MVS (Most Valuable Shooters)

This was originally one of my lists, but I made it a blog post as well. It just had a lot of information so it deserved a spot on my blog.

 
 
This list is for all of those shooters that are simply different. When you see a gameplay video, you say "oh that's a (insert franchise here) game". The reason for this is because each of these games took something and made it better, perfected something, or invented something new and different. Here we go:

1. Halo

Halo is a franchise that never seems to die or get old until years later. Even so, more people play this shooter, for longer, than any other shooter on the Xbox 360 console. There is a reason for this. The game feels fair. There is a certain balance that this game has achieved with its latest installment that no other game has matched yet. Every weapon, vehicle, and piece of equipment feels powerful yet can all be overcome in many ways. Player skill is relied on more so than luck making this game not so user-friendly, but definitely satisfying, enjoyable, and competitive.

2. Rainbow Six

Rainbow six has recently elevated its status from strategy niche to accessible and strategic. I can now play this game all the time, but that doesn't mean the game sacrifices its roots. The game is still tactical and rewarding in ways that other shooters are not. Not only this, but it has one of the most well-implemented rewards systems ever created in Rainbow Six Vegas 2.

3. Counter-Strike

I can never put my finger on what makes Counter-Strike so dang addicting and fun. It's that game that I can come back to anytime and leave the computer about 3-5 hours later...minimum.

4. Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead is another Classic Valve series in progress. Cooperative gameplay (as Valve has discovered recently) never gets old. Well, that is until you have memorized all of the enemy locations, spawns, and map layouts. For this problem, Valve has created an "A.I. Director" that creates new enemy locations, spawns, and map layouts so that the gameplay is fresh almost every time. Brilliant!

5. Killzone

Killzone...well...KIllzone 2 in particular has done something truly amazing in my book. From the moment I saw the gameplay I was captivated. I was in some sort of trance that I was not able to distinguish until just recently. Killzone 2 has what other shooters do not and that is: believability. What this means is that when you are playing Killzone 2, you are easily able to believe in all that is happening. The guns have weight, the environment has texture, and the lighting brings life to a game that already has good gameplay. It is not the gameplay;however, that sets Killzone 2 apart, but everything surrounding it and enhancing it.

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Game of the Year Blog Post

 

Intro

 Alright, so this is my Game of the Year blog post that I will be using to talk a little about things that I couldn't in my Game of the Year Nominee List. First off, as you may have noticed, I do not own a Playstation 3. What this means is that I could not rightfully choose PS3 games as nominees as I have not played them. However, I have something planned for the PS3 later in this post. I chose games that were meaningful to me and somewhat left a good impression during the year. Not all genres will be listed as some are generally uninteresting to me.
 

Categories

  Here, I will discuss the categories and which games were the best overall for that particular genre:   

Action

WINNER: BATMAN ARKHAM ASYLUM  
  I chose Batman Arkham Asylum, because this game was a treat. Okay, it's a good Batman game, and that is pretty awesome, but it is also a great game in its own right. There are action games out there that have different elements included, but this game has it all: action, stealth, puzzles you name it! It is engaging the whole way through, and the ending is satisfying. It definitely has humor as the villains from Batman always offer, but there's just a whole layer on top of the game that makes if feel complete. If you like Batman, you will love this game, and if you don't you will enjoy this game. 

Shooter

 WINNER:  BORDERLANDS
                   
First, hear me out. The reason I chose Borderlands over Halo 3 ODST, Left 4 Dead 2, and Modern Warfare 2 is because it was the only Shooting game that did something completely different this year..or at least remotely different. While all of those other games offered new modes, settings, and improvements, Borderlands offered a completely brand new experience. Gone is the competitive multiplayer of most shooters; enter cooperative, loot-filled multiplayer. The game incorporates many different mechanics and tricks from other popular shooters and is not afraid to show its inspirations. The bottom line: if you like guns, experience-based leveling, and good shooting then you should pick this game up as it will definitely surprise you.     
 

RPG

WINNER: DRAGON AGE ORIGINS  
  Dragon Age Origins wins best RPG of the year without a doubt. Not only that, but if I had a category for best story, this would win that as well. If you are looking for an RPG with a story that is told in a very interesting, non-humiliating, adult manner, then you have to pick this game up. It kept me and many others hooked from beginning to end bringing some really heart-wrenching decisions, strategic role-playing action, and longevity in the form of 50-70 hours of gameplay. Not only that, but if you are at all interested in playing through the game again, there are 6 different ways to play through it, many different endings, and tons of different possibilities. Just play this game!
 

Racing

WINNER: FORZA MOTORSPORT 3 
  Forza , once again, sets the standard for simulation racing games. It has everything anyone would want in a sim racer: cars (duh), tons of tracks, a great physics engine, and outstanding graphics. One thing that it does better than any other sim racer is make it easy for anyone to turn the game on and start playing. You don't have to know cars ins and outs, be a car fanatic, or watch live racing on television to have a great time with this one. Forza 3 has many dials and switches to lower or raise difficulty levels, and even has a rewind feature that can be used to try that lap that you just didn't feel good about one more time with no penalties. Oh, and it has replays, photo capturing, and custom decal creators. Every racing game can learn a lot from Forza Motorsport 3. 
 

Strategy

WINNER: HALO WARS 
  So, before you ask what kind of idiot I am, have a listen. I understand that this game may or may not be the best strategy game, in terms of content or actual strategy, of the year per se, but it is one of the only ones that made vast improvements in making the game more approachable for non-strategy gamers. Halo Wars, made by ensemble, takes a strategy game, incorporates Halo elements, and makes it accessible and easy to play on a console. The game offers a lengthy campaign, coop throughout the campaign, and multiplayer matchmaking such as the kind in Halo 3. The best part however, is how the strategy works. Everything you need is easy to do, and it's just another great effort to bringing this genre to consoles, if not the best effort so far. If you have any interest, at all, in trying out a strategy game on your console, let you first one be Halo Wars.  
 

Handheld

WINNER: MARIO AND LUIGI: BOWSER'S INSIDE STORY  
  This is not only the best handheld game of the year, it's a pretty good game in general and you should probably pick it up if you own any sort of DS. It's hard to describe the features in the game as they are pretty varied, but if you enjoyed any of the Mario RPG's in the past, you will love this one. It is just plain fun and everyone should at least try it. Without spoiling anything, it is also one of the only games to let players explore bowser's side of a story and generally get to know him a little better. It has humor, story, and engaging gameplay. Check it out! 
 

Game for Everyone 

WINNER: NEW SUPER MARIO BROS WII 
  There is not much needed to be said for a game that everyone can pick up, play, and have an absolute blast with. It is accessible and one of the best party games and platformers of this year. If you happen to have a wii and a couple of friends, you will enjoy this game no matter what age. It's just one of those games that a bunch of different people with unique preferences can all enjoy. This game sums up the impact that Mario had back in the day, and how it can still translate now.  
 

 Games of the year for the games that I was unable to afford or play...

So, here is the little something I had for those PS3 games that I couldn't get to playing. It is unfortunate that I was unable to buy a Playstation 3 this year before the year ended, but I still feel the need to give credit where credit is due. Here are the top 3 PS3 games that I wish I could have played this year. 
 
  • Uncharted 2: This is one of those games that I would enjoy and then try out the multiplayer. I love a game that can pull off singleplayer, and pull it off well. The fact that I would buy this game for the Singleplayer alone and then become hooked on coop. and Multiplayer makes it the best game that I never played.
  • Infamous: I really wish I could have played this game, and I will someday. If you know anything about me, you know that I have a certain passion for comics and superheroes. An open-world, superhero, morality-based game? Sign me up!
  • Killzone 2: To be honest, I am really not sure what is still exciting to me about Killzone 2. It may be the fact that it is one of the only FPS to come out this year that includes bots. It may be the graphics being some of the best of this generation. It may be the fact that it is just an awesome cinematic-looking game. I am still unsure, but I'd bet it is a combination of all of those things.
 

GAME OF THE YEAR (FOR REAL THIS TIME)

This is one of the hardest decisions, besides my career, that I have had to make all year. To put it other words, It's really hard to choose a game, after you've played so many of them, as the best overall game of the year and not feel sort of guilty. There are many games that definitely deserve it in one way or another, but picking just one is complicated (and that is an understatement). Now, I know I left out games such as Halo 3 ODST, and Modern Warfare 2 which were both great games. I chose to leave them out because in the end it is more Modern Warfare and more Halo and that, to me, is not game of the year if they can do that every couple of years, which they have. I almost did the same thing for Left 4 Dead 2, but there were so many improvements that it was hard to look the other way. So I have to choose one game, and here it is: 
 
  

GAME OF THE YEAR: BORDERLANDS! 

       It was a really hard decision, but I chose Borderlands, because it's one of those games that leave a lasting impression on you for being so unique. When you first insert Borderlands in your console, start it up, and go through the tutorials you are a little at odds at what the game is offering. Then, you get your first insane feeling and looking gun. At that moment, you level up your gun proficiency, gain more talent points, and pick up some sort of mod that makes you even more special in the world of Borderlands. It is all so expertly timed that you are just overwhelmed and engrossed that you play for days straight with a strange loot-craving hunger to keep on playing.  

Borderlands is not perfect: the story is weak, the gameplay can be repetitive once and a while, and there are some nasty bugs that made it into the game. However, the game is just plain fun. You would not look back and think, "Man I wish I had not played that game at all", because it was so fresh and established that an RPGFPS can definitely work if done right. While the story is short, the game has personality. From the humor of the smack-talkin' ClapTraps, to the intense visual style, the game oozes with personality. You will enjoy this game.  Cooperative, online play is also a main feature of the game and makes it even more fun. There are some quirks, but it seems that for every little flaw found in the game, there is something delightful waiting just around the next corner.  

If you have any love for RPG's or First Person Shooters, pick this game up, tell a friend, and Catch a Riiiiide with the Scooter Maan!, together.


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Not bad, Could be Better?

I just feel that some of the features, if not all of them, could have been incorporated into Xbox Live in more of a slick fashion that makes them more readily and easily available. I'd like twitter to run in the background as well as the Zune marketplace. I'm relatively sure that Microsoft is saving this for another update, however, it's hard not to feel as if the pieces which connect these new features to the service (as a whole) are strangely missing.

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