And so, with the New Year crowning its head like a newborn babe, the season of the list is upon us. And what better type of list to write than a retrospective of the top 5 games I played from every year but this one (Full disclosure, I don't really understand the concept of an end of year list). In no particular order:
Holy crap this game is fun. It might just be a bunch of quicktime events glued together with brawler and rail shooter sections, but it is a visually fantastic and entertaining set of quicktime events. The is (to use an already overused word) epic, with your main character taking down demigods routinely. Of course, it helps that he is one, albeit one with 12000 years less training than the rest. The game was meant to play like an interactive anime, and it certainly succeeds in everything from the art style to the constant yelling.
Who has 6 arms and a voice louder than a jet engine? I'm sorry, I can't hear you over my voice
The combat is admittedly average, being a simple third person two-button brawler, but it is satisfying. The rail shooter sections are also simple, but a satisfying experience nonetheless. But really, combat is just a bridge to the next quicktime event, a bridge you will immediately burn while on a cocktail of Red Bull and methamphetamine. Never in a game have quicktime events been so fun, mostly because the pure uncut adrenaline oozing from this game is so infectious that you will get caught up the god-destroying madness of it all.
After playing Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, I decided to look into Platinum games' back catalogue, with the most impressive find being Vanquish. It's kind of like Halo by way of Max Payne, with the shortcut back to America closed down meaning he had to take a detour through Japan, meeting a beautiful woman, then deciding to settle down and have a lovely family with her, growing old. Then on his deathbed in the year 2068, his rowdy son runs in on acid, then performs a backflip and screams "TIME IS AN ILLUSION WE PLACE ON OURSELVES" then using his robot arm to crush a can of futuristic energy drink before setting fire to his father's bed. That son is Vanquish.
His brothers Inversion and Haze died in utero.
Anyway, Vanquish is great fun, with it's initially simple combat leading into a rabbit hole of complex shooting and slow motion antics. It plays like a regular Third-Person Shooter fused with elements of bullet hell shooters. My personal favourite part of the game were the boss battles, with the usual frantic speed of gameplay being accentuated by some other powerful cybernetic threat. The story is admittedly kind of shitty, but it has it's charm, a bombastic Call of Duty style game, where the only way to beat a bunch of guns is with more guns. And bullet time. And glorious sliding. The best part of the story must be when the hyper masculine Gears of War style squad leader attempts to test if the main character is ready to be a part of the team by trying to knife the shit out of him.
Alright, this is the last Japanese game on here, I swear. I'm sure you've heard enough about it's legendary difficulty, which is not aided by the poor PC port, no matter how much you mod it. Even with the issues of the port, this is a game that is an absolute bitch, but every success makes you feel like pure heroin has been pumped into you. Sure, this type of heroin has a comedown that will scar your internal organs, but it feels great when you're riding the dragon.
Not this one.
The best part about this difficulty is that it is quite fair for the most part. Combat is elegant and simple, meaning that even when the game feels difficult, you know it's not the game's fault. Each defeat spurs you on, making you crave returning to the scene of the crime so you can crack some heads together. Away from the gameplay, the world is visually stunning, varying from dark swamps, to Anor Londo, a beautiful ghost city made for gods. Not only that, it's covered in secrets and hidden intricacies, lending a sense of depth to it that I honestly am not sure I've seen in another game. The story is kept vague, but various threads are thrown into the world regarding various stories, making it feel like a fully fleshed out world. It also knows how to do DLC right. No armor packs, no hour long quests, this DLC adds a new world to Lordran, complete with the same depth and beauty as the main game. Also, fuck Manus.
Aliens Vs Predator 2010
Fuck you. No, I mean it, fuck you. Don't you sneer at my choice. Sure, the alien campaign gives me nausea and the marine campaign is less interesting than a 4 month old's political opinions, but the predator campaign is fucking awesome. Jumping from tree to tree while using predator vision to see who to target before jumping down, turning invisible, then ripping out his spine via his head before firing a laser cannon at any witnesses, is pure poetry in gory, violent motion.
Look at it. LOOK. AT. IT.
Batman: Arkham City: GOTY
I did finish this game last year, but only the main story. This time around I bought it in the WB Humble Bundle, aiming to finish the DLC and at least one sidequest. First off, the combat is stellar. The first one was originally made as a Batman rhythm game for some daft reason, but it shows here. Bat-cracking skulls has never felt so good, provided you can time each hit correctly. This makes being hit during a combo the most depressing thing since Requiem for a Dream.
Come on and slam, welcome to the jam. Batman in Space Jam would be the only movie i'd ever need.
The story ranks up there with one of the best Batman related tales in my opinion, exploring Batman's psyche and his relationship with The Joker, topping off with a rather ballsy ending. Which is of course negated by the next game in the series being a prequel, but I digress. This is added onto in the DLC, Harley Quinn's Revenge, which acts as an epilogue to the game. While playing as Robin is entertaining it doesn't really add much closure. Of course, the point of it might be to show that there is no closure for Batman in his endless struggle between crime and his own fractured mind. So I guess it's an alright ending then.
So, those were my favourite late to the party games, what were yours?