By YI_Orange 0 Comments
I feel bad about a couple of things I didn't get to do justice, but it's time to stop putting this list off. There are definitely a lot of great games this year, but when I looked back through the year I was surprised to find that there are actually exactly 10 games I feel should be on my top 10 list. It made things easier, but I can't help but feel like I missed something. Anyway, here we go.
Her Story: I think Her Story is super cool, but I found myself just going down a long list of words rather than actually feeling clever. At a certain point this stopped being engaging. I found the conversation around the game engrossing, but the further I get from it the more I just want to see another, better one of those rather than feeling strongly about this one.
Invisible Inc: @austin_walker made me buy this game. I completed the game once on beginner and will definitely go back in on higher difficulties. This game is cool and I need to spend more time with it. The one gripe I have so far is that I wish your crew had more personality.
Tales From the Borderlands - I'm going to play you, I promise.
Rise of the Tomb Raider - Waitin' on that PC release
The actual List!
10) Super Mario Maker
Ok Look, I didn't actually play Super Mario Maker. My actual number 10 game is youtube phenom @patrickklepek. I've never been a fan of solo content, but I've enjoyed Patrick's Mario Maker Mornings more than I would have enjoyed actually playing Mario Maker. I love seeing the creations that come from this game, and watching someone execute on hard levels in a way I probably never would and giving them the commitment I know for a fact I wouldn't has been a delight. Through Patrick, I've gotten to see and solve levels that I wouldn't have if I had played this game on my own. I'm looking forward to more Mario Maker Mornings. Sorry Dan, but I'm #TeamKlepek now.
9) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
This is my shame game this year. At the time of this writing I'm only about 10 story missions in to the game, probably about 20 hours. It would no doubt be higher, but there's something keeping me away that has been to me, conspicuously absent in all talks about this game. The god damned pacing. When I want to do sidequests I either spend 20 minutes running across a desert or spend more time waiting for my chopper than I actually spend doing the mission. It's absurd. For how fun this game actually is to play, I would think they'd do everything they can to keep you going, but it's insane how much down time there is. I do really like a lot of what's going on here and find the tapes interesting enough that I can excuse the lack of story for now, but come on Metal Gear, work with me. The only thing that's kept me sane is my custom, era appropriate sound track and the joy I get from clearing out a base while blasting Iggy Pop's Lust for Life or something by The Misfits
8) Crypt of the NecroDancer
In a world filled with Rogue-Likes, this is one of the best. NecroDancer isn't only about playing to the rhythm of the music, but the rhythm of the enemies. Though I never finished the final chapter(1 hit point, dagger only, it's some shit), I kept going back to this game until something eventually pulled me away, and I still think about revisiting it sometimes. I think this is a game you really need to play to get, as playing along to the fantastic soundtrack is really something else.
7) Ori and the Blind forest
Ori and the Blind Forest is the best looking game of the year and one of the best looking games I have ever played. On top of the that, the controls are tight in a really satisfying way. I can see how not fully getting a handle on them could make the game extremely frustrating, but except for the very final section, I had no trouble literally flying through this game and it was a blast doing so. There's some rough goings early on, but once you get the ability to fling yourself off of enemies and enemy projectiles the mechanical possibilities open up in some really cool ways. I have nothing but nice things to say about Ori and the Blind Forest and you should try it.
6) Until Dawn
Until Dawn is better than it has any right being. When it came out and the consensus was "It's like a Quantic Dream game but actually good" I knew I had to get it. I picked it up, and over the course of 2 nights played through it with my brother and 2 of our friends. Each of us took control of 2 characters(I got Sam and Josh). My biggest knock against this game is that I think the best characters get under utilized. Sam wound up being my favorite, and she got her due at the end, but it would have been nice for her to get more time with other characters, as the interactions were no doubt the best part of this game. Mike wound up being way more enjoyable than he deserved after his introduction, but he spent the whole game being Nathan Drake and making quips to himself. Chris on the other hand, is a fucking dope. He's the guy you don't respond to, you just sigh. Ashley was all over the place, Matt was boring, and Emily the
worst best worst. Oh, and there's Jess, but she was dead(oops). That said, I did enjoy my time with all these characters enough that I really just wanted more. Can they remake this game but without the wendigos and murder?
5) Shadowrun Hong Kong
I played through all three of Harebrained Schemes' Shadowrun games this year, in order. Hong Kong was my favorite. Aside from some UI cleanups, there are significant mechanical improvements. As a high charisma decker, it was nice to have a lot more options for using charisma checks and etiquettes for talking my way through situations rather than being forced into a single solution or dialogue path. It really let me live out the personality I had developed for my character. Letting me play my character how I wanted helped to elevate the writing as well. The supporting cast is well written in their own right, but getting to have a totally different relationship with my slobby, immature, ork shaman and the sociopathic, transhumanist, human rigger and feel great about both of them was not something I find a lot in games with silent protagonists. There was no fear of needing to tell characters what they wanted to hear. If you like Cyberpunk or SRPGs, I highly recommend this series as a whole, it's some of the best there is in both genres.
Bloodborne should have been unquestionably the best Souls game. I played it feverishly, well on my way to my 3rd Souls platinum, but Chalice Dungeons stopped me. Well, specifically it was Bloodletting Beast, but the dungeons themselves burned me out well before I reached that monstrosity. I did beat the game once, and every day I think about buying the DLC and going back in, and I'm sure I will, but man those chalice dungeons are a slog. That aside, Bloodborne fits the way I prefer to play Souls games anyway, so the removal of the fatty build wasn't too big a deal to me. The blend of Victorian and Lovecraft is deep up my alley as well, making it aesthetically my favorite of the souls games. It's nothing shocking, but everything I wanted from a souls game. Bloodborne is still a game I feel very strongly about, and it being fourth on my list only speaks to the strengths of the remaining three.
Everyone is sick of hearing about Undertale so I'll keep it brief. At this point you know if you like this game or at least if you want to play it. I'll just say that I completed both a True Pacifist run and a Genocide run and Undertale is hilarious and touching and really something special. Megalovania.
2) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3 is an achievement in every field of video games except Horse AI. Roach fucking sucks. He never comes when you call him. One time, I whistled, and he spawned inside a locked house. Asshole horse. But seriously, The Witcher 3 is phenomenal from top to bottom with the only thing holding it back being the middle of Novigrad. I should say that I love this series as a whole. In preparation for this game I actually read of all the novels, which no doubt added to this game for me. I greatly enjoyed getting to interact with Ciri and Yennefer, with those being some of my favorite moments in the game. For how apocalyptic The Witcher 3 is, it really nails those small character moments in way that is rivaled by few things, games or otherwise. If you had told me even yesterday that this would not be my game of the year, I wouldn't have believed you. But it's not, and there's a reason for that. That reason has nothing to do with The Witcher.
1) Life is Strange
Life is Strange resonated with me in a way I could not have expected. I was in after the first episode, but after episode 2 I could not wait for the next one. I actually got up at 3 in the morning before work one day to play through the final episode in complete solitude. The dialogue is at times maybe a little awkward and clumsy, but hey, teens. For me, everything this game did worked(I was supposed to hate Warren right?) on a pretty deep level. Most importantly, Max and Chloe. I understand you can choose differently, but to me, this is a game about friendship. As silly as it is, that's a rare thing in games, and Life is Strange was extremely refreshing in that regard. More than that, it was executed tremendously. Chloe is fucked, and shitty, and difficult, but she's your best friend and you care about her. And for that reason,Chloe is also the best character of the year. In episode 4, when you have alternately Chloe, I was extremely impressed with how they managed to make her a different person, but still retain enough that she felt like Chloe. The attention to such small details that DontNod maintains through the entire series gives life to not only the characters, but Arcadi Bay itself. That makes even the most minor sub plots compelling and shows you dimensions to characters you barely speak to that you don't see in most games. Life is Strange tackles some serious issues and really asks the player to step back and think about themselves and the people around them. Life is Strange deals entirely with characters that are flawed in real and human ways, many people probably even have real life experience with people similar most of the characters you meet. Some late game revelations even make it reasonable to feel for Nathan, piece of shit that he is. Life is Strange is perhaps the most powerful video game experience I have ever had, and for that, it is my game of the year. Everyone should give this game a shot, either on their own or through whatever your preferred means may be. This game is going to stay with me for a long time.