I figure if I'm going to have an account here, I should probably keep a blog. I've never kept a blog before - let alone a gaming one -, so forgive me if it sounds a bit amateur-ish at times.
I guess a good first entry would be my personal favorite, and least favorite, games of the last year, 2009! PERSONAL GAME OF THE YEAR The Beatles: Rock Band
I may have jumped on the plastic instrument bandwagon a bit late (the only real experience I had with these modern rhythm games were quick sessions at Wal-Mart kiosks, and the like), but I didn't have nearly as much fun with any other game than I did with Harmonix's musical masterpiece. The Beatles: Rock Band serves not only as a fun game in the Rock Band franchise, but as an interactive documentary to the greatest band of all-time.
Sure, this has been mentioned countless times, but here's why I'll reiterate it: I actually felt like a Beatle. In my eyes, no other Beatle-related experience can even come close to the magic I felt while playing this game. Playing the guitar on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"? I become George Harrison. Whip out the bass guitar and sing into the mic simultaneously during "Paperback Writer"? I am Paul McCartney. Trying my best to keep coordinating my hands banging drumsticks on the solo on "The End"? How does Ringo do it? " How about singing and shredding an acid-fueled guitar solo on "Revolution"? I'm now John Lennon.
I could go on an on about the same thing, but I'm sure you get the point. The game has its downfalls (No "Help!"? "Please Please Me"? "Hey Jude"? "She Loves You"? "Love Me Do"? "Rain"? "Ain't She Sweet"? "Let It Be"?) in some of its selection of songs from the band's career (SERIOUSLY, no "Let It Be"? I can understand how some songs just wouldn't fit no matter what, but you'd think they'd at least include all of the title songs from each album.)?
But then again, it must have been incredibly difficult to shoehorn all of this together in the first place. But what we have is good enough for me, and I can't tell you just how much fun I've had with this game. If The Beatles: Rock Band has taught me anything, it's that no matter who you are, you don't HAVE to have that same talent to become one of the Fab Four; you just need the heart. And if you don't have any friends or family around you that don't share that same passion (you should abandon them), you can always hop online and find some other Beatle-nuts that are just as crazy as you.
You know, learned all that, and that I suck at drumming. RUNNER-UPS 1. Batman: Arkham Asylum
Though Uncharted 2 may have wiped the floor in nearly every category in nearly every "Best Game of 2009" list (and with good reason), I still believe Batman: Arkham Asylum should have taken the crown. Not only astounding in terms of its game design, but this game makes you feel like you're Batman. Remember that scene in The Dark Knight when Batman takes out all of those security guards in that building in China but you never see him? Arkham Asylum teaches you how he does it.
And man, is it awesome. Drop down and glide kick into the backs of your enemies, swoop down and hang them upside down (which I personally think is worth the price of admission. Seriously, I've been waiting for a good Batman game to do this) and then strike when the other inmates are wondering where you are, and even grapple across landscapes. Come on, what more could you ask for in a Batman game? Even Scarecrow, one of my most favorite Batman villains of all-time (if not ever) gets his due here; it's fantastic.
I can't recommend this game enough to anyone. Whether you're a fan of the Dark Knight himself, love action-stealth games, or just want a good 'ole fashioned beat-em-up adventure, Batman: Arkham Asylum has something for you.
Now if only we can get Rocksteady to make a Superman game, I think I could die happy... 2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
I've seen a lot of unusual hatred towards this game for reasons other than the controversial removal of dedicated servers, but I had a riot with this game; moreso than I had expected. I had played the original Modern Warfare, and liked it alright, but I could never get into the multiplayer aspect. Maybe I just jumped onto the bandwagon a bit too late (what is it with me and missing the rides? I didn't play the original until about a year after its original release)... ?
From the start of the game's campaign mode, I could not put the controller down. It was exciting from start to finish, and definitely one of the most intense shooters I've played in a long while. The attacks on a modern American suburb? Gave me imagery in my head that I wish I could un-see, but made me realize just how vulnerable we humans really can be. The incredibly controversial "No Russian" scene? Made me incredibly sick to my stomach, but at the same time, made me realize that if a game can generate this much discussion, maybe those nay-sayers can start seriously considering some videogames as works of art. And that very last mission in the game? I won't blow anything in case you haven't seen it, but my heart was pounding from start to finish.
And then there's the cooperative Spec Ops mode. This is probably my favorite aspect of this game; you and a single friend have to stand and defend a small gas station while you're attacked by hordes of on-foot soldiers, tanks, and choppers. Freakin' awesome. My shooter reflexes have seriously gotten a big boost while playing this game (what with its fast-paced, arcade-like pacing), and even though I kind of suck online in Team Deathmatch, seeing what lies on the next level keeps me coming back for more.
That, and the constant bad-assery of Ghost saying "Let's do this." BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS OF THE YEAR 1. Resident Evil 5
I cannot tell you how psyched I was for this game. Perhaps it's my fault for getting my hopes up, but when a developer tells you that this is the last game in one of your most favorite franchises of all-time, you can't help but feel that they're going to go out with a big bang. Not so much with Resident Evil 5.
Where Resident Evil 4 expanded upon, Resident Evil 5 takes a big step back. Is it shorter than its predeccesor? About 2/3's shorter. New weapons? Yes, but a lot of them aren't much different than those established in the REmake and 4. Is the horror aspect at least back? Nope, not in the least.
There were some design decisions that I had issues with. Why have a cover mechanic if I can't use it everywhere, and why does it feel so tacked-on? Seriously, when the Majini get weapons, you'll be shot at and hit before you can even finish the swing-out animation. Very frustrating. Two-player co-op was interesting. Not so much that it made the game more tolerable, but that it actually tore my brother and I apart at times; we had been getting so frustrated at certain points in the game that we actually began to lash out at each other.
No experience is worth that. This game had some cool aspects, however; I couldn't have asked for a cooler fight against Wesker (but of course that was ruined the third time you fight him), and the Mercenaries mode was just as fun as ever. But the imagination and creativity shown in previous entries of the series just wasn't here. The big motherload of a virus in this game turns you into a tentacle monster? Seriously?
In the same way Spider-Man 3 left you feeling empty and disappointing after its fantastic second film (that was in every way better than the original), Resident Evil 5 only left me feeling like Capcom had betrayed their audience (the Wesker Children Project? Really?) in the same way Rocky V did with fans of the Italian Stallion.
Perhaps one day, Mikami-san will take back control of this series and end it with the boom it deserves. A man can dream. 2. Prince of Persia
I'm not sure what to say about this game. It really isn't like its predecessors - other than that you're an "unnamed" Prince who climbs and jumps off of things - and not in a good way. The gameplay felt dumbed down by the constant amount of Quick-Time Events, no real punishment for "dying," and the incredibly simplistic combat. After coming off of the awesome fighting mechanics of Warrior Within and The Two Thrones, Prince of Persia just felt like one giant step-backwards.
A big issue I had with this game was its rather "forceful" nature. I can understand if the character can love another character within the story, but if you don't try and make me love that character for the same reasons he does, don't force me to undo all the work I had spent twelve hours of the game accomplishing. Just like the ending of 2006's god-awful Sonic the Hedgehog, Prince of Persia ends with you feeling like you didn't do much. And for what, some character I didn't even care about? I remember reading an article on it from right here on Destructoid a while back, and agreed with every single point it made.
Rather than telling me all the reasons why I should love a character (I'm talking about all of that slightly-necessary-yet-at-the-same-time-slightly-unnecessary dialogue), show me why I should love this character. Editorializing the plot is something I hope the industry moves away from, as it does nothing more than make the story feel tacked-on, cheesy, and downright boring. And please, don't make me pay for a downloadable "Epilogue" if it does nothing more than continue to end the game with an even sloppier cliffhanger (luckily, I played it on a friend's console who had already purchased it).
Here's to hoping The Forgotten Sands rocks the house. 3. F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
Now let me start off by saying that the original F.E.A.R. is one of my most favorite shooters of all-time (if not my favorite), so needless to say, expectations were high. It contained everything I had wanted in a shooter; Slow-Mo control for my really crappy accuracy (seriously, before F.E.A.R., I was even worse at shooters than I am now), cool gore effects that really make you feel like you've torn through your enemies, and, of course, the scary-as-all-hell Alma, who popped out at the most inappropriate (and unexpected) times. An instant classic in my book.
F.E.A.R. 2 felt... different. The horror that Alma brought forth seemed forced and predictable at times, there weren't many new weapons, the controls were uncomfortable (coming from the previous game for me, anyway) from start to finish, and... it just didn't feel the same. The graphics were really nice, but just because you slap a new coat of paint over an old house it doesn't make it new; it's the interior that counts (as lame as that sounds).
The level design felt stale, and other than the variation in environments (as opposed to the Offices of the original), the game just felt boring to me. It's very hard to explain. Some of the horror segments were awesome (the twists at the last level in the game were fantastic) and gave me quite a scare, and some of the new weapons were awesome (the Laser weapon comes to mind. Too bad it's laser-pointer was offset from the center of the screen to the left), and ripping people up in Mechs was awesome (though admittedly, it's not very appropriate for a horror game).
All in all, not a bad game, but just disappointing.
That sure took a lot longer to write than I thought it would. But it was fun! If you've managed to read down this far, let me say, "Thank you," and that I really appreciate you giving me your attention for the duration of this entry. Hopefully I didn't come off as too ranty; I like to keep things at least somewhat civilized.
Let's hope I can keep this up!
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