Alright, I get to stretch my legs a bit and rave about what games I played the hell out of this year. It was a toss up between Lightning Returns, Fable Anniversary, and my extra overflow but I think in the end I’ve whittled it down to my faves. Admittedly, the only one I’ve not finished out of this entire list is Child of Light, but I have played several hours and it really impressed me from an artistic view. I’ll stop waffling on. I’m going to talk a little about each game and why it’s on my top ten list if that’s okay? It’s not? Oh well, too bad. You’re stuck with me. Presented for your Nation’s approval are my GOTY nominees.
10. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
So I have never been a big fan of the whole idea of cybernetically enhanced Raiden. I preferred the Raiden that Hideo trolled all of the fans with years ago in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. That being said, I do love my sci-fi, and games like this that end you with one false move really appeal to me. It was challenging, but not too challenging. The references to previous games were nice and let’s face it. Fighting Metal Gear Ray was f*****g awesome! The plot is crazy idiotic and never takes itself seriously, but we’d have it no other way.
9. Child of Light
Elegant and light. Truly if ever a game was art, it would be this. Surprisingly simple but deep combat system for a game that is effectively a “baby’s first role playing game.” The puzzles are fun and not too challenging. Exploring is truly an experience in itself. The difficulty doesn’t seem too unbearable but it is just breathtaking in its presentation. Truly a marvel. Now I should find the time to finish it!
A game that most felt was trying too hard to be edgy or cool with its obvious memes and quaint jokes. While the characters of the game are amazingly genre savvy, they are still lovable. Incredibly dorky in its plot and presentation, and with a soundtrack I really need to get my hands on, Sunset Overdrive remembers the most important thing about games: the fun. Grinding and wall running and bouncing, shooting and stomping the different factions never get old. Not even once you’ve collected all the collectibles, made every amp, and leveled up every overdrive. My one complaint was that I could never get Chaos Squad to work. Like the bastard polygamy-fueled child of the Saints Row series, Infamous, and Jet Grind Radio, this game is insanely stupid and that’s part of its crazy charm.
7. Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea 2
Okay, so while not technically a game, it’s my list and I felt it was important enough to deserve a mention. With gameplay far improved beyond part one, this game saw you taking on the role of Elizabeth. Rather than Booker’s fast hand, bare knuckled duking she takes a rather relaxed approach. Fighting is not one of Elizabeth’s strengths, but that’s okay because it made for one hell of a stealth game. With a plot that wrapped back around on itself and found it’s end back at the beginning, it blew the entire Bioshock franchise wise open and I sincerely loved every second of it.
6. Deus Ex Human Revolution: Director’s Cut
More of Human Revolution can never be a bad thing, right? With improved boss fights, better textures, and all the DLC lined up to make sense, it’s a no-brainer why this stealth shooter is on my list. Superior to the 2011 release in every way, this prequel to the first Deus Ex will be considered worthy by all fans. Despite my love for Invisible War, even I have to concede that Human Revolution is better. Four stars!
A stealth game with a difference. You are tasked with the story of investigating the rumors surrounding Mount Massive Asylum’s experimentation on patients. Armed with only a few batteries and your video camera, you are there to record the entire ordeal. You have no weapons, but you can run and hide. You’ll encounter many fearsome foes in this sci-fi horror that will leave you begging for more by the end. Red Barrel is definitely an indie studio worth keeping an eye on.
4. The Evil Within
What is there to say? This strange mixture of stealth and survival horror is strangely satisfying, no matter how many times you manage to sneak up behind a guy and drive the blade into his skull. With some truly macabre and horrifying visuals, Evil Within easily made my skin crawl. While the game itself isn’t all that creepy, the stealth is actually pretty decent. Think Splinter Cell meets Dead Space and you’re getting somewhat warm. Sadly, the characters were unlikable, to the point not even Jennifer Carpenter could save it. I did, however, enjoy the A plot. It’s just a real shame that B plot never got answered from Sebastian’s past. Still right up my alley though. A for effort!
3. Grand Theft Auto V
I’m sure this will likely be on everyone’s list but it truly is a great game. Even better with the first-person perspective. While the controversial sex scenes are pretty lame and not worth all the hubbub it’s still a solid title. It has two of the most likable characters since Vice City and even manages to capture some of that crazy Miami slaughter a la Tommy Vercetti. never thought there’d be a game as fun as Vice City again. Glad Rockstar proved me wrong. Rockstar, this well and truly makes up for GTA IV, way to go! while GTA Online kind of blows right now, with any luck the heists will be worth the wait.
In space, no one can hear you redeem. Or so everyone expected to be the case when Isolation was first announced. This game nails it. Everything I could ever want in a sci-fi horror: stealth, tension, and actual fear I’ve not experienced in years. You can hold your breath if you like, but it won’t help. If the xeno sees you, you are toast. That’s not your only obstacle though. You’ll have an assortment of tools to help you deal with rioters and malfunctioning androids who look downright creepy. Next time you have a panic attack and someone tells you “you are being hysterical”, you will get flashbacks from your PTSD. The creepiest sci-fi horror from a series we all thought had long run out of ideas and with an aesthetic so true to the film you will cry. I know I did. This one very nearly got my Game of the Year, but sadly due to the ending it was beaten out by…
1. Dark Souls II
Number one. Still my Game of the year as I called it back a few months ago. Sadly not as good as the first game in execution or scenery but still full of that magic that makes the Souls series so enjoyable. Frustratingly challenging at times, with much trial and error. The bad part? Enemies only respawn 15 times. Once you farm an area, they’re gone. This also applies to if you continually die and forfeit all your souls. You either get good or this game will have it’s way with you. With some unimaginative recycled bosses from Dark Souls, the sequel still manages to have an identity of its own. Silently hinting at a far deeper story involving Manus and those who came before, there are enough tidbits that will have you constantly trying to piece together the canon. Trust me — if you’re willing to dig, Dark Souls II is in every way a worthy sequel, but the original still remains the best. Here’s hoping that Bloodborne will continue the amazing From Software legacy in March 2015.
That’s it from me for today. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and we will see you guys again next year, bigger and better! As always if you want to continue to hear me ramble or just like what we do here at the Nation, feel free to hunt us down and gut us via Twitter.