Joystick: Top 10 Joystick games

It’s tough to make a good job better, but writing weekly columns about your passion helps. That’s what we’ve done here in the Austin Daily Herald Spotlight section every week since October 2010.

We’ve had a lot of fun with the Spotlight section over the past year and a half, whether it’s talking to hyper tech gurus or chilling with Ray Manzcerek. As such, we hoped to share some of our top games with you, to remind you of how many extraordinary works of art make it into Austin’s No. 1 paper and to remind us how much fun our jobs are.


Top 10 games:


1. Final Fantasy XIII-2

I’ll admit I often review the games I want to buy anyways, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good this RPG was. It’s a solid effort by a company that’s desperately striving to recapture its spot at the top of the RPG mountain, and definitely worth a play-through. At about 30 to 40 hours, it’s shorter than most RPGs and gets a lot of story and content in (though its ending is absolute cliffhanger garbage).


2. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

One of, if not the best game of 2011 is a massive fantasy thrill-ride and a great, immersive world. Be sure to play it on 360, though: It’s still buggy on the PS3, even if you restart your character.


3. Prototype 2

I was surprised at how enjoyable this somewhat simplistic action game is. “Prototype 2” mixes a nice story concept, cool cutscenes, and decent game design to create a popcorn-fun experience.


4. Donkey Kong Country Returns

I cannot stress enough how incredible it felt to play a Donkey Kong game again. While “DKCR” definitely banks on its nostalgia factor, there’s so many new and intriguing platforming elements to this title that it’s a clear buy for Wii owners.


5. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

Made by the same people who gave us “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney,” “Ghost Trick” is one heck of a fun whodunit DS game with interesting puzzles and a humor and charm all its own.


6. Pokemon Black and White

I swear, no one outgrows “Pokemon.” No matter how old you get, “Pokemon” is one of those charming games with enough goals and creative experiences to capture players hearts (pun intended).


7. Bulletstorm

There’s really no reason why this first-person shooter should have tanked so badly. Blame bad marketing and plenty of hype over its hyperstylish violence and over-the-top explicit language as the weight that sunk this clever, yet crude shooter masterpiece.


8. Shadows of the Damned

Yet another game that tanked in North America for no good reason. This third-person horror shooter was hilarious and well-designed, even if it was sophomoric and repetitive at times.


9. Child of Eden

A music game disguised as a shooter, this arthouse game was never meant to sell big but clearly aspired to bring inspiration to its players. The philosophical, world-within-a-world Internet blaster was too much fun, but way too short.


10. Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes

A hack-and-slash set in feudal Japan where the only thing more kooky than the characters is the battle system? Yes please.

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