Snackbar’s 2012 Staff Picks: Eric Albuen

December 26, 2012

10. Reflec Beat+

Released only last month, this is one of the newest games on my favorite list. While there might only be 15 available songs at the time of this writing, it’s another Konami music game I’ve grown to love. While the game looks like a convoluted game of musical ping-pong, the arcade game makes its way to US iOS devices with the same challenge that Konami brings to all its music games. I’m excited to see what they release in the future as far as music goes for this game.

9. Tokyo Jungle

One of the quirkiest games on my list, but one I’ve definitely had the most fun with friends with. Who would’ve thought that a Pomeranian would be able to take out an ostrich? Better yet, what is an ostrich doing in Tokyo anyway? Considering how much content is loaded into this game, it will definitely be some journey to unlock everything.

8. Rhythm Heaven Fever

I’ve always loved the Rhythm Tengoku series. While I did love a lot of things about the DS version, it messed up a lot in giving the US version good vocals. All things considered, it managed to localize the Wii entry very well, and even give the Japanese vocal tracks a run for their money. The game is challenging and beautifully-animated, and there’s always something for me to go back to.

7. Tekken Tag Tournament 2

One of the most anticipated games for me this year. I’ve been a Tekken fan since the PlayStation days, and seeing this game make its way to consoles only left me more excited for its release. The game brings back many faces, new and old, and pits them against each other in the ring with the new game mechanics introduced back in Tekken 6. It’s also one of the prettiest in the series, and set a high bar for other fighters to match.

6. Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy

I never thought Square Enix would release a music game as good as this. (I never thought Square Enix would release a music game.) The market has run fairly dry for new ideas as far as music games go, and Square Enix managed to set itself apart and create something completely its own, all while keeping the charm of what makes the Final Fantasy series what it is. Considering the recent iOS release of this game, the series can only evolve and get better from here, should it consider releasing another entry.

5. DJMax Technika Tune

This is probably the least-known game here on my whole list. I’ve been lucky enough to play arcade Technika for the last three years. When news of Tune coming to the US hit my ears, I couldn’t be more excited. It managed to port everything that made the arcade version great onto a tiny screen, and give handheld gamers something they’ve probably never seen before in a music game. From the music to the graphics and even to the charts themselves, this game will keep me busy for hours on end. I;m hoping that everything I’ve learned in the arcades will translate well to a smaller screen.

4. Pokémon Black 2 and White 2

Another year, another Pokémon game, and this one definitely left me impressed long after I finished. The inclusion of the Memory Link adds to the solid plot, and the Pokémon World Tournament adds some longevity. The addition of a Challenge Mode, the hard mode Pokémon trainers everywhere have been requesting for years, definitely added some degree of difficulty to my journey. Not only was my opponent stronger, but I also had to rethink a lot of strategies. Pokémon still stands as an extremely solid RPG. I can only hope that the next entry will bring even more to the table.

3. Dance Central 3

It’s been a great year for music games, and Dance Central 3 tops the list. With each entry in the series, the routines have not only gotten harder, but the way the Kinect is used and implemented gets better as well. I’ve tried other dancing games with the Kinect, but I always find myself coming back to this one, not only for the tough choreography and great music, but also for the tight controls.

2. Persona 4 Arena

Considering the whole fighting engine would be done by Arc System Works (responsible for the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue games), I knew that I was in for the best. It has simple fighting mechanics that anyone can pick up and play, but is still deep enough for experts to build strategies with increased my love for the game. While the fighting system itself is impressive, it shocks me even more that this game has a solid story, most of which are done with complete voice acting. While this is definitely the best fighting game I’ve played all year, I had to reserve the #1 spot for something a little closer to my heart.

1. Mass Effect 3

While the ending left me scratching my head, the rest of the game kept me glued to the TV. The Mass Effect series is, without a doubt, one of my favorite game series of all time. I loved the story of the first one, and the battle mechanics of the second. This game managed to combine the two things I loved about each, making them into something that made the universe worth fighting for. Regardless of its faults, I loved every second of this game, reuniting with the faces that grew familiar to me and kindling love with someone I never expected. This game was definitely something to experience. I finally got to see how all my decisions made an impact, and what it meant for humanity. Long after the DLC stops for this game, I’ll keep coming back.