My Favorite Things of 2012!
It’s been years since I’ve done one of these. But they’re some of my favorite LiveJournal posts to look back on, so why not resume the tradition?
2012 was a busy year for me, and most of my leisure time was spent grinding in a panic to complete as much as possible in FFXIV before the servers went down. I missed a lot of things. Many of these I probably won’t get to for another year yet. As such, this is by no means a comprehensive, absolute best of the best list. Don’t jump down my throat because I didn’t list Assassin’s Creed III – I’m sure it was amazing! I bet that one book you keep telling me to read was great too. I just haven’t done it yet. These are some things I did get to, and happened to enjoy an awful lot.
Silent Hill Downpour
It’s no secret that Silent Hill has seen better days. What used to be a AAA series has become a string of “straight to video” budget titles, followed only by hopeful fans looking for someone to get it right again.
Just when I was about to give up, slit my wrists and die in a bathtub because it’s just not going to happen, Downpour came along. Vatra made a strong effort to breathe some life back into the town, with the added element of rain (I do love rain), compelling characters, and an intriguing plot. The Otherworld sequences were infuriatingly well done, capturing the disorienting horror (“What in the fucking fuck fuck is going on!“) that defined 1-4. All of these accomplished without even once referencing the film, or rehashing things already done in earlier games. Whaat?
The game isn’t without flaws, but it’s a refreshing reminder that Silent Hill still has a lot of potential if only given a creative team to make it happen. It’s a shame that Vatra isn’t likely to stick around long enough to make another one, and we’ll probably go back to Silent Hill: The Movie: The Game: This Time With An Added SH2 Twist.
Cabin in the Woods
I knew it was Joss Whedon. I knew it was going to be a fun horror movie. I wasn’t expecting it to blow my god damned mind.
While The Avengers completely eclipsed it, Cabin in the Woods is the overlooked, “This movie is going to rock your socks off, don’t even ask what it’s about, just watch it” movie that I’ll be showing my friends for years to come. You heard right. It’s going on my Donnie Darko shelf.
Guild Wars 2
In a genre crowding fast with failed attempts to capitalize on WoW’s success, GW2 emerged as the god damned Messiah to MMORPGs. Rather than simply redoing what WoW did like five years ago, GW2 questions the rules and shows us the next logical step for the genre to evolve.
All the usual restrictions you come to expect from an MMORPG are stripped: Free to play, without any guilt or pressure to spend in a cash shop; Absolute freedom to play with friends located on other servers, making what’s usually a pretty stressful choice between servers irrelevant; Replacing competitive, greedy PvE worlds with a co-operative free for all in which helping out strangers is beneficial. Dynamic events make the world feel alive, and questing feels more like you’re stumbling into dire situations rather than following exclamation points on a map.
I could go on forever about all the things Guild Wars did right, but you’re better off just reading their manifesto. While it’s doubtful I’ll invest more than light casual play into the game, it’s exciting to see ArenaNet changing the rules for games to come.
Lana Del Rey
I’m going to get so much shit for putting her here. Enough that I almost put Batman instead to avoid it, but fuck it all. Let’s go wild!
She’s melodramatic, a hipster magnet, and possibly not very authentic – but I love her to death. I love her melodrama. I love her pouty voice. I love her unnaturally puffed up lips. I love that she lives in an Instagram filter. I love that I still can’t stop playing her music, and I look forward to seeing more of her next year.
Let’s live in the 60’s forever, Lana. I’m totally down. Pull that American flag out of your ass, tie it to the back of my Pontiac, and let’s ride.
Superhero movies have been inching away from the spandex undies of their heritage, beginning as early as X-Men and peaking with Christopher Nolan’s gritty take on Batman. But even Batman seems whimsical when compared to Max Landis and Josh Trank’s Chronicle, a found footage deconstruction of the superhero genre.
If I ever stopped to ask myself, really, what would happen if some of my messed up friends stumbled upon super powers – Chronicle is it. (No offense, guys.) No cheesy outfits, no crusades through the city streets to stop evil. Who does that? Who wouldn’t, instead, think of getting a little vindictive with the bullies in their life? I can think of a few debt collectors I wouldn’t mind crushing with my brain.
Chronicle goes there, and it goes there hard. By and far the biggest surprise of 2012.
Biggest Disappointment: Silent Hill Revelation
I went into this movie not expecting much, and it still managed to be my biggest disappointment of the year – that is how bad it was. Resemblance to the game it’s based on was vague at best. Which, you know, was the case with the first film too – but it had the decency to at least be entertaining. Revelation was a snorefest, passing up perfectly good plot points from the game to replace them with… uh. A sword fight between Pyramid Head and some Hellraiser thing? Okay. Who needs women throwing up the fetus of a god when you can have that? I guess.
But we can’t end this on a negative note! 2013 is full of things that could potentially become my biggest disappointment for next year.
Most Looking Forward to in 2013!
Blood of Dragons
Robin Hobb’s conclusion to The Rain Wild Chronicles promises to answer questions and unveil things teased at since The Farseer Trilogy years and years ago. We’re finally at the heart of the Elderling ruins, and it’s only a matter of time before we know exactly what brought about their disappearance and where all this is headed to anyway.
Or maybe we still won’t learn a god damned thing. It’s okay! I really like getting depressed, and Hobb has never not delivered in that department.
In the past, I’ve given exactly zero shits about Tomb Raider. It’s always struck me as a big boobed fap fest through a poorly rendered jungle. Not really my cup of tea.
But if there’s anything to gather from this post, it’s that I fucking love deconstructions. Stripping Lara down to a regular girl and showing her growth into this tough hero is incredibly interesting to me.
Also, it’s been a long time since the last Uncharted. This looks like it’ll do me until the next nice jeans fap fest through a really well rendered jungle.
Game of Thrones Season 3
Two words: Red Wedding.
If you don’t know what that means, STOP! Don’t Google it. Just get a change of underwear ready, and enjoy.
Generally, I prefer Joss Whedon when he’s not doing something I feel like I need to catch up on 50 years of comic book history for. So him returning to television for a Marvel show mostly sounded like a lot of homework for me.
But I’m a little more optimistic knowing that, aside from one character, S.H.I.E.L.D. is featuring an original cast of regular people in a superhero world. That sounds a little more up Whedon’s alley, and a lot less work for me to do. Joss could do a show about mold growth in a supermarket and it would be the most compelling, human thing you’ve ever seen. As long as I don’t need to do homework to enjoy it, I’ll love it.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
If Alpha is any indication, we’re in for a real treat. ARR is looking to be the best of WoW, GW2, and FFXI all mashed into one HD monster that’s sure to ruin the lives of 20-somethings everywhere. I’m dying to get back into my character’s skin and explore the world redone. Real life just isn’t cutting it for me!
I am a little concerned over the chances of them getting anyone to check FFXIV out again, over two years after the fact. If Yoshi-P really does manage to pull off a successful reboot without it going all SW:TOR on us, he’ll have one hell of a resumé to show off I don’t even…
I think I’ve said enough. Happy New Year to you all!