It isn’t only the huge franchises that made an impact this year, some returning (less established) favourites also managed to more than impress. Be they downloadable games or full releases that simply lacked the attention that I personally felt they deserved. These are the games that seemed to get less love, either in ‘game of the year’ lists I read on other sites or from general sales figures. This is my small attempt to redress the balance.
Rayman: Origins – Beautiful. It is impossible to fault Rayman: Origins for what it does. From there it simply comes down to whether what it is trying to do appeals to you. Superb 2D platforming with some of the finest animation I have seen and a charming light hearted wit. Sure it may look childish to some, and paying full price for a 2D title may not be how most people chose to spend their money, but I promise it is worth every penny.
InFamous 2 – Platform exclusives tend to get a significantly more backing than other releases, but Sony has a strange habit of only back some of its titles; Killzone 3 got the push, InFamous 2 did not. I don’t pretend to know the thinking behind this move, but InFamous 2 was one of the few sequels this year to real build and improve on the previous title and deserved more attention than it got in the years “best of” considerations. With fantastic parkour traversal and combat, it is a title I cant help but feel was overlooked by action fans in search of more guns.
From Dust – This was an unexpected one. Coming out of nowhere this downloadable god simulation game created an experience that cried back Populous. Dust’s goal is to lead the nomadic tribes people of the world to the Promised Land. To do this, paths must be constructed from the elements of water, earth and lave, to allow the tribes people to make their way to safety. Gorgeous and addictive, it makes me realise why (if there are gods) they made the Earth for their entertainment.
Dark Souls – Demon’s Souls was already one of my favourite games this generation. With its licence tied up with numerous publishers in each territory Dark Souls is the sequel that otherwise could not be. It keeps nearly everything that made Demon’s Souls unique, the bizarre multiplayer, punishing difficulty, even the look of the world remained intact. But learned lessons made a game that was more accessible with a structure that allowed for a greater connection to the game’s engrossing world. Not for everyone, but I am sure not everyone who would love it has played it. My game of the year.
Hard Corps: Uprising – Contra ring any bells? If so then the bells it rings are probably riddled with bullet holes of nostalgia and filled with chimes of satisfying frustration. Assuming the annoyance of thousand deaths are not still too raw, then Hard Corps: Uprising is the perfect addition to your collection. A spiritual successor to Konami’s classic series this downloadable, beautifully hand animated title has all the gameplay of the original combined with a persistent perk system that rewards prolonged play by elevating some of the game’s impossible difficulty.