Monday, 5 January 2009

Top 10 Xbox 360 Games of 2008

10. Dark Sector
- Yeah, I really digged this game. It feels like a Gears of War clone but Gears of War doesn't have the glaive! I love what you can do with the glaive, it's a very satisfying weapon. Overall, the game is quite short but exciting with gorgeous visuals and great gameplay, and with the glaive. Yeah, I'm sold on this game thanks to the glaive. Come on, admit it, it is fun!

09. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
- I've think I've written about this game twice already so I won't say much about other than, despite its bugs and glitches, it's incredibly fun to play, to just go rampant with the Force Lightning or whatever your favourite Force Power is. :D

08. Tomb Raider Underworld
- The Tomb Raider series have undergone some changes in the past few years, since Crystal Dynamics took over from Core. Tomb Raider Underworld is the sequel to "Legends", and I admit I didn't play that game so luckily, there's a "Previously on..." video available to watch to catch up with the story. The visuals are terrific - especially the Thailand level. There are two underwater levels in this game that are just awesome, the first one had me gasping because it looks really good. Wow! There's plenty of puzzles (which I love) and acrobatics but not so much action and no bosses except a final boss (I thought that was strange, hmm). If you don't liked Tomb Raider before then your opinion won't change with this game, but if you are a Tomb Raider fan then you will probably love this game.

07. Soul Calibur IV
- So finally came the sequel to the legendary beat 'em up (or is it Fighting these days?) series Soul Calibur! Did it deliver? Yes! But it doesn't live up to the greatness that was Soul Calibur II, but it's still a very good game. It introduces some new concept like the Soul Gauge - in short, if you guard too much your, er, soul will break and your opponent can, if quick enough, tap a button and end you instantly. This works good but I'd want something for the players that just tap one button and kill you that way, like some of my friends who just taps X repeatedly and gives me no chance to stand up or do anything. Oh well, Soul Calibur has always been casual! The game is still the best fighting game of 2008.

06. Ninja Gaiden II
- Blood! Bodyparts! More blood! This is the ultimate slasher of 2008! If you like sharp weapons that chop enemies into pieces or blunt weapons that crush them, then you will love this game. There's a load of weapons to choose from and you will be satisfied, I bet. My personal favourite is the huge Scythe, muhahaha. It all looks beautiful, too, all that blood. Storywise there isn't much to get from this game as that is probably the weakest point but it doesn't matter because this game is just meant to be a brainless slaughter fest!

05. Condemned 2: Bloodshot
- The anticipated sequel to Condemned: Criminal Origins. First-person horror at its best. It took me a while to get this game and I regret I didn't get it earlier. Once again, you play as Marcus. He's now living his life as a drunk and is one night plagued by visions and appearances, which is where the adventure starts off. This is truly a terrifying game and just like in the first game, the focus is on melee combat (but there are guns if you want to use them) which forces you to go up close and personal with the enemies which makes the game more challenging. There is now also a combo system in place which works well but it's really hard to master them because the enemies are ruthless. I played on hard and I found myself resorting to guns because it was so challenging, so I didn't experience the melee combat as much as I would have wanted to. If you like a scary game with a good story, challenging difficulty, and intense moments, then this is the game for you.

04. Prince Of Persia
- Forget all you know about the Sands Of Time-trilogy - this is Prince of Persia 2008! Ubi Soft has refined, modified and changed their Prince and the result is this beautiful game. This game feels more like art than a game, and it's a good thing. What you will notice early on in the game is the breathtaking visuals - the game looks fantastic and hosts a variety of different environments and in two forms - one corrupted version and one healed version. Gone is the emphasis on fighting - here you fight one bad guy at a time, at regular intervals as the focus is on acrobatics and exploring the beautiful world. When you do fight, forget button smashing, that doesn't work - instead you are invited to learn combos and practice tapping the right button at the right time. It all works really well and when the adventure was over, I sat there overwhelmed by the ending (I thought it was great) and feeling the urge to play it again - which I rarely feel after just finishing a game. The replay factor is HUGE because the game is so far away from being linear as possible - I don't think I've ever encountered a less linear game (bar RPGs) before.

03. Dead Space
- EA surprises big time with this sci-fi survival horror set on a, seemingly, deserted spaceship. This game is exactly what the survival horror genre needed, seeing as Resident Evil now has lost its roots and Alone In The Dark was a major disappointment (Silent Hill: Homecoming isn't out in Europe until February...). I've always felt like Dead Space is a game of the second Alien movie - there are many similarities in both the settings and the story - which I think is quite cool but also proves that there isn't much originality to the story. There's also a twist near the end of the game but I had it figured out long before, which was a shame. Dead Space is eerie and atmospheric, certainly not for those with a weak heart, but also gorey. There are also no real weapons in the game, you have to improvise with the different tools left behind by the miners, and it works really well. Ammo is scarce, too. There's also a change of the cliché that you gotta shoot them in the head - in this game, that's not the way to go, you gotta shoot the limbs off or else the monster might mutate. A very cool change that works great. This is everything you can ask for from a survival horror game and it really delivers, having moments of panic, moments of unsettling peace, and moments of action.

02. Gears Of War 2
- The sequel to last year's terrific third-person shooter delivers on pretty much all levels. It manages to feel fresh despite being so similar to its predecessor - much thanks to the various vehicle stages, the new weapons and the new multiplayer modes. This game has many awesome moments that just made me feel cool and in awe (how satisfying isn't the Rumak ride!?), and I'm itching to have another go at the campaign mode - this time on Insanity difficulty. The game also features a bit more humanity (in terms of feelings) and soul than the first game which is played out rather good by Dom. Gears 2 also introduces a couple of new characters and sees the return of many characters from Gears 1 - Cole is back and I just love his remarks and style, no matter how cliché they are! What doesn't boost this game up to #1 is the length of the campaign mode (it feels a tad short) and the music (at least in comparison to the #1 on this list). I am now eagerly awaiting Gears Of War 3 - teased by the very last few seconds of the ending. Bring it on!

01. Fallout 3
- Featuring over 100 hours of solid adventuring, the best soundtrack of the year, some great gameplay mechanics (like the V.A.T.S.), a massive, haunting world filled with locations and stuff to do, lots of freedom, and stellar graphics surely make this game, without a doubt, the best Xbox 360 game of 2008. It might even be one of the best games I have ever played in my life! Of course, the game has some bugs and graphical glitches but that doesn't matter when everything else in the game is so awesome. I also have Bethesda to thank for introducing me to such wonderful music - the music that plays on Galaxy News Radio is not only perfect for the post-apocalyptic world but it's also some damn good music and I have the entire soundtrack now. I never, ever, saw myself listening to music from the 40s. Thank you, Bethesda, for this very impacting game. Thank you!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Top 10 Original Mega Man Tunes

Here's my top 10 list of the Original Mega Man music. This is a really hard one, except #1. That one was clear, but the rest...

10. Prologue Part 2 (Mega Man 4)
- One of the best tunes from Mega Man 4. However, MM4's tunes don't compare to MM2 and MM3. After MM4, it's like they ran out of imagination and just put together some random sounds. This Prologue theme has a cool vibe to it, similar to some of MM2's music.

09. Snake Man (Mega Man 3)
- Mega Man 3 had two boss names which you could horribly misinterpret - this is one of them and the other one is Hard Man... Yeah... Haha. Snake Man's music is awesome, it really clicks to me, but I don't think it's very popular amongst the majority which is a shame, cause I think it's really great.

08. Skull Man (Mega Man 4)
- While Mega Man 4 doesn't have many memorable tunes this is an exception though, cause Skull Man's theme is awesome! It's dark and not so uplifting. I also quite like that clapping sound that occurs in some parts of the song. Is it a clap? I don't know, but that's how I can best describe it.

07. Mega Man 3 Title Theme (Mega Man 3)
- This one would have been rated higher if it wasn't for the slow intro. The first part is quite dull, actually, but that second part kicks ass! I love, however, how the slow intro builds up into the explosion that is the second part! Catchy, like most of the music from the classics.

06. Crash Man (Mega Man 2)
- I hate the stage, I really do. But I love the music. It's another one of those catchy ones that lifts you up. Too bad I don't like the stage... :D

05. Mega Man 2 Title Theme (Mega Man 2)
- Catchy stuff! It gets you going, anticipates you for the action ahead (well, for the mere 2 seconds you'll listen to it before hitting "Start" :P). Stay and listen, it's a really cool tune. Reminds me a bit of the #1 on this list.

04. Spark Man (Mega Man 3)
- This sounds like some uplifting anthem! I wonder, whatever happened to the music after Mega Man 3? MM2 and MM3 both had wonderful music but after that, there's hardly any great tunes. Maybe it is because we played MM2 and MM3 most and the music stuck? But when I try to listen to the MM4-MM6 music I just find it to be very weird. How could they go so wrong, Spark Man's theme is an example of how it should sound - Catchy bleeps that captures you at once, but all that got lost after this game. Weird.

03. Flash Man (Mega Man 2)
- I think this one is a bit, I don't know, sad. Yes, sad. It's not so happy or driving but it's rather chilly and cool (yes, I know... the stage is made of ice). I love it, though. It sounds so different from a lot of the other tunes and this one also used to be my favourite stage when I was younger, so I think that's why I also love the tune. I loved everything about Flash Man. :D

02. Bubble Man
(Mega Man 2)
- Mega Man 2 has definitely got the best music of the series. This one is for Bubble Man's water stage. It's not so "right-in-your-face" like most of the other tunes, but it's kinda relaxed (and that doesn't mean it's a bad tune in the Mega Man-universe - quite frankly, the opposite, it's the second best ever). Bubble Man's (in my opinion) is the shortest stage in MM2, at least that's what it seems like to me, and he is not particularly difficult to beat. The biggest challenge is those spikes, ya know? :D

01. Dr Wily's Castle (First Half) (Mega Man 2)
- Epic! The ultimate Mega Man tune! It's cool. It's haunting. It's fucking awesome! This has to be heard to be believed and described.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Top 10 Zelda Items

The next list in my unnecessary series of Top 10 lists is about the best or coolest items in the Legend Of Zelda franchise! It took me quite some time to compile this list but I think I'm happy with the result.

10. Staff Of Somaria (A Link To The Past)
- A cool item with many uses that just begs to be used in the next 3D console Zelda-game. Imagine the possibilities and puzzles they could create with this item in the game! It'd be a lot more fun than just pushing huge blocks around. This staff creates an orange block that you can push around to use as an ordinary block or you can hit it and it will shatter, damaging enemies that get hit by the shards. If Nintendo could incorporate this item in the next Zelda-game (and not just forget about it after the dungeon you get it in (Spinner *cough*, Ball & Chain *cough*, Dominion Rod *cough*)) they can create some seriously fun puzzles and challenges!

09. Quake Medallion (A Link To The Past)
- Okay, not really the most useful item there is but it sure has some fun value to it. Once you activate this, you will freeze the screen for a moment and activate a series of lightning and quakes that will turn all enemies on the screen into ugly little turnips (or well, yellow blobs with big eyes). Hilarious to see those big bomb-throwing things turn - not so tough now, are you? :P

08. Ocarina Of Time (Ocarina Of Time/Majora's Mask)
- A classic item, isn't it? If you played OoT/MM when they were first released and have beaten them a couple of times since then, I bet all those little melodies are stuck in your head and I'm sure you still remember some of the button combos for them! It was a really cool item at the time and while it's not a groundbreaking item, it holds some nostalgia factor mostly due to the nice melodies you had to play over and over again. I love Song Of Storms and Sonata Of Healing. Minuet Of Forest is nice too. What's your favourite?

07. Hero's Charm (The Wind Waker)
- It's only a neat, not very useful, item that I just found myslef loving. With this, every enemy gets a visible little health bar. That's it. But I love it. Every Zelda-game should have this. :D

06. Magic Cape (A Link To The Past)
- This cape turns you invisible! It consumes magic but it's still cool. It works much like the Stone Mask from Majora's Mask (however, the Stone Mask doesn't require magic), most enemies don't see you so you can run around freely as long as your magic meter isn't depleted. It's a life saver when you're low on health and need to escape! It's also nice when you just don't want to be bothered by anything I wouldn't mind seeing this item return in a 3D Zelda... I don't mean because I need life saving (the games are easy enough) but because it's nice to get past some enemies undetected so you don't have to fight them (save time :D).

05. Pegasus Boots (A Link To The Past/The Minish Cap)
- Dash attack! Bwahaha! This is probably the item I've used most in ALttP. It has many uses and you get it very early on - right before the very first dungeon (or Palace, if you prefer). You can sprint with it by just pressing A once and cross screens in matter of 1-2 seconds, making travelling very enjoyable, and if you happen to run into an enemy he will get hurt by your sword, possibly even killing him. Sometimes you can also use it to break walls, works as a substitute for bombs in some cases. ALttP just wouldn't be the same without it! But it sure does look like it hurts when you hit a wall or obstacle with it - the whole screen shakes and Link is hurled back a bit! :D

04. Bow (Most games)
- Although a standard item, I always find big uses for this. It's really nothing special but I use it so much and it comes with a variety of arrows (Light, Fire and Ice) that it deserves a spot in this list. It was as most fun to use in Twilight Princess for Wii due to the Wiimote aiming; made it much more enjoyable to use. I used the Bow almost every chance I got in TP because it was so fluidly integrated with the Wiimote. I think this item has been used in every Zelda-game, correct me if I'm wrong. It's also a nice candidate for puzzles. :)

03. Fierce Diety Mask (Majora's Mask)
- Many of the masks in Majora's Mask are cool. The Zora Mask is probably my second fave and I thought of putting this here until I realized I had forgotten about the coolest of them all - The Fierce Diety Mask! It's the hardest mask to get in the game because you need all other 23 masks before you can get it, then you need to complete some mini-games on the moon at the end of the game and only when they are done, can you get the Fierce Diety Mask. And it rocks. Oh hell yeah! Too bad you can only use it in boss-rooms, though. Link turns into some kind of oni and slaughters absolutely everything - he shoots some energy bolts from his sword and that alone can kill the last boss' all three transformations in mere 10-20 seconds. It's THAT powerful! Would have loved to use this outside the boss rooms, just for fun, though. :(

02. Master Sword (Most games)
- I realise many people probably think this is the cheesiest or most boring item of all but I can't help but get shivers whenever I pull this out of the pedestal in A Link To The Past, Ocarina Of Time and Twilight Princess. The music that plays comes from A Link To The Past and it brings back so many memories that in the moment you press "Check" or "Grab" the hair on my arms just stand up! Magic, but I know not everybody's feeling it, sadly. It also looks good, especially when it glows! Ahhhhh! Look at this video - - when the sword is pulled from the pedestal in A Link To The Past. I love this scene... The foggy, gloomy forest turns into a beautiful, lush and sunny forest.

01.Double Clawshot (Twilight Princess)

- The best item ever in a Zelda-game is the Double Clawshot from Twilight Princess for Wii/GCN! It lets you handle two Clawshots at the same time, one in each hand, and you can sweep across distances flawlessly. This opens up a new way of puzzles and it's too bad you get this at the end of the game because of the usefulness of this item. It makes the ordinary, not-so-special Clawshot into something very special! And oh, once you got this, who didn't instantly run to the STAR-game in Hyrule Castle Town to play the second game? :D Fun, fun, fun! If you don't know, a Clawshot is much like a Hookshot. I hope to see something similar in a future title, Nintendo!

Friday, 14 November 2008

Top 10 Star Wars Games

It's time for the Top 10 Star Wars games! Yes, I'm a Star Wars-nerd! Only one game per "franchise", you know?

10. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (X360)
- Surprise! Seriously... There are lots of funny spoofs in this game. In fact, if it hadn't been for the spoofs this game wouldn't be ranked this high. Lego Star Wars II has given me many laughs and coupled with a good gameplay makes a good, enjoyable game. There are some problems with the over-sensitive controls and the camera but if you can see past that then there's a lot to fetch from this game. I probably wouldn't advise this game to anybody but fans of the franchise, though. I also love being able to play as just about any character I want - Favourites being Yoda (Ghost) and Boba Fett! I love Boba Fett!

09. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (X360)
- I think many people will disagree with me but the truth is the game IS fun to play. Yes, it's also very glitchy and throws cheap tricks to kill you which only leads to frustration but I found that I still wanted to continue playing the game because it is so much fun to just slaughter everything with my fully upgraded Force Lightning! Funnily, the game entered my previous list too but it still ranks pretty highly on this list because the majority of the Star Wars games are much worse than this. If you think The Phantom Menace for the PSX is better than this game, you need an examination by a professional doctor. I also love playing as Vader in the prologue and going around tossing Wookies to the left and right is very satisfying! The story is quite good, too, to be honest. I like the story. If you are a massive fan of destruction and Star Wars and wondering whether you want to play this game or not - play it! It's lots of fun, if you can handle the frustrating issues.

08. Star Wars: Shadows Of The Empire (N64)
- This might be the third surprise of the list, I know I might have an odd taste. This game probably hit the list because of the nostalgia factor, though. I keep telling myself - this game is really good, but it could just be the nostalgia. I think this game was the first to let us hop into a Snowspeeder and whack AT-STs and AT-ATs on Hoth in 3D, am I right? That was a remarkable experience back in the days. I haven't played this... gem... for a long time but I remember the levels are lengthy (especially Boba Fett's level - Gall Spaceport, my favourite level of the game) and that made up for the fact that there are only 10 levels. I would like to dedicate a bit of this space to Gall Spaceport. I was about 9 or 10 years old and this level kicked my bloody ass! I remember almost every second of it! It seemed to go on forever, too, and in the end, you fight Boba Fett and I remember he was hard as hell! Eventually, a friend of mine beat this level (he had a copy of the game, too) and beat the remainder of the game in a few hours only. The biggest challenge in this game is that level and when I finally beat it, the happiness was immense! One of my favourite gaming moments. I guess that might be a reason why I like this game so much.

07. Star Wars: Battle For Naboo (N64)
- Sure, it's Rogue Squadron with different ships and a couple of decades earlier, but I won't count it as a Rogue Squadron. There's a bit of differences though - the drawing distance is massively increased (that means you can see much farther ahead) and there are several ground missions on speeders. The ground missions are a nice change of gameplay but don't really vary the gameplay TOO much since the missions objectives and everything else stays the same. It doesn't follow Episode 1's story but takes place a bit before it (I think) and I think this was because not many people enjoyed the movie so the developers didn't want the gamers to feel like they experienced the movie again. Correct me if I'm wrong though. My favourite ship is the Naboo Starfighter and there's actually a code you can input in Rogue Squadron that lets you select the Naboo Starfighter! This is a nice little game that I chose over Conker's Bad Fur Day (I chose between the two) and I actually regret not choosing Conker because I played a bit of it and I love it already... I've been trying to get it for Xbox but no luck yet. Anyway, onwards! :D

06. Star Wars Arcade (Arcade)
- Everytime I go to a nearby amusement park here (Liseberg in Gothenburg, one of the most popular in the Nordic) I make sure I enter the Aracade hall to play this one at least once. I love it even if it's hard and I never beat a level, haha. The lightsaber against Vader is really cool and same goes for the Hoth battle with the Snowspeeder. Actually, I almost beat the Hoth battle once! :D I hope they never remove this game from the Arcade halls - it's a classic and still works even today, 14 years after its release. If you see this game when you're out somewhere then drop a coin into the machine and play because it's a lot of fun and you never know when the Arcade machine gets removed or replaced.

05. Super Star Wars: Episode 6: Return Of The Jedi (SNES)
- A classic! I chose between this one and Epiosde 5 but went for this one because this is the one I remember most. I used to rent this game when I was younger and played it til my eyes bled! It's a very challenging game and takes some patience to get through. You can play as Luke, Han Solo, Chewbacca or Leia (I'm not sure if you can play as anybody else, I don't remember) and they differ a bit from each other - Luke has the lightsaber while the others have blasters and rifles. I enjoyed playing as Luke the most, not surprisingly. He just looks so cool with his green lightsaber and it's more fun than to run around and blast stuff.
To be honest, I never beat this game. I got to the final stage where you blow the Death Star up but I never managed to escape with the Millennium Falcon - it was too hard for me. Who knows, maybe one day I will download a rom for the game and play on an emulator (I'm not gonna go through the pain of trying to find the game to buy for my SNES) and finally get to finish it.

04. Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (GCN)
- I said before that I love Boba Fett. Well, that's why I love this game. You get to play as Jango Fett (Boba's father) and he's just as badass as his son. Dual pistols, jetpack, flamethrower, rockets - you name it! The missions are fun and the game is HARD, almost too hard sometimes, so it takes a while to plow through it. If you want to, you can also claim bounties by scanning the right enemies and then either capture them by snaring them with some kind of rope or kill them - a neat and fun little addition. The game takes place before Episode 2: Attack Of The Clones and ends where the movie starts and explains Jango's story. It also explains where he got his badass Slave 1 from! I may be biased because I love Boba & Jango Fett but I do think this is one of the best Star Wars games ever made.

03. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3: Rebel Strike (GCN)
- Now, while Rogue Squadron for N64 was really good, I still think that the third installment is a bit sharper. Why? Because you get to control a freaking AT-AT!! You get to speed through Endor's moon on a Speederbike!! What isn't there to love about that? The game has excellent visuals and music, too, and includes some short scenes from the original movies which is a cool addition. It has some ground levels on foot that weren't very good but they weren't that many and except those parts, it is the best Rogue Squadron to date (is the franchise finished?) and the 3rd best Star Wars game ever.

02. Star Wars: Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast (PC)
- I've talked about this game before in my Top 10 FPS list so I won't write much about it here. I love the lightsaber duels, they're definitely the highlight of the game and I look forward to everyone. I had tons of fun online, too. Bespin. Ahhhh... Memories! I also loved downloading maps and especially remember a Ladder-one that I could play forever cause I enjoyed the lightsaber duels so much (it just threw lightsaber duel after lightsaber duel at you). Jedi Knight 3 was just as good, too, and had some improvements like three different lightsaber styles but I wasn't as impressed with it because it had the feeling of "been there, done that". Oh and I loved the online play with the X-Wings and TIE Fighters mod!

01. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic (PC)
- Seriously the best Star Wars game ever and probably the best RPG ever. Mass Effect and KotOR1 are both candidates for best RPG ever in my book. It takes place 4000 years before Episode 1: The Phantom Menace and BioWare's take on the franchise is very interesting. The story is massive and engaging and spawned a sequel (however, the sequel was developed by Oblivion and was pretty much just as good but what stopped it from competing for the 1st place is that it's unfinished - it ends abruptly without resolving the main story and leaves many loose threads...). Jedi and Sith are still (can I say "still", I mean it takes place in the past? :P) in conflict, lightsabers are going strong and the Force is just as cool as usual. The technology is more or less just like 4000 years into the future which I personally think is a bit odd - surely development happens in 4000 years? Anyway, to be frank, I don't care because the game is so awesome. I think many people agree with me that this is the best Star Wars game to date. Now, if we could get KotOR3 instead of The Old Republic....

Monday, 3 November 2008

Top 10 Most Anticipated Games That Didn't Live Up To The Anticipation

That's right. You know all those games that have gotten your attention and totally seems to rock but when released, they turn out to be just a disappointment? Too much hype, to be exact. Here's my top 10 list of the games that were hyped up (at least by me) and seemed awesome but that didn't live up to the hype. #1 in this list is the worst game of those, and #10 is the best (pfft, the best out of those 10!).

10. Super Mario Sunshine (GCN)
- Sure, a good game, it sure is but it was so hyped up and everybody awaited the true sequel to Super Mario 64. When it was released, I hurried to grab a copy, plugged the CD into the Gamecube and after about two hours I felt bored. I didn't like the level designs and the game just gave me a strange feeling - I just couldn't LOVE it like I wanted to. It has a few great moments (I love the amusement park and the rollercoaster boss battle) but I was still very disappointed with this game. The bonus games were good but for some reason I can't help but to think of Jeopardy! (Swedish version, don't know what the English sounds like) whenever I hear the music for the bonus stages. Maybe the stakes were too high, Super Mario 64 is still unbeaten and is still the #1 3D platformer. It's a classic and I will never forget it. Nintendo tried but failed. How's Super Mario Galaxy? I keep hearing great stuff about it but I don't feel compelled to play it because it seems too messy. Ah well. Next!

09. Perfect Dark Zero (X360)
- Perfect Dark 64 is the best FPS ever, in my opinion (check the top 10 FPS list), and, just like Super Mario Sunshine, maybe the stakes were a bit too high. RARE has always developed great games and their peak was during the N64-era - every single game they released for that system rocked! Star Fox Adventures was really good too. However, they didn't quite make PDZ the game it could have been. The game is too short (13 missions I think, whereas the last one is just a boss battle, and PD64 had 21 missions, 17 regular + 4 bonus) and the missions just aren't as fun as the ones in PD64. Same goes for the story, it's not nearly as good as PD64's story. Where the hell are the Maians and Skedars!? Those were what gave PD64 such a great touch and in PDZ it's like they never existed! PD64 (noticed how many times I mentioned this abbrevation so far?) also had a very memorable soundtrack and PDZ only a few memorable songs (I love Bridge - Assault, Subway - Retrieval - Ambush and the best one is Temple - Surveillance - Main Theme). I keep hoping for a Perfect Dark 2 that is a worthy sequel (not a prequel) to PD64. Or a remake of PD64. God, give me!!!

08. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (X360)
- So long we had been waiting for this game, and in such short time we were disappointed. For starters, the game is glitchy. Everybody who has experienced the "Default Text"-glitch knows what I'm talking about - it's the most loathed glitch of the game. Second, the character and controls are too sensitive to the control stick. Third, it's too freaking hard sometimes (I played on the hardest difficulty available at the start - "Sith Lord", there is a "Sith Master" too but screw that... at least for a few months) and keeps throwing cheap tricks to kill you (endless waves of enemies with homing attacks and whatnot, you get hurt by attacks while knocked down and can't get up until a few seconds and by then you're probably mauled half-dead already). I have cursed at this game up until the point of almost throwing my controller out the window! Fourth, the targetting system sometimes doesn't target what you want to target and that can lead to frustration because you either miss your enemy or die because you can't attack it... but! The game is fun. It is. For one playthrough. Maybe.

07. Resident Evil Zero (GCN)
- This is not a bad game either but it's far from the best RE-game. I hate the majority of the enemies - most especially the frogs... Zombie-frogs?! That whip you with their tongue!? What the hell!? A giant zombie-crab in a train!? A giant zombie-bat!? Again, what the hell!? The story is meant to be a prequel to the first game but the story is still not that interesting and the main villain is a man singing to leeches, to control them. Did Capcom run out of ideas or what!? There are so many ridiculous things in this game that it's cringeworthy. In any case, the game does a few good things - like the partner zapping system and allowing you to drop items wherever you want. The graphics are also improved REmake graphics and look gorgeous even today. I also loved revisiting the factory from RE2 - a very nice moment in the game. I would say this game is only for fans of the RE-franchise, everybody else should play REmake.

06. Splinter Cell: Double Agent (Wii)
- Splinter Cell: Double Agent was developed by two teams - one (I think Ubi's Shanghai studios) team for Wii/GCN, PS2 and I think Xbox and another (Ubi's Montreal studios) team for Xbox 360, PC and PS3. The Montreal version is awesome but the Shanghai version is not nearly as good. They're two different games (the missions and locations are totally different) but with the same story. I'm a huge fan of the Splinter Cell games so of course I was thrilled to get Double Agent for my Wii but it sucked - and it was so glitched. I couldn't throw cans to distract the enemies, they were DEAF! I don't remember if I finished it or not but I have traded it in at EBgames (now Gamestop) for a discount on another X360-controller. I got the X360 version of the game a week after and I loved it. A so much better game!

Assassin's Creed (X360)
- So many people assumed this would be Game of the Year! The free-running and climbing mechanics in the trailers seemed to awesome. It is awesome, too. It also looks TERRIFIC and just standing on the highest point of Damascus and looking over the city is breath-taking to say the least! Where the game falls flat is the gameplay. So. God. Damn. Boring. And. Tedious. Every single mission is a repeat of the previous and you have to do it like 9 times. Go to a town then gather information by either: Picking pockets, eavesdropping, doing a small mission (either assassinations or flag collecting) for an informant or interrogating somebody. That's it. All the way through the 9 assassinations. There's also the options of reaching the highest points in the area to scout and "synchronize" the area to your map and to save citizens in need (which basically just leads to a long and tedious fight because the guards won't stop coming at you). It's so repetive. What happened to the creativeness, Ubi? Oh, and I HATE the beggars! Grrr!

04. The World Is Not Enough (N64)
- The anticipated "sequel" to GoldenEye (Tomorrow Never Dies was released for PSX only) and developer EA (back then, we still had faith in them making a great game) had bought the rights for the Bond-franchise. Well, the game was like a downgrade of GoldenEye. Plastic sound effects, crappy graphics, horrible voice acting, boring missions and no blood. I was so disappointed at the time. I sort of half-enjoyed it, though. Thank god there was still GoldenEye and Perfect Dark!

03. Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (X360)
- Many Xbox 360 games in this list, eh? Capcom knows how to make awesome graphics, that's for sure, but they didn't succeed in making this game fun. Before I got my X360, I really wanted to get this game as fast as I could but when I played it I was bored senseless after the third or fourth level. Almost every level looks exactly the same (zZzZzz). Every level plays exactly the same. Go from the starting point to the ending point to kill the boss. On the way there, kill as many aliens as you can. Pick up a few weapons. That's it, that's every level. It's boring and I had to force myself to beat this game, I really mean I FORCED myself. I did it, after almost 9 months of having the game. I almost wish I hadn't cause the game just made me bored and angry.

02. Donkey Konga (GCN)
- I wanted this game so bad when I first heard about it and using Bongo drums seemed like a cool idea. It is a cool idea, still, but Donkey Konga doesn't know how to make it cool. The Bongos don't fit to the music which really detracts from the fun factor and I still feel like a dork when I clap like a maniac (yes, when you clap there's this microphone that picks it up and some songs require you to clap). The soundtrack is very strong, though. A big plus for the soundtrack. But the game is only worth playing so you can hear the songs.

01. Alone In The Dark (X360)
- Hahaha. Hahahaha! This game is a joke (err, I mean "a glitch"). Stay away from this game. End of.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Top 10 Horror Games

The top 10 Horror games is here! It's too hard to narrow it down to only one game per franchise (sorry, but there aren't so many different horror games out there), so keep that in mind.

10. Dino Crisis (PSX)
- Dinosaurs! Only for kids, right? Uh well, WRONG! You play as Regina who is part of a crew sent to investigate a facility on an island that is infested with dinosaurs and yes, that includes a terrifying T-Rex! Some great moments in this game and it's consistent from the get-go through to the end. It's a different kind of horror game due to the dinosaurs and spawns some questions like where the hell did they come from and I bet that you'll be eager to find out the whole story behind it. The graphics might be outdated (remake, please Capcom?!) but it's definitely worth playing because it's still scary and it's still got some great gameplay moments. It plays much like Resident Evil but keep in mind it both games were developed by the same company (Capcom) so that is to be expected. Also play Dino Crisis 2 if you like this game, it's not as good nor as scary but it's a still a good game.

09. Resident Evil REmake (GCN)
- A remake of the first Resident Evil-game, which was released for the PlayStation. It has gorgeous visuals, refind voice acting and some new stuff added. A great package. The best addition, I think, is the Crimson Head. When you kill a zombie you must either do it by blowing their head off or by burning their corpse because if you don't, there's a chance they might get up later when you're passing through, thinking you're safe, and they will be more menacing than ever as they run at you and try to rip you to shreds! Another great addition is the Defense Items which you can use if you get grabbed by a zombie or knocked down by a Hunter. When asking fans about their favourite RE-game, it seems it's always a tie between RE2 and REmake, and it's far, far from a bad game but I think it can get a bit boring at parts and that's why it's #9.

08. Resident Evil: Code Veronica X (GCN)

- I think that this game feels a lot like RE2 and I don't know why. It has lots of scares and Claire (from RE2) as the main protagonist, which might be why I am reminded of RE2. I like Claire. She's just... I don't know, I just like her for some reason. Anyway, the story is bizarre (Alfred and Alexia) but interesting and half-way through there's a nice change of environment never before seen in an RE-game. Wesker also returns (he was presumed killed in the first game) with a supernatural twist and in the end, there's a nice action sequence. Not a lot of fans like CVX but I think it's one of the best RE-games out there.

07. Condemned 2: Bloodshot (X360)

- First-person horror at its best. I haven't played F.E.A.R. but horror in first-person is almost non-existent. I can only name three games and I've already mentioned two, the first being the predecessor to Condemned 2. I like both Condemneds but I think that the second game is a tad better than the first. They're both pretty similar in style but something about the second game makes it even scarier and rougher than the first. A focus on melee weapons forces you to go up close and whack the enemies, which makes the game a bit harder too because you're vulnerable from close range. My favourite level is the Black Lodge (I think that's the name?) where you are chased by this huge monster inside a huge cabin and you must escape from it otherwise it kills you and it really got my hurt pumping. That's one thing that always scares me - being chased by something that will kill you if it catches up with you so you will have to run away from it. The game is dark, moody and has lots of atmosphere and a some great sounds that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Now awaiting Condemned 3!

06. Dead Space (X360)
- Whoa! EA can make a game this good? What the hell? Something is wrong... but I ain't complaining. This game is true Survival Horror. It came out two weeks ago but it's already in my top 5, that says a lot about the quality of this game. I first played on Hard (I always do) and I was surprised at how HARD it really is. Ammo is scarce and health packs too but enemies are plenty. This game feels like an Aliens (that's the second movie for you who don't know the difference between Alien (first) and Aliens (second)) set on a mining spaceship instead of a colony on a planet and that's a plus! The game also packs some great boss battles. This is the rebirth of the Survival Horror-genre and if you are a fan you should pick it up!

05. Silent Hill 2 (Xbox)
- Excellent atmosphere, much thanks to the atmospheric soundtrack and the very deep and emotional story. This is a really great game and one scary game too. It has the legendary descent down through what seems like an eternity of holes which is one of the most bizarre moments in gaming history. Then the reveal at the end... Shocking and truly sad. Wow. A masterpiece that everyone should play.

04. Alone In The Dark: A New Nightmare (PSX)

- A classic game, in my opinion. I first played it for the PSX (but also played the whole game on PS2 but at a friend's place) and was scared to death by the many different scares. One thing I also truly love about this game is the setting and the story - it's set in the early 1900s and deals with ancient history about some Indians called the Abkani and I find it all very fascinating. I remember reading the "Morton Family History"-book in the library in the game and I still remember more than half of it because it was so interesting. The game also hosts a very chilling and scary soundtrack and was one of the first games to utilize the flashlight in a such a cool way. The enemies are afraid of the light so they will try to hide if you point the light at them. A very good game that is underrated.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem (GCN)
- This game will fuck with your mind, seriously. It might not be so scary but it's one hell of a well-made game with a strong soundtrack, solid voice-acting, a very good story and one very unique addition - The Sanity Meter! The Sanity Meter is a green meter that drops everytime you encounter an enemy (they're undead mobs and drain your sanity, it makes sense) and if that meter goes below a certain point you will start hallucinating. However, you will usually not realize you're hallucinating. My favourite one is the one that erases all the data on your memory card (when you save and then it says: "Erasing All Data on Memory Card" and shows a progress bar). When I first got it I was terrified and so shocked and wanted to cry only to, seconds later, realize the game was just fucking with me. There are also a hallucination that turns the room upside down, which is a fun one cause you wonder what the hell is going on. There many more hallucinations to discover and I don't wanna spoil them all (although I probably spoiled the best one :P) . Too bad Silicon Knights didn't make any games nearly as good as this game afterward (Too Human, for example).

02. Silent Hill 3 (PC)
- Many will argue that Silent Hill 2 is the best game of the franchise. I will agree that it has the best story (one of the best stories of any video game, to be frank) and it is the most emotional one, but I think that SH3 is scarier and has an eerier atmosphere and just feels like a tad better game. SH3 also has, in my opinion, the best soundtrack. Akira Yamaoka never disappoints! Anyone who has heard the music from any SH game except the first one will probably agree on this point. There are so many scary noises in this game too, especially the pendulums that sound like a buzzsaw trying to cut through metal. The nurses in the hospital are extremely freaky too, they make this heavy breathing and I panic whenever I hear them! This game also holds one of the hardest and the most annoying(but also most gruesome) puzzle of all games I've played - yes, that's right - the hospital door code with the horrifying poem. I really believe this to be the best Silent Hill out there, I have yet to play Homecoming (damn PAL-release delayed until February!!) but after reading reviews I'm not so sure it would make this top 10-list.

01. Resident Evil 2 (GCN)
- The first horror game I ever played but also the best one I have ever played. The scares are endless in this game and it's packed with 4 different scenarios and two bonus games (one with Hunk and another with Tofu) which is very generous and keeps the replay value high. There are also many special weapons and costumes to collect depending on your rating when finishing the game. Who can forget the licker in the one-way mirror, Mr. X bursting through the studio walls and the hands that grab you through the wooden planks in that narrow, green corridor? An epic game and I never tire of beating it because it is so good. It has all the flaws that other Resident Evil games have - bad voice acting (although it has improved in later years) and a weak story but it doesn't matter to me when it comes to this game - it's just so good. It seems that the majority of the Resident Evil-fans seem to prefer the second game - maybe because it simply is the best? It also has the most eerie soundtrack of all RE-games and the most nostalgic soundtrack - I will never forget the haunting sounds of the different floors in the R.P.D. building. The save theme music is the best of the series, too. If you haven't played this game, you should pick it up! It exists on many, many different systems and I'd say the N64 is the best one - it has many nifty extras that other versions don't have, like the "Randomizer" which switches places of items. A fun addition!

Honorary Mention: Silent Hill (PSX)
- Great, GREAT game but it's in desperate need of an update! The controls are extremely slow and clumsy and the grapics are horribly outdated. Update these two things, leave everything else as it is, and we have a candidate for the Top 3. :D

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Top 10 FPS Games

A round of applause for..... TOP 10 FIRST-PERSON SHOOTERS, any console! And umm... I have played Halo 2 and I didn't like it so much, so there'll be no Halo on this list. Also I haven't played every damn FPS there is out there so remember, this is strictly a personal list and it's not based on overall popularity amongst gamers. I will list the version (console) of the game that I have played and/or like the most. And only one game per franchise!

10. Star Wars: Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast (PC)
Does this count as an FPS? I don't know really but it's a great game and even though the FPS is mostly in the first part of the game, the option is still always there but who wants to use guns when you got the lightsaber! The lightsaber duels in this game are superior to any Star Wars-game (except the sequel Jedi Academy) - I've had so much fun with them. I love Star Wars but to be honest, many of the games are not that good so this was a breath of fresh air back in the days (there have been a couple of great Star Wars-games lately).

09. GoldenEye (N64)
Many fond memories of this game, from my younger days. I don't think I need to talk much about this game at all - other than that I think this game was better when I'm younger, it is a bit outdated now to be honest.

08. Aliens VS Predator 2 (PC)
Not for the faint of heart! I remember the first level (playing as the marine soldier) so well - I was about 12 or 13 and I was so scared. Great atmosphere and a truly scary game. The multiplayer, at the time at least, is truly solid and you can choose to play as either human, alien or predator (in both Single player and Multiplayer!) and each race has its weaknesses and advantages. It's totally up to you - how you wanna play it. However, in single player, there's a separate campaign for each race and I think my favourite campaign is the human one - it's truly scary.

07. Half-Life 2 (X360)
It took me some time to get into this game but in the end, it hooked me. Despite a few boring parts, it's a great game with a huge and engaging story and now I just have to finish episode 1 and 2 (yeah, I'm late). I love the Gravity Gun, especially upgraded. I had a lot of fun with this game after really getting into it.

06. TimeSplitters 3: Future Perfect (GCN)
I really picked this up on a whim, not knowing exactly what to expect. It was cheap and I knew it had a Map Editor (which turned out to be a disappointment due to the limitations). I was pleasantly surprised when I started playing. Nice gameplay and some humor - they always mix good. An enjoyable storyline, too, with many time travels and fun paradoxes and all that. The multiplayer is really fun aswell - especially with the amount of crazy characters! A gingerbread man, Handy-Man (A glove with legs and arms), a rotting carcass, an evil duck, a snow man, just to name a few hilarious characters!

05. The Darkness (X360)
Might come as a surprise for some but I really dig this game. It's dark (no pun intended) and the protagonist is one hell of a messed person. Great gameplay and a big world to explore and many nice quests to complete coupled with a really cool innovation - The Darkness powers! Tentacles growing out of your body, piercing your enemies and slapping them around and then devouring their hearts. A true pleasure to play! Oh and isn't it cool that it was developed by a Swedish developer? I'm Swedish, by the way.

No One Lives Forever 1/2 (PC)
I can't decide between the first and the second game, they're equally good. The first game is a lengthy adventure stock-piled with humor and great action sequence (Aboard a crashing plane, you jump out mid-air and has to fall onto a bad guy and steal his parachute - totally awesome, especially for being a game released in 2000). It's basically a female James Bond FPS, but with a lot more humour and set in the 60s. They spoof many of the various agent movie-cliches and it works so well. The gadgets are way cool too - the lipstick grenade is way cool. I also love reading all of the letters and files scattered through-out the games, many of them are hilarious! The second game refined the graphics and the tools and weapons but it's shorter. Anyone who has played it will remember the boss battle that takes place inside a house.... trapped in the eye of a tornado! Wicked stuff! It also added a bit of an RPG-element that was a good addition. NOLF2 also has one of the best weapons of any game - The BANANA! Throw it in front of an enemy and watch him slip on it. Muhahaha! Despite all the humor, the action is packed and always existent - except for those parts where you play the stealthy type, but it's a nice change of pace. If you haven't played these games, you have truly missed something! They're overlooked gems.

03. BioShock (X360)
Great art-decor (50s style) and eerie atmosphere and environment. Also a nice touch of implants to get nice powers, like pyrokinesis. Nice story and the art-decor is unmatched so far (FPS-wise, anyway). The music really set the mood, too. Just one hell of a great game and I know many people agrees with me, was definitely Game of the Year 2007 in my opinion. The first game ever where I got 1000 Gamerscore too, haha. Think I was one of the first in the world actually (yeah, I've modded my Xbox 360 and downloaded the early leak). Too bad the final boss battle was a push-over - way too easy, but that isn't really game breaking, it's just one of the very few weak points this game has.

02. Metroid Prime (GCN)
I know, I know - most people wouldn't call this an FPS, it's more of an FPA - First-Person Adventure. But I don't care, I view as both FPS and FPA. The action in this game is non-stop and the story is great - however, to get the most out of the story you will have to read the many logfiles scattered through-out the game and I don't think many people would have the patience to read all the lore but it's worth it - makes you care more for the world and understand the motives of everyone. I can play this game over and over, it's so good. The only part I don't like is the underwater part in the middle of the game but... A game can't be perfect, can it? I also must say - the music in this game absolutely rocks! I love the electronic music and some of the remixes of old Metroid-songs are way cool! I remember when I first put the disc in the Gamecube and got to the Data Selection Screen - I was blown away... By a freaking menu screen! The music is top-notch, true rubberband electronica with awesome whistle-sounds and to make matters better the whole animation and look of the menu screen is awesome. Oh, and the effects on Samus' visor when she walks into steam or rain - groundbreaking at the time and still is beautiful! This is a very nicely crafted masterpiece by Retro Studios. Metroid in 3D rocks!

01. Perfect Dark (N64)
The pinnacle of First-Person Shooters. It refined GoldenEye and made it even better, with a better story, better weapons, better graphics, better gameplay, better music, better everything! I know GoldenEye is like the mother of all modern FPS's but really, I've tried playing it lately but I find myself getting bored and I don't get bored with Perfect Dark. PD64 is just the perfect FPS package. I love the music (You'll find me listening to the music on my computer sometimes, as I do right this moment actually - playing now is "Air Force One - Anti-Terrorism"). The game had superb levels and a healthy amount of them - about 17 I think. With the bonus assignments, 21. Correct me if I'm wrong, I didn't count I just went by what I remember. FPS nowadays seem to have a standard 10 chapters/levels with a few exceptions, which is a shame. The story was really cool and who doesn't love Elvis - one of the coolest aliens ever created. I could go on forever about this game but I wanna keep this short. If you haven't played PD64 then you haven't truly lived yet.