By Demoskinos 28 Comments
So, Its a good 6 months into 2012 which means were about at the halfway point of the year. The summer solstice is soon and soon we'll be heading to into the fall which means a torrent of good games after the absolute famine that is the summer months. So, if anyone cares to actually read here is the 5 games I've enjoyed so far the most this year. In no particular order.....
The direct sequel to 2010's Final Fantasy XIII which was a very polarizing game to say the least. It improved on many aspects of the game. One of the irritations of the first game saw you reaching a game over screen any time your leader character died regardless of the situation. It was a poor choice for an other wise at least in my mind awesome game and was fixed the sequel along with a host of other minor tweaks. Replacing the third party member with monsters that you can swap in and out and collect and combine and raise left the game with many obvious pokemon undertones that made it an addicting addition to the game. Overall one of my favorite things to come out this year. The ending was a bit crazy and I have yet to download the "Lighting" DLC pack which apparently explains a good bit more of story. I wouldn't mind seeing a FFXIII-3 to be honest as I'm really digging this story but.... even the FF fanboy in me knows that would be pushing it. Still, amazing game, amazing music. Loved my 80 hours with it.
BIG BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Okay, now that I have the obligatory craziness out of the way let me say this is such a gem in the rough. I bought this game solely on the notion that famed Yakuza director Toshihiro Nagoshi worked on it. I'm a huge fan of the Yakuza series after stumbling upon it in the series PS3 debut with Yakuza 3. Also, it just seemed well.. different from your usual take on the 3rd person shooter. Upon booting the game up it instantly feels like a horrible gears of war clone. If you stick out the pretty mundane first level though your in for a real treat. The game really opens up once you get your full squad at your disposal. Also, after a few upgrades your weapons start to feel pretty good as well. Bullets rip and tear protective covering off of enemy robots making shrapnel fly everywhere. You get a real tactile sense your actually blowing robots apart. The story gets really insane really quickly. And oddly enough the seemingly generic characters at the start of the game really all develop personalities that I really enjoyed being around. I mean... who could not love this face....
Ever since Gamescom 2011 where it debut its trailer ive been championing this game left and right. I've been forever a Suda 51 fan. Even if his games are not always mechanically the most fun games you can't ever accuse him of being boring. Suda's style really shines through in the game as well. Its like a 80's teen romance comedy mashed together with 70's horror grindhouse into one tasty confection. One of my main worries all along with this game was well.. the combat. And out of the gate the combat does seem a bit stilted and awful but as I found myself leveling up I also found myself enjoying the game more and more. Juliet and Nick play off each other in such grandiose fashion that it had me consantly cracking up. And oh...my...god. Soundtrack of the year folks. From expertly timed licensed music usage to fantastic original pieces from Akira Yamaoka of Silent Hill fame this game is and aural feast for the ears. Pac-Man fever is in this game people. Do I need to say more? What the hell is better in life than killing zombies while getting told by Buckner and Garcia about cramming quarters in Pac-Man arcade machines. Nothing I say. Nothing.
So this happened earlier in the year. I played a car combat game. Not only did I "play" a car combat game in 2011 but I played a car combat game for well over 70 hours and enjoyed every minute of it... well... minus the minutes I was searching for games or getting kicked out of games due to poor netcode or well.... okay.. the game had its share of problems and David Jaffe would be the first to own up to those problems. Whats more though is the story mode is actually really worth a shit. Sure , Twisted metal doesn't have the lore of a Mass Effect or a Fallout but watching sweet tooth get pissed and murder people is fucking fun. And fuck... I got to play online with The Giantbomb guys during TNT and whooped their asses a few times and even got to chill and play some matches with Jaffe too which was damn awesome. Jaffe had constantly preached that he wanted the CARS to be the characters in this game and have personality and individual traits. I think its something that they pulled off for the most part. Fast cars like kamakaize are really good at capturing leaders in Nuke while some characters like Mr. Grimm are Glass Cannons who are able to wipe the floor with people while always being perilously close to their own death. Its a fun balance and it actually makes you think a bit about who you choose and why.
So, I've beaten this game 2 times working on a 3rd. I currently have 150 hours in it. Its one of my favorite games of the year and I quite nearly passed it by. One of my buddies kept hounding me and hounding me "Hey, dude play the Dragon's Dogma Demo I think you'll like it!" So, after being hassled for awhile I decided what the hell. All it took was playing that griffon battle one time. I'm honestly still shocked at how damn good this game is. For all of the flaws the game has like ample screen tearing, flat textures and even bad frame rate can't keep this game's combat from being just damned fun. Each time you level up a vocation its genuinely exciting to get back from your journey to see what neat new skills you unlocked to use. The pawn system is also a stroke of genious. Its a lot of fun to go and hire your friends pawns for battle and even more awesome when your pawn comes back from an adventure in another world full of presents that the person gave you. I'm sitting on stupid amounts of Rift Crystals right now and I'm still like a proud parent every time Risty my pawn comes back with a high approval rating. I've done some of the same mundane quests now over 3 times as I'm on my 3rd playthrough of the game and yet it doesn't matter to me. The fun is in the combat. Seeing your characters improve finding new and exciting armor and weapons. And yes people regardless of what Patrick was saying on the Bombcast there IS loot hell one poster on Gamefaqs Dragon's Dogma message board even made a detailed list of drop percentages for chests in the game. By far one of my favorite things this year and to think I almost passed it up because of initial bad reports about the game.