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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


Platform Awards:

Best Xbox 360 Game:  Bioshock


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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)


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


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

Worst PS3 Game: Lair


Epic Fail!

Worst 360 Game: Vampire Rain


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

Worst PSP Game: Aliens vs Predator: Requiem


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


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

Worst PC Game: Empire Earth III


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

Worst Game of the Year: Lair (PS3)


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”


Foreign Analysis: Mass Effect

28 11 2007

Kotaku linked to a pretty interesting post over Magical Wasteland at about Mass Effect—or rather, what may have been left out of the game. Some of it seems nitpicky at first, but it’s actually provides some revealing insight into game development. I agree with most of what he suggests here, despite my extreme fondness for the game.



The prodigal son returns

28 11 2007

I’d say that I’m sorry for missing my posts last week, but frankly, I’m not. Despite my cohorts desire to take pot-shots at me, I do have the upper hand on him. See, I just finished Mass Effect today. By finished, I mean I completed it beginning to end, devouring every crumb and morsel of side quest I could stuff my optic nerves with, and after a little under 30 hours, it’s finally done—as far as my first run through is concerned, at least. I thought I’d lay out some thoughts. There’s to much to here for a full review to do it all justice, and many of the verdicts I would present would be fairly academic. I mean the game looks, sounds, and plays like immaculate conception—except for the Mako, is the unwanted step child.

I’ve always been one to suggest that video games have the capacity to be incredible storytelling devices. I usually point to Amy Henning—who just worked on Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune—and the Legacy of Kain series as an example. Assassin’s Creed does this as well, in small part, by making its environment fresh, immersive, and drenched in historical accuracy. I enjoyed in thoroughly. Don’t trust Jastrick’s opinion on the matter—he is constantly adapting his “game breaker” criteria to mask his inability to play games that aren’t called Halo.

Mass Effect, I’m proud to say, joins the very small club of games with exceptional stories. Every detail is laid out for the player, whether through dialogue, exposition, or a helpful codex that updates itself with both interesting and benign information for you to absorb. Plenty of games, films, books, and tv shows have attempted to create fully realized universes that are convincing, but most fail. There are few shows like Firefly, for example that proves the authenticity of its universe through the actions of its characters. Mass Effect is similar in this way, because the story, the characters, and every alien race all feel real. They have real concerns, real hatreds, and real loves. Putting aside the irony of the idea that all alien races would have very human emotions, it all works really well. By the end of the game, I couldn’t wait to a) play through a second time, to see how the story and interactions would change depending on my shifted morality, and b) see how the promised downloadable content meant to bridge the this story to its forthcoming sequel would play out.

If there’s one complaint I have with the game, it’s…well, it’s not really a complaint with the game so much as a complaint against Microsoft. I honestly feel that within the next year, they are really going to have to force developers to make games with hard drive as a necessity. There’s just far too much random in-game loading and texture pop in. Seriously, not since Halo 2 have I seen this much texture popping. With the depth and scale of a game like Mass Effect, caching would have been an incredible asset that would have quelled a lot of the frame rate issues that spurt up randomly.

That being said, I’m going back to it.



History Repeats Itself

26 11 2007


 Another weekend goes by, and another Saturday post is non-existent. Eh, what do you expect?

Well, we’re in the last week of November, and you know what that means: All the major game releases (save for Rock Band up here in the Great White North), have come and gone. And with such a large mass of releases, I figure that instead of doing Individual reviews, I’d just give you a shitload of impressions. Enjoy! 

Week One:

Call of Duty 4(X360):

This game is Beautiful, almost photorealistic. The multiplayer is very fun, and the perks system adds a very interesting element to gameplay. The single player campaign is fairly short, and can be completed within an afternoon. Feels much more like Call of Duty than the third installment did. Also, includes Awesome Rap song!

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games(Wii):

An semi-interesting collection of Minigames, some that hearken back to Raving Rabbids, while others have roots in Wii Sports. It’s an interesting diversion, but not all that exciting otherwise.

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn(Wii):

Think Fire Emblem, on the Wii. That’s it. You can tell it was originally being designed with the Cube in mind. No Wii functionality whatsoever. Although, the ability to import your old characters from Path of Radiance is a very nice, and welcomed, touch.

Sam and Max Season Two: Episode One: Ice Station Santa(PC):

Makes some major improvements over season one. The street has been compacted somewhat (by a giant walking death machine), which makes it easier to navigate. Double clicking now makes Sam run, and a wonderfully implemented hint system has been added as well. You can turn it off if you wish (default setting) and you can control how often your fellow characters will pipe up to add in their two cents.

Week Two:

Super Mario Galaxy(Wii):

Best Game Ever? Quite possibly. A true spiritual sequel to the N64 hit Super Mario 64, this game is pure awesomeness. It has just the right amount of Intuitive Wiimote functionality, and the game looks beautiful, easily the best looking on the console. I can’t wait for my second playthrough, this time as Luigi. One of the best

Assassin’s Creed(X360):

Something of a dissapointment. While the world is beautiful and very open, the missions can get VERY repetitive. Also, the amount of time that it takes to travel from city to city while trying to look inconspicuous to the guards is something of a gamebreaker, taking an EXTREMELY long time. This game failed to live up to the hype for me.

Contra 4(DS):

Ah, a return to controller-breaking goodness. Except this time, instead of breaking your controller, you’ll want to shove your stylus through your screen. Luckily, for those of you new to the series, it includes 3 different difficulty settings, with the highest being mind-fuckingly insane. Both screens are used to create huge worlds. And yes, the code is present.

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops +(PSP):

Konami’s expansion to their very well done PSP title is also something of a dissapointment. Unlike any other Metal Gear games, this online multiplayer expansion lacks a story, and even though it’s mainly for multiplayer, still feels weird for the series. At least it’s only $20.

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles(Wii):

Capcom’s Resident Evil inspired lightgun shooter takes you through the first few games in the series (oddly skipping Resident Evil 2) and chronicles the fall of the umbrella corporation. The game plays very well and is a very fun addition to any Wii library. A large variety of weapons to unlock and secrets to collect cranks up the replay value.

Week #3:

Mass Effect(X360):

/Joy :D. This is the holiday game that I’ve been waiting for. Coming from local studio Bioware, Mass Effect is truly a game to enjoy. The combat is well done, combining a shooter with an RPG as deep as Final Fantasy or The Elder Scrolls. There are some problems though, mainly with texture pop-in and the sections of the game where you drive the Mako, your tank-like vehicle. Those I could easily do without.

Link’s Crossbow Training(Wii):

This fun little pack-in for the wii sets a series of target games within the land of Hyrule. Using the TP engine, the game looks fairly nice. There are only 9 levels, however, so it’s done fairly quick, although you can always improve your scores.

Rock Band(X360):

Rock Band is….oh wait….DAMN IT!

img_sprite1.gif–Kyle “Jastrick”