By FilipHolm 0 Comments
Since I didn't play to many games this year, and usually don't do this kind of thing, I just wrote down some thoughts on the games I really liked this year:
Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag
I never actively disliked Assasin's Creed 3 (aside from the ridiculously rushed ending) but much like other people, I felt like I was done with the series after that. I can't help but feel Black Flag wouldn't be here had I actually played more games this year. But the fact is, I really enjoyed this game. It was fun running around the Caribbean, on foot and in my boat. And even though the story was crazy and confusingly written, I enjoyed even most of that too.
Civilization V: Brave New world
So Civilization V came out 3 years ago. But when Brave New World launched this summer, it felt like the game had become what it was meant to be from the start. I have spent a dangerous amount of hours building my civilization, and most of them after this last expansion. So yes, I think it deserves a spot on my list.
I'll just come out and say it: I didn't really care for the original Bioshock. Rapture was a great setting, and the story felt interesting, but the game always failed to grab me. I could never tell what it was. Infinite does not have this problem. Again, the world of Columbia is a fantastic setting, it has just the right amount of crazy combined with the right amount of realism to make it feel alive. The story gets really crazy at times but I can't help but appreciate that craziness. It bring up themes of religion, revolution and how things are never black and white. And to have that kind of aspect to your story is always a plus in my book.
The Stanley Parable
I never played the mod, so this was all new to me. With about 15 endings (I only saw like 10?) The Stanley Parable had me willingly replay it over and over again just to see what would happen if I took that other door? Or if I wouldn't have pressed that button? The game is a study of video game narrative, how much your actions can be directed by what the game tells you to do, but only if you want it to be. What it does so amazingly well is that it succeeds in being absolutely hilarious, It had me laughing out loud the whole way through. And that in itself is very impressive.
The Last of us
You know, zombies have been used in alot of video games. And in alot of movies. There are more zombie-apocalypse stories than is possibly concievable. Still, The last of us manages to bring something completely new to the genre. Naughty Dog is some of the best in the business when it comes to telling a story, and The Last of us is at it's very strongest here. That ending is one of the most brilliant I've seen done on this medium. The story and plot is so gritty and dark that you just want to take a shower after playing it. It does not fuck around, and that is incredibly refreshing for a video game. The gameplay works great and it really feels like you are dealing with actuall human beings, both in controlling Joel and Ellie, but also when confronting enemies. It adds to the feel of the controls but also enhances the realism and that horrible feeling when you are forced to shoot someone in the face.
Gone home is just one of those games that works best if I don't tell you anything about it. It is a short experience, but one that will stay with you for a very long time.
The way Gone Home tells it's story is something that really show the potential that games have in this regard. It is structured and paced in such a way that you become completely immersed in the lives of these characters. It is a sad, funny and touching story slowly unfolding before you. The game plays with your emotions in brilliant ways. I think we all, for the majority of the 2 hour game, thought a ghost or serial killer was going to pop up any second. It keeps you at the edge of your seat the whole time, only to reveal at the end what had really happened. Unique, amazingly well told, and one hell of an experience.
Grand Theft Auto V
It's no secret, I love Grand Theft Auto. And V is a damn good GTA game. To no surprise the story was excellent and in classic Rockstar-fasion felt very mature. I loved the characters, I loved the writing, and when the satire and social commentary worked, it really worked. There were moments, like the torture scene, where I felt like maybe they came on a little strong. We get it, you don't have to literally spell out what it is you were trying to say. But in genereal I think it did it's thing and enhanced the experience. While some people consider the characters to be outdated, I felt it was a very fresh approach to telling a story. Sure, we've heard the "Retired criminal forced to get back in the business" pitch before, but I think they managed to give it a unique enough twist to make him a somewhat likeable person, dispite his shortcomings. It's a shame Franklin wasn't explored more, his personal story and interactions with family and friends were some of my favorite moments of the game, while Trevor serves as the Walter White of the story, you kinda sort of like him, but at the same time you don't since the guy is a complete psychopath.
Maybe the most interesting part of the narrative is how they used the 3-character concept. The fact that you play as 3 different characters throughout the game gives some of the cut scenes and story-beats a very interesting edge, as your perspective on what's going on really changes from what it would've been had you only played as one.
In short, Grand Theft Auto is still a Grand theft Auto game. It keeps alot of the series sucessfull aspects but at the same time ads some really interesting new ideas that help make it feel fresh and interesting.
Oh, and the world is absolutely gorgeous.