usagi704’s Game of the Year Awards 2010

THIS YEAR’S RULES FOR GAMES TO BE CONSIDERED FOR NOMINATION

(List of games eligible for this year’s awards)

– THE GAME MUST HAVE BEEN FINISHED TO MY SATISFACTION
– THE GAME MUST HAVE BEEN PLAYED FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR
– THE GAME DOES NOT HAVE TO HAVE BEEN ORIGINALLY RELEASED THIS YEAR
– THE GAME OF THE YEAR AWARD ITSELF IS ONLY OPEN TO GAMES FROM THE CURRENT GENERATION

BEST MUSIC
• Bayonetta (PS3)
• Cho Aniki (PCE)
• King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match – Tougeki Ver. (PS2)
• Codename: Tenka (PS)
• BlazBlue: Continuum Shift (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Codename: Tenka

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I loved how the music in Bayonetta was so cheesy and didn’t take itself seriously just like the rest of the game to the point where Platinum even did a super cheesy cover of Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” and it fit with the rest of the game’s over-the-top feeling so well.

BEST SOUND DESIGN
• Halo (XB)
• Vanquish (PS3)
• Mirror’s Edge (PS3)
• BlazBlue: Continuum Shift (PS3)
• Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (PS2)

RUNNER-UP: Vanquish

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No game I played this year created a sense of immersion as well as Mirror’s Edge. The sound design really made you feel like you were inhabiting Faith’s body and doing all of the amazing parkour feats that she was capable of.

BEST GRAPHICS, TECHNICAL
• Resistance 2 (PS3)
• Bayonetta (PS3)
• BlazBlue: Continuum Shift (PS3)
• Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype (PS3)
• Vanquish (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Bayonetta

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Not only does Vanquish look great while rocket sliding around, it also has a lot of great animation like when you switch weapons and your gun morphs into the new weapon or when Sam opens up his visor to have a smoke. No matter what you are doing or what is going on around you Vanquish makes it look good!

BEST GRAPHICS, ARTISTIC
• Sly 2: Band of Thieves (PS2)
• Bayonetta (PS3)
• Cho Aniki (PCE)
• Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (PS2)
• BlazBlue: Continuum Shift (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Cho Aniki

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Gorgeous, intricately detailed, and full of crazy is what Bayonetta’s artistic vision truly is!

MOST IMPROVED SEQUEL
• Super Street Fighter IV (PS3)
• BlazBlue: Continuum Shift (PS3)
• Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype (PS3)
• Sly 2: Band of Thieves (PS2)
• Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (PS2)

RUNNER-UP: BlazBlue: Continuum Shift

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unstable framerate: check
frustrating minigames: check
short game length: check
All those problems and more were corrected in Sly 2 making for a sequel that was bigger and better in every way!

MOST SURPRISINGLY GOOD GAME
• flOw (PS3)
• Rygar: The Legendary Adventure (PS2)
• Solar Striker (GB)
• Timeshift (PS3)
• Cho Aniki (PCE)

RUNNER-UP: flOw

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I’m as surprised as all of you are, but yes, Cho Aniki was surprisingly good and fun to play. It has some janky hit detection at times, but overall it was a good deal of man-rageous fun that I went back to many times where as I didn’t with the rest of the nominees.

MOST SURPRISING REVISITED GAME
• Marvel Super Heroes (SAT)
• Gun.Smoke (NES)
• Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (PS2)
• Fatal Fury Special (NEO)
• Counter-Strike (XB)

RUNNER-UP: Fatal Fury Special

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Coming back to this 4 year old MK game proved to me that I was slightly too harsh on the game back when it originally came out. I played it much more this year than I did in 2006 and liked it much more than I did then too! After trying out a number of the characters again I found my favorites were Rain and Li Mei. The latter is especially broken because one launcher special usually equals a 50% damage combo or more unless they combo break out of it. The game was even still online with a number of players playing at any time I logged on and it still might be even right now! Definitely a game that is more fun than it is good, but fun nonetheless.

WORST GAME I PLAYED
• Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up (PS2)
• Crest of Wolf (PCE)
• Psychic Storm (PCE)
• GundeadliGne (PS3)
• Pokemon Pinball (GB)

RUNNER-UP: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up

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I bought the trio of Japanese indie shmups in the Gundemonium Collection off of the PSN because I wanted to support the genre in hopes of more being released, but I still regret the purchase because outside of Gundemonium Recollection (which was only decent) the three games had horrible production values and gameplay that wasn’t all that fun. GundeadliGne was the laziest designed of the bunch because it was largely the same as Gundemonium Recollection, but also included the ability to turn around to fire at enemies coming from behind which I find to be a lame way of adding challenge to shmups.

STUPIDEST NEWS OF THE YEAR
• Over-blowing the problems of the PS3 version of Bayonetta
• Overreaction to the PS3’s Internal Clock Bug
• Implementation of “online pass” by some publishers
• EA’s changing of ‘Taliban’ to ‘Opposing Force’
• Stupid reactions to Samus in Metroid: Other M

RUNNER-UP: EA’s changing of ‘Taliban’ to ‘Opposing Force’

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The most aggravating trend of this generation of consoles are all of the ways many companies are trying to extract more and more money out of us and this online pass BS is just another way for some to try to get a hold of more ill-gotten gains.

BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE
• Bayonetta (PS3)
• Rygar: The Legendary Adventure (PS2)
• Yakuza 3 (PS3)
• Otogi: Myth of Demons (XB)
• Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (PS2)

RUNNER-UP: Yakuza 3

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Over-the-top is absolutely what defines Bayonetta and it is the epitome of the action genre. Move over Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden, and God of War, Bayonetta is here to rightfully claim her throne!

BEST ACTION/PLATFORMER
• Donkey Kong (NES)
• Kirby’s Dream Land 2 (GB)
• Streets of Rage 2 (GEN)
• Mirror’s Edge (PS3)
• Sly 2: Band of Thieves (PS2)

RUNNER-UP: Streets of Rage 2

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It may have some rough edges and may take time to get used to it, but forget all of the haters because Mirror’s Edge is the evolution of the platforming genre!

BEST SHOOTER
• Vanquish (PS3)
• Borderlands (PS3)
• Halo (XB)
• Quake III Revolution (PS2)
• Timeshift (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Borderlands

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A fast-paced take on the genre that adds in an awesome new mechanic in the rocket sliding and you have one of the most unique and fun shooters to come along in years!

BEST FIGHTING GAME
• Shin Gouketsuji Ichizoku: Bonnou Kaihou (PS2)
• King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match – Tougeki Ver. (PS2)
• Ninja Master’s [from ADK Tamashii] (PS2)
• BlazBlue: Continuum Shift (PS3)
• Super Street Fighter IV (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match – Tougeki Ver.

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As much as I liked BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger last year I just didn’t get into playing other characters except Ragna, but with Continuum Shift’s fairly major updates and additions I have taken even more of a liking to my main of Ragna as well as playing a few others like Bang and Jin. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is the latest in the best and most hardcore fighter out there and I wouldn’t expect anything less from Arc System Works.

BEST SHMUP
• Gradius [from Gradius Collection] (PSP)
• Metal Torrent (DSi)
• Cho Aniki (PCE)
• Solar Striker (GB)
• Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Gradius [from Gradius Collection]

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For a small, $5 downloadable game on a handheld you’d think it wouldn’t win with all of the rest of the competition, but this little bullet-hell-shooter-that-could stands up to them and does everything right with the meager amount of content it offers.

BEST HANDHELD GAME
• Solar Striker (GB)
• TMNT (GBA)
• Kirby’s Dream Land 2 (GB)
• Metal Torrent (DSi)
• BlazBlue Portable (PSP)

RUNNER-UP: Metal Torrent

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As impressive as BlazBlue is on a console, it is even more impressive that Arc System Works was able to port that same great fighting game to a handheld system with very few compromises!

GAME OF THE YEAR
• BlazBlue: Continuum Shift
• Mirror’s Edge
• Bayonetta
• Yakuza 3
• Super Street Fighter IV
• Vanquish

RUNNER-UP: Mirror’s Edge

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Nobody knows action better than Hideki Kamiya. In 2001 he completely redefined the action genre with Devil May Cry and for the better part of the last decade DMC influenced and inspired all the big action hits like Ninja Gaiden and God of War. Kamiya has returned to the top of the action heap in 2010 with none other than the sublime Bayonetta! Stylish, over-the-top, kick-ass, and awesome. Those words describe Bayonetta perfectly. If you are looking for gaming at its finest, look no further than Bayonetta!

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Welcome To Die!

Coming up soon on my next blog I will have my Game of the Year Awards for 2010 posted so look out for that! In the mean time here are my last video game purchases for 2010:

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NBA Jam (PS3) – All I need to say about this is that EA did a fantastic job keeping what made the old Midway NBA Jam games so great and included online multiplayer and new play modes. If you are looking for a new Jam done right, this is it!

Demon’s Souls (PS3) – Much has been said about this game’s difficulty and when I get around to playing it I’ll have to see if that is legit or just came from a bunch of people who suck at video games. Either way it sounds like a good ol’ fun hardcore time! I got a greatest hits version because Amazon had it bundled with the artbook and soundtrack for about $23 recently so I couldn’t pass it up even if I’d prefer to have a non-GH version to match the rest of my PS3 collection.

Rockman 3 (FC) – This is the lone Mega Man game on my Top 50 Favorites list so I was glad to finally pick it up for my Famicom. The slide added in this installment is what makes this game better than Mega Man 2.

Takahashi Meijin no Bouken Jima (FC) – The start of a solid platforming series by Hudson better known outside of Japan as Adventure Island. Later games are more well-refined and have better balanced difficulty, but this one is still a pretty good game today.

Street Fighter II Turbo (SFC) – I picked this up to have for nostalgia purposes because the Super Nintendo Street Fighter II games were where I played them the most even if I did play them in arcades first. I ordered a copy of Super Street Fighter II along with this one, but I received SFII: The World Warrior instead which I already had so I’m trying to get this corrected soon.

Puzzle Quest 2 (DS) – I really enjoyed the first Puzzle Quest a lot. It’s mix of Bejeweled-esque gem matching and RPG is a great combination! Hopefully this will be just as good if not better.

X-Men (PS3) – This is a game I played a good deal of back in 1992 when a local arcade got it in. It’s pretty legendary for its huge 6-player, double-screened cabinet and that’s what made it so much fun. Unfortunately this is a beat-’em-up that is much shallower than most games in the genre already are which means single player isn’t very good, but get online with 5 others and you’ll have a good deal of fun with all of the chaos going on!

高橋名人の冒険島

Of Pinball, Game Boy games, and Men’s Beam

I’ve been playing and finishing many shorter games recently which consist of older 8-bit and 16-bit console games since I finished Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner about 3 weeks ago. I finished Streets of Rage 1 and it was decent, but I didn’t feel it was all that great outside of Yuzo Koshiro’s soundtrack. SoR2 was far and away better than the first because absolutely everything is better. I one-credit-cleared it on normal and I’ll probably go back to it soon and try to do that on hard since normal feels too easy now. Kirby’s Dream Land 2 was next and it is everything a second Game Boy Kirby game needed to be: bigger and better than the original. After that I was on to Jaki Crush for Super Famicom. It’s a solid entry in the Crush pinball series, but I still feel the previous entries of Alien Crush and Devil’s Crush are still better. Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest was next and I had @hart704 guide me through the game once and then I learned the route and finished about three or four more times. It’s a good game that has an unfortunate problem with communicating what you need to do which is where most people get their dislike of it from. Psychic Storm for PC Engine is a shmup that is pretty standard and fairly easy with the exception being the last level so I have nothing to add about it. After Psychic Storm I played a another beat-’em-up called Crest of Wolf (aka, Riot Zone). It’s extremely sub-par with two characters that play identically with crappy animation and a super limited move set. The most recent game I have finished was the manrageous shmup Cho Aniki. I liked it a lot more than I expected and it has a very good level of challenge even on easy. Much has been said about the Cho Aniki series’ risque and provocative presentation and that’s a big reason it’s an interesting play to say the least. Now on to my recent acquisitions since my last blog:

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Flipnic (PS2) – At first play this pinball game seems crazy and fun and it is until you play enough of it and realize that a lot of it, especially the later tables, aren’t actually pinball at all. The last table is literally played like Breakout and not pinball!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan (GB) – A decent action game based on the TMNT license that I remember being easy. I played it recently and it is easy all right as I one-life-cleared it right away.

Gargoyle’s Quest (GB) – The first in an interesting trilogy of games that combines action-platforming with RPG. Extremely underrated series.

Solar Striker (GB) – An extremely standard shmup that was the first on Game Boy and the only shmup ever developed by Nintendo. It’s pretty good for being such a no-frills game.

Raging Fighter (GB) – While not the first fighting game on Game Boy (that honor likely goes to the craptastic Fist of the North Star), it was the first one resembling a good fighter for the system. The gameplay is nothing to write home about, but the presentation is downright impressive for a GB game.

Kirby’s Pinball Land (GB) – Like the later released Pokemon Pinball, Kirby’s Pinball Land is a shallow pinball game, but it is better because the whole game ties its three tables together where you need to defeat a boss on each one and then seamlessly go to the next.

Bonk’s Adventure (GB) – The Bonk series has always been a solid platforming series on the PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16) and this one looks like a pretty good scaled down version of the series.

レッドアリーマー 魔界村外伝