Well, it’s that time of year again. All the game journalists are doing their ‘Top Tens’ and ‘Game of the Year’ lists and now I feel obliged to do the same…
Its been a long year for me, what with my PhD and trying to find a job, so I haven’t had a chance to keep up with all of the latest titles. My girlfriend bought a PS4 in November (pretty much exclusively for the release of Fallout 4) but other than that I’ve just been trying to squeeze a small amount PC gaming between work, work and more work…
Despite this, I want to discuss my personal gaming highlights of the last 12 months. As usual, these were the games that I actually genuinely enjoyed in 2015.
I need to make special mentions of Shadow of Mordor (which came out last year) and XCOM: Enemy Unknown (which is from way back in 2012) as I have found myself spending considerable time in each of these worlds this year. These were not just great games in their own years, but have kept me coming back and are truly great value for money (a rare thing in the modern games industry).
I only picked up Fallout 3 a couple of years ago, not expecting to like it (as I hadn’t gotten into Oblivion or Skyrim at all), but it sucked me in. And so, when my girlfriend grabbed Fallout 4, I thought I’d have a go to see what all the fuss was about. 30+ hours later and I’m now engulfed in this flawed and buggy but also vast and deep post-apocalyptic RPG. If you can see past its many faults and glitches, then this is one of the best value-for-money single-player experiences I’ve encountered in many years.
EA’s recent well-documented and spectacular cock-ups have allowed other, smaller studios to shine by making actually good games that might otherwise have struggled against giants like Sim City, and Dungeon Keeper. Cities: Skylines is one such success story; an intuitive, fun and engaging city building and management simulator that was everything Sim City wasn’t. I’ve spent many hours cultivating and managing my cities… which is a lot more fun than it sounds, I promise you!
I was with a mixture of joy and sadness that I received Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void – the final chapter of the Starcraft saga. The game just about managed to meet my expectations of greatness – despite the unoriginal and unimaginative direction that the story has taken in Starcraft 2 – and I am genuinely saddened to think that there may not be any more Starcraft (or anything else quite like it) for many years to come…
While technically a few years old, this year saw the re-release of one of the PS3’s biggest franchises: Nathan Drake – the Uncharted Collection. I was not expecting to like it, thanks to forgettable PS3 demos and negative comments by people like Zahtzee. But I should have known to ignore him as he described the games as “Indiana Jones as written by Joss Whedon” as if that was a bad thing! Sure, there are some dodgy one-liners and forced attempts at humour, and it doesn’t have much replay value, but it was still an enjoyable experience.
So that’s it for 2015. There are plenty of games that I haven’t got round to playing, but hopefully there’ll be time to catch up in the New Year. Stay tuned for more detailed discussion of the games above, and other titles old and new, in the coming months.