2012 Top 10’s: Editor Brock Morgan
Hey, everyone! This is the first post related to the six editors’ personal Top 10 lists. I’ll post mine, and we’ll see how many lists and descriptions we get from the other editors! Well, here goes…
10. Halo 4 (XBox 360) – I’ve played a lot of Halo over the course of the last eleven years, from my time with the PC version of Halo: Combat Evolved (still my favorite Halo title) all the way to 2012’s release of Halo 4. The development team may have changed (343 Industries now heads the franchise, taking over from Bungie), but this game still retains the feel and gameplay of all the previous games while still very much carving out its own place in the series. The game takes the story to interesting places, introduces a new race of enemies, a cool, albeit one-dimensional, central antagonist, and looks and sounds absolutely fantastic. A must-play for any fan of any game in the franchise.
9. Asura’s Wrath (XBox 360) – Regardless of what you may have heard, this is NOT Quicktime-Event: The Game. Featuring completely over-the-top action, rail-shooting segments, brawler-style gameplay in 3D environments, and, yes, some extraordinarily well-implemented series of QTE’s, this game is almost completely unique, and is a wonderful experience start to finish. BURST!
8. Binary Domain (XBox 360) – A great story and some very interesting characters are the trappings around a merely competent skeleton of third-person-shooter gameplay in this under-appreciated multiplatform title. Don’t get me wrong, the gameplay is certainly fine (I actually usually quite dislike third-person cover-based shooters, so that should say something), but you’re not going to find anything that does much to move the genre forward. What is exceptional, however, is the world created by the developers, who were actually assisted by the lead of the Yakuza team, known for their focus on interesting and emotional, if unconventional, stories. I’d rather leave to specifics of the story untouched here, so please, do me a favor and pick up and play this game.
7. Dragon’s Dogma (XBox 360) – As I sat in my chair contemplating this write-up, I realized that Dragon’s Dogma is not an easy game to put into words. Combining third-person action gameplay, interesting implementation of online elements, a totally crazy story, and some insane enemies, Dragon’s Dogma feels very unique and certainly deserves a sequel so that in can iterate on it’s design. Look it up and try it for yourself.
6. Nintendoland (Wii U) – While you could look at Nintendoland as the Wii U’s Wii Sports analog, it offers much deeper and more varied gameplay ideas than Wii Sports ever did. Featuring five-player competitive and cooperative games, along with a slew of single-player experiences, Nintendoland’s twelve “attractions” are certainly not all instant classics, but more than enough of them make this title a must-own for any Wii U owner looking to bust out their new purchase at a party. Spoiler alert: the editors really loved the multiplayer in this game, and, when you sit down and try it for yourself, you’ll completely understand why.
5. Journey (PS3) – Yes, it’s downloadable. Yes, it’s simple. Yes, it’s incredibly short. And yes, it’s not something you’ll likely want to play over and over. But man, when you do play it? It’s absoultely incredible. Journey, released exclusively on the PlayStation Network, is among the most unique experiences I’ve ever had in my 20+ years of gaming. The game utilizes online multiplayer in an interesting way, matching you with other players that look almost identical to you, and provides you with only basic chirping noises for communication as you journey together toward a distant mountaintop. The last ten minutes or so hit me emotionally in a way a video game never has before, and the game is, in my opinion, the best looking game I’VE EVER SEEN. Play it, if you can. If you’re open to a new type of game experience, you won’t be disappointed.
4. Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward (3DS) – When the first game in this series, 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, hit our little group shortly before our Game of the Year awards in 2010, it consumed every person who played it, and the game reaped the rewards when it came to doling out the awards at our deliberations. Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward continues in this vein beautifully by improving on the original game in nearly every conceivable way. The game adds complete voice-acting (which the orignial game noticably lacked), 3D visuals,and fantastic character models while retaining the fantastic, twist-ridden story design and amazing atmosphere and sound design the original laid down, VLR is a fantastic, 30-40 hour visual novel experience with some interesting scenarios and puzzles to solve. While I have to say that I narrowly liked 999 more, this game is a must for those who wish most games today spent more effort on telling an interesting story.
3. Fez (XBox 360) – Ugh. I can’t tell you anything about this game except that it’s a puzzle-platformer with a pixely aestetic and is deeper than it looks. Trust me, there’s more to it than that, if you look for it. The soundtrack is great, the game looks great, and aside from a few technical hiccups, the game plays great. Seriously. Buy it, get some cubes, get some more cubes, get stuck, figure it out, feel amazing, get more cubes, get more stuck, figure it out, feel even more amazing. Do it.
2. The Walking Dead (XBox 360) – Have you played a game that supposedly features choice and meaningful interaction with characters, but just left you feeling like the stuff that you did really didn’t affect your experience all that much. Well, TellTale, the developers of this game, had, too, and they decided to do something about it. While I can say that I’d never enjoyed a TellTale game before this one, and I really, really dislike point-and-click adventure games, and most licensed games are terrible, The Walking Dead throws all that out the window in this lovingly-crafted masterpiece of storytelling. Never in my experience have character interactions been handled this way, and the end result is a title that will suck you in and make you feel things you’re not used to feeling while playing video games.
1. Mass Effect 3 (XBox 360) – The culmination of a six year trilogy, there’s a lot to be disappointed by when it comes to Mass Effect 3. The ending is terrible. Insulting, even. So much so that, for a time, I actively avoided recommending the series to other people. A lot of that hasn’t changed. The ending still sucks, regardless of what the “Extended Cut DLC” tried to do to save it. But what has changed is the way I look back on the game since I beat it in March 2012. What changed is that I learned to appreciate the journey more than the destination. The gameplay is phenomenal, the characters are still well developed, the soundtrack is among the best put into a modern game, and it still retains the same great sci-fi feel that made the first two games so fantastic. Play this game. Just don’t focus too heavily on the last twenty-five minutes.
Thanks for reading, and we’ll have more Top 10 lists up soon,