It may be 2016, but I’m still writing 2015 on all my cheques.So, here are a list of games that came out last year that I liked a bit and am still thinking about because I’m clearly living in the past.
If you were to glance through my collection of Wii games, you would see a number of rail shooters. This isn’t because I especially love light gun games, though. They’re just something the platform did particularly well. They played to the platform’s unique strengths and sidestepped its weaknesses.
Acknowledging your constraints isn’t a surefire recipe for success, but it does go a long way toward limiting the potential for failure. Had Square EnixMontréal attempted to craft a console-quality Tomb Raider game for mobile platforms, it might have come close. But doing so would have been an uphill battle, one where the best result would be a qualified response. “It’s impressive, for a mobile game,” you might say, rather than lauding it as a quality representation of the medium or series at large.
Lara Croft Go doesn’t attempt to do that. It goes with the grain, working with the limitations of a portable machine without buttons or joysticks. It distills the essence of Tomb Raider into a puzzle game with a limited scope and doesn’t pretend to do any more. It knows exactly what it is and succeeds on its own terms, working with what is has instead of trying to be something it’s not.
I’ve been playing a lot of Star Wars: Battlefront lately. I’m not entirely sure why, other than the fact it trades on nostalgia and I’m still caught in the penumbra of The Force Awakens hype. I’ve come to accept Battlefront as a competent multiplayer shooter, but initially I was quite disappointed in the game. It had me questioning whether the genre was something I could even enjoy anymore.
Splatoon is a beacon of hope in the dark, gritty, stale, banal world of multiplayer shooters. It’s difficult to believe that Nintendo, a company that owes much of its success to recycling decades-old formulas, to leave its comfort zone and brilliantly turn an established genre on its head.
I pray this is a sign of things to come for Nintendo and its new generation of young designers.
These days, there are so many games out there competing for our time. It’s impossible to play them all. I only gaveDownwellthe time of day because my coworkers refused to shut the fuck up about it. And I’m glad they didn’t.She may notlook like much,but she’s gotitwhere it counts,kid.
As a member of the enthusiast press, it’s sometimes easy to forget how small a slice of the gaming public are “core gamers.” Even though it seems like everyone and their brother has a PlayStation 4, I think it’s important to remember there are still a lot of PlayStation 3s in active service around the world. Hell, I know a good number of people who never moved on beyond the Nintendo 64.
That said, fewer and fewer games are coming out for the last-generation platforms all the time. And many of the games that are still trickling onto the older hardware are of the Japanese variety.
Because Japan didn’t take to the new machines as quickly as did the West, it’s created a sort of lag between the generations, which in turn has been exacerbated by long localization times. The result is relatively niche games coming out on platforms where a large part of the hardcore audience potentially interested in them has moved on. That’s how we end up with new PSP games in 2015.
I think there’s a reason publishers still put these games out on old hardware, though. It’s because a lot of them are top quality and will still find a market, or at least that’s the hope. Anyways, before I ramble on any longer, dust off that PlayStation 3 and find yourself a copy of Under Night In-Birth. It may have a silly name, but it’s hands down the best fighting game released last year.
I feel like all I want to do is complain about Metal Gear Solid V. It comes so close to perfection, but it ultimately misses its mark, and does so in unbelievably frustrating fashion. The Phantom Pain is both unfinished and far too long. It’s clear at some point there were plans for a third chapter, which Konami bizarrely decided to use as bonus material, showing off what might have been with work-in-progress cutscene footage and storyboards. And while it’s disappointing Hideo Kojima never had the opportunity to properly cap things off, I honestly can’t imagine that campaign being any longer.
Even without its final act, Metal Gear Solid Vgoes to extreme lengths to pads its runtime, recycling a limited amount of content to artificially ensure the experience far longer than necessary. While I enjoyed my time with The Phantom Pain, I’m not sure if I’ll ever manage to decouple my memories of it with all of the trifling bullshit it makes you go through to get to the “real” ending.
Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim
While Ys VI originally launched over a decade ago, XSEED Games re-localized the Nihon Falcom JRPG for a Steam release in 2015, allowing me to experience and fall in love with it for the first time. It may not be particularly new or innovative, but that’s part of the charm. It’s refreshingly old school.
Its predecessor made my GOTY list in 2014, and this one takes things to a whole new level.
I wound up playing a lot of rhythm games this past year, but IA/VT Colorful was my far my favorite of the bunch (sorry Persona 4: Dancing All Night). It’s a pity Marvelous has no plans to ever publish the game to the West, but at least it’s import friendly and doesn’t require you to know Japanese.
Ever since I lost a friend to World of Warcraft, I’ve had this belief that MMOs are intrinsically bad. They’re time sinks designed to ensnare weak-minded individuals with senseless, repetitive tasks, keeping players hooked while the makers slowly bleed us dry with monthly subscription fees.
So, naturally, I’m uncomfortable with how much I enjoyXenoblade Chronicles X, which seems to veer dangerously close to MMO territory for someone who has vowed to hate all MMOs forever.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky: Second Chapter
AHHHHHH!IT’S HERE! IT’S FINALLY HERE! AHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHH!
One of these days I’m going to finally make it out to Japan and it’s going to be glorious. But until then, I’ll have to make do with living out fantasies of romping around Tokyo with theYakuzagames.
I’m not sure Yakuza 5 is the high-water mark for the series. Yakuza 4 currently holds that distinction, at least in my book. But I’m always more than happy to hit the streets of Kamurocho once again.
Even though it arrived on western shores three years after its Japanese debut, Yakuza 5 was well worth the wait. Sega’s Yakuza Team does incredible work. I sincerely hope they never stop.
I already wrote some nice words about Bloodborne when it won Dtoid’s award for best PlayStation 4 title released in 2015. So, instead of delving into why I think it’s wonderful, I’ll just say it’s a rare game I’ve volunteered to help teach and shepherd people through. I think that speaks to how much I love Bloodborne, that I am willing to go out of my way to spread its gloomy, Lovecraftian gospel.