Features// SPOnG's Games of the Year

Posted 3 Jan 2013 16:28 by
Your ship's reactor provides power for all of it's systems and you can allocate it how you wish. You use Scrap to upgrade your ship and also as currency. Each time you upgrade one of your Systems it requires more power to use the upgraded advantage. You can upgrade the reactor to give you more power to distribute, but if you want to save some Scrap you can just juggle your power between systems during battles.

There's plenty to keep you hooked on FTL for a long time. There are plenty of ships to unlock, you can obtain most of these without even finishing the campaign (lucky for me!). Each one comes from a different alien race and has completely different internal layouts, weapons and Systems.

Each ship even has three of it's own challenges and when you beat two of them you unlock a second version of it. Each campaign attempt has taken me between five minutes and three hours. I say 'attempt' because I've still not managed to beat it yet, after almost thirty attempts! On EASY MODE!

Does all that difficulty, failure and punishment sound fun? Probably not. But it bloody is!

Adam Cooper
Staff Writer
Borderlands 2

Itís a little hard for me to pick a game of the year, some of the stack of games Iíve finally been catching up on date back two or three years. But if I had to throw my hat in with anything it would definitely be Borderlands 2, one of the most improved sequels I can recall.

Borderlands had little plot to speak of, and nothing really in the way of a main antagonist until near the end of the game. Borderlands 2, on the other hand, is a much more story-driven experience, with a brilliantly entertaining villain in the form of the smug, charismatic and thoroughly reprehensible Handsome Jack. Maybe Iím exposing my nerdhood here but the sheer number of internet memes and pop culture references packed into the game made me smile more than a few times.

Gamescom 2012
Gamescom 2012
Gameplay-wise little has really been changed, but the side quests you can take on are where Borderlands 2 really improves over its predecessor. Yes, there might still be a lot of fetch quests, but theyíre dressed up so well and given such off-the-wall premises that youíll rarely get that dreaded been-there, done-that feeling.

Iím a bit of a sucker for DLC too, so Gearbox continuing to support the game with a truckload of extra stuff sounds like great news to me.

And finally Iím almost always a big advocate of offline multiplayer, so thatís a big win in my book.

Daniel Jones
Staff Writer
Halo 4

Iíve been asked to tell you lucky folk about my Game of the Year, and well, what else? Halo 4 it is! Now, if youíve read Svendís review, youíll know that he wasnít massively impressed by it. Who cares what Svend says though, really?

The Halo 4 campaign comes second to none. Itís beautiful, the environments vary from desert-like missions that weíve grown to love throughout the series to low-gravity space stations.

The storyline itself is brilliant. Now Iím not one of these that really cares for characters in my games, but there are some amazingly empathetic moments between the Chief and his only real companion, Cortana.

I found myself thirsty for blood after some of the cutscenes. The Prometheans are designed perfectly. They look exactly how youíd expect a race of teleporting alien bad guys to look. The new shooters are also very welcome - they add a new twist on old weaponry.

Ah, weaponry. Iíve had one major grievance throughout the Halo games, and thatís the weapons. Iíve never liked being forced to swap out my gun because of a lack of ammo. Who wants to find themselves with a Plasma Pistol? Nobody, thatís who. Halo 4 pulls it off though, it doesnít matter that youíre stuck with a Covenant Carbine; each and every weapon has its own loveliness. Theyíre all fairly balanced; there isnít a particularly overpowered weapon.

And that stands for the online multiplayer too. If you played Halo 3 and came across a team of hardcore players armed with their Battle Rifles, your Plasma Pistol was about as much use as a spud gun. The fact that no one weapon is particularly overpowered makes the online multiplayer enjoyable for new and old players.

Spartan Ops is a nice little extra too, you and some mates jump into a mission area with orders to complete an objective. Itís a bit of fun that doesnít need to be taken too seriously.

Svend Joscelyne
Star Writer, Party Viking (...alright then. Features Editor)

2012 hasnít exactly been the most exciting year for traditional retail games, if Iím being honest. Thereís barely been anything on disc that has really jumped out and grabbed me. Nothing that has really shown that gaming is a powerful, immersive and incredibly enjoyable past time. And many other gamers likely feel the same way, judging by the fact that practically no bugger actually bought a game in the last year.

Weíre kind of wading in a trough of big-budget retreads, marketed on the promise of being Ďblockbusterí. Halo 4 was perhaps one of the biggest disappointments of them all in this regard - ultimately containing a single-player campaign that, for all its jazz and pizazz, made you feel less like Master Chief and more like Captain Mainwaring. I mean, donít get me wrong. Halo 4 was still good. Just not Game of the Year material. The same is true of other AAA games released in 2012. Sorry Dan.

In fact, Only one disc-based game has done the impossible and kept my attention for long after endgame. Borderlands 2. The sheer beauty in Gearboxís mental open-world role-playing-shooter is that the game has no motive - no actual point - other than to simply offer fun at every single turn. While thatís naturally the goal of every game ever made, with Borderlands 2 it just feels effortless. You can feel the good, honest, classic fun oozing out of every menu, game mechanic and line of dialogue. Also, Claptrap.

But not even Borderlands 2 - clearly (one of) the best disc-based release of 2012 - can really shake off the games that I feel are truly worthy of the title Game of the Year. And they happen to be digitally-distributed titles, at that.

The first is The Walking Dead, Telltale Gamesí amazing adventure series inspired by the graphic novel of the same name. Just like the graphic novel and the TV series, The Walking Dead may be set in a modern zombie apocalypse, but that setting takes a back seat to the gripping drama between characters and the gameís fascinating spotlight on human nature and psychology.

The controls, while rather minimalist compared to other games in this list, are used to extremely immersive effect, resulting in a truly heart-wrenching, engaging experience. Itís exactly like watching a blockbuster film or TV show - only one that, finally, truly plays to the strengths of the gaming medium.

The second game is one that had captured the hearts and minds of most gamers long before the year was out. Thatgamecompanyís Journey is a masterpiece of interactive entertainment, marrying beautiful and striking art with simplistic-yet-powerful game mechanics to create a game that is intentionally vague, whimsical and wonderful.

Above all else, it allows gamers to think for themselves, to draw their own conclusions and continue a discussion about its premise in an adventure that almost feels spiritual to the player as it appears to the main character. Still truly worth the 10/10 I gave it.

So, there we go then. Those were ours. So, time for you to tell us yours. Either in the comments below or over at the free and friendly SPOnG Forum.
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