The so-called Year of Dreams wasn’t just made of incredible announcements; it also saw some outstanding games being released. Among those was Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker which, as of the time of this writing, I’ve *just* finished, and Yakuza 5 which I’m still playing. While they could very well be at the top of my list, we’re already in 2016 and so I’ll probably leave them for this year’s list.
There were others I bought but didn’t get the chance to play yet, like Tales of Zestiria, Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam and Undertale, which I’m mentioning in case someone is wondering why they also won’t be talked about.
Onto stuff I actually played! First, Honorable Mentions:
It was genuinely surprising to me how much I enjoyed the first Hotline Miami. The twitch gameplay, the musical score, the look…each element by itself probably wouldn’t grab me but the way they work together is almost perfection. The whole experience, including the themes and narrative, gave me a sort of No More Heroes vibe (coming from me, that’s huge praise young game!). And much like NMH, I didn’t feel the need for a sequel but I sure would play it if there was one.
It’s interesting how HM2: Wrong Number manages to make the gameplay feel more varied and more limited at the same time. I guess it might have to do with certain weapons and characters being designated for specific areas. The soundtrack feels both fresh and completely adequate to what the first one accustomed us to. And this time we have more of an actual plot! I did enjoy the previous approach better; it felt more concise with the rest of the game. While in here there’s clearly an intention of explaining and elaborating on stuff. I thought it was good though, just have my preferences.
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is so good. And by good, I don’t mean “above average, below great” – I mean it shows quality in everything it has, and it has been improving with each game. The art looks gorgeous, both the portraits and the in game graphics (those blue boxes and font need some work though), the music is excellent and the controls are as tight as the game needed them to be.
It’s amazing to me how they managed to take away one of the core elements from the previous games – the genie transformations – not only to expand on gameplay possibilities and play around with our expectations, but also make it work as character development for Shantae herself.
Oh Metal Gear…we have quite the history don’t we, you and why?
Maybe I’ll relay that history in full someday, but for now let’s say MGS3 is my favorite, and that after MGS4 my hype for subsequent entries in the series got diminished. I absolutely refused to play Peace Walker on a PSP, so I did it when the PS3 version was released. And this one too contributed for the decrease in hype. Not in terms of expecting bad or uninteresting gameplay mind you, but rather in Kojima returning again and again to this narrative and I becoming more convoluted and incoherent by the minute.
So with the release of MGSV, my expectations were for this trend to continue, with my hopes being that I’d be wrong. In short, I had a blast playing this game, as the stealth mechanics and open-world elements were in such harmony that I actually felt really capable of improving and acing each mission. But then there’s the plot, the storytelling and it being incomplete. The first chapter by itself feels like a complete game, and if that was the game was I’d be disappointed but it’d at least feel like it ended as intended. But then we have a mess of a second chapter, with a heartbreaking mission in the middle that really shows Kojima at his best (Shining Lights Even in Death).
It’s a shame he didn’t get to end it exactly the way he wanted it, but I’m glad he’s finally be freed by what had sort of become his shackles. Even if a certain company decided to make the entire gaming community go #FucKonami in the process.
From what I gather, both entries in the Revelations series seem to be pretty divisive among fans. I’m one of those who really enjoyed the first one, in particular the boat sequences; such a great setting for this kind of game, makes you feel like you have no escape am I right? Someone will catch that.
I didn’t care much for the episodic nature of Revelations 2, as the first one was already like that and I would only play it when it came out in retail anyway, but the co-op mechanics did get me worried, sort of. I wasn’t a fan of RE5 and I didn’t even touch RE6, so I was truly glad when I played this one. I heard many people complaining about Moira and Natalia’s seemingly more passive role, but as I was only in control of them while my brother was Claire and Barry, he was in charge of the action-heavy parts and I could be on the support role. I understand that’s not for everyone, but it did make co-op feel more meaningful and genuine in some ways, and my experience was better for it.
Now, be honest – do any of you actually heard about a game called Undead Storm Nightmare, let alone play it? I sure don’t blame you, as I only found out about it because I have this habit of downloading demos of anything that looks the tiniest bit interesting. And this being a top-view zombie shooter, that’s saying a lot coming from me.
I can’t really say what it is about it, but as a whole this game is a really solid package. It has zero plot , but the controls work pretty fine, the soundtrack’s limited but gels with the action, there are about 3 stages and the Boss area (which become more elaborate and add more enemies each level) and there’s weapon upgrades and customization. I’m still playing it now and again, as it’s a fun distraction in short bursts. The 4 or 5 voice clips that the game has of clearly Asian people trying to speak in English somehow adds to its charm.
As I was compiling possible contenders for favorite game released in 2015 and such, I realized that I’ve already written a lot about each of my top 5 choices. Considering that, I decided to create my very own Awards – that are undoubtedly applicable to other games, not just the ones that earned them – and if you click them you can read my what I had to say about each of them.
Now’s finally the time for my top 5 favorite games released in 2015!
Right, right, now that that’s done, what’s next?
Damn 2016, you’re looking mighty fine already!