By N7 11 Comments
VIDEO GAMES. Boy aren't they great? Know what's even better? LISTS OF THE BEST VIDEO GAMES.
Hi, I'm N7. Thanks for joining me. I'm here for just that; lists and video games.
Before we begin, let's take a minute to remember the shittiest year of them all: 2013. It had some pretty great games, some pretty not-so-great games, but most of all, it was filled with heartbreak and disappointment. It seemed like just when 2013 couldn't get any worse, it, like dinosaurs(Apparently), found a way. Let's take a moment of silence to remember 2013 the only way it should be remembered: A giant pile of shit topped with more shit.
Now that that is out of the way, let's get to it.
Believe me, I am just as surprised. I was all but ready to hate this game since it was announced. A watered down Splinter Cell experience set to appeal to an even broader scope of people, least of all Splinter Cell fans? And no more Michael Ironside? Certainly a tough sell, for voice actors and me alike.
I was immediately taken aback by the flow of gameplay. The controls were so tight and responsive and Sam moved quick and confidently. It definitely gave new meaning to stealth action, but as I quickly realized, that is not a bad thing by any means.
I found myself lost in moving quickly through the battlefield, taking no prisoners and being too quick to take names along with them. By itself, the gameplay was rewarding. It asked nothing of you but gave everything in return. You could take your time and assess the situation, creeping around like a ghost, or strike quick and silently like the panther. It was so simple, but so enjoyable. I more often than not ended up replaying missions over and over again just because I was having too much fun trying new tactics.
The animations for Sam were a nice surprise as well. You can feel like a badass no matter what your play style may be; stealthy and lethal, lethal and loud, or just plain stealthy. Every slash of the knife, every fist thrown was tight in and of itself a treat to watch.
Because of this, I felt less intimidation from enemies than you probably should in a stealth game. I had no fear, bobbing and waving in and out of cover, taking down enemies one by one before their friends had any idea that I was there. And just like that, I was gone to the next area.
The one downside to the game happened to actually be the new voice actor who, for all intents and purposes, was certainly stacked against the odds. He seemed to do fine for most of the game, but had a lot of moments where you can see he was imitating Michael Ironside and it felt flat, like he was constrained and wasn't able to be his own Sam Fisher, and instead tried to be someone else's.
Regardless of this, Splinter Cell: Blacklist was easily one of the best games I have played this year.
This one shouldn't have been a surprise, but somehow that's what it ended up. After hearing all of the troubles Volition faced with their publisher going under, it was so refreshing to see Saints Row IV emerge from the rubble with as much personality as it did, even though most of the time it felt like it was relying on its predecessor just a little too much.
But that's no match for the sheer joy I found in both the gameplay and the story. The President of the United States of America, formerly a corporate titan, formerly a 2-bit gangster, is attacked by aliens and put into a simulation where he must rescue his allies and wage a Matrix war against his captors, to save his people, to save his world.
It's a concept as ridiculous as it is fun. The only thing I could think of most of my time in Virtual Steelport is how much they managed to recapture the feelings I felt from Spider-Man 2, in my opinion, one of the best open world games to date. In Saints Row IV you have powers, but not just that, you are powerful. The reality of the situation is, aside from how great it was to see Robocop's weapon as a submachine gun, or Deckard's pistol as a pistol, most of the time I spent fighting enemies were Superspeed meleeing them to see all of the incredible and overtly cool grapple moves which, by the way, did not fail to disappoint.
And let's not forget the soundtrack, which was pretty damn good too. But not only was it good, it was available outside of cars, but let's face it, no one drove in this game. Why drive when you have Superspeed? Let's not ask dumb questions, shall we?
Assassin's Creed III took the scene by bringing much needed updates to the series. You can now climb trees. You can now climb rocks. You can also beat the ever loving shit out of people. But also boats, and it turned out people liked boats a lot. So much so Ubisoft did the only thing that made sense, make a game about pirates.
The game starts off and you're Edward Kenway, a young privateer out on the seas with two goals in mind: Get money and fuck the police while you're doing it.
It was a refreshing change, since the prior games were either about legendary Assassin's or people struggling to understand the consequences of the Assassin/Templar conflict. Not this time, you're a pirate, you plunder and kill your way to the top, and no one can stop you or your ship, the Jackdaw.
Although the game starts off wonky, with Edward already doing what you would figure trained Assassin's would do(Climb viewpoints, accept Assassination contracts, stick to being stealthy), he does not belong to the order. It wouldn't be accurate to call him an assassin trained by pirates, since by the time you step into his life he's already a well trained fighter and ship captain.
But that's not what this game is truly about. It's about sailing the amazing(And huge) West Indies and finding ships to plunder. You can do all sorts of other things, like explore islands, collect sea shanties, which are little songs that you crew sings while sailing, even Assassinate whales.
The characters are quite dynamic and go through quite a few phases in their life, changing it up from the traditional characters that barely change(Like Claudia, Ezio's sister, who remained a teenager for roughly 40 years). These characters are dynamic, and evolve over the course of the game.
The game does have its faults though, like the lackluster combat system that seemed to ditch enemy health bars entirely, which require you to now go through the motions of attack, attack, attack, attack, attack, execution animation. You could hit an enemy 99 times out of 100, get interrupted, then have to hit him 99 more times. I ended up relying on my pistol because of this frustration, often times shooting enemies 4 at a time instead of wasting my time.
Another issue I had with the game are the lack of exciting animations like Assassin's Creed III. Connor was a beast, you can feel the weight of every blow that he lands on enemies. He makes it pretty clear he doesn't like them, and wants them dead in the most brutal of ways. Unfortunately, Edward's animations are pretty average and actually needlessly long(How many times do you have to stab them in the face, Edward!?) and flashy, but not anything to marvel at. You also do nothing spectacular with your duel-wielding swords. You almost want to make the argument that the majority of attention was spent on ocean exploration and ship battles, but you can never be sure.
There's not much to be said about this game that hasn't already. The Last Of Us does not fail to disappoint. A survival horror third-person shooter with a wonderfully crafted story, it was a refreshing change of pace from traditional "GO TO RUSSIA AND SHOOT NUKES AND SAVE THE DAY AND SAVE AMERICA" storyline so prevalent today.
It was solid to control, it had a lot of original ideas behind it to not only make the story incredible, but the gameplay as well. A main character that's not the best marksmen on the planet? A cinematic gameplay experience that creates situations you sometimes can't predict or plan ahead for. Enemies hear the click of your pistol when you are out of ammo, they use communication to overwhelm you, and they will beg for their life when the tables turn. Not to mention your helpful A.I partner, Ellie, who will actually throw bricks and bottles to distract enemies for you, and stab them with her pocket knife to help you in a pinch. It wasn't without flaws, but what great game is? Regardless of that, it all came together in a smorgasbord of atmosphere.
The multiplayer was probably the biggest surprise of all. You'd almost expect a watered down action oriented version of the singleplayer experience, but it was just as rooted in stealth, crafting and teamwork as you'd come to see in the story.
The supply system made sure it could carry the same dreary dread from the singleplayer, requiring you to get a certain amount of supplies to grow your camp, and if you fail to get the required amount, your people start to get sick and even die. It didn't mean anything important in the long run, aside from cosmetic unlocks, but it certainly made sure every battle was just as tense as it needed to be. And I was really into that.
While The Last Of Us was one of my absolute favorites not only this year, but arguably this generation, my absolute favorite game of the year must go to the one, the only...
Game Of The Year
So long ago, there existed a game called Dragon Quest VIII: Journey Of The Cursed King, and it was easily my favorite RPG of all time. It had charm and as much personality as you could poke a stick with. Also the art was provided by Akira Toriyama which blew my underage mind.
Ever since then I have been waiting for an RPG to blow me away just like it did. I thought White Knight Chronicles could have been the answer to that, another Level-5 game, but it wasn't quite it. In fact, I didn't even really like that game. But many years later, Ni No Kuni was released and it blew me away.
A story that's light of heart, but not afraid to get pretty dark, the gameplay was much of Pokemon by way of Final Fantasy 11. Its combat is real time, but instead of fighting yourself, your main objective is to use little creatures named Familiars. But let's face it, they are Pokemon. They exist, they can evolve 3 times, and you can name them.
The combat system is as much about acting as it reacting. Always putting in or taking out one of your familiars to assess and address the situation, to ensure you are getting the best of your enemies.
As you fight, you can level them or yourself up, learning new skills and pushing them further along their evolutionary path, making them bigger and stronger.
It was a mishmash of gameplay that I've never seen before, and it works so well. Even better, the characters and the world surrounding it.
I had no expectations on what to find when I got my hands on this game. I had nothing. I was interested in an RPG at the time and decided to pick it up. And I am glad I did, because it left an impression on me, and makes me really excited to see what Level-5 can do with a sequel, maybe even on PS4.
That's my list. Thanks for reading. I really liked these games, and I hope you did too! (: