December 30, 2012

My Top Games of 2012: Numbers 6-10

Well, it’s been awhile since I blogged! Fuck, I’ve been busy. Then, when I wasn’t busy, I was doing things like playing video games and reading. I thought that was pretty fun! But the year is about over, so hey, let’s take a look at what my top 10 games of the year were. I didn’t review every game I played like previous years, because I was so busy, but still, this should give you a little idea of what I found particularly awesome this year. 6-10 today, top 5 tomorrow, honorable mentions the day after. Okay? Let’s do this.

Number 10 – Spec Ops: The Line
Spec Ops: The Line is not a perfect game by any means. The combat is completely fine, but there’s little to make it pop, perse. However, it is willing to have a strong story, and try to get that across. I’ve heard complaints that it is a bit heavy handed in its delivery of said story, and removes choice from you in parts. Maybe that’s the case, but I never felt that way. The story was moving and made me think, and the cleverness of using things like load screen tooltips to really set the paranoid, strange mood they were going for was really genius. If you haven’t played Spec Ops, pick the game up for cheap, set it to easy, and try the story. You won’t be disappointed.

Number 9 – Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode 3
I had thought that, other than the occasional Shin Megami Tensei game, I was pretty well done with Japanese-style RPGs. The combat felt so boring and I always felt like I was going through the motions. Somehow, Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode 3 managed to fix that. Classes like the Apocalyptor and Gardenar really change up the normal RPG combat. Trying to juggle prophecies with the Apocalyptor and setting up recurring buffs you don’t have to babysit with the Gardenar was really fun. The other classes were solid too: I really enjoyed the Crabomancer and it’s crazy defense. The way MP builds over time and makes you have to choose between waiting for a big attack, or using a skill now, was brilliant. And even though I don’t really follow Penny Arcade any more (they’ve just kind of rubbed me the wrong way one too many times) the writing was still fucking hilarious most of the way through. Plus, there’s furry mode DLC. This is a great little game to blaze through in an afternoon.

Number 8 – Mass Effect 3
It kind of makes me sad that this game is so low on my list. I LOVE Mass Effect as a series. However, the game really did have tons of problems, storywise and otherwise, that really hampered this offering. Still, I’m not sad that I took the journey. The combat in this game was top notch. My Engineer was more fun to play than ever, and there were some really great character moments in there, I must admit. Plus, the surprise of the century was that the multiplayer was really goddamn awesome, and I played it for quite some time with friends from work and just randoms. Being able to be an Engineer and sling spells instead of shooting made the standard horde mode game play way, way more fun for me. You should play Mass Effect 3, if you haven’t. Just don’t expect a masterpiece like the game that preceded it.

Number 7 – Paper Mario: Sticker Star
I love Paper Mario, and this game is no exception. Nintendo proves that it knows how to be damn funny when it wants to be, with dry humor all the way through the game that made me constantly grin. People were down on the combat system, but it never bothered me: I enjoyed the combat all the way through. The game does have some huge problems though, as it’s very obtuse, and requires you to basically lose boss battles a few times to figure out the trick if you aren’t just using a walkthrough. It’s kind of bullshit. Similarly, like so many Mario RPGs, the lass boss is obscenely hard and even more obtuse than the rest for no reason whatsoever, causing me to get to the last boss and stop. Still, it was one of the more enjoyable experiences I had on my 3DS so far, and I do recommend it.

Number 6 – Dragon’s Dogma
Dragon’s Dogma is a mess, but it’s such an endearing and fun mess, that you can’t really fault it that much. Capcom’s attempt at making Skyrim was clearly a failure, but they made a weird RPG where you raise and share NPCs and engage in an obscenely fun combat system. You have to repeat some fights as you wander around the huge world, but these fights never feel like a chore. They’re always action packed and fun. Similarly, your pawns, which you’d think would get annoying with all their repeated phrases and whatnot, actually get extremely endearing. They feel like your dumb little kids, and I personally enjoyed their company. You can look at all the parts of Dragon’s Dogma, and say that each part of it is weak, but somehow it adds up to an extremely fun whole. And I mean, that title screen song, goodness. Stick with it until the drop.

Anyway, come back tomorrow for my top 5! Or not. But it would be cool if you would.

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