(and 10 more that I really enjoyed)
I'm not going to put a spoiler warning on any of this because it is my blog and it is full of spoilers and I'm only mentioning this because of number 5 which hasn't been properly released yet...
sorry about my bad sentencing and ramblyness.
10 Bionic Commando (360)
After flip flopping between this and Modern Warfare 2 I finally settled on the game that satisfied me as a gamer the most, this is not to say that I find MW2 to be a bad game in fact it’s very, very good but the single player left me really cold and I finished it on veteran within three days of release with no Mile high/No fighting in the war room type achievements hanging over my head to mock me… on top of that Multiplayer whilst perfectly designed and a bunch of fun was giving me feelings of déjà vu… I just don’t feel the same way about a game I felt I had already played for over four days in total playtime.
But this is not about Modern Warfare 2 this is about Bionic Commando a game with an absolutely fantastic swing mechanic, wonderful music, cool bosses and pretty challenging gameplay.
I have never touched the multiplayer…not even once did I go into the menu and still I love this game. It is by no means a perfect game with some incredibly frustrating battles later on and a plot that goes completely off the rails, but that’s not really the point. Bionic Commando feels like the evolution of 2D sidescrolling action adventure games. It isn’t meant to have any substance and is designed to feel a little arcadey. I love the weapons (even the peashooter pistol), I love how they’re limited because it forces you into playing unpredictably and using the arm in combat, and I really like the varied environments. In an age of pure shooters and open world games filled with moral choices that can be boiled down to good, bad, neutral I am thankful that games like this get made, a game where its all about getting from A to B, beating bad guys and having fun whilst not pretending to be anything other than a videogame.
Best moment – “you’ll just have to fuck it” line during the worm fight
9 Plants Vs Zombies (PC)
I HATE tower defence games so why do I love PvsZ?
I think I spent about 10 hours over the course of two days fending off an assortment of Zombies with mushrooms and sunflowers, my mind completely focussed on one thing and one thing only…. Wiping out every dolphin riding, traffic cone wearing, glass door holding evil zombie.
I would make beautifully, symmetrical gardens which the zombies felt needed reworking and I wasn’t going to take it… these zombies had to die! So with a little help from crazy dave and excessive planting of sunflowers I set about destroying wave after wave of plant-hating undead.
Not content with ruining my front lawn, my back lawn and pool they set about invading my rooftops where I would have to replace lost tiles… what kind of evil doer not only hates plants, but hates roofing also?... they had to be stopped…. Even an evil zombie scientist-king in an undead stompy mech could not stop me protecting my property…. All zombies must die!!!!
Best moment – There’s a zombie on your lawn song.
8 Shadow Complex (360)
There’s not really a lot to say about this game other than it being a love letter to Castlevania and Metroid games from the past. While being a lot shorter than say something like Symphony of the night it makes up for it with some great visuals, some cool little boss sequences and a million different upgrades and an emphasis on rewarding exploration. ( even if the endless grenade upgrades are a teensy bit useless)
The shooting can be wonky but really you should be running at everyone and using one of the comical/awesome looking one hit kill takedowns even if they do make the game a little too easy on the normal setting, but they never get boring and net you way more experience than just shooting randoms in the face. Part of me wants to say they could have charged a lot more than 1200 points for the game seeing as I got maybe 25 or so play hours out of it and I enjoyed every minute exploring it’s underground caverns and factories. Maybe next time we will get an inverted shadow complex after we have finished it.
Best moment – The first showdown with the spider tank.
7 KIllzone 2 (PS3)
Get this part out of the way first… I find the online multiplayer to be pretty good but in no way is it as fun or interesting as the Modern Warfare games.
Good job I absolutely love the single player then. I don’t know if the controls were patched or something because I have read a million complaints about the controls and I played the game a good while after it came out and absolutely loved them, there is a lot more reliance on actual aiming with there being very, very minimal (if any?) autoaim. Everything about Killzone 2 has a real weight and momentum to it whether you are running, turning or throwing a grenade and to me felt really immersive and made all of the already intense gunfights just that little bit more ummm intense.
The story is utter nonsense and the character models while having beautifully animated movement sport really ugly faces but that’s not the point, the Helghast are so stylish and sinister looking and their relentless charge towards you make them a really great enemy to fight. The guns all have such volume and sound appropriately like they were made for killing stuff alongside the constant stream of shouting and explosions coming from all angles and sounds absolutely superb.
After a lot of negativity I had read towards KZ2 I had quite low expectations when I popped the disk in but found myself having some of the best fun with an FPS in ages. The game is absolutely beautiful despite it’s same old, same old, grey, war torn city look and easily a much better single player campaign than Modern warfare 2 in my opinion.
Best moment - The attack on your spaceship by the Helghast.
6 ‘Splosion Man (360)
An answer all the people that claim that a new 2D Sonic The Hedgehog is not a viable gametype. ‘Splosion man gets the fast paced, almost-on-rails thing mixed with timed platforming sequences down to perfection.
I absolutely adore This game and experienced a very similar feeling to what I had after playing through portal for the first time. Clever Humour, Catchy songs and a ton of personality run through all 50 of ‘splosion man’s frustratingly fun levels with some absolutely sadistic timed sequences you need to get down to perfection in a similar way you would play a music rhythm game. It really does have that “oh, one more go” hook where despite dying for the 60 time you feel you really must get through it and getting through it is a must because if not you’re going to miss one of the strangest and absolutely brilliant videogame endings ever devised. Even more importantly the game has some absolutely fantastic songs like “donuts, go nuts” a song played on a Ukelele about how everyone loves donuts whilst using a fat scientist as a bullet shield. This song will play around in your head for days and the brilliant “’splode beneath my ‘splosion” ballad with the lyrics “”youre so ‘splosiony, youre the ‘splodiest, ‘splosion man” is a fine end credits song. I Love ‘splosion man as a character with his brilliant animations for running and constant mad-person chatter about various meats and would really like a sequel although I am also really looking forward to next years Comic jumper from Twisted pixel.
Best moment – The Live action ending sequence/s
5 Bayonetta (PS3)
The PS3 one is all lyk broke n that…
You know what?... fuck you! This game is better than its technical problems a true masterclass in how to create a fast, fluid action game. Not once did I feel like my enjoyment was being ruined due to some lengthy loading times and murky textures… what I was thinking was “This game rules everyone’s fuckin face” and “fuck yeah! This game is awesome” an absolute love letter to Videogames with Okami, Resident evil, Mad world and even Halo references. The insane spectacle as you ride into space vertically up the side of a rocketship on a motorbike towards a god before manually blasting it past all the planets in the solar system into the sun is just one of those moments I punched the air…. But the screen tearing… Fuck you! I say... You have not experienced the games love of Space Harrier or the absolutely flawless combat system… but the framerate…. It doesn’t matter, I am jumping between timeshifting platforms and then putting an angel in a guillotene and then torturing a girl in a twisted overtly sexual way before watching her explode into tiny meaty chunks and then shooting a cherub in the penis and riding up a giant plant-cherub monster as a fucking PANTHER… all of the people that claim this is another Devil May Cry clone are waaaaaaaaaaaaaay off the mark, It’s perfect scores from magazines with it’s style and imagination are fully justified. No other game this year has strived so hard to go all out insane like this. And It works because the combat is PERFECT, I just cannot find any fault in it, the options given to you from the get-go are staggering and the game can easily be completed just with the default guns (although the sword is much, much more devastating)
Very few games leave me with total satisfaction and the last game to do so was Metal Gear solid 4, Bayonetta is another one. I felt a little drained, a little bit like I wanted to punch the air again and a tiny bit dirty.
Best moment - You totally get to manually Headshot a dude in the face with your lipstick! Seriously… “DON’T FUCK WITH A WITCH!”
4 Resident Evil 5 (360)
I just cannot understand the hatred this game has started picking up just recently, It plays better than 4 (one of the best videogames ever made), It looks absolutely gorgeous and has some absolutely fantastic setpiece moments a million other games would die for.
While I understand the game doesn’t even come close to the greatness of Resident Evil 4 It still feels incredibly polished and any criticism about it not playing like Gears of War or any other of the million third person shooters out there seem incredibly petty. I really like the games stop-aim-shoot mechanic It makes fighting the hordes of infected enemies a lot more tense and enjoyable.
I do not mind the series shift to all out action we have Dead Space now if we want atmospheric scares and I really like the games gun levelling system. I like the way the game feels like your partner is the most valuble person in the world and while I know there are some A.I issues I have never run into them because I have always played with a friend. I love that whole “he’s got me helphelphelp” feeling and the vulnerability you feel when the game forces you to split with your partner at various points. I like Sheva as a character and I really like the overblown, insane quicktime events usually involving Wesker. On top of that Mercenaries is the best it has ever been and it’s a shame they added that useless versus mode instead of adding a few more mercs maps…
And there’s an island full of chickens.
Best moment – The Wesker showdown in the cargo area of the plane.
3 Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time (PS3)
This is THE best Ratchet and Clank game ever made. The balance between shooting and platforming is the best It has ever been. The pacing and emotional impact of the story is better than any other game in the series, but more importantly it is not at the expense of the games humour. This Game is easily one of the funniest games I have ever played and kept me consistently amused for the ten or so hours it took me to complete it.
I will be the first to admit I am the hugest Ratchet fanboy (totally even have the new figures on order)
But the amount of collectibles and constant rewards for clearing a planet or going an alternate path are someone with obsessive compulsive disorders nightmare/dream. Levelling guns is no longer a grind, explosions are prettier… there are no underwater sequences… I repeat, THERE ARE NO UNDERWATER SEQUENCES! The game has a perfect difficulty curve (not ratcheting it up a little too high like the first and third games do in their final levels)
It also features some brilliant new guns like the vortex ripper where an alien from another dimension shoots tentacles through a portal and snatches up and eats anything it is close to, tools favourite Mr Zurkon with a whole bunch more trashtalk and even a couple of little songs he sings whilst insulting/killing the local wildlife and finally the new RYNO 5 which plays Tchaichovskys 1812 overture whist dealing out death to anything and everything in it’s path!
Oh yeah and the Clank levels are absolutely brilliant and clever braidesque puzzles. If this is the last R&C game Insomniac ever make they really have left this series on a high.
Best moment – The rewinding time sequence where Clank needs to save Ratchet after being killed.
2 Uncharted 2: Among thieves (PS3)
I really don’t have a lot to say about this game other than It sports some of the most gorgeous graphics, has one of the best videogame soundtracks ever and an engaging action packed story full of likeable and well thought out characters with a bunch of personality.
It’s very hard to say anything more about it, It fixes a lot of the first games very minor issues like bullet sponge enemies and has a better balance of action and platforming.
It does almost everything right and that is almost the most boring thing in the world to sum up. A game that’s flaws are tiny nitpicks like briefly not knowing the direction you’re supposed to be going in and rocket launcher spamming enemies, but when put next to everything the game does so right they’re not really worth noting at all.
Best moment - I really like the falling building/gunfight/helicopter sequence with you in it
1 Street Fighter IV (360)
I wrote a really long reason why I love this game in a journal using pens with ink and everything. All it really said after a lot of waffling was….
Street Fighter IV is one of the best videogames ever made…ever…. in the world ever!
10 Games I really, really liked but didn’t like enough to put them in a top 10 (and reasons why they are not in it.)
Batman Arkham Asylum – I love Batman, I love Paul Dini, I love Mark Hammill as the joker and I love how the game really makes you feel like Batman but there was something about how the game would force you into these horrible fights against larger enemies that all had to be beaten in the same way. Even the last boss in the game felt like it was thrown in at the last minute as The Joker could never beat Batman in a fistfight.
Assassins Creed 2 – I Burnt through this in a dedicated weekend doing almost every side mission and collecting everything that can be found in this really detailed world, Ezio is a great character but once I was done I felt DONE, like I would never want to play this game ever again. (very similar feelings were had with the first game. It has a great ending and I will no doubt play the third game even if I had more issues with the platforming this time around.
inFAMOUS - I feel the same about infamous as I do about AC2. The game is really fun and I collected/did everything you can in the game world but was left with mixed feelings about the way it played with some cheapo deaths and a lot of glitching/falling through the world and some terrible facial animations. I loved the comic book cutscenes and I was one of the few that really enjoyed Coles voice/acting. The combat is also very, very good even it would force you to take care of most situations in almost identical ways.
Noby noby boy – This is the greatest preschool toy ever devised, absolutely hilarious to watch and a nightmare to control… It is not really a videogame.
The Beatles: Rock Band - I LOVE this game! I really enjoy all the songs, have a load of fun doing the vocals but it was all over for me very early, the story mode is quickly beaten and the online is hugely flawed.(full of dicks) It is very hard to continue playing just this game when I have built up such a huge collection of songs all in the same place with Rock Band 2.
Modern Warfare 2 - see BC in top 10… Spec ops is great, not different enough from Cod4…. Would much rather play other games or Street Fighter IV online.
Halo 3 ODST - Not the hugest Halo fan in the world but I found ODST to have a really tight and focussed campaign with a really nice atmosphere and some beautiful music. The lack of matchmaking in Firefight is the most pathetic thing ever in the year 2009 and I would probably have played a ton of it if it had featured it.
Katamari Forever – Probably the best Katamari game on the market if you had never played any of the other games but for someone as obsessive over the franchise as me it felt like there was too little new content and some really weak weird choices for remixes/songs and overly strict time limits on levels which made the game a tiny bit too demanding in places… and seriously, only two new cousins… that is kinda terrible.
Battle Fantasia – Beautiful looking, smooth playing game from the makers of Blazblue/Guilty Gear.It has some amazing story sequences like the power rangersesque Deathbringer sidestory. Unfortunately about five people bought this game so the online is dead and that is the worst thing ever in a fighting game.
It is also hugely imbalanced and when you do meet someone online expect it to be someone using Deathbringer and pressing the high attack button over and over and over again!
50 Cent: Blood on the sand - This game is much more fun than most will expect. It’s a competently made shooter with a very good points/highscoring system and decent shooting/cover system. The game is over in about five minutes but the constant stream of ridiculousness coming out of Curtis Jacksons mouth in pursuit of his y’know, priceless, diamond encrusted skull and hatred of all thing helicopter has a kind of endearing quality to it…
I am also fond of the song on the soundtrack where he barks like a dog.
And jewels fly out of crates towards you like a sonic the hedgehog game….