After a seven month-long hiatus, 30 Rock is back! The Office and Parks and Recreation are back too, but it’s only been about month since we last saw those. So, I’ll definitely be making time to watch those. How ’bout you?
Also, don’t forget, it’s Mario Kart 7 game night tonight! Race with VGH at 6 Pacific/9 Eastern! Just add the VGH community: 20-7403-9734-6418.
There were some really, really great games in 2011. Here are a bunch of my favorites, followed by others that I also liked, just not quite as much as these top ten.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
I want to be mad at Ubisoft for annualizing Assassin’s Creed and simply tweaking and enhancing the previous game, but it’s hard to get upset when I like the core game and its storyline so much. Revelations is, for all intents and purposes, more of the same. They’ve added a couple of things like bombs and the tower defense-style ‘den defense’, but really you’re mainly getting a new city to scamper around in and the continuation of the modern-day saga of Desmond. As the title implies, things are revealed, so if you’re a fan of the series you should definitely get caught up and play this latest iteration through to the end.
Although this actually came out towards the end of 2010, 999 struck such a chord with me that I’m happy to feature it alongside the best games I played this year. I haven’t played many visual novels (the closest maybe being Hotel Dusk: Room 215), but I loved that the game took its time building up an elaborate mystery which, despite the many unexpected twists, all seemed to make sense in the end. The ways the creator managed to incorporate genre tropes and even the DS format into the story and gameplay were nothing short of genius and had me scrambling to play the game over so I could experience it again from a new perspective. It’s like The Prestige of video games—the deception is right under your nose the entire time, but you’d never in a million years suspect it.
We’re back! 2012 is in full swing, what with our new episode this week and everything. In it, we run down our top 5 favorite games of last year, but we’re also posting our full top ten (or more!) to the site over the next few days. Randy kicked it off today with his top fourteen. Keep an eye on the blog Monday through Wednesday for everyone else’s lists. The only thing we’re missing to really complete this 2012 motif is John Cusack driving a limo away from a wave of destruction.
Why 14? There were just so many games that I enjoyed in 2011 that the standard 10-item list couldn’t contain them all.
14. Gears of War 3
I like the Gears series in a way that surprises even me sometimes. This installment brings some of the best new elements to Delta Squad’s seemingly never-ending war against the Locust, including refined shooting and cover systems, smarter enemies and a longer, more complex story line. It’s easy to dismiss Gears of War for simply providing more meat for the meatheads (which it definitely does), but I’ve always felt that there’s way more going on here: Gears 3 has a sense of finality and depth that’s hard to find in most games, let alone one about hulking soldiers mowing down hordes of alien foes.
13. L.A. Noire We certainly did our fair share of complaining about L.A. Noire here at Video Game Hangover but it still stands out as one of my favorite gaming experiences of the year. The investigations and characters at the heart of the game are utterly unique, as is its 1940s Hollywood setting. Try to overlook the frustrating interrogations, strangely empty game world, or oddly-anticlimactic pacing and you’ll find something truly uncommon being attempted here. I can only hope that the inevitable L.A. Noire 2 addresses these foibles and delivers the game that this aspired to be. (more…)
Matt was supposed to talk about Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, and he does, but since he’s vacationing with family, he also had a chat with his wife and her siblings about the Playstation Move game Carnival Island. He briefly discusses a couple games that helped them pass the time while at the in-laws’ house too, as well as a few portable gems that helped him survive the lengthy road trip it took to get there.
Did you know Square Enix actually put out a Christmas album last year? It’s mostly (actually, entirely) the Square side of S-E (no holiday Dragon Quest arrangements in sight), but it’s still worth a listen just to experience some unusual and very jingly versions of a few classic Square tunes. Here are some of the more notable ones in case you’re tired of playing the same old Christmas Eve background music.
In honor of the holidays and as a huge THANK YOU to all of you, we’re going to be giving away a handful of download codes for various games over the next few days. Without our wonderful listeners and readers, giving us feedback and sharing VGH with their friends, we wouldn’t have had such a fantastic first year. We’ve got something from PSN, something from XBLA, something from WiiWare, and something from Steam, so there should be a little something for everyone.
Yep, believe it not there are a few developers out there that thought releasing a game 5 days before Christmas is a good idea! There are some heavy hitters coming out this week. First up is Running With Scissors’ magnum opus Postal 3. I’m glad RWS was able to push this game out the door as I have been dying to continue the saga of The Postal Dude. *Hopefully we’ll be treated with some stunning revelations regarding his past history with the shady organization known as FedSex. I know that when I was finished with Postal 2 I immediately began an online petition/campaign demanding Postal 3 be rushed out as quickly as possible as I just had to see the conclusion of The Postal Dude’s journey. It’s probably for the best that Running With Scissors ignored my email campaign, and instead spent the last 7 or so years polishing the title so we’re almost guaranteed to be treated to something special this time around. I simply cannot wait!
In this special Mini Hangover Episode, Paul and Matt spend the first half of the show playing PAYDAY: The Heist. We then take a quick break and give you our impressions immediately after finishing our first session with the game!
So, that’s a wrap on “season one” of Video Game Hangover. If you haven’t listened to it yet, head over and check out our year-end, 100% listener feedback special episode. That’s the last full-length episode for 2011, but we’ve got some special VGH minis coming over the next couple of weeks in the podcast feed just for our subscribers. Time permitting, we’ll be tossing up the occasional blog post here and there as well.
HO HO HO, I’m here to “WRAP UP” our gamer gift lists for this year. Some of these are things I mentioned when we all discussed our lists in Episode 33, but there’s some new stuff as well, so read on!
Games for Non-Gamers
Trying to get someone into gaming? Valve’s Portal 2 might be the key. It introduces a lengthy co-op mode with hours of the series’s trademark puzzles and wry humor. For new gamers, the first-person controls might be a bit of a shock, but reassure your non-gamer recipient that they can ease into them at their own pace, since there won’t be mobs of angry teenage boys shooting at them over Xbox Live.
This is it, our final show of 2011! In this week’s episode, The Whole Crew get together with drinks, and frame the entire show around your incredible feedback! Thank you so much for the support and we’ll see you in Season 2 in 2012!
When Q-Games announced in 2009 that their new PixelJunk title would be called PixelJunk Shooter, despite it playing more like Solar Jetman than Gradius, the 2D shooter fan in me cringed a little. Fast forward a couple years and Q-Games has spun elements from that game into a new title that plays more like a traditional shooter but, in a small twist of irony, is called PixelJunk SideScroller to set it apart from its less shootery siblings.
(Don’t worry. There will be time for questions at the end.)