This post is mainly sparked by this forumthread which had me first think about it and I figured I would write out why I picked the games I picked here. I have to say up front that I find it quite hard to pick one game above another as it at times really doesn’t feel fair.
Sequence when it came out really seemed to go unnoticed, which for the most part hasn’t changed at all. So this may even be the first time you’re hearing of it, though I wrote a post about it before. Sequence is one of these hidden gems that needs to be shared with people. It’s a completely unique game combining DDR with RPG mechanics, clever writing and very enjoyable humor.
I’m struggling to even think of any downsides to the game, but I can’t think of anything other than me wanting to get all the drops and create all items, which isn’t necessary by far. Even the grinding for that was pretty minor all things considered. I can’t stress enough how much sheer pleasure this game has given me, while serving as a breath of fresh air in the release season.
As it’s such a unique game, it may not be for everyone, but at the cost of only a couple of dollars/euros, I really encourage you to give it a shot!
2. Portal 2
Now this one may not come as a big surprise to a lot of you, but I really enjoyed my time with Portal 2. The singleplayer was a lot of fun to go through, especially the voice acting was great. I’ve heard of a lot of people that they saw the twist coming, but I didn’t have that “problem”. I just played along with the puzzles and occasionally got stuck in between the actual puzzles as you had to move through the deserted facility. All around though, it was very entertaining and a fun experience that didn’t get frustrating.
The singleplayer’s fun and all, but the real fun lies in the multiplayer. I went through it with a friend while using voice communication (you really can’t do it without…) and it is immensely fun to figure out puzzles with 2 people. At times one will have an idea and the other will finish it, or disprove it.. or you might both be stumped for a while, which I remember happening on several occasions. I remember thinking “How’s Portal ever supposed to work with 2 players?” before the game was released and I don’t think Valve could’ve done a better job than they have.
3. Red Orchestra 2
Red Orchestra was one of the games that I had been hearing about for a while and that looked pretty interesting but I never got around to playing. Thus with Red Orchestra 2′s release, I hopped on the bandwagon and boy was I in for a ride. Tossing aside all conventions about teambased multiplayer first person shooters, RO2 is much more based around a realistic setting of the battle for Stalingrad in World War 2. This means that there will not be regenerating health, crazy weapons and over the top action, instead you’ll be lying or crouching around cover with your bolt-action rifle.
Because of this the action flows really differently in RO2 than in most other games. You’ll have incredibly tense moments that you won’t have in other shooters as the action feels completely different and more fast paced. While I’m not normally someone to take it slow in an fps, I have no problem actually doing this in RO2. It just feels right to be careful as it only takes a shot to blow your brains out. It’s a great immersive game that keeps you on your toes at every moment you’re playing.
4. Binding of Isaac
This little indie gem is the second biggest surprise this year. It has gotten a lot of attention as the setting is so unique and because of the way it was made, by a single developer in his free time. Despite that, it’s a a terrific game altogether. Though I have to say that I’m really bad at it, only having “completed” it once or twice. But that doesn’t matter, this is a game where you will die a lot and then just start over again immediately after.
This game also is a lot like Eufloria where it’s windowed and thus incredibly easy to alt-tab. The way the gameplay works it’s also perfect to just play for a couple of minutes and tab out again to return to it a little later. This makes it perfect for when I’m listening to music, talking with some people or maybe reason reading some things. This has caused my steam stats to say that I’ve played 56 hours of it at the time of this writing, but in reality it’s much much less. All in all though, this is a great indie game that is cheap and will entertain you for a good while.
I was going to put this at #1, but then I took an arrow to the knee. All kidding aside, Skyrim is a pretty darn good game and I feel that’s something that goes without saying. I hardly heard anyone seriously critique it. It’s a huge game with tons of things to do in it and it’s all around very good and solid. The leveling system in it is much improved over the previous games as skills go up by simply using the skill. This is a really intuitive system and a milestone jump from Oblivion’s system which was needlessly complex and tough to understand and min-max your character.
Furthermore I love the nordic setting and the mythology it’s based on, I even expected to see some actual runecarvings in there, but if they’re there, I haven’t seen them. The game still suffers from some scaling issues where you’ll run into an impossible opponent or will get one-shotted by an arrow, both of which are frustrating. Despite that, it’s a good game with a lot of content in it to keep you entertained. You really ought to pick it up.
Honorable mentions: Bastion, Dead Space 2, The Witcher 2, Battlefield 3, Trine 2