Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka, Kwanza and what ever it is the Jedi religion celebrates this time of year (Jedi Santa is the best Santa). Since it is the end of the year, every video game site is required to provide some sort of “top list” for all the games that came out in said year due to the fine print in the blood contract that every young website creator must make with lord of evil, Satan. I pray for your eternally damned soul, Andy, I hope this site was worth it. I was asked to do a Top 10 list of the “must buy” games of this year, but I don’t think I even got to play ten games this year since I’m not exactly rolling in dough, so to speak. I’m not riding the gravy train. I’m not dining with the Stones, if you catch my drift. I’m poor. That’s the joke. I am very very poor. Most of the games I got to play I borrowed or I got as a free rental from Family Video, and even then I had to put down a twenty dollar deposit on them. I eat nothing but ramen noodles everyday, but I’m actually okay with that because I really love ramen noodles. Shit is amazing and only cost 75 cents. That, my friends, is what we call a bargain. Anyways, here is a  retrospect/review of all the games I did manage to get my hands on this year. I’m going to make myself some more noodles.

Tomb Raider

I completely forgot that I even played Tomb Raider this year, which odd that I would forget a game where I spend 90% of it getting a good view of Lara Croft’s fine, sweet…tank top (good save). I can’t honestly say that I thought it was a bad game, but I would be hard pressed to go say that you should go out and buy it or your life won’t be complete. This game is of course the… reboot? No, it’s a prequel! No, wait, it’s a reboot but also a prequel to the other Tomb Raiders. Right? Doesn’t matter, the detail that is important is that the game set early in career of Lara Croft before she became the harden adventurer/dinosaur killer that she becomes later. Tomb Raider’s gameplay is what you expect from action-adventure games these days with lots of sets pieces, climbing stuff, killing lots of bad guys, flashy quick-time event sequences and many other things from Uncharted. And yes, before you assholes jump down my throat, I’m very well aware that Uncharted pretty much owes it existences to the original Tomb Raiders but there is no denying that many of the changes in the formula that the Uncharted games introduced are present in this game. Luckily though, one thing that didn’t carry over from the Uncharted games was making Lara Croft an insufferable asshole like Nathan Drake. While it is a little jarring how quickly she gets over her “first kill” and is soon murdering dudes with the best of them, at least she comes off as bit of an underdog in this situation compared Nathan “Killer of Peasant Foreigners” Drake. What I’m trying to say is that by the end of the game I was rooting for her and she was the most likeable character of the bunch, which isn’t saying much since all the other characters were bland as fuck and are just there to be cannon fodder of the plot. So yeah, adequate gameplay, decent lead character, nice environments and everything else is bland as hell. Give it a rental, you may like it. I suppose I could give the game some kind of award though. How about an award for the two female leads of the game, Lara and her friend Sam, who will both receive the coveted “Two Characters That Are Probably Gay for Each Other But it is Never Flat Out Said in the Story But Everybody is Thinking It” award. I’m sure  Froto and his Sam will be upset to finally give it up.

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Deadpool

Sometime ago, when X-Men Origins : Wolverine was a thing that was on the horizon, comic book anti-hero, Deadpool, found his way into mainstream appeal since he was confirmed to be in the movie. Then the movie came out and many old and new Deadpool fans alike were very sad. However, if going to any convention that allows cosplay will show you, people still love Deadpool, especially enough to give him his own game. I’m not even going to waste time trying to remember what the plot of the game. All you need to know is that Deadpool went to go kill some guy but that guy got killed by another guy, so Deadpool then goes to kill that guy. Shakespeare couldn’t have told a better tale. Most of your enjoyment from Deadpool (the game itself, not the character) will come from the combat, which is surprisingly pretty decent, though it might start to lose its charm towards the end of the game. Speaking of losing its charm, since this is a game about Deadpool, the merc with a mouth, you can expect plenty of fourth wall breaking and humor. Humor that is very hit and miss. There is no denying that some of the jokes in the game got a laugh out of me here and there, but as you might guess, a lot of the humor can be summed up as “LOL! Video game logic!”. Also, for having a colorful character as Deadpool, the game takes you to some of the most boring, cliche settings you can see in a video game; sewer, corporate building and boring, ruined island. And no, pointing to yourself and saying “Lol! Sewer levels, am I right?” does not excuse it. If you aren’t a comic book fan, then I don’t really see any incentive for you to buy and I’m sure most Marvel nuts have all ready played it, loved ot and are now writing a very angry comment at me because that “boring, ruined island” is actually the equivalent of Mutant Auschwitz and I should show some respect. Which would be an odd thing for them to say considering how the game itself doesn’t give any respect to comic book fans.

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Metal Gear Rising: Revengance

Since I just talked about a lunatic whose loves chopping people up into bloody bits with swords, let keep the same flow going with Metal Gear Rising: Revegenace. One glance at Metal Gear Rising and you can all ready assume that you will not being getting the same experience as any other previous Metal Gear games. Don’t worry, there is still lots of talking and long cutscenes but they are only Metal Gear Solid 1 long and not Metal Gear Solid 4 long. Big difference. My memory of Rising is a little fuzzy but I can definitely remember it being hard. Very. Fucking. Hard. Most of that difficulty comes from trying to master the “parry” move since the game itself can’t be bothered to show you itself unless you decide to leave the game and take place in its training program, and even then I can’t guarantee you’ll understand it. If you do manage to get that down, then the game might end up being a more enjoyable experience for you, but I think my main problem with the game is that it is constantly putting you in the wrong mind set all of the time, mostly when it comes to the “stealth sections.”  Now, maybe this is just me, but when you put me in control of a lightning powered, ninja death machine, I’m going to go balls to the wall crazy with it and kill every motherfucker I can in the most bloody way possible, but then the game starts to scold me for not using the stealth option, even though the controls and mechanics are in no way suited for stealth. Also, despite what the fast paced metal music and the “rage mode” may suggest to you, nearly all of the boss fights punish you for attacking first and all them boil down to waiting for your opponent to attack first and pray to Kojima that your parry move actually does what you want it to. In short, if you all ready aren’t riding the Metal Gear fan train, I can’t see you getting too much enjoyment out of this, though if you do like a challenge, change of pace from most games and want to experience one the most awesome final boss fights ever, than maybe Rising can help with that.

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Bioshock Infinite

Many different arguments have been made about this game’s quality, with some calling it a masterpiece while others claiming it pretentious bullshit that is trying to be deeper than it actually is. I am a massive fan of the original Bioshock and to me, Bioshock was that game that made a realize something that I knew for a long time but never really thought too much about it: that video games are an amazing, new storytelling medium. Back to Infinite, I feel like my opinion of the game was a little tainted because there was just no way to escape the hype and praise the game was receiving, and normally I do my best  to avoid hearing too much about a game I plan on playing, but there was just no escaping it. I will say that is a “must buy” though, because it is a game that breed discussion. Whether the game is a God-send, a generic game hiding behind a bunch of nonsense to make itself look better than it is, a game that’s violence it too aggressive or a game that has the greatest/worst ending in video game history, at least those are all more interesting discussions than which Call of Duty game is the most “gayest.” One thing I will say for sure, I don’t think it is anywhere near as good as the first Bioshock. I know many will take that statement with a grain of salt since I just spoke so highly of the original four sentences ago, but I think Bioshock just still tops Infinite in many ways. Andrew Ryan was a far more compelling villain, the ruined utopia of Rapture was far more interesting than Colombia could hope to be and Bioshock’s plot twist still easily trumps Infinite’s. Regardless, definitely try to pick this one up, play yourself and come to your in conclusion. Just never play Bioshock 2 and pretend it doesn’t exist. That’s what I do.

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Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

I guess you just have to make your way through three mediocre Assassin’s Creed games before Ubisoft makes an actual good one again that can rival the second one, because I haven’t had as much with an Assassin’s Creed game, let alone many video games, than I did with Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. I’ve always been a fan of the Assassin’s Creed series, but my enthusiasm started to die out when the series began whoring itself out every year to match Call of Duty. On top of that, the games started forgetting what made them fun in the first place. Many of the missions started to become very linear, not enough interesting side missions to partake in and, for some odd reason, the game started having very little assassinating in them, which is a problem if you game is called ASSASSIN’S Creed. Thankfully, Assassin’s Creed 4 is finally doing what the Assassin’s Creed games do best, and this time you get the added bonus of being a pirate. Assassination contracts are finally back, you have more freedom on how you approach your missions (except for the tailing missions; those are terrible) and the open-world is massive with ton of stuff to do. I found myself constantly getting distracted from my main quest because I couldn’t stop gravitating to every side objective that I ended up sailing past. It is hard to explain, but the game does a great job of sucking you in and I loved the feeling of crippling my enemy’s ship, killing everyone aboard, taking their loot and sailing off like a… like a… well, like a pirate! The game can still be quite buggy, have some choppy animation (on the 360 and PS3, I mean) and many other little things that nip at my ankles, but they did little to diminish my overall enjoyment. I know people have probably grown tired of Assassin Creed, but I urge you to give this one a try.

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There you have it folks! The run down of the five games I managed to get my hands on this year. Hopefully next year I will manage to get my hands on more games, or perhaps I’ll just buy more ramen. Might be nice to have someone else make it for me once in a while. Maybe a nice brunette, with a warm smile and beautiful eyes that fills my empty life with love and fulfillment. Yeah… I’m going to go cry now.