By RayCarter 2 Comments
I am here to roll out another list of games that I thought should be given praise (or at least attention) because they are fun and well done.
The drill is the same. Might not have some games you've heard of, and some that might be in the mainstream. The games don't have to be released this year, and it doesn't have to be games that I've PLAYED this year. Oh, and no "Game of the Year" because it's way to difficult to compare games of different genres and ports. No top 10 countdown either.
With all that taken care, let's start.
1. Saints Row the Third (I played XBox 360 version)
Let me make this abundantly clear: As much as SR 3 is a really fun game, would I consider it for "Game of the Year"? Absolutely not. To have that reward everything has to be perfect. It's graphics are not the best and there are a bit too many glitches that made me restart several missions. Does a game of the year do that? Not in my book. It has to be spotless. SPOTLESS!
That being said, SR 3 is still a barrel of laughs and fun. It's the epitome of lawlessness and chaos in an endearing sense. Dialogue is funny as hell with great voice actors. Lots to do, although some better than others (eg. Prof. Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax).
Saints Row the Third is without a doubt the most entertaining game I've played for a while. And you'll be sucked into it's world until 4 in the morning. Every. Single. Day.
2. The Adventures of Tin Tin (iPad)
Tin Tin for the iPad does more for the iPad platform than what SR 3 did for the XBox 360. Before you go and raise your pitchforks, hear me out. In short, this game is heads above shoulders almost every other iPad game. Graphics are off the charts, voice actors are believable. Story is engaging and suspenseful that will make you keep playing. Gameplay takes from other games but really meshes all its elements well. The Quick Time Events are nothing I've seen before on an iPad (it saved the best for last. You'll have to see that part at least once). Briefly speaking, Tin Tin on the iPad felt like an adventure, a smooth, daring adventure that you want to see through. Gameloft is on top of its game in this product. Nuff said.
3. Rise of Nations (PC)
Before I go on, let me note that I will reference a lot of RTS games because they didn't make the cut in the last post.
I also want to note that I haven't mastered this game yet. But I would really love to. If you're looking for a game that really mimics world history in a span of epochs, in a RTS format, this game is it. The number of things you need to look after is huge. It's not just your food and wood. There's iron, knowledge, oil, wealth and so on. The methods of wininng is also hard to count. You can do the traditional burn-em-down method, but there are also things like building X number of wonders and taking x% of territory. The combat is extremely balanced and takes a lot of mental power to win a single victory, let alone the entire war. Finally, the Conquer the World Campaign is huge and soaks in a lot of time. And you'll be glad to put those minutes in.
4. Command and Conquer: Generals + Zero Hour (PC)
As the old saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat. And the Generals series proved that just because you don't have cutscenes and over the top actors doesn't mean your product is going to stink. Despite having 3 factions their style of play is so different and yet so effective in their own little way that you would want to go play each side at least once. Each campaign is also interesting to go through.
The greatness of this game is further enhanced with Zero Hour, the expansion. While the campaigns are still short they are still very fun to play. And the various factions within the US, China and GLA again bring more variety to an already versatile package. Game also looks and sounds good for its time, which only helps. Boy, I can't wait to see what the next Generals game looks like.
5. Rise of Legends (PC)
ROL is like the simplified and yet more over-the-top version of its famous brother Rise of Nations. I mean, how many other games can you think of that has glass dragons, a death god and a walker inspired by the works of Leonardo Da Vinci. The art style of the game is very impressive, and ROL also makes the game a whole lot more accessible to RTS laymen, while maintaining a certain level of depth that RTS veterans will appreciate. Once again, there are 3 distinct factions, each with their own cool stuff to work with, and are so different in the way they play you would want to experiment with each group. Finally, the story mode is long and strikes a fine balance between introducing you to new stuff while dragging you back to the traditional skirmish. All and all, a great game worthy of succeeding Rise of Nations.
6. Blazblue: Calamity Trigger (XBox 360)
Before I was 18 I think of these games when I think of the fighting genre. KOF, Tekken and Street Fighter. But then Blazblue: Calamity Trigger plunged itself into the list and never turned back. Combat is a joy to pull off and a joy to watch. It's ridiculously colorful when there's action going on, and of course there are the subtle touches (like Taeger using a small mobile phone). All characters, while some are more important than others, matter greatly in the story, something that is unheard of in most fighting games. Their styles are also so different in a way that works (See Clover, Karl). The story also deserves a lot of kudos; there are so many angles to look through, and the game has a sense of humor that only Saints Row the Third can exceed. The "Teach Me, Ms. Lithi/Booby Lady" sessions are comedy gold, invigorated by good English dubbing voice actors in the sessions but also in the fights. Throw in a couple of more boob jokes (I'm looking at you, Noel Vermillion), and the game is all set. Never have I had a game that made its franchise so memorable with just a couple of sittings. Blazblue 1 is that game.
7. Dead or Alive: Dimensions (3DS)
DoA is not just here because it's the first 3DS game I bought. And it's not just because there are beautiful women there. It's the combat that really made the thing work. Simple in appearance but difficult to master. It has some modes that really stand out, like the tag team mode (where you're fighting an overpowered opponent) and survival mode, where you kill X number of enemies. Admittedly the story is WAY too disjointed for me to follow, but it is a good tutorial session for non-DOA experts such as myself. Finally, the game looks gorgeous, from its characters all the way down to the scenery. DOA is a great game for anybody's 3DS library, and to me, it gives hope that there will be better 3DS games on the horizons (there are only a handful of those so far).
8. NBA 2K11 (XBox 360)
I am an avid basketball fan, and I"ve played my share of NBA titles like Live 06, 07 and 10. I thought they were OK, but NBA 2K11 takes the cake best sports game I've played by far. The best thing about the game is its accessibility. You can be a complete noob and still call an offensive set like a pro. The game makes all its information present for its players (like the salary cap) and its commentary package is the deepest I've ever listened to (looking at almost every single player, for crying out loud). Now on to the basketball portion of the game. Where do I start? The My Player mode is well designed and fair, a vast improvement to NBA 2K09. Calling plays like the pick and roll, or defenses like a 2-3 zone is so easy and fun to pull off. And of course, the Dynasty mode (aka The Association) is deep with customization options that I cannot even begin to count. Oh, and it features the most realistic and badass version of Michael Jordan, His Airness. Need I say more?
9. Warcraft 3 + Frozen Throne (PC)
I am 18 an I've finally beaten an easy AI opponent. And I'm glad I did it in Warcraft 3. There's just so much to like here: 4 unique factions, each with strategic depth that fills up multiple dictionaries. A lengthy campaign that is interesting from start to finish thanks to mission variety and narrative. A presentation that still looks better than some PC games today, even though WC3 is released almost a decade ago. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that there is built in self-awareness resulting in some funny lines ("I am a Dread Lord, not a Drug Lord", "Crouch, Tiger, I sense a Hidden Dragon"). Finally, the game's difficulty was never cheap but always fair, and every time I beat a level or win a skirmish I feel like I'm on top of the world. Only a handful of games do that... on an easy difficulty level.
10. Dungeon Siege 3 (XBox 360)
Dungeon Siege 3 is a game that does little wrong and does a lot of things right. It has an extremely expansive universe with likable characters, an intriguing narration that has twists and turns you don't expect, and a combat system that is fun, because it is fast paced, requires quick reactions and non-cheap at all times. Treasures of the Sun, its DLC, is also a great product in its own right, expanding on an already large world while applying a new subplot that makes you care. More importantly, it also added essences and 3 new ultra abilities that deepen customization, converting the game from more action than RPG to healthy doses of both. I'll reiterate: Dungeon Siege 3 is a game that made me care, about its story, about Ehb, and the 10th Legion. This might sound really odd to many, but If this really is the last Dungeon Siege game, I would say that DS 3 sent the series out on a high note.
Now that that's taken care of, I would also want to point out 1 final thing. It's not a game. It's...
11. "Free" by Chris Madin
It might be because this song has vocals or it comes from the Sonic franchise, but beyond that there's no reason why "Free", the introductory song to Sonic Free Riders, shouldn't receive some acclaim. I am a Sonic fan through and through, and I've always loved their songs. Back then, I thought "Wow, Ungravitify and Open Your Heart are the best video game songs there is. Crush 40 isn't going to get any better than that." But then along comes "Free", and it blew away the competition, my favorites, into the stratosphere. It is THAT good.
So what makes it tick? For me, it's that it is first and foremost a SONIC type song. It sounds loose and, as its title implies, "free", really catching the essence of who and what the Blue Blazer is. But what really made this track special is its catchiness. Other songs might make the wrong impression, but Free doesn't. It really reminds me of a strong yet gentle slipstream passing through the air. Its lines, especially "Into the FREE, Into the ME", injected anticipation and excite that I've never really heard in other songs, like getting a jolt of energy to go out, spread your arms and run like you never did before. Now that's amazing.
The Crush 40 version is also worth listening to. Really rolls like a destructive hurricane that Sonic can become, thanks to its rock instrumentals. Both are really high-class tracks, and rival Mario can't do a damn thing about it.
Here are the links. Please listen to them at least once:
Madin's version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbLTQOC8Np0
Crush 40 version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=In9PKsAFbl8&feature=related
Here's my list for 2011. Hope y'all have a great new year. Now about the list... do I have a point or am I off my rocker in my choices? Please respond to this blog post on the comments section below.