usagi704’s BEST GAMES PLAYED IN 2012 Awards

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 PLAYED FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR
– THE GAME DOES NOT HAVE TO HAVE BEEN ORIGINALLY RELEASED THIS YEAR

BEST GAMES PLAYED IN 2012

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I started out 2012 with getting the idea of buying a bunch of the Guitar Hero games I never played since I played GHII in 2006. I picked up most of them for super cheap and played four of them. I found I really enjoyed playing a large majority of the tracklist for World Tour much more than any of the other Guitar Hero games I’ve played and felt that was more than enough to name it one of the best games I’ve played in 2012.

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While I have always admired and respected the Virtua Fighter series, I never was truly able to get into any of the games even though I’ve played and owned all of them except Virtua Fighter 3. I did get into it more when I played Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution, but Final Showdown is where it really clicked for me for the first time. I’ve been playing Lei-Fei as my main since he debuted in VF4, but in Final Showdown he really feels like a much more fleshed out fighter than in any previous game. That combined with a bunch of other smart tweaks to the mechanics has made Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown my favorite in the series by a long shot.

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This game was my very first Prince of Persia experience. I really enjoyed the platforming acrobatics of the Prince along with the excellent combat. It made for a very fun, replayable experience which I felt was the heart of what this game was all about. I know this game has gotten much hate because of the attitude change of the Prince and the whole “baditude” style that permeates from it, but if you let that get in your way of enjoying this great game, then it’s your loss.

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Initially I was very concerned about this game’s quality before it was released, but after playing it I can safely say that it is yet another solid effort in Platinum’s short, but mostly illustrious career. The story was surprisingly fairly interesting and the gameplay mechanics were more simplistic than some of Platinum’s other games, but were still fun nonetheless. Add to that many great online multiplayer modes of varying types and you have an excellent face-bashing good time!

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A game this old should have no right to still play as awesome as it did when it was originally released, but Devil May Cry does just that. Incredible combat and great boss battles highlight a game that deserves every bit of the praise that has made it a legend throughout game history.

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Some might ask why I would honor a title that is simply all the classic 1990s Dooms in one compilation. While I have played these games when they originally came out, I haven’t done so since the 1990s and playing them again via Doom Classic Complete reintroduced me to these classics. It made me realize just how great these games were and how significant they were to the history of the game industry. I have immensely enjoyed playing them again for the first time in a long time and it is very clear when it comes to shooters: they don’t make ’em like they used to.

HONORABLE MENTIONS
Umihara Kawase Shun (DS)
Devil May Cry 4 (PS3)
Marvel vs. Capcom: Origins (PS3)
Wolfenstein (PS3)

BEST MUSIC

RUNNER-UP: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure HD Ver. (PS3)

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Jake Kaufman’s fantastic soundtrack not only includes the expected remixes of some of Double Dragon’s most memorable tracks, but also creates a number of new ones that fit in perfectly with Neon’s 1980s vibe like “Jungle Neon” by faux 80s pop band Mango Tango. Also, let’s not forget the awesome end credits tune “Dared to Dream” by the villain of the game, Skullmageddon.

SURPRISINGLY GOOD GAME

RUNNER-UP: Dead Nation (PS3)

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Considering the deplorable quality of new beat-’em-ups during this generation I was pretty apprehensive about how Neon was going to turn out. Good thing then that the throwback masters at WayForward didn’t disappoint and probably created the best beat-’em-up of this entire generation.

GUILTY PLEASURE OF THE YEAR

RUNNER-UP: Yakuza: Dead Souls (PS3)

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I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that Evergrace was a good game, but I will say that in spite of how easy it was, how fairly unsatisfying the combat was, the bizarre soundtrack, bad localization, and horrible voice acting I still somehow enjoyed playing this game way more than it had any right to be enjoyed.

MOST DISAPPOINTING GAME

RUNNER-UP: Rock Band (PS3)

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Prior to Street Fighter × Tekken’s release I was quite excited for it. It looked like so much fun with all of its cool looking Tekken inspired juggle combos and awesome returning characters like Hugo, Rolento and new ones like Poison! Unfortunately, the game has a lot of mechanics that just aren’t useful like Pandora, Quick Combos, and even supers a lot of the time because spending the meter on to extend combos via tags is usually better. I also didn’t like the use of having a small chain combo system along with the typical Street Fighter link combo system because it becomes too difficult to not accidentally do the chain combo string. In the end, I’m not saying the game is bad, but it wasn’t nearly as fun or good as I was hoping for.

WORST GAME PLAYED

RUNNER-UP: Gungrave: Overdose (PS2)

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When I heard about this game and up until I played it I thought it would be a good take on the action genre I love so much. Good is what this game definitely isn’t unless you find enjoyment in boring tedious slogs. Alvion clearly forgot the put the fun in Malicious.

GAME OF THE YEAR 2012

RUNNER-UP: Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (Xbox/PS2)

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When I decided to play the first Devil May Cry this year, I was expecting a game that wouldn’t quite hold up to the standards of the very action genre that this game spawned in the first place. I can say without a doubt that my fears were unfounded because not only does Devil May Cry hold up, it holds up supremely well! It feels like it could have been released this generation let alone 11 years ago. It just goes to show that some games get it 100% right the first time out of the gate and as we all know, you can’t beat 100%.

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Review Quickies, Vol. 13 & [1CC’d] Winds of Thunder

Yakuza: Dead Souls
(PS3, 2012)

The west finally received its first taste of a Yakuza spin-off (Japan already saw Ryu ga Gotoku: Kenzan! for PS3 and Kurohyo: Ryu ga Gotoku Shinshou for PSP) and it’s not a particularly good one. In fact, I’d say Dead Souls is the worst of the games in the series so far. This one is a third-person zombie themed shooter instead of the action-adventure RPG beat-’em-up the main games in the series are. Having said that, I feel it is pretty decent for what it is, but the gun-play is pretty meh with loose and strange aiming. The narrative still has a lot of the great returning characters and locations fans have come to expect. My favorite returning character is Ryuji Goda from all the way back in Yakuza 2 when he was one of the main antagonists. Unfortunately, the narrative is less compelling this time around than average as it is simply stopping a guy from infecting people with his super virus of sorts that turns people into super powered zombies and sometimes other crazy mutant beasts. This game also heavily restricts where you can go any given time within Kamurocho which is a bummer. The difficultly is incredibly easy and I think that’s probably because Ryu ga Gotoku Studio knew it needed to do that to compensate for the flawed gameplay. In the end, Yakuza: Dead Souls can only be recommended to diehard Yakuza fans. Everybody else that might be interested in giving a Yakuza game a try, choose any one of the other main games.

RATING: 4 out of 6 / 6.5 out of 10

Wolfenstein
(PS3, 2009)

Looking for a World War II themed shooter where Nazis and the occult combine for some supernatural thrills with WWII weaponry and cool “Black Sun” powers and weapons? Look no further to quench that very specific thirst, my friend! Wolfenstein from 2009 is a solid and fun first-person shooter with some very good shooting and great boss battles in the quest to rid the Nazis from Isenstadt in which they have taken complete control of in order to mine rare Nachtsonne crystals necessary to access the “Black Sun” dimension. When you finally tire of the same old “modern warfare” shooters you’re playing, take a look at Wolfenstein. World War II as a setting hasn’t seemed this fresh since the early 2000s.

RATING: 5 out of 6 / 7.5 out of 10

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
(PS3, 2010)

Enslaved is an action/adventure similar to the Uncharted series, but instead replace Uncharted’s shooting mostly with simplistic melee action. The Uncharted-esque platforming is all there, but probably easier. Even so, I still didn’t like that part much because there are times when it’s difficult to see what is shimmering (depends on the color of the surrounds) so you know where to go, which was my same problem with Uncharted’s platforming. The animation can lead you to getting killed because of the transition from standing still to running and getting kinda hung-up on cover. I did mostly enjoy the game thanks to the great voice acting and animation, but the characters weren’t as enjoyable as in Heavenly Sword. The ending was pretty surprising and somewhat ambiguous which was interesting. Most other reviews seemed to like it more than I did, so perhaps you will too.

RATING: 4 out of 6 / 7.0 out of 10

Fighting Vipers
(PS3, 2012)

Recently Sega released three arcade fighters for download on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 that used their mid-1990s arcade hardware known as Model 2. Fighting Vipers is the one I bought (the other two are Virtua Fighter 2 and Sonic the Fighters) since I think it’s a more fun take on Virtua Fighter 2. Fighting Vipers has a more interesting cast of fighters and a cool armor system where you can break the opposing fighter’s armor off in spectacular fashion and open them up to taking even more damage. These moves can also be used to finish your opponent off and send them through an arena wall! These armor moves do have drawbacks in that they have more start-up than normal strikes and thus can be beaten by quick strikes or throws. However, they can only be beaten at the very start, once they get going most normal strikes will be absorbed by these moves and they will blow right through said normal strikes. It’s an interesting extra dynamic that VF doesn’t have. Unfortunately, this new release is missing any real modes outside of Arcade, Offline Multiplayer, and Online Multiplayer. There isn’t even a Training mode! Luckily it was only $5 and is still worth it if you enjoyed any of these fighters before or are curious about Sega’s early 3D fighters.

RATING: 4 out of 6 / 7.0 out of 10

New [1CC’d] video! This time the game is Winds of Thunder on PC Engine. Enjoy!

PART 1

PART 2