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Excited About? September 21, 2011

Posted by Thomas Richards in News & Opinions.

I wanna blog about the games I want this year;

Batman Arkham City

I have always enjoyed Batman as characters but would have never tagged myself in conversation as a Batman geek.  I considered The Dark Knight my favorite movie but that was just because it was great and had nothing to do with an obsession with B-Man I held before seeing it.  I even watched the animated series quite a bit when I got home from school in the early 90’s, but none of this ever turned me into a Batman geek.

In August 2009 that all changed.  The pretty much unknown Rock Steady released a gem that grabbed ahold of my soul and entertained me in ways I had forgotten video games could (inb4 “that’s what she said”).  The story was perfectly simple, but the characters were interesting which enabled the story to have good depth but stay out of the way of the gameplay.  The environments were amazing and the excellent use of collectables enticed you to search for them for reasons other than just Achievements.  Very few games make the collectibles interesting because of their story elements, interesting because they are cleverly hidden and interesting because they upgrade your character.

As you played through Batman’s one night adventure you actually got to experience the sensations that Batman does of sneaking up onto enemies and making them shit themselves with fear before you jump out and beat the pulp out of them.

Everything in this game connected with me more and more as I played through it, and after completing it I found the joy of the combat challenges.  Oh the combat challenges, what happiness you bring to me.  Never before has a singleplayer action game made my fingers itch to play it the way Arkham City has.  In these challenges you are tasked with taking out a large group of thugs as efficiently as possible thus giving you a high score based mostly on a combo system.  The difficulty of these challenges is perfectly calibrated to make players fully utilize the sublime combat the game offers.

I got addicted to the way batman can flow from thug to thug countering them with well-timed button presses and simple two button moves that all have vastly different uses.  The combat in this game has a perfect skill requirement, so that getting better at the game rewards you visually through combat that looks better as you get better, and mechanically, because you start to get better scores.

The real amazing factor of the combat to me thought is that the game allows you to do amazing moves without ever feeling like the cool shit that happens is just a result of the developer’s plans.

I love the original so much that I am very close to my fourth full complete of all 1000 Gamerscore, so it is no surprise I’m shaking in my pants with excitement for the sequel.

Super Mario 3D Land

I have loved every major Mario released that ever existed, and  for Super Mario Galaxy 2 this is especially true.

SMG2 reminded me why I fell in love with games in the first place.  It was an absolute joy, with its colorful vibrant graphics and fully orchestrated soundtrack I couldn’t help but get immersed.

Combine this with a challenging and creative level design and you have a game that reminded me why Nintendo is still relevant.

When they announced Super Mario 3D Land, I was sold on the 3DS.  They teased about its connections to Super Mario Bros. 3 with the tail on the logo, and showed a few screen shots that were I the graphical style of the Galaxy series, but touted the game as still being evocative of the more old school Mario platformers.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my 3DS so far but in November Mario’s cheerful Mushroom Kingdom will be my second home.

Halo Combat Evolved:  Anniversary

Anybody who knows me knows that I love Halo.  I bought my original Xbox the day that Halo 2 came out so my experience with the classic is a bit limited but I enjoyed every second I had with it.

This game is the remake of the series that has defined my gaming for over five years.  I will be able to traverse the classic campaign in a full new graphic style and immediately switch to the classic look bushed up with HD graphics in an instant.  Other developers need to take note of this because it is the way to please both sides of the “Messing with classic games” argument.

Coinciding with this games release is a massive update to Halo Reach’s multiplayer that includes some maps and the much desired ability to remove the bloom of the DMR from certain playlist in Matchmaking.

If the MLG community gametype designers use this properly we could have the be all, end all competitive Halo experience that people have been dreaming of.  With Reach’s awesome hit detection, the Forge toolset, and the ability to customize the game mechanics as you see fit I’m sure this will make a good chunk of the Reach naysayers migrate back from CoD, Battlefield and Gears.

These are the three main games I’m looking forward to this year and I just wanted to help my anticipation for them by raving about them.  I would love for some commenters to do the same. Jjust shoot us with the games you want and feel free to disagree with me or call me an idiot for ignoring one you love. I would love to hear your onions on this holidays games, after all yammering about games is a hobby of mine…

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