By Demoskinos 23 Comments
So, hey there! I've been wanting to do a blog again simply because I dunno... I just want to! So, I'm sitting here with my browser open with a list of games that came out in 2012. Its been a crazy year and honestly the other day I was trying to think what all I played this year and while I can name a bunch of things I figured there might be things that slipped through the cracks. So, basically if your up to reading my rambles I'm going to go down this list and pick out the things I've played this year and comment on them. I'm sure there will be a heaping of GOTY blogs rolling around within the next month or so. This really isn't a GOTY thing its more of just a look back on the year. I often find that I don't truly start to form opinions on games until a few months out and I look back on them. Its easy to come off a game hot and pronounce it GOTY BITCHES!
I always feel that the true games that matter to you should still have that high of an opinion from you 6 months after the fact. So anyways lets jump in!
So they say never start the show with a show stopper. I'm sure there are tons of people who will disagree with me on this and hey... you are free to do so! Final Fantasy XIII-2 might be still (possibly) be my favorite game of the year. The year also started off on a down note for me. I got laid off from my job right at the beginning of the year. HAPPY NEW YEAR I HAVE NO JOB! So, I already had FFXIII-2 coming to me and seeing as I had a lot of time on my hands it actually was the perfect fit for a whole month of being jobless. Its one of those things but I really can't pinpoint why I love the characters from the XIII universe but I do. Seeing as XIII-2 pretty much fixed everything that was wrong with XIII it was an amazing experience. Its also one of the very few games on PS3 that I have a Platinum trophy for. I had a lot of fun talking about the game with a few people on here about it and made a few new forum friends. It was a treat for sure and I'm pretty excited to see where XIII:Lighting Returns goes!
Man, looking back through this list Febuary was a PACKED month so lets get to it! First up is a game I think I actually got to later in the year but since it debuted in February it counts. Darkness II kicked off Feb with another quest for revenge as Jackie Estacado. Its a game that I think many people passed over because it was so short and it is VERY short. How short you ask? Well, the day I played it I woke up early in the day went to the redbox and rented it I had it returned to the redbox after the credits rolled by the time dinner was on the table at 7pm or so that night. Still, you should play it! The powers you get this time actually matter a lot more and there are a TON of them. Its almost Bulletstorm like with the ways you can setup kills that is if you want to. And just like the first game there are a good many emotional hooks that drive jackie's revenge filled rage. The ending left me stunned. It was one of those GIVE ME THE SEQUEL NOW moments. Especially if your a fan of the comics they really do the source material justice here. At this point its most likely really cheap so give it a play!
Next up is my front runner for most disappointing game of the year Kingdoms of Amalur:Reckoning. I was actually very pumped for this game I played the demo multiple times tweaking my character trying new builds. Then I bought the game and well....just no. Its not a bad game mind you its just boring. I really tried getting into it several times but never caught on. On paper the game sounded like a bonafied winner. You had outstanding talent on this project but in the end it just felt devoid of a soul like the perfection almost was too much and instead of creating a masterpiece created something that was functional on all levels but just stale. They wanted me to buy into their fantasy world and care about it but there was no reason too. Its also a shame the studio went under man... that was an awful thing it was pretty painful just to keep reading all the news stories coming out of that situation. Oh well...they all can't be winners.
From meh to amazing Twisted Metal was the next thing on my list. I REALLY liked this game. I felt Jaffe did a great job of walking that fine line of trying to appeal to the old school fans while still making it modern and hip to the new gamers. Unfortunately the online suffered from lag and connection issues a plenty. I do think they worked most of the kinks out eventually but it sucked getting booted seemingly for no reason from matches. I do believe twisted metal was the last game I managed to play with the bomb guys on TNT. If you go back and watch you can see at one point Ryan gets picked up by a helicopter which I was piloting. I was having trouble releasing him from the magnet and ended up unwittingly giving him a birds-eye view tour of the city instead. It was a lot of fun playing with the community and overall a really fun game. I actually manged to 100% it on the hardest difficulty in campaign which was a fucking BITCH. Man, that last level was fucked. It was a great time though!
And the Feb games keep coming! Binary Domain is next up and still has to be my under the radar game for this year. The only reason I had any interest is because I've been a fan of the Yakuza series when I heard the director of the Yakuza series was taking his hand at a shooting game I had to see what he came up with. The first few levels were sort of bland and reeked of a budget gears of war. However once you meet the crew that is where things really start to pop-off. I mean for god fucking sake you meet a french robot. Not even just french made but he speaks with a ridiculously overdone french accent as well. Oh, and of course who could forget Big Bo. The shooting in the game is really surprisingly satisfying too. Robots break apart and shatter as you shoot them. Going for things like head shots are vital but for the opposite reason as it is in most games. Doing a headshot doesn't kill the robots but instead makes the robots "beserk" and shoot everything around them often killing their own squad mates. The action feels great and there is a slight progression system that keeps things fresh and lets you upgrade your weapons of choice.
Rounding out Feb is none other than Coonce approved SSX. This marked the return of the franchise in what... years right? Surprisingly it was a fun game but also this game was a total blitzkrieg. There was like a week possibly two where this game was super hot and that was the time to play it. If you didn't have friends playing the game fell a little flat simply because there was so little to do outside of the single player which was well...kinda dumb. The deadly decent were more often a pain in the ass that was tolerated to unlock the fun maps rather than something that you wanted to play. If your curious I'd say pick up the game but don't pay to much for it at this point I cant see anyone actually still playing it. I did enjoy my time with it however.
Well March saw a lot of fervor over the Mass Effect 3 stuff but luckily I avoided it and didn't play the game at all! Instead I started the month off with Street Fighter X Tekken which admittedly was a mistake... I don't think it is a bad game by any stretch however I should have known better as I really don't get "into" fighting games as much as some people do well...outside a few outliers which I'll get to later on. The game was kooky and colorful I'll give it that and the addition of an overweight middle aged mega-man straight from the cover of Mega Man 1's NES box art is the most hilarious thing I've seen all year. I ended up selling the game pretty quickly though. It does have a groundswell of support though as I know a group of my online buddies still play matches now and again. I guess it wasn't just for me.
So Ninja Gaiden 3 happened. If you follow what I post on here on follow me on twitter , facebook etc... you know that I'm not shy at all about touting that Im a pretty big Team Ninja mark. In particular for Ninja Gaiden. So when NG3 came out I was holding my breath. I really wanted it to be good. Sadly, it kinda isn't now unlike the vast majority of people I don't hate the game either. I don't regret purchasing it (twice) either but it is without a doubt the weakest entry in the series. I still managed to have some fun with the game but the whole thing fell flat in many ways. The frame rate not being a blazing 60fps was the biggest crime this game committed Although hell... id have accepted 30fps if the damn game could have managed that. Add on to that a fairly tacked on multiplayer and its a pretty forgettable game not one that I hate by any means but one that I'm not exactly dying to play again anytime soon either.
Starting off April is Devil May Cry HD collection. Which honestly could be the biggest contender for game(s)? I spent the most time with this year. I've been a DMC fan but I never did finish DMC 1 nor was I able to witness the train-wreck that was DMC 2. The package sold for $40 and its the best money I spent all year. The games hold up fantastically. DMC 3 was and still is one of the best action games of all time. DMC 1 was interesting to play and you can see the underlying influences left by Resident Evil back when the game was supposed to be RE4. And holy hell... what a disaster DMC 2 was. A story that made abso-fucking-lutely no sense at all game play that was pretty stilted and dry and environmental that look like they had to be taken from a PS1 game they were so dull and lifeless. Mind you this is a tremendous feat you should applaud DMC 2 for being as bad as it is because it took actual work. You fight a demon skyscraper. Yes, Dante fights a fucking skyscraper that turns into a demon and they somehow managed to fuck even THAT up. On paper that sounds like some Asura's wrath or Bayonetta level fuckin' crazy and yet they STILL managed to make it dull. Astounding.
Whew enough negativity! Lets talk about something awesome like the Witcher 2. So, last year I actually bought witcher 2 for PC and my PC can "kinda" run it I don't know why my PC just doesn't like the game AT ALL. Even running on lowest settings across the board I still get hitches and frame drops. So, I was eager to take a hit on the graphical fidelity and buy the 360 version so I could experience the game. Its really amazing what they did with this version of the game it controls great using the 360 pad. And the story is actually very compelling and makes you feel like your not making binary choices that trigger logic gates in the game but making real choices that impact the world. The combat is much much improved from the first game and I really enjoyed combining magic and swordplay to take out enemies. CD Project Red is an amazing company too in the 360 version at no extra cost they included a strategy guide and the OST for the game. A pretty damn awesome move on their part. If you have a 360 you should REALLY play this game.
Oh boy. In May I only played two games but they are two that are among my favorite games of the year! First up is Max Payne 3. I was super super super did I mention super skeptical about this game. I had my "DmC moment" when I initially saw Max bald and in south america and was all NOPE! The Max Payne games to me have always been special and they were fantastically fun romps through film noir. Its actually what got me to fall in love with film noir alongside reading the sin city comics from Frank Miller. Rockstar however did this game justice with room to spare. You can tell it is most certainly "Rockstar's" take on what Max is but they do it well. Max isn't a hero in fact you spend most of your game hating him as much as he hates himself. Surprisingly enough the Multi-player is actually well done! It manages to feel like an addition to the experience instead of being something that feels tacked on to add a bullet point to the back of the box. Rockstar however is one of the few companies that can pull that off. Also, Max has an amazing soundtrack if you've got Spotify look it up its well worth a listen!
Dragon's Dogma is another game on my Holy shit... this game is actually good list. Everything leading up to the release of this game made me think this thing was going to be a disaster. After much urging by a friend I downloaded the demo and tried it out. It took me about a minute before I had a big dumb grin on my face as the griffin flew around with me hanging off of him stabbing him in the neck. Capcom really nailed this game the quests might be mostly busywork but I found them fun to do simply because fighting stuff is so much fun. The pawn system is another step forward in online features that include a community without having to have direct multiplayer. Renting out your pawn to see him/her come back with thousands of RP and items made you almost feel like a proud parent. Dragon's Dogma also has to have the most bizzare story of the year as well. The game is pretty light on story elements until you get the "real" ending. After which you get hit with a feast of exposition that promptly puts you on your ass in bewilderment at what you just heard. Its a cool twist and one that was the cherry on top for playing through the game. Really excited for the "Dark Arisen" expansion pack that was touted and the game did financially well for Capcom so a sequel seems to be in the works and that is really good news!
Oh Lollipop Chainsaw how I love you. So, true this game wasn't directed by Suda51 but it was inspired by his ideas and his brand of wacky sure does shine through in the game. Its a genuinely funny game and at least I enjoyed the game play. I know there were people on both sides of the fence on this game some really didn't like it others like me found it pretty fun. Its pretty much all par for the course with Suda games however No More Heroes was a pretty polarizing game as well. I have a soft spot for B-Horror and the game firmly sits between being a cross between a 80's teen comedy and a Horror flick. The banter between Juliet and Nick is almost always funny and the game has THE best soundtrack of the year. If you say why I will point you directly to Pac-Man Fever. You fight zombies to Pac-Man Fever. Any argument against that is invalid. Put on top of the expertly used licensed tracks a fantastic original bunch of tracks by Akira yamaoka and the damn game is packed with great music.
I forgot Spec-Ops:The Line even existed. However, it turned out to be one of the most interesting games of the year. It by no means is a stellar game in the game play department in fact it is pretty by the numbers and the multi player is just as awful as when I played the closed beta for it back in 2010. What id does do is weave a intersting narrative tale of three soldiers spiraling down into the mouth of madness. I don't think it hit the exact level of emotinal resonance that it was striving for but you sure felt awful after playing the game. There are absolutely no heroes in the game and it actively makes you feel bad for being violent. Its a interesting take on a shooter and while it doesn't do anything new as far as gameplay goes it sure makes you take an interesting look at shooters and even ponder violence in games as a whole. I would recommend everyone play it but ONLY if you find it for cheap.
So uh...wow. July was pretty barren all around in fact I didn't buy a single retail game in July apparently. What I did manage to play was Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD Remix Turbo edition.....oh right right this wasn't made by capcom. Ahem. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD. So I had no idea what to expect from this game because lets face it Tony Hawk has been as a depressing mess as David Hasslehoff eating a cheeseburger in a drunken fit. It wasn't exactly great either but...its eh....okay. The first thing is how can you NOT hit 60fps with this game? Just like a fighting game the timing on some things are so precise that you kinda need the fluidity of 60fps to get the most out of the game. The game play was just kind of clunky some things like wall rides were very very particular about how you did them the controls just felt "off" you can insantly tell it isn't made by Neversoft. Enough bashing on the game though. Robomodo did their best and honestly its the best thing with tony hawk since well... THPS 4. Oh, and avoid the PC version at all costs because I hear that version is FUUUUUUUUCKED. If it goes on sale on XBLA pick it up if you were a old school fan.
So hey August was a busy month. Darksiders II started it all off with promises of loot and apocalypses. I really enjoyed the first game in the series and was pretty excited to give this one a go. It was a fun game and I even S-Ranked it just like the first Darksiders however I just don't think this game was up to the same level that the original game was. They had a bigger budget and it felt like they threw any idea in the game instead of trying to just build on what they had. The seeming lack of restraint lead to a lot of filler and padding and I quite nearly outright quit the game and sold it. There is something to be said with what they did with the first game they made a filet mignon out of a McDonald's cheeseburger budget. It will be interesting to see what they do for DLC in the future.
The other game I bought from the Summer of Arcade this year was none other than Dust: An Elesian tail. I really thought this game looked amazing the art style is fantastic and the fact that ONE dude made it is mindblowing. The combat is pretty damn tight and its just overall a joy to play and by far the best thing offered this year on the Summer of Arcade. Unfortunately it also spawned a ton of really dumb discussion about furries. Its disappointing that so many people let their distaste for the furry culture get the better of them and skip the game. I still don't think the majority of people who outcry against furries even understand the culture behind it. But hey...what can ya do?
Wei-Shen is a dangerous man. This is something you find out VERY quickly in Sleeping Dogs. Yet another game that seemingly out of nowhere managed to be great even with a development history nearly as troubled as something along the likes of Duke Nukem Forever. Right out of the gate this game feels different than a Saints Row or a GTA. Sure, your a cop so there is that but what is more you are driving on the right side of the left side of the road instead of the right you are using martial-arts instead of shooting its a slice of another culture and it is delivered up in grand style. The game really makes you feel like you are in China taking on the Triad. Instead of having very linear choices of being "bad cop" or a "good cop" it just actively rewards you for both making you play missions the way you want to gain more experience points for either Triad or Cop abilities Each skill tree is useful which makes you think about how you play missions instead of driving like maniac you often make sure you don't hit cars or signposts so you don't lose any potential cop points. When your going after triad points the game makes you think what is the most fucked up thing I can do to the poor soul I'm about to kill. Shove his face into a table saw? Check. Feed him into an ice chipper? Check. Butcher Knives, Baseball bats and crowbars? Check , check and check. Its a shame the game apparently didn't sell all that well because it was by far one of the biggest surprises of the year I think for everyone.
September was fighting game month. Tekken Tag 2 started out the month for me and I really bought this game on a whim I have not liked a Tekken game since well... Tekken 3 and I figured this was going to turn out much like Street fighter X Tekken and be something I quit playing within a few days of getting it. I was however SO wrong. I've already reviewed the game and made most of my thoughts really clear about the game but safe to say I think namco really pulled the franchise back together with this one. With free DLC rolling out into the game there is still reasons to keep playing Tekken Tag 2 into the distant future.Oh hey...there might have been another little game that I was excited about all year. Hmm..what was it? I think it had Ninjas and girls in it? You guys know? Oh right...Dead or Alive how could I forget. I mean I pretty much was the one man hype band for the game for most of the year writing forum post after post along with blogs about the game. And I've been enjoying it and still been playing it. Its great and its a nice new direction for the series I just REALLY wish they would get the netcode figured out as I've got nothing left in the game to do except well online fights. I really do hope the community stays strong online for this as I think it will be a go to game for me for quite a while.
Oh hey, October! We are nearly done here! So far October has been a LOT of Resident Evil 6. A game which has sent the boards into a frenzy over the last two weeks. Some hate it others don't and the clashing between the two sides has been interesting. I've been enjoying the game though. Sure, I'd like if the franchise went back to survival horror bringing back ink ribbons and all. However, if this is where they want to take the franchise then well.. I'll stay along for the ride. I enjoy the characters and while I don't seriously follow the fiction outside of the main games I do enjoy seeing Chris , Leon and the rest of the characters from the franchise. I don't think there is much left to say about it really. What I'm currently playing is Dishonored. Which I'll be popping in as soon as I'm done with this. I've spent a ton of time in the game already and only on the 3rd mission and had a lot of fun with the game. The levels are pretty sprawling leaving you to you own devices as to how you want to handle them. Although, seemingly it does want to push you to doing stealth/non-lethal but regardless you can play the way you want to. I'll be excited to see how the game wraps up but I think I might restart the game entirely actually.
So lot of big releases coming out in the last bit of the year as expected. Not sure what I'll get into possibly some Halo 4 depending on how much money I have Farcry 3 might even be an option. Oh then there is Hitman too. Lot of interesting choices. It will also be a fun time as the GOTY madness that hits the site is a an absolute gold mine of entertainment. Well, if you've read all this babble I wish I could give you a reward or something but I'm fresh out of cookies as I just ate the last one I had. I do look forward to seeing what will happen in 2013. Giantbomb has always been a fun place to hang out and I sure enjoy coming here. I'm ready for 2013's craziness! Boshock, DmC, Metal Gear Revengence the year is starting off strong!