Spot reserved, last year is here
. 19 games finished in 2010, a new record for me. Will see how 2011 fares...FINISHED IN 2011
(PC - Jan 2) - B
: I hesitate to put this one on the "finished" list, but after running through multiple games at multiple difficulty levels, I may as well. Hinterlands is Majesty-lite meets Diablo-lite, and is a fantastic, addicting combination. I actually thought it captured the fun Majesty feel better than Majesty 2 did. 10 hours so far, probably more as I play through additional games.
- Divinity 2: Ego Draconis
(PC - Jan 13) - B+
: Excellent combat, a story that stayed engaging throughout (with a superb ending, imo), great use of humor, a well-developed and fantastic looking gameworld, lots of loot (even though I got stuck using the same loot for too long in the mid-game), and a flexible character development system. Wasn't crazy about the dragon combat, many instances of "OK, now WTF do I do?", and very vague quests, but the positives offset all three. I'm typically not a huge fan of "open world" RPG's, so I came into Divinity 2 with zero expectations. I came out incredibly pleased. 29 hours.
- Pac Man Championship Edition DX
(360 - March 4) - A
: Easily the best "modern revamp" of a classic game. Adds a whole new level of crazy fun to a game I had written off long ago. An absolute blast, and there are few things better than chomping down on a huge line of blue ghosts. 5-6 hours, I would guess.
(PC - March 6) - A-
: One hell of a lot of fun. It's completely obscene, vulgar, absurd, violent, and ridiculous...yet somehow makes it all work. The skill shot system kept things fresh, some of the set pieces were absolutely fantastic, and I actually quite liked the story (including the ending). Around 7 hours.
- Dragon Age 2
(PC - April 16) - B-
: Long stretches of 'meh' sandwiched between some very cool bits. Story was up and down, and the supporting cast wasn't nearly as interesting as previous Bioware titles. Good ending though, glad I pushed through to the end. 28 hours.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy 012 Duodecim
(PSP - May 14) - B
: Same as the original, but with a few new characters, arenas, and a couple new combat tricks. Story was even more lame than the first, but the gameplay holds up very well. 18 hours.
- Magna Carta 2
(360 - May 15) - B+
: Had no expectations coming in, and found MC2 to be a very nice surprise. A very fun combat system, decent story and characters, looked and sounded great. Would have been an A if not for the weak writing/VO work and some AI strangeness. 40 hours.
- Dungeon Siege 3
(360 - Jul 2) - B+
: A good, but not quite great action RPG. Easily the best of the three Dungeon Siege games. Fun combat system and good story were marred by a lackluster loot system and some late-game repetition. 12 hours.
- El Shaddai: Ascent of the Metatron
(360 - August 25) - A-
: Nothing revolutionary in the gameplay department, but an absolutely amazing visual treat. Would recommend it to anyone who is interested in seeing how amazing games as honest-to-goodness art can be. A truly stellar and unique effort. Around 7 hours.
- Crimson Alliance
(360 - Sept 25) - B-
- A fun hack-n-slash romp, but the fact that you're basically required
to purchase gold through microtransactions in order to advance (none of which you can transfer between character classes) really turned me off. 4 hours.
- To The Moon
(PC - Dec 17) - A
- That is probably the most remarkable instance of storytelling I've ever seen in this medium. Incredibly well done, especially considering the technical limitations of the graphics, sound, etc that they are working with. More of an interactive story than a game (the 'game' parts were actually kind of annoying), but fantastic nonetheless. Currently Playing
- FF Tactics: WotL
- Red Faction: Guerilla
- SkyrimPlayed and Discarded
- Golden Sun Dark Dawn
(DS) - Started strong, but steered much more towards puzzle solving with the RPG aspects taking a back seat. I was hoping for a mix in the other direction, and as the puzzles became more difficult, I lost more interest. Good game, just didn't really float my boat. 12 hours.
(360) - Lots of squandered potential here. An interesting premise, fantastic VO work, great digital "acting", but the gameplay got boring and repetitive and the story went nowhere. Combine some incredibly frustrating puzzles and wonky controls (I was ready to throw my controller anytime I had to get on that gorram hoverboard), and I simply lost interest at Chapter 10. Would typically try to just push though the last few hours, but I couldn't care less what happened. Around 6 hours
- Burnout Paradise
(PC) - The unique fun of Burnout arcade-style racing is still there, but I wasn't crazy about the open world setup. Felt like it forced me to spend more time watching the map and/or street signs instead of being able to just focus on the race, which was irritating. 5 hours.
- ZHP Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman
(PSP) - I just need to quit playing NIS games, as I haven't really enjoyed one since Disgaea. This one had a million-and-one little mechanics or nuances that I never could figure out, and I got tired of feeling like I was constantly gimping my character because I didn't know what I was doing. 5 hours.
- Two Worlds II
(360) - Talk about doing everything in it's power to make me not like a game. Multiple bugs, boring story, confusing mechanics, wildly varying difficulty...blech. 3 hours.
(PC) - Not a bad game, far too twitchy for me. Console-style checkpoint system made it far more frustrating that it should have been. 1 hour.
- Red Read Redemption
(360) - Probably should never have bought this one in the first place, as neither the Wild West setting nor the GTA-style gameplay really interested me. Had to see what all the fuss was about though. Fantastic production values, but the gameplay is definitely not my thing. 3 hours.
- Final Fantasy XII
(PC, via PS2 emulator) - Got around 14 hours in before getting hit with the itch for something different. FF XII is still one of the best RPG's ever created. 14 hours.
- Tactics Ogre
(PSP) - Probably my most anticipated game of the year. Started out great, but realized about halfway through that I had really gimped my party by missing recruitable characters and leveling incorrectly. Didn't want to replay the 20 hours it took to get to that point, so I shelved it.
- Eternal Sonata
(360) - I have a high tolerance for chirpy, cherry anime stereotypes, but ES pushed that limit to the max. It was stunningly beautiful, but neither the story, characters, or gameplay did anything for me. 4 hours.
- Viking: Battle for Asgard
(360) - Combat felt floaty and unsatisfying. Kept being unclear on what to do next, and wandered into multiple occasions that kicked my ass as a result. Just didn't feel it, about 2 hours.
- The Witcher 2
(PC) - Didn't like this one, but can't really put my finger on why. Partly because controlling Geralt felt like I was driving a tank, partly because there was very little direction, and partly because I couldn't figure out what I was doing after 3 hours.
- Dragon Quest IX
(DS) - For whatever reason, DQ games simply don't click with me at all. Played about 4 hours before simply getting bored.
- Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
(PC): Had fun for about 4 hours, but the single save slot backed me into a corner where I couldn't continue. Ran into a ton of bugs as well.
(360): Certainly creative, but frustrating. Ran into a puzzle about 2/3 of the way through that I couldn't solve, even with an FAQ. 3 hours
- Beyond Good & Evil HD
(360): Mainly just bought this as a show of support for BG&E. I've already played through it a couple times...got 3 hours into a third try before moving on.
- Alice: Madness Returns
(360): Incredible visuals and atmosphere, but the jumping puzzle gameplay is nothing we haven't seen before. Seemed to drag on and on and on too. Probably around 6 hours.
- Hydrophobia Prophecy
(PC): Very cool water effects, decent enough Tomb Raider-esque gameplay, but story, characters, or atmosphere weren't terribly interesting. 1 hour.
- Half Minute Hero
(360): Silly concept with quirky retro stylings, but the game simply wasn't very much fun. Around 2 hours.
(360): Looked amazing and the narrator-told story was very unique, but the action-y combat was to twitchy for me. Add in long (i.e. 30 minutes), multi-wave battles with no save points, and I'm out. Everyone else seemed to really love this one, but I just wasn't feeling it. Probably around 2.5 hours.
- Tomb Raider Underworld
(PC): I actually really liked this, but got stuck on a puzzle very early on (i.e. 2 hours) and couldn't figure out how to proceed. Didn't want to replay those couple hours, so I shelved it.
- The Last Remnant
(PC): The potential for an awesome
game was here, but it was ultimately far too complex (with very little explanation) for me. There were multiple things I could just simply never wrap my brain around, such as why units would select some skills over others, how leaders grew their stats, what effect formations have, and many others. While fun and very pretty, everything about the game ended up feeling entirely random (even after I put in hours
reading FAQs to try and understand it). 16 hours.
- Dungeons of Dreadmoor
(PC): I thought I would like this game far more than I actually did. It seemed way too complex and there was so much "stuff" to pay attention to, I had a hard time getting into it. 2 hours
- Portal 2
(PC): Felt about this the same as I felt about the first Portal game. Great production, interesting concept, annoying puzzles that I quickly lost interest in. 2 hours
- Infinite Undiscovery
(360): Actually the second time I've tried this game. Made it a little further (2.5 hours), but the wimpy characters, lame story, and boring combat were enough to put me off it.
- Fallout: New Vegas
(PC): Tried this one again, and still simply am not feeling the love. Incredibly vague quest instructions, bugs galore, boring story. About 4 hours (again).
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution
(PC): Could never get a handle on the stealth system, and the story never grabbed me at all. Required a lot more brain cells than I was willing to devote to it. 8 hours.
- Rock of Ages
(PC): The concept and Monty Python-esque artwork made this one look a lot more fun/funny than it actually was. I enjoyed the rock rolling parts, but wasn't crazy about the whole tower defense aspect. 2 hours.
- Batman Arkham City
(360): Whatever it is that everyone loves about these games is completely lost on me. I constantly feel lost and/or confused about what I'm supposed to be doing, feel like I'm always fighting the controls and camera more than the enemies, and can't get into the Batman character at all. 2 hours.
- HOMM VI
(PC): Liked it better than IV or V, but it falls flat without a RMG. Scripted "puzzle" missions are teh suck. 4 hours.
(PSP): Got a ways in, got distracted, and couldn't remember what I was doing. One of these days I'll actually stick with it. 6 hours.
- Lord of the Rings: War in the North
: All the elements were there for a cool game, but it simply wasn't very much fun. Came out right before Skyrim though, so I may have just been too easily distracted. 4 hours.
- Runespell Overture
- It's basically Puzzle Quest, but with poker instead of Bejeweled. Fun for a distraction, but that's about it. 1 hour
- Fortix 2
- An interesting strategy game, but it got a little too difficult for me. 1 hour.
IPHONE (separating these, since IP games tend to be so unique)
Longer list, will put in spoilers:
Spoiler for Hiden:
- Mage Gauntlet
FINISHED IN 2011
- Dungeon Raid (iPhone - Feb 2) - B+: I'll go ahead and consider this one "finished" after my breakthrough game of nearly 96,000. One of the best takes on match-3 that I've seen to date, wrapped up with a fantastic RPG'ish shell. Very innovative and highly addicting. About 6 hours.
- FIFA 11 (iPhone - Feb 20) - B+: Finished a full league season and won the FA Cup with Chelsea. Easily the best handheld sports game I've played. There were a few WTF? moments, but overall FIFA 11 played a highly competent game of soccer. Kept my attention longer than the big-boy versions...the ability to play in short bursts didn't hurt. Probably around 5 hours (50 games @ 6 minutes a game)
- Dark Nebula - Episode 2 (iPhone - March 24) - B+: A very unique premise, one that I never thought would actually work. It's basically a tilt-labyrinth puzzler, but put into a sci-fi world complete with jumps, ramps, explosions, and boss battles. Hell of a lot of fun. 2 hours.
- Baseball Superstars II (iPhone - June 3) - B+: Strange mix of baseball game, RPG, and dating sim. Baseball sim part was awesome though, and I don't even like baseball. Played through a full career as a hitter, 9 seasons. Gets a little easy towards the end (I was batting around .750 and hitting home runs every other pitch), but otherwise a blast. Probably 4'ish hours.
- Jack of All Tribes (iPhone - July 18) - B: Sally's Spa meets Age of Empires by way of Civ Revolution. Great time management sim with a few quirks that kept it from being awesome (i.e. resources get stuck behind buildings, difficult to tap on giants instead of houses, etc.). Probably 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
- Jetpack Joyride (iPhone - Sept 25) - B: Kinda like Tiny Wings meets Temple Run. Fun in short bursts, and the mission system kept me coming back for more. 3 hours.
- King Cashing (iPhone - Oct 19) - B+: A slot-machine based RPG that was very enjoyable. Never really any skill required, but kept me engaged throughout. 3 hours.
- Pocket RPG (iPhone - November 3) - A: The best hack-n-slash game on the iPhone so far. Unique leveling mechanic of taking away all your levels between "adventures". Was skeptical at first, but it quickly won me over. About 6 hours for the melee character.
Played and Discarded
- Aralon (IP) - Yet another case of a fantastic technical achievement, but rather dull in the actual gameplay department. Felt like I was fighting the camera more than the bad guys, and was always wondering what to do next. Around 4 hours.
- Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night (IP): Seemed pretty fun at first, until you realize there is waaaay too much luck involved. 3 hours.
- Tiny Wings (iPhone) - Possibly the perfect "casual game", even moreso than Angry Birds. There's just something very satisfying about that little bird flying over hills and valleys. Would guess I've spent upwards of 8-10 hours with this, in 5 minute increments.
- Final Fantasy III (iPhone) - The problem with these old-school RPG remakes is that there really is nothing but the grind, which ends up boring me after a while. Got a little over halfway through (14 hours), but didn't feel terribly compelled to continue.
- Battleheart (IP) - Nearly impossible to play on an iPhone screen. Can't pick out characters, targeting is wonky, the interface needs major tweaks, and I simply didn't enjoy it much. 1 hour.
- Dungeon Hunter 2 (IP) - Like all Gameloft titles, a rip-off of something else (Diablo) without any of the soul and character that made the original so fun. 2 hours.
- Eternal Legacy (IP) - Looked like a FF game and felt like a FF game, but was missing even the tiniest bit of character or "soul". A totally lackluster rip-off, which is what I'm coming to expect now with Gameloft titles. 3 hours.
- Hard Lines (IP) - A brilliant take on the Snake game, fused with Tron's Light Cycles. Never thought lines could have actual personalities...I was wrong.
- Feed Me Oil (IP) - I just need to quit buying these physics puzzle games. I never have any fun with them, no matter how highly they're rated.
- Sword of Fargoal (IP) - Awesome Rogue-like game, but gets knocked down a peg for being ridiculously difficult once you hit levels 12-15. Probably spent 4 hours with it.
- Faerie Solitaire (IP) - While the core of the game is intact, I liked the PC version significantly better. They stripped out all the city building and individual "wild" cards, and took most of the personality with it.
- The Dungeon Saga (IP) - Looked like it would great, but ended up pretty boring. Combined Puzzle Quest with Dungeon Raid, but wasn't all that much fun.
- Order & Chaos Online (IP) - A rather impressive portable WoW clone actually, but I had constant problems with disconnects and lag.
- Deep Deep Dungeon (IP) - Started out fun, with a unique combat system of timed button presses to inflict damage. Got the point, however, where the meter moved so fast that actually landing an attack was more due to luck than any sort of skill.
- NBA Jam (IP) - An excellent port of the classic.
- Gears (IP) - Labyrinth-style game that looked incredible, but I never felt like either the swipe or tilt controls gave you nearly the amount of control needed for precise movements.
- Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery (IP) - Chalk this up as one I simply don't get. It's a unique looking puzzler with a fantastic soundtrack, but the gameplay just ended up feeling very lackluster and boring.
- Perfect Cell - A very cool take on side-scroller games like Rush 'n Attack.
- Liqua Pop - Sort of a match-3, but using liquid bubbles instead of gems. Looked incredible, but as soon as they started eliminating the colors (essentially making you guess which bubbles should go together), I was done.
- Dice Soccer - Quite fun, but you either have to spend a ton of real world $$ to unlock players (the intent, since it's free) or grind forever to have any success.
- Temple Run - Probably the best "endless run" game I've played so far. Gets very difficult very quickly, though.
- Flick Soccer - A fun timewaster, but nothing more.
- King of Dragon Pass - Might be my mobile GOTY. Unique, but very fun mix of Civ and Choose-your-own-adventure.
- Do Do Egg - Match-3 game with a pretty unique matching mechanic. Lots of fun, once you get the pattern recognition down.
- Sally's Salon - Actually felt a little worse than the original game. The core mechanics are there, but it just got kinda...boring.
- Aurum Blade - Decent enough hack-n-slash, assuming you can get past the awful Engrish.
- Flick Home Run - Simple concept, great execution. Ball is pitched, and you use your finger as the bat. Highly addictive.
- Scribblenauts - Fun, but the touch controls were hard to use and many of the puzzles were extremely vague.
- Ticket to Ride - A great adaptation of the board game, but the dumb-as-rocks AI doesn't put up much of a challenge.
- Spelltower - Same idea as Bookworm. Minimalist presentation is well done.
- Mad Chef - Starts out pretty fun, but gets a little too hectic for my tastes.