My top video games of 2015 that are totally video games +Sonic.

I could have written a top ten, I definitely played ten games, maybe even more that I liked. I think I've gotten tired of having to order ten games into a list. I've singled out a collection of five games I had the most fun with, four of them are unordered, but I have an overall, favourite, top of the pile, number one, gold starred, winner of winners, game of the year... or something like that.

I've added some brief thoughts on some other games I played and enjoyed this year, I just don't really care to sort games like Metal Gear or Batman into an order when I liked them about the exact same amount. Yeah, really.

Some thoughts on some games I quite liked and stuff.

Am I allowed to like Arkham Knight? Everyone seems to be real down on it these days. Sure, the Knight himself was a real downer, but I'm probably in the minority because I think that this is the best Arkham game since Asylum. I could have done with less of the Batmobile combat, but the high speed chases were exhilarating. Your enjoyment can also dependent on your ability to block out Riddler Trophies. It sucks that the most convenient way to see the best ending is to watch it on YouTube. I honestly think the storytelling in this one is miles better than either of the other Rocksteady games. The stuff they do with Joker is fantastic, thanks obviously to Mark Hamill. The way they place him in the world would at times feature some of the games best dialogue. The end sequence is easily one of the most interesting things Rocksteady have done with the series, and I think they end on a pretty high note with Batman getting to do his Batman thing. Y'know... The thing where he's all like grrr and vengeance and night and stuff.

Now I'm talking about things I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say I like. I enjoyed the heck out of The Order 1886. The shooting is good, the acting is good, the story is good, (but kinda unfinished) and the music is rather pretty. I thought the balance between the holdy uppy and looky, watchy and bang-bangy was paced perfectly. This all means I have terrible taste in everything. I'm sorry I liked the game what is nice to look at, fun to play and stuff.

Talking of fun, I played a Ton of LBX on the 3DS. IT'S LIKE POKEMON BUT THERE IS A ROBOT THAT IS LIKE A MECH BUT IS A WOLF BUT A MECH AND IT COULD PROBABLY FIT IN YOUR POCKET AND STOPS THE PRESIDENT OF ROBOPOKEWORLD GETTING ASSASSINATED! You also get to have cool fights in 3D with hugely customizable mechs... It's totally Pokemon... BUT MECHS!

While I'm being a child, I should probably mention how wonderful the whole first movie in Lego Jurassic World is. It's the best movie, and also makes for the best game as it's a lot less reliant on combat. The recreation of the T-Rex escape or the kids in the kitchen are magical if you have as much love for the original as I do. The other movies are represented well enough, and it's nice Chris Pratt did extra dialogue for the section tied to the newest movie. Getting to run around the giant park or stomp about as a Triceratops makes me wish we had PS4's back when I was a child so damn much.

Halo 5 is a game! I finished it, it's an enjoyable game! Talking of enjoyable. Peter Stormare is in a video game. taking time out of trying to shoot Arnie with cowboy guns, running space stations and singing on trains with Bjork. He's now trying his hand at helping people with psychological problems in the best 90's/Early 2000's horror movie released in the year 2015. Yes, I know the illusion of choice is just that, and that there's a couple of characters that can't die til the final scene, but what a tense, exciting and well told slasher/monster movie. Characters so terrible you can't help but love them, and a bunch of rolling heads. They nailed almost everything with this one.

Talking of nailing things, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is rather wonderful... Umm, they nailed stealth in an open world . As for being a Metal Gear game. Um, there's a lady wot is a plant, SKULL FACE, zombies, dogs with eye patches knifing dudes in the neck, a man named SKULL FACE, Big Boss trying to convince a dude that his noodles are really worms, and a man named SKULL FACE. That being said, this is a bad Metal Gear game... Other than that bit with the giant mech, and that there's a man named SKULL FACE. I enjoyed playing it very, very much

Things I also enjoyed playing very much were named silly things like Splatoon and Ori and the Blind Forest. I'd go into more depth about Splatoon, but I fear I'd just find myself getting angry at the game again and/or go on a tangent about all of the fan art with squid girls getting inked right in the face. Ori on the other hand was a rather lovely and challenging Metroidey kind of thing. A few weeks back I was watching the Game Awards at Go-to-bed-o-clock in the morning and as the chat (YouTube? Twitch possibly?) scrolled past I saw someone have some kind of mental breakdown at Ori winning best art direction over Bloodborne. The fact of the matter is that both games share a lot of similarities. They both have incredible music, they both have incredibly striking art styles, they both have great level design, and they both feature sections where you get stuck repeating the same actions over and over again. Only in one of the two is this the most frustrating thing in the world.

Oh yeah, and I've played a bunch of Devil's Third.

Games that I liked a bunch!

Rise of the Tomb Raider

You thought that Lara Croft just hated the bears, bats and the birds. No, she's on a mission to murder anything with a heartbeat. She won't rest until every last living thing on this planet has become one of her belts, jackets or gun holsters. Humans? Fuck it, that's a nice tooth necklace. You'd think her first thought when getting stranded in the wilderness would be to drink away the pain seeing as there's so many bottles of booze lying around. Why drink it when you can jam it right into a mans face?

Lara Croft's efficiency with guns, bows and explosives have come a long way since the last game. Although to be fair she was no slouch there either, but she's now able to Sam Fisher her way through an area with Tom Clancy-like grace. For all of her breathy "Oh, everything's terrible" dialogue you know inside she's joyfully grinning from ear to ear. Lara loves this, she lives for it. Archaeology isn't really of any concern, as she bashes and smashes the remnants of ancient civilizations all around her. Lara is a coldblooded murderer.

Once upon a time I'd have believed she still woke up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night thinking about that time she was stranded on an island and had to gut a deer... In reality she cracks a smile thinking about that time a man touched her and lost the back of his skull, then drifts off back to sleep.

The game? Oh yeah, it's a visually lovely improvement over everything the first had to offer. It scales back its Unchartedness just enough that it has definitely started to feel like it's carving out its own thing. Now, the big difference between the two is that Nathan Drake is probably gonna need a shit ton of therapy in the future, and Lara is going to go to prison for turning victims into lampshades someday.

Star Wars Battlefront

Boom! I like Battlefront because it's a baby shooter for babies that don't need the skills to get the kills. Sometimes I get to turn into the man wot has the laser sword, and cut the men wot sometimes do the Wilhelm Scream. Other times there is the laser blast man with the gun that everyone else is using, and that girl with the pretzel hair, but she sucks cos she's a girl.

Battlefront would probably be better with Tauntaun's, but I'm ok that there's no Tauntaun's because I think I'd cry if I ever saw one get blown up or stomped by an AT-ST. Don't you think a Tauntaun's insides look like rice pudding? I would very much like to see a Rancor VS AT-AT mode, like that time I made Luke fight a Care Bear Cousin in my garden... It was the best.

This one time I was playing the baby shooter for babies and I threw a Thermal Detonator and four Storm troopers went flying. Another time I was sniping and a TIE Fighter just crashed into the ground inches away from me. It was like I was totally in the Star Wars, It was probably the best thing ever.

Yeah, yeah, I know! It's not the best shooter, and it's riddled with fixable issues and imbalances. I'd have been willing to have given it a pass on just the outstanding audio and visuals, hell, I'd have been willing to give it a pass for just being "my" Star Wars, the Star Wars I played in my garden with plastic toys, rolling about in the mud. But it's fun, and the combination of all of those elements are enough for me. It was a huge prompt for me to go back and watch all of the original trilogy, which I hadn't seen in quite some time. The attention to detail is astounding, right down to the ice around the Millenium Falcon on Hoth. I got waaay more out of Battlefront than I ever expected to, and have every intention of returning in the future, because, y'know, I like it.

Tearaway Unfolded

Apparently this game came out on another system at some point, the Somy Vito or something. Apparently people liked it quite a bit. Now it's on a system that people have heard of, I finally got around to playing it. I should probably mention upfront that I'm really not very fond of Media Molecule's other game Littlebigplanet, which I spent hundreds of hours learning how to build levels that about seventeen people ended up playing. (Probably because they weren't based around existing properties or giving away that oh, so special ONE MILLION POINTS! Trophy.)

I'm not entirely sure where the older section of the game ends, but this is a lengthy, imaginative and absolutely adorable game. I tried to fit charming into that sentence, but it was too hard to do... Oh yeah, it's super charming too. Seeing as the game was seemingly built for all of the Vita's touchy-flippy functions, they have managed to translate a lot of it's unique controls into the various functions of the Dualshock 4. The sensor acts like a torch, the touchpad like a drum, and the tilt function for a million different uses. This is a platformer with control quirks that are so good that they aren't concerned with giving you an actual jump until 45 minutes in.

Being able to craft your own tentacle monstrosity of a messenger, along with the things in the environment around you shaped so much of my experience. Seeing my own designs on shields, or faces on clouds floating by made my contributions feel like it was my own world I had created. It's so minimal, yet incredibly impactful when you see all of your own creations during the end sequence of the game.

The world is immaculately designed, Every single paper crafted item looks like it was physically made by hand, with the movements of your own messenger and the other characters around you filled to the brim with so much expression and life. I cannot say enough good things about this game, and Sony oddly sent it to die, kinda like the Puppeteer from a couple of years ago. The ending is one of, if not the most adorable thing I've ever witnessed in a video game, and the fact they fit so many unique control uses into the DS4 puts most of Nintendo's Wii U pad functionality to shame. Now the game is worth about £10 , or whatever space money you use, you should really give it a shot.

Bloodborne

Oh yeah, I'll give you as much brain fluid as you want, girl. Look! I know I'm off to a bad start with this one already, but stick with me, I've got nice things to say about Bloodborne and it's tentacley ways. If you've ever heard me talk about Dark Souls 2 at any kind of length (You haven't) you'd probably come away from the conversation thinking I despised the game. As I said in my GOTYOS from last year, I mentioned that it has this almost hypnotic quality. Bloodborne retains that dreamlike atmosphere, but it also has some fast paced action to go along with it, allowing you to be much more aggressive than before, in fact there are a ton of enemies, bosses included, where it can be downright lenient with all of the blood-popping and near endless dashing.

That increased speed does a lot to appeal to my love of character action games, and the visual design is one of the bes...WTF ORI WON BEST ART DIRECTION AT THE GAME AWARDS!?! I cannot stress how good the sound is in this game, the monster howls and crazy yells from men with axes/forks/swords etc are incredible, but the real standout is the big, grand boss music. From the chanting of The Cleric Beast to the haunting violins when safely in the Hunter's Dream, not to mention the first Boss in the DLC, I avoid the word these days, but it truly is one of the most epic boss themes in any video game.

I like tentacles, ok, it's not sexual. I just think things with tentacles are cool, Ebrietas, Daughter of the Cosmos is one of the prettiest things I've seen in quite some time. (HONEST!) Bloodborne has tentacle arms, tentacle heads, tentacle faces and tentacle weapons, I'm in tentacle heaven with Bloodborne. I very much like the parts without the tentacles, (other than those shitty poison areas) but Bloodborne has got all the tentacles you need... Unless you know you want the other stuff, then Splatoon has got you covered... Literally.

MY PERSONAL GAME OF THE YEAR THAT ISNT GUNSTAR HEROES ON THE 3DS EVEN THOUGH GUNSTAR HEROES IS ON THE 3DS AND IS IN 3D AND EVERYTHING!

Life is Strange

You know what? I hella, hella dug Life is Strange. It has a tone that should make me want to punch the screen. It initially wears its indie movieisms on its sleeve, but morphs into something bigger, crazier and beautifully crafted. The acting can at times be clunky, or intolerably hip (something that balanced itself out as it went on.) but there's no denying how attached you get to a bunch of core characters over the five episodes. Max is incredibly likeable, and seeing her reconnect with an old friend, Chloe is believable, despite some ear-stabbingly terrible dialogue at times.

Life is Strange shines in the little moments, the optional moments. Taking a photo of that squirrel, laying on a bed on a summery day listening to music as the curtains lilt back and forth in the wind, or stopping to sit on a bench to reflect on the things that have happened. You can rush through to the craziness as quick as possible, but taking your time and having small conversations about nothing all that particularly important really adds to the atmosphere. Those little things, like the way the music kicks in the second Max puts her headphones in, the cuts between the characters at the end of an episode or the incredibly ominous five seconds of teaser that come after the credits all add up to something quite special.

I'm trying to be as vague as I can with the game, as the less you know going in the better, and this is probably the only game I've played this year that makes me want to tell others to play it. At a glance it's a Telltale-like, but It's more than that. It has a bunch of very light time-based gameplay mechanics instead of relying mostly on QTE's like the newer TT games, mixing things up just enough throughout the duration to not have the answer just be "Yo, rewind time." The game nearly always lets you see both outcomes of your time rewinding decisions. Often the "right" answer seems really obvious, but after seeing how the other choice plays out you could see a totally different perspective on things, and may want to revise your actions.

I played the game over a week, and found myself absolutely gripped. I wanted to see where the weird Sci-Fi elements were going, but also needed to know how all of the other plot points looming over these characters were going to fit together, and by the end I think they do an incredible job of making it all work despite how crazy it gets.

Life is Strange is one of the only games to have ever turned me into an emotional wreck. It all comes down to a final decision, one you can see coming a mile off, one you know you're going to have to make, but the second that prompt hit the screen my heart sunk so deep into my chest. I couldn't even look at the screen when I hit the button. That's powerful, probably one of the most powerful moments I have ever experienced in a video game . The journey with Life is Strange was truly special, as impactful, maybe more so than many movies I've ever seen, and I can't identify with any of these kids with their hella-rad-hip-talk. Life is Strange is the best game I played in 2015.

COWABUNGA!

End bit!

I wrote a lot less than I wanted to, this year has been weird. I wanted to add some videos, some music and some other things too, but I've really not been in the mood. So, sorry if this is poorly written and stuff. I also want to mention Super Mario Maker, which I got for Christmas, that thing is super, duper rad.

Anyways, thanks for reading and be excellent to each other.

4 Comments

Game Of The Year Of Sonic 2014.

So, 2014 happened. There was definitely games that came out, I know this for certain as I played a bunch of them. I don't think it was necessarily a bad year as we got some real gems, but there was definitely a huge chunk of the year I questioned whether or not I'd be able to compile a top 10 list of my favourite games. Thankfully the last few months have seen not only some of the best games of the year release, but some of the best games I have ever played.

There's a couple of games I'd like to briefly mention...

South Park: The Stick of Truth, a game that I enjoyed a bunch. I'm not the biggest fan of the combat, but the humour is very similar to the past few seasons of the show in that it's generally pretty amusing, but when it's on point it can be one of the funniest things around. (Special mention to the audio logs joke)

Strider was fun and was as Stridery as a Strider game can get. The game doesn't really have all that much of a personality though, which is a real shame. Hitting the attack button really fast works as intended. Thankfully it didn't bum be out as much as Lords of Shadow 2.

I backed and played Shovel Knight which I enjoyed. It's a good Mega Man/Ducktales-esque game, but I find it crazy that anyone would say it's as good as Mega Man 2, 3 or even Duck Tales. I've seen people praise the soundtrack, but I'm not a fan. I absolutely love about 99% of the stuff Jake Kaufman puts out, but outside of a couple of tracks it really doesn't do a whole lot for me.

I nearly included Zer0 Sum, the first Tales from the Borderlands episode on this list, but I feel like that's more of a 2015 kinda thing.

I liked the gameplay in Watch Dogs despite having a protagonist devoid of any kind of personality. Wolfenstein was a fun throwback, but it was a little too much of a throwback in places with an incredible industrial/electronic/rock soundtrack. Mario Kart is probably the prettiest game of the year. Hyrule Warriors is like the best game ever... And also the worst game ever. That Rambo game totally happened.

Onto the top 10 type stuff!

Here is a list so you don't have to read any of the words I have written below.

10 Dark Souls 2 - I like this game.

9 Lococycle - I like this game.

8 Kirby Triple Deluxe - I like this game.

7 Velocity 2X - I like this game.

6 Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call - I like this game.

5 The Evil Within - I like this game.

4 Bayonetta 2 - I like this game.

3 Sunset Overdrive - I like this game.

2 The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth - I like this game.

1 Titanfall - I like this game.

I like Dark Souls II a bunch. It's a hard game for me to talk about because I'm not really its intended audience. Nearly anything with high fantasy featuring goblins, skeletons and dragons has a high chance of getting ignored by me. When it comes to this I am full of contradictions. I absolutely adore 70's/80's metal album covers with dragons n' shit all over them, and I am a big fan of movies like Willow and watch shows like Game of Thrones.

I have definitely opened up to this stuff more recently. I played Dragon's Dogma a couple of years back and enjoyed it immensely despite being able to see its many flaws, and I have every intention of playing through The Witcher 2 at some point before the third game is released. Dark Souls on paper is everything I should shrug at, and yet it has this odd, hypnotic power drawing me in.

I hated this area, but I love this stone rat.

I'm definitely not as enamoured by the game as most, and its difficulty was not what was driving me away. It's the way it explains nothing to you. And to be honest I still don't really like that about it. I went in pretty blind to the game, which was the only way I ever wanted to experience what seems to be adored by everyone these days. I've picked up snippets through osmosis, but for the most part and a little help from Yummylee in upgrading my Sir Raptorbutt, I did things my way without scanning forums or walkthroughs. At times it was pretty trying. I hit a roadblock with an early boss, nearly forcing me to abandon my experiment, but once I scraped by I managed to get into a real flow.

There were times I'd beat three bosses in one sitting only to come up against unfair battles like a giant, laser spewing spider. Every single time I found something I loved I was quickly reminded about something I hated. To the games credit though, I kept on returning over and over for fifty plus hours, and every time I told myself I was done I'd find myself sitting, playing it for another couple of hours.

I'm not convinced the game always plays fair despite one of the few things I'd picked up over the years is that these games were very tough, but always fair. It's full of things I'd rather not experience ever again, usually involving acid damage, but I powered my way through, and for all the things I find to be faults that I know are cherished by others, it is most definitely a game I have randomly thought about fondly since finishing it. I couldn't say that about most of the games I played this year.

Yep, this totally came out on the 360/Steam this year, and NO! I haven't made a horrible mistake.

Look, I get it, everyone hated this game, mostly people that didn't play it, but it definitely struck a chord with me. Twisted Pixel games have always been full of references to action movies like Total Recall and The Predator which is part of the reason I'm willing to forgive some of their lesser gameplay, but any game that's as in love with an all time favourite of mine - Big Trouble in Little China - is probably going to get a thumbs up from me.

Seriously, not a joke.

This game made me laugh consistently for five hours. I'm not ashamed of that. I get the joke, I feel like the joke was made for me, and I am perfectly fine with that. The game has heart, it works better than something like the one note joke of Roundabout and it's ok that that it's not for you. To be honest, it's kinda a shame that a lot of people will probably never get to see the 2D stage where two motorbikes are fighting like in Street Fighter. It's a spectacularly silly sequence that lets you use special moves like lightning kicks and hadoukens for a throwaway, five minute joke.

Robert Patrick is the perfect bad guy along with Guardians of the Galaxy's director James Gunn, often appearing in FMV talking about Twilight decals being pasted onto futuristic planes and phone conversations to AI bikes while surrounded by women. The FMV is as bonkers as anything TP have done in the past, like a ridiculous scrolling end sequence where a bike disarms a bomb on a rocket and an utterly crazy video featuring grilled cheese sandwiches and bikers.

I'm super happy this game exists, and its QTE heavy gameplay seems appropriate. It's a 90's styled arcade action game that's in love with 80's/90's action movies. I personally enjoyed the 3D Sonic/ Arkham-esque mashup they went for. The FMV is incredible, but the vast bulk of the funny writing is within the levels themselves. It's not as funny as Comic Jumper, but if the humour clicks this is a pretty incredible experience, and one of the funniest games I have ever played.

Kirby is a piece of shit. He's a deceptively cute ball of pink roundyness. He's always got that big old smile on his face, but when he's not trying to charm the hell out of you with his bouncy, jolliness, he's messing up other people's lives by eating everything in sight. Kirby eats birds, kirby eats people, kirby eats trees, bugs, homes even ghosts... KIRBY EATS GHOSTS.

He's that one Nintendo character that only ever gets to hang with the A-listers when there's a new Smash Bros. Nintendo keep pumping his games out every couple of years, but nobody talks about them like a new Mario, or a new Zelda. Did you know this came out this year? No, of course you didn't. I know it's not unusual for GB to Quick Look all the 3DS games, but they didn't look at this. It seems like Nintendo put all of their 3DS advertising budget for the year into that Yoshi game everyone seemed indifferent about.

I'm gonna kill you with cuteness.

Kirby: Triple Deluxe might not be the hardest game in the world, but it sure is the most fucked up charming game I played all year. It's a real shame that it hasn't been talked about all that much as it has some incredible visuals, with some of the best 3D on the system. Having the action on two planes means they can do some cool stuff with hazards coming into the foreground and hiding secrets behind scenery in the foreground.

It has the same kinda structure as most of the newer Mario games with you completing levels with relatively little fuss, but having the meat of the content in collecting some deviously hidden sunstones. (like Mario's stars) Some of the puzzles require some tricky tilting of the console or hitting switches in the right order. Every so often you'll need a very specific power and it's fun to finally figure out what you need to do.

It's just an incredibly well crafted 2D platformer, and I don't really understand why Nintendo don't care more about telling people this exists. It has some really incredible boss fights with numerous pattern changes and a ton of creativity. They might look like simplistic evil clouds or ghosts trapped in paintings, but they're far and away more interesting than anything you'll find in most of Mario's newer games.

I adore this game, it always puts a smile on my face, and there's a billion things to see, find and collect. More people should go and play Kirby, if only to see that KIRBY EATS GHOSTS!

This is an odd one. I vaguely remember playing the first game when it was given away for free as a Playstation mini. It was an enjoyable evenings worth of entertainment, but the kind of thing you'd have a hard time remembering a week after playing it. I didn't even know Velocity 2X existed until the Quick Look, and it was great to find out that it was one of the free PS Plus games on release.

Ruuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnnnn!

There seems to be a level of polish in 2X that was missing from the first game. There's some cool looking characters and a silly story that ties things together, but it's the gameplay that's the star of the show here. The ability to warp forward through scenery, combined with the button to speed up the rate at which the screen scrolls gives the player all the tools to zip through the game as fast or as slow as they want. As soon as you're comfortable with the controls you'll be shooting, dodging and weaving through the levels feeling like some kind of professional speed runner.

That's the thing I love about this game, the speed at which everything flies by. The game often gives you twenty minutes to finish a stage, but has a high score time of under three. Getting the best times, saving pods and collecting crystals for experience, which in turn unlocks levels really incentivises revisiting stages and trying to do better.

The other standout is the 2D platforming sections of the levels that have you running around, teleporting through walls and exploding glass for precious crystals. The game can get really tricky in the last third and requires some precision teleporting and wall-dashing. If you're playing the game the way it has obviously been designed to be played you will never stop moving. Speed is always the key. I'm a sucker for a good fast paced 2D action game, and this was a real surprise and a hell of a good time.

I don't have a lot to say about this game other than it's a more refined version of an already incredible music rhythm game. The flow of the notes you hit and swipe, combined with double the amount of songs the first game contained, along with the new quest mode making the grind for character crystals easier are great improvements.

Yeah, I totally bought that full, metal version of One Winged Angel from AC.

The music is as stunning as ever, with a lot or incredible pieces coming from the newer games. I didn't even know what Mystic Quest was, but god damn is that some fine music. Obviously this couldn't have been as much of a pleasant surprise as the original was, but I look at this like you would Super Street Fighter IV - An update with so many changes and content that it's hard not to love it as much as the first game.

Super cute, better sound quality and fat chocobos, not to mention probably the greatest piece of music to have ever existed in the Final Fantasy universe... CRAZY CHOCOBO!!!!

It became quite apparent when playing through this game that Shinji Mikami has no interest in making the survival horror games of old, and is intent on forever re-creating the horror infused action movie we got in the incredible Resident Evil 4. That's not to say this isn't a horror game. It's creepy and tense when needed, and is full of twisted designs and splattery gore... The problem is that none of it feels all that scary. The thought of the horrors in the darkness are usually far more terrifying that the thing you are likely to encounter.

Entire sections of this game, like a creepy village and haunted mansions feel like something ripped straight out of a Resident Evil game, in fact I found the storytelling, (as nonsensical as it is) the pacing and the dialogue to share a lot of things in common with Mikami's other games, especially RE4. The one thing that TEW seems to do to separate itself from the newer, more action orientated Resident Evil's is a real focus on ammo conservation, and at times an almost unforgiving level of difficulty. I often found myself with next to no ammo, often after some bullet spongey bosses.

I should probably help you.

This makes every bullet count, and many encounters pretty challenging, trying to take advantage of the environment and traps scattered around the scenery as best I can. I went into this game expecting to be overwhelmed with dread and came away from it with an incredibly well crafted survival action game with possibly the most satisfying and squeltchy headshots of any game ever.

The guns boom and crack like they have some real power behind them and the crossbow is a pretty versatile weapon that can be used in a variety of interesting ways. The freedom you're given to tackle the various encounters despite the lack of ammunition made for a tense, exciting and challenging action game with the right amount of craziness in the later chapters. If this was where Mikami envisioned where Resident Evil should have gone after 4, I'm very much a fan. Dripping with atmosphere, green brain goo and blood. I'm very excited to see where this series goes next.

Oh Bayonetta, you so silly. I'm only going to briefly touch upon my slight disappointment with the game as I feel like my opinions on the game are all over the Bayonetta 2 boards. Sure, it's not as crazy, and it's a much easier game that can reward some poor timing and use of powerful items, but god damn is this a fun game.

I feel like I fall into the minority of people that think the first game is a lot better for a variety of reasons. Bayonetta 2 is a smoother playing and much tighter experience, but lacking a few things that made the first game so appealing. It's briefer but more action packed. Flashier, but not quite as over the top crazy... which in Bayonetta doesn't really mean all that much at all, and its difficulty is far more welcoming to newer players to the series/genre.

Where Bayonetta 2 really shines is in its creative visuals. This is a bright and colourful game with some incredible enemy designs. Even the music has had a overhaul with many of the jazzier tracks being replaced with big choirs chanting over big orchestral pieces. The music does a really good job of elevating the one-on-one, human-sized boss fights to an epic scale. There is hair dragons and stone angel-robot things clashing as a flurry of swords, spears and hair-fists fly about the screen and its visual noise is a lot easier to follow than you'd imagine.

Sexy elephants in the room.

The game does a much better job of giving you collectibles and new weapons meaning I felt the need to mess with them all unlike the original where I was happy with the sword as soon as I unlocked it. The crazy finger-scythes and mechanical bow are a ton of fun to use, and give you a different way of playing... I eventually settled on a whip/chainsaw sword combo. Along with all the weapons are countless costumes and secrets, at times it's almost overwhelming the amount of content Platinum has packed into the game.

Even the co-op mode is a fun distraction that lengthens the game a bunch, unfortunately it needs a little fleshing out and a bunch of unlockable characters beyond the four available as it serves as more of a grind area to be able to afford a bunch of the expensive costumes... and what costumes they are.("Mamma mia!") All of the Nintendo suits change the way Bayonetta plays, and in one incredible moment you are able to pilot an Arwing from Star Fox with bombs, barrell rolls and burbedeburbedeburring voices coming over the radio. Hideki Kamiya expressed interest in making a new Star Fox game and this is the best Star Fox sequence we have gotten in years... In a game about a hair-witch fighting dragons around skyscrapers and slicing demons from hell to death on top of a giant, flying manta-ray.

In another year this would have been my favourite game by a mile. It's almost everything I want from video games. Video gamey, video games where you cut stuff and stuff explodes while jumping and flipping around the screen. I fully understand why more people seem to be enjoying this game over the first, but it's very hard not to want a little more challenge from the game. Maybe I've lost some perspective due to the amount I played the first, but I fully recognize this is far and away one of the best... and sweariest games of the year.

As a huge fan of the Ratchet & Clank games I'm always curious to see what Insomniac are working on. I've never really found anything they have made in recent years outside of the core Ratchet games to be all that interesting. Resistance is OK, the failed Ratchet experiments aren't any fun and Fuse, while not as bad as some would have you believe, doesn't really have what I want from Insomniac.... Colourful worlds, filled with life and silly, over the top weaponry.

Thankfully Insomniac have really taken the criticism from Fuse to heart. Sunset Overdrive is just pure, video gamey fun. A game that knows it's a video game, wants you to know it's a video game and is in love with being a video game. I feel like this game is laser focussed in what it wants to be. Its tone stays consistent, and while it shares some similarities in humour with the newer Saints Row games it doesn't have that light-hearted mean streak that those games seem to be infused with running through it.

In a year where Sony put out the pretty, yet forgettable Infamous Second Son, Insomniac have made one of the most lively and "ON!" open worlds I think I have ever played. You're always seconds from the action and the constant punk rock rarely ever stops. I could see this being grating for some, but I'm one of those people that likes that the game is always at 11.

No, you're the asshole.

I like that the game isn't a pushover either, it does a really good job of telling you early on that if you're not bouncing around, grinding, flipping, air dashing and wall running during combat, you're gonna die pretty quickly. That said, the checkpointing is uber generous, along with the insanely huge window for the auto-aim. The shooting and the weapons, while not as clever or inventive as anything in the Ratchet games feel like Ratchet guns, Ratchet's DNA is running through the veins of this game, obviously there's a little bit of Jet Set Radio, a little bit of Saints Row, along with a few other things in there, but the Ratchety-ness is all over it like Sly Cooper in the Infamous games.

And it's a very funny game. Not all of it is super hilarious, but it has a level of wit in the writing. Not all of the jokes (like a previously mentioned series) have a punchline that is someone getting punched in the face or told to fuck off, and there's some fun stuff integrating the games UI or making fun of video game tropes. The factions are great, with the LARP'ers that roll around talking in ye olde voices accompanied by a bard being my personal favourites. "HARDCORE!"

HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE.

I knew I'd love this game before I played it, and I fell almost immediately in love with it the second I got control of my character. I feel like this is a game that should be talked about a lot more than it is, but I assume that has more to do with Microsoft's situation more than the game. It's without a doubt the best game Insomniac have put out since A Crack in Time. It's full of life and willing to make fun of the whole Fuse situation by centering a whole entire mission around focus testing robots telling you what is fun in video games. I adore Sunset overdrive, it's full of energy and feels like it's about to burst due to sugary energy drinks. Incredible mobility, satisfying shooting and some stellar voice work. I hope we see more from this series in the future.

Choo Choo Motherfucker indeed.

I felt like I was done with BoI on the PC some time late last year. I've loaded it up a couple of times throughout 2014, and had an evening consumed, but for the most part I felt satisfied with my progress. I had unlocked all of the endings and as many items and characters that I was ever going to unlock. I felt satisfied that I'd squeezed as much as I could from this initially terrible flash game that cost me a couple of pounds on Steam.

Eat it, Mega Satan!

I assumed I would download this on PS+, say "Yep, that's totally more Issac" and then go about my day. But it did it again, it sucked me right back into that loop of "Just one more go" runs and bullshit rooms that zap all seven of my hearts away in a matter of seconds. There's enough new content here to make things feel fresh again, most notably bigger rooms and a heavily increased amount of new items to either feel like you've broken the game somehow or really fucked yourself over.

I know the art isn't for everyone, but I'm a huge fan of Edmund McMillen's style, as simplistic as it it. The new 16 bit(ish) art doesn't really seem all that different from the original, and theres a bunch of hideous new ways Isaac can look, with new and grotesque bosses to kill. The only real complaint about the game is that I prefer the music from the original over the moody/bass-y sounds of the remake/update. Whatever changes made, this is still one of the best games I have ever played. As someone that downloaded and ignored the original game at release, only to fall in love with it a year or so later, it's nice to get another chance to put this on an end of year list.

Be advised! This is my favourite game of the year.

I feel like I have a million things to say about this game, but I don't want this to just be me defending Respawn's player limits, Cannon Fodder bots or small amount of content upon release. In the case of the first two Try playing a match with six Titans all going at each other in a small alleyway and you'll fully understand why 6V6 was the right decision. The bots are an incredible idea as it makes the game feel a lot more welcoming to people that are not so hot at competitive games. Everyone can contribute to their team regardless of their skill level.

Titanfall feels like a game that had everyone incredibly excited during its short beta, but left a bunch of them feeling lukewarm about the whole experience a couple of weeks after the full game had been in everyone's hands. Even I expected to play the game for a couple of weeks, have my fun and then move on. But something unexpected happened. Even the exhaustive amount of videos the staff put out for Titanfall around release didn't really convey the excitement of calling down your Titan for the very first time. Hearing that voice tell you to stand by for Titanfall, followed by those five seconds of hearing a large metal beast hurtle through space, then crashing into the ground felt like the video game equivalent of Christmas. It still gets me every single time. From that very first drop I had fallen head over heels in love.

My love didn't stop there though. The longer I played it, the more the comparisons to Call of Duty felt ridiculous. (Now, in a post CoD-jetpack world they're still very different games.) CoD had never let me wall run across a wall and kill two people below me, CoD had never let me have a gunfight with another player a mile high in the air after ejecting out of an exploding mech, and CoD had never ever let me manually destroy three robots in a row by shooting at their brains and then hopping from one to another.

<3

Never stop moving, never be afraid of Titans and always use the environment to your advantage. The biggest problem with having the PC version of the game is that I have had a million "Oh shit! Did you see that!?!?" moments without any way to record it. I have a feeling if I'd have known that I was going to adore Titanfall as much as I do I'd have considered getting an XBone before a PS4. Titanfall appeals to both my love of mechs and my appreciation of dashing. What other game is going to let me strafe around another mech and punch it so hard that I crush the pilot?

I'd consider Titanfall to be the very best competitive shooter since Call of Duty 4. (I'm never going to be a Battlefield person.) and a consistently good time regardless of the dwindling players on PC. Titanfall is everything I want from a multiplayer shooter despite its handful of easily fixed problems that will hopefully be fixed in the inevitable sequel. I have put a ridiculous amount of time into Titanfall, and never felt like I didn't get my moneys worth out of it. They even added a horde mode with unique enemy types/placements and a whole black market store with customizable Titan voices. It's an incredible game with an unmatched parkour system in the FPS arena, with incredible shooting... Oh, and huge fucking robots! Bayonetta, Sunset and Isaac come close, but this is without a doubt the game I had the most fun with in 2014.

How could I not love a game that shares the same colour scheme as Alphonse in Patlabor?

End Bit.

The longer the year has gone on, the more games I have enjoyed. I've had a pretty good year despite all the bad games (I am totally going to return to blogging about the Simple games... but real video games happened... not that anyone cares) I wouldn't have minded trying out Transistor, Abyss Odyssey and Far Cry, but I didn't so that's that I guess.

I shall probably add some videos and links to things later/tomorrow to hopefully balance out that nightmare-Kirby above. (and most likely fix things.)

Thanks for reading and be excellent to each other.

18 Comments

Game Of The Year Of Sonic 2014.

So, 2014 happened. There was definitely games that came out, I know this for certain as I played a bunch of them. I don't think it was necessarily a bad year as we got some real gems, but there was definitely a huge chunk of the year I questioned whether or not I'd be able to compile a top 10 list of my favourite games. Thankfully the last few months have seen not only some of the best games of the year release, but some of the best games I have ever played.

Yeah, totally.

There's a couple of games I'd like to briefly mention...

South Park: The Stick of Truth, a game that I enjoyed a bunch. I'm not the biggest fan of the combat, but the humour is very similar to the past few seasons of the show in that it's generally pretty amusing, but when it's on point it can be one of the funniest things around. (Special mention to the audio logs joke)

Strider was fun and was as Stridery as a Strider game can get. The game doesn't really have all that much of a personality though, which is a real shame. Hitting the attack button really fast works as intended. Thankfully it didn't bum be out as much as Lords of Shadow 2.

I backed and played Shovel Knight which I enjoyed. It's a good Mega Man/Ducktales-esque game, but I find it crazy that anyone would say it's as good as Mega Man 2, 3 or even Duck Tales. I've seen people praise the soundtrack, but I'm not a fan. I absolutely love about 99% of the stuff Jake Kaufman puts out, but outside of a couple of tracks it really doesn't do a whole lot for me.

I nearly included Zer0 Sum, the first Tales from the Borderlands episode on this list, but I feel like that's more of a 2015 kinda thing.

I liked the gameplay in Watch Dogs despite having a protagonist devoid of any kind of personality. Wolfenstein was a fun throwback, but it was a little too much of a throwback in places with an incredible industrial/electronic/rock soundtrack. Mario Kart is probably the prettiest game of the year. Hyrule Warriors is like the best game ever... And also the worst game ever. That Rambo game totally happened.

Onto the top 10 type stuff!

Here is a list so you don't have to read any of the words I have written below.

10 Dark Souls 2 - I like this game.

9 Lococycle - I like this game.

8 Kirby Triple Deluxe - I like this game.

7 Velocity 2X - I like this game.

6 Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call - I like this game.

5 The Evil Within - I like this game.

4 Bayonetta 2 - I like this game.

3 Sunset Overdrive - I like this game.

2 The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth - I like this game.

1 Titanfall - I like this game.

I like Dark Souls II a bunch. It's a hard game for me to talk about because I'm not really its intended audience. Nearly anything with high fantasy featuring goblins, skeletons and dragons has a high chance of getting ignored by me. When it comes to this I am full of contradictions. I absolutely adore 70's/80's metal album covers with dragons n' shit all over them, and I am a big fan of movies like Willow and watch shows like Game of Thrones.

I have definitely opened up to this stuff more recently. I played Dragon's Dogma a couple of years back and enjoyed it immensely despite being able to see its many flaws, and I have every intention of playing through The Witcher 2 at some point before the third game is released. Dark Souls on paper is everything I should shrug at, and yet it has this odd, hypnotic power drawing me in.

I hated this area, but I love this stone rat.

I'm definitely not as enamoured by the game as most, and its difficulty was not what was driving me away. It's the way it explains nothing to you. And to be honest I still don't really like that about it. I went in pretty blind to the game, which was the only way I ever wanted to experience what seems to be adored by everyone these days. I've picked up snippets through osmosis, but for the most part and a little help from Yummylee in upgrading my Sir Raptorbutt, I did things my way without scanning forums or walkthroughs. At times pretty trying. I hit a roadblock with an early boss, nearly forcing me to abandon my experiment, but once I scraped by I managed to get into a real flow.

There were times I'd beat three bosses in one sitting only to come up against unfair battles like a giant, laser spewing spider. Every single time I found something I loved I was quickly reminded about something I hated. To the games credit though, I kept on returning over and over for fifty plus hours, and every time I told myself I was done I'd find myself sitting, playing it for another couple of hours.

I'm not convinced the game always plays fair despite one of the few things I'd picked up over the years is that these games were very tough, but always fair. It's full of things I'd rather not experience ever again, usually involving acid damage, but I powered my way through, and for all the things I find to be faults that I know are cherished by others, it is most definitely a game I have randomly thought about fondly since finishing it. I couldn't say that about most of the games I played this year.

Yep, this totally came out on the 360/Steam this year, and NO! I haven't made a horrible mistake.Look, I get it, everyone hated this game, mostly people that didn't play it, but it definitely struck a chord with me. Twisted Pixel games have always been full of references to action movies like Total Recall and The Predator which is part of the reason I'm willing to forgive some of their lesser gameplay, but any game that's as in love with an all time favourite of mine - Big Trouble in Little China - is probably going to get a thumbs up from me.

Seriously, not a joke.

This game made me laugh consistently for five hours. I'm not ashamed of that. I get the joke, I feel like the joke was made for me, and I am perfectly fine with that. The game has heart, it works better than something like the one note joke of Roundabout and it's ok that that it's not for you. To be honest, it's kinda a shame that a lot of people will probably never get to see the 2D stage where two motorbikes are fighting like in Street Fighter. It's a spectacularly silly sequence that lets you use special moves like lightning kicks and hadoukens for a throwaway, five minute joke.

Robert Patrick is the perfect bad guy along with Guardians of the Galaxy's director James Gunn, often appearing in FMV talking about Twilight decals being pasted onto futuristic planes and phone conversations to AI bikes while surrounded by women. The FMV is as bonkers as anything TP have done in the past, like a ridiculous scrolling end sequence where a bike disarms a bomb on a rocket and an utterly crazy video featuring grilled cheese sandwiches and bikers.

I'm super happy this game exists, and its QTE heavy gameplay seems appropriate. It's a 90's styled arcade action game that's in love with 80's/90's action movies. I personally enjoyed the 3D Sonic/ Arkham-esque mashup they went for. The FMV is incredible, but the vast bulk of the funny writing is within the levels themselves. It's not as funny as Comic Jumper, but if the humour clicks this is a pretty incredible experience, and one of the funniest games I have ever played.

Kirby is a piece of shit. He's a deceptively cute ball of pink roundyness. He's always got that big old smile on his face, but when he's not trying to charm the hell out of you with his bouncy, jolliness, he's messing up other people's lives by eating everything in sight. Kirby eats birds, kirby eats people, kirby eats trees, bugs, homes even ghosts... KIRBY EATS GHOSTS.

He's that one Nintendo character that only ever gets to hang with the A-listers when there's a new Smash Bros. Nintendo keep pumping his games out every couple of years, but nobody talks about them like a new Mario, or a new Zelda. Did you know this came out this year? No, of course you didn't. I know it's not unusual for GB to Quick Look all the 3DS games, but they didn't look at this. It seems like Nintendo put all of their 3DS advertising budget for the year into that Yoshi game everyone seemed indifferent about.

I'm gonna kill you with cuteness.

Kirby: Triple Deluxe might not be the hardest game in the world, but it sure is the most fucked up charming game I played all year. It's a real shame that it hasn't been talked about all that much as it has some incredible visuals, with some of the best 3D on the system. Having the action on two planes means they can do some cool stuff with hazards coming into the foreground and hiding secrets behind scenery in the foreground.

It has the same kinda structure as most of the newer Mario games with you completing levels with relatively little fuss, but having the meat of the content in collecting some deviously hidden sunstones. (like Mario's stars) Some of the puzzles require some tricky tilting of the console or hitting switches in the right order. Every so often you'll need a very specific power and it's fun to finally figure out what you need to do.

It's just an incredibly well crafted 2D platformer, and I don't really understand why Nintendo don't care more about telling people this exists. It has some really incredible boss fights with numerous pattern changes and a ton of creativity. They might look like simplistic evil clouds or ghosts trapped in paintings, but they're far and away more interesting than anything you'll find in most of Mario's newer games.

I adore this game, it always puts a smile on my face, and there's a billion things to see, find and collect. More people should go and play Kirby, if only to see that KIRBY EATS GHOSTS!

This is an odd one. I vaguely remember playing the first game when it was given away for free as a Playstation mini. It was an enjoyable evenings worth of entertainment, but the kind of thing you'd have a hard time remembering a week after playing it. I didn't even know Velocity 2X existed until the Quick Look, and it was great to find out that it was one of the free PS Plus games on release.

Ruuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnnnn!

There seems to be a level of polish in 2X that was missing from the first game. There's some cool looking characters and a silly story that ties things together, but it's the gameplay that's the star of the show here. The ability to warp forward through scenery, combined with the button to speed up the rate at which the screen scrolls gives the player all the tools to zip through the game as fast or as slow as they want. As soon as you're comfortable with the controls you'll be shooting, dodging and weaving through the levels feeling like some kind of professional speed runner.

That's the thing I love about this game, the speed at which everything flies by. The game often gives you twenty minutes to finish a stage, but has a high score time of under three. Getting the best times, saving pods and collecting crystals for experience, which in turn unlocks levels really incentivises revisiting stages and trying to do better.

The other standout is the 2D platforming sections of the levels that have you running around, teleporting through walls and exploding glass for precious crystals. The game can get really tricky in the last third and requires some precision teleporting and wall-dashing. If you're playing the game the way it has obviously been designed to be played you will never stop moving. Speed is always the key. I'm a sucker for a good fast paced 2D action game, and this was a real surprise and a hell of a good time.

I don't have a lot to say about this game other than it's a more refined version of an already incredible music rhythm game. The flow of the notes you hit and swipe, combined with double the amount of songs the first game contained, along with the new quest mode making the grind for character crystals easier are great improvements.

Yeah, I totally bought that full, metal version of One Winged Angel from AC.

The music is as stunning as ever, with a lot or incredible pieces coming from the newer games. I didn't even know what Mystic Quest was, but god damn is that some fine music. Obviously this couldn't have been as much of a pleasant surprise as the original was, but I look at this like you would Super Street Fighter IV - An update with so many changes and content that it's hard not to love it as much as the first game.

Super cute, better sound quality and fat chocobos, not to mention probably the greatest piece of music to have ever existed in the Final Fantasy universe... CRAZY CHOCOBO!!!!

It became quite apparent when playing through this game that Shinji Mikami has no interest in making the survival horror games of old, and is intent on forever re-creating the horror infused action movie we got in the incredible Resident Evil 4. That's not to say this isn't a horror game. It's creepy and tense when needed, and is full of twisted designs and splattery gore... The problem is that none of it feels all that scary. The thought of the horrors in the darkness are usually far more terrifying that the thing you are likely to encounter.

Entire sections of this game, like a creepy village and haunted mansions feel like something ripped straight out of a Resident Evil game, in fact I found the storytelling, (as nonsensical as it is) the pacing and the dialogue to share a lot of things in common with Mikami's other games, especially RE4. The one thing that TEW seems to do to separate itself from the newer, more action orientated Resident Evil's is a real focus on ammo conservation, and at times an almost unforgiving level of difficulty. I often found myself with next to no ammo, often after some bullet spongey bosses.

I should probably help you.

This makes every bullet count, and many encounters pretty challenging, trying to take advantage of the environment and traps scattered around the scenery as best I can. I went into this game expecting to be overwhelmed with dread and came away from it with an incredibly well crafted survival action game with possibly the most satisfying and squeltchy headshots of any game ever.

The guns boom and crack like they have some real power behind them and the crossbow is a pretty versatile weapon that can be used in a variety of interesting ways. The freedom you're given to tackle the various encounters despite the lack of ammunition made for a tense, exciting and challenging action game with the right amount of craziness in the later chapters. If this was where Mikami envisioned where Resident Evil should have gone after 4, I'm very much a fan. Dripping with atmosphere, green brain goo and blood. I'm very excited to see where this series goes next.

Oh Bayonetta, you so silly. I'm only going to briefly touch upon my slight disappointment with the game as I feel like my opinions on the game are all over the Bayonetta 2 boards. Sure, it's not as crazy, and it's a much easier game that can reward some poor timing and use of powerful items, but god damn is this a fun game.

I feel like I fall into the minority of people that think the first game is a lot better for a variety of reasons. Bayonetta 2 is a smoother playing and much tighter experience, but lacking a few things that made the first game so appealing. It's briefer but more action packed. Flashier, but not quite as over the top crazy... which in Bayonetta doesn't really mean all that much at all, and its difficulty is far more welcoming to newer players to the series/genre.

Where Bayonetta 2 really shines is in its creative visuals. This is a bright and colourful game with some incredible enemy designs. Even the music has had a overhaul with many of the jazzier tracks being replaced with big choirs chanting over big orchestral pieces. The music does a really good job of elevating the one-on-one, human-sized boss fights to an epic scale. There is hair dragons and stone angel-robot things clashing as a flurry of swords, spears and hair-fists fly about the screen and its visual noise is a lot easier to follow than you'd imagine.

Sexy elephants in the room.

The game does a much better job of giving you collectibles and new weapons meaning I felt the need to mess with them all unlike the original where I was happy with the sword as soon as I unlocked it. The crazy finger-scythes and mechanical bow are a ton of fun to use, and give you a different way of playing... I eventually settled on a whip/chainsaw sword combo. Along with all the weapons are countless costumes and secrets, at times it's almost overwhelming the amount of content Platinum has packed into the game.

Even the co-op mode is a fun distraction that lengthens the game a bunch, unfortunately it needs a little fleshing out and a bunch of unlockable characters beyond the four available as it serves as more of a grind area to be able to afford a bunch of the expensive costumes... and what costumes they are.("Mamma mia!") All of the Nintendo suits change the way Bayonetta plays, and in one incredible moment you are able to pilot an Arwing from Star Fox with bombs, barrell rolls and burbedeburbedeburring voices coming over the radio. Hideki Kamiya expressed interest in making a new Star Fox game and this is the best Star Fox sequence we have gotten in years... In a game about a hair-witch fighting dragons around skyscrapers and slicing demons from hell to death on top of a giant, flying manta-ray.

In another year this would have been my favourite game by a mile. It's almost everything I want from video games. Video gamey, video games where you cut stuff and stuff explodes while jumping and flipping around the screen. I fully understand why more people seem to be enjoying this game over the first, but it's very hard not to want a little more challenge from the game. Maybe I've lost some perspective due to the amount I played the first, but I fully recognize this is far and away one of the best... and sweariest games of the year.

As a huge fan of the Ratchet & Clank games I'm always curious to see what Insomniac are working on. I've never really found anything they have made in recent years outside of the core Ratchet games to be all that interesting. Resistance is OK, the failed Ratchet experiments aren't any fun and Fuse, while not as bad as some would have you believe, doesn't really have what I want from Insomniac.... Colourful worlds, filled with life and silly, over the top weaponry.

Thankfully Insomniac have really taken the criticism from Fuse to heart. Sunset Overdrive is just pure, video gamey fun. A game that knows it's a video game, wants you to know it's a video game and is in love with being a video game. I feel like this game is laser focussed in what it wants to be. It's tone stays consistent, and while it shares some similarities in humour with the newer Saints Row games it doesn't have that light-hearted mean streak that those games seem to be infused with running through it.

In a year where Sony put out the pretty, yet forgettable Infamous Second Son, Insomniac have made one of the most lively and "ON!" open worlds I think I have ever played. You're always seconds from the action and the constant punk rock rarely ever stops. I could see this being grating for some, but I'm one of those people that likes that the game is always at 11.

No, you're the asshole.

I like that the game isn't a pushover either, it does a really good job of telling you early on that if you're not bouncing around, grinding, flipping, air dashing and wall running during combat, you're gonna die pretty quickly. That said, the checkpointing is uber generous, along with the insanely huge window for the auto-aim. The shooting and the weapons, while not as clever or inventive as anything in the Ratchet games feel like Ratchet guns, Ratchet's DNA is running through the veins of this game, obviously there's a little bit of Jet Set Radio, a little bit of Saints Row, along with a few other things in there, but the Ratchety-ness is all over it like Sly Cooper in the Infamous games

.And it's a very funny game. Not all of it is super hilarious, but it has a level of wit in the writing. Not all of the jokes (like a previously mentioned series) have a punchline that is someone getting punched in the face or told to fuck off, and there's some fun stuff integrating the games UI or making fun of video game tropes. The factions are fun with the LARP'ers that roll around talking in ye olde voices and are accompanied by a bard are a bunch of fun "HARDCORE!"

HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE HARDCORE.

I knew I'd love this game before I played it, and I fell almost immediately in love with it the second I got control of my character. I feel like this should be a game that should be talked about a lot more than it is, but I assume that has more to do with Microsoft's situation more than the game. It's without a doubt the best game Insomniac have put out since A Crack in Time. It's full of life and willing to make fun of the whole Fuse situation by centering a whole entire mission around focus testing robots telling you what is fun in video games. I adore Sunset overdrive, it's full of life and feels like it's about to burst due to sugary energy drinks. Incredible mobility, satisfying shooting and some stellar voice work. I hope we see more from this series in the future.

Choo Choo Motherfucker indeed.

I felt like I was done with BoI on the PC some time late last year. I've loaded it up a couple of times throughout 2014, and had an evening consumed, but for the most part I felt satisfied with my progress. I had unlocked all of the endings and as many items and characters that I was ever going to unlock. I felt satisfied that I'd squeezed as much as I could from this initially terrible flash game that cost me a couple of pounds on Steam.

Eat it, Mega Satan!

I assumed I would download this on PS+, say "Yep, that's totally more Issac" and then go about my day. But it did it again, it sucked me right back into that loop of "Just one more go" runs and bullshit rooms that zap all seven of my hearts away in a matter of seconds. There's enough new content here to make things feel fresh again, most notably bigger rooms and a heavily increased amount of new items to either feel like you've broken the game somehow or really fucked yourself over.

I know the art isn't for everyone, but I'm a huge fan of Edmund McMillen's style, as simplistic as it it. The new 16 bit(ish) art doesn't really seem all that different from the original, and theres a bunch of hideous new ways Isaac can look, with new and grotesque bosses to kill. The only real complaint about the game is that I prefer the music from the original over the moody/bass-y sounds of the remake/update. Whatever changes made, this is still one of the best games I have ever played. As someone that downloaded and ignored the original game at release, only to fall in love with it a year or so later, it's nice to get another chance to put this on an end of year list.

Be advised! This is my favourite game of the year.

I feel like I have a million things to say about this game, but I don't want this to just be me defending Respawn's player limits, Cannon Fodder bots or small amount of content upon release. In the case of the first two Try playing a match with six Titans all going at each other in a small alleyway and you'll fully understand why 6V6 was the right decision. The bots are an incredible idea as it makes the game feel a lot more welcoming to people that are not so hot at competitive games. Everyone can contribute to their team regardless of their skill level.

Titanfall feels like a game that had everyone incredibly excited during its short beta, but left a bunch of them feeling lukewarm about the whole experience a couple of weeks after the full game had been in everyone's hands. Even I expected to play the game for a couple of weeks, have my fun and then move on. But something unexpected happened. Even the exhaustive amount of videos the staff put out for Titanfall around release didn't really convey the excitement of calling down your Titan for the very first time. Hearing that voice tell you to stand by for Titanfall, followed by those five seconds of hearing a large metal beast hurtle through space, then crashing into the ground felt like the video game equivalent of Christmas. It still gets me every single time. From that very first drop I had fallen head over heels in love.

My love didn't stop there though. The longer I played it, the more the comparisons to Call of Duty felt ridiculous. (Now, in a post CoD-jetpack world they're still very different games.) CoD had never let me wall run across a wall and kill two people below me, CoD had never let me have a gunfight with another player a mile high in the air after ejecting out of an exploding mech, and CoD had never ever let me manually destroy three robots in a row by shooting at their brains and then hopping from one to another.

<3

Never stop moving, never be afraid of Titans and always use the environment to your advantage. The biggest problem with having the PC version of the game is that I have had a million "Oh shit! Did you see that!?!?" moments without any way to record it. I have a feeling if I'd have known that I was going to adore Titanfall as much as I do I'd have considered getting an XBone before a PS4. Titanfall appeals to both my love of mechs and my appreciation of dashing. What other game is going to let me strafe around another mech and punch it so hard that I crush the pilot?

I'd consider Titanfall to be the very best competitive shooter since Call of Duty 4. (I'm never going to be a Battlefield person.) and a consistently good time regardless of the dwindling players on PC. Titanfall is everything I want from a multiplayer shooter despite its handful of easily fixed problems that will hopefully be fixed in the inevitable sequel. I have put a ridiculous amount of time into Titanfall, and never felt like I didn't get my moneys worth out of it. They even added a horde mode with unique enemy types/placements and a whole black market store with customizable Titan voices. It's an incredible game with an unmatched parkour system in the FPS arena, with incredible shooting... Oh, and huge fucking robots! Bayonetta, Sunset and Isaac come close, but this is without a doubt the game I had the most fun with in 2014.

How could I not love a game that shares the same colour scheme as Alphonse in Patlabor?

End Bit.

The longer the year has gone on, the more games I have enjoyed. I've had a pretty good year despite all the bad games (I am totally going to return to blogging about the Simple games... but real video games happened... not that anyone cares) I wouldn't have minded trying out Transistor, Abyss Odyssey and Far Cry, but I didn't so that's that I guess.

I shall probably add some videos and links to things later/tomorrow to hopefully balance out that nightmare-Kirby above. (and most likely fix things.)

Thanks for reading and be excellent to each other.

Start the Conversation

Some thoughts on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works book.

Mega Drive!

This week I managed to receive the first ever thing I backed on Kickstarter. ( I assume I'll get my code for the hugely delayed 3DS version of Shovel Knight (Europe) this week too.) The one I backed that I was most excited about getting was this absolutely wonderful book I found out about in one of Patrick's Worth Reading articles. It's kind of awesome having your name printed in the back of something that's as cool as this.

I dunno who this Jeff Gerstmann guy is... Sounds like a made up name to me.

It was pretty expensive at £30, but most definitely worth it due to its high quality and my nostalgia for the Sega Mega Drive and Sega in general. I had a NES, but the Mega Drive was the point I was fully committed to this silly hobby of ours. I still adore Sonic, I'll never not adore Sonic regardless of the quality of his games.

The book has a foreword by Dave Perry from Shiny Entertainment/Gaikai, with a few words about him working on games like Global Gladiators, Cool Spot, Aladdin (the good one) and the Terminator game where I found out that they weren't allowed to have Sarah Connor in the game which is utterly absurd.

This is followed by a history of Sega where they talk about picking a fight with Nintendo, Sega US higher ups thinking that Sonic was stupid and that the Japanese branch didn't care for the 32X at all. I'm sure a bunch of this information is available elsewhere but it's a fun read and has some silly quotes from people like Corey Haim about the Mega/Sega CD.

This is a bad photo of some awesome art!

There is some incredible fold-out blueprints of the early designs for the Mega Drive/ Genesis with all of the pencil notes and everything. It's fascinating and a thing of real beauty. If the book wasn't so lovely I'd rip it out and put it on my wall.

This is a thing of beauty.

The rest of the book has rows of sprites from all of Sega's biggest games like Sonic, Streets of Rage, Gunstar Heroes, Altered Beast, and the Phantasy Star games among many others. This had me analyzing the images like I used to sit wide eyed looking at video game magazines as a kid. It's an incredible collection of art. Where else are you going to get two pages of Sonic level screenshots or the entirety of stages from Eternal Champions? The two pages that are absolutely the best though are the stages of Comix Zone layed out like the pages in a comic book.

I'm not a fan of the EU or the US cover for this game, but the Japanese cover is one of my favourite pieces of art ever. This is junk.

Along with the sprites is all of the box art for all of Sega's biggest hits, fold outs of Shinobi and Alien Storm with some unused images like the realistic Gunstar Heroes cover that never was, and tons of other games like Alex Kidd, Kid Chameleon and Golden Axe etc.

My favourite things are probably the design documents for a bunch of games, obviously I am drawn to Gunstar Heroes which has a bunch of character bios and the original name at the top of the page. It turns out it was originally called Lunatic Heroes... which still kinda makes sense.

Aaanyways it's a great book full of art, interviews with important people that worked at Sega at the time and Mega Drivey things. It was absolutely worth backing and, I can definitely recommend it to people that have fond memories of the system. I have no idea where you can get it from... or even if it's available to everyone yet.

7 Comments

A few thoughts on Advanced Warfare's campaign and Robo-Spacey.

I was lucky enough to receive my copy of Advanced Warfare in the post this morning, so I did what any sane person would do and sat in the same spot for about seven hours and finished the campaign.

First things first. This is a Call of Duty campaign, no amount of mech suits and double jumping can hide that. This is pure, follow-this-dude (Or run ahead of the dude... or dudette! and hope they catch up with you.) left trigger, right trigger Call of Duty.

What it isn't is the soulless bore that was Ghosts. I'm not going to tell you this is high art, it's still point at stuff as huge stuff explodes, but there is an attempt at storytelling here. With Troy Baker in the lead and a couple of others that round out your team of super duper PMC friends.

The Exo Suit seems to be a pretty huge focus, but they only ever give you variations in the campaign. You don't always have the same abilities, such as a shield or a double jump and on occasion they give you a fancy Batman-esque grapple which is super fun and is put to good use during one of the less actiony stealth levels. There's also some light progression with you unlocking points to put into various things like reload times and damage reduction. It's a nice inclusion, but doesn't really alter the game in any way.

I think it's an absolutely stunning looking game, from the incredible cutscenes (not ingame) to the environments and really rather good faces. It's a real stunner in places and not a single framerate drop during my entire playthrough, despite a couple of hitches in cutscenes.

And I guess that brings me to Kevin Spacey and the story. He's used to good effect although his story arc is as predictable as they come. It kinda makes sense that the first few missions had me feeling pretty uneasy about who I was working for. It is a fun romp and the fact that some effort has been placed in making you at least care a little about the characters in the game is nice. Gideon, your British pal is good fun and the hard as nails Illona is cool, I'm definitely glad to see a female as one of the core group of badasses. It is definitely weird seeing robo spacey spout some pretty crazy shit, but he fits the part very well. It doesn't seem gimmicky in any way, and Troy Baker is as Troy Bakerish as he gets.

If there's one main complaint it's that it leans heavily on quick time events, moreso than any other Call of Duty I have played. And some of them are a pain. I missed a bunch of them as the icon for doing so isn't always apparent as it's white and small. The QTE's do however lead to some spectacular sci-fi action movie nonsense, and some of it is pretty absurd/insane/improbable.

So, it's a fun time in that big dumb action movie kind of way. I might see if I can play a bit of the MP or Co-op later if this headache I seem to have gained from not moving from the same spot without and food or drink goes away. It's pretty noisy. I'm not certain but the bodycount in this one seem to be waaaay beyond past installments.

Edit. Some of the finest images I captured from the game.

I always knew Bono was evil.

Look how happy this family is.

Best movie ever!

42 Comments

Simple Blog Get! 5: Taxi Blogger.

I've spent a lot of time playing good video games this week, but I haven't forgotten about the pile of bad PS2 games sitting on my shelf. It is October after all... What better time is there to play the most nightmarish games in existance.

Taxi Rider / Simple Series Vol 48: The Taxi: Untenshu ha Kimida

I've gotten pretty good at spotting what certain developers of Simple games bring to the table at this point. So I know exactly what I'm getting into with a Tamsoft game. To be fair, this does seem to stray a little farther from their comfort zone by having a distinct lack of boobs, but their trademark lack of quality is fully on display here.

I can totally see Riho Futaba in this picture!

Taxi Rider seems to be a budget attempt at a CrazyTaxi-like game. I've never played Crazy Taxi, but it's pretty apparent from watching videos of that game online that it was the main inspiration here. Taxi Rider has you attempting to make at least 1000,000 Yen for a Creepy dude named Ogawara Gengorou. You know what kind of a guy he is by his facial hair and gold tooth.

Ogawara makes it pretty clear what kind of a person he is by telling me I need to go around the city picking up people and then driving them to various destinations. The rule being that I need to make enough money between 8am and 1am... And I quote. " If you don't make enough money I will fire you right away!" which seems a little harsh for a new guy to the job. Ogawara follows this up with a sinister " I think you get the message!". Not content with overly strict money requirements and possible threats, Ogawara rubs it in further by saying "IT WON'T BE EASY TO MAKE 1000,000 YEN HAHAHAHAHHAHA." I should probably just quit right here, right now.

Now I am slightly fearful for my life, I start the game. Taxi Rider 's only controls are accelerate, reverse and steer. It baffles me that they had a ton of button options available, but still went with triangle for reverse. I get used to it pretty quickly, and start my journey towards becoming the greatest taxi driver Japan has ever known. The driving is OK (Also, like Zombie Virus this has better handling than Watch Dogs.) but the problem seems to be the awkwardly designed city and the incredibly aggressive, toy car traffic.

We need to get to the police station... RIGHT NOW!

Every single vehicle that isn't my cab would seemingly be unable to fit the odd chibi people that inhabit Nijiro city. Which probably makes sense why I'm being asked to ferry children to police stations, "fat middle-aged men" to the bank and chase/crash into cars with their grandfathers in them. The game has a map, but doesn't mark anything on it so you spend a large portion of your time driving around in circles looking for people to pick up. It doesn't help that there are people everywhere trapped behind invisible walls and the occasional pedestrian just going for a walk that you can attempt to run over, but they just spring off the car comically. The ones you can pick up are usually waving.

Ogawara is constantly telling you that there are many people at the shopping centre or the town hall, but the game just expects me to know where these places are. This isn't helped by the awful pop in and blurry textures. I assume it just wants me to figure it out by the way places look, but the shopping centre just looks like a cinema having a big hollywood premiere. Oddly, tons of children need to get to the police station though so I figure pretty early on that the place with the giant shield is where I need to go when they ask... And a lot of kids NEED to get to the police station.

Tamsoft entering the next generation with style. (The thumbnail for the first video I linked here was too much for even me.)

When the day is over you'll return back to Ogawara and give him the money you have made. On "DAY FIRST!" I made 10,425 Yen which is I assume is pretty respectable because my taxi gets installed with a speed upgrade that makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. There are limited options here, but I save my game and continue onto DAY SECOND!

I hate you so much.

DAY SECOND! is when things get a little weird. I mean, the gameplay continues to suck my soul dry, but the odd ET-like inhabitants of this world really want to go to some odd places. I picked up a school girl that wanted to go to the police station followed by a car exhibition, a small boy desperately needed to go to the bank followed by a hotel and a creepy dude at the shopping centre is all like INEEDTOGETTOTHESCHOOLRIGHTNOWDON'TSTOPFORANYTHING!!!! What he means by this is that I have to do a continuous drive without any kind of reversing or sharp turning. The objective arrow which often lies to you made me take a wrong turn resulting in the creepy dude jumping out of my taxi and telling me I suck.

Thankfully most people are pretty appreciative, telling me that I "drive so quiet" and that my "fast drive helped so much." On DAY THIRD! I really started to feel the strain when the passengers all became a lot more demanding. Most of them wanting me to reach my destination without bumping into any traffic and driving places really, really fast. An old dude with a school girl got really pissed when I nudged the scenery, telling me I drove like a senior citizen. Whatever, dude. I'm calling the cops. The next person I pick up tells me I'm really fast, but that praise doesn't last for long when a lady jumps out of my car in the middle of the road yelling "I'M INJURED!" I'm starting to think that this job isn't for me or the people of this city have unreasonable demands.

This is the box art for the never released outside of Japan sequel. And quite possibly one of the most questionable images I have ever made.

DAY FOURTH! came around. Ogawara tells me I have unlocked Dragon Hills which means I can now travel to an area with even more cramped streets and even more traffic to deal with, along with the increased demands of my passengers. Ogawara warns me that if I am bad at my job less people will want to get into my cab. As I'm driving around the new, twisty-turny area Ogawara keeps popping up on the radio to tell me that I'm getting worse and worse at my job and that I am not to make my customers hate me. Thanks for the advice, but THERE ARE NO CUSTOMERS HERE! After endless searching followed by a warning that my rep is both slightly bad and I have about thirty seconds to make enough money, I come across a passenger that wants me to drive back to three places in the old part of the city five minutes away. Fuck this, I quit.

End bit

This one was a pretty painful experience, like the last Tamsoft game I played (Paparazzi) there isn't really anything to keep you playing beyond the first couple of hours. It's very light on ideas with no real upgrade system or even anything to do other than drive and drop off passengers. The map is useless, the world is lifeless and bafflingly this is one of the few games that actually got a sequel, (Vol 109) although even 505 games didn't want to touch that one. What next? Bikes? Boobs? or is it time for the splatter?

Also... BAYONETTA 2 IS OUT THIS WEEK!

Thanks for reading and be excellent to each other.

4 Comments

Next Gen Horror. (The spoilers within.)

Laura is pretty terrifying when you meet her, but for all her shrieking, she's pretty armless.
Joseph and Julie don't quite understand how Mexican standoffs work.
See this corner here? The boss totally can't hit you if you stand there.
I bet the staff have never taste tested this one.
Nothing's gonna stop us now.
Where my skull?
Duck hunt!
Hardest boss in the game
Nope, not creepy at all.

Start the Conversation