The best (and worst) of the year – Nick Lynch
It may come as a surprise, but we absolutely love games here at Citizen Game. Old games, bad games, big games, whatever. We love to play them and we love to talk about them. Right now everyone else is trying to sort out and definitively list the “best” games of the year, to compile them into Top Ten’s and Best Of’s. We don’t do that because we don’t really care which game was best this year. We only remember the games we love and the ones that have broken our hearts. So, to that end, Citizen Game will be presenting its Best Loved Games and biggest disappointment of 2012 in a series in the run up to Christmas, with staffers taking a moment to reflect on what made their favourite games of the year so special to them. We encourage you to do the same in the comments.
Best Loved Games
At the aforementioned Eurogamer Expo I managed to have a quick go at Dishonored, for that’s all you get at the expo’s…a quick go, and it grabbed me by the short and curlies from the start. I loved it’s awesome mix of stealth and action but alas it wasn’t much different than what had come before it. That was until I went to a session with the developers who showed me how it COULD be played.
My God, talk about a game-changer, literally.
In development, the creators of Dishonored’s ethos was to say ‘yes’ to the player. By giving them ultimate freedom to tackle enemies in their own way and not have some invisible wall or huge drop set up by the games limitations. This was serious no limit gaming and blew me away. So much in fact that when I spotted one of the developers on the expo floor, I ran over and screamed ‘TAKE MY MONEY!’ That actually happened, ask the others.
I buy very few games on release day, but Dishonoured had to be one of them. Even now I find myself going back into the game to explore different avenues and tactics to evade my captors. There are literally hundreds. It truly is first person gaming magnificence.
Mass Effect 3
And it all came down to this…the final chapter in the epic saga comes to an end. But everyone hated that end, so Bioware changed it.
I came the Mass Effect party late on, some would say. However, I found myself playing them back to back in canon until I reached the latest instalment, some would call that the perfect Mass Effect experience. For me it definitely was. Yeah I didn’t care that they changed the ending because I thought it didn’t suck that much, the ending I chose seemed perfectly logical.
What I loved though was how the story moved through the game and how involved I became in it. Bioware weren’t afraid to try new things like the Kinect voice commands (which 90% of the time didn’t work) and a very well assembled multiplayer which I still need to give more time to as its a very rewarding experience and not some tagged on afterthought.
Mass Effect 3 has loads of replayability value, too. From the aforementioned multiplayer which for the first time enhances your single player experience, to the various different endings; Bioware have become the masters at keeping the player coming back for more and is a worthy addition to your collection.
This is about as left field as they came folks. Hotline Miami is a top down, 8-bit arcade ‘bat-em-up’ that I stumbled across at this Eurogamer Expo, and man…was I hooked. Even though it looks like it won Game Of The Year 1982, it’s surprisingly fresh and nimble even by today’s standards.
The premise is simple, kill or be killed.
One shot kills are the order of the day, be it by a bat, frying pan or AK47 you have to survive each room without being seen by the enemy. Set in the the mid 80’s, it’s garishly fluorescent colour schemes just adds to the tension as you try and use the best tactics you can to clear the stage. Each victory awards you with a mask power up that you can use to help you but expect to die many, many times over.
It’s brilliantly addictive, shameless fun and for under a fiver on Steam at the moment…it’s an absolute bargain.
As I’ve said before, these expos only give you a slice of the games on show. Mostly, you queue for an hour or so and then you play for 10-15 minutes before you’re shepherded away for the next combatant to sweat it out in the chair. It’s a tried and tested system.
It’s also a way to sell games.
For you see, with the little snapshot of the game you’re playing, they only need to hook you in the first five minutes and you’re done. Whatever’s after that is a gamble…it’s the same for game demos, you take a risk when you buy it that the rest of the game is going to be as good as the opening chapter.
Tokyo Jungle is one of these risks. After playing about 10-15 of being blown away by the premise of playing as animals that have survived the apocalypse that wiped out all human kind, I was sold. The idea of forming you’re own Pomeranian Death Squad romping around downtown Tokyo killing every deer and rabbit in sight was something totally new, and I loved it.
When Tokyo Jungle was released on the PSN a few weeks later I quickly downloaded it for a crisp £8, a bargain…or so I thought. After that 15 minutes of demo play I had at the expo developed into half and hour, the repetitiveness of killing rabbit after rabbit started to grate on me. Boredom set in not long after an hour and I switched it off, disenchanted by the whole experience. One have little intention of going back to. Oh and don’t start me on the cheap deaths, for there are many.
Before, I used to bat aside others who told me the mate wears off quickly, thinking it as just their opinion, but now I see that Tokyo Jungle is shallower that a puddle in summertime. Don’t be attracted by its cheap price tag, save your money for something more useful. Like a chocolate teapot.