FGotY 2009 [Didn’t come out in 2009]

Not only can we not play all the games that come out in a year, there are still games that came out last year (or later) that we still want to play. And play them we did. Here are the games we had the most fun with this year that did not come out this year.

Brock – This is a tie for me between Persona 4 on the PS2 and Fallout 3 on the 360. Both games consumed enormous chunks of 2009 and were incredibly fun to play. Persona 4 is probably the most memorable game that I played this year and it will be very hard to top it going into 2010.

Jason O – I don’t like ties because they feel like a cop-out, but I actually have two games. One is S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky for the PC. By the time the game hit my radar I didn’t have a machine that could run it. After inheriting a fairly powerful PC and finding it on Steam for all of $5 I decided to give it a try. This is a “survival” game that gets it right. Maybe not a “fun” game, but it is an engaging one that I keep coming back to despite how quickly I die. My other game not only wasn’t released in 2009, it hasn’t been released at all. Of all the games announced this year that was delayed, Alpha Protocol was at the top of my watchlist. While I’d much rather delay a game then release a subpar product, games that are delayed rarely come out as a decent product. I’m still holding out hope for this one though as it explores a theme that is oddly absent in the videogame industry. Open-world espionage gaming? Sign me up!

James – I will definitely go with Team Fortress 2 on the PC. When this game came out I wasn’t interested in it at all to tell you the truth. My brother raved on how much fun it was and how much I would like it. After playing it I could see what he meant. Whenever I had the chance to play a game the the one that was on the top of the list was always this one. The way Valve (the TF2 team) is keeping this game fresh with always coming out with new content and updates for FREE makes me even more eager to purchase the games they come out with.

Nat – I purchased n+ twice–for the DS and PSP. The funny thing is that I acquired the DS version in January and just received the PSP version this week. It’s really the only non-2009 game I played this year.

WillAudiosurf wins my FGotY 2009 [Didn’t come out in 2009] award, hands down. After playing the Zune HD’s Audiosurf Tilt, I was intrigued to see what the original game was like. I didn’t think it was possible to like this game anymore than the portable version. There is a nice community built around the title. I love comparing my scores to my friends as well as other players in the area. It is a simple and engaging game, and I will continue to pour my time into it.

Tony – This one is a no brainer for me. I started Mass Effect back in 2007 when it came out and only made it about two hours in when other games caught my attention. I didn’t make it back to guide Shepard’s quest to save the universe until late 2009. Now that I’ve finished the game (in preparation for ME2) I can see why everyone was loving this game. Yes, it has some issues and it definitely isn’t perfect but it has really amped me up for Mass Effect 2 to come out. And I definitely won’t wait two years to finish it off.

Weekend Gaming

I haven’t done one of these in a while, and I’m hoping for a good weekend of gaming, so now is as good as a time as any to ask: what’cha playing this weekend?

Me, I’m about five hours in to Batman: Arkham Asylum and I’m really itching to get back. I am really, REALLY enjoying Batman. Extremely engaging and addictive. It has a bit of a Metroid feel to the exploration and jumping around. What I find most compelling is that I’m not firing hot lead through a rifled barrel at the heads of the bad guys. I know that’s not Batman’s style, but having to be resourceful and creative is quite satisfying. Of course, punching out scores of bad guys is equally satisfying. I’m hoping to make more progress this weekend on Arkham Island.

If time permits, I hope to join the guys from the site for a little Left 4 Dead. If you’re playing the PC version, let us know if you’re interested in joining us for a buttomashing.com L4D night. Also, time permitting, I’d like to make a little more progress with Mass Effect and Fire Emblem: Dragon Sword on the DS. Here’s to hoping.

What’s on tap for you guys?

Mass Effect [360] – First Impressions

Mass Effect Box ArtAs I usually do, I’ll keep this short and simple, in bullet form. Since the missus wanted to watch The Biggest Loser, I get to blog. So here are a few impressions I’ve had. For context (generalized to avoid spoilars) I recently got my ship and started exploring planets. I think I’m about five hours in and have already explored three planets.

What I like:

  • I’m not usually distracted by shining objects, but Holy Moses eating a Twinkie, this game is beautiful. It feels like space.
  • The music. It fits perfectly. I hear a little Terminator and other sci-fi influences.
  • The character customizations, the RPG elements, the ability to control what your squad has equipped and the skills they use.
  • Exploring space. I’ve been ignoring the main missions, I’m just flying around and checking out new planets.
  • The story and all the lore (especially the narrated information). It is really engaging and almost overwhelming. I’ve been listening to everything, reading everything and really enjoying it. It’s worth the time to read and it’s really well fleshed out.
  • The combat. I actually didn’t like the shooter elements at first (along with the cover system) but it’s growing on me. It works well and being able to pause whenever I want is perfect.

What I don’t care for:

  • The conversation wheel. While it is really cool and fun to control a conversation, it’s actually a source of consternation. I am always conflicted with which way to go with the conversation. I am guiding my character to be a “renegade” (there are two “alignment” paths: paragon (goodie two shoes) or renegade (ne’er do weller)) but I struggle constantly with choices. The “renegade” choice doesn’t jive with my personal moral compass. I want my guy to be the renegade but I feel guilty doing the “mean” thing. It doesn’t feel right.

    The conversation wheel also stresses me out because I feel like I’m going to miss something if I don’t make the “right” choice to move the story along. Sometimes options disappear after you’ve got done a particular path. The obsessive in me wants to see it all!.

  • The acting. It can be absolutely wooden at times. It doesn’t always work. We have not entered the Uncanny Valley quite yet in Mass Effect.
  • While I do like the control they give you over the squad customizations, I don’t actually care for having a squad most of the time. The path-finding is horrible, too. Can you please step aside, dude? You’re getting in the way and you’re about to get lasered.

So yeah, the good outweighs the bad by a huge margin. Mass Effect has been very food thus far.

Weekend Update

We had a crazy weekend of winter weather here in central Ohio (if you caught a glimpse of the Browns/Bills game on Sunday, that’s a little glimpse we had here on Saturday) but there were lots going on at the Casa Buttonmashing.

Even with the horrible weather conditions, my brother-in-law (here on referred to as the BIL) and I still braved the nasty roads and made our way to the theater to check out I am Legend. I recently finished the book last month (in preparation for the movie, of course) and was very excited about the movie. I enjoyed it. Will Smith does a great job of playing Robert Neville, a man all alone. People are giving the movie bad marks, saying it isn’t like the book. This isn’t fair. The movie, in my mind, is a reimagination of the book. There are a lot of similarities, but things happen in the movie that don’t happen in the book. That is not an indictment of the movie, though. It still explores many of the same concepts the book does: solitude, companionship, despair, horror. They’re all there and they’re done very well. Maybe a little heavy on some of the CGI and some of Will Smith being Will Smith, but it all works in the end. I wasn’t a huge fan of the way the movie ends, but it was still somewhat true to the overall theme of the book.

I Am LegendI give I am Legend a thumbs up

I got an early christmas present from the Sis and BIL, hooking me up with Age of Empires DS. I had played it previously but never made much headway in the actual campaigns. It’s great turn-based strategy goodness and I’m looking forward to some more time with the game.

I’m still playing Mass Effect – Impressions will be up soon. I am loving this game.

Finally, a hand update: I am able to play games now, (obviously) but I haven’t braved anything fast-paced (read: Halo 3 on Live). I’ve been training my hand with Geometry Wars but I really want to get back to some Halo 3 multiplayer. I was really enjoying it before the “incident” and was having a pretty good go at 2v2 matches with n0wak. Now that the BIL will be back on Live, I should be back and fully operational rather soon.

On a side (and perhaps gross) note, I was instructed by my doctor to begin doing some therapy on my fingers, so scar tissue doesn’t build up or my tendons tighten up. Well today I was working my pinkie finger, which wasn’t bending very far before it got tight and painful. The therapy consisted of bending the individual fingers until it got uncomfortable and then holding it at that point for a ten count. Well today, while doing said exercise, I felt and faintly heard something tear. Actually, it felt more like something gave out. The sound it made is hard to replicate, but it didn’t sound normal and I got a pit in my stomach, thinking I had done something bad. I can still move the finger just fine, but now I’m nervous to do my stretching again.

So, how was your weekend? Any torn tendons? 🙂

In my hands

(One broken hand, one whole one):

Mass Effect Box Art