Mass Effect 3
Assassin's Creed III
Max Payne 3
CoD: Black Ops 2
Games released this year that I played, in no particular order:
Full title console releases:
Mass Effect 3 - Even with its original ending, the actual journey to that ending was one of the best I'd had in a long while, so I'm willing to forgive it. Incredibly epic, with a lot of pretty awesome personal payoffs for my Shepard, none more so than managing to resolve the Quarian/Geth dispute. I was really annoyed when I couldn't point that out in the ending.
Assassin's Creed III - Lots of love and hate in this game, nothing more annoying than trying to 100% the main storyline. Still, despite its many flaws, naval combat was brilliant and roaming through the trees felt fresher than I thought.
Sleeping Dogs - Badass. Mrs. Chu is one of my favorite characters as of late, and not just because we share a last name. The martial arts felt even more brutal than even the Batman games, and contextual takedowns are the bee's knees.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown - As ridiculously awesome and frustrating as I remember the original being.
Rocksmith (PAL release w/Bass expansion) - I've had it a while, but I only got the direct optical hookup working last week. Liking it so far but will wait on passing verdict until later.
Halo 4 - While not complete yet, the fighting and co-op in this game are well implemented, and it's been gorgeous so far.
Borderlands 2 - Only got through a little bit of it thus far, not enough to really state.
Forza Horizon - Managed some racing; feels like a more streamlined version of Burnout Paradise. I approve.
Skullgirls - Fights well. Don't have anyone to fight against locally though.
Rock Band Blitz - Addictive, but not quite as addictive as RB3. Maybe I'll feel differently if I get a fighting stick.
Kinect Party - Like DFHAT before it, an awesome demonstration of Kinect's features.
Xbox Karaoke - Wider selection than RB3 for singing, unnecessary metagame, nice SmartGlass integration. Still prefer RB3 even for singing, though.
Fez - MIND-BLOWING. Played to 20X.X% completion, with ten A5 pages (most of which I used both sides) devoted to decoding puzzles in the game. This was my kind of game.
Mark of the Ninja - Well-done stealth action; adding field-of-view to a platformer is pretty ingenious. I took the time to 100% the game, so I must've enjoyed it.
Spaceteam - A fantastic party game for those who love to yell technobabble.
The Act - A fun little cinematic arcade game with European-style charm. For $3, an entertaining experience on your iOS device of choice.
Super Hexagon - I think this ate most of my free time when away from my console. Damn, was it incredible.
Super Crate Box - Also ridiculous, also awesome, maybe I should buy this for the computer so I don't have to deal with stupid virtual controls.
Bastion - Easier on iOS thanks to its new control scheme, but still lush and fun to play.
Letterpress - After some vicious gaming between me and my brother (okay, towards the end it was me toying with him; it was pretty clear I was going to win), I have to say this is probably one of the more fun competitive word games I've had in a while.
Spellwood - Battle Scrabble, and a lot of fun. Kind of wish there weren't the $1 "DLC" option available at the start, but rather a $3 purchase for the full thing.
Crazy Taxi - Five words: YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH!
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective - As fantastic as it was when I played it on the DS.
Chaos Rings II - The first one I've bought at full price, and worth the money. Ridiculously, awesomely over-the-top and extremely involving. A solid PS2-era JRPG game for your iOS device, basically.
Frog Fractions - Utterly insane and a lot of fun; not so much a game as an experience.
Sleeping Dogs (also full console title)
Super Hexagon (also iOS)
Last edited by LoopyChew; 01-07-2013 at 04:50 AM. Reason: Bolding titles. Also, finished Mark of the Ninja.
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Read Dead is a bad video game
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Man, I should have had Spelunky on my list. So good.
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Gonna have to go with The Walking Dead on this one, not that I played a ton of 2013 games (Halo 4 and Mass Effect 3 are pretty much it. Halo 4 is awesome, but it's one of those things where there are just too many little things that bug me about it, particularly about the multiplayer. ME3 had some significant problems like the ending and the sidequests being lackluster).
Noticed people talking about how they didn't like The Walking Dead ultimately having a linear storyline, and I gotta say, that's what I love about the game, at least in terms of games that give you choices that affect the plot. Whereas other games actually let you affect how major plot points turn out, The Walking Dead instead does not do that and instead makes the choices about character interaction and how you, as a person, would react in those situations. And I think that’s brilliant because it means that there isn’t a “wrong” choice. You’re never punished for making a choice. You know the consequences of your choices before you make them. Even when the plot steps in and makes choices for you, such as (spoiler for Episode 2) when Larry gets killed in the meat locker at the end of the episode, I don’t fault the game. If the plot didn’t step in and actually let you choose what happens, then you run into a thing where there actually is a “wrong” choice. Again, spoilers for episode 2, if you could actually save Larry, even if Kenny’s argument makes complete sense, it still punishes players for helping kill him, unless you just really hate Larry and want him dead. In that sense, the choice as it is in the game isn’t about saving Larry or preventing him from reanimating, it’s about how you would react in that situation. By allowing you to save Larry, the choice would lose its purpose.
Contrast this with Mass Effect where (spoilers for Mass Effect series) At the end of Mordin’s loyalty mission, you choose to either destroy the data or save it. Now, originally, I chose to destroy it because morally, I couldn’t justify holding onto data that was obtained in such a fashion, even if I agreed with its purpose. Fast forward to Mass Effect 3, because I destroyed the data, Eve dies. And it’s like, I didn’t want that. I didn’t sign up for that when I chose to destroy the data. I mean, when you destroy the data, you understand that it might cause problems down the road, but, the game shouldn’t just outright punish you like that for making a choice. I just feel like the game’s laughing at me and going “Haha, got you, I bet you feel like crap now”. So from now on, no matter how much I want to destroy the data, no matter how out of character saving the data would be for my Shepard, I have to hold onto it because I have to save Eve.
Basically, The Walking Dead has a really good choice system IMO because it is set up in a way that doesn’t punish the player for making the choices they make, yet the choices are still significant and weighty because I still feel like my choices mattered (in terms of character interaction and just in terms of who Lee is as a person). It never makes me feel like wanting to hit the power button on my 360 to do things over or to consult a guide to make sure I make the “right” choice (I’ve done both with games like Mass Effect and Fallout 3).
When a game makes you feel like you made the wrong choice, it’s doing a poor job of presenting choices in my opinion. Choices in games should be as 50/50 as possible (and, actually, Telltale specifically went into designing their choices trying to make them as 50/50 as possible. They never wanted to see stuff like a 90/10 split or something). If you’re designing a part of a game where the player has to make a choice, and you make it so that there clearly is a preferable choice, you’re doing something wrong. You want to make it where the choices you can choose are equally justifiable, have consequences that are equally bad, and don’t result in one choice having better positives than the other. You want it so that the players can come onto message boards and have a debate over what they chose and why they chose it. You never want to see 95% of people agree on a choice. And that’s the beauty of The Walking Dead’s choice system. There is never a right answer to the choices. If you have a game that lets you make massive plot changing choices, you’re eventually going to run into situations where there are obviously right choices, and I don’t just don’t like that as much. Yeah, it’s nice to be able to have a massive effect (pun totally intended) on the universe, but I don’t always feel like I make the choices anyways when one choice gives me all this awesome stuff and the other cuts off my legs, you know?
ANYWAYS, enough of my rambling about that, time to actually talk about why The Walking Dead is my game of the year (aside from my praises of its choice system).
The characters are amazing. Not a single character in the game I felt was unlikeable. Yeah, Duck is annoying, Larry is a royal jerk, Ben is a coward, but I still liked them. I loved how I can even sympathize somewhat with the completely irredeemable bad guys. Episode 4 spoilers, Yeah, the people in Crawford were awful by throwing out the young, old, and ill. I would never do that. BUT, their actions can be justified. Clementine is the best child character I’ve ever seen in a video game. Never before has a game been able to manipulate my choices by simply having a character be in sighting distance of me. Lee is amazing as well. Both characters just felt real.
Furthermore, the plot is amazing. A lot of games fall into the trap of being all depressing all the time in an attempt to be “deep”, and while The Walking Dead is definitely extremely depressing, there’s always that little bright spot peeking out of the clouds no matter what. Yeah, sometimes things are extremely predictable (Episode 2 in particular), but it never detracted from the game IMO. The themes of the game are accomplished wonderfully. It’s just all around fantastic and honestly one of the best, if not the best, narratives in a video game.
Everything else is great too (aside from some technical problems). Art style is amazing and expressive. Voice acting is stellar. I just don’t really have anything bad to say about the game. Everything is top notch. Can’t wait for Season 2.
I'm the exact opposite. I like being surprised and knowing that my choices will permanently affect the game's story line. I don't see it as choosing a "right" path, and maybe that's where I'm ok by it. I like the mystery of not knowing the consequences of my choices; and I'd gladly play a second time through to see how new choices would affect the game.
As it stands, I enjoyed the game enough that I want to play it again. However, I can't bring myself to doing a second playthrough because I know my choices don't mean anything in the end. The plot will still go the same way and the ending will be the same, which is a bummer to me.
Still, I'm buying Season 2 Episode 1 on day 1. Can't wait.
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For the record, I consider the Mass Effect series my favorite "game" of all time.
So it's not like I dislike games that let you have a huge impact on the universe. I like the idea of it in theory. It's just in practice it doesn't come out as smoothly as I'd hoped it would sometimes.
Interestingly, I feel games like Mass Effect aren't very good in second playthroughs in the way that most people would think they are because of the inherent problems massive, earth shattering choices sometimes result in. If I know that one choice is obviously better than the other (either up front, or in retrospect. I'm guilty of metagaming, sue me. ), I'm always going to make that choice on subsequent playthroughs because I feel it's stupid not to.
Honestly, I don't think making drastically different choices in future playthroughs is all that appealing for games like these. I can't bring myself to be a complete jerk because it just feels like Shepard isn't "me" anymore. It's not because I necessarily oppose being a jerk (in fact, there are games where you play as the bad guy that I enjoy a lot), it's just that's not really who I am. Given the choice, I'm going 95% paragon every time.
When I go into second and third playthroughs in Mass Effect, I find it more fun to play exactly as I did before (basically, making choices as if I were actually in that situation) and note how the game changes slightly since the last time I played. The changes might be very subtle, like a conversation here or there, but it's cool to look at it and go "Huh... I really agree with that line of thinking now? Last playthrough I opposed it". And that's where I run into problems when the game sometimes frames choices in terms of wrong or right. That sometimes I have to make certain choices that would be completely out of character for my Shepard for the sake of a few more war assets in ME3 or for the sake of certain plot points later on in the game/games.
I mean, The Walking Dead isn't totally free from metagaming, for example (Spoilers for episode 2), I will never kill the dude in the barn ever again on future playthroughs because I don't want Clem to witness it, but even that choice didn't feel "wrong" at the time. I wasn't scrambling for the power button on my 360 to undo what I did. But I think that's where The Walking Dead excels with it's choice system. Telltale were able to carefully and expertly frame the choices where even when there technically were "right" and "wrong" choices, it doesn't necessarily feel like there is a "wrong" choice.
And maybe that's a part of the problem that other games have. It might not be a result of how big the choices are and simply be a problem with framing the choices improperly and how they make those choices play out. I dunno. Maybe a game with huge, universe-changing decisions can completely avoid those problems.
I just know that I think The Walking Dead is the first game to really perfect a choice system (at least that I've played), even if the choices aren't as earth-shattering as they potentially could be. The choices don't punish a player while it still feels like your choices "mattered". Maybe not in a huge, plot changing way, but at least in terms of how some characters developed throughout the game and how you affected other characters and even yourself as the player.
I honestly hope developers, from here on out, really sit down and dissect how The Walking Dead frames the choices it gives players and try to really one up The Walking Dead in that department, maybe even give the players massive plot changing choices that are framed and play out in ways that don't punish the player. The Walking Dead truly is a landmark in terms of how choices are framed and presented, and that's honestly why I give it GotY.
Last edited by ULS_980; 01-14-2013 at 02:52 PM.
X-COM. It was the first game in quite awhile that was able to pull me away from RB3 for any significant amount of time.
There are still a number of games I haven't tried yet. I get overwhelmed by the idea of taking hours to pick up a new control scheme, and instead I wind up playing Angry Birds.
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Walking Dead is tops for me, but admittedly I did not play many different games this year.
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