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#1 SPE

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 01:24 AM

The usual end of year GOTY talk always focuses on new games that have rocked your world. But there will no doubt be plenty of older games that you played this year that were special. Not just HD remakes, but can be old favourites replayed, of classics picked up for the first time.

I've found that I've bought a fair few remakes this year. The stand out of Halo Anniversary, which not only is the perfect way to release a remake, but the underlying game is as astonishing today as it was back in 2001. It will never age, as the core gameplay is utterly perfect. The shiny new lick of paint is a bonus, but even in original mode it's an unparalleled work of art.

The 3DS got a work out with Starfox 64 3D and OoT, but neither had the impact they could have as I'd played the originals recently. The same with Ico & SOTC, glorious updates, but I'd replayed both games on my 60GB PS3 a while back. Radiant Silvergun & Guardian Heroes were a nice surprise, but neither managed to hold my attention for long due to coming at the start of the influx of Q4 releases. Games to go back to on a rainy day though.

The two old games that have been the biggest hit in the SPE household, due to a Mario obsessed 3 year old, have been Galaxy 2 and Mario Sunshine. We've been slowly working our way through the green stars in Galaxy, with only a dozen or so left to find. Sunshine, a game I'd not replayed since being initially disappointed by it, was far better than I remembered. The weakest Mario game by far, but with enough classic gameplay to hold it together when the camera or level design goes awry .

I briefly returned to me Demon's Souls NG+ save, but to really pick up when I left it will be a treat for 2012.
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#2 clippa

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 01:47 AM

edit: oops, just read your post and realised this is for games you played this year that weren't necessarily released this year. Great idea for a thread, some of the best games I've played have been games I've bought and not got round to playing until a drought the next year or the year after and they've just blown me away.

Found my list from 2009 from the cardiacs fan forum I post on but there's nothing for 2010, weirdly, I'll have to sniff around for a list of releases so I imagine it'll be a bit hindsighty.

2009

My favourite games of this year I think are -

left 4 dead 2
killing floor
red faction: guerilla
cod6
risen
section 8
anno 1404
prototype


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#3 ComradeTrotskii

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 04:05 AM

Thinkni've got ya:

Anything that was released on Good Old Games is surely in with a shout!

For me It's the Temple of Elementsl Evil, lost so many hours in there that I don't even know what the 'real' 'world' is 'any' ''more' :P

Edit: I've no idea when that was released on GOG, it was probably about 2 years ago. So it's probably my 'GOTY' since 1974 or something.
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#4 Vorgot

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 09:51 AM

I've been short of cash, and addicted to WoW, which I finally gave up on, so I hit the pile of shame this year and played some not so old games, but not released this year.

Arkham Asylum was the standout for me. I like a game that pushes me along a certain path to completion, it allows for some fantastic pacing and set pieces, that this delivered in bucketloads. Even the boss battles were fun and not too taxing to work out. If you wanted to explore more, there were the riddler pieces to do.

Overall, it was just an amazing package. Not one I'd one to play through again, as it would lose the wow factor I think, but as a piece of entertainment it was pretty special.

I also played Modern Warfare 2. I always wait till these are cheap as I suck donkey balls at MP, but for 20, the single player is a pretty fine example of blockbuster shooty nonsense that, while pretty shallow, is also great fun. It's my videogame equivalent of a Bond film.

And Mario64, which is my game of all time, and I was just playing this morning. Still looks stunning on an HD telly through the Wii.
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#5 Napole0n

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 09:56 AM

GTA IV for me. I had it since launch but only completed it this year and it's probably better than anything else I've played (although I haven't played Skyrim yet as that'll be a Christmas pressie).

/edit/ and Portal of course, which I finally completed in the run up to Portal 2.
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#6 Qazimod

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 09:57 AM

If I had to pick one it would probably be Vanquish. Late last year I told myself that for 2011 I'd be more selective about the games I buy, but I figured I may as well treat myself to one last game before I start getting tight with my money. Embarrassingly, I shelved the game after a few weeks because I was struggling on Normal difficulty, but I went back to it last month and tried Casual instead. Consequently I ended up having much more fun, but I never found that the reduced challenge made the game boring or anything. Anyway, I loved it - Vanquish is a game that makes every firefight feel epic where most other devs are happier to create one or two memorable skirmishes. The explosions are fantastic, the speed of movement and huge motion blur gives the game a more fast-paced feel, and the upgrade system is excellent, allowing you to take down formidable enemies after a few seconds of supercharged assualt rifle fire. I can't think of another 2010 game I've had more fun with this year.
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#7 Soulstar

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 10:13 AM

Yeah so this thread is more for people like myself who can't even put one title in that counts for being released within 2011 as I haven't played any yet.

Resident Evil Code Veronica - DC: Within the last year or so (technically end of 2010,) I picked up a DC and played through RE-Code Veronica for the fist time and was very impressed. Hadn't actually played a RE game for a while and it was refreshing to go back to the series once more. It was a bit irritating to find yourself being able to lose your weapons to your partner before facing the last boss, but apart from that I loved it.

Final Fantasy X - PS2: I think playing through FFX though for the first time has been one of my key defining moment of this year. It took me 150 hours to just finish the thing, and sure was a little linear, but I did really enjoy it on the whole.

Fallout 3 - PS3:
Weeks ago after obtaining the PS3 for the first time, I got hold of Fallout 3 as a starter game and was also very impressed. It can sometimes get a little boring down to the size and sometimes repetetive nature of things, but it really opened my eyes as to how things have changed between the PS2 era and the current one.

Machinarium - PC: has also landed it's place in my top end of games this year. Completely unexpected and plays like a point and click but with a lot of innovation and style differing itself from all the other games i've played in this genre. It isn't long and some of the puzzles were annoying, but I managed to get through every puzzle without having to resort to a guide once. The music was one of the biggest things I liked about the game too, and i've since got hold of the album. It was interesting to see the whole album available on vinyl too.

Darksiders - PS3:There was a debate on this title with some of you liking it and others comparing it to Zelda and as a result putting negativity towards it. As for myself however, I was very suprised in a pleasant way. What started as some sort of typical Marvel platforming beatemup turned out to be a platform title with significant gaming mechanics to the likes of Metroid Prime and...oh go on then Zelda. DS however does away with anything remotely cutesy, any sort of village talking to people and makes prime look nice as far as voilence goes. The game does keep that comic/hero edge to it but in a mature way without being overly real. The action scenes work perfect for me and the puzzles did get me thinking more than often without turning into a real bastard of a chore. This makes it in my top few.

Some generally good secondary titles also include

Silver - DC: A title that did better than my expectations. I saw it around 2000 or so when it was new and on a shelf in Game and was reminded of FFVII style prerendered backgrounds and characters. Of course the game is far from FFVII, and more real time RPG Baulders Gate style gameplay, but it plays really well. The story is pretty basic and the whole gaming scenario is a simple case of defeating the bad guy and collecting a series of gems, however it really is enjoyable and has some really nice looking pre-rendered backgrounds with a good level of diversity between the areas. The voice acting can also be a bit of a laugh too.

Elemental Gimmick Gear (E.G.G.) - DC: An interesting find for me this year was EGG on the Dreamcast which I hadn't heard of at all and was surprised to find out it looked and played like a 32 bit overhead beautifully drawn and painted Zelda clone. The boss battles were designed in 3D and were quite unique and especially tough at times.

Bangai-O - DC: Another fresh game in a style I hadn't quite seen before. The wackyness of the story, the number of explosions on screen at once and pacing all made this game a winner. It wasn't overly difficult, but there were some challenging moments. The most annoying being the final boss which has still taken me down to this date with its cheap kills every time. What I really liked about this title though is that once you understand the whole concept, instead of pannicking during moments of intense bullet showers, you embrace it knowing full well the more the bullets on screen, the more you can launch back in a counter attack wave. As your attacks destroy the enemies bullets, it changes the whole way i've played shooters before and manages to work really well.

Street Fighter 3: Third Strike DC: Until this year, it had been quite a while since I had played a beat-em-up, and this one really holds up well to date. The whole control sound and animation really works well and the pacing is just right. It isn't easy by a long shot, but I suppose I really clicked with it once the hard work of replaying rounds worked when I finally managed to get to the end and finish it.

Cannon Spike - DC:
Another shooter for the DC which I really felt as though had replay value. Different than Bangai-O as it was more about replaying where as the latter was more down to progression. With Cannon Spike it can be completed in like 10 minutes literally on the lower difficulty settings, and although being a short game, it has enough difficulty choices to keep it going. I was able to figure out a few strategic attacks in some situations over time leading to a progression right through to being a hair line away from finishing the game on hard. Games which seem to start hard and stay hard no matter how many times you play them usually tire me, but this one does it well. Of course I have to mention the interesting array of characters you can choose from keeps it interesting and all of them except one are taken from other Capcom titles such as SF or Megaman or Ghouls n Ghosts.
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#8 scottcr

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 10:17 AM

OoT or LA on the 3DS were both superb but I reckon Serpent Isle is probably the best old game that's available to play now... From GoG
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#9 SPE

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 11:05 AM

I forgot to include RE2.

I played Resident Evil 2 and 3 back to back earlier in the year. 2 was as fantastic as I remembered. The archaic controls and inventory system hasn't aged as such, as it was rubbish in the mid 90s and is still rubbish now. But the game is dripping in atmosphere and was much shorter than I recalled. But its action packed over its short length. 3didn't change my original opinion - worth playing, but a let down compared to 2.

So I was really looking forward to the HD remake of CV, only to find it one of the biggest disappointments of the years. The fact that the controls of the PS3 version have been changed from the PS1 games, so I spent most of my time with it fighting against ingrained muscle memory.
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#10 RubberJohnny

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 11:44 AM

This is a good idea, I've always got a few titles on my list that end up being from previous years and not counted because I'm a cheapskate who always buys stuff long after launch.

Hitman: Blood Money (2006) - Picked this up in last years Xmas sale. One of the best games I've ever played, and would easily be a new franchise I'd buy everything from if it "Abomination" wasn't on the horizon.

Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines (2004) - Another fantastic RPG that's earned a place up there with Hitman and Deus Ex in my all time faves. I do love my "immersive sims" as RPS calls them, and I've had a fantastic time working through the last ten years worth, playing some fantastic games.

Dragon Age: Origins and DA: Awakenings (2009-10) - I do like my trad RPGS, and this'll likely be the last one we'll ever get. Six year development cycle and over 150 hours of content is something that's unlikely to ever be repeated, I enjoyed it from start to finish.

Far Cry 2 (2008) - An absolutely fantastic game, one of the best shooters I think we've had in recent years. Rather than reducing your agency to merely pressing the analogue stick up and holding down the trigger, this sandbox game gives you a wide open world and a range of different ways to approach situations. Couple that with an incredibly realised setting and a surprisingly mature narrative that takes down most shooters stances on conflict and it's understandable why Idle Thumbs didn't stop talking about it. A shame that we're not getting more sandbox shooters and the endless parade of scripted linearity is unrelenting.

Anno 1404 (2009) - 2070 launched this year and it looked fucking fantastic, but talk of technical issues dogging release made me pick up the previous GOTY version cheap. I think I have a new franchise to follow, the game is addictive as hell, and reveling in it's systems takes hours of my life away. Assuming 2070 appears in the Steam sale, expect to see it gifted as secret santa.

Team Fortress 2 (2006) - I stick this in every year as the game is still going strong, and is effectively, completely different from what it was when it launched. This year it went "properly" F2P, and had some absolutely massive updates. Unfortunately I haven't had as much time to dedicate to it as I would like, but I'm sticking it in here so people don't forget it.

Minecraft (2009/10) - Why's this here if it launched this year? I put it on my GOTY list last year, so I'll put it here now. The game has had a lot of updates that have overhauled big chunks of the game and added more variety and more stuff in big quantities. The whole last update was basically going "there, happy now?" to people who say it's not a game because it doesn't have an ending or a goal.

Alan Wake (2010) - Played this earlier in the year and really enjoyed it, but can't remember much about it now. Good story, and handled the "justification of videogaminess" well, but the actual storytelling structure was poor.
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#11 smithstock

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 01:31 PM

Hitman: Blood Money (2006) - Picked this up in last years Xmas sale. One of the best games I've ever played, and would easily be a new franchise I'd buy everything from if it "Abomination" wasn't on the horizon.

Minecraft (2009/10)

RE Blood Money - look out for a trilogy pack of the original three games on PS2. Amazing. Although be warned, they have great missions but will show why Blood Money is the prime version. It's heavily refined compared to them.

Minecraft - bought this in Alpha and only started playing a month ago. Addicted to just burrowing underground even though there is so much more to discover.

Valkyria Chronicles - meant to pick this up for years and got a fair bit through it around summer. Quality game with a nice tactile twist on traditional turn based gameplay.

Super Street Fighter IV - never ever been a Street Fighter fan, nor am I a good player at it but as a game designer I appreciate the depth of the mechanics and balance between playstyles.

Shadow Complex - bought this last year and it got buried about 1/3 of the way through. Came back to it and it's incredible. Great level design and fun mechanics, another win for Epic and the Unreal Engine.

Portal 1 - was determined to complete this before Portal 2 and managed to do so a week before the release. Clever game which made me appreciate Portal 2 even more.
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#12 larrydavidsanger

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 01:44 PM

I've played a hell of a lot of NBA2k11 this year, amazing game
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#13 Couch Corpse

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 02:45 PM

Got Resi 4 on the 360, still amazing. The update was disappointing, no improvement or modernisation.
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#14 Sprite Machine

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 02:21 PM

Hmm, where to start? Well, I think the best game I've played this year is the Ocarina of Time 3D remake. So good, in fact, that I played it twice (the Master Quest was a nice addition, having never played it before). Frankly, little else compares to it, so that would have to be my GotY.

I've had less time in front of TV consoles this year, so I've been sticking to shorter games. Uncharted 2 was among the best, or certainly the most memorable. I was underwhelmed by the original Uncharted, but this fixed almost every flaw and then turned everything up to 11. Still short and pretty linear but lotsa fun. A true 'blockbuster' sequel with bells on. I'll definitely have to check out numero 3 some time.

Portal 2 was as good as I could have hoped for. A few things weren't featured that I thought would be (based on earlier previews) but what surprised me the most was the co-op mode. It was far better than it had any right to be! Played with good company, it's frankly the best co-operative game I've ever played. It's not just clever, it makes you feel clever, together.

Not quite as highly regarded, but still fantastic games I've played this year:
- Mass Effect 2. Enjoyable sequel, disappointing story.
- Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. It's the best one. Yes, better than the first one. Seriously.
- Broken Sword 1 and 2 on iOS. Great to play them again, the first is a classic.
- Metroid: Other M. Not a perfect Metroid game, but there's nothing else quite like it.
- Rock Band 3. I'm still playing DLC as and when I find the time. It has the potential to be my favourite game ever. Almost certainly my most played.
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#15 smac

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 03:55 PM

I posted a thread about coming late to the party - I only bought my first this-gen console this year, a 360.

This allowed to me to mine the back catalog for some *seriously* concentrated gaming goodness this year, each for about a tenner or less; 15 quid, tops. This year, I have mostly been playing:

- Mass Effect 1 and 2 - Epic, epic start to ownership of a new console.
- Bayonetta - fantastic, kitsch, hip-waggling, angel-biffing fun.
- Batman: Arkham Asylum. Oh, man - they're doing great Batman games now? (Actually, Batman has made for some spiffy conversions over the years: Ritman and Drummond's isometric caped crusader, Ocean's decent effort).
- Just Cause 2: I posted elsewhere about the insane amount of time I spent getting this up to the 90% completed range.
- Crackdown: great sense of verticality, since completely eclipsed by:
- Assassin's Creed 2: I'm playing this right now, and it is an utterly compelling experience (once you get past the clumsy, modern day intro bit); I'm living it up in Firenze, hanging wit' Leonardo and killing people in the face with style and panache.
- Saint's Row 2: oh, man, what a laugh. Although the cut-scenes are just plain nasty, bringing the mood down a little after all the fun mayhem.

I also enjoyed Majin, Enslaved (apparently a Marmite game), Orange Box and Bioshock 2 (haven't picked up 1 yet), and have yet to start Fallout 3 and Dragon Age: Origins.

I mean, I think the only games I bought from this year's bunch are Vanquish, Child of Eden and Deus Ex: HR. By the time I get 'round to the big releases from this year's crop, they'll all be down to a tenner on Classics.

And I think there are some tasty sequels to some of the above games to start with - Batman: Arkham City, Saint's Row 3 and Ass. Creed Brotherhood out now. Also unusual - I 'completed' the games I played (not 100%, but all of the story missions plus a good chunk of the optional stuff). And for Bayonetta, only one run-through, which is hardly the point of the game.

I mean, look at that list. I'm surprised my brain didn't a'splode with the gaming goodness. And nary a brown-tinged space marine to be seen. And all for less than the cost of 2, maybe 3 'day one' purchases. Not really playing multiplayer online makes a difference, 'though.
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#16 K

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 04:04 PM

I think Vanquish was probably the best game I played this year, but I think Vanquish was the best game released any year even years preceding the release of the game (excluding 2001, when Halo was released). The best game released in 1930 was Vanquish.

Its a perfect combination of swearing and beautiful, sexy action, with a central mechanic (backflipping and aiming into slow-mo) that feels weird at first, and rapidly becomes so intuitive that you do it in your head all night instead of sleeping. Normal is a bastard, and Hard is a complete shit to finish, but generous checkpoints and consistent rules mean that you almost always progress if you persevere, and never feel hard done by. The difficulty of God Hard is just ludicrous, and one of the things that stops it from taking Halos crown if it was as perfectly judged as Legendary, wed have a timeless classic on our hands, but as it is, its merely one of the best games ever.

Also, the graphics are totally distinctive and amazing in an epic, widescreen way, and looks like a seventies sci-fi novel cover in motion.
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#17 Sprite Machine

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 04:16 PM

I'm now suddenly interested in Vanquish. :lol:
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#18 Colonel Panic

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 04:25 PM

I think Vanquish was probably the best game I played this year, but I think Vanquish was the best game released any year even years preceding the release of the game (excluding 2001, when Halo was released). The best game released in 1930 was Vanquish.

Its a perfect combination of swearing and beautiful, sexy action, with a central mechanic (backflipping and aiming into slow-mo) that feels weird at first, and rapidly becomes so intuitive that you do it in your head all night instead of sleeping. Normal is a bastard, and Hard is a complete shit to finish, but generous checkpoints and consistent rules mean that you almost always progress if you persevere, and never feel hard done by. The difficulty of God Hard is just ludicrous, and one of the things that stops it from taking Halos crown if it was as perfectly judged as Legendary, wed have a timeless classic on our hands, but as it is, its merely one of the best games ever.

Also, the graphics are totally distinctive and amazing in an epic, widescreen way, and looks like a seventies sci-fi novel cover in motion.


You beat me to it! Vanquish is easily one of the best games I've played this generation. The SciFi setting, the ridiculous story and dialogue, the actual gameplay and the way it's paced just made it so much fun to play.
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#19 smac

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 05:07 PM

The best game released in 1930 was Vanquish.


Man, I'd love to see that - quick! to the chrono-gameatron! A steampunk ARS!

To be honest, I haven't played Vanquish enough for it to 'click', unlike Bayonetta where I was getting the hang of it by the end of my first playthrough; enough to be hitting a few platinums here and there.

And I still haven't played God Hand yet - it's in my retro reserve pile...
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#20 MW_Jimmy

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 09:41 PM

Well I've voted in the awards thread but as with most years, when 90% of the games come out in November and games can't be consumed as quickly as film or music, my voting feels a little false/too early. These then, are my games of 2011:

Posted Image

I don’t know where to start. I suppose the biggest surprise and the part that makes Sin and Punishment 2 so brilliant is the Wii control. Yep. Its one of those impossible rare circumstances that the control is what separates and elevates the title from everything else before it. By creating a control method that splits character movement from aiming, it allows the game to throw so much more at you than other shooters - you clear screens of bullets within seconds with great sweeps of the screen and bosses become a test of holding aim on the boss with one hand, while dodging bullets with the other hand.

And the bosses are magnificant huge hulking multi-part multi-angled boss fights. More than other recent Treasure games its a real 16bit game, bringing back memories of Gunstar Heroes and Rocket Knight Adventures.

The level design too is fantastic and the game crams in references and homages to every shooter you can imagine - close combat is like Gunstar Heroes, Lock-On like Panzer/REZ and level design has hints of Contra, Gradius and R-Type all over the place.

There is so much that this game gets right, that its impossible for me not to see this as a landmark title.

Posted Image

I loved every single mechanic in No More Heroes. I loved the goofyness of it all. The story is really well told like most SUDA51 games, and the minigames and really helped pace the game properly, something that I think people miss. Both shambolic and beautiful. I think the Wii really helped in this regard. Most of the game controls like a dog, the graphics are pretty grainy and the gesture control is absurd. The fact it all loosely keeps together and somehow feels crafted, somehow, is very much part of the charm. Also: the music!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMYUX1_Kg_Y&feature=related

Posted Image

Multiplayer.

I originally thought this would be some tacked-on bullshit - instead Assassins Creed Brotherhood is one of the best multiplayer experiences since Halo 2. The game takes all the mechanics of the single player and not only makes it relevant in a multiplayer setting, but actually makes stealth work. Poison is the most useful weapon in your inventory - silent, satisfying and deadly. Because the game is set up to reward quiet, silent kills paranoia quickly sets in. Is that person walking straight for me my pursuer? Surely he would be more discreet? You quickly throw a smoke bomb and run around the corner - bam! - killed by a aerial attack from the nearby rooftop. The fact the game can consistently make you think a computer-controlled AI is human is nothing short of amazing.
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