Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Archile's End of the Year Awards 2014 Part 2

As I said last year... 'Time to finish the fight.'
 Without further ado, here are the last Archile Awards of 2014.

 Worst Game of the Year:
I played a lot of crap this year. Maybe not a 'lot', but the bad games were really bad. REALLY bad. And the PSP is home to three of them.
 Rampage 2 - Universal Tour: It wasn't absolutely terrible, but not only was it a very repetitive game, it was also a very disappointing sequel.
 Dragon Ball Z - Ultimate Tenkaichi: It looks gorgeous. And that's the only good thing you can say about this game. Can you even call it a game? It plays itself. It. Plays. Itself. Even Asura's Wrath had more interactivity than this piece of shovelware.
 Crimson Gem Saga: Beautiful cover, terrible game. Uninteresting story, lame battle mechanics, terrible game design focused on grinding and going around in circles with awful dungeon designs... If I never see this game again, it'll be too soon.
 Mimana - Iyar Chronicle: This game has a lot in common with Crimson Gem Saga: It was made in Korea, it was supposed to be part of a series, of course, both games being terrible made sure that a follow-up would never be made and both are perfect examples of how not to make an RPG. At least this one had a tolerable fighting mechanic. Kinda.
 Saint Seiya Omega - Ultimate Cosmos: It's probably the best game on this list, yet the one I scored the lowest. Why? If you don't have anyone to play this game with, this game is basically unplayable, the CPU will make its darnedest to make sure that you don't have fun with this game.

 Dragon Ball Z - Ultimate Tenkaichi and Saint Seiya Omega - Ultimate Cosmos: This was almost a three way tie with Crimson Gem Saga, but as terrible as Crimson Gem Saga was, at least it was playable. Ultimate Tenkaichi basically plays itself while trying to play Ultimate Cosmos against the CPU makes sure that you won't have any fun playing it. I really couldn't decide which was worse.

 Nintendo DS Game of the Year:
There really weren't a whole lot of DS games I played this year, but enough to be worth making a category for. Besides, it's my blog and I can do whatever I want.
 Kirby Super Star Ultra: There's a ton of bite-sized mini Kirby adventures in this one, each one offering its own little spin on how you play. Originally a SNES game, it fits the handheld console like a charm.
 Flower, Sun and Rain: As a game, it's pretty bad. But as with most Suda 51 games, they are made up of more than 'graphics' and 'gameplay'. Suda 51 games have a lot of personality, and this is no exception, a fascinating setting with memorable characters and situations.... Suda 51 can really do no wrong in my book.
 Mega Man StarForce - Dragon: This is the third time that I've dabbled in Mega Man StarForce 1, and while I'm not as much into the series as I once was... I can appreciate it being a decent game.

 Flower, Sun and Rain: I may have scored Kirby higher, as a game, but at the end of the day, I hold this game in a higher regard. I can remember my time with Flower, Sun and Rain, the NPCs, like the temperamental hotel manager, the vain actress, the comedic duo, the Luchador that would block your way through the stairs the first couple of... 'days', the cleaning lady that would make Mondo trip every day... There's a reason I love Suda 51's games, they always manage to leave their mark on me.

 Nintendo 3DS Game of the Year:
Another year I've yet to play a 3DS must-have. Which really sucks, I could name a ton of DS must-haves, but I feel as if the 3DS still hasn't got a console seller. But then again, I haven't sunk my teeth on Smash Bros for 3DS... but then again, you can have a better version on Wii-U... Regardless, not having console sellers doesn't equal not having great games, such as these.
 Code of Princess: The GBA had Final Fight One, the DS had... well, it had a bunch of these, but the 3DS now has a traditional 2-D Beat'em up to call its own. Code of Princess is reminiscent of Guardian Heroes Advance, with a lot of characters, even if not all of them are equally fleshed out, and a lot of missions to level them up.
 Mario Kart 7: I said it before and I'll say it again, when compared to Mario Kart DS, it was a disappointment, but by its own right, it's a good mascot racer. All throughout the year I found myself racing against random strangers online every now and then, so I can attest that I didn't just forget about it. Still, it's not my go-to kart racer when I go out on a trip or vacations.
 Samurai Warriors - Chronicles: A worthy pseudo-port of Samurai Warriors 3 on the 3DS, it retains every character and, I believe, every stage from that game, alongside two new original heroes. I wasn't too fond of the "missions" on each stage, and how'd they bring the action to a halt, but hey, Samurai Warriors on the go!
 Shinobi: A challenging 2-D platformer made on a budget. This game was a blast, pure and simple. It's definitely not a game for everyone, and if you didn't grow up with the trial-and-error platformers of yesteryear... might wanna skip it.
 Shin Megami Tensei - Devil Summoner - Soul Hackers: As with most Shin Megami Tensei spin offs, the name is quite a handful! A bit short for Shin Megami Tensei standards, a bit predictable as well, but non-the-less a fun RPG.

 Shinobi: The only game on this list I don't have a single valid complaint about. I mean, I could tell you about the simple, dull graphics, about the simple-to-a-fault combat, about the slightly imperfect controls... But they are mostly nitpicks, Shinobi is a great game with very minor issues that keep it from being a true must-have.

 Playstation Game of the Year:
I played MANY Playstation games. Platformers and RPGs mostly, and they were so good. So. Good.
 Castlevania - Symphony of the Night: The golden standard on which every subsequent Castleroid is measured. The game that changed Castlevania for years to come. Symphony of the Night is to this day one of the finest Castleroid/Metroidvanias ever created.
 Wild Arms 2: A Western-styled JRPG, it offers some very entertaining spins on the formula. Dungeons have a ton of puzzles, solved by using different tools, not unlike Zelda, while the Combat relies on it's original 'FP' mechanic. It's an all-around great JRPG.
 JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: It's easy to forget that Capcom once made a fighting game of the JoJo series, part 3 to be exact. It's a much more technical fighter than 2013's game, a game that borrowed a lot from this one, a fact that speaks volumes of this game's quality.
 Crash Bandicoot 2 - Cortex Strikes Back: While the Crash series didn't get absolutely terrible, no game could match the genius of Naughty Dog's final two platforming Crash games. Crash 3 has more variety and new special moves that make the game a blast to replay... but there's something about Crash 2's focus on platforming that makes me gravitate towards it. This game is one of the best in the genre, alongside Mario and the first Sonic games.
 Parasite Eve: If someone could get me to like a Survival Horror game, it would be 1997's SquareSoft. Sure, it's more RPG than Survival Horror, but that's why I like it so much. To this day, it remains a very original and entertaining RPG, with a very unique setting and a very entertaining combat system.

 Castlevania - Symphony of the Night: I've already played this game a lot of times, but this year I completed it twice, and the second time was as addictive as the first. This is a game that hasn't lost its luster, a classic that won't be forgotten any time soon, and of which I won't get tired for the foreseeable future.

 Playstation 2 Game of the Year:
This year it seems I really favored Sony's consoles, to think that I consider myself a Nintendo fanboy! Some of the best games I played this year were on the PS2 console, no surprise there, it's part of my three favorite consoles(SNES, PS2 and DS).
 Street Fighter - Anniversary Collection: My favorite Street Fighter game coupled with the classic that is Street Fighter II, this disc is an excellent deal that gave me hours of fun as I rekindled my love for Street Fighter III and rediscovered just how much I used to love Street Fighter II.
 Castlevania - Lament of Innocence: This is Castlevania in 3-D done right. The beloved Metroidvania gameplay, with recognizable enemies, bosses and weapons make it the perfect reminder of what Lords of Shadows should've been. It's also a pretty bangin' game to boot!
 Dark Cloud 2: How weird is it for such an obscure genre as the Rogue-likes are to be published by Sony, the console manufacturer? As far as Rogue-likes go, it's fairly accessible so that anyone could make it to the end with a bit of effort. Gameplay, characters and story were great, but the presentation was outstanding, beautiful graphics, charming soundtrack and convincing voice acting, truly a PS2 classic.
 Shinobi: Hotsuma is the badassest Ninja ever created, and if you don't agree... well, you are wrong. For some reason, this game hit right at home, I had a ton of fun with it, and it was quite satisfying thanks to it being mildly challenging.
 Outrun 2006 - Coast 2 Coast: A Racing game made it to my nominees over other worthy games, that should prove how fun this game is. As a matter of fact, I consider it more of an Arcade Adventure Racing game, but that's just me, still, it's that feeling of adventure that kept me coming back for more.

 Outrun 2006 - Coast 2 Coast: There's something to be said about a game that is made of pure, simple fun. Going through this game was one of the most fun experiences I had this whole year.

 Playstation Portable Game of the Year:
The new console! I was a bit disappointed at first, but eventually I got around to the really good games, so I'd say that it was a worthy purchase.
 Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy: The name makes no sense, just as Squeenix as of late and the storyline of the game. That aside, Dissidia is a very... different game, and it somehow comes together to make a fairly engaging game. There's a lot of characters, a lot of moves, a lot of costumes, a lot of unlockables and a ton to do, if you have a PSP, Dissidia is a game you must own.
 Castlevania - The Dracula X Chronicles: Game's so good, it also made it to the PS1 best of the year. And EVEN if Symphony of the Night wasn't included, this game would've made it to the list based on Rondo of Blood's own merits. One of the finest Metroidvanias and one of the finest Classicvanias, another PSP must have.
 Gladiator Begins: Surprisingly great game. It had a charming cast of characters, a simple but effective combat system and a nice amount of customization when it came to developing your Gladiator.
 Justice Force: This game was made FOR me. It has everything I want in a game, and it's surprising that nobody else has tried to do what this game did since. Justice Force is the definition of "action game", no other game I've played has embodied the concept so perfectly.
 Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX: Street Fighter Alpha 3 is one of the best Street Fighters out there, and MAX is the definitive version. I don't remember ever playing a Fighting game with more modes than this one. There's a lot to like in here, simple but deep gameplay(Actually, it's as deep as you want it to be, can't be bother to learn complexities? Pick X-ISM. Want freedom? V-ISM, and then you can further tailor the game by using the different 'modes'...), fantastic graphics. tons of great music...

 Castlevania - The Dracula X Chronicles: This category was one of the hardest to pick a winner for, four of these five games I would consider PSP must-haves, and the other one was so good that it deserved to be nominated. But the reason I picked Castlevania is because it includes two excellent games that deserve this spot.

 Playstation 3 Game of the Year:
I played some awesome PS3 games this year. Almost too many. Assassin's Creed 2 and 4, Darksiders 1 and 2, Borderlands 2, Gundam Extreme VS Full Boost, Deadly Premonition, Kingdoms of Amalur, Diablo 3.... it was a crowded category, but I somehow narrowed it down to five.
 Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs Full Boost: Arcadey gameplay, over 90 unique units and two on two fighting... this game was made for me. The hours upon hours that I spent on this game and vanilla Extreme VS... I can't wait until Maxi Boost gets a port!
 Borderlands 2 - Game of the Year Edition: The only thing that could've made this game better would've been if it had included every DLC, not to say that I'm not satisfied with what's on the Disc, it seems I just can't get enough Borderlands in my life.
 Assassin's Creed II: Despite how repetitive AC 1 was, I didn't think it had much promise. Then came Assassin's Creed II and marveled me with how much it fixed and improved upon the first game, it made it look like a Beta. I'm not kidding.
 Darksiders: I wish I could pinpoint exactly why I loved Darksiders so much, but it's... it's a great Zelda pseudo-clone. This is how I think Zelda games should be, not necessarily in tone, but in gameplay. It made combat feel purposeful, since War could grow stronger and learn new moves. It had fun puzzles to solve and tools to use, alongside an entertaining variety of quests, including a gentleman zombie boss!
 Deadly Premonition - The Director's Cut: Terrible graphics, intrusive framerate issues, mediocre gameplay... but such an engaging, memorable setting, alongside such a charming cast of characters, each one having their own quirks and personalities... It's not a good 'game', but it's an excellent piece of software, if that makes any sense?

 Darksiders: I really wish I could explain just why I liked this game so much. What can I say, it just 'clicked' with me. I liked both the setting and the gameplay, and it quickly became one of my favorite games of all time.

Game of the Year nominees:
 Castlevania - The Dracula X Chronicles/ Castlevania - Symphony of the Night: The only game that made it twice into these awards, I just felt that both deserved to share a slot... even if Dracula X Chronicles is the better game for the simple fact that it INCLUDES the other one!
 DarkSiders: A game I had a blast with, I binged it until I completed it.
 OutRun 2006 - Coast 2 Coast: Fun, thy name is OutRun 2006.
 Shinobi: A fantastic throwback to the Genesis' Shinobi games.

 DarkSiders: I wish I could put into words WHY I liked it so much. Every element they borrowed from another game meshed together with the other components flawlessly. It never tried to hide the fact that it was inspired by many other games, so instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, it simply try to add its own spin of it, and Vigil pulled it off perfectly.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Archile's End of the Year Awards 2014 Part I

 To quote myself, a year ago: ' Oh, I'm doing this. I'm so doing it.'
 That's, umm... Kyle Bosman, I used him on my awards, last year, as well, and I love his show, so who better to represent the best awards ever? Exactly, nobody.
 Ah well, according to the tally I played 116 games this year. Holy mother of.... It's hilarious, since I was kinda swamped this year, yet last year I had... extended vacations, and yet didn't break 90. Then again, this year I decided to split "collections" in different games, Assassin's Creed: Ezio Trilogy became three different entries and so on. Ah well, while most people called this year "disappointing", I don't limit myself to games released this year, but rather to which games I played, and for me, it was a great year. Discovered some new favorite games of all time, got a new console, the PSP, and while most of the games I played at the beginning were kinda... bad, I discovered some awesome games on the latter part of the year. But I also came across games that are even worse than Last Year's Worst Game. Anyways, here's the list of everything that I played:

----Gameboy Advance----
Sonic Battle                                                             6.0

----Gameboy Color----
Dexter's Laboratory  Robot Rampage                     6.0

----Game Cube----
TMNT - Mutant Melee                                            5.0

Kirby's Return to Dreamland                                   7.0

----PlayStation 2----
Castlevania: Lament of Innocence                             8.0
Grandia 2                                                    5.5
Orphen - Scion of Sorcery                                    5.0
Dark Cloud 2                                                 9.0
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4                                     8.0
Street Fighter - Anniversary Collection                      9.0
Street Fighter - Alpha Anthology                             9.0
OutRun 2006 - Coast 2 Coast                                  9.0
Asterix and Obelix Kick Buttix                               6.0
Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex                         8.0
Crash Nitro Racing                                           6.5
Crash Twinsanity                                             6.5
Crash Tag Team Racing                                        6.0
Crash of the Titans                                          7.0
SMT: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha VS The Soulless Army    7.0
Spawn Armageddon                                             4.5
Def Jam 2: Battle for NY                                     8.0
Shinobi                                                      9.0
Katamari Damacy                                              8.0
Crash - Mind over Mutant                                     4.0
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles                                 6.5
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 - Battle Nexus                6.5
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 - Mutant Nightmare            8.0
One Piece - Grand Adventure                                  8.0
Crazy Taxi                                                   7.5
Capcom Classics Collection vol. 2                            8.0

----Play Station 3----
Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers                                   5.5
Two Worlds 2                                                  6.5
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning                                 9.0
Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS - Full Boost                    9.5
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle                     8.0
Vanquish                                                      8.0
Assassin's Creed                                              6.5
Assassin's Creed 2                                            9.0
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood                                  7.5
Assassin's Creed - Revelations                                6.5
Assassin's Creed III                                          8.5
Dragon Ball Z Ultimate Tenkaichi                              2.5
Darksiders                                                    10
God of War - Ascension                                        7.5
Darksiders 2                                                  9.0
Blazblue: ChronoPhantasma                                     7.5
Deadly Premonition: Director's Cut                            9.5
Borderlands 2: Game of the Year Edition                       10
Assassins Creed 4                                             9.0
Dragon Ball Raging Blast 2                                    8.0
Diablo 3 - Reaper of Souls Ultimate Evil Edition              9.0
Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations                       6.0
Dragon's Crown                                                5.5

----Nintendo 3DS----
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate               6.5
Code of Princess                                           7.5
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition       3.5
Naruto Powerful Shippuden                                  4.0
Shinobi                                                    8.0
Shin Megami Tensei - Devil Summoner - Soul Hackers         7.5
Mario Kart 7                                               8.0
Project X Zone                                             4.5
Samurai Warriors Chronicles                                8.0

----Nintendo DS----
Kirby Super Star Ultra                                     7.5
Soul of Darkness                                           5.5
Flower, Sun and Rain                                       6.0
Zenonia                                                    4.0
Megaman Star Force Dragon                                 6.0

----Play Station 1----
Wild Arms 2                                                  8.0
Tales of Destiny II                                          7.5
Shadow Madness                                               4.0
Final Fantasy VIII                                           7.0
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure                                     8.0
Crash Bandicoot                                              6.0
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back                       9.0
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped                                    9.0
Crash Team Racing                                            8.0
Castlevania Symphony of the Night                            10
Rampage 2 - Universal Tour                                   3.0
Nightmare Creatures                                          5.5
Fighting Force                                               6.0
Gran Turismo                                                 5.0
Parasite Eve                                                 9.0
Jumping Flash! 2                                             8.0

----Play Station Portable----
Darkstalkers Chronicle - The Chaos Tower                     8.5
Little Big Planet(PSP)                                       5.0
Mimana: Iyar Chronicle                                       3.0
Tales of VS                                                  6.5
Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy                                  9.0
Killzone - Liberation                                        4.5
Castlevania - The Dracula X Chronicles                       10
Dragon Ball Z Shin Budokai - Another Road                    7.5
Hexyz Force                                                  7.5
Mobile Suit Gundam: Gundam VS Gundam Next Plus               9.5
Bleach - Heat the Soul 7                                     7.5
Dragon Ball Evolution                                        3.5  
Crimson Gem Saga                                             1.5
Saint Seiya Omega - Ultimate Cosmos                          1.0
Dragon Ball Z - Tenkaichi Tag-Team                           8.0
Pursuit Force                                                9.5
Pursuit Force - Extreme Justice                              9.0       
Rengoku - The Tower of Purgatory                             6.0
Rengoku 2 - The Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N.                     8.0
Spectral VS Generation                                       6.0   
Gladiator Begins                                             8.0 
Me & My Katamari                                             8.5
Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max                                   9.5

 RPG of the Year:
I love starting with this category, since it's my favorite category. I've always loved RPGs, and Fighting games, and while which genre I prefer usually depends on how I'm feeling, I think my love for RPGs is becoming the more prominent one.
Parasite Eve: I just wish I had played this game before. A fantastic blend of Survival Horror and RPG, mostly RPG. Squeenix, less FFXIII and The 3rd Birthday, and more of this.
 Borderlands 2 - Game of the Year Edition: Borderlands was one of my favorite RPGs ever made, and I've been waiting for Borderlands 2 for the longest time.... but I wanted a version that included everything on the disc. I waited, but that version never came, so I had to settle with this. I don't really regret it, I needed it in my life.
 Dark Cloud 2: Technically not an RPG, but I don't have a category for "Rogue-like", and since it has a lot in common with RPG... why not? Dark Cloud 2 was amazing, and I needed to give it the recognition it deserves, so why not?
 Diablo 3 - Reaper of Souls - Ultimate Evil Edition: Diablo 3 gets a lot of flak, for some reason, but I just didn't see it. It was a great game, with almost infinite replay value. Almost Infinite Replay Value, just let it sink in....
Kingdoms of Amalur - Reckoning: Fantastic WRPG, it had a lot of memorable quests, and a great combat system. It's also a massive game, with a ton of side activities to partake in. 

 Borderlands 2 - Game of the Year Edition: Borderlands 2 was awesome. It was Borderlands 1 but better. Everything that made Borderlands awesome is back, while fixing or improving what it was lacking. It has become one of my favorite games ever, alongside Borderlands 1, heck, Borderlands 3 is probably the only reason I could consider getting a next-gen console.

 Action Game of the Year;
 I played a fair amount of action games this year, and most of them were really, really good, though few were outstanding. Presented here are the ones I enjoyed the most.
 Gladiator Begins: I came around this just this December, and it was quite the game. The supporting cast were surprisingly interesting and the combat was fun, It also looked particularly good for a PSP game and had a very fitting soundtrack to boot.
 Pursuit Force: This game was made for me. Almost everything I want in a videogame is here, amazing action scenes, nonstop action, arcadey gameplay, and very easy pick-up-and-play. A PSP must have.
 Shinobi: This game was surprisingly good. It's quite obvious that it was made on a budget, with a pretty poor presentation... but the gameplay more than makes up for it. It's a trial and error kind of game, but it's just so fun that learning how to deal with each obstacle was fun, as was unlocking the multiple extras... I played this game over and over again on different difficulty settings just to get everything.
 Shinobi: Hey! Look who's back! Featuring one of the most badass Ninjas around, Shinobi on the PS2 is an excellent game that sadly remains underrated and forgotten by everyone. And it shouldn't! It's a challenging action game built around Hotsuma's life-sucking Katana and powering it up to deal with the strong bosses. Probably one of my favorite PS2 games.
Vanquish: Vanquish is one of the most over-the-top, ridiculous third person shooters out there, and it's so much better thanks to it. It had a rather limited enemy variety, but some great mechanics that made dashing around the battlefield a blast.

Pursuit Force: A game I won't soon forget, if ever, there's no other game that embodies "action" as well as this one.

 Adventure Game of the Year:
While not many to choose from, I did play some very good Adventure Games this year. I finally went through the entire Assassin's Creed series, and while not all of them were as good as the rest(cough, Revelations, cough) they certainly earned their reputations... which Unity tarnished. But that's another story.
 Assassin's Creed II: Assassin's Creed 1 was decent, but nothing special. Assassin's Creed II was incredible, just as Borderlands 2, it built upon everything that made AC good, while doing away with its worst flaws. A fantastic sequel and a phenomenal game.
 Assassin's Creed IV - Black Flag: After AC 2, Brotherhood and Revelations where getting stagnant and progressively worse, and then came AC III and breathed fresh air into the series. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag builds upon Assassin's Creed 3, and it's one of the best Pirate Games ever created. It's fantastic in oh so many ways, and it's incredibly different to AC 2, which is why both games made it here.
 Castlevania - Lament of Innocence: Castlevania in 3D done right, that's what Lament of Innocence is. It might not have such a strong combo system as Devil May Cry, but it's more than sufficient for a game that focuses on exploring. Finishing the game also unlocks two new characters, one which plays completely different to Leon. If you want Castlevania in 3D, look no further.
 Darksiders: Darksiders is phenomenal. Some call it a "dark Zelda", but it's so much more than that. A fantastic art style, fitting a great concept with a good story set up the unforgettable world of Darksiders. The gameplay was no slouch either, battling, exploring and puzzling blended together seamlessly, it was almost a perfect game, if not for having too few slots for too many tools.
Castlevania - Symphony of the Night: There's a reason this game changed Castlevania forever and is considered a classic by many. It has aged gracefully if at all, this game is as timeless as they come.

 Darksiders: Let me just say that Darksiders was so good, that the day I finished it, I was already searching for the sequel. And I bought it the next day. The world needs more Darksiders, they owe us two more Horsemen!

 Racing Game of the Year:
Yay! The category of one of my least liked genres alongside sports. Yay... I think? As expected, I didn't play many racing games, and among them, only three made it to this category. Ah well!
 OutRun 2006 - Coast 2 Coast: Technically not a racing game, but technically a racing game as well. You race against yourself. But it's either nominating it here or in "Other", and since it has cars, and you are technically racing, it is here. Yup.
 Crash Team Racing: I was a Mario kid. Back when people where playing Crash Team Racing, I was playing Star Wars Episode 1 Racer. Yeah, I didn't like Mario Kart 64 back then, heh. Regardless, CTR was more than a worthy alternative to Mario Kart, alongside its own unique drifting mechanic making it play much differently than Mario Kart.
Mario Kart 7: I'm not gonna dance around it, Mario Kart 7 was a bit of a disappointment. Some racers from Mario Kart DS were gone, for some reason, Mission Mode was gone, and worse of all... no offline Random Track VS CPU. Why? That was my favorite way to play Mario Kart DS, forcing you to replay whole circuits is just... why? Still, while not as good as Mario Kart DS in that regard, it was a great racing game, and while half of the new tracks were a bit forgettable, almost all 16 retro tracks were great picks.

 OutRun 2006 - Coast 2 Coast: Back when I played OutRun 2006 I said that "this is what fun is made of", and I stand by my words. This game is just pure fun, and this comes from someone who doesn't particularly like racing games. It's so amazing that every time I play OutRun, I just find myself longing for OutRun 2006.

 Fighting Game of the Year:
Another one of my favorite genres... kinda, lately I've found my interest waning, I don't watch as many tournaments as I used to, nor keep track of the games as closely as I used to. Regardless, a ton of Fighters were played this year, and this were my faves.
Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max: The ultimate edition of one of the best fighting games ever, what else could you want? A ton of modes, a ton of characters and a ton of ways to play each character, another PSP must-have and a Street Fighter aficionado's must-have.
Dissidia 012 - Final Fantasy: Well, not ALL of Squeenix latest efforts are bad, but man is that a pretentious name. Despite that, it's a unique fighting game with a lot of customization and huge on the fan service. The good kind.
Darkstalkers Chronicle - The Chaos Tower: I wish I could say that this is the ultimate version of Darkstalkers 3, but that honor goes to the PS2 version. Which we never got. Despite that, outside Japan, this is the version of Darkstalkers to get, the PSP might be ill-suited for Fighters, but if you really want to, you can make it work.
Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS - Full Boost: Do you know what I like? Gundam. Do you know what I love? Fighting games. Mix the two together and you get Gundam Extreme VS Full Boost. It's a massive upgrade from vanilla, with over 90 unique mobile suits. The least we talk about the DLC the better.
Street Fighter - Anniversary Collection: Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max might be the best edition of Street Fighter Alpha 3, but Street Fighter III is the best Street Fighter, and it's here in this package alongside the venerable Street Fighter II in its Hyper Edition(Basically, the ultimate version of Street Fighter II).

 The way Full Boost was made ensure that no match will ever be the same, kinda like League of Legends. There's over 90 mobile suits, and battles are fought 2 vs 2, equaling a ton of different match-ups. Not only is it a fantastic Gundam game, it's also a competent Fighting game, and the arcadey feel it has(It is an Arcade game after all) means it's right up my alley.

 Beat'em up Game of the Year:
Back when I was younger, I used to love the genre. And before you ask, Final Fight is way superior to Streets of Rage(Nintendo Kid). If you ask me, I think the SNES beat'em ups are probably my favorite, with the Arcade ones in second place, and lastly Genesis. It's a genre that has, sadly, died, but Dynasty Warriors continues to maintain their legacy alive.
 Samurai Warriors - Chronicles: Dynasty Warriors DS was a good game, for what it was, but it wasn't even close to a real 'Warriors' game. Samurai Warriors Chronicles brings the real deal to Nintendo Portables, and while I don't agree with some of the design choices they took, it's still a great beat'em up.
  Code of Princess: Yes, the main character's design is terrible, but the game doesn't revolve around fan service, thankfully. There's a ton of characters, no in small part due to every single enemy being playable.... even though only 10% of those have a comparable moveset to the main characters. Still, those characters with developed movesets play completely different to one another, which is very welcome in this genre.
  Fighting Force: Not the deepest of games, what it aims to do, it does it well. This is a Beat'em up that goes through every trope of the genre, which is a good thing in this case, since it brings a honest-to-goodness beat'em up to the Playstation1 .
 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: I didn't score it very high, but that's just the way this genre goes, repetitive and simple by nature, which doesn't mean I don't like it. But I digress, TMNT was very entertaining, for what it was, and very good beat'em up, proof of that being the fact that I went through the game five times. And I almost unlocked that damned Casey Jones. Almost.
 Knights of the Round(Capcom Classics Collection vol. 2): One of the best beat'em ups ever created. Ever. There's a lot of depth, for the era, with a ton of reliable offensive and defensive options that few games in the genre give the player. I also love the fact that characters evolve and change sprites as they grow in level.

Knights of the Round: The oldest game of the bunch, and also the best. And no disrespect to the others, few beat'em ups have matched this one when it comes to gameplay. Anyone with even the slightest of interest in the genre should give this one a chance.

 Platforming Game of the Year:
I actually played a ton of platformers this year... but many of them being of the same family, and it wouldn't make sense to put  5 Crash games when I've already made it clear that Crash 2 is my favorite. Speaking of Crash, I finally went through the entire home console franchise, sans  that darned party game...
 Castlevania - The Dracula X Chronicles: Ah! the 'lost' Castlevania game, the one that never reached an English-speaking country... until this compilation. It includes both the original and the port... and Symphony of the Night. So much gaming goodness in one package!
 Crash Bandicoot 2 - Cortex Strikes Back: For some reason I could never get into Crash 2 when I was younger. It was always Crash 3, and then Crash 1 and then Crash 2, which I would often ignore. This time around, Crash 2 became my favorite since it actually focused in platforming levels. Crash 3 came close, but the platform-to-variety levels ratio didn't favor platforming, unlike Crash 2.
 Jumping Flash! 2: A first person Platforming game on the PS1 with no analog support released in '96. And it works. It works, and it shouldn't. Innovative and fun, the first person perspective offers a very fresh take on the genre.
 Kirby's Return to Dream Land: I must be one of the few people that didn't like Kirby's Epic Yarn, regardless, this is a return to form of the classic Kirby games. Multiplayer and extensive moveset for each power makes it a very good Kirby game... And after you are done with it, Hard Mode is unlocked alongside two new very powerful bosses. It's a shame that Player 1 can't play as the other companions!

 Castlevania - The Dracula X Chronicles: This is the ultimate Castlevania package. You get a remake of one of the most beloved platform Castlevania games and a port of one of the most beloved castleroid Castlevania games. Don't like Rondo of Blood's remake? The original game is included as well. It's like the game that just keeps on giving! This is a Castlevania must-have.

 Other Game of the Year:
I'm pretty sure I called this category "WTF" last year... but I'm above that, I can make my point without resorting to cursing. I know I can. Anyways, just as it was last year, this category is here for those games that are hard to put a label on.
 Deadly Premonition - The Director's Cut: This game is not a Survival Horror game. It's not an Adventure game. Definitely not an Action Game. I don't know exactly what the hell it is, but I know that it's awesome. And unforgettable.
 Crazy Taxi: Crazy Taxi is a classic of the Arcades, simple premise, tons of fun. It does get a bit repetitive in the long run, but it is an Arcade Game after all.
 Flower, Sun and Rain: Suda 51 is awesome. Normally, this would be a terrible game, with bad gameplay. But Suda 51 manages to make up for it with the incredible setting and characters. I played this one very early in the year, and I still remember it as if it was yesterday. Still, hardly one of Suda's masterpieces, it's still another game that shows his creative genius when it comes to stories.
 Katamari Damacy/Me & My Katamari: I wish I had discovered these games before. A simple premise of rolling a ball until it grows bigger, and it's so much fun. Both games are great in their own right, but I think Me & My Katamari is slightly better. You go from picking up Shogi and pieces of food to people and vehicles to buildings to entire islands.... Yes, these games are awesome.

 Deadly Premonition - The Director's Cut: I'm a firm believer that gameplay triumphs over graphics. Deadly Premonition has terrible graphics and mediocre gameplay, but it makes up for it in creativity, in feeling, in soul. An unforgettable setting, alongside a very peculiar cast of characters... This is a game that, to get the most of, to discover what makes it so good, you have to dabble in the optional content. The main story is really good, and you come across the many, many quirky townfolk, but to really get to know them, to really get to understand why they are so memorable, you have to do their sidequests. Regardless, Deadly Premonition is not a game you play for its gameplay, but to experience its world.

 Licensed Game of the Year:
Hah... I really played a ton of licensed games this year. Most of them were pretty good, both in fan service and gameplay.
 Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS - Full Boost: As previously stated, it's not just a competent fighting game, but a great Gundam game. There's a ton of attention to detail, with mobile suits using moves they used on their respective shows and manga.
 JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - All Star Battle: I've been waiting for this game ever since it was announced, and bought it on day one(Even though it took a while to arrive). Let's just say I was not disappointed, with an almost perfect cast of characters, and a ton of nods to the source material.
 Dragon Ball - Raging Blast 2: I've kept my distance from this game, since I didn't really like how the controls were changed(I had played the demo), but I decided to give it a chance, and it didn't disappoint. I'm not sure if I'd call it the 'evolution' of the Budokai Tenkaichi series, but it's a worthy successor.
 Dragon Ball Z - Tenkaichi Tag Team: But then again, who needs a successor if you can get the real deal? Tenkaichi Tag Team plays just like Tenkaichi 3 but with 2-on-2 battles. Sure, Giant characters were removed, but Raging Blast 2 lacks them as well, so there's that. And you can take this game on the go. ON THE GO! This is probably the closest I'll get to Dragon Ball Z Legends, so I'll take what I can get
 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 - Mutant Nightmare: Konami really decided to go with a bang! They took the best things from TMNT 1 and the best ones from TMNT 2, and finally got the winning formula for a great game. It borrows clips from the show, alongside some made-for-the-game clips, very neat.

 JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - All Star Battle: Full Boost may have been the better game, but when it comes to attention to detail, not game can match JoJo's All Star Battle. With poses, attacks and lines  taken straight form the manga alongside a meticulous attention to detail, this is a game from fans to fans, and I can't wait to see what CC2 can do with the next game... just include an offline VS mode. Please? Even if just 1 vs 1....

 Biggest Surprise:
 This has both good and bad surprises, games that were surprisingly good or extremely disappointing, these go here.
 Crash of the Titans: After Crash 4, the rest of the games got progressively worse. None were downright terrible, but the magic was gone. Crash of the Titans wasn't a return to form, and it featured a lot of redesigns... but it was fun. After playing a bit and seeing the new mechanics, I was expecting this one to be the series' low point... but it wasn't. It was actually really fun, and made me want to see what Sierra would do with the franchise.
 Assassin's Creed 2: Probably one of the most improved sequels ever created, I admit I was predisposed to hate Ezio before I even dabbled into AC 2... but I grew up liking him, and loving AC 2.
 Crash - Mind over Mutant: They... they just had to build upon Crash of the Titans. The core was there, it just needed more polishing. I was so excited for this game. But... but it was so bad. It built upon CotT's worst features and just removed the best ones. No wonder the franchise died off after this one.
 Parasite Eve: As I played the game I just couldn't stop smiling or thinking about just how good this game was. I don't know what was I expecting, but it shattered all expectations and left me marveled at just how good Square used to be.
 Rengoku/Rengoku II - The Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N.: I admit it, I'm not fond of robots or cyborgs or games with a lot of customization. Really, I like customizing how a character looks, not how it plays. I also remember having second thoughts before buying these games, as I wasn't completely sold on the premise, and the reviews were lukewarm, to say the least. But for some reason I said 'screw it' and bought them. It was a good decision. Well, kinda, Rengoku 2 makes the first one obsolete, but still, both games were very fun and different from most mainstream games, both in look and gameplay.

 Crash - Mind over Mutant: 'Winner', yeah, more like 'Loser'. I still haven't gotten over the fact that this game is terrible. I can't get over the fact that Crash of the Titans showed promise, that I was incredibly hyped to see how they would do with the next game. There's a reason Crash Bandicoot died off, as a franchise(Naturally), and I wish Crash of the Titans was the last Crash game I had played, that way I would've ended my run of the series on a good note.

 Best Cover:
Yes, this is a category that matters to me. I love art, particularly hand-drawn, and there's few things I like more than game covers... although it seems that they keep getting worse and worse each year.
 Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS - Full Boost: Look. At. All. Those. Mobile. Suits. Chaotic, loaded pieces such as these often times aren't very pleasing to the eye, but to me, this cover is pure eye candy. Eye candy everywhere I look.
 Crimson Gem Saga: Look at that hand-drawn art, it's so pretty. SO. PRETTY. Unlike the game itself, of which it's to early to talk about.
 DarkStalkers Chronicle - The Chaos Tower: Another gorgeous hand-drawn cover, a lot of characters, and they all look very stylized. I like the use of shadows as well.
 Shinobi: A very simple cover, but Jiro Musashi looks so badass. He also happens to have a great design, which makes the cover even more appealing.
 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 - Battle Nexus: Another fairly simple cover, but I really dig the original art they used for this one. The Turtles look ready to strike, and fairly badass.

 Crimson Gem Saga: That cover is just beautiful, there's no dnying that. I love the pastel-like colors used on the characters, the many uses of reds and oranges, and how the game's title gets highlighted since it's painted in stronger tones. It's also a nice font, and it's yellow. YELLOW!

 Best Character:
This year had more memorable characters than the last. I had a hard time limiting it to five, I swear, deleting characters from the list hurt me. But I think these were the best of the best:
 Agent Francis York Morgan/Zack(Deadly Premonition): Arrogant, self-centered, weird and can usually be found talking to his 'split personality' Zack. Both characters are part of a whole, and delving deeper into their relationship is a bit of a spoiler. I digress, York and Zack are characters that have stuck to me since I finished the game, and I doubt we'll get to see such a peculiar duo again.
 Ryuudo(Grandia 2): There's something about Ryuudo that reminds me of Lunar 2's Heero, not surprising since both were created by the same developers. I digress, Ryuudo starts off as jerk, but he mellows out. He had some of the most memorable lines of the Year.
 Aya Brea(Parasite Eve): Ah, Aya, you used to be so cool. But now Squeenix is too busy making you weak and an object of fanservice. Regardless, the Aya featured here is the Aya from Parasite Eve 1, strong, classy and a bit of a smart ass. She had some very memorable scenes and lines, from the moment she charges at Eve in the Opera while the coward of her date runs for his lfe, to taking matters into her own hands to save New York from Eve going mano a mano against her.
 Handsome Jack(Borderlands 2): There's something about deluded villains that make them really cool. He thinks he is the good guy, he thinks he is a good father, he thinks he cared about his daughter. But at the end of the day, he was just a prick. Some of his lines were downright hilarious, having him taunt you throughout the game was more of a treat than a threat!
 Hotsuma(Shinobi(PS2)): Hotsuma is the coolest ninja ever created, and that's a fact. The stylish headband, the Kunai on his armguards for sticking to walls, and the red scarf following him around. And what about the fact that his badass Katana is constantly feeding off him? And that's just his visual design, he is a good character by his backstory as well, having slain his brother in cold blood as part of a ceremony to become the head of the Oboro, to the whole ordeal he has to endure as he battles his former comrades come to life.

 Francis York Morgan/Zack: Did I mention that they have stuck with me ever since I finished the game? I didn't lie, I loved this duo. Their backstory, their quirks, their personalities... It's a greatly crafted characters that I doubt I'll ever forget about.