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Another year brings another list. If all goes as planned, I'll update this blog frequently, and won't finish until the new year arrives. The purpose of this document is twofold. First and foremost, I'm using it to chronicle all of the games I enjoy playing over the course of this year. The list I created last year helped me keep track of the games I still needed to get my hands on, and also reminded me what games I needed to bring up for Game Informer's Game of the Year voting.
The second reason I create this list is to generate a discussion with you the reader. Last year, you provided great insight into games I may have missed and should give a look.
I'm once again creating my own scoring scale as a way of reducing confusion between my take on these games and Game Informer's official reviews. If I happened to review a game, I'll include that rating instead. My rating system is even more ridiculous than before and probably won't make a lick of sense to any of you. Just know this, I enjoy all of these games. There are no stinkers here.
After putting a few hours into Bravely Default, I jokingly told Game Informer's Joe Juba that, at that point in time, I thought it might be the best Final Fantasy game I've played since Lost Odyssey. That isn't meant as a slight against the game, but rather praise for delivering an experience that reminds me of one of my favorite series in its heyday.
Bravely Default is an old school RPG at heart, delivering turn-based combat with a row of heroes staring down a row of monsters or villains. The complexity of combat is impressive, giving players plenty of strategies to tinker with and master.
Class selection is fantastic and is enhanced by the depth offered not just in their individual functionality, but the fun quests tied to them. There's a deep social element tied to this experience, where friends can help you build a village and be summoned into battle for a quick assist. As of now, however, most of my friends keep sending ridiculously high powered monsters to my town. I don't think they are helping my cause.
My Rating: I gaze into the eyes of a 16-bit angel and nod my head approvingly
The Lego Movie Videogame
An excerpt from my review: "The Lego Movie focuses on a society dictated by government and
big business. Citizens are spoon-fed the same music, television shows,
and overpriced beverages. These people gleefully swallow it all up,
never once considering alternative options. The thinkers and dreamers
who can make a difference in this world, and perhaps teach others how to
unlock their individuality, are hunted and silenced by the powers that
be. Under this rigid infrastructure of conformity, people’s lives move
like clockwork, repeating the same steps every 24 hours.
formulaic reality is a good home for The Lego Movie Videogame. This
experience is built with the same set of instructions used to create
over a decade’s worth of Lego games. While the Lego games are skinned
differently each time, the act of smashing bricks and scampering to
collect all of the loose studs hasn’t changed a bit. Neither has
assembly, the search for Red and Gold bricks, or the heavy reliance of
using character-specific moves to open up new passages. Developer TT
Fusion falls back on the series’ tropes in this entry, and that’s okay.
Much like Emmet, the film’s protagonist and the poster boy for
obedience, Traveller’s Tales’ classic gameplay formula can surprise you,
entertain you, and is periodically capable of amazing things."My Game Informer Rating: 8 out of 10
Strider strikes two nostalgic notes for me: On the one hand, the unrelenting difficulty, swift-footed traversal mechanics, ridiculously over-exaggerated sword strikes, and unexpected shifts in action sequences remind me of why I pumped quarters into the original Strider arcade game. On the other hand, it does a pretty damn good job channeling the great elements of Metroid's world design. The sense of freedom of exploration is established in the opening minutes, and the hunt for hidden upgrades and collectibles is handled exceptionally well through newly unlocked powers and level designs that demand thorough exploration. Developer Double Helix puts on a clinic with this long overdue revival.My Rating: A flowing, red scarf looks good with any sword
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