Announcing the 2010 Game of the Year Awards from the First Hour! We published over 60 full reviews this year, tripling our output from last year. Of course, our writing staff has grown quite a bit also. I personally beat 30 games, undoubtedly making 2010 my most productive video gaming year ever. We also played over 55 first hours, keeping up a steady pace of one a week. We have not been lacking for great games or content this year.
This isn't your normal Game of the Year awards, we cover everything from older game of the year to worst first hour, so keep scrolling all the way to the bottom! If anything, our game of the year picks are the least interesting decisions. The writers here also don't vote on the categories, instead, everyone is welcome to submit their picks as their own definitive decision.
The original Sin & Punishment was released in late 2000 for the N64. Due to developer Treasure's cancellation of its North American release, the game never made it outside of Japan until its rerelease for the Wii's Virtual Console seven years later. Its success, combined with the prospect of creating an all new experience utilizing the Wii's motion controls prompted the Treasure team to make a sequel; Sin & Punishment: Star Successor.
Control in Star Successor is done via the Wii Remote and Nunchuck by default. Motion controls are implemented perfectly, allowing for smooth, precise targeting, though I found my wrist getting strained after long periods (there's a joke in there somewhere). You can also use the Classic Controller, GameCube Controller, or Wii Zapper, but I feel the standard setup works best.
Editor's Note: Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is Jonathan's second review here at The First Hour. This review was previously posted at IGN and Destructoid. Nate has previously written a first hour review of the game also.
Back when I was a kid, I loved telling people about things that I enjoyed. I would explain, in excessive detail, how amazing whatever I had just witnessed was. I distinctly remember recounting the entirety of a particularly amazing Simpsons episode to a friend in grade school, to the point where he rolled his eyes and walked away in disbelief of my obsession. I understood that he couldn't appreciate the episode without watching it and that my overexcited babbling would do Leonard Nimoy's brilliant guest appearance no justice, but I couldn't stop myself. I find myself thinking back on old times like this one because, as I sit down to write first hour reviews for this site, I look at the massive walls of text that result from my sixty minutes with some very entertaining games and think about just how powerless those words are compared to the experience in my mind.
On that note, I've had to do some significant editing to this first hour review of Sin & Punishment: Star Successor. I knew I would enjoy the game after playing through its prequel a few weeks ago for the first time, but my enthusiastic ramblings from that first hour were anything but concise. I threw out a lot of what I had originally written, and it's still far longer than the average first hour review here. If you want the long and short of it up front, just imagine playing Star Fox 64 with one hand and House of the Dead with the other and you've got the jist of Star Successor. Only this version of Star Fox 64 is much more difficult, and this version of House of the Dead has dozens of things to shoot on the screen almost all the time.
I'll just go ahead and say it up front: Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is a serious contender for my game of the year. I do hope the text gives you an idea of how the game works and whether or not you should go out and buy it right this very minute, but one glance at the sheer length of this review should let you know just how much I enjoyed it.
It seems I've been on a bit of a Treasure fix lately. Last month, I finally got around to playing Gunstar Heroes, the first Virtual Console game I bought back in 2006 and Treasure's very first game. The Genesis cult classic set the niche developer's tone by throwing unprecedented amounts of enemies and projectiles at the player from start to finish. A few weeks ago, I tried out the VC release of N64 import darling Sin & Punishment, which warmed the heart of this old Star Fox 64 veteran. I've also begun playing that game's recent Wii sequel, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor, and should have my thoughts on that title up soon.
But today's subject is Bangai-O Spirits, a critically-praised title that didn't sell very much (as expected), though chalk up one more sale for Treasure: the $8.75 price tag on Amazon was an offer I couldn't refuse. This 2008 DS title is a sequel of sorts to the Dreamcast's Bangai-O (and its lesser-known, Japanese-exclusive N64 counterpart). True to Treasure's modus operandi, Bangai-O Spirits challenges the player to battle through 150+ stages filled with overwhelming swarms of enemy missiles and bullets on-screen. The game also features two- to four-player wireless cooperative and competitive battles and a robust set of stage editing and sharing features.
Treasure is a company known for making difficult games, and Bangai-O is noted as one of the developer's tougher titles. There's no question I'll crash and burn in my first thirty minutes with Bangai-O Spirits, but will I emerge from the wreckage seething or satisfied?