So here we are, right at the very start of our journey. If you want to know more about how the top 100 works then you’re better off reading Peter’s introduction piece from earlier today, because now it’s all about the games.
It’s safe to say that the five games we’re looking at in this article didn’t excite the staff all that much. These are the bottom of the bunch, although a few names are certainly familiar. Monster Hunter and Ninja Gaiden certainly ring a bell, as does the Persona series. So without further ado, it’s time to start our countdown.
100. Persona 4 Golden
Although already out in Japan and America, this Vita port of Persona 4 won’t make it to Europe’s shores until February of next year. The game was originally planned for the PSP, although the platform’s limitations would have required stripping away some of the features from the original PS2 game. Fortunately the Vita came along and provided enough horsepower that developers Atlus were able to expand the game, rather than being forced to pull elements out.
If you’re not familiar with the original Persona 4, it’s an RPG set in modern day Japan that follows a group of high school students as they investigate a series of murders. During their investigation they gain the ability to travel between the real world and a TV world, as well as gaining Persona abilities. The Personas are, as far as I can tell, characters that can be used during battle sequences and can also be upgraded and fused together to gain new abilities.
The original Persona 4 did rather well critically, currently sitting at 90 on Metacritic. It would seem that Persona 4 Golden is a slightly better game, as it’s worked its way up to 94, again on Metacritic. If you enjoyed the original Persona 4 then it looks like this is one to watch out for, even if it does sit in last place on our list.
Maia marks a first for our series of Top 100 lists, it’s the first game we’ve had that was funded via Kickstarter. The game finished its funding just over a week ago on the 28th of November, reaching £140,481, £40,000 more than it needed. If you still feel like chipping some money in then funding remains open on Indiegogo until the 6th of January.
As for the game itself, it’s described as “Dungeon Keeper meets Dwarf Fortress on a primordial alien world,” with developer Simon Roth also making comparisons to Bullfrog games at large. Essentially, the games sees you managing a subterranean colony on a hostile alien world. From the gameplay that’s been shown it’s clear that Roth really has drawn from Bullfrog, although with a dark twist. Building a typical front room may seem a little too like The Sims, but being forced to build auto-turrets to guard the entrance adds a nice, tactical element to the game.
Aesthetically, the game’s sci-fi setting draws heavily from the darker sci-fi of the 1970s, and looks simply gorgeous. In fact everything about this game looks amazing, and after a few minutes of research I want it badly. The game will be released DRM free next summer for Windows, Linux and Mac, and chipping $16 into the Indiegogo campaign will get you access to the Alpha in January as well as the full game. I may have to throw in some of my own money.
98. PayDay 2
The sequel to 2011’s PayDay: The Heist was announced back in June as coming from the developers of the original, Overkill. 505 Games had stepped up to the plate as publishers, and it all seemed like a fairly straight forward announcement. However, just fourteen days after the announcement on the 7th of June, Starbreeze purchased Overkill. This, confusingly, lead to a raft of news stories in September that Starbreeze had taken over development, with 505 still on board as publishers. What seems far more likely is that Overkill are still developing the game, although as an internal studio at Starbreeze.
Sadly there seems to be no information on the game beyond its double announcement. We were fairly favourable towards the original in our review, scoring it at 7/10 and praising the way it borrowed from Left 4 Dead’s gameplay whilst maintaining its own sense of identity. If the sequel can improve on some of its failings, such as poor partner AI and a lack of missions, then PayDay 2 could be very interesting indeed.
97. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
Now you may well be thinking that Ninja Gaiden 3 has been out since March, and you would be correct. In fact we actually reviewed the game back then, giving it a distinctly average 5/10. However, Razor’s Edge is the Wii U version of the game, and it’s seen a few gameplay changes. For a start there’s the GamePad, which can be used for functions such as selecting weaponry or, if you’re feeling adventurous, to control the game as a whole. This mode is optional though, and seems to be borrowing from the Ninja Gaiden DS title, Dragon Sword (a truly terribly name).
The game will also see the return of decapitation and dismemberment, something that had been stripped from the original version of Ninja Gaiden 3, and online co-op with a new female ninja called Ayane. She’ll battle alongside the game’s star, Ryu Hayabusa, as well as being able to play through any section of the game via the new Chapter Challenge mode.
Whilst it’s not surprising that a Wii U version of an average game doesn’t spark that much anticipation in our staff, the game actually seems to be fairing a little better than the game originally did. Razor’s Edge is currently at 70 on Metacritic, although that is only based on 12 reviews. However, the original only managed to achieve a 58, which seems to tally well with our 5/10. Hopefully it’s a sign that Team Ninja have recognised their mistakes and created a superior product. We’ll see when it arrives in February.
96. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
Last year, Monster Hunter Freedom 3 (Remastered) only managed to reach 99 on our list, so Ultimate has managed to do a little better. The game, much like Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, is a Wii U port of a pre-existing game, although it’s also being released on the 3DS. The dual release on the Nintendo platforms is one of the interesting things about the game, with saves being able to be transferred between the two platforms. For some reason I don’t quite understand you won’t be able to transfer a save between regions though, which may disappoint those looking to get the game from Japan where it’s out on the 8th for the Wii U (it’s already been out on 3DS there for a year). If you’d rather wait than import then you’ll have to be patient until March rolls around.
When the game does arrive in Japan it’s likely to do big business for the Wii U, as there’s a bundle available. It actually seems like a pretty good deal, coming with the Premium Console, a Wii U Pro Controller and a copy of the game. The 3DS release in Japan last year saw similar bundles, and with the game’s popularity over there it’s clearly a good move on Nintendo’s part.
I honestly wish I could tell you more about the game but I’ve never understood the Monster Hunter series. As far as I can tell, it seems to be a solid JRPG with Pokémon like elements in it. There certainly seems to be a lot more depth in the game than you get in your average Pokémon title though, with the environment and attack patterns apparently playing a role in your success. Perhaps I’ll fill in the gaps in my knowledge in March.
That’s it for this entry in the list. Because we’re lunatics, we’ll be back with another five games later today.