Year of the Games: March 2011

Get ready for a deluge, this is the biggest one so far.

Okamiden – I wanted to like this game, but I just couldn’t get into it. It was awfully cute, but it just didn’t grab me and I sent back the rental after only a few tries.

PixelJunk Shooter 2 – It wasn’t terribly different from the first, but I loved the first. These two are a bit tied for my favorite Pixeljunk games; I just wish the last few stages weren’t locked behind such a high requirement. I burned out, but I enjoyed the ride.

Beyond Good & Evil HD – I had actually played BG&E before, so I didn’t feel too bad about this one being left by the wayside. It’s just as good as ever — maybe better with age — but man that camera could use some fine-tuning.

Pokemon Black – I keep buying Pokemon games hoping they’ll fix some of the holdovers of old design, and they keep frustrating me. This is probably the biggest leap the series has seen, but it needed a bigger one. I know this is a series that’s successful regardless of its staid nature, but I’d really like to see a bigger shake-up to things like HMs and the general flow of combat. Still, it’s probably the best Pokemon game so far; incremental upgrades will do that.

Dragon Age 2 – I claimed in my review that it’s superior to the original, and I stand by that. I loved the old-school charm of Origins as much as the next guy, but this game looked nicer, played better, and had more interesting characters. Everyone seems to be forgetting those factors due to the (admittedly lazy) copy & paste dungeons.

Sonic 4 Episode 1 – Yeah, this feels like a Sonic game alright. I was glad I waited for a sale. Too few stages for the price, especially since one of the four worlds was probably one of the worst in Sonic history. I’m referring to the temple area. Just awful.

Torchlight XBLA – I had toyed with this game on PC, but I never much enjoy games that require constant clicking. The controls on XBLA just feel much more natural. It’s half the reason I want to play Diablo 3 on consoles, and given the constant hints from Blizzard, I’m betting I’ll get that chance.

Steel Diver – An original DS tech demo that didn’t deserve the DS price tag, much less the higher 3DS price tag. I was pretty harsh in my review, and I still think it’s the absolute dud of the 3DS launch.

Ridge Racer 3D – My other 3DS launch review, I thought this was actually a pretty good showpiece for the system. It made effective use of the 3D and SpotPass features, and seemed like a game you could feel good about at the time. Of course, launch standards are different than overall standards, so nowadays you can find better racing games.

Super Street Fighter 4 3D – I rented this, since I had already played Street Fighter 4 quite a bit. It’s a surprisingly passable rendition of the game on a handheld. Tournament players probably don’t like the touchscreen buttons for combos, but what self respecting tourney player would do it on a handheld anyway?

Lego Star Wars 3DS – I’m not sure why, but Lego games put me to sleep. I love Legos, and I think the games are really charming, but something about the calming clack-clack-clack of collecting the small bits works like warm milk with me.

Tomorrow: April, and a more reasonable five games.

  • The first in my five-part series of the Top News of 2011.
  • Xbox DVR seems like a cool feature, but I’m guessing next-gen if at all.
  • According to one commenter, the Jedi Boogie bug has already been fixed. Too bad; that was one of my favorite things to write lately.
  • I didn’t even remember that anyone had ever announced a Buffy or Firefly MMO. And as much as I’d like to see more Firefly, I don’t think an MMO is the right way to go, honestly.
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