The Making Of My GOTG List vol. 3-2 (The one where I get tired of eating Christmas shit and get back to working on this)
By Winternet 0 Comments
I explained why some games that I cared about wouldn't go on to make the list or the discussion of said list. I also said that there would be two segments to the blog, but as we can see, the 2nd segment got pushed out to today's blog. So, what I am saying is that this is the Kill Bill of video game blogs.
But, without further ado, let's go back to work.
Let's remind us again of what the hell I'm doing: "The second segment will be an arena battle with small skirmishes between games that I feel like "occupy the same space". These skirmishes usually are between games from the same franchise, but in a couple of cases it will be between games from the same developer or games from the same genre."
These games "occupy the same space" and therefore should battle to the death until only one is standing.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - Call of Duty: World at War - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - Call of Duty: Black Ops - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 - Call of Duty: Ghosts -
Ok, these are a lot of games. Let's be practical about this: Back Ops 2 and Ghosts are out. I don't think a lot of people would contest that (ok, let's take this moment to also sack World at War) and, besides, I didn't play them anyway. Modern Warfare 3 was the moment where I started to lose interest on the whole Call of Duty thing. Let's also clarify one thing: I've never touched the multiplayer in a Call of Duty game. So, there's that.
That leaves us Modern Warfare 1 & 2 and Black Ops. Despite me enjoying the story/narrative of Black Ops I wasn't particularly engaged by the level design or their mission structure. Zombies, like Jeff, was also very much not my thing. I would play it for 5-10 minutes and be completely uninterested by it. So let's cut it, which leaves us the first 2 Modern Warfare games.
This is where it gets tricky. In one hand, Call of Duty 4 was the first of this kind of FPS. It was the one where I played over and over again in all the difficulties (not matter how unfair that "defend this abandon playground until the heli arrives" gets). In the other hand, Modern Warfare 2 had Special Ops. The gameplay got to the apex of the franchise, in my opinion, and the story/narrative was sitting on a thin rope between this-kinda-makes-sense and this-is-insanity-wat, but somehow it always stayed on the right side, making it a more intense, appealing, exhilarating action-movie story than CoD4 did. But, MW1 had that ghillie suit mission. And I'm pretty sure I can replay the missile launch countdown mission with my eyes closed. But, MW2 had the airport No-Russian mission. And the museum at the end. And saving Cpt. Price. And the EMP mission. But MW1 had the bonus airplane mission.
Guys, I really can't decide here. Flip a coin? I guess so. Heads is MW1 and Tails is MW2. Let's see what the Internet coin has to say... and it's Heads. Congratulation to Call of Duty 4, right? Sure.
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune - Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception -
I gather this one will take less time. Drake's Fortune was a great first attempt, but if felt short in some aspects, like clunky moving and shooting and unappealing story. Drake's Deception, while looking gorgeous (after the guys talk about The Last of Us and how it may very well be the best looking game of the generation, I would argue that Drake's Deception would at least beat The Last of Us to it), it felt too much of the same after Among Thieves and its story never fully capitalized on what was the best premise of the 3 games.
So, Among Thieves wins. It looks great, it plays better than any of the other 2, it has an interesting love-triangle kind of story that actually engages the player with it and its characters. The level designs are top class and it's truly an indiana-jones-globe-trotting experience throughout (yes yes yes blue aliens I know). As games of this genre go, it'll be hard to find a better one this generation than Among Thieves.
Mass Effect - Mass Effect 2 - Mass Effect 3 -
Mass Effect 3 is a hot piece of garbage. Ok, moving on.
Betw- ok I guess I should clarify it. It isn't really a hot piece of garbage, but that's always the first, wild thought that comes to mind regarding it. Why did those nightmares sequences exist? Why did anyone think that would be good? Sigh, let's just not talk more about it. I don't think Mass Effect 3 ranks anywhere in the same level as the other 2.
Between Mass Effect 1 & 2 I'm having a very hard time deciding, but deep down my heart has always knew which one would be on top. And that's Mass Effect 1. I mean, you can walk in the Presidium. Why they would ever take that away for the next 2 games still baffles me. (I guess that's one of the saving graces of ME3, that moment with Garrus shooting stuff in the Citadel) Mass Effect 1 is the dream for that franchise. Discovering planets and systems and exploring them, while working as a G-Man solving the high-end mysteries and crimes of the galaxy. I'm hard-pressed to find a game concept better than that, more interesting or appealing. Mass Effect had it all, it just needed to play better.
But, ME2 while getting the play better right, loses focus on the other stuff that made Mass Effect. It's no coincidence that in the first one you that alien races like the Elcor and the Hannar (I think that's the name) have their role in it, but after that it's all aliens with two legs, two arms that can hold a gun and shoot you. Planets are just a resource dump for you to collect. There's no exploration, no passion. That's exactly what I think is missing from 2 and 3. Passion. It's left in the corner so the shooting is better. It's left in the corner so you don't have to concern yourself about specing your character or resources like ammo. It's left in the corner so that instead of trying to work on the problems that existed in the planet exploration sections, they just cut it out.
Mass Effect is arguably a less competent video game than Mass Effect 2, but it's a better video game.
Portal - Portal 2 -
I think the debate here stands basically in how much importance does novelty have. Because, that's what Portal has in its favor. It happened first, it was your first experience with the concept of portals and the reality behind the clean white panels of the lab test rooms. Portal 2 can't never hit the exact same notes of discovery and wonder, but it is overall a better game, with better levels, better puzzles, better story/narrative/dialogues, better characters... Is it enough to overcome the novelty of the first Portal?
I think so. And that's why Portal 2 is a better game and, most importantly, my favorite of the two.
DiRT - DiRT 2 - DiRT 3 -
For me, this one is very clear. Dirt 2 is, by far, my favorite. The exact balance between simulation and arcade, between realism and video-game-y-ness. That balance I never found in the other two which resulted in me spending way less time with them. Dirt 2 is winner!
Assassin's Creed - Assassin's Creed II - Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - Assassin's Creed: Revelations - Assassin's Creed III - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag -
Two games stand out from this list, for me. That's AC II and AC: Brotherhood. Revelations I played the first 3 hours and had no interest in playing more, while AC III I didn't even get to those 3 hours. Black Flag I haven't played yet, so nothing I can do there.
Regarding the first game, I feel like I liked it more than most. Sure, I recognize that there were 3 mission types in the whole game and the combat mechanics weren't particularly engaging. But, I loved the concept and got engaged with its weird story and the out-of-animus sections from the get go. AC will never be a great game, but it will always be one that I'll look upon with a smile.
Regarding AC II and Brotherhood, we can look at it a bit like the Portal situation. Sure, AC II was the one that made it right, the one where concept/ideas were in tune with the execution. That said, the "brotherhood" mechanic is by far my favorite of the whole franchise and whistling, followed by a dude falling from the sky and murdering the guy in front of you is just too much fun. I also think that making it primarily focus on one city was to its benefit, making me much more aware of the layout and verticality of the map.
This makes Brotherhood, my favorite AC game.
The Witcher - The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings -
I haven't, somehow, played The Witcher 2 yet, which makes this a very simple decision. I left, however, The Witcher 2 come this far because I have a very good idea that it would be of my liking. But, yeah, The Witcher is the one that moves on in the discussion.
Grand Theft Auto IV - Grand Theft Auto V -
A similar situation as before, since I haven't played GTA V yet. However, the reason for this to be here is, I think, so that I can say that maybe, just maybe, I'm done with GTA games. This may be a very rushed conclusion, since I'm only basing on my experience of IV, but my impression is that V will not change that much when I end up playing. The point is, I just can't fully adapt to the controls, be it the shooting or the driving. The time that I played GTA IV was not much fun (I played until, hmm, the Irish fellas, I think). Everything around the playing I still very much enjoy, be it the radio, the stupid TV, the fake Internet or going to the comedy club and watching Rucky Gervais in video game form. The dialogues and story I also enjoyed (although not to the same extent of San Andreas or Vice City), but whenever I had to play the game, my interest would fall down rapidly.
So, this is why I'm going to cut GTA V, but also GTA IV. No winner comes out, they're both out.
Dead Space - Dead Space 2 - Dead Space 3 -
A pretty easy decision to me. Dead Space 3 I don't think I really need to talk about, and while Dead Space is a hell of a game, 2 simply plays better, looks better and sounds better. Sure, it's not as "scary" and not as "resource-scarce" but for what Dead Space is, that isn't a particular bad thing. Dead Space 2 is the better game overall.
The Blackwell Legacy - Blackwell Unbound - Blackwell Deception - Gemini Rue - Resonance - Primordia -
This is one that doesn't follow the "franchise" rule. These are all point n click adventure games from Wadjet Eye and I feel it's fair for them to go against each other. For me, the 3 games that stand out are the last ones: Gemini Rue, Resonance and Primordia.
Resonance goes for many of the same notes that Gemini Rue does, but it doesn't hit them quite well. And while it's a very solid, very good adventure game, but it plays much like you would expect, while Gemini Rue has moments that transcend the genre and achieve something greater. I do believe that Gemini Rue is one of the gems of this generation.
Now, it sounds unfair to compare this to Primordia, this gem of a game, but Primordia is stupidly good as well. One of the things that Primordia does better is in its art design department. Primordia has some amazing well done scenarios and it does the "future where everything is robots" very well. Its story is also quite good, particularly the "universe" it works in, which is perfectly crafted.
So, I'm going to break the rule again of "only one standing" but instead of zero winners, like in the GTA case, I'll let Gemini Rue and Primordia both go through.
Batman: Arkham Asylum - Batman: Arkham City - Batman: Arkham Origins -
Another easy decision. Origins I haven't played (and I don't see really a reason to do so) and while Arkham City is great, I'm in the Brad camp of it losing the tightness and almost perfect pace and balance of Asylum for an average "open world". Asylum is an incredibly well executed game and an experience that has very few downs from start to finish. And it's my clear winner in here.
Bit.Trip Beat - Bit.Trip Void - Bit.Trip Core - Bit.Trip Fate - Bit.Trip Runner - Bit.Trip Flux - Bit.Trip Presents... Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien -
And Bit.Trip Runner wins yay! It is by far the most challenging and well executed game of the list and not even Runner 2 does it better, in my opinion, with some design decisions that make it a lesser experience.
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty - Company of Heroes - Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars - Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 - Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm -
Another battle that doesn't follow the franchise rule, but let's be realistic here, how many RTS games would actually make it far? Not much, at least for me. A different time maybe that would be different, a time with Warcraft 2s, Red Alerts and Total Annihilations maybe. But, not now. So lets cut it into one, which is Starcraft II Wings of Liberty hands down. I was never a fan of the style of RTS of Company of Heroes and both Tiberium Wars and Red Alert 3 are a pale comparison in quality to what those franchises have brought us before. Heart of the Swarm is more of what SC II did, but overall it doesn't reach the same heights (which to be honest were pretty high).
Sam & Max Save the World - Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space - Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse -
Alright, some actually quality Telltale adventure games. Sam & Max are very much a product of a different time and it shows. It is however a time that I very much enjoy so Sam & Max where right up my alley. Of the three seasons here I'll have to go with the first one, which was the one that I put more time into, by playing it from start to finish which unfortunately I was never able to do with the other 2 seasons. Sam & Max still produce probably the best and most funny banter between the two in video games from this generation.
Far Cry 2 - Far Cry 3 - Hitman Blood Money - Hitman: Absolution - Burnout Paradise - Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit - Borderlands - Borderlands 2 - Metro 2033 - Metro: Last Light
Ok, this blog is going long so let's cram these 5 head-to-head fights in here. Far Cry 3 wins over 2, simply because I was never able to play much of 2, for some reason, despite recognizing some merits to it. Blood Money wins easily, since it's a great Hitman game while Absolution strays a bit away from what a Hitman game should be, in my opinion.
Burnout Paradise is the winner in his fight, not because of Hot Pursuit being bad, it's actually quite good, but Paradise is in a whole other level. Borderlands takes it, in a very similar fashion as Far Cry 3. In this case, I never got to Borderlands 2, not for any particular reason against that game, I just felt that I had enough Borderlands at that point. In hindsight, it's a silly reason, but the heart wants what the heart wants and the heart didn't want more Borderlands.
Regarding the Metro games, I'll have to go with Metro 2033. Last Light is probably a better game all things considered, but I had a hard time going over the fact that the crux of the story in Last Light is what I already did in Metro 2033 alternate ending, making Last Light, in a story standpoint, a complete waste of time.
Oh boy, this was tough. Ok, let's see what we got at the end:
FEAR - Marvel Ultimate Alliance - Neverwinter Nights 2 - Dreamfall The Longest Journey - Rayman Raving Rabbids - Bioshock - Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords - STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl - Braid - Prince of Persia - Bully: Scholarship Edition - Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway - Shatter - Machinarium - Limbo - Super Meat Boy - Cave Story - Heavy Rain - Amnesia: The Dark Descent - Just Cause 2 - And Yet It Moves - Alan Wake - Enslaved: Odyssey to the West - VVVVVV - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Bastion - Deus Ex: Human Revolution - L.A. Noire - The Binding of Isaac - To The Moon - The Walking Dead - Mark of the Ninja - XCOM Enemy Unknown - Super Hexagon - Fez - Diablo III - Max Payne 3 - Hotline Miami - FLT: Faster Than Light - Sleeping Dogs - Botanicula - Closure - Rhythm Heaven Fever - Vessel - Spec Ops: The Line - Thomas Was Alone - Asura's Wrath - Papo & Yo - Bioshock Infinite - The Last of Us - Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons - The Stanley Parable - Dota 2 - The Swapper - Gone Home - Tomb Raider - Gunpoint - DmC: Devil May Cry - Antichamber - Papers, Please - Volgarr the Viking - Sid Meier's Civilization V - Metro 2033 - Borderlands - Burnout Paradise - Far Cry 3 - Sam & Max Save the World - Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty - Bit.Trip Runner - Batman: Arkham Asylum - Primordia - Gemini Rue - Dead Space 2 - The Witcher - Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - DiRT 2 - Portal 2 - Mass Effect - Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare -
Man, these are still a lot of games. This endeavor is proving to be harder than I thought.
Coming Up Next
I really need to start coming close to a list of 25 games. I don't know if I'll be able to do it in the entry though. The list seems so big. Ooof, but this was the path that I chose, so goddammit I'll keep on trucking.
Also, I'm watching Three Kings while writing this and why is this guy running in the bunker with a stack of jeans in his arms? Please Ice Cube explain me what's going on.