Year-end round-up - http://www.mmcafe.com/ Forums


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Ishmael
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"Year-end round-up" , posted Sun 16 Dec 06:57post reply

Now that the year is winding down it's time to trot out that old tradition of listings of things from the previous year. So what games did fine folks around here enjoy in 2007? Here are a few choices off the top of my head that I had fun with:

Best fighting game of 1996: King of Fighters XI. Playing the game made me feel like I had gone to the theater and seen a brand new black and white movie. Thankfully it was a real black and white movie and not that weird computer black and white that Robert Rodriguez used in Sin City.

Best less is more game: Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass. Clever use of the controls and game console set-up made the puzzles seem fresh and fun. Even better, the game doesn't feel as if it has the padding of the more recent Zelda entries that made those games feel like they were a million hours long. The idea that I will probably be able to beat this Zelda game in a reasonable amount of time seems almost like a revolutionary idea.

Best game to feature Nobunaga: Warriors Orochi. Some people divide games into genres such as sports titles, fighting games, or what have you. A much simpler approach to take is to use the binary process of determining whether or not a game features Japanese warlord Nobunaga. Of the Nobunaga games for this year I found I most enjoyed Orochi Warriors. It was insane historical fan-fiction with a feature of constantly rotating characters that kept the action engaging. I should probably also pick a game from the non-Nobunaga pile but, really, who cares about those games?






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Iggy
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"Re(1):Year-end round-up" , posted Sun 16 Dec 19:31post reply

Ironically, the only 2007 released game I bought features Nobunaga indeed : it's Basara 2 Heroes.
I also think it's one of the most hideous games (art direction wise) I've ever seen. The animu is even horriblester than the footage on the site, the stupid bitch who draw the new artwork had her ass fired and she deserved it, and the rest of the menus hurt my eyes.

BUT Nobunaga is still in it, he's still voiced by Wakamoto as all nobunagas should be, and Jigoku Shjo Oichi is excellent. She even manages to be as frightening/crazy as her brother; plus, she's a mendere. Suprisingly, Nagamasa is not only really good, but funny as hell as the tsundere husband. And Matsunaga is soooo evil.

Oh, and I also bought Game Center CX, the nostalgia simulator, but I didn't have the time to take it out of the box.

As Imagawa says : "this year, I'll write in my diary : "nothing interesting happened".





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"Re(1):Year-end round-up" , posted Sun 16 Dec 21:11post reply

quote:
Some people divide games into genres such as sports titles, fighting games, or what have you. A much simpler approach to take is to use the binary process of determining whether or not a game features Japanese warlord Nobunaga

(...)

I should probably also pick a game from the non-Nobunaga pile but, really, who cares about those games?



At last, it seems I've managed to found my soul mate... on a vidyagaem forum, of all places.

Marry me. Pretty please.






マツケン サンバ!!!!

Maou
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"Re(2):Year-end round-up" , posted Mon 17 Dec 01:54post reply

Failing that, try asking the same of Wakamoto. You could do much worse.

I've never played a game with Nobunaga in it, though I know he rules (especially if Wakamoto plays him), but Iggy jogged my memory of one of my fave actors...and I usually can't remember actors in movies or games or anything. And to think I listened to glorious Wakamoto as Al-Cid in FF XII and didn't even register it! (Though to my credit, they had him speak with an incomprehensible slur rather than his crisp awesomeness as Vicious or as Dracula.)





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Iggy
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"Re(3):Year-end round-up" , posted Mon 17 Dec 06:30post reply

quote:
Failing that, try asking the same of Wakamoto. You could do much worse.

I learn today that Wakamoto and I share our birthday . And even though we share very few astrological traits, he's a depraved old man.

Now excuse me, I have rehearsals to attend to.





Maou
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"Re(4):Year-end round-up" , posted Mon 17 Dec 06:51post reply

quote:
he's a depraved old man.
Maybe, but with a voice like that, he can do whatever he wants~ The same may be true for you.





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Spoon
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"Re(5):Year-end round-up" , posted Tue 18 Dec 09:42post reply

Most life-altering gaming experience: Madden 08
I say this because my name is in the credits.
But it really was one of the more interesting gaming-related experiences of my life.

Hmm what else.

Best fighting game I barely got to play with other people: Senko no Ronde (360)

Best DS game I played until I got stonewalled by a damn puzzle: Simple DS vol. 18: THE Gun Ground
It's a blatant Cybernator ripoff combined with Armored Core/Mechwarrior style customizing and locational damage. I can't complain.

Best fighting game that hasn't been released yet:
something something Gleam of Force (PC).... better described as a new GLOVE ON FIGHT!!!
http://www13.plala.or.jp/french/french_index.htm

Best horrible game:
Vampire Rain (360).
This game is both terrible, and yet amazing in how much work and money must've been put into it. It'd be wrong for it to go unrecognized, and it really put Artoon on the map for me. I look forward to their next games!





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"Re(6):Year-end round-up" , posted Sat 22 Dec 07:14post reply

I wanted to reply to this sooner, but I've been too occupied. Come on, people! Why isn't this topic more popular? If it was a bad year, then at least do "10 biggest disappointments".

Moving on...

Game of the Year: Mario Galaxy


I'm kind of getting sick of how awesome this game is...like...I'm growing to resent it. I don't even want to talk about it. I don't even want to like it...but there it is...almost undeniably the game of the year.

Portable Game of the Year: Monster Hunter Portable 2
This game justified the purchase of the PSP for me, and if I never get another game for the system, that's perfectly fine. I just wish it didn't take so long to start/get out of missions, so that it was a little more "short time to play" friendly.

RPG of the Year: Lost Odyssey

Beautiful music, great characters, a solid, engaging system, good storytelling, surprisingly nice voice acting on the Japanese AND English end...the list goes on. Admittedly, I'm only 2/3 through the game, but it would have to start sucking really hard, really fast to lose its "award."

Admittedly, it's not tremendously innovative and it suffers from a few technical flaws, but it brings back the feeling I used to have playing a new Final Fantasy and it's one game that I never want to stop playing once I start.

Fighting Game of the Year: Virtua Fighter 5 on 360.
I was going to argue that KOF XI should be disqualified as best fighter of 07, seeing as it was the best fighter of 05 AND 06 as well, but here's VF5...arguably the best fighter of those 3 years as well.

But the thing that makes it the fighter of the year for me, is Sega going for online play, even after all the stink about it. If it's good enough for 90% of the players, it's good enough to be in.

Underrated Game of the Year: Grim Grimoire
Everyone was too enamored with Odin Sphere to notice this, I guess. It's a shame, because I consider it the better game. Really phenomenal plot, looks beautiful and decently challenging. Of course, sometimes "challenging" was just "annoying" and the interface wasn't too PS2-friendly, but it's not "best game of the year", just "underrated".

Best Worst Game: Trio the Punch
Also "most unexpected port", "best worst party game", "most painful experience", "best game to feature Colonel Sanders" and "worst thing ever."

Biggest Disappointment of the Year: Square girlifying Cecil in the FF4 remake.
Did he always talk with "boku"?

Other

I'll call this the "Best Year to be a FPS Fan", which is unfortunate for me.

Am I forgetting anything? Were there any other good games this year? I liked Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2 pretty well, but I haven't gotten into it much yet. Surely I'm forgetting SOMETHING.

Oh, and as for Nobunaga, I'll just say it was a good year for him, but probably not his best.





chazumaru
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"Re(7):Year-end round-up" , posted Sun 23 Dec 09:11:post reply

quote:
Come on, people! Why isn't this topic more popular? If it was a bad year, then at least do "10 biggest disappointments".

OK, OK...

I don't really like categories, so my 12 games of the year. The date relates to the release of the version I played, even if I actually played the game at a completely different point in the year (although I cheated a bit in two cases, for convenience).

January: Picross DS (NDS)

Phenomenal update for one of the greatest puzzlers ever.

February: Monster Hunter Portable 2nd (PSP)

I had always been interested in the series but never got around playing it until a few weeks ago. A colleague of mine is a huge fan and had been urging me top play together for months now, so I finally took the time to get myself MHP2 before the holidays. Hopefully I can have a huge session this Christmas and join him online on MHP2G next spring. Although I am only a few hours in, I am baffled by how far it took the PSO formula. The 11 different weapons add surprising depth to the game, the atmosphere is charming and epic at the same time, I never feel like grinding, there are tons of nice littles touches... Capcom is really an impressive ever-reinventing-itself publisher, despite the high turnover among staff and impending doom emaning from it.

March: Sega Ages 2500 Vol. 29 - Monster World Complete Collection (PS2)

I wanted to avoid including remakes (like DraQue IV) or compilations of old games, or even VC/XBLA releases of old games. But it would be unfair to Monster World as this was my most anticipated game of all winter, and it did not disappoint, and Monster World III is still as great as *gasp!* fifteen years ago. Too bad that M2 could (obviously) not include the Hudson versions... They also forgot a few translations. M2 did a great job with the Sega Ages line up. Galaxy Force II last summer was also a quality entry.

April: Pro Yaky Spirits 4 (PS3)

My excuse to get a PS3. 2007 was an important year for virtual baseball as Pawapuro finally made the jump to the US market. I did not really follow the NPD sales for the game, did it catch on? Famista DS is also pretty successful at what it is trying to do.

May: Sekaiju no Meiky (NDS)

I am cheating here because I actually played the JP version, and could not find the courage to restart on the US version in May when many of my friends got into it. I loved the game, and I loved the positive atmosphere of the community around the game, with everyone trying to help each other and provide tips gathered from their own experience... That aspect felt even more oldschool (in a good way) and nostalgic of the 8-bit era than the game's design and music.

June: Peggle (Win)

Cheating once again as this is a February release, although I discovered it with the June update. It hooked me all summer long.

July: Tantei Jingji Sabur DS - Inishie no Kioku (NDS)

The remix of Tokimama's main theme is a complete mess, and that crime alone should not allow Tantei Jingji Sabur DS to make the list. Furthermore, I did not play it enough to openly express my view on its quality. However I had a really hard time figuring out a July release. And the mere fact the game features so many old episodes and a whole new one, at such a small price, deserve credit. I mainly played the Tokimama remake since I can almost play that one by heart. I did not get brave enough to get deeply into the new adventure, although it would have helped me work my Japanese last summer. I am amazed at the US release (even though they are apparently removing some episodes from the US translation), and I am afraid a lot of people will be very disappointed. Unless you are a big fan of oldschool detective stories (= slow paced), there is little to enjoy from the game's mechanics.

August: Gyakuten Saiban 3 (NDS)

Perfect ending to a great trilogy.

September: Kid Gekidan Haro Ichiza: Gundam Mahjong + Z: Sara ni Deki Ruy ni Nattana! (NDS)

This is hard to explain to the common crowd who understandably does not give a crap about mahjong games, but Gundam Mahjong was arguably the best game of 2005 (not best mahjong game, best <everything> game) (Or at least, for me). I am not into Gundam at all, but it focused on the only part of the franchise that I even know a few elements about (the original series) and the gachapon power up system and wager mechanics were absolutely awesome. I have no idea why the hell they went on to do a sequel ; maybe I wasn't the only one to enjoy it! Besides online battles, Gundam Mahjong+Z's main addition is the roster of characters from Zeta Gundam, as well as their respective kick-ass voice acting. The new little scenarii are all very fun and parody the original series (although with Zeta, I miss a lot of references). The new gachapon mobile units do not bring enough new tricks, but they ran the risk of breaking the game's balance so I am not blaming them. There are many little tweaks that are not worth wasting your reading time here but make the sequel much better than the original.

October: Takarajima Z (Wii)

A quality third party game on Wii? Oh my car!
Speaking of which, I would not decently put it in a "Best Of" list but I also think Go!Go! Minon (by Success) was overlooked. It tried too hard to become the Katamari du jour, but it featured a bunch of new ideas and was a perfect brain-on-pause game, especially with the single-handed remote which allowed for sipping a cup of cocoa, doodling or surfing on the web at the same time. It also helped that I got it for free, obviously. Over 600 yens (or a couple of Euros/Dollars), it probably loses its charm.

November: Game Center CX (NDS)

I am not very enthusiastic about the show, or any spin-off product they released so far, but the concept is very interesting and each fake game holds its own quite well.

December: Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

I had tremendously high expectations, but it is possibly the most impressive piece of work of the last decade. I think we will analyze the game in a few years and be amazed by how high it placed the bar. Hopefully this will lead the 3D platform genre to come back on the front page of videogame deveopment and audience interest. Given how much Banjo Kazooie took from Super Mario 64, I am very interested in the upcoming Banjo Kazooie project for 360 (although most of the original team is gone). Did they keep the Mario 64 formula (now made prehistoric by SMG)? Did they scrap everything in order to compete with SMG? Or did they find a third way to go? Will Portal influence platform games more than SMG? Will Braid shake the field of 2D design? The evolution and possible revival of the platform genre will be a great subplot for 2008.



There were tons of other nice games this year, from Layton and Lost Planet early on, to Dragon Quest IV, Skate. and No More Heroes recently. When it comes to games, 2007 was the best year since 1998 in my book, and the DS alone was fantastic (I probably could have filled all months with great DS games).

I am quite surprised of not having included any Xbox 360 titles, since it was probably its breakout year with tons of popular games. But I am not a big FPS fan and Bioshock was my biggest letdown of the year. I am sure Portal and Mass Effect would have been there, had I found the time to play them. I am enjoying Blue Dragon more than I thought, too!

Dominance of portable software is easily explained by my current lifestyle.

The saddest part is that I could not think of a single arcade game to include.





IT'S THE BLACK PUDDING!

[this message was edited by chazumaru on Sun 23 Dec 09:42]

Pollyanna
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"Re(8):Year-end round-up" , posted Sun 23 Dec 09:42post reply

quote:

September: Kid Gekidan Haro Ichiza: Gundam Mahjong + Z: Sara ni Deki Ruy ni Nattana! (NDS)

This is hard to explain to the common crowd who understandably does not give a crap about mahjong games, but Gundam Mahjong was arguably the best game of 2005 (not best mahjong game, best <everything> game) (Or at least, for me). I am not into Gundam at all, but it focused on the only part of the franchise that I even know a few elements about (the original series) and the gachapon power up system and wager mechanics were absolutely awesome.



Wahhh! I liked this one, too! The problem is, I don't know mahjong well enough to really get everything out of it. I know mahjong like...Taisen Hot Gimmick level, which is super simple.

There are a lot of little rules or issues I don't quite get, but I've had fun with the game all the same. I'm actually a big old school Gundam fan (or more like Tomino fan?) so it was great to see the little scenario parodies.

The unlocking character system didn't make much sense to me, though. Every time I thought "using this character will surely give me this character!" I was wrong. Can you use Fa? How do you unlock her?

On a mildly-related note, reading your list was really interesting because there were quite a few titles I doubt I'd see people mention otherwise. One of the original reasons I came to this board was to talk about/hear about more "obscure" games.





chazumaru
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"Re(9):Year-end round-up" , posted Sun 23 Dec 10:36post reply

Regarding how you unlock characters in the original Gundam Mahjong, it's a bit too old for my poor brain but I could check that on my cartridge when I am nearby it again (in about 10 days). If I get it right, you are specifically talking about the Zeta Gundam girl in red & yellow dress. She definitely wasn't in the first game but is playable in GM+Z (there are about 20 characters in GM+Z,and they all have their own scenario).

Gundam Mahjong is definitely a bit complex to grasp as it features "real" 4 players mahjong (as opposed to simplified 1vs.1) and adds the special rules of the gashapon Mobile Units equipped by each character, as well as the power gauge... Definitely not very academic. Also, it uses a specific display of the session (all hands aligned under each other), which is practical for handheld consoles but requires some habit.

I can relate to the "Taisen Hot Gimmick level", as I could not pass that gap for a while. Most simple versus mahjong games are fun as you don't really need to understand all the rules or think through any strategy, and the lone CPU pretty much makes it impossible for you to make a huge mistake. It's a good way to learn the basics but also a dangerous way to get lazy and not try to understand how certain things work. I think Taisen Hot Gimmick CosplayJong is the best example of such a simple mahjong game in recent years, although my all-time favorite is the crazy mahjong detective adventure Mahjong Cop Ry on Mega Drive.

I am a self taught mahjong player, for pretty obscure/bizarre reasons linked to games and movies. Now that I think of it, I had written a long draft of an article for IC explaining why, and why both DS and PSP were going to open a new era of mahjong games (and apparently I was right!), before the project felt in limbo for whatever reason. The number of mahjong games for DS in 2007 has been unbelievable, especially in the summer. One week in even saw the simultaneous release of three DS mahjong games.





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catalyst
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"Re(1):Year-end round-up" , posted Sun 23 Dec 12:40:post reply

Mind numbingly fun: Rayman Raving Rabbids. I don't know what this game did or have a hold on me but I had too much fun. Simple mini games when with friends are fun and the uselessness that is in the words "DAAAAAH" has my attention greatly.

Games that prove a point against gamers: Wii Brain Academy.

First I will say in the famous words of mr. peabody: "quiet you"

I nominate this game cause despite the fact the game is fun for the brain it proved a point against me that when your trying to knock the blocks out in the game and make the numerical answer "8" is simply done by 4 + 4. That is all lol. Maybe I should just not drink and try to play that game.. yeah.. thats it.

I wish I had more games to list but thats about it I believe for 2007, most of what I played were old games. I suppose RE 4 is fairly new but I can't really comment on it on 2007.






This song is so true

[this message was edited by catalyst on Sun 23 Dec 12:41]

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"Re(2):Year-end round-up" , posted Mon 24 Dec 06:39post reply

my top 10, without formatting.

10. Halo 3 (Bungie, Xbox 360)

To be honest, I haven't even played the single player campaign for more than an hour. I played a bit on Legendary with a friend in co-op, and that's it. This game is on the list for its robust multiplayer and system link capabilities. Having 8 friends in a room, two online in various parts of the U.S., split across two teams, fighting with strangers in 16-player battles is really something that could only happen efficiently these days, and it's really quite invigorating.

Adding in the replays and screenshot-ability means the next day, hilarious images of you getting launched into the air by your pal will grace your favorite forums. To me, it's an awesome realization of the online environment, which I never thought I would enjoy participating in.

9. Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (Infinite Interactive + friends, PSP, DS, Xbox 360)

Take a derivative puzzle game, add battle features, and a derivative story what do you get? A game I played for almost 30 hours. The fact is, Bejeweled is nice, but I didn't have a lot of incentive to keep going. In Puzzle Quest, the limited tactics of battle are enjoyable, and even though I didn't care about the story in the slightest, the small tasks it gave me were enough incentive to keep me moving around the map. Plus, the battles and quests are bite-sized, making it great to play on the train, which is where I do a lot of my gaming. Unfortunately, the level cap (50) and the lack of things to do after you beat the game kind of left me hanging.

8. Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD (Backbone/Capcom, Xbox Live Arcade/PSN)

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo for Matching Service never came out on the U.S. Dreamcast, and this is basically that game, plus achievements, plus rebalanced AI, and new graphics for the gems, backgrounds, and explosions. Sure, the characters look horrible now, with their 'super eagle'-style filter, but a good game is a good game.

7. Wartech: Senko no Ronde (G.Rev, Xbox 360)

Virtual On meets curtain-fire shooter, with very nice arcade-style gameplay. A lot of people hate on this game, and it's easy to see why it's simple, it's not amazingly fun without friends (what arcade games are?), and has a relatively new gameplay system. But if you sit down and get into it, there's a lot to offer, I find.

6. Arcana Heart (Examu, PlayStation 2)

Arcana Heart was released on PS2 this year (in Japan there's a rumor it might be coming to the U.S. though!), and is an excellent take on the 2D gals fighting genre, which had been pretty stagnant since Asuka 120% Limited. Yes, I do like the gals fighting genre, and yes, I am being serious. These games tend to be faster, have lots of air dashes, and double jumps, and simple recoveries, and in general are not as overpowering in their character designs.

The 'arcanas' in this game each have a specific power that any character can use, but each character has a special affinity for a certain one. Each character plays differently enough as it is, and the addition of these arcanas only serve to refine the characters to suit your play style. That said, I do suck at it terribly, and each character design is more or less based on an anime fetish, but if that doesn't bother you, it's really quite a fun game.

5. KOF XI (SNK Playmore, PlayStation 2)

I have a long history with the King of Fighters series, so it pains me to put this at number 5 on the list, when it's clearly the best KOF in many years. My personal favorite is 2001 (Dreamcast version, with puzzle mode), but I didn't like the evolution of the Strikers system that much strikers are gone now, and proper VS-style character swapping is in and it's really well done, too, with different swaps for mid-combo, guarding, and normal changeups.

This means several gauges to watch, but it's not really too much to manage. Unfortunately, for me KOF was very much about the characters, and as much as I appreciate the addition of characters like Hotaru from MotW, Silber from Buriki One, and other rather obscure fighters, a lot of my very favorites are gone: Joe, Angel, May Lee, Yashiro, Chris, etc. Story-wise some of those should be gone, but I don't care. I want them back. Someone on the Madman's Cafe forums described this as the best game of 1996 - I agree with that sentiment, though I'd probably choose 99 or so. It innovated, but not enough.

4. BioShock (2K Boston/Australia, Xbox 360/PC)

I've written plenty about this game elsewhere, but the way the story is implemented through choice in-game 'moments', as well as the recordings of the ruined utopia's rapidly deteriorating residents is just awesome. The gameplay is fun enough, but that's not why I'll remember the game. It's got such an appealing and well-realized universe that I just want to spend time there. That, and the music is awesome. Considering the time period it's supposed to take place in, there's no real reason for Django Reinhardt, The Andrews Sisters, and Billie Holiday to be in there, but hey. I'm sure glad they are.

3. Jeanne d'Arc (Level 5, PlayStation Portable)

I originally had this further down the list, but I had to bump it up. If I'm willing to play through a 40+ hour SRPG, there's got to be a reason. And there is! To me, if you're playing an SRPG the main thing you're doing is managing units, making choices, and executing them. Essentially, what you're 'doing' all the time is messing with the user interface. Jeanne D'arc has streamlined this to an amazing degree, heretofore unparalleled in the genre. It does things like reminding you that if you save before a battle, you can't back out to a town, so might want to make a separate save.

Crafting skill stones has you combine stones you have to create new ones but if you've already created something, it auto-fills the recipe, so you don't have to remember it. It automatically tells you the stats of a new item for each character. It's just taken away or streamlined all the obnoxious things you always had to back in and out of menus for, and for that, it deserves praise. The story is boring, one chapter is ridiculously obnoxious, but the solid UI, combined with a variety of character types and skills, as well as a non-magic-reliant game system, makes me a happy camper. There's a lot more I could say about this game, but I'll leave that for a later date.

2. Call of Duty 4 (Infinity Ward, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

Anyone who knows me will be horrified that I've got three shooters on my list so far, but this one has the best, most opaque writing I've seen in a game, and is so well designed that I never felt like screwing around. I was always engrossed and felt like completing the task at hand. That never happens! The scenarios were excellent, the scripted gameplay moments were exciting, and the dialog it proposes regarding war was rather mature I thought. You've got your 'being a soldier is power!' bits, but you also play through the horrible death of one of your main characters. Quite gripping.

1. Portal (Valve, PS3, Xbox 360, PC)

Under two hours of the best-integrated narrative and gamplay I've seen in a long time. I'm hitting similar notes with picks 1, 2, and 4, but that's where my interest lies right now. Portal allows you to discover everything about the world without any exposition. It's all implied, but is only there if you want it. Additionally, the first 17 stages of the game feel like a test environment because they are. But the final stage sees you break out of that environment and you're given control of your powers within the "real world," and the game actually makes you feel that way. So, here's my effusive praise for this game to lump in with everyone else's.

Honorable mentions (for games unplayed or just outside the Top 10):

Rock Band (Harmonix, PS3, Xbox 360, PS2)

Being able to sing while my friends play is simply awesome. I also enjoy that Expert (for vocals) is the most accurate, and thus easiest to sing if you know the song well. Huzzah!

Death Smiles (Cave, arcade)

I'm relatively certain this 2D horizontally scrolling shooter from Cave would've been in my proper list if I'd actually played it. It's only in arcades in Japan now, but has excellent music, a very good Cave-like system, and stunning 2D parallax scrolling. Hope it gets a console port.

Neo Geo Battle Coliseum (SNK Playmore, PlayStation 2, arcade)

Maybe this should've been in my list, but I've kind of played it to death and so it didn't feel very 'best of 2007' to me. It is, however, great, and has tons of characters from all over the SNK universe in a relatively well-balanced fighter. And everyone should buy it.

Odin Sphere (Vanillaware, PlayStation 2)

Awesome graphics. Simply amazing. But given that I played its spiritual predecessor, Princess Crown, for all of an hour and a half before becoming incredibly bored, I've yet to actually touch this game. I've heard it's more of the same as far as that goes. If they could find a game designer to match their story, music, and visuals, Vanillaware would take over the niche gaming world.





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"Re(3):Year-end round-up" , posted Mon 24 Dec 07:20:post reply

I haven't played many games this year, but here are a few special games of the year that really captured my interests.

One very nice surprise is the game Otomedius. I think Konami did an excellent job making a comeback in the arcade shooter genre with this spiritual sequel to both Gradius and Parodius. Although there's only 4 stages so far, the 4 different difficulty levels really changes the way the stages are played. You do have to unlock the other difficulty levels by meeting certain criteria in the game.

Another great feature of this game is that you create a profile with a Konami arcade card that will save your progress. Every time you play, you have a chance to earn better power-ups for your ship. You can upgrade anything from your missile types to your heavy gun.

A unique twist to the shmup genre that Otomedius has, utilizing a touch screen. Otomedius has two types of bombs that you can use to clear enemies and cause major damage to bosses. One method is to simply press the bomb button to clear the screen of enemies and bullets. The second method is to hold down the bomb button. You will see a circular time gauge around your flyer... and when you have successfully set up your bomb, you can utilize the touch screen to choose where to focus your bomb attack. Each character (there is 4 so far, with a possible fifth down the road) has his or her own unique way of utilizing this special bomb attack using the touch screen.

Throw in some incredible artwork made by Mine Yoshizaki, and you have my game of the year. Simply beautiful art and design, blended with very solid 3D graphics and gameplay, makes this a knockout game from pillar to post.

Otomedius is definitely a game that has me hooked. It's been many years since I was this infatuated with a game. I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity to play this game, and I can imagine myself playing for many months to come. It's just that deep. I can imagine this game being released for the Wii... but realistically, I don't think Konami will attempt to do that. It's a shame, really.

Pac-Man Champion Edition for XBox 360 also deserves a mention; it was my Game of The Year before I played Otomedius. It's a great spin off of a classic title, and a beautiful swan song for Toru Iwatani, the original creator of Pac-Man who has since retired from making video games.

It's still the same basic concept with dot-eating, fruit-eating, being chased by ghosts and eating them when you grab a power pellet. Yet it deviates from the Pac-Man style of play by adding a limit of time to achieve the highest score you can possibly muster. One huge knock on the original game was the fact that, unless you wanted to strive for a perfect game and a perfect score, there was no replay value to the game. The addition of the timer and uploading your highest score to the XBox Leaderboards gives old-school Pac-Man lovers more than enough incentive to keep playing; to earn bragging rights on a worldly scale.

Having the maze board change layout on the fly was an ingenious idea, as was adding a super point multiplier if you chained power-pellet eating sessions. A deliciously retro-HD look to the game with colorful neon colors really makes this game shine in it's own special way. I also love the mood that the game sets with the ambient trance music in the background. This easily tops my previous favorite remake of Pac-Man, which was in Namco's arcade version of Namco Arcade Classics Volume 2 (Pac-Man Arrangement).

Pac-Man CE is the main reason why I have been pining to get an XBox 360. I really wish it was released for the PS3 or the arcade, especially if the arcade cabinet was linked to an online database for national and world high scores. More people deserve a chance to witness how great this game is.

I'm sure most people won't think much of these two titles at first glance, but I think both games are solid sleeper-hits that deserve your time.





[this message was edited by EddyT on Mon 24 Dec 07:56]

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"Re(4):Year-end round-up" , posted Mon 24 Dec 13:31post reply

Wow Brandon, I hope you enjoy watching Spike TV while you drink Mountain Dew, surrounded by a pile of old issues of Maxim with dried up ejaculate on them.

Honestly though, I share your sentiment on most of the shooters this year (excluding COD, which I haven't played yet), it's just that I can't really get into them myself. I've had a fun time watching other people play Halo, Portal and Bioshock, though. Actually, I can add Team Fortress to that list too.

I'm still thinking about going through Bioshock myself, and if its enemy design was as strong as its environment and sound design, I'd have bought it a long time ago, regardless of if I like the gameplay. It almost fills the "survival horror hole" the market is having right now.

As for Arcana Heart, I think it's a pretty decent fighter, but I have the same problem I have with Mortal Kombat, and that's that I can't make it past the character selection screen. Never mind the fact that the friend I play fighting games with only likes super manly characters.

I almost called Odin Sphere the "most overrated game of the year", but decided that wasn't really accurate, and it would be more positive just to call Grim Grimoire underrated. Instead, maybe I should say it's the biggest "almost excellent" game of the year. Or maybe "game I most want to like, but can't."

I'm hoping if they make a (pseudo)sequel they can either replace the shallow, time-wasting nonsense with legitimate RPG elements, or just screw all that and make it play like Guardian Heroes (which would easily make it the best thing ever). Or maybe BOTH...





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"Re(5):Year-end round-up" , posted Mon 24 Dec 17:18post reply

quote:
time-wasting nonsense



I think I'd like the game a lot more if you weren't playing the same levels with the same enemies over and over and over again. That to me is the worst problem of the game.

To this day, I'm still surprised how effective the "audio logs" mechanic of dishing out story is. System Shock was Looking Glass's first game to make use of it, and it made the game really come alive (even though the game itself was pretty startlingly realized for the time... gooooooo DOS era), it'd get used again to great effectiveness in System Shock 2, and now again in Bioshock...

I'd throw in a vote for Arcana Heart as one of the games I liked this year, except that I played it in some previous years, and even now everybody around me would still rather play GG or MB or even HnK than AH... and these are people that love their anime girls. So I'm not really getting much fun out of it.

Trio the Punch would've gotten bigger ups from me if I hadn't had prior exposure to it. The sheer novelty of Vampire Rain to me wins it out in that category. The re-release of TTP definitely was one of the bigger surprises of the year, though. Here's to hoping for a triumphant re-appearance of Karnov alongside Mizoguchi in the next KOF MI or whatever.

On average, how many Nobunaga games get released a year? Just curious.

I really like Contra 4, and even though it doesn't have 2-player mode for the classic games included and instead substitutes a clever control scheme for 2P mode that will wreck your right thumb, I'm not feeling it as "GOTY!!!" material. Not sure why. Maybe excessive familiarity? Nah, that's never been a problem before.





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"Re(6):Year-end round-up" , posted Mon 24 Dec 22:03post reply

I was pleasantly surprised when they announced Jake Hunter: Detective Chronicles (Tantei Jingji Sabur DS) in the States. It saddens me to read they're not gonna include some episodes. Why? Are they going to make any other significative change to the game?

Funny that you can somehow relate to Taisen Hot Gimmick Pollyanna! I guess it's because it's one of the nicest series gameplaywise for getting into mahjong. I like the arcade approach with 'items' to make your hand better.

All that mahjong talk of you two made me switch on my Simple DS series The mahjong! I really need to learn again some of the basics, and how to make some complex hands because I really suck at this. I always try not to call pon, kan or chi so I can call reach when I've got 1 tile left, because otherwise I usually can't call ron or tsumo when the remaining tile appears. I have to properly learn yaku requirements...






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Digitalboy
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"Re(7):Year-end round-up" , posted Mon 24 Dec 22:39post reply

I hardly played any new releases this year because I am too fiscally retentive to pay over 30 dollars for a game. One day I will decide to buy an Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3.

I did purchased Lupe Fiasco's new album: Lupe Fiasco's The Cool. Just like the previous album Lupe Fiasco delivers. Useless knowledge: Lupe Fiasco spent nearly FIVE years producing his first album only to be leaked months before the initial release.





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Makatiel
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"Pretty Big Disappointment" , posted Mon 24 Dec 23:48post reply

Not sure if it's the most disappointing game I bought this year (I'm not even sure it came out this year and not last year), but goddamn, SVC: Card Fighters Clash DS was a huge disappointment. If it came out last year, than it was enough of a dissapointment to last two years.





chazumaru
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"Re(7):Year-end round-up" , posted Tue 25 Dec 01:29post reply

quote:
I was pleasantly surprised when they announced Jake Hunter: Detective Chronicles (Tantei Jingji Sabur DS) in the States. It saddens me to read they're not gonna include some episodes. Why? Are they going to make any other significative change to the game?


I think the workload is to blame.
I wonder if the new Murder Club will also come to the West...

For its price, Simple DS Series The Mahjong was a pretty good game. It was developed by Warashi, by the way.





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"Re(1):Year-end round-up" , posted Tue 25 Dec 04:01post reply

2007 wins a lot of awards.
Year that had nothing but FPS games I wasn't interested in award: 2007
Year I had to pass the time playing games that were originally released up to 8 years ago award: 2007
Year that the few new games that came out in the genres I enjoy were below average award: 2007





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"Re(5):Year-end round-up" , posted Tue 25 Dec 05:07post reply

quote:
Wow Brandon, I hope you enjoy watching Spike TV while you drink Mountain Dew, surrounded by a pile of old issues of Maxim with dried up ejaculate on them.



hah! I bet you wouldn't say that if halo 3 and cod 4 were off the list!

quote:
It almost fills the "survival horror hole" the market is having right now.



yes, that's true...there's Silent Hill Origins, but I haven't touched it, really.

As far as Arcana Heart is concerned, I've always liked Gals Fighters as I said, so that doesn't bother me...as otaku-pandering as it is. Have you played Big Bang Beat? It's quite good! I bought it on PC in Japan a while back, and it doesn't have those problems.





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"Re(6):Year-end round-up" , posted Tue 25 Dec 06:20post reply

quote:
Big Bang Beat



Big Bang Beat is one of those games that I got really excited for, but then when I got to try the full game was really disappointed. I mean, I love Rapid Fire because their doujin work in the past panders to me, but a lot of BBB just doesn't feel well-made.

I've played a strangely large amount of Akatsuki Blitzkampf this winter, even though after about 4 fights the framerate dies and I have to restart the game. It's actually quite a solid fighting game, even though the huge number of important combos that are based upon the fact that there is no air recovery mechanic look kind of silly... you'd think that something like this would make it a pretty stupid game, but with the combo damage scaling and gravity scaling, it works out. Blitzkampf, however, has been around for a pretty long time now.





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"Re(1):Year-end round-up" , posted Tue 25 Dec 10:46:post reply

I'm not a "list of best games of the year" person. Probably if i think it and make a list of it now I would definitely forget a bunch of games that were early on in 2007 which were more deserving. Many of the games I enjoyed were already talked about so I'll try to talk about other ones ,not necessarily the best games of the year.

-Tekken5:DR online
I loved the online mode because for me there isn't any arcade community or friends who can play well so it is a way to find competition. At first I hesitated because I thought the horrible lag will just make it unplayable (and if the last online fighting game you played was Capcom VS SNK 2 on xbox, can you blame me?) but I found it quite playable especially after you find a couple of good friends who have a good connection and know how to play.
Its probably the same argument Pollyanna made for VF5 which is exciting,I'll definatly pick it up after i fix my xbox 360.

-Skate.
The first 3 tony hawk games for me were great games and I bought and played the hell out of them.
then I started to skip a year or 2 and then buy a the new sequal cause by then only after 2 or 3 games the new stuff would add up to what I consider sequal worthy and not just worthless repititions.
I downloaded the demo and at first it was boring and the controls just felt like a barrier but it a smart way of projecting the learning curve of skateboarding onto the controller.I enjoyed the more relaxing tempo.The game does nothing to enforce you to do any sort of objective, after getting into the game you start to make your own goals like making gaps, chains and whatnot. though if you don't enjoy the source material(skateboarding) you probably won't like it(same argument can probably be said about driving simulators).

-planet puzzle league
I liked the old games when they were marketed as pokemon puzzle league.Its very rare that a puzzle game franchise would add a new element to the main gameplay formula(Tetris for example other than the hold system remains absolutly the same as it was the way it started) but because of the touch screen you can move blocks much faster and you can make a lot of chains while the blocks are exploding, this gives the game a twitch aspect.though lately the game is starting to get old, maybe I should try multiplayer.

-Stranglehold
Its a stupid 3rd person shooter and the game knows that and i don't care.It does have primative tunnels and halls of level design and missions that are blatent excuses to move some kind of a plot.chow yun fat voice acting is funny (as in funny accent way) but its super exciting and flamboyant.The game did have a bunch of great ideas that could have worked on paper and the context sensitive controls didn't work well but the game finishes just before any of the concerns starts to bug you.

next year I will try to play some old ps2 games (Odin sphere and persona 3) interesting note:Persona 3 will be my first attempt to finish an rpg. My last attempt was Dragon quest VIII which for me was very difficult and the random battles were am "not my cup of tea".
Lately I have been trying to explore games(and music) that are out of my nature and its working great (I am a big pheonix wright fan, also loved hotel dusk). I was more of an active games kind of person , next year I'll also try company of heroes, an rts game.





[this message was edited by badoor on Tue 25 Dec 11:14]

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"Re(2):Year-end round-up" , posted Thu 27 Dec 02:33post reply

Well, for me, 2007 ended up beign quite a surprising year when talking about gaming habits: I dumped my PS2 (exiling it to my room's "Corner of Oblivion") and really got into Pisupiland. For 7 months have I played nothing but PSP titles, and I'm glad I did it!!

- Monster Hunter Freedom 2 : All the praise this game can get isn't enough. From the title screen to the last tiny detail in any background, this game has become my fav since I started the tutorial. I just can't believe that such an awesome game is available on PSP... I hope Monster Hunter 2 G makes his way to the USA, it'd be such a pity to miss this wonderful expansion...

- Lumines I & II : Pretty interesting games if you like puzzle-like games. Pretty similar to Super Puzzle Fighter 2X, but mixed with a better soundtrack and more psychodelic than the former one...

- Emulation : Tons of emulated jewels help me to relive my pixeled past this past summer: CPS-1, CPS-2, Neo-Geo, Sega Genesis, GBAdvance, SNES... I just can't get enough emu stuff!!!!

Truly a device of wonders, my dear Pisupi





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"Re(3):Year-end round-up" , posted Thu 27 Dec 04:15post reply

quote:

- Emulation : Tons of emulated jewels help me to relive my pixeled past this past summer: CPS-1, CPS-2, Neo-Geo, Sega Genesis, GBAdvance, SNES... I just can't get enough emu stuff!!!!

Truly a device of wonders, my dear Pisupi



You can emulate all those systems with your PSP?





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"Re(3):Year-end round-up" , posted Thu 27 Dec 05:24post reply

quote:
- Lumines I & II : Pretty interesting games if you like puzzle-like games. Pretty similar to Super Puzzle Fighter 2X, but mixed with a better soundtrack and more psychodelic than the former one...
Ah, was wonderful wonderful Lumines a 2007 game? I was thinking the Xbox one was 2006. If it's 2007, then I can finally post! I may not have any system newer than a PS2 despite having planned to buy a DS for a year and half, but playing Lumines on Xbox is infinite fun. It's the very best puzzle game I've played since Puyo Puyo...the music is stellar, the visuals are stylish (see also where Pac Man CE took a cue from this), and its mechanic is unusual and challenging.

Watch out for the Tokyo Club Mix, which can make you a little sick with all the stimuli. And also watch out in the overseas US rankings for the recorded best rounds of a player named Mr. Hexic. It's truly a feat to behold this man play Lumines by pure reflex. I've never seen better.





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IkariDC
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"Re(4):Year-end round-up" , posted Thu 27 Dec 23:50:post reply

quote:

You can emulate all those systems with your PSP?



Only with his PSP, dude!

Chaz, I kind of knew you were going to mention Warashi, he he.






GAZEROCK IS NOT DEAD

[this message was edited by IkariDC on Thu 27 Dec 23:51]

HAYATO
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"Re(4):Year-end round-up" , posted Fri 28 Dec 02:39post reply

quote:

- Emulation : Tons of emulated jewels help me to relive my pixeled past this past summer: CPS-1, CPS-2, Neo-Geo, Sega Genesis, GBAdvance, SNES... I just can't get enough emu stuff!!!!

Truly a device of wonders, my dear Pisupi


You can emulate all those systems with your PSP?



Well, you can if you own a PSP with firmware 1.50 installed... or you manage to install one of those wonderful M33 custom firmwares (made in Spain, btw)...





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"Re(6):Year-end round-up" , posted Fri 28 Dec 09:22post reply

I guess I might as well count it since its North American release was this year:

Best most-fun game because I love EDF:
EDF 2017 (360)

I'll make no bones about it; my love of EDF is such that this game and no other is the reason why I have a 360. Maybe after 10 more sequels I'll be jaded with it like so many are with Dynasty Warriors, but for now it reigns high in my heart. Also, the English voices contribute most excellently to the experience.

Was Bullet Witch released this year in North America as well?
I'd like to recognize that game somehow, too, but it has neither the profundity of Vampire Rain nor the timeless badness of Trio The Punch. It's simply neither bad enough nor good enough for me to push an accolade on. Perhaps I should name it "Most incredibly mediocre game" or something like that.





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"Re(7):Year-end round-up" , posted Mon 31 Dec 01:51post reply

Biggest Surprise Game
Puzzle Quest - A puzzle game w/ rpg and strategy elements. Kind of slow going, but picks up.

Biggest Disappointment Game
Nights 2 - Its not bad per say. Just not quite there. The control, graphics, music. But hey its Sega we all knew how'd it turn out.

Best Music of 2007
The Lost Vampire Killer - A Castlevania doujin cd with a unique sound and remixes. Track selection avoids the KillerBeginningTears curse.

Biggest Diappointments Music
Felix da Housecat - Moviedisco
I liked a bunch of his stuff before, but there are atleast 2 songs on it that are just intros w/o a song. Just when it sounds like its going to go somewhere the song stops. Just sample material now.

Rockman Anniversary Rock Arr.
Again not bad, but just not what you'd wanted or expected. By rock, they mean just rock, not alt or metal. So its kind of boring to listen to. Its suppose to have some of the Guilty Gear ppl on it, but here the kind suck almost. Notes are off, cheese organs, some sloppy playing, the GG note and riff show up, and some tracks are even slowed down and loose some of their power. Im harsh on it because megaman is what brought me into game music.

Rockman ZXA TUNES
Last years ZX Tunes was awesome. It danced between pop, rock, and electronica. And the split disc mix system worked well. I wake up to Black Burn Eliptical ver. But ZXA is just off. Weak boss theme, the same chord progression is repeated in 2 or 3 tracks and overall just not as inspired as ZX Tunes.





Black_Hayato
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"Re(8):Vampire download" , posted Mon 31 Dec 08:44post reply

http://www.sendspace.com/file/gxza58

The Lost Vampire Killer if anyones interested, as its a bit hard to find for purchase.





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"Re(2):Year-end round-up" , posted Sun 6 Jan 12:40post reply

quote:
2007 wins a lot of awards.
Year that had nothing but FPS games I wasn't interested in award: 2007
Year I had to pass the time playing games that were originally released up to 8 years ago award: 2007
Year that the few new games that came out in the genres I enjoy were below average award: 2007



This, except I was playing games that were up to 17 years old. I've spent the vast majority of the year palying games that weren't released this year, with the exceptions of Tekken:DR (on Dominus' PSP) Fatal Fury Anthology (which really doesn't count, for obvious reasons), TMNT (GBA version), Fire Pro Wrestling Returns (which again, shouldn't count since in reality the game is two years old), Smackdown vs. Raw 2008 (which I have yet to play) and OdinSphere (which I also have yet to actually play).





Er.....

Spoon
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"Re(3):Year-end round-up" , posted Sun 6 Jan 16:33post reply

quote:

Year that the few new games that came out in the genres I enjoy were below average award: 2007


This, except I was playing games that were up to 17 years old.



Just curious, but what ARE the games that you enjoy?

Because I'd agree that 2007 had to be mediocre for SOMETHING, every year is, I'm just not sure what at the moment.





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"Re(4):Year-end round-up" , posted Sun 6 Jan 17:18post reply

quote:
Because I'd agree that 2007 had to be mediocre for SOMETHING, every year is, I'm just not sure what at the moment.



Not a very good year for music!





Gojira
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"Re(4):Year-end round-up" , posted Sun 6 Jan 21:57post reply

quote:

Year that the few new games that came out in the genres I enjoy were below average award: 2007

This, except I was playing games that were up to 17 years old.


Just curious, but what ARE the games that you enjoy?

Because I'd agree that 2007 had to be mediocre for SOMETHING, every year is, I'm just not sure what at the moment.



JRPGs and fighters, mostly. In the case of JRPGs the games that were hyped up let me down (FFXII and Blue Dragon among others... pretty sad when the best RPG I played this year was Rogue Galaxy), and in the case of fighters I'm just not seeing very many new ones anymore. KoFXI and Tekken DR were great but they're both from years that have passed.

So rather than seeking out new stuff, I played older stuff like Advance Wars, Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga, Cave Story, Phantom Brave, Disgaea, every GBA and DS Castlevania out there, Lunar, SF3 3rd Strike, Smash Bros Melee, even Zelda II. And for the most part those were more enjoyable than most anything new I came across in 2007.





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"Re(1):Year-end round-up" , posted Mon 7 Jan 02:02:post reply

I posted a small list on my site, as usual.





news - art

[this message was edited by Rid on Mon 7 Jan 02:04]

Spoon
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"Re(5):Year-end round-up" , posted Mon 7 Jan 06:48post reply

quote:

JRPGs and fighters, mostly. In the case of JRPGs the games that were hyped up let me down (FFXII and Blue Dragon among others... pretty sad when the best RPG I played this year was Rogue Galaxy), and in the case of fighters I'm just not seeing very many new ones anymore. KoFXI and Tekken DR were great but they're both from years that have passed.

So rather than seeking out new stuff, I played older stuff like Advance Wars, Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga, Cave Story, Phantom Brave, Disgaea, every GBA and DS Castlevania out there, Lunar, SF3 3rd Strike, Smash Bros Melee, even Zelda II. And for the most part those were more enjoyable than most anything new I came across in 2007.



Most years fighting game releases are slim pickings, so yeah, if the one or two games that do get released that aren't old games/revisions aren't good... then it's not much of a year for fighting games.

Still, I'd say it wasn't horrible for the games that were uncommon/nowhere in North American arcades, like Senko no Ronde and Arcana Heart. Did you try them?





Gojira
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"Re(6):Year-end round-up" , posted Mon 7 Jan 09:39post reply

quote:

Most years fighting game releases are slim pickings, so yeah, if the one or two games that do get released that aren't old games/revisions aren't good... then it's not much of a year for fighting games.



True, but I think this year was even less than usual, especially if you don't have access to a Japanese arcade or doujin releases.

quote:

Still, I'd say it wasn't horrible for the games that were uncommon/nowhere in North American arcades, like Senko no Ronde and Arcana Heart. Did you try them?



Like I just hinted, I haven't even seen them, much less tried them. I probably won't have the chance until they're on console.





Spoon
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"Re(7):Year-end round-up" , posted Mon 7 Jan 15:28post reply

quote:

Like I just hinted, I haven't even seen them, much less tried them. I probably won't have the chance until they're on console.



Well that's the thing, you see: both of those games were released on console in 2k7. In particular, this was the year Ronde was released in North America.





Gojira
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"Re(8):Year-end round-up" , posted Mon 7 Jan 16:31post reply

Really? *checks*

Oh, so that's what SnR is. I could have sworn it was a something else. Still it's no wonder I missed a 360 fighter with a hilariously generic name like Wartech. Plus I'm not into mecha/robot fighters so that would have caused me to ignore it.

As for Arcana Heart I didn't know it was already out. But I'm already ordering SS Tenkai and Shinobido so it'll have to go in the queue. But thanks for the info.