Today began like any other day for me. I woke up, grabbed my tablet to check Facebook and Twitter, than got out of bed to turn on my iMac and read the news. Pretty standard stuff, but as I was scrolling down the page I saw a picture of Ryan Davis. "What the fuck?" I thought to myself, "Why is Ryan Davis' picture on Joystiq?" I scrolled up to see what the article was about, and I was not prepared for what I saw.
I've been a GiantBomb member since 2009 I believe, (Wasn't active with the forums until about 2011) and the whole reason I joined the site in the first place was because of Jeff and Ryan, my two favorite Gamespot duders. The content and antics that I found pretty much made me fall in love with this place, and my appreciation has only grown stronger since.
I've never met Ryan or had any sort of interaction with him, but I felt like I really knew him. The laugh, the quotes, the assholery, Ryan was just a really fucking great guy. The kinda guy I'd love to just have a chat with.
This entire day I've been saddened by his passing. GiantBomb and the entire video game industry has lost something truly special and irreplaceable. It's absolutely incredible how together this community is today. No hate or bad vibes, nothing but love for one of Giantbomb's founding fathers. Ryan deserves every bit of that love and then some.
One last little bit here before I go: Recently I've been working on a story for Camp Nanowrimo, and as my sort of self tribute, I've decided to name one of the characters in Ryan's honor.
So obviously today marked Nintendo's Announcement of Pokemon X and Pokemon Y, the start of the sixth generation of one of my favorite franchises of all time. I watched that Pokemon Direct thing on Youtube when I got home today and was very pleasantly surprised with what I had witnessed.
As of this writing, I'm going through a major 3DS drought. In 2012, I bought a whooping zero 3DS retail games, and the only game I bought for the system was actually a DS game; Pokemon Black and White 2. I really enjoyed the game (though I haven't beat it yet, got the 8 badges but didn't do much after that) even though it wasn't a leap forward by any means. It was just another Pokemon game with a few new things to fart around with.
I still have the same five retail games since I got the thing back in July of 2011. Street Fighter, Ocarina, Star Fox, Mario Kart, and Mario 3D Land. Of those I do occasionally play Mario 3D Land because I'm still trying to collect all the star coins in the secret world and Mario Kart online because the community sucks major Pokeflute at the game and I get first place every time.
My first major loyalty test to my 3DS came when someone jokingly offered to buy it from me for $100. What shocked me was that I'd actually kinda considered it, even if the person wasn't serious. I just really have not gotten the use out of the system as I had been lead to believe.
Still, there are a few games from last year I kinda want to play:
Kid Icarus Uprising: At first I thought this game looked like shit but I saw it appear on quite a numerous lot of game of the year lists. Which makes me thing I missed out on a pretty good game.
Virtues Last Reward: Would buy this in a heartbeat but I need to play 999 first.
I also feel that I'd like my 3DS more if countries outside Japan didn't get the shit end of the stick so much. I mean Japanese owners get fucking Project X Zone, Ex Troopers, and that one Square Enix game with the fairy or whatever. (Can't remember the name but it looks good)
That brings me to Pokeman X and Y.
I didn't expect to be as impressed as I was with that trailer. I think what got me the most was the part where they showed off the battling, and how awesome the Pokemon look. Perhaps the most exciting thing for me, is for the inevitable import option and see how all my favorite Pokemon look.
I have mixed opinions on the starters. Chespin looks like a stupid hybrid between Bidoof and Oshawott. Fenneken looks okay but Pokemon already has so many goddamn fire dogs that it just doesn't interest me. Froakie is who I see myself starting with, as I do a lot of research on reptiles and amphibians.
And so I end this seemingly objective-less blog to just say that once again, Pokemon has renewed my hope. Just as it had done with the GBA and DS before it, Pokemon X and Y is as of now my most anticipated title of the year. Yeah, I know Pokemon Z will probably come out the following Spring, but whatever. I'm just happy I'll finally have a good reason to have kept my 3DS. Too bad unless Luigi's Mansion comes out it will be a long 10 months.
Oh and Nintendo should make Pokemon Snap 2 for the Wii-U. Okay bye.
It's that time of year ladies and gents. The year is nearly over, so that means duders are scrambling to get their Game of the Year lists done. I know I'm a little late to the party, but I had to make sure I played every game that I really wanted to so as not to have a rushed list.
Contrary to what a lot of people are saying, I thought 2012 was a damn fine year for gaming. Please keep in mind while I was able to play most of what I wanted for this year I still had to skip a few major releases like Black Ops 2 and AC3, though after hearing all the disappointment and the direction the series is going I really don't want to play the latter. Hopefully you enjoy!
10. Minecraft 360
Alright, so according to Raptr this is my most played game of 2012 with over 200 hours recorded. Honestly I don't really feel to comfortable giving what is essentially a watered down port of a PC title any higher than 10 on the list.
With that said, I never really experienced Minecraft. Up until this, I had fiddled around with it on my Mac, but I just didn't get what was so special about it so I didn't bother playing it much. When I got my code from MS, it was on. I fell in love with gathering materials and building my dream creations. Going mining with friends in dangerous places to collect rare resources is an amazing experience. This game has been getting tons of updates, so it's much closer to where the computer version is now. If you haven't experienced Minecraft, this is a good version to get.
9. Doom 3 BFG Edition
Well shit, another re-release. Doom is honestly one of my favorite FPS series, and I never got a chance to play Doom 3, so this game was perfect for me. It's really crazy to think that this game was released in 2004, because this game looks pretty damn good even as a this gen game. I hear people bitching a lot about this game because you can have your flashlight out and your gun at the same time, where previously you had to toggle between one or the other. While I do think id should have kept it, it didn't really bother me any because the enemies still startled me plenty of times, and honestly having to switch sounds rather annoying to me.
Doom 3 BFG Edition is also a damn good value. You can easily find it now for like $20, and with that you get Doom, Doom 2, Doom 3, Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil, and Doom 3: The Lost Levels. That's a shitload of content for that price.
8. Pokemon Black & White 2
Pokemon Black 2 is pretty much on this list just because it's the one thing that had me pick up my 3DS this year. It's basically good ol' Pokeman, but I love all the little things they added. Like Eevee's are wild pokemon now, the tournament thingamajig that lets you fight against trainers like Brock, and the fact that it has 5 generations of Pokemon for you to collect. It isn't a huge step forward for the franchise, but a worthy title nonetheless.
7. Retro City Rampage
I don't think there is a single bit of original content that wasn't parodied off something else in this game. RCR is an absolute blast for those who can appreciate its references. I laughed my ass off at the beginning of the game when the Ninja Turtles came out of the sewer and beat the fuck outta me. Weird shit like that is what made RCR so magic for me. It is at times overly frustrating, but still worthy of a purchase.
6. Mark of the Ninja
Klei haven't exactly been a developer that has been on my radar after how disappointing Shank turned out to be. Honestly I heard nothing about Mark of the Ninja until like days before it came out. I didn't pay much attention until I heard people singing praises for it, and I wanted to try it. I won a competition and got a code for the game, and from the second I started playing it I agreed that this game kicks ass. I haven't beaten this game yet but when I do I know I want to replay each level and try to be more ninja like to improve my scores.
5. Trials Evolution
I didn't really like Trials HD. It became too difficult before it became fun and thus my interest in this sequel went down the shitter. I played the demo for this game when it came out and decided to buy it because, well, I'm easily impressed by demos. What I got from Trials Evolution was so much more than I imagined. The difficulty curve was not as sudden as HD, so it was much easier to learn the ropes. The tracks were outdoor based and not in that garage, so they looked beautiful and had way more creativity with the designs. This alone would have warranted my $15, but then came the community tracks.
OH MY GOD. The creation tools provided in this game have really unleashed people's creativity. This is supposed to be a game about motorcycles, and you've got people out there making levels that are first person shooters, arcade remakes of games like Pac Man, Space Invaders, Astroids, tracks that are in space, have the graphic style of Limbo, the list never fucking ends. This game has unlimited content, and as such is well deserved here at number five.
4. Halo 4
Halo 4 is a big game in the industry. The first step forward for Halo not to be taken by Bungie. Honestly 343 didn't take a step forward, they leaped.
I didn't give a shit about Chief and Cortana before thanks to Bungie's failure at story telling, yet somehow 343 managed to make me want to save them. I wanted Cortana and Cheif to make it through their ordeal, to always be together as Brutey and the Babe. The multiplayer also modernizes itself while still retaining that Halo charm. I just wish 343 would get that file browser up and running.
3. Far Cry 3
I hated Far Cry 2. I would really like to know who at Ubisoft thought it was a great idea to place you in Africa with shitty guns that jam all the time and deteriorate to shit while having a garbage checkpoint system and everyone in the game tries to kill you. All while having to get medication for Malaria. The only enjoyment I got of FC2 was in the multiplayer. Where people created tons of fun puzzle maps that test your skills and even a remake of the Ocarina of Time world.
Far Cry 3 on the other hand, is amazing. Ubisoft somehow managed to fix every gripe I had with FC2 and then some. Perhaps my favorite thing about the game was impact the wildlife had on the island. There was one instance when I was climbing a radio tower and there were some nearby enemies. As I'm climbing I hear one of them yell "Oh fuck! Komodo Dragon!" I turn to look and there are two dead people with a Komodo Dragon just chillin over their bodies. Another instance was when I was by a river and a friendly npc was fishing or something. I see him walk into the water, I turn away and here "AUGHGUGUGH!!!" so I turn around and his body is just floating there. I walk over and get pulled under the water by a crocodile which nearly gave me a heart attack.
Unfortunately I had a less than pleasurable experience with the games multiplayer. Bad lag, no party system for friends, and just connecting to Ubisoft's shitty servers made me want to stay away from it. The co-op was alright though.
Oh, and Ubisoft, make that Dinosaur DLC goddammit.
2. The Walking Dead
You probably won't find many lists that don't have this game listed somewhere on it. What Telltale managed to do with this game is just amazing. I can't really add much on it that hasn't already been said a million times but I will say this is the first game where I truly cared when characters died. Don't get me wrong there are games out there where I'd be sad if a character died, but this game it felt much more personal. It's hard to describe it, it's something you just feel.
1. Sleeping Dogs
I was actually really excited when this game was True Crime Hong Kong, and subsequently disappointed when Activison canned it. I wouldn't say Sleeping Dogs is super original or game changing, but it's fun. Really fucking fun. The story was good for what it was, but the insane ridiculous b movie action in this game is what should draw you to it. From kicking civilians in the face to doing action jumps off motorcycles while shooting and blowing up all the cars on the road is so badass. Wei Shen is a very dangerous man.
With the Indie Games Summer Uprising promotion going on, and because I'm working towards becoming an indie developer myself, I decided to make a list of my top five Xbox LIVE indie games.
5: Battle High: San Bruno Price: 80 MS points. ($1) Why: Easily the best fighting game on the indie channel, Battle High is a throwback to old school SNK fighters. The only gripes I have is that even on the hardest difficulty the game is very, very easy, and the lack of online multiplayer certainly dissapoints. Nonetheless this is a very fun game and for $1 you easily get your moneys worth.
4: Avatar Legends Price: 240 MS points ($3) Why: One of the things you'll know about the indie games channel is that it's cluttered with garbage games that use your avatars. While it's certainly awesome that the indie devs are using Avatars better than MS does, making a massaging game for your avatar is quite lame. Avatar Legends is an RPG in which you play as your avatar and you go around and complete quests. Compared to other RPGS, this is dead simple. Still, the game has a level editor, online multiplayer, leaderboards and more. If you can get passed it's bland visuals, you just might enjoy this game.
3: Johnny Platform's Biscuit Romp Price: 80 MS points ($1) Why: One of the first indie games I bought, and one of the easiest to recommend, Johnny Platform's Biscuit Romp is a bizarre puzzle platformer. You play as this bizarre green thing and you collect coffee. Whenever you die he randomly blurts out stuff involving sausages, and whenever you complete a level he yells "YEEAH" in a very deep voice and does this suggestive thrusting motion... Anyhow the game is loaded with tons of challenging levels, and the simple gameplay makes it easy for anyone to pick up and play. It's Christmas themed sequel, while great, isn't quite as good as this one.
2: Breath of Death 7 and Cthulhu Saves the World Price: 80 MS points ($1) and 240 MS points ($3) Respectively Why: I consider both these games equal, as they both have nearly the exact same gameplay, with Cthulhu adding many improvements. These are incredibly simple, brilliantly written, challenging, fun 8 bit parody RPGS. I don't really think I need to say more. Also, these two games are also available on Steam.
1: Zp2kx Zombies and Pterodactyls Price: 80 MS points ($1) Why: This game was made by Ska Studios, creators of the Dishwasher and popular indie game I Made a Game with Zombies in it. It's basically a side scrolling multiplayer focus action multiplayer game. It fixed every problem I had with the previous game, ZP2k9, and added tons of customization options for your character. Easily the best indie game on the marketplace, for $1 this is a total steal.
Honerable Mentions: Soul Caster Cute things Dying Violently Total Miner Forge I Ma3d a Gam3 w1th Zombies 1n it The Impossible Game Solar Raventhorne Decimation X
Honerable mentioned will be updated every so often.
Feel free to list your favorite Xbox Live indie games, I'm interested in hearing what you all think.