One of Snackbar Games’ traditions is to have staffers pick their top ten games of the year. We’re so all over the map in our tastes that our lists are never similar. Today, news editor Shawn Vermette shares some offbeat selections.
Honorable Mention: Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale (PC). Recettear is a little indie title that was localized from Japan earlier this year. Part dungeon crawler, part item shop sim, this game was all addictive. Neither the dungeon crawling nor the item shop management were particularly hard or deep, but the milestones in sales you need to hit to continue in the game make it challenging. In the end, though, this game is totally worth playing for any fan of Japanese games.
10. Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth (DS). While different from the other Ace Attorney games, it retained the series’ trademark outrageous cases and writing. If it had included some courtroom drama in addition to the field work, it would have ranked higher on my list, as the Ace Attorney games are some of my favorite DS games to date.
9. Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver (DS). Yes, this was a remake. Yes, it didn’t have any new pokemon that would engender a new case of ‘gotta-catch-em-all’ fever. However, these were superb remakes of my favorite Pokemon games of the Game Boy/Game Boy Advance era and definitely reignited my passion for Pokemon games.
8. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (360). Enslaved was not a game I went into expecting to care much for, but boy was I in for a surprise. Enslaved had great writing, great graphics, and great voice acting. All of this mixed together to make it one of my top games of the year.
7. Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar (DS). The Harvest Moon series has always enthralled me. For some reason, doing simulated farm work entrances me like few other games of this genre can. This is despite the fact that I despise doing any of the aforementioned farm work in real life. The addition of a bazaar to manually sell your goods at once a week, rather than simply dropping it in a shipping container, makes this a must-play in the Harvest Moon series.
6. Starcraft II (PC). Was there any doubt this would be on my list? I still play Starcraft on occasion, so the sequel has been hotly anticipated for two years. The verdict? Once I managed to get it running on my computer, it plays like a smoother version of the original, which, along with its campaign story, would have made this my #1 game of the year many years… but this year the competition is much tougher.
5. Civilization V (PC). The Civilization series has been a major time sink for me ever since I first played the original on the SNES. Civilization V turned away from not one, but two of the series major features, getting rid of stacks of units and square tiles. This only led to an even more addictive game than the previous 7 Civilization games I played, and the #5 ranking this year.
4. Dragon Quest IX (DS). Dragon Quest IX is the first Dragon Quest game I’ve really played for a great deal of time. I’ve got to say that I’m sorry I didn’t play the series sooner. Dragon Quest IX felt, and looked, like a throwback to the olden days of RPGs, and I couldn’t love that fact more. The gameplay, the party customization, and the nostalgia make it an easy #4 on my list.
3. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (DS). The first two Golden Sun games, for whatever reason, didn’t hold my attention long. However, Dark Dawn has held it and more. I’ve had difficulty putting it down at night, and often play an hour or two longer than I should before turning it off and going to bed. The fact that I skipped the first two Golden Sun games doesn’t matter either, as Dark Dawn goes to great lengths to make sure you understand what happened in the first two games and even includes an encyclopedia for quick reference to key terms and characters throughout the game.
2. Final Fantasy XIII (PS3). I’ve anxiously awaited Final Fantasy XIII ever since I played Final Fantasy XII, and while it didn’t quite live up to my hopes for the game, it was still an excellent game. I loved the story and the characters, the graphics were great, and the soundtrack was once again phenomenal. Thus, it gets the #2 ranking this year.
1. Mass Effect 2 (360). Mass Effect would have been my game of the year in 2007, were I actually writing such things back then. So, of course, I had to play Mass Effect 2. Other than my dislike of requiring ammo, Mass Effect 2 was everything I’d hope for, and it more than earns its spot at #1 for me this year.