MajorMitch's comments

Posted by MajorMitch

Nice list Slag! Dragon Age: Inquisition is one of the main games from the year that I haven't played, but would like to. I just haven't had time (and won't for a few months yet), and also have a few concerns about the game's use of filler as part of that length. Do you think the game justifies being as long as it is based on what you've played? Does it seem to hold up?

Posted by MajorMitch

@slag: Thanks Slag! The internal debate between Mordor and Dark Souls II for that top spot was one of the MANY tough debates for this list, and the margin between those two games is very slim. As you said, Dark Souls II seemed to be judged fairly harshly for not meeting overly high expectations, but I don't really feel like much of that is warranted, and I had a blast with the game. My only real caveat is that it is the third game in that line, and is very similar to the previous two without being "better" in any real capacity (even if it's not much "worse"). So it's a situation of "This game is right up my alley as a design ethos I really like, and is executed very well, but it's also nothing different or better than what came before."

On the other hand, Shadow of Mordor is, for me at least, virtually the complete opposite. It comes from a type of game I've never really liked (open world action, particularly the Assassin's Creed variety), and in many cases I've felt like it's just a sloppy genre. I'm working on a blog that goes into a lot more detail on open world action games and Mordor's impact (my next monthly roundup), but the short version is that Mordor is the first open world action game where I genuinely enjoy all of the nuts and bolts of the moment to moment gameplay. Then the nemesis system is such a great idea that makes much better use of the game's "open world" than anything I've seen. Mordor is a monumental improvement in both execution and ideas over what came before, compared to Dark Souls II that's more or less staying the course. It wasn't easy by any means, but that's what ultimately won it for Mordor. Even if in some ways I still enjoy the act of playing Dark Souls II more, purely because it more closely aligns with my particular gaming tastes and values.

It is interesting to think how Mordor will be viewed over the years though. It's possible that in a few years from now I may feel differently about it, but that's too hard to project for the purposes of this list. Everyone's making the best picks with what 2014 gave them :) My best guess is for it being a Gears of War situation, where it sets a standard early in the generation with a cool idea, then later games (particularly its own sequels) continue to refine and add to that idea. That's all speculation of course, but if that is the case, I don't think that devalues the original much at all; everything has to start somewhere!

Posted by MajorMitch

Nice read Dan! I joked with my brother that Pokemon X/Y is my "real" game of the year, as I spent virtually the entire first half of the year planning and building competitive teams in it. It's easily the game I clocked the most time on in 2014, and I had a lot of fun doing so. Then I went back to school and haven't played much Pokemon since, but I kind of want to pick up Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire when I have time. I've never played any form of the Gen 3 games, and the updated versions seem like the way to go. Anyway, I know you've been really into the series the past year or two, and this is a nice way to acknowledge the franchise :)

Man, reading this reminds me how great Papers, Please is. It really is subversive, and I loved seeing how it reacted to everything I tried to do, and all the different paths you can take. It's a clever game with sharp writing and design, and deserves all the praise it gets :)

Posted by MajorMitch

I've played almost every Halo game (all but ODST), and each one I've played through exactly once, co-op with my brother. I'm not the world's biggest Halo fan by any stretch, and pretty much never touch the competitive multiplayer, but playing the campaigns in co-op has always been a good time. Reach was one of the campaigns I enjoyed the most too, and we got even more mileage out of Reach's Firefight mode. I thought that was a pretty robust and fun co-op mode to set up goofy scenarios and mess around :)

Edited by MajorMitch

@dankempster: Ah, my apologies Dan, I misspoke not realizing you had played the God of Wars at their original release. Given that, it's interesting the change in perspective after replaying. Those games are actually high on my list of older games I've thought about replaying sometime, and hearing that makes me want to do so even more!

Posted by MajorMitch

Nice write-up Dan! I like your honest, personal approach to award giving- looking forward to the rest! :)

I played each of the first two God of War games right when they came out, and feel like I was in the minority for being a little disappointed in the second game. When the original came out in 2005 it wowed me as a graphical showpiece; it was just well above most console games were doing. It's combat was also pretty fresh at the time, and the way it enhanced the combat with such visual brutality blew me away. It sounded amazing too (still one of my favorite soundtracks ever), and the story was no slouch as you mentioned.

It's interesting to hear a different take from someone playing both for the first time in 2014, and back to back no less. I remember feeling like God of War II looked and played almost identically, but had a much worse story, and Kratos went from a fairly likable antihero to a total jerk for no real reason. From that angle it felt like an obvious step down, but perhaps playing them back to back would highlight some gameplay enhancements that were hard for me to detect, given I had a two year gap in between (and haven't played them since). I should mention that I still had a lot of fun with the second game, and only felt that there was lost potential there. Keeping on that train of thought, the story in God of War III is, well... let's just say Kratos doesn't get any less angry :)

Posted by MajorMitch

@beghead: I also really liked the music in Wolfenstein! I especially liked some of the really gritty, dirty tracks like Prototype. That was one of the games that was right on the edge of this list!

Posted by MajorMitch

Nice list Marino! I really like everything on here that I've played. And I'll be joining you with Theatrhythm in my top 5, whenever I manage to finalize my list! :)

Edited by MajorMitch

Nice write-up- it's useful to see a detailed, alternate take on Inquisition. Given my lack of free time right now, I wasn't even considering trying Inquisition anytime soon, but I've been curious about it. Despite all the praise it's gotten, I've still had this fear that it is a needlessly long RPG that resorts to a lot of filler and repetitive combat. I got tired of DA Origins before it finished, and this game seems even longer, with perhaps even less interesting combat. Even if I had free time I'd still be on the fence about it, and your review makes me think some of my fears may not be unfounded.

@slag said:

I really wish DA:I had a gambit system like Final Fantasy Xii did, I think that would have helped the party AI tremendously. They kinda had a very stripped down one, but it's not nearly sophisticated enough to have Ai be anything other than a liability.

I've found myself wishing games had something like FFXII's gambit system on way too many occasions (Xenoblade Chronicles and Ni no Kuni being prime examples). It baffles me how that game did it so well, and then seemingly every other game has gone on to ignore it (or do a poor job at implementing something like it).

Posted by MajorMitch

Nice list Mento! 2014 is a weird year to try and make a list for... I'm going to have a tricky time myself. It might not get done until January either, as I'm going to wait until I get through a few key games left on my plate. But I liked every game on your list I've played, and how crazy is it that Wolfenstein turned out so well? Might be my surprise of the year.