In the year 2015, I managed to play a few games

A day and change left in the year, so I figure I might want to actually put this list out! If I wait too much longer I expect that something intimidating will fall out of the sky and demand I solve an array of challenges to actually get it posted- it's been the sort of year where that wouldn't be out of place. Expect some spoilers for anything that appears on the list.

List items

  • ~10~

    Rounding out the bottom of the list, we've got... this thing. I mean, in my defense, I am a pathetic sucker for character creation. In the game's defense, it was a lot of fun up until Super Saiyans got introduced and then there was a pretty steep dive in quality. Not unlike the show, now that I think of it.

    While that's maybe not the best way to introduce a game that's on my top 10 list this year, make no mistake: when it was good, it was very good. Punching and blasting your way through small armies of Saibamen and kicking Nappa's teeth in with his own attacks was oodles of fun, and I got a lot of enjoyment out of the general silliness of the story... right up until the sound of people screaming KAMEHAMEHA started overlapping 15 times a battle as ultimate attacks got thrown my way like it was going out of style. Those things HURT.

    Still, it's not bad, mostly. Whenever they inevitably make a sequel, they've got a good base to start from. Maybe just smooth out some of those rougher edges.

  • ~9~

    The character creation bug struck again, here. It helps that I enjoyed Xenoblade Chronicles so much back on the Wii- in fact, my main sticking point there was that I didn't like the main character. Getting to make my own in this game all but assured that particular issue wasn't going to crop up again, so I dived right in!

    It's a setting and story no less interesting than in the first game, though I admit I haven't progressed into the second half due to time constraints. Still the first Xenoblade fell all kinds of apart in the endgame, and it was pretty great. If this one's on par with that, I'll take it. They already hit me with a massive, unexpected plot twist in Chapter 5 that I felt absurd for not suspecting sooner, and I consider that a very promising sign of things to come.

    Could do with a few less party members though. Leveling these chumps up takes a bit.

  • ~8~

    They made Lady playable. If I could find a way to completely remove Trish from the game it'd be all I ever wanted from Devil May Cry.

  • ~7~

    That this game isn't higher on the list is entirely a result of my limited time to play the game. The more I do, the more I love it- and while I'm all but sure that it'll rate as one of my favorite experiences in my stories history of playing weird ass games, I simply can't bring myself to put it higher when all I've done is beat the ever-loving crap some street punks and drift around corners in a flaming taxi covered with Idol Singer decals.

    Though, let's be honest, not much can possibly compare with that.

  • ~6~

    Monster Hunter Lite, but with demons and a weird exorcism/dismemberment mechanic and infinitely more lenient with the drops. There are probably some better Monster-Hunter-esque games out there waiting to be discovered, but I had a lot of fun with this one and still play it from time to time just for the feeling of satisfaction that comes from lopping the legs right out from under a large Oni of some description and watching him topple over on his rear. Fighting giant monsters never gets old.

  • ~5~

    Fighting giant monsters is still best when you go back to the source, though. There are a lot of improvements, probably some on the technical level that someone who was more into the series could tell you about, but mostly I think it's a blast to leap off a cliff and ram a lance elbow-deep into some dumb dragon that's trying to fly off and watching him crash to the ground. Also, when that's over and done, you get to make said dragon into some spiffy boots, and that's always cool.

  • ~4~

    A few years ago, I didn't like fighting games. A game called Persona 4 Arena managed to turn that around. Up to a month ago, I wasn't a fan of team-based online shooters. The running trend here is that an interesting enough game will get me to play and enjoy anything, no matter my previous ambivalence about the genre. A gorgeous sense of style and a fun world also help a lot.

  • ~3~

    Metal Gear has always been a strange beast in my eyes. There are entries in the series I love, and some that I loathe, but more than anything along the way I've been excited; to speculate, to learn, to just experience more of this weird adventure through time and alternate history that seems like it shouldn't exist. I'm sad that it's finally over, but I can't complain about the finale. There were good times, and bad times, and at the end I don't think there's anything I'd want changed.

    ...except maybe to have Platinum make an action game where you play as Volgin. I'd be okay with that particular change.

  • ~2~

    Somewhere near the end of this summer I ended up playing through all three of the recent Shadowrun RPGs in quick succession; Returns, then Dragonfall, and finally Hong Kong. I had a bit of a hard time figuring out whether I liked Hong Kong or Dragonfall more, but considering that I absolutely loved them all, I'm not too torn up over the indecision.

    I'm not sure what to say about these games, other than "Give them a shot". I gunned down extra-dimensional bugs at the behest of an Elf CEO, threw fireballs at a horrific cult leader's enslaved spirits, and had a pleasant if unnerving chat with a god who, I believe, was roughly 90 percent teeth- and made sure that in each case I was well paid for my troubles. I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment.

  • ~1~

    Tonight's not the night for me to be writing about this game. I've got a headache, I'm fretting over finances and plans for the future, and I've had to drag myself away from multiple distractions just to finish writing this very sentence. There are a hundred things bearing down on me and threatening the delicate balance I've got going in my life.

    Life is Strange is a game that had me hooked from the first trailer. Everything about it grabbed me, from the art style to the music to the plot and setting- I get notoriously weak in the knees for modern fantasy and modern sci-fi. Which this is, I'm still not certain.

    I've got a checkered history with games that claim to take my actions into account when they form the story. Some I enjoy, and some I don't, but I've resigned myself to the fact that very few will ever really leave me in control until the curtain closes. I still wasn't quite ready for this one.

    In the final episode, the game took a hardline stance towards my meddling in the timeline; I'd orchestrated things (somewhat) expertly, I thought, avoiding antagonizing Nathan and Victoria, arousing people's suspicions about Jefferson, saving Kate and settings things up for what I thought would be a relatively cheerful ending. Instead, time was upset about my attempt at a fine-tuned history and told me in no uncertain terms that my storybook ending wasn't happening.

    A nearly apocalyptic storm tearing through a (mostly) innocent town seemed, at the time, like a somewhat harsh means of influencing my decision. Clearly the right choice was the selfless sacrifice of Max's best friend, to restore the timeline to proper order... only, I realized, I just didn't feel right to have Max turn back the clock and allow Chloe to die. It felt less right the more that Chloe advocated for it, in fact. Each time she said that the people in the town deserved their lives more than she did, that this would be the one good thing that she did with her life, the more I came to understand that more than anything else I didn't want this girl's self destructive tendencies to get the better of her, consequences be damned.

    It was an impulsive decision. In retrospect I don't think it could have played out any differently, because in the heat of the moment I was downright angry- at the concept of destiny itself, for forcing the choice and being so clearly biased in favor of Chloe's death that even she understood what had to happen. I accepted the consequences for Chloe's continued survival, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel uneasy watching Arcadia Bay picked apart- but I didn't regret my choice.

    It was a very personal experience for me, and one that I couldn't have had without the game ending exactly the way it did. It wasn't my perfect ending, and all of my plans went to shit, but I didn't lose everything, and I came away satisfied and, I think, better for the hardship. When I think of it that way, maybe tonight's not such a bad night to be writing about this game after all.