By tamriilin 17 Comments
It's that time again: the time of the year when I break down (for precisely nobody) what my ten favorite games of the year are, and why.
This will be a little different than last year; I'm just going to run down the list and explain why I believe each game deserves to be here.
LET'S DO IT.
10. Papers, Please
I wouldn't really say Papers, Please was a "fun" experience, and yet it's compelling enough as a video game that I think I'll remember it forever.
In Papers, Please, the player is put into the shoes of a government worker at an immigration control office somewhere on the border of a fictional eastern European country.
Nearly every activity that the player performs in Papers, Please is mundane and is the very definition of "work." The fact that the game expects you to feel some sense of personal agency for this person working one of the most boring jobs on the planet, and then YOU DO, is a testament to just how brilliantly it is designed.
9. Assassin's Creed IV
After playing most of Assassin's Creed III and being very verbal about how disappointed I was, it was with no small measure of reluctance that I picked up Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.
The amount of content in ACIV is absolutely staggering. Even setting the main story aside, there is easily 30 hours of gameplay here. From assassination missions to capturing nations' forts with your ship, I never wanted for things to do.
8. Rogue Legacy
I don't normally go for games which punish you for incredibly small mistakes. When I do manage to play a good chunk of them like I did with Rogue Legacy and Dark Souls, they are some of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences I have all year.
7. The Wolf Among Us (Episode 1 - Faith)
Even though it's just Episode 1, and despite the fact that it's only about an hour and a half, I still really enjoyed what there currently is of The Wolf Among Us.
I enjoyed it so much that I reviewed it and gave it 4/5 stars.
When I first heard of Antichamber, it was alongside the mention of "non-euclidean geometry." I was immediately intrigued; how can a game built on Unreal Engine 3 defy every law of physical space?
Antichamber did exactly that, and the satisfaction from solving each puzzle is something that I rarely feel (and haven't since 2012's Fez!)
5. DMC Devil May Cry
I was never a huge fan of Devil May Cry. I enjoyed 3 and 4, but never really got very far in either. I suppose that's why I was able to enjoy DMC Devil May Cry so much: I wasn't super invested in the series already.
With combat that manages to be deep yet accessible, and a story that is simultaneously hilarious and engrossing, DMC definitely deserves a spot on this list.
4. Payday 2
There are usually only one or two games a year that I come back to on a consistent basis and play with friends for dozens of hours. Payday 2 is one of those games this year; I played it almost constantly for the better part of a month, and I still go back to it every few weeks.
"Now crack open that safe, it's probably be full of cash!"
3. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen
It may be that I just never gave Dragon's Dogma a chance, because I remember playing it in 2012 and thinking "Alright, this is just O.K."
After playing Dark Arisen for the better part of 35 hours though, I have to say that it's easily one of the best RPGs I've played this year. The depth and breadth of gameplay is massive; the main quest alone will run you 20 hours easily, and even after that there's likely dozens more hours worth of content.
2. Saints Row IV
I enjoyed Saints Row IV for many of the same reasons I enjoyed SR The Third: it's consistently hysterical, it's completely insane, and it never compromises on what exactly it wants to do.
The addition of superpowers to the already solid gameplay make a great formula even better. The only real gripe is that there's never a reason to drive cars unless a mission or side activity forces you to.
1. Gone Home
Games that invoke a physical emotional response like tears are an extreme rarity for me; by the "end" of Gone Home, I was crying like a hungry infant.
It's hard to put into words what I loved so much about it, but I was able to relate to it on a very personal level. Video games almost never do that to me, and Gone Home is one of maybe a half dozen that I've played in 20 years that has.