I’m pretty sure if you have a blog its against the law not to do some sort of year-in-review retrospective. I played a lot of video games this year and I really should have written about each one instead of completely procrastinating halfway through the year. Hopefully next year will be better.There were so many games that came out this year that were either expectedly average or expectedly great that I thought I’d take this time and try to compile the games I played this year that ended up being better than I expected them to be or much much worse.
I thought Alien: Isolation was going to be terrible considering how quiet Sega was about promoting this game in the months before its release. Alien Isolation ended up being probably my favorite mainstream game I played all year. I really can’t even trumpet how perfectly Creative Assembly made an Alien game that felt on par with the first three Alien films. Every aspect of the game felt like the team behind it crafted it while literally watching the first film as they worked. while pausing to get every minutia of the movie’s atmosphere pitch perfect. Every room in the entire game felt like I was in the same universe as the first film. I don’t think I’ve ever played a licensed game that got its atmosphere this perfect before.
Mario Kart 8 wasn’t a purchase I ended up regretting. I hadn’t played a Mario Kart game since Double Dash and while I liked that game, I’ve never been a tremendous fan of the series. I don’t hate them or anything, I’ve just never really gave them a chance before. Mario Kart 8 was amazing though. I’ve played dozens of hours of the online mode and I really hyped about the next piece of DLC. Its really my go to multiplayer game. Shocking since I really thought it would have been Smash…
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos was a game that I thought would have been on par with the previous game in the series, but it ended up being terrible. I didn’t mind that a good 50% of the game was reused from the last game, but I did mind that the game was virtually unplayable at certain parts thanks to what I assume was a lack of bug checking. Boss Fights are basically a coin toss: are they going to be able to juggle you to the point of being able to ignore your recovery invulnerability frames? The controls are marred–no, fucked, too. They added these super duper jumps that really have no purpose in the entire game unless the game’s intention is to jump 50 feet past enemies in enclosed rooms, but because jumping and super jumping are pressure sensitive you end up super jumping when you just want to jump regularly. I can’t even begin to tell you how disappointing this game was for me.
A year late, but I finally finished Tales of Xillia…and it was actually really good! I mean, the first half of the game totally sucks and will bore you to tears but once the first major plot twist happens, the game really picked up! It is noticeably rushed and I would have really liked to see a few of the antagonists get a bit more development, but overall I really enjoyed most of the story. Tales games are usually not seen as having tremendously deep storylines, but I find that there are always glimmers of interesting storytelling in this series and Xillia is no different in that respect;it just takes a while to reach it. I still am not the hugest fan of the battle system since I still think Link Artes seem to contradict getting large combos so it stills ends up being probably my least favorite Tales game in terms of gameplay though.
I thought I was going to end up beating the final ending of Drakengard 3 but was blindsided by one of the worst things I’ve played in a game all year. I never finished the first Drakengard and I hear that game did the same thing with its final boss and I just want to say: not a fan. Pretty mad.
I bought Freedom Planet last night after see it was on sale and was blown away at how amazing this game ended up being. I remember hearing about it when its Kickstarter launched but thought it was going to be nothing more than a wannabe Sonic game ripoff. While it is obvious that Freedom Planet was inspired by the likes of the classic Genesis Sonic games, it ended up being an amazing mash of Sonic and Treasure developed games like Gunstar Heroes and Dynamite Heady. Unlike Shovel Knight, which borrowed heavily from many NES classic games, Freedom Planet’s inspirations where just that: inspirations. Freedom Planet was its own game, inspired by classics but also able to stand on its own– never fully adopting the mechanics and series it was in reverence of while Shovel Knight felt like Frankenstein’s Monster of classic game mechanics sewn together; not fully its own game.