Whelp, you made me realize I haven't played near enough console games in the past few years. I loved Dead Space. It was one of my first forays into shooters and I got hooked. I agree with my hubby - RE5 seemed clunky but that could have also been my unfamiliarity with the button layout and tendency towards easily confused :/
You know, because it's so topical and I've got nothing better to do. I also love me a trip down memory lane.
Just so's you know, I exclude 2006 because launch lineups are anemic and we tend to go gaga over shiny, new graphics. Review scores, in retrospect, can often be mere pillow talk. The PS2 was still birthing relevant titles, so I'll begin things from 2007. Also, these aren't unknown indies that I thought deserved more credit. These are more than competent potential block busters with plenty of pedigree, good reviews and more than enough hype -- which they ably fulfilled. Let me stress that there is no fanboyism intended and my panties remain unbunched; I just simply think these are exemplary games that either got lost in the wash or were also-rans to juggernauts and I feel they should have been recognized in the moment for, you know... something.
And to any internet-smartypants-correcting-[ninnies], this refers only to GS scores and things like "Best Use of Bloom" don't count.
Bupkis Award winners:
-2007: Mass Effect. (GS score 8.5)
Was this the face that lauch'd a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium? Well, methinks. And, oh, those topless towers! Do you know the color of Liara's eyes? Yeah, me neither. Sex appeal, real impact in decision making and a rich universe were just the salve for a grown up & sci-fi starved community. If not a thousand ships, this one certainly launched the most relevant space odyssey in this (or any other) generation.
Why no love? Well, a little compilation called The Orange Box might be one thing. Bioshock may be another. Then there's Call of Duty 4. And Halo 3. And Crysis. And Super Mario Galaxy. Would I be kicking it while it's down to mention God of War II?
Good year to be a gamer. Bad year to launch a new IP.
- 2008: Dead Space. (9.0)
I'm not going to throw a ton of words at this. (Li'l commentary incoming, though) I will say that of all entertainment genres, space-based science fiction is the most criminally under served, no matter which medium, and combining it with survival horror seems like a license to make money... at least to this damned fool. Resident Evil 4 comparisons certainly couldn't hurt matters, either. While it got a people's choice "best original IP" award (editors gave their nod the No More Heroes), I can't help but feel it deserved a little more in it's trophy case.
It was in good company, though, as GTA 4, Call of Duty: World at War, Gears of War 2, Devil May Cry 4 and even Fallout 3 were all crushed under the might of *reverent pause and breathless tone* Metal Gear Solid 4.
- 2009: Resident Evil 5. (8.5)
Alright, if there's flak to be had anywhere, it'll probably be with this. What can I say? It wasn't Resident Evil 4, but it was good. Great even. It wasn't GOTY material, but it was an excellent entry in a revered franchise and it didn't win squat. Developers often bemoan the "sequel tax" and this one falls victim to that affliction.
Copiously sequeled IP's faired poorly in '09: Arkham Asylum reinvented Batman games, Killzone 2 took home all praise for shooters. Uncharted 2 and Dragon Age made their mark as well, but it was the year of the under dog as Demon's Souls ambushed European and North American gaming to become the darling of the '09 awards.
-2010: Battlefield Bad Company 2 (9.0)
I admit I didn't play it (well... much, I was still stuck on Demon's Souls), but that's not the point. It was wildly popular, offered incomparable depth versus Halo:Reach and Black Ops, and offered a campaign that wasn't a lacquered series rehash (sorry, Reach) or a broken tutorial for multiplayer (not sorry, Black Ops). I suppose the couple-ten million dollars Samuel EA is still rolling in will be cold comfort enough, but two lousy nominations - Shooter and competitive multiplayer (lame platform awards don't count) - don't seem to do this one justice.
Halo: Reach stole it's thunder on the shooter front while Starcraft II took multiplayer honors. None of it mattered, though as God of War III gobbled up whatever chum Red Dead Redemption left in it's wake.
(Honorary mention, 2010): Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker (9.0)
Yeah, a special exemption for a Metal Gear Game. It's My blog. So sue me. Why they engineered a preemptive 70% drop in sales by putting it exclusively on the PSP is beyond me. An excellent game that consumed about 150 hours of my life. I have no regrets. It did win PSP GOTY, so there is that... But that's kind of like being voted skinniest girl at a Packers tailgate; the only thing slim is the pickin's.
-2011: Deus Ex: Human Revolution (8.5)
This one hurt. My pre-order must have been more than a year old by the time of it's release. I have to admit Eidos had the impossible task of living up to it's lineage, but where they lacked in innovation, they made up ground through complete and utter refinement in the mechanics from which they borrowed. To coin a new term from two completely overused ones, this game has a "sandbox linearity" that I just loved. Stealth or brute force were up to you and there was usefulness in every skill set regardless of how deeply invested the player decided to be. Great atmosphere, solid level design and a palpable sense of loss within the story completed the package.
... However this one got Susan Lucci'd in a strong year for gamers with Portal 2, Arkham City, The Witcher 2, Uncharted 3 and Skyrim. It did get one nomination for best action game, so yay for that.
-2012: Max Payne 3 (9.0)
Rockstar makes great games and I'll keep this one simple: One fleeting nomination for best shooter. One mercy nomination for best PS3 game. Moral of the story: Get released in May, Get stiffed in December.
2012's Bupkis Award winner.
All memorable, amazing games. ME1 was released in the same year as Bioshock? Jesus, I hadn't remembered it that way. 2007 has got to be the best year in gaming for the current run of consoles.
@Jbul Hey! Jbul and the prez on the same day! How yeh been, buddy?
Yeah, when I checked it out, '07 struck me the same way. We were a year into the full fledged "next gen" -- gawd, how I hate that term now -- and the industry was putting on it's best face. Nostalgia (and I had nothing else to do while sick) was the main reason I threw this together.
By my estimation, gaming's most recent, true and innovative golden age started full force in 2002 (Metroid Prime, GTA Vice City, Ratchet & Clank, Morrowind, Splinter Cell, Battlefield:1942, et al.) and ended in 2007. Good titles have been released here and there, but sequels and rehashes have abounded ever since.
I think we're ready for whatever the hell is next.
I won't give you flak for RE5, but I found I didn't like it nearly as much when I gave it a re-go recently. It felt clunkier and more frustrating than I originally remembered. *shrugs*
Note how I made no reference to it NOT BEING RE4 though. I hate that argument. It feels like going to the local art museum and complaining that it's no Sistine Chapel. OF COURSE IT ISN'T YOU NUMBSKULLS THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE #$!!ING SISTINE CHAPEL.
Though I really don't like RE4 at all so...yeah.
@mprezzy And an annoyance that grows from a separate tendril on that same, insidious vine: Sports anchors/analysts when they say, "Your Peyton Mannings and Adrian Petersons are really going to make and difference come playoff time."
THESE AREN'T WEDGE BUSTERS!! THESE ARE ONE-OF-A-KIND, ELITE ATHLETES, NONE OF WHOM WILL EVER HAVE ANOTHER ONE AT THEIR POSITION PLAY THE SAME WAY, EVER!!
I blame Madden for this. Like a comb over, I think it started innocently, though. "Yer Don Beebes", i.e., the hustlin' undersized white boy archetype, makes sense. "Yer Vince Lombardis" does not and thus, makes me rageful.
Where was I?
Oh yeah, everybody seems to go all binary on RE5. It seemed OK to me.
Weren't you a big Dead Space fan?
@kaolcxlaf And "robotussin" works for me. RGIII could use a little of the cybernetic concoction for that knee of his right about now.
@kaolcxlaf Did it for you and you alone, buddy. Thought you'd appreciate this.
Virulent flu outbreaks create the delirium necessary to write one these things. Also, I'm not an only child, so my hate gland was squashed at an early age by having to play well with others. I didn't profess any love, except MGS:PW, Deus Ex and Mass Effect. The rest get an abiding tip o' the hat.
Who are you and what have you done with George C. Patton? Have you gone senile? Are you running a fever while downing decade old robotussin?
I give you ten extra points for the Susan Lucci reference! I loved Deus Ex, and I had wondered that same thing about Peacewalker, but to me, it was an homage to Kojima doing what he wanted, not to make money, but to make an awesome game!
@pokecharm Ha! I thought I dated myself with that 90's designation for also-rans (and I probably did) but at least I'm not alone. Thanks for that.
And keen observation #2 from you is is that you are right. Kojima might be the only big budget free-reigner in the entire industry. Never thought of it that way. That VP gig equaled unparalleled autonomy, even for a "pet" -- if any Metal Gear game could be called that -- project on a marginal system. I've spent time with both the handheld and console versions and believe it or not, I think the PSP version handles better and makes more sense overall. If you haven't, get your grubbies on whatever copy and dig in!
@BravoOneActual it still makes me wonder more about the new MG game coming out next month, though - I mean, if he has such free reign, why pass control to someone else?
@BravoOneActual in retrospect, I never got on that bandwagon, but I know a lot of MGS fans thought it was a cheap change to make, to be fair, Snake just can't be around forever.
I have not played Vanquish...
@BravoOneActual exactly how I pictured it :)
@pokecharm .. the next scenario went something like this:
[Platinum Games HQ, Osaka, Japan]
Receptionist: How was your lunch, Mr. Minami?
TM: Excellent. Any Messages while I was out?
Receptionist: Kojima-san wanted to speak with you, sir.
TM: Kojima-san?! What ever for?! I will do so at once! Ring him on line three!
R: Acually, he's in your office.
@pokecharm He couldn't treat Raiden the way he wanted - the way he promised himself and his fans - and it was wearing on him.
Stealth was Kojima's deal and he painted (or rather, wrote) himself into an action corner when Raiden went all cyborg-ninja on us. This was an over-reach because he was smarting from Raiden's initial rejection after MGS2 and even his self-lampooning in MGS3 didn't ease the burn.
Raiden was his baby and a man of Kojima's stature felt the sting rather acutely. He then went on to make Raiden unplayable as a "punishment" to the doubters; to make him so cool and desired, people would eat their words. He knew all along he'd have to back it all up at some point, but his money makers, Snake and Big Boss, already had games of their own in the works AND with his new VP position, more meetings, glad-handing and photo ops only took away from his studio time. I think it was killing him. Raiden was adrift.
In stepped Platinum with Vanquish. Kojima probably played it (have you?) and..
Nice picks, though I hated Res. 5. Good to see somebody else who admires BFBC2 as much as I do though, here's hoping to a sequel at some point.
@dylan417 Thanks. And I'm pretty sure you'll get your Bad Company sequel. Or at least I've heard BF and BFBC will run concurrently. I've always said I don't have to love a game to consider it great or even perfect. This one squarely falls into the great category.