Dashed Expectations

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 4:34 pm 
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Image Because everyone does one. My turn. I'd like to see everyone else's pick at the end of this as well so we may compare our tastes as I think that may be an enjoyable thing.

Now, for my own list, I'm not making them based around some bit of rubbish like "Oh, it had some fantastic production values" or "the graphics are breathtaking" or "the soundtrack is awesome." No, this list is merely just how much I enjoyed to play them. That's it. No mathematical formula about it. If I liked it, then there's a good chance it is appearing on this list. The only real requirement was that the game had to be released in some form in 2012 and that I played it a fair amount to give an honest opinion on it. That's it!

That being said, however, I would like to give some "honors" to a couple of titles that won't make my list but I should bring up anyway.


Honorable Mentions

Journey (PS3)

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I Was Born For This

I know there's a good game buried within the sands of this title. Critics rave about it every turn and every which way. I know if, given the chance and delving deeper, I too can find that special part that everyone else seems to love about it.

But as it stands...I'm just not "getting" it. I don't understand what it is I'm doing and what I should make an effort to be doing. I feel pretty lost. Like, what are my objectives? What direction should I be going? Is there really no set place to wander and I'm just supposed to glide around aimlessly.

I mean, it looks breathtaking. The soundtrack is gorgeous. And I hear the player interaction despite you not even knowing who the other bloke is feels rather heartwarming. And yet, not once did I feel engrossed during my time with Journey. I don't think I gave it a fair shot, but after just one or two plays, I have yet to feel compelled to play it again.

Maybe you all can convince me to pick it up again: What makes this game so fascinating? I want to like it but I just don't get it.


Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)

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Gaur Plain

There used to be a time where I could sit down and enjoy an RPG for all its goodness and side-questy glory. Xenoblade Chronicles has just about everything I could ask for. It's massive. It's gorgeous. It's got good characters.

But...my life now just doesn't have the time for a game of this sheer volume, which kinda depresses me really. This game looks bloody fantastic and I want to be able to enjoy it like so many other people have, but to really enjoy it, you need to really balance out your time so that you can get the full potential out of it, which I sadly do not have. I played for a few hours at most before setting it down, not sure if I should really proceed.


Now that I got those mentions out of the way, let's move on to my Top 10!


B-Man's Top Ten Games He Personally Enjoyed in 2012

10. ZombiU (WiiU)

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God Save The Queen

How long have I played a Survival Horror that actually put emphasis on the Survival and the Horror? Far too long I feel. Glad UbiSoft, despite the really stupid name, is there to set things right for those who forgotten that, holy cow, there is such a thing as actually surviving in this genre (take note, Capcom, and we can avoid the terribleness that is RE6 again).

I had my doubts about this at first. I still remember their original attempt at trying to make a "hardcore" game right out of the gate of Nintendo's newest console (Red Steel is better left forgotten...) so I went into this with skepticism. At first, I didn't think much of it, but as I went in deeper and got to see more of London and the various zombies and acquired new gadgets and gizmos, I really started to appreciate the game for what it was: A return to its roots, which I applaud. No flashy explosions, no ridiculous villainous organization, just a simple outbreak and a bunch of nobodies just trying to make out alive. Nobodies whom, might I address, don't know how to wield a weapon properly.

This game is a mixed bag though, and I do find the difficulty to be a bit too punishing for my tastes, but at least it is going in the right direction. Given a few tweaks, and we may yet see a new Survival Horror game franchise that I can actually look forward to again.


9. Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)

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Dark Pit's Theme

Probably the game I was most excited to play on the 3DS simply because I was most certainly looking forward to a revival of the sister franchise to Metroid. I wondered so much how it would play! Would it follow a scheme like Other M with its 3rd Person view as you go through levels and gain new abilities?

...Didn't quite expect or hoped for a rail shooter-esque title really. Not to mention how uncomfortable it was to actually play. So uncomfortable, in fact, Nintendo had to give us a peripheral in order to play it. Really? I shouldn't need a device to get into the game!

Still, what was done here was done pretty well. Quite enjoyed how the whole game never once took itself all that seriously. It was kinda "yeah, I know our premise is a bit silly, so let's HAM IT UP!!!" I honestly wouldn't have had it any other way in terms of dialogue and plot goes.

Multiplayer was a surprisingly enjoyable experience as well, especially the team based Light Vs. Dark mode, where coordination and various different weapons really play out in order to protect your angel from doom.

There were plenty of levels to go through. In fact, I'd say there were probably too many levels, to be honest. It dragged on for so very long that I really wanted the game to be over about a third of the way through.

One feature I really enjoyed, however, was the Intensity. Being able to adjust the difficulty of each individual level is something more games outta take from here, with being rewarded quite handsomely for taking on the far more difficult levels as opposed to wussing out and playing it on a level where the enemies literally do not attack you. At least it's an easy recommendation for any and all playstyles.

Still, I'd pick this up with caution. It kinda overstays its welcome. Nevertheless, I feel this is the best the 3DS has to offer at this moment.


8. Pokémon Black 2/White 2 (DS)

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Aspertia City

I'll keep this one short and simple: If you've enjoyed Pokémon before, you should like this too. If the 5th Gen game that was released last year hasn't convinced you that the games are still worth playing, you aren't going to be convinced here either.

It's hard to really judge a game that plays exactly the same as it did last year. It actually bothers me a bit at how little was changed, though maybe it was because Black/White just set that bar so much higher that I might've expected more from something that is really nothing more than a direct sequel. Still, I expect more effort from Game Freak and this edition felt like nothing more than an easy pay cheque.

It is by no means a bad game. Far from it, I feel! They did lots of good stuff here, and the PWT is probably one of the best additions to the metagame in a long time. It's just, well...more effort please. I don't want to play the same game as last year, I want something different.

Still, it gets the job done and I did enjoy seeing the plot progress a bit more (especially since the last game left open a few unanswered questions).


7. Tokyo Jungle (PS3)

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No Humans Here

This is most definitely the most "mixed" of my titles on this list. There'll definitely be people out there who won't like this game at all. It isn't necessarily because it is bad. It's just...a bit odd.

Well, what is Tokyo Jungle, exactly? Pretty much, it is a survival game. You take the role of one of several animals of your choosing, unlocking more as you progress, and you try to survive for as many years as possible, playing a new generation in order to prolong your family tree. You eat, you claim territory, you mate, rinse, lather, repeat. The longer you survive, the more dangerous the urban wilderness becomes, with pollution and far more dangerous predators abound.

That's really all there is to it. Now, it gets deeper than that, complete with specific objectives such as eating a certain amount of food or claiming so many territories during a 10-25 year span as well as taking on special boss animals in order to get cool rewards, but all in all, it's nothing more than just last as long as you can.

That's probably the only real issue I have with the game: It can get pretty repetitive after a while. Sure, there's a Story Mode but it isn't really worth playing all that much. The real meat and potatoes (geddit?) of the game is just the Survival Mode. It's a real shame that the only changes lie within what kind of animal you choose to play as this time. There could have been potential for more objective based gaming here or even competitive multiplayer (there is co-op for the record) but it just isn't really there.

Plus, the premise is just odd... Humans are gone and now animals rule Tokyo? I mean, there are certainly weirder things from Japan but this is fairly oddball.

It's an acquired taste, to be sure, but at least it isn't too pricey, especially if you're a Plus member.


6. Nintendo Land (WiiU)

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Nintendo Land Plaza (8-Bit)

The shock of my list this year, really. After Nintendo's E3 ended with this very casual looking title, I was ready to dismiss this as cheap ole shovelware that couldn't possibly sell on its own. Who would've thought this would turn out to make my Top 10?!

Okay, so you have 12 games here for you and your friends to muck about with, all of which utilize the GamePad in some way, either as a separate screen for multiplayer gaming or as a sort of attachment to an already existing title, like Balloon Trip where most of the action happens on the TV but you may want to look at the Pad if you want to break some blocks, for example.

What legitimately surprised me was just how very un-casual some of the games, especially the single-player ones, actually get. In fact, I daresay they almost harken back to the old days of really difficult arcade titles you would spend countless quarters on just to see the end credits! Of course, the multiplayer itself brings some fantastic times together as well. Scaring people as a ghost brings a special kind of feeling only these kinds of games can provide.

Alas, this multiplayer is local only. Even though Nintendo is getting better at playing online, they still don't understand that not everyone lives with a fairly large number of people and have friends around the world and not just in their town.

Still, props for being much better than I anticipated.


5. Guild Wars 2 (PC)

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Plains of Ashford 6

I haven't played a whole lot of this game lately. Quite frankly, I'm tired of grinding in gaming. I just wanna finish games, not work for them.

But my gosh does GW2 get a lot right that all other MMOs should definitely take notice of!

Firstly, scaling levels back whenever you out level it. This actually makes doing all those other quests feel worthwhile. It's not like, say, hitting 80 and then going to a starting zone and slaughtering everything in sight just to get that last bit of gold you need to purchase that item in the auction. Nonono, you actively work for all this. Now, to be fair, it isn't perfect as you'll still have awesome gear and weapons and abilities, but for what it's worth, it's certainly better what we've had before.

Speaking of exploring and doing other quests being worthwhile, it's great that you get a daily incentive to actively go after all these different quests as you get some pretty neat rewards for your continued play. For a while, it made me want to keep on playing each and every day so I could acquire more goodies.

But I think the biggest thing it did right, above all else, was actually make you feel relieved and, dare I say even, thrilled to encounter another player! In other games, it wasn't always hugs and kisses. Either they completely ignored you busy in their own quest, doing the exact same quest you are on and thus, potentially interfering with your own completion, or worst of all, the opposing side on a PvP server and are coming to gank you horribly. But here, teamwork is rewarded quite handsomely, even without grouping together! There is no ninja-ing enemies, there is no quest interference. In fact, it benefits everyone to stick together at all times as this'll generally improve your odds of survival as well as making the game go by much faster.

This is something MMOs haven't really gotten down, I feel. Guild Wars 2 is the perfect first step to making that perfect MMO that I will never stop playing.

Now...if only the leveling didn't feel so dull...


4. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (iOS)

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Intermission - The Deepening of the Night

Okay, this one is cheating a fair bit, I admit. The game did come out in 2011 on the DS, but I'm gonna let it slide as being released on iOS this year because, my goodness, I love this game so much!

A physics/logic based puzzler, Ghost Trick follows the story of Sissel, an amnesiac ghost trying to solve his own death. All the while, we meet a cast of eccentric and colourful characters, from a red-headed young detective to a hyperactive Pomeranian. With the power to reverse time, you help Sissel reverse the deaths of others around him so that he can get that much closer to solving the mystery of himself.

That's really just the tip of the iceberg of the plot, which is filled with so many twists and turns, it could be classified as a dangerous road to travel on! The story is very well written and worth experiencing at least once. The puzzles are usually pretty clever and the moment of "aha!" really gets your spirits high, though there are a few duds that just didn't quite add up to me, personally.

Of course, once you solve the puzzle, it does hinder the replayability aspect of the game since the solution never changes. Then again, the plot of a good book never changes either yet you can definitely enjoy reading those again and again, and that's what really sells it here. The story, the characters... They're what really sell Ghost Trick as something definitely worth checking out.


3. Torchlight II (PC)

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Title Theme

Here's a dungeon crawler that really gets everything right. It's fast paced, it's of decent length, it's challenging enough, it actually feels like you're becoming more powerful with each step, it's fully customizable. Really, what's to hate?

...Well, I guess the plot's kinda blah, but who plays a loot based game for its plot?!

Alright, so Torchlight II. The Alchemist from the first game seems to have kinda lost his mind and now you must stop him as one of four very different classes. And each of these classes can be customized and tweaked to however play style you want to play. Do you want your Engineer to have lots of robot buddies to aide him/her? Or would you rather play a more sword-n-board styled tank? How do you level the stats? What weapons do you want to wield and equipment do you want to wear? All these building blocks are set before you to piece together yourself to build your perfect hero, and I really appreciate a game like that. One that gives me this much freedom with customization, I mean.

And if the randomized areas and various quests and random maps aren't enough for you, there's always the open modding community, something Runic encourages. While the tools haven't been released yet, no doubt there'll be something pretty amazing stuff coming our way from users, ranging from new campaigns to new classes. Yes, it is a good time to be a PC gamer with Torchlight II around!

Take note, Blizzard...


2. Awesomenauts (360, PS3, PC)

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Vinnie & Spike's Theme

Wow, was this an unexpected surprise!

So, do you like those team-based games where you gotta attack enemy bases with various different unique classes, ala League of Legends or TF2? Well, I'd say Awesomenauts is quite similar, only in a 2D Platformer style!

Taking on the roll of several different characters with their own range of skills, the objective is simple: Get into your opponent's base and destroy their drill before they do the same to you! You better believe the other team won't make it so easy.

You've got your pushing class which is capable of keeping the enemies back while also making short progress to get into enemy territory itself. You've got your assassin class which is cable of killing opponents before they can even react. You've got your healing class. Everything you ever really needed is all here, but with its special kind of 2D presentation, which I don't think I've ever seen in a game like this (and I actually prefer it above all others for that reason).

The game is helped by its wonderful cast of characters, from a cyber cowboy to a gangsta rappin' frog to a floating brain in a jar. All the characters are likable in their own way.

At only 10 dollars, you really owe it to yourself to at least giving this game a quick look at.


1. Dust: An Elysian Tail (360)

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Well look what's here! The game that finally made me purchase a 360 actually made it to my #1 pick? Who knew!?

Alright, I'll be perfectly blunt. There's really only one reason it's this high: It's a Metroidvania, and any one who knows me knows I love that genre with a passion. And Dust executes it nearly perfectly.

Alright, so what have we got here? Plot wise, it isn't much to really look at. Dust, our amnesiac hero, is out on a quest to find himself while doing some good along the way. He is aided by a talking sword, the Blade of Ahrah, and its guardian nimbat Fidget as they head across the lands, fighting all sorts of monsters in beautifully rendered backgrounds with some really fluid animations.

Combat is kind of hit or miss. It's easy enough, even with the more complicated combos, but in the end, you'll just Dust Storm Fidget's abilities throughout 90% of the game, taking much of the variety out of it. The plot is very predictable as well (though the reveal of who Dust is was a bit different from what I'm used to, so props for at least that). But these are really the only weak points if you were to ask me.

The game is lengthy enough but never overstays its welcome. The worlds are varied, the bosses are enjoyable, the dialogue is quite good at times with some fairly good voice acting, and there is plenty of side quests to do and hidden things to find. Really, any fan of the genre will feel right at home here. As a major fan of it myself, it's an easy recommendation.

Certainly hope so after buying a whole new console just to play it...

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Image Okay, there's mine. What's yours? Agree? Disagree? Did I convince you to pick up any of these?

Let me know!

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 11:08 pm 
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Since I've not really played any of these, I'll go to commenting on Journey.

The name really does give it away. You just go where the game takes you, and its quite a beautiful ride. Even the little story that unfolds is neat. You just got to sing at the clothes and go whatever path opens up. Walk around, and enjoy the scenery, and then once you're a bit more into it, check out the surprises its got in store.

The interaction with other players is neat as its entirely not based on competition. So maybe some one just ignores you and goes their own way, or maybe you'll make the most of it and mess around with another player. Sing a duet, even. It's an incredibly short game, so I'd suggest beating it at least once.

In the end, its all about the Journey.

also 10/10 sand physics

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:36 am 
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Journey is an interesting game. Quite honestly I'm not surprised you didn't really get it, a lot of people I know just shrugged off the game as "another game critics got paid off to praise." Not at all true, though.

I like to compare Journey to Shadow of the Colossus. They are both games. They do things games do. They both have interesting 'gimmicks' to them, and they both come with a lot of praise behind them. And, they both have people who don't really see what the fuss is about. The gameplay in both of them has some pretty harsh problems. The camera in SotC is !#%$ horrid at times, and Journey is shorter than Portal. Both games suffer from some control issues.

But it all adds to the game. These issues seem glaring at first, but then you realize that without them, the game wouldn't be quite as fun as it is. SotC's camera is a problem, sure. But, when you are out there, climbing the Colossi, suddenly the camera isn't your biggest focus, and it actually makes sense. Sure, the climbing system seems weird, but it works way better than you think it would. It all comes together into a gameplay experience that really excels.

Journey is the same way. I had some really weird issues controlling my little wanderer dude. It took me a bit to get into the controls, and once I did, I started to play the game. And I didn't get it. My entire first playthrough of Journey, I didn't really 'get' what I was doing. I followed the very vauge plot, and got to the end, and set it down not really intending to go back to it. I told everyone I enjoyed it, but really it just left me kind of bored. Such a short game, there has to be more to it right?

So, after about 2 weeks, I went back to it. After you beat a playthrough, you start back at the beginning. And I played through again. At first, I started to fall into the first gameplay feeling. Boring, not fun, etc. Then, I realized what I was doing. I was treating the game WAY too seriously. I was looking far too hard for something, ANYTHING, when it was staring me in the face the whole time.

After I realized that, that specific thing, I took a step back, went back to the beginning of the game, and started over. I met a co-op buddy who had a white scarf; a player who knew what they were doing. We played through the game with basically no communication between each other, and yet we built a bond. A connection. This player took their time, showed me all the little things this game has to offer, all the sights and creatures. I even think they took the long way around some places so we could hear some of the better parts of the soundtracks. I started to see what the game was trying to show people. The THING I was looking for. The game itself.

It isn't a game. At all. Journey is literally that. A journey. An experience. From the very beginning, to the very end, it conveys a message that I found VERY intense, for a game that feels so relaxed at times. Games don't have to just be about the GAME. There are plenty of other games that go out of their way to hold your hand and show you the ropes, or they just throw you into the game and laugh at you when you die constantly. But, few actually let you experience something besides instant gratification, or murder death kill. Getting to the flag at the end of the level, or collecting all the doodads or whatever. The doodads are there, if you want them. But you don't need to get them, they won't lock you out of later levels. Sure, there are things that show you story bits, but you don't need those either. They story is so well layed out, so subtle, that if you look really carefully at what you are doing you can piece it together yourself.

Sure, there are little cutscenes that give you plot stuff. And by no means is Journey a perfect game. But, honestly, I'll probably always go back to play through it every now and then, just so I can experience it again. Its one of those games that I would go out of my way to buy again just to own a physical copy.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:15 pm 
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Out of this list I've only played NintendoLand, and then it was only for a bit because we only just got it yesterday.

I didn't get to play much games this year. It's more difficult for a game to grab me now than it used to be, and my tastes seem to have veered into categories that are less "hardcore" or aren't as heavy on time consumption. Games like Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD and Happy Wheels. I have a lot of games I have yet to play but I'm not particularly compelled to try them for one reason of the other. Either they're technically owned by one of my siblings or I got an indie bundle for just one or two games.

Anywho, I'm really curious now B. Do you post these blog-esque posts anywhere else? I could see you getting a lot more attention and feedback on places with more traffic, like ScrewAttack, which has an excellent blogging community that gets multiple front-page features daily, not just in-house developed stuff or stuff from only the most popular members that show up a few times a month.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:40 pm 
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McKnackus I wrote:
Games like Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD and Happy Wheels.

I kind of hate Happy Wheels just for all the terrible LPs it spawned. Maybe I'm judging it unfairly, I dunno.

But seriously, those LPs are god awful.

McKnackus I wrote:
Anywho, I'm really curious now B. Do you post these blog-esque posts anywhere else? I could see you getting a lot more attention and feedback on places with more traffic, like ScrewAttack, which has an excellent blogging community that gets multiple front-page features daily, not just in-house developed stuff or stuff from only the most popular members that show up a few times a month.


I was actually just thinking this as I saw it. B-Man would be a good blogger or columnist.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 8:04 pm 
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happy wheels isn't really a game, more like a !#%$ around simulator. it's fun to !#%$ around in, but once you start treating it like a real game, it stops being fun.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:32 pm 
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Mecha wrote:
happy wheels isn't really a game, more like a !#%$ around simulator. it's fun to !#%$ around in, but once you start treating it like a real game, it stops being fun.

Depends on what you mean by a "real game". I think it's just a game where failure can be just as much fun, or more fun, than success.

And yes, the LP community has made terrible things of Happy Wheels. The only Happy Wheels LP I care for is Nova. Either way, I always separate fandom and work.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:08 am 
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Image First of all, thanks so much to Mecha for that analysis on Journey. I had basically the exact same mindset, taking it too seriously and thinking it as something that is everything else when it really isn't at all. I'll definitely try to get back in again with a new mentality on it. I think the enjoyment factor should shoot up a few fair notches.

Image Secondly, daw, youse guys! It's nice and sweet to think I've got at least two blokes who think I could blog decently enough...even though this list was utter rubbish and a rush job! I admit to slacking here. I had to be somewhere in a few hours and was looking for some time to kill, and what better way than to post my dumb opinions on how this year went?

Image Actually...I think I'll do it again very soon...only a little less positive this time.

Anyhoo, I'll keep those thoughts of Journey and blog posting in the back of my mind. Thanks for the posts, everyone!

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:59 pm 
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You're welcome.

And yeah mecha stated what I wanted to say about Journey much better than I did.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:44 pm 
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I don't really see too much rushing so that's a sign of a good writer.

And if you do get into blogging/gaming journalism, I highly suggest ScrewAttack. Again, they're a lot more community oriented, and the blogs you post here are definitely front page material. People are making a name for themselves on ScrewAttack and I think you could do the same. ;)

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:45 am 
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I don't know !#%$ about Journey, so I'm going to actually reply with A LIST OF MY OWN, THE CRAZINESS.

Also, I was going to put a tag next to each game with its appropriate system, like B-Man did, but, spoilers: ALL MY CHOICES ARE FOR PC. Some are on console, too, or were even on console first, but WHO GIVES A !#%$? NOT ME.

First, an honorable mention of my own:
Tribes: Ascend

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Screw all these cover-based first-person shooters where you slog around in the vein of "realism." Crazy-fast, movement-based ones are where it's at, yo. Tribes: Ascend is a great fun one, that's free even, where you ski (that's literally what it's referred to as) down slopes to zip around like a racecar, while every--and I do mean EVERY--weapon is projectile-based, meaning you have to aim and predict with that !#%$. This game is incredibly fun, incredibly fast, and incredibly skill-based.

However, it only gets an honorable mention, from me at least, for that reason: it's incredibly skill-based. And there are a lot of people that are really good at it. For the first... I think seven levels, it is, you're grouped with all the other newbies as well. I had a lot of fun then, and was pretty decent. Then I passed that threshold and got put with everyone else. There is no in-between. I got trashed. I didn't have the spirit to keep playing, least of all without anyone else I know playing it, when I couldn't hit people for !#%$. It also doesn't help that when I played, it took ages to unlock things--as it has a sort of progression system like Call of Duty or some nonsense, because apparently every competitive game needs one of those these days--and some of them are direct upgrades (like more grenades, etcetera) and while they're fairly minimal, it did feel kind of painful. There was apparently an update to speed it up recently, but yes.

In conclusion: gotta go fast.

And now for the actual list:

10. Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit

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You're the Prince of Hell, who's also a rabbit skeleton! Your primary mode of transportation is a giant buzzsaw! You can wear one of a bunch of different silly hats, from a Santa hat to a mustache! And if riding around on a buzzsaw isn't crazy enough for you, you can customize that, too, and ride around in a donut or something! Whenever you kill a unique monster, you get a WarioWare-style mini-game to kill it that can include anything from squishing them in between your fingers to flying a rocket into a satellite that causes it to fire a giant laser at them! And then after you kill them, you can put their spirits to work on your private island to harvest certain things! IT'S CRAZY!

That said, while this game has more personality than a schizophrenia convention, this game doesn't quite feel as good as it could. The platforming feels stiff, the combat's like a slow and easy bullet hell-type game, and all those WarioWare-style killing mini-games tend to lack any sound (save for some elevator music, which is kind of amusing, but...), which makes them feel a lot more dull than they should.

In conclusion: whether or not you like this game is directly proportional to how good an idea you think "Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit" is for a game title.

9. Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams

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Speaking of games with lots of personality, there's this! Hell, speaking of schizophrenia, there's this. As anyone whose heard of this game probably knows, this game rides on a core gimmick: there are two sisters, and two versions of the world around you, that you switch between. This makes certain obstacles disappear or grow, and gives you access to a sort of dash (similar to Sonic's homing attack in the 3D games) on one sister, and a twirling attack that works as a kind of double-jump that let's you slowly float down. The game rides this gimmick, and it rides it hard. What this results in is the world around you, and even the music, morphing beautifully into the two versions. And I do mean morph: the landscape twists and stretches and mutates into each other, and the music transitions wonderfully between a kind of laid-back, eerie, almost chip tune-y soundtrack, to a metal version of the same songs.

However, when I say it rides this gimmick hard, it rides it hard. From what I've played all the puzzles and platforming tended to boil down to "press the transition button at a specific time!" Which just made me feel like going "yeah, I get it." Admittedly, I only played the first world, so maybe it gets better about that, but I dunno. Also, there's a part where I spent a good ten minutes trying to pull some crazy platforming shenanigans, because the game made it look like it was some crazy hard secret area, having a death sign before the part. In the end, I just had to duck below these spiky crystals I was trying to maneuver around. Even though the crystals clearly were too low to duck under. It's a fairly minor quibble, but it really annoyed me.

In conclusion: schizophrenia is beautiful.

8. They Bleed Pixels

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Cool style, solid platforming, fun combat (that encourages being creative) make this game pretty rad. It gets really difficult as it goes on, though, frustratingly so, so if you're not amazing at platformers, don't expect to beat it any time soon. It's checkpoint system does make you not have to go back far most of the time, though.

Now that I'm done copy-pasting my Steam recommendation, yeah, all those things are true. This game is fun and as hardcore as platformers get, reaching I Wanna Be the Guy levels on several occasions, and I love it for that. While the checkpoint system does let you save your place after just about every platforming section, making it much easier, I imagine the difficulty will still be a turn-off for some people. However, SCREW THOSE PEOPLE, THE CHALLENGE IS ALL THAT MAKES ME FEEL ALIIIIIIVE

In conclusion: Cthulhu ain't no casual.

7. Penny Arcade: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 3

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Now, this game actually surprised me a lot. While I fully expected to like it, I figured I'd enjoy the more timing-based combat from the first two games, that had you do DDR-like minigames for special attacks and let you time a button press just right to dodge attacks, like the Mario RPGs. This episode, however, had a new developer taking the reigns: Zeboyd games, most well-known for the nonsensical adventure that was Cthulhu Saves the World. They took a much more retro approach, making it in the vein of the classic RPGs of yore. However, it has a sort of time-based battle system like Chrono Trigger or some of the later 2D Final Fantasy games (maybe some of the 3D ones? I haven't actually played any of the Final Fantasy games but FFI so I don't even), and, while I normally am not much one for more strategy-oriented games (because I'm dumb), I absolutely fell in love with it.

And that was just the part that surprised me. The amazing humor that you'd expect from a Penny Arcade game was there, the cool Lovecraftian setting was simultaneously parodied and played straight very well was there, and it was just fantastic overall. Also, this song! THIS FRIGGIN' SONG! It's all just great.

In conclusion: any game that has Dinomancer as a playable class is cool by me.

6. Mark of the Ninja

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You guys know that very smoothly-animated, stylistic-looking brawler that played very well, called Shank? Or it's sequel... well, Shank 2? This is made by the same people, and it shows. This, however, is a stealth game. A damn good one, at that. There's upgrades, quite a few ways to go about any situation, the ability to go through without killing people that seems to get every Deus Ex fan hot and bothered, and... it's just !#%$' fun! It feels great, messing with the guards is hilarious (if the guards aren't actively looking for you and you're in the dark, you can literally just jump right over them without them seeing you, and it's funny to me every time), it's a fantastic game.

My only real complaint with the game is that it's kinda short, I guess, and using the consumable items kind of feels like cheating, but I'm not even sure if that's a bad thing. OH. No, there was one thing that drove me insane. At one point, there's a part where you can either kill a guy to get an item you need, or to just steal it. However, doing the latter brings up a prompt that's an arrow with a mouse by it. Failing it means he spots you and is alerted, meaning you basically have to kill him, meaning you have about a second to figure it out, despite it never being used before, or explained, or anything. So after about ten minutes of
restarting, trying to figure it out, it turns out I was supposed to swipe the mouse to the left (the way the direction was pointing) while holding down the right mouse button (which was a different color on the mouse). That makes the prompt sound straightforward, but you have about a second to see it, and it is SUCH a small difference in color, I honestly thought the left mouse button was the one it was telling me to click until I looked it up with a Google search. That said, that was... one prompt in the entirety of the game. So yeah, it's still a fantastic game.

In conclusion: Stealing is hard.

5. Hotline Miami

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A really intense game, each level requires a great deal of tactical thinking and skilled maneuvering, although it's well-designed enough that you can forego one if you're good enough at the other, more or less. Point is, it's adrenaline-pumping and hella rad.

Okay, so I cheated, and that's the second game I've copy-pasted my Steam recommendation for, but it still rings true, too. This game is adrenaline-filled, unforgiving, and just awesome. That's, really all I have to say on the matter.

In conclusion: adrenaline adrenaline adrenaline adrenaline

4. Orcs Must Die 2

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I was also surprised how much I liked this game, but I think that's just because I forgot how much I liked the first one. It's technically a tower defense game, but it puts so much power in your own hands, all the traps you can set feel more like silly experiments to watch and laugh at as they go off than anything. Not to say there's no strategy to it: there's definitely certain ways to go about certain things, and some ways definitely work better than others, but you could just put tar pits and arrow walls everywhere and call it a day, just running around, shooting things with your shotgun blunderbuss (which I could go on and on about how cool your starting gun is, by the way), and you can have a grand ol' time.

That said, there are a lot of traps, and they are pretty amusing and fun to use. And you can upgrade them to do a variety of different things, or your upgrades, it's just great! I haven't even tried the new character, the Sorceror, yet, or the multiplayer. My only real complaint is that it is pretty repetitive and can be a bit mind-numbing after a while, and I imagine it'll get old eventually, maybe. Regardless, it's still a ton of fun.

In conclusion: Dragon Blunderbuss and Bone Golems.

3. Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

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Remember how I said the Giana Sisters game is beautiful? !#%$ that !#%$, any screenshot from this game will make me cream my pants. Admittedly, it is EXTREMELY subjective, as it's very much so the style that makes it stand out, which is admittedly a pretty simple one, but oh my god, I love it so much, I'm going to go marry it right now, brb. But yeah, my love for the art style aside, the gameplay's also pretty good. It reminds me a lot of Metroid (Prime especially) because it has a heavy emphasis on exploration. However, you fly around as a little flying saucer, so it's not a platformer or anything. It's all just very solemn and atmospheric, and even features a scanning thing (which is mostly why it reminds me of Prime so much), but instead of any text or anything, it just has a little picture thing that basically shows what item(s) you can use on it/if it's harmful or not.

In conclusion: My reasons for liking it are pretty subjective, but OUR CHILDREN WILL BE BEAUTIFUL. <3

2. Dark Souls

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If you're allowed to cheat with Ghost Trick, then I'm allowed to cheat with this, especially since I don't even have either of the systems it was on before it came to PC this year. Anyways, I'm sure you've all at least heard of Dark Souls: that super hard, super unforgiving, crazypants games that's the I Wanna Be the Guy of RPGs. That's only part of the game, though. There are a variety of different ways you can build and play your character, the game's unlinear, and I mean REALLY unlinear, not like "hey you can go one of these two ways except also one of the ways only goes for a few rooms!" nonsense. Not that I've ever had a problem with linearity, personally (quite the opposite, actually, a lot of really unlinear games just feel like they lack any real direction or reason to do anything), but this is unlinearity done oh so very, very right, and it just feels better-designed as a whole as a result.

The combat's also wonderfully designed and fun. While not necessarily being SUPER INTENSE HIT 999 TRIPLE G-COMBO MAX LEVEL TURBO ACHIEVED, it's still quite intense in its own ways. Namely, if you mess up, that's probably 20% or more (usually more) of your health gone, and you have to make sure to time your hits well and do the right things at the right time. You can hide behind a shield (which you basically have to for your first playthrough) and hit when the time's right, you can dodge out of the way of everything and two-hand a weapon if you're comfortable enough to do so, you can toss a spell to basically one shot an enemy (or even enemies) like a total scrub (although you can only use a spell so many times before having to rest at a bonfire/checkpoint, which makes all enemies respawn, and yes), and, it's just great, and wonderful, and if you like legitimately challenging games, you owe it to yourself to play this at some point or another. Despite its reputation as a hard game, you don't even lose anything if you can make it back to where you died without dying again, and even if you do, all you lose are souls and humanity, the former being the currency and experience both of the game, but being pretty easy to replace, and the latter only being useful at certain times, and you'll probably have humanity in item form (which you never lose) when you really need it anyways.

In conclusion: This game is fantastic, there are no jokes to be had here, leave me alone.

1. Awesomenauts

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Oh man, this game, I have many thoughts about this game. I also had a lot of trouble deciding if I wanted this or Dark Souls as my number one. In the end, I decided that regardless of which is better designed, this one has brought me more enjoyment this year, and will continue to do so for longer. Maybe my opinion will change in a few months. Maybe in a few years. Maybe never. Regardless, to start, I'll just cheat again and copy-paste my Steam recommendation:

To put it simply: it's to DotA games what Super Smash Bros. is to fighting games. It's crazy, awesome, and just down right fun, and while generally not taken nearly as seriously, is pretty darn skill-based in its own right.

Okay, got it? Good.

Now, this game, it's great, and I love it, but just like Smash Bros., it has some real balance issues. And it infuriates me. This game's all about jumping around, as it is a sort of competitive platformer, dodging around and such, and just generally winning out because you're just good at what you do.

Unfortunately, there's plenty of stuff that completely undermines that. Stuns! Snares! Stuff that makes it so you can't do anything about what the player's about to do! Slows that neuter your jump height instead of slowing it for no particular reason! And a lot of it can just pop out from off screen (Splash Dash or a falling Clunk), or just completely deny you from an area (Siege Mode Derpl) and there's nothing you can do about it and it's TERRIBLE. And it drives me MAD. How about flying around and littering the floor with mines with a reduced cooldown on it and an upgrade that makes them stay around longer, so they really do just litter the floor EVERYWHERE, that's skillful, right??? And all this (and more) combined with some slight lag compensation, just enough to make a difference when you're trying to quickly dodge out of the way of something and get hit by something that clearly didn't look like it hit you on your end, it's, it's, MADDENING.

But in the end, this game has a lot to it, has a wonderful cast of characters with a lot of character to them, and wonderful music, and the competitive (and thus never-ending) nature of it will lengthen its life span for hundreds of hours for me (not to mention them patching in new characters and balance fixes and maps and such now and then), it's still such a wonderful game, that it deserves the top spot of the year for me.

In conclusion: No one makes me more miserable, so please don't go away.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:11 pm 
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Elby wrote:
I don't know !#%$ about Journey, so I'm going to actually reply with A LIST OF MY OWN, THE CRAZINESS.

Also, I was going to put a tag next to each game with its appropriate system, like B-Man did, but, spoilers: ALL MY CHOICES ARE FOR PC. Some are on console, too, or were even on console first, but WHO GIVES A !#%$? NOT ME.


get your pc master race elitist !#%$ off my forum

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:52 pm 
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Raxy wrote:
Elby wrote:
I don't know !#%$ about Journey, so I'm going to actually reply with A LIST OF MY OWN, THE CRAZINESS.

Also, I was going to put a tag next to each game with its appropriate system, like B-Man did, but, spoilers: ALL MY CHOICES ARE FOR PC. Some are on console, too, or were even on console first, but WHO GIVES A !#%$? NOT ME.


get your pc master race elitist !#%$ off my forum

Image Technically, a few of these games can be found on other platforms, like Hell Yeah! and Awesomenauts.

It's just that most are inferior, especially for the case of Awesomenauts, which unfortunately hasn't gotten any new characters beyond Derpl and Coco because Microsoft and Sony charge too much for patches.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:23 pm 
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The Great B-Man wrote:
Image Technically, a few of these games can be found on other platforms, like Hell Yeah! and Awesomenauts.

It's just that most are inferior, especially for the case of Awesomenauts, which unfortunately hasn't gotten any new characters beyond Derpl and Coco because Microsoft and Sony charge too much for patches.

In conclusion, PC IS INDEED THE MASTER RACE, SIEG HEIL, and all that.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:55 am 
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Random trivia.

50% of Elby's list are games that he's gotten this month.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:40 am 
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Chuckdorel wrote:
Random trivia.

50% of Elby's list are games that he's gotten this month.

Yeah, pretty much.

There's a reason I only played the first world of Giana Sisters.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:58 am 
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you have articulated points very well b man, you should take this writing to a blog of some sorts or of an outlet where perhaps you can publish this. =3 what i am saiyan (jok e) is that you are a good author .

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