When you look at the product that’s out there right now, its obvious that games are better than they have ever been. But the Playstation 2 is the first console that I miss playing certain games, and its not because of nostalgia.
The previous generations aged badly. Aside from maybe Sonic the Hedgehog on Genesis, I didn’t miss Paperboy or Alex Kidd when the new systems came out. I don’t even remember getting rid of those games, I think my Sega Mastersystem slinked into my closet out of pure shame.
Now I’m not a gamer, so my list isn’t always the ‘best’ games, its just the ones I liked. And there were times when I think I played a game on PS2, but I’m not sure. The one thing I CAN do, is briefly explain why each game appealed to me, and probably others. I apologize, at times I include videos where someone else is playing a game and is talking. Generally watching someone else play a video game is one of the dullest experiences a human being can have, but it was the footage I had.
Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death
This wasn’t a well received game, but I’m a Judge Dredd fan and that’s a specific market. Dredd is a no-nonsense character, but unlike other protagonists there is a heavy dose of dark humor in his adventures. In Judge Dredd, usually the only thing taken seriously all the time is Dredd himself. Most video games take themselves WAY too seriously, so I appreciated Judge Dredd.
The game is just like that. With the Lawgiver (a gun that dispenses various types of ammunition, like armor-piercing, incendiary, explosive and ricochet) as one of the great iconic weapons, this is a first person shooter that pits you against vampires, zombies, mad scientists, cultists and general weirdos. In between you are expected to protect and arrest people.
With the numbers against you, ammo pretty low, and some reasonably tough opponents with some really silly things going on in the background, Judge Dredd was a distinct experience for me.
James Bond: From Russia With Love
It was a James Bond game where Sean Connery did the voice which automatically makes this untouchable.
EA always did a great job of making their games look great for the platform (remember Black?) and they did it here it this great homage to the early era of Bond films. If I remember quickly, it was a little short, but this was unappreciated.
Also…let’s get this out there.
Its not Goldeneye.
Every time we mention a James Bond video game there’s a few people that start talking about how great Goldeneye was and how nothing will be good and I start to feel very tired. Goldeneye was originally on the N64. The N64. People that console is so old its probably mildly radioactive or something. Let it go.
Most of the Punisher game is about an outmatched man fighting endless swarms of criminals, superpowered and otherwise. The Punisher also was co-written by Garth Ennis who combines a couple ideas from his comic runs, the most important being that The Punisher is not a hero that wants to rescue people, but a serial killer who prays on criminals.
This is an important distinction, because Marvel often tiptoed around the Punisher, giving him his own code of morals, making him sympathetic, and do other things to make us forget that this guy has killed thousands of people for his own reasons…which is generally what bad guys do.
The Punisher shows us THAT guy, the mad dog that most heroes despise. So the game is BRUTAL. Interrogations and executions reach Mortal Kombat levels. For all the tough talk you see from various game few reach the pure sadism of The Punisher.
Right after we had another run of good British gangster films came a game that understood them perfectly. The Getaway wasn’t perfect, at times I found it tough going, but I never got bored trying again because the plot was so strong and the gameplay was so interesting.
At its centerpiece, The Getaway painstakingly recreated London in hi-def right down to the curry places and pay toilets. Inside of it was a great combination of a driving game, a shoot em up, and a movie with long cut scenes.
The game was headed by Brendan McNamara who went on to do LA:Noir and then he…well none of this other stuff is very good at all is it? Yikes.
Hitman: Blood Money/Hitman: Contracts
Hitman is a great series, and I couldn’t decide between these two game . Hitman provides you an entry and a desired result, but the method is up to you. Do you use stealth, disguise and subtlety or do you try to mow everyone down? The opera house scene and the White House mission are among my favorites in the series. Also composer Jesper Kyd did an amazing job creating an atmosphere for these games that made them feel really important.
Hitman is a great experience because it gives so much freedom as a player to be creative, which is really rare in a game. These two games appealed to me because they had less of the sci-fi clone stuff, and really engaging levels that I had to think about.
“Madden is the same every year,” sniffs Gamey McGamington.
Well this year was different…because you could write your own plays. This feature only appeared once because most Madden players are pretty stupid and don’t actually understand football, but for anyone that understands the implications of creating a playbook from scratch this was a Godsend.
Most of the time in Madden, you take the bitter with the sweet. There are maybe 10-15 plays in each playbook that either never work, are impossible to understand, are inappropriate for your personnel or get you like two yards a play. Madden 10 let you have the perfect playbook for your philosophy whatever this was, and is the single most missed feature from the game that I’ve ever had.