Monday, May 5, 2014

Blast From The Past: Syko Shadow's 2010 Gaming Shout-Outs

Note: While I work on some new ideas for posts and formulate them into barely coherent and publically shared entities I thought I would treat you to an explosive blast from the past courtesy of my friend SykoShadow. 


Well, 2010 has been gone for a long time now, so I think it's time I finally took a good look back at last year in gaming. I don't do award show-type crap, instead what I try to do is simply give recognition to as many stand-out games as possible, whether they stand out in a positive or negative light, unlike an award show which only congratulates the winner of each generic fucking category and forgets the runner-ups entirely.

There's been quite a few games out this year, good ones and bad ones, amazing works of art and horrendous pieces of horse dick. So let's get down to business, time to give some shout-outs to the best and worst of 2010!

Best Indie Game NOT Fueled by Mtn Dew
-Super Meat Boy
-radiangames Crossfire
-radiangames Inferno

Winner: Minecraft

Goddamn indie games. Always doing shit that mainstream games are too industrialized to even try... fuckin' pussies.

For instance, only an especially sadistic mainstream developer would make a game as head-fuckingly hard as Super Meat Boy, and only the makers of Super Meat Boy could make it fun even when you're dying ten billion times on one 20-second level.

I would like to give a special complementary shout-out to radiangames (they spell their name without a capital R, so it's all good). They keep putting out some of the best games to download on the Xbox 360, and Crossfire and Infermo are my two personal favorites. These games belong on Xbox LIVE Arcade proper, that's the least they deserve.

Am I the only one who plays Flotilla and thinks this would be an amazing way to do space combat in Mass Effect 3? I mean, I first checked out the game because the name reminded me of the quarian Migrant Fleet, but that's not why I think that. It's just an awesome game, and I think the only game I've ever played that actually does perfect space combat... and it's an indie game! and people wonder why I love this genre so much.

Now to the big guy, the conqueror... Minecraft. This game does for me what World of Warcraft does for nerds. It has become my gaming crack. This is one addicting fucking game. But does addicting = the best indie game this year? Well, in this case, fuck yeah! It's a game that you'll honestly have fun with no matter how long you play it. For a game without any missions or objectives, people who play it are shockingly productive. You'll just keep building and building, and until you know it you'll accidentally create and entire city, in my case a city mostly made of giant cock statues and a castle made of dynamite. If that doesn't answer every question as to why this is my favorite indie game of 2010, then I don't know what will.

Best New IP
-Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Winner: Darksiders

All of the above games are goddamn beautiful, proving that original IP's are still some of the best gaming experiences around.

Vanquish is probably the best pure third-person shooter I've played in... hell, the entire generation. My only beef with it is the Americanized story and characters, with a plot revolving around the U.S. fighting robotic Russians... IN SPACE! Bayonetta is the most stylish of the games on this list. I'm a big art style whore, but I'm not a big hack-n-slash lover, so all I can say in regards to its gameplay is that I hope more games in that genre are like it. Plus, it's hard to beat a woman who wears guns on her shoes. Now THAT'S some fashion! Enslaved is no doubt a severely underrated game. It's very well made, has a great story, brilliant art design, and even the gameplay is more fun for me than most give it credit for. I would love to see more games like this, but sadly Enslaved will probably remain a vividly unique game in this generation. Once again, we have a heavy contender for the "STFU Mainstream Media, Games Are Art" Award.

Now, Darksiders may not be the most original game this year, especially when compared to other games in this category, but it was the most fun for me. I'm one of the few people in the world who doesn't treat Ocarina of Time like the Citizen Kane of videogames (expect me to tackle this subject very, VERY soon by the way), the 3-D Zelda games aren't as amazing to me as they are to some people. Lo and behold, here comes Darksiders, a game that IN MY PERSONAL FUCKING OPINION, does 3-D Zelda better than... well, Zelda. More than the gameplay, the whole game sucks me in with its amazing comic book-esque art style, which I found more personally appealing than Bayonetta and right on par with Enslaved, and the cool cast of characters. The reason it excels beyond Ocarina of Time is because of the great cast of characters, the one thing (besides decent controls) that the Zelda games lack. War is a typical badass who I find myself attached to by my desire to be fucking awesome, and his ability to be fucking awesome, but the best characters have to be Ulthane, the most badass Scottish dude since the Scotsman from Samurai Jack, and of course The Watcher, who I will admit is the initial reason I got the game seeing as how I worship the ground his voice actor (Mark Motherfucking Hamill) walks on.

Best Downloadable Console Game
-Comic Jumper
-Harm's Way
-Super Meat Boy

Winner: ilomilo

Downloadable console games are still a sadly overlooked area of the gaming industry. However, they are still some of the most creative and fun arcade-style games you could ever find.

Comic Jumper, as unpolished as it is, remains my favorite game from Twisted Pixel. It's funny as hell, is challenging in that old-school Mega Man kinda way, and Brad's theme song is catchy like a motherfucker! Harm's Way was a game sponsored by Doritos, and yet it's way better than anything I'd expect from a junk food brand. I'm still surprised the idea of other characters manning turrets alongside the track hasn't been implemented in other racing games, but I guess that's the price being paid for more emphasis on realism and lack of FUN in most games these days. You'll never see that kinda shit in Gran Turismo 5... fuckin' pussies. Shank and Super Meat Boy are both on this list for the same reason: they're badass. Shank makes me feel like a master assassin desert pimp, slicing and cutting fools like nobody's business. Super Meat Boy is probably the most rewarding game to beat, simply for the bragging rights. It's a pure test of skill and determination, to the point where the game actually replays all your failed runs through a level like a ghost, letting you see all the times you fucked up all at once.

Ilomilo is technically a 2011 game, released on XBLA on January 5th, but I was able to procure a code that let me get the game early, so I count it as a 2010 game as well. I'm rarely ever challenged by puzzle games, and that's not bragging that's just plain fact. Ilomilo, however, was a true test of brainpower for me and I wouldn't have it any other way. The use of multi-dimensional platform navigation is damn near flawless, the game is extremely challenging while still being very accessible, and my favorite thing about the game... THE BLUE GUY IS SO FUCKING CUTE!

Biggest Fucking Letdown
-Transformers: War for Cybertron
-GoldenEye 007 Wii
-Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
-Metroid: Other M

Loser: Crackdown 2

Ugh, fuck these games. I knew I'd eventually have to get to a negative category, but still... this particular category can still go fuck itself. After all, these games were disappointing because I actually gave a shit about them! These were games I was looking forward to, but they either disappointed me personally or they just sucked dick from anyone's perspective. Lots and lots of hard dick.

Transformers was such a boring fucking game to play. It was so afraid to do anything new, so goddamn safe... fuckin' pussies. No risks taken at all, nothing to separate it from other third-person shooters except... actually, nothing separates it or makes it unique, fuckin' pussies. It doesn't even succeed in fan service, the one thing they're practically obligated to do right with a Transformers game!

I also happen to be a big James Bond fan, so when I heard they were remaking motherfucking GoldenEye for the Wii, which happens to be my favorite Bond film, I thought they were gonna bring back Pierce Brosnan, my favorite Bond film Bond, for one last hurrah in a faithful adaptation of his first outing as 007. No, we get Daniel Craig (ugggggghhhh!!!) and some half-baked "re-telling" of the GoldenEye story. Not only that, in true fashion of the crap Daniel Craig-era Bond, they got rid of all the sweet gadgets, including the fuckin' laser watch! I love the fuckin' laser watch! How DARE they ditch the fuckin' laser watch!

Hydrophobia... is annoying. I thought it was going to be sweet, giving us some unique water-based gameplay. Sorry, I couldn't get past the billionth tedious locked door or the Cthulhu-awful voice acting that was blaring through the TV speakers non-fucking-stop!

As much of a DC Comics fanboy I am, I do enjoy the odd Marvel comics. Storm of the X-Men, Blade, and even the Webhead himself are all superheroes I can dig... even though Spider-Man has been hit-or-miss for me. Shattered Dimensions is more of a miss than all 3 live action movies combined. The Noir universe is probably the shittiest, delivering worse stealth mechanics than Uncharted 2. That's not to say the rest of the game isn't also busted. Fuck, they even got rid of swinging, the only constant fun factor in every Spidey game since the movie tie-in for Spider-Man 2! You know your game is a fail if a movie tie-in from the same franchise is a better game, for fuck's sake!

The further down this list we go, the more painful it gets. Metroid: Other M is such a shame to a respectable Nintendo franchise that they should just disown it, and in the next Metroid game just say it never happened. The controls were bad, the story was full retard, the characters were despicable, they removed almost all the exploration, and they ruined Samus Aran. How'd they do that? I'll save that for later in this blog, I know it'll come up again.

Last, and most certainly least, Crackdown. Oh man, what a fucking bone I have to pick with you, ya sonofabitch. The first game was a simple affair, no real frills to it, just a bare-bones good time. Like a hooker who doesn't bother getting dolled up, but who can suck a golfball through a silly straw and even cuddles with you after. Crackdown 2 is more like the hooker with a yellow pleather tank top and more make-up than Lady Gaga who gives you herpes before bolting out of the hotel with your wallet and car keys without so much as a wank. There isn't a single thing about the game's design, gameplat, or presentation that didn't disappoint me! Removing the free-form mission structure and replacing it with literally the same exact fucking mission through the game, turning Pacific City into a gritty dead near-apocalyptic shithole, making The Agent a Master Chief wannabe who fights Flood wannabes who are cleverly named "Freaks," and even managing to fuck up the targeting system. I swear to Cthulhu, I think my character had a secret vendetta against cars, seeing as how he would always lock onto a distant automobile instead of the BIG FAT FUCKING ZOMBIE running at me! That alone made the game nearly unplayable

Best Surprisingly Good Game
-S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
-Red Dead Redemption

Winner: Sonic Colors

These games are all on this list because I either didn't think they'd live up to their potential, or I wasn't very interested in their premise, and thankfully I was wrong.

Vanquish turned me off at first with the setting and story, which seemed... fucking retarded. While that is still true with the story, the gameplay more than makes up for it. Being able to do a powerslide into a backflip kick in a russian robot's face is priceless. Now let's never make another Americanized Japanese game ever aga-- Oh fuck, Binary Domain.

I'll admit, I'm not very familiar with the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, and what I am familiar with is kinda... bleh. But Call of Pripyat definitely stands out for me as one of my favorite PC games of recent memory. It tickles the same bone in me as Hardcore mode in Fallout: New Vegas, with gameplay mechanics like the need to stop my character from bleeding out after being wounded and shit like that. I love tedious shit like that in some games, what can I say. If more PC games were as engaging as Call of Pripyat, I might consider buying an expensive fucking rig to play them.

As I've said before, cowboys and westerns aren't my thing. Growing up, I watched films like Shaft and Harlem Nights instead of Fistful of Dollars or anything with that prick John "Motherfuck You" Wayne. So when I heard Rockstar was making a western, I really didn't care all that much. Within the first hour of playing Red Dead Redemption, however, I was honestly considering buying a horse and a hat. Luckily, I have an Indiana Jones fedora hat, which is close enough to a cowboy hat (or at least as close to a cowboy hat as I'm ever gonna be caught dead wearing), and YES I DO WEAR IT WHEN I PLAY THIS GAME!

Now, to Sonic Colors... Hoooooooly SHIT I did not imagine this game would be so good. Seeing as it's the winner of this category, that seems redundant to say, but goddamn! I actually didn't like the original Sonic games, so I'm not one of those whiny Sonic "fans" who only want Sega to take Sonic back to his days as a shitty 2D platformer. Fuck the old Sonic games, for three reasons: It took too long to get to a good speed, even the slightest movement in a direction other than to the right slowed me down to a crawl, and the actual platforming was shit (mostly because of the other two annoying flaws.)

Not only is Sonic Colors the best Sonic game I've ever played (and I've played all the "good" ones), it's so far my second-favorite platformer this year. It's fast, colorful, the power-ups are fun, and it dares to be a videogame in an era of "interactive movies."

Worst Licensed Game
-Epic Mickey
-LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
-Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Loser: Iron Man 2

Just like a tailgating Appalachia redneck driving a pickup truck while on probation for a hit-and-run, the developers of these games should have their licenses revoked!

Most Underrated Gem
-S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
-Alpha Protocol

Winner: Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Most Underwhelming, Overestimated and/or Overhyped Piece of Fuck Sandwich
-Mega Man 10
-Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Loser: Call of Duty: Black Ops

I'm rarely one to fall on the "____ game is overrated" trend that every high profle game goes through, but these games just make my fuckin' stomach turn when I think of how successful they are.
Ok, I get it. Some of you hate modern videogames so much today that you just want us to regress to the old days of gaming, where everything was all midi music and 2-button controls. I said earlier that Sonic fans can go fuck themselves for wanting a Genesis-era Sonic game, but at least Sonic 4 (which I hate) didn't go so far as Mega Man 9 and 10. Honestly, in this day and age Capcom should not feel so proud about developing a literal 8-bit Mega Man game. You can't take many steps further back than just rehashing Mega Man 2. Maybe they're just milking nostalgia. Maybe they're so incompetent they can't develop a modern Mega Man game for shit, so they just gave up and decided to go back to the most basic of basics. Either way, I expect more in this day and age.

And on the other side of the spectrum, we have a gaming franchise as old as the NES actually trying to modernize itself... and totally screwing up! Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is so un-Castlevania, it's shameful. It's a linear hack-n-slash with more invisible walls than vampires... of which there is only ONE, and only in the post-game ending. I don't even know what to call this game a clone of. It's got God of War-like combat, Shadow of the Colossus bosses, an Ikaruga rip-off on the final boss fight, and the same basic premise of Dante's Inferno, saving your already-dead girlfriend from... being dead, I guess? Lords of Shadow is pretty much every game EXCEPT Castlevania!

Call of Duty... didn't I do this last year?! Yeah, I'm pretty fucking sure Modern Warfare 2 was my pick for most overrated game of last year, and this year I'm doing another CoD game?


Well, for those of you who don't know, Activision is committed to getting out one CoD game each year, even going so far as to have 3 developers making the CoD game for 2011. So yeah... expect to see Call of Duty in this category for quite a few successive years. Time and time again, there will be a new Call of Duty game, people will shake their heads and pretend to scoff at it, while secretly pre-ordering the deluxe edition, and I will remain the only sane motherfucker around for never having bought a single military first-person shooter.

Best Soundtrack
-Sonic Colors
-Fallout: New Vegas

Winner: Mass Effect 2

I'm a sucker for a good soundtrack, it's one thing I always look forward to in my games, and they can either disappoint me or please me. all these games did the latter, and then some.
Sonic Colors thankfully took inspiration from one of the only good things about its predecessor Sonic Unleashed, and that was the soundtrack. It evokes the same style of a classic Sega Genesis game, but still sounds fresh and modern. Not to mention the catchy-as-hell theme song.

Whether it's the jazz playing through your Pip-Boy radio, or the ambient music of the Mojave Wasteland, Fallout: New Vegas has your ears covered. Between the two, I'm much more inclined to turn off my radio and listen to the quiet, tension-building atmospheric music that goes so well with the barren land.

Most Immersive Game
-Red Dead Redemption
-Metro 2033
-S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

Winner: Fallout: New Vegas

Most Offensive Game
-Quantum Theory
-Mafia II

Hater: Metroid: Other M

It takes a bad game to piss me off, but it takes a fucked up game to offend me. Trust me though, all these games are just fucked up.

Quantum Theory is a classic example of just plain being wrong from the very concept. Everyone who's seen this game has automatically recognized its resemblance to Gears of War. This was not accidental, as many Japanese developers are trying to become more accessible to western audiences by making third-person shooters starring gruff beefy tough white guys. Vanquish does this too, even placating the xenophobic right-wing Cold War revivalists of America with a plotline involving Soviet robots in space. However, the key difference between the two is that Quantum Theory doesn't even have the goddamn common courtesy to be fun at all. Vaanquish is more of a guilty pleasure for me, gritting my theeth through the story and voice-acting so I can get to more shooting, but Quantum Theory is just a bad Gears of War imitation. I've never said this before, but when it comes to this game, I'd rather play Gears of War.

Metroid: Other M is not only a crap game with horrible controls and the most boring art design ever seen in a Metroid game, it's also pretty fucking offensive when you think about it. The strong, stoic bounty hunter Samus Aran has been replaced by fucking Bella Swan from Twilight, a simpering woe-is-me emo bitch with no motivation in her life whatsofuckingever who cowers in fear of even the smallest monster because she's an insecure twat, never shuts the fuck up, and who cannot move an inch or make any decision for herself if she thinks her sugardaddy Edward--I mean Adam, would disapprove in the slightest. Dead or Alive has always kinda objectified women, but after this game I'm seriously wondering if Team Ninja are just sexist. I mean SHIT, the evidence speaks for itself!

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