Jason Oestreicher is a video guy that does video guy stuff at Giant Bomb. He owns too many arcade sticks, scientifically ranks fighting games, and just wants to hold Brad's hand. Please enjoy his Twitter account which is currently lousy with adorable baby pictures.
I somehow managed to quadruple my plushie collection this year. I'm up to four now. Only one was an unintentional addition.
Video games were good this year. Remember last year? Whoo boy. This year brought us the Bloody Baron, the Kirkhammer, FULTONS, Mario making, a new(ish) Earth Defense Force, and flying cars. Truly, too many great things for this guy to handle, but if I had to choose ten, the list would look a little something like this:
This is a hotly contested spot! There’s a lot of games that deserve to be on this list, but RONIN earned its place by wowing me with its mechanics. RONIN’s 2D, stealth-based gameplay evokes shades of Gunpoint and Mark of the Ninja, but combat plays out in a turn-based fashion. As a result, zipping across ceilings, dodging bullets, and slicing up dudes becomes a puzzle, of sorts. It’s a really neat little game with a cool vibe that stood out and stuck with me since playing it early this year.
Damn, man. Settle down. Ok, there’s that Batmobile business. Yeah, there’s a whole lot of the same old stuff that we’ve seen in previous games. But I really enjoy that stuff. It’s my list. Let me like my Batmans.
The previous game left a bad taste in my mouth - an awful vomity taste. So, naturally, I had misgivings going into Mortal Kombat X. But some hands-on time left me very hopeful. Surprisingly, the netcode was… pretty ok! That PC port? What in the holy hell happened there?! But overall, MKX is an absolutely gorgeous looking game and damn fun to play. Truly, a worthy addition and one of my favorites to play in the series.
That’s high praise for a game that I ended up dropping only a few months after release, but I partially blame Dan Ryckert for beating me in a drunken first-to-five where he just spammed shit with Kung Jin. I really liked that game (and myself) up until that point. Dammit.
"A trick weapon typically used by Healing Church hunters. On the one side, an easily handled silver sword. On the other, a giant obtuse stone weapon, characterized by a blunt strike and extreme force of impact. The Church takes a heavy-handed, merciless stance toward the plague of beasts, an irony not lost upon the wielders of this most symbolic weapon."
As we sat down to the the Quick Look for Rise of the Tomb Raider, Brad and I got to talking about how good the previous one was. Tomb Raider did a lot of things right--clumsily at times--but was a surprisingly solid package.
But lo! During the Game of the Year talks, when the subject of Rise of the Tomb Raider came up, what line did he punctuate his argument with? “It out-Uncharted Uncharted.” He stole my line and I can’t even be mad at him because he’s got that Brad voice and also because, hell, HE AIN’T WRONG!
Rise of the Tomb Raider improved upon the previous outing in a few ways. Notably, by bringing actual tomb raiding back into the fold. Combat is still fast and loose, but with more freedom in how you approach it. There are even more crazy spectacle moments, but during the down time, you’ve got some interesting collectibles and points of interests to keep you occupied. There’s a lot of game here and it’s all pretty damn good.
Never have I frustratingly muttered so many foul-mouthed obscenities towards such a tender, touching, and visually stunning work of art before. I love you, Ori. But holy hell you’re hard sometimes!
I got Brad to play it for a bit. Drew even longer. That deserves a spot, right? Also, I played it for a good couple hundred hours or so.
You and me, Monster Hunter. For life. Those other guys? They’ll come around.
There are precious few gaming moments that stood out to me this year, but most were from The Witcher 3. My time spent playing as Geralt left a lasting impression. Major decisions kept me up at night. I felt a connection to the world’s inhabitants. The Bloody Baron. The Crones. Keira. Hell, even the seemingly random side-quests were full of expertly crafted stories and characters. In terms of storytelling and world immersion, especially in an open-world setting, The Witcher 3 is on a different level.
You’re a looker, MGSV. And man are you great to hang out with. It’s really too bad… I mean, shame about all that, you know, stuff with your dumb storyline. But whatever. You and me had some amazingly fun times this year. You too, Quiet--once we got some proper gear on you. D-Dog! Who’s a good boy? You are, you adorable little death dervish! D-Horse! Do it, buddy! D-Walker? Uh, cool machete arm, bro.
So, I played a little bit of that Super Acrobatic Rocket Cars Or Whatever game back in the day. Pretty fun, right?! When I got a chance to try out the Beta for Rocket League, I thought, “OK, cool. So more of that other game?”. I dismissed it.
I messed up. It’s so much better.
As it turns out, Psyonix has indeed adopted the formula from the previous game, but they’ve been busy making tweaks. Refining it. Playtesting it. Perfecting it.
That oversized bouncy ball is just the best damned thing. It plays well with newcomers and seasoned aerial masters alike. The random chaos that ensues when newcomers flail about often leads to the most spectacular moments. And, later, mastery over that chaos-ball and the cars that bounce it, leads to its own kind of excitement and beauty.
I’m using a lot of superlatives because I get all lovey-dovey when I think about Rocket League.
That game is really fun, guys.