It's Freestyle Friday at Daily MetaGame! This week, Jason Galeski tells you about the top 5 games you probably didn't hear about this year, but should definitely check out!
Sleeping Dogs: available on PC
and Xbox 360
You enter the Triad as an undercover cop and work your way through the ranks to bring them down while trying to straddle the line and protect the badge. Sleeping Dogs features a rich, open world that imitates the real Hong Kong and some of its landmarks and atmosphere. It doesn't get much better than doing some races downtown, entering a fight club then grabbing a pork bun from a guy at a cart. Combat is pretty fluid ala Batman: Arkham Asylum
, you are usually reacting to others’ movements and waiting for the right time to strike. Combined with light gun play and some brutal finishing moves it's overall a great experience. Did I mention one of the combat consultants was UFC's Georges St-Pierre? If you are an open world fan this is the game on the list for you. You can spend about 20+ hours in the world not including the DLC (downloadable content).
You already think the premise sounds cool, so you ask: why would I not know about it? It was originally tagged True Crime: Streets of Hong Kong, then lost its publisher and eventually found its way to Squarenix. Sleeping Dogs eventually fell on the release date of 8/13/12, the same day the anticipated sequel Darksiders 2
(which wasn't that good anyway).
XCOM: Enemy Unknown: available on PC
, Xbox 360
From a series that's been around since 1994 you would expect success, right? Well, this one flew way under the radar for most folks despite the pedigree. In this turn-based Sci Fi strategy game, you command a squad of soldiers to defend the human race from invaders...nothing new there, I know. The twist is that you are charged with defending the entire planet. Choices need to be made, cities and countries will be lost, and you are the one who decides. The caveat is that if you ignore a country too long, they will stop giving you supplies and it can't be undone. Continuing with the brutality and consequence of choices; if you let one of your units die in battle it's gone forever, so don't name them after loved ones. One of the coolest parts of the game is customization. You control a base with which you can build to your play-style, feeding you research and development.
This is a hardcore game for people who like to fail and fail until they figure out the right formula to go forward. Console gamers just aren't ready for that, but a tough game like Dark Souls
' commercial success might have paved the way for XCOM to get rebooted for 2012. A masochist's dream was created and that might have been why this game was so unknown. Are you up to the challenge?
Family Guy Back to the Multiverse: available on PS3
It's been at least 5 years since I kept up with Family Guy, a rerun here and there on TBS is about as much as I watch, which is why I, like many others, were skeptical about this game. Having the art and voices of the entire cast, Seth Mcfarlane, Mila Kunis, Seth Green and the rest, you have to think that the product would be great. I was surprised about this third person shooter (yes a shooter) and a surprisingly fun one to boot. Through the single player campaign, you are only in control of Brian and Stewie, trying to stop the evil Bertram (Stewies half brother). The multiplayer is pretty trite but it opens up most of the cast of the show from Peter to Quagmire in regular Deathmatch or “Capture the Greased-up Deaf Guy.” The gags from the show are abundant which sets a very funny tone, Meg gets made fun of the whole time and there is even a chicken fight episode which goes on too long...sound familiar? There is plenty here for the Family Guy die hard, but if you aren't, you should go play Spec Ops: The Line
or another serviceable third person shooter.
You didn't hear about this game because you most likely stopped watching the show some time ago. Also, there was no marketing for it...where were the commercials? It has its charm derived from the entire Family Guy universe(s) which I found to be a blast and brought me back to when I enjoyed the TV series.
LEGO Batman 2 DC Super Heroes: available on PC
, Xbox 360
, PS Vita
On so many platforms, how did you not hear about this? Well probably because the LEGO title makes it sound like kids should be playing it, (and they are) but you should too. LEGO Batman 2 is the first of the brand that has full voice acting and an open world. Any DC fan will be in love: you can play as popular characters such as Superman, Joker or Bizzaro all the way to not so popular Police Man and Mime Goon. You are placed in Gotham City to thwart the joining of The Joker and Lex Luthor. You can play the story mode or zip around the skyline and beat up villains that were let out of Arkham Asylum. I found this to be the most enjoyable game of the entire summer, the funny and fully-crafted story will keep you entertained and the extra collectables will keep you there. If you play it with your child, a sibling, or significant other, this two player optional “beat em up” will be a riot.
LEGOs aren't just for kids anymore. In the summer, Travellers Tales games brought us LEGO Batman 2 and mid November they released LEGO Lord of the Rings
. Don't rob yourself of these experiences just because you can't get head shots.
Persona 4 The Golden: available on PS Vita
This Playstation Vita exclusive is a remastering of the PS2 game Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
, and boy does it look beautiful. It's part classic JRPG the likes of Final Fantasy 2&3: part high school sim, you work hard at school and making social links with your classmates to increase your powers at night in a TV world that contains various dungeons. The premise is a lot to take in, however after playing it a bit the accessibility shows how easy it is to get into and how hard it is to master. Dungeons are kind of repetitive: the hallway patterns, stairwells and dead ends all seem the same which seems to be the only bad part about the game. The voice acting is so good I find myself so invested in these characters it's hard to put the game down because I want to help these virtual friends. After 25+ hours of playing this game I am not even halfway done with the story. It may sound like a grind but it’s so much fun I don't even see it that way. For any RPG fan it's going to be an obsession and a rich experience.
It's hard to find many people that own a Playstation Vita because only about 4 million have been sold worldwide so it's no surprise Persona 4 is not on people’s minds. Coming out the same month as Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
, (despite different genres) if you could buy one game in November it probably wasn't P4.