Monday, December 10, 2012

Best Video Games of 2012

There are three games I wanted to highlight for 2012, that for me where the best games of the year.

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

I already went over this title (click here), when giving my thoughts on good games finally being released for the Nintnedo 3DS. Suffice to say, the game still stands as one of the most outstanding games released for the system.

So much of what they did with in this game, simply shouldn't work. The 3D performs elegantly - despite mad-dash action and bright colors -- this should literally be giving you a seizure, instead of a fun video game.

The story is meaningful, and finally pushes forward the Kingdom Hearts narrative into new frontiers. Simply a stellar game, and a Must Have for any Nintendo 3DS owner.

Fortune Street

This game, technically, came out near the end of December, 2011. Its so close to 2012, when I rented and then bought a copy, that I'm including it on this list.

A game about finances, and playing the stock market! What shouldn't be a fun game has actually been a long standing franchise in Japan. With Monopoly-like sensibilities, the game gives you a challenging experience, as you try to outmaneuver opponents and rise to the top with the most amount of cash. Its a very fun and enjoyable experience - and would make a great party game for family and friends. (Especially for family members not up to moving around a lot, like other Mario Party games). To make the experience more palatable, stars from Mario and Dragon Quest games proliferate the board. The characters are fun to interact with, and are given a nice dose of personality when competing against the AI. The games supports on-line play, which worked pretty decently - once a match is found and people start playing. Its not perfect, but it works - and playing against real people can either make things easier, or harder, depending on who you're facing. I really just adore this title, becoming a valued addition to my collection of Wii games. It only came out just at the end of last year - so its still available online and in stores.

Okami HD

Okami is an older game, but the recently released Downloadable-version improved on an already stellar product, achieving new levels of beauty. Once a PS2 title, the cell-shaded Okami stunned players with its unique calligraphy animation style, alongside excellent Legend of Zelda-style gameplay. Now those graphics are made crystal clear - giving a new sense of vibrancy to literally EVERYTHING! Colors pop like never before, and details in characters are now more visible than they use to be. (Below are comparisons, with HD screen on the left, and the PS2 version on the right.)

I wasn't able to use the Playstation Move control scheme - but my worries of going from the Wii version, to the regular controller-setup completely vanished. The brush work and gameplay works exactly (sometimes even better) than it did on the Wii. It originally was a PS2 title - before motion controllers - so I suppose it isn't a surprise that it works; but I didn't know exactly how well it would work in comparison.

There isn't any new content to the game - but there doesn't have to be. The story and land are huge - giving you hours upon hours of gameplay. There are even several points in the game where you think the story is ending -- but it then continues right along, to even more haunting dangers. The funny, exciting, and above all emotional story continues to impress me to this day.

If you've never played Okami, the $20 price for this PS3 exclusive downloadable title is a great value. Even for long-time Okami fans -- the graphics really are that good.

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