Favorite Games from 2017

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2017 was an interesting year for games. We got the arrival of the amazing Nintendo Switch, the PlayStation 4 got a slew of amazing exclusives, and Microsoft got a few exclusives worth talking about. Oddly enough, the year started off well, but then it dipped, because third-party studios couldn’t stop getting greedy, and hurting their games because of it. I mean, when you get to the point that different countries’ governments are looking into the loot box and microtransactions, you know you got too greedy for your own good. Luckily, there were enough games I played this year that were simply amazing, and were the most fun I had with games this year. Heads up, some bigger games are going to be left off of the list because I didn’t play them, or didn’t have enough time to play them. This includes The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Persona 5, Resident Evil 7, The Sexy Brutale, and I’m sure I am missing a few others. However, as a new goal for this year, I’m going to review more games both old and new. Oh, and this list won’t be in any order. Let’s begin.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

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In terms of pure shooting and story, The New Colossus was easily the best shooter of 2017. No loot boxes, no microtransactions, and while it had DLC, it was good DLC. It continued the story of our lead, and expanded on new environments, while keeping the gunplay and gameplay philosophy from the first game intact. While it might not have the impact that the original had, it was still a great shooter that I can’t wait to play again.

Super Mario Odyssey

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If I was going at this list in a certain order, I would definitely put Super Mario Odyssey as my favorite game. It just expands on the 3D Mario design in such creative, challenging, and entertaining ways. The levels are large, but are not void of activities to do like a lot of open-world games, the music is fantastic, the controls are tight, and I love the hat gimmick. It’s even fun finding each world’s currency to buy the different outfits for Mario. It’s one of the best games of 2017, and probably going to bump Super Mario Galaxy 2 off one of my favorite games of all time thrones.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

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While I think the franchise is starting to show some wrinkles in its overall design, I still really loved playing this RPG. It might take a bit to get going, but I liked the characters, the revamped combat system, and the world was still massive and atmospheric to run through. I wish the designs weren’t so anime-inspired, but it’s a fantastic RPG that anyone who owns a Switch should get. Oh, and it’s also refreshing to have an RPG with no seedy triple-A garbage attached to it.

Nier Automata

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It was fantastic to see not only Platinum Games back on top with their amazing action games, but also to see a sequel to an alright game be so amazing. The different story aspects are interesting, mature, scary, and layered, the characters are memorable, the combat is 31 flavors of satisfying and exhilarating, and the music is once again gorgeous. It was easy to say that this is one of my favorite games from last year, with no second thought to such an observation. I can’t wait to see what Yoko Taro does next, and I can’t wait to see Platinum Games get back on their feet.

Wulverblade

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While I am fully aware that they are making an easy mode for the game, I still found Wulverblade to be a fantastic beat em’ up. The combat was fast, brutal, and well-animated. It was also nice to have an actual story with characters to invest in. I just wish it wasn’t such a brutally difficult game, and it wasn’t tedious to get through certain levels.

Golf Story

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One of my favorite surprises from last year, Golf Story, was just an awesome indie game that came out of the blue, and won everyone’s heart. It was legitimately funny, challenging in all the right ways, and fun! In an age where we are simply getting bad highly-realistic sports games that are bogged down by corporate greed, it’s good to see a sports game with a personality and satisfying gameplay to boot.

Dragon Quest Heroes II

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I loved the original Dragon Quest Heroes on the PlayStation 4, and I had to buy the sequel. I still found the combat’s simple, yet complex system of fighting enemies fulfilling, the story was kept simple and not confusing, and the characters were all immensely likable. It even had an open world done right, which for some reason, Omega Force can’t do with their main Dynasty Warriors franchise. I wish there were less bring-back characters from the franchise that were in the first game, and I didn’t like the designs of the two leads, but if you want to avoid the panned Dynasty Warriors 9, then definitely check out Dragon Quest Heroes II.

Fire Emblem Warriors

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While I am not the biggest fan of the franchise, I found this spin-off delightful. It felt different enough from Dragon Quest Heroes II for me to put it on the list. Sure, it has the same fun/satisfying action-focused gameplay, but I also liked commanding allies to different parts of the map, and how they implemented the iconic weapon system from the franchise into the game. I know more hardcore fans of the franchise gave this game some flack, but this isn’t their list, it’s mine, and I loved Fire Emblem Warriors.

Horizon Zero Dawn

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While I get the critical acclaim that came with this game, and I did really love it, I didn’t like it as much as others. I felt like the story lost steam in the final part, the last boss fight was underwhelming, and while it was overall executed well, it was another open-world game. Don’t get me wrong though, this game does open-world design wonderfully, and I had a blast traversing across the land, taking down robot beasts, going through special dungeons, and being able to hack the robots to be on my side. It was definitely one of the best games of last year.

Yakuza 0

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I’m so happy this franchise is finally starting to get its due. It also helps that Yakuza 0 might have the most polished combat out of the entire franchise. It truly did feel gratifying to fight enemies in this game. I think what helps is that it ran consistently smooth, and the three different fighting styles made the fighting more interesting. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that we have a good story with interesting characters alongside the amazing combat. I definitely need and want to pick up a copy of this game when I can.

Snipper Clips

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This was a charming little surprise for me. I loved playing this fun, if somewhat finicky at times, puzzle game with my sister. We accomplished multiple puzzles with ease, and had a blast every time we played the game. It’s definitely a must-own for any Nintendo Switch owner looking for a great co-op puzzle game.

Blaster Master Zero

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While this is my first official foray into the franchise, I’m glad I chose an amazing game to get into. While it does rely on a lot of retro nostalgia, you also get a well-polished game that’s tough, but a lot of fun to play. I found myself playing this for hours on end, and I adored the additional characters you could play as. It’s another game that’s perfect for the Switch’s portability. It’s a game that I highly recommend anyone who loves retro-style games, but with more modern design decisions to check out.

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

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This was probably one of the biggest surprises, and one of Ubisoft’s better games of recent years. You can tell a very dedicated group of tactical RPG fans and Mario fans wanted to make a crazy idea work. Thankfully, it does! The combat is easy to get into, but complex in execution, the graphics are very pretty, and I found myself playing this game while playing on the go. While it is a bit lacking in content, and I wish the whole game could be played in co-op, there is definitely enough here to be worth your time!

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

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Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why so many decided to skip on this game due to some rather tasteless shock for shock value sake, and the fact Ubisoft is not a wholly trustworthy company right now, but thankfully, they didn’t do a lot of their business bullocks with this game. It still has a lot of great humor outside of the bad jokes, the new tactical RPG combat is complex and is full of gratifying combat, and it feels like a full-fledged game. I’m glad Ubisoft didn’t do a whole lot to this game, and I hope the DLC for it is worth my time. I’ll definitely have to review this game in the future, and maybe pick it up again on the Switch.

Splatoon 2

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While Nintendo definitely needs to be careful about how they handle this franchise in the future by not making this a yearly franchise, I still find Splatoon 2 to be a shooter that I have gone back to multiple times. It’s a lot of the awesome paint-shooting gameplay with new weapons, and an interesting take on the horde mode. I hope they don’t milk this franchise, and they improve upon the fantastic gameplay with a third game in the future.

ARMS

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While I am not the biggest fighting game fan, something about ARMS kept me coming back to it time and time again last year. I think it was its creative spring-arm mechanic, the fist customization, and the large amount of personality within each character. Sure, some players could simply button mash like any fighter, but it’s a blast to play when you are with friends.

SteamWorld Dig 2

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And finally, one that I wish I reviewed back when it was launched, SteamWorld Dig 2. While I love the original, SteamWorld Dig 2 is simply better all around. It has a larger and more interesting world to explore, a more interesting mystery, more fun gadgets to use, and it’s the perfect game to play on the go. It improves upon a really solid foundation, and makes a hugely entertaining game I recommend anyone get on the Nintendo Switch.

Favorite Games From E3 2017 Part 2

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

Welcome back! This is part two of my favorite games shown off at E3 2017. If you don’t see any games shown off on this list, they are probably in the first part of the list. Enjoy!

Star Link

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While the toy/game craze is starting to die out, I was honestly excited to see this action flight game pop up. While I have had my cynical reasons not to get into the Skylanders-style of games, something about this game, Star Link, brought out that kid in me that loved playing with Star Wars vehicles, and playing games like Rogue Squadron. I hope the price for the stuff is good, and that the games are fun enough to warrant the purchase of the toys. Still, I could see myself picking this game up for the Switch.

Beyond Good and Evil 2

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Of course, the surprise to take the king of the hill of surprises would definitely be the long awaited Beyond Good and Evil 2. It was probably the one reveal that is still being talked about in a positive light. Sure, some new info has raised some eye brows as to how it’s going to be open world where you will be able to create your own character set in a prequel storyline, and I definitely get the concerns, but who knows. Maybe after hearing some feedback, they will change course a bit, but I’m still hugely looking forward to the game. I’ve waited over a decade for the next game in the franchise, and I’ll be willing to support it when it comes out in a few years or so. Just don’t pull anything, okay, Ubisoft?

Ni No Kuni II

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While I’m bummed they took out the monster collecting element from the previous game, and that Studio Ghibli won’t be making any of the 2D cutscenes that were in the original, I’m glad this game got a sequel. I love the look of the world, the characters, and the combat looks amazing, since it’s going to be running at a full 60 frames, which means it will be a smooth experience. I’m just happy one of my favorite games from 2013 is getting a sequel. I can’t wait to put this into my PlayStation 4, and play it from beginning to end, like I did with the first game.

Monster Hunter World

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I’ll be honest; I really don’t care for the Monster Hunter franchise. I found the controls to be weird, and I didn’t really find the games that fun, but I always admired what they were doing right, and respectfully understand why so many people around the world love the series. Monster Hunter World definitely looks to be the first time I am willing to officially dive into the main game, with what seems to be a more streamlined or more action-oriented combat system, more tactics to hide from your targets, and more versatile movements. Granted, moving to the more realistic art styles is a bit of a bummer, since I always loved the vibrant colors of the previous games. Still, it’s probably the first time I have been really excited to play a game in the franchise, and hopefully, I will enjoy it.

God of War

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When this game was shown off last year, I was excited, since God of War is one of my favorite franchises, but the combat to me looked too drastically different and clunky from the previous games. Still, I loved that they are trying to make this a more story-focused experience, with Kratos traveling with his son and having to deal with the dangers that surround them. Even the combat looked better and more dynamic than the demo shown off last year. Of course, the game looks gorgeous, and you can really get a sense of scale as to how big this game is going to be. I can’t wait to get into another grand-scale adventure with Kratos in 2018.

Detroit: Being Human

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Yes, I know David Cage has a few comments that don’t make sense, and his games do have flaws, but I’m still looking forward to this cyberpunk adventure, where you will be playing a storyline that crosses over with a detective and a group of androids rebelling against human-kind. The game will hopefully go into some solid cyberpunk themes, and the story won’t be an inconsistent experience. I know there are some games that have done the David Cage-style game better, but I still like checking out his games, and that is no different with Detroit: being Human.

Yoshi/Kirby

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I’m always happy when I see a major Yoshi and Kirby game release, so I decided to put them both on the same spot on the list. I just like cutesy stuff like Kirby and Yoshi, and I have enjoyed their main line platforming experiences. First off, Kirby is just fun to play. I don’t mind enjoying a 2.5D platformer that’s just deep enough to be satisfying and yet, fun to play. I’m not always looking for a Dark Souls-style experience or want to be massively challenged and pushed back. Sometimes, I just want to play a game where I am able to play with friends, and have some easy enjoyment.

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As for Yoshi, I loved the last game, Yoshi’s Wooly World, and found it to be one of my favorite games on the underperforming Wii U. I hope it can be brought to the Switch, since it would work great as a portable experience as well. This new one has an interesting gimmick, where you can go into the foreground and background of the stage, and I think that could lead to some very creative level design. It might look visually similar to Yoshi’s Wooly World, but I’m fine with that. I think it gives the franchise a new identity. Either way, both games look promising, and I can’t wait to play them.

Fire Emblem Warriors

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I’m always impressed with what Omega Force can do with the Dynasty Warriors gameplay system. Time and time again, they have shown that just a few changes to the overall design could change up what many see as a tired series of games. It’s no different here, as they make a new action game with Nintendo’s Fire Emblem series. I like that they somehow implemented what made both series stand the test of time, from Emblem’s weapon system and strategy elements, to Dynasty Warriors’ satisfying combat system. It might be another Warriors-style game to some, but to me, it’s another must-own Warriors spin-off game that I must own.

Super Mario Odyssey

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And finally, to round out this solid list of video games, is the upcoming Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo Switch. I can’t explain into words why I’m so excited to see another full-fledged 3D Mario game again. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Super Mario 3D World, but it was lacking in what Super Mario Galaxy 1+2 had. Thankfully, we are back to form with Super Mario Odyssey, where Mario travels to different planets, platforming his way across, being able to possess certain enemies with his hat that is being possessed by a hat spirit, and you get the idea. It just looks like a fun expansive experience with our favorite plumber in red. Oh, and you can play this game with a friend, and that’s always a plus in my book.

Favorite Games From E3 2017 Part 1

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E3 2017 may have been an event with no real super-duper surprises, but I still found myself enjoying it, due to how many games were shown off during the event. Sure, some conferences were absolutely terrible, like EA and Bethesda, but then you had some surprisingly good ones, like Microsoft, Ubisoft, Sony, and Nintendo’s conferences were chock full of games and less about everything else no one really cares about. I won’t be going in any order, and will just be listing off my favorite announcements from the show. It was a tough decision to narrow this down to a palatable list length, but I think I did a good job. My honorable mentions go to Anthem, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, Riverbond, Metro: Exodus, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Deep Rock Galactic, Spiderman, Skull & Bones, and the Shadow of the Colossus remastering for PlayStation 4.  Let’s get started.

A Way Out

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Probably the one good reveal shown off at EA’s horrible E3 conference, the newest game from the director of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons caught everyone by surprise. I love the idea that you have to play this co-op prison break action adventure game with another player. It’s refreshing and different, which is more than I can say about EA’s entire conference. With a more toned down realistic look, some interesting gameplay aspects, and being forced to play co-op with a friend or family member, A Way Out is definitely something to keep an eye out for.

The Last Night

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This was probably one of the most visually interesting games from E3. With its use of 2D sprite characters, 3D pixel graphics, and cyberpunk neon universe, it was easy to stand out among the games being shown off at Microsoft’s E3. Now yes, I am aware of some of the unsavory tweets the creator of the game has posted in the past, but it seems like in recent interviews he has taken a step back and doesn’t fully buy into those beliefs anymore. However, we will have to see what happens, since I’m still rather excited for this cool cyberpunk adventure.

Assassin’s Creed Origin

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Outside of the really stupid $800 Collector’s Edition on top of the other varied Editions of this game, I was impressed by what Assassin’s Creed: Origins is bringing to the table after taking a year-long hiatus. I loved that it all takes place in Egypt, and how you are able to use a falcon/hawk to scope out areas, how you will be able to slide down and climb pyramids, use a more refined melee combat system, and will hopefully be ditching all sorts of historically-accurate stuff, since the trailer shows off that at one point, you will be fighting a giant snake. Of course, I do have my concerns with how the real end-product is going to be, since this is Ubisoft, but color me impressed Origin.

The Artful Escape

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This was probably one of the bigger surprises to come out of the Microsoft E3 conference. The Artful Escape was a Kickstarter game that arrived on the site last year, got some hype behind it, but no real praise outside of the game’s super vibrant art style. Unfortunately, it didn’t make its funding goal, and kind of went silent for a bit. This is easily one of the indie games to keep an eye out for, with its Yellow Submarine-style visuals and what looks to be rhythm or music-based platforming. Don’t let this one escape your grasp or your view anytime soon.

Super Lucky’s Tale

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It was honestly surprising to see a 3D platformer come up in Microsoft’s exclusive library. After years of not really doing much outside of the shooter genre and not giving non-shooter exclusives the time and effort they needed, it’s odd to see them want to publish a game you would normally see on a PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Switch. It looks like a really tight and well-designed game, with a cute cartoony art style, and some fun gameplay. While it might not be doing much to innovate to truly be unique while platforming, it still looks like an entertaining ride.

Unruly Heroes

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The Indie scene did not seem that big in E3 2017, or at the very least, big enough to warrant its own list of smaller games shown off at the event, because of how most of the big companies didn’t show off the smaller projects coming to their consoles. Unruly Heroes, however, looks absolutely fantastic. It reminds me of game made by Vanillaware, with its crazy art style and fast combat. It looks smooth, you can play the game with up to four people at one time, and it just looks amazing in motion. I can’t wait to get my hands on this indie title.

Ooblets

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Double Fine Presents definitely got some good buzz and vibes for their upcoming indie game they will be publishing, Ooblets. It’s an odd mixture of a Stardew Valley/Harvest Moon-style game where you grow crops, but then it turns into a turn-based RPG where you fight with your newly grown crops. Not only that, but it has some of the cutest art of any indie game at the event. I think it’s easy to see why Double Fine Presents is publishing this cute, yet ambitious indie game.

Shadow of War

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I was glad to realize that Shadow of Mordor, outside of the terrible PR disaster that it brought onto itself, ended up a pretty excellent game. I was a tad surprised and concerned when I heard there was a sequel coming out, but I like where this is going. I enjoy the new additions, like being able to recruit special generals and have their armies fight for you against other armies. It seems like the right direction. Granted, I am curious to see how this goes, storywise, within the overarching universe, but hey, when they give a giant orc-like monster a fun personality, it shows that they are doing something right.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus

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Just like EA, Bethesda had only one real reveal that was worth anything, and that was Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. I loved the original game from 2014, and it looks like the sequel, while dropping the question of how BJ survived the ending of the first game, looks to be doing more of what made that game amazing. It looks fun, looks great, seems to run smoothly, and hopefully, we will get another fantastic Wolfenstein game.

Mario & Rabbids Kingdom Battle

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This was probably one of the most surprisingly delightful games shown off at E3. Who knew Ubisoft and Nintendo could take a concept like Mario and the Rabbids, and make what is essentially a complex, yet more approachable tactical RPG? It might look simplistic, but simplicity can spawn complexity if handled correctly. It looks like a fun game that I could see anyone new and old to strategy games getting into.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

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I’m glad we are finally getting release date for this game. I don’t really have much else to say that changed over the time I have been waiting for this game, but it looks like we are in good hands, since it still seems to be building upon what made the first game great, still has a lot of the same witty humor, and the tactical RPG element will be satisfying and deep to play through. I guess I wish this was also coming to the Switch, since I could see this game being a good portable RPG to take on the go.

Stay tuned for part two of the list!

Favorite Games of 2016

game01 (If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

To me, 2016 in gaming was just okay. It wasn’t as amazing as 2015, but it wasn’t as horrible as 2014. There were a lot of great experiences big and small, but there was no Splatoon or Witcher III-style game that just blew me out of the water. I also didn’t play a lot of games from this year. I played some of the bigger releases, but that was it. It was yet another transitional year, where there was a huge push for VR gaming when it’s not even ready yet, Nintendo announcing their new console, and PlayStation and Microsoft pushing their new powerful upgraded consoles, and in my opinion, there were more middling releases than amazing releases. Still, I played enough to make a list of my favorite games. The rules apply to this year like every other year I have done this. No remasters, so that means no Day of the Tentacle Remastered, which I really loved, and if I didn’t play it, I’m not putting it on the list. That means I’m skipping Final Fantasy XV until a “complete” version comes out. I’m also not putting them in any order. Oh, and two honorable mentions go to King’s Quest and Stikbold since I want to spend more time with them before I review them. Now then, let’s get started!

 

The Banner Saga 2

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How do you top a great, if repetitive, tactical RPG? You make a sequel, and improve and tweak the experience. While it might not be a sequel that changes up a huge amount, it tweaks the gameplay and adds in new classes and characters. The story is still gripping, and the 2D animation of, well, everything is fantastic. I am so glad I got into this franchise and genre of game, because The Banner Saga has easily been my favorite indie tactical RPG series. I’ll make sure to get into the first two games in a massive review at some point.

Uncharted 4

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This is probably one of the safest choices, in terms of what would be my favorite game on this list. The conclusion to Drake’s story is fantastic, touching, and engaging. The gameplay where you could switch between stealth and guns blazing felt balanced, the graphics were incredibly beautiful, and it was just a fun adventure. I didn’t care much for what they did with the multiplayer, and really don’t think they needed microtransactions, but if you want to try out a third-person shooter from 2016 that is actually good from beginning to end and feels satisfying, Uncharted 4 is your third-person shooter to play.

 Doom

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This is probably the biggest surprise in terms of the triple A games from last year. After a pretty dismal multiplayer beta reception, and not a whole lot of focus on the single-player portion of the game, everyone was surprised at how amazing the game ended up being. It was a super aggressive and incredibly fun shooter that has retro game design, but updated in the right way to be enjoyable. I had so much fun goring through demon after demon, and while the story and multiplayer were meh, Doom is a game any shooter fan should play and enjoy.

Pokken Tournament

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Unfortunately, one of the few Wii U releases of the year, Pokken Tournament, was my favorite fighting game of the year, but it had a really disappointing list of fighters. Street Fighter V kind of tanked, due to the crummy business decisions Capcom decided to pull. Pokken Tournament might have been on a console that is about to be put to rest, but it was easy to get into, and had a more complex system to its fighting engine. I liked the different fighters and how they played very differently. It felt like a complete package, and I hope they can make a sequel or some kind of enhanced port for the upcoming Switch, because more people need to play this fighter.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

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If I put these titles in order of favorites, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE would have been tied with Uncharted 4 and Doom for my favorite game of the year. Yeah, it might not do too much different from other RPGs, but it felt like they had fun making it. It is a modern day JRPG, with Japanese popstars fighting monsters. I mean, you have to have a bit of fun with that premise. I liked the characters and the colorful graphical style. It was just a great RPG that I hope can be built upon more, with a sequel or an enhanced port on the Switch.

World of Final Fantasy

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This was yet another RPG that was just fun to play in 2016. Sure, the story took a bit to get going, and one of the characters has a very annoying speaking pattern, but I personally found the game super-charming. I easily grasped how the combat works, and found a lot of entertainment out of stacking different monsters for battle, or capturing them. I also got a kick out of the summons being iconic Final Fantasy characters. I can understand if not everyone falls for this game, but I love it.

 Dragon Quest Builders

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Hey, look, it’s a Minecraft-style game that is quite possibly better than Minecraft. As much as I enjoyed Minecraft a few years back, I really have had no reason to pick it back up. Unlike Minecraft , Dragon Quest Builders gives me a reason to build, survive, and finish the game. It also has a lot more personality due to being attached to the Dragon Quest franchise.

Star Fox Zero

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Yeah, yeah, I know this is the game that people love to punch and beat up on, but I’m not sorry that I really enjoyed the game. Maybe you couldn’t get into the controls, or you did, but don’t like the game. I can respect and understand both, but for me, I enjoyed it. Granted I wish they had an option to play the game without the motion controls, just because not everyone likes them, but I found myself loving the game, just like I did when I enjoyed the Nintendo 64 version. I like the bosses, the transforming vehicles, and it had a lot of the personality that the original had. I respect that this won’t be everyone’s favorite game, but if you can respect that it’s one of mine, then we will be cool as cucumbers.

 Epistory – Typing Chronicles

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Who knew you could make a current day typing game fun. If you grew up at any time, and played those old, but fun edutainment titles, then you will love this. It’s an RPG with an engrossing story where you type out words to kill monsters. It’s easily the new fun edutainment game to check out, and best yet, it’s a great game on its own merit.

Firewatch

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I honestly almost forgot to put this one the list, but I remembered how much I loved this narrative-driven adventure game. I know the term “walking simulator” is brought up with games like this, but this is probably my favorite example of these kinds of games done right. You get a rather emotional and gripping story with two very interesting characters in a beautiful and atmospheric environment. Sure, the ending might annoy a few people, but definitely try this game out if you already haven’t for some reason.

Headlander

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Since there was an original Double Fine Productions game released this year that wasn’t a remastered one, and I really liked it, I decided to add it to this list. This was just a humorous 70s-inspired side-scrolling action game with a very creative premise that was taken full advantage of. I wish there were a few more bosses, but the overall experience was hilarious, action-packed, and groovy.

Salt & Sanctuary

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While it could have been more original than copying so many of the elements from Dark Souls, I just loved this 2D action RPG, and that’s weird because I don’t find myself fond of the games Salt & Sanctuary is inspired by. I love the gothic atmosphere, the satisfying combat, the Lovecraftian horrors that you encounter, and I adore the fact you can play this game with a friend. Like I said, I wish it wasn’t so copy-and-paste with elements from Dark Souls, and I do wish there were some additions, like a map and a less tough mode, but if you love Dark Souls or Bloodborne, you should definitely check out this awesome game.

ABZU

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Probably the most calming game on this list, ABZU was a majestic and awe-inspiring experience, in terms of being a game in this niche genre. The bright vibrant colors made the ocean world feel alive, and it was a soothing experience. Yeah, it might not hit all the right spots Journey did, but it’s still a very beautiful game that any fan of Journey should check out.

Severed

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I really loved Guacamelee, but was disappointed at first when the developers’ newest game was going to a console I didn’t own. Once it hit the Wii U, I bought it day one, and fell in love with this first-person dungeon crawler. The developers used their great art style once more for a visually pleasing world with grotesque monsters and fun interactive first-person combat. It also has a great customization and level system that makes the combat engaging, and you will want to keep fighting all the monsters. Sure, you will probably be looking at the lower screen if you got the Wii U version, but you can also pick this awesome game up on the Vita or Ipad.

Furi

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What a surprise. The promise of a fast-paced and challenging boss rush game was pleasantly fulfilled with this incredible action game. I wish the story was focused on a bit more, since there is no real reason to feel attached to any of the bosses you fight, but at least it’s there to give the game some substance. The controls were tight, and the bosses were all varied and fun. It might be short, and the only replay value given to you is another difficulty mode, but if fast-action games with a focus on bosses fit your action game preferences, then Furi is one indie gem that everyone should check out.

Darkest Dungeon

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Yes, the last third makes the game a huge chore to play through, and yes, it does rely on difficulty too much at times due to the randomized nature of the game, but I’m still going to say Darkest Dungeon was one of my favorites. I loved the overall design of the game, with its turn-based combat, its 2D exploration, its strategic and challenging battles, the vast majority of characters, the grizzly art style, and the depressing and hopeless atmosphere. It might be flawed, but luckily, they are going to update the late game stuff, so go check this game out if you like hard RPGs.

Minecraft: Story Mode

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And finally, we have one of the weirdest games that I have seen, Minecraft: Story Mode. Talk about a game that came out of nowhere and became one of the most enjoyable experiences from the creators of Tales from the Borderland and Telltale’s The Walking Dead. It took a world that doesn’t really have much to it, and gave it life, with incredibly likable characters, an extremely good voice cast, and some decent combat. I was hooked from beginning to end, and while I was not fond of having to pay for a different season pass for the additional episodes that continue the story, I didn’t mind buying the biggest of the season passes to get the entire experience, due to how well done the overall experience is. Who knew Telltale Games could make a great story mode out of a game with no end game?

Most Disappointing Elements of E3 2016

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this list!)

Like every year, E3 has some high points and some low points. E3 2016 is no different. I think the underwhelming elements of the event balance out the good. You can argue that some of this is nitpicky, but this is my personal opinion. If you didn’t find these as bad, you can comment below, and tell me what elements of E3 2016 were disappointing to you. These will also be in no particular order. Let’s get started.

Lack of surprises from Nintendo

Listen, I love Nintendo. Even if the Wii U didn’t do well, I love it, and have more games for it than my PlayStation 4. However, while I knew they weren’t going to show much, probably not wanting to have to compete with Microsoft and Sony at the event, but they could have surprised us with some NX talk or something like that. It would have been great if the newest Zelda, which looks amazing, wasn’t the only thing people were looking forward to. Like I said above, I love Nintendo, but they need to start surprising us with some blind-siding announcements. It’s a shame since what they did show off was nice. Just wish there was more.

Ghost Recon: Wild Lands

Man, an open-ended Far Cry-style Tom Clancy Ghost Recon game? Doesn’t that sound like it should be very impressive and exciting? Well, the demo, while technically great looking, and the idea of co-op is a welcome option, the game itself seems very, middle- of-the-road. It doesn’t look terrible, but on top of the fake banter from the “players” and how scripted the entire video could be, it was pretty underwhelming when the overall idea shouldn’t be. Maybe it's because Ubisoft loves doing these big open-world games that once we have seen one, we have seen them all. I would love to be proven wrong, but Ghost Recon: Wild Lands is definitely not on my most anticipated games list.

Still not convinced about VR

While the VR games shown off during the event were definitely more amusing and interesting than what we have seen or have gotten in the past, I’m still not fully on board. Some of the games that are pure VR experiences or have VR experiences are still not that impressive to me. I think I’m going to wait for a price drop before trying out any of the VR stuff, since the experiences I have had weren’t great.

A bunch of Star Wars/EA No Shows/EA’s Conference

EA, explain this to me, why were you even here at E3? Sure, Fe was pretty cool, and seeing how we are getting a multitude of Star Wars games is nice, but you had barely anything worth a hoot to show! You essentially played the extras you unlock in a game, or the DVD-extras on a movie. Why were you there, besides to pimp out your sports games? Heck, those segments took way too long. Really, you have no reason to be there EA. Don’t talk about something you can’t show us!

Ubisoft’s Fetish with Open World Games

While For Honor, Watch_Dogs 2, and South Park: The Fractured But Whole were the best parts of that conference, I’m getting tired with Ubisoft having this thing for open-world games. Listen, I get it, I like traversing a huge beautiful world as much as the next guy, but when you either put into too many of the same missions, or don’t put enough in at all, then that becomes a problem. Why not make something else that isn’t an open-world game? And where is my Beyond Good and Evil 2? Stop saying it’s in production, and actually show us the game!

PC Gamer Conference

While better than last year, and definitely not as boring, PC Gamer’s Conference also felt pointless. They had a few interesting games, but nothing was earth-shattering. It’s like they couldn’t get the more interesting reveals, and instead got the ones Microsoft didn’t want to show. I also found myself exiting out of the stream for the Ubisoft one, which was also underwhelming, but at least it had three good parts. I can’t remember a single game that was shown off during the PC Gamer stream that was on my mind. Either get some major titles to show off, or don’t spend the money for a conference at all.

Scripted gameplay videos/Forced Banter/ Get Someone Who Actually Plays Games to Demo Your Game!

You know what made last year’s Uncharted 4 video charming? It’s because they ran into a legit glitch in the demo shown. I’m now getting to the point of wanting to see those incidences more than these tightly scripted game sequences. They should know how people actually play games, and how they talk. Every time companies do this, it just feels corporate and yeah, I get it. They want to make sure the investors don’t have a heart attack by glitches and bad gameplay, but it feels insulting that the games will be that polished and they think we all talk like they show in the “live gameplay sequences”. Do we really need to remind everyone what happened with Assassin’s Creed Unity?

Bethesda’s Ego-stroking Conference

Listen, I get why Bethesda should be feel proud of itself. It has its hands on two of three really good reboots of id Software titles, two of the most popular franchises around, and have some interesting upcoming games. Too bad this year’s E3 was them stroking their own egos. Like, seriously, most of the time, it was them saying how amazing they were. Well, if they think they were so amazing, they wouldn’t have almost killed Doom’s chances of being a hit by focusing so much on the game’s worst aspect. Yeah, they have the reins back on multiplayer, but it’s too little, too late for me. And to be honest, The Elder Scrolls: Legends doesn’t look all that impressive. Yes, if you are feeling good about your success, then feel good about it! But don’t make an entire conference to show off mostly DLC add-ons, a remastered version of a last generation of a game known more for its mods, a glimpse of the new Prey, and then show a really horribly paced Dishonored 2 segment.

Xbox One Slim or Project Scorpio?

I really don’t get this part of the Microsoft Conference. Why would you do a Xbox One Slim, when you are already making a super strong Xbox One? Why would you do that? If I wanted to get an Xbox One, I would wait for Project Scorpio. There is no reason for Xbox One Slim to exist, besides screwing over day-one adopters, and to confuse the consumer base.

Favorite Games from E3 Part 2

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this list!)

Heads up, I am continuing this list from Part 1. If you have not yet read that first part, please do so since I am just going to continue on with the second part right now! Hope you enjoy the list!

8. Scalebound

While I am still not fully on board with getting an Xbox One until that Project Scorpio console comes out, Scalebound is probably the one game to convince me to get one. It’s a huge action game that is essentially How to Train your Dragon on steroids. I’m not kidding when I say that, since you get these amazing powers, some sick headphones, and you get to control your very own dragon and use it to help you with some giant enemy crabs and other nasty threats that are coming your way in the game. I am always down with playing a game and supporting Platinum Games, even when they have made a dud like the newest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game (I chalk that one up to Activision wanting to rush that game out). Just pick your dragon, and get down and dirty with some monster slaying.

7. Death Stranding

Probably the best surprise of the Sony E3 Conference, and that is saying a lot, is Hideo Kojima’s revealing of his new game, Death Stranding. Sadly, all we know is that it’s going to be an action-adventure game with a very “Kojima”  blueprint to it. I mean, that trailer was amazing, but super trippy with its dark sand beaches and the high body count of dead crabs. I definitely want to see what the gameplay will look like in this trippy and ambitious game from Hideo Kojima.

6. Detroit: Become Human

I know people have a love/hate relationship with the game designer David Cage, and yes, I get their points, but I would rather support his games and recommend them over half of the tripe that comes out, and Detroit: Become Human is no different. It basically looks like Blade Runner with androids going astray and causing havoc, and you, an android detective, must make your way through the game making the right choices so you or anyone innocent doesn’t get hurt. Again, I get why people are iffy about his games, but still. I would rather support interesting experiences, and Detroit: Become Human seems to be just one of those experiences.

5. Yooka Laylee

I was drooling like a fool when I saw this pre-E3 2016 trailer for one of the best investments I have made in terms of helping out Kickstarter games. The gameplay looks just as good as the old Nintendo 64 platformers, but with modern-day sensitivities, the graphics are beautiful and cartoony, and it has all that flare and personality that is so missed from games these days.

4. The Last Guardian

Finally! After years and broken dreams, we are finally getting The Last Guardian. The game does look great with the platforming and puzzle-solving with your giant griffin friend, and having to avoid the large stone guards that are around the setting and apparently other griffin-like creatures. It really does look like one of this year’s best emotional journeys.

3. Final Fantasy XV

Hey look! Another game that has been in development limbo like our last entry. It also looks to be a grand scale adventure, even if it is pretty much Final Fantasy with Kingdom Hearts combat. From what I have played, I have really enjoyed everything from the interaction between the boy band leads, to the size and scale of everything. I mean, good gravy, that fight with the titan looks epic. We definitely need another good main Final Fantasy game after the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy of underwhelming games. Hopefully, the wait for the newest game in the long-running franchise will live up to such a long development cycle.

2. Horizon Zero Dawn

The best way I can describe my excitement for this game is simple, “Princess Mononoke, with robots.” Seriously, this game is so cool looking, with how expansive the world is, the different variety of harmless and harmful robotic wildlife, the different villages, and a new villains that are called “demons”  but look like machines with a few bolts missing. From the different array of weapons, to being able to hack the machines to ride them, I will be patiently waiting for this amazing looking PlayStation 4 exclusive.

Okay, these next three were really tough to put into who gets the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd spot. So, for the first time, I am giving these three games the number one spot.

1 1/3. South Park: Fractured But Whole

In my opinion, South Park: The Fractured But Whole was easily one of my favorite moments at E3. It seems like you throw South Park into anything, it instantly makes it better. This game is easily making huge improvements, with its story being bigger, funnier, and all filled up with jabs at the superhero genre. The combat getting a facelift with a more tactical turn-based affair is definitely intriguing. I would have just liked a more complex system from the first game, but I like where this new game is going. I even set up a preorder for the game, and I don’t do that often! I can’t wait to go through another hilarious adventure through this small mountain town

2 2/3. Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

Boy oh boy, where do I start with this game? While it is the only major thing Nintendo wanted to show off, they definitely made sure to wow everyone, and boy, they really did. This game is easily going back to its roots from the NES game, where you are essentially dropped into this huge world with minimal storytelling, a “go anywhere you want” exploration system, breakable and hopefully non-breakable weapons, super gorgeous graphics, a cooking system, a fleshed-out stealth system (or at the very least, fleshed out in terms of the franchise), armor, and how it is essentially breaking tradition to do something refreshing. I love A Link Between Worlds and Skyward Sword, and they are my favorite home console and handheld Zelda game, but if Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild plays its cards right, it might very well be the best Legend of Zelda we will ever get. Oh, and you get to have Wolf Link travel and fight with you if you have a Wolf Link Amiibo.

1 3/3. God of War 4

If anything, Sony knows how to open up a show. This was the biggest surprise to me of the Sony E3 conference. I did hear about a new God of War in the works, but I didn’t know they would have a playable scripted demo to show off. Ignoring the factor that Kratos is still alive, and somehow made it out of the horrific results of the third main game, we see the powerful fighter now at home with Norse mythology, and he actually has a son. Yeah, it's actually a bit jarring, but amazing to see that Kratos, someone who would rip your head off and drink its blood if you stared at him weirdly, has much more personality and character in this new game where he follows his son to hunt an elk. The gameplay is very different with Kratos now using an axe, and while being flashy, it isn’t being as flashy as the previous games. I really and I mean really, want to sink my teeth into some more information about this game, and see what will be different for everyone’s favorite bald warrior.

Favorite Games from E3 2016 Part 1

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this list!)

So, E3 2016 has come and gone. Overall, it was a mixed bag. There were a lot of great titles and announcements, but it also had an equal amount of underwhelming or annoying E3 elements. However, that will be for another list, and for this list, I will talk about my favorite games that were shown off or announced at E3 2016. I will start off with my honorable mentions. I will also try to hyperlink videos to the games in both the list and honorable mentions

 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare: I have to give them credit for showing this game off and not telling anyone it was a game related to one of the most hated YouTube videos of all time!

Quake Champions: While a great announcement for yet another ID Software shooter after Wolfenstein: The New Order and this year’s Doom, I’m not really into multiplayer-only games, but hey, if this is your cup of tea, well, drink all that tea, my friend.

Prey: This is a weird reboot of a franchise that wasn’t even that big (only one game in the franchise after the cancelled second game), and I wish there was some actual gameplay. Still, it looks neat, and I will definitely start keeping more focus on Bethesda for now on.

Gears of War 4: While I like banter and the little surprise at the end of the segment, it still looks rather bland. I actually liked last year’s E3 2015 video showing off a more eerie atmosphere. Still, it looks a bit better than the previous games.

Skylanders Imaginators: While these games aren’t really my thing, I do like the idea that you can create your own hero, which gives some freedom to the player. I still don’t like the fact that you have to buy toys to unlock more of the game, but I have to give them credit for adding in Crash Bandicoot and in his original design from the PlayStation 1 days.

The VR Games: I am doing this so I don’t add every single VR game shown off as individual mentions. I am excited to see much better looking VR games than what we are getting right now. I’m still not fully convinced to invest in a PlayStation VR headset, but at least the games seem to be getting better.

Mass Effect Andromeda: I am super excited for this game, and how you are going to be the “alien” in this new galaxy and have to help make sure the human race survives. Too bad they couldn’t show much. Come on. Show us something, like a proper trailer.

I think I’m going to stop the mentions here since there are so many games at this event that include, TellTale Games’ The Walking Dead Season 3, Telltale Games’ Batman, Wild Guns Reloaded, Dead Rising 4, Skylar & Plux, Crash Bandicoot Remastered, Pyre, Grow Up, Mafia III, Agents of Mayem, Sea of Thieves, Mario Party Star Rush, Recore, World of Final Fantasy, Box Box Boy, Gravity Rush 2, and Battlefield 1. If the list is too long, I’ll split it into two parts.

21. Titanfall 2

Up first is the sequel to one of 2014’s most disappointing games, Titanfall 2. So far, the improvements and added content seem to be a good thing, since the original game had so little, and really the player-base died off fast. I’m so happy to see that they are making a single-player mode, since the universe was much more interesting than the actual game. We will definitely need to wait and see how good the story actually is, but I think that was a smart move to make. I also enjoy the additional weapons and Titans to make multiplayer even more fun. Oh, and future maps and DLC will be free. I don’t know why EA can’t do this with Battlefield 1, but I guess you pick and choose your fights. Anyway, this is the first major shooter from EA that has interested me in a long time

20. Watch_Dogs 2

This is yet another game from 2014 that had a lot of potential, but couldn’t land on its feet, Watch_Dogs 2. I like the idea of being a hacker to take down an evil corrupt organization, but the first game was boring and not as great as it could have been. With this new game, it seems like they are making sure the characters are more memorable, the graphics are more colorful, and that you can do a lot more with the hacking tools given to you. We will have to see later this year. I just wish Ubisoft didn’t have to do seven or so different collector’s editions.

19. Steep

While I will never get Ubisoft’s deal with huge open worlds, this new IP is at least interesting, with the entire game taking place in the Alps. You will be able to ski, paraglide, use those wing-suits, and perform a multitude of stunts while you see the dramatic landscape around you. I’m glad I’m going to get to try it out in the future, since I have a few concerns about how much content will actually be in this game. Still, a new IP is better than just another Assassin’s Creed game from Ubisoft.

18. Resident Evil 7

Talk about one of the biggest twists from Sony’s E3 Conference, Resident Evil 7. Apparently the demo we were shown and got on the PlayStation 4 is not entirely part of the actual game, but man, is it cool to see Resident Evil go back to this really shiver-down-your-spine-horror. I was glued to my screen watching the demo unfold, and it just makes me actually excited to play the game. I know horror games are in a new kind of rut, but hopefully, Capcom can get back on their feet with this new game, and give everyone a spooky good time!

17. Days Gone

While it is yet another zombie game, I am still curious to see, besides the massive amount of undead on screen, what will make this game stand out. Yes, it does seem to want to have a deep story with relatable characters, but we have seen this happen with Dead Island, but we will have to see. It, at least, looks more interesting than most of the zombie games around. Any game that wants to put effort into making endearing characters in video games gets my attention.

16. Fe

Talk about a vastly different looking game from a developer with an iconic style. Fe is made by the developers of the quirky Stick it to the Man, and Zombie Vikings. It’s a 3D adventure game, with a heavy emphasis on stealth and exploration in this lovely, if gloomy environment. I actually like seeing them step out for a change in terms of art styles. It is pretty neat that EA is helping out with the exchange of publishing the game. Now, this game does remind me of Ori and the Blind Forest, but I think Fe stands out enough to warrant some hype! That’s why it’s on my list of my favorite games shown off at E3.

15. Paper Mario: Color Splash

Probably the last good Wii U game coming out this year, Paper Mario: Color Splash seems like a much more fleshed-out version of Sticker Star. While it is disappointing that this game isn’t returning to the original game, due to the Mario & Luigi games, the game looks fantastic with its art style, and the combat with the cards seems more substantial and not pointless.

14. Spiderman

The poor webslinger has seen better days, with two different reboots and a slew of games that fail to perform wonders for the fans and in terms of good game design. Luckily, with his cameo appearance in Captain America Civil War, and a new movie in the works, the mouthy webslinger is back! Not only that, they got one of the most creative and downright best developers around to make the new game, Insomniac Games. I really can’t wait to see them with this new game, and I hope it isn’t just a rushed movie tie-in game for the new film. Seriously, keep an eye out on this licensed game.

13. ABZU

Man, this game is beautiful. I have been patiently waiting for this game to come out, and the wait is worth it. This colorful underwater explorative ocean experience is setting itself up to be one of the best indie games of the year, and I definitely want to be a part of that experience when the game is released.

12. Bound

This is yet another beautiful indie game coming to PlayStation 4. Bound has always impressed me since its reveal from last year with its dancing movements, atmospheric world, and abstract visuals. I’ll admit, I am wondering how great the overall experience will be, but it’s easily one of my most anticipated downloadable games coming to the PlayStation 4.

11. For Honor

Definitely one of the more interesting games coming from Ubisoft, For Honor is this unusual combat-heavy action game where Vikings, samurais, and knights are pitted against one another. The game even has a backstory about an evil force that caused this odd situation to happen. I admire that the developer wanted to put in a single-player mode and didn’t want to just focus on multiplayer. I’m sure the game is super fun in both, and I can’t wait to pick one of the three clans, and wreck someone into the ground!

10. Dishonored 2

Dishonored 2 was probably the only worthwhile game shown off at Bethesda’s E3 Conference. Dishonored 2 is setting itself up nicely for a sequel with a new location, new abilities, and the freedom to tackle the missions however you want to. I also liked the level they showed off, where you use an item to go into the past in a rundown building. I am a little concerned about how different the stories will be between the two lead characters, since we have seen this kind of marketing before, like in Tales of Xillia, where the character you started with didn’t really matter. Still, Dishonored 2 looks like it will be another fun romp as a magical assassin in a beautiful world.

9. We Happy Few

We Happy Few was one of the best games shown off during Microsoft’s E3 conference. Easily one of the most stand-out games from its days on Kickstarter, We Happy Few puts you into a world where everyone takes a “happy pill” to ignore a horrific history that the town the game is set in, is guilty of. You can choose to take the happy pill or not, and well, you had better be ready to survive if you choose not to take the pill. I do wish this game was coming out on PlayStation 4 as well, and who knows, maybe six months down the line, it will, but I can’t wait to get my hands on We Happy Few and its drug-induced happiness.

That is it for Part 1! Get ready for Part 2!

Favorite Games from 2015

2015 is behind us, and 2016 can now begin. Before we start with 2016’s line-up of games, let’s talk about my favorite games of the last year. Personally, I felt that 2015 had a slow start. The very first big triple-A games that came out were underwhelming. That was until games that came out in March to December came out, and it became a pretty good year for games. I think all three big console makers had their ups and downs in terms of their titles, but the overall experience was more balanced than 2014. The rules still stand that no rereleases can be on the list. It’s lazy if you put it on there. There will be one exception on this list, but it’s only because we never got an official release of the game in the states. Now then, let’s begin with some honorable mentions.

Undertale: didn’t play it. Not that I think the game looks terrible, since it does a few things I am impressed by, but I didn’t have the time. Tearaway Unfolded: I really wanted to put this game on my favorite games of 2015, but I don’t put re-releases on my favorite games list. Still, if you don’t want to get a PlayStation Vita, you should definitely get Tearaway Unfolded, since it’s one of the best and most unique platformers around.

Transformers: Devastation: While this game was originally going to be on the list, I feel like if it didn’t have rehashed bosses, and a more interesting story, it would have been on this list. Still, this is easily one of the best action games of the year.

Super Mario Maker: Another game I didn’t have time to play, but I am so happy it’s doing well, and wish the community didn’t fill up the game with troll levels. Seriously, I don’t think I have been so disappointed in a fan base for a good game before.

Bloodborne: This was very close to being on my favorite games list, but it just missed being on this list, because I didn’t find myself enjoying it as much as other RPGs this past year. I respect what it does with its engrossing atmosphere, tough, but satisfying combat, and amazing music. However, I couldn’t get into its bone-crushing difficulty, and its underwhelming ending, unless you read the lore. I know a lot of people will say this is their favorite game of the year, and while I don’t fully recommend it to everyone, I still recommend you check it and its new expansion out! Other games that didn’t make the cut, and I won’t give full descriptions for are Broken Age Act 2 (frustrating puzzles), Massive Chalice (frustrating difficulty and too much micro-managing), Rocket League (not my cup of tea), Chroma Squad (gets a little repetitive), Telltales Game of Thrones (haven’t played it yet), and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Because Konami is the worst). Now then, this year’s list will not be in any particular order. I didn’t want to list them from my least favorite to my favorite since they all bring something fantastic to the table. Let’s get started!

1. Tales from the Borderlands

Tales from the Borderlands is officially my favorite Telltale Games’ series. It takes everything that I wanted from the main Borderlands franchise, like a story worth caring about, and pumps 12 gallons of personality, wit, emotional investment with the characters, and a fantastic Tarantino-worthy soundtrack into a span of five episodes. It has its problems, like the ending dragged its feet a little, and the official ending irked me, but if you want one of Telltale Games’ best outings, then pick up Tales from the Borderlands.

2. Splatoon

Out of the big original IPs of 2015, Splatoon feels like one of the only new IPs that didn’t crash and burn, like The Order: 1886 and Evolve. It was a shooter that took out what makes most shooters a ,dime a dozen and gave it new life with new gameplay mechanics of smothering paint everywhere, being able to swim through said paint, a bright colorful art style, and a huge dose of fun 90s personality. It’s a game I still see a lot of people play each time I boot it up, and is still just as fun to play through every time I enter multiplayer matches. I am so happy this game was doing well, and I hope we see a sequel in the future. I will be reviewing this game in the future so be prepared to see that review. Oh, and it has a creative single-player mode.

3. Witcher III: Wild Hunt

To be honest, Witcher III: Wild Hunt was one of the reasons I didn’t want to make a list that was in a particular order, since this game tied with another game on this list for number one. This game does so much that I love in RPGs. It has a great story, and a great universe, satisfying and easy-to-get-into combat, a downright amazing musical score, endearing characters, and the developer treated you like a respectful customer. Seriously, every developer should follow what these guys do. Witcher III is quite possibly my favorite western RPG next to the Mass Effect games.

4. Life is Strange

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This is the evolution of the style that Telltale Games does, along with The Odd Gentleman’s King’s Quest. Life is Strange is like an episodic indie film, with a lot of the charm, well-written characters, and intentionally corny/fun dialogue. It’s a beautiful looking game with an interesting rewind time mechanic that can help you experiment with what choices you want to make during your time with the game. I am not done with all of it, but expect a review in January about this game. I am excited to hear about a season two, and if DONTNOD Entertainment sees this list, you all did an amazing job!

5. Xenoblade Chronicles X

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This was the other game that tied with Witcher III as my favorite game of the year. While the pacing is a bit too slow, and the story takes a backseat to world-building, which bugs me since Monolith Soft can craft engrossing stories, I still had such a great time with the game. The combat was just like the last game, but with interchangeable classes/weapons, different party members, and having the ability to ride around in custom giant robots, which brought out the little kid in me. It’s like they unintentionally made the best Gundam game as well. I also have to give a shout-out to the composer of the game for making one of the most unique, corny, and epic soundtracks of the year.

6. Final Fantasy Type-0HD

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I know the main cast doesn’t have a lot of personality, there is a lot of clunkiness to certain parts of the game, and it might have been a shoddy HD facelift, but I adored the Kingdom Hearts-style combat, and the interesting/dark ideas that were in the story. It was a Final Fantasy game that actually grabbed me, and that is something the more recent games haven’t done. I would love to see a sequel to this game to iron out some of the rougher parts.

7. Guild of Dungeoneering

This was a fantastic year for indie games, and Guild of Dungeoneering is a prime example of this. I played quite a lot of roguelike games this year, but a few of them broke the mold and brought something different to the table. I love that they gave you the ability to craft the dungeon around your hero, placing the enemies/money around in different rooms, and threw in an easy-to-get-into card battle system. It’s probably the PC game I have played the most in 2015 besides Massive Chalice. It also had an unexpectedly amazing soundtrack. If nothing else, buy the soundtrack to this game.

8. Jotun

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If for some reason or another, you still think Kickstarter isn’t a good platform for games, then you need to shut your yap, grab a controller, and download Jotun, a top-down Zelda-like experience that brings you into this world of giant elementals and large beautiful landscapes. It’s a pretty game with hand-drawn animations and breathtaking music. It might be hard, but you keep up the damage and use those special abilities, and you will have one of the most rewarding experiences of 2015

9. Galak-Z: The Dimensional

Once again, if this list was in order, Galak-Z: The Dimensional would have been low on the list because of its brutal difficulty. There was only so many times that I could tolerate having to go through five missions without dying to progress through the game. Luckily, they made an enhanced version for PC (and hopefully update the PS4 version), where an arcade mode is put in where you can just restart the mission you were on. It’s such a fun roguelike shooter that brings back memories of Robotech and Gundam. With breakneck action, multiple ways to tackle the levels, and a simple story, Galak-Z: The Dimensional should not be passed up.

10. Dragon Quest Heroes

You would think Omega Force would run out of ideas in terms of how to breathe new life into their Dynasty Warrior-style spin-off games that are based off licenses, but they found a way! Dragon Quest Heroes was probably my favorite Dynasty Warriors-style game with the lovely art style, satisfying combat, fun if corny story, and the newer tower defense-style elements that are in the levels. I am so glad this game did well, since for one reason or another, Square Enix was putting all of their bets on the franchise coming over to the states on this one game. If you want one of the better games of 2015, you can’t go wrong with Dragon Quest Heroes!

11. Until Dawn

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It seems like everywhere I look, people were surprised at how good this game was. I wasn’t. I love these narrative-style adventure game, and while I do love the David Cage games, flaws and all, Until Dawn executes its ideas slightly better than Cage does. Sure, the motion bar thing was dumb, and it’s getting a VR-only piece of DLC, but if you want one of the more unique horror games around, then you should definitely pick up this PS4 exclusive.

12. Zombie Vikings

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While Zombie Vikings did have a rough launch, it was a game I had the most fun with in terms of a beat ‘em up. It was quirky, easy to get into, and had a great sense of humor. It still had its moments of repetitiveness and some glitches, but I had so much fun with this game

13. Read Only Memories

The one game that brought back my passion to reviewing games. This very well done cyberpunk adventure game enveloped me with its story. I also loved the subtle and not in-your -face themes of the LGBT community. While I wish there were a few things done differently, this game is a blast, and I hope to try it out on home consoles in the future.

14. Hand of Fate

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This was one of my favorite indie games of the year. A roguelike action RPG, where the dungeon around you is decided by cards that rest on the table. It has a solid and satisfying Arkham-style combat, a great musical score, and one of the best villain characters around. If you have not yet played this game for some reason, you should. It’s one of my personal favorite indie games

15. Citizens of Earth

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I bet a lot of people forgot about this game. I know some are split on this game, and we have gotten quite a few Earthbound-style RPGs, but I adored this game’s sense of humor, personality, turn-based combat, and cartoony design. Seriously, if you love Earthbound or Undertale, you should check this game out.

16. Yoshi’s Wooly World

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To round out my list is the awesome Wii U platformer, Yoshi’s Wooly World. It’s an adorable, colorful, beautiful, and calming experience. I mean, if I had to show you a game that represented why Nintendo was great, besides a Mario and Zelda game, it would be Splatoon and Yoshi’s Wooly World.

My Biggest Gaming Disappointments of 2015

 

9. Hatred’s launch and advertising

This is on the list for how the developer handled this game. Hatred got a lot of notoriety for being this super-graphic, isometric shooter where you do nothing, but shoot innocent civilians. It got a lot of attention for its controversial set-up, and the developers fought back against anyone who thought this was despicable. The developer did explain that the game wouldn’t have sold well or gotten any attention on Steam if they didn’t do this style of advertising. That would be somewhat commendable if the game wasn’t mediocre. Yeah, the game launched, and was considered a terrible game. Not because of the advertising, but because it was a bad game. Seriously, if they didn’t pull this stupid media stunt, people would have let this game die in the vapid flooded void of Steam. If you are going to boast about your game, at least make it good!

 

8. Project Cars

I honestly don’t know what drew me to this game. It’s beautiful, has multiple cars to drive and check out, and has some of the best sound design I have ever heard in a racing game. Outside of that, that is all I have to say that was good. I feel like this game didn’t really do much that was different from the other simulation racing games that are out on the market. It’s fine, and it might not be my cup of tea, but Project Cars was disappointing to me.

 

7. Rodea the Sky Soldier

Another game that went through development hell and it shows. While I do think this game is fun, you probably need to find a copy of the Wii U game that comes with the Wii version. Even then, the game might be fun, but it is really clunky. It has a story that doesn’t have a lot of weight to it, clunky controls/combat, and some visuals that really aren’t good looking. I know Rodea the Sky Soldier went through some tough development, but I also hope it will get a sequel since this game was made by the creator of the forgotten SEGA franchise Nights. I really wanted to love this game since it reaches that hidden gem mark for me, but it really needed a few more months of polish.

 

6. Randy Pitchford’s Lack of Responsibility

For those not in the know, Randy Pitchford is the head of Gearbox Software, the developer behind the upcoming Battleborn, and the popular Borderlands franchise. Last year, Gearbox broke free of the lawsuit that they and SEGA were in for Aliens: Colonial Marines, one of the worst games of 2013. Randy felt like Gearbox was not in the wrong, and denied that his company had any responsibility for Aliens: Colonial Marines’ failure. Listen, Randy, I am sure you are a nice guy, but your company lied to us about what went on during development, and the game was horrible. You shouldn’t feel proud that you sunk $10 mil of your own money on a game that is horrible. Oh, and just because games like Colonial Marines and Duke Nukem Forever sold a lot of copies, doesn’t make them good games. Have some humility and admit that you all messed up! This is why everyone loved Satoru Iwata. He admitted when the company messed up. You could learn a few things from him. I swear, if Battleborn fails, your company will be in trouble in terms of trust.

 

5. Video Game YouTube/streaming bullocks

Listen, video game companies/developers big and small. You shouldn’t be flagging things left and right. This is the internet age, you can have so much free advertising (good and bad, depending on the game) as long as you don’t pull stuff like copyright strikes and take-downs on the people showing off footage of the game. Don’t limit the viewability of your game unless you are really not proud of it. Seriously, take advantage of the internet!

 

4. Dying Light

While I respect and understand why so many people love this game, I couldn’t get into it. The story was mediocre and lazy, the combat and abilities don’t become good until multiple hours in, the variety of zombies was forgettable, the characters were uninteresting, and so on. Granted, once you got going within the game, it was mostly fun. The day and night mechanic made going out during the night to scavenge, deadly, with ultra-powerful zombies. It made that first chase really scary. This should have been better, but it wasn’t.

 

3. Apotheon

This should have been amazing. Apotheon was a 2D action game with a beautiful Greek pottery art style. Too bad the combat was clunky, some of the bosses were frustrating, the main character was boring and had no agency, and the overall story has been done to death. The combat was just so floaty, which made fights early on to be fun, but as time went on, the fights were annoying. I was really looking forward to this title, and sadly, it’s one that left me making more space on my PlayStation 4.

 

2. Submerged

Man, I really wanted to love this game, but I feel like the advertising was much better than the actual game. It was repetitive, boring, and had so much wasted potential in its world. I like the idea of a sister wanting to save her dying brother, but the last-minute deus ex machina turn is never explained, and sort of comes out of nowhere. You see these deus ex machina beings throughout the entire game, but they are never fleshed out, nor is it explained what they do and why they did it. It’s just a shame when the consumer/gamer is thinking about how to make the game better than the actual developer.

 

1. Game developers messing up things that shouldn’t have been that hard!

If you didn’t have reasons to not trust big triple-A developers, then 2014, and 2015 should give you reasons to lose faith in them. Warner Bros. had two big releases on PC that were, and still are, broken, Batman Arkham Knight and Mortal Kombat X. Not only that, but they also made less-than-favorable business decisions, like putting in microtransactions. Seriously, Warner Bros., all you needed to do was take these two PC ports, and give them a developer that is good at PC ports! Were they just really freaking lazy to not even do that? The reason why Shadow of Mordor, and Mad Max’s PC ports were great was because they let the developers do all the work. Moving on, Namco Bandai shouldn’t have screwed up on making a decent Godzilla game, but they did! While I respect Activision for hiring Platinum Games for work, since they are an amazing company, what about their other projects that aren’t related to Platinum Games?  Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 crashed and burned, Black Ops III on PC crashed and burned, and it could have all been avoided if they had actually cared to make sure both games launched well. In the end, so many developers, big and small, had very simple, albeit complex jobs, and they shouldn’t have failed, but did. Hopefully, we will hit some kind of milestone where we don’t have to gritch at big developers/companies for making huge mistakes.

Worst Games/Things of 2015

2015 had some bad games and incidences! Let's get the train rolling with what I consider to be the worst that 2015 has to offer!

7. Star Wars Battlefront

Talk about a game that lost its good will faster than most games. Star Wars Battlefront got everyone excited, but then everyone realized that it was attached to EA, and then everything went downhill from there. It’s a graphically gorgeous game, but with its $50 season pass, its extreme lack of content, anything worth the initial $60 purchase, and how it put up preorders first before showing legit gameplay, it was upsetting for many. Not to be smug, but I knew this game wouldn’t do well. It had all of the bad signs of being a flop, like being a multiplayer-only game, wanting to rake in preorders, a season pass that cost just as much as the game, and some other little facts. In the end, it was just a boring game to play through, and a lot of it was pretty unbalanced. This should have been a slam dunk, but it really wasn’t. The force definitely was not in this one.

 

6. Evolve

While the new Battlefront was bad, at least it didn’t pull the preorder bullocks as much as Evolve did. Talk about a game that was basically dead mere months after launch. It already brought a lot of bad karma its way because of how aggressive its preorder plans were, and once we got the game, it was just mediocre. Not counting the preorder stuff, the day-one DLC was pointless, the gameplay becomes very repetitive, the universe is boring and flawed, the “story” blows, and the overall game doesn’t take advantage of its concept as much as it should have. It’s a shame 2K and the developer of Evolve tried to bank on the legacy of the developer. Shame on you,Turtlerock Studios.

 

5. Godzilla

This should have been hard to screw up! Sluggish controls, bare-bones fighting, hugely unbalanced challenges, horrible graphics, and a huge lack of content makes this game baffling to me. It’s not fun. It doesn’t matter how much fan service you put into the game, like how the buildings explode, and the corny voice acting, if the game isn’t fun, then it isn’t fun!

 

4. Yasai Ninja

Boy, I have no idea why I was looking forward to this game. This is easily the worst indie game I have played in 2015. The graphics might look decent, but the combat is the pits, the amount of slowdown is vomit-inducing, and the music is nonexistent. I feel like the designers didn’t ever play an action game. Unsurprisingly, this game is considered the worst game of the year by a lot of people. Say what you will about Afro Samurai, at least it got pulled from storefront.

 

3. Rooster Teeth’s response to Jeff Gerstmann’s Fallout 4 review

So, for those that may not know, Rooster Teeth is a popular gaming website that leading up to Fallout 4’s release did a bunch of sponsored and branded videos for the game. For now, this was just your typical brand deal. That was until one of their shows called out Jeff Gerstmann for his apparently low review score for Fallout 4. They called him out for giving the game a lower score, because in their opinion, he “wanted attention”. First off, that makes you look pathetic and shallow for doing such a thing, and secondly, that is big talk coming from a company that did sponsored videos, and wore Fallout 4 Pip Boys. Yeah, you don’t look hypocritical doing such a thing. Plus, they said they didn’t like it when people did low review scores…like, really? Why should we trust you for an honest review score from you guys with all of your brand-dealing? Sorry, but I’m so glad that this one little moment in time backfired on you.

 

2. Valve’s terrible quality control on Steam and Customer Service

Good lord, Valve, how many more times and videos online is it going to take to actually get you to have good quality control and customer service for Steam? I mean, it’s been years now, and everyone is criticizing you for it. It’s not like you aren’t making any money. You obviously have enough to make Steam controllers, your own VR headset, consoles, and Gabe is obviously rich enough to invest in a freaking cooking school. Why not hire teams to scrub Steam of all the garbage and bad developers, or hire new groups of Steam customer service. Why? Because whatever you are doing now is not working! There are reasons why some people are actually praising EA’s Origin customer service, because they actually support the customer! This is why I don’t understand all the blind praise Valve and Steam get. They have so many faults, but most individuals turn a blind eye so garbage like Gabe Newell Simulator can get on Steam. Seriously, Valve, get your stuff together and stop with this “we don’t have to do much since we want gamers/developers to have a lot of freedom” bullocks.

 

1. Konami

Godzilla might have been a wrongfully-priced, mediocre experience with a serious lack of content. Evolve tried to get away with preorder and DLC shenanigans, while giving everyone an inferior product that banked on the legacy of the developer. Yasai Ninja was the worst action game I have played in some time, with technical issues, broken unsatisfying combat, and nothing really worthwhile about it. Rooster Teeth looked pathetic calling out reviewers for lower review scores. Steam is a responsibility-dodging service that fails to have quality control. However, no matter how bad certain games, individuals, and services got, and they still deserved all the flack, but at least they weren’t Konami. Talk about something that was worse than anything in this past year. Not only did they basically fire the last good designer they had, Hideo Kojima, and take his name off Metal gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but when word got out about how they treat employees, and what working conditions are like, yeah, they ended up looking like the very worst sweatshop around. Not giving new employees what they need, firing or relocating veterans of the company to menial tasks, making pachinko machines out of favorite franchises, and basically giving the big middle finger to anyone who is trying to call them out and criticize them. Oh, and blocking Kojima from getting his award was garbage. Anyone who is still grasping onto the company, and begging for a new Silent Hill or Castlevania should stop being so blind to them. I know that sounds harsh, but anyone who was anyone that worked on the older games from Konami’s line-up are no longer there! If you really wanted to support those individuals, then go support Project Scissors: NightCry, Project Phoenix, or Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Those teams deserve your money more so than this shrill, soulless, and morally bankrupt company that is known as Konami.

Favorite Games from PlayStation Experience 2015

Well, the 2015 PlayStation Experience was pretty good. I mean, there were some great announcements, and it has almost convinced me to get one of those PlayStation Virtual Reality headsets. I think I need to be convinced a little more, but if Sony would send me one to review, I would be happy to. Anyway, let’s get on with the list!

 

12. The Modern Zombie Taxi Co

I thought I would start off with one of the goofiest, well, the goofiest game I could think of that was shown off. The Modern Zombie Taxi Co is a PlayStation VR game where you drive zombies around the city, and deal with Goat Simulator-style wackiness. While this isn’t my favorite game shown off, and these kinds of wacky games are a dime a dozen, I will be interested to see how well it is implemented with the PlayStation VR.

 

11. 100 Foot Robot Golf

Yeah, I am going to put the VR games at the bottom, since I still have concerns about the whole VR movement in general, but 100 Foot Robot Golf looks hilarious and entertaining. You’ve got giant robots that play golf, and you can still beat up the other robots and destroy whatever is around you to make sure you get the best golf score. While I wish this game was playable without VR, like most VR games, I wouldn’t mind getting a Sony VR headset if this game is more than a wacky concept.

 

10. Uncharted 4

I know it’s not very high on the list, but it’s a safe bet this game is going to be pretty dang good. I mean, it’s Naughty Dog. You can already see from the recent footage and trailers that the game will have a compelling story, interesting/likable characters, solid gameplay, beautiful graphics, and an amazing musical score. Sure, I am curious to see how much the microtransactions will affect the overall multiplayer experience, but I hope it won’t do too much damage, unlike the microtransactions you see in Ubisoft and EA games. I can’t wait to finish up Drake’s final adventure in 2016.

 

9. Nioh

Up next is Tecmo Koei and Team Ninja’s new Dark Souls-style game, Nioh. For those that might not be even slightly familiar with this game, it was originally supposed to be released on the PlayStation 3, but is now coming out on the PlayStation 4. It basically looks like another tough Souls-style game, but with samurais and ninjas. It looks impressive, but I hope it gets why Dark Souls/Bloodborne work, and not just try to capitalize on the fact that there is only one more Dark Souls game coming out.

 

8. Final Fantasy 7 Remake

We finally got to see some footage of the fan-requested remake of one of the most important games of all time. However, I will say the direction this remake is going is odd. It is more action-based in its combat system, and it’s going to be episodic in release. I am a little disappointed that they didn’t just do turn-based combat like in the original, since they have a few upcoming games that have turn-based combat. Hopefully, they can add a special feature where you can switch from the action-based combat system, to turn-based ala Chrono Trigger. Either way, I’m still interested, but I want to see more of the game before I either make or not make a purchase.

 

7. Yakuza Zero

It is very exciting to see that Yakuza 5 is out now, and even more excited that we are actually getting the prequel game, Yakuza Zero. For those not paying attention to this very consistently good series of games, Yakuza Zero is, like the title mentions, the early days of Kiryu Kazuma’s days in the Yakuza. It’s great to actually see this game with PlayStation 4 graphics and polish. I just don’t understand why SEGA doesn’t advertise this series more, since their flagship series has basically gone down in quality over the past couple of years. Anyway, I can’t wait to crack some skulls against rival Yakuzas in the next two games!

 

6. Ratchet and Clank Remake

I know I have talked about this game before, but this game is just so interesting to me. It’s a remake/reboot/based off a movie that is based around the original game that was released back on the PlayStation 2. Still, it’s good to see that it is keeping its traditional gameplay intact, with easy-to-get-into platforming, and fun weapons. This will be yet another PlayStation 4 exclusive that I can’t wait to play in the future.

 

5. Brut@l 

This was a fun little surprise, a roguelike action game with 3D graphics to look like the very original roguelike games from so many decades ago. It might be another brutal roguelike that has flooded the market place, but at least it’s doing something a tad different. I’m not against these types of games, but when it seems like they are all becoming very similar to one another, then the genre becomes boring. I just love how this developer is making Brut@l this homage, but interesting take on a genre that is all over the place.

 

4. The announcements from Double Fine Productions

Let’s see here. They have a remastered version of Day of the Tentacle, a remaster of Full Throttle, a new VR Psychonauts experience, a new IP known as Headlander, and have the current Psychonauts 2 Fig crowdfunding campaign going on and is already almost at the $3 mil mark? Yeah, I think you can see why I want all of these games. I know and agree that Double Fine Productions have their flaws, but I still want to play their games, and I still find myself fondly enjoying them. Seriously though, I squealed like a schoolgirl when I saw the announcement of Full Throttle Remaster.

 

3. Hob

From the makers of the super popular Torchlight games, Runic Games are back with a new isometric action game with puzzle elements. It sets you in this lush/atmospheric/beautiful fantasy world with a character with a giant arm that uses it to solve puzzles, platforming, and fighting. It’s such a cool-looking game, and I hope those at Runic Games know I would be happy to review it on my PlayStation 4.

 

2. Bound

So, this game is a combination of the same studio that makes the main God of War games and a developer that has worked on interesting experiences. You are set in this gorgeously done universe, where you play as this weird ballerina character, as you platform your way through this unusual world. It’s definitely an interesting concept in terms of the overall design and experience they want to bring to the PlayStation 4. I am rather optimistic that future news and footage will make sure Bound is an attractive product.

 

1. Ni No Kuni II

The original Ni No Kuni was my favorite game of 2013, and quickly became one of my top five favorite RPGs of all time. When I saw that a sequel was being made, I reacted as excitedly as people seeing the new Star Wars trailers. While it might not have all of Studio Ghibli helping out with the sequel, they do have the same composer and art designer, while Level-5, the creator of the original game, will handle the story. The game once again looks incredible, and I love the focus on British voice acting. Just a small side comment, for some reason, the older male character who is from another world, really makes me think of Doctor Who. I honestly think I am going to be the only one who thinks this. Either way, I am so happy Ni No Kuni is getting a sequel and I anxiously await more information.

Top Games from Paris Game Week

I really wanted to tackle the 2015 Tokyo Game Show announcements, but time got the best of me. However, when I heard about Paris Game Week, I knew I had to make a list of my favorite games announced during that event. This list will be mostly about Sony’s line-up, since they were the ones getting the biggest amount of press and buzz. I would have been happy to talk about Microsoft or Nintendo’s games, but no one was really there besides Sony. Let’s get started!

 

11. Boundless

Remember when Minecraft was unique and interesting? Remember how it stood out among indie games before a flood of rip-offs and games that are way too similar to it were popping out of the woodwork? Well, that is why I started this list with Boundless. Granted, Boundless looks a lot different than Minecraft in a lot of ways, but when you see the first-person view, the bricked look of everything just makes me not as excited as I thought I would be. However, I will say that the game looks interesting. I also like the fact that they will try to make it playable between PC and PlayStation 4 players. I will definitely have to check it out for myself when it comes out in the future.

 

10. No Man’s Sky

Ah yes, No Man’s Sky. This is easily one of the most highly anticipated games that will hopefully come out in its June 2016 release date. However, it’s low on the list since it seems like they are just showing us the same footage, and not telling us much else about what the game has to offer. Sure, seeing some of that first-person shooter gameplay in the trailer was nice, but what’s the plot to the game? Is there a plot? Is there more than just exploring? I want to really be excited for this game, but after such a long wait and barely any info, which in a way is a good thing, it’s hard to keep up the hype for the game. Still, it’s on this list for a reason, and I’m looking forward to it. I just hope it doesn’t become the indie version of Star Citizen or the next big overhyped game.

 

9. Bloodborne: The Old Hunters

This is the first and only expansion to the critically acclaimed Bloodborne. It’s easily one of the best games of the year, but I am having a hard time wanting to go back into the game. After seeing the announcement of the new expansion, The Old Hunters, It might make me want to trudge back into the game’s harsh and brutal world. Seeing how a lot of the new trailer focused on the new weapons and that terrifying monster, I hope that will be enough for me to step back into the shoes of the hunter.

 

8. Battlezone

I’m honestly not that big on the whole Virtual Reality hype train that everyone is making a big deal out of. It seems like a very limited market, and most developers probably won’t find a way to get rid of motion sickness. It makes me hope that certain games that are being made for these VR headsets can be played without them. I hope for this since I really want to play Battlezone, a multi-player-centric tank game. It looked like old-fashioned fast-paced piece of arcade goodness. I love game like this, since I don’t really care for most multi-player-centric games. Some of my concerns for those types of games do pop up, like the lasting appeal of multi-player-only games, but I do hope Battlezone can be fun with or without the VR headset.

 

7. Alienation

Just like another game on this list, I was rather excited to see more of this game in action. Something about isometric action games always intrigues me, and of course, I should be excited for Alienation. It’s made by the same individuals that made Dead Nation and Resogun. With fast-paced action, hordes of aliens, and different playable characters, Alienation will be a tough and frantic romp.

 

6. Horizon Zero Dawn

I am so hyped up for this new game. I love the idea of having to fight robot animals with a bow and arrow, the default item for strong female video game characters (Thank you, Hunger Games). Okay, cynicism aside, I am looking forward to this game. I want to see if the developers behind Killzone will bring a strong story-focused single-player game. However, I do wish they would show us something else other than the stuff that we have already seen from E3 and so on. I liked how they broke down everything, but still. I want to see something new, like the main character interacting with the other tribes that were seen in the trailer. Even with that little issue, I can’t wait to play this game.

 

5. Gravity Rush Remastered/Gravity Rush 2

On one hand, I am rather excited to finally play this new Sony IP, since I am never getting a PlayStation Vita unless someone sends me one, or a PlayStation TV. The game looks gorgeous, and the combat is rather unique for an action game. I am always happy to try out new IPs and gaming experiences. On the other hand, I wish the first game was getting a physical release here in the states, since the other parts of the world are getting them. I’m just saying, if Sony is allowing physical versions of digital-only games like Helldivers or Stick It To The Man!, then Gravity Rush, one of their own IP franchises should get a physical release or be a preorder add-on for the second game. However, I should be clear that even with that little bit of annoyance, the two games look great, and I can’t wait to add more to my small PlayStation 4 library.

 

4. Ratchet & Clank Remake

I was a little concerned with how this game was being handled. Not that I didn’t think Insomniac couldn’t make it good because they are one of my favorite developers, but that it was a remake of the original game, a reboot of sorts, and it was tying in with the upcoming movie. Luckily, the game looks fantastic and gorgeous running on the PlayStation 4. Ratchet & Clank has always been a franchise that you could count on for high quality games, and this upcoming reboot/remake/movie tie-in game will be on the top of my Gamefly list!

 

3. WiLD

I was so happy to hear more about WiLD by Rayman and Beyond Good & Evil creator Michel Ancel. When it was announced back in 2014 during Gamescom, I was already hooked by the fact that you can play in this vast open world filled with mystical elements. Seeing the gameplay and how you will be able to transform into any animal, and fight off killer cannibals was already making this a must-purchase game. It made the point even more to buy the game when you got to see the snake woman. I can’t wait to find spirits or whatever is in this game playing as the shaman. This is easily one of my most anticipated games, and I hope I can somehow find a way to play a hands-on version of the game in the future.

 

2. Detroit

Okay, let’s get this out of the way. Yes, David Cage is a polarizing subject in the video game industry. Yes, his games like Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls have major flaws in some of their designs. But you know what? I like his games. I relate him to Tim Schafer, in the sense that both are brilliant game designers that show that you can and should do something different to stand out from the crowd. Both need control in terms of their creativity though, so they don’t go overboard like Beyond: Two Souls’s weirdly-paced story or the last third of Broken Age. Now then, let’s talk about David Cage’s new game, Detroit, a so called “not sci-fi” story about a female android who experiences and discovers the actual world outside of the factory in which she was made. While we have definitely seen this style of story before, I’m always anticipating seeing how they handle the topics at hand. Of course, since this is Quantic Dreams, the game looks gorgeous and super realistic.

 

1. NieR: Automata

Yeah, this should be no surprise to anyone that knows me. It’s an action RPG being made by the Platinum Games, and it’s a sequel to a cult favorite RPG. This game is actually a miracle of sorts, since the original game didn’t do so well with the critics and gamers, and I don’t think it sold very well. It’s great to see Square Enix doing a few more experimental games while they, of course, keep making their Final Fantasy games. Plus, it’s freaking Platinum Games! I personally don’t think they have made a bad game. I can’t wait to purchase this game for my PlayStation 4!

Top 5 Reasons Why The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is Amazing!

I deeply apologize for the wait on this list. I had a lot of stuff going on between this list and the list of The Witcher III’s negatives. Now then, I think I need to remind everyone that I really, and put emphasis on really, love The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt. It’s easily in my favorite games of 2015 so far, alongside Final Fantasy Type-0HD, Bloodborne, Read Only Memories, and Splatoon. I am going to list the obvious reasons why this game is amazing. Also, it’s good timing since the developers just released a new expansion. Let’s get started!

5. The story/characters

You know how you have all been wanting that one “Game of Thrones” game that does the show justice? I mean, outside of the one Telltales has made? Well, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt has probably one of the most complex and in-depth characters and lore of most RPGs that come out this year. Heck, it’s one of the best examples of storytelling around. Each quest, each side-quest, and each main-quest narrative is filled with brilliant writing, well developed characters, and due to the story’s multiple outcomes, the world will actually change around you, depending on what you do. Seriously, this is one of the wordiest games I have ever played. Granted, some conversations could have been cut down a bit, but you can get lost within these conversations that build on the lore and world through which you travel. It’s a great way to get lost in such a complex world.

4. Combat

I was not a fan of The Witcher 2’s combat. It was fun, but felt clunky and not as satisfying as it could have been. Luckily, they streamlined a few elements, and now the combat, where you use two different swords, a crossbow, and magic, feels more action-oriented. It is more satisfying to attack enemies and giant monsters, since I feel like way too many western-style RPGs are made with a PC RPG combat engine in mind. It’s why I prefer games like Kingdoms of Amalur or Dragon’s Dogma. I can run, hack, slash, burn people into a crisp, and much more, without feeling like I’m being held back by stupid PC RPG design. Sure, when someone hears that word, “streamlined”, they cringe in fear that it will just be a button masher. Well, good for you, the combat still has a lot of strategy to it. What else do I need to say? It’s a great combat engine.

3. Contract Jobs/Side Quests

I know I bashed the repetitive side-quests, and how some of the contract jobs early on in the game are boring, but once you start fighting giant monsters and learn the ins-and-outs of the action-oriented combat, contract jobs become one of the best elements of the game. I remember I was returning from a side-quest, and came across a cave. It just so happened that cave had a giant monster in it. I smoked it out of hiding and went outside of the cave. Once I saw the giant creature fly off, I chased after it with my horse and took it down. It was one of the most thrilling battles of the game for me. I also enjoy that the side-quests do have substance to them. It is never just a simple quest. Like everything else in this game, there is a story behind it. While I still stand that some of the quests in this game are boring, I won’t deny how much substance they have to them.

2. DLC Done Right

Man, that DLC debacle for Evolve felt so long ago. It’s still disappointing that specific game lost any hype or worth to many gamers because of how huge the push was for DLC. It became less of an actual game, and more like a bottomless money pit. It didn’t help the actual game was simply bad, as well. Luckily, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt knew what to do with its DLC. The developer gave out a huge amount of little DLC downloads for the gamer to download. The best part was that it was free, with no nickel and diming the consumer. You get a full game that is amazing, and little bits of DLC that will expand our time in the game’s world. Oh, and the expansion is really good.

1. It treats you like a respectable consumer.

So many game developers these days seem to treat you more like a walking bag of money and credit cards than actual consumer. We buy the game and play it, why should they care if the game is not satisfying and the DLC is outrageous? They have our money and that is all that matters. That is why games like Splatoon and The Witcher III have given gamers and consumers all the more reasons to pick the game up. Both are incredibly fun games that offer you something fulfilling, and have offered content to consumers for free. No extra charge. I felt like I got a full game with The Witcher III, since the game will last you hours, but you have great gameplay and an epic story to keep you going. More games need to start learning from games like The Witcher III, and make sure the consumer and gamer’s satisfaction comes first. This is why The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, is one of my favorite games of the year, and why it’s deserving of all the high praise it is getting, and has gotten. Now, if you will excuse me, I will need to wait and buy the obvious GOTY edition that we will be obtaining next year or so.

Top 10 Genres Indie Developers Need To Take A Break From!

For understandable reasons, so many people like to criticize the big budget industry for basically making five different versions of the same game every single year. You’ve got your expansive, empty, repetitive, quest-filled RPGs, your gritty first-person shooters, top-of-the-line racing simulators, and your yearly sequels to games people are really tired of. While these criticisms are understandable, and I do say them myself, gamers need to start pointing the finger at the smaller developers as well. Indie developers, who I respect for doing more adventurous experiences, are guilty of this same criticism. So many genres have now flooded the indie scene, and are starting to result in games becoming stale experiences that are all looking the same. Not to say that these genres still can’t produce good games, but I think everyone would be fine in terms of not having to see another game in these genres for a while. Just to spice things up, I am making a list without a specific order to it. It’s a list of genres, in no real order of how flooded the market is with that type of game. Of course, indie developers can do what they want, but here are the top genres indie developers need to steer clear from for a while!

 

1. First-Person Narrative Games!

This is one genre that is polarizing among gamers. You either like these types of games or you don’t. What I do know is that these types of games are stagnating in quality. Most of the time is spent walking with the player, maybe being involved with the story, or not. The result really depends on how good the game is. Most of the time, developers think that all you need is a first-person camera, no puzzles, combat, and a focus on a much more interesting story that doesn’t involve you. Let me tell you this, no one likes being a third wheel in the story. You need to make the player the focus of the story, and have it revolve around them. Don’t make the side stories or the main story that has nothing to do with the main character the focus. So many games do this without giving the gamer some kind of interactivity. I have had enough of these types of games.

 

2. Horror Survival

Even though people love to say that horror has hit a revival, it really hasn’t. It hit a revival with games like Outlast, Aliens: Isolation, and depending on whom you ask, The Evil Within, but the horror scene has also hit a slump with some lackluster experiences. Daylight was hyped, but then came out as a mediocre experience because of a dull story and annoying maze-like level designs. A lot of these types of games just toss you into an open empty world with some monster chasing you, while trying to piece together some story that could have come from any pretentious art house essay that tries to be more than it is. If you are going to try and make one of these, then that’s fine, but do something that we haven’t seen before. Make it more than just you running around and avoiding monsters.

 

3. Games with No Combat!

Ah yes, another polarizing genre. The big problem with this, besides there being a few too many of them, is the fact that they take out combat, but don’t replace it with something else to make the experience more worthwhile. I get it, we have too many bloody violent action games, but you can’t just take combat out of your game and leave it at that. Look at games like Wander for the PC and PlayStation 4. It’s a game that proudly claims to be an MMO without combat. That’s a cool idea, but there is nothing that changes about the experience. All you do is walk around. That is basically it. So, besides giving us exploration in a world with no life in it, they also don’t give you much of a point to explore. Nor does the tone change. Even though I still enjoyed Submerged, I wished there was more to the story than the same 10 climbing challenges. For this one, just make an engrossing world and a compelling story.

 

4. Roguelikes

I have played so many of these this year that I’m starting to get burnt out on them, no matter how good the game is. Games like Rogue Legacy, Guild of Dungeoneering, Hand of Fate, Tower of Guns, Ziggurat, and Galak-Z: The Dimensional have done something different, but at the same time, when an indie game pops up with roguelike in the genre or elements of the genre, it seems to be a way to unnecessarily elongate the time it takes to play the game. Not only that, many times, due to how bloody difficult they can be, roguelikes make you feel like you are never making progress. I am fine with a challenge, but when I can’t make progress no matter if it is my fault or not, then I think you need to give the player some wiggle room so they can keep having fun and not have the game be a chore for them. A fine example of a roguelike doing something different is the recent Kickstarter Battle Chasers: Nightwar. It’s not just a challenging roguelike, but it’s also an isometric dungeon-crawler and a 3D JRPG, all mixed into one game.

 

5. RPGs inspired by the likes of Final Fantasy VI

Listen, I love Final Fantasy VI as much as the next guy. It’s one of the best RPGs around, but let’s take a break from trying to make a game like Final Fantasy VI. You do know there are many more RPGs out there, right? Sure, we are seeing more indie RPGs being inspired by the likes of Earthbound, which is fantastic. An RPG I am looking forward to is Y2K: A Post Modern RPG. It takes inspiration from not only Earthbound, but it also takes inspiration from Persona. Edge of Eternity is an attempt to be what Final Fantasy XII should have been. My point is, take a look at other RPGs that are loved by many, and try out making a game that is in that general vein of RPG.

 

6. Trial and Error-style Games

This is just personal taste and opinion, since you can never have an unbiased review or anything, but I really don’t care for Trial and Error games. These are the indie games that are made to be nothing more than stress simulators. I like games that have flowing progression. I don’t want to play a rhythm game where I know one mistake will kill me. It’s why I never took interest in games like Battle Kid. They are novelty-style games that have very short lifespans. What will make yours any different from the last one? You can’t really make them unplayable either, or else people are going to call you out for refunds or worse.

 

7. Wacky Physics/Simulator Games

Probably one of the most flooded indie genres is the wacky physics games. You know what these are. These are games like Surgeon Simulator, Goat Simulator, and such, games that really rely on the 10 minutes or so of charm and then get tiring. Sure, there is an art to making them have lasting appeal, but I see no reason to make games like this. I would rather play a game that has longevity and multiple play-throughs, than one that I will play, forget about, and then regret buying. Sometimes, we need a laugh, and that’s fine, but put more effort into it.

 

8. Crafting/Survival Games

Boy, if there was one thing that Minecraft did for better or worse, was making the crafting/survival genre of indie games popular. These games are everywhere now, and let’s be honest, none of them do anything different from one another. A lot of the games have the same systems, or try to copy Minecraft to the very last pixel. Some games do it differently, like the upcoming Deadwood: The Forgotten Curse adds in a story, actual characters, and a unique take on the crafting where you use crafting materials to protect you and your giant rock friend. It doesn’t help either that there are tons of really bad survival games that had little, to no effort put into them. I don’t mind them if they are done well, and games with elements of survival in them don’t have to be terrible like Darkest Dungeon, but how about we take a break from them?

 

9. Metroidvania Games

Due to the recent and massive amount of success Koji Igarashi’s Bloodstained has received, I think indie developers can slow done a bit on the multiple number of Metroidvania-style games. For the one or two people that may not know about this, these are mostly 2D action games that have one gigantic map to explore, find upgrades, take down bosses, and have a feeling of exploration as you traverse wherever the developer takes you. These are your Dust: An Elysian Tale, Xeodrifter, Strider from 2014, Unepic, Teslagrad, Axion Verge, Double Fine’s upcoming Headlander,  Chasm, the upcoming Timespinner, Outland, Shadow Complex, Guacamelee, and so on. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it seems like there have been too many of them. Most of the time, they are not subtle in terms of how much they take from games like Super Metroid or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. I also don’t find myself remembering the levels and areas as much as I think the designers were intending. I don’t think I have played a game where they have perfected this kind of game and not stumble on the same common problems like the combat becomes too easy, the feeling of exploration being pointless, the worlds too baron, and you get the idea. They don’t have to stop making them, but I feel like with the first-person narrative game (or walking simulator for the more cynical), we need to start being more critical of them, and not blindly buy them, since they remind us of games from 20 or so years ago. Even the most beloved of genres shouldn’t get a free pass when it comes to criticism of overflooding the market.

10. Zombie Games

Technically, you can say this is more of an element than a genre, but due to how many zombie games there are among the indie scene, it is put into the genre label. Sadly, most games with zombies don’t do much with them! They are usually enemy fodder in your crafting game, and most developers take advantage of the opportunity. Take for example, two indie games that are doing something different with zombies, Trapped Dead and Ray’s the Dead. Ray’s the Dead is a zombie game that has amore Pikmin-style action to it, and Trapped Dead puts you into a real-time-strategy. It’s breathtaking to see something done differently with the genre that it makes you wonder why more developers aren’t doing the same thing and taking the road less traveled.

With all this said, though, if you want to make one of these kinds of games, then that’s perfectly fine. Just think about making something unique out of it, instead of doing a number-by-number cop-out game that no one is going to give a hoot about.

Top 11 Favorite Games from Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015 is now behind us, and honestly, it was pretty underwhelming. Besides Microsoft and a few third-party companies, there really wasn’t anything that amazing announced at the conference. I only realized a few days in, that Sony wasn’t going to be there, and Nintendo was there, but they didn’t really have much there besides playable versions of some of their released and upcoming games. Even the downloadable indie scene was very disappointing, besides one or two announcements. Luckily, I did find a few games that excited me. This will mostly be focused around Microsoft and a few third-party titles, so sorry that there wasn’t much on the Sony and Nintendo side. Let’s get started.

 

11. Quantum Break

I admit this is funny. Quantum Break, the newest game behind the Alan Wake developers, Remedy Entertainment, started off my Gamescom list from last year, and here it is starting off this year’s list. How does that keep happening? Maybe because, even though it is still an interesting idea and it looked pretty, the game has pretty much lost all of its hype. Sure, it might have a huge star-studded cast that includes Shawn Ashmore, Aidan Gillen, and Dominic Monaghan, but by now, I don’t really care. It’s taken so long for this game to stick out from its original style when Microsoft was pushing the whole TV and game collaboration together, that many more games have made more interesting aesthetic choices, and more interesting gameplay. Still, I can’t deny that I want to see how this game will do.

10. Rise of the Tomb Raider

Yet another game that had its hype sucked right out of it. Why? Maybe because Crystal Dynamics acted like seedy individuals, and made the game exclusively for one console for an entire year, because one company gave them a big bag of money. That one press release killed my excitement for the franchise, and that’s a dang shame since I loved the reboot and enjoy the downloadable Tomb Raider experiences. The gameplay shown off at Gamescom was also impressive, with Lara tackling a tomb in Syria. I like the look of the game, and I have been a huge fan of the newly designed Lara Croft. Hopefully, the levels have more organic designs to them where you aren’t simply going through easy, no-fail sequences. I would have liked to have seen more action, and maybe some more enemy types, but this was easily a better demo than the one shown off at E3 2015. Like I said though, the hype train that I was riding on when this game was announced, ran itself right off the tracks with Rise of the Tomb Raider being a timed exclusive, but now all I have to do is wait until the end of 2016 to play it on my PlayStation 4.

9. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

Finally, a game from a big budget company that I am actually looking forward to is on this list. I remember when the first game came out, and how unique and a breath of fresh air it was. Now that we have some actual gameplay footage, staged or not, it looks good. I like how they are keeping with the minimal colors, mixed with the corporate sci-fi look. I do have some concerns with how fluid the melee combat will be, since it is in first-person, but the flow of how the character moved and fought impressed me. Sure, it is from EA, but I really hope they don’t mess this up with Dice, the developers behind the Battlefield franchise. On the bright side though, it does look promising, and I can’t wait for it in February of next year.

8. We Happy Few

I unfortunately will probably never get the interview that I wanted from the developer, but I am happy to see that this Kickstarter success story, We Happy Few, is now coming to the Xbox One, and hopefully other consoles in the future. This alternate reality that takes place after World War II has caught many gamer’s attention with its rogue-like design, and the odd setting where people wear white masks and take a happy pill. It’s creative and unsettling, and you should all be looking forward to it.

7. Hellblade

I was quite happy to see more of this game from the developers behind Enslaved and Heavenly Sword. The game looks quite fascinating, since it not only has a great visual style, but a very eerie atmosphere. Maybe it was just me, but Hellblade does a better job at making a terrifying atmosphere than most 3D horror games these days. It was unsettling, and I was pulled into the footage in the trailer while I was watching it on my phone. I can’t wait to see more of this game’s story, and world that the main character travels through. Unfortunately, I am not looking forward to that combat. It didn’t look satisfying or that fluid. It had a clunky element to it, and I hope the combat is not all like that. I hope it’s just for these horror sequences. Still, I can’t wait to see more of this game now.

6. Thimbleweed Park

Ron Gilbert, one of the great individuals alongside Tim Schafer that made LucasArts great, released a Kickstarter last year for an adventure game in the same vein as Maniac Mansion. To no surprise, it got funded and then some, by Kickstarter. Another sign of good news is that the game is coming out for the Xbox One. I hope it comes to other consoles because everyone should try out this adventure game that was inspired by one of the most infamous and legendary adventure games of all time. Add onto the fact that you get a silly “Twin Peaks/True Detective” vibe from the story, and you’ve got something quite different coming to your PC or console.

5. Mafia III

I was never a huge follower of the Mafia franchise. My first time playing the series was the second game, and I thought it was a tedious, if respectable experience. This new game has already a lot more going for it. First off, it takes place in the 60s, and you play an African- American Vietnam vet named Lincoln Clay, who wants to take out the Italian Mob that tried to take down the Black Mob, as it is called in the game. They have a lot to work with here, due to the setting in New Orleans, and the time period. I can’t wait to see what they do with the gameplay.

4. Unravel

 

Man, I can’t get enough of this adorable character in what is quite possibly one of the only EA games worth giving a hoot about in years. Seeing more of the photorealistic graphics, and the puzzle platforming starring this cute little yarn-made individual, made me feel all warm and fuzzy. I feel good watching the gorgeous gameplay and hearing the developers talk about how the game was inspired by vacations that they had taken, and that all of the game’s locations are based off of those fun summertime trips. I really hope EA doesn’t do anything to screw this up, because if they do, I might have to be done with them forever.

3. Final Fantasy XV

I talked about this game in the past in an editorial, and this trailer reinforces my opinion about the emotions felt from this game. Seeing this trailer made me feel more attached to the story and characters than any of the recent Final Fantasy games (Type-0HD not included in that list of bad games) have these past five years. Seeing the dad hold the younger version of our main character with the gorgeous music in the background was rather endearing. Or you can say it’s emotionally manipulating if you want to be cynical. Sure, we only got to see a little bit of gameplay where the main characters fight a giant disgusting monster, but still, this game has me so excited. Of course, if this game ends up sucking, I will be severely disappointed due to how long it has taken for this game to come out. Hopefully, once this game comes out next year, the experience on this game’s journey will be memorable.

2. Dark Souls III

Bloodborne was one of the biggest surprises for me. I really don’t care for the action RPG games that From Software makes, since while they are good, they do have a couple of shortcomings that no one seems to want to admit they have. Still, I enjoyed my incredibly grueling time with Bloodborne (not as much as Bayonetta 2 and The Witcher III, but still), and after seeing the new footage from Dark Souls III, which is said to be the last game in the series, I am stoked. The combat has been described to be faster-paced, similar to Bloodborne, and seeing some of the giant enemies that you may have to fight is awe-inspiring. While I have my issues with the overall experience of these games, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t going to try out Dark Souls III. However, if I do have to fight the giant skeleton shown in the trailer, I don’t care if I have to break down the code to the game itself, I am making sure I can make my character run away, and get a normal job. Seriously, it’s just a whole lot of ‘nope’ in that one scene in the trailer.

1. Scalebound

I was so happy to finally see some actual gameplay footage for Platinum Games’ Xbox One exclusive. I got concerned that Microsoft was going to destroy and interfere with a company that you shouldn’t touch. Luckily, the gameplay shown off had Platinum Games written all over it. A cool action game concept where you fight alongside a dragon? Check! The ability to transform yourself and wear dragon armor? Check! Giant monster fights? Double check! My only concern is with how the four-player multiplayer aspect will turn out. I don’t have too much doubt though that Platinum Games will pull off another great game, and that it will be the one game that will make me want to get an Xbox One.

The 7 Most Disappointing Elements of E3 2015

Well, I wish everything was perfect, but it isn’t. While this year’s E3 was fantastic, it did have a few of the old E3 negatives on standby. The only honorable mention I will give is Nintendo’s lack of surprises, and the cynicism of their new Metroid spin-off game. I can understand the disappointment, but I feel like Nintendo was the least offensive element out of E3 this year. Not taking their side on things, but let’s be real here, that petition to cancel the Metroid game won’t work, and will probably do more damage than help as a whole to the series.

 

7. All of the VR stuff

I feel like I am alone in thinking this, but I don’t really see the big deal with virtual reality. I mean, as for right now. It’s a cool idea of being fully immersed inside a game’s world with nothing from the outside world bothering you, but at the same time, all of the games being made for the individual VR headsets aren’t all that impressive. I don’t play a lot of first-person games, because I never feel fully immersed due to a multitude of different reasons, like platforming or combat. It would be cool to see something like a third-person action or platforming game being made for the VR headsets. Plus, on top of having to fix the whole motion sickness, the price of entry will be too much. A PC plus the Oculus Rift will cost you $1500, and for most people, unless they are spoiled rich or have saved up for months, won’t be able to invest into something like this. I just don’t feel like it is ready yet. Maybe after one or two more console generations it will be, but I agree with Reggie of Nintendo of America, it doesn’t look fun at all.

 

6. Sony, no one gives a hoot about your non-gaming stuff!

Sony had one of the best conferences in a while. It was definitely better than the one from last year, but on top of zoning out on all of the Activision exclusivity, I really didn’t care about the flipping TV stuff and the PlayStation Vue. I watch E3 for the video games, and not some kind of service that might make you even more bankrupt instead of learning how to make the PlayStation 4 backwards compatible.

5. The boring forgettable speakers

You know how fun it is to watch Aisha Tyler on the Ubisoft conference or the guy that made Unravel? What about the super funny puppets from the Nintendo conference? Well, we needed more of those. All throughout the conferences, they had such boring people that acted like robots in suits. You are showing off video games that should be fun and amazing, give a hoot, or else the viewers and consumers aren’t going to be interested! Give some effort, and don’t try to act cool to the younger gamers. Show us you have the passion for the games you make.

4. Conferences overstaying their welcome

A huge problem with a lot of these conferences and anything from games to movies is the fact that they can overstay their welcome. That was true with a majority of these conferences. EA could have cut the time on their Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 in half, since we saw some of it during Microsoft’s conference, and Ubisoft really didn’t need to have Jason Derulo sing badly during the Just Dance sequence. Just show us the trailers and gameplay demos, and don’t bog down the experience with pointless fluff. Oh, and EA talking about sports was utterly painful to sit through. Oh and don’t even get me started on the PC Conference. To me, that was the worst one. It was such an over-bloated mess of stuff that could have been scrapped. You get what I mean, right? Be an hour and a half long or maybe just an hour, don’t pad yourself out.

3. Dark Souls III

Now, why is this game down here? Well, a lot of people including myself are concerned that the Souls franchise that includes Demon’s, Dark, and Bloodborne are going to be turned into yet another yearly sequel that has gone the way of Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, and Madden. Everyone was already underwhelmed with Dark Souls II, and no offense to Hidetaka Miyazaki, but I would like to see him make other games besides this popular niche franchise. The best games that come out take at least two-three years to get made, and yet the hardcore and bias Souls fans are not thinking this. They just write this concern off like it’s no big deal, but just you wait. Maybe next year they will announce a Bloodborne 2 (which would be cool, but still), and then when that comes out, they will announce a Dark Souls IV, and the quality will dip and the games will spike in quality both good and bad. Whether you are a fan that will admit when the games have huge flaws or not, you should be worried that this might happen.

2. Microsoft and EA’s lack of game variety

My biggest problems with these two companies are the fact that they are not willing to try something new. Remember how varied Microsoft’s E3 conference was last year? You had Sunset Overdrive, Ori and the Blind Forest, Phantom Dust 2, and Scalebound. What about this year? Microsoft had the same boring games that no one wants. They could have taken the time that was given to that egocentric pat on the back with Ford and talked about Scalebound or the current state of Phantom Dust 2. What about Crackdown? Why didn’t we hear about this game? EA is more offensive to this because at least Microsoft has Sea of Thieves and Recore. The only good EA game was Unravel because it was the game that stood out the most. Heck, they should have shown more of that game than the stupid mobile garbage they try to give us that no one wants. Still, I wish both companies would go back and actually give us more varied gaming experiences than what they have given us.

1. The “Tell Don’t Show” mentality of the conferences

This has been the biggest issue with E3 for years, and it is no different this year. A lot more CG trailers and more talking were shown instead of actual gameplay. You can tell us how much EA has innovated or improved the game, but when you don’t show us or visually explain how big this improvement is, then don’t bother telling us. Square Enix was a huge offender with this, because they showed so many trailers with very little or no actual footage.  Listen, you can talk about stuff, that is fine, but showing us the gameplay gives us more of an idea about the game than a CG trailer. Heck, I’ll take a scripted gameplay demo over someone talking and sounding completely bored and robotic any day of the week.

Will these problems be solved or answered for next year’s E3? Who knows? This was a great E3, but I still wish they could do better since I am now leaning towards the side of why a lot of people don’t care for it. Still, I can’t wait for next year.

My 22 Favorite Games from E3 2015

E3 2015 has come and gone. I personally thought it was a good E3. It had its share of problems, but we will get to that on a different list. A lot of great games were announced that we didn’t know about or already knew about. These were my favorite games at the event. I do have some rules. Like always, no developer diaries. I will allow CG trailers and fixed gameplay demos.  Now then, how about we start with honorable mentions?

Honorable mentions go to…

Rise of the Tomb Raider: I am still very much looking forward to this game, since I loved the reboot, but with how the head of Crystal Dynamics is being with the Xbox One is still getting it exclusively for a limited time, I just won’t support cruddy business deals like this. I will wait for the PlayStation 4 version.

Gears of War 4: While I don’t really care about this franchise due to its beef-headed nature and boring characters, I will give the studio credit that they have at least attempted to make the characters more human and realistically proportioned. I actually like that.

Mass Effect 4: Andromeda:  I am honestly really excited for it, but I wish there was some gameplay shown off. I also hope EA can give Bioware the proper time to make this, and not rush it out. Oh, and no micro-transactions EA.

The Division: I am still hoping this game will be well made, but we could be walking into another downgraded Destiny situation where there is a lot to do, but it’s not really fun and gets tiring after a few days.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake: As much as I want to put this on the list, I am not as super-emotionally attached to this project as I am with games like Final Fantasy IX. Still, I can’t wait to hear more about it.

Nier 2: I really wanted to put this game on the list, because I adored the first game, despite its huge flaws, and I love Platinum Games, the team that’s making it. Unfortunately, like a lot of games at E3, no gameplay was shown. I did enjoy the music though, and I am happy to see the talented developer getting a lot of work.

The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes: This quirky 3DS game is cool and I am glad that there is a way for players to try it out offline as well. It’s also worth noting that this game has online multiplayer. I respect Nintendo for trying something unique to them with this multiplayer focused experience.

Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival: I understand why people here were disappointed by this title, since it wasn’t a main title in this popular franchise. However, it’s hard for me to hate on something like Animal Crossing. Sure, I hope no one becomes a seedy second-hand seller by getting all of the Animal Crossing Amiibos and makes playing this download impossible, because the Amiibo situation is already out of hand.

Project Setsuna: I am so happy that Square Enix is finally making something new. I have been hoping more big developers/publishers would branch out, and this shows that they are willing to try something new. Just wish there was some gameplay to show.

Even after these honorable mentions, I still had to leave out games like the super fun-looking Dragon Quest Heroes, the Kickstarter success Shenmue III, the incredibly gorgeous Tearway: Unfolded, the terrifying Until Dawn, the create-your-own-game Super Mario Maker, The new Star Ocean: Integrity & Faithlessness, the super charming Planet Coaster, and the always amazing looking and fun Uncharted 4. Now for the games that made the list!

22. Recore

Up first is Recore, the new game by Compcept founder and Mighty No. 9 creator Keiji Inafune ( I know he is also known for the MegaMan and Dead Rising games), and Armature Studios. While we didn’t get to see any actual gameplay for Recore, the concept seems promising with the whole “put an orb in a different machine for potential action and puzzle solving”. My only real concern is that the story’s touching connection with the girl and her robot dog shown in the trailer seems inconsequential, due to the fact that she can easily take the orb and put it into another machine. They make it look emotional in the trailer, but then cancel out any investment you had with the robot dog blowing up. Still, I am excited for a new IP. All I wanted was some gameplay to show off how the whole experience will work

21. Sea of Thieves

 

For the final Xbox exclusive to be on this list is Rare’s Sea of Thieves. While I wish it wasn’t so multiplayer-focused and not in first-person, I am still hyped since it’s a new Rare IP and not just another Kinect Sports game, since, well, the Kinect is officially dead. Anyway, I love the art style and love how it’s going to be a hopefully solid pirate-themed game with exploration, treasure hunting, and fighting! I know a lot of Rare’s best are now at different studios, but any company that is using Robin Beanland, the composer for many Rare games like the Killer Instinct franchise and Jet Force Gemini is showing that they are taking this seriously.

20. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

Yeah…while I love the London setting, the ability to control gangs, no multiplayer, and easier ways to traverse the city, it’s still Assassin’s Creed, and due to what happened last year with Assassin’s Creed Unity, there is still reason to be wary with how this game will launch. Still, this is the most interesting Assassin’s Creed game I have seen in years. Plus, it makes me want to rewatch “Peaky Blinders”! Anyway, it’s a tough call whether to either be hyped or be very concerned. Either way, we are going to have a blast and bash in some skulls in jolly old England.

19. Doom

Aw, yeah! The granddaddy of shooters is back with a new iteration! At first, I was a little cynical about the game, due to how so many shooters have improved and built upon the first-person shooter genre. After watching the gameplay in whole, the game looks fun and fast. I do agree though that the colors could have been better, since even though this game is over-the-top with its gore, it looks like any other shooter. I am also concerned with how balanced the single-player mode will be compared to its creative multiplayer. We didn’t play Doom for its multiplayer, we played it to get immersed in the creepy depths of hell. Even then, it is nice to see a new game in the franchise, and one that looks graphically impressive.

18. Dreams

Here is a game that is hard to pin down, Dreams. On one hand, it is very creative, and Media Molecule is very good at that. Being able to paint and create whatever you want is really ambitious. On the other hand, they are basically making an art app for your PlayStation 4. Hopefully, they add something for people who want to try out a single-player experience. Either way, Dreams is a creative game by a talented company. I can’t wait to try it out.

17. Dishonored 2

While I have not yet played the first game, which I will, once The Definitive Edition comes out for PlayStation 4, it’s cool for everyone else that there is a sequel coming out. With the inclusion of a new playable character, a new location, and some new enemies (those sword-wielding mechanical things are scary!), Dishonored 2 is looking to bring another freedom-of-choice experience.

16. Trackmania Turbo

While Microsoft had an egocentric pat on the back with its advertising of Ford and the new Forza Motorsport game, Ubisoft decided to go the opposite route and show off a more arcade-style racing game, where not only will you race on some crazy tracks, but you can also make your own tracks. There is even a randomized track maker that will make a track out of the blue, and you will have to race it. It looks fun, even though this is the first time I have heard of this franchise.

15. Transformers: Devastation

I don’t feel like I have to explain this one much. Sure, I am concerned that it might be a soulless cash-in, but come on. The art style is of the Transformers from the 80s, it’s being made by Platinum Games, the action looks fast, and getting the ability to possibly fight Devastator has my young Transformers me excited. It should be at least a fun game.

14. For Honor

It’s always exciting to see a new game whether it be a single-player experience or multiplayer, and Ubisoft’s For Honor hits that nail on the head. This is a multiplayer-focused action game that combines elements of Dynasty Warriors and the complex strategic combat of the Chilvary games. I like how this game’s combat makes you get good at the combat system, since you really don’t want to button mash your way through the one-on-one/more battles with other human opponents. It reminds me of that Bushido Blade series on the original PlayStation, where one strategic hit would kill the opponent. Plus, who didn’t love the speaker for this game? He was freaking entertaining.

13. World of Final Fantasy

This was one of the biggest surprises for me at E3. Seeing this super cute and colorful take on the famous franchise was refreshing, since so many games these days try to be muted with colors and super-serious. Seeing the battle system was also cool, since you can befriend certain monsters, and have them either ride you or vice versa, and sharing how they want to make a game that is easy to get into, but tough to master is always a great idea. Any game that you can get both new and old gamers interested in will equal more sales in my book. I know not everyone was in love with the cutesy style, but to me, this will be one game to keep on my radar

12. Mario & Luigi Paper Jam

While I do wish this was a Wii U RPG, since I want the Wii U to get one kind of Mario-style RPG, Mario & Luigi Paper Jam is shaping up to combine the two worlds of Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi. It also seems like the writers are having a little fun with the personalities of the characters from both series. The combat looks fun, fast, and complex, since you will be working with not only Mario and Luigi, but Paper Mario as well. Like I said, I wish this was coming to Wii U, but I am still excited for yet another high quality RPG from Nintendo.

11. Yoshi’s Wooly World

 

Yoshi’s Wooly World is high on this list for a reason. Not only is it just a downright beautiful looking game, the gameplay looks entertaining, the music is adorable, and it was refreshing to hear Nintendo talk about how they want to make sure the game is fun. Granted, I hope they continue to handle the Amiibos well, and not let anything bad happen to them, like second-hand sellers buying them in bulk. Either way, I love the look of the game, and I will have a smile on my face and a child-like giddiness when I play it later this year.

10. Kingdom Hearts III

One of the best trailers to come out of E3 was definitely the gameplay trailer for Kingdom Hearts III. It was so gorgeous with bright colors, and the artstyle that makes the whole series stand out looked fantastic in the trailer. I also loved seeing how it was going back to being more like the first two games, and not try to pull off anything new that may not be fun in the end. Sometimes, a return to what made the series great is all you ever need to do. However, seeing the new super-moves that revolve around what I think are the Disney rides was quite a visual spectacle. Anyway, I am happy to see some actual footage of this game, and I can’t wait to get my grubby gamer hands on them.

9. Mario Tennis Ultra Smash

Here is a game I wish I wasn’t the only one looking forward to, Mario Tennis Ultra Smash. While I have not played the handheld games in this sub-series, I always felt like certain sports games work on home consoles better than handhelds, and was majorly disappointed when the last game came out for the 3DS and not the Wii U. The graphics look beautiful, the gameplay looks just as good as the Nintendo 64 and GameCube games, and I mean, come on, it’s a Mario sports game. It’s going to be really fun! Might not win my Game of the Year Award, but I know it’s going to be quite a lovely time.

8. The Last Guardian

I know everyone and their grandma is going to put this in their top three games of E3, but for me, it’s just right here on the list. Don’t get me wrong, I am very much excited for this game. It looks gorgeous and seeing the little boy cooperate with the giant griffin creature is always charming, but this is a Team Ico game. The controls are going to be clunky, and I feel like they aren’t going to make sure the controls are tight, which will result in stuff that is the game’s fault and not yours. I also think a lot of the hype I had for the game has diminished since it has been in such a long development time. Plus the lack of information and reasons why the game was delayed got really grating after a little bit. Still, I can’t wait to finally get my hands on this game and try out the last game in this trilogy.

7. Fallout 4

Here is a surprise to me, Fallout 4. I don’t have a huge loving relationship with the franchise. I have the first three games on my PC, but I didn’t really care much for Fallout 3 and New Vegas for a couple of reasons, like the murky unappealing graphics, and the games just didn’t appeal to me on a story level or world level. However, seeing that you will be able to play as either a male or female character, and the fact that your character can talk actually amuses me since I never really like mute protagonists. I get you are supposed to be the main hero and all, but most games treat you like a third-wheel, due to how much more time and lines the other characters get. I am also very impressed with the amount of bright colors. You can have a wasteland, and still have it look gorgeous and colorful. The gameplay is pretty much the same, but I can tell that I will love the whole “build your own” settlement mechanic, since it seems like it makes more sense with Fallout 4 than most games that try to have it. I know the game will launch with a lot of bugs, but I honestly can’t wait to play this game. Plus, there is a companion dog that won’t get killed. That gets a place on my Gamefly list instantly!

6. Xenoblade Chronicles X

Ah, yes, my most anticipated game of this year is not number one on this list. It doesn’t mean I’m still not excited for it. I have explained why I am excited about this game in my E3 list from last year and my most anticipated games of this year. I mean, a huge explorative alien world where you can travel on foot or with giant transforming robots? What else do I need to explain? Sure, I have my concern with how much you play in the overarching story, but seeing this game is just cool, due to how concerned everyone was for Xenoblade Chronicle’s success. Now all I have to do is wait until December 4th to get my copy.

5. Unravel

 

Quite possibly the best game to come out of EA’s E3 was Unravel. This cute and quite beautiful 2D platformer won everyone over, not only because it’s something completely different from EA, but because the designer of the game came on stage to talk about it. He seemed genuinely nervous, but happy to talk about his game. It was easily one of the best moments of that E3. The gameplay looked solid, with the ability to use your yarn for puzzle solving, and the graphics were beautiful. I really hope EA does nothing to this guy’s game, and lets everything unravel as the consumer gets their hands on it.

4. South Park Fractured But Whole

What’s this? A sequel to my second favorite game of last year? A focus on the show’s super hero episodes? A jab at preordering? This announcement had everything I could ever want! Sure, I have a concern about how Ubisoft San Francisco is going to handle this game since they are the ones developing it and not Obsidian Entertainment. Still, seeing a sequel that will have the show’s creators working on the story and writing to one of my all-time favorite games is a surprise no one saw coming. Get ready to laugh your sides off, and prepare for another entertaining journey through this small Colorado town.

3. Horizon Zero Dawn

Recently, there have been a lot of games set around dinosaurs popping up, with quality ranging from polished and promising, to being utter garbage. However, the new game from the Killzone Developers, Horizon Zero Dawn (say that five times fast), looks to be the king of them all. It has an interesting set-up, where in the future, mankind has reverted back to sort of caveman/early medieval times, and all the animals in the world are now robots. You get everything from robotic giraffes and robotic t-rexes. The main hero, a female named Aloy, will use a variety of arrows and weapons to take down the robotic wildlife, and boy, that wildlife looks gorgeous. Seriously, we need more games to start looking fantastic on the PlayStation 4. This was one of the best announcements for a reason, and it’s easily my number 3 game of E3.

2. Genei Ibun Roku #FE

One of the most surprising games to come from Nintendo from the past few months was hands-down the Shin Megami Tensei / Fire Emblem crossover, Genei Ibun Roku #FE. Instead of a straight-up crossover, the developers instead take the idea and turn it into its own idea. Sure, it doesn’t literally have the characters from either franchise, and it is incredibly anime-looking, but you know what? This looks like a great RPG. It might be more like Persona than Shin Megami Tensei, but I think the Shin Megami Tensei is more of a catch-all term, due to franchise having so many sub-series. With its bright colors, turn-based battles, and catchy music, this RPG is set to be one of the best games on the Wii U.

1. Star Fox Zero

Even though there have been so many fantastic game announcements, from the Shenmue III Kickstarter to the reveal of The Last Guardian, after much time and deliberation, I think Star Fox Zero was my favorite announcement. I knew we were getting a Star Fox game from last year, but seeing the game in action really excites me. It’s being developed by Platinum Games, so we have quality up the wazoo, and the ability to pilot multiple vehicles to tackle the stages in any way you want. Sure, I can understand why some people think the game looks great, but nothing memorable in terms of graphics, but I don’t know. I can’t find myself getting really cynical about this game. It’s a new game in a franchise that needs more games in it, and you know me, I will have my copy later this year! With fun gameplay, a talented developer, and multiple transformable machines, Star Fox Zero, is my number one game of E3.

Top 5 Elements The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Could Have Done Better

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC is one of the best games of this year. Not only do you get a great mature story, but you also get a huge load of content, an expansive world, multiple little stories within the overall main plot, gorgeous music, and some of the best voice acting around. Plus, you are going to get more content here than you will if you buy Batman: Arkham Knight at launch. However, there are still a couple of elements to criticize. It’s not a whole lot to criticize, but with its current gen/PC-only release, you would expect some elements to be better. Again, this is one of the top five best games of 2015 so far. However, just because it’s a fantastic game doesn’t mean it has any excuse for these issues. Call them nitpicky issues or act like a blind rage-induced fan boy because I dare criticize a good game. I honestly don’t care. Let’s get started!

5. The graphics could have been better.

I am not a graphics snob, and there is a reason why this is on the bottom of the list. However, while I am not in an uproar about the apparent graphical downgrade, I did notice some elements could have looked better. I saw some textures look low-rez, bunches of leaves on bushes were flat, and due to some inconsistent glitches, the textures up-close were really lousy in some areas. This is really the only negative I and everyone else can call a nitpick.

4. Glitches!

Since The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an open-world game, you should expect glitches. Some are minor, yet others have made the game unplayable for certain gamers. This is especially true with the Xbox One owners of this epic RPG that had reports of the Xbox One version being unplayable. I can understand if they weren’t allowed another delay, but this should have been priority number one over anything else. This one is also low on the list because a lot of the performance issues and bugs that are in the game are getting fixed. Still, because you took more time to take care of an early game exploit (which, in the end, created another exploit), instead of fixing a corrupt save-game glitch, it makes me feel that you need to rethink your priorities.

3. The rehashing of NPCs and enemy skins.

It’s 2015. The PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One have the ability to unleash so much creative freedom for the artists behind the game’s look and presentation. So then, why do the artists behind The Witcher III: Wild Hunt think it’s okay to keep rehashing skins? I can understand if it’s easy, but this isn’t a budget title where it would make sense. This is a multimillion dollar project. Why do all of the old women in the world have the same face? Why do all of the wraiths look identical? I think one of the biggest disappointments is the fact that the Griffin, the one monster advertised the most, in terms of the contract jobs in press videos, is reused multiple times. You have the Griffin, the Cockatrice, the Shrieker, and the Basilisk. Those four monsters basically used the same body type. Last time I checked, a lot of cultures made a Basilisk to look like a giant serpent. The only other time I have seen them in a different shape was in Dark Souls where they look like giant-eyed geckos. With this generation of consoles and games, there should have been more unique designs than just reskinning one model just because you can.

2. Side Quests

This will be in the reasons why this game is on the awesome list, but The Witcher III also suffers from some honestly repetitive and tiring side-quests. Whether it is something you need to pick up for an old man or a contract job, they did more quantity over quality in terms of their side-objectives. Sure, they are not required to complete, but I feel like they should have known to dial down the number of quests that repeat. For example, I got so sick and tired of fighting the same wraith in contract jobs. They give you so many of these types of contract jobs early on in the game. It’s honestly much more annoying than you would think since each wraith job is executed the same way. You hear a sad story about a woman getting killed, you then investigate the area where the murder happened. After that, you go back to the quest giver and get a crucial item to use to attract the wraith, then you fight the wraith the same way you fight just about every wraith. I got so tired of this that I was happy to finally be able to tackle other varied monster contracts. The other quests also felt tedious when you had to walk back and forward from point A to point B. When push comes to shove, I prefer quality over quantity.

1. The Game Kind of Wastes Your Time.

Now, before I continue on, let me repeat that I love The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It’s one of the best games ever made with a satisfying combat system and everything I have mentioned before. However, while a lot of people, including me, will praise how the game does not waste your time in a lot of areas, the game still has a lot of elements that I personally consider a waste. For example, not every NPC that you interact with increases their running speed when you run. Clunky item management, repetitive fetch quests and wraith quests, the infamous candle fiasco that is thankfully now patched are examples of how the game wastes my time, and in addition,  running and magic shouldn’t be tied down to the same stamina bar. you get what I am saying right? Like I said, I love how this game does a lot of elements right, so you don’t feel like you are wasting your time, but at the same time, they could have also improved in other areas.

There you have it, the elements I felt like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt could have done better. It’s still my favorite game of the year, but that doesn’t mean it can excuse itself from negative criticism. However, I do have a list in developing talking about why Witcher 3 is amazing. Just expect it to come out at a later date.

 

Top 6 Things Nintendo Needs to Change!

As much as I love my Wii U, and in terms of overall investment, consider it to be the best console so far of the current generation, I will be honest that it’s now time for Nintendo to update their image and policies. Even though on April 1st, they had some amazing gaming announcements like the Fire Emblem/Shin Megami Tensei crossover game, I won’t be blinded by their gaming announcements to not talk about these changes. This will focus more about the business side of things. I will make a separate list of games they should be working on.

 

6. Make more of your games have online multiplayer capabilities.

Listen, you put online multiplayer in Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros., why not in your other games? Why doesn’t Mario Party 10 have online multiplayer? With how Mario Party 10 and the 3DS Mario Party game, Mario Party: Island Tour is designed, they are meant for quick rounds. Why does Splatoon have a voice chat option instead of no voice chat at all? I understand that the online gaming community can be a bunch of stubborn and toxic-spewing piles of waste, but don’t punish the players that are actually not jerks online. Just saying Nintendo, while not every single game needs to be online, there should an option for online capabilities to play with friends that are not on the couch next to you.

 

5. Fix how you sell Amiibos!

Listen, I don’t care if it’s actually your fault or the retailers’ fault, Nintendo, but stop with how you are handling Amiibos. We shouldn’t have to deal with scalpers or people who are buying out a majority of the Amiibos people want. Granted, Amiibos are the best “toy” peripherals, compared to Disney’s Disney Infinity or Activision’s Skylanders because of how they work with a lot of Nintendo’s properties, but we should be able to pick them up with no hassle and not have to deal with the scum that buys the stores out and tries to secondhand sell them through Ebay.

 

4. Get third party developers/publishers back

Even though 2014 showed that third-party developers have no idea what they are doing and need to stop listening to the old men investors that are running the companies, at the end of the day, third-party support is needed. It’s not just you, Nintendo, that needs to collaborate with third-party developers and publishers. Both sides need to play ball. It takes two to tango, and whether you like it or not, third-party developers are needed to give a console more offerings than your first-party developers.

 

3. Don’t innovate just to innovate!

I forgot where I saw this, but in an interview, Shigeru Miyamoto talked about how they would like to make a new F-Zero, but they wouldn’t know what to do with the license. Well, why not make a well-designed, fast-paced racing game? I know we have Mario Kart 8, but it doesn’t mean we can’t get F-Zero too. Sure, there needs to be innovation in the industry, but we also like our games well-designed and fun. For example, Bayonetta 2 and Super Mario Galaxy 2 didn’t really do anything super-duper different than the first games, but they were polished, tight, and incredibly satisfying experiences. All they would need to do is make well-designed levels that complement the fast-paced speed the games are known for, and not be teeth-grindingly difficult. Sure, we need innovation and more creativity among the big budget games, but in the end, we want games that are super fun.

 

2. Improve your marketing!

This is another sore spot for Nintendo, because unless it’s their first-party releases, they don’t really focus on advertising their other products. I barely saw any advertisement for two of my favorite games on the Wii U, The Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2. Don’t just stick to children-oriented channels. Gamers are both old and young now, Nintendo. Think about expanding onto other TV channels or websites. Heck, one of my favorite elements of Nintendo’s 2014 E3 event was the stop-motion sequences done by the guys that make “Robot Chicken.” They were cute and rather entertaining. That is what worked with PlayStation All Star Battle Royale advertisement; they got the “Robot Chicken” guys to make the commercials for their game. Just show off gameplay, and not just a montage of cutscenes. Why not have YouTubers that are not tied down to a big name site or Twitch streamers play your game in hour-long videos? Granted, Nintendo is branching out more since Splatoon is getting some advertisement with Playboy, but the progression of having better advertisement is not moving fast enough.

 

 

1. Nintendo’s Copyright Policy/YouTube Partnership Program.

Yeah, not like anyone didn’t see this one coming. As much as I love Nintendo and think they have some of the best game designers around, they really and I mean really need to update these copyright policies and get rid of that stupid YouTube Partnership Program. You know what the worst thing about Nintendo’s copyright policy is? It’s the fact that they are not from Nintendo of America or Europe, but Nintendo of Japan. The reason why they definitely need to change this is because while you can understand that Nintendo wants to protect its property and all that legal stuff, here is the thing. Not many companies are doing this anymore. Other developers or companies don’t really mind reviewers or lets players on YouTube use their games to record footage for a review or series of videos because it gives them free publicity. Plus, people will get to see the gameplay in action, that isn’t some pre-made trailer or gameplay video from the publisher. You know, like what Gearbox did with Aliens: Colonial Marines. Of course, Nintendo is in their right to do this legal stuff and have a list of games that YouTubers and streamers can look at, but it’s really limiting and constrictive. If Nintendo can somehow make a legal deal that can work out for both YouTubers and Nintendo, then everything will be fine and dandy.

Top 7 Elements Evolve Could Have Improved Upon

Turtle Rock Studio’s Evolve was released on February 10th, 2015 to mixed reviews. Many people, including myself, love the four-versus-one multiplayer component where four hunters fight/hunt a fifth player who is in charge of the monster. A couple of the rounds that I played with my friends were fun, even though we lost a lot. However, I do have to agree with the harsher reviews that the game is held back by too many design issues that really bring down the overall experience. It illustrates why not all games should be $60, and why everyone is losing faith in many of the Triple A developers. Not only do you have some overpowered monsters like the wraith, but each match became inconsistent in terms of having a fun time. There is basically no story mode, no well-developed characters, a universe that feels like there was not an abundance of thought put into it, inconsistent AI teammates when playing by yourself or with only one other friend, and, of course, the biggest issue with the game is it’s ample amount of awful and pointless DLC. Sure, Evolve is going to release some more DLC with new hunters and one new monster, but the game has some serious issues, and more gamers need to make this a bigger deal rather than just sitting on the sidelines, accepting what they are given. So then, let’s list those changes.

 

7. Expand the universe

One of the elements I think Turtle Rock Studios could have improved upon was the whole universe that they created about humans landing on this planet where there are giant monsters. Well, why are we on this planet? Why didn’t we send a team down to see if these giant creatures were even there? I kept questioning this as I played the tutorials and the game itself. I never felt pulled in because the universe had no effort put into it. If they don’t give a hoot, then why should I?

 

6. Make grinding less tedious

A common problem I see with multiplayer-focused games is the fact that grinding for levels and gear is downright tedious. Of course, you don’t want to get everything on day one, but after a while, the grinding for stuff gets boring. It’s why I usually don’t play multiplayer-only games often. Evolve, to no surprise ever, is no different. Having to do the same thing with using every single weapon just to get a new character, and then start over with him is annoying. It drags the game out. There really isn’t much to do, since every player had a favorite class and they won’t want to play the others. As an example, I loved playing the tank and had no urge to play the other classes. If playing the other classes and grinding for better equipment was more entertaining, the players would have more incentive to try out the other characters.

 

5. If you are going to make a storyline, make a storyline!

One of the biggest failures that Evolve has is that it doesn’t have a story-driven campaign. The “story-driven campaign” is basically five different modes, which to be honest are not very different from one another, and that’s it! It has one or two cutscenes lazily put into the different game modes to try and “make” a story. What’s worse is that there are no personalities to our characters. They might have written descriptions of their character, but are you honestly going to read them? Of course not! Show us! Don’t tell us! Not only that, but during the Hunt modes, they have little tidbits of “interaction” between the hunters, but in the end, they really don’t interact with one another. The ending cutscene also doesn’t make much sense. Why don’t the hunters, who are doing all the work, leave with the rest of the evacuated civilians? What is keeping them down on the ground to shoot all of the giant monsters? I’ll tell you, nothing! Bigwigs in game companies like to think that we don’t care for story in games and so on, but they are dead wrong. We do care about story, characters, and everything else. Don’t think you know what we do and do not like.

 

4. More varied game modes

Even though there are five different game modes in Evolve, no one really plays them all, and they all play the same. Why not have a mode where a team of monsters go against another team of monsters? Go “Destroy All Monsters” on the mode. It might be chaotic and not polished, but it would be super fun. What about a team of hunters who have a monster go against a level 3 or a special level 4 monster? Don’t just make the same Hunt mode and sprinkle in eggs that need destroying, or awful escort missions. Or what about a team of monsters that have to take down a giant military ship? Or since it seems like monsters have the bigger advantage, give hunters robot suits. It feels like the developers just went with one idea and did not think of expanding on the concept!

 

3. More monsters

Even though I love the designs of the four monsters in Evolve, they still aren’t that interesting. Why do they have two floating monsters and two monsters that are forced to run and jump? Why not have a monster that flies the entire time? What about a monster that swims? Why do I have to go through 12 maps that aren’t really that memorable to fight the same monsters that I have already fought? Did these guys not play Monster Hunter or Toukiden? You know games that give you hunting content that isn’t locked behind a paywall?

 

2. More interesting first-person gameplay

The core gameplay element of four players hunting down another player is very cool. I love how developers are tackling this kind of gameplay, from Evolve to the upcoming Fable Legends. However, in terms of fun, the game needs to be more interesting due to how inconsistent the matches are. Heck, a lot of my matches ended in me running from point A to point B without getting to shoot off one bullet at the main monster. Why not add in more interesting levels as well? Like a level that requires you to take down a monster while in the sky? Or take down a monster that is swimming in the depths of an ocean? Why not implement the fast-paced movements from Titanfall? Why am I basically playing a game that has no variation? I know some people think a game being repetitive shouldn’t count as a criticism, but it really does, and there is no way you can make that argument valid. If a game is boring to play, and doesn’t offer much variation, then why should I keep playing?

 

1. No Terrible DLC/ Business Models!

Overall, the reason why Evolve is thought of as technically a flop, if you consider selling over 300,000 copies in the launch month a flop, is because of how the individuals at Turtle Rock Studios and 2K Games marketed the game. Before any gameplay was even shown, there was this huge push for preordering the game, and a multitude of different versions of the game to purchase. Of course, the nail in the coffin for Evolve’s success is the fact that the developer said it was built from the ground-up for DLC. The developer have gone on many websites with articles defending this business model as “we are giving gamers variety”, but in reality, you are finding ways to squeeze more money out of us. I honestly felt like Turtle Rock Studios had a great idea with Evolve, but decided to find a way to rake in more cash and live off their legacy of being the team behind Left 4 Dead. In the end, the DLC isn’t worth it, and the DLC was appalling. Oh, they might be out with new hunters and monsters, but if you want to buy the monster, you have to spend $15 for it! Yeah, no thanks! I actually like spending money on games I want to support because they are not sapping my checking account! You can tell there was work put into this game, but corporate greed got in the way, and this is really what killed Evolve before it could even come out.

If you don’t think gamers or anyone can’t make a change in the gaming industry, then you need to remember the huge fan campaign to bring Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower over to the states, and the change Bioware made to Mass Effect 3’s infamous ending. We should be telling the developers that they should improve on the design and not do incredibly shady business decisions.