Well, here we are again. Another year has come to a close, and I’ve not played every videogame that came out in the last twelve months. I know, how shocking. And here are some reasons: money, time, sanity. I do make a conscious attempt to balance my videogaming time with my time for creating all of those wonderfully “bad” comics no one really looks at, which can be quite a dance, especially during those months where it seemed like a desirable game came out every few days for weeks on end. Like this past October through November. It was dastardly. But yeah, videogames–I don’t play ’em all.
For those curious, here’s what I didn’t get to play last year and the year prior:
Get hooked by the sad puppy picture, stay for the maddening lists. All right, enough setup. Let’s get to this year’s misses pronto.
10. Red Dead Redemption // Batman: Arkham Asylum // Batman: Arkham City // Portal 2
Basically, for the number 10 spot, here’s just a bunch of games from previous years’ lists which I’ve still not gotten to experience. You could call this cheating, and I would agree with you, but I think they all still deserve some sort of mention. So let’s lump them together. I’m sure most of you are silently screaming at me from across the screen to play Portal 2 right now, a game which I bought for $5.00 from Steam’s latest Summer Sale, but have not even gotten around to installing yet on my laptop. Swing and a miss, I guess. My landlord continues to recommend Red Dead, too. One day. One day, people…
9. Dust: An Elysian Tail
A side-scrolling, action platformer with a really vibrant look and a tale of genocide. Seems like many dismissed this game simply because they fear the Furries, but it sounds like there’s a great, emotionally-driven story and even greater gameplay mechanics to enjoy here. Also, take into account that Dust: An Elysian Tail is the product of one man’s work. Yeah, I gotta get to this at some point. Selfishly, I’m waiting for a reduced price sale, and I think I just missed my chance to get it for half off the other day. Wah.
From what it sounds like, Crashmo is both a continuation from Pushmo and also an entirely different game. In this one, gravity takes priority, with blocks able to fall when moved off other rows and columns. And you can rotate the playing field á la Fez to get a better perspective on how to climb to the top and save that little kid yet again. That said, I’d like to get a wee bit further in Pushmo‘s later (and more straining) puzzles before moving on to new mechanics that literally change how one plays.
7. Dragon’s Dogma
An open world action-RPG developed by Capcom? Huh, okay. That’s an interesting start, but throw in the addition of creating a mini army of Pawns that you can customize and make your own. Bosses are climbable like in Shadow of the Colossus, Pawns can select between nine vocations and you can trade them among friends and strangers, and the realm is yours to explore. Seems like the story is paper-thin until the absolute very end, but maybe the story doesn’t matter all that much over taking down griffins and giant heart-eating dragons.
6. Faster Than Light
I did not back FTL on Kickstarter when its campaign was running and didn’t even really know it existed until it was released and quickly loved by many, many gamers. It’s been described succinctly as “Oregon Trail in space.” You run a spaceship and try to get as far as you can with it, surviving asteroids and pirate raids and general malfunctions. When you die, it’s done, and you have to start over. That sounds cruel and punishing, but this is the kind of game that you go back into smarter and more prepared, whether that helps you or not. Randomness is a factor for sure, but that’s the risk you take when piloting a spaceship.
5. LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
I was not a huge fan of LEGO Batman; I mean, it was fine, and much better than LEGO Indiana Jones 2 for sure, but it’s not my favorite of the LEGO videogames. Maybe that’s because it didn’t have a film to follow, and it set out to tell its own story, without words. Which is pretty hard to do unless you already know what’s going on. Now, LEGO Batman 2 doesn’t have a film to follow again, but this is where the LEGO characters began to talk, which has to help in telling a story, I suspect, and you have a huge hub world of Gotham to explore. Plus all the familiar hooks. And there’s more than Batman characters here. Maybe once I’m done running around LEGO Middle-earth I’ll give this a spin, but that could be a while. Spoiler: I’m loving LEGO Middle-earth.
I got my stealth fix with Mark of the Ninja this year, but it sounds like Dishonored does some good things too, especially with the Blink ability, which allows you to quickly travel from point A to point B super fast. It’s got a New Weird/steampunk-like setting, and you can handle missions in a number of ways, just like the Deus Ex of yesteryear. I like variety and doing things my way. At some point, I’ll get to this.
3. Mass Effect 3
This year, I played Mass Effect 2. It went all right. I found it to be an okay space-based adventure across the galaxy, but nothing astounding. In fact, I think I enjoyed Mass Effect more, as there was more to explore there, to learn about the races and planets and technology. I got through the “suicide mission” just fine, but then Mass Effect 3 came out and it sounded like a whiff for various reasons. Not interested in online multiplayer, and it seems like you can only experience the game in its true form via numerous DLC packs, released later. Think I’ll wait for a “game of the year” version, which, if Mass Effect 2 is any proof, BioWare won’t ever put out.
No PlayStation 3, no play. Insert a thousand scarf-wearing sad faces. Journey, from what I’ve heard, sounds absolutely amazing. And every screenshot looks like a perfect desktop wallpaper. Take that as you will.
1. Assassin’s Creed III
Assassin’s Creed III came out right at a bad time for me, with little time to play and having already purchased a few Nintendo 3DS titles to hold me over. So I had the choice of getting this or a new winter coat, and I went with the latter. So far, it’s worked out pretty well, and even though most reviews for ACIII were less than positive, I’m still curious to see what it is like to be an assassin in colonial times, as well as all the wilderness exploration. Heard it doesn’t “end” things, which is a bummer, as I think this series needs closure and then to come back as something completely new.
Originally, Telltale’s The Walking Dead was at the #1 spot, but thanks to the Microsoft’s Christmas spirit, the first episode “A New Day” is being given out for free on the Xbox 360 all week long, and so I downloaded, plopped myself on the couch next to Tara, and quickly devoured the entire thing in one sitting. It’s really good. I picked up the four other episodes for 200 MP a piece this morning and plan to see how things go for Lee and Clementine as soon as possible.
That said, naturally, there are even more games I haven’t gotten to play this year, some of which sound fantastic (Hotline Miami, The Unfinished Swan, Retro City Rampage), and some of which I just couldn’t find the energy to care about (Halo 4, XCOM: The Enemy Unknown). Maybe I’ll get to trying out a few of these in the upcoming 2013 stretch, but with a huge and growing backlog in Steam (thanks, all you indie bundles) and a New Year’s Resolution of completing some classics from my collection for the first time, I might not. We’ll see what ends up on next year’s list; one promise I can make is that I’ll be playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf the very first minute of the day it is released. I need that game like woah.
Anyways, what games did you miss out on this year? Speak up in the comments section below! And good luck in the year to come.