Friday, February 5, 2010

2010 in Gaming, and My Top 10 WWE Matches of the Decade

Now I know that I promised to post my top 10 matches of the decade, but I also have another subject I want to address. I mentioned before that one of my upcoming blogs was going to be about the year 2010 in gaming, and a recent event in particular has inspired me to go ahead and tackle that topic now. So then, it's no big secret that I haven't been the biggest fan of gaming in recent years. The past few years I've found to be particularly poor overall. However, this year looks to be one of the brightest in some time.

Just last month alone we got two stellar titles which managed to pique my interest, Bayonetta and Darksiders. Bayonetta is an awesome game, kind of like Devil May Cry, only without the impossible difficulty, making for a very satisfying experience. The story is kinda whack, and I do think that the levels are entirely too long, but overall, this game's got style, and I've been having a blast with it so far. It's my kind of game, and is one of the best games I've played in years. I haven't gotten a chance to play Darksiders yet, but the premise sounds awesome enough. You're one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and you go about on your adventure in a post-apocalyptic setting (yeah yeah, the ultimate cliche nowadays, but bare with me). The gameplay is said to be a mix between Zelda and God of War. I mean, think about that for a second. Zelda and God of War. How does that not sound awesome?!

In fact, a few of the games being mentioned have that God of War feel to it, and I don't find that to be a bad thing at all. God of War was an amazing game, and one of the best beat-em-up style action games of recent times. The upcoming God of War III looks to continue it's epic trend, though sadly I don't own a PS3, so I won't be able to play that one. I'm more than happy to settle for the games that look to mimic it's fantastic gameplay, though, including next week's Dante's Inferno, which I can't wait to get my hands on.

Another game coming out soon that's got me interested is Final Fantasy XIII. I don't really know why, I haven't really been into the series ever since VIII, but something about this one just seems very appealing to me. The Japanese version has received mixed reactions thus far, though many of the complaints about the game I've actually found has furthered my interest in the game. I'm not certain just yet that I really wanna delve into another really long RPG, mainly because I highly doubt I'll actually have the patience to make it very far into the story anyways. But this game has got me more interested than any other RPG in years.

A couple of games a little further off in the year include Metroid: Other M and Epic Mickey. The few previews I've seen of the new Metroid just look amazing. It's being made by Team Ninja this time around, and will be somewhat of a mixture of the old and new, using both first person gameplay, as well as 2D gameplay within 3D environments. It also looks to have a little more focus on story this time around, so that should be interesting to see how it turns out. In any case, I'm pretty hyped for this game, and if Metroid's track record is anything to go by, then this one should definitely deliver. Epic Mickey, on the other hand, looks like a whole new experience altogether. I've seen the concept art of the (again) post-apocalyptic Disney settings, and it certainly looks intriguing if nothing else. I'm reminded of the older Mickey games, such as Mickey Mania, and I hope to see some of that old magic brought to life once more in this self proclaimed "epic" title.

Other than that, I recently picked up a Nintendo Power magazine with a few game previews, two of which happened to really catch my eye. EA has apparently taken over the NBA Jam license, and they're bringing the series back old school for the Wii. The original game was a blast, and based on what they've shown thus far, this new game looks to retain that old school glory. I'm really pumped for that one. The other game I saw was yet another Sonic compilation, this time for the DS, featuring all of the original Genesis Sonic games. Nothing new here, though I've always wanted my favorite game, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, on the go, so I'm certainly pleased with the announcement.

Speaking of Sonic, this is actually the recent event I referred to before which inspire this blog. It's time to change the tone a little bit now, as I'm just a bit ticked at the recent announcement of one Sonic the Hedgehog 4.

Sonic Team has officially announced that their "Project Needlemouse" that they've been working on is, in fact, Sonic the Hedgehog 4. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1, to be exact. It's a return to Sonic's classic 2D style gaming, and is basically Sega admitting that they don't know how to make a 3D Sonic, so they're going to just throw in the towel and go back to doing what they know how to do (that is, assuming they still know how to do it). Now that's all good and all, but what's got me pissed off is the way that they're releasing this game, and it's something that I've got a huge problem with the entire gaming industry as a whole right now. The game won't be released in retail, it won't be released on a disc. It'll be download exclusive. And that's bullshit.

For people, like me, who don't have their consoles online, I am now unable to play this game. Sega has basically given me the middle finger with this maneuver, and I feel completely insulted. Now, I can understand some games being download only. Those obscure games which wouldn't be able to find shelf space in stores anyways, sure, place them online to try and sell there. But a game like Sonic? This is something that would most assuredly sell in stores. Hell, the recent New Super Mario Bros. Wii more than proved that fact. But nope, since it's a simpler, 2D style of game instead of a huge, full blown 3D title, that somehow means that it doesn't rate a retail release anymore. It's a trend in gaming that I've been irritated by from the beginning, but this is pretty much the breaking point for me.

Let me just say this now, I am completely against all forms of downloadable gaming. Patches, downloadable content, downloadable games, all that crap, I am entirely, 100% against the mere concept of it. Now online multiplayer? That's fine. But downloading? That's bullshit. A game as it is released in stores should be the final version of that game. If it releases in such a state that a patch is needed in order to fix it, then it shouldn't have been released yet, because it clearly wasn't finished. And as for extra content? Any of it that was important should have found it's way into the game somehow before release, and anything that got left out can easily be saved for a sequel. Charging people extra for content that should have already been on the disc is a disgusting tactic, yet it's one that's being used left and right by gaming companies these days. It's hideous, and for people like myself, who don't have their consoles online, it's unfair. I already purchased my several hundred dollar console, why am I now still being restricted on what games I can or can't play on that system just because of my online access? I shouldn't be, and the fact that I am is, as I've said before, bullshit.

Sadly, I see online ultimately becoming the future of gaming, and that's why I'm almost certain that this will be my last generation of games. Because as bad as things are now, they're only going to get that much worse later on. Just think, some years from now when children asks their parents for that brand new game for Christmas, they won't have a gift waiting for them to be unwrapped under the tree. No, they'll have to turn on their console and see what games Mommy and Daddy downloaded for them. It's a depressing, impersonal future for gaming, but sadly, that looks to be gaming's future eventually.

My not being able to play Sonic 4, the successor to the greatest game of all time, and a game in which I've been waiting over a decade for, is a slap in the face by Sega. As far as I'm concerned, the game is completely null and void until it does receive it's proper retail release, like it deserves. I've been a bit peeved by past games which I've been unable to play, most notably being Mega Man 9, but this one just takes the cake. As big a fan of Sonic as I am, through the good and the bad, this, by far, is the biggest disappointment in the blue hedgehog's entire history.

So anyways, now that I got that rant off my chest, I'd still like to end things on a positive note. So that's my thoughts on the future of gaming, as well as my thoughts on this particular year in games, and from what I can see, just based on the few that I've posted it looks to be an excellent year, and I know there's many more that I've neglected to mention. But now, I believe a promised a match list. So then here it is, my top 10 WWE matches of the decade:

10. Wrestlemania X7:
WWF Tag Team Championship Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match:
The Dudley Boyz (c) vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian

9. Judgment Day 2005:
WWE Championship "I Quit" Match:
John Cena (c) vs. John Bradshaw Layfield

8. No Mercy 2002:
WWE Championship Hell in a Cell Match:
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Undertaker

7. Wrestlemania 25:
Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels

6. Royal Rumble 2003:
WWE Championship:
Kurt Angle (c) vs. Chris Benoit

5. Wrestlemania X7:
WWF Championship:
The Rock (c) vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin

4. Fully Loaded 2000:
Last Man Standing Match:
Triple H vs. Chris Jericho

3. Wrestlemania XXIV:
Career Threatening Match:
Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels

2. Royal Rumble 2007:
WWE Championship Last Man Standing Match:
John Cena (c) vs. Umaga

1. No Way Out 2004:
WWE Championship:
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Eddie Guerrero

I must apologize again for the lack of any extra thoughts on the matches listed, though I do want to say this. I've been into wrestling for well over a decade now. Well after it's peak in popularity, I remained a die hard fan through and through. Recently, though, my love for the sport has died down quite a bit. I haven't actually watched a show in it's entirety since last spring, and I've come to the point where I merely keep up with the product from week to week by reading recaps. Even when I was in boot camp I was never this out of wrestling, but alas, my passion for the craft has hit an all time low.

I've sort of fallen by the wayside as far as wrestling is concerned, and I've found new passions with which to fill that wrestling void. It's been such a huge part of my life though, and I've enjoyed the hell out of it over the years. The matches I listed both this week and last are just a sample of some of the fantastic things I've witnessed in the ring, and I can't recommend them enough to any fan out there. The fact that I still see fit to at least keep up to date still gives me hope that I haven't gotten rid of it for good, and maybe, hopefully one day, I'll become a true fan once again.

That's all for now, but next time I'm going to be trying something a little different, so stay tuned for that!