Take Notice: Go! Go! Namco Bandai!
It seems like every week we are talking about something Activision or EA has done. These publishers get a majority of our attention, scorn, and scattered praise. However, when the dust settled on 2010 and all of my purchases were complete, I found a different name on the games I was actively praising or spending my money on. Namco Bandai quietly assembled a memorable list of games for 2010. They may not be the greatest game through and through, but each game has stand-out qualities that make them well worth playing especially since you can find a lot of these games discounted already.
We’ve already talked at length about our love for Enslaved: Odyssey to the West as it made an appearance in a Game of the Year conversations. Our recommendation couldn’t be stronger for Enslaved, but Namco Bandai had a few other surprises in 2010:
Monsters Make the Best Friends
Games the require the cooperation of an AI companion are always a gamble. At their worst they can be broken and unplayable chores. However, when they are done well, like in the case of Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom, it makes for a truly engrossing adventure. Set in a fantasy kingdom on the verge of corruption, your hero character of course sets out to save the land from darkness. The setup may sound generic and the voice acting may be awful, but fighting through those blemishes is worth it. Once you meet the huge and simply adorable magical guardian, the Majin, you’ll lose yourself in tag teaming puzzles and evil foes as you unlock new powers for both you and your new friend. Fans of Team Ico should pay attention as a spiritual cousin to your favorite games has arrived to make the waiting for The Last Guardian a bit easier.
Ghost Train Motherlover
For the even more budget conscious, there’s nothing better than finding a truly great XBLA/PSN game. I have no problem in recommending Pac-Man Championship Edition DX as the one downloadable game you must own from last year. First of all, who doesn’t love Pac-Man? Then, what if I told you they took away everything that slighly annoyed you about the original game? Add in a kick ass soundtrack, plenty of bite sized game modes, trash talk encouraging leaderboards, and more visual style than you know what to do with and you’ll start to understand why it may be worth giving this demo a shot. Then, you’ll mow through your first ghost train and bomb your way to safety and realize Pac-Man will never be the same. Holy sh** they made a better Pac-Man.
The Mask Goes to Hell
Splatterhouse is certainly an acquired squishy taste, but every year needs one of the Best Worst Games of the Year and any fan of mindless gore should take this one from the bargain bin to your disc drive as soon as possible. An update of one of the most memorable horror arcade games of the 80′s does the series proud. More blood and gross enemies than are necessary. Gruesome deaths, terrible metal music, and laughable dialog. If you are like me, you’ll love every second of it. It may not stand the brunt of any critical analysis, but I appreciate a video game made with old school arcade values when I find it.
More Surprises Please
I never set out to buy over a half dozen Namco Bandai games in 2010, but when I looked back on some of my purest moments of game euphoria in the past year I was happy to see an unexpected old friend taking over the pile. I almost overlooked them myself, and these 4 games are just the titles that stood out to me. Keep an eye out for Namco Bandai as they may be doing things a bit different but they are putting out games worth playing.