1. Dodonpachi Saidaioujou ; If this is the last arcade game Cave ever produces, I'll be glad to say that they went out with a bang. Saidaioujou is a direct continuation of the formula Cave used to create their 2002 masterpiece, Dodonpachi Daioujou. They made many adjustments to the game system (not all of which were smart...
There's also a major glitch in the game's scoring system that greatly affects high-level play. To quickly summarize it, if you manage to optimize your chain further than the programmers had anticipated, your score will "overflow", causing each enemy to be worth billions of points. Of course, it's very difficult to do something like that because you need a perfectly planned route and flawless execution, so it only affects a small number of people. The game would probably be better if this glitch didn't exist, but I honestly don't mind because it's extremely satisfying to pull off.
2. Earth Defense Force 2025 ; After a seven year hiatus, Sadlot finally returned their flagship series and delivered their best game yet. With nearly 150 missions (including DLC), four distinct classes, online co-op, greatly improved presentation, and lots of small, very welcome additions all over the place (such as the abilities to limit your armor level and customize your appearance), there isn't much more they could have done to satisfy those of us who have spent years waiting for this game. With that being said, the game did launch with some severe balance issues, but the developers listened to the community and addressed all of the game's major problems through patches. Everyone who's looking forward to playing this next month should be in for treat, especially if D3 brings over the excellent DLC missions!
3. Volgarr the Viking ; One of the best action/platformers ever made. Let me quote Macaw because I think he summed the game up pretty succinctly: "It's the core elements of Rastan with the technical complexity of Actraiser 2 (shield blocking, double jumps, etc.) and a unique javelin throwing mechanic that suits the action perfectly. And the stage design has massive attention to detail and is fully designed around the core player mechanics as tightly as you can imagine, and difficulty is sky high so skillful platform and use of all your actions is immensely satisfying." Volgarr also has something that's rarely seen in the genre: a good scoring system that rewards speed and precision. The more you play, the more you'll appreciate all of the subtle design choices that were made to facilitate speed running. It's a lot of fun to discover new tricks that allow you to shave off a second or two here and there, giving you just enough time to pick up another hidden chest while still managing to finish the stage with the maximum time bonus. I think Volgarr can easily go toe-to-toe with any other game in the genre, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what the guys at Crazy Viking Studios will do next.
4. The Wonderful 101 ; I was thinking of leaving this off my list because I've only just finished my first playthrough, but then I realized I still enjoyed it more than most of the other games I've played this year. Looking forward to digging deeper through the higher difficulties.
5. Super Mario 3D World ; Pretty much what I've always wanted out of a 3D Mario game.
6. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; The game is very light on content, but what's there is generally very good. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this game is how Platinum managed to create something that stands out from everything else in the genre and put it together within a year without any major slipups. I am looking forward to the sequel.
7. Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed ; Sumo has proven that kart racers don't have to be party games; they can be genuinely great racing games as well.
8. Mamoru-kun Curse! ; A vertical free-scrolling shooter with a unique "curse" mechanic and a Dodonpachi-esque chaining system. The game has a bright and colorful aesthetic that's accompanied by an excellent soundtrack from Yousuke Yasui, but as with any STG, the main reason why I enjoyed it so much is because of its scoring system. It'll take too long to explain everything, so I'll just say the fun really begins once you start trying to chain the castle stage at max rank.
9. Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate ; Would probably be higher on my list if I had played the Wii U version. There's nothing else I could say that hasn't already been said 1000x over. Hunting monsters is fun.
10. Dragon's Crown ; Vanillaware has always made beautiful games that suffered from a lot of bad game design, but I also think they've been steadily improving with every game they make. So while Dragon's Crown is still flawed, it also happens to be the first Vanillaware game I've thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish.
2012. Ys: The Oath in Felghana ; It feels like a cop-out to choose this game because it was released in like 5 different years, but regardless, it's the best action-RPG I've ever played from a game design standpoint.
x. GunHound EX
x. Rayman Legends
x. Muramasa Rebirth
(might add some comments later, but prolly not)
I think that's about it for all of the new releases I enjoyed playing. I didn't plan on writing anything this year because I'm a lazy bastard, but I got bored, so I figured I'd put this together at the last minute. Hope it's readable enough.（´・ω・｀）