Video game movies are generally not very good. Which is sad because I love video games so much, and games try so hard to be movies more often than not as well. With cutscenes that attempt a more cinematic quality of deep field of view, sweeping camera movement and acting to convey the emotion of the characters… it seems like a movie would probably be easier than programing all these things. We have now entered the more meta version of gaming movies, where the development of games, and not games themselves are what the movies are about. Starting off with Grandma’s Boy in 2006, these movies focus on the crafting of a game and less with the game itself.
Swallow The Sea is a short, and by short I mean around 15 minutes long game by an indie developer. Consisting of two friends, the dev team created more of a short story game than anything else, and even the concept of a story is barely there, but for whatever reason I was compelled to play it.
I have a special place in my heart for the WarioWare series, and I’m not sure of exactly why. I don’t like Wario as a character, and each game is extremely short. But there is something about them that keeps me coming back with each new announcement.The concept of playing hundreds of microgames one after the other, all with different objectives seems like a great deal. WarioWare: Get It Together is the newest game in the ongoing series, and out for the Switch, and sadly the game just isn’t worth what they are asking for.
Sixteen years is a long time to wait for a sequel, and most are usually just not very good. The people who originally made the thing you fell in love with in the beginning have all moved on. And while not the same staff who worked on the original Psychonauts that came out in 2005 are still with Double Fine, enough of the staff has remained faithful to the company and have come together to continue the storyline of Raz and the Psychonauts to rescue the Grand Head and save the world from paranormal psychic activity.
The less said about this game, the better, but since I did in fact roll credits on it, I might as well review it so others don’t make the same mistake.
Days Gone, originally shown off in 2016 went through so many delays, that when it finally released on the PS4 in 2019, it got passed over by a lot of gaming media. They mocked it, said “no one needs more zombie games” and said the Biker main character was a meathead only made because of the popularity of Walking Dead’s Daryl Dixon. And while the zombie genre has worn thin, and the similarities to Walking Dead’s Daryl being a biker is there too… Days Gone really goes out of it’s way to tell a great story with a ton of fun and enjoyable gameplay.
Rare was at one point, possibly the biggest, or at least well known developers in the world. Churning out basically hit after hit for Nintendo for both the Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64. Platforming was their specialty, and when Mario 64 changed the world and gave us 3D platformers, it was only a matter of time before Rare got their crack at it. Banjo-Kazooie sounds like a ridiculous title, but it is not just a spectacular platformer, but also an excellent example of gaming comedy
Back in 1995, for whatever reason, I never saw the Mortal Kombat movie. I loved the video game, had the GI Joe licensed action figures, and would play Mortal Kombat with my friend in the pool, jumping off diving boards pretending to be Scorpion and Sub Zero doing their famous moves. But I never saw the live action movie that spawned one of the greatest film soundtracks and rave songs of all time.
Ready Player One will always hold a special place in my heart. Not only was it because it was a great novel based on the idea of video games and VR, but because it’s something on my online dating profile that caught the attention of a girl, who eventually ended up being my wife.
It seems more and more these days that every big Batman comic revolves around The Joker is some way. He’s obviously the most infamous in Batman’s Rogues Gallery, and the one most people would list as their favorite villain. But over the last handful of years, The Joker has become so intertwined with Batman, that he is always the root of the story. And it’s getting really boring and predictable.
While I did read a fair amount of comic books as a kid, I never got into them as much as I feel I should have. Partially because there really just weren’t many comic stores where I lived, they were farther away, and I also would have rather bought the action figures with my allowance money instead of comics. Luckily over the last 15 years, I’ve become much more enthralled with comics and graphic novels and have amassed a very large and diverse collection. While I have spent much more time with comics, my knowledge of super heroes came mostly from the cartoons and movies based on them. So I was initially shocked when I started reading Wolverine to see how watered down his screen versions were. That has all changed with Black, White & Blood.
I’m a wuss when it comes to horror games. I can’t stand being scared, I don’t find it enjoyable in the least bit. However, when there is something more than just trying to make me scared, I can occasionally push through the fear and continue on. Events like Knott’s Halloween Haunt, or games like Little Nightmares take the time to craft an intriguing world and an atmosphere that piques my interest enough for me to conquer those fears.
You’d think that a third entry in a gaming series would start to wear thin on the original premise of a game, but Hitman 3 shows that you can continually step up the progress of ideas and morph the series over time into something so far beyond what your imagination of the game could be. If that sentence baffles you, you might not be familiar with the new Hitman games. Back in 2016 the Hitman franchise got a reboot of sorts and came out of left field and became a smash hit, and in 2021 the third in the “World of Assassination” trilogy was released and finalized IOI as mastercraftsmen of game design.
One of the best things about Microsoft purchasing Rare back in 2002 was the fact that we were hoping to see some if not most of the developers infamous games on a much more powerful console. When the Xbox 360 came out and Xbox Live was starting to really gain traction with downloadable titles, everyone waited for what was inevitably a “HD Remake” of Goldeneye 007. After a few years Rare did make good on updating several of their classics like Perfect Dark and even the Banjo games… but Bond’s greatest outing never showed up…. Until 2021.
The Dynasty Warriors series has been around for quite a while, debuting in 1997 on the original Playstation, it was never a series that I paid attention to. With it focusing primarily on semi-historical versions of infamous Chinese battles from hundreds of years ago, it was barely a blip on my gaming radar. For a while, it seemed like it was on a yearly release schedule as well, garnering a near Sports like Roster Update status. To say I wasn’t interested in the series would be an understatement. That was until the developers were able to use Nintendo’s Zelda franchises characters and settings.
Sometimes a game feels like it was perfectly tailored for a person, and back in 2010 when the Scott Pilgrim movie came out, and alongside it the game was released, it felt like it was made specifically for me. I used to say that Platformers were my favorite genre, but I’ve realized that Brawler games are my actual favorite ones, and Scott Pilgrim was the perfect one at the perfect time in my life.
Burnout Paradise Remastered is the same exact game it was back when it launched on Xbox 360 and PS3 back in 2008, with all the included DLC, and some higher resolution visuals. While playing the same game with higher quality graphics might sound nice, it still has the major issues that puts this game as one of the more boring Burnout games made.
There isn’t a lot to choose from when it comes to video games about controlling sharks. Jaws from NES, Jaws Unleashed on the original Xbox, and that’s about it. ManEater from TripWire studios takes what should be a simple gimmick game, and deepens the plot and makes it a much more interesting game than I originally thought it was going to be.
Bugsnax is an adventure game where you play as an unnamed character who does a bunch of fetch quests for other island inhabitants.Even though you have been brought to the island under the guise of interviewing a famous explorer, you soon get relegated to a personal assistant for each character until they reluctantly agree to give you a single interview that lasts a couple minutes, then it’s back to work gathering items for the lazy bums and feeding them.
Ho Boy…. Game of the year for 2020…This is going to be difficult. This year was unlike any other year any of us have seen… but I’m only talking about gaming. With this year, we finally got the first new consoles in the past seven years. Back in 2013, we got the PS4 and Xbox One, both of which were terribly underpowered even on launch day compared to PC counterparts. Especially with the Xbox One and its disastrous Online Only DRM that caused such an outrage, Microsoft completely backtraced, and rebuilt the OS to work offline in the months leading up to launch. It even couldn’t do 1080p, landing at 900p for games out of the gate. Still, most PS4 and Xbox One games only could do 30 frames per second still too.
The PS5 and Xbox Series X seem like much more complete and competent consoles out of the box compared to the last time, but sadly, they are so hard to come by, that I wasn’t able to get ahold of either of them through pre-orders, and now with them being out for a couple weeks, still unable to purchase them and it seems like it’ll be that way for a while. But that really isn’t even that big of a deal, as so many games this year were delayed to the next year, and the launch titles of both systems are extremely lacking, even compared to previous Console Launches. So even if I did have new consoles to play with, nothing really that spectacular is on them, so I don’t really feel as bummed out about missing out as I would have if it was like the Xbox 360 or PS3 or PS4 launch.
This year I played as many games that I could that actually came out this year, and with everything that happened, every major world event being canceled, and every major game receiving major delays, there really wasn’t that much to play. Here is the list of a very mediocre year in gaming for me, and out of the paltry sum of games to play, here are my favorites in reversed order from least favorite, to most favorite, with some Honorable Mentions sprinkled in at the beginning.