Sunday, February 05, 2012

The End of Year Review III: Video Games 2011, Part III

Finally, the Top 10 in my very late End of Year Reviews for 2011: Video Games.

Let's just get to them, shall we?

10.  Catherine

Developer: Atlus Persona Team
Publisher: Atlus
Play Time: ?
Status: Unfinished

The minute this game started, I loved the style of it.  From the very cool soundtrack to the sharp animation and the settings, it oozed style.  The presentation of a play/tv show/theatre house was interesting and then things got nightmarish.

I knew going in this was supposed to be a horror sort of game.  It's not Resident Evil scary but monsters lurked and the urban legend was laid out.
At the heart of it, Catherine is a game about relationships and the choices your character Vincent makes.  Would he be a cheater or an honest man committed to his girlfriend? It sounds dull and while I found a lot of the questions to be very black and white and a clear indication of how you can mold Vincent, it really was a lot more interesting than I am able to explain.

I loved the male characters in this game.  Well, I liked some of them anyway but I do have a serious problem with the two main female characters who were Vincent's "love interests".  The goal is to choose and demonstrate Vincent's moral fiber but quite frankly, both Katherine and Catherine are such horrible people that I really don't want to be committed to either.  One is bossy and one is annoyingly high pitched and whorish, not to mention crazy.

The actual gameplay is a series of block puzzles that Vincent has to climb during his nightmares to get to the top and to safety.  At the end of every night, he is chased by his greatest fears or warped versions of his desires as he climbs those god forsaken blocks.  Right now I'm stuck on the Sixth of Eight nights, I believe.  I'm headed towards a relationship with Katherine but I wish I could be neutral.  Can I? I'm not even sure.  The puzzles themselves take a lot of trying, failing and falling to my death.  It's a tough game and while I do not mind the puzzle game, obviously the main meat of the game is the story.

Music Review (Shoji Meguro): The soundtrack is made up of some classical pieces of music that have been remixed but not to the point of being unrecognizable in some cases.  They're layered with a thin bit of just the right amount of modernized beats and additions of rock.  The music fits in for those fast-paced puzzles that have to be solved.  It's a modern sounding soundtrack embracing the classical and a good representation of the skin of the game - a modern story set in a grand, theatrical operatic scenery in the nightmare mode.

Song(s) Worth Listening to:  "Mussorgksy - Picture at an Exhibition (The Hut on Fowl's Legs)" and "Bach - 'Little' Fugue in G Minor"

9.  The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

Developer: Nintendo EAD, Grezzo
Publisher: Nintendo
Play Time: June 19, 2011 through July 4, 2011; 36 hours, 38 minutes (I think my 3DS Activity Log is lying to me!)
Status: Finished

I am not cheating! I played the original way back when and yes, this deserves to be on here again.  The game got a fresh coat of paint by being in 3D and through the use of the stereoscopic controls.  I had not played Ocarina of Time in quite the while and playing it again last Summer was like playing a whole new fabulous game.  It's never been my favourite Zelda game with that spot reserved for Mask of Majora but that's not to say it's an awful game either.  It's not and far from it.

The game just ran smoothly thanks to the enhanced graphics and the improved item inventory.  The experience was enjoyable although I still really hate the Jabu Jabu level with a young Princess Ruto.  Everything after that was fantastic to play through.  The Water Temple was amazingly easy and so much more enjoyable in design.

The Forest Temple was even more of a brilliant wonder than I remembered and I loved that thing the first time around.  The Darkness dungeon was still really scary and even more so, with zombies jumping on my back giving the nightmares I had forgotten I had so many years ago.

I'm still not sold on the 3D of the 3DS but the use of it in Zelda gave the game more depth and to my surprise made it even more compelling.  Of course, there are complaints on the 3D.  Without being able to use the 3D from any angle other than straight on, I found myself having a tough time during a boss fight while using the gyroscope.  It was fun moving the entire system around to look for secrets and hidden skultullas but it was no fun during a boss fight and I had to shut off the 3D as it was just not feasible a use.

I thoroughly enjoyed playing this again even more so than I did the first time.  I can only hope that Mask of Majora gets the same treatment.

8.  Uncharted 3

Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Play Time: About 12 hours
Status: Finished (medium difficulty)

For the entire year I was incredibly excited to play UC3 after the fantastic Uncharted 2.  How could I not be? UC2 is one of the best games I've ever played especially after improving so radically over the first part.  While Uncharted 3 was no where near a horrible game, part 2 was so near perfect that it was hard for UC3 to do anything significantly different as an improvement and for that reason I was a tad disappointed.

What was a strong factor in the game was Sully and Nate's relationship and story wise, I found that to be a great focus and a step forward in the story.  In fact, there was not much Uncharted could do but have a very heavy character driven story.  Well, other than show off various locations and the acute sense of detail Naughty Dog put into building levels around the world.

The settings are what makes this game impressive and cinematic.  However, much in the vein of how I come to expect beautiful art and cinematography from Square in the Final Fantasy series, I know I can come to expect same from Naughty Dog.  The company does it well and certainly it is jaw-dropping at times but otherwise, I am happy enough just to be hanging out with one of my favourite characters, Nathan Drake.

And so, I look forward especially to what sort of thrills the game can present me with and what sort of danger I can expect to be in.

For some of the levels, I was truly impressed.  I had "oh shit" moments and moments of wow.  The jaunt on the pirate ship felt suspenseful and absolutely crazy just to name one instance.  The other thing I loved was controlling Drake under his drug state early in the game.  It was a disorienting experience for me as a player and completely cool 'getting into Drake's head'.

Near the end too with the ***SPOILER ALERT*** supposed demons, the animation was so fantastic and Drake's reactions were fabulous.

I played a few levels after I had finished the game the first time and realized that one problem with this game was the overuse of some 'danger' scenes.  I don't know how many times Drake was dangling from a broken stair and the camera panned to looking down into a fiery pit of hell.  These were things I did not notice the first time around but the second time it was pointed out so clearly that it was boring.  And yes, I suppose the adrenaline going the first time really helped with the excitement but sitting back and enjoying the scenery the second time made it really annoying.  Certainly these scenes were done to showcase the fantastic camera angles, filming and art direction use by Naughty Dog - and oh yes, were the camera angles in this game just dynamic - but Naughty Dog, don't overuse an already awesome trick because then it just cheapens the experience.

All in all, an impressive game that I needed to lower my expectations for to truly enjoy it all.  That's the unfortunate curse coming off of Uncharted 2 I guess.

7.  Kirby's Mass Attack

Developer: Hal Laboratories
Publisher: Nintendo
Play Time: November 1, 2011 through November 17, 2011; 27 hours
Status: Finished

Nintendo continues to design games with the most innovative, clever and fun levels that you did not even know you needed or could exist.  This year I really got into Kirby than previous years.   Mass Attack was a fun, crazy cute game that was exciting, colourful and charming.

Every level was crafted with fun in mind and getting medals took you to little nooks and crannies tucked away with fun ways to reach them.  It's what Nintendo does best and exploration is their thing.  Using 10 Kirbys was hella fun.  They were some serious hooligans though! I found it hilarious how they would beat the shit out of enemies with little pink pummeling, furious fists and unassuming cutie voices.

Kirby's one adorable little pink ball of joy and there's nothing not to love about him and this game except maybe the length of the actual game.  For a while there near the end, I was getting pretty tired of find all the medals to get a complete game.  But, pressed on I did and I had some of the best fun playing this game last year.

Oh, did I mention the mini-games were great too? I rocked Kirby Pinball like nobody's business.

Music Review (Shogo Sakai): Cute, appropriate and some really good pieces, actually - the music was incredibly enjoyable.  Even for a cutie game like Mass Attack there were moments of stress when encountering your enemies, The Skullies, and the music was tense when need be.

6.  The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition

Developer:Nintendo, Capcom, Grezzo
Publisher: Nintendo
Play Time: September 29, 2011 and ongoing; <35 hours
Status: Unfinished.  Um, we're kinda stuck on the Heroes' Trial.  Someone seems to think that as the game goes on, their skill level increases.  While that may be true, I think they may not realize that the game increases in difficulty as well.  I'm still laughing to this day.

If I had to name the most fun times had with a game in 2011, this would be it. Why? Because H1 and I spent glorious hours on the train playing through the levels. There were a couple of mornings where we played too much and took ourselves all the way to our last stop instead of catching up on those extra minutes of sleep.

It was some of the best times I've spent playing any game because sharing the laughs, the fighting to collect rupees, being annoying to each other, knocking each other over ledges and working together like good shistahs was something I do not often get to do and it was all rewarding. It was rewarding to be able to share a favourite series with her - to let her see the extreme care built into designing a Zelda game and despairing that you're stuck until the light bulb goes off and you realize that it took some genius to get out of a particular room.

Last year was the 25th Anniversary for The Legend of Zelda, and this was one way Nintendo celebrated the series with its fans by giving a free copy of the game to all those with the capabilities to download it. It was a welcome gift and the best I received all year. It was a joy to be a part of the celebrations (still going on too - hopefully a concert will be coming to NYC!) and to journey with Link, Zelda and H1. 

5. Radiant Historia

Publisher: Atlus
Play Time: July 31, 2011 through August 22, 2011; 44 hours, 3 minutes
Status: Finished

Music, a character driven story, and an interwoven plot of destruction and despair spread across two timelines in alternate universes made Radiant Historia an intriguing play.  Actual combat may have been the weakest link this game had but could be partially overlooked due to the strength of its story.  There were plenty of optional side quests and in this game, elements and clues you picked up in one time line affected the other or had to be used to advance the story in the other.

You got to see what would happen if you took the right fork instead of the left and if you ended in failure, you had the chance to rewind time to figure out what the hell it was you did wrong.  The options were not always clear to steer you towards the good ending and that was a welcome aspect of the game, even if it did make me feel a little bit anxious every time I had to make a critical choice.

I really liked the main character, Stocke.  He was deadpan and good looking (of course, they usually are) but a cold man and good at being an assassin in the special corps.  The supporting cast each had their own little paths to follow that you could muck up or make right and while I cannot say I really cared for anyone, it's not that I totally wanted to dismiss them either.  But it was the story that truly took center stage and it involved Stocke's fate completely.

The other thing I really liked about this game was that there was no real love interest for your main character.  There are too many games out there, much like how Hollywood operates, that ruins things with a love story.  Really? There's no need for that stuff when it's an afterthought or not done well (not you Uncharted series - I actually care about Drake and Elena, so good job!).

In this, the bond was between brother and sister and it was gutting.  The entire reasoning behind everything that happened was heart-wrenching and in truth, it left your main villain in a position to be sympathized with.  Of course, I like my villains crazy with a purpose, so I wasn't sad to cut his ass at the end but still - he was human and wronged, and that made the game that much more enjoyable.

Music Review (Yoko Shimomura): Yoko Shimomura makes another beautiful, haunting soundtrack with this one.  This was one of the best soundtracks for 2011 with intense battle music, and mostly haunting set pieces evoking the depressed mood of the game.  The entire game is set in despair with the feeling of oppression and a struggle for survival and the music reflects this emotion in its core.

Song(s) Worth Listening to: "The Edge of Green", "The Melody Connecting the World", "The Red Locus" and "Memories of the World".

4.  Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride

Developer: Chunsoft, ArtePiazza
Publisher: Square Enix
Play Time: October 2, 101 through October 25, 2011; 45 hours, 51 minutes
Status: Finished

Here is my problem with Dragon Quest games: they often confuse me with their weird little seemingly initial stand alone stories that offer no real direction.

Here is what I love about Dragon Quest games: they may confuse me at first but they're charming and whimsical.  The stand alone stories while an abrupt introduction eventually start to come together and form a great overall adventure.  They're fun, familiar, funny, full of heart and sometimes dismal.

Dragon Quest V had one of the oddest openings to a game I have ever played.  It was odd in an interesting way - engaging and kind of what the eff-ish.  You are born; your father has a moment of joy in which he and his wife argue about your name (which of course you as a player get to choose and hear how it's not that good) and then tragedy strikes because your mother is taken away in a confusing flash of light and you really have no idea what the hell is going on.

You awake and you say you've had a dream that you're a prince in a castle and that you were born to your king father and queen mother and your raggedy brutish strong respected father laughs and tells you you're funny.  You (as the player) know damned well it's true and off you go as a young boy, following your father around the world as he does mindless jobs for kings and lives in a humble village with your less than politically corrected presented Mexican servant (the very same from the kingdom you 'dreamt' about) with his thick heavy accent.

What's weird about DQV was the adventuring as a child.  I mean, you're 6 and you can't yet read.  it made for some fabulous moments of danger.  I DO NOT THINK I have ever adventured at such a young age before and the doom awaiting your father which you know it sure to come has you on the edge of your seat.
What was great about DQV was the way the game expanded generations.  You adventured through beginning as a child, to your adulthood and then with your own children.

Probably what's even more spectacular about this game is that you aren’t really the hero, at least not the Legendary Hero that the world has been waiting for but you do have just the right blood to mix with the person who does and you give birth to a son who is.  Of course you know, really that you’re the one kicking ass at the end of the story but it was a nice, non-cliched kind of twist to the story.

There were some genuinely brutal things in this game and probably one of the most shocking things I’ve experienced in gaming was the entire bit about turning into a statue.  It’s not shocking that I turned the statue.  What was shocking was the disgusting things that happened to my wife when she was a stone statue.  It is implied that she was molested and wow.  That was heavy.  

Dragon Quest V was simple enough in its design, and in that I think most of the series (at least what I've played) are not combat taxing.  But that's not really the point is it?  There's just something really endearing about the DQ series and this one was no different.  I think of the games I've played thus far, DQIX remains my favourite but V is up there with it for its shocking and odd storytelling.  

3.  Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

Developer: Capcom
Play Time: January 20, 2011 through January 25, 2011
Status: Finished

The minute I started up this game, literally, the first minute, I knew I would like it if only for it’s quirky, dark comedy humour.  I loved my red clad, blonde tall haired, shade-wearing main character.  He was smooth looking much like all of this game.  This was a good detective story with so many elements thrown in with no character a gloss over.  As the chapters went on, it was clear that everyone is important and there were a lot of complicated tie ins.  Nothing is black and white in the story with no relationship meaningless and there’s a twist around every bend that added so much depth in every moment, even down to the final moments of game play.

The writing was incredibly sharp, so clever and full on wit.

Not all puzzles are straightforward either, with some more pressing than others that forced you to go down to the wire to complete a task.  For a change of pace, the elements are made fresh later on when you get help from a little ghost friend that opens up new possibilities with a simple addition of a game mechanic (new ghost tricks!). 

The characters are unique (Inspector Cabanela’s got some serious style there with his white coat wearing ways) and everyone’s too damned cool and completely outrageous.

It’s not just characters' looks but their movements that added to their personalities - they would slide, dance and run across the screen - making this one of the most beautiful games I’ve played on the DS and in fact, ever.  They fit perfectly in their surroundings and everything just blended into the utmost cool style.  The game felt heavy and dark but vibrant in presentation.  The outlandish members of the cast could annoy, while making you chuckle.

The story is fabulous and misleading with twists and turns you don’t quite see coming which culminate all so you can find out who you really are and why you’re dead.  Nothing is as it seems and this murder mystery (uh, multiple murder mystery - there are so many headcounts it’s unreal) just kept getting unravelled, tied up again at a breakthrough point, and more complicated until it’s all revealed in one sad, touching, teary-eyed ending.

I love me (my character).  I love Yomiel and I love that I took his form.  He’s a great character - both the real and the ‘me’ Sissel.  His ghost movements were creepy, when he went mechanical he was menacing and I loved it all.  I loved his smile, I loved his ridiculous hair, and I love his red sense of dress.  He’s got murder written all over him and it's awesome.

Music Review (Masazaku Sugimori): Due to the fact that in order to perform your ghost tricks, the clock was rewound to four minutes before each person's death, it usually meant you were scrambling to figure out what the heck to do.  It was intense and so is the music during these times.  Then there are the pieces that are just cool and smooth to represent their characters.  It's a fun soundtrack to be sure in the vein of the sort of mystery music one would expect to hear in a cop show or something at times.

2.  Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together

Developer: Quest, Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Play Time: February 26, 2011 through April 19, 2011; 41+ hours
Status: Finished

I LOVED this game.  A story full of twists, my not-so nice-guy decisions for nearly impossible choices wrought with shades of grey, the blood on my hands and atrocities of the War was beyond engaging and an example of writing at its best.  I never had the good fortune to play the original version but was quite pleased to own this re-release.  Honestly, this game is one of the best games out there and should not be missed.  

While I surprisingly did okay during the majority of the main campaign, I appreciate the ending.  It was a challenging end that caused me to loose my powerhouse black Mages and I got my ass handed to me after ruling most battles for so long.  Usually nothing frustrates me more than having to go back and level up some more but that was not the case in this instance.  It certainly made me sweat and while frustrating, it was completely memorable.

I did have a complaint though and I'm not even sure what the hell the designers were thinking and that was purchasing equipment.  I could not outfit a character with equipment and had to blindly buy power ups only to find out it might not have worked so well.  It was odd and almost makes me think maybe I was doing something wrong?

Music Review (Masaharu Iwata, Hitoshi Sakimoto):  What fine composers Masaharu Iwata and Hitoshi Sakimoto are.  They're probably two of my favourite composers with a very recognizable style.  They masterfully enhance game play with the use of dark pieces to aptly express the depths of undercover plots and unholy alliances between parties.  Then there are the more cheery, epic pieces that help envision your entire layout of the land and the battles to endure whether held on the grassy plain in the sunshine or in a dusty valley.  And of course, let us not forget the pieces that alert you to the fact that there's dark arts and trouble brewing - they are seriously nothing short of amazing and intense compositions that instill fear in me.

The original soundtrack got an upgrade and the in-game notes from the composers on what they did to the pieces was a fantastic extra for an already amazing game.

Song(s) Worth Listening to: The entire blasted soundtrack.  It's the best soundtrack to any game I played this year but you insist I make a suggestion or two, then go with these... "Theme of Black Knight", "Chivalry and Savagery", "Agitation", "Footsteps from Darkness", "Viking Spirits" and the not to be missed at all track, "Blasphemous Experiment".


1.  The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Developer: Nintendo EAD, Monolith Soft
Publisher: Nintendo
Play Time: November 27, 2011 through January 29, 2012; I'm calling between 50 - 60 hours, if not a tad more.
Status: Finished

In my history of playing video games, not only is The Legend of Zelda: Mask of Majora the best Zelda game I've played in the series but perhaps the best game I've played ever.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has ushered itself as a close second in the series.

Before I get into the details of why I loved it so, I will say that it's not a perfect game and had its fair share of flaws.

The single most annoying thing about this game was the character Fi.  I am one to ignore annoying things but Nintendo made that extremely difficult for me to do.  I never found Navi in Ocarina of Time to be annoying but Fi... oh, Fi.  It's not that she harassed me every minute to tell me something but it was the fact that she harassed me to tell me the painfully obvious.  It was unnecessary hand holding that I'm not sure Nintendo felt the need to include.

Then there was the bit about her face during the singing scenes.  What the hell was that? It was pained, unnatural and just terrible animation.  And for a beautiful game it really was stilted and jarring to see.  It was cringe worthy.

The harp was not the most fun instrument to play either.  Every game since Ocarina of Time had much more engaging instruments to 'play'.  And while this was the first to make use of the motion plus controller to sort of imitate playing an instrument instead of inputting a series of commands, it was not an exciting thing to do.

And then there were mini-games.  I did not feel compelled to play them because again, they were not fun.  Even the Archery game was very underwhelming and being a master of the bow and arrow, that saddened me most of all.

Despite the negatives, Skyward Sword did everything else right.

The art direction was beautiful.  Before release, I was not moved by the character designs but I forgot all that once I started playing.  The art is incredible and displays like an impressionists' canvas.  In the distance as Link ran, you could see the landscape before you as one beautiful painting.  You could sit on a stool in the forest and take it all in and it was truly an amazing sight to see, at all times.

The first few hours were painfully slow in the game and your usual fair, but as I got the meat of the game I sat there and thought to myself that Nintendo really knows how to make a game with care and love stitched into the seams.

The game paid tribute to Zelda games encompassing the 25 years of the Legend before it with little throwbacks to all my favourite Zelda titles whether it was the inclusion of the gust bellows reminiscent of the gust jar in The Minish Cap or running up that pathway to the first cave to go rescue your Loftwing.  Did it not remind you of the a similar setting in The Wind Waker?

It was a true love letter and tribute to all the handiwork that came before while creating its own identity because yes, while it stuck with a formula, this game strayed a little bit from that.

How it did it stray? Well, there were some things were genuinely surprising - for instance, meeting the last two dragons at the end of the game.  I did not think that took away from the game at all! We got to be friends with the water dragon only to meet the other two later.  There’s much to pack in the game's story but while I probably would have liked to see the other dragons, I don’t mind it either. They were a surprise and a good one at that because aren't you just used to meeting someone important in the story that you know is important and will have a big role to play later on even if not revealed right away?

And just when you think you’re off to fight some big evil that flooded the forest, you find out that it was the Water Dragon and her temper that did it all, transforming the woods into something even more magical than  before.

One other major welcome idea that was toyed with was the combination of dungeons.  For a Forest Dungeon, there was a strange blue tint to the entire thing and did not make it feel like that the greenery of Zelda games past.  It was sullen and dangerous with its almost muted colours making it feel like a new direction on what a forest could be in Zelda.

Then there was the sick feeling I got from mixing my worst temple nightmare from Ocarina of Time with many people's worst temple from that same game.  Having the Temple of the Dead/Dark Temple sit below the Water Temple was incredibly frightful but it was intriguing, and unexpected.  It was nothing short of brilliant even though it gave me some serious anxiety.

And the tools! Let us not forget the awesome use of the tools.  In the past, the tools were designed to be used specifically for one temple and with each passing temple or dungeon, you would not even have to use your previous tools to get through the game.  They were forgotten and took up space in your inventory because they served their purpose and that was the end of the life span.  In this Zelda, tool use was well balanced with no tool forgotten.  It made for more thinking in solving various puzzles and was a great implementation.

As previously mentioned, the game looked like beautiful Van Gogh paintings but that's not all.  There were some incredibly dynamic scenes in the game that brought the art to life through its movements as an amazing ebb and flow.  One such example and possibly the most awe inspiring moment of the game was setting sail on the vast ocean of sand with your time shift stone that when in contact with its surroundings made for a short vicinity around you to turn to waters from the past.  It was engaging, beautiful and so magnificent being able to see stretches of sand before you transform into colourful water then leaving the trail behind you of fleeting dust.  I have not seen a design so fantastic in a long time or in recent memory.  It's truly one of the greatest moments I've experienced in any game.

Not only was the scenery beautiful yet somber at times, but the bosses were genius.  The design of the Imprisoned was amazing and it was a beautiful create that moved and felt so alive the first time I encountered it.  Each time I had to fight him was more epic than the last with such urgency that it was scary.

There was perhaps one boss I did not care for and that was the cartoonish sea boss on the pirate ship.  I felt he did not really fit in but aside from him, every other fight was astonishing.  They were fun and pressing - the sort of thing Nintendo knows how to do well in carefully thought out level designs and exciting boss battles.  

It certainly held true when I encountered the boss from the Ancient Cistern.  I had a total "Oh f*ck, I am utterly screwed" moment and the fact that Link used the bosses' swords against him was that extra plus for pure excitement. 

To put it bluntly, the bosses were epic in this game. 

As per usual, the level designs were tight which is expected of a Zelda game for the most part and exploration was in full effect.  What I really loved too was the inclusion of the Silent Realm challenges.  They were scary things that required careful planning with a dose of stress.  Adding to the panic was the inclusion of a stamina meter for Link.  Those trials had me terrified and tense but rewarding when completed.  I particularly liked the Mountain Silent Realm trial that required such precision to get every Tear to be able to proceed.

I have not yet spoken about the characters themselves.  Save Fi, everyone was likeable even that freaking Groose later in the game.  Zelda herself (and props to someone on a discussion on a forum that I read) was mostly not in need of saving and was off on her own adventure.  In past years, Zelda's role has been more front and center to aid Link in some way which I liked and in this it even more intriguing.  Her deception was heart breaking and made for a fantastic scene between Link and Zelda that was touching and made me shed a little tear.

And of course, let us not forget Link.  I loved this Link.  I love all Links, truthfully.  This Link though was so charming, so wicked with his naughty tendencies (or at least, I allowed him to be kind of mischievous in certain side quests) and his facial expressions were the best.  Link showed real emotion from anger, apprehension, caring, understanding and determination.  He was fabulous.

Music Review (Hajime Wakai, Shiho Fuji, Mahito Yokota, Takeshi Hama, Koji Kondo): It was a beautifully orchestrated soundtrack.  Honestly, I know it was good and that I was not offended in any way but I just can't recall anything specific about it at the moment.

Honorable Mention(s):

Find Mii, Find Mii 2

Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo
Play Time: March 28, 2011 and ongoing
Status: Unfinished

In 2011 I got a Nintendo 3DS system.  I love my 3DS a lot and did not feel it a failed purchase for me as I used it almost daily for the past year.  Okay, so I played a lot of DS games on it but yeah yeah, whatevs.  If you may recall, I have games on my End of Year review that were high up on my list, thank you kindly.

But one of the things I really enjoy about the 3DS is the Street Pass feature.  I like taking a peek into the virtual lives of fellow Miis and as of this date, I have about 172 Miis hanging out in my plaza.

What was also exciting about Street Pass was the mini-RPG Find Mii.  On a very basic level, it's your standard RPG with a fun way to collect a bunch of Nintendo themed hats.  Outfitting your Mii with these hats won after clearing a level in the dungeon has been charming and rewarding.  Utilizing the coin collection feature acquired from a pedometer built into the system, I can hire heroes to save myself from the clutches of evil ghosts or meet others on the street via Street Pass to fight my battles for me.

It's a cute, interactive idea and even more fun when you meet more than one Mii once or meet Miis from other countries.  For my own data, I've met 2 people from Japan, 1 from Spain and 1 from the UK.  It's been a fun journey that I am currently continuing in the sequel Find Mii 2 which has an increased challenge and the opportunity to collect even more ridiculous hats.

For my own benefit, here's my Activity Log according to the 3DS as of this date:

And that's it for 2011.  I intend to have a wrap up post.  Why? Because I said so or rather, I have more things to say.  For now, in case you missed them or wanted to read them again, here are the links to the other End of Year Reviews 2011: Video Games.

The End of Year Reviews, Part I: 30 to 21

The End of Year Reviews, Part II: 21 to 11

Currently listening to: "Under the Cover of Darkness" by The Strokes

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