perjantai 8. elokuuta 2014

VGMania: Year Four

Four years and one day ago, VGMania was born. I could go all sentimental again, recounting all the events of the past four years and how the blog's changed, but this time, let's just look at the facts: the past year was a lousy one, and now as I see it summarized, I feel the urge to do something about it come year five. It's been a tradition for me to tell you what I've been planning on a much wider scope when the time comes for these annual updates, but now the problem is that I'm still not finished with the marathon that I had hardly started before last year's update. So, Marvel's still in the way, so to speak. I no longer specifically dedicate myself to one single marathon, but only one real marathon at a time is the rule. Since I have no idea when to nail down the final game and date of the Marvel marathon, I won't go into specifics when it comes to marathons. However, I can once again promise you that Monster Mash at the very least will make a return on Halloween week as always, and actually the main course I had planned is coming up in a few months: Shinji Mikami's The Evil Within, which is supposed to resurrect the lost art of survival horror, hits the shelves on October 14th, just in time to be reviewed by Halloween. I'm not so sure if there'll be an RPG Time! this year, but if so, it'll start somewhere around November.

Since I mentioned The Evil Within, I could just as easily list the other games which are slated for release this year, most of which I've pre-ordered, and which are therefore guaranteed to be reviewed as soon as humanly possible, hopefully within the late part of 2014.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (September 30)
Assassin's Creed: Unity (October 28)
Lords of the Fallen (October 28)
Assassin's Creed: Rogue (November 11)
Dragon Age: Inquisition (November 18)
LittleBigPlanet 3 (November 18)
Game of Thrones (????)

I will do everything in my power to make the next year better than the last one was in every possible way. Before I begin dissecting my review backlog from the last year - not a very lengthy process - I'd like you to take a look at my *new* list of my Top 30 games from the 7th generation of video game systems. I did that one Top 20 list a while back and I wasn't too happy with it, this one was fun to do and I have no regrets about it. Once again, it's very different what you might expect judging by the Top 40 of the blog. Check the list out here.

Now, let's begin.


During this period of time, I've reviewed a measly total of 40 games, which is exactly half of the reviews I wrote last year. Dang. 0,11 reviews per day.

2 for the PC

2 for the Nintendo Entertainment System
4 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System
5 for the Nintendo DS

1 for the Sega Master System
2 for the Sega Genesis
1 for the Sega 32X

3 for the PlayStation 2
8 for the PlayStation 3
4 for the PlayStation 4

8 for the Xbox 360

This marks the first time I have went for a full year without any reviews of Game Boy, Game Boy Advance or PlayStation 1 games. In good news, this year marked the arrival of four new systems to the equation: the Sega Master System, 32X, and the more recent Nintendo DS and PlayStation 4.


Like many systems, PC got its only share from Marvel games, and in this case, from X-Men games for the DOS in particular. X-Men nailed down a 5.5 rating, while X-Men 2 settled for a less than flattering 2.2.
Average: 3.9

They were supposed to bring balance to the Force!
The NES suffered huge blows to the top of its hatch, and once again the X-Men were to blame. Wolverine did almost OK and got a 5.9, but The Uncanny X-Men was crowned the worst game in VGMania history with a 1.0; the result was the worst NES average in VGMania history.
Average: 3.5

My all-time favourite SNES largely avoided conflict with Marvel Comics, instead I went for an RPG Time! with three cult classics - however, it was once again a single X-Men game that brought the average down. Damn those mutants! Terranigma, one of the last games released on the SNES (and only in Japan and Europe!) got 8.8, while Wolverine: Adamantium Rage settled for a 6.1. However, this resulted in the best average for the SNES thus far.
Average: 7.6

Nintendo DS made its debut with a few Marvel games, but also some really interesting non-related titles I had to try out and review immediately. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow almost lived up to its Game Boy Advance predecessor and got an 8.4. The shortest straw was picked by Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, which got mauled - deservedly so - with a 2.1. I have a hunch that the DS' average will improve by next year...
Average: 5.6

Since Sega was so poorly represented this year per system, let's just unite the three Sega systems this one time; Sega Genesis has been around since day one, but both the Sega Master System and 32X made their debuts. Last year, I said that Sega's average would go up, but sadly that didn't happen... yet. On the complete contrary. The best rating was 6.5, for X-Men on the Sega Genesis, the worst rating was 5.0, given to Star Wars Arcade on the 32X.
Average: 5.8

The PlayStation 2 was all about one of its biggest flagships this time around, though as it was sadly witnessed, that flagship had a gigantic hole at its bottom. The first Devil May Cry still had it, and got an 8.5 for its graceful aging, while Devil May Cry 2 fired blanks for the worth of a 5.2.
Average: 7.3

The PlayStation 3 was heading for its worst average ever with a chockful of 7.somethings until it was graced with the luck of having Grand Theft Auto V on its side - almost got it for the Xbox 360. The current co-ruler of the Top 40 got an 9.8 for its troubles, while Darksiders got 7.3.
Average: 8.0

The PlayStation 4 made an amazing debut, although I predict we're yet to see the system at its true exclusive prime. Rayman Legends surprised the hell out of yours truly with a coveted 9.4, and even the "worst" game in the bunch, Injustice: Gods Among Us hit the 8.0 mark.
Average: 8.8

The Xbox 360 had the steadiest flow of both notable ups and notable downs, nothing to hit the coveted mark of 9 though, or alternatively sink below a 6. Trey Parker and Matt Stone's eternity project South Park: The Stick of Truth surpassed all of our expectations and got nailed with an 8.9, while Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD turned the tides with a 6.5.
Average: 7.9

TOTAL REVIEW AVERAGE: 6.5 (geez, I've been mean!)


This guy really snuck up on
little old me!
Best "new" game of the year?
I kinda hope this is the last time I have to praise Grand Theft Auto V to high heaven. Besides Grand Theft Auto V, Rayman Legends really was a true surprise, like a lightning out of the blue sky, since I was never a fan. I'm definitely going to dig out some old Rayman games once I have the necessary time and money.

Disappointment of the year?
From games that were actually released during this time, I'd have to say Beyond: Two Souls was a real bummer, but from earlier games I finally took on for a review, Lost Odyssey for the Xbox 360 was a huge disappointment; I let it build into a criminally underrated game in my head, and it turned out that it really was quite a boring trip.

Favourite review(s) of the year?
A Realm Reborn - Final Fantasy XIV was a very interesting one, since it was a Final Fantasy game, and my first - probably only - MMO review. I could've said more about South Park: The Stick of Truth, but I enjoyed writing the review. DmC - Devil May Cry and Rayman Legends were fun to write about since they were both such positive surprises. I also enjoyed doing the "Gaia trilogy" on the SNES, although my good memory of Illusion of Gaia was pretty much shattered.

Most awesome gaming moment of the year?
Every moment Trevor Philips spent on the screen.

Least awesome gaming moment of the year?
Besides experiencing The Uncanny X-Men? That IS perhaps too obvious... but it definitely has something to do with the Marvel marathon. There were much worse games on the plate than last year, in rapid succession. It really bummed me out and kept me off the marathon for a few whiles.

Game that would most deserve another look?
Now this is a hard one. I guess I'll have to go with Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes; I kinda rushed through it with the thought that I'd pay more attention to the details once the real Metal Gear Solid V came out. But, I'm sure that another playthrough wouldn't affect the conclusive rating, just the content of the review.

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