As we ride the holiday wave into 2012, we often look back fondly on the memories we’ve had in the year. For most people, memories lie in the things they’ve done with the people they love, and sometimes, however unfortunate, the losses that make people into what they are today. As nerds, we generally make a top 5 list and let the internet argue about what games are our GAME OF THE YEAR.
Sure this year was slow if you don’t really care about exploration or open worlds (which these days is far and beyond the minority), but there still are a few standout titles, specifically when it came down to remakes. Still holding onto your PSP, and are tired of playing Lumines? Why not pop in Final Fantasy IV The Complete Collection. Sure, being the shut in that you are, you’ve probably already played through every Final Fantasy, and probably even played through all of the Final Fantasy IV remakes so far.
What you probably haven’t played is the Final Fantasy IV the After Years, originally a cell phone game that came out in packs, before DLC was even an idea. For the first time in America, you can play this game without having to buy the content as 11 separate downloads (which on the Wii totals out to a whopping $37), and better yet, you still get the first game alongside it, totaling this package to around 60 hours of gameplay, all for about $30. Not a bad deal if you’re really aching for something to play on a long ride on your preferred public transit.
But maybe you are looking for something you can pick up, and play a little bit here and there, but still feeling satisfied, and still keep it in your pocket. With a murder mystery puzzle game from the minds that brought you the Phoenix Wright series comes Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective a beautiful mystery-puzzle game with a spectral spin. It’s a wild ride, and will keep you guessing time and time again, but in the end, clocking in at around 8 hours long, it’s not going to keep your attention for long, but it does keep it well enough to make you really want to beat it.
As with any good mystery game, nobody is playing all of their cards at once, but with a cast of people that just can’t stop dying, you’ve got to be the one to save the day. The puzzles can really be some tough brain benders, and while there’s only one or two ways to complete the game, and only one ending, with the crisp graphics, personal storytelling, and unique gameplay, Ghost Trick is a seriously good game for anyone to spend their hard earned dollars on.
But you say you don’t want to play alone? Grab a cold one and grab 3 friends, because You Don’t Know Jack. This classic trivia game has a big new brother and he’s here to stay with the best use of DLC in a game in recent times. The game is simple, you’re on a gameshow, and you have to answer the questions right. Get them right, you get more money. Get them wrong, and you lose it. Don’t think they know the answer? Screw them. Use your trusty screw on those tough questions, and really hammer out who the Trivia King (or Queen) may be.
With over 73 episodes of questions, and packs of 10 extra episodes for $5 a piece, you could be playing this game for a loooooong time with your friends, especially when somebody mentions, the disc portion of the game is already a steal at $20 for the disc. You have friends right? Enough to get a group and play some trivia? YDKJ is fun for everyone that doesn’t cost much.
Let’s say you only have 1 friend, and you don’t like him very much? Most people would guess my contender for a fighting game for 2011 would be Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3. Quite the solid game, and a whole hell of a lot of fun, giving this game any sort of praise is a prayer for the devil. UMVC3 is the second Marvel Vs Capcom 3 that came out in 2011, with a full revision less than 6 months apart from one another, the gameplay is solid, and has quite a few improvements in the system, with an update in not only characters and balance, but adding in a Spectator mode that was so ever missed in the online mode for the original Marvel 3.
That being said, it’s quite a crappy thing to do, releasing a game AND it’s expansion one after the other, causing anyone who wanted to play the game in any serious fashion to pay over $100, not to mention the two DLC characters that do NOT come with the upgraded version (which costs $40 to begin with), and to top it all off, leaving out the blue bomber, and having TWO separate paid skins for him as a character really just feel like a spit in the face.
This year’s game who we can take some pointers from is none other than Mortal Kombat brought to us by NetherRealm Studios at WB. This game may not be the best fighting game out there, but what it lacks in competitive draw, or technical fighting, it makes up for with some serious polish and one of the best single player experiences I’ve played this year. Taking us back to a simpler time, to the time of the original Mortal Kombat, you battle your way through the ranks of Shao Khan and his minions from Outland.
With the story mode being a seamless cutscene from fight to fight, with no intermittent load screens, and somehow, all the while letting you think it’s alright for the word Soulnado to be thrown around and not think someone was messing with you, you still have the minigames like Test Your Might, the old board breaking minigame, or Test your Luck, a new Vs mode with a few tweaks like arms or heads being removed, or constantly exploding floors. While it may not be the best game of the year, it’s definitely some of the best fun you can have this year.
So what else can be said for this year? Dark Souls is one of the best games this year that will make you want to rip out your eyes, with some of the most frustrating, but still rewarding gameplay to ever exist, you will be screaming at your television, just hoping that you get it right, and you don’t have 30 zombies firebomb you to death, while that archer rains down on you. Sure, it was a little buggy, but with a few patches (some of which have made the game quite a bit easier than before) most, if not all of the major complaints have been fixed, or at least close enough to consider the game playable.
And that’s that for this year. Sure, this year had Portal 2 which was fun for a moment, but ultimately didn’t pay for itself, and didn’t improve the formula that made the first game so endearing. With an increased length and not so impressive additions, the best thing from this game was Cave Johnson, and he was in the worst ‘game’ part of the game. LA Noire came and went, with impressive visuals, but ultimately unrewarding gameplay and a ‘twist’ ending that should have just been left alone, this a game of the year, does not make.
Other Games of Note: Star Wars: The Old Republic, Saints Row The Third, Catherine, Rocksmith