I was initially turned off by the art direction (3D models in 2D), but, fueled by nostalgia, this game grew on me incredibly fast. It's a bit of a blind leap, but I'm willing to call this my favorite remake of all time -- right now (phew, I saved myself there). GRIN stayed true to the source material, but also expanded Rearmed, making it the better game; most notably, by adding improved weaponry and terrific boss battles. It's a relief to not have to side with the cynic in me. See, remakes can be profitable and remarkable.
Oh, and one more thing, I vote for the PlayStation 3 version. The superior D-pad tips the scale for me.
This game represents the best, most purely "Wii" game there is: It wouldn't work nearly as well on other consoles (and wouldn't benefit from their advantages); it's appealing to any and all types of gamers; and it's not janky -- you know, the controls actually work.
When you think Xbox Live Arcade, you think Geometry Wars. A sequel seemed destined, and redundant. But lo and behold: One classic game spun into six.
Criterion simply spoiled us with DLC and presented a compelling model for keeping a game relevant throughout the calendar year -- and into the next. Free content or not, this is a new vision realized.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
I invested a considerable number of hours in this one this past spring and think that warrants an appearance on my list. Still, Brawl is a glaring example of how unfriendly and unloved Wii's online service is, both in its multiplayer and content sharing abilities -- and in its dismal showcase of premium DLC. Brawl is the polar opposite of Paradise. (That's right, this here has turned into another backhanded compliment leveled at Wii.)
If I had to pick one iPhone game (and, well, I did) it would be Cameraman. Not exactly the "future of gameplay" -- but iPhone has become my go-to portable gaming device out of its sheer all-purpose convenience. (And it looks less childish in public, too!)
Pure (X360); N+ (XBLA); PixelJunk Monsters; Professor Layton; Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword; Space Invaders Extreme (PSP)
- GTA IV (X360): There are aspects to be heralded, for sure. But I found it too reliant on rehashed and unimproved concepts and designs to hold my interest for long.
- LittleBigPlanet: The running joke around HQ is, "If only it had been on Xbox Live."
- Mario Kart Wii: Nintendo ruined the fundamental gameplay of this beloved franchise. But I took the bait -- hook, line and sinker.
- Ninja Gaiden 2: Has there ever been a lower profile or more painfully dull sequel to a tremendous game? Well, there was Devil May Cry 2 ...
- Resistance 2: I gave this series another shot -- probably on hype alone. But it again proved itself to be a middling shooter dressed in some flashy "Emperor's Clothes."
- Too Human: Really, James? Yeah, I was naive enough to give Dyack and Silicon Knights the benefit of the doubt and waited and learned ... the hard way.
I'll give Fable 2 another go -- and maybe, just for Ludwig, Far Cry 2, too.