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Top 10 Overlooked Games of 2008

Top 10 Overlooked Games of 2008

It’s bound to happen every year; there’s always going to be a handful of great games that get overlooked by the general gaming population. It can happen for a variety of different reasons – bad release date, not enough buzz, or it simply just slips through the cracks. While it’s sometimes a good thing that gamers missed out on some of the crap that was shoveled this past year, there are some quality titles in the mix that that didn’t even land on most gamer’s radars, and that’s why I’ve put together my list of the top 10 games of 2008 that were overlooked – from least to most disregarded.

10. de blob

“de blob” was the little game that couldn’t this year. One of the Wii’s most unique and inspired games this year was lost to the fact that it was the Wii’s most unique and inspired games this year. While the gaming press really loved the game, it seemed that your average Wii owner would rather buy a balance board and not use it, instead of playing a quality game.

9. Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen

Square Enix’s remakes are getting to be a dime a dozen lately, but the release of “Dragon Quest 4” went off with barely a blip on the radar. Maybe that was because it came out the same week as “Rock Band 2” and “The Force Unleashed” but that’s still not a good reason to pass on this DS update of a PS1 update of a classic NES title; especially since it was the first time the game hit American shores. [Continue Reading]

Top 10 Games of 2008 Needing Sequels

Lists, huh? We all love them. They help us fit our lives into neat, comfortable boxes. God forbid I should hit you with a series of titles devoid of any specific structure or numerical hierarchy. The World would surely stop turning, the sky would switch places with the sea, and Nintendo would unveil their idealistic vision for a strictly hardcore-gaming future. Well, I plan to save the world from such disarray, with my list of top 10 games demanding a sequel or continuation.

Note: I’ve included games on this list which are, in fact, sequels in themselves. So, to be absolutely correct, this is a compilation of games I feel demand sequels AND games which should, by all rights, see continuations in their respective franchises.

[Continue Reading]

Happy Holidayz From TrueGameHeadz

Happy HolidayzIn honor of Christmas the TrueGameHeadz crew wants to wish everyone a Happy Holidayz this season. I’ve only been around for a few months now but TGH has been doing some really great stuff, and I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to work with everyone here, but it’s also great to have a community to that enjoys the work you’re doing. So, in honor of the holidayz, a big thank you to all the readers – whether you love us or hate us, and get ready for 2009, we’ve got some big plans for the future. So, thank you and Happy Holidayz!!!!

Top 10 Reasons The Video Game Industry Is In Trouble

Yes I will do it! I’m the bearer of doom and gloom. Someone has to do it. While most publications are rife with BEST this and that about the industry, few are looking at what ails it. I intend to rectify this with my list and hopes for the fixes of my favorite hobby. Without further ado…

10. Sequelitis


Yes, the industry has gotten sick with it. Following Hollywood tit for tat video games, for the most part, have become wholly un-original. Before you come stampeding my way with torches, let me explain. I don’t mean original as in a new genre or way to play a game (ducking Wii-motes). I mean original as in a new IP (Intellectual Property). What happened to getting excited over new characters? All of the gaming icons we know were once new. Instead of creating new characters, we get the same ones for the fifth, sixth, and eleventh installments.  I subscribe to the financial reasoning of betting on a name that people know, but it also smacks in the face of how that character became popular in the first place. No! I don’t want to play as Dante anymore, at least not for a while. I’m tired of hopping around with Mario, can I get a new character? Everyone talks about how this year was so great for gaming, but virtually every game on the Best Sellers list is a sequel – GTAIV, MGS:4, DMC 4, GHWT, Rock Band 2, GOW2, Res: 2, Mario Kart, etc etc  (You know these titles so well I can abbreviate them) How about a year without any sequels and totally new IP? Wouldn’t that be refreshing… [Continue Reading]

Sonic Unleashed Review: Unleashing The Beast

Sonic UnleashedI’m certain I wasn’t the only gamer who got their hopes up a few months ago after seeing the first batch of screenshots for Sega’s new Sonic title, “Sonic Unleashed.” For some reason it seemed like there was some extra glimmer of hope this time around, and that we wouldn’t be let down by yet another Sonic game. From the screens there appeared to be some semblance of a return to 2D, and a step away from everything that has caused the series to deteriorate over the last few years. However, after actually sitting down and playing “Unleashed” I can say that anyone that got their hopes up might end up being letdown, yet again. HOWEVER, “Unleashed” isn’t a bad game, it’s just not the game that we were hoping for.

3D is a tough dimensional proposition for any game that established itself as a 2D classic. This goes for all franchises that have been around for the last 25 years, and not just our blue hedgehog friend. Sure, some 2D games have made the jump to 3D successfully, and have continued on in that form for multiple titles, but no matter how well those games have done, there’s still something to be said for their original releases. Those games introduced us to a 2D hedgehog, plumber, and elf (seriously, what the hell is Link?) to an entire generation, and that’s how we fell in love with them. At the same time, I’ve always felt that it’s unfair to hold Sonic to the same standards as we have placed on Nintendo’s titles. Sonic is, was, and will always be different. His games have always been faster, less predictable, and less linear than any Mario title. His 3D games have always tried to reflect those characteristics, and, unfortunately, they’ve never really succeeded, mostly because those mechanics are extremely hard to express in a 3D game. Somehow, despite everything it has working against it, “Sonic Unleashed” manages to be fun, but Team Sonic manages to spread out the fun so much that it’s really hard to enjoy the overall product. [Continue Reading]

Top 10 Most Disappointing Games of 2008

Top 10 Most Disappointing Games of 2008

With the awful Spike TV VGA concluded, us gamers are now able to reflect back on a rather interesting year for video games. Long awaited sequels like “Gears of War 2” curb-stomped their way into our homes, and the shareholders at Rockstar celebrated the release of “Grand Theft Auto 4.” But, much like any kid who waited months for that special toy on their birthday only to be disappointed once they got it, gamers also follow the same path.

So, here is the Top 10 Most Disappointing Games of 2008. The rules are quite simple: any game that I, Marky X, was personally hyped about, and then it didn’t meet my standards will be on here. This means games like “Crysis,” “Far Cry 2,” “Dead Space,” “Metal Gear Solid 4,” and “Tomb Raider” won’t be on this list, because I didn’t care about them in the first place.

10 – Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix

I won’t give a history lesson on this game, as I’m sure if you’re reading this, you know about the franchise’s impact on not only the arcade scene but organized gaming competitions as well.

When Capcom announced a “Street Fighter” “HD Remix” with online play, balance changes, and easier controls, I couldn’t wait. I really enjoyed the concept and character designs of the “Street Fighter,” but couldn’t really get into it because controls were such a pain in the ass.

That wasn’t the case. The game is still unbalanced, as Ryu and Ken are grossly overused, but now the ex-banned Akuma breaks into the scene as the third most used character in the game. Controls are still horrid, especially with some of the charge characters being harder than it was on the SNES D-pad days. At least the netcode is pretty damn good and the artwork is sharp, despite the creative anatomy by Udon.

9 – Mario Kart Wii

When the Wii version was announced with the Wheel and online play, I couldn’t wait. I have a MOMO Steering Wheel, and it does add to the experience of any racing game, and playing “Mario Kart” against people around the world was something I’ve dreamed about since the SNES days.

Unfortunately, what I got was a game that had way too many players on the track with stupidly overpowered and overused weapons. Even the pointless drifting is still here, but instead of waggling the stick left and right, while giving the player the illusion of “skill”, all you have to do is hold down a button. The tracks are overcrowded with 12 players, making it nearly impossible to get the items if you’re at the back of the pack. Speaking of tracks, where’s the variety and innovation? Most of them are just simple GC or SNES remakes. And finally, the blue shell.

8 – Super Smash Bros. Brawl

I’ve never been a big follower of the “Smash Bros.” franchise. I didn’t own a Gamecube so I never got a chance to play ”Melee,” and the amount of minutes I spent on the Nintendo 64 debut could be counted on one hand. I don’t know why, but I was never really that hyped about it.

Then came “Brawl,” which not only supported online play, but allowed me to play as Sonic. Finally, a game where two favorite childhood mascots of mine can finally beat the shit out of each other, and I can do it online.

Instead what I got was a game that had perhaps one of the worst netcodes in my so-called gaming “career.” This is a game which only dealt with four people, yet suffered from nearly unplayable matches most of the time (Mario Kart handled 12 just fine). Even if I did find a lagless match, everyone would choose Ike or Metaknight since there are such a broken characters. And then if people didn’t choose them, then we’d end up on a crappy stage would be selected where I needed the Hubble Telescope just to see my tiny character.

As for single player campaign, I’ll be brief: crappy enemies, floaty controls, and copy-paste levels. [Continue Reading]

Prince of Persia Review: Beauty And The Beast

Prince

The long-time “Prince of Persia” fans that have followed it throughout its’ remake trilogy on the PS2 and XBOX have been anticipating the release of the PS3 and XBOX 360 versions. Those gamers that spent several hours playing through those games, already have an idea of what to expect in the new version’s story.  Sadly, I haven’t played any of the previous revamps for the series.  The last time I played “Prince of Persia” was on my PC back in the West Indies.  Before you brush me aside for this atrocity, consider that it is perhaps best to get an opinion from someone like myself, in its most unbiased form.  Like anything under the Sun, “Prince of Persia” is not without fault, even though it has a lot going for it in its current incarnation, but there’s always room for more.  The ending cements itself and sets up what could be another (at least) 4 years of wall runs, leaps, double jumps, and light seed collecting.

Perhaps holding back made this game easy, but nevertheless this game is easy. It may have been intentional by the creators to make it approachable, or it could have been a strong belief in not punishing users with the “Game Over” screen.  It’s odd, but just because you don’t ever see a game over screen, does it make a game easy?   Although, with “Prince of Persia” it might not be necessary; perhaps that’s when all the visuals kick in, and you’re stuck, stuck with it like staring at a midnight Gypsy dancer.  It’s perhaps the right  time for anyone to get aquatinted with the series.  In its current form it is an obvious amalgamation of technologies used in the PS2 titles, and newer systems like the XBOX 360.  Yet, for all the power available to the creators, I’m puzzled why the gameplay mechanics forces you on a set path, one that you are punished heavily for if you do not follow?  For instance, if you don’t perform a double jump when you are supposed to, even though there may be a wall near by that you could do a wall-run jump off of, you will … die or be saved by your partner Elika.  That’s where most people will begin to label this game as not easy.  And, let’s not forget that 14-hit combo that’s almost impossible to pull off for beginners.  In the hopes of keeping the flow of the game going, you will want to be saved by Elika, and every time you fall into a pit, you are almost satisfied that there will be no Game Over screen.  Think of Elika’s life saving cut scenes akin to the reviving chambers in “Bioshock.” At the same time, there is a trophy that you can obtain which requires you to use Elika less than 100 times, however, you’ll quickly find out that attempting this the first time around may seem more challenging that you originally thought. [Continue Reading]

Top 10 Games of 2008 That I Didn’t Play

As each year goes by, it feels like the number of good games released over those 12 months just keeps rising. This year was no different. I would argue that it saw a bigger increase than previous years largely because of the influx of quality casual and indie games. I think nearly every gamer missed out on a game they planned to get because they didn’t have the time, or saw yet another awesome game and just didn’t have the resources to cop it. I was definitely a victim. I’m closing out the year with empty pockets, plenty of great games, and a stupid-long list of games I really wanted to play and didn’t.

This is the top 10 games from that list:

10. Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Conspiracy

Why I wanted it: It was a movie-licensed game that didn’t suck. Bonus: I actually liked the movies.

Why I didn’t play it: It just barely missed the must-buy list. It got some decent reviews, but something about buying a game where the title includes a full name that isn’t Tom Clancy or Sid Meier made my stomach turn.

9. de Blob

Why I wanted it: Who can resist a fun platformer where the plot centers on putting a smack-down on conformity? Not to mention, their marketing blitz blind-sided me a couple of times in the backfield.

Why I didn’t play it: I must confess–I have been neglecting my Wii. I won’t let myself buy another Wii game until I finish “Zelda: Twilight Princess” and “Metriod Prime 3: Corruption.”

8. Soulcalibur IV


Why I wanted it: “Soulcalibur” has made a healthy impression on me with every game since the original was released for Dreamcast. Ivy’s Snake Sword and Maxi’s Nunchucks (I am a huge Michelangelo of TMNT fan) sealed the deal pretty much every time. A little hint of Star Wars doesn’t hurt either.

Why I didn’t play it: Lately I just haven’t had the urge to play fighting games. Seems like those Street-Fighter-II-Turbo-at-birthday-parties-and-sleepovers glory days have faded. Plus, fighting games just aren’t the same when your opponent isn’t in the room with you.

7. Dead Space

Why I wanted it: I always wanted to be trapped on a dark space station with limited ammo and vicious creatures, who would love to rip my body into nice happy meat chunks…

Why I didn’t play it: WHAT!?!?! I am not scared to play this game…

6. Ninja Gaiden II

Why I wanted it: Ninja + Speed + Buckets of Blood = Fun

Why I didn’t play it: This is the first (but not last) game on this list that I am truly puzzled about. I think I just didn’t have 60 bucks to shell out when it was released. [Continue Reading]

Introductions Are In Order: New Headz In The House

TrueGameHeadzAs TrueGameHeadz grows, we have had the pleasure of adding some additional writers for your reading pleasure. Over the last few weeks the TGH brain trust have gone through a ton of submissions from potential writers, and we settled on three of the best that we thought you guys would really enjoy reading, so keep an eye out for posts from them over the next few weeks and beyond. And now for a few words from each of them…

Spek:
Hey everybody! I’m proud to begin writing here at TrueGameHeadz. My name is Spek. I was grown down in New Orleans, LA. I was picked out of the dirt to study on the Virginia coast. That’s where I managed to play more games than sleep. Graduation came quickly, so I squeezed a programming gig out of my Computer Science degree in North Carolina. Of course, almost all of my down time is dedicated to gaming. My life in three words would be: eat, think, and game. All that thinking and gaming will hopefully give you ladies and gents some good info, laughs, and food for thought. See you in the future.

Lou Chou:
My name’s Lou Chou, I’m 21 years old, and hail from this awkward land mass some might refer to as the United Kingdom. Since my early teens I’ve been writing about games, but it was during college that I found my place in the blogosphere. Doing a degree in media production, and a lot of studies into film and cultural theory, helped me recognize a series of connections between gaming and the subjects I was being taught. Now I try to apply as much of what I learned to my writing, in the hope that I can open gamers up to a new dimension of their favorite past-time.

Nat X7:
Hey guys, whats up? My names Nathaniel. I will be helping out around the site with whatever I can. Mostly I will be blogging and bringing little bits of videogame news to the masses. I’m an avid gamer and when I’m not working, I’m usually spending time with my PS3. Has anyone seen the new God of War 3 trailer? How could you not be excited for that? Anyways, feel free to get a hold of me with any questions at my email, , or look for me online – my gamertag is Nat X7. When I’m not taking down noobs online I’m on the golf course or inside the racquetball courts. Drop me a line and say hi sometime or team up with me on PSN and help represent for TGH. Lastly, I look forward to helping the site out and not only growing as a gamer, but as a writer as well.

SimAnimals Preview: Where It’s Okay To Feed The Bears

SimAnimalsA lot of games crossed my path when I had a small achievement addiction about a year ago; one of the most unique ones was Rare’s gardening sim “Viva Piñata.” I initially put off playing the game because I didn’t think I’d be interested in the daily ins-and-outs of a Fudgehog, or a Sparrowmint, plus the art style was a little too cutesy for me. Low and behold, I eventually got around to putting some time in on it, and it was actually quite fun – well most of it. Aside from the annoying camera controls, there were a handful of other problems I had with the game, mostly the tediousness of the maintenance tasks, and eventually I moved on. When I was done I a) was surprised by how much time I actually spent on the game, and b) was shocked by the fact that I got sucked in by a freaking gardening sim. It’s a shame that, in the end, it left a bad taste in my mouth, and I have yet to give its’ sequel “Trouble in Paradise” a chance, mostly because I’m certain some of the same annoyances are going to be there. However, last week, I had the opportunity to check out a title that could make me forget about “Viva Piñata” forever, and it’s coming from another unlikely place, the producers of “The Sims.”

I thought the days were long gone where every possible thing on the earth got to have the “Sim-” prefix tossed in front of it, and in turn had a game made about it, but apparently I was wrong. The early to mid 90’s felt like Will Wright has a god complex and he was working through and his issues manifested in everything from ants to helicopters (I know those games weren’t directly made by Wright, but they still carried his brand, so I hold him responsible – down boy). Well, it looks like those days may be back as “The Sims” franchise branches out into quasi-familiar territory with the upcoming “SimAnimals” title. [Continue Reading]

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