Year’s End 2012

This post is dedicated to YouTube user: MrCalu24 whose upset mindless fanboyism inspired me to write this. Without people like you, I’d have no-one to upset on principle by telling the truth about over-rated pablum. Thank you.

Actually, the real reason I was tempted to skip this post this year is that I haven’t had the opportunity to play several of the few big releases that haven’t been postponed to next year. No Dishonoured, no Xcom, no Assassin’s Creed III. The reason for this is switching from buying games and then re-selling them to renting them from LoveFilm. The advantage of LoveFilm is the volume of games I can play and review, the disadvantage is that it is harder to get the more up to date games. I do also game on my PC of course, but due to injury it has been easier to simply use the PS3. So instead of this being a Game of the Year style article concentrating on new games, its going to be a simple round-up of games I’ve played and what I thought of them. Luckily the title lets me do either – which is handy.

Let us (EAT LETTUCE!) start at the beginning.

Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage

I watched the feature film animation of this as a kid and loved it. It also uses a lot of material from the series. Unfortunately, unlike Dynasty Warriors, it’s everything Dynasty Warriors is criticised for. I did write a review of it though.

Mario Kart Wii

Not as good as Double-dash which runs on the same hardware.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Having played most of the other PS3 Assassin’s Creed games I thought I’d give the latest spin-off a go. I wasn’t expecting much and still managed to be disappointed. Thinly stretched story, mechanics which are worse and new glitches all ruined the experience. The silly plot holes (Ezio can speak Turkish now?) didn’t help either. Check out my review.

Silent Hill 1, 2 & 3

I became reacquainted with my long-term passion for classic Silent Hill games. Partially this was in preparation for a brand new Silent Hill HD Collection, so I wanted to replay on PC and Playstation 2 for a good comparison. I need not have bothered. The new version is terrible. I mean, it’s still Silent Hill 2 & 3, but it’s by a long shot the worst versions of those games. In fact, it inspired me to do a similar thing the HD Collection tried to do, but including Silent Hill 1 & 4. That is, make 16:9 HD versions of 2, 3 & 4 and show the first Silent Hill at its best. So that’s why I started Let’s Playing the series. We finished Silent Hill’s 1 & 2, and I reviewed the HD Collection that was shamefully released.

Silent Hill: Downpour

Homecoming wasn’t very good, but still, had its moments. Downpour not so much.

The Darkness 2

I wasn’t expecting good things from this game as I read about it and discovered they’d gotten rid of much that made the first The Darkness a (surprisingly) great game. Luckily this time I was pleased to have underestimated the title. Whilst it changed a lot and I would have preferred a game more like the original, it had the original’s depth in new and strange ways. I did review this one.

The Warriors

I missed playing The Warriors when it first came out. I’m a fan of the cult-classic film so naturally wanted to try the game. When I discovered that it was a Rockstar-made GTA-style game I was even more looking forward to it. And whilst it does deliver on some GTA-style gameplay and the story is okay, and the characters are faithful I was frustrated by the not-so-great brawl system, the sharp, rather unbalanced difficulty, and the rather dreary graphics. The excellent voice-acting didn’t even help that much in the end. Should have had a far bigger budget and a release on more up-to-date consoles. It did however lead me to play the first 3D GTA game.

Grand Theft Auto 3

Going back and re-trying GTA3 was a weird experience – because whilst it started a whole new genre, the actual system at first was confusing and weird. Like the way there is a button for steering harder.

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories

GTA: LCS on the other has all the modern system upgrades, was a new ‘alike’ engine to GTA, but with correctly sized cars. The problem? Toni’s adventures just plain aren’t that interesting and rather repetitive.

Project Zero 3 (or Fatal Frame where people don’t rename games Project Zero for no reason)

Wonderful and unusual horror title that I’d recommend to anyone, especially horror fans. In easy. Otherwise the last boss is a nightmare.

Calling

This is a surprisingly good horror game, if you play it in Japanese with subtitles. Unfortunately the English dub is pretty much useless and removes all the horror from the game. Under-rated by most of the mainstream sites I was really happy with it. In Japanese. I didn’t review this, but the excellent Studious Octopus has, although her review is harsher than I would judge the game.

Sonic Generations

I thought Sonic 4 was better. Sonic Generations kept hitting home that the makers thought that the newer 3D Sonic games are superior in little dickish ways. One of the bigger ways they did this was by clearly putting more love into the 3D Sonic sections. It didn’t help that the technical issues like loading times spoilt the fun.

Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends

More of an expansion to DW7, but also its own game, Xtreme Legends simply had a few different modes. Whilst I can’t really recommend it outside of fans, I can recommend Dynasty Warriors 7 in general, which I reviewed here.

Sorcery

Flick flick flick.

The Saboteur

Surprisingly unlikeable. You know, I can’t even remember why I didn’t like it now. But I didn’t have a lot of fun with it.

Catherine

I actually really liked Catherine, but there kept on being this puzzle game intermission which I really wasn’t so keen on, but I did get past those bits eventually, and some of the cinematically giant beasties chasing me I guess made up for it. Was surprisingly horror oriented. Would have worked really well without the puzzle game. Although the relationship and some of the attitudes portrayed were, well, at best, sexist. Which is a shame since we rarely get games based around social stuff like this, and it seems when they do, its all a bit crap. However, if you are willing to overlook that, and don’t mind the puzzle game, it can be very enjoyable.

Rage

Rage was a strange experience to me, mostly because with it being an ID software title I was expecting something different. Good enough, but it just didn’t stand out enough, but at no point did I particularly feel like stopping before the end, which should count for something since there are so many games where I don’t want to go on and have to force myself.

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, 5-7

Standard LEGO games. In other words, fun, playable, and with excellently thought out multiplayer, but a little old by this point. You should definitely play it if you like Harry Potter. If you haven’t, you will wonder what the hell anything is, or does, or what significance it has at all. In case you haven’t guessed I tried playing these twice, once before, and once after, watching the films. I had a heck of a lot more fun after.

Dead Island

Whilst the concept is achingly tired, and the game was riddled with bugs on release the Game of the Year version has provided ridiculous and unexpected hours and hours of entertainment. The survival elements are interesting, the multiplayer is competent, and the customisation of weapons is interesting. The story does get tired though, especially when you leave the resort which ends up being the most fun location of the game anyway. Looking forward to the sequel which will hopefully be good from the start instead.

Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow

Inexplicably highly rated elsewhere, Castlevania just didn’t work for me. I would describe it as very pretty, presented perfectly, but not actually any good to play. Really, everyone just wants them to make Symphony of the Night style games. I’m all for that. I’ve never believed that nonsense about how players want something new and fresh and are tired of that style of game. Same goes for the classic Silent Hill titles too. Not even Patrick Stewart’s inexplicable non-sequiturs could save it.

Demon’s Souls

A game for difficulty fetishists. And tongue-twister enthusiasts.

Dead Rising 2

Loading. Cutscene. Loading. Cutsecene. How come the person who’s already here can’t give her the medicine? I have to return myself?

Armored Core V

Remake the first one already please. A step backwards for the series.

Twisted Metal

Gorgeous game, reasonably interesting story, but unfortunately, if you can’t get the hang of cars going in the wrong direction when you turn them in reverse, you’re out of luck. The developers made some noise about patching an option in and then didn’t. If you don’t mind the car turning the wrong way in reverse, you can’t go wrong with Twisted Metal.

The Last Story

Final Fantasy with none of the appeal. Charmless and difficult. Also that obnoxious girl who wouldn’t shut up.

Red Faction: Guerrilla

With some extra polish you know, Red Faction could have been a really great game, as it stands, its a flawed but fun sandbox GTA-style game where everything is destructable, but that’s not quite as fun as it sounds because it’s actually quite hard to damage things without calling down the army on you. I certainly don’t regret my time with the game though. Shame about the sequel.

Red Faction: Armageddon

Overly militaristic shooter. Crap.

Lollipop Chainsaw

Wacky, fun, and over-the-top. Until you realise that’s all there is to the game, but if you don’t mind that … it can be an enjoyable game. Inexplicable Akira Yamaoka involvement.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Like Heavenly Sword, but with less characters and makes less sense. More repetitive. Honestly, just play Heavenly Sword instead.

Looking forward to next year when I can finally play all those delayed games and the top titles I missed this year. I’ll see you then.