Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Games of the Year (So Far)


     2015 has been a great year for gaming, arguably one of the best ever. A few games stand out to me as the stars of 2015.

     The first, stand-out game of 2015 came pretty early in the year; Dying Light is one of the better zombie games out there and having never played Last of Us, it is my definitive zombie killing experience. The smooth, parkour-based movement really makes the navigation fun and the satisfying feeling of slicing a zombie in half with EXPcalibur is gruesome but awesome. The release date (Jan 27) helped this game stand out in an otherwise slow time of year. This game was just too long and the story was somewhat meh, along with a few other minor gripes I had with gameplay, these are the only downsides.

     Second on my list is the game that sold me a WiiU. Super Mario Maker is exactly what it sounds like, make your Mario level in the way you envision it. The easy-to-use design interface makes level creating fun, like the little things you can do to change enemies, like making them bigger by dragging a mushroom on to them, or stacking them to make a wall of Goombas. You can go all out and make a level filled with flying Koopas and giant Goombas bouncing off hundreds of springs, or you can make a level that is reminiscent of classic Mario games. This game is not perfect, though; the inability to filter out some types of levels makes the 10 or 100 Mario challenge somewhat frustrating, and you can't make classic Mario games (though you can try to build upon or replicate some).


     My next game will be a lot of outlet's Game of the Year (not mine for sure, though, I still have a lot to play) and is well deserving of the title. Hell, it might even be some people's Game of the Decade. This game is really fun, the stealth mechanics are tight, and the mission freedom makes for awesome strategies and different ways to beat. Emergent gameplay in this game is unmatched by anything out right now, and the endless combinations of gear and companions allow for taking a different approach to every mission. It felt a little grind-y, though, and it's having trouble keeping me in.


      The Witcher 3 is CD Projekt Red's crowning jewel. An expansive RPG with seemingly endless side quests and a great story backed by 2 other games and a few books. The characters are great, and even the city commoners have something to say about Geralt. The Ciri portions of the story added a different, quicker style of gameplay, and just when I was getting tired of the Geralt slow, methodical combat, a Ciri part would pop up. The deep, methodical combat is another reason this game stands out among the rest of the 2015 releases, but this game struggled to keep me in, and the skill tree seems to lack any truly meaningful skills.


     But, Devin, this game released in 2014! I know this, but The Taken King is a true reinventing of the skeleton of a game that was Destiny. Destiny 2.0 revamps the loot systems, missions, and UI. It added a ton of new content, including a new race, weapons, public events, a new area, new strikes, and a new raid. TTK is what Destiny should've been at launch, it comes with a lot of welcomed changes, and is as fun as always, the gunplay is truly unmatched by any other shooter on the market now. 

     Bloodborne, as of right now, is tied with The Taken King, mainly because once I beat Bloodborne for the first time, I felt no need to go and play NG+ like I did with Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2. Other than that, Bloodborne is really a masterpiece. The 3rd person action gameplay is better than anything else out there, it is fast and responsive. The trick weapons are really cool and add a depth to combat, as well. Enemy and boss design are terrifyingly awesome, and area design is ingenious, it is more comparable to Dark Souls, where there are interconnected areas and shortcuts that you wouldn't expect. I really look forward to getting the DLC in November. 

Honorable Mentions:
Shovel Knight: Though it came out last year, this year is when I played it on PS4 and Vita. A really good homage to classic action platformers. Its soundtrack is also fantastic

Apotheon: I've played a little bit of the story, but couldn't find the time to play more in depth. The local multiplayer is great, though.

King's Quest (Part 1): A fun puzzle/exploration game, great dialog and personality, albeit a little frustrating at times (I kind of suck at puzzle games, though.).

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