50 Game Roundup: 151-200 (Jeroen)

Posted: 10th December 2012 by Jeroen in Round-Up

Fifty more games since our last summary post. Wow. For those keeping track, we’ve now played and written about 200 games for this blog, so we’ve done one in five games – looking at the book we made it from 1971 to 1991. Here, we’ve randomly jumped around and created patches and connected sections… the list really looks like a mess now. We’ll get there soon though, trust me.

It’s been an interesting fifty. Aside from probably being our most varied so far, we’ve covered a number of difficult games. They’ll probably come up later as well, in my write-up or Peter’s, but we’ve played a few games that seemed almost impossible to get. There’s been Steel Battalion and Beatmania in the ‘annoying and expensive peripheral’ category, and Final Furlong and Dance Dance Revolution in the ‘good luck finding it in an arcade’ category. And with how few are remaining (Reset Generation and Golden Tee Live being the remaining worries) we are even more confident we can finish this. It is awesome!

And with that, on to the next fifty!

Best Game I Had Not Previously Played

 You know what? I almost had a tie here. And the other candidate is close enough, but I’ll say a bit more on that in a moment.

Yeah, there’s some fanboyism involved here, but that’s because I was, on a level, blown away by the game. Jade Empire is my favourite of the fifty, for many reasons. Good storytelling that drew me in from the start. A lovely character system. Beautiful graphics, especially considering its age. It just all came together for me.

The other contender probably mostly lost out because I won’t be playing it as much now, and more in particular because, well, its length makes it bit less good. But with a good game mechanic, great sense of humour and generally good puzzles and environment, Portal has become a rapid favourite. I’m looking forward to trying its sequel at some point.

Worst Game

I must admit, this fifty was better than before. When going through the list, there wasn’t really much I didn’t enjoy playing (and Peter already snapped the one I’d nominate for his list).

Still, we’ve been critical of old games in the past, mostly because they were, well, old, and Utopia is certainly on that list. The thing is… it’s just not good anymore. It’s not that deep, not that sensible, difficult to get… It’s been done better, yeah, it looks ugly, and it being listed because it’s the only one that might have made a console worth it… just doesn’t make it better. Sorry. Just not it.

Most Surprising Game

 Out of this fifty, Flower probably surprised me most. I’ll be honest, when we started playing it I didn’t really know what it was about, but playing through it and seeing it played soon changed my impression.

Flower is a beautiful game. It’s beautiful in graphics and in music, but just as much in concept and gameplay. It’s simple, but as other good things, it combines simple things to make something bigger. A brush stroke might not be much, but many of them can form a beautiful painting. Lyrical? Maybe, but this game deserved it.

Steel Battalion, in its scope, deserves an honorary mention here as well. Not for its gameplay – that’s not as impressive, but the sheer feeling of power coming from sitting behind its amazing controller. It was AWESOME.

Space Channel Five, in the mean time, is a completely bonkers game, which doesn’t show in any writeup you can give it. It’s completely bonkers and needs to be experienced… not what we expected when we started the Dreamcast to play it!

Biggest Disappointment

Wizball, when doing our research before playing the game, seemed quite amazing. A wizard travelling around a world painting it different colours, with all sorts of shooting and powerups? Hell yeah! Unfortunately, when playing it, it’s not that cool, and getting to the point where you get better control is beyond frustrating. Just not worth it.

Honorary mention: Crackdown. I suppose it sort of is a nice sandbox game, true, but there’s not much depth in it, there are very few options, and too often the game seems to work against you rather than with you. It didn’t work, and didn’t give you the playing time and options you’d expect from something that’s supposed to be sandboxxy.

Best Blast From The Past

Thankfully, I’ve been able to go back to plenty of games I loved to play before. Grow, Grim Fandango, Civilization 2… Overall, however, there’s one that I’m happiest with – and where I’m looking forward to explore its sequels down the line.

Warcraft II is a brilliant strategy game. There’s things sequels do better – integrating storyline and cutscenes into missions, more varied levels and mixing units, selecting more units at once – but this is a solid start, engaging enough, with memorable missions – the end of the human campaign is simply awesome. It was a lot of fun playing it again and reminded me how I should properly get back to the series.

Games We Kept Playing

As is clear from the above, there are a lot of games we want to come back to. There’s one in particular though that stands out, both because we went back to it and because we are already planning on doing so. Buzz Quiz TV is one of those good party games – one that you want to subject everyone to so you can see how they measure up. It’s not only set up well, but is tough but not too tough.  And I want to play it again. Right now, actually.