Wednesday 15 December 2010

The Game of the Year

Has it been a good year for gaming?  It's certainly been one of big releases, huge in fact.  From Final Fantasy to Call of Duty: Black Ops the big guns have come and gone and in between the likes of Red Dead Redemption and Pro Evo have all made it one to cherish.

Final Fantasy flattered to deceive.  Stunningly attractive and once the game let you off the reigns compelling, it's just a shame that it took 30 hours to get to that point.  Some of the old magic was sacrificed to make it more Westernised and I missed the tweeness of old, although graphically nothing else has touched it.  Ever.

Black Ops?  To be honest I've not gone near the campaign but online it's the only Call of Duty game where I've ever had a positive kill/death ratio.  So either it's not as hardcore, or I've got better.  I think we all know the answer to that one.  It is great online though, easier to get to grips with, shooting from the hip, that bit easier than Modern Warfare 2 and the monetised system for buying weapons and perks works very well.  It lacks the polish of MW2 but makes up for it by being more fun.

Red Dead was a joy from start to finish.  The true Grand Theft Horsey, beautifully realised by Rockstar.  The single player campaign felt weighty, far more grown up than the Grand Theft series managed with GT4 but online it cut loose and had maybe my favourite gaming moment ever in it.  My first game online with AT, starting miles apart from one another, I rode on my donkey for 10 minutes to reach him only to get shot in the face.  Then he killed my donkey.  I can still hear him cackling into my headset.

Pro Evo stepped up this year big time.  It just feels right after my two year hiatus into the world of FIFA.  The gameplay is streets ahead of FIFA this year, more subtle, more time on the ball and hugely satisfying when you get something spot on.  Pro Evo is a football game for grown ups and it feels good to have it back in the fold.

Amongst all the standard fare Sony and Microsoft released Move and Kinect respectively and I've got Move and played around with Kinect.  Verdict?  Move needs more support from the third party developers and some decent titles (because it has the accuracy over the Wii sewn up) and Kinect feels like it's a generation ahead of itself.   The next twelve months is going to be an interesting one.  Gut feeling.  Kinect will clean up at Christmas and Sony need to make Move feel less like a bolt on and part of the Playstation experience by bundling the camera and one controller with every PS3.  Embed it in the market Sony and kill the Wii.... please.

But the game of the year came late.  Three years late.  Gran Turismo just shines.  Visuals, sound, depth and realism delivered time and time again.  Driving games aren't really my thing but Gran Turismo is the only one I'd ever consider getting and Ployphony Digital have made a title that was worth that ridiculous wait.  Online?  Who cares.  Offline, perfection.  Get it, even if driving cars is something you only do to get to Tesco.  Even getting the bus feels more exciting after playing it.  (It doesn't really, but you get my drift.)

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