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Memorable Games i've Played This Year, Part 1

On 12/19/2014 at 02:00 AM by Alex-C25

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It's certainly close to that time of the year, when the Steam Christmas sales have just begun, people now wait for a fat man to go down a chimney (or if you live in Colombia and some other Latin American countries, baby Jesus somehow being able to give gifts) and many media websites are just making, just made or are about to make their end of the year lists and video game media is no exception.

Though i'm catching up on games much better than when I only had a Wii, the problem comes from the fact that I haven't played anything from this year. I have Child of Light and Valdis Story, both released on this year, but I haven't started them. So instead of doing a Game of the Year list or countdown, I decided to recount on the most memorable games i've played this year. Some of them are now in my favorites and some are not (atleast not yet). I only count on those that I either have finished or fiddled enough hours to get a whole aproval to me and also if I started it this year, so in this case the first Portal doesn't count due to being started in late 2013, even if I eventually finished it on early February of this year, and as much as I would have wanted to put it, i'm also discounting Limbo because of being started back all the way in 2012.

This year was certainly productive for PC gaming. Ever since I got my hands at a laptop last year, it's been my constant source for gaming that isn't my PSP or 3DS and since I lived in Belgium for over 9 months and had to be away from my beloved Wii and Xbox, you could say that over that time I became a Valve fan and a member of the "PC GAMING MASTER RACE" (which I don't take too seriously to be honest). Just saying this because except for one game, all this list will be PC centered.

With that said, let's get to business because this is going to get lengthy.


I haven't finished Bastion, but what I played has convinced me to not only included it on this recount but on my list of favorite games.

One of the biggest strengths in Bastion lies in the use of narrative. Rucks, one of the characters from the small cast, narrates through the story in such a way that makes it feel alive. He comments on almost all of The Kid's (our protagonists) actions, such as attacks, exploration, and everything else and instead of going for a repetitive route, every single line is different adding a lot of flavour to the character and world, and best of all, engages the player and makes them feel like they are part of a story. The fact that his voice actor has quite the badass rough voice (that same voice over from the above trailer) just adds to the awesome.

Another strength is the combat. It may not be as complex as other Action-RPGs in the market, but it is well done for what it has and combining weapons allows for small strategies. That said, the keyboard controls have a problem of Some Dexterity Required, which while not bad early in the game, much later it can be a chore, especialy with hordes of enemies, so this is a must with an Xbox or Xbox One control, which made a more precise gameplay for me.

Lastly, the art department is excellent here as it looks amazing and has a very unique asthetic and good god is that soundtrack amazing!

So yes, Bastion is an amazing game so far. I should continue it one of these days, though considering my procrastination habits, it'll either take long or maybe right away.


I may have spent 4 hours on the tutorial alone and the other 4 on the main gameplay itself, but despite that I gained love for Skullgirls.

Figting games are close to being a favorite, yet so far because of the big learning curve. Except for the Super Smash Bros. series, much of the other fighting games become either a button smashing galore or a simple prompt without much combo, which by now i'm trying to avoid as to have a better fighting experience. I've been having practice before with BlazBlue on the PSP and im getting there with Skullgirls, which has a very indepth and welcoming tutorial.

Aside from that, it's a very well done game on many respects. The fighting is fast and precise, the animation is outstanding, the art department excells, the setting is unique, the story is serviciable and good if you are interested on it and it has a very unique and nice cast of characters, each with its own different fighting style..... except Fukua, the Fillia clone to make a small joke on infamous Ultra Street Fighter 4 Cammy's clone Decapre.

Of course, the focus on fan service on some of the girls can turn-off some people and also it's corresponding designs. I personally love them and I don't mind the fanservice here (I like it with some characters for instance), but I could see why some would simply ignore it because of that. And also, use a pad instead of keyboard for this one.

Dear Esther:

Now it's time to get into artsy territory.

Dear Esther, if not the first one, it's one of the kickstarter of the now emerging games based around exploration and walking with almost little to no gameplay, with some calling them Walking Simulators, either as harmless affective joke or serious derision. With the last sentence, it comes as no surprise this type of game is not for everybody and Dear Esther was the punch bag for the people that aren't into this kind of games until Gone Home came.

As for me? I honestly really liked it. I'm always up for experimenting games and discover things out of my comfort zone and at the same time, I wanted to play this since I was temporally burned out by constant action so it also served as a nice relaxation.

The charm of this game is in part thanks to the mysterious story and narrative. The latter excells since it guides the player with the game and unfolds what's happening without interrupting the flow, letting the players get inmersed and like Bastion, it also employs an excellent narrator, which may or may not be the player character depending on what you believe. Music plays also a big factor on it, as it sets a mood and combined with the beautiful scenery, it makes for something poetic (that sounded pretentious, I know) and just pleasing to the eyes and ears and fits in the interesting narrative.

Now, there's some elephants in the room. There's backtracking here on certain parts, which wouldn't be so bad, but the character moves slowly, so that may annoy some people. There's also the Walking Simulator nature, as this is exactly that, you only walk. I didn't mind this that much and it works very well when you get the cave part, but it can get boring for some. It's also VERY short. Over 2 hours at most and while 10$ is a bit better of a price than Gone Home's 20$, some are not eager to pay that for something that is posible to beat on a day. Lastly, the ambigous nature of the story and ending may be nice brain food for theorizing and interpreting yourself what is happening, but it may aliniate others.

Still, for something different than the standard of video games, I digged it. Really, I don't see why games like this shouldn't exist. I may love jumping plumbers, but sometimes it's better to do things different once in a while and experiment on what can you do with games.

Hotline Miami:

Now here's an oposite mood from Dear Esther. While that game is relaxed and makes you feel safe, Hotline Miami pure catharsis and adrenaline with lots of gore for measure.

Hotline Miami is hard, intense and sometimes confusing and very bloody, but at the end of the day, also fun, greatly designed, intense in the best way and even fair. You see, this game is from the Super Meat Boy difficulty philosophy. It asks you to keep trying and also encourages you to change your plannings, it encourages you to act and never give up and always try to get better. Even if you spent over half an hour in a single level, you feel a satisfaction, knowing that it's posible to master this game. It doesn't hold your hand, but instead on stomping on it like many old games of the NES days, it gives you a tool and tells you to use it and discover yourself what it does.

Though it has minimal story, the way they use it's quite interesting and it may be a game based around violence, but the thing is I never felt like they glorified it here. Early in the game, one of your bosses tells you "Do you like hurting people?" and as you progress, you see how much violence is screwing with the protagonists head and at the same time your bosses simply feel repulsed by what you are doing. I haven't finished this, but at the same time I want to what happens in the end and from what I gather, maybe the minimal story is for a reason....

It's a very nice game visually (though epileptic for some), since the 16-bit like graphics actually back-up the gameplay and soundtrack wise is fantastic, with nice dark Electronic and Synthpop music that not only fits the time decade, but fits the violent tone of the game and descend of madness.

Looking at what I wrote, I kinda feel like I made an inverse to Julian's review of the game, where he wasn't.... very kind to it. Different strokes for different people I guess, but for me, this is closely becoming a favorite of mine and it's an action games that's simple on the objective, but with a lot of thinking in the long run.

Sonic CD:

Just so you guys know, this is the rerelase/remake made shortly after Generations.

Anyway, what can I say about classic Sonic that hasn't been said before? Well, I have never played this one before and kept hearing that either this one or Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was the best classic Sonic game, it's certainly Captain N's favorite 2D Sonic from what I remember him saying and so was the favorite of Kenola, and ol' user from ye olde 1up.

I was interested on it mostly on the time traveling mechanics and the p-seudo 3D (which there wasn't much) and when I finally had it run on my laptop, I wasn't dissapointed.

I still have Sonic 3 & Knuckles as my favorite classic Sonic and honestly I feel this one is so close yet only edges on being a total favorite. Guess the difficulty of the time traveling mechanic and some cheap plataforming just hinder my total love. But said all that, it's still an excellent game like a classic Sonic game should be, with speed, great plataforming and boss battles and even the time traveling mechanic is nice once you dominated it.

It doesn't hurt that since the Sonic CD was part of a add-on console with more software posibilities (even if this rerelease is different), the scenery and sprites look amazing and also managed to include CD quality sound effects and music. Speaking of the soundtrack, it also follows the Sonic tradition for excellent music, both on the Japanesse/European more House/kinds Hip-Hop centred style and the much more varied American soundtrack, both thankfully included on the rerelease/remake. They even put Tails!

Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix:

Yup, this is the only non-PC game from my series.

I love the Tony Hawk games, but this was the only Tony Hawk game I ever owned, though first I had the Xbox version. Sadly, my original copy got damaged, so I was empty of Tony Hawk, only playing them from time to time whenever I had chance. Lo and behold, there was a PSP version of Underground 2 that wasn't (mostly) a bare bones port, but had all the levels of the console versions with added ones and found it in Belgium, and because thankfully the PSP doesn't have region lock-on, I snatched the only copy they had on the used section. I felt that my childhood came back again.

Okay, it's graphically lacking in certain parts, it lacks some of the extra videos from the console versions, the lack of map editor definitely hurts it and the Jackass inspired story mode can aliniate some, but the skating works as great as always, the levels are great and it' just so damn fun. This also became the Tony Hawk game that I finally learned all the essential mechanics and the special tricks I never could pull off as a kid.

I'm sure the first Underground (which I have never played) is probably better and the same with the past games in the saga, but just coming back to this game was like coming back to an old friend.

for those who are also curious, the song selection doesn't dissapoint either and this game manage to prove Frank Sinatra and Johnny Cash could work for skating..... I'm not joking, they have one song each in this game!

Team Fortress 2: 

If you told me years before when I only had a Wii as a main console and wasn't experienced with online games, that Team Fortress 2 would enter my favorites, I wouldn't really dery it as much as PC gaming was beyond capacity on those times and instead say it would kinda never happen, as much as I loved the fan content of the game I used to see back over Halolz. But now that I accepted PC gaming and had the posibility to play it, i'm a happy man now.

This game has eaten many of my hours. When you have a game that it's mostly balanced, has great game design, has a fair free-to-play model, it's hilarious and bonkers, has excellent characters both on the way they play and personalities, has great graphics and asthetics and it's just so damn fun, you get a winning combination. I'm also a big fan of how they managed to create an expanded universe out of the setting. It may be a small premise, and even you can ignore those comics and just have fun with the game itself, but for what it is, it's very interesting, paints another look at the characters and world and sometimes even takes into the games if the Love & War update is any indication. That Valve als listens to fans and makes them involved into process such as including new weapons and items, hired them for the game and comics and even allowed them in making the two updates, just makes this the icing of the Team Fortress 2 cake.

This won't be the only time I include Valve though......

Anyway, that's all for this first part, Expect to see the next one shortly enough before X-mas. While we're at it, here's some clues for the next games i'll include in Part 2:

- The first game is very epileptic and can be described as Pong on LSD.

- Like certain MINE game that has CRAFTing and exploring..... except 2D (this is an obvious give away).

- Started as a Japanese freeware, then got a remake on the Wii and years later it was ported and updated again on Steam.

- NSonic79 hates this game and he never played it. Reason? the sequel to a game that had a cancelled Dreamcast port. Oh, he knows which one i'm talking about.

- The more the time passes, the more you are likely to die....

- Not on Steam, is free and if you wait a while, it expands..... that's all i'm going to say.

- "I'm gonna get my engineers, to invent a combustible lemon, that burns your house down!" (this one should also be an easy give away).




12/19/2014 at 02:53 AM

Dear Esther looks interesting.


12/19/2014 at 11:07 AM

Indeed, especialy the story.

Casey Curran Staff Writer

12/19/2014 at 04:53 AM

Didn't care for Dear Esther. Thought The Stanley Parable beat everything else in that genre in every way.


12/19/2014 at 11:08 AM

I kinda knew you wouldn't like this kind of games since i've seen you prefer gameplay much more. Still, hoping to get The Stanley Parable, maybe on this current Steam sale.

Cary Woodham

12/19/2014 at 07:58 AM

I'll post my Game of the Year blog in late December/early January.


12/19/2014 at 11:10 AM

Looking forward to it.

Remy LeBeau

12/19/2014 at 08:47 AM

Bastion is pretty short. It took me about 7 hours to finish. I liked Hotline Miami a lot, and am looking forward to the sequel. I can understand why some people wouldn't like it though. That game is brutally violent at times.


12/19/2014 at 11:17 AM

I think I have a bit more hours on Bastion due to taking my time in the weapon challenges.

I can understand if people don't like Hotline Miami and I respect Julian on that, though it kinda irked that he calls the game "mindless" since Hotline Miami is anything but that.

I think i've seen those that don't like the game that much do it for the reasons Julian doesn't either instead of the violence (but that can also be a contributing factor).

Matt Snee Staff Writer

12/19/2014 at 09:34 AM

good games!  I never beat Bastion, but I'm looking forward to Transistor, which I bought in a steam sale.  

Dear Esther looks good too.  I'm not sure if I have that.  

We at Pixlbit are working on our GOTY articles right now.  They're coming soon!!


12/19/2014 at 11:21 AM

I took a look and it seems you don't have Dear Esther.

Looking forward to the GOTY articles.


12/19/2014 at 10:35 AM

I wanted to play through Dear Esther but wound up drowning several times and on my last attempt literally stuck. Yes I found a place with a ship wreck or something in the water and tried to get to it only to wind up being stuck in the water and unable to move in any direction. I haven't been back to it since. I need a walkthrough for a walking simulator. :)


12/19/2014 at 11:23 AM

Peter, I said you could only walk, not even the games allows for water exploration :P

Though I should have mentioned that here. That's also a small problem of sometimes not letting the player explore more.


12/19/2014 at 12:21 PM

In all seriousness I wanted to play through it for the story but I have this curiosity that gets me into trouble sometimes. :D

Super Step Contributing Writer

12/19/2014 at 11:51 AM

Skullgirls looks fun.


12/19/2014 at 02:28 PM

It is very fun. It does have quite a big learning curve even with a tutorial.


12/19/2014 at 04:20 PM

I love TF2, I'm going to try and go play some more of that this holiday before school starts again. Looking forward to your next entry, Alex!


12/19/2014 at 05:06 PM

My next entry has two games you love, so keep an eye on it.


12/31/2014 at 03:34 PM

Nice pcisk. I didnt see some of them coming though. I recently got my bro that tony hawk game for Xmas. He had a hard time trying to save his game though, it seems the game can't save on a memory card that is over 2GB in size.Yet once again no sign of Halo...



01/01/2015 at 01:39 AM

I'm not surprised that you mentioned Halo Tongue Out

I think I remember also having some save problems when I had THUG 2 on the Xbox.

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