Saturday, December 31, 2016

Of Swords and Joysticks End of the Year Awards 2016 Part II

 Time to finish the fight... as I've done before.
 Cue the trumpets, please...


 Worst Game of 2016:
 Way, way more clunkers and blunders than I would like to admit went through my hands this year, which made this list not as easy to make as I would've hoped for.

5)
 I love horror. I love horror stories, horror books, horror movies and horror games. And I absolutely hated P.T.. It's not a fun 'game', it's not even a fun technical demo. How did so many people found this thing to be so good is completely beyond me. It's not scary. It's repetitive, and the things you've gotta do to progress make no sense at times. Dumb demo from the most overrated game developer in the industry.

4)
 I don't get it. Ken's Rage was one of the most fun Warriors games I had played, all they had to do was add more characters and call it a day. Fist of the North Star - Ken's Rage 2 does add more characters... but it did away with most of the previous game's fantastic cutscenes. It did away with what makes Warriors games fun: Beating people up. No longer does it feel like I'm taking part of full-blown battles, but now you go from designated area to designated area beating up enemy quotas. No wonder the Hokuto no Ken Warriors games died off after this one.

3) 
 I fully understand that Super Mario Land is a very old gameboy game so it's unfair to compare it to modern games. But even when I compare it with other games that graced the same platform it falls short as a game. When I play Super Mario games, no matter the console, I expect tight, precise controls, which this game doesn't deliver. At least the experience is short enough as not to have to endure its shortcomings for long.

Runner-up)
 Pathetic. Lord of Arcana is everything that's bad and tedious about Monster Hunter clones without what makes them fun. You are constantly playing against the RNG in hopes of getting what you need. The game is dull and boring to the point that I simply gave up and shelved the game.

Loser)
 It's sad when an 8-bit console's version of a game is superior to its 16-bit counterpart, but such is the case with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Tournament Fighters(GEN). Let's assume that we ignore the fact that it's nigh unplayable in Single Player due to how much of a cheating bastard the CPU is... you've got a lame 2D fighting game, with only two buttons(Punch and Kick) all made up of few animation frames, which makes the fighting look clunky and play clunky. It's boring, it's a mess and it was the worst game I played in 2016.


 Best Playstation 2 Game of 2016:
 One of my favorite consoles of all time, there hasn't been a single year in which the PS2 failed me,a s there're always fantastic new games waiting to be played or discovered.

5)
 Containing the first 8 games in the franchise plus the two Arcade fighting games, Mega Man Anniversary Collection is a game that should find a place in every gamer's household. There's a lot of great games to play in this disc.

4)
 One of the first games I played this year, Silent Hill 3 was the game that convinced me to give the rest of the Silent Hill franchise a try. Considered by many the best game in the series, everything that makes survival horror games great is in this game: Scares, creepy monsters, creepy environments and limited ammo and health items.

3)
 Shinobi games don't tend to get direct sequels, usually being one-off affairs. Nightshade changed this by taking place in the same world as Shinobi(PS2) and retaining everything that made that game so good. It's tough, it's complicated to the point of having the player pull some crazy finger gymnastics if they mean to finish the game, it's got some fantastic, fast-paced combat rewarding speed and it's also got a fantastic amount of extras. Worst case scenario you can consider this game an expansion pack for Shinobi... and that's a fantastic thing to be anyways!

Runner-up)
 It's probably a bit too easy to be considered scary, and while Silent Hill 4's premise is still my favorite, Silent Hill 2 is no slouch. What really makes this game stand out is its complex, but well knit narrative that is bound to engage and shock players, with a huge amount of tiny details sprinkled everywhere, both into the game's overall design and in things for the player to discover. One of the most well put together games I've ever played. Ever.

Winner)
 But not every games needs a well put together story to be good. Take Megaman X, it has one of the worst stories every put together, filled with ridiculous scenarios and explanations('I hid while I repaired myself') and what not. And you can take part of that stupid story with Megaman X Collection. This disc is host to some of the SNES best classics in the form of Megaman X1, X2 and X3 alongside the phenomenal Megaman X4. There's also X5 if you really need more Megaman X action in your life, as well X6, but we don't speak about that one. But I digress, where the Megaman X franchise really shines is in its gameplay, featuring a faster-paced version of the gun-and-jump gameplay that made Megaman Classic so famous, as well as a rocking soundtrack and great art-direction.


 Best Playstation 1 Game of 2016:
I didn't really get to play many Playstation 1 games this year, and among the few I played even fewer stood out, but here are the best of the bunch.

3)
 I love both Classicvanias and Metroidvanias alike, and Castlevania Chronicles falls directly into the former. The game features the oft-forgotten Sharp X860000 Castlevania, a tough-as-nails classic 2-D platform game, alongside the PS1 remix, which made the game a bit easier and changed Simon Belomont's sprite into a fabulous red-haired visual key barbarian. And it's glorious. It's not the best Classicvania out there, but it's one of Castlevania's lesser known games, so having a more accessible copy is always welcome.

Runner-up)
 I remember back in highschool when I would talk about videogames with my mates. Silent Hill was mentioned to me, and my mate would tell me all about it and its flashlight mechanics and what not, and I couldn't help but think 'I really don't want to play something like that'. Almost ten years later here I am, loving the hell out of the Silent Hill franchise and being able to say that I absolutely loved my time with Silent Hill. While future games in the series would polish and build upon its foundation, the original game still remains a top-notch survival horror game worth coming back to.

Winner)
 Resident Evil 2 wasn't scary and it wasn't very hard, but damn, was it fun! While tank controls are usually frowned upon nowadays, they work really well for Resident Evil 2 and how it's supposed to be played. It had a ridiculous plot, but the gameplay was oh so good, it felt so gratifying to blow up zombies, spiders and what not using your various weapons, and I grew to love how puzzles worked in the game: Having you collecting all these key items and then figuring out how to use them... it simply was a fun game.



 Best Playstation 3 Game of 2016:
 While the Playstation 3 is part of the reason I somewhat fell out of love with modern gaming, thanks to scummy DLC practices and unfinished games... there's no denying that it's the console I game with the most.

5)
 The truth is, Borderlands 2 has already won awards in my blog before, and I technically didn't play it this year, since I only played through the DLCs I was missing. And Borderlands - The Presequel wouldn't be able to get to my nominations by itself, but there's also no way to ignore just what a fantastic overal package Borderlands - Triple Pack is! Which is why, while Borderlands 2 is my favorite game in these awards, I can only give Triple Pack a place in Rank 5 of my nominations.

4)
 While not the best Warriors game out there, One Piece - Pirate Warriors 3 is one fantastic addition to the franchise. One Piece's trademark artstyle and zany powers make for some of the most visually attractive movesets in the entire Warriors franchise. The game also gives you waves upon waves upon waves of enemies for you to crush, exactly what I want out of my Warriors games!

3)
 Dishonored - Game of the Year Edition is one awe-inspiring game. I don't remember the last time I was give so much freedom with how I could tackle my objective. Multiple routes as well as multiple styles individual to each player makes for a ton of different outcomes. The game also gives you a bunch of brilliant tools, like Blink a very intuitive warp-tool that makes navigating environments so much fun. It's a fantastic game through and through.

Runner-up)
 And then returned PS2 games in order to demand more attention. Devil May Cry HD Collection brings together Devil May Cry 1, 2 and 3 in HD and it's glorious. DMC 1 has aged a lot, but it remains a great game. DMC 2 is a bit lackluster when compared to the other two games, but I found it to have some redeeming qualities, and then there's DMC 3, the reason this Collection made it to the number 2 spot. Devil May Cry 3 has one of the best 3D action game mechanics out there, there's a decent amount of different weapons, each with their own moveset, that makes crafting combos a thing of beauty.

Winner)
 Resident Evil doesn't have enough horror, and Silent Hill has never had great gameplay, so while Resident Evil games were fun to play, Silent Hill games were fun to play-through. But what would happen if you mixed modern Resident Evil gameplay with Silent Hill's brand of horror? The Evil Within happens. Easily the best Survival Horror game I played this year, and  also my personal favorite, trumping over both Silent Hill 4 and Resident Evil 4. Everything about the game is fun and satisfying to play, while being scary all the way through thanks to some fantastic set-pieces and scarce availability of ammo. A brilliant, brilliant game.


 Best Nintendo Game of 2016:
 I played a few Wii and DS games, but not enough to justify having their own, or a mixed, award list, so I crumpled them together with 3DS games for the Best Nintendo Game I played in 2016.

5)
 This game made me want to play Professor Layton. Being a long-time fan of Phoenix Wright, and having known about the Layton franchise, Professor Layton VS Phoenix Wright - Ace Attorney actually made sense as a crossover. I have to admit that both gameplay types mixed together beautifully, and I had a grand time solving puzzles and trials.

4)
 While Silent Hill - Shattered Memories failed as a Silent Hill game, it succeeded as a standalone game. I loved the 4-5 hours I spent traversing the main character's psyque, since the story was so well written and told, with so many things making sense after finishing the game, and a few brilliant twists... It's a fantastic game.

3)
 The Legend of Zelda - Ocarina of Time 3D is one of the finest games you can find on the 3DS, thanks to its enhanced graphics and additional 'Other Quest' mode, it makes the N64 and Gamecube rerelease obsolete. While a bit aged in some regards, it's still a long, fun adventure filled with puzzles to solve and a huge amount of secrets to find.

Runner-up)
 One of the best platform games ever made, Super Mario Bros. 3 is still a classic. Thanks to its perfect mechanics in their simplicity, this is as timeless as videogames get. Huge amount of levels, tons of power ups, like costumes that change how Mario behave and tight platforming and controls that makes Mario feel like he is an extension of your body make for a absolute must-play.

Winner)
 Chrono Trigger is another timeless classic that made its way into my Nintendo awards. Square managed to get together the best of the best in order to develop one of the best JRPGs ever made. An unforgettable soundtrack, a simple but effective premise, endearing characters and a finely tuned combat system that makes the most of what you can get out of turn based battles... it's truly a game that can't age.



 Best Playstation Handheld of 2016:
 Yeah... I didn't play many PSP games, but a single, special PSP game deserved to get an award, thus, both Vita and PSP get to share nominations!

5)
 One of the best RPGs I played in 2016, Digimon Story - Cyber Sleuth is the best Digimon game I've played yet. While it can get a bit grind-heavy, the game is so much fun that it's easy to ignore some of the tedioum when it comes to maxing your Digimon stats. But it's a combination of its simple, but fun battles and the deceptively dark and entertaining Shin Megami Tensei-esque story that makes this one such a home-run.

4)
 While it starts off a bit too animu for my tastes, Danganronpa 2 - Goodbye Despair's initial chapters are its only pitfall. Halfway through the game, the story picks up, the characters get interesting and you discover that you simply cannot put the Vita down.. This VITA port also contains a few minigames that were more fun than they deserved to be.

3)
 But while Goodbye Despair's story takes a while to get good, Danganronpa - Trigger Happy Havoc is a fantastic story all the way through. It does such a good job of setting up a hopeless environment, having you traverse the boarded up, empty highschool corridors in first person that it manages to immerse the players in way the second game just can't. Beating the game also unlocks a micromanagement minigame that's way more fun than it has any right to be.

Runner-up)
 There wasn't a single game I spent more time playing than Toukiden - Kiwami. Among Monster Hunger clones, this one is, probably, the one that tried the least to separate itself from it. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, hunting is fun, CPU allies are actually effective for a change and there's a decent assortment of different weapons that make for different styles. This is probably one of the better ways to get into the Monster Hunting genre.

Winner)
 Megaman X was pretty dope. Megaman Maverick Hunter X is pretty dope as well. This game is just as good as the original, and while it's an almost 1:1 exact remake, a few stages were changed, and while I preferred the original renditions... this game makes up for it by adding a 40 minute OVA as well as Vile as a playable character that changes the way you play entirely and makes for a fantastic bonus. Even if you own Megaman X, Maverick Hunter X comes recommended thanks to its extras,



 Game of the Year 2016:
The best of the best, these were my favorite five games I played in 2016.

5)
 Resident Evil 2 is everything that's good about classic Resident Evil games. It was the first REvil to go into a decidedly action-y focus, which 3 and Code Veronica would follow, but it also kept all the to-and-fro item gathering, managing and the puzzles that made the first one known in the first place. It's a fantastic starting point for people that want to see what classic Resident Evil was all about.

4)
 Just as Resident Evil 2 being the best example of classic Resident Evil, Silent Hill 2 is the best example of what's so good about the classic Silent Hill games. Combat is but an afterthought, being simple to a fault and just the means to an end. But its story is the perfect example of Silent Hill's focus on psychological horror, featuring an attention to detail not normally seen in videogames then and now.

3)
 Megaman X Collection and Megaman Maverick Hunter X are two fantastic ways to experience Megaman X. While Collection has 6 more games to play(Albeit only X4 and X2 being as good as X1), Maverick Hunter X sweetens the deal with 40 minutes of animation, in the form of the Day of Sigma OVA, as well as the fantastic Vile Mode. While I veer towards the collection, since it has quality and quantity, there's no denying that the PSP remake's extras make it worth purchasing Megaman X again.

Runner-up)
 My favorite Survival Horror game out there, The Evil Within is the perfect evolution of Resident Evil 4's mechanics coupled with horror that feels very Silent Hillish in nature. Basically, it's the perfect fusion of the two go-to classic Survival Horror franchises, and it works so well. This game is a thing of beauty, and what Survival Horror should be all about. And it hurts me not being able to give it the number 1 spot in my list.

Winner)
 But as much as it hurts, Chrono Trigger is still a masterpiece and the perfect example of why JRPGs became such a beloved genre. We don't get games like this anymore, but at least we'll always have the classics of yesteryear to fall upon to. Games that don't get old, games that are as much fun today as they once were. That is Chrono Trigger, my favorite game I played in 2016.

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