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Spoon
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"Notable Things of the Year 2014" , posted Sun 28 Dec 07:21post reply

I don't think anything is going to be released between now and Jan 1 2015, so now seems like a good time to get the discussion rolling.

Irem Victim of Circumstance 2014
In honor of how current events annihilated a company's major project, I'm preemptively giving this award to the studio I am working at's unannounced title due to the recent events of Ferguson. It's one thing that we need more time to make the thing into a state that'd we show to the public, but it's another that the climate for having any publicity about the project at all will be bad until well into next year.

Modernization of Japanese Technology 2014
Square and Konami dishing out extraordinary real-time graphics that merge the traditionally great design sensibilities in those houses with real-time global illumination and rendering technology that seems on par with what had previously been a Western hegemony.

Ironic Beachhead In Spite of What I Just Said Above 2014
Epic's Unreal Engine now powers 3 major fighting game franchises made by 3 different studios: Guilty Gear by Arc, Tekken by Bamco, SF by Capcom. My greatest hope is that they not only get the benefits of this engine and Epic's expertise with respect to building the damn games, but also with regards to online play.

AAA Game I Actually Beat 2014
Valkyria Chronicles, which in spite of its anime writing, brain-dead enemy AI and weak final battle entranced me with its wonderfully designed and crafted not-Europe not-WW1.5 setting and designs and combat scenarios. I played through the entire game on PC and had a great time even though the character stats never displayed properly for reasons I don't understand!

Best Game I Still Haven't Beaten 2014
Last Window.

Noteworthy Game I Bought for a Ton of My Friends on Steam Because It Had a Sale Price of $2.50 2014
Gods Will Be Watching. The sprite graphics are alright, but the UI looks awesome, the music is outstanding, and the scenarios are thrilling and uncomfortable. The balance of the game never seems quite right (the regular difficulty is too frustrating and random failure is a real possibility, the easier difficulty is too easy and allows you to win without ever having to have to make any really tough decisions), at least one of the scenarios is an annoyingly long grind to get through (redeemed by having one of the best-matched musical accompanyments), and the finale is hotblooded. It's a game with really substantial flaws as mentioned above, and won't jive with dedicated fans of particular genres that it might be associated with, like adventure games. But it's memorable and interesting.

Curious Commercial Soda 2014
Tarragon flavoured soda is a thing in Russia, and every Russian deli in SF stocks it. Probably a great mixer with vodka or gin.






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Maou
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"Spoon of the Year 2014" , posted Sun 28 Dec 10:30:post reply

Game of the Year 2014: Guilty Gear Xrd
This is also the only (new) game I bought this year. But that's because it is so great-looking! I don't understand the system even a little bit, but gorgeous art and the power of rock and roll transcend time and history. I cannot wait to play with all of you when I get back in town!

Game of Forever 2014: Ikaruga
Every time I think about how happy I am to be playing Ikargua again on Steam, I start crying tears of joy and wishing that more of you would talk about it with me. Yet I still can't beat the level 2 boss without a friend or continues.

Co-op of the Year 2014: Dragon's Crown (still)
Since I only really had time to sit down with Dragon's Crown in hardcore mode in early winter, I'm putting this here, especially since the nutty Professor-Juan-Karasu-Toxico raids were the most fun I've had in multiplayer since Turtles in Time.

Best Game I Still Haven't Beaten 2014: Last Window
Oh, hey, me too! I know I say this a lot about games I mean to play, but I really do feel guilty about this one.

Chaz of the Year 2014: chazumaru
Despite his subtle start in earlier years, Chaz has ramped up his posting gloriously in recent times with fantastically useful and frequently hilarious information. If he reaches 5000 posts before Iggy reaches 10000 (what will happen?!), it will be pretty thrilling. Thanks, Chaz!

Failed Memorial of the Year 2014: FFVI
It's the 20th anniversary of my favorite video game in the world and I had a massively-linked post in draft form for months but never did it, slipping from the April anniversary to the international release, to...never! Maybe I'll do it next year. For now, I guess you could just read Tim's old review.





人間はいつも私を驚かせてくれる。不思議なものだな、人間という存在は...

[this message was edited by Maou on Sun 28 Dec 13:34]

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"Re(1):Spoon of the Year 2014" , posted Mon 29 Dec 00:30:post reply

2014 was a year of transition. The output for the previous generation of consoles is quickly drying up since game manufacturers believe players are moving onto the new, shiny consoles. But since I'm not about to spend $500 to play Knack we're at a bit of an impasse. Hopefully things will regain their equilibrium next year. Until then here are some of my thoughts on the year:

Not my first rodeo: It occurred to me that I have been bouncing around in the online fighting game community for so long now that I have seen the initial announcements about SF5, SF4 and SF3. Over the years I've become a connoisseur of prototype images of Ryu.

Go outside and play: While vacationing in China I brought along my 3DS so I would have something to amuse myself with during the long travel times I would have to endure. Thing is, the cord got fried so I was unable to charge my handheld. My only choices for electronic entertainment was a rapidly dying 3DS, a few dodgy looking arcades filled with KoF games of dubious origin, and a cheap Wii knock-off I saw at a department store. In the end I was reduced to reading a book.

Farewell, my lovely: Recently I reduced the size of my game collection. There's a difference between "collecting" and "hoarding" so it was time to do some weeding. I would have offered up the games on the chopping block to the folks here on the board but most of the games weren't worth the cost of shipping. I had no problem releasing a majority of the games out into the wild. My only moment of emotion came when I sold several NES games that still had their cardboard boxes. Now I know how Judas felt when he received his forty pieces of silver. Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad but a dollar amount put on souvenirs from my childhood was an odd sensation.





[this message was edited by Ishmael on Mon 29 Dec 00:39]

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"Re(2):Spoon of the Year 2014" , posted Tue 30 Dec 12:44:post reply

I do so love the year-end topics. I have constructed a lovely little hell for myself, so I might not be posting much after this.

WINNERS

*Dragon Age Inquisition
Bioware manages to screw up something on just about every game they release, but DA:I finally feels like the game with everything. So much everything. Even...to my surprise, tons of beautiful art. My only complaint is that the game is entirely too easy, because you're inevitably going to engage in the sea of (mostly fun) sidequests and overlevel yourself.

I'm also happy that after several clumsy attempts, they've incorporated gay characters in a more "organic" way. The result is a sort of unrealistically small number of romantic partners for straight males, but a lot of guys are trying out gay male options (because those are some of the best choices), so that's kind of neat.

One minor minor complaint that's really stupid, though...they have a massive amount of little lore writeups to read during loading screens, but the screens disappear too quickly to possibly read the text. This wouldn't be bad (since it would mean short loading times), but the entertaining loading screen with the text and pretty pictures just gives way to a completely black loading screen that lasts 3 times as long. It's a minor thing, but it irritates me every time.

Still, this is an RPG for the ages.

*Guilty Gear Xrd
This is my image of a good direction for fighting games. It looks flashy with a nice aesthetic that honors the original look and makes an effort to be accessible without sacrificing too much for hard core players. An "pick up and play" fighting game is kind of a pipe dream, but GGXrd, for all its systems, doesn't put any unnecessary complications in your way. The revamped Roman Cancel system really captures this idea well...it looks cooler, gives you a neat effect (slow mo), doesn't burden you with precise timing and is super easy to utilize.

I've played every Blazblue release since the original and they often leave me with my head in my hands thinking "I can't play this game." Even after 2 hours in training with a character I've spent ages with, I can't come up with a decent combo or I can't execute what the game wants me to. With GGXrd, you learn a simple chain, you learn what launches and you learn an air combo of some sort. Throw a roman cancel in the middle and you have a fancy pants combo and everything you need to get started. It's very flexible and you can sacrifice 5-10% damage by dropping tough execution combos and grow as you go.

Of course, if international sales are poor, then we'll see how poor I am at picking a winning horse. Actually, looking at my history, I think I already know the answer to that one. And hey...speaking of losing horses...

*Xbox One Owners
I didn't play a single exclusive for PS4 that I can think of this year. I played several on XBox One. Several I enjoyed. Sunset Overdrive could've been my game of the year in a different year. D4 is everything you could ever hope for if you were actually hoping for anything and Killer Instinct is much better than it has any right to be.

The constant, meaningful system updates are also very nice. It's really like night and day compared to the launch. That being said, I don't think they have anything coming out next year except (hopefully) more D4.

*WiiU Owners
If the WiiU was the only system I had, I could find (fun!) ways to keep myself busy, which is more than I could have said a year ago. I don't know how acceptable or unacceptable their sales are, but I'm pleased with Nintendo's efforts to partner with other developers to keep a slow, but steady stream of games coming out that shoulder the weight of the system almost entirely on their own backs. I don't think a lot of developers have that capability.

LOSERS

*Sony and Their Waiting Game
I can't very well call Sony itself a loser with its excellent PS4 sales, but right now, it's really just "the best place to play multiplatform games." That's not awful, but I'm irritated that they've been so slow with their system updates and still haven't given us our promised "resume" feature (which the XBox One has by the way). The future looks fairly strong for software releases, but I hope they don't start resting on their laurels.

*Capcom
What are they doinnnnnng? They had some financial report...and I don't remember the actual words, but the end result was "we didn't make any games so we didn't make any money." They're one of the few Japanese developers that can really compete on an international stage, so I hope they're plotting for a way to stay relevant, rather than using their massive work force to make poorly-managed phone games they abandon in a few months.

*Sony's Management of the Vita
Like most Vita owners who are ravenous game consumers, I maintain that there is actually a really solid selection of software for the system. However, Sony seems really determined to push the system under the rug these days. When I look at the Japanese market, the Vita software sales aren't really worse than anything else, especially considering the install base and the relatively low budget of most releases. I felt that if they kept chipping at the market, they could keep a pretty decent spot and, like the PSP, grow into something worthwhile over time. However, with Sony's "ignore that thing and pay attention to the PS4," I've lost all faith that the system is going anywhere. Which leads to my next topic...

*Japanese Developers
The market is so screwed over there. If I worked for a company over there, I would be...just...hiding under my desk all day, shaking and crying. Thankfully, a lot of games move big enough numbers globally these days, but these are scary, sad times and I'm just waiting for everything to collapse miserably.

*Me for Putting my Xbox 360 in the Closet
I only have so much shelf space in my entertainment center, so my 360 was put away. Now I no longer have immediate access to numerous SNK games, CAVE games, Ikaruga and the excellent re-release of Guardian Heroes. More than 360 backwards compatibility, I wish Microsoft would bolster their XBox One library by adding ports of some of their excellent digital offerings.

*Dark Souls 2
I still played quite a bit of this, because a mediocre Dark Souls is still better than a lot of other games, but DS2 was still a massive disappointment. I'm trying to avoid saying it didn't have a "soul," but that's really the best way I can describe it. It was clear that everyone important worked on Bloodbourne while a technically competent, but creatively-lacking B-Team put out DS2. On paper, you can say that the game "has it all," but there's no substitute for genius.


quote:
Farewell, my lovely: Recently I reduced the size of my game collection. There's a difference between "collecting" and "hoarding" so it was time to do some weeding. I would have offered up the games on the chopping block to the folks here on the board but most of the games weren't worth the cost of shipping.


I did this a while back, myself. I had to hold on to some titles for sentimental reasons (SMT games, Dreamcast GGX, a few Saturn titles), but the ones that had been sitting in boxes for months/years all got "liquidated." They would've been worth a lot more before the Chinese Ebay explosion, but hey, at least I cleared up some space.





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[this message was edited by Pollyanna on Tue 30 Dec 14:26]

Iggy
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"Re(3):Spoon of the Year 2014" , posted Wed 31 Dec 02:02post reply

quote:
I have constructed a lovely little hell for myself, so I might not be posting much after this.

Oh dear. I hope it's nothing too serious, and you'll be able to come back from time to time. Regardless if you can or not, do take care!

Back on topic: is it the end of the year already?

Best company to be a fan of - Nintendo
I was about to nominate the WiiU as the grand winner of the year (if you forget the first 5 months of 2014) as it had the highest quality games of all systems. But then I think Nintendo’s current strategy goes beyond making some of the best games of their history: the way the company started to interact with its hard-core fans is a big U-turn for the company. And the reaction to the Amiibo has shown what happens when you actually pander to them instead of considering them as a reliable and passive herd always there for your bottom line. Same goes for Smash, the Ruby/Sapphire remake, that horrifying medal game on 3DS that will be the death of me if my husband ever finds out what I’ve been doing with my money…
And then you pause and try to imagine if Capcom was doing the same with all their IPs that still have hundreds of thousands of fans more than 10 years after they stopped being relevant. Imagine the amount of awesome content we could have, imagine being young again, imagine living under a bridge because paying your rent is less important than buying the full set of Capciibo figurines of Warzard.
Milk those whales, Nintendo. Milk them hard, that’s how they like it.

Spoiler (Highlight to view) -
and fund Bayonetta 3 with the money kthxs

End of Spoiler



Most quotable line spoken in a videogame: It’s not Christmas without caviar
Exactly the kind of thing I want to be able to say next time I’m surrounded by murderous otherworldly monstrosities on a crashing jet fighter, and my leatherette best bud comes to the rescue.

Most interesting underdog service that not a lot of people seem to have heard about – Steam
Dead Rising 3: Exclusive to XBone – and Steam. Street Fighter 5: Exclusive to PS4 – and Steam. The pile of Indies shown at the big 3’s E3 conferences: exclusives, except when they have been already available on Steam for a couple of months now. Is the new Lara Croft betrayalton already confirmed to be coming to Steam, or is it merely an open secret?
Either the word “exclusive” doesn’t mean what I think it means, or there is a big problem here.
Regardless, this year has been good for PC gamers: more quality games, and… well, that’s about it. What’s more important, really? The PC/WiiU combo has been the absolute winner of 2014 for people with enough free time to stomach it, and people who haven’t bought the console yet can do it in 2015 and discover the seriously impressive catalogue the thing has built up through the years.
2015 should mix things up a bit, with the PS4 being officially launched in Japan (for real this time) and Lord Kawazu commanding his flock to finally buy a Vita (oh, and apparently Gravity Daze 2 is confirmed to be Vita, not PS4? So, that too, then). Yet I really can’t see the PC losing its edge for quite some time regardless of what happens in the console field.
That is, as long as Microsoft doesn’t come and shit in everyone’s backyard with their thinly veiled threats of bringing back GFWL or something worse along with Windows 10. Seriously, Microsoft: don’t, no one wants you here.

Best soundtrack of the year – Tropical Freeze
Really, there’s not much of a contest here.

Best title for a videogame – Crypt of the Necrodancer
It’s very likely that these people thought of the name first and built the game around it. And to be honest, with such a high-concept, how can anyone blame them? The game is still in Early Access, but it’s shaping up extremely nicely, and I’m still playing it along with the very good remake of Isaac. It’s not as camp as Space Channel 5, but at least there’s a real game under it.

Most insults shouted at my screen – A Hot Sticky Mess, the new DLC for Electronic Super Joy
This fucker even has an achievement for finishing the worst level of the game in 50 seconds without dying nor using any shortcut, and the achievement is called "Being a Level Designer Means Never Having to Apologize". It took me 45 minutes and 487 deaths to clear that level. Seriously, if I ever meet the persons responsible for this, bad things will happen.

Best use of Early Access – Amplitude Studio
I was already impressed by the very early version of Dungeon of the Endless last year (a rogue-like/tower defense RPG hybrid)(much better than what the description sounds like), and boy how this game has blossomed. Between the big number of heroes, enemies and modes (selected as ship modules in which the crew crashes into the planet) it probably reached the same level as the Binding of Isaac or FTL in term of addictiveness, and I can’t see myself uninstalling the game for quite some time.

I didn't like as much the first early access version of Endless Legend (the studio’s new 4X), but a recent session with the final version turned me into a believer, especially after the huge disappointment Civilization Beyond Earth ended up being. I find it difficult to imagine that such a small and new studio as Amplitude could have done a better job than Firaxis in their own backyard – but they did: everything BE does, Endless Legend does, better, more smartly integrated, with more variety, and before BE was released thanks to Early Access. No doubt the technical stability and strategic balance of all the options EL offers benefited greatly from it too, and I hope Firaxis is taking notes for their next project. Plus, their support for their games have been pretty good until now, and they even added a couple more things to their previous 4X, Endless Space, this month.
I’m still confident Firaxis can turn the tables with whatever major expansion they have planned for BE, and I hope many of the experiments of BE will find their way into Civ 6, but who knows where Amplitude will be then? Regardless, between these two and Paradox doing their Nordic thing on their own, I’ll keep on hoping I can somehow summon a couple of doppelgangers to play all these games.

Most resolute lack of zeitgeist – Ryû ga gotoku 0
金あるところに女あり!
On the other hand, ignoring the social trends and issues pregnant during development and release is only fitting for a game about looking for comfort in a long gone and highly fantasized era. You have to admire the global approach they are taking on this one.

Best game of the year – Bayonetta 1
Technically, it’s been released this year on WiiU, right?
Of course, Bayo 2 is the superior game, in terms of controls, enemies, aesthetics, and everything that matters as far as videogames go. Plus, its peculiar story of a game that could have never been, made by former Capcom staff helped by Sega then Nintendo is hard to replicate. You could probably make an HBO movie about it for the whole family.
But I’ve been playing the first Bayo as well, and there is little doubt to me that when sociologists of the future study feminism in western societies in the early 21st century, few games will be as important as the first episode, and its revolt against patriarchy in the most literal, and then biblical, sense.
What struck me as well during my new playthrough is the ambiguous role of Cereza, and how her identity as a younger version of the heroin created by her father to coerce her to fit into the role he has prepared for her in his weird, quasi-incestuous ceremony piles up layers upon layers of unspoken, and often unknowable generational burden. Especially coming from a country where the academic reflection on women’s role and place is... less advanced than in some other developed countries to say the least, I’m starting to wonder how much of Bayonetta 1’s deep and subtle discourse on the pressure that women are expected to put upon other women is consciously understood, if not articulated, by the female staff of Platinum. I wonder how many of them are married with children? And how many of those who are single are being pressured by their parents to show them their grand-children?

Maybe the biggest power fantasy that Bayo 1 provides is not the gunplay, the summoning of hellish beasts, the massacre of opponents shaped like exquisite jewellery hiding some gruesome abomination, or the amazing moves during the dance face-off that would make Beyoncé blush: maybe, for some of the women who created her, Bayonetta’s real transgressive power is her freedom from any parental structure and obligations, including any internalized obligation thanks to her blissful amnesia. And the fact that when her memories do come back, it’s another woman’s help that allows her to break free once and for all from the life that has been laid down for her.
Dear Bayo, thank you for saving 2014 from all the avalanche of stupidity the internet has offered us any time the word “feminism” was used, and hopefully see you again anytime, anywhere.





Spoon
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"Re(3):Spoon of the Year 2014" , posted Wed 31 Dec 08:22post reply

quote:
I do so love the year-end topics. I have constructed a lovely little hell for myself, so I might not be posting much after this.


Oh no :(
Do take care of yourself, and remember that the cafe and its denizens are always open to you.

quote:
Last Window


Maou, how about we make a "book club" except that the
"book" is Last Window? We can even talk about it chapter by chapter here, just like how people (allegedly) talk about real books in real cafes in civilized parts of the world.

quote:
Game of the Forever: Bayonetta


Maybe the notion that the patriarchy's plot to give a little girl the strongest female role model possible so that the little girl grows into an even stronger version of that woman so that that woman can be used in a plot wherein the patriarch gains ultimate power in control over a female power of creation was too subversive, nevermind that another aspect of the plot is about lies and conceptions perpetuated by the patriarch over the powerful females and society.

quote:
Xrd and Japan


If I were ArcSys, I would probably be consuming incredible amounts of alcohol, and not of that Yamazaki Scotch that won the world Scotch championship kind.





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"Re(4):Spoon of the Year 2014" , posted Sat 3 Jan 13:08:post reply

Here's my list of not the best, but just, THE games I played this year. I guess they are still technically my games of the year.

Metal Gear Ground Zeroes:
At first I was amazed by the presentation and great controls. Then I was angry at how short the main mission was. Then I was amazed all over again by the incredible depth of gameplay. It's the best sandbox game anyone's made yet. (Also the first game to ever give me VIVID NIGHTMARES right after playing it for the first time)

Tower Fall:
I guess it technically came out in 2013, but I didn't play it till it was released on PSN last year. Fantastic multiplayer party game. Like a modern Bomberman (this is the highest compliment for me).

PT:
The strongest PS4 exclusive I can think of. Amazing art direction, tons of legit scares. What really amazed me about it was how it managed to feel so fresh and relevant in the youtube era. The obtuse nature of the gameplay made going online and looking for help feel like a collaborative process of discovery, rather than cheating. If the full game is even half this good I'll be really happy.

Mario 3d World / Wii-u
2014 was the year I finally got a Wii-U. Justified it as a business purchase for "research" purposes (my team really loves Nintendo UI). It turned out to be the most exciting new console for me since the Dreamcast. I never fully bought into the Wii's motion controls, but I was instantly hooked on the Wii-Us tablet screen. I had tons of fun with Nintendo Land. I brought it over to my famil's big thanksgiving get-together and my relatives were all hooked (lots of Wii-Us got gifted for Xmas afterwards). Good clean fun for the whole family.

Oh yeah Mario 3d World. My god it's fun. I don't have much to say other than that it's just a very tight, inventive experience. Somehow it feels very physical, like a children's toy. It encourages you to contemplate the various ways you can explore the world, the feeling of different surfaces, the wind even. I really dig it.

All in all 2014 was quietly and unexpectedly the most fun I've had with games in nearly a decade. And 2015 is looking up!

Honorable Mention:
Monster Strike is really fun! I kind of hate the art, but the actual gameplay is very satisfying especially with friends. Unfortunately the game's currently totally bugging out on me cos I have an American account but I'm in Thailand. I get bizarre errors where it sometimes logs me in as the other person I'm trying to do local multiplayer with. Sometimes I get logged in as some dude across the street. This is probably an edge case that they will never get around to fixing :P






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[this message was edited by nobinobita on Sat 3 Jan 13:09]

nobinobita
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"Re(1):Spoon of the Year 2014" , posted Sat 3 Jan 13:15post reply

quote:
Failed Memorial of the Year 2014: FFVI
It's the 20th anniversary of my favorite video game in the world and I had a massively-linked post in draft form for months but never did it, slipping from the April anniversary to the international release, to...never! Maybe I'll do it next year. For now, I guess you could just read Tim's old review.


I think we must be of the same generation, where it's just expected that this is your favourite Final Fantasy and probably your favourite game haha (it's def one of my all time favs forever). I would love to hear your full thoughts in detail. No pressure! I'd be happy if you just copypasted whatever you already have right this moment!






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Spoon
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"Re(5):Spoon of the Year 2014" , posted Sat 3 Jan 14:54post reply

quote:
Mario 3D World


There are still some depth perception issues I have with the game, especially when my character's drop shadow is obscured by whatever (either by the floor being really far away, or my character is being pushed by something in the foreground, etc.), but the game is genius. I feel like they took a page from the Cat Mario and IWBTG school of level design: think of what the player who has previously played Mario and other platformers expects to happen with a given visual or design cue, and throw them a curveball. But these are just gentle curveballs that make you smile rather than the IWBTG ones which kill you instantly.





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"Re(6):Spoon of the Year 2014" , posted Sun 4 Jan 23:13post reply

Hey it's my favorite of cafe threads:

Best thing I did in 2014: Get a SEGA Saturn
It's funny to read that Ishmeal and Polly have gotten rid of most of their old games collection, when the opposite is happening to me. For the last couple of years, I've ramped up my old game collecting thanks to me getting out of college and having both the income and the home space to support it. And thanks to help from the cafe, I managed to get a JP Saturn and start collecting for it. And it's been great discovering games like shooters Layer Section or getting back into old 2D fighters, like finally checking out the Real Bout series in depth, or weird 3D fighters like Anarchy in the Nippon, and a host of other stuff. It may be my most played console of 2014.

But alas, this is a 2014 game thread list, so I should try to focus on games released this year. Obviously, I don't need to speak about Bayo 2 (simply Wii U in general), or Guilty Gear Xrd. Not only are they fantastic games, they both give me such high hopes for the future of their repective genres (granted that they actually sell well. Let's hope they do). So let's move on to:

Sayonara Umihara Kawase/Yumi's Odd Odyssey
This may be my overall Game of the year. It's really not that different or new from the previous games in the series. It's not even "technically" better than them since I know fans aren't particularly fond of the 3D polygonal look. But I love that they made the progression in the game much more simpler, since you can replay a level now as much as you can without resetting. This makes it much easier on a whole. Plus the game exemplifies my favorite type of video games, one with rock solid mechanics (that still remain uncopied to this day), a unique iconography that works in concert with the game's main mechanic, and just a bit of simplicity in both it's story and design (no need for excessive RPG elements or long-plots), and finally, some really nice music. I'm so glad we finally managed to get at least one game in the seires to be localized (even if it is expected to be the last ever, sadly)

Alien Isolation
I've been down on "modern AAA" games lately, but this game may be the one that convinced me otherwise. Only a game with such high-fidelity graphics would be able to accurately realize H. R. Giger's iconic design of the Alien. Only with advanced graphics, lighting, and other visual effect would I be conflicting if that dark silhouette at of the end of this dimly lit hallway is the real Alien (and I am staring right at death itself) or if it is just a weirdly jumbled collection of industrial tubes and equipment that resembles the Alien.

But it's not just the technical aspects, despite the lavish production, the game does not compromise with a more "neutered" game design. It is a tough stealth survival horror game thru and thru, sometimes in unfair ways. Having the Alien be this freeroaming AI that goes where it goes where it pleases, and attacks what it wants, and you cannot kill it can lead to some great jump scares, all of which are random, not based on planned set-pieces and such. And then threre's the great faux '70s technology and architecture, which not only looks really cool, it totally matches with the look of the original movie. If you love Alien, this is like a no-brainer.

Strider
I think I am more lenient on the whole "Japanese franchise is now being revived by western dev" sort of thing more so than the average person. And Capcom are probably the best ones at doing that. The new Strider is a pretty good "Metroidvania" (although it lacks any real RPG elements, so it's more like your standard Metroid, but I digress). Good fun powerups, somewhat varied areas, and great controls (lack of d-pad support aside). That said, it does feel a little bit muted and lifeless, lacking a lot of the personality (nay, insanity) of the original arcade game (and Koichi Yosui's Osman/Cannon Dancer). The music sucks too, and the voice acting is boring bad, not crazy what-the-hell-are-they-saying-wait-are-they-speaking-in-Russian-now bad of the original.

Transistor
Excellent quasi-real time quasi-turn based isometric RPG with great art, music, and mechanics. I think the dev may have been a little too into their lore so I really didn't care that much for its universe (mainly because it wanted me to read loads of text-logs about different characters/plot point in order to get it). But the character interaction between the main protagonist and her sword/companion was really poignant. In fact, it is not often that you will see a game where the main female protagonist has a love interest of her own, and is not an extension of the player's "desires" I suppose. Unless we're talking Otome games.

Speaking of Otome games, I played my first one in 2014. Sweet Fuse, and it was super fun. I can see why these games have their fanbase.

Nobi mentioned Towerfall and I totally concur, it's great (and yes, even better than the new Smash. Yes, I said it). Shovel Knight is good too, and is not a total shallow derivative like so many of these new "8-bit" games. I also loved Danganronpa. The plot probably is cliche as it can be for these "Battle Royale" type of Visual Novels (hell, the sequel is set in an deserted island), but it's the great cast that made that game, many who appear at first to be your typical anime/VN tropes of characters, but I grew fond of at the end. I can't wait to get into the sequel.

SNK even had a decent year too. I was still playing the Steam KOF XIII well into the year. And Rhythm of Fighters is a really great mobile game that did not fall on awful f2p monetization. Finally, the steam version of KOF98UMFE has good online. Finally, the whole world is now unsafe from my cheesey Brian Battler air qcf+P tactics.

All in all, it was a good year, in very unexpected ways.





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"Re(7):Spoon of the Year 2014" , posted Tue 6 Jan 03:28post reply

My secret Cafe confession: I always feel a little bit at a loss in terms of listing my favorites of the previous year at the beginning of a new year. Mostly it's because I find it almost impossible to remember what games came out in the previous year so I inevitably go through Wiki looking to see if anything catches my eye. I think that kinda defeats the spirit of the whole thing. Ah well.

Game of the Year 2014
You might think I'd say Bayo 2, but I'm really conflicted over it. It's clearly a better game that the first one, which I've long trumpeted as the best game of the past decade. The problem is, a lot of what I love in Bayo 1 has to do with how it improves on its genre so completely. Bayo 2 doesn't and probably can't improve on Bayo 1 anywhere near as much as Bayo 1 did on its predecessors, so it didn't wow me anywhere near as much as Bayo 1. On the other it's still probably my favorite game of this, a year where I played a record low number of new games.

So there you have it! Me talking myself out of, and then back into, saying that my Game of the Year is Bayonetta 2!

Biggest Surprise of 2014

Tie: That I actually like the Etrian Odyssey series / That I can still enjoy an RPG, but only when it's done right.

I played three Etrian Odyssey games this year, all for 3DS. I think the one that actually came out this year is Persona Q, so I'll discuss it. Even without the Persona 3/4 trappings, it would still be a game I enjoy. There's something appealing to me about mapping stuff out on my own while I gradually delve deeper and deeper into a weird dungeon. I credit my nostalgia for mapping older pre-in-game-mapping games like Zelda 1 and Metroid.

At the same time we have Bravely Default, which Wiki tells me was released in the US in February so it damned well counts for 2014. I've been attempting to remember what I used to love about RPGs for years now, almost entirely after Final Fantasy VII, the game that ruined me on the genre. I'm convinced that it's unappealing or wooden characters, dreadful designs, and being tied to a console that did it for me. The first two things are obvious, but I do an alarming amount of my gaming on handhelds these days, getting in a few minutes here and there on planes, during downtime at work, and while otherwise traveling. It's only been somewhat recently that any interesting RPGs have come out for handhelds, and Bravely Default is their best example. It's fun, it lets you play with difficulty at will, it's not overblown and ridiculous in either story or character design, and best of all it's fun. I can't wait for Bravely Second!

Biggest Disappointment

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

I don't even know where to begin! I was never the biggest detractor of the first game-- after all, any series needs to change if it's going to stay relevant to anyone outside the most hardcore of fans. This game is dull, has boring (at best) and awful (at worst) character designs, and a storyline that's just laughable. It was no fun to play at any point, and even what's normally the best part of any such game-- the process of obtaining upgrades and powering up abilities-- is just a boring slog. The best thing I can say about it is that for the first ten minutes it's kinda cool to play as Dracula. Thank goodness that it was apparently the last game in its series, since otherwise I'd actually be faced with the surreal possibility that I wouldn't continue to buy Castlevania games. And who wants to live in a world like that?

Okay, that's enough for me!





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"Re(7):Spoon of the Year 2014" , posted Tue 6 Jan 20:50post reply

Surprised Sayonara Umihara Kawase would be on anyone's list, but Badoor will be happy to know that a +alpha version of the game will be released on Vita with new monsters, new stages, and 60 FPS.

I mean, I don't know if "happy" is the word, but...





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"Re(8):Spoon of the Year 2014" , posted Wed 7 Jan 06:46post reply

quote:
Surprised Sayonara Umihara Kawase would be on anyone's list, but Badoor will be happy to know that a +alpha version of the game will be released on Vita with new monsters, new stages, and 60 FPS.

I mean, I don't know if "happy" is the word, but...

I just heard the news and I'm hoping to get that (thank you region-free Sony system). I know Sayonara isn't the best in the series (the Playstation one is my fav) but to finally have a brand new entry in the series, not another remake/port, made me just excited. And I guess I was just happy to see a game in the series finally getting an international release.

quote:

Biggest Disappointment

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

I totally forgot that I actually bought and completed that against all odds (and common sense). It was just awful. But what hurts more is that there were these little moments where I just could see that there's was a tiny glimmer of potential hidden under piles of crud, especially in some of the level architecture in the "old" castle (yet again, those Spaniards really know their gothic architecture). But everything else was dreadful. The stealth mission, oh my lord those atrocious stealth missions. What happened to you, my dearest Castlevania?





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"Re(9):Spoon of the Year 2014" , posted Wed 7 Jan 10:53post reply

quote:
(the Playstation one is my fav)



I thought that the polygons of the PSX version didn't look as right as the sprite terrain of the SFC version, and for some reason that triviality made me not play the PSX version and just play the SFC one more.

But that was years ago. These days, which one should I get if I want a fix?





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"Re(10):Spoon of the Year 2014" , posted Thu 8 Jan 20:04post reply

quote:
(the Playstation one is my fav)


I thought that the polygons of the PSX version didn't look as right as the sprite terrain of the SFC version, and for some reason that triviality made me not play the PSX version and just play the SFC one more.

But that was years ago. These days, which one should I get if I want a fix?

I never had a problem with the terrain being polygonal in PSX Umihara Kawase. I know a lot of other games that use polygons can make for some ambiguity due to the weird perspective shifts, especially if they were more "naturalistic" terrain, but Umihara Kawase is usually pretty blocky and crystal clear.

The "best" Umihara Kawase you can buy right now is the DS version, which has both the playstation and Super Famicom games in 1 cart. But it is a bit expensive, same goes for the Playstation and SFC games.

But since the PSX game is on the Japanese Playstation Network, you can get that version for cheap, so it's the most "accessible" in a way, that and obviously the 3DS version.

Whatever you do, do not get the horrible PSP port, which was a really bad conversion riddled with slowdown.





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"Re(2):Re(10):Spoon of the Year 2014" , posted Wed 28 Jan 01:39post reply

Thanks for the kind words, Maou. I wanted to address the past year more in depth, but things got really busy for me lately. Did you realize the Flappy Bird boom, the E.T. cartridge excavation, the "Shinra Vs. Divein" incident and the removal of Kinect 2 from the Xbox One all happened last year?

I believe it is the first time the same publisher will release Umihara Kawase on two different platforms, by the way.





Même Narumi est épatée !