Reserving my spot, last year is here
. Only 9 games finished in 2009...amazing what having a kid does to your gaming time. I'm guessing I'll probably come in around the same this year.FINISHED IN 2010
(PC - Jan 2) - B-
: For an FPS to keep me interested enough to play it all the way through is pretty amazing. I think Prey had a good combination of a unique mechanic (the anit-grav stuff), decent enough story, and short enough length to maintain my attention. It started to feel very same-y towards the end, and the weapons felt incredibly underpowered throughout, but I still had a pretty good time with it - especially for $2.50. This is the first FPS I've completed since Bioshock. About 9 hours.
- Final Fantasy VII
(PSP - Jan 17) - A
: I know it's cool to hate on FF VII now, and I will freely admit it hasn't aged well, but after my third playthrough, I can still officially say this is my favorite game of all time. I have very rose-colored glasses when it comes to this one, but I still adore the characters and story, and think the materia system is one of the finest combat system to come out of a FF game. Final save was around 41 hours, plus another 1.5 hours in the Northern crater, so I'll say 43 hours total.
- Mass Effect 2
(360 - Feb 6) - A
: Fixed nearly every problem with the first game, and told an incredible story. Slight knock for the lame planet scanning, but otherwise superb. Highest review score
I've given to date. 27 hours on the first playthrough as a Paragon, 29 on the second as a Renegade.
- Vandal Hearts: Flame of Judgement
(360 - Feb 8 ) - C+
: Played like 'My First SRPG' and was - by far - the easiest SRPG I've ever played. Levelling system was pretty fun though, and I liked it enough to finish it. Around 14 hours.
- Space Miner
(iPhone - Feb 24) - B+
: A very fun Asteroids clone that integrates some ship upgrading features. Loses some steam towards the end, since you end up with a shit-ton of money and nothing to spend it on. Fantastic effort for iPhone though. 8.5 hours.
- Final Fantasy XIII
(360 - April 10) - A-
: My only real complaint being that after spending so many hours with such a tight, well-told story, I thought it lost a ton of momentum once the world opened up in Chapter 11. I also wish the characters would have been balanced a little better, as I ended up using Light, Fang, and Hope solely for the last 25-30 hours because they were, by far, the most effective group. Kinda made me forget about the other characters, which is part of the reason why I wasn't nearly as interested in the story. That said, I really enjoyed the new direction they took both with combat and story, and applaud them for trying something new and different. For the most part, it was a huge
success in my book. 63.5 hours.
- Chaos Rings
(iPhone - April 26) - A-
: The best RPG available on the iPhone. Doesn't mean much given the competition, but CR was really quite fun. Looked and felt a lot like FFVIII, and the graphics, music, and combat were excellent. Got really easy towards the end though, which knocked it down a couple pegs. Still, very fun and I'll be playing through it again with a different set of characters. 15 hours so far, between a couple play-throughs. 91%
- Bioshock 2
(360 - May 14) - A-
: As with the original game, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but was ready for it to end by the time everything wrapped up. I think the gameplay was a little better this time, but never could quite get over how non-threatening Lamb felt as a villain. Still the only console FPS series I've ever completed. Much better ending this time (played as a good guy). No timer, but I'd guess around 10 hours.
- Dragon's Lair
(iPhone - May 14) - C
: I'm only putting this one on here because I've wanted to beat this game for 27 years now, and was finally
able to do it thanks to the magic of infinite lives. Great Bluth graphics, but crappy controls. Only took about an hour.
(360 - June 19) - A
: Maybe it was become I came into it with absolutely zero expectations, but Nier is a stunning game that completely blew me away. It's a strange mish-mash of every genre under the sun, but is so beautifully done that you can't help but like it. A true hidden gem, to be sure, and I'd put it among my favorites on the 360. 25 hours between two playthroughs.
- Persona 3 PSP
- (PSP - August 29) - B-
: Thought it was a good game, but not great...whichever site named it "best RPG of the decade" is insane. For everything that I really liked about it (setting, story, characters, Social Links mechanic, etc), there were just as many things I didn't (the neverending grind of Tartarus, frustration in finding/finishing S-links, etc.). They could have done the exact same game in about 2/3 of the time by eliminating some of the Tartarus grind. It was so mindless and so repetitive, that it dragged down the entire rest of the game for me. Also, not having a single thing I could do in the evenings for the last 2 months of game time was pretty annoying. Seemed to fly directly in the face of the careful time management required through the rest of the game. (63 hours)
- Lara Croft & the Guardian of Light
- (360 - Sept 1) - B+
: An interesting new take on Lara. The sidescrolling platform action was much funner than I expected, and both the graphics and level design were outstanding. A little short, but certainly worth the $15. (8 hours)
- (360 - Sept 25) - B+
: Completely absurd and utterly ridiculous, in the best sense of both words. A silky smooth combat system wrapped in a silly character and a completely incomprehensible story. Close to outdoing God of War for sheer spectacle, and a blast from start to finish. Would have been an A if I could have understood even a little of what the hell was going on. (10 hours)
- (PC - Sept 25) - A-
: There's no way to ever actually "finish" this game, but after building 3-4 massive castles in different worlds, I'm going to go ahead and put it on the list. After the initial learning curve, this is one of the funnest games I have ever played. My only gripe is that I wish the game would provide a bit more info on how to craft things, as turning to wiki sites every 10 seconds gets a little old. No timer, but I'd say I've probably spent north of 40 hours with it.
- Fable III
- (360 - November 6) - B-
: Like all the two other Fable games, this was a decently fun romp with some serious flaws. The final act was lame, felt very rushed, and the game just sort of ended without any real satisfying conclusion. An OK game, but certainly nothing I'm going to return to later. 17 hours.
- Rimelands: Hammer of Thor
- (iPhone - December 1) - B-
: Only the second iPhone RPG I've played to conclusion. Has a very unique and fun dice rolling combat mechanic. Suffers from lack of variety and balance issues though, as I don't think I was challenged at all for the last 3-4 hours. And they literally forgot to put in an ending. You defeat the boss and...nothing happens. No ending screen, no closing video, nothing. Would probably be a B+ game if they had bothered to finish it. 9 hours.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy
- (PSP - December 6) - A
: It took about 15 hours to finally "click", but one it did, I'm not sure I enjoyed a game more this year. A deep, complex, and remarkable combat system married to an RPG structure that only Squeenix could pull off. Story was lame, but the fighting engine more than made up for it. 20 hours this year, on top of the 20 I already played last year.
- Infinity Blade
- (iPhone - December 28) - B-
: A remarkable piece of technology, even if the gameplay is somewhat lacking. Basically a medieval version of Punch-Out, but fighting the same 6-7 enemies in the same environments over and over again wears a bit thin. Certainly a fun diversion though, and a good way to show off what the iPhone 4 is capable of. Probably about 6 hours.
- Thief Deadly Shadows
(PC - December 29) - A+
: This is my "old school replay" for this year. I beat Thief DS back when it was released in 2004, but always wanted to do it again using a hi-res texture pack. I absolutely adore the gameplay in this series, and this "console-ified" version is no exception. A brilliant game, and I absolutely cannot wait to revisit this franchise. About 16 hours.Currently Playing
- Golden Sun Dark Dawn (DS)
- Eternal Legacy (IP)
- Aralon (IP)Played and Discarded
(360) - A decent game and fairly addicting, but so
much wasted potential here
. I did manage to get all the way to the end boss, then got so frustrated with the stupid-ass reverse twist crap, that I simply gave up. I spent 15+ hours perfecting the spatial awareness of twisting gems in one specific direction, then you want me to completely change it for the one final battle? Uh, no thanks. (15 hours)
- Buzz! Quiz World
(PSP) - I didn't think it was possible to make a simple trivia game this un-fun, but Buzz! QW somehow managed. The second lowest review score
I've ever given a game. (3 hours)
- Indigo Prophecy
(PC) - Somehow got stuck in the opening area, and spent 2 hours figuring out what the hell I was supposed to do to advance. Might have hit a bug (was supposed to find a knife, but there was nothing to find), which is not exactly encouraging to find a gamebreaker that early on. Glad it was only a couple bucks. (1 hour)
- King's Bounty: Armored Princess
(PC) - Loved the original KB, but maybe I just burned out on it. This one didn't really grab me for some reason. Kept having to force myself to play and wasn't really having any fun. (2 hours)
- Kurulin Fusion
(PSP) - A prime example of how not
to make a Tetris clone. Even the Uematsu take on Bach couldn't save this turd.
- Majesty 2
(PC) - If it had a sandbox mode, it would have been perfect. Unfortunately, scripted missions are teh suck. (3 hours)
- Lunar Silver Star Harmony
(PSP) - Good old-school RPG
, but a little too basic for my tastes...especially coming straight from FF XIII. (12 hours)
- Resonance of Fate
(360) - A very complex combat system with some great ideas. Unfortunately, the game explains nothing about it and leaves the player to completely figure it out on their own, while having massive difficulty spikes. I like what they did, it simply ended up too frustrating for me. (8 hours)
(360) - I found the setting to be very bland, and the gameplay to be little more than a rather boring God of War knockoff. (3 hours)
- The Force Unleashed
(360) - A decent combat system marred by ridiculously awful level design and some of the stupidest puzzles I've ever seen. (3 hours)
- Batman: Arkham Asylum
(360) - This is a game that I really should
like, but I just can't get past how much I really dislike Batman as a character. Also not crazy about playing the whole game in "detective mode" and the constant "now what do I do" feeling. (3 hours)
- Fire Emblem: Shadow of the Dragon
(DS) - Just not my style of SRPG. (1 hour)
- Final Fantasy VIII
(PSP) - My third try at this one, and I just can't bring myself to push through. Great graphics, incredible music, and a fantastic junction system are bogged down by dull characters, a boring story, and that f**king horrific "draw" system. (16 hours)
- What Have I Done To Deserve This, My Lord 2
(PSP) - I simply just don't understand this game at all
. After 5 hours, I still can't even get past the tutorial levels. Possibly the most frustration I've ever
experienced with a game.
(360) - Got about halfway through this one before realizing there really isn't anything but the grind, and it's to the point where everything is starting to look exactly the same.
I'll give them credit though, this is - by far - the longest an FPS outside of the Thief series has kept my attention. They absolutely nailed the loot whoring aspect, and did a great job with the "just one more mission" structure. Probably the closest thing to Diablo I've seen. (16 hours)
- Fable II (second playthrough)
(360) - Tried playing an evil character, and got about halfway through before becoming bored. Funny how everyone running away from you screaming is just as annoying as everyone running up to you in adoration. Suppose I could strike a happy medium, but where's the fun in that? (9 hours)
- Brutal Legend
(360) - As awesome as the setting and music are, the actual gameplay is simply awful. The combat is dull, the RTS segments are horrid, and even the driving controls suck. Thought I'd like this one...not so much. (2 hours)
- Puzzle Quest 2
(360) - Not bad, but not great either. There's a bit of genre burnout here, as I'm pretty worn out on match-3 puzzlers. Gave it a 79.
- Puzzle Kingdoms
(PC) - A surprisingly fun twist on the standard Puzzle Quest formula. Awfully difficult, though. (3 hours)
- Y's Seven
(PSP) - Combat was decent enough, but everything else about it was so cliche that it was tough to keep any interest (8 hours)
- Starcraft 2
(PC) - This officially confirms that RTS games just simply aren't my thing. I found myself either bored or overwhelmed or both on a consistent basis. (4 hours)
- Final Fantasy IX
(PSP) - I'd been looking forward to replaying this for a really long time, but for some reason, it just didn't grab me at all the second time around. Put in about 5 hours before getting bored and moving on to different things.
- Grotesque Tactics
(PC) - A bit of promise in this SRPG, but marred with bugs, slowdowns, terrible Engrish, and very limited character options. (3 hours)
- Lego Indiana Jones
(360) - Didn't grab me nearly as much as Lego Star Wars. Just felt kinda 'meh'. (2 hours)
- Fallout: New Vegas
(PC) - Constant bugs aside, FO:NV just never really got me interested. It was just MOTS, and I was completely bored within 5 hours.
(360) - I know I'm in the minority here, but I thought Deathspank was painfully unfunny and some of the mechanics (i.e. the slowly regenerating health items) were endlessly frustrating. I came in really expecting to like this one, but came away very disappointed.
- Poker Night at the Inventory
- Fun to play with Sam, Strongbad, & Tycho, but the poker game itself is pretty lacking. A diversion, at best. (3 hours)
- Left 4 Dead 2
- Another 'meh' Valve FPS. Maybe it's funner playing co-op, but that's never really been my thing. Single player is lame. (1 hour)
- Tropico 3
- Steep, steep learning curve with very little explanation. I plunk down a factory, why can't I get any workers? I plop down housing structures because that seems to be what the people want, why doesn't anyone live in them? Frustrating...need to spend more time with it to see if I can figure it out. (2 hours)
- Final Fantasy XIV
- I didn't hate this MMO as much as some people, but to say it's an utter disaster would be a gross understatement. 2 months after launch, they sacked the entire management team, apologized to the players, and told everybody they could play for free until they got it fixed. There's a decent game in there somewhere, but the launch of this thing was an absolute clusterfuck. Around 10 hours.
- Valkyria Chronicles 2
- A great strategy title, but the military setting just doesn't click with me at all. Recycling environments also get dull quickly, and the story is meh. 12 hours.
- Civ V
- Didn't click with me at all, for some reason. I never could get the hang of combat, and everything about the game just felt slow and cumbersome. The piss-poor worker AI (workers can't build a road if something walks in their path) was a constant frustration. (3 hours)
- Serious Sam HD
- Still fun for some mindless shooter action, but gets quickly repetitive and boring. A fun distraction, at best. 2 hours.
- Recettear: An Item Shop Tale
- A unique take on a JRPG, but I wish it would have provided more details. The tutorial is bare bones, and you're left to figure out a lot on your own. It's fun and the item selling/buying is addicting, but I've had a hard time getting overly enthused to play it. Will need to go back and spend more time with this one during a lull. 4 hours.