A few weeks ago Destructoid staff submitted lists of our ten favorite games to release in the past twelve months. Those lists were concentrated down to just five nominees. And Telltale's The Walking Dead emerged the victor. Now that it's past midnight and the calendar gods have decided it's a new year, I figured I'd share my picks because of REASONS. Too much beer probably. Also, Hamza did it and I endeavor to be more like Hamza. I've even purchased some Rogaine for my arms.
#10 Code of Princess
It's been a long time since I enjoyed a side-scrolling beat 'em up. For some reason though Code of Princess really struck a chord with me. Its colorful cast of characters, role-playing elements, bite-sized missions, and gratifying combat really won me over. Code of Princess is very much worthy of being billed a successor to Guardian Heroes.
#9 Persona 4 Arena
Fighting games. I love them dearly, but I'm so bad at them. It might be a while before I defeat anybody online, but at least I can trounce a computer. And hey! P4A lets me spend more time in this awesome world with these lovely characters. That's enough for me.
Ever since I got my hands on SSX at E3 2011 I've been in love. The asynchronous multiplayer, the bright visuals, the techno soundtrack are all wonderful. But what I really dig about it is that the game evokes the feeling of the older entries in the series while delivering something very cutting edge.
#7 Lollipop Chainsaw
Lollipop Chainsaw is probably my least favorite major release from Grasshopper Manufacture since Killer 7. And yet, I still had a blast playing it. Something about that studio's style and Suda 51's humor really resonates with me. I really appreciate how saccharine and arcade-y this game is. Short and sweet. (With some foul language) That's Lollipop Chainsaw in a nutshell. I'll play it over and over and again.
#6 The Unfinished Swan
I'd recommend this one to just about anyone, but it seems like a whole lot of people don't seem to terribly fond of it. I'm not sure why exactly, it reminds me of Portal crossed with Flower. That can't be a bad thing. It just can't. It also got me a bit misty-eyed at the end there. I went in expecting a decent first-person puzzler and walked away with a storybook tale that warmed up my cold, stony heart.
#5 Asura's Wrath
I still wonder how I fell in love a game that's made up of QTEs but it happened somehow. The episodic anime-style of the whole thing was so incredibly strange but managed to be very wonderful at the same time and I really appreciated how absurd the whole thing was. Very much one of this year's visual treats.
#4 The Walking Dead
How in the hell is a point-and-click adventure game on this list? A really strong narrative, that's how. It made me cry. Like a baby. That's never happened before. Not on account of a game anyway. Stupid adventure game logic aside, Telltale really did do something special with that story and those characters.
#3 Far Cry 3
As the follow up to one of my favorite games of all time, Far Cry 3 had some pretty big shoes to fill and I think it did so admirably. Sure the story leaves a lot to be desired and it's a whole lot more linear than I'd like, but I really dig the combat and role-playing elements Ubisoft Montreal added to the equation. I can definitely see why some are calling it this year's Skyrim.
#2 Binary Domain
In addition to just being a lot of fun, Binary Domain really made me reflect on society and what it means to be a person. I think Sega and Yakuza Studio really did a wonderful job at making what could have just been another dumb shooter a very cerebral experience.
Journey harkens back to an era where things aren't explained in mind-numbing detail. It points the player in a direction, sets them on a path and says GO! Everything else just kind of unfolds from there and it's pretty magical. Also as well also, in an age when every game has a dull, tacked-on multiplayer mode thatgamecompan makes me really hopeful for what multiplayer experiences can become.
Honorable mentions: The Last Story, Sine Mora, I Am Alive, Q.U.B.E.
Several months ago I wrote a blog expressing my discontent with the current state of Goozex. The videogame trading community served me well for years. But recently the bottom has fallen out. The bubble has burst. The market has taken a turn, rather decidedly, for the worse.
Currently there are 740 trades going on. In years passed that figure would have been several times that number. A remnant of those better times is the tagline "Thousands of games available," displayed prominently on the splash page. That was very true once upon a time. Now it's an ironic symbol showing how far the website has fallen since the its launched six years ago.
What's the problem? Well, that's simple. Nobody is trading. But why is that, exactly? The rise of digital? Is it GameFly? Should we blame GameStop? Or has Electronic Arts killed the trading scene with its Online passes? I'm sure it's all of those things and more. Regardless, things have been going poorly as of late.
And the problem has snowballed. Trades are increasingly harder to come by. As they become more rare, the community becomes increasingly reticent to invest in the market. How does one invest exactly? Well you drop a game into the stream of commerce. For that you receive points that can be used to effectively purchase games from other traders. The big issue is that pretty much everyone has wallets bursting at the seams but there's nobody stocking the shelves.
It's a lack of faith, really. Nobody wants to sink more costs into a venture that isn't likely to net them any profits. Now this hasn't happened overnight. There's a gradual curve going on here. The good times led to greed. Greed led to skepticism. And since then we've experienced fear, panic and despondency.
After I expressed my fears here back in July, I decided to purchase a few tokens to see if I could something out of this sinking ship before it's totally submerged. Goozex gets a $1 or $2 cut for every trade that goes on, so I had to kick in a few extra bucks in addition to the currency I've acquired from putting games into the pool over the years. And it hasn't turned out well.
Despite widening my net of games I'm possibly interested in acquiring I've yet to get so much as a nibble. A quick glance at the forums there will tell you that pretty much everyone is doing the same. Once upon a time we could be selective. We could pick and choose what we received. But now there's an ever expanding penumbra. Do I really want this? Not really. Oh well. Why not? Click.
Today I checked the nets once again. Empty. Time to get a little more broad. A little more desperate. The water is almost neck high. This might not be the treasure I was looking for, but hey it's something I guess.
I've been working on some reviews lately and got into the Monaco beta so I haven't been digging into my backlog much lately. In fact, aside from Asura's Wrath I beat all of these months ago and just forgot about them. But I still have opinions, so here goes.
Why I put it off: I played the hell out of this game back in December and eventually got bored before I dug into the main questline.
Thoughts:Skyrim was great. For a while. I really enjoyed the Assassins, Thieves and Civil War quests. The main story was kind of terrible though. And that ending. AWFUL. Awful. Awful. Awful. After a while I realized the gameplay basically consisted of go here, do this, kill that, bring it back, rinse, lather, repeat. It had its moments but once I realized what it was, I only kept playing to see the credits roll.
Rating: Pretty damn good, until you see past the veneer and realize you can never go back again,
Why I put it off: Never had a PS2. Picked up the HD collection even though I had already played Shadow of the Colossus because it was on sale for less than Ico HD was by itself as a digital download on PSN.
Thoughts: At first I was kind of let down because I didn't have anywhere near as meaningful an experience with it as Shadow of the Colossus but it grew on me by the end and I realized why its so special to those that have played it...
Rating: ...but it's still overrated.
Why I put it off: I bought it on sale and it sat on my self while I was busy with other things.
Thoughts: This one is making my GOTY short list for sure. I've never played a game quite like it. It's truly a sight to behold and I really liked how it styled itself after anime. Somehow a game largely made up of QTEs made this QTE-hater fall in love with it. Weird, right?
Rating:God Hand meets El Shaddai. (High praise for me, but definitely not for everyone)
Why I put it off: Funny story. I used to live in the UK and was visiting family for the holidays. On my way back to CA I wound up buying Resident Evil 5 in an airport because I had some extra cash and knew the PS3 was region free. That worked until the DLC came out and I learned that games and DLC from different regions don't work with one another. Eventually I picked up a US copy so I could play the DLC I paid for.
Thoughts:Lost in Nightmares is really awesome. It's more similar to classic Resident Evil while maintaining the action control scheme and all of that. I wish Resident Evil 6 went more in that direction rather than heading into teh suck territory.
I didn't really appreciate the Desperate Escape DLC as much. It was a lot more on the action side of things the main Resi5 campaign. Still, Jill is my favorite character in the series so getting to find out what happened with her was worthwhile.
Rating: A roller coaster of enjoyment and lack therof.
Guys, I have a confession to make. I fell off the wagon a bit and have been playing wayyy too much Puzzle Fighter and Ikaruga over the past few months. Then there was that Demons' Souls new game plus kick. Also, I've been reading a lot of books. And watching movies! Ugh. Yeah, I've been kind of bad lately. And most of these games are things I've purchased recently or played for review so it's more of a blog about recently completed games. Oh well, shut up and deal with it.
Why I put it off: I've never really put Valkyria Chronicles 2 off. I've kind of just been plugging along with it steadily over the past two years. Sometimes I forget my PSP in my car and forget it exists for weeks at a time.
Thoughts: There's some subtle differences that make VCII's gameplay superior to the original. However, the love-sim, highschool, friends forever BS could have been dialed back a tad.
Rating: I need more. Localize VCIII, Sega!
Thoughts: I recently reviewed a PC version of Half Minute Hero that should be going live here any day now. It's a lot like Half Minute Hero for PSP, which I liked quite a bit, but a little different.
Rating: I guess you'll have to find out.
Thoughts: A couple months ago I reviewed this for Gamer Limit, a website Chris Carter, myself and a bunch of current and former Dtoid staff have worked for over the years. It's an inventive concept, a hybrid rhythm-shmup, and it's pulled off well. Unfortunately, it just doesn't seem very "special." I can't quite put my finger on why, though.
In retrospect I feel like I may have scored it a tad high. It's good but it's also kind of meh. I hope someone takes this as a proof of concept and really runs with the idea.
Rating: Fleeting fun.
Thoughts: Tokyo Jungle is exactly the type of game I'll never "finish." I'm not a completionist. I have no inherent desire to unlock every animal or collect every bauble in Donkey Kong Country 64. Give me a 6 hour linear campaign, I'll be all over that. That said, Tokyo Jungle is great. It's just so awesomely bizarre.
Rating: A pride of lions just got in a turf war with a pack of small dogs? This is why I love Japan.
Thoughts: I initially heard good things about this and then I reviewed the thing. It's pretty terrible and is just more fuel for the licensed games are terrible* fire.
Rating: Avoid at all costs.
Why I put it off: I bought it on Steam. I never play any of my Steam games ever.
Thoughts: I went in to this not expecting much of a game, but I was astounded by how non-interactive it actually was. I suppose it's no different than a painting or book. There's some mild physical exertment involved, but it's basically there to induce thought and reflection. There's definitely some deeper themes and messages going on, but I didn't really think it was worth the time I invested in a single playthrough, much less any additional time spent on further analysis.
Rating: Not sure if videogame or...
Next time on Backlog: Maybe Kyle will finally beat Super Meat Boy. Oh and Asura's Wrath will probably be discussed as well. As always, suggestions are welcome. What should I play, dudes?
President Ponyta was born in the tall grass of route 17 on October 15, 1996 to a father from Johto and a mother from Kanto. Growing up, he was also raised by a young human boy named Red who worked his way up from a quiet life as a child in Pallet town to become a Pokémon Master.
After working his way through gyms with the help of friendship and love, President Ponyta moved to Cinnabar Island, where he worked as an organizer to help rebuild the fire-type community.
He went on to Victory Road, where he became the first Pokémon to beat the Elite Four single-handedly. Later, he took a job teaching fire TMs at the University of Kanto. He also remained active in his community, frolicking in the fields with the mares, as any good stallion does.
Ponyta was first elected to the Cinnabar Island State Senate on October 19, 1999. During his time in there he cut taxes for working Fire-types and expanded health care at local Poké Centers. Elected to the Kanto Senate on September 7, 2004, he reached across the aisle to work with Water and Grass-types on combating the nefarious works of Team Rocket.
As President, Ponyta has dedicated himself to putting Americans back to work and restoring economic security to middle-class Pokémon. He’s been driven by the basic values that make this land great: Kanto prospers when we're all in it together, when hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded, and when everyone—from Fuchsia City to the Indigo Plateau —does their fair share and plays by the same rules.
Take the first step to join Ponyta for Kanto, the President’s 2012 campaign, by commenting here and checking Destructoid for updates.
I used to be an avid fan of Goozex. During my college years money was tight and I liked the idea of skirting around corporate middlemen and exchanging games with a community of players. I was actually introduced with Goozex through the Dtoid forums' trading community -- which never seemed to fully take off but netted me a couple gems and let me interact with some kind and generous folks.
Goozex cost a little more, but it seemed like it was worth it. Over the course of a couple years I unloaded pretty much every game I no longer wanted and acquired a bunch of great titles I likely wouldn't have spent actual money on. That was all well and good for a while there, but the honeymoon is over.
I feel like it's 1929 (or 2008) and I have stock in a market that I'm not terribly confident in. I'm not sure whether to pull out and get what I can before it keels over or ride it out and hope that I can weather this storm and see a return on my investment.
I still have enough points to net myself a few games but the community doesn't seem to be there anymore. My requested games list has some incredibly long waits and I've recently run out of tokens. Recently these tokens have increased in price and I'm not entirely sure I want to invest more in a market that looks like it's going down the tubes to reclaim equity.
There are plenty of prophets on the site's forums spelling doom for the website because people like me are losing confidence in the site. They're not willing to trade away games because they're afraid they'll never see a return in kind. I'm at a crossroads. Do I cut my losses and just give up the chance at two, three, four potential games? Or should I invest more cash into something that I'm far from confident that I'll see a good return for?
Makes me long for the innocent days of my trading days in the forums.