Tag Archives: best

Best Games of 2015

Somehow I managed to play 30 games that were released in 2015. That made coming up with a top 5 list a bit difficult. But, I managed to to do it. Here’s my video about the best games of the year.

If you’re not one for videos, here’s the list.

  1. Pillars of Eternity
  2. Ori and the Blind Forest
  3. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  4. Until Dawn
  5. Tales from the Borderlands

And since 5 is so few, there are a couple honorable mentions

  1. Stasis
  2. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
  3. Witcher 3

What were your favourite games of the year?

Best 100 Games of All Time

This week Edge magazine put out a list of the best 100 games of all time. The list has caused some stir. Partially because most of the games are really recent. Partially because as far as I can see, the list is completely without context or explanation. And partially because “best” is a totally subjective term and the whole idea of the list is stupid.

However… who doesn’t love stupid lists? So, I’m making my own. I dunno if there even are 100 games I can apply the word best to, but let’s try!

1 Planescape: Torment
2 XCOM: Enemy Unknown
3 Portal
4 Shadow of the Colossus
5 Mass Effect (series)
6 Star Ocean Second Story
7 Shadow Hearts Covenant
8 Knights of the Old Republic
9 Saint’s Row 4
10 Civilization (series)
11 Beyond Good and Evil
12 Bastion
13 The Witcher (series)
14 Dragon Age 2
15 Super Mario Brothers (series)
16 Quest for Glory (series)
17 Mario Party (series)
18 Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines
19 Final Fantasy X-2
20 Wolfenstein: The New Order
21 The Guardian Legend
22 The Swapper
23 The Pandora Directive
24 Tomb Raider
25 The Walking Dead s1
26 Batman Arkham Asylum
27 Spec Ops: The Line
28 Gun Nac
29 Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers
30 Final Fantasy 7
31 Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
32 Monkey Island (series)
33 Under a Killing Moon
34 The Fall
35 The Cat Lady
36 Parasite Eve
37 Valiant Hearts
38 Final Fantasy 10
39 Snatcher
40 Alan Wake
41 Felix the Cat
42 Divinity: Original Sin
43 The Longest Journey
44 The Blackwell series
45 Ori and the Blind Forest
46 Dead Space
47 Shadowrun: Dragonfall
48 Fatal Frame 2
49 Legend of Dragoon
50 Metro 2033
51 Dead Rising (series)
52 Dragon Age: Origins
53 The Dig
54 ESPN NFL Football
55 TMNT: Turtles in Time
56 Limbo
57 Rayman Legends
58 Fallout (1&2)
59 Theme Hospital
60 The Last of Us
61 Baldur’s Gate (series)
62 Wasteland 2
63 Her Story
64 The Stanley Parable
65 Braid
66 King’s Quest (series)
67 This War of Mine
68 Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments
69 Tetris
70 Pillars of Eternity
71 Star Tropics
72 Gone Home
73 Remember Me
74 Planet of the Eyes
75 Dragon Age: Inquisition
76 Alice: Madness Returns
77 Gran Turismo (series)
78 Mario Kart (series)
79 Bioshock (series)
80 Deadly Premonition
81 The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
82 Afterlife
83 Resident Evil 4
84 Loom
85 Zuma
86 God of War
87 The Last Door
88 Fallout 3+
89 Lost Odyssey
90 Heavy Rain
91 Child of Light
92 D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die
93 Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura
94 Sunset Overdrive
95 Spyro the Dragon
96 Until Dawn
97 Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
98 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
99 Murdered: Soul Suspect
100 CS:GO

Well, what do you know – I got to 100. Honestly, after the top 30 or so the order doesn’t mean a whole lot. And after 60 or 70 I’m just listing games I liked a fair bit.

What do you think? Any omissions (that are likely omitted because I haven’t played them). Any surprises?

The Best and Worst HotS Heroes, according to Pam

This is for day 24 of Blaugust

Here are my highly detailed and scientific observations about how the different Heroes rank.

The Most OverPowered heroes

Criteria: These are heroes that make me sad when I see the opposing team has picked them.

Heroes of the Storm - Kael'thas

Jaina – Not so much her on her own, but once she gets that Water Elemental she’s a real pain the ass.

Kael’thas – His ability to blow up everyone makes up for his squishiness. Once he get to higher levels he does a ton of damage. Paired with Jaina? Oof.

Kharazim – He does way too much healing for a damage dealer. Or way to much damage for a healer. Likelihood of nerf in next patch? High.

Leoric – Does way too much damage for a tank. Undying the most annoying ability ever.

The Most Underpowered Heroes

Criteria: These are heroes that make me sad when I see the my team has picked them.

Heroes of the Storm - Tassadar

Gazlowe – Gaz is really clutch at interrupting people who are trying to collect a tribute or hand in dubloons. Otherwise… I’d prefer any other specialist.

Tassadar – He’s kind of half a support, and I’m always confused as to whether I should pick a real support when someone takes this guy. Doesn’t do much damage or healing. He’s good at finding Nova and, in my experience, yelling at the rest of the team for not utilizing his shields properly.

The Lost Vikings – Does anyone play these well? Though honestly, I think I’ve seen them in maaaaybe 1 ranked match. Ever.

Sgt. Hammer – I love you Hammer, but you’re bait in a ranked match.

The Heroes Most Dependent on Player Skill

These heroes are wildcards. It totally depends on who is playing them.

Heroes of the Storm - Nova

Murky – Some Murkys soak up XP like a mofo. Some Murkys leave their egg in the base the entire game.

Nova – A good Nova is likely to go 40-0. Let them get to level 20, and she’s going to kill you and your entire family. A bad Nova rides their pony around for the entire game OR spends a lot of time shooting creeps.

What do you think? What characters make you cringe when you see they’ve been picked?

The Best Game Trailers

Fallout 4 was announced today and a teaser trailer was released. The Internet (myself included) is hyped. However, I didn’t find the trailer that great. I’m mostly just excited by the idea of the game. Trailers are just a marketing tool, but some of them are exceptionally well done. Whether or not the game lives up to the trailer is another matter entirely, though. Here are the game trailers I consider the best and most memorable.

Since we’re on the topic, may as well start with this one.

Fallout 3

Back in 2007 there were a lot of rumors of a new Fallout game, but nothing concrete until this trailer was released. I remember seeing it for the first time, thinking “Is this Fallout?! It looks like Fallout. Oh my god, there’s the power armor, it’s Fallout!!!”The Fallout 3 teaser trailer didn’t tell us much, but it confirmed that there would in fact be a game, and it would be set in Washington DC. No gameplay was shown (and considering Bethesda’s ugly game engine, that’s really for the best) but the visuals brought back memories of the original, isometric Fallout games and the pull back shots were used very well to slowly reveal the expanse of the Wasteland. It was set to the haunting melody of the Ink Spots and featured Ron Perlman’s iconic line: War. War never changes. This trailer gave me goosebumps.

Bioshock

This trailer had me hooked from the very first shot. First, it had Bobby Darin (yeah, I like old music). Second, at the 2 second mark, there’s this brilliant frame of a man, underwater and this amazing, illuminated city far beneath him. There’s a brief moment of serenity as we see the art deco design of this underwater world, and then it gets right into the action. Guns, magic, metal monsters, and creepy little girls raised a hundred questions and made me want to know more.

Bioshock Infinite

Yup, more Bioshock. Say what you want about the games, but they sure do make great trailers. By the time the third game rolled around, we knew what they were about. We knew about Rapture, and expected the same dark, underwater world to explore (and shoot the fuck out of). The Infinite trailer came along and gave something completely new. I love the way it teased expectations by having that first underwater view end up being the inside of an aquarium. Instead of Rapture, the trailer showed a gorgeous, bright, city in the sky. Beautiful, but clearly no less dangerous. I also really liked that instead of playing up the power fantasy aspect of the game (which is the direction the TV commercial took), the reveal trailer gave us a view where we were completely helpless.

Dead Island

This one is a tear jerker. Zombie games had a tendency to be more mindless action than emotion (this was released before TWD S1), and this trailer showed us that they could be something else. Could being the important part. From what I’ve heard (I’ve not played it), this trailer has absolutely nothing to do with the actual game. It’s unfortunate that it’s so misleading, but taken on its own this is still a really good cinematic. The way it shows a scene both forwards and in reverse until they come together in the middle is really well done.

Parasite Eve

I remember seeing this way back in 1998 and thinking – this is a video game?! It looks great and has some of the most memorable music of any of the games I’ve played. It features a female protagonist and antagonist. And dinosaur monsters. Final Fantasy got me into RPGs, but this game offered an RPG with more horror and sci-fi elements. I remember getting this game for Christmas. There were people over and I couldn’t play it right away, so instead I kept this opening cinematic looping ALL day.

Witcher 2

I loved first Witcher game, so I was excited when the trailers for Witcher 2 started surfacing. This trailer doesn’t even feature the game’s protagonist, but does give an idea of what the game will be about – killing kings (in case the title didn’t give it away). Really, this is just one of the most impressive cinematics I’ve seen for a game. Though notice how they’ve specifically went out of their way to not have to animate any hair?

World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

When I think back to my many years playing WoW, Burning Crusade is the era I look back on most fondly. This expansion was the height of my excitement for the game. I had started playing near the tail end of vanilla, and was just getting into raiding as this came out. This trailer really captured the feel of the Outlands and gave us a big bad to look forward to, who would be looming over our heads until we got to Black Temple. “You are not prepared” is probably the most memorable bit of dialogue from all of WoW and this trailer brings back nothing but fond memories.


How about you? What are some of your favourite game trailers?

Best Games of 2014

It’s that time of year when everyone writes about the best games of the year, and thought I’d add my 2 cents. This list feels a bit disingenuous since I currently own or want a number of 2014 releases that I just haven’t had time to get to yet, but I can only play so many games in a single year!

I think 2014 has gotten a lot of flack, as many consider it a weak year for gaming. I disagree. The beginning of the year was a bit weak – the PS4 and XBox One had just come out, and there are always growing pains and a lack of games to play on brand new systems. Also, a number of games that came out this year were remasters of games that had come out over the last couple years as well. But as we got closer to the middle and end of the year, a number of real heavy hitters started getting released, and I think the year ended on a good note.

So here are my top 6 games released in 2014.

Tomb Raider

I struggled with giving a best of 2014 award to a game that actually came out in 2013 and only got a remaster in 2014, but Tomb Raider was so much fun that I just can’t resist. Crystal Dynamics rebooted the Tomb Raider franchise with aplomb. We got a Lara Croft origin story that was thrilling and Lara herself got her best makeover ever. I’ve written about all the things I felt Tomb Raider did right from a feminist perspective but, when it comes down to it, Tomb Raider takes one of the top spots because it was just so much fun to play. Set pieces and quick time events sent my heart racing. I flinched each time Lara took a blow. Gameplay was fast and smooth with super slick controls. Taking out enemies with my bow, traversing rock faces, swinging down ziplines, all felt so natural. The controls  were so impeccable they actually ruined a number of other PS4 action-adventure games for me. I just couldn’t get into AC: Black Flag and Infamous: Second Son – where the characters moved oddly in comparison. I had to fight the controls to get Edward or Delsin to do what I wanted, whereas Tomb Raider made Lara feel like an extension of myself.

Valiant Hearts: the Great War

2014 was not a great year for Ubisoft’s big releases. However, in June Ubisoft Mountpellier put out a lovely puzzle adventure about love, survival, and sacrifice during World War One. The game puts you in the shoes of four different characters whose lives have been intertwined in strange and sometimes heartbreaking ways by the war. Though the game contains no dialogue, I always knew what each character was feeling, in part due to the excellent animation and music. Games often put us into the role of soldiers, but not many do it like this. Valiant Hearts is not a power fantasy, but a history lesson and an experience that makes us question war from an emotional and philosophical standpoint. It was really refreshing to see war from from a non-American view, as the whole game takes place in the period before America joined the war effort. It did make me tear up a few times, most notably during the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Valiant Hearts - The Great WarMechanically the game is very enjoyable as well. Gameplay is quite varied, yet still manages to fit into the context of the story. It covers everything from operating machinery to turn off chlorine gas pipes, timing-based movement to sneak between enemy patrols, rhythm based medical procedures, and car chases set to amazing orchestral music. A number of the puzzles involve Walt, a casualty dog, who can help to fetch items from tight places and find injured soldiers. And who doesn’t love games with dogs?

Valiant Hearts is one of those rare games that combine both fun gameplay and a meaningful story to give a great gaming experience.

The Last of Us: Left Behind

Left Behind is not really a game on its own, but DLC for The Last of Us. Regardless of this, it’s an amazing experience that deserves a place on game of the year lists. It was great to step into Ellie’s shoes and see her past, as well as expand upon the Winter chapter of The Last of Us. Left Behind is a perfect 2-hour gaming experience that did everything the main game did, but did it better. The pacing is perfect, the dialogue is endearing and on point. It’s not as action-heavy, but it wastes no time – every scene matters. My emotions ran the gamut while playing this, from pure joy to absolute heartache.

PT

I don’t play a lot of horror games, but PT showed me how great they can be. Though it’s really just a playable demo for the new Silent Hills game, it was one of my best gaming experiences of the year. PT created a taut, terrifying experience that delivered not just jump scares, but a truly unsettling environment and disturbing audio and visuals and wormed their way into my psyche. Perhaps it was partly the context of playing the game (I was with great company and a couple bottles of bubbly), but PT managed to keep me so engrossed and curious for more that I played it 3 times in a row. The fact that each playthrough was subtly different was just the icing on the horribly creepy cake.

PT hallwayI think PT was more successful as its own game than it was as a trailer. While PT was exceptional, I don’t have a lot of faith that a horror game can be 12 hours long with more involved gameplay and still be as compelling as this was.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

This was one of the few games whose development I followed closely before it was released, and I’m glad to say it did not disappoint. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a narrative experience that does not hold your hand, and is a refreshing take on the weird horror genre. It’s also one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played, with photorealistic environments that put many AAA games to shame, and a gorgeous and moody soundtrack. Ethan Carter is a murder mystery that hints towards a greater darkness. It lets you explore the beautiful world and solve puzzles at your own pace, while still managing to maintain tension throughout its whole 4-5 hour playtime.

Dragon Age: INQUISITION

Four of the previous games on this list are there at least in part due to their short playtimes, which created a tight and well-paced experience. Dragon Age: Inquisition is the complete opposite of those. To be honest, the pacing of the game’s first 10-20 hours was complete shit. However, the game more than makes up for it with its huge, deep, engaging story, wonderfully written dialogue, and sheer enormity of the world. While the size of the game can be a bit overwhelming, this installment of Dragon Age had a sense of place and a real, living world like no other. Once I hit a certain part in the story (which I could have reached way earlier if I had just left the fracking Hinterlands), I was completely enthralled and immersed in the world. The characters, from those in my party, to my advisers, to the people hanging around Skyhold all felt like real people, who I wanted to talk to and learn about. The addition of the War Table made me feel like I was the actual head of an army, who had to make decisions and delegate, rather than a lone adventurer who needed to personally slay every demon and settle every petty dispute myself. I sunk a good 200 hours into this game, and besides those initial 10 or so, I loved every minute of it.


 

Those are my games of the year, what are yours?