This generation has housed a wealth of different fantasy-RPGs, but few are quite as hardcore as Dragon’s Dogma. Rather than setting its sights on story and lore, Dragon’s Dogma’s primary focus is combat. The game delivered gorgeous visuals, a huge open-world, and some incredibly epic boss fights. The game also featured a fascinating pawn system, in which your party members could be hired by other players to help them fight bosses. In return, that party member would be able to tell you the weaknesses of whichever boss they ended up fighting. While we haven’t seen it yet, the systems at play in Dragon’s Dogma are likely to pop-up in our future digital adventures.
Typically when you think of a protagonist, you think of a likable character, that’s trying to do something noble. When it comes to Catherine, the complete opposite is true. The game follows Vincent, who’s a man in his thirties, trying to deal with his issues of commitment, increased responsibility (child/wedding) and whether or not he wants to remain in a relationship with his girlfriend Katherine. To complement the story, Atlus added these challenging puzzle platformer stages as a metaphor for what Vincent is going through. Best of all, Catherine doesn’t have a reality where you can win both girls, but does contain a few where you get neither.
The gates of hell are opening across Cyrodiil, and Daedric monsters are beginning to escape, unleashing evil upon the gorgeous lands. Oblivion, the fourth game in the Elder’s Scroll series expanded upon its predecessors by offering a fully voiced cast of characters, a larger map to explore at your will, improved combat and more fascinating side-quests to tackle as you defeat the very face of evil itself. While often placed beneath its forerunner, nearly every facet of gameplay was enhanced, making Oblivion one of the greatest roleplaying games of its time.
Fans were excited for God of War III and Sony Santa Monica did not disappoint. From beginning to end, Kratos’ final chapter featured pulse-pounding action and some of the best boss fights this entire console generation has seen. Kratos’ rage against Olympus was a sight to behold with God of War III showcasing some of the best graphics seen at that time. Combined with tight gameplay, a variety of different weapons and the franchise’s signature sex-mini game, this is easily one of, if not the best hack-and-slash title released this-generation.
Hailed as one of the best loot-based action-roleplaying games of all time, Diablo has established itself as a must play PC game. With a story that delves into hell itself, players will brush blades with demons and monsters aplenty, slicing hordes of evil as gold and equipment scatter across the playing field. With the release of Diablo III, non-PC gamers were yet again loot-less — that is, until Blizzard decided to bring their award winning game to consoles. Unlike a typical port, the game was revamped and updated to utilize modern controllers and ended up being the best of both experiences.
In a series known for excellent games, Halo: Reach stands above the others in terms of story, gameplay and even multiplayer. The multiplayer was tremendously replayable, and even all this time after its release we find ourselves going back for just one more match. While everyone knew going in just how this story would end, it didn’t make the journey there any less memorable. This was Bungie’s farewell to the legendary series, and it was a beautiful sendoff that was every bit as epic as we could hope for.
Super Paper Mario may not be the best installment in its franchise, however, it is perhaps the one with the most heart. It’s the funniest of all the titles, and the most endearing from the standpoint of just how adorable it is. Moreover, the 2D sections of the game rock some beautiful vistas, giving way to some extremely vibrant aesthetics that shine even despite the Wii’s lack of high-def support. Alright, so the 3D segments may feel barren and lackluster, but that’s just a small gripe amidst a game that should only be showered with praise and accolades. Anyone looking for a cute Mario roleplaying experience should look not further than SPM. After all, it’s only about a thousand times better than Sticker Star.
Somehow lost in a sea of sequels and prequels, the new IP Enslaved: Odyssey to the West managed to sneak under the radar and didn’t quite make the splash in the market anyone was hoping for. This is an absolute shame, too, because the game itself is quite remarkable. Enjoyable combat, an intriguing story, and likeable characters had us wishing the experience wouldn’t end. It was also cinematic and managed to capture the spectacle of every scene well, and the game was just brimming with charm and personality. While perhaps the volume of action games managed to drown this title out, they shouldn’t have because Enslaved stands head and shoulders above most of them.
The Batman Arkham franchise has gotten lots of the credit for resurrecting the superhero genre, but one must not forget that inFamous came out about the same time and was just as good. Things got even better in inFamous 2. The story of Cole MacGrath and his transformation into the savior, or destroyer of New Marais was compelling and heartfelt. Tight third-person superhero action combined with an immense open-world to explore made inFamous 2 a treat for anyone who played it. The Batman Arkham games are great, and so is inFamous 2.
Donkey Kong Country Returns saw Retro Studios once again salvage a dormant franchise for Nintendo. Donkey Kong had largely been used in experimental games on the Gamecube, but Retro brought the big ape back to the side-scrolling genre that defined the character in the 16-bit era. DKCR revived the DK and Diddy tandem and challenged Wii owners just as much as the franchise’s initial trilogy did for SNES fans nearly 20 years ago.The sideways remote setup felt natural and while there was some forced waggle, it didn’t hurt the game as a whole. DKCR is a must-buy for the Wii.
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