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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Downwards Compatible's End Of Year Awards

Most Disappointing Game

Metroid Other M


It wasn't the cutscenes that bothered me about this game. It wasn't the storyline or the characterization of Samus that annoyed me either. What annoyed me was this: They removed the essence of Metroid and then called it a Metroid game.


For example, in a normal Metroid game, you would have been subjected to the hot areas or the slowness of the gravity areas until you found the Varia or Gravity suit. Then you could gleefully traverse the areas that you couldn't before. You could also take out enemies that you couldn't before since you now had the tools needed to handle them.

I think Nintendo discounted how important that feature is to the long-term appeal of Metroid. Metroid has always been about seeing things you can't open or defeat, then finding the tool on your own and pushing past the problem. It's a sense of satisfaction knowing that YOU did something.

Other M instead keeps you from doing anything because you're just waiting for permission. This kills one of the biggest battles at the end, because you're not told that you have permission to use a specific weapon and since it hasn't been demonstrated since the very beginning of the game, you've forgotten how to use it.

Also, Metroid is about backtracking. It's about returning to previous areas stronger to show you how far you've come since the beginning. It's only until AFTER the game is over that you can finally play Other M the way you SHOULD have been able to at the beginning. Sigh. Such a missed opportunity.

Most Pleasant Surprise

The Wii's Emergence As A Real Gaming System

The Wii had one of its best years this year. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is an all-time classic, and they've had decent game after decent game come out. The only thing Wii gamers are missing is a major RPG, but that will never-

OH LOOK THERE IT'S "THE LAST STORY!"

Love it.

Most Shocking Decline That I Saw Coming a Mile Away

The Death of Guitar Games

As recently as earlier this year, I said that the massive amounts of Guitar Hero spinoffs would kill not only the Guitar Hero brand but also Rock Band and anyone else who tried to make them. Didn't I? Didn't I call this one from a mile away?

Then Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock launched and everyone was surprised that it flopped. Then Rock Band 3 fell on its face undeservedly. I'm telling you, Activision is driving every single one of its franchises into the dirt and the next one up is Call of Duty. You heard it here first.

Game That's Like Eating A Really Good Sandwich That Has Poop In It Every Ten Bites

Donkey Kong Country Returns

I love DKC Returns. I really do. It's fun, it's smart, it's just the right amount of difficult. However, about every ten levels, you're presented with a level where you have to fly a rocket around the level. This rocket is difficult to control, and you only have one hit until you're dead. Save points are few and far between in these levels.

Add to this the Super Guide system, which starts bothering you after you die eight times in the level and you CAN'T TURN OFF, and you have a recipe for rage quitting.

Great game, though.

Game I'm Most Looking Forward to Playing Now That I'm Not Writing For Gaming Trend

InFamous

I've been writing for Gaming Trend for the past two and a half years. They're a fine publication, and we left on good terms. However, for the last two years I haven't been able to do what I love doing: Buying piles of games dirt-cheap and playing them at my leisure. I used to do this all the time. I bought the original Ghost Recon for $2 used. I've bought games like Viewtiful Joe for $1.99. At that price, almost any game is fun.

Now that I own a PS3, I want to do the same thing. The first game on my list was Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. I played it for a while and had a good time, and I intend to finish it before I move on to Uncharted 2. However, I also now have InFamous, and everyone tells me it's better than Prototype, which I loved. Looking forward to it.

Downwards Compatible Games of the Year

3) Kirby's Epic Yarn

Kirby's Epic Yarn exists to make you smile. If you play games to take out your aggression or the equivalent of punching a pillow when you're angry, you won't like Kirby. However, if you play games to have a good time, relax and smile, then you'll enjoy Epic Yarn.

2) Dragon Quest IX

I've now put in about 80 hours in DQ9 and I still haven't finished it. It's not even like I've done a ton of side quests or anything: I've just been goofing around and levelling up characters. It's a turn-based JRPG in its purest form, and it's magic.

1) Super Mario Galaxy 2

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is remarkably confident. It's hard, it sounds great, it's clever, and it looks beautiful. It's the new game against which all 3-D platformers should be judged, and it should stand as one of Nintendo's crowning achievements in a long list of them.