By Jimbo_N 2 Comments
10: Uncharted 3 - Drake's Deception
Naughty Dog / 3rd Person Action Adventure / PS3
I debated long and hard about this 10th spot on the list seeing as I probably had 10 or so games that I enjoyed the actual gameplay of more than Drake's Deceptions trial and error like chases and unbalanced and janky feeling combat scenarios that dragged on for what felt like hours too long. But U3 is still such an achievement on so many other levels that it just NEEDS to be on a list like this unless you're some kind of crazy person. What Naughty Dog managed to put out in two years in terms of scripting, animation, technical fidelity and polish is astonishing. On top of this the intensity of U3's setpiece moments and chase sequences alone kind of gives it a free pass onto my list. When things are cinematic and going crazy in this game the world around your television just kind of fades out. Thinking back on what Naughty Dog managed to do without resorting to quick time events in this game more than ever before in the series combined with the ridiculous presentation kind of makes me overlook that it feels rushed in spots and have gameplay that takes a backseat to the rest of the gaming year.
People Can Fly / First Person Shooter / PS3/360/PC
Bulletstorm might not reinvent the wheel here but People Can Fly showed us that they are still all about the pure gameplay fun. This year marks the great return with the now Epic backed studio and Bulletstorm shows us that in this very pretentious industry that constantly tries to move story and gameplay features forward, you can still just make a first person shooter that feels and plays better than many others who tries a little too hard. The skillshot/leash combos in this game is without a doubt one of the coolest mechanics in a game in a long time. It makes you look at shooting enemies in a whole new light and when you manage to pull off some huge, crazy combo with your guns, your leash and the environment itself being a part of it, the payoff is gigantic. The game also brought Unreal Engine 3 into a world full of vibrant color and man if I didn't enjoy the slightly offensive, ironic take on storytelling. Bulletstorm is also a creative masterpiece when it comes to weapondesign but that is nothing new when it comes to this fantastic shooter dev.
8: Dead Space 2
Visceral Games / 3rd Person Survival Action / PS3/360/PC
Visceral continues their tradition of merging the best of classic japanese survival horror games with the streamlined smoothness of modern western 3rd person shooters in the same masterful way that they merge psychological thriller with Aliens and Event Horizon inspired claustrofobic space terror. The sheer intensity of the story alone is enough to warrant a spot on this list but Visceral brings a level of polish to the table that no other company trying to do the same thing can even come close to. Really, when you talk about DS2, you kind of just want to start listing of stuff like a boring person. Sound design, environment art, graphical design, storytelling, U.I, you name it. Dead Space 2 is a great sum of its many polished parts. You find yourself on the edge of your seat terrified about what you might have to go through next but you are also filled with a great sense of exploration making you really want to press on. You just want to bathe in the atmosphere and keep taking in the detail in whats happening around you and never do you have to stop and get frustrated about anything mechanically at all. A great atmospherical experience !
ID Software / First Person Shooter / PS3/360/PC
The prime example of the year of people expecting the wrong thing. If a game features an inventory and a wasteland it has to be some kind of an RPG right? RIGHT?! So wrong. I grew up playing ID Software shooters and I managed my expectation and early realized that I would be getting a best in class FPS where you go from mission A to B in a car instead of by foot. ID Software continue to do what they are best at. A core FPS experience. On top of this they have layered fun but not needed distractions that mixes things up a bit but at its core this is the new game from the company that created the genre. Well, if you want to be specific about it they kind of created both the genre and defined shooters in general. Deathmatch, what guns we have in games today and, to a big extent, how games look today. So naturally I expected nothing less than the best graphics of the year combined with masterful shooter design both in gunplay, leveldesign and enemy A.I. Rage is all that for old school FPS gamers like myself. The distractions didn't really need to be there, the game dragged a bit in spots, there were technical issues that were very unfortunate and the ending is the worst of any game this year. Does it matter when we finally get a lesson from ID on how to create a shooter again? No, no it does not matter at all.
Super Giant Games / Action RPG / 360/PC
I am going to put aside that Greg Kasavin himself co-created this game. The man that was once one of the best writers on the internet and one of the most respectable persons you'll ever see in an internet video window. Bastion is without any doubt in my mind one of the most unique and creative experiences of the year. It almost feels wrong to start describing it as a streamlined action RPG. This is an experience unlike any other. The game practically throws stuff you've never seen or heard before in your face. The world forms around you as you play, the soundtrack constantly keeps you guessing and gasping, the upgrade perks are tonic-slots, you rebuild a town by completing levels, there is a dynamic narrator telling the story of your every move, you can use a hammer or dual pistols, enemies are everything from giant gasbags to lich-like ghosts. The list just keeps going. Adding to this nothing short of masterful gameplay design and you have one of the best games of the year and a Bastion (sorry!) for indie development going forward . Combat feels fresh, snappy and very thought out and the artstyle...well, just watch some screens of it..The game is also made with ridiculous amounts of love for old school gaming that shines through at every twist and turn in the game. Bastion is a work of love, a work of art and a work of creative genious.
Spots 5-1 coming up some time before christmas. Thank you for reading and I will gladly take all your hate, love or discussion in the commentsfield below!