Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 1:46 am
Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:33 pm
Happy New Year M-A.
My Facebook was counting down the top 10 games of 2012 with a new post each day. Keep in mind I don't have every single console and didn't play every game so don't read too much into this as some kind of fair top 10 list.
Might as well share this with everyone here. I'll put the bulk of the post in spoiler tags to save space. They aren't actual game spoilers. I'll obviously censor out the full names of friends I mention. Now beings the copy paste....
The world didn't end? Of course not. Now go out there and play some fun games.
Each day we're counting down the top 10 must have games of 2012.10. Dead or Alive 5:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOMzQJLbQ6o
If you watch the trailer and don't fixate on the girls, you'll notice the most awesome thing. This game has characters from Virtua Fighter in it. That alone sold the game for me. Not only that, they play just like they do in Virtua Fighter with the same move sets and often same strategies. It may be a bit weird to see Akira's tetsuzanko so easily countered in the Dead or Alive 5, but still so fun to play the 3 guest Virtua Fighter characters.
This game also has a good solid story mode. And by good, I mean good by fighting game standards. Sure there's no touching cutscene with Ryu walking off into the sunset. Modern fighting games have stupid stories where everyone knows each other for some odd reason and there's some kind of criminal organization. This is no exception. The story is silly yes, but it's told with such vivid cutscenes and series continuity that you can't help but enjoy story mode.
Gameplay is simple for any novice to jump into. It's basically rock, paper scissors logic. If they're blocking or countering, then throw them. If they are attacking, block or counter. And if they are trying to throw you, hit them. This lets any newbie just jump in and enjoy some cinematic and cool fights. This also forces the master to memorize everyone's moves so they can play some intense mind games.
Online is loads of fun. You can jump into a lobby and text chat and watch others play while you wait in line just as you would an arcade in the old days. Talk trash or compliment everyone. You can even train online with another player although I never used it. There's casual and ranked matches. There's tag team or solo battles. There's quite a bit of fun to be had online playing against others.
Graphics are the most gorgeous I've seen in a fighting game to date. Animations are fluid, the backgrounds are stunning. And yes, they put in extra effort to make the girls look good. They take special care to put in subtle details. You can get dirt on your clothes and sweat. They just went all out making this game look good.
Basically, this game is a meaty fighter that offers you a full serving and you never have to ask for seconds. It'd be nice to see tournament modes like in Street Fighter or have a vault that unlocks concept art and other goodies like Mortal Kombat, but those two games are the reigning champs that just go all out. To be such a fun fighting game that nips on the heels of those two giants is quite an accomplishment. If you can even mildy tolerate a fighting game, you'll thoroughly enjoy Dead or Alive 5.
Top 10 Games of 2012:9. Resident Evil 6http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7GE7EfDQI-E/U ... l-6-dc.jpg
8. Journey http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57kDiPVQ9n0
So let's get the worst out of the way. This game tries poorly to be a military shooter at times. The controls suck in comparison to any of the others. Quick time events are riddled throughout the game. Push x to win or push o to not die. Yep you'll see lots of these instead of actually formulating strategies and techniques. The story is flat out stupid. Think of the story as a mindless summer blockbuster action movie.
Well.........how did this game make #9?
Playing with other people is just too much fun. There's also some creative ideas you really won't see anywhere else.
See however dumb the story is, it's told in the form of completing the game with 4 different characters: Leon, Chris, Jake, and Ada. Think of how the film Pulp Fiction was, where you saw things from the perspective of different people, but they all overlapped at times and altogether gave you the big picture. And that's how this game works.
Leon and Ada's story have some good horror moods with Ada's being the closest to true classic Resident Evil complete with puzzles. Chris's campaign is almost entirely a wanna be military shooter. Jake's campaign is sorta in the middle.
What made this game so much fun was playing Leon's story with me as Leon and Ryli**** as Helena. We carefully trudged through a cemetery and abandoned subway. We always had each other's back. If one of us was injured we healed the other. We complimented each other with an in-game thumbs up and a "Thanks!" We shot at and punched zombies together. Jake's campaign was also fun with me as Jake and her as Sherry. We were captured and trapped. She had to sneak out and find a password to open a door. While she was doing this, I was breaking into the security camera room and able to give her assistance by controlling turrets. When she found the password, I controlled a camera and zoomed in to see it myself. Then we both were able to escape with both of us working independently and together. And it's just fun coop like this that makes this game so enjoyable.
Not only is stuff like that really fun, but at the moments our story would overlap with anyone else playing a different campaign and we could have 4 people cooperating together.
Oh but there's more online integration. Other people can invade your game as additional zombies and monsters. So yeah, it's literally you and your friend against the whole world! And isn't that what a zombie outbreak should feel like?
Resident Evil is a successful franchise. So it's a shame Resident Evil 6 doesn't keep what made the earlier ones great. But it was very nice to see some of the interesting new ideas and angles. You sort of have to lower your standards to like this game cause it's not as good as its predecessors. So the best way to think of Resident Evil 6 is as a bad Resident Evil, but a good game. If this were a good Resident Evil game, it would've made top 3 certainly. But it's just a good game so it gets to be number 9.
7. Resident Evil Revelationshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7ahm7_ckRs
This game is only several hours long. You don't have a health bar or enemies to fight. There is no challenge. Sound like a bad game?
Oh Journey is anything but. See it's not your usual game. The best way to describe it is interactive art.
You're a nameless pilgrim. All you can figure out from what little the game shows you is that you appear to be on a pilgrimage. So you wander off and explore. The music is absolutely beautiful and the landscapes are pure eye candy.
And it's multiplayer. But not like your usual game with lobbies and chat. You don't know who else you're playing with. The only cue that you're playing with another human is seeing another wanderer like yourself off in the distance making the same journey.
How do you talk to this person with no chat? All you have is one button to push that has your character emit a musical tone. Based on how long you hold the button or how rapidly you press it the tone changes.
So within the game what ends up happening is you find your own unique form of communication. I ran into a pilgrim who seemed like they wanted to explore and find secret areas in the game. So they sang a specific musical signal to me to signify they want me to follow. Then when we found a secret and the game awarded us a trophy I sang a musical "Thank you" Whether you play with a Japanese person, someone from Germany, or another American, within this game everyone speaks the same musical language.
By analogy, if other games are like a 2 week long vacation, Journey is that one special weekend that holds sentimental significance to you. I remember another time playing with someone and their player sat down in the shade after we had traversed a wide open space. Was it a 12 year old kid's mom having them do the dishes? Or maybe someone like me but they just needed a break? I don't know. From my end it just looked like the other pilgrim took time out to meditate and I pressed on.
After you finish the game, you can know who you played with as it shows their usernames during the credits. Then you can feel free to make a new friend.
For everyone who wants to point to violent videogames as a source of deviant activity where are all those people that will say Journey enriches us all and brings out the best in humanity? If you're stressed from a bad day, if people have pissed you off, play some Journey and just relax and smile. That's what this game does best.
IGN, a major media reviewer, names Journey as their Game of the Year. And while I only list it at number 8, I refuse to disagree with them.
6. Professor Layton and the Miracle Maskhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wIXXE59ZjE
Resident Evil Revelations is what Resident Evil 6 should have been. Watch this video and tell me that isn't classic Resident Evil with modern graphics. There aren't any stupid quick time events in this game. It's a shame that the consoles couldn't get it right but a handheld version of Resident Evil hit the mark.
Being a portable game on the 3DS, Resident Evil is structured just right so that you can play the game, hopefully in the dark with headphones on, for 30 minutes - 1 hour each time. The game is broken up into episodes like a TV show. Each time you start the next episode, a narrator says "Previously on Resident Evil Revelations" and shows you clips.
Also adding to the portable appeal is raid mode. After you finish 3-4 episodes, those same areas open up in raid mode. Which is essentially the episodes you just played without any of the story and your goal is to rush through the area without dying and as fast as possible. This also supports multiplayer so you can play this mode online or with another person playing nearby on the 3DS.
Its only major flaw is the story isn't that great. Sure the suspense and beginning of the game is great. But after that, the rest of the game falls short storywise.
What makes this game superior to Resident Evil 6 is the blend of action and horror, which is what Resident Evil 6 tried to accomplish but failed at. Whenever you play episodes staring Jill, you're on this ghostly ship in a horror atmosphere. Chris's episodes are action packed with lots of monster killing. It's not that a Resident Evil game shouldn't have action. The action needs to be implemented in such a way that doesn't diminish the horror mood. Resident Evil Revelations accomplishes this.
This is the best Resident Evil to be released in nearly a decade and it makes number 7 in the top 10 games of 2012.
5. Mass Effect 3http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7bE3hUwylQ
Like some of the best Nintendo games, Zelda and Mario, Professor Layton has found its winning game formula. The professor must solve a mystery and in order to do so, you must solve puzzles in the game. Despite being so formulaic, each game is a gem because they are so vastly different. Each game has its own unique story and set of puzzles so holding true to the same formula doesn't diminish the creativity of each individual game.
Being a portable game, this is likely best played in the same manner one would play Angry Birds or Farmville, although Professor Layton is infinitely better in quality. You need to kill some time so why not solve a puzzle or two? What's your motivation for doing so? Well in order to progress through the story you have to solve puzzles the game throws at you. So you can kill 5 minutes at a time, but you always want to find a reason to come back to this game and mess around with it to see what happens next in the story.
The story in all Professor Layton games is akin to a 10-15 hour episode of Scooby Doo. There's a mystery, often supernatural in nature, and you solve it to see what's really going on. This one does seem to dwell more on Layton's past however, and offers a little more than the previous games. So it's nice to see some more character depth in the brilliant professor.
The puzzles range from being a simple brain teaser, to interactive mini-games, to that one nasty puzzle that racks your brain and bugs you all day until you have that "Aha!" moment of clarity. Want your kid's IQ to jump up 20 points and for them to get straight A's? OK well this game might not be able to do all that, but it'll help.
This game hones your critical thinking skills and is enriching. The 3D graphics are just gorgeous with a lovely soundtrack. The story is charming and the characters are memorable. You just can't go wrong with the number 6 game of 2012, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask.
4. Dragon's Dogmahttp://img.photobucket.com/albums/v254/ ... shot_6.jpg
In order for Mass Effect 3 to make number 5, we have to include the free ending DLC that fixed the game's contradictory and nonsensical ending. Was the game rushed to meet deadlines? Was this corporate calling the shots? Who knows? But the game's conclusion had major flaws. Even prior to this, the game had faults. The new characters weren't interesting at all. James Vega was a joke compared to Wrex or Grunt. Cortez was pretty dull too. He certainly didn't act like someone grieving over his husband. Some of the dialog was stale. The final battle should've been much grander in scale.
Besides that, "Wow!" is all I can say about this game. The previous games propelled it and this game kept up the momentum. This trilogy takes the best of what makes Star Wars and Star Trek good and puts it into 3 games. You have intense action shooting scenes that are just loads of fun to play and provided a plethora of suspense. You have deep intellectual conversations with aliens and people from all over the galaxy and learn what makes us human. You have a story about all races and aliens banding together to stop the annihilation of all life.
The story, the game's highlight, the ability to choose multiple branching paths to decide the fate of everyone you ever met, was just top notch. The game had many touching and sad moments. Anyone who's played can confirm that the scene with Mordin Solus was......so powerful. When Tali first sets foot on......yeah you know.
"I think the real indicator [of gaming's success as an art form] will be when somebody confesses that they cried at level 17." ~ Steven Spielberg
If Spielberg is correct, then Mass Effect 3 is art. I know people who cried. It got me choked up at times. Mass Effect 3 offered you this emotional roller coaster beyond what most movies and TV offer. And while it had some major strikes against it, what made it good was just too good to not prevent this game from leaping up to number 5.
3. Borderlands 2http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-ldjgFHFII
Pictured is my ninja like character on the right and her pawn on the left. Feel free to borrow my awesome pawn who will always enchant your weapons, keep you healed, and be the best party support you can hope for.
See, one of the best things about Dragon's Dogma is the pawn system. After you make your main character, you make a pawn that follows you everywhere. You teach your pawn how you want it to behave. Do you want your pawn by your side to always defend you? Or are you just fine and want your pawn to go off gathering supplies? It's up to you to train your pawn. Dress up your pawn and give them whatever equipment you like them to have. Slavery is wrong in the real world but pretty fun in this game.
You can also borrow 2 other player's pawns from all over the world as your own pawn is available to be recruited in their games. And trading pawns is so much fun. I've seen who the perverts were with their nearly naked female pawns, who the creative artists are with their tiny little girl pawns sporting mowhawks, who is a hardcore player with pawns that have all the best equipment. It's also fun to rate pawns, give them little gifts, and send them on back to their masters.
What's the best aspect of Dragon's Dogma? Easily the combat. When you run across a cyclops you can do so as an archer and rain arrows upon it. Or you can be more precise and aim for its eye. You can set it ablaze with magic. Or sit back and watch the others fight as you heal your team. You could be an up close fighter and smash it with your war hammer. Climb up on the cyclops and stab it right in the eye all thanks to the grab mechanic.
The grab mechanic is perhaps one of the most fun new additions to this game. I can't tell you how many poor unfortunate pawns I lost cause I thought it was funny to pick them up and toss them off a cliff. I also went to jail for trying to throwing around guards and nobility. And I also grabbed a dragon as it tried to fly away, climbed up to its chest, and kept stabbing it in the heart. All this possible with one grab button.
The game has flaws. A recycled final dungeon map? Really? How lame. The environments in the game mostly just look like some standard medieval setting. There isn't anything jaw droppingly beautiful about the game's atmosphere. I also don't like how a really tough optional online boss is set up. Basically every time it's killed the reincarnated version is stronger. So unless you bought this game as soon as it came out, everyone online pretty much killed this boss so many times that it's nearly impossible to kill now. Best to fight this thing offline.
If all these flaws were addressed and you could cooperatively play with someone online and their pawn instead of just trading pawns, this game would be so cool and fun and up there with the best RPGs like Dark Souls. But being just extremely fun and addictive, number 4 isn't too shabby.
This game just overflows with fun. I can't remember if any other game ever made me laugh. But this game made me laugh quite a bit. Whether it be jokes regarding pop culture references, some dark humor, or some silliness that just catches you off guard, this game has quite a bit of comedic value.
What about gameplay? Well this is essentially Diablo with guns, but with an interesting story, some fun first person shooting action, and its over the top ambition. Or you could call it a shorter, more light hearted, action packed Fallout. Either one would be accurate.
This is first person shooter but you have these special abilities like freezing someone in mid air or deploying a turret. There's tons of brightly colored and creative guns, and some of these guns shoot special bullets like fire, lightning, acid, and so on. You have these cool mods for your character or grenades for added effect. I find military shooters boring so it's like Borderlands tried to liven up the simple idea of shooting guns to make it more fun for me.
Playing online with random strangers provides quite a bit of fun mayhem. Or you could play with a buddy. I definitely enjoyed the times that I jumped in to help Anne ******* and her fella progress through the game. It's also fun to play solo and take your time exploring and looking around this beautiful, cell shaded, cartoonish world. You can also challenge other players in a duel which is quite fun. There are so many ways to enjoy playing this game.
There's a few flaws mostly dealing with multiplayer. Play with the wrong person and they could be greedy and grab all the good guns. Or they could be impatient and rush through each mission without letting you really enjoy what's going on. So many other games prevent one person from altering everyone's game so I don't see why Borderlands couldn't have taken these same measures.
Overall, this game has been nothing but fun. I have to confess that I did not finish it yet but I already like it more than Dragon's Dogma and it's possible that it might be better than the number 2 game, but from what I can tell I'm pretty sure number 2 is the better game. In all honestly, I could call this either the 2nd or 3rd best game of 2012 but for now the bronze medal will have to do.
1. Xenoblade Chronicleshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84Y95Uu6vng
This game I believe will be number 1 for a lot of others. This list is of course my own subjective taste so it's number 2 for me, but I can tell the appeal for Dishonored easily spans across so many different types of players so it'll appeal to so many people. Do you like Bioshock? How about Assassin's Creed? How about Metal Gear Solid? You'll like this game then.
You see, when they made Dishonored they did their homework. They know what people liked about Bioshock. They know why the gameplay of Metal Gear Solid was so fun. They know we like to root for the Assassin who takes out corrupt leaders. They gave this one game the appeal of so many highly rated and beloved games.
Set in a fictional city in the Industrial Era and in a world where occultic magic is very real and exists, this game already has a really cool atmosphere and mood. Oh did you know Daniel Licht composed this game's soundtrack? The one who made the theme for the TV show Dexter? He's amazing at making hauntingly beautiful soundtracks as you can tell from this youtube.
So how's this game play? Well this game is interesting in that it tailors itself to how you like to play. If you like to fight a lot you'll create a lot of corpses most likely. This will spread the plague. And now you have more swarms of rats that will attack you. The civilian walking about their business is now a crazed lunatic trying to attack you. This chaos causes more guards to be stationed. The game has consequences for killing and thus the game knows you like to fight so adds more fights and challenge.
You could also go through the entire game not killing a single person. So if your skills at playing games are at a loss, you can always rely on patience and sneak around. The game won't add on extra combat as you didn't create a lot of chaos by spreading the plague. It'll just add on the usual extra challenge as you progress while you continue to sneak and not kill.
I personally liked to sneak around and use my occultic magic, but if I saw a threat I wouldn't waste any time with an assassination. Play this game how you will though. The magic is really cool. Imagine freezing time when you're getting shot at and plucking bullets out of the air to reload your own pistol. Yep, you can do it. Or you can not use magic at all and go purely on your own steam since leveling up your magic will take some more time because you need to find runes. The point is, just about anyone can pick up this game and enjoy it and play it in their own way.
The only flaw to this game is that there wasn't enough of it and it would've been nice to see them go the extra mile with things like a better ending, more areas to explore, and to just give us a bigger and more ambitious game. Cause this game isn't as captivating as Bioshock. It's not quite as fun as Metal Gear Solid. And it's not Assassin's Creed in its prime. This game is a very skilled jack of all trades but still a master of none. And only a true masterpiece gets the number 1 spot. Nonetheless, for any game to be ranked higher than Dragon's Dogma is amazing. For a game to rank above Borderlands 2 is a miracle. For a game to be the 2nd best game in all of 2012 it has to be one of the best and Dishonored certainly is.
For some of you this may not actually be the number 1 game of 2012. What I mean is that this game was released in North America in 2012. Japan and Europe got it much earlier. I guess we here in America liked our Mass Effects and Skyrim so Nintendo or Monolith Soft didn't think it would be marketable here in the States. But thanks to Operation Rainfall, a campaign by fans to get Xenoblade to the US, the petitions and pleas worked as America got a launch date for Xenoblade Chronicles. On April 6, 2012 America finally got to enjoy Xenoblade Chronicles.
And Nintendo and Monolith Soft could not be more right to do so. What a grand epic adventure this is. The size and scope of this game is mind boggling. Just about everything in this game was a delight from beginning to finish. But what made it so good?
If you have 10 minutes to spare click on that youtube and watch the video to get a sense of the amazing art design behind the game. At the very least open it in another window to listen to the best soundtrack in modern games. Never before have I seen game environments this lavish and gorgeous. You see, to enjoy what you see in Skyrim you can hike a trail in Montana or visit Europe and you'll see very similar scenery. What you have in Xenoblade is purely imaginative fantasy.
Not only is the art design creative, but the story has its own unique mythology. The opening cinematic shows two titans, the Bionis and Mechonis, clashing in battle. Make no mistake, when I say titans I mean these things are gigantic. Imagine California standing up and fighting Japan in the Pacific Ocean. That's how big these things appear to be. So the Bionis and Mechonis both deliver a simultaneous fatal blow to each other and fall.
On the Bionis, life begins to sprout and grow until you eventually get to the point that you see the main character and his buddies. And so this game is a story about the battle of these two titans. It's also a story about the worlds that were formed on their bodies. It's also a story about a young man with promise and potential who sets forth on an adventure with his friends. It's a story about the people he meets and how his friends also change and grow. And it's a story about............well I can't quite say because the very end of the game turns everything you knew on its heels and shocks you. The story has so many wonderful twists and turns and then when I got to the very final part I couldn't believe what was just happening.
The gameplay is what you'd expect from a JRPG. In the middle of battle, you choose if you want to fight, use special attacks, and magic. The CPU controls the other 2 characters and you can control 1 character of your choice and issue commands. It helps to coordinate with the friendly AI to deliver some good combos. You craft gems to add extra abilities and boost your stats, level up your characters to learn new skills, and you can also have characters learn some of each other's abilities if their affinity is high enough.
This game is just massive with so much to explore, with each area being so unique and gorgeous. Remember I said about the size of California? Yep you got an idea how big this game is. With day/night and weather cycles and wildlife and monsters populating the Bionis, this game just comes alive. Add to the landscape music that fits every single mood of the game and your senses couldn't be happier.
One problem with this game is that it wasn't intended for release in America. So what we get is some bad voice acting. Would've been nice to have Patrick Stewart voice Dunban or something. I didn't mind it as it reminded me of the charm of a badly dubbed anime. If this is the type of thing to bug you, switch it to Japanese with subtitles to get better voice acting.
Also, this game is just too ambitious that it couldn't quite measure up in some ways. A game like Borderlands 2 or Dishonored can have subquests that flow with the story. You'll see very little of that here. Subquests in Xenoblade Chronicles are a good way to get additional experience and items and be fun little challenges and that's it. It would've been nice if they were more than "Kill this" or "Find this" missions.
Another issue is that this game is not for everyone. This is going to be a hardcore RPG that demands your time and attention. For anyone who misses when Final Fantasy games used to be good and is willing to make the investment of time and dedication, this game will give you back so much in return.
With the Wii's life rounding down as the Wii U emerges, with 2012 coming to an end as 2013 is just around the corner, it is perhaps fitting that the the best game of 2012 be a Wii game. If you got the Wii U, do play this game in upscaled HD. One of the best RPGs to ever come from Japan, quite possibly the best game on the Wii, and the best game of 2012 is Xenoblade Chronicles.