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ScottyG's Highs and Lows of 2010 (belated) - Destructoid

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Sorry this is too big (that's what she said). Just open the picture in a new tab to see the whole thing <3


SteamID & XBL Gamertag: ScottyGrayskull





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Hello! <3

Bit about me. I've been a gamer for the most of my life. When I was seven and waiting for my parents to pick me up from piano lessons, the teacher's two sons showed me Super Mario Bros 2. Needless to say I never learned to play the piano very well...

I've flip-flopped several times between consoles and PCs. I generally love non-generic FPS games, puzzlers (Tetris is probably my favourite game of all time) and platformers of all shapes and sizes. I tolerate RPGs, but usually don't bother because I just don't have the time to invest in them.

I'm one of those freaks that regard FF7 and Ocarina of Time as merely average. That might be partly because I'm biased against the first round of 3D games that generally looked and played like crap compared to the 2d games at the time (during that generation I was a PC gamer, where they actually could do decent 3D at the time). By no means are they bad games, but plenty of games have done just as well and actually looked good in the process.

Yeah yeah, graphics aren't everything. But as important as gameplay is, looks still matter. It doesn't have to be the best looking thing around, but it at least has to be passable.

I tried to be a collector for awhile, but realized there was no market where I lived and gave that up. Currently I have an NES, SNES, GameBoy/GameBoy Colour/GameBoy Advance SP, DS, a 360, and of course my lovely gaming PC. ^_^

Also, Black Yoshi Brigade:
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2010 has come and gone, and like everybody else I've been thinking back on the last year of gaming... the games I played, the games I wish I played, the games I wish I didn't play. Maybe it's the nature and traditions of what we do on NYE, or maybe it's just because of all the other GOTY lists we were bombarded with over the last few weeks. So without further delay, here's seven games I rather enjoyed and three I was quite disappointed by.

Keep in mind that this only covers games I played, and as I don't have a Sony system and my Wii is in a box over 3000 miles away leaves me with a fairly limited selection. These are also listed in alphabetical order so I don't have to choose one over the other, because at this point it's like picking which child you like the most. ;)



Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Up until the end of the summer I was squarely in the Call of Duty camp, however due to various circumstances that series was getting very tired for me. I took a friend's recommendation and picked up this game, and it's easily the best console shooter experience I've ever had. I've always been a fan the scale of Battlefield games, which is something most other shooters just haven't been able to replicate. There's a good variety with the weapons, the different classes force you to constantly change up your playstyle, and the only one thing you need to win is teamwork.

The Vietnam expansion that came out right at the end of the year was a massive boost, adding not only maps and weapons, but a completely new style that's unheard for most multiplayer shooters. Something about selecting that menu option and having CCR suddenly blare at you makes this a shooter I expect to be playing for quite awhile.

Deadly Premonition
This game was the big surprise of the year for me. I really didn't know what to expect from this game aside from the ridiculous trailers and videos posted on blogs, but it was a budget release (a real budget release, none of that $40 budget nonsense) so I figured why not.

What I got was one of the most interesting gaming experiences I've had in awhile, with a story that is equal parts absurd, silly, and deep. Swery managed to make an entire town and fill it with characters I actually cared about, who had daily schedules and plenty of hidden secrets for anybody able to find them. Sure the actual gameplay mechanics weren't very good and the game did a bad job of explaining things the player really should know (like how the game handles time and mission deadlines), but this is one of those rare cases for me where the story and characters made up for the gameplay deficiencies. I played through the story three times to get all the achievements, and given all the complaints about the gameplay shows just how much I liked the story.

Pac-Man CE DX
It's amazing how Namco was able to reinvent Pac-Man three years ago with Championship edition, changing the focus from just mere survival and maximizing the use of power pellets to gobbling down as much fruit as possible for high scores. All while keeping the feel of what makes a Pac-Man game. You'd think there's nothing else they could do with the Pac-Man formula, but CE DX shows just how wrong you'd be. It's such a fundamentally different game than any other Pac-Man game, but when you play it it's still undeniably Pac-Man.

This is the game for me to just shut my brain off and rely on pure reflexes to survive and chow down on that massive ghost train, while the amazing soundtrack just keeps up the frantic high energy feeling.

Picross 3D
Another bargain title, which I bought solely based on the recommendation from Jeff Gerstman's quick look. I'd never played a Picross game before, but this one has spent more time in my DS than any other game this year, possibly ever. And I still haven't solved every puzzle! I now see what all those people who obsessively play Sudoku are going on about, as it's the perfect game for both short bursts and marathon sessions.

Red Dead Redemption
Never been a big fan of westerns, and I'm always baffled and how Rockstar can make protagonists that are... well, little bitches. While RDR keeps up the tradition of the latter with John Marston, they've managed to once again craft a giant world that is just fun to run around in. With the high production values the studio is known for, and a story and set of characters that in typical Rock Star fashion are as memorable and insane as the situations the protagonist keeps finding himself in. Cap it off with an amazing end sequence that kept you guessing on when the game had actually ended and you have one of the best all around single player experiences of this year.

Super Meat Boy
I've always been a fan of 2D platformers, especially challenging ones that don't cross the line into masocore territory. Giving challenge that doesn't rely on cheap "GOTCHA!" memorization tactics is a hard thing to do, but Super Meat Boy does a great job of skirting that line. Having short levels with fast respawn is a godsend as even if you know the level you'll likely die a lot due to the sheer precision required, When you do beat a level, Team Meat included the brilliant feature of showing all your attempts in the replay video. Toss in ten shitloads of both retro and indie game references, and a cast of characters that might as well be an indie all star team and you have an very complete package that, along with free dlc levels, Team Meat has ensured is well worth the asking price.

VVVVVV
Another challenging platformer, VVVVVV is similar to Super Meat Boy but in many ways very different. The whole game is one giant level you can explore Metroid style, and can beat in an hour if you know what you're doing. This doesn't stop it from being a brilliantly crafted game however, which uses just one simple mechanic in way more ways than you'd think possible. Controls are spot on, the simplistic graphical style is pulled off perfectly, and the chiptunes soundtrack is the best I've heard in years. On top of all that, Terry made the brilliant design decision to allow the user to unlock all extras and bonuses at anytime if they want, under the premise that they should be able to play the game they paid for however they like. I bought this game from his website when it first came out, and then again when it came out later on Steam, and will gladly buy a third time it if it comes out on XBLA.



Now, countering this list are three games that, while not necessarily bad, are ones that I can't help but be disappointed in...



Comic Jumper
Let me start this by stating that I LOVE Twisted Pixel. The Maw, and especially Splosion Man are among my favourite games released this console generation. The developers have a knack for not only creating adorable and hilarious characters and worlds, but integrating them all together in some sort of impossible game universe. Comic Jumper, while being full of more of the same charm and humour than you'd think possible (they made FMV relevant again for god sakes!) is... a sadly mediocre game to actually play. Not bad, but just... so meh. A weird dual joystick platformer/shooter/brawler hybrid style with enemies that take frustratingly long to beat, it's a far cry from the sheer joy in gameplay that their previous titles have.

Game Room
So much wasted potential. I was really behind the idea of Game Room: A legalized emulation alternative with extra features modern consoles offer like leaderboards, stat tracking and friend challenges. Where I assume it fell flat was... well, they just didn't get the games. Even if they did though, the pricing didn't help. While something like Jackal is debatably worth $3 (or $5 to play on any supported device) most of the games, little more than Intellivision/2600 shovelware, simply aren't worth that much. Especially when you can buy 2600/Intellivision collections for a fraction of the price elsewhere.

After the developer was shut down and the last minute release of game pack 13 right at the end of the year (which was capped off with the "joke" demo Venetian Blinds) it looks doubtful anything else will come out of Game Room.

And we never got Sunset Riders...

Monday Night Combat
I just don't understand how devs keep thinking online only downloadable games on a console are a good idea. The turnaround for all but the top handful of games is depressingly fast, yet we constantly see these games released. I guess devs are able to make profits with these releases, but with my limited money having at best a few weeks of gametime before 99% of the players move on is a really tough sell.

This sucks even more so when the game as as good as Monday Night Combat is. It's a game that deserves a lot more attention than it got, which is why I bought it. Even though I was going to be away from any sort of gaming for almost a month, what with a cross country move and PAX coming up, I still bought it. And I had a few very fun nights until I got sick of trying to find a match. Even my friends who piss and moan about how nobody will play it find excuses to play CoD instead when this comes up. Hopefully the PC version finds a more stable and sizable fanbase.



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