it necessary to brush up on general knowledge and understanding of "classic" works (IE, Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia, Pulp Fiction, Anything and everything Alfred Hitchcock). Anyone with any suggestions on things I should check out would be great, I do have a list but I really have no way of prioritizing what I've got on it, so suggestions of what is really good would be appreciated.
Aside from that I'm currently travelling a bunch. Right now, residing in a creepy old room in my grandmothers house filled with ceramic babies and carved sculptures of elephants. Here for two nights after a five day romp at ye olde cottage. Which was great, it's nice and relaxing. I shot a bunch of video which I'll probably end up cutting into something at somepoint that'll you'll eventually be able to find somewhere. Tomorrow I leave here, and get a day of rest before heading to Ottawa for more video shooting and micellaneous fun. Assuming all goes well I'll get my crappy firewire to import video properly so I can show you all the wonders of my escapades.
I'm continuing to debate picking up a PS3. I've got a keen interest in BF 1943, and Fat Princess since I got to play it at one of my chum's homes. In the meantime I've been playing some Red Faction: Guerilla, and Topple for my iPod. Red Faction has been tons of fun, albeit I really just smack dudes with my hammer...I'm not much for actually doing missions. Topple continues to be frustrating, and level eight is impossible, I don't care what you say.
So that's DanielJW recently. I look forward to the end of this travelling and regaining the remainder of my generally relaxing summer. Hope you've all been having good ones too.
Start the Conversation
I can say...I really didn't expect a hell of a lot when I started watching this. I like Robin Williams in a lot of the things he does, and it was $5 so what the heck, why not. I was pleasently surprised. Throughout the movie I found they did a really good job of keeping the very eerie atmosphere. Never once did I feel like I could relax. Partially from Robin William's fantastic effort, and the very bland colour palette. Very subtle touches kept drawing me back into this movie. There's a very strange and conflicting balance between sympathy and disgust, it really made me think about what I'd just watched when it was over.
One Hour Photo follows Sy Parrish, who develops film at the SavMart. He does his work with the utmost pride and precision, memorizing all the faces, and styles of photo he gets from every regular customer. Be it baby pictures or amateur porn. His favourite customers however, are the Yorkin family consisting of Nina , Will, and son Jake. He grows into an obession with this family, creating extra prints of all their photos for himself. He falls deeper into his fantasies of being a part of their family, when he discovers a shocking secret within the mother and father's relationship. I suppose I'll leave it at that, so as to not give too much away.
Like I said, I believe Williams did an amazing job in this film. Every mannerism had something incredibly strange about it, giving him a creepy feel before you even know his story. Even his dedication to his job, and the way he talks about his work gives off this vibe thats something is wrong, especially how he talks about the other photo developers who take less care in their work with such disturbing hate. The shots of the processing machines going have a very morbid feeling about them, and nearly everything in this place is white, not to mention the entire film is full of very bland and dark colouring. All these elements really came together well, and helped to create a great atmosphere that I felt nervous looking at. In my books, a good thriller / horror atmosphere is one that'll make you scared on it's own.
During the movie you get various insights into Sy's mind. You find out why he does the things he does, and his justifications for them. This really stood out for me, because they did such a good job fleshing him out and hitting a cord with people that in the end, you're almost trying to defend his psychotic actions. There are just so many relatable traits to Sy that I begun to think about points in my life when I was Sy, the lonely and jelous guy watching the Simpsons every night.
As far as the cinematography went I loved it. Great job of keeping everything low-key, but still a little off. Just enough that you notice it, but not enough that it's punching you in the nose. Simple little off center angles and symmetrical shots add to the creepy. Colours were well done, I can't stress that enough. I loved the presentation of this entire film, I thought it was really really well done.
My few quibbles with would include the lone jump scare of the film. The horror elements were so low key, that it did a good job keeping you on your toes and frightenting you with simple things. The jump scare, all though done well, seemed very out of place and unneeded. It took a lot away from the constant on-edge experience for me to have it just slammed in my face all at once. My only other problem with this film being the end. I don't want to say much about it, I just found it to be very strange and unsatisfying.
Overall I really enjoyed it, definitely worth my $5, and I'll likely watch it several more times. While the actual film creation and cinematography was done well, a few sloppy moments like the jump scare did a good job of taking away from what I thought was the core theme of the film. The brilliant story telling was capped off by a lackluster ending, which is sad because of how immersive I found the film up to that point. Although these may seem like minor issues, they were pretty crippling moments for the film. Breaking theme so drastically and ending on such a low note really brought this down for me. My final word, I recommend it, despite the slip ups. 3/5
I have recently been playing a bit of Deadly Creatures. After a particularly lengthy amount of playing I came across this video, which I find to be nothing short of an uncanny tie-in.
Having seen this, I find it, and all other rounds of Japanese Bug Fighting to be some of the most horrifying, awesome, and cruel things I've ever seen. Which got me to thinking, what would I do if I was put in a giant aquarium, for the sole purpose of fighting a giant scorpion.
Personally, I would likely just lie down and die, as my fear of almost anything with more than four legs would prohibit me from thinking rationally. On the off chance I didn't immeadiatley submit, I would try and find something I could use as a weapon, but if there wasn't one, really, what could you do? I think that no matter what this scorpions got you beat. Needless to say I'm sure I'll be having nightmares of this nature for years to come.
So in closing I ask you, what would you do if you were in a fight to the death with a giant scorpion?