Damien’s Games of the Year

Okay, so I’ve been tasked with talking about my game of the year and, truth be told, I have pretty much been avoiding this for the last few days…Though I think at this point my procrastination and lack of substantive things to say have pushed that up to a week. Ah well, that’s never stopped me before, though there are a number of other reasons I’ll get into when I give you my definitive answer. That said, I’m going to at least list a few solid games that came out this year and why I’m not giving them the “prestige” of game of the year. So without further ado I suppose I should just bang it out and call it a night…Which in retrospect is about how most of my Friday nights go.

Ha ha, ha...god I'm lonely. 

Skyrim

Obviously this is going to be here. I don’t even know why I’m bothering to explain it…Though the fact someone was inspired enough by the game to make that thing is a good start.

Creative bacon uses aside, I put it here because it really does deserve a spot at the very least on everyone’s top x games of the year list. It’s well constructed and like it’s predecessors is chalk full of so much lore I can’t imagine reading all of it. It’s even got some extraneous bits thrown in that aren’t  at all grand just for the sake of saying, yeah, normal dudes live around here too. I can’t stress enough how important it is for a game to create an effective atmosphere. Skyrim definitely succeeded on that front.

In regards to gameplay, I’m still positive on it. I thoroughly enjoyed the combat system despite magic and stealth being broken as hell. Then again as a long time D&D player, the magic thing is pretty much what I’m accustomed to. That said, as a heads up to anyone who hasn’t played the game, if you hear about the magic college for the love of god do not try to hoof it there by foot at level bloody three. It will not end well. Well actually, if you make it you’ll feel rather accomplished. That is until someone mentions the cart that goes directly there and cuts out all the dying.

Pretty much explains my disposition afterward.

Really the only reason I didn’t put it at number one is because I haven’t played it much. That’s mainly due to my computer. If you listen closely you can hear the vacuum tubes straining under it’s normal workload. I realize that’s a cop-out, but since this is in no way an objective list, well, that means I get to do that. Ha! Professionalism is for suckers and people who haven’t been off their pills for 70 hours.

2) Portal 2

Another obvious one. I really did enjoy this game. I felt the single player was a bit “meh,” but I think that may only be me comparing it to the first game. It was still fun just not particularly stellar. The two player however was a ton of fun. It’s a great way to spend an evening, though heads up, some of the puzzles end up being harder than initially thought and others end up with much simpler solutions. Odds are good at the end of some you and your friend will either feel accomplished for completing the level, frustrated because you had an issue getting over one last bloody obstacle, or feel like a drooling moron because you just spend half an hour trying to solve a problem only to find that hey, two steps to the right and aim up a section further.

This sums up my feelings on co-op well.

Really it’s just a ton of fun and I’d recommend the co-op to anyone who’s even remotely a fan of puzzle/platform games. Incidentally, I’ve got to say the little robot dudes have a surprising amount of personality despite not really speaking. They’re just adorable. I’m actually impressed with how much thought was put into the co-op section as a whole considering I see most publishers giving it a brush-off. It was a pleasant change of pace to actually enjoy that gameplay mode over the single player section. Then again I’ve always been a sucker for playing games with my buddies. One issue, pretty much the only issue, is that the game lacks some replay value. If you have any kind of memory retention when it comes to solutions to puzzles you’re going to remember the solutions for quite a bit. Still, that’s barely an issue and if it comes up just wait a few months between playing. By that time the memories should be near gone or hazy from all the mountain dew abuse.

3) Terraria

This is without a doubt my number one of the year. I can’t rave about this game enough. The graphics are endearing and effective, the gameplay is solid and addicting, and it really drives you forward. You want to find everything there is to find, kill everything there is to kill, and at the end you’re left wanting even more , in a good way though. I put this at the top for a bevy of reasons, not just because how much fun i had playing it.

First, it clearly shows that graphics do not have to be AAA polished grey-brown 3d. Terraria harkens back to the heyday of gaming. It’s 2d, filled to the brim with color of every variety, and the pixels are large and in charge. I find the current market leaves a sour taste in my mouth because of the over reliance on graphics as a selling point. Terarria looks that viewpoint straight in the eyes and then laughs all the way to the bank.

Possibly this one.

The gameplay is also seductively relaxed…and then a giant eye swings out of nowhere and smacks you upside the head, or a goblin army falls into your lap and hey-oh, spellcasters shoot through walls. What I’m getting at here with my tangent is that the game has a rather relaxed feeling for the most part, until it doesn’t. Most of the time that change comes entirely at your whim, and even when it isn’t, it doesn’t feel intrusive. Although I will say this, the balancing of corruption and hollow (Think evil dark-bad area and rainbow fruit-loop unicorn town) is a tiny bit of an issue. Really though it’s such a small thing that I only mention it because on one map I had started near the corruption…and having a giant eye-worm suddenly pop through my house was disconcerting/kill it with fire!

In summation I actually think all three games were solid as hell and when I get the chance I intend to play them some more. Even though I gave one the top spot, I’d still wholeheartedly recommend going out and playing them all. I actually wanted to write more then figured it’d be better to give a bit of info and just let you people enjoy the games and the surprises they’ll have in store for you…but seriously, don’t run to the magic school in Skyrim at low levels.

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