This year . . . bad.
Here’s stuff I liked (all old)
Best Old Game of 2014
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Controversial Opinion but I like it more than 3. I loved all the new systems, the combat, hell even the story is probably my favorite. Considering every single game is “PMCs out of control” now, this game foretold all of that, and I think they did it in a better way.
- Metal Gear Solid 3: “IT’S GOOD!!!!!” <Big Boss eating a yummy snake quote>
- Fallout: New Vegas: I basically did nothing but play this game between December 2013 to March 2014. The DLC was particularly immersive, and I found myself spending entire months in certain sections. Any year where I don’t finish the Metal Gear Solid series for the first time and this wins.
Best Old Game Pretending To Be A New Game
- Valkyria Chronicles: I’m glad I finally got a chance to see what all the hype is about. I care deeply about my anime soldiers. It might take me another year to beat it with how long some of the scenarios take, but that’s a silly criticism when I’m usually having fun for all that time.
- Marvel Heroes 2015: This is a dumb game. I can’t even really describe why I like this dumb thing. But I do. It’s really compatible with watching something else on TV. Which I guess isn’t truly a compliment, but considering how many games fail to do this, well, it’s something. There’s a lot of variety to play if you want it, or none at all if you just want to close your eyes and click.
- Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire: I had a long internal debate as to if this counted as a new game, or an old game pretending to be a new game. It’s a tough call, because it probably would’ve been higher on my list of new games but in the end I decided too much was a remake to count it as new.
Most Disappointing Game
- Civilization: Beyond Earth(picture stink lines coming from it): Boring and bland. I can’t quite understand why this even exists.
- Shovel Knight: People told me this was this great platform that would remind me of Mega Man. Unfortunately it apparently is inspired by Mega Man 2, which to me is one of the most overrated games ever.
- Bravely Default: The demo got me really hyped. It was one of the better things I played during the last holiday season. Unfortunately the actual game was a lot less interesting. Somehow the Street Pass town was more shallow than the one in the demo, and the difference in the magic system was enough to turn me off.
Game of the Year
(This list goes ten to one. I point this out in case you use a browser that doesn’t support <ol reversed>)
- Bravely Default: It’s a bad year if a disappointing game made my top ten, but there you go.
- Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor: Some of the technical accomplishments of this game are amazing. I respect that, especially as some time from playing this has passed and some of the anger at how shitty the story was, even if you forget how disrespectful the game was to the lore. Ugh, I hate that I even typed that. I never thought that I would be “that guy.” But this was basically Sleeping Dogs: Middle Earth. Except the game would’ve actually been better if you would’ve been able to get in a car to compensate for the shitty fast travel. Oh yeah, there are some definite problems with the gameplay, too. Whatever. The Nemesis system is really what I’m acknowledging here, and I do think it’s worthy of acknowledgement, even when embedded in a shit game.
- Transistor: Ultimately, I didn’t like the story. The fact that they hid so much of it was a weird choice, but I can overlook that, because I enjoyed the gameplay, which meant I was already putting the effort in to unlock the powers that came with the story. But I just didn’t like what I saw. If anything the sword talked too much, or said too much that was not worth saying. This is weird from the same company that put out Bastion. Whatever, though, the combat is a lot of fun, and you can feel really powerful if you master it.
- Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft: I had a decent amount of fun with this, even though I don’t really like Warcraft’s characters all that much. I enjoyed the CCG aspect and thought the tutorial and challenges did a decent job of teaching me to play it. I got bored after a couple weeks of it, though. I mean to go back and try it with the single player content they added late in the year, although I don’t feel super motivated to make time to do this.
- Gridiron Solitaire: “Why is Gridiron Solitaire so high on your list?” Well, I grouped games on my spreadsheet by “Games I liked, Games I might have liked, and games I didn’t like.” Gridiron Solitaire is the first game on this GOTY list so far that I can say without reservation that I liked. It’s fun, it’s original, and it’s a good value. If you like football or solitaire, give it a go.
- 80 Days: This a pretty game, to look at, even on a small screen. And, it’s an adventure game seems simple on the surface, but has a lot of subtle depth. In a lot of ways it’s a throwback to the text adventures of old. It’s really enjoyable to play either sitting at home or while sitting in a waiting room somewhere out in the world.
- Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare: This is silly, stupid bombastic shootman garbage. But it’s fun, silly, stupid, bombastic garbage. The story mode is still trying hard to top what Modern Warfare 2 did, and falls short. But, it’s still something you could probably see in a theater without it feeling too out of place. The multiplayer has some nice twists to it that make it probably the fairest-seeming in the series (but maybe I just feel that because I suck).
- Threes: Threes is a simple, math game. It is addictive as hell, though, and inspired a glut of clones, and left game designers everywhere saying, “I could’ve thought of that.” But they didn’t. Good stuff.
- A Bird Story: This is a late edition to the list, so forgive the hyperbole natural to rating a game hours after I played it. But it really was quite touching, an example of limited storytelling done expertly. There’s limited player input, and it’s short, but I feel like the game had the perfect amount of both. Genius and art is often represented in restraint.
- Dark Souls II: I know some hardcore fans were disappointed, but this was my first experience with the “souls” series and I was really impressed. As I said in my review, I think people overrate (or oversell) the difficulty, or the “fairness.” But I don’t think people overrate the cleverness of the game. Everything feels like a lot of thought went into it, and the way that gameplay often was storytelling, was impressive. It’s a critique of the power fantasy, without making you feel weak as a player. That’s not easy to do. Although it was a weak year for games, I don’t feel like this was a weak winner.
Well that’s that. Hit me up on twitter (currently @slammermaster) if you’d like to talk about this.