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Games Of The Year So Far August 15, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Awards, Feature, Wii, Xbox 360.
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We are more than half way through the year now (I actually meant to post this a month ago) and it’s been a pretty good one for games so far with the Wii in particular having a surprisingly strong line-up. While this will probably be a little different at the end of the year, click below for  a list of my favourite games of the year so far (in no particular order)

House of the Dead: Overkill (Wii)

Overkill

It’s the best light gun game I’ve ever played, frankly, and it’s release was accompanied by that of the meaty official handcannon which made playing the game much more sweeter. A typical light gun game wrapped up in a Planet Terror-inspired grindhouse aesthetic, tongue-in-cheek humour and with a memorable funky soundtrack to boot. The foul-mouthed Detective Isaac Washington stole the show with his constant swearing, but there were plenty of other memorable characters, such as the stripper Varla Guns. Each of the levels are perfectly paced and just the right length, with plenty of gripping set pieces that leave you wanting more. It’s without a doubt one of my game of the year contenders, and out can read my review at Peoww HERE.

Little King’s Story (Wii)

Little King's Story

Full of character and charm, this took many people my surprise. An RPG/RTS/adventure hybrid in which a young boy is whisked into a mystical land and is immediately crowned king. You have to expand your kingdom by employing citizens to do the dirty work and join them in exploring the land to unlock new areas and building possibilities. As well as the main quest, there are plenty of side quests which offer some unique rewards and treasures. It looks great, particularly the oil painting-style cutscenes, but behind the “child-like” visuals lies a surprisingly deep mature game. While LKS received almost universal critical acclaim, it unfortunately didn’t sell as well as it deserved. Peoww review HERE.

Punch-Out!! (Wii)

Punch-Out!!

I bought the NES game on the Virtual Console a while back, and this is more or less a remake. It doesn’t play like a traditional boxing game, instead it’s all about watching and learning your opponents attack pattern and reacting accordingly. You once again play as Little Mac, and the roster of opponents is assembled from Punch-Out and Super Punch-Out. Naturally, motion control where you hold the remote and nunchuck in each hand (with the balance board being a further possible inclusion) but the game definitely works best using the classic NES control scheme. The cel-shaded visuals are among the best on the Wii, and the remixes and re-arranged tunes from previous games fit perfectly. Definitely one of the best retro updates I’ve played, and it also produced one of the best promo videos ever. Read my brief review HERE.

Prototype (Xbox 360)

Prototype2

This one took me by surprise, it wasn’t really on my radar until a few weeks before launch. Going by what I had seen up until then, I was much more interested in inFamous on the PS3, but this ended up being one of the best sandbox games I’ve ever played. It’s one of the few superhero games which actually makes you feel like an all-powerful badass. The platforming, while not as solid as Crackdown, is immensely satisfying and the free running is reminiscent of Mirror’s Edge. The chases between you and military strike teams are particularly exhilarating. The entirety of Manhattan is open to you from the start, and watching the city slowly descend into chaos after the virus spreads is just brilliant. There is so much going on in the streets in the latter stages of the game it’s baffling how anyone could call it dull. I spent so much time just simply leaping around the city, picking fights with the infected citizens, or trying to beat my best times in the side missions. This has so much replay value, and the new game + mode was a nice added bonus. The Review is HERE

Battlefield: 1943 (Xbox 360)

Battlefield: 1943

I bloody loved Battlefield: Bad Company, so naturally I’d be all over this like hot sauce. A multiplayer-only game, it is pretty similar to the one seen in Bad Company, except from a few notable differences. Recharging health has been added instead of a health meter, and all guns have unlimited ammo – obviously an effort to make it more appealing to more casual players. The three ground maps are fantastic, especially Iwo-Jima, but the planes-only map released soon after launch, Coral Sea, is pretty fucking awful It provided the same thrills as BC and I still prefer that and 1943 to Halo 3 and COD4. Sniping is still as satisfying and rewarding as ever, and the other two classes have seen more playtime than I was expecting. It still has many of the same problems as BC, particularly the shit and ineffective splash damage from nearly all explosives, but it’s more than the sum of it’s parts, and one of the best multiplayer experiences around. It could do with a few new maps soon, though. My Peoww review is HERE

Worthy contenders:

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin – much preferred this over the hilariously over-rated and over-hyped Killzone 2. Despite the lack of scares in the latter half of the game, it was a very solid FPS with a singleplayer campaign that surpassed my expectations,

MadWorld – a brainless brawler with a unique and striking black & white cel-shaded visual style. It was also a good example of how to do motion controls right, with the gesture-based commands activating the brutal and satisfying finishing moves.

EA Grand Slam Tennis – the first game to showcase the Wii Motion Plus peripheral, and it did a great job in replicating the feeling of playing tennis. While the singl player might me slightly lacking, the multiplayer is very well put together and the online puts most other Wii game’s efforts to shame – no fannying around with friend cores here.

Wii Sports Resort – sword-fighting and archery are without a doubt the stand out events here, but golf and bowling make a welcome return with much-improved control thanks to Motion Plus. The skydiving and plane events are pretty reminiscent of Pilotwings and gives a good idea of that a Wii version would be like.

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Comments»

1. Ashton Raze - September 2, 2009

Good choices here Mafroooo, nice to see HotD getting some love, I’d rank it as the best console lightgun game around.


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