we declare Your Perfection above and beyond all: we have no knowledge whatsoever except what You have taught us. No doubt it is You, and You alone that is all Knowledgeable and all Wise. (al-Baqarah, 32)

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Najibu's Top 10 - Games of 2009

The Year 10 is upon us! As a celebration for such even an occasion, I humbly present to the blogosphere, my personal pick of the 10 best games I've played throughout the year that was 2009.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand lucky no 10!!

10. I'm no fan of the racing simulator genre, and that Forza 3 had me hooked is saying something. Maybe it's the generous yet subtle driving assists. Maybe it's the elaborate livery editor. Either way, this is the definitive track based racing game of the year.

9. Assassin's Creed 2 goes into this list not so much for it's gameplay, even thought it is noticeably better than its predecessor in that regard. Rather, it's the fiction that is woven into the story-telling that captivates me. It's like playing the Da Vinci Code (the book/movie, not the game). It's that feeling when you cracked a near subliminal puzzle that makes you feel so smart is what makes the game so memorable. By the way, there is a Leonardo Da Vinci in the game too.

8. For a game that was released in February, Resident Evil 5 sure left a deep impression. How could it not really, when I've sunk above 50 hours in the single-player campaign. Something that I didn't do even to Dead Space, which is a similar game (and my pick for best game of 2008). It's the way the game is set up to allow me to jump in and out of any scenarios I want to replay and experiment with the different weapons I unlocked.

7. Infamous is a great open world third person shooter that...uh..isn't actually a shooter. Instead of relying on guns, the protagonist Cole shoot electricity from his hands! It's a rather lengthy game that is tons of fun to play. Easily the best open world game of the year. Also, a fine proof that you don't need guns to make a game better.

6. It's almost baffling that Shadow Complex is a download only Xboxlive Arcade game for the quality is above even most of the disc retail games this year. Shadow Complex breathes new life into the old side-scrolling a-la Metroid type of games and pushes the standards of a download only game. It looks, plays and is without a shadow of a doubt, one of the greats of 2009. And I should mention that it's the least expensive of them all.

5. I didn't like the story in Modern Warefare 2 much. It pushes beyond the envelope of believable, something that the previous game was. But I'll be damned if I didn't say it was fun to play. For better or worse, the game's over the top popcorn action movie setting allows for a really exhilarating shootouts that most other games just couldn't match. Honestly thought, the game would still be in this spot even without the single player campaign, for the multiplayer and spec-ops modes are the real reason for this game to be a keeper.

4. I have to admit, I don't like the combat in this game, but Dragon Age is the ultimate role-playing game in years. I appreciate the game because it let's you play the story any way you like, unlike some other RPGs I'd rather not mention. There's no light or dark side gimmick here, yet the choices presented in the game carries weight and affects the story a great deal, leading to numerous story-lines and ending that makes me want to replay the game differently. Considering that a playthrough took me almost 60 hours, even when I skipped a lot of the quests available, I'll be playing this game a lot more in months to come.

3. If I like Dragon Age for the story, I like Borderlands for the gameplay. In fact, I'd say that the fact that Borderlands has no real story whatsoever is the reason why I find it so easy to play this game again, and again, and again. It's the simplicity (or near-mindless fun, if you will) of the game that keeps me coming back for more dudes to shoot, and more loots too loot. If Gearbox keep releasing add-ons on a regular basis, I'd be more than happy to pony in some Microsoft point to keep on playing this awesome game. On a side note, I think Borderlands is the perfect companion piece to Dragon Age.

2. Who would have thunk that this game that I had little care about (and by a little known developer, no less) would turn out to be one of the best game I've played this year, not to mention that it's a *gasp* licensed game! Arkham Asylum beats all odds and caught me by surprise with its unique gameplay. No, there is no other game that plays quite like this Batman game even if you looked every nook and crany of the universe. I was even contemplating to put this game on the number 1 spot.

1. Batman was an excellent and original game, no doubt. But Uncharted 2.... hooo boy. Let me just some it up a bit. Third person shooter. Traversal (or jumping and climbing, some might say). A little hand-to-hand combat for good measure. There is nothing that hasn't been implemented in other games. The game shines brighter than the rest thanks to a masterfully crafted execution, that weaves the narrative and the gameplay naturally like no other games have. Uncharted 2 is chock full of amazing action set pieces, like fighting a helicopter on top of a speeding train, or playing a game of cat and mouse with a tank in a secluded village in Nepal, all the while desperately looking for an RPG to destroy the blasted thing. What's RPG called in Nepal anyway? Uncharted 2 seems almost as much fun to watch as it is to playbut believe me, it's actually a lot more fun to play than to just watch. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - best game I've played this year.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Borderlands - a bite-sized review

In theory, it's not hard to imagine an FPS with RPG elements thrown in for good measure. A few games actually tried this formula. None succeeded. Then came along Borderlands.

Borderlands is a killer combination of 3 great games - the light tactical combat of Halo, combined with Modern Warfare like shooting mechanics plus controls, and the addictive nature of leveling up and collecting loot of Diablo.

If any two of those games are your cup of tea, you'll find a lot to like in Borderlands.

The game is best played with 3 other players but even on your own, the experience still holds up pretty well. Borderlands is an excellent original game that is easily one of my personal favourite title this year.

The good
  • Perfect balance of FPS and RPG
  • Sleek visuals
  • Long, highly replayable campaign
  • Excellent co-op game
The not so good
  • Bare-bone story
  • Frame-rate takes a hit when things get crazy
  • No split-screen LAN play!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

4 days of the past

If I had the sands of time, I'd rewind time all the way back to my days as a tertiary student. As it turned out, I didn't actually any magical time-altering sands after all.

A time warp happened! There was a crack in time and I was somehow transported to an alternate plane where my brothers didn't part ways once we finished college, but instead stayed together in a wonderful villa located in a resort in Malacca!

Note: Some parts of the above paragraph may, or may not be totally true.

It was a glorious 4 day trip down the memory lane. Being there with every one, (well, most of us at least) it felt like nothing had changed at all. I mean, it's not like any of us got married or going to have children soon or anything like that, right? Riiiii~iiiight~

The Seng still totally loves to eat

Being a game enthusiast I am, there's no beating having a group of players in front of the screen at the same time, laughing our heart out, and occasionally spewing obscenities (not me, I'm a good kid, I am).

My brothers in arms

Despite some shortcoming (we only had 2 screens and consoles) and we couldn't play all the games we wanted, great time was had. By the way, if we're ever to do this again, I'd totally get Rock Band again =D

1Malaysia? Forget about it. We went above and beyond that. We are Family.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The real terror of Modern Warfare 2

Modern Warfare 2 has been condemned by the most-likely-not-video-game-players-mass media for a multitude of reasons. It's lets you be a terrorist, says some and it's murder simulator says the other. Take my word for it that players don't give a cat poo for any of their blabberings because what essentially matters is that much like its predecessor Call of Duty 4, Modern Warfare 2 is really fine game. Read: Game

That supposedly disturbing airport scene where you witness (and also possible to commit) mass murder - Didn't disturb me one bit, because I know better to discern real life and the game world.

The real terror is something else

It isn't about the shooting dudes in the face part.

The real terror is finding it too hard to put down the controller once I start playing the multiplayer. It's always "one more round!" after another. I actually had to make an effort to stop myself from playing, lest I find myself losing sleep and playing well till 4a.m. Such is the addictive nature of the game's multiplayer for me. And it doesn't even have achievements.

Oh, the terror!!
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