Monday, December 31, 2012

Year of Gaming (2012)

For the first end-of-the-year post on What They Call Games, I thought it would be good to start a tradition for future years. Here I'll look back at all the games I played the most during the year. They aren't necessarily the hottest and newest games of the year, they're just whatever I happened to play. For each, I'll give a short review and share my thoughts on them and I'll put them approximately in the order in which I played them during the year. Since I played quite a few games this year, I'll be splitting this into two parts. Here we go!

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii) - I actually liked the motion control for this game and it'll be hard to go without it in future games. The overworld wasn't all that fun to explore but for the first time since Wind Waker I actually cared about doing side-quests for some reason. The story and characters were better than usual and it was overall one of my favorite Zeldas.

Rayman Origins (PS3) - This is a super good and often challenging platformer that I think surpasses the New Super Mario Bros. series in many ways. With time trials, hidden cages, and target scores to attain in each level, there's a lot to do if you want a challenge. The music and graphics are great too. You should definitely check this one out.

Terraria (PC) - I keep coming back to Terraria. As much as I tried to like Minecraft, I wasn't able to get into it because of the lack of a goal and permanent progress. Terraria is different from Minecraft in a lot of ways, but one of the main things that makes me prefer it is that the bosses, weapons, and armor (which don't break like they do in Minecraft) offer more concrete goals to work towards. There really is a heck of a lot to do in this game and it's easily worth the price.

Chrono Trigger DS (DS) - If you like RPGs at all, you need to play Chrono Trigger. I can't believe I waited until this year to finally finish it. I didn't actually do any of the things exclusive to the DS version, but having the battle menus on a separate screen definitely made it look nicer than the original SNES version. The story, characters, music, and battle system are all great. It's hard to find anything wrong with this game.

Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World (Wii) - I had been in the middle of this for a while and finally finished it this year. The battle system was fun, as is always the case in Tales games, and capturing monsters was pretty neat. Unfortunately, the story didn't get interesting until the very end. If you're a fan of the series, you'll probably like this, but otherwise you might want to try a different Tales game instead.

Journey (PS3) - You may have noticed that Journey has been winning some awards lately. I'm not sure if it's deserving of "Game of the Year", but it certainly is a unique and enjoyable experience that shouldn't be missed. Like That Game Company's other games, Journey is interactive art; the graphics and music are absolutely beautiful, but I think even gamers who don't like "art games" like Flower and Flow might like Journey. At least check it out. I recommend playing through it in one sitting and taking precautions so that you won't be interrupted while you play. Getting distracted in the middle of Journey is like hearing a crying baby in the middle of a concert of classical music. Don't let it happen.


Tales of Graces f (PS3) - I received the Japanese version of this as a gift just a couple weeks before the English version came out. It took me till the middle of summer to finally finish it, but it was quite fun. I didn't think the story or characters were as memorable as other Tales series games, but the battle system was better than ever. It's certainly a solid entry in the series and worth playing.

PixelJunk Shooter (PS3) - This PSN game is a fun gem. You fly around and shoot things and move fluids to rescue little guys standing around in caves. It's not like "holy crap the most fun game I've ever played" but it's well polished and enjoyable to the end.

Twisted Metal: Head On (PS2) - So apparently this is a remake of a PSP game? I didn't know that at the time. I bought it because the new Twisted Metal was coming out for PS3 and I wasn't about to pay full price for it. I had fond memories of playing Twisted Metal on PS1 one time so I wanted to try another one. This one was pretty fun, but I felt that it lacked polish; winning a round was just a sudden notification without much fanfare and the presentation throughout the game was lacking. Overall though, the gameplay was fun. But I mostly just remember trying to beat the last boss in co-op story mode over and over. After playing the latest Twisted Metal, I don't want to go back to this one.

Twisted Metal (PS3) - I didn't have to pay full price after all because my friend bought this game to play on my PS3 (and later his own PS3 just for this game). The online multiplayer is super fun and blowing people up never gets old. The single player mode is mostly frustrating and has a hodgepodge of challenges, including especially annoying races, so you'll want to get this one for the multiplayer. It should've probably been a $35 game rather than $60, but you can probably find it for that price or cheaper by now. Watch out though, it requires an online pass (*shakes fist*).

Superbrothers: Swords & Sworcery (PC) - The graphics and music are nice (when there actually is music), but as a game it's not that great. You'll be walking back and forth by clicking and waiting for your character to move across the screen. The puzzles mostly consist of clicking everywhere on the screen until you find the magic clickable areas. The Twitter integration that was hyped was useless to the game and just an advertising scheme (though I wouldn't be surprised if you wanted to share some of the game's amusing quotes). Also whenever a review says you have to wait for the actual moon phase to change to complete the game, they're lying because you can change it in-game. Gosh.

Super Mario Kart (SNES) - I got this from Club Nintendo for Wii Virtual Console. Playing it now brought back memories of when I played with my uncle as a kid. I definitely didn't remember the "mini"map taking up half the screen though. The physics were also hard to get used to, but it was more fun than I expected.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent (PC) - I didn't get too far into this one. It's not that it scared me exactly... it just gave me a headache to play and was tiring and not all that fun. I guess I'm not that into horror games. And, well, saying that it didn't scare me is kind of a lie. But really, I was fine until that one painting changed.

Braid (PC) - During the summer I went back and tried to finish a couple indie games that I started previously. Braid was one of them and I can recommend it without hesitation. It's more of a puzzle game than a platformer and the puzzles alone make it enjoyable. But I'm sure glad I went back and finished it; the last level is mind blowing and makes the whole game all the more worthwhile.

Limbo (PC) - Another indie game that I needed to finish, Limbo also is more puzzler than platformer, but these puzzles all involve figuring out how to not die in a given situation. The deaths are usually gruesome and unexpected, but rarely frustrating. The unique art direction and clever puzzle design really makes this game shine.

Bastion (PC) - This may end up as next year's newly finished indie game as I never did complete this one. It's really good though. The music is great, the narrator is great, the story seems like it might be great if I went further, and the gameplay is much better than I expected (that is to say, great). For some reason, the isometric view made me hesitant, but it really is all around fun to play.

Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS) - For my first 3DS game, I definitely made the right choice with Kid Icarus: Uprising. This game is absolutely packed with content. It has multiplayer, a large range of difficulty options, tons of weapons which can be fused to make new ones, trophies and achievements like in Smash Bros. and Kirby Air Ride, and of course the gameplay is super fun as well. I haven't played every 3DS game on the market, but I would be surprised if Kid Icarus: Uprising isn't the best of them.

That brings us to approximately halfway through the year. Click over here for part two!

1 comment:

  1. Superbrothers: Swords & Sworcery was made for touch devices and was only recently ported to PC/Mac/Linux. It really does need to be played on android or ipad/pod/touch/whatever. It has the atmosphere that the touch devices do, but the gameplay suffers a lot.

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