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Best of 2007 - My picks! (part 1)

Best of 2007

Here are my picks for the Best and Worst games of 2007. You can see all the nominees, and vote yourself, here! I advise you to do so for 2 reasons: 1) It gets your word out better then a lot o other ways, and 2) You'll probably get an emblem after it's over.

Without further adieu here are my picks!

Special Achievement

Super Mario GalaxyBest Original Music: Super Mario Galaxy

The game features a great mix of new tracks with remixed old tracks that pump up your sentimental value.

Other picks?: World in Conflict really surprised me with it's soundtrack and it would get my pick if it was nominated. Sadly, it was not. Overall I'd say that this wasn't a great year for soundtracks.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of ChernobylMost Surprisingly Good Game: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl

The constant delays made me wonder if it'll turn out to be good or not in the end. Well it didn't miss out on some bugs and oversimplifications here and there, but still turned out good.

Other picks?: Call of Duty 4 probably. I was scared when they said that they changed the setting from World War 2 to modern times, but the end result surpass my imagination.

Rock BandBest Licensed Music: Rock Band

Obviously the only real competitors in the category where this and Guitar Hero 3. It can go both ways, but I like the song list on Rock Band more.

Other picks?: The mentioned Guitar Hero 3. Other then that nothing (though I have to say that Need for Speed ProStreet's soundtrack wasn't bad).

The Orange BoxBest Story: The Orange Box

The combination of Portal and all 3 instalments of the Half Life 2 series make an interesting world to play in. We still didn't see the end of it (Episode 3, not to mention the inevitable Half-Life 3), but that isn't a bad thing.

Other picks?: Assassin's Creed probably. The credits roll in the most unexpected, most cliffhangerous moment that you can think of. Really, the REAL story in this game is only in doses that would fill a prolog. We want more. We want Assassin's Creed 2.

BioShock Best Sound Design: BioShock

The environment and multitude of ways to fight your battles, combined with the Plazmid make up for a great array of sound effects.

Other picks?: Call of Duty 4. Man, just stand near a tank before it fires in one of the missions. Woo...

CrysisBest Graphics, Technical: Crysis

The new Cry Engine in incredible. The suit, the plants, the water, the aliens... You got to see it at least once.

Other picks?: Call of Duty 4 comes close second, with smaller system requirements too. Who needs DirectX 10 anyway?

Mass EffectBest Voice Acting: Mass Effect

The amount of dialog this game has, combined with the fact that it's fully voiced can make you wonder how did all this fit on a DVD sometimes. And it's not some rambling about by your next door neighbor. It's good.

Other picks?: Both Call of Duty 4 and World in Conflict have great voice actors, but on a smaller scale, and that why they didn't win.

Odin PhereBest Graphics, Artistic: Odin Sphere

Haha! 2D graphics? Today? You have to be kidding me, right? Right? ... ... No, I'm not. This game is a perfect example, that using modern technology for 2D graphics isn't a waste. Bravo for the game makers! You get my vote!

Other picks?: Nope. Looks like Other people don't appreciate Odin Sphere though :(

The DarknessBest Use of a Creative License: The Darkness

Not a very popular license (I never heard of it), but still a license. And made into a very good shooter with some special elements. Oh, and you can eat hearts! SOLD!

Other picks?: The Simpsons Game isn't bad. I can't think of any other good license games... there are so few of them :(

Heavenly SwordBest New Character(s): Heavenly Sword

Was a close fight. Every game in there (well... I'm not sure about BioShock) has characters worth mentioning. Nariko is not your normal "damsel in distress". Kai is cute :3 Bosses have character. A good cast overall.

Other picks?: Non-nominated games? Call of Duty 4's Characters are incredible and you really care for them. I don't want to spoil the story, but you really, really get to bond with them. World in Conflict has some rememberable characters as well. From other nominees: Mass Effect has a whole sh**load of characters, Team Fortress 2 have very unique and funny personalities. Portal doesn't have much to offer in terms on quantity, but quality. Call of Duty 4 probably would get my pick overall.

The Orange BoxFunniest Game: The Orange Box

Or should I say "Portal". Well, Team Fortress 2 has funny stuff to I guess. I'll just borrow a line from Yahtzee: "Some of the funniest pitch black humor I ever heard in a game". And while you're at it, get on steam or on YouTube and look for the "Meat the ..." videos for Team Fortress 2 :P

Other picks?: The Simpsons Game has The Simpsons humor. Nothing more to say.

Biggest News: December 2: Vivendi merges with Activision in $18.9B deal

When I hear that a company "Merged" I usually expect 1 big company that absorbs a small one, or 2 small companies, or companies with some financial problems merging together. Here we have 2 BIG companies, making BIG money with BIG titles and the result is THE BIGGEST game company in the world. Take that EA! This has come unexpectedly, and that why it got my vote.

Other picks?: Bungie's split from Microsoft was equally unexpected. Microsoft is a big company, and splitting away from it is as hard as battling the laws of gravity. But they did it anyway. Must have been a big spaceship Oo. This didn't get my vote mainly because I'm not a Halo fan, and I don't really care for Bungie until they make something else, but if this was the biggest news for you I understand.

Rock BandBest Multiplayer Game: Rock Band

Oh, oww... ouch! This was such a hard decision to make... I had 3 favorites: Call of Duty 4, Rock Band and World in Conflict. CoD4 and WiC focus on Online Play, and Rock Band focuses on local "get your friends around" lay (though it has online too). It's the local part, and the fact that you're generally cooperating with each other rather then competing against each other that finally made me pick Rock Band. there's nothing better to play with some friends when they come by. Call of Duty 4 and World in Conflict both have superb competitive multiplayer though (WiC relies on cooperating with other teammates, but that rarely turns out good if everyone on the team is someone you don't know).

Other picks?: Like I said above, Call of Duty 4 and World in Conflict. One for the FPS fan, one for the RTS fan. You like both? Then go get both!

Galactic blablablaBest Expansion Pack: Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar

All right! I confess. I have no idea what this game is about! I just voted here, so it won't influence the games that are fighting for supremacy.

Other picks?: You bet! Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer and Guild Wars: Eye of the North are great expansion packs that got skipped for got know what reason. Both are a must have for everyone that has the games. Forget Galactic Something-or-other.

The eyeBest Original Game Mechanic: The Eye of Judgment

The most limiting part of playing a card game (not having anyone around to play with) has disappeared (online) while retaining the best part (real cards and actual playing) and it includes animated monsters to boot! Not only that, but the game is actually good. Even the most original and surprising mechanic can't save a card game if the actual card game is bad. This card game is good. The camera is only an addition, and not the main thing the game has to offer.

Other picks?: Portal I guess... though portals are not an "original" game mechanic it did take it to a new level. Still, Eye of Judgment deserves better.

Tekken 5Best Downloadable Console Game: Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection

The best modern fighting game, coming to your home by cable AND it has online play. It is priced higher then other downloadable games though.

Other picks?: Everyday Shooter looks nice, though I didn't have a chance to play it. Puzzle Quest is a good combination of a puzzle game and a RPG that you should get if you have some spare Microsoft Points (note: The game is also on the DS, PSP and PC).

Call of Duty 4Most Improved Sequel: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

It took everything that Call of Duty 2 had, made it better, compressed it, made it better again, and then made it better some more! One might argue that "Well you where shooting in CoD 2 and you're also shooting in CoD 4, where's the difference?". I honestly don't know what to say to that, because on paper there isn't any, but when you play it... whooo...

Other picks?: Nope.

Rock BandBest New Gaming Hardware: Rock Band Instrument Set

Actually, this may have been a bad vote, since I remembered that the things often break, but whatever. Making your own band is great! We had Guitar games, we had Drum games, we had Karaoke games, but when we get it together... we have something new!

Other picks?: The GeForce 8800 GT (especially some OCd versions of it) is an incredible graphics card. If you're thinking about upgrading your computer, then this is the card you want it to have. Sure, the GTX is still better, but it just costs too much compared to the GT.

CrushMost Innovative Game: Crush

The first game to blend 2D and 3D... literally. It makes an incredible game mechanic that you have to at least see once.

Other picks?: World in Conflict is a new way to play RTS, but it didn't really strike me as "Innovative". Good, yes. Portal is also a great way to use portals, but it's been done before.

Rock BandBest Downloadable Content: Rock Band

Though not all songs are master tracks, there's a lot of things to chose from, and more are on the horizon. The price isn't bad (especially since you get 4 instruments, and not 1-2 like in Guitar Hero), and you have a wide selection (single songs, packs and albums). I just want more master tracks and less covers.

Other picks?: Nope. People go for oblivion, but I still remember the Horse Armor -_-

Assassin's CreedBest Use of Control Scheme: Assassin's Creed

You use the R1 trigger to change between Socially Acceptable (slower, more gentle) and Unacceptable (faster, more aggressive) behaviour. The buttons are responsible for the head, weapon hand, free hand and legs. While this may sound complicated, it's very easy. You learn it in minutes. Head = looking around. Weapon hand = attacks, using weapons or the hidden blade. Free hand = grabbing on to ledges or grabbing enemies, counters. Legs = walking, running, dodging. It's even better and more fluid then the control scheme of Prince of Persia, and I thought that was very good.

Other picks?: Nope.

Assissn's CreedBest Atmosphere: Assassin's Creed

The mix of old and new, the "2 worlds" as you will, makes are really good atmosphere. Each one on it's own would be good, but when the 2 blend together it's mindblowing.

Other picks?: BioShock might me a good choice for many, but I didn't like the atmosphere there. It's not to say that it's bad... just not my type.

... To be continued in the next blog post (There's a 20,000 character limit) ^^;

Best of 2007 - Categories are here.

Best of 2007

The Best of 2007 are here again!

Well, right now we only have the categories, but hey, games will come soon :P I encourage you to check back a few days later and vote for the games that you think deserve it. The categories are many, not just standard genre and platform awards, but also things like "Best Voice Acting" and "Best Story". Oh, and let's not forget the "Dubious Honors" where we get to vote for the WORST games of 2007 ^^ Oh... user votes are separate from editor votes, and you'll probably get a snazy emblem for voting :P

When the games come, I'll write another blog with my picks (and a short explanation). In the mean time I have one more bookmark :P

The Masked Betrayer

I got Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer :D

I really loved NWN2. It had a good story, and good character development and role-playing elements and now that the expansion is finally out in Poland, I bought the "Gold Edition" (Game + Expansion) since previously I just borrowed it from a friend.

The expansion adds new races (Wild Elf, Half-Drow, Air, Earth, Fire and Water Genasi), 2 new base jobs (Spirit Shaman and Favored Soul) and 5 new prestige jobs (Stormlord, Sacred Fist, Invisible Blade, Red Wizard of Thay and Arcane Scholar of Candlekeep), as well as Epic Levels (up to 30), Epic feats and a bunch of new spells that I don't really give a... about :P. That's a good amount of content, and almost everyone should find something for them. Not me sadly. My Drow Divine Champion won't :( (But I'll use the Epic Levels for some Weapon Master goodness ^^).

Now, about the actual game. I only played a few hours but I can tell that I'll have fun exploring the new storyline (it has ties to the old one). You wake up in some dark cave with a big blank in your memory and an even bigger hole in your chest! You also have a feeling of hunger... mm... hunger... Soon you'll also get a stone that that will reveal hidden portals to an alternative, dark dimension that's very similar to your own, but black and white, inhabited by ghosts and shadows. Some things are also different, and you'll sometimes have to travel to the dark realm, use a path that was blocked in the real world, but is open here and find a portal back on the other side. I'm pretty sure that as the store progresses it'll get more complicated then that.

And another things I noticed... I don't know if it's my crappy build, or the +2 level adjustment or both but I died a lot already. Some battles are quite hard even if they don't look like it, so take my advice and:

1) Carry and use Potions!

2) Save often! (after 2-3 encounters and after every longer conversation).

Believe me, it'll help you avoid replaying an hour of gaming time.... and speaking of that, I have some replaying of my own to do... see ya later.

Judged by The Eye

Yesterday I went to a friend (and God help me if I have to use public transportation to get there ever again) and Played some Eye of Judgment. He only had the Starter deck and one booster that came free with the game (the other boosters that he ordered online didn't come on time) so we had to bend the deck rules a bit, and didn't have much variety.

Then came the problems of setting up some light so the cam would detect all the cards. The 1st game was constant fiddling with light. If you buy the game make sure your room has more then one lightbulb. But after we used a desk light and positioned it right...

Man, that was fun :D I'm a little sucker for card games (I have a HUGE collection of Pokemon cards from back in the days) and this is that, but with a twist. I'm not going to explain the whole game (you can watch the video review). It's not as complex as Magic, but still has enough things to give a variety of tactics (field elements, fieldquakes, card directions, different directions that cards attack and defend, etc.) and at the same time is simple enough to play right off the bat and learn as you go. I can't wait till he gets more cards so our decks will have variety. Though, Our last battle lasted an hour and had over 40 turns @_@

The one thing that annoys me, is that there's a stupid pause between every animation! The battles would be more exciting without that. You can turn off animations completely (and you should if you play Online), but it takes away some of the charm from the game. Still, it's just fun! I can't wait to play it some more ^^

Who needs punctuation anyway?

I just recently came across Zero Punctuation and decided that I will be checking that back every week because I fell in love with the reviews posted by Yahtzee granted that they are not your normal reviews and are mainly game bashing over and over with poop and boob jokes thrown in just for the heck of it.

But though that sounds stupid and retarded it's actually fun and gives you another look at the games to the point that you're laughing your arse off. Granted it won't replace any good review from GameSpot IGN or your favorite gaming mag you should watch it anyway as long as you're over 18 since that's probably the age that the law thinks is appropriate for that kind of sense of humor because it gives another look at it and is just plain fun.

...OK, now I can use punctuation again. That was exhausting...

My Creed

On Sunday, I borrowed Assassin's Creed from one friend, and a PS3 from another friend and was playing it since. Still have a bit to go before I finish it, but it's really nice. I MIGHT write a review about it when I finish, but... well, I already wanted to write a review 2 times, and the final quality was to bad to submit ^^;

I have a thing when I'm writing reviews... I list every flaw I notice, and I omit the good things, and at the end I'm trying to convince that although I listed all those bad things the game is good ^^; I'm feeling like a news presenter that says "20 people died in this accident" and "Earthquake struck this city" and after that "But it's great outside your window!". Not the best way to write a review ^^; Well, IF it turns out PLAUSIBLE then I'll submit it and tell you all. If not, then forget it :P

And a quick note about Jeff, because it's hard not to say something. The jest of my thoughts is in the comments of another blog. If you didn't get the news: Here's the official response. I'll make sure to listen to the HotSpot and watch On the Spot. I always do. I hope to hear some opinion from the reviewers, and not a "official response".

Joint Operation

Oh... My... God...

I got Call of Duty 4 on Saturday, and was playing it the whole Sunday. That game is just amazing!

I keep seeing people talking about that the game is short. To hell with that. It took me 7 hours to beat, and I'll be going over it again on a harder difficulty for sure. The Singleplayer part is incredible, and currently holds the record for the number of "OMFG!!" moments! It always finds a way to shock you, and when it's not shocking you like an electric chair, it keeps you in your toes with the "Whoah!" and "Cool!" moments. It also has variety. Just when you thought that you saw everything... wham! There it goes again.

Congratulations to Infinity Ward for doing something so mind blowing. If you care for games buy it. It'll provide you with the ride of your life.

Another blog, brought to you by Kingdom Hearts.

At the TGS Square-Enix announced 3 new Kingdom Hearts titles. One for the DS, the PSP and for mobile phones. Let me quote some things from this story.

The biggest surprise at this year's Square Enix booth was the announcement of a new Kingdom Hearts project. While it may be true that Kingdom Hearts II left some questions unanswered, Square Enix has decided to expand on the world of Kingdom Hearts with not just one or two titles, but a trio of games for the DS, PlayStation Portable, and mobile phones. What's more, all three of the titles are different games with their own settings and timelines. Tetuya Nomura is working as the director for all three titles, together with Shinji Hashimoto, who will serve as executive producer.

Coded The first title, Kingdom Hearts Coded, is the mobile game release. The game is being codirected by Hajime Tabata and produced by Kousei Itou. No release date or carrier has been announced yet. Kingdom Hearts Coded's CG trailer started off with the words "Mysteries get solved, making the world wider." The scene changed to Jiminy Cricket flipping through the journal that he's written during his adventures with Sora. He stops at one page, which reads, "We must return to free them from their torment." Puzzled and unable to recall what that page was supposed to mean, he runs to consult the King Mickey, who decides to search for answers by digitizing Jiminy's journal.

The player apparently takes the role of a Sora that was born inside the digitized world of Jiminy's journal. Attendees were shown a couple of clips of in-game footage, and although the graphics were mobile-phone quality, it still runs as a 3D action game and has the Kingdom Hearts atmosphere.

358/2 Days The second title, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, is the DS release. Unlike previous installments in Kingdom Hearts, the game focuses on the series' antagonists (known as Organization XIII), and Roxas, who was "the other main character" in Kingdom Hearts II.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days' trailer starts off from the last scene in Chain of Memories (the PlayStation 2 version), and the words "The time during the opposite side, when Sora goes to sleep" appear on the screen. The scene changes to the station and clock tower in Kingdom Hearts II, with Roxas and Axel looking over the city at the sunset. In another scene, Roxas is seen sitting in a white room together with the rest of Organization XIII, and a new, 14th member is introduced into the organization. Although the character's face was hidden by Organization XIII's traditional hooded jacket, it was apparently a female character.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is a multiplayer action game where you can fight as an Organization XIII member and attempt to complete missions cooperatively with friends. During the trailer, up to four characters fought together on the same screen against a massive boss character in a city setting. The game will also feature a single-player mode, of course. The gameplay looked similar to the combat from past KH games, though the frame rate was running a little low in the trailer footage. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is codirected by Tomohiro Hasegawa and produced by Patrick Chen. The game is being developed by h.a.n.d Inc.

Birth by SleepLast but definitely not least of the three Kingdom Hearts games, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is a new title for the PSP. From checking out the trailers, it felt the most like a true Kingdom Hearts sequel of the three games (except that it's actually a prequel). Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep's trailer started off with the words "The distant past." And as it turns out, the game takes place before Sora's era, back in the days when there were multiple "keyblade masters" around the world. We're introduced to two characters whom we assume are the protagonists: a blond boy who looks strikingly similar to Roxas, and an older, taller, black-haired guy who looks a bit like Final Fantasy VII's Zack in baggy pants.

Audiences who have finished playing through Kingdom Hearts II were in for a surprise. As it turns out, the bonus secret movie from the game was apparently an event that took place in the past. During Birth by Sleep's trailer, we saw the same landscape and bald man with a gray goatee and yellow eyes that were featured in the KHII movie. It seems certain that he plays a key role in the game, as the trailer took time to show him trying to influence the blond-haired boy in some unknown way, and also facing off in combat against the black-haired man, who's trying to stop him. In another scene, he was seen shouting, "Use your powers to break the darkness and fix my wrongdoings!" At the end of the trailer, a figure who looked like Mickey Mouse appeared to confront the bad guy.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is directed by Tai Sasue and produced by Patrick Chen.

I'm excited at ANY KH related news. I can't wait to get ahold of some trailers (since these 3 where shown in the closed theatre) or release dates. there's some problems for me though... I don't have a DS nor a PSP. and non of my friends have it too. And a cellphone game... yeah, you'll need a REALLY good cellphone for this. the king that costs as much as a consol itself. No way am I going to play that -_-

I hope it'll turn out. Or that I'll at least find a story transcript or some movies when the games are out.

PS: Remember my last "Battle report"? that was from a Level 99 proud mode game. Since then, I finished that game to 100% (Though I had to make 20 Defence Up's @_@) and started a new game - A Low Level game. I skip every battle I possibly can, and avoid every enemy I possibly can, so I'm underleveled. And yes, it's on the Proud difficulty :P I already finished that game. I have level 35 before the final boss. You technically can get 34, or 33, but that requires a lot of luck and patience. the only thing I possibly can do, is beat the optional boss, Sephiroth, at that level. Although it is possible I don't present THAT kind of skill (He did a "No damage" on every battle in the game @_@). I'll be trying though :P

Now the danger runs deep...

I've been playing Guild Wars: Eye of the North. MAN! That game is so good. And more will come in time with patches :D

Guild Wars is in my opinion the best Online RPG out there. Yes, I played World of Warcraft. Didn't like it. And I wanted to like it...

GWEN is the best thing that happened to Guild Wars since the original Prophecies. The story is short, but unilinear and interesting for the most part. The Hall of Monuments, though it could use a patch or two, is just how I imagined it. It allows to turn your achievements, titles, armor, heroes, pets, weapons and mini-pets into monuments that you can display and show your friends. It's also something that will connect your character to your descendants in Guild Wars 2.

The story is divided into 4 parts. The main plot is the battle against The Great Destroyer. Once banished and cast down, he rises again to threaten all of Tyria. The Dwarfs raise their hammers against him, but first, they need help of other races. The Ebon Vanguard are humans that fled or where imprisoned then the Charr brought forth the Searing on Ascalon. They seek revenge on the Charr for what they did to their homeland. The Norn are a race of half-giants with he ability to change into a bear. They value straight, and only straight, and travel mostly alone or in small groups for hunting worthy pray. The Asura once lived underground in great tunnels and caverns. Now they where driven out by the Destroyers, forced to live on the surface. Using their smarts, they try to think up a way to bead the Destroyer menace that took their homes away. When everyone is gathered, it's time to take the fight back to the enemy!

The locations present stunning artistic design, especially for an engine that's almost 3 years old. The game introduces Dungeons, chained instances that go deeper and deeper underground. There's a lot to do. Though the story is short, the dungeons are long and have a high replay value. The game glued me to the chair, and It looks like the situation will be "sticky" for at least a few more days. Still have some quests and dungeons to do ^^