Flapperdoodle's Gaming Blog Ep. 130: Flapperdoodle's Games of the Year 2012! (Part 2)
The year is at it's end... finally.
2012 was an odd year for us. A superhero movie had the largest opening weekend of all time. An african american won a second term as a president, something that has never been done before. The "zombie apocalypse" has become more and more of a legitimate term with all of the strange occurrences. People believed we were all going to die a few days ago, which we did not. Games are continuously being considered art by a mainstream medium as 14 video games were put into the collection of art in the Museum of Modern Art. Weirdest of all though, is that gaming is still being frowned upon with people blaming games like Mass Effect over the Newtown tragedy in Connecticut… my god.
But ya know what, we still love gaming. Gaming gives us experiences that nothing else can. We can enter worlds and get invested into landscapes that are so vivid and expansive. We can enter dungeons and fight off various creatures. We can journey through a pixelated world where you can turn the world 2D… and 3D. We can climb monsters to kill them. We can run at the speed of sound. We can play tennis with dinosaurs and monkeys. We can slow down time and shoot some bastards in the chest. In the same month, we can alter gravity, slay zombies as a cheerleader, play as THE BATMAN, change dimensions, and live through a war story. It's awesome to be a gamer… isn't it?
Well, all of this and more are the subject of Part 2 of this retrospective on 2012 in gaming. Let's get a move-on now.
Ah, Spring. A time to anticipate Spring Break, and get some games to pass the time. Nobody cares about awards yet, and people are just gaming to game. People are having fun and enjoying some sun. See what I did there?
Yeah… it was pretty lame.
I'll be honest, I never expected Project Rainfall to be a success. I assumed it was just some dumb cause for people to complain about localization not happening. But then, it actually succeeded, and I was legitimately impressed. I admit it, I was wrong. I felt even worse about my previous opinion when I played Xenoblade Chronicles… it was awesome. Legit, I felt terrible. Why was I not supportive of this? Xenoblade Chronicles is one of the most enjoyable experiences playing an RPG I've ever had. It's fun, it keeps you on your toes, and the concept is a lot of fun… I mean… there are people who LIVE… ON TITANS… it's pretty awesome. The game is about these two huge robot-esque titans that were in combat and just… were left there to be stuck… I guess. Now, people live on 'em! One day, three friends Shulk, Reyn, and Fiora go out on an errand and see their colony captured. I would go into more detail, but that would ruin the game for you if you haven't already played it. The combat is a ton of fun, as it is real time. Remember the "on your toes" thing I said before? Well… yeah. Because it's real time, things are constantly happening. So you need to focus. Plus, the game's weapons you use are awesome. The swords are seriously badass. The Monado's design captivates me, and then when you see it in action, you truly are impressed. The characters are fun, even if the voice acting can be annoying, and the plot is very well handled. If you want a new, yet satisfying JRPG, Xenoblade Chronicles is your best bet.
Get ready, cause we are about to hit indie game city right now. Three indie games, all awesome. We'll start with Skullgirls. I actually talked about this on Indie Shack a while back, so I'll just do some slight restating. Back… quite a few months ago, I said that the game was a lot of fun, with good fighting and very responsive controls. Sadly, I found it to have a few flaws. For one, it had to small of a character roster. I learned there were some planned DLC characters, but I have yet to see them. I've seen the character ideas, and I think they are open to interesting designs. Other problems included a lack of bulk and over-sexuality. Neither of those have been fixed either. So sadly, this fun fighter is still plagued. But as I mentioned last part, if a fighter has good fighting, I consider it solid. And I am honestly very happy to see a new IP like Skullgirls up and running and fun. Let's hope Lab Zero continues this franchise. I highly enjoy the artistic design of these characters, and all the environments. I think if they expand upon the world they have created, it can be a fun romp. Maybe a bit more of a story, maybe add some different characters that work off of the concept. Ya know… like a male. Maybe. I know that goes against the title, and I think it's really awesome that a game has the guts to have an all female cast. But still… it just seems like an interesting contrast to put a male in there. But hey, I'm just a gamer. What do I know? Either way, Skullgirls is worth the low price you'll be paying for it, but it's still average. Average isn't bad, and I recommend it. But a game needs more than good fighting to be GREAT.
Legend of Grimrock
The next stop on our indie gaming road is Legend of Grimrock, the old school dungeon crawler. If you've seen ProJared's Top 10 Games of 2012, you'll know this made his list, and for good reason. He said he loved it because it brought him back to the good ol' days when first person dungeon crawlers were a lot more common. This is a living example of how successful this game is at captivating its audience. I still don't think this is getting enough exposure, but I'm glad there is a good few who know the greatness. Now that it's part of the Humble Indie Bundle (for more than average price), it could reach a larger audience. The story isn't too complicated, four random prisoners get locked up in Mount Grimrock and must escape. Simple, huh? Well the game gets a lot more complicated, as skill sets must be used to solve puzzles, search the land, and kill off enemies. The combat was a little off to me, but as I've played the game more, I've gotten more used to it. The graphics are really awesome, as the art design is detailed. The dungeon just feels like a dungeon. The colors are dark, yet the various flames and torches light up your way. The creatures are also well designed. They can range from just regularly annoying, to insanely twisted and dark. It's a great contrast, and can cause some awesome shock factor. The game, from the beginning on, is a mystery. You get to explore and truly feel the surprises when they occur. It's a lot of fun, and I fully recommend it. It's a fun way to either return or begin interest in the first person grid-based dungeon crawler.
Oh Fez… oh man. I love this game. I really love this game. After thinking about it even more… I still don't know whether I like this more than Journey. Fez is amazing, and it shows just how amazing a concept can truly be executed. Remember Super Paper Mario? Yeah… I do too unfortunately. One of my major gripes with the game is that the new 2D to 3D concept they used was never fully realized. I feel they could've done more with it, yet didn't do anything extraordinary with it. Now we have Fez, a game Super Paper Mario should be looking up to. Fez takes a really fun and cute title character, named Fez, and takes the awesome concept of 2D to 3D changes in gameplay and totally uses it to it's full potential. Not only that, but it adds platforming and puzzle elements to the gameplay that makes it feel fresh, new, challenging, and interesting. It's also helps that the graphics are so vivid and colorful. Unlike Super Paper Mario, Fez takes its time to rotate its world. It wants to keep you entranced by it's epic pixelated homage of a look. Seriously, it's so beautiful. All of the colors, and how the environments keep colors changing. The day to night element works great as well. Everything just meshes together, and the game is so much fun. The music is somber so you can stay relaxed and appreciate everything. It's just amazing that something this awesome and beautiful can come from an indie developer. I salute you Polytron.
Kinect Star Wars
Oh boy… time to begin the crapping on of the Kinect. This year gave us a ton of really crappy Kinect games. And here's the first one that came out this year that I played. Kinect Star Wars isn't awful per say. There are some upsides to the game. It has some modes which can be fun, and I won't lie, I love seeing Star Wars come to life in any medium. Sadly, Kinect Star Wars isn't very good, and not just because it injustices Star Wars. It's overall a crappy game. Half the time the Kinect does not respond to you, causing you to ultimately fail at whatever you're doing. This is a perfect example of how the Kinect is just not polished enough as a console peripheral. Not only that, but most of the modes are very one-dimensional and are fun for maybe… the first 20 minutes. But then, eventually, you get bored… fast. And that's due to a lack of depth in all of it. It expects you to stay due to the Star Wars license. But what they don't realize is that you can't just plaster a franchise on something and expect people to like it. It needs to be creative. As for the dancing thing… look, I didn't hate it. In fact, it's one of the only parts of the game where the Kinect was responsive… why is dance so good with Kinect. Anyway, I just think it's silly is all. Not crappy… silly. There's a difference. Either way, Kinect Star Wars is nothing more than a cash grab at a popular franchise. It has no depth and no originality in its modes and mechanics. It's overall a wasted opportunity.
Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir
A horror game… on the 3DS? You honestly must be joking. That was me legit first thought on the game. Of course the reviews came in and it was mostly mixed with some negative ones thrown in there. It's what I expected, but why do I regret not playing this game? Well, as I said… it's a horror game on the 3DS. It's either going to scare me (which I HIGHLY doubt), or it's going to make me crap my pants in pure laughter. Despite what people may think, I love playing crappy games if they are bad in a fun way, and this one looks to be that way. I mean, if a horror game fails, it can really fall flat on its face. I love watching that honestly. It's like a train wreck, it's really bad… but you just can't look away. Other than that, I would also be curious to see how they used the 3D effects. The box art is a hand coming out of a book. It is bound to use some of the 3D on the 3DS, and I'm curious to see how they use it. Sure, it might fail miserably, but it's not necessarily the product I'm looking for. Something may be creative but fall flat. Who knows? Some of they things that occur in 3D could be cool in theory. I dunno, maybe I'm looking on the bright side a little too much. Once again, it's a HORROR game on 3DS. It gives itself away. It's probably kinda sucky, but hey, sometimes sucky can be a ton of fun. Then again… curiosity killed the cat… damn. This is hard.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
As I've been saying, this was a BIG year for indie games, and this game was said to be really good. Some of my g1 friends like Smoke108 were saying it was a very good game. And with this year in indie games being so good, that has to be saying something. Sadly, it never came across my radar because none of my friends owned it and I never found time to make for it. That's really it. I'm sure it was awesome. Maybe if I dabbled in research I'd be more invested. Sorry. Don't worry… I really regret not trying it.
One week, I did the Digital Forecast for g1 HybridRain, and I came across a trailer for this game. I have to say, I was impressed. It looked like another place for g1s to express their creative talent and run wild, similar to Minecraft or LittleBigPlanet. It seemed a tad bit simplistic, but I was willing to give it a shot if I found the time. Sadly, I never did. This is because the game didn't have major importance to me, because games that have you riding motorcycles and jumping and stuff remind me of crappy flash games. I've tried so many flash games where you ride a car or motorcycle and do exactly what the trailer showed, and they've all been so one-dimensional. No depth, just plain ol' tricks. It bugs me a little bit honestly. Even so, the creative outlet intrigued me. I'm sure that it's good. The game just looked to be a slight one-trick pony. Just jumping and spinning for momentum and stuff. I probably underestimated it, seeing as I hear it has a good community and a huge fanbase. I will admit, the game looks promising. The graphics are colorful, they look responsive, and the options for the creativity look quite expansive and quite open. But alas, another outlet escapes me. But then again… I always have Minecraft and LBP for that… so yeah. Either way, looks like fun.
I usually dislike any FPS I come across at first glance, but not this. Why? Because I knew the name behind it. Hi-Rez Studios. Before I learned of this game's existence, I had knew of Smite, the game Hi-Rez is working on right now. That game is one of the games I have to play in 2012. It's in closed beta at the moment, and I never got in on it, but my god does it look amazing. You can take control of mythological gods in a MOBA environment, and I love it to death as of now, trailer-wise. So, when I heard first-hand that Hi-Rez was responsible for this game, I was willing to give this game a chance immediately. They are great developers as I see it. I'm sure Tribes has something about it that is unique for sure, I just don't know it. But what I do know is this: it's supposed to be a ton of fun, it's supposed to be easy to find a match full of people, and it's supposed to have a good weapons and leveling system… I think. Honestly, I haven't done much research, but I know a few g1s play it, and they love it. This is just a perfect example of a game that I highly recommend without having played it. I can assure you anything from Hi-Rez is of quality enough that is worth full game price. Plus… the graphics looks pretty awesome too, so that's a plus. I love the character design associated with the logo. So. Badass. Main conclusion… this is probably awesome. Yup.
The year is coming to the middle, and the flowers from April's showers are starting to show their buds. As summer approaches, people begin to get ready for summer vacations. And every gamer knows the best way to spend summer vacation is trying out some new games! What was here to hold us over until Summer? Hm...
Flying mechs? YES. PLEASE. Warhawk was a game I never got into, simply because eventually, it got tiring just playing multiplayer. I wanted a story mode to see this world in an actual narrative. Now, Starhawk comes in, and I think it is a massive improvement over Warhawk. It adds stakes and it adds characters. And while the story is not the most creative, it gets the job done. Emmett and Sydney are a good duo of friends in the game, and I was happy to have two characters like this present. It's better than nothing in my opinion. Now, did I mention the mechs? Are you sure? Positive? No, I'll say it again, FLYING MECHS. HELL YEAH. I love vehicular combat games, and Starhawk constantly feels upbeat with its combat. The battling in the game is fun thanks to the inner details of the combat, as well as the previously mentioned narrative and characters. Unlike Warhawk, I highly enjoyed looking into the world of Starhawk. The environments are well-detailed and fun. The characters are pretty fun, and allow the narrative to be executed very well. The 32 player online is also a ton of fun. I don't think people realize that massive multiplayer games may seem daunting due to a large scope of people… but the thing here is, that's not true in the slightest. As Battlefield showed us last year, large multiplayer games are awesome! Don't be afraid developers! We love them! We truly do! So, in the end, Starhawk is easily a massive improvement over Warhawk thanks to the narrative and characters. It made me enjoy the game a lot more. I got into it and I appreciated the game's creative turns. Adding these elements allowed for a more creative and a more refined game in general.
Max Payne 3
I had not much experience with Max Payne at the time this game came out. In fact, I had played none of the games. At all. So I heard this game was coming out, and I decided to step out of my comfort zone… sorta, and try the game. I'm not one for first person shooting gameplay, nor violence, but everyone was saying it was fun. So, did I like it? Yeah, I enjoyed my time with it. Is it one of the greatest of the year? No… not really. It's just not my thing. But is there stuff I like? Definitely. The things I liked the most are the story and characters. Max Payne was a very intriguing character for me. His depression and overall personality was interesting to watch come to life. He obviously has been through a ton of crap, so seeing him interact with various characters is… in a way, fun. You wanna know how he'll respond. The rest of the characters are also good on their own, and they compliment Max as well. Rodrigo, Raul, and even Fabiana do alright as side characters. Now of course, the gameplay is fun mostly, and of course, bullet time rocks. Seriously, I loved using the bullet time. It reminds me of Dead-Eye from Red Dead Redemption, which was one of my favorite parts of the entire game. The bullet time mechanic was very well incorporated into gameplay. It didn't feel like a gimmick, it felt like the something that enhanced the gameplay as a whole. As usual, the combat was fine, as first person shooting is never perfectly comfortable for me. The multiplayer is good. It's pretty much the gameplay with other real people! Yay! So, in conclusion, Max Payne 3 is probably a game most of you will enjoy more than me. But for now, it is ok with me. Good characters, good story, good mechanics… good game.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II
I was very impressed with Sonic's return to 2D form with Sonic Team's "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1". It was a fun 2D platformer that definitely felt like good ol' Sonic again. Sure, it had some physics problems, but I personally felt they were easy to overlook to realize how successful Sonic Team was at recapturing 2D Sonic. So, I was stoked for the eventual second episode. I kept hearing all of these awesome things, and boy did they deliver. Sonic 4 Episode II is pretty much Episode I but improved. Episode II gets rid of the crappy physics errors, as playing through levels feels as seamless as the older 2D games. You can go fast, and stay fast. Not only that, but level design is very creative and a lot of fun. The colors and the cool backgrounds are a lot of fun to look at, when you actually take the time to see them. The stages are in beautiful, crisp 3D, and they couldn't look better. The levels themselves are fun, with elements that feel very reminiscent of older Sonic games. And of course, Tails is a great addition to the gameplay mechanics. Instead of being annoying, having another player control him actually can be fun and can make gameplay feel fun. Tails is no longer somebody who just dies on a whim, he's a way to make multiplayer awesome. Let's hope for Episode III in the VERY near future.
Mario Tennis Open
Oh, it has problems. It is for sure plagued. For one, the annoying camera gets in the way a lot. I hate how I need to set a feature to have a simple overhead view. It's also a little bare bones in the modes department. But there's a lot for me to personally love. The Mario Tennis series does a very good job of simplifying the sport of tennis down to a science of buttons. It's the simple hitting of some buttons and letting the ball go across the court. It's simple fun gameplay, and I love that. It's a lot of fun to just play an either simply fun, or a crazily intense game. I have a ton of fun with my friends no matter what game we're playing, so a crazy game of tennis is no exception. Also, despite what nay-sayers say, I think the customizable aspects are pretty cool. The costumes are, to say the least, adorable. I can't resist having my Mii clothe himself in the epic red hat and blue overalls. I like the character roster selected, as Nintendo barely ever disappoints on that front. The graphics are colorful and clear, as always, and the game is overall fun. It's simple, sure, but that's really the best part about it. I wasn't going into Mario Tennis Open looking for a masterpiece of a sports game. What I got is what I wanted: a fun installment in the Mario sports series. And I enjoyed it as that and that alone.
Capcom has been… going through some trouble lately. With all of their poorly made decisions over the last year or so, they've left some very tart tastes in people's pieholes, and I say that in this way because people never shut up about it. I was waiting for Capcom to give me something I could take in and enjoy, a new IP perhaps. They've been relying on Resident Evil and Street Fighter for too long. So what did we get? Dragon's Dogma, a new IP for Capcom that succeeded in making me have faith that there is creativity in Capcom… somewhere. Dragon's Dogma was a truly fun, and a truly new feeling from Capcom. Sure… it's kinda like Monster Hunter, but I like Dragon's Dogma more exciting… mostly. It was an open world adventure, full of mighty dragons, dungeon crawling, and annoying AI pawns! YAY! My favorite part of the game is the boss gameplay. I love Shadow of the Colossus, so seeing more awesome boss climbing is something I extremely admire. Sure, the bosses aren't really as big of SotC, but I really like it still. The world is very expansive. It feels like Capcom imagined the world first, and then thought long and hard to bring it to life. It's great to look at the world and explore what it has to offer, but sadly, the game's main drawback is that there's no easy access to a system where you can travel around fast. You have to run… everywhere, and considering the running speed isn't so fast… this doesn't help. You can have fast transportation, but it's incredibly expensive. There's some other annoying flaws in there, like the annoying bad AI or the lack of multiplayer. That's a big flaw to some, but the single player experience is so expansive that it makes up for the lack of multiplayer. Either way, Capcom did good with Dragon's Dogma. I am very happy a sequel is being planned, and I hope Capcom uses this IP to its fullest potential… but don't push the envelope…
Ah… more indie games. How can you not bask in the glory… This one may sound familiar to you, considering ScrewAttack promoted the hell out of it around its launch date. They played it on Screwin' Around, and many g1s found it awesome… for the time being. I have not seen many g1s buy the game, and hey, neither have I. But I have spent many hours playing the game with my friends, and if I did have Steam, I would buy this game at the tip of a hat. Combine epic characters, a fun story, and some hilariously fun online gameplay. I'm not used to 2D side-scrolling run and guns, and I haven't played many of them. But this game just got me, for real. The characters in this game are just so amazingly creative and fun. From crazy kickass characters like Sheriff Lonestar and Yuri, to some new additions like Derpl Zork or Skolldir, the cast of characters is all around a lot of fun. With new additions coming all the time, the cast is just gonna get better. Not only that, but the skill sets and items are awesome as well, as the title is very accurate. The combat is very open to multiplayer, and the online works wonders. My friends and I have spent hours… yes, HOURS playing a ton of games. Trying out plenty of characters allows a lot of variety, as you feel the need to master them all. And that's a lot of movesets, and a lot of strategy. With some awesome stages and graphics that are just so colorful and so quirky, Awesomenauts is just one of those games that needs to be played. It is a ton of fun, and it is a MUST-PLAY multiplayer experience. Your friends will love it, whether they are one for competition or cooperating. There shouldn't be an ounce of hesitation, for the love of god, buy Awesomenauts. Not an ounce of regret included.
HONORABLE MENTION: Wrath of the Lamb
I won't spend too much time on this seeing as it is an honorable mention, but I would love to mention how awesome Wrath of the Lamb is as a DLC pack. The Binding of Issac is a fantastic game all on its own, and it's expansive already. It's very random, it's got lots of enemies, items, and worlds, and it can be replayed over and over and over. The replay value is through the roof. Then, Wrath of the Lamb came along. Now the replay value is through the space-time continuum. So many more bosses, items, and various stuff to unlock. Also, did I mention another ending? ANOTHER ENDING. Hell to the yes. If you love games with a ton of stuff… like… a ton of stuff, Wrath of the Lamb is the perfect example of an expansion that does… in fact, expand. It's like a bag of candy, that is triple the size the next morning. A lot. Buy it. Now.
Oh man… so bad. No wonder it won a SAGY. My god… I am not getting any of that hour back. I was furious after playing this game, mainly because there was so much laziness seeping underneath it. The gameplay is repetitive, the graphics are glitchy and awful, the entire concept has holes poked all over, and the game does nothing to be creative or stimulatingly different. For one, the game is too short for its own good, being four hours. That is nowhere near an acceptable time limit for a first person shooter campaign. Straight-up disrespectful to the $60 people have to pay. There is boring gameplay, with nothing special involved. It's basically mission after mission with stupid tacked on RTS segments, which also aren't good either. It's also so contentless. There's barely any levels, there are barely any weapons to use, and there's NO MULTIPLAYER. That is an insult to the genre of FPS. Nothing more, nothing less. It's a bare bones game that feels like nothing more than a cash grab. It's controls are a perfect mixture of jerky and wobbly. I had so much trouble getting into the game with such crappy controls. The graphics are boring, with bland colors and no effort put into textures of any kinda. The story is lazy and shallow, with no depth in the slightest. I was never interested in seeing the movie, because I knew it would be a simply lazy cash grab. But to see a game come out of the movie just makes the existence of the movie even more painful. Why couldn't Battleship just be left alone? WHY? This game is a perfect example of a modern day cash grab. You can tell certain sanctions of the gaming industry are running low on brain juices, because this game is so mindlessly dull and generic, it might as well not be called Battleship. It should be called "Call of Halo of War 5". Bleh.
I'll admit to it, because I am not afraid to. Sorcery looked like a very interesting game. When it was revealed at E3 two or three years back, it looked like the only game that the Move could actually be used with for justice! Yeah, nope. Honestly, I was so upset that this game wasn't good. I didn't hear that it sucked hard, but I didn't hear it was good. So, I played the game, and overall left disappointed. This is mainly due to three things. First of all, the game at times can be very boring. It's all waggling, and the exploring is not always fun due to various landscapes being graphically repetitive and not that creative. The second thing is the lack of replay value and unlockables. After I played through the rather medium campaign, I never felt a need to try it again. It always felt like a one time thing, and I barely ever see that as a good thing. The third thing is that it overall didn't feel like a truthfully good game. It just felt average and nothing more. Sure, the graphics are pretty cool, but besides for that awesomeness factor, there's not much to love. I will give the game credit where credit is due, and say that the Move is used pretty well here. You are not going to find a much better game where the Move is used. You wouldn't think a game lending itself to waggle would be the best choice, but surprisingly enough, the spells are incorporated well into the gameplay, and it works. Was it a game I would call a true success? Not really. It's fun, and it gets the job done, but the game is a bit of a disappointment more so than fulfilling. It's not THAT bad. If you were interested in the game around E3, trying it out wouldn't be too harmful. It's nothing of a masterpiece, but if you need a rental to pass the time, look no further. It's alright for what it's worth. But I still think it's a bit of a letdown.
Fable has been a very on and off series. Fable 1 was good, and Fable 2 is also very good. But Fable 3 is undeniably bad. Awful even. No, god awful. No, so god awful that… sorry, off topic. Anyway, so I heard that Fable Heroes was coming out… and it confused me to all help. Apparently, it decided to go in a hack and slash direction combining the cute graphical style of LittleBigPlanet. Ok, sounds like am interesting idea. It sorta looks like the Zelda minigame in Nintendo Land, to a tee of course. There's costumes to get and items to find. Plus, I hear there are a ton of characters to play as, which is something I always appreciate no matter what game. This game is one I just never passed by. I heard about it a month or two ago… and yeah. That's it. I mean… there's not much more to say actually. I know this seems kinda bare bones, but I honestly didn't care to find time to play the game. It looked like fun, but apparently it doesn't have a lot of good reviews. It got a 3.5 out of 10 on Destructoid. Yeah… apparently it sucks. Well… that dream just died. If any of you have played it, please let me know how it is. I legitimately am curious. It looks like fun, and it looks like something I would be very interested in. I love hack and slash games. I love adventure games. I love cute graphics. The stitching is so awesome. But… it's gotten such crappy reviews. Maybe it's a bad game. Maybe the gameplay is repetitive. Maybe it has crappy controls. Maybe it is a very bland game. Oh man… this is so confusing. Ok, let me wrap this up. Is it good? Tell me, honestly. I am gonna do my best to play Fable Heroes in 2013. Give me some expectations now while I still am pure.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
This is a good example of a movie that lost me due to it being delayed so much. At E3, I saw the Kinect demo for the game, and I got pumped. The game looked kinda alright to me at first, but the Kinect feature looked so awesome. A fully customizable gun? Hell yeah! But eventually, the game got pushed back… and pushed back… and pushed back again. The gaming scene had me all up in the rush that this game fell to the wayside. As I went to write this article, I finally remembered I missed this game, and it sucks. It looked to be a fun FPS game with some true bulk to it. Sadly, it kinda slipped by me. I guess the indie game phenomenon was so huge and so impacting, I must've forgotten. Wow. Another reference to that. Anyway, I will admit, the more I think about it, the "greatness" of the game continuously faded the more and more the Kinect was failing. Truthfully, I came to the realization that the game was probably more of an FPS than I wanted it to be. True, the Kinect thing was cool, but it was probably nothing more than a gimmick. It just didn't work out. Even after good reviews… it still didn't seem right for me to play the game. It's weird though, it seems like the game I should be into. Apparently is took a new approach at cover based shooting. That sounds pretty awesome. It also is supposed to have lengthy campaign. That also sounds awesome. There's also invisibility camouflage. AWESOME. You can control drones. AWESOME… ER. So, while it does surprise me I'm not more into the game, there are reasons the interest falter. Release dates being pushed, less knowledge being seen about the game overtime, and my overall disdain for the FPS genre. But nevertheless, the game is probably good. So have fun with it if you have it.
Ah June… it's my favorite month… mainly because that's the month of my birthday! So, this is where I consider games I wanna get for my special day. Plus, it's the final month of school! The wait for Summer couldn't feel any longer. So, what did the gods of gaming give us to get our hands on before Summer? Well... no terrible ones. Seriously, NO WORST GAMES! WOOT!
Depth? No… Fun? Yes. Those four words can perfectly describe the experience I had with Lollipop Chainsaw. Now, as deep and emotional as a game about you playing as a cheerleader and using a chainsaw to defeat an army of zombies with your boyfriend who is solely a head sounds… it actually can be a very fun game. There are some things that the game needs work on. The comedy can be very hit or miss, and it misses A LOT when it deals with cheese and annoying cuteness. The combat can feel sluggish at times and needs to be more slick, and most importantly, the combat needs to be more varied with attacks and enemies. A lot of times we just get a very typical horde of zombies over and over, and the game begins to feel more button-mashy than ever. At the same time though, Lollipop Chainsaw is full of lovable characters. Juliet, while at times a bit too girly, comes off as a likable heroine. Her and her head of a boyfriend Nick work well of off each other, and the whole family in the game also work well. The voice actors are obviously in their element, and the cutscenes are well animated and fun to watch. Now, I do think the combat is cumbersome at times, and it needed to be more varied… but dammit, wielding a chainsaw and whooping zombie ass is just so much fun. Sure, it's a bit dumb after so long, but I just love using a weapon as deadly as a chainsaw. It's just a lot of fun. It feels awesome to kill a large group of zombies man. There's not much depth in it, sure. But it's fun. It can be silly, but that's where the fun lies. There's also some shopping elements of upgrading, and that works well too. It gets repetitive, but these are just one of those games where you need to grab a friend. With a friend, the game becomes more fun. Dem chainsaws man… dem chainsaws…
Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes
I seemed to be the only one that liked the first LEGO Batman. I thought the incorporation of all the villains was awesome, and I think for no spoken word, the narrative came across quite nicely. So, when I heard they were coming out with a sequel, I was excited. I personally hated how LEGO Indiana Jones got a sequel before this, so I was glad this finally got a sequel. Not only that, but this sequel would actually incorporate a ton of the other DC superheroes like Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and more. And the game succeeds on pretty much what the last game did. This huge roster of characters allows for a lot of varied gameplay, as each one has special powers that allow for gameplay to be enhanced. And with plenty of the levels having places only specifically accessible by other heroes, there's a lot of replay ability involved. You'll have to unlock the characters and revisit levels. I've already went on a rant about how awesome the collectibles system is in LEGO games, and LEGO Batman 2 continues the awesomeness here, with an open world to explore and collect. A big thing, that I think works at times and doesn't at others, is the voice acting. This was a new edition to the franchise, and while some voices don't really work perfectly with some heroes, the most important voices are perfectly placed. The voices for Batman, Joker, and some other villains like Penguin and Two-Face are great voices. The voice acting obvious helps the narrative move along a bit more smoothly, and this is needed seeing how they are juggling even more characters than the last game. I liked the voice acting, but sometimes it could get grading. Look, this game is mainly loved by me because I am an utter… utter fanboy when it comes to superheroes. I love them so much, to see all of my favorite Justice League members in a LEGO game with all new designs and stuff was awesome. This is easily better than the original LEGO Batman, due to sheer characters. Also, the vehicle gameplay is really. Really. Good.
Indie games, indie games, indie games!!! I can't get enough of em, and I never will. As a huge fan of Portal, I love myself a puzzle based platformer. And when I heard one of the people behind Portal was making this game, I was immediately signed on to play this. i kept learning more about the game, how it had multiple dimensions and you had to swap them out as you platformed your way through stages. Literally, as you are moving around a stage, you need to switch to various dimensions… on the fly. That's actually really awesome. There's a fluffy dimension, a slow-down dimension, a heavy dimension, and reverse gravity dimension. The levels looked deep, the comedic aspect looked spot on, and everything just oozed polish. After finally playing it, Quantum Conundrum is easily one of the movie underrated games of the year, straight up. The levels and the platforming in the game are really good. You'd think it would be impossible to switch dimensions as you platform. But the truth is, it's actually very fun. Yes, it gets very difficult, but that just adds to the challenge. Sometimes the platforming aiming is a bit too precise, but I think mot of the jumping is good. You gotta, for example, throw a fluffy box out in the open gap, and then go to the slow down dimension to slow down the fall of the box so you can jump on the box and get past the gap. It's very interesting real-time puzzling. It pretty much feels like Portal, but you need to keep an eye on it more. Speaking of Portal, the game feels like it A LOT, and there's no complaining there. A big element here is the comedy, which is classic Portal-esque subtle, chuckle-worthy, and fun comedy. Dr. Fitz Quadrangle, while not as laugh-out-loud funny as GLaDOS or Cave Johnson, Quadrangle is funny in that "this old man is so damn cute and adorable" sorta way. Plus, the cat and the fish were mastered when it comes to subtle image humor. Their looks when they switch dimensions… aw man… that's great. If you like Portal, this is all the way up your alley man. And even if you don't love Portal, I still suggest trying it out. It's a lot of fun in my book.
Spec Ops: The Line
As I've mentioned a lot, FPS games are not for me. And the war shooters are even worse, as many of them feel very generic, boring, and repetitive. What I've always hoped for is a game that is truly a war experience, and not some blatant reenactment. What I got this month was Spec Ops: The Line. Why is this game so special? Because it easily has one of the best stories in any shooter I've ever seen. You can tell the people in the game were doing their best to put you in the wartime experience. And they did, marvelously I might add. The characters act like they are in a war setting. Things happen that feel like they belong… in a war setting. But most importantly, YOU FEEL like you are in a war setting. It's hard to imagine war shooters being so bad at this, but Spec Ops: The Line is one of the only ones who have done this successfully in my eyes. There aren't many other honorable ones I can think of. Spec Ops: The Line does everything right plot-wise. The characters are interesting, and the story is very gripping. The gameplay is also awesome, with a true feeling of thrills and being on your toes that only a TRUE wartime shooter can give you. Various Gears of War and Call of Duty campaigns give nothing of the sort. The graphics are realistic, as well as the world, and I think the sounds fit too. Everything about it has polish oozing out of it. It's just a very realistic shooter. I can't believe it took THIS long, but it has finally come to us. This is definitely a must play for FPS fans. If you are tired of Call of Duty and Gears of War, hell, even Halo, Spec Ops: The Line gives you a true feeling of war and drama. The graphics are also really good. I may not be in personal love with the game as a whole, just because there are some design choices I would've altered, but I can easily respect when someone truthfully puts time and effort into a chilling story, and by george does it show here. People should be taking notes. It's an emotional experience unlike any other war shooters, and it deserves to be played by all.
Pokemon is very stagnant, or at least is has been very stagnant for the last few years. Even though Pokemon has had a lot side games over the years, none have come close to the popularity of the main handheld RPGs. Not even the highly underrated Pokemon M4ystery Dungeon. So, when I heard there would be a tactical role-playing game, I was excited. A change to the gameplay, including new graphics, a new story, and some interesting mechanics? Sign me up! So… apparently I missed the interesting meeting or the induction, because I didn't play this game at all. And it's a shame really. I don't have much else of an excuse besides for… well, laziness. It's sad, but oh so true. Here's the thing about life… the thing that makes the world go round is money. At the time this game came out, I had no money. Now that I do actually have money, I would be willing to buy the game, if it was for a lower price. I'm pretty sure it will be, as games like this that are, in a way, obscure usually are. Maybe for like… $30 or $35. $45 is a bit of a stretch. I mean, the game looked very interesting. The characters looked new, and very interesting in design. There's a ton of fun and cute Pokemon sprites designed specifically for the turn based gameplay. Speaking of which, the turn based gameplay looks very intriguing. Not only is it different, but it actually feels like it could carry some weight. I really hope this game gets some more exposure so there can be a sequel. With Pokemon X and Y being announced and looking to be a new turn for the series in a very bright spotlight, a more exposed Pokemon Conquest sounds good for Pokemon. Maybe let Game Freak add their creative touch. It looked to be another new genre for Pokemon to experiment with. And trust me, there are plenty of those. I am still waiting on a GOOD Pokemon platforming adventure game that has 3D and 2D platforming. Maybe it will happen someday, but for now, I gotta get my hands on this one, and fast.
Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor
I know, it sucks. I've seen the Angry Joe review. I watched ProJared's top ten worst games list. I saw all the horrible gameplay, I saw the Kinect barely functioning, I saw it all. But did I experience it? No, and I regret it. Look, I know that they say not to go play these games. But here's the thing about games that are this bad, they need to be experienced. I need to know how bad they are. Seriously, I NEED to see them. Ya see, I wanna go into gaming in some form, whether it be design or journalism. So, I need to know how bad these games are so that way I can learn of how bad they are, take it in, and learn. I need to know how bad it is. I HAVE TO KNOW. And look, I'm probably never gonna own the game… bless my soul. I'll probably only play it, maybe twice. Just to know. Ya see, I never like judging something concretely until I actually experience it. Even if I can so easily jump on a bandwagon, I need to play it fully. Who knows, maybe I'll appreciate something nobody notices… I'm kinda like that… a lot. I will say though, I've begun to despise the Kinect more and more every day of the week. It's begun to show less and less promise, and it is annoying me to the high heavens. Sometimes, I just wanna take copies of games lIke Dragon Ball Z: Kinect and throw them into a fiery cesspool. But I need to play them first, making that justified. Anyway, back to Steel Battalion, the game just looks awful from head to toe. Even the characters who have gotten some praise look bad to me. Although smacking them in the face looks fun. Plus, is it just me, or is the idea of combining a controller with Kinect really stupid. I never got the draw-in from that. The graphics looked smudgy, the mechanics and buttons/levers looked confusing, and everything just looks… oh god, so awful. In the end, would I regret playing it? Yes, most likely on a mental level. But on an emotional level… I have to play this game… just to feel the rush of awful.
As the Vita has been an anomaly for me, I can't help but be curious as to how this game would've turned out. I dunno why, but this one looks interesting to me. I actually never was interested in the game at all, I saw it, and I let it be. But, it seems like I just may have missed out on something. People seem to be impartial on it, but now that Sony has put it on the roster for Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, the game must have… "significance". Well, then again… many of the roster's characters don't have much of that said quality. OK, so maybe that isn't the best example of why I should play the game, but hey, there are other things. I like manipulating gravity in any game, and Gravity Rush looks to actually do this in a fun and exciting way. You get to fly and stuff. The way the flying works kinda reminds me of Nights on the Wii. I dunno, it's all mystical and fast. There's also combat in her gravity kicks, which look like a lot of fun to kick ass with. There's also walking up walls, which always a plus in any game… ever. But there's also some role-playing elements like side quests and leveling up. I actually didn't know that. I guess research really does help with a game purchase. Plus, there's an open world to discover! Hell yeah! And of course, there's the Vita's incorporation with the game. The Vita's gyroscope is the biggest feature, as it has a huge incorporation with the moving and flying around. I don't like the Vita's design, so I can only hope I'd like the game despite all these VIta gimmicks. It honestly looks like a fun game. A new IP too, which is always appreciated. I sorta feel bad for not playing it, as I always try to give new IPs a chance and try it. Of course… it's on the Vita. A bit of a downside for me. I'm just afraid that the game will let me down due to the Vita. Well, you can't knock something until you try it, right? Let's hope Gravity Rush and a Vita comes into my hands soon. Cause I wanna fly and manipulate some gravity, b*tches!
Games Worth Mentioning
Risen 2: Dark Waters
Game of Thrones
Resistance: Burning Skies
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion
So guys, this list is only gonna get bigger, So sadly, this list is gonna go throughout the month of January. Plus, with various other blogs I wanna post later on, these list entries will be few and far between, sadly. But hey, enjoy 'em while they last. Lots of pictures. Lots. Anyway, see you all on the flip side!
- Larry :)