As the year passes its midway mark, i share my very personal overview of the year in gaming.
Bright moments in gaming
Best port of a port: Metal Gear HD Collection of a Vita. Something about playing Snakeeater so close to your face in High Def really adds to the spionage experience and the menu handles lovely through touch control.
Best browser mini game: Rambo Last Blood, it packs quite a bunch of hilarity and cleverness on its brief stages.
Best game for the PS Vita: Tales from Space: About a Blob, a fantastic platformer with a wild sense of humour. It makes great use of the vita control capabilities, both touch and otherwise, to travel stages with flawless design.
Best game for the PS3: Mass Effect 3. Works as as third person shooter, works as a space opera; it never gets dull.
Best Downloadable game of the year (so far): Episode 1 of The Walking Dead. Picks the proud tradition of point and click adventures and uses it to tell an interactive story with interesting characters.
Game of the year (so far): Abobo's Big Adventure. A feverish mishmash of styles,gameplays and characters that completely works as the representation of the mind of a child of the 80s; if there is such a thing as auther videogames, this belongs right there.
Busts of the year
Worst DLC: Harley Quinn's Revenge for Arkham City. A short and mediocre mission that would've felt as a low point in the original game. This is not how you make DLC relevant.
Most dissapointing game: Journey. It makes an excellent case for the importance of difficulty and challenge in a game. A journey in which you've nothing lose is hardly a journey worth taking.
In retrospect, this year has not been nearly as bright as 2011. Gladly there are some potential gems ahead like Retro City Rampage, Sound Shapes & Sleeping Dogs which might make me remember 2012 fondly, videogame-wise.
What is it? : a classic shooter in which the enemy hits produce sounds that complete each levels soundtrack.
Why it rocks? : It's very hard, testing your reflexes and ability to shoot and avoid being touched. Your reward? destroying chains of enemies and creating beautiful music.
What is it?: An arcade brawler in which you go through waves of enemies with blades, machetes, shotguns, chainsaws and firearms. Everything is presented in very stylized manner taking cues from Tarantino / Rodriguez films.
Why it rocks?: Pure unadultered gore, made possible by firearm/blades combos. Also, very fluid and kickass animations for each of the characters.
What is it?: A beautiful looking game that uses a simplified model of what metroid and castlevania have done in the past in regards to platforming and exploration, but which introduce some very creative and challenging boss fights.
Why it rocks?: Because of the huge bosses that launch screen covering attacks that test your platforming ability.
7. Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light
What is it?: A twin stick shooter with enviromental puzzles that involve platforming, starred by Tomb Raider's Lara Croft.
Why it rocks?: Because every one of the gameplay mechanics that it introduces work and enhance each other, making you feel like the ultimate adventurer wether you're gunning down hellspawns or solving elaborate puzzles.
6. Super Stardust HD
What is it? : A twin stick shooter in which you circle a planet while avoiding falling asteroids and incoming enemies.
Why it rocks?: Best. Looking. Particles. Ever, which make blowing stuff very satisfying.The game also tests your reflexes and speed, because the levels can get very crowded.
5. Pixeljunk Shooter 2
What is it?: A game in which you control a rescue shift that sails through harsh enviroments in which knowing the elements (lava/gas/ice/water) and how to combine them is essential to survive and save the crew
Why it rocks?: it has some really nice fluids physics that you use to open new areas in the levels to save stranded scientists. The level design is fantastic, each world introduce new power-ups that keep the game fresh. The bosses are challenging. The soundtrack sets just the right tone.
4. Joe Danger
What is it?: The stellar Excitebike sequel that Nintendo never made. You race, do tricks, collect various elements and become a stunt superstar in the process.
Why it rocks?: It has that certain simple magic quality that you find in the great Nintendo titles (kudos to Hello Games for nailing that), every control works perfectly making racing and doing tricks a treat, most of the levels are creative and fun to play multiple times.
What is it? : An experimental game in which you control the wind, by moving the sixaxis control, and pick up petals. A sensorial experience that goes from pleasant to gripping and liberating through musical and visual means
Why it rocks?: Because it creates a whole, if simple, narrative, with the single gameplay idea of blowing petals with the wind, without resorting to clutches like cutscenes or voice overs or to other gameplay elements that would've been unnecessary. Because you've not seen anything like it.
What is it?: A perfectly realized time manipulation puzzle game that hints at some heavy themes of regret and memory.
Why it rocks?: Because the puzzles are that damn good, making you think in creative ways and giving you a big sense of accomplisment once you nail them. Also, because its twisted watercolor take on iconic Mario elements (goombas, carnivore plants, yoshi, Mario, Donkey Kong) is very expressive and reinforce and underlying theme of what happens to memories with the passage of time and how one deals with regret.
1. Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game
What is it?: The greatest brawling game from all time, picking every element that made games like Double Dragon, River City Ransom and others great.
Why it rocks?: Because it turns me into the same gamer i was as a kid, getting excited about beating thugs with my fists or various weapons (snowball! ninja sword!), in HUGE and beautiful 8 bit like graphics that are propelled by the greatest soundtrack from this generation (by Anamanaguchi). All to save the girl. This is gaming.[/i]