Monday, April 17, 2017

Jaconian's Favorite Game of the Year - Part III: 2000s

Well, we are back for another 10 years of which video games from 2000 through 2009 made such an impression on me that they will probably stay with me until the day I traverse Bifröst to Asgard; I make no allusions to believe that I will ever enter Valhalla as my warrior status is somewhat lacking.  If you are new here, check out Part I which covers 1980 - 1989, and Part II for 1990 - 1999, where I list and briefly talk about what my favorite game that was released that particular year was.

So now on with the 2000s!

2000: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (October 26, 2000)
You know, for being a game that I thought was going to be horrible, this became one of my favorite Legend of Zelda games.  The music was more of what I wanted from a LoZ game on the N64 and was creepily appropriate music; I think I may have gotten used to the sound chip of the N64 and was no longer expecting a better sound quality than when Ocarina of Time came out.  I also felt that the much darker tone worked well, even for a LoZ game, and didn't feel out of place.  What I also loved about this game was how attached I became to various characters and their stories, and really that was where Majora's Mask excelled above Ocarina of Time.  There was a certain point in the game when I started feeling guilty about not having time to help people who I may have previously helped during a previous sequence of days.  And really, I actually liked the three day limit and how that time frame constrained how I approached each sequence of days.  Awhwhwhwhwhw, this was a great game.

2001: Conker's Bad Fur Day (March 5, 2001)
What I love about Conker's Bad Fur Day (the release on the N64, as opposed to its 2005 re-release on the XBox), was its take on parodying pop culture movies and video games, and even how video games themselves operate.  Robin Beanland's music for the game was pretty amazing too.  It could even be the evolution from what the original Conker game was going to be and what it became in the end, plus it is pretty easy to see how a lot of the level design could have been used in a GA rated game more akin to Super Mario 64.

2002:  Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem  (May 1, 2002)
Let's just say that this was a toughy of a year.  Not only was Eternal Darkness released, but so was Neverwinter Nights which I played the ever loving buh-jeezus out of, as well as The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, which has, in the last five years, become one of my favorite games of all time.  What I think pushes Eternal Darkness ahead was the amount of times that I replayed this game considering that the each playthrough took anywhere between 12 and 18 hours.  And dear Odin the sanity effects!!  No other game I have played since has come close to the level and number of things that happen while your character goes insane.  Everything from things that happen frequently (rooms becoming upside-down, head exploding during while casting a healing spell) to infrequent or single instance events like having a phone ring and your dead grandfather giving you words of encouragement.  Graphically, it probably does not hold up, but it is such an entertaining (almost more than terrifying) game that those shortcomings are forgivable.  Additionally, I do not recall having a played a game with such amazing voice acting, especially from Mr. William Hootkins.

2003: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (September 8, 2003)
If you look at a lot of the games that were released in 2003 (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Legend of Zelda: Windwaker, Silent Hill 3, Final Fantasy XI, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow), you might be surprised by my choice as FFTA being my favorite game, but damn did I spend a lot of time on this game.  Twice no less since I thought I had lost my Game Boy Advance with FFT in it until I found it a year later, but by that point, I had already re-purchased the game and was again, over the 50 hour mark.  I know some people had issues with with law system, but I though it was an interesting take on making battles more varied.  I was probably also very excited to play another tactics game, even if the story was not nearly as developed as that in FFT.

2004: Doom 3 (August 3, 2004)
How, do you ask, do I find Doom 3 to be a more favorited game than either Half-Life 2 or World of Warcraft?  Well, my answer to you is that I have not finished Half-Life 2 because I got annoyed with yet another drawn out driving sequence in the game, and I have never played World of Warcraft.  What I loved about Doom 3, was the great mix of the Doom universe/setting, along with a more horror experience than what either Doom or Doom 2 were intended to be, even Doom as a series was never a horror experience.  I liked not being able to have both my flashlight and gun out at the same time as it made the choice of either being able to see, or shooting whatever hellish demon was charging you.

2005:  TimeSplitters: Future Perfect  (March 21, 2005)
You know, despite the fact that this game gave me motion sickness for the first month or so I played it, and the fact that I was never good enough to beat the game on all difficulty levels, I still have a blast playing this.  Even the years I spent at Pool House, I played multiplayer about as much as I did with Goldeneye 007, which is a lot when you take my multiplayer gaming into account.  I just really liked the animation, the sense of humor, and even the mini side games like Penguin Curling.  This was a fun game and sad that it was the last in the series.

2006:  Final Fantasy XII (October 31, 2006)
I bought a PS2 from Dr. Potts when I heard that Final Fantasy XII was going to be going back to the world of Ivalice, the world that the games in the Final Fantasy Tactics series takes place in.  I do not recall how many hours I put into this thing (well over 150, but my PS2 memory card is long since lost so I cannot confirm), and I even tried completing all of the side quests and hunting missions, but when I later found out about the monstrosity that is Yiazmat, I am glad that I decided to just go and beat the final boss (which still took a long time and an long of patience; stupid pailings).  My biggest criticism with the game was that the story was a little hard to follow in parts, with so many side characters, some of which I felt weren't fleshed out enough, or were stereotypically bad-guy-looking. And to this day, I still find the encounter between Basch fon Ronsenberg and Judge Gabranth to be some damn good and emotional voice acting.

2007:  Portal (October 9, 2007)
This was a semi-difficult year, in that my top two games that didn't make the number one spot were BioShock, Penumbra: Overture.  What I love about Portal, again is the voice acting by Ellen McLain as GlaDOS and equally impressive (and hilarious) was the script writing by Ken Levine.  I also cannot fail to mention how Portal actually made me think differently about first person games, that they did not have to be all run and gun, and the fact that Portal was built around solving puzzles was that much more amazing to experience (granted for me it was in 2011 when Conklederp told me that Steam was giving away free copies, which is what got me to download Steam, but I was aware of the game since 2008).

2008:  Dead Space (October 13, 2008)
Well, I have written entire articles about how much I love Dead Space.  And playing other games in the series and reading books set in the same universe have only solidified this game as one of my favorite games in the last 10 years.  Something about the level of detail in the first game, combined with the hints of a larger mythology and cosmology is something that I found myself really drawn to.  True I felt that the final boss seemed to come out of nowhere, but I guess I am willing a certain level of forgiveness due to my own internal biases.

2009:  Left 4 Dead 2 (November 17, 2009)
I think what I ultimately love about Left 4 Dead 2 is that it is not a complex game with complex mechanics and a complex story.  You are a survivor during the zombie apocalypse and you have to get from Point A to Point B, those are the basics, and at times, it is really nice to play a well crafted game that does not require a lot of brain power.  The world building though is very entertaining, especially when you take time to read the things people write on the walls in the safe rooms, I feel that is where the majority of the story is told in the game, although the locations too have a bit of story to them, but not so much that if you miss that one thing hidden in the swamp, you are going to miss the whole point of that series of stages.

So that is it for the 2000s which started out with my love of console games and my move into games that were released on PC.  I did find it interesting that four of the games listed were released in October, and seven were released in the second half of the year.  Speculations abound!  The next seven years will be interesting as I seem to be a late comer when it comes to a lot of games, but that is something I have come to terms with.  So stay tuned until this Friday which concludes this series with Part IV: 2010 - 2017 (and maybe a "Most anticipated for 2018" if I have the chutzpah for it all).


No comments:

Post a Comment