It's that time again. The time where I cover what my favorite games that I played this year. But like last year, I won't cover the games released this year as I haven't played any of them from this year.
I will also include games that I beat this year and/or have been playing since Christmas of 2011.
That being said, here we are, starting with the best:
Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing
Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, XBOX 360, PC, iOS
Developer: Sumo Digital
Release year: 2010 (360, PS3, Wii, DS), 2011 (iOS)
So Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, and Eggman/Robotnik decide to return to the kart racing genre after failing the first time with Sonic Drift on the SEGA Game Gear, but this time, not only is the Sonic anti-hero, Shadow joining in on the fun, we see other characters in SEGA's legacy joins in such as Shenmue's Ryo Hazuki, Virtua Fighter's Jacky Bryant (Akira Yuki is with him if you have the console version), Jet Set's Beat, Super Monkey Ball's Ai-Ai, Billy Hatcher and Space Channel 5's Ulala, among several others.
Even though I played the DS version, which lacks some characters found in the console versions (Rare's Banjo and XBOX Avatars on 360, Mii's on Wii, Metal Sonic as DLC for PS3/360), it still holds it's own with very nice and fun racetracks and how well it pays tribute to the publisher's IP, though even that could have been a bit better if they had mentioned more franchises, especially in track choices (some franchise mentioned has around three stages each, however the Sonic franchise has nine tracks).
Props also goes to the MIDI translation of the game's soundtrack, for keeping the catchy beat of an original version (Jet Set's The Concept of Love, make it two by adding Sonic Heroes' Seaside Hill), taking not one, but two of the worst Sonic BGM's and making them MUCH better (Sonic R's Can You Feel the Sunshine and Super Sonic Racing), and overall just being a joy to listen to while you race.
A fine racer to have alongside Mario Kart DS.
Kirbys Adventure Wii/Return to Dreamland
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Developer: HAL Labs
Release year: 2011
Last year, while everyone else was hyping EA/DICE's Battlefield 3 and Activision/Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. I stuck out like a sore thumb and decided to pay more attention to Nintendo/Hal's more cutesy and badass platformer, Kirby's Return to Dream Land/Adventure Wii, which takes Kirby back to his power stealing roots after the previous year's Epic Yarn
Though Kirby isn't alone here as Meta Knight, King Dedede, and Waddle Dee are also playable, but only in co-op for the other three players, not an entire bummer though once you understand the games' design. Either way, the other characters are just as welcome and also add more variety to the cIassic Kirby formula.
It's my most favorite in the series thanks to it's co-op, also adding the fact that the series still holds up even without Masahiro Sakurai at HAL. He's still working with Nintendo though as his team released Kid Icarus Uprising for the 3DS, also working with Namco for Super Smash Bros. 4.
Platform: PlayStation 2
Publisher: Namco, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Release year: 2004 (NA and Japan), 2005 (EU and AU)
Speaking of Namco, I might as well talk about a fighting game I've been playing since around Christmas time of last year. And man, has it been ages since I whipped some serious ass with the likes of Nina Williams, Julia Chang and more importantly, my most favorite in the series (and among my most favorite fighting game characters, see banner above for the others), the Five Animal, Drunken, Stuntmaster cop himself, Lei Wulong.
The fighting feels as fluid and responsive as ever, the graphics push the PlayStation 2 quite well (despite it being the weakest that generation, even compared to the GameCube), and what's also very nice is that you can play the arcade versions of the early Tekken trilogy all on one disc, as well as throw in the unlockable Starblade (Aw dude, why the hell was THAT not in Star Fox Assault? The aparoids reference the enemy ships from this. Instead, that game gets the rather "meh" Xevious), which I played through the first time, thanks to this (it's pretty fun).
Though it has a rather mediocre beat 'em up mode, Devil Within (only worth it to unlock Starblade, you can unlock Devil Jin another way without beating it), it isn't anywhere near as bad as say, Hero Mode in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja 4 in that it plagues the main experience (thank goodness, it doesn't), and you can get enough out of the main fighting gameplay by your standard fighting game modes (although Arcade mode has a far different set-up than most other fighting games I played).
No doubt one of the best fighting games in the sixth generation of consoles and to me, is only behind Namco's own Soul Calibur II.
Platforms: Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 (PSN)
Developer: Clover Studios (PS2), Ready At Dawn (Nintendo Wii), HexaDrive (PSN)
Release years: 2006 (PS2). 2008 (Wii), 2012 (PS3/PSN)
The last game to be released by Clover Studios on the PlayStation 2 before their shutdown (having various members form Platinum Games), later ported to the Wii under Ready at Dawn, and ported AGAIN, but in HD by HexaDrive on PS3's PSN. Okami is a widely overlooked gem that shouldn't be missed, no matter what system you have, wherever it's on. A very beautiful artsyIe very suiting of mythical Japanese lore, a quite unique (though at times flawed thanks to getting the right shape, but not the right response, at least in the Wii version, it is manageable though) celestial brush mechanic, great dungeons/puzzles, great storyline, and great boss battles to boot.
There is no reason for missing out on this wonderful gem
Platforms: Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, XBOX 360, PC, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS
Developer: UbiART Montpellier
Release year: 2011 (360, PS3, Wii), 2012 (PC, 3DS, Vita)
Speaking of more hidden gems with amazing art, here's a reboot to Ubisoft's platformer series, Rayman. Even on the SD Wii, the game still looks like a thing of beauty. Also add the challenge to be had with this with very worthy frustration, as well as hilarious cutscenes. You'll have an amazing time, especially if you're waiting for the Wii U exclusive sequel, Rayman Legends (I know I'm excited for that, as well as wish to pick up the PS version of Rayman 1 and either the N64 or PS2 versions of Rayman 2, also add either the PS2 or GameCube versions of Rayman 3 as well)
Now here is the WORST!
Platforms: Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, PSP, PC
Developer: Rockstar London, Rockstar Toronto
Release year: 2008 (NA), 2009 (EU)
This isn't a bad game by any means, but it's not all that entertaining either. The executions can be fun (despite the censorships the console versions faced), but the story is confusing and uninteresting, the motions for some of the hand-to-hand combat feels awkward, and the graphics are dated... and I mean REALLY dated.
Some will say the PC and PS2 versions are better, but there's enough about the overall game that just doesn't get to me the way that it should, so no point.
And that's it. Just three more days until Street Fighter X Mega Man releases.