Patrick R

A Decade Ago: The Games of 2007 Thread

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Partially because I think it'd be an interesting project and partially because I only own an Xbox 360 and low-powered laptop, I've decided to go back 10 years to play a bunch of games released in 2007. It was the year of Super Mario Galaxy, The Witcher, Orange Box, Mass Effect, Bioshock, Modern Warfare, Gears of War, Hitman Blood Money, Halo 3, Uncharted, Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass, Rock Band...etc etc etc. 

 

It was also the year Microsoft launched Games for Windows Live, so it wasn't all good.

 

It was also the year I fell into a bit of a gaming dark age, personally, as the PS2 I owned had more or less had it's last hurrah, and I didn't go on to pick up a 360 or PS3. The time in between 2007 and 2010 I didn't play many games at all. So doing this will be a good way to pick up on stuff I missed (though, in the interim, I have played a fair number of these games) and see it all together.

 

This thread will probably be more interesting if people other than myself also play different 2007 games (I don't own a Wii or a PS3, so some of this stuff I won't be able to revisit, probably) but I'll do my best to keep it updated.

 

FIRST GAME...CHALK, by Joakim Sandberg

511850198_f0bffd666c.jpg

 

As discovered via this helpful IndieGames.com Best Freeware Arcade Games list for 2007. It's an interesting take on a bullet hell game, a different kind of twitch shooter that's entirely controlled via the mouse. You move around with the right click and draw lines with the left, dodging enemies and defeating them by either drawing lines between them and their projectiles or connecting their green weak spots. It's a very stressful game for me, as I lack both the twitch reactions and fine motor skills necessary to do well, but I was able to get past the first two levels before my hand cramped. I like the art style a lot, it reminds me of Yoshi's Island.

 

Weirdly, as far as I can tell, Chalk never made it to the Nintendo DS in any form. Seems absolutely perfect for it. Maybe there was a DS game that ripped off this gameplay?

 

 

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I also ended up playing a VERY low-res (I wanna say it's 370 x 220, might even be smaller) freeware game called Plasma Warrior by Tom Vine. It's a total throwback, with it's early arcade sound effects and inertia-less physics, like Microman, but with lower fidelity and only seven colors.

 

Image result for plasma warrior

 

It's too linear to be called a Metroidvania, but Metroid is clearly one of the big inspirations. It's very much an amateur game, but it's an impressive throwback nonetheless. If this was actually an amateur game from 1992 I would believe it. Even the dorky attempts at humor feel more like 80's/early 90's dorky jokes, not 2007 dorky jokes.

 

 

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Thanks!

 

Technically Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved's PC port came out in 2007, and that's the version I have, so I'm counting it. I don't have a controller and the Steam version doesn't have achievements* or real leaderboards, so this isn't a good way to play and I'm pretty bad. I think I'll keep it downloaded and sneak games here and there throughout the year, and see if I can get a decent score. Right now my high is 137,950.

 

 

 

*When did Steam add achievements to it's service? Was it before or after 2007?

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I think Orange Box was the first so during 2007 it happened.

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I fell into a timesink browsing the 2007 in video gaming list on Wikipedia, which as usual is a veritable goldmine of amazing trash - Jackass: The Game on PS2, anyone? And who knew there was a PS2 game based on The Shield? Or, uh...Beowulf?

 

It's interesting to see so many TV/movie adaptations, and the amount of casual games making it to the DS and PSP - the first iPhone came out that year too, so presumably this was the last hurrah a certain kind of mobile gaming...

 

There is some stuff worth seeking out. Penumbra: Overture is interesting, if you can tolerate horror games, and the idea of hitting angry dogs with household tools doesn't put you off. (The 'combat' is extremely bad, but you can savescum your way through it without too much trouble; it's otherwise a highly atmospheric first effort from the guys who would go on to make Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Soma.)

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Penumbra sounds like my cup of tea.

 

I was gonna say that the licensed games are a classic indicator of the final years of a system, but apparently the PS2 kept getting games made for it through 2013?!? I guess that's what happens when you have a massive install base.

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Is 2007 regarded as one of those banner years? 

 

Also released WoW: Burning Crusade, first STALKER, and the only BioWare have I haven't played Jade Empire. Also, my second favorite D&D game, NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer.

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A few notes from perusing that Wikipedia article:

- Burning Crusade was the golden age of WoW for me and when I started playing the only character I ever took to the level cap (belf priest).

- That Jade Empire release is the PC port (the original game was on XBOX in 2005).

- This was the death of the NBA Street series with the fourth entry - I remember a friend had a multiplayer demo for the first or second one that we played endlessly. I'd like to see more less simulation-focused sports games like that.

- Picross DS, the first Picross game to really take off in the US, came out (I didn't play it until...last year)

- Also dead this year: Crazy Taxi, with Fare Wars being its last entry.

- Eternal Sonata was a 360 game I always was curious to try but never actually played

- Halo 3 came out this year as a progenitor to best-Halo-ever, Halo 3: ODST

- Noted Assassin's Creed II prequel Assassin's Creed came out

 

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I am playing Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords now, but I don't know for how much longer. I'm really tired of sinking a lot of time into a match only for luck to randomly grant the computer character a x5 combo that creams me. Even after grinding repeatable missions for a bit I feel like I constantly die to enemies that randomly pop up on the map, that aren't even part of a quest. Right now I'm trapped in the lower quadrant of the map because a griffin spawned on the road and I cannot beat it.

 

puzzle-quest-challenge-of-the-warlords-3

 

I think the match 3 RPG battle system is clever, and when I'm able to plan and execute strategic moves like denying the enemy gems they need to power up their strongest attacks it feels great. But match 3 games involve so much random chance (given that a lot of combos occur via blocks that fall down onto the board AFTER you've made your move) that battles can feel frustrating and arbitrary. Also there's a hint arrow defaulted that turns on if you take longer than 15 seconds to complete your turn, which encourages you to strategize less. Sometimes the move it suggests isn't even a good one for you, just a possible one. I figured out how to turn it off but before that I kept forgetting and it was always a pain in the ass.

 

Maybe, like Geometry Wars, this will be another game I leave installed and pick at from time to time, leveling up on repetitive matches until these problems feel arbitrary. I'd probably be more motivated if I didn't think the art and story were totally awful and boilerplate fantasy garbage. That's definitely the aspect of Puzzle Quest that has aged the worst. If Puzzle Quest came out today I think the world would either show way more personality or the story elements would be scaled way back.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Mike Danger said:

A few notes from perusing that Wikipedia article:

- Also dead this year: Crazy Taxi, with Fare Wars being its last entry.

 

 

Is it weird that I didn't know they made more than one Crazy Taxi? Also, I'm shocked no one has brought that back in some form, either as a licensed sequel or an indie spiritual successor. Unless they have and I've just never heard of it.

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2007 marks a watershed moment in gaming for me: it was the first time I bought through digital distribution. A mighty need for The Orange Box was enough to ensure a Day 1 purchase - and it being digital meant no waiting for delivery (of course, it took a lot longer than planned to download at 8Mbps, but you live and learn)

 

After that, it didn't take long to make the transition to digital, with the last physical purchase of mine being Mass Effect 2 in 2010. While I do worry a little about what happens if Steam goes out of business, the convenience of downloads can't be denied. So it's not suprsing that folks made the switch so quickly. Did anyone else have the same experience?

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I bought the Orange Box at Best Buy a couple years after it came out (December 2009, according to my Steam account's birthday), but that was definitely what put me in the Steam ecosystem. Then I had a Microsoft store gift card from a new laptop purchase, which I spent on a retail copy of Left 4 Dead 2 that I think was just a steam code. I think Puzzle Quest, which I'm playing now, might have actually been the first game I downloaded from the store.

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On the other side of the coin that's the year Microsoft launched Games for Windows Live. A pox that would haunt PC gaming for the better part of the next decade.

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19 hours ago, Patrick R said:

 

Is it weird that I didn't know they made more than one Crazy Taxi? Also, I'm shocked no one has brought that back in some form, either as a licensed sequel or an indie spiritual successor. Unless they have and I've just never heard of it.

 

I definitely remember there being 1 and 2 because I would play them with friends after school. I think by the time 3 came out we had all moved on. I agree 100% that it seems like the kind of thing that's ripe for an indie Unhinged Uber/a DOOM-style "strip this down to the basics and build it back up" revisiting

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Goldeneye 2D is a demake of the N64 Goldeneye game by Perfect Run that renders it as a Game Boy side-scroller, not to be confused with the actual 007 Game Boy RPG that I remember kinda liking.

 

It's got all the mission objectives (and difficulty!) of a 00 Agent run of the Dam level. There may also be the Facility and Runway levels (there's a news post about them working on an update to add them), but I don't know for sure because the first level is hard as shit. It's not enough I have to fight Oddjob and Jaws in two separate boss fights, but there's also an attack helicopter.

 

I wonder if it was inspired by Codename: Gordon and how early the whole demake trend started.

 

Goldeneye2d.jpg

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It's cool looking through that list and remembering that year. That was the year we got and Xbox360. I was downloading arcade trials and every available demo. It was amazing that I could play all those demos without subscribing to Playstation Magazine and getting those demo-discs.

Every Extend Extra Extreme and some racing game ("Mad Wheels" maybe?) were the first digital titles I bought. 

I played so much Halo 3 multiplayer and then discovered Shadowrun 360. I played hundreds of hours of Shadowrun. It was my go to game for many years. Puzzle quest on DS was a big thing for a while. I remember having dreams of matching skulls.

We still had Wii Sports so we continued to bowl that year. It was also when we first got access to Elder Scrolls: Oblivion which we played obsessively. I had never seen a game where you had so much freedom to walk into peoples' houses, steal, and join guilds and such.

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I've been playing more Puzzle Quest and realized that I've been looking at it wrong. I've been thinking of it as akin to an iOS game, but it's really deeper than that. All the base building and equipment crafting and solo puzzles and spell learning and conquering other towns and finding runes and etc. etc. etc. it's a much larger and deeper strategy RPG than I was giving it credit for. It just happens to also be a match 3 game. I said earlier that, if it were to come out today, the first thing that they'd change is all the story stuff, but probably it just wouldn't be as fully featured.

 

I think I've reached the end of my time with it (about 6 hours in) because I don't think I can really wrap my head around the whole thing and I don't find the core gameplay that compelling as to power through it. Matches (even against easy opponents) just take too long for me to try out different builds, strategies, etc. But it's definitely a cool game.

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Oh man Supreme Commander is probably my favorite game from 2007. Still my favorite RTS

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1 hour ago, Patrick R said:

I've been playing more Puzzle Quest and realized that I've been looking at it wrong. I've been thinking of it as akin to an iOS game, but it's really deeper than that. All the base building and equipment crafting and solo puzzles and spell learning and conquering other towns and finding runes and etc. etc. etc. it's a much larger and deeper strategy RPG than I was giving it credit for. It just happens to also be a match 3 game. I said earlier that, if it were to come out today, the first thing that they'd change is all the story stuff, but probably it just wouldn't be as fully featured.

 

I think I've reached the end of my time with it (about 6 hours in) because I don't think I can really wrap my head around the whole thing and I don't find the core gameplay that compelling as to power through it. Matches (even against easy opponents) just take too long for me to try out different builds, strategies, etc. But it's definitely a cool game.

 

I eventually beat Puzzle Quest, both by finding a good combo of equipment and abilities as you suggest, but also by being careful that every single move didn't even offer the possibility of a skull, 4 of a kind, or 5 of a kind match for my opponent. Thinking that far ahead was constantly exhausting, and I can't imagine trying to do that again.

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Painkiller Overdose is the first Painkiller game I've ever played and maybe that's my first mistake. I am totally onboard for a game that's Serious Sam but, like, full of wicked shit. I was even ok with the totally awful and nonsensical 8 minute word-salad exposition dump opening cutscene*. But for such a simple game, it's also way more obscure than it needs to be. All the enemies and weapons are too abstract for their own good. Should I be firing a skull laser at an armored knight? What about firing a bone shotgun at an enemy that just looks like an enviromental clump of fire? Or spinning a cube at a rock monster?

 

835841-941945_20071102_003.jpg

What the hell is happening?

 

The two major things you do in this game, take damage and issue damage, seem to occur with little corresponding onscreen info. Enemy death animations are often confusing and I'm often still firing ammo into dead enemies because I can't tell they aren't alive. It's hard to distinguish between the rubble and fire that's setting the mood of the world and the rubble and fire that most the enemies are made out of. And when I take damage it can be hard to figure out who attacked me and what I could have done to dodge their attacks.

 

My best guess is that the proper Painkiller game does a better job setting up the world and enemies and weapons, because as far as I can tell in the original Painkiller you're just a typical Grim White Dude Protagonist © instead of a fallen angel/devil/Duke Nukem (seriously, the one-liners your character spouts out are so bad and repetitive), so your weapons wouldn't be all crazy demonic magic objects. Probably Painkiller Overdose was made primarily for people who've already played the main game and want something different.

 

I've probably only played about 20 minutes, but it has not made a good impression on me thus far.

 

 

*So based on this video, the opening cutscene is only about 4 minutes. It felt like 15.

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On 1/9/2017 at 0:56 PM, Patrick R said:

I've been playing more Puzzle Quest and realized that I've been looking at it wrong. I've been thinking of it as akin to an iOS game, but it's really deeper than that. All the base building and equipment crafting and solo puzzles and spell learning and conquering other towns and finding runes and etc. etc. etc. it's a much larger and deeper strategy RPG than I was giving it credit for. It just happens to also be a match 3 game. I said earlier that, if it were to come out today, the first thing that they'd change is all the story stuff, but probably it just wouldn't be as fully featured.

 

I think I've reached the end of my time with it (about 6 hours in) because I don't think I can really wrap my head around the whole thing and I don't find the core gameplay that compelling as to power through it. Matches (even against easy opponents) just take too long for me to try out different builds, strategies, etc. But it's definitely a cool game.

 

First, I like this thread!

 

Second, the original Puzzle Quest remains my single favorite of the match-3/RPG hybrids ever made.  They captured something special with it that I don't think of their the sequels or their imitators have ever been able to duplicate.  And I remember it being really genuinely funny throughout as well, but it's possible that my standards for games writing a decade ago were pretty low. 

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Maybe it gets funny later. I sat through the dialogue of about two conversations before I started skipping it all.

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I liked the Painkiller demo, but *very* quickly grew bored of the game proper. In the demo, you get the stake launcher to start off with and it's fun pinning deranged sacking-clad peasants against tavern doors. Shooting skeletons and lumbering gargoyles and whatnot is nowhere near as satisfying.

 

(incidentally, a major issue I have with Serious Sam is the absurd profusion of kleer skeletons, who I find to be extremely tedious enemies)

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Y'all's descriptions of Painkiller makes me think it would be a great game if it was short and didn't have fail-states.

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