45 points, 2 votes, 1 TOP GAME vote
jjjusten: This game sits in the perfect sweet spot between Assassins Creed, Just Cause 2, and Red Faction Guerilla with just a taste of GTA WWII Paris tossed in for fun. Blow shit up! Find hidden shit! Climb buildings! Drive cars into things! Pwn Nazis! Yes, there are points where mission goals can be shall we say unFUCKINGclear, and some of the plot points and game mechanics are a bit shrugmoticon but BLOW SHIT UP BLOW SHIT UP BLOW SHIT UP ok then.
Euler: This is the first open world game that I’ve loved for its openness. Paris is my favorite place on earth, & the game does a good enough job of modeling it (& occasionally better than good enough: climbing Saint Eustache was excellent). Plus you get to kill lots of Nazis, & the foreplay tasks of blowing up endless Nazi sniper towers & search lights is super satisfying. With GTAs I feel bad about the people I’m slaughtering: they’re not necessarily horribly bad people, they’re just low-level drug dealers or whatever. But here, the bad guys are Nazis with penchants for flaying political prisoners. So when you drive a car bomb into a crowd of them, you’re a force for good! There’s lots to do in the world, & the climbing mechanic means you get gorgeous views of the city on the reg + can get around quicker than just by driving through maze-y neighborhoods. Plus you can find anti-air guns & spend time shooting down zeppelins making mad bank. Plus: did I mention PERKS! Yes, you have to do dumb things like collect every Nazi vehicle but when you do, you get IN GAME value instead of boosting your dumb gamer score that no one cares about. Hey, I’ll take the seratonin boost & the extra firepower, no prob. So yeah, my #1 with a terror-scoped rifle bullet.
45 points, 2 votes, 1 TOP GAME vote
Lamp: smt: strange journey had the best and most interesting story of any game i played this year, even if it was poorly presented. the game has great atmosphere and a brooding, dangerous feel to the gameplay – it certainly makes every fight feel like something is at stake. but the game isn’t nearly expansive or, well, enjoyable enough to counterbalance what a complete fucking slog it becomes and how pointlessly it handicaps the player, over and over. the inorganic nature of the difficulty is really the one thing preventing this from being a truly great game.
30 points, 3 votes, 1 TOP GAME vote
Mitch Krpata: The most tragically overlooked game of the year. Great story, great action, and some truly inspired setpieces. Just brilliant. It’s not a hit, of course. I’m not sure most people even realized it had been released in this. The original Yakuza was superb — even made my top 10 for 2006 — and sank like a stone in the marketplace. Maybe better marketing would have helped, or maybe the inherent problems in localizing such a culturally specific game put Yakuza behind the eight-ball from the start, but by the time Sega decided to release the sequel stateside, they hadn’t even bothered recording an English-language track. They may as well have affixed stickers to the front of each copy saying, “Even we know you’re not gonna buy this.”
Jamescobo: It really is astounding how much ass Yakuza 2 kicks; even the (entirely optional) introductory catch-up on the previous game’s (invigoratingly unobjectionable) plot keeps interrupting itself to offer you another opportunity to skip straight to the part where you start wrecking shop. Within fifteen minutes into the game, you’re walloping people with bicycles. Within half an hour, you suddenly realize how fast this game is loading, probably because you’re jumping into any and every battle you can find. Within an hour, you no longer give a shit about the concessions it makes to the now-busted PS2 architecture; the fact that the elements with which you can actually interact are so glaringly obvious becomes completely irrelevant the first time you see an abnormally huge orange traffic cone, think “Damn, that’s one big-ass cone,” pick it up in order to flatten someone with it, and notice it’s called “Huge Cone”. It’s not a case of a game not taking itself seriously, either; it’s a case of a game which wants to reward you for checking stuff out. AND THE WHOLE THING IS LIKE THAT; it gives and it gives and it gives, even when more than a little is sufficient (QED the Mahjongg mini-game with its twelve pages of in-game instructions). The combat system, while not necessarily deep, is as fun to master as anything since the last Mario & Luigi game thanks in large part to the HEAT moves – invariably awesome QTE super moves which change based on your environment and/or weapon (crushing some punk’s skull with a Huge Cone, for instance). The game’s plot is amazingly nonretarded; I still can’t believe how rarely I check my email during a cutscene. And as if all that weren’t enough, the game’s (or at least the translator’s) humor seems to actually be legitimately, intentionally funny. Don’t even get me started about the peacock.
52 points, 5 votes
JimD: I never played metroid, so maybe I enjoyed this more than it deserved. But it did look and feel stunning. Just a shame about the nutso storyline.
Ledge: This is ok I guess but y’know what I’m just not that into platformers. Also the plot and dialogue are atrocious.
Forksclovetofu: The metroidvania of my dreams, fully realized and rendered and hella fun. Certainly the best looking XBLA game I’ve ever seen. This is another one I would’ve personally voted for if I had played/beaten it before the poll.
Cozwn: The best thing is that the world is very coherent, unlike most of the metroidvanias, it really feels like one complex despite the variation in backgrounds.
BNW: Neck and neck with Braid for best xbox live arcade game. Both criticized for their stories by people who don’t understand what a book is for.
Will M: This game managed to be incredibly amazing in spite of Orson Scott Card’s involvement and that’s a feat.