Merry Christmas everyone, hope you’re having a great day and have received many gifts and eaten many fantastic meals. Last year I gave away four copies of Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, so I decided to bring some more beautiful beans to the community.
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine is an americanized clone of Puyo Puyo, which was the first game in the popular-in-Japan series. Instead of fighting various demons of Satan you end up battling Dr. Robotnik’s robots in hot puzzle action.
While the Puyo Puyo series has done numerous things to modernize the series, I still find the rules of the original to be the best. It’s basically a frantic rush to bury your opponent. No reversals, comebacks or anything like that most of the time. It’s the puzzle game equivalent of a six-shooter duel except you have to set up Mouse Trap to fire the gun. I love it.
So why would I give out copies of this game? It’s one of my favorite Genesis games, and I think it’s a pretty fun twist on the puzzle genre. Also Scratch is in it, the best robot chicken ever. (Sorry Seth Green). Last but not least, I’m PRETTY sure no one else is giving out copies of Mean Bean Machine. So there’s no chance of people going “Oh I got this from Aunt Jenny.” Fuck that, Aunt Jenny wouldn’t dare touch this mean bean majesty.
So here we are again, I’m giving out 10 copies of Mean Bean Machine to the first ten people to post. In your post please put down your steam ID (example: http://steamcommunity.com/id/recspec ). From there I’ll add you and gifts will be delivered! First come, first serve, once they are gone, that’s it!
It’s been a fun year here at Giant Bomb, here’s to an awesome community. You all are the best.
I tried to write an intro here. Something about games being “important” and how I hate that phrase. I decided to throw it out and cut right down to it. These are my top ten games of the year. This year has been easier than others because these ten were miles above any other game I played. The difference between 10 and 11 is huge, so it’s not like a game barely missed it. No pictures, videos or the like for this one, just the games and my thoughts.
Analogue tells the story of the abandoned colony Mugunghwa. It’s a visual novel that has you communicating with the two AIs on the ship *Hyun-ae and *Mute. This is one of my favorites of the year because the writing is fantastic. Everyone on the ship is dead, and the only evidence
left behind are the logs left in the ship’s computer. Learning about the various individuals on the ship as well as what led to everyone’s demise was great. It’s one of the best stories of the year, and learning the truth behind why everything happened is shocking, horrifying, and tragic. It will stay with you long after you are finished playing.
An obvious idea, make a rhythm game with Final Fantasy music, but everything about it was executed very well. A great art design, clever rpg mechanics, and a ton of unlocks to keep you playing are only some of the good things about this game. The song choice is pretty good, with a ton of DLC adding a lot of great music. Most importantly, the gameplay is fantastic. Various difficulties will challenge you while staying fun, and the different modes keep things from getting too repetitive. Even if you don’t have an emotional attachment to the Final Fantasy series, you should consider picking this up if you enjoy rhythm games.
It took the No More Heroes name to finally get me to play one of those social games everyone seems to be get hooked on. There are a ton of weapons to collect and clothes to customize your character. It also has a solid single-player experience mainly because of the boss battles with characters from the No More Heroes games. The main thing that hooked me though was the ranking system. I felt compelled to be in the top 100 assassins each week to earn rare items. Not to mention the one week where I fully committed myself to being the #1 Assassin. Did I mention that this game was only released in Japan? I had no idea what I was doing half of the time or what all of the menus meant, but for a couple months this game had a vice-grip on my life.
A fantastic soundtrack, great art, an a ton of simple yet challenging minigames. There is a reason this was my favorite rhythm game this year. There is also a pretty neat co-op mode. Most importantly, this game is full of charm. From the tutorials to the results images, this game is doing it’s best to keep you going. It has a simple formula, but it follows it perfectly.
I feel bad that the game’s art style turned a lot of people off to this game. Beyond the talking anthropomorphic animals there is an excellent game here. A great story that is deeper than you would expect, with genuinely funny moments throughout. It rivals some of the best animated movies out there. The main characters are likable and have great dialogue throughout the game. It borrows from the Metroidvania school of map design, leaving a lot of secrets behind to come back and find when you have the right tools. Last but not least, one of the most satisfying combat systems in a 2d game. Everything feels tight, and once you get the hang of things, you’ll be dodging, countering, and racking up combos. Nothing’s as smooth as cutting up enemies, dodging their attacks, and then dashing through the air leaving a trail of fiery death behind you.
Method and execution, these are two things you must keep in mind at all times while playing Hotline Miami. You’ll go through a floor, learning what works, and what doesn’t work. By the time you have enough information to tackle a floor, you can go through killing people left and right with ease...only to get killed by that last guy because he decided to walk the other way. This game is addicting, there is enough of a formula for you to plan your moves, but just enough random elements sprinkled through to give you that moment of panic, forcing you to rethink your plans on the fly. The brilliant soundtrack and the interesting story only add to the fantastic gameplay. Just when you think you have a grasp on the mechanics, it throws you a new scenario to deal with. An adrenaline pumping experience through and through.
This game is never content. It always has to be raising the stakes. The presentation on this game is awesome. From the previews for the next chapter to the bumpers between commercials, it is all a very slick package. The quick time events are great, the characters are neat, and yeah, things get kind of crazy at times. It’s a fun experience. Craziness aside, there is a solid story. There is a reason for all of this madness, and it never falls off that path, even when you think it does. It ties everything up in a nice neat little bow. I know that most games aren’t for everyone. But I would say that everyone should give this a try, watching someone play through this doesn’t do it enough justice.
I don’t want Clementine to be anywhere near the sequel for the next game. I’ve grown so attached to her, I just want her to be happy and go live a life that isn’t set in the desolate universe The Walking Dead takes place in. There is nothing “fun” about TWD, it’s brutal, painful, and just plain frustrating sometimes. That’s not a bad thing. The characters are so damn realistic. I can understand why Kenny is always turning on me, why Lilly will always be a jerk, and why I am not the right person to be making these decisions! I don’t like talking about TWD, it’s dark as hell, I feel guilty and sad for the choices I’ve made, and it’s a beautiful game for it.
I never played the first Borderlands until about a week or two before Borderlands 2 came out. When I played it, I thought that it was neat, but I’d wait for the sequel. A bright colorful world, a cast of characters that are pretty good, and a story that has no business being as good as it was. I could only imagine what the people who poured hundreds of hours into the first one felt as they did it again. This was my first time diving headfirst into the shoot-and-loot, and it’s pretty great. My main character is Gaige, and I enjoyed playing through the story and New Game+, but that only opened up the hours and hours and hours I’ve spent trying new loadouts, looking for new weapons, and just having fun doing nothing except kill things left and right. That was all solo too mind you. I recently started a new character along with my brother and sister, and that’s a whole new beast on it’s own. So much to do, in this game. So many awesome references (some are obnoxious, but fitting for the crazy world it’s in), and a ton of memorable dialogue. Now I see why everyone felt so strongly about the first one. I haven’t even touched the DLC yet!
My first playthrough by itself was a solid experience. Neat characters, great puzzles, enough drama to keep things interesting. I got confused when I hit my first “To be continued...” block, I thought I accidentally exited back to the menu. I wanted to keep going with this story, I grew attached to these characters. I spent thirty minutes trying to figure out why I couldn’t keep going. Silly, I know. I gave up and decided to go down another path, and the second things started to unfold, it hit me like a truck. This game was a lot smarter than I was giving it credit for. Just when you think you have this game figured out, it will mess with you. The more you think about it, the more it punishes you, at that point it’s best just to stop thinking so damn hard, and just enjoy the ride.
I went into this game playing it like a linear game, when that is not what this game is. That’s the beauty of it, the more you replay it, the crazier things get, but there’s a reason for it. Characters were telling me things to remember without any reasons, and sure enough, I wrote all of this stuff down. It throws pieces of a puzzle at you disguised as pieces of another puzzle. When things start to come together, it’s an awesome experience. As much as I hate the cliffhanger ending, every single moment up until that point was great. I loved the characters, loved the twists, and I loved the puzzles. I spent 35 hours on this game, and I don’t think there was a moment I didn’t enjoy. Virtue’s Last Reward is my top game of 2012.
It is easier than ever to get your hands on game music. Most Steam games will sell the soundtrack along with the game, and many more publishers are warming up to the idea of releasing soundtracks through iTunes, Amazon or even the PlayStation Store for their bigger games. A lot of people also use Bandcamp for their soundtrack releases, mostly indie game soundtracks, but also a lot of neat remixes. There is still the tendency for Japanese game companies to keep their stuff in Japan, leading to the expensive import prices that are well known. Luckily, those are fewer of those cases each year, and soon they will be the exception rather than the rule. Of course, if all else fails, you can just record the music yourself, or find a way to rip it off of the source. This is great for games that have different versions of music for different regions (Rhythm Heaven Fever) or games that don’t have an official soundtrack at all (Looking at you, Miracle Mask).
I’ve been doing various awards blogs throughout the week for things like “Best Rhythm Game”, “Best DLC” and more. But today’s list is one that is near and dear to my heart. My favorite video game songs of this year. I’ve been doing this for three years now, and I love doing it. I’m strange, most of the music I listen to is from games. Thanks to things like Spotify and plug.dj, I've been able to expand my tastes a bit, but deep down I’ll always enjoy the song from a boss battle over the latest hit. Ranking these songs is always strange, you have the song itself which is important, but there’s also the connection the song has with the game. It’s always a combination of both, never one or the other. A game can only have one song on the list, this way I can give recognition to more games. This is based on games that released in the US in 2012. I have videos for each song attached. As amusing it can be to read about what some random person has to say about it, sometimes the music just speaks for itself.
I don’t believe that there is a wrong way to play a game, but I am definitely the wrong person to play Journey. I enjoyed Journey, it was a nice ride, but in no way did I feel those feelings shared by others. I don’t have a story about companionship and the bond I felt with a complete stranger. That aside, you would have to be dead inside to not be somewhat moved by the score of this game. In addition to the gorgeous scenery, Wintory’s score adds to the atmosphere. The epitome of this is “Apotheosis.” Even if you have no idea what this game is, the song is fantastic. A fitting end to your journey, and honestly, it feels like a story by itself.
Sonic 4: Episode 2 is not the phoenix rising from the ashes of the Sonic series, but it’s the first game in awhile where I didn’t feel bad after finishing. A huge improvement over the first episode would be an understatement. Metal Sonic returns and has his own boss theme, and it’s pretty great. It sounds like a song from the Genesis era without sounding EXACTLY like one of the songs from that era. Which was the biggest problem I had with the soundtrack of Sonic IV. Snare drum aside (I hate that snare drum so much), it’s a great boss battle theme.
The soundtrack of Virtue’s Last Reward isn’t anything spectacular. A lot of the music fades into the background, which is fine for what that game is, and probably the intended effect. Adding to the environment without stealing the spotlight. The biggest evidence of that fact is how the most memorable music is from 999. “Blue Bird Lamentation” stands out for many reasons though, the first being the music box style intro. From that it builds into a powerful song. The other big reason it stands out is that this song plays during one of the strongest moments in the game, and arguably the best moment. The moment and the song combine to make one unforgettable scene.
The soundtrack from Dust (not to be confused with From Dust) was one of my favorite soundtracks of the year. Dust by itself is a pretty linear game, there are worlds to visit, and you will visit most of them in a specific order. The soundtrack’s biggest strength is how they create a song for each world. These aren’t your typical minute-long loops, they are long pieces that start at one point and clearly ends at another. A song will start calm and build into a storm that mirrors your actions on the screen. “The Sorrowing Meadows” is the name of the graveyard world, and the song is haunting. The best part is near the end, when it steps up to a completely different level, only to fade back away.
I’m not a big Akira Yamaoka fan, at best I found the non-licensed part of Lollipop Chainsaw’s soundtrack okay. The high point of the soundtrack is clearly the licensed music. Just kidding, it’s the boss music. When I learned that Jimmy Urine (of Mindless Self Indulgence) and Akira Yamaoka were working together to do the boss music, I was confused. I doubted that something good would come out of this. I was completely wrong. The bosses in Chainsaw are from various eras of music (Funk, Rockabilly, Punk) and the boss music for Lewis Legend (Rock and Roll) is really great. In addition to being somewhat fitting, the music goes through various stages as the boss battle go on, each being more different than the last.
The soundtrack of Hotline Miami is by committee, but wow, does it make that game great. The group of artists are each impressive in their own right, but “Silver Lights” takes the Miami throne. The scenes in the dark room where you face the three masked people (horse, rooster, owl) were great, mainly because of this song. This song just feels dirty, fitting for a dark decaying place. Whether that place is a dark hotel room or the darkness of someone’s soul as they kill yet again.
I wrote a lot about the ending of Spec Ops for my awards earlier in the week. I said that the music for the scene makes it more memorable, and I stand by that. There is no official release of this song, but after listening to it, I knew it was one of the best of the year. Every moment in the ending is accented by the changes in this song. It begins as a quiet ambiance, then keeps building. By the time the song hits its stride you’re in an intense showdown that only ends when the song ends. To be honest, any mediocre song could be elevated by the scene that is going on, it’s that good. It’s amazing that the music could add to a scene like this, this one definitely does.
The remixes in Rhythm Heaven are always neat, a combination of the previous minigames with a different song attached. You can always tell which games are going to make up the remix, until later on. Later in the game it’ll pull mechanics from all over, so it was neat seeing certain minigames return. This song was for Remix 8, which was a combination of a great photo theme, a fitting choice of minigames, and the aforementioned song. It’s made better by the sounds of the minigames, but the song by itself is still great. A pop song through and through, with catchy lyrics and a great beat. I'm linking the in-game version with the sound effects below. Both are great, but I love the Air Rally cat so damn much. When I came across that part, probably my favorite in the whole game.
I love anytime a game composer takes a shot at traditional western (as in, wild west western) music. The “Orphan Wolf Legend” songs are Yasha’s theme throughout the game. Fang is the main battle theme, and is awesome. It’s a perfect companion to the over-the-top nature of Asura’s Wrath. It does border on being overused at times. You go from being pumped when it starts playing to wondering if Yasha is playing this song when he walks into the room. But despite that, it’s an awesome song. This was definitely one I kept playing throughout the year. It’s one that stands out, you know where this one is from. It was almost my favorite song of this year, and it would have been if not for an old game coming back with some new tricks.
The up and down and slight up again following Solo Remix was exhausting. From the hype about a new TWEWY related thing, to the huge disappointment of an iOS game, to the slight positive that hey, they recognize this exists, and new people get to discover this. The World Ends With You has one of my favorite soundtracks of all time, and it was jarring as hell to find the changes they made in the game. Throughout the game, I kept thinking “No! (This song) is associated with (This moment).” However, there are some good things, and “Tatakai” is the best thing about that game. It is a new song specifically made for Solo Remix, and it lives up to the extremely high level of the original soundtrack. From the guitar to the mostly understandable English lyrics, it is a TWEWY song through and through. That is awesome and shocking, I have no idea how they pulled it off. I was listening to this song over and over again after it came out. So fantastic.
Thanks for reading and listening, my Game of the Year list will be out tomorrow, and if you haven’t checked out my other random awards you can see Days One, Two, Three, and Four here. It’s been a great year for video game music, here’s hoping next year is just as good.
Welcome to the last day of these random 2012 awards. If you haven’t been following along, here is Days One, Two, and Three. 2012 was affectionately called the Year of Rhythm because of the deluge of rhythm games that came out, only one can be the Rhythm King! As always these are presented by psychopath rabbit Zero III, who has been a fantastic sport throughout all of this. Zero, take it away!
Far Cry 3 reminds me a lot of Skyrim, mainly how any random occurrence becomes a situation for me to take apart and analyze. Sure, I could kill the two people at that house, but there’s a roof above them, and I bet I could get up there and kill them from above. The biggest wrench to any of these plans is that goddamn tiger. Never has a Tiger brought me such grief since the talking tiger back in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. There is nothing like losing fifteen minutes of planning because a tiger was looking for lunch and just happened to spot your hopeless ass staring through the lens of your camera. There are dangerous animals aside from tigers: sharks, leopards, bears. But if a plan goes bad, 99 percent of the time it’s a tiger’s fault.
Black Ops 2 came out of nowhere with its story, and had some of the hardest choices in gaming. With the Walking Dead, the choices you made led to consequences, but the overall outcome is pretty much the same. In Black Ops 2, you can completely fuck over the story based on what you do. I did this. In my stupidity, I stuck to my “always take them alive” scenario, and failed to kill the bad guy. Boy did the game make me pay for that. Also, earlier in the game, I chose to execute a character because that seemed in line with the character. This led to the destruction of the ship. Another consequence of that? The payoff from those stupid strikeforce missions was rendered useless. All of those stupid missions, for nothing. So miserable.
Classical music is used quite a bit in trailers, sometimes in games. But this year there were enough games that used it memorably. The 2nd and 4th movements from Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 are used well in scenes before and during your fight with Augus. Strange choices for Asura’s wrath, but they are extremely fitting. As Asura and Augus plummet down to Earth from the sky, the powerful 4th Movement plays and it’s great. Just great.
I love Gaige and the Anarchy skill. When you reload or kill an enemy you get an anarchy stack, stacking those gets you more damage, up to a cap of 150 by default. But with the right skills you can get it to 400. Not only do you do more damage after 150, Gaige's voice will change, and she’ll become more aggressive and more crazy. The first time I got up to 400, it was a beautiful experience. I was killing enemies with one shot, cruising through bad guys, and Gaige kept yelling “Anarchy forever!!! AND EVER!!” It takes so long to get to the cap playing normally, it was just so much fun tearing up everything with Gaige. I never wanted to stop, vaporizing everything was just a blast.
Rhythm Heaven Fever had a combination of excellent controls, great art, and a fantastic soundtrack. I was always excited to see what the next minigame was, and it had a nice combination of being challenging and addictive. Many times I would fail a minigame and want to try it again to do better (except for Tap Troupe). After completing the game I still felt compelled to try and medal everything. The co-op play was also pretty great. As mentioned earlier in these awards, the soundtrack is easily the best this year. The controls were simple, but varied enough where you didn’t feel like you were doing the same thing twice. A gorgeous game, and easily the best rhythm game of the year.
Thanks for reading, and thanks to Zero for his unwilling participation. I’ll be doing my top ten video game songs tomorrow, and finally I’ll have my GOTY list up tomorrow. For more of my particular brand of nonsense you can follow me on Twitter or check out Really Bad Future, where...yeah. See you guys next time.
Welcome to the third day of my random end of year awards! Today we have Best Sidekick, Boss Fight, Ending and more! As always these are presented by the crazy AI rabbit Zero III. If you missed the previous editions, be sure to check out Day One and Day Two here. Zero, take it away!
Fidget has great dialogue, she is actually funny. There are various moments of her breaking the fourth wall (“Mash the buttons!”) which work well. Also, gameplay wise, her powers are awesome. I think about halfway through the game I figured out how to turn Dust into a flying whirlwind of fire, and it’s pretty awesome. Mainly though, Fidget is just fun to have along with you throughout the journey.
Every fight with Yasha is great, but I have to say that first one is the best one, (the whole DLC chapter dedicated to it is pretty great, but it’s DLC, and a whole chapter made of multiple fights, making it disqualified). You just killed the first God, and you’re in pretty messed up shape. You have no arms, no arms! Then Yasha shows up and you have to fight him with no arms! It’s not too different from the other one on one fight’s you’ll have in the game, but it’s the first one like this, and the ending of the fight is great.
I stopped buying special editions and related things thankfully, but I still ended up with more video game merchandise than I had hoped. But man, the Metal Sonic statue on top of my desk is great. Metal Sonic has become my mascot of the year. I bought the statue from First4Figures, and this is becoming real ad-like, so I’ll stop. But man, I love that statue.
“You fight, then sleep with beautiful women. Hell, fight with beautiful women!”
I do have to qualify this by saying this is for best quote not in an ending. This one was kind of tough, because a quote is a quote not a speech. But this one wins. Augus is a great character, and this quote sums up everything about him. Everything is about the fight to him, and it’s pretty funny and damn it I would love to see him fighting women. I think what makes this top of my list is the setting. Asura and Augus are in a hot spring, they are about to fight each other to the death, but Augus won’t have that before a hot spring session, crazy..
Runners-up: “The moral is you’re a total bitch.” -Handsome Jack, Borderlands 2, “That’s why a smart man stays the hell away from whores. Deception is just what they do.” -*Mute, Analogue: A Hate Story
Spoilers for Spec Ops follow. Tune out now if that bothers you.
I really wish I had played this before Black Ops 2 and The Walking Dead beat me over the head with the whole “You’re a bad person” thing. Because this game does it really, really well. I went into the game knowing that shit gets crazy halfway through, and it did. That was neat, but nothing too crazy. Things were messed up though. The ending though, I had a ton of theories in my head about how the ending went, but damn. When you find out Konrad is dead and everything is your fault, holy shit. Everything ties together so damn nicely. I’m a fan of last minute twists, but it’s been awhile since I’ve played one that just fit. That by itself would’ve been fantastic on it’s own, but they add on the final confrontation with “Konrad” where he’s aiming the gun at you. The game matches every thought so brilliant. It’s so damn great. There are various epilogues, which are fine, but the best part is from the reveal to the countdown. The music, the dialogue, beautiful.
Thanks for reading, tomorrow will be the last of these awards, with Song of the Year on Saturday and my personal Game of the Year list coming on Sunday. For more of my random nonsense follow me on Twitter or check out my other blog Really Bad Future. See you tomorrow when I’ll reveal my pick for the winner of the Year of Rhythm. Until next time!
Today is the second day of my random Game of the Year awards, you can see yesterday's here. Today we have 2012's 2011 Game of the Year, Biggest Disappointment, Biggest Surprise, Best Sidequest, and the Persistence Award going to the biggest time-waster. As with yesterday these will be presented by psychotic AI rabbit Zero III. To start things off, the best game from last year, Zero, take it away!
Multiplayer! I went from being addicted to the multiplayer in this game to hating it as much as humanly possible.So much time put into Uncharted 3 multiplayer, I actually hit the max level at the time. Naughty Dog has supported the game well throughout the year, adding new maps and characters at first, then new taunts and costume pieces later on. There is also a tournament system which is kind of neat. Seriously though, those taunts are amazing. From Gangnam Style to the Carlton, there are a bunch of silly taunts and they are worth the price of admission. I spent more time playing this than any other multiplayer game.
This year went from being an awesome year for fighting games to a ho-hum year. Many fighting games from various series fell flat. There have been a lot of ports of old fighting games, but those are only ports. The biggest failure was Street Fighter X Tekken by miles. Everything sounded neat on paper. Street Fighter with some Tekken added in, a neat roster of characters, a cool looking gem system, and some of the best pre-release trailers in a long time. In the end, the combat was okay, the gem system nearly forgotten, and the whole thing was buried by a mountain of DLC. Plus, after putting so much time into Street Fighter IV, this didn't stand out enough to drag me back in. It was okay, but should have been so much more. The little plastic arcade bank is neat at least.
This award goes to the game where I spent the most time accomplishing very little. Borderlands 2 gets the award hands down. Because of a nasty combination of my refusal to ask for help and my Monster Hunter experience. I spent hours and hours farming for rare weapons. Most of my farming expeditions ended in failure (Hide of Terramorphous, Deliverance, Conference Call) while some actually paid off (Baby Maker, The Bee, Maggie). The worst part about all of this is that the ones that I actually got the weapon only lasted a half hour or so. While the failed farming sessions lasted for hours, I think I spent six hours killing The Warrior to get the Conference Call. I finally got one from a friend, the game broke me. To make things worse, the latest Borderlands patch seems to have killed shotguns completely...so thanks?
I think I’m a Sonic the Hedgehog fan. The only Sonic game I’ve enjoyed that came out after Sonic Adventure 2 was Sonic Generations. I thought Sonic 4: Episode 1 was trash. Miserable trash that deserved to be buried. When Episode 2 was announced, I bought it because I was stupid and dumb and MAYBE this was going to be good. Guess what, it was pretty damn good. I loved the gameplay, and I loved the team attacks with tails. The stages weren’t anything special, but the bosses were great. There was a moment when you face the first boss, and the beginning of it is a mirror image of Aquatic Ruin’s boss from Sonic 2. I was pissed, thinking “Oh, here we go again, more of the same pandering to people who liked the old game.” The boss then changes to some crazy monster, and I was blown away. They saw what they did wrong, and fixed it. And it’s a great Sonic game. Either that or I’m developing Stockholm Syndrome, but I think the game is decent.
Dust: An Elysian Tail had a bunch of sidequests that were okay, but “A Better Fidget” blew them all away. In this quest a little girl thinks your sidekick is a doll, so you set out to create a doll to make the kid happy. What makes the quest so great is the dialogue between the main characters Dust and Fidget. After gathering the materials, you take them to the shop to create the doll, and it’s definitely the best dialogue exchange this year. The best part about it all is that it’s completely out there for the characters, but not unbelievable. If you hear mention of a “Stupid hat club” this year, there’s a good chance it was because of this. Also, “Forever.” The voice actors behind this scene made it the most memorable by far.
That's all for today, thanks for reading. Tune in tomorrow for more awards, including Best Sidekick, Best Boss Fight, and the coveted Best Ending award. For other additional awards and other nonsense check out my other blog Really Bad Future or follow me on Twitter. Until next time, folks.
This year is almost done, and to give credit to games that do certain things well, here are 20 random awards. These range from basic to very dumb. I don't believe on singling a certain game out for anything bad, so there won't be "Worst" awards. Games don't deserve recognition for doing something bad. I have split these awards into four sections (five every day) so I don't have to write all of these at once. Each award has a winner and two runner ups, if I couldn't find two runner ups for a topic, then I didn't include the award. I'll probably write about those over at Really Bad Future (I really want to write about Far Cry 3's intro). Anyway, here are the awards for tonight. We have Best Soundtrack, Best DLC, Best Guest Appearance, Honorable Mention of 2012, and Favorite Character. Here to help present the awards is Virtue's Last Reward's star and everyone's favorite AI Rabbit, Zero III.
Rhythm Heaven Fever had an amazing soundtrack, in both English and Japanese. Tsunku did a great job creating a bunch of different types of music for each type of minigame. There are a ton of songs that will end up stuck in your head, with the sound effects, without them, it doesn't matter. They will be stuck there. The best thing about this soundtrack is that there are two versions of each song, the music by itself, and the version with all of the sound effects.
The Warriors Orochi series is a huge crossover between the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors universe. The third entry in this series had characters from other Tecmo and Koei games show up (Ryu from Ninja Gaiden, Ayane from Dead or Alive), but my favorite was Joan of Arc showing up from Bladestorm. Bladestorm is a game which had some great ideas but never really went anywhere, so it's good to see Koei showing that they remember it.
The DLC front was pretty thin for me, so this was a struggle at first, but then I remember Asura's Wrath's final act. I wasn't sure whether or not to vilify Capcom because of them releasing the true ending after the game launched. Don't get me wrong, releasing the ending after is a poor choice, but man. So many loose threads tied up in this. The true identity of the golden spider, the end of the rivalry between Asura and Yasha, and the new evil that shows up. It's all pretty great. Just when you think it's over, it continues and gets even crazier, and it's all fantastic. Also, the post credits sequence. Make that into a game, and I'm there on day one.
This category is dedicated to games that might have had a legit shot to break my top ten, but I haven't put enough time into these. Far Cry 3, my god that game is great. Playing it on PS3 (I don't have the reference point, and it's not that bad) and I'm having a blast! I wish the skills weren't tied into story quests, otherwise I would just explore the world full time. I feel like I've put 15 hours into the game and I've only covered 10 percent of the map. I've always prefered Fallout 3 to Oblivion (guns) so this is a great game for me. Also, the world just seems a lot deadlier than in other open world games. The world feels alive, and one wrong move will end you.
Favorite Character: Zero III, Virtue's Last Reward
Based on the pictures, are you really surprised? There have been a lot of great new characters this year, but my favorite is Zero III, hands down. Zero is completely psychotic and a complete jerk to each of the characters. There is a method to the madness, and Zero sets the tone for the grim atmosphere of Virtue's Last Reward. From the moment this rabbit shows up to the last time you see it, Zero is always condescending and does a great job of being crazy without becoming annoying. I think the reason Zero stays great is because it disappears fairly early into the game. It doesn't feel that way because of how Virtue's Last Reward works. Cindy Robinson did a fantastic job, portraying this crazy rabbit, and is a big reason why Zero was awesome.
That's all for tonight, thanks for reading, and tune in tomorrow when I reveal the biggest surprise, biggest disappointment, and my favorite sidequest of 2012. For more of my random nonsense you can follow me on Twitter and check out Really Bad Future, where I post my other random nonsense.
I spent my weekend at Sukoshicon here in Louisville this past weekend, and it was a blast. Still a closed off person that doesn’t make any friends, but still had lots of fun. Had Five Guys for the first time (it was alright), stayed in a nice hotel room, and got told by over fifty people how great Hetalia is (it’s actually not bad). What does this all have to do with gaming? NOTHING! Well, that’s not entirely true, I sat through a neat Resident Evil panel, and I got to get destroyed in a Street Fighter x Tekken tournament. Otherwise a light week in games, mostly stuff I got done before the weekend. Time to place your bets!
After finishing Episode 1 of The Walking Dead, I wasn’t necessarily dying to play the second. It was fun all the way through, but not really to the point where I was ready to dive into the next one. Now that I’ve beaten Episode 2, I can’t wait to finish everything. Heavy Rain is one of my favorite games because of how it draws you in, and more importantly how it makes you feel like garbage. Walking Dead does this, possibly even better than Heavy Rain. It’s going to be hard to dance around every plot point, so spoilers from here on out.
Chopping off the guy’s foot reminded me a lot of The Lizard from Heavy Rain, which is one of my favorite gameplay sequences of all time. In that sequence you have to cut off your finger to get another clue regarding the whereabouts of your son. The buildup and the eventual act is insanely tense, but one part that sticks out is after you try to chop your finger off, you have to do it again because it didn’t cut all the way through. The same feeling in Walking Dead, after you take that first swing, then the second, it’s just tough to watch.
In the first game, most of the choices were pretty easy except the first one where I saved Duck. In the second one, not a damn one was easy except for the last one where you can choose to take supplies. Passing out the food was tough (I picked Mark, Larry, Duck, and Carley) yet was nothing compared to later on.
I also like how the game tries to drive home the point that you cannot sit on the fence the entire time. Try all you want but in the end you’re going to end up choosing a side. I decided to try and save Larry in the meat locker, and when Kenny killed him, I was devastated. I sided with Kenny every step of the way up until that point, and just like that, every bit of respect was gone. The Walking Dead is crazy, and I could talk about it all day, it’s fantastic. If it keeps this momentum up, easily a top contender for Game of the Year. I’m also seriously considering picking up the comics or maybe watching the show, who knows?
I think I had only beat the second record at the time of last week’s Roulette. The game was good and fun, but nothing amazing. The game picks up and ends on an awesome note. I didn’t really like the difficulty spike on the Deadmau5 stages, but the last stage redeemed it by being a crazy homage to Arkanoid. Sadly, that great stage was overshadowed by the next record, the one Beck worked on. The first stage has you jumping over lyrics of the song as they are sung (example: a bridge made of the word “AHHHHHHHHHH”), and the second one has an insanely catchy song. Once you finish the game, you unlock Death Mode, which is pretty dull. You have to collect a certain number of coins before time runs out or you die. The Beat School is neat though. You have to replicate a beat on the screen with no guidance, only if the notes you placed are right or wrong. I have no musical talent, so I’m finding this difficult as hell, then again, I was playing this with no headphones in a crowded hotel lobby, that couldn’t have helped.
Welcome to my weekly bit on how much I hate playing Uncharted 3. Hooray!! In all seriousness, the grind through Legacy 4 isn’t too bad. Focusing on sniping again, and almost broke a controller. The new DLC system is atrocious, character items for 50 cents and taunts for a dollar. Worst of all, the items influence stats like reload speed. It’s a great way to get people back on board. The servers are suffering for it, most games have been pretty laggy. I can’t put it down and I bought $15 worth of DLC yesterday. So bravo Naughty Dog, I am a sucker.
At Sukoshicon, I had an empty space on my schedule that left me time to check out the Dealer’s Room and Artist Alley. Unfortunately my money burnt through and I spent all of my money early. I ended up wandering into the video game room and found myself entered in a Street Fighter x Tekken tournament. I still don’t like that game, I don’t know what it is about it. I can’t wait for Tekken Tag 2 next month, so I know it’s not the Tag Battle system. It’s not the Gem system. I can’t figure out why I’m so indifferent to it. I actually won the first match I played, it was against someone saying things like “I’ve never played this game before.”I kinda felt bad, but it felt good knowing I was not last. Of course I got decimated in the next round by someone using a fightstick. That feeling is the best, looking around, thinking you might be able to do okay. Then you see the guy pull the fightstick from his bag and you remember how much you suck at fighting games.
At Sukoshicon, II finally got some Streetpasses! Ended up with about 30 over the weekend. Which is 27 more than I have received in the year and a half I have had my 3DS. I gave up on the shaking my 3DS to get play coins, so it was nice to have progress on some of the 400 puzzle pieces and Find Mii. I actually lucked out in Find Mii with shields. I was stuck at a yellow shield for MONTHS, and after I passed it, I was able to keep moving. Finding new Streetpasses was exciting stuff. Too bad I won’t be bothering with it until the next big convention. For the record I’m rocking a red Pikmin hat. I still haven’t finished Find Mii, and I might not, ever.
Still coming down from the weekend, but if I ever get done with Uncharted 3, I plan to play Papo & Yo, Outland, and maybe Bloodrayne Betrayal. Loving those free PSN games from PS Plus. Also, I might play Max Payne 3, had it for a month, but haven’t touched it. Thanks Gamefly. At least it isn’t Homefront. Let’s be honest, I might end up watching anime all week. Oh dear.
Check out my other blog Really Bad Future or follow me on Twitter for some of the other random things I do. Thanks for reading, see you next week for another Really Bad Roulette.
The Vita launched in February, and aside from the first month after I bought mine, I haven’t really done anything with it until recently. Poor Vita. Today on the Roulette I’m going to talk about Sound Shapes, the neat musical platformer for the Vita and PS3. I dig out my copies of Uncharted 3 and Dynasty Warriors 7 because of new content, and I go in depth about Stepmania and dancing on a jellyfish. Place your bets!
I’ve been looking forward to Sound Shapes since I first heard of it. The main reason for that was my love of Jonathan Mak’s previous game Everyday Shooter. Shooter is still my favorite dual-stick shooter, always has been. The way the music goes with the game makes it a great experience. As I waited for this game to come out, I thought to myself: if this game can capture just a bit of that magic, it will be something great. This was the launch game I was looking forward to the most, and it finally came out (almost six months after the Vita’s launch). It did not disappoint.
Sound Shapes is a platformer where you’re a ball that can stick to walls, you go through stages collecting coins, and each coin adds another note to the music playing in the background. As you collect more coins, the music picks up and picks up until you hit the next area. The music has been fantastic so far, and I’m excited to see where it goes next. I’ve finished two of the records (sets of stages) so far, and it’s been a real relaxing experience. Things started to pick up near the end, so I’m wondering if the platforming gets tough. Either way it’s a win, I get a neat platformer, or I get to have a fun walk through all of the stages.
I spent a bit of time messing around with the stage editor too. The first thing I noticed going through the tutorial, the switch between designing stages and playing them was instant! That makes it real easy to test things out. To be honest, that’s what I’ll probably do with it. Play with it, make some weird music, and not much more. I doubt that I’ll be able to make a decent stage (mainly due to time commitment), but the editor is easy to use. It also uses the touch screens well. You use the back screen to move and stretch pieces. I’m having a blast with this game so far, and I can’t wait to sit down and really put time in it.
I played the multiplayer in Uncharted 3 again. The big 1.13 patch came out, and I’ve foolishly reset my level (4th Legacy) and got bummed out with the horrible weapon
selection. The default weapons suck, and I found out that you level up slower this time. What did the patch really do? Nothing big yet, a ton of customizable items come out next week. A neat thing is that custom parts will provide buffs for your characters. For example the Highwayman’s hood will give you the ability to call out characters you aim at for your teammates. It’s a neat system, if only they actually did anything for run and gunners like me. There’s a new tournament system, where you wager tickets to win exclusive in-game items. You can buy more tickets with real money. For now though the grind continues, hopefully I can get my Kal-7 back before I get bored.
Back again, I almost have every character unlocked. Once I do that, I can finally start playing the stages just to complete them, like a normal rhythm game. Also, I’m trying to get a Dark Note with the songs “Judgement Day” and “Something to Protect” for Streetpass purposes. That game is still fun, and there are songs from Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy IX for download this month, I’m excited. August 23 is the big day though, that’s when Otherworld comes out, my second favorite song in the Final Fantasy series. My favorite song is Shinra Company, and if that makes it in, Theatrhythm will probably be my game of the year.
Speaking of egregious DLC purchases, I ended up throwing down $38 for more costumes and weapons! Okay, so it was a birthday present, and I shared it off the account I bought it for. But still, that’s a lot of money for cosmetic DLC. They are actually pretty good costumes. The chinese warlords and co. have neat costumes that reference literature to old legends. Seeing Guan Yu, Liu Bei, and Zhang Fei as the three musketeers is pretty cool. My favorite is Yuan Shao as the Emperor (of New Clothes fame). The gameplay is the same as always, but the new weapons do act a little differently, the boat weapon (which has you literally surfing over enemies) is great. I just wish there was more to do.
I’ve been playing a lot of Stepmania recently. Stepmania is a PC game that is similar to Dance Dance Revolution, but you can put whatever songs you want in it with simfiles. So naturally I’m using simfiles from Dance Dance Revolution games. There was a period a few years ago where I had almost every DDR game for PS2, I just had fun with it, and it was a good way to work out. It’s kind of funny how the steps have seemed to evolve over time, sadly though it seems like the music just got worse. Some of the newer songs are meh, nothing that hooks you. And the Extreme 2 set list is still my favorite. To be fair, some of the remixes of popular songs are decent. I had a blast with a remix of Toxic by Britney Spears. Playing some of my old favorites has been awesome.
Another thing that made me think of was how dance pads got worse. I bought DanceDanceRevolution for PS3 that came with the official dance pad. It was the worst! Felt like I was stepping on a blob. My sister and I jokingly called it the jellypad because it was like trying to keep your balance on a jellyfish. I had a nice $70 foam pad, but my most reliable pad was my cheap $20 pad from GameStop. I gutted the electronics out of it, and it won’t connect to anything, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s not about score, it’s just dancing for fun.
The best thing about my recent foray into Stepmania? I can play it on my TV and connecting sound system, so it’s like the arcade! For the record, I’ve played DDR twice in arcades, both horribly embarrassing situations, so maybe it’s not exactly like the arcade, still fun though.
I’ll be at Sukoshicon here in Louisville this weekend, this means cosplayers, overpriced food and maybe some streetpasses. As far as games go, Walking Dead episode 2 is sitting on my PS3, and I'll spend more time with Sound Shapes, and Uncharted 3. I seriously think I might be done with Kingdom Hearts 3D, I finished the Traverse Town chapter, and I have no real interest to keep going. Live A Live is still on my pile too, cursed RPGs.
That’s all for today. Check out my other redesigned blog Really Bad Future or follow me on Twitter for some of the other weird things I do, like creating dialogue for Uncharted 3 characters and remaking Game Gear screenshots. Thanks for reading, see you next week for another Really Bad Roulette!
Welcome to your doom, the Really Bad Roulette. I’ve made some changes to my weekly blog about my gaming adventures. I went back to the old format, back when I was writing this at the beginning of the year. It gives me a lot more flexibility. I can add and drop things as I please, and it’s a lot more random, as it should be. I have my Inside Bet (the main game I played over the last week), Outside Bets (Other games), Random Bet(as it sounds), and Final Bet (wrap-up and future plans). I’ve been planning the shift for awhile, and it’s been a mess, but hopefully the upcoming weeks will be smoother. Thanks again to you folks reading it, I appreciate your support.
As far as this week goes, a lot of time with Analogue: A Hate Story, first game I’ve S-Ranked in a year and a half, and had fun every step of the way. Also, a ton of portable stuff. Plus I found a use for my PSP! All this and more on the Really Bad Roulette. Place your bets! Feels like it’s been quite awhile since I played Digital, when in reality it has only been about two weeks. Analogue: A Hate Story is the spiritual sequel to Digital: A Love Story. Don’t be fooled by the anime artwork and talk of enjoying cosplay, there is a really good story here.
You’re sent to the remains of the space colony Mugunghwa to find out how and why everyone died. You use an in-game computer to perform various functions throughout the game, it kinda works like the command prompt on your computer. Putting in commands like enable_ai and decrypt are necessary to proceed. It’s a neat touch, and a little more familiar than dialing into a BBS like in Digital. This really comes into play close to the end of the game when a certain event happens.
Shortly after arriving you will meet the AI *Hyun-ae. Because of the colony’s damaged state, you can only communicate with her through answering binary (yes/no, agree disagree, to sum it up) questions. From there you’ll read logs ranging from an arranged marriage to the emperor to poetry from a prostitute to her client’s wife. Showing *Hyun-ae certain logs will reveal more information.
The main course is the story, and the story is great. Christine Love does a great job of describing the people and their motivations. There are two main families on the colony, the Smiths and the Ryus, and their stories are interesting and on par with the main story, the fate of the Mugunghwa. In the end everything isn’t black and white, and there are multiple endings based on what conclusion you come to in the end. The actual reveals in the story are well done, nothing feels forced. Both of the main characters are great, and they are written in a way where you actually feel for them despite them both being AIs.
As I said earlier, the game’s art style may be offputting for some, and the game is basically reading and answering binary questions with one puzzle. But if you’re looking for a great story, which games need more of, then Analogue is definitely worth a shot. It’s one of my favorite games this year.
Discovered this game through a couple of Square-Enix’s compilation cds. This is a real-time(?) turn-based strategy RPG...that came out in 1994. It was way ahead of its time, and it’s a shame that it never came out in the US. There’s an English patched version out there, and I’m loving this game. There are seven different scenarios with different characters. I’ve beaten two so far, the western and the kung-fu scenarios, each lasting about an hour or so. There is a lot of replayability here, and it looks like in the end they will be tied together somehow. Each plays differently too, the western one is more or less a puzzle setting up for the last battle, while the kung-fu is more traditional, with leveling up.
There are various differences based on how you play. In the kung-fu scenario for instance, certain events can lead to the deaths of characters. The first time I played, I was screwed because my strongest character died in an event, causing me to start over. The scenarios are short though, so it’s not devastating. A really great game so far, can’t wait to keep going.
Strange path with this game, I went from not caring to caring only for the TWEWY cameos to actually getting into this series again.
Story aside, because...yeah. There is a ton of gameplay crammed into this game. The actual combat feels solid, especially with the environment-based moves (like spinning on a light pole or grinding on a rail) and the deck system. No MP managing, just waiting for attacks to recharge. The Dream Eaters are pretty neat, you fuse materials you find to create these creatures, and you can play with them like in Nintendogs. Collecting and evolving these could get addicting. The drop system’s strange right now, where Sora and Riku will switch when time runs out, you’re playing two stories simultaneously. It sucks switching when you’re in the middle of something, but I figure I’ll get used to it. Did I mention this game had cameos from The World Ends With You? I could write a page and a half on how awesome it is. It’s my favorite DS game, and I was excited to see the crossover. The voice actors did great with the characters, and it’s just really awesome seeing the TWEWY cast again with remixes of Twister and Calling in the background. I had the biggest grin on my face when Sora met Neku.
Another one of Christine Love’s games, and while it didn’t quite live up to Digital or Analogue, it’s still a neat story. You’re a new teacher who has the ability to read all of your students’ social media posts on your tablet (to prevent bullying, supposedly). Because of this, you get sucked into the drama of your students, and it gets pretty weird. Yeah, you feel like a scumbag reading through your students’ messages. Especially the one student trying to get into your pants. The game does tackle a lot of issues most games wouldn’t come near, such as same-sex relationships, exposure through social media, bullying, and a lot more. The writing of the game is pretty good, which is great, because handling situations like these could turn into a disaster, but Love does a good job with it. It’s free (download here) and pretty short, I finished it in about 2-3 hours.
I grew up with a Sega Genesis and a Game Gear, but Pok é mon Pinball drove me crazy one summer. Not quite sure which came first, my desire to get Pok é mon Pinball, or when I started to watch the show, but that was the beginning. I was 12 at the time, and I did everything I could to get the money for my lime green GBC with Pokemon Pinball.
I forget how addictive that game was, I had an hour-long session out of nowhere after work one night. Even though there are only two tables. The capturing and evolution makes it pretty hard to put down. For the record, in my new game, first caught was a Farfetch’d. Blue table of course.
With my Vita sitting on my shelf collecting dust, it has taken over the last job my PSP had. So I guess it’s time to put ol’ Blue out for good right? Not quite. One night, it was storming pretty bad, and I already lost power once, so I tried to put custom firmware on my PSP so I could play Live A Live if power went out again. Now, I’ve done this before, back when you needed a Pandora battery and a Magic Memory stick. I remember spending countless hours trying to get CFW to work. I even partially bricked my system once. Even when I finally got it to go, it was buggy, and adding new apps and plugins caused more headaches than joy.
Without any knowledge of how the hacking landscape has changed, I looked up a method on flashing CFW onto my updated PSP, and I found out a method. The funny thing? It took twenty minutes, start to finish. From starting research to finish, mind you. No hardware tinkering necessary, just copying folders. The process has become insanely easy. My PSP is now filled with homebrew apps. If your PSP is collecting dust, and you want something to do with it. Here you go. The next week is going to be something. Sound Shapes comes out Tuesday, I’ve been waiting for this since it was announced, Everyday Shooter (also made by Jonathan Mak) is one of my favorite PSN games. Episode 2 of The Walking Dead comes out for free for PS+ people. Other than that, I guess I’ll keep playing Live A Live and Kingdom Hearts 3D. Kind of a strange turn, playing RPGs again. I blame Theatrhythm. That’s all for this week. I’ll be back next Wednesday with another Really Bad Roulette. For more of my nonsense follow me on Twitter, and for my various Live A Live gifs and other screencaps, check out Really Bad Future. Til next time folks, thanks for reading!