By GunstarRed 4 Comments
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.
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.
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.
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.