Flapperdoodle's Gaming Blog Ep. 134: Flapperdoodle's Games of the Year 2012! (Part 3)
I'm back! THIS is back! CUE EPIC 2012 POP MUSIC MASHUP GO!
So, we are in 2013. It's already pretty far into the year… time does truly fly. And we are getting ready for a whole new year. We are ready for new games, new movies, new music, new TV shows, and for some of us, new people in us. We are preparing for new stuff, and it looks like we kinda want it more than we should. I mean… last year had some weird stuff. But hey, that happens every year. We always need a refresher. And some of 2013's games have already been played by many, like Anarchy Reigns, DmC: Devil May Cry, and even Ni no Kuni. And they've been… a mixed bag… in every sense of the word…
It's too bad the net few months we'll be discussing don't have much meat. Aw well.
Anyway, let's get started! It's time for "third times the charm" to take effect! Part 3!
Um… guys… cue the month pictures!
Not much to see here everyone, just a few miscellaneous games. Move along everyone, move along. Don't feed the animals, just keep moving. Move along, go, keep driving. I'm sure you have places to be.
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy
Rhythm games have never been my cup of tea, whether it's games like Guitar Hero, DDR, or even Rhythm Thief. None of them truly mesh with me. I mean, I'll play them, but in the end there won't be any true lasting impressions. I'll never take any of the seriously. And while I'd never take Theatrhythm seriously, I still had a fun time playing it. But this is mainly due to how sheerly awesome Final Fantasy music is. I mean, let's be honest, as much as Final Fantasy has had its ups and downs, the music has always been awesome. I mean, "Mambo de Chocobo"? "One Winged Angel"? The Main Theme? The Prelude? It's all so wonderfully wonderful. And many of us have pretended to be a conductor or a drummer as we play along with the songs, so adding a rhythm games element to the game is just making that pretending a reality! It's a lot of fun to just touch along to some awesome songs… especially the Chocobo song… ESPECIALLY. THE CHOCOBO SONG. And not only that, but the awesome art style also works. Look at the title card for a second. See that Sephiroth? Isn't that one of the cutest things you have ever seen? Yeah, I love that. I think it makes the character look really fun and cool. And seeing them jump around is also fun. If you like Final Fantasy, I suggest trying this game out. It isn't going to make the franchise any stronger, but it is still a very fun rhythm game. Still not gonna take it seriously, but still a nice little fling.
Yup, you thought you could escape the indie awesomeness in Part 3, but it is going fast and better than ever, This is Spelunky, an indie game that definitely deserves more fans. Spelunky has you playing as a humble little explorer, on a search for treasure. Sounds like a simple concept, but don't be fooled. Spelunky is like Mary Poppins' purse: it is much more deep than you think. If you enjoyed the Binding of Issac's random dungeon generator, than you will love how Spelunky consistently changes up the level layout each time. It makes the game refreshing with every level, something all games should aspire to be. Spelunky has plenty of enemies to kill, and plenty of ways to kill them. You got an "Indiana Jones"-esque whip you can kill enemies with, and you can jump on them too… but the whip is just so much more fun. The gameplay is simple and easy to master to a tee, but the simplicity is made up for with the ingenious level layouts and the randomness it has. This game also succeeds when it comes to multiplayer, as it has four player modes. This mode has nine available character models, and each one is oozing personality. There's co-op, which is my favorite, and death-match. Both of them are a lot of fun if you are with the right people. I'm truly surprised not as many people I know have played this game. I highly suggest trying it out if you have the tools to discover it. It may look a bit simplistic or childish, but this indie game is one for the books. Definitely one of the most underrated of the year.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Kingdom Hearts has always been on a very consistent path with me. I loved Kingdom Hearts 2, and after that the series stayed pretty much solid. I liked Birth by Sleep, 358/2 Days, and even Coded. Recoded definitely had some problems though, and thankfully Dream Drop Distance doesn't fall to these problems. The main reason these games always click with me is because I love Disney movies. The worlds Disney created are untouchable. The characters are so well made, each one of them memorable in their own right. So, this game essentially leaves me to be an explorer of these Disney worlds. And I love visiting these worlds in a new way. And even the Kingdom Hearts characters are cool. Sora, Roxas, and Axel are awesome characters in my eyes. I can relate to them and love their stories. Dream Drop Distance essentially just adds more worlds to explore and continues the already fun story. They definitely know how to expand the story and make it fully realized, despite the fact a third installment is evident and necessary for the franchise to continue being built. The narrative is dramatic, comedic, and investing, and you truly want to follow the story and know what's going on. It's a lot of fun and I suggest you try it out. This won't make you love the series, I'm sure, but Kingdom Hearts fans shouldn't be disappointed. I'll just sit here… and continue waiting for the evident Kingdom Hearts III…
When I saw this at E3, I was laughing so hard on the inside, and yet growling so much on the outside. Microsoft, look, we get that you still wanna make the Kinect the success. I know you want it to be great, we all do. But it failed. You need to move on. When your add on only works well with ONE GENRE, there's a problem. This needs to be fixed. And Wreckateer won't fix it. But ya know what… screw it. I wanna try this game. It will most likely be bad, there's no doubt there's a large possibility. But the thing is, I've given up on Kinect anyway. So, why play the game to actually see if it has value? I might as well have a good laugh about it. So I obviously haven't played it yet, because I've been doing much more rewarding things with my time. But ya know what, I think a good laugh is in order indeed. If you've played the game, please tell me how it is. Because I am legit curious if this game is worth playing. I doubt it is, but I feel that it would be so much fun to have too much fun with Wreckateer. I mean… it's Crush the Castle… yup. It's Crush the Castle Kinect. ENJOY.
Sadly, August is never a good month for me. I'm up in Fallsburg for nearly the entire month, so I nearly missed out on the best stuff throughout the entire month. I got a little refresher course later in the year, which is my BEST. But then there's the SHOULD'VE.
I have a love of music. I am an avid percussionist, and I love me some jazz, rock, and VGM anyway. I love listening to music, so to see Sound Shapes, a musical platformer make it to full AAA publishing makes me so damn happy. When I got a chance to play it, I swear to you I fell in love, right there. Sound Shapes incorporates music into platforming. Essentially, you control this ball character as you make your way through various environments, collecting circular collectibles littered everywhere in the levels. What's the point? Well, each level starts off with a song, and the level begins to create obstacles and ambience based off of the song. But these circular shapes allow for more elements to be placed in the song, thus making it feel bigger and more like an adventure. The music becomes more filling, the level learns to add new concepts and mechanics. The game grows and grows as you move on, so the game is truly an adventure. But you could go through a level with a simple dormant song and get through it perfectly. That's the beauty. It allows you to choose your own level experience based on what you wanna do and your personality. It's these games that need to be marveled for their artistic creativity. Add that to awesome and colorful graphics, and a killer soundtrack from some truly talented artists, and Sound Shapes is arguably the best Vita game to come out since release.
When I saw the first live action trailer for this game, I was impressed by the production value. But one thing was lacking severely: the gameplay. I was worried at first, but thankfully the game began looking more fun. Then I saw the combat, and I was hooked. Call me immature for loving some bloody combat with amazing weaponry, but it's fun: no questions asked. So, I played the game, and while I wasn't blown away, I still enjoyed myself a lot. Honestly, I did have fun. It's a well made open world combat game. The story was pretty cool, with Wei Shen and the Sun on Yee Triad. It was kinda Grand Theft Auto-esque, if it focused on the Asian Invasion. Yes, I just went there. The combat is easily my favorite part. You guys know how much I love Batman: Arkham City? So the combat in this game reminds me of it so much. There's just a lot of hand to hand ass kickery. Just add a lot more blood and more weapon combat mixed in… and not just regular weapons. I mean overall weapon comedy. Smash any body part, anywhere. Yes. It is as awesome as it sounds. Anyway, the world is very expansive, and I did enjoy going through it and checking it out. It has a lot of fighting to do, and the story will have you encountering things to look at. Sleeping Dogs doesn't have multiplayer, which is disappointing as a whole, but I enjoyed the overall product. It just needs polish, and that's something many games need. Let's hope a possible sequel or prequel will polish it up.
"OK… so you are telling me that there is a game like this that exists?" is what I asked my friend after he described Darksiders II to me. He described it like this: imagine if The Legend of Zelda mixed together with God of War, and some Prince of Persia spiciness was added in. You'd have yourself Darksiders II. And right when I heard that, I promised myself that I would do my best to attempt to play the game, and I did… and I had a ton of fun. Seriously, this may sound cynical but I love playing as a guy named Death. His design is so badass and awesome. The combat is also a lot of fun. Swinging around a large scythe to just kill a ring of enemies barely ever gets old. Sadly, it's a bit overly simplistic at times to just wipe out a ton of enemies. But hey, I love me some good ol' hacking and slashing. You pretty much feel like a complete badass punching and wiping out Ice Skeletons in that first level, and the feeling just stays consistent. Despair is pretty much at equal levels of Epona when it comes to companion ship, as riding him is probably one of the most fun things you could do in the game. My point is, Darksiders II is a very epic game, filled to the brim with badassery. It's a damn shame that with the THQ debacle Vigil didn't get sold. I would've highly been in favor for a Darksiders III. It could continue the already epic story, with all the demons and restoring mankind. I mean… with the ending of this game… you'd have to TRY to make a trequel. I like Death as a character, and seeing him in more epic adventures would be awesome. Thank you Sean H. You have a pretty good sense of good gaming. Darksiders II is a pretty awesome game.
The Last Story
As I've mentioned previously, Project Rainfall was a perfect example of how fans could rally together and make something awesome happen. Xenoblade is one of the best RPGs of the year in my book. And then… The Last Story had to happen. Oh man… why. You know, it honestly isn't that bad. I just like to make jokes at its expense. Honestly, I don't like the game very much, but that's because it is very easy for me to dislike an RPG. It bored me a lot. And I just couldn't feel for any of the characters. The reason Xenoblade worked with me is because the plot was really interesting and the characters were interesting enough. The Last Story just didn't have enough for me to latch onto. The plot is so yawn-worthy, and even the combat is so played out. I mean, hell, not even the graphics are too amazing. It just pales in comparison to much to Xenoblade Chronicles. I mean, it doesn't suck. It doesn't have anything that I would find repulsive. It's just so painfully average and dull to me that I barely lasted a few hours. Thankfully I had some friends to do the riffing we always do. Friends make gaming so much more fun. But, the funny thing is, if Xenoblade and The Last Story are so different from the same project… I don't even know how I'm gonna handle Pandora's Tower. I don't even know what to think… oh boy…
New Super Mario Bros. 2
God. Don't even get me started on this annoyance to my being. Look, I know I may be overreacting a little bit. Everyone tells me this, as the game controls fine, looks amazing as usual, and is a fun romp with everyone's favorite plumber. Yeah yeah yeah yada yada yada. But guys, I just lost it. Ever since Galaxy, I've been waiting for a Mario to truly blow me away. I was waiting for a Mario game to knock my socks off all the way to Timbuktu! At E3, I was upset enough that we were getting two Mario games, from the same franchise, in the same genre, IN THE SAME YEAR. I was already ticked off. But then, what's this? The game literally RECYCLES levels from the original New Super Mario Bros. on the DS. Well, look at that… is Nintendo getting uncreative on us? Apparently somewhat. It just blew me away how lazy this game truly was. Is Mario losing his edge? Is Mario changing? Is Nintendo now using Mario as a moneymaker rather than a game where they can show their artistic integrity? I am starting to get worried Nintendo. Don't fail me. I know you can make Mario fantastic, I've seen it with my own eyes and have played it with my own thumbs. I know when you guys are trying, and I can tell when you are phoning it in. THIS, is phoned. There's absolutely no question. Sure, it looks nice, and it plays fine, but that is not enough any longer. Not only this, but the one mechanic that they stressed, coin collecting in bulk, is not fully realized at all and doesn't have nearly enough strength to hold this game up. Sorry Nintendo, but in the words of an internet meme, "ya done goofed".
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
"Transformers", robots in disguise, it's all awesome. Transformers is a part of my childhood, maybe not as much as everyone else's, but it was still a good part of it. Sadly, I was not a fan of "War for Cybertron". Sure, it was cool to be the transformers, but at the same time, I felt the gameplay was lacking a bit. Plus, the graphics could've used some polish. So, then I hear of "Fall of Cybertron". At first, I wasn't very excited. I didn't see this being much better than it's original game. However, I began to hear some pretty good things. For some reason, it was tighter with the controls, cooler with the graphics, more accurate with the franchise elements incorporated into a story. It looked to be an impressive feat for High Moon Studios, who are actually making the Deadpool game. Sadly, I was never excited to begin with, so this slipped. However, my friend has it for the XBOX, and he enjoys it very much. So, hey, maybe I'm wrong on this one. Maybe this is a fantastic game that I'm pre-judging the wrong way. I don't know. I seem to do that a little often. It's a problem, and I need to fix this. I'll try to get my hands on this game if I can, but there's no promise I may be able to keep. Transformers has a very thin line with how you can portray it in a video game setting. If you mess up, you have a lot of people who will be looking for you. If it's good, we'll praise you like no other. I've seen neither of these things… so what am I supposed to say? Um… I'll play it. I'll try.
Rock Band Blitz
Rock Band and I have a very confusing history. Ya see, Rock Band and I were on good terms in its infancy. I'd play the drums they provided, and me and my friends would rock out to some truly classic tunes. It was a lot of fun the first few times. Sadly, as competition grew with Guitar Hero and Rocksmith coming, I just began to give up on the genre due to over-saturation in the market. So I saw Rock Band Blitz, and I saw just another rhythm game of this stature. But one night, as I was watching a trailer for this game, I was reminded of the good first few times I played games like Rock Band, DJ Hero, Rocksmith, and so on. And ya know what I realized, these games are legitimately fun when you play em for the first time. That rush of playing a really fast song really well. The whole feeling of being a band, and recreating a great song. It's just a great feeling. Even if you messed up a LOT, it still was a fun exhilarating experience. Then, you'd go for another round, and it'd be just as fun. Then, the night ends, and you sleep, and then you wake up. And you say to yourself… "that was pretty fun last night… probably never gonna play that for a while", and just let it sit. Rock Band Blitz just came in a little too late in the game I think. If it came out before Guitar Hero or Rocksmith, it would be seen as ahead of the game. But it just got copied and was seen as a normal fare. Aw well. At least games like DJ Hero still keep up some creativity… right?
The Amazing Spider-Man
Oh Spider-Man, what else is there to say about you? You were the first superhero to truly be relatable to the common man. You are a pop culture icon who has appeared in essentially every area of pop culture, including music. Yes. Music. Your entire concept has been parodied time and time again. There's no exception to the rule, Spider-Man is everywhere. Well, what about video games? Well, he's had his ups (Spider-Man 2) and his downs (Spider-Man 3), but I think Spider-Man has a pretty good record as games go. I like Spider-Man 2, and love Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. So, this game looked to be typical fare for Spidey. It had swingin' from buildings, some epic boss battles, and an overall nice look. Plus… Rhino is badass. No question. But, like many of the games discussed today, lack of overall interest kept the game from blowing in my direction. Ya see, no offense to the fantastic movie, but the game just didn't seem very good. It didn't look to be as emotionally investing as the movie. The game looked to have effort put into it. It just… didn't look too good. Sorry guys. I will say, the building swinging looks top notch. As the spider himself, swinging is important, and they look to have mastered that algorithm. But overall the final product just looked average. If you liked it, good. I am happy if the game is good for you. But for me… whatever. Game looks alright. I'll play it when I get the chance. Simple as that.
School is beginning… yay. More tests, more homework, more stress… who doesn't want that right? But hey, the bright side is that we have more video games to avoid those said tests, homework, and stress. Woot!
Mark of the Ninja
Yep. Another indie game. SURPRISE! Mark of the Ninja is definitely a keeper, and was definitely a surprise for me. I like ninjas, I mean c'mon, who doesn't? But, this game blew me away with how creative and fun it was. Mark of the Ninja IS your ninja game. You play as a ninja (being unnamed is SO much more badass than having name), and he must defeat a crazy troop of ninjas. To do this said takedown, he'll have to use the mastery of stealth. This is where the game is really awesome. Ya know how Assassin's Creed is stealthy, but still kinda more based on knifing people in the stomach? Well, Mark of the Ninja is way cooler with its stealth mechanics than anything else. You really gotta do some sneaking around the get through some of these ninja enemies. And then, right when they least expect it, they get slain so hard. Mark of the Ninja makes you truly wait for that crazy rush of killing some dummies, and my god, is that wait worth it. Some games just have a little bit of stealth, and then you just slay a bunch of guys like a hack n' slash. But Mark of the Ninja makes you wait. It takes its damn time to let know get some action. And those times when you just ninja some guy to death… there's no feeling like it. Not only that, but Mark of the Ninja also adds a rush of being detected. It's just a rush of a game overall. There's lots of intense moments. When that alarm goes off, you best be running. I'd say this little indie gem should be played if you are a fan of ninjas. And by that, I mean everyone should play it. Yup.
Man. This game is popular. Like, seriously, I had no idea how popular this game would end up becoming. People are still raving about this game as much as when it came out. Reviewers have been falling in love with it too. And while FPS games are not exactly a genre I enjoy just due to sheer gameplay mechanics, I can't say I blame them. There's a lot to like about Borderlands 2. There's some very cool and fun elements to Borderlands 2 that are easy to admire. The cast of characters is a ton of fun, with some highlights for me including Salvador, the gun swinging madman, Claptrap, the beyond awesome robot sidekick character, Tiny Tina, the eccentric sassy little skimp, and of course… of course… the sly, witty, hilarious, and overall crude son of a b*tch known as Handsome Jack. Seriously, his script in this game is very funny. I definitely feel he was one of the best antagonists of 2012. Speaking of scripts, Borderlands 2 has a wonderful sense of humor, not only in its characters, but also in its enemies, achievements, and easter eggs. It's a lot of fun to discover all of these things as you play the game. I mean… sure, there's the annoyingly generic Minecraft reference in there, but hey… many games have those. It's easy to get over. But the main reason I really respect this game is because it does such a surprisingly good job of creating a hybrid of first-person shooter and role-playing game. I never could imagine those two genres being brought together previously… but my word, Gearbox has done it. And honestly… you HAVE to respect that.
LittleBigPlanet PS Vita
I love LittleBigPlanet. The series has been consistent in quality, it has created a true community of content creators, and it is probably the best example of truly wonderful four player co-op multiplayer. Nintendo really should be taking notes. So, when the PSVita version was coming out, nothing negative was even sightly surrounding the idea nor its release. It just looked to be yet another fantastic installment in the franchise. And with that said, that is exactly what it is. Sure, in a way LittleBigPlanet's touch has been slightly lost due to the fact that we've played a few games of the series already. And in an ever-changing market, more games like LittleBigPlanet are coming. But LittleBigPlanet still is able to keep tons of its charm just from what it has been doing. The look of LBP is just so genuine with its handmade quality that not many other games can touch it. And let's not forget the multiplayer. Again, Nintendo should be taking some notes, cause this is what NSMBWii should've been in complete honesty. It's fun, and it can be crazy, but the craziness never gets annoying due to the game's life system. But the game truly succeeds in how it makes it feel just as fun with a handheld like the Vita. I dislike the design of the Vita, sure, but this is probably one of the only, if not THE only game where I can forget about the Vita's shortcomings for me. LittleBigPlanet is just too good. Sure, I think LBP2 is probably the best in the series, but Vita isn't far off. It's a very impressive offering from Sony.
Double Dragon Neon
Yeah, let's get this out of the way, IGN's review was horseapples. Yes. I just said that. I know… I know, it's a little bit crazy, but it had to be said. Anyway, when this game was shown off to masses, I didn't really know what to expect. I am not the biggest Double Dragon fan, despite the badassness it does exude. But I am always happy to see a… well… "fan" project go this far. It's not really a fan project, but nonetheless, homages like these usually go a very long way. So, there's not much to say about Double Dragon. It's one of the earliest beat-em-ups ever, and many people truly remember it. It is referenced even to this day. Double Dragon Neon takes the world of Double Dragon and gives it a more new-school nostalgic vibe. Visually, the game is pretty awesome in my opinion. It's not the cleanest, or the most polished, but it is clever, colorful, and really hilarious. I love Billy and Jimmy's new look; kinda punk rockers. Not only that, but I personally feel all the beat-em-up fun is still here in this homage. I love kicking ass and taking names, and doing so in this kind of environment works for me. And with all of the references that Double Dragon has created, there's just so much opportunity here. So many little jokes, some quick humor ought to do it. It's not perfect, and sometimes it gets monotonous and flat in variety, but Double Dragon Neon served its purpose: to remind me where beat-em-ups started and why Double Dragon is loved so much. And now… we can kinda let it be there as a nice homage.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
So, one day, I was playing Wii U with some friends (I have a blog planned to go into more detail on this occasion), and they wanted to play some Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Ignoring how I heard the game was really nothing different for the series and overall forgettable time-waisting material, they popped the game in to play. As I watched the game play before my very eyes, I was shocked to see the game has a team losing to a fight when only one character dies. Sure, it adds strategy, but the game is a TAG team fighting game. That means there are two people fighting. If one goes down, that doesn't automatically mean the other falls down with it. That's kinda dumb, At that point, I nearly dismissed the game out of sheer dumbassery out of that concept. I mean, Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat know how tag team battles work… why can't you Tekken? However, the more and more I remember that day, the more and more I feel I was to overly dismissive. Perhaps the game is a lot of fun, considering I didn't even touch a controller. Maybe the game has some cool bonus modes. Plus, I think there's some kind of customization mode of some sort. I dunno. This is just a perfect example of truly judging a game strictly by LOOK of gameplay and not feeling. I've done it plenty of times, and I truly need to stop. Legit, i do. I need to play this game and make a judgement for myself. Either that, or not use my past experience as an automatic assumption generator.
Games Worth Mentioning:
Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure
Heroes of Ruin
Orcs Must Die! 2
Persona 4 Arena
The Expendables 2: Video Game
Way of the Samurai 4
Ratchet and Clank Collection
Joe Danger 2: The Movie
Kirby's Dream Collection
Dead or Alive 5
Mists of Pandaria
Guild Wars 2
And… that's part 3. Sorry this list has been taking so long to get out. I just finally finished midterms in school, and I am getting less time to write and it honestly is annoying me just as much as you are. I have a TON of blogs to work on, and I promise I'll do my best to get them to you. I just saw Warm Bodies which was interesting, I have a ton of movies to do a Round-Up on, plus I have my top 12 I still haven't finished. I got a ton of other blogs to make. Let's hope I get to those.
See you, hopefully, on the flip side.
- Larry :)