Our recap of 2012’s top 100 games rolls ever onwards, and as you’d expect we’ve got another five for you today. Fortunately three of our five games are actually out, and one is nearly here as well. That leaves us with just one game that proves a relatively unknown quantity, but we’ll get to that in a minute. For now let’s look at the first game from games 85 to 81.
85 Dragon’s Dogma
In spite of my general state of bafflement about Dragon’s Dogma pre-release, the game did reasonably well when it hit shelves back in May. By the end of June it had shifted a million copies, with Capcom consequently announcing that it had become a major franchise for them; a very good showing indeed. It did reasonably well in our review as well, coming in at 7/10 with Dan praising the game for its boss battles and its Pawn system in particular.
For those of you not familiar with the Pawn system, they’re basically AI team-mates with an interesting twist put on them. You see, you have a main Pawn that you can customise all the way from how they look to how they’ll react in the heat of battle. The interesting element to this system is that your main Pawn can be hired by another online player, giving your Pawn valuable experience as well as knowledge of any enemies or area that it encounters during its adventures.
Presumably the Pawn system will become one of the hallmarks of the Dragon’s Dogma series as Capcom looks to bring us more stories in their newly created universe.
84 Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 hasn’t quite made its release date yet, although its well on its way. It should be noted that it’s home consoles where it’s not out yet, it’s already had two versions show up in Japanese arcades (Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Unlimited). If you don’t happen to frequent Japanese arcades, or even if you do, then you can expect it to be available for PS3 and Xbox 360 on September 14th in the EU, with a Wii U version scheduled for “Winter 2012”.
If you don’t remember the original Tekken Tag Tournament it basically does what it says on the tin, taking the core Tekken gameplay and adding a tag system to it. That’s really it in terms of gameplay distinction from the main series of Tekken games.
However, Tekken Tag 2 is also distinguished by the sheer number of characters it has. The game features 54 different characters, bringing back many characters from earlier entries in the series, such as Tekken 3’s Tiger Jackson (who apparently isn’t just Eddy Gordo in a wig), and Prototype Jack from the original Tekken.
The other peculiar touch is that a number of characters, although not all of them, will now speak in their native language, such as Christie speaking Portuguese and Miguel speaking Spanish. Hopefully the game will have subtitles and I won’t need a number of translation dictionaries to hand.
Skullgirls is our second fighting game on today’s list, albeit one that’s fairly different from Tekken Tag Tournament 2. For a start this a 2D fighter rather than a 3D one, and it also sounds, frankly, bonkers. For example one of the characters, Filia, is an amnesiac with a parasite on her head named Samson, whilst Cerebella has a Living Weapon Hat called Vice-Versa.
This insanity isn’t constrained to the story elements, but flows over to little touches when you’re playing. For example, as Dan noted when he previewed the game, when Peacock fires a cannon at her opponent she lights the fuse from a cigar in her mouth, smoking be a common habit amongst young girls. Peacock also has a tendency to attack with cartoon tropes, something that works well with the game’s art style.
Ah, the art style. Crafted by art lead Alex Ahad, the game has a unique cartoon flavour and looks, frankly gorgeous. Ahad, along with the rest of the team at Reverge Labs, have gone out of their way to make this game stand apart from the pack, and viually at least it works.
We didn’t review the game when it was released earlier this year but it’s currently on Metacritic at 82 for the PSN version, and 78 on XBLA. Given it seems to be a fairly reasonably priced downloadable title, I’d say it’s worth a look.
82 Final Fantasy Versus XIII
For those of you who’ve forgotten, Final Fantasy Versus XIII was announced way back at E3 2006. That’s over six years ago now, and with little news about the game coming out it’s unsurprising that we’ve seen rumours that the game has turned into Final Fantasy XV, or even that it had been cancelled. Although Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada has officially confirmed that the game is still in development, via Twitter, information does still seem very sparse.
What we do know so far is that the game is part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series, is set in a world at war, and follows Noctis Lucis Caelum, a prince. The game’s world will also be more grounded in reality, steering clear of magical elements that might be expected from director Tetsuya Nomura, given his past with the Kingdom Hearts series.
Perhaps the most interesting element of the game are Real-Time Events, cutscenes that flow together with the gameplay and leave the player in control. The way that Tetsuya Nomura has described these makes them sound like random encounters, although there are obviously some that are used to move forwards the game story. If this system can make the game feel more dynamic I’m certainly all for it.
Hopefully we’ll have more to bring you on the game soon, but for now it remains largely unknown.
NeverDead is much easier to deal with than Final Fantasy Versus XIII, largely because it’s actually out; that removes a lot of the mystery. The game arrived in the EU in February, and even got a review from Jim on Valentine’s Day. Sadly it didn’t do to well, scoring 4/10.
The base premise of the game is fairly interesting, featuring an immortal demon hunter, Bryce Boltzmann, who can survive having his limbs severed. He doesn’t regrow limbs though; no, he has to go collect them. Until you manage to restore Bryce you’ll suffer appropriate penalties, like loss of a leg decreasing your mobility.
Unfortunately, whilst this mechanic is interesting at first, Jim quickly found that it began to grate and frustrate, particularly when you’re overwhelmed by enemies. The game also suffers from not really fleshing out or developing any of its mechanics, as well as some thoroughly unlikeable characters. He did note that the game looks good, but I’d suggest it’s probably worth giving a miss.
So that’s it, another group of five games done and dusted. We’ll be back tomorrow with even more games, and the marking off of a quarter of our list.