Entry 0267

Recently, I’ve been playing a lot of Fallout: New Vegas on the Xbox 360. Like, a lot a lot. Like, far more than I probably should be. Like, enough that it occasionally gets in the way of my sleeping. Like, too much.

Which is not the point of this post. At least, not directly. Nor are the “bugs” in the game – bugs which the reviewers are quick to point out, but the internet has been strangely quiet about.

No, the point I’ve been rapidly running away from, only to circle back upon when it was least expected is: I’m willing to say that this is the Game Of The Year.

At least, that’s what I was thinking a about an hour ago. Then I began to wonder which games were actually released this year, and how it compares against them.

As I always do when wondering something, I checked Wikipedia – the bastion of all human knowledge. I quickly managed to dig up their list of games released in the year 2010, and was staggered by just how damn many games were actually released in past year.

At a rough counting, I would say a metric shitload of them. Over 200 have been – or will be – pushed out of the developers doors and into the sweaty hands of GameStop workers world wide. Or the local equivalent should one live in a land where GameStops are not a thing.

Regardless, that’s a lot of games. A lot of games I am not, in anyway, qualified to remark upon.

I can, however, compare Fallout: New Vegas to the games that I did play, so I quickly pulled them out of the list, and have compiled them below.

Star Trek Online Win
Perfect Dark XBLA
Just Cause 2 PS3
3D Dot Game Heroes PS3
Halo: Reach X360
Fallout: New Vegas X360
Tron: Evolution (pending release) PS3
Transformers: War for Cybertron (rented, did not buy) X360
Crackdown 2 (rented, did not buy) X360

As you can see, there are eight of them.
Eight.

Nine if you count the one that is based on a movie, but hasn’t been released yet. While I know enough that the vast majority of movie based games suck, I’m willing to risk it seeing as it’s related to TRON.

But, again, I digress.

At an average of one game every two months, I’ve picked up one Windows game (even though I only own a Mac), two full XBox games, two full PS3 games, and an XBL Arcade game (not sure why that’s on the list, TBH.) Even though I tend to prefer the PS3, my purchasing has been pretty evenly distributed over the two major consoles.

No Wii love at all this year. Which, honestly, was not a surprise.

With this (short) list in mind, it’s time to double back and again ask: Do I still think Fallout: New Vegas is the best game I’ve played all year?

Star Trek Online (STO) is pretty darn amazing – it has managed to hold my attention, off and on, since February. Cryptic are constantly adding new content, and tweaking/revising existing content. But it does have its own problems. The content that is there, now, is still sparse. The various stories it tries to tell are good, but not great – and are either too fragmented, or not detailed enough. And, surprisingly, there aren’t any immediately memorable characters in the game.

So, while I love the game – and plan on playing it for at least another year – it’s not better than New Vegas.

Next, there’s Just Cause 2, another fun game. A great sandbox game, one that I still play occasionally, when I feel the need to drive around a small island country acting like a horrible person.

And that’s pretty much all I have to say about that. The gameplay is way fun, but there isn’t any memorable story. It’s basically a Micheal Bay action flick, which is great fun to watch/play, but not something that would be nominated for any real awards.

No where near a contender, really.

3D Dot Game Heroes was a lovely, wonderful, fun throwback to the 8bit days of yore. Lots of fun to play, lots of silly side-quests, and self aware story telling. A great, fun game. One of the most fun, and most original, games I’ve played in years.

Also, one of the more frustrating. And not “frustrating until you memorize the dudes movements” kind of things, but “frustrating because the world map is a bit hard to remember, and the damn camera never quite works the way it should, dammit, now how the fuck do I get back to the damn Fire Temple anyway?” kind of thing. I still say it’s the Legend of Zelda sequel I’ve been waiting years for, but it’s not something I think I’ll ever go back and play again, let alone finish.

I’m happy I bought it, and I’ll still heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys Action RPGs, but that’s about as far as I’m willing to go with this one.

Finally, we come to Halo: Reach. What do I need to say, other than it’s the Haloz? Only, in many ways, it’s not. Yes, you still shoot guys in the face, but there are enough changes to the game that it feels like it belongs to a separate franchise from Halo 3. The single player campaign has been fun, and the characters are well fleshed out. The story is much deeper, and somewhat easier to understand, than the previous Halo games. (Yes, the previous games had stories. Or so I’m told. I only ever got “Aliens bad, shoot them” out of the previous entries, but some gamers swear there’s more too it than that.) And the mulitplayer is frantic, and kinetic, and way more fun than it should be.

It’s also repetitive. It is not at all addictive – I don’t ever find myself thinking “Just one more level, oh, lemme check this out, what the fuck do you mean it’s three in the morning?” when I’m playing Reach. I, quite naturally, get a level in, have my fun, and then am ready to do something else. Something that isn’t Halo.

So, no, Halo: Reach isn’t it either.

Fallout: New Vegas has a compelling main storyline, one that Nadia has said several times is like watching a movie. At times a very creepy movie, but a movie. It also has many, many, many compelling side stories. Many unique, quirky and fun characters to find. It near perfectly balances SRS GAMING with light-hearted humor, and damn creepy moments of WTF’itude.

It’s addicting. With so many places to explore so damn close to one another (it’s really, really hard to go more than four minutes without finding SOMETHING, contrary to some reviews) and with almost everything being actually interesting, it’s very hard to walk away. Even for spectators: Nadia has said, a couple of times, that just watching the game is very addicting – she’ll stay up far later than she intends, just to see what’ll happen next.

And it’s fun. Shooting dudes? Fun. Exploring buildings? Fun. Looting Vaults? Fun. Wandering the Mojave Wasteland, in search of more caps, or more dudes to shoot, or more funny notes, or more weird occurrences? Fun.

So, yeah – upon further, mature, reflection, I’m confidant in saying that Fallout: New Vegas is my Game of the Year. The best damn game I’ve played all year long, and one that will continue to eat my free time for the next six months.