Best and Worst of ’07……..23 days late.

23 01 2008

Hi Everybody!

My apologies for being away for so long. I’ve been trying to catch up on my game stack. It seems that of my 344 games, I’ve only beaten 85, with only 37 of those being 100% complete (all unlockables, all upgrades, all sidequests, etc.). So, I’ve been trying to catch up on that. While playing Rock Band…… and Guitar Hero 3….. and Ratchet and Clank……… and Folklore…… and Pikmin 2……. and, well…. you get the point.

 But now, I am here to present you with the Pix3lNati0n 2007 GotY awards! and Yes, I realize that it’s already a half-month into 2008. So sue me.

Genre Awards:

Best Action Game: Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (PS3)

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A genius mix of Tomb Raider and Resident Evil 4 style controls makes this newcomer from Naughty Dog one of the biggest Must-Own titles for the PS3

Best Adventure Game: Sam and Max: Season One (PC)

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Even though the first two episodes came out in 2006, the majority of the first season appeared in 2007. The triumphant return of Sam and Max (after 14 years, no less), proved that our favorite Dog and Lagomorph duo can still make us shit our pants laughing, as well as trying to figure out their insane puzzles. 

Best Shooter: Bioshock (360)

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As one of only two games this year in which I did back to back playthroughs, Bioshock is Pure Awesomeness. A Must Buy.

Best RPG:Mass Effect (360)

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Mass Effect once again proves that Bioware are truly the masters of storytelling when it comes to games. Despite a few technical hiccups, this game is by far the best RPG of ’07.

Best Puzzle: Puzzle Quest (DS, PSP, PS2, 360)

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Puzzle Quest took your standard “match 3 of the same colors” puzzle game and mixed it with RPG elements to make one of the strangest (yet most addicting) puzzle game combinations in the history of gaming.

Best Rythym-Music Game: Rock Band (360, PS3, PS2)

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Rock Band took what Guitar Hero had done and increased the fun-factor 10 fold. With an awesome soundtrack, a constant wave of DLC, and just plain greatness Rock Band manages to fend off his step-brother.

Best Platformer: Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

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The Plumber’s only contender for this position this year was Ratchet and Clank. However, thanks to superb controls, challenging puzzles, beautiful visuals, and a (finally) orchestrated soundtrack, Mario is still able to teach our Lombax friend a thing or two.

Best Racing Game: Dirt (360)

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Platform Awards:

Best Xbox 360 Game:  Bioshock

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Bioshock is the game that did everything right. From Atmosphere, to Story, to Music, everything was perfectly in place to make it one of the best games of 2007.

Best Playstation 3 Game: Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction

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This year marked the first appearance of a ps2-era franchine on the PS3, and Ratchet proved that he still has what it takes to bring the A-game on his new Home console.

Best Wii Game: Super Mario Galaxy

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There was virtually no Competition for this award this year. Aside from Metroid Prime 3 and Super Paper Mario, the majority of Wii Games this year seemed to be lacking in excellence until Mario Galaxy came along. The only game that could have wrestled this award away from Mario Galaxy would have been Super Smash Bros Brawl, had it come out on the original date of Dec. 3.

Best PS2 Game: God of War II

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Around this time last year one of the greatest titles yet for the PS2 came out proving that even though the PS3 has entered the ring, the old machine isn’t ready to ease back into retirement just yet.

Best DS Game: Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

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It’s hard to believe that 3 years in, and Phantom Hourglass is the only Zelda Game for the DS. The new stylus-only control scheme may take some getting used to, but after a while will become completely intuitive, making for one of the best handheld-zelda games to date.

Best PSP Game: Crush

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This game was sadly overlooked by many when it arrived in April. It came out roughly the same time as Super Paper Mario, and as such many criticized it as being a copycat for the use of 2d to 3d transitions. However, Crush is a SUPERB puzzle game that uses this functionality to the fullest potential and never lets up.

Best PC Game: The Orange Box

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The game would have won this award JUST for Portal, but it adds so much more, with Half-Life 2, Episodes 1 and 2, and Team Fortress 2, the Orange Box is probably the best value that you’ll get from a Videogame from 2007.

Best Downloadable Title: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

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This year’s best DLC game isn’t even a new title, and that’s ok. The triumphant return of this PSone classic WITHOUT the $100+ pricetag earns it this years spot.

Game of the Year: Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

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2007 proved that Mario is still master of the Videogame domain. Even after 20+ years the plumber still has what it takes to create one of the best games ever. The game builds on what Super Mario 64 did in EVERY way, and shined it into gold. The fact that I managed to play through the game TWICE without getting bored earns Mario Galaxy the title of Game of the Year 2007.

and now for the FUN parts, The 2007 WGotYs!

Worst Wii Game: Chicken Shoot

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Soo…..Bad…… can’t think of ways to describe….awfulness……./shudder

Worst PS3 Game: Lair

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Epic Fail!

Worst 360 Game: Vampire Rain

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Splinter Cell + Vampires = Bad? How’d you fuck this one up, Microsoft?

Worst PSP Game: Aliens vs Predator: Requiem

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I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. The PSP is NOT designed for shooters.

Worst DS Game: SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters DS

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 It’s SNK vs. Capcom! on the DS! in a Card Battler! WTF?

Worst PC Game: Empire Earth III

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The game has become your run-of the mill RTS, with no standout features.

Worst Game of the Year: Lair (PS3)

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What was once one of the most anticipated games for the PS3 turned out to be the biggest shit-piece of the year. Sure, it LOOKS good, but with forced motion sensing and SEVERE clipping issues (ie. the ability to FLY THROUGH A MOUNTAIN), Lair earns our Piece of Shit, I mean, Worst Game of the Year award for 2007.

There we go. It took a while, but I’m back, and you’ll start seeing regular updates from me again.

img_sprite1.gif –Kyle “Jastrick”





Over-Achiever: Bioshock Rebuttal (spoilers)

6 09 2007

Now, for most of you who love achievements, you were most likely shocked by Persepolian’s former post. Fear not! This anti-achievement agenda does not proliferate throughout the whole of the Pix3l Nati0n! I for one, am a well known achievement addict. Now, I am not an extreme addict (I avoided buying TMNT for its grotesquely easy achievements), and I have a decent score (5515, if you must know), but I love the concept of achievements, and how well they work. I personally use them as an indicator as to how much I completed a game. Now, enough of my ranting, so here is my rebuttle to my colleagues previous attack on the achievements for Bioshock.

Read the rest of this entry »





Under-Achiever Episode I: Bioshock

6 09 2007

So, it’s a day late. Sue me. The name also took me a little while to come up with. It was a gruesome duel between Under-Achiever, Under-Achievement Whore, or Kyle’s entry, Whiny Achievement Person Rant #263.1: The Nexoroth Prophecies Part 2: Feces, in my pants! For a little while, I was seriously considering that last one, but I feel I made the right choice. In case you missed it, my goal with this new, episodic piece of blog history is to go through each new Xbox 360 game that I play and refute the so called “achievements” that you may “earn” throughout the game. The purpose of this is to show that, while these ego boost-craving lunkards inflate their their precious Gamer Scores—and by extension, E-penises—only a select few of these points come from actually achieving anything. Most of them come from simply playing through or finishing the damn game, which is why you bought the thing in the first place! So, without further delay, let us now go through each of the “achievements” that Bioshock had to offer.

Read the rest of this entry »





Quick note (Bioshock spoiler warning)

4 09 2007

So, I know I promised some sort of in-depth write up about Bioshock and how it made me reflect on things we forgive in games. But unfortunately, that’s not going to happen, for a number of reasons. The smallest reason is because of time constraints I had the last couple days, what with school starting and the fact that I needed to finish the game. The bigger reason is that, now that I’ve finished the game, a large, large portion of those complaints are gone. Frankly, the game is fantastic in a number of ways, especially the writing and character development. Every character is so well crafted and three-dimensional. I also love how hilariously meta that game is. I mean, really, almost every game we play in this vain is one giant “Would you kindly?”

So, because this game is so phenomenal, my problems with it—since, as a cynic, I have to find a flaw in everything—stick out. Though, admittedly, they are nit-picky. I think my biggest problem with this game is the final boss fight with Fontaine. There’s just something…well, many things, completely off about it. I mean, for one, giant Adam-injecting crucifiction thingy? Where the hell did that come from? Not to mention the fact that he looks and fights as if designed as a combination of Urien and Gill. In fact, I think that’s my biggest problem with it over all: the way he looks. See, all the other characters you physically meet in the game—Steinman, Cohen, Ryan, even Fontaine before the last fight—are normal looking people. They are just men, men who are corrupted and turned mad by power—not only the power to play god, but the power to be god-like. Each character is great as a man. And even had Fontaine still had all those powers, but was just his normal, human form, the fight would have fit a lot better for me. The way it is now, however, it’s just really out of place.

Also, there’s little things. Like, if I have to hear one more guy sing “Jesus loves me/this I know,” I’m going to shoot him. Then, myself. Also, some of the time-line stuff is a little unclear. Like, Ryan didn’t know you were born till after they put you top side, I think? Also, where the hell did they keep you, before you got on that plane? How exactly was the baby made? Where did Fontaine end and Atlas begin? Some of that could have been a little more clear.

Again, all of this is nit-picking. I honestly can’t see any game beating this as Game of the Year. It’s not only a fun, exciting, lengthy game, but it’s an incredible piece of fiction—and I think that’s the most important part.

One last thing. I hate Xbox 360 achievements. Loathe them, most because a lot of things you get points for aren’t really things you achieve so much as actions or events that would have happened regardless of a “points” system. Like, for example, getting an achievement for finishing the first level of a game. What? Ok, yes, I guess conceivably you could not finish it, but then why did you pay $70? Therefore, I will be instituting a new blog post type, called Under-Achievements. Each time I play a new 360 game, I will go through the achievements list and point out all the things people don’t deserve a shred of credit for. I will begin with Bioshock, hopefully tomorrow. It is my first day of class, and I have to start doing my write-up for my PAX feature for the paper, but I will do my best.

Peace.

kefka.gif — Persopolian





“No human can make a game that good. Especially a white human.”

17 08 2007

If you go to Game Rankings right now, you may notice something a little…strange. Something not quite right. And if, like me, you are the kind of person who’s curiosity is peaked by this growing sense of dread and fear, you may seek it out, and come across the Reviews page for a little game called Bioshock. Suddenly those feelings begin to swarm all around you, choking you slowly as you scroll down and see what is causing it all. Tens. Tens everywhere, all around you. You can’t escape it no matter how hard you try, like taking a whiff of ass and not being able to rid yourself of that stench for hours, no matter how many coffee beans you sniff.

OK, so a bit theatrical. But I can’t help it. Honestly, I’m a little concerned. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been hyped for this from the moment I heard the second syllable in the title. Having never played the System Shock games, never dreading the wrath of Shodan, I wanted a way to redeem myself. But this is a bit much, no? I mean sure, I can’t judge the whole game from the demo. But so many 10’s? And the things these people are writing, these men and woman who I aspire to some day work side-by-side with, I can’t believe the way they lie.

Take IGN’sreview” for example. They claim the game is about 20 hours in length. I am to believe this obvious deceit? There hasn’t been a shooter longer than 12 hours since before time was created! To boast otherwise is ridiculous! Or how bout we look at what 1up had to say about it. They claim that the game makes you “think”, that your interactions may force you to “ask questions” and make “moral considerations”. What a bunch of garbage. When was the last time an FPS made you feel anything besides the glorious satisfaction you gain by tea-bagging some poor kid from New Brunswick? Never, that’s when.

Don’t get me wrong. I truly wish this game was as perfect as these idealists and dreamers would like it to be. But it’s not. This game they are talking about does not exist. It will never exist. It can’t be true. I refuse to believe it. It simply cannot be….can it?

kefka.gifPersepolian





No Kings or Gods, Just Men: Bioshock Demo Impressions

14 08 2007

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I have a horrible confession to make: I’m easily manipulated by hype. This can be problematic for someone who is an aspiring game journalist. Especially when all you have to go on are the promising words of game mags and blogs, it’s easy to be excited about something you haven’t played–say, for example, Bioshock. When Kyle and I heard about the demo on Xbox Live, I believe it was followed by a loud “squeee!” in stereo. I have another horrible confession: I never played the System Shock games. I can’t tell which of these indiscretions is worse, but the latter is the one I feel most ashamed of. As I watched the demo slowly download, I could feel myself hoping more and more that this could be what was promised, another “thinking-man’s” shooter that is long overdue.

“The told me, ‘Son, you are meant to do great things.’ They were right.”

The demo starts with a plane crash. Your (so far) unnamed character finds himself swimming up for air after an unexpected dunk in the mid-Atlantic. As soon as he comes up for air, you are given control to move and look around. Already you can see Irrational’s hard work on water effects begin to pay off. The burning wreckage is gloriously reflected onto the Ocean’s surface. In the distance you can see the tail-end of the plane sinking steadily down. To the right of it, you can see the slight glint of a beacon, a lighthouse where it shouldn’t be. You swim towards it, climb the stairs, and enter the door to a dark foyer. As the door suddenly closes behind you, the lights turn on to reveal an iron-carved face of a man, a red silk banner hanging from his neck that reads “No Kings or Gods. Just Men.” You continue on your path, descending a winding staircase, and entering a biosphere that will take you to a wondrous place.

From the moment the lights turn on in the lighthouse, Bioshock’s atmosphere is evident. When the city of Rapture is revealed to you for the first time, on the outside, underwater, it’s hard not to be in awe of it. From this perspective it looks gorgeous, a 50’s utopia of metropolitan commercialism. Neon-lit signs and advertisements act as street lamps for the towering buildings ahead. Suddenly a whale floats by, not remotely phased by its surroundings. Seriously, a god damn whale! But this is just the outside. The insides of this city, its guts, are even more gorgeous and pitch perfect. Everything has an exaggerated late 50’s art-deco look about it, except it’s not just a look; it’s a lifestyle. All of it is incredibly immersive, surrounding you till you choke on late-romantic music stylings.

But Bioshock is not all sights and sounds. Ken Levine has been saying for months that his game is an FPS first and foremost, and this demo presents a pretty convincing argument. As soon as you step out of the biosphere—which is destroyed by a disfigured women with hooks for hands—you begin to wonder, “Just what the fuck happened here?” Good question. The first weapon you pick up here is a wrench—no crowbar, but it’ll do. The first few enemies aren’t too tough, simply dodge and pummel until their faces are pulp. It’s when you get your first plasmid—genetic enhancements that give you abilities—that the action really gets going. The first plasmid you get is Electricity, which lets you go all Raiden on your enemies. Initially, the ability simply stuns your enemies, allowing you to wail on them with your wrench without fear of reprisal. Later on you can also use it to electrocute enemies standing in water—this is so useful—and open doors that have been short-circuited. You soon pick up a pistol, a machine-gun, and the Incinerate plasmid—you can imagine what that one does.

The action is pretty intense, which is helped by how damn atmospheric it all is. Your enemies are truly creepy, all disfigured and dressed in masquerade garb. They ramble on as they attack you, accusing you of doing things you haven’t done to people you’ve never met. Though one thing I couldn’t really gather from the demo is just how smart the AI really is. While some things seem genius—like throwing themselves into water when you light them on fire—they also don’t seem very tactical. Not that they should coordinate flanking positions, but they seem to always a) come out of nowhere in the magically appear sense and b) always know where you are. This might just be virtue of a 45 minute demo, but it does make me a little worried.

So far, Bioshock is not only living up to my hopes for it, but making me even more hopeful. It’s only two weeks away. Hopefully I can get one night of gaming in before heading off to PAX.

kefka.gif Persepolian