As Back to the Future has taught us, 2015 was a good year to measure expectations from the past. Many of those wishes have come true in the realm of technology, and video games have not disappointed in this regard. I would like to share some games this year that had an impact on me personally, not the best games ever made, but those that I will be hard pressed to forget.
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)
I am coming to the Nintendo party much later than others, and have only fairly recently started playing on a 3DS. But, with the sage advice of a friend (Gillman) I picked up MHU 4 after hearing so much about this wonderful series. Apparently I chose well, as even more experienced gamers consider MHU 4 the best of the bunch, and I was certainly wowed by the addiction that then plagued my waking hours.
From starting as a complete n00b, then rising to an elite monster slayer it was evident that my enthrallment was in full swing always saying “one monster more”. The gameplay while so simple was just so much fun and the graphics and 3D make it a marvel to look at. The game that focuses so much on “boss” battles seemed like such a weird choice to me, but by the end, I could see that this was the best choice. Bosses are a great measurement of skill and growth in any game, so this was the next logical step to make the whole game about “bosses” and it paid off in spades.
As a hardcore anime nerd, there was no way that I was not going to at least check this new DBZ game out. I have played many DragonBall games in the past, with varying degrees of satisfaction, but this was the first one in a long time to not just meet my needs, but exceed them.
Great graphics were just the starting point for this success, as it really put you in the driver’s seat of your own story set squarely in the middle of the DragonBall universe. After the recent resurgence of DBZ fandom after the “Battle of Gods” movie, it would have been easy to make a quick cash grab for older and newer fans but this was clearly made with the intention of being great.
With a huge roster, cool fighting system, and great character creation, this allows for some great freedom in a series of games known for their formulaic stories and gameplay. Original animations, a cool new villain, and some great “what if” stories thrown in this has made this the DragonBall game to beat for the future.
If someone had told me that I would like a game based on soccer I would have told them to go and never come back, but never have I been so wrong. This could be summarized as just “soccer with cars” but that really wouldn’t do it justice. Not just normal cars are used, but every vehicle has the same jumping abilities as the Mach 5 from Speed Racer with the jet of an SR71 Blackbird. This makes of some incredibly varied movements and amazing last minute saves to stop a goal.
With a solid multiplayer matchmaking system, awesome soundtrack, and great replays after every score this game comes off as watching a real match on TV that you magically have control of. Becoming an E-Sport only 3 days after its release, it is clear that this game will be around for quite a while and with its cross-platform multiplayer it will make everyone happy.
Adventure games had fallen by the way side for so long when I was growing up that I never had high hopes for a revival. But recently, mostly due to Telltale Games, there has been such a resurgence based on popular television shows and games which melds those worlds together to make something greater than the sum of its parts. The Borderlands series is great in its own right, but now there’s a whole new audience that loves a different gameplay option playing a game that is set perfectly in the Borderlands mythos.
This game is charming, hilarious, and fits perfectly in the setting on which it is based. Your decisions are not easy, and each one has its own ups and downs that lead to a very different feel each time you play through. Wise cracking and dark comedy are the corner stones that make this great, and with the terrific talents like those of Patrick Warbourton in most of the game it makes every scene like some sort of interactive movie that you want to keep watching over and over. With its nice price tag and available on desktop and mobile platforms, this is a good example of a game that anyone can play, and many will love.
At first glance, this does not exactly give off the air of superior game design, especially with its choice of subject matter, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. From the creators of the equally bizarre “Octodad” comes another incredibly difficult to control character in the form of a slice of bread.
This seemingly cute and easy experience is quickly revealed to be frustratingly difficult, but in a great way. As bread, you want to become toast, and this gives you multiple paths of success such as a lamp, a toaster, or a stovetop. Using dexterity not normally found in humans, you can navigate around using each corner of the bread to reach your ultimate toasting goal.
This works on so many levels, because on the surface it’s a good challenging game that you can play by yourself and have a good time, but its real face is that of a party game in which you watch your friends suffer and scream as they try to do something that seemed so easy. Its price is well worth the price of admission when you consider just how much fun you can get out of this one of kind experience.
2016 – South Park the Fractured but Whole
The sequel to my favorite game of 2014, I cannot wait to see the joint creation of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone with Ubisoft create another South Park game that makes me feel like I’m watching an actual episode of the series. With satire, hilarity, and disgusting experiences a virtual certainty and a hopefully upgrade combat system, this looks to be a real contender for game of the year 2016.