Monday, December 26, 2011

Tim's Video games of 2011

Tim's Games of the Year for 2011 as part of the Obligatory Online Faux Awards Season (OOFAS)

It has bean a wonderful year of games. Hit the jump to find out what were my favourites for 2011

Let me begin with the runner ups in no real order

Sword and Sworcery (iPad)

When I first saw Sword and Sworcery I thought it was just going to be a cool throw back to retro adventure games but when I started playing it I realised it was so much more. It's really hard to pin point what is so great about this game, yeah the graphics and art design is really good the soundtrack is amazing, the writing is pretty funny and there are some great tense moments but it's the overall feel of the game that won me over. All of the elements of the game are just in sync with each other to produce such a joyful fun game.

DC Universe Online (PS3)

I haven't played any MMORPG's before as I can't justify paying the subscription fees but since DCUO went "free to play" (which is another business model I don't really understand) I decided to give it a go. 

When it works it is hilarious. Everywhere you go you have superheroes dashing and flying around you and there's always crazy battles happening all over the place. It is absolute comical chaos and honestly they couldn't have produced a more realistic depiction of what the DC comic universe would look like if it did actually exist. 
I'm not sure if I really play it as a MMORPG I more treat it as a a single player game. I occasionally team up with people but everyone usually does their own thing. It is still fun and funny seeing very human choices and actions being made by the other player controlled characters. 

DCUO does have it's flaws though like the portforwarded/dmz/shrine/sacrifice that I have to do to avoid the lag and the game is cursed with the ugly dc art style (haha I'm sorry DC) but the controls are solid and there seems to be no end of things to do. I'm pretty sure I'll be playing it in 2012.

Batman Arkham City (PS3)

Effin Batman! I get to be Batman and fight Batman villains and that makes me pretty happy. A great script by Paul Dini, Batman voiced by Kevin Conroy, Joker by Mark Hamill and those Catwoman missions were an absolute joy since her controls were super fun.

Yeah I had a few problems with some of the combat being a bit 'muddy' and it being a bit repetitive near the end of the game but overall I felt like I was Batman doing Batman things and that is pretty awesome

InFamous 2 (PS3)

InFamous games are fun! Fun controls/movement, fun characters and fun missions. I actually find myself verbalize everything I'm doing, like what a kid would do when playing with his toys in a sandbox. There's not much more to say about InFamous 2 but it reminded me what a fun game was when I was struggling to enjoy a certain other game (see way below)


Are you ready?

Here's my winner for Game of the year for 2011 

Dues Ex: Human Revolution (PS3)

Hot dam! I was not expecting to enjoy this game as much as I did. 

I loved Adam Jensens voice that sounded Eastwood/dirty harry-ish 

I loved how no one gave a simple answer but just a series of sarcastic one liners but you would always have the best one liner 

I loved how if you effed up a silent takedown you could still fight your way out (tough but not impossible)

I lovvvved everything about the world like how it worked, the whole anti augmented movement and the politics behind it. It felt like a real believable problem that gave the whole story a strong backbone

I love how when you hack a turret you can carry it from room to room and even throw it into a room knocking down one guy and it shooting down another. I always got upset when someone threw a frag grenade and killed it as it felt like I lost a buddy

I loved stacking knocked out bodies. 

haha that never gets old

I loved throwing a fridge at a guy sitting on a chair who was busy on his computer (sucker doesn't know what hits him haha)

I loved the music. It is total scifi almost bladerunner synth perfection. It also sets the mood/feeling but not in a manipulated way. 

I loved the takedowns. You always felt awesome when you pulled this off

Dues EX: HR was a story that fills the scifi/cyberpunk gap that Hollywood or even anime doesn't make anymore. Yeah this year we had "In Time" which was ok but goddammit I want more scifi in my scifi and Dues Ex did deliver.

I bought the special edition version of the game which had a pretty good behind the scenes video. You can see they just had a super positive team and a love for what they were doing which definitely came though into the game. 

As for flaws the only one I had was that I can't say I was super happy with the ending(s). I think I probably wanted and was expecting a huge Final Fantasy/Metal Gear 30 minute cutscene but I just got a monologue and a montage haha. That said though as soon as I watched all the endings instead of turning off my PS3 at 2 or 3am in the morning (is it just me or does everyone finish their games at some ridiculous hour?) I just wanted to play it again and so straight away I fired up a new game. 

That is really what put Dues Ex: Human Revolution as my GOTY. Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VII and Mass Effect 2 are the only other games that I have ever felt the need or want to play again from the start and with those games there was usually a few months between starting it again. Not as soon as the credits finished rolling.

So take it away Adam Jensen for being the best of 2011

Ok back to a few more awards

Game that would definately make the list but I only have just started playing it award:


Yes Skyrim is awarded the GTWDMTLBIOHJSPIA as I only just started playing it today. I have a cat like dude named Bloodfingers who likes to get lost and carry way too much stuff that forces him to walk long distances. Uncharted and Portal might have been contenders for this award but they unfortunately suffer from the "I still havent played the previous game(s)" yet (ISHPTPGY). Maybe next year 

Now my last positive award goes to: 

Sony Ericson Xperia Play

For being the raddest phone in the world. A slide out gamepad, Snes roms on the go (Earthbound 2 for the win), being super easy to tweet my stupid scribbles from, a large screen that I can read from and type messages in with my big dumb fingers and an actually helpful predictive text. I love you so much Xperia Play

Now for the controversial award. The most disappointing game of the year

LA Noire 

Where to begin...ok how about this game isn't fun. There are better games out there that do everything LA Noire promises but better (Heavy Rain, Phoniex Wright heck even Police Quest) but let us go back a bit to before I bought this game. I was really excited for this game (especially after how much I enjoyed Red Dead Redemption) so much so I thought I would do a webcomic to document my experiences but nothing about this game was fun. I'm going to list a few of the things that ticked me off 

Clue finding was rubbish. All you did was walk around till you controller vibrates then press X. You can turn this stuff off but the camera angles never really suit looking for clues but more about scene styling

Interviewing consisted of watching hammy mocap acting and dealing with ridiculous outbursts that make no sense made by the character you were supposed to be in control of. 

Driving took a lot of time to get used to and a lot of the times it just wasn't fun or necessary for this game to be a sand box style game where you had to manually go to each location. There's nothing going on in the streets and if you get out of your police car and get into another car you're breaking character, you're no longer a police officer you're just some guy. In Red Dead when you are on a horse, off a horse, on a coach, on a buffalo whatever you are still a cowboy same as Grand Theft Auto whatever you do you are still a criminal. This really bugged me

Pointless looped effing repeated dialogue from NPC's. Everyone in this world has either tourettes or are just plain crazy. A lady sitting or walking alone by herself will just yell out some long story to no one and it isn't even the start of the story it's just some random answer to a question no one has asked. Oh and the ridiculous constant barrage of "Are you drunk mister?" because you are not allowed to run in this game you are supposed to slow walk everywhere. 

Speaking of and shoot are the same button..... seriously... what the fuck!

The whole homicide arc. I knew who the killer was in the first bar I went into. He came up to me and basically told me he was the killer and then I had to waste a whole bunch of time arresting the wrong people. What was the point of that? 

The main guy I want to arrest, that the whole game builds itself up for you to do ends up being killed by some other guy. GAHHH! I didn't even want to catch the other guy after it happened 

The ending in the sewer WTF! that was supposed to be poignant? (I want to write more about this but I already dropped one spoiler)

Anyway I really wanted to like this game and I really tried to like it (mostly so I could draw something funny or cool for my webcomic) and I did do some reading around on forums to find out what it was that people liked about it. Mostly it came down to you really liking the main character Cole Phelps and how much you liked or were taken in by the mocap magic. Cole wasn't bad as a character but he wasn't interesting enough to distract me from the games other problems. I did like the handful of shootouts that happened (the one in the movie set the most), I liked busting the car through gates, the flashbacks were nice, the switch of character in the last chapter actually made the game finally feel noire but that's it. This had potential to be amazing and it didn't deliver for me.

I think if this game was trying to say something it would be, "Everything you do is wrong, you will not be rewarded and even your trophies will have no meaning behind them". Which is a lot like how  Brendan McNamara treated his staff at Team Bondi

Well that's my 2011 games for the year now bring on these 2012 games

Mass Effect 3
Last Guardian
Yakuza Dead Souls

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