S-Ranks of 2011
Games that I've managed to S-Rank in 2011.
Games that I've managed to S-Rank in 2011.
I'd discovered this delightful gem thanks to the Giant Bomb forums, and managed to download the game several weeks ahead of it's planned release in 2011. It's great to start off my S-Rank list with a worthy entry for once, as opposed to it being some obscure rental that I'm just hammering away at for points. I wasn't sure what to expect from ilomilo, but after mere seconds of play I was heading back to the main menu and shelling out my 800 points for the full game. It's great to see the stories play out as you progress through the game - there's the cutesy journey of Ilo and Milo that you see between the levels, but then there's the snippets of other stories you get from both Sebastian and the pieces of paper you collect as you go through the levels filling up your meter that add a sinister tone to the whole game. Excellent stuff, and glad I've got it to go through on Windows Phone 7 too!
Well, I couldn't add ilomilo a second time, hence Ilo appearing instead. The Windows Phone 7 version of the game became my 2nd S-Rank of 2011 within a few days of the XBLA version. It was a shorter game, and the levels tend to be much smaller, and miss some of the more advanced concepts of it's big brother, but it's still good fun nonetheless. Once you've reached the train in this version, levels then inherit eggs - unlike the 360 version, the eggs are now collectable, and doing so will unlock three bonus levels available at the end of the game. Here's hoping we see more from Ilo and Milo.
Yeah, I know, it didn't take me too long to get down to the questionable and dubious. This is my first rental finished for 2011, as it arrived in the middle of December. Haven't touched it as I got flu all over Christmas, so figured it was time to make some progress on it. What is there to say? It's a platformer, it's frustrating when it comes to jumping across floating crates, but otherwise it's an easy 1000 points in just three hours, which is always welcome. It reminds me of the likes of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, that kind of 3D platformer.
I never did get around to so much as touching or seeing Kingdom in action when it was released, and all it took with World was a Giant Bomb quick look for me to sit up and take notice. Straight away it looked like my kind of game, and I went to grab it shortly afterwards. Inside a few days I've polished it off, but it was good fun, it kept me sat at my 360 when I'd previously planned to head to bed a good while earlier, so it's just as well that it's over and done with already! I'll probably go back to it's predecessor, see how it compares after this. Good fun!
Despite the dubious GBA cover shot, this is actually the version released for Windows Phone 7, complete with delicious achievements, most of which weren't too bad to nab, some of which were a little tricky, and one was a pain in the arse (rolling three doubles in a row, anyone?). For an early release on WP7, I think this is a pretty good implementation of the classic board game. It's fancy and stylish enough to stop it being just a tedious top-down view of the board, and you can play different levels of AI and tweak the rules to mix things up as much as you'd like. I was pleasantly surprised with how this looked and played.
I've churned through all of the CSI games on the 360 to date, and this just seems to have taken a few steps backwards compared to it's predecessors. It still looks like a PS2 game, but the thing that really stood out for me was some janky frame rate issues when it was clear that the game wasn't exactly pushing the hardware it was running on. Other than that, it's very similar to the previous games. Achievements follow in the footsteps of it's immediate predecessor, rewarding you for thoroughness and such throughout the cases. Overall? Glad it's over to be honest...
It'a a shame that games like this aren't released in territories that simple aren't used to American Football. The game plays like a dumbed down version of Madden, with a limited selection of plays to choose between, and some cutesy styling and power ups included. Despite blatantly playing it for points, I thought it was a pretty good little game!
There's something about Double Fine games that I kinda like, and I was curious to see how a game where the characters are all matryoshka dolls would play out. It works really well actually. The graphical style is excellent, and I love the way the background blurs and concentrates on the foreground. The dolls are designed really well too. The whole story in the game is presented like a silent movie, with cutscenes complete with film spools on either side, and appropriate melodic piano music to go along with it. Definitely worth a look at the very least - go grab the demo!
Where would us gamerscore whores be without the early sports games that arrived on the 360 in it's younger days? It's been a while since I've played one of them, and we never get to see college games in the UK, so now that I have a US console this was one on my import list. It's actually a decent little game of basketball, but the menu system really lets it down - I much prefer the EA front end of recent years. A single game earned me all 5 of the achievements. Nice...
I was wondering how this would differ to Rookie Rush which I finished recently, as they're both essentially Backyard Football games. This seems to be a step back - graphically it seems a little inferior. The playbook is decidedly more advanced than Rookie Rush, but that doesn't make it a better game. Again, just a single game (well, more like a single quarter) in order to nab all of the achievements on this one.
I'd grabbed Torchlight on Steam back when it was creating a stir a few years back, but my time with it has been somewhat limited, and I always wound up playing something else. Upon it's arrival on the 360, that was all the more reason for me to play it, especially when I'd be seeing achievements for doing so. I do like it, but it became grind city eventually - the equipment that I wear at the end of the game all appeared several hours earlier than that, so for perhaps 40%-50% I was grinding through vendor trash at a tremendous rate, and it started to take it's toll. When I got to the end of the story and just had fame to grind, that made it less pleasant again. Hopefully it's sequel can take the grind out and make loot hoarding a pleasure once again.
This is essentially just a cut down version of the PC game of the same name apparently, just without some of the puzzles which sees you doing a variety of things with evidence. It boils down to a Where's Wally kind of game, where you move from scene to scene, having to find items hidden in the environment. It's wrapped up in a rough outline of a James Patterson novel, but I didn't pay any attention to any of the story aspects, as I was only in it for the achievements! I don't think it translates to Windows Phone 7 too well due to the small screen you play it on, some of the items are so damn small!
I was a big fan of the first few LEGO Star Wars games, and I always thought this was what Travellers Tales did best. They took on LEGO versions of Indy and Batman, yet they just lacked the spark that their first efforts had. I dunno, perhaps it's just down to which world I prefer? I had high expectations from this game, and initially it delivered in all the places I expected, but then when it came to confusion as to how to access certain things, when you're not told about them, and when it came to repetitive RTS modes that were fun at first, but not so after the 30th playthrough? It became an unfortunate grind.
I wasn't too sure what to expect from the WP7 version of this 360 delight, but after it had me captured for a few hours last night, my doubts soon disappeared. Just bear in mind that it's a mobile game, so it's a cut down version of the main game, with less bells and whistles, and it can chug a little when you try and throw too many ghosts around the screen at once, but otherwise it plays pretty well.
Achievements are a little similar to it's big brother - score related ones, and ones for finishing different modes without dying and without using bombs. The final achievement that saw me need a few games to get it down was to eat 100 ghosts in a combo in the ghost combo mode, so I needed to adopt some tactics to keep my combo running whilst trying to create new opportunities to grab as many ghosts as I could.
This was the first of the Game Room releases that I grabbed for my phone, and I was quite pleased with how it's been implemented on the phone. It suffers from the inevitable small screen somewhat, but with a game like this with simplistic enough visuals I suppose it's not too much of an impact on things.
Interesting thing that's common to all of the Game Room releases on the phone is that there are three achievements geared towards playing on the move - there's one for playing a game whilst going over 35mph, one for travelling 1km whilst playing a single game, and then a third for travelling a total of 6 miles whilst playing the game. Great to see some innovation like this, especially with a mobile platform.
After my experience with Lunar Lander, this was the inevitable follow up for me, as I enjoyed going back to it on the 360 Game Room. It sports the same mobile achievements as Lunar Lander, so it got me playing on the move again. My phone has been instrumental in getting me back to my games this week, and it was some retro classics which dragged me back there.
I never did indulge in Centipede on Game Room, but considering the other WP7 releases, I decided to give this a shot. I picked it up via Game Room on the 360 too, to be able to aim for bigger scores thanks to my TV.
I know that Portal 2 has been received by the gaming world with plenty of praise, but I really don't see what all of the fuss is about honestly. It's a good game, don't get me wrong, and I was a huge fan of it's predecessor, but I haven't been left with any great feelings that I would've expected really. I can't explain - it's a longer game, there's more to toy with, there's actually a story to get your teeth into, good characters... I dunno, I suppose it's good, but it just doesn't feel THAT good.
I can't really go typing about the story, or the ways in which it could be improved, as at least two of you need to polish it off before I can really mention such things. Not about to spoil it for you.
This is a pretty simplistic version of the game on WP7, and only has a few hundred questions. It's best aspect is that you can pause the game and just go Google any answers you don't know, so I was able to rack up the full 200 points inside an hour of play. Gimme more easy points! Not much else to add really.
Back when Kinect was showcased at last years E3, this was one of the few titles that really stood out to me, and that I could imagine really putting to good use. Of course, my own laziness, health issues and pursuit of filthy easy Gamerscore put a stop to that, but I've definitely seen the potential that this 'game' has to offer, and hope to put it to good use in the near future.
It's essentially an excercise program - it scans in your body, and shows you on the screen. You enter height, weight, and can then choose from a variety of games, exercises and training routines, ranging from beginner to pretty fucking advanced. You have your own virtual personal trainer, who you can keep up with and watch in order to get the right techniques. You're marked for each set of exercises, and the game tallies up the calories burnt with each session, giving you targets as you go.
You can keep track of your progress via an account online, plus apps for a variety of mobile devices - the iPad app for example lets you check your stats, but also lets you choose exercises based on what areas of the body you want to work on.
Back when it was released I really couldn't get enough of this game. It's premise was simple - you picked real world locations to place your bases, and you essentially played on a real satellite image of the location. You'd be getting attacked by freaks, who used the real roads to approach you, and you got to place different types of weapon turrets within a certain range of your base, which could then be upgraded in defense and firepower given the time and resources. Resources could initially be gained by completing missions, which would be randomly generated as you played. Turrets would automatically fire on their own, but they could be managed more effectively by making them fire at particular places on the ground, or by manual intervention where you control the direction of their fire. Later in the game you could spend your earnings (from missions and kills) on collecting new resources, but there comes a point where you just don't need any more cash or resources, as you can only upgrade so far.
Stories are great, and the real stars in the game are the partners you get teamed up with. I found myself flagging a little around 2/3 of the way through the game, but this turned around for me as soon as i moved onto the Arson desk - the DLC case from the Arson desk is excellent too.
Not sure what else I can add really! It all looks great, driving works really well, but if you strip away those aspects then the core policing concepts can become a little predictable, albeit a joy to behold in some cases. I can poke holes in a variety of places, but as an overall package? I'd love more of this. It seems that there was some bad blood between the head honchos of Team Bondi and the dev team, due to pressures and such, so at this time it's looking unlikely that we'll see a sequel. Here's hoping that Rockstar snap up the dev team, possibly even Team Bondi themselves and propel them forwards, honing the tech to their benefit. Just imagine GTA5 with facial capture of that magnitude... yum....
Bobble Head - OK, so this one is a bit of a cheat - the Kinect Fun Labs downloads all have their own set of achievements, but there's only 8 adding up to 50 . They're essentially just demos of what's possible with Kinect, so people should really stop complaining about them and make use of the free !
What to say about this wee beastie? It's the longest time I've ever kept hold of a rental for, I had it from November 2010 to August 2011, which is nuts. Not really sure why I didn't just stick with the game and get it finished, but then I've been really indecisive about my games for the last few months really anyway, and oddly enough this is one of the few that I actually stuck my head into and just didn't let up until it was finally done with.
The game is what you'd expect from the usual Traveller's Tales adaptation, and Harry Potter seemed like the ideal world to set a LEGO game in, what with the different characters and spells you could toy with. It's a really good implementation, but it seems a little harder to get your head around the concept of how the levels follow on from eachother, and how they're all organised around the hub of the game.
This was the US copy of the game I imported a few weeks back, and for some odd reason the achievements stack with the EU release, hence me getting it.
There's just something about the Keflings games that just fits. If I'm in the right frame of mind, I can happily jump into it and build away, letting the hours sail by. After hesitantly trying the sequel, I loved it, and it was only logical that I picked up the first game in order to extend my Kefling fix. It's not as expansive as the sequel, and there's more mundane stuff for you to do without followers carrying stuff for you, but it's still up there.
Not sure why I'd left it where I did actually - I was reasonably close to finishing the game when I picked it up again earlier this month, and then it was just a matter of putting the time in on the multiplayer side of things hoping that people would come and build their banner towers. Still a small community of players on the original game actually, which is surprising a few years on, and considering it has a sequel out there which offers more scope.
There's not really too much to say about this one, I grabbed it for the easy points - surprise, huh? It's a puzzle game, where coloured blocks fill up the game window from the bottom, and you can get rid of them by tapping on collections of blocks that share the same colour. The more you get rid of in one go, the more you score. That's about it really. It's an easy 200 points inside around 20 minutes or so.
After seeing a few of my TA friends polish off this game a few weeks ago, I'd approached it with a new enthusiasm until it all fell apart when Gears arrived. I used to be a huge fan of the Singstar games on the PS2, lesser so on the PS3. Given a few tweaks and the right kind of advertising campaign, Lips could've been HUGE for Microsoft, so much bigger than it was for them. Shame really.
It's odd to see games like Dark Matter appear in this day and age. It's essentially a point and click adventure, but with an adapted control scheme for the console market. Previous examples on the 360 have been poor attempts, such as Sherlock Holmes, but this one actually wasn't so bad. Better acting, visuals, some interesting graphical styling in the cutscenes. Worth a look if you want to step back and try something different.
I wasn't too sure what to expect from a implementation of the GH series on any handheld device, let alone a phone. It works well enough I suppose, but due to the screen having to also contend with the controls, then you have to dumb the game down so that you can fit a few fingers on the screen and still see what's going on, hence the highway only has three different notes. As such, even when you're playing on Expert, you still only have 3 different notes to contend with, and so the difficulty drops through the floor compared to it's bigger brothers on the major consoles.
My biggest issue with it? Hitting the controls of the phone below the controls for the game - would it be so tough for me to turn the phone upside down and have the display move accordingly, like some other games do? That would solve the issue right there. As a result, you encounter the major flaw in the game - if you exit in the middle of a song, or if you leave the phone to lock, the game has to restart from scratch, and it manages to reset the progress you had towards achievements. As a result, I wound up having to reset my data and just play through entire set lists in a single sitting. Less than ideal, and I'm glad that I'm done with it.
Not much to say about this one really - it screams early arcade Sega title, complete with octagonal wheels, and it has extremely limited playability. I got all of the achievements in around 20-25 minutes, and it had worn it's welcome paper thin by that time already.
It was bound to be simple enough to get all of the achievements on due to me being able to simply look up the answers online, as there wouldn't be a time limit for answering them. Oddly enough, this wasn't released in the US, so I assume there were licensing issues for getting it out over there.
This was a freebie a couple of weeks back, and in order to polish it off I just needed to put the time in and earn enough XP. I needed to test out some issues I was having on TA, and so I hammered away on this a little.
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