Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Games of 2010

With the new year in, but barely, it's the perfect time to reflect on the previous year of gaming and see what it had to offer versus what seems to be on the horizon (barring delays and the like.).  A poll on the Penny Arcade forums just concluded as well, and while I didn't post my votes there, as I haven't played a lot of the usual suspects, I figured I'd do my list here to share.  Because that's what this blog is about, right?  Sharing.

My list only goes has 12 spots, as I simply voted for games that I played at least somewhat.  It will be split up into parts for easy posting and reading, and no, this isn't a way to pad my "post a day" habit out; I'll probably do all of the posts over the course of tonight/tomorrow.  There are a few games that I really really would have liked to vote for, but I simply haven't gotten my hands on them yet, so I can't.  Of course, there are also a couple of games which I have only played the demo of, but in my defense, I already pretty much know how these games play.  I will explain, of course, when we get to them.  So let's get this started, yes?

12.  Patchwork Heroes (PSP)
I almost, almost, almost did not vote for this game, because, while I bought it, and played it, I did eventually simply become bored with it.  If anything, it's on my list simply because of the potential it had, that I was envisioning, because while not dramatically innovative, it offered a simple mechanic that proved to be fun if used right:  Cutting.  

You are the blue guy.  This airship is on its last legs, as represented by the growing explosions.

You are the Vanguard Defense Unit of a Kingdom constantly under attack of enemy warships.  Do you use some sort of anti-air missile defense to protect yourself?  Of course not!  Where would the fun be in that!?  Why, what you really do is fly your little helicopter to incoming airships, pull out your saw, and get to cutting.  Piece-by-piece, you cut swathes over the surface of the airship until the husk left is unable to sustain its own flight and it crashes to the ground below, miles away from your beloved kingdom.

Sounds like a fun premise, right?  Right?  Well, it certainly did, and the demo offered a good bit of fun (I do encourage you to try it, of course), but the problem lies in its longevity.  You see, the game never offers any real upgrade to this system.  In fact, if anything, it tries its best to impede your fun.  Steel surfaces that you can only cut through with a special attack built up with items and by cutting off chunks with enemies or bombs, Proximity Mines, enemies that can patch your cuts, time limits, they're all in place and while never pushing the game to a frustrating point of difficulty, it does frustrate the player because it is simply not fun after a certain amount of time.  Still, I bought it for half price, and I feel that I got my moneys worth; I simply don't know if I'll ever finish it.

11.Pokémon Heart Gold
Ahh, yes.  Pokémon.  What all can be said about this series that's spanned Four full line-ups (Excluding remakes and those "third" games, e.g. Yellow, Crystal, etc.) of colors, metals and precious stones?  

It's, uh...Pokémon.  There are these critters about, you catch them, go to gyms and beat other critters for badges.  Then you do that some more.  Along the way, you fight off a Team of adult idiots who you inevitably out-Pokémon because adults just don't understand and make a special friend that you inevitably have to challenge to a friendly battle at some point.

Unique (somewhat) to these installments:  Talking with any of your Pokémon, provided they're first in line.

Through some inexplicable reason I, and plenty of others, always find myself dragged back in despite how samey they can all feel, because It's a New Adventure, Son!  Even if it's a re-polished old one like Heart Gold. (Also applicable, Soul Silver.  Rest assured, this vote is for both games, I simply just haven't played SS yet.)  And while fatigue has set in on the series for me, I'm sure Black/White will change that.  Again.

10.  3D Dot Game Heroes

Now, I have a very odd relationship, admittedly, with 3D Dot Game Heroes.  I haven't played a lot of it.  It was the game in my PS3 when it broke, and after I got them both back (Well, a refurb PS3, of course) I simply never played it again.  I intend to, of course, it's just that I haven't yet.  But, what I did play was so very, very fun.

Part Ginormo Sword (One of those "Where did ten hours of my life go?" games), Part Legend of Zelda (some would argue, too big of a part, which I counter-argue that there can never be too much Old Zelda), Part homage to the classics, and part Self-Parody, it offers real fun gameplay, solid humor, and a beautiful style that definitely stands out on its own, if nothing else.

Those blocks.  That landscape.  Should've sent a poet.

It ain't easy being blue.  Of course, you could change your heroes armor and overall look in the editor.

One day, I'll get back into this.  I just don't know when that day will be, since I will be paranoid that my PS3 will flop again.

9.  White Knight Chronicles International Edition

Like many others, when I first saw White Knight Chronicles, the possibilities seemed too good to be true.  JRPG standings were slipping as games started making the transition to the HD Consoles, or, rather, they did not or did so in a way that left a bad taste in everyone's mouth.  Of course, not a blanket statement, but there were several (and continue to be) that just lack the charm, or whatever you could place on the games of old that prevent current ones from stacking up.  But this, this looked like it would change all of that.

Did it?  Not really, but it certainly looked like it.  It looked good, and it only got better and better as time went on.  Fans in countries that were not Japan, simply watched on as the game released and expanded.  Taking a cue from their older series, Dark Cloud, a GeoRama-esque mode was put in place to expand on the lacking Multiplayer, as well as several other improvements.  And always, always, a localization was "on the horizon".  Then, last year, it was announced; the game would be released in February for everyone else to get a taste of the game in its current form; no additional patch for GeoRama, nor any of the quests added.  They would all be released on disk to be enjoyed from the get-go.

While it didn't set the charts on fire, the level of pure excitement that I held for this title pre-release was enormous; Dark Cloud was a series I was rather fond of, of course, thanks to its GeoRama aspect.  And what I got out of it was fun; my enjoyment of the Multiplayer was not as much as I'd hoped, unfortunately.  It wasn't the game's fault, however.  When I purchased the game (Day One), I simply delved into the Single-Player to start, trying to get a feel for the game before the MP (which, you have to unlock during the SP anyway), and constantly told myself, "I'll get into it more after this.".  Which took me into the period of time where I was then in the middle of a blizzard and just generally prolonged freezing rain/sleet, and the like that makes power outages so rampant.

"I can't play this if the power goes out.  What about my save?  All the time I might not get?  What about my PS3?!"

So, while I avoided playing this, for fear that the power would go out while I played, my adventurer buddies did just that, adventured.  They got to enjoy it, and for that, I'm happy.  Of course I don't begrudge them that; I couldn't play and I couldn't expect them to not play, either.  Still, I had hoped to do more with it.  Perhaps once the sequel arrives, interest will be sparked enough that I'll be able to get a little more enjoyment before moving on to WKC2.

I'll stop the list here for now, as the next section will be where it gets tricky.  Surprisingly enough (to me, if nobody else), titles 8 through 5 are all for the PSP, and while I haven't sunk my teeth into two of them, I feel that I've done enough with the other installments in their respective lines that I'll be able to judge them accordingly.

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