The tenth numbered title in Square Enix's venerable series was an epic adventure full of global struggles and a relationship between two characters that concluded more like a fleeting memory. In X-2, though, the world was saved and people could follow their dreams once again, so how could you make a plausible plot? Probably not to become a huge music sensation and run around doing bounty quests, right? But that's what Yuna and friends did anyway. But it's Final Fantasy, so it looked absolutely gorgeous. So if you take the emotionally light scripting and banter, some stellar combat animations, and our girls magically changing into dozens of different outfits, of course it was fun to watch.
Now don't get me wrong, Assassin's Creed is a wonderful series that has kept me purchasing every title. But when looking at the evolution of the series, it's hard to argue how shallow the gameplay of the first title was. With sparse weapon upgrades and very little in the way of character customization, this open world game was played best when sticking to the linear story progression. Following the memories of Desmond and piercing the throats of major Crusades-era players as Altaïr was where the juicy stuff was found, especially for the person casually watching from the couch with a slice of pizza and a cold drink. The few extras, like finding all the flags and killing some Templars, was fun for completionists, but lost its appeal to most gamers rather quickly. We all know how much more expansive the series became in the shoes of Ezio, but the original tale, while simple in mechanics, was the perfect primer for what was to come.
There's one title we are to this day convinced was designed strictly to unleash the voyeur in all the perverted gamers out there; a smart business move, since there are a lot of them. Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball was about one thing—well technically a pair of them, or many pairs of them—and anyone who tries to defend any sort of substantive gameplay value out of this one deserves our pity. The most titillating task for those folks was spending the cash to purchase new outfits to play dress up—or rather "dress down"—with the girls.
The ultimate non-gamer's game, Wii Sports has such simple motion controls that even your grandmother wouldn't feel intimidated by it. And that's exactly why it makes the list as a spectator's game. The true gamers in the household wouldn't touch Wii Sports with a ten-foot pole, but are quick to shove the Wiimote in the faces of any relative that pops on by, begging them to give it a shot. Those relatives give in, and find themselves having a blast trying to swing the controller like tennis racket or shimmying down the living room carpet like it's a bowling alley, all the while oblivious to the little demon hardcore gamer busting a gut on the couch, or worse yet, snapping a video destined for YouTube.
With a lot of patience and the desire to improve, Mirror's Edge can become a title rife with satisfaction for a dedicated gamer. However, most found the frustration of not timing jumps perfectly for the umpteenth time a reason to throw this game back into the case. But if you are fortunate enough to have a friend who thoroughly enjoyed Faith's running gig and could clear the game without a single slip, the pacing is absolutely for those on the couch popping popcorn in their mouths. The crisp first-person visuals, edgy cutscenes, and top-notch music and sound effects make for excellent entertainment, but, like I said, only if you're watching someone who's really good at it.
Date: April 9, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*