Inflection Pixel’s Ten Titles I Loved In 2010, Part Three

On the snare.

Sorry for the gap.  There are actually more than four games that exist on my list of my ten favorite games of 2010.  Some of it had been written for a little while now during the middle of my semester, so they might be crap.  Ah well!

#6: Halo: Reach
Played on Xbox 360 / Bungie / Release Date: September 14, 2010
“An Apex Of A Franchise”

Halo: Reach

Halo: Reach is Bungie’s last hurrah for their baby of over a decade, but it is a doozy. I’ve written a lot already on this game, so I won’t spend too long here.

Even though the roots of the first Halo title reside on the Mac and PC, on its release in 2001 the game began to reside in my mind as the new quality bar for shooters on console, a position filled by games before it like Goldeneye and TimeSplitters. While I had grown up with shooters on the PC, I get just as much enjoyment out of console shooters and recognized that Halo: Combat Evolved contained design decisions such as a slightly slower pace, two-weapon inventory, and firm defenses capable of regeneration that made it singularly enjoyable on consoles. Bungie knew that it couldn’t simply mirror the performance and style of PC shooters.

Every sequel of the game added advancing (and in a few small instances, sideways) steps on that bar of quality Halo: Combat Evolved built, and Halo: Reach represents the most recent and most fleshed out execution of their take on the console FPS for the preceding decade. Refined control fidelity, increases in tactical options (and not limited to just more guns!), incredulous amounts of customization in single- and multiplayer, new and uniquely designed combat encounters, intelligent web integration, and graphical overhaul after insane graphical overhaul are a few of the traits that came with just about every iteration, with Halo: Reach representing an apex (or at least very close to it) in almost all aspects.

Anyone can make a decision on if the gameplay in Halo right for their own personal taste. However, if someone were to argue to me the point that the Halo franchise does not stand as one of the most important and influential in FPS design as well as arguing that Halo: Reach, the franchise’s most recent and magnificent total package, is not a well-built title of sky-high quality rarely matched by its peers, I would probably stop taking them seriously about much else.

#5. Rock Band 3
Played on Xbox 360 / Harmonix / Release Date: October 26, 2010
“The New Standard-Bearer of Rhythm Games”

Rock Band 3

If you know me at all, you know this game’s presence on the list is obvious.

I had never expected the Rock Band series to claim my life so thoroughly as it did. I played it by myself to grind up my own skills, I played with my family (with one nephew being way better at drums than anyone I know), and I played with my friends a lot just to show off. Lots of great gaming moments in recent memory involve some singing on the couch or obscene plastic guitar or drum abuse, with alcohol optional. Perhaps these games count as a “guilty pleasure” of mine. While I am rather reserved in the way I handle myself in everyday situations and most other games I play involve sitting still on a couch and manipulating a controller, I become unleashed when I’m holding my replica cherry red Fender Stratocaster controller with a mic stand propped up in front of me. People who’ve seen me play probably think I become an instant crazy person

While the general feeling is that the music gaming genre is on the ropes, Harmonix fights against the tide with new features that don’t feel like a retread of past titles. The addition of the keyboard as a 5th instrument is a great addition that unlocks some great gameplay moments out of songs that would suffer without it (my addiction is playing I Will Possess Your Heart on keys while singing, Ben Gibbard-style.) Rock Band 3 also dares to push rhythm gamers as far as they can go with pro modes for the instruments. Pro Drums adds cymbals to the kit and Pro Keyboards makes players go up and down the whole board instead of just 5 keys like normal. Pro Guitar/Bass seems to approach utter insanity by requiring a controller closer to an actual guitar (either a 102-button controller with a six-string box or an actual, specially-built Fender electric) and delivering the actual notes of the song to players with a unique tab language. These modes make for a great jump from regular gameplay to something actually resembling musicianship, although it requires a lot of time and dedication.

Combine the pro modes with other features such as improved music library navigation, streamlined handling of all the players (no more drunk drummers bringing everyone out to the main menu), and the new goal system to build up fans by meeting hundreds of goals (song-specific, instrument-specific, Pro-modes, etc.) anytime you’re playing, as well as considering the still-unstoppable stream of downloadable content and the amazing fan-crafted content of the Rock Band Network, and Rock Band 3 becomes a massive game that never really gets old. While other big games come and go, there’s always going to be a great time to fit in some Rock Band somewhere in that gaming schedule. Experiencing your favorite music through a great rhythm game is awesome in that way.

Images: www.bungie.net, www.rockband.com


1 Response to “Inflection Pixel’s Ten Titles I Loved In 2010, Part Three”

  1. August 29, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Hey handsome,
    You should write here more 😮

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My name is Anthony Munar, a computer programmer in Utah. I also play a bunch of video games every now and then. I talk and think a lot about them, but I never really solidify those thoughts anywhere, and writing is something I like doing, so I thought I'd do it right here. I don't intend to be high-and-mighty authoritative about what I say and I don't really have any sort of standing in the games industry. This is just for me to muse about games when I want to.

Naming a blog these days was harder than I thought. In calculus, the inflection point on a curve is where its concavity changes between upwards and down. So, maybe, the inflection pixel is the pixel which represents something that turns my opinion around on a game, like the pixels representing a beam cannon firing in FreeSpace 2, the pixels representing a flying car wreck in Burnout, or the pixels representing my own sentry gun holding off an army in Team Fortress 2.

Using the word 'pixel' in naming something game-related seems clichéd, so sorry about that.


May 2011
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