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No, I’m not dead, just extremely lazy!
With the flurry of Next-gen releases in their first year, picking my top 5 should be a really difficult task. Although the monumental cock-ups make this list dubiously easy. In no particular order, lets get the list going…
1 – Shadow of Mordor
Shadow of Mordor was one of the games that has slid under the rug in many lists for the overall year and its a rather sad sight when Assassin’s Creed Rogue is consider better. I often find myself questioning he logic of many of the groups to select a game with no innovation on the previous generation console over a new IP with incredible mechanics and gameplay. Shadow of Mordor’s visuals and story occasionally let it down but the creative power struggle system, fun combat, its return too Middle Earth and the vocal talent created something truly spectacular that has great length.
2 – Far Cry 4
Ubisoft’s year has been tainted by bugs, poor gameplay, hype and generally poor creations. Fortunately for them, many of us still bought into the series’ and that’s all they really care about. Although they are likely to pay for that, they have had relative success with Far Cry 4. Unfortunately, I never managed to get around to reviewing much around the October Gamergedon but here is my TLDR version – Incredible visuals, addicting gameplay, fascinating story and characters with the added “I’m not running away from a psychopath in case he gets even angrier” ending that finishes the game in anything up to 15 minutes with gameplay that lets you walk around the room and finally, lets not forget that Troy Baker plays Pagan Min. Who can hate it? PS – Fuck the eagles.
3 – The Wolf Among Us
The Wolf Among Us is another Telltale game based off of the comic book series “Fables”. The story of Bigby Wolf and the sudden murder spree to hit Fabletown is one with bigger twists than a twirl bar, more violence than a Michael Bay movie and an art style which elevates the series to new heights. The wonderful thing about The Wolf Among Us is how engaging it is. The space between episodes was filled with The Walking Dead Season 2 and looking at the Wikia in the vain hope the next episode would appear. Its adventure into fable characters would normally be very Disney or Pixar like but Telltale and Fable’s creator turned the world upside-down to create a dark, atmospheric neon lit world filled with a rising evil and isn’t afraid to get its hands dirty.
4 – Walking Dead Season 2
So, I’ve already mentioned Season 2 and it stands as one of the best game series’ that I have ever played. The Walking Dead game inspired me to watch the TV shows and get into the comics and I’ve never been happier with such a creation. Season 2 follows Clementine’s fight for survival without Lee in her life. The fight for survival by a little girl in a traumatic world is distressing enough but when she feels more like a daughter and your responsibility is to protect her, anything that happens can be disastrous if you get it wrong. Telltale’s knack and style has successfully carried The Walking Dead into 3 seasons and DLC that will stay with me as some of my all time favourites. A must play for any zombie survivalist.
5 – Dragon Age Inquisition
Every Dragon Age fan wet their pants with glee upon the news of another instalment in our beloved series. While 2 is considered the worst and often belittled, some of its characters carry over into Inquisition alongside one or two from Origins that is incredibly gratifying to be reunited with. Bioware has a knack for creating games with vast worlds and territories that bring you into contact with some of the most crazy and loveable characters ever written. As for next-gen visuals, what Dragon Age lacked in texture, it made it up with the lighting. Atmospheric and beautiful, is not it for Bioware, the combat system and gameplay have improved drastically making Dragon Age a deadly competitor in the RPG market.
As a bonus, I feel an honourable mention should be made to another 3 games that I absolutely adore.
Bonus – Titanfall for its incredible reimagining of the FPS genre, Plants VS Zombies for its whacky take on modern shooters with a family friendly game that also appeals to the hardcore gamers and finally, Hearthstone. Not one for Blizzard MMOs and RPGs?, Say no more. Hearthstone blends the World of Warcraft characters into a FREE card game with balance, no pay to win features, a competitive community and all round fun.
How’d I do? Let us know your picks in the comments down below! Also go check out our new writer’s view on this years movie selection. Click here to see his top 5 movies of 2014.
Looking back over the year of games, I have noticed that very little actually caught my attention. Apart from the generic continuation of the basic and repetitive instalments of CoD and Battlefield, that leave little to be desired apart from a new 6 hour campaign and new maps for the online play. I would have written have like to have done an unboxing video on the youtube channel (Black Ribbon Gaming Youtube Channel) of the new generation of consoles but seeing that I could just about afford the Xbox One and only just received it, I felt it a little pointless to do one so late on. I would also like to stress that I only have an Xbox 360. PS3 games, unfortunately, cannot make it into my top games as of yet.
In no particular order:
1 – The Walking Dead – Telltale Series.
Yes I know that it came out last year but the full hard copy came out earlier this year with every episode and also the 400 Days dropped too. Plus the new one comes out in a few days and I’m wetting myself with excitement. Possibly one of the most innovative games in many, many years. A cinematic story that forces you to make moral decisions that affect you later on (Don’t worry, forums and Wikia will help you to get the perfect ending that will help you in the next series!). With a creative art style and brilliant script writing, this game will stand as one of the best for many years too come. The Walking Dead – Review
2 – Bioshock Infinite
Originally destined for release in 2012, Bioshock was pushed back into the earlier part of this year. Saddened by the wait, hopes were high for an even stronger game. In true fashion, it was out of this world. A change in scenery was worrying to think about but the overall outcome gave you a new story that can go so many different ways. Take the DLC for example. You get to return to Rapture and it’s just awesome to see the world again but with people actually living there, not some crack heads and adorable Big Daddies… A tense and exciting game. Ken Levine has done it again and should just be aloud creative freedom to do what he pleases! Bioshock Infinite – Review
An unexpected favourite of mine. Earlier this year, Josh wrote a review praising it for being amazing. I held back for a while. I didn’t want to spend too much money on something that I may not enjoy. Eventually I caved in and bought the special edition box set version with some really cool additions in it for only £20. Bargain! I kid you not, the game was awesome. A mix of fantasy carved into a survival story doesn’t always work but Square Enix knocked it out of the park. A vast landscape with lots of free-reign to do as you please but enough guidance to keep you on track without being too intrusive. Combat is simple and realistic and the visuals are astonishing. Nothing short of incredible and too think they have just released a special edition with upped graphics for the next gen consoles. Square Enix have a prize winner by keeping their trademark cinematic footage but moved away from sponging from the Final Fantasy series. Tomb Raider – Review
4 – Assassins Creed 4 – Black Flag
Yeah. Do I really need to explain this? Pirates, Assassins, Sailing, killing shit and all that fun stuff that we’ve come to expect from the AC franchise. I’d have to question you if you did not enjoy this. The story is far superior to AC3, the visuals are fantastic, sailing is no longer a gimmick and you’re a motherfucking pirate assassin! The game drops the mini games and really focuses on experiencing the incredibly vast world. It’s sandbox but MASSIVE. A very similar combat system with little change makes it easy to jump back in and frolic around the deck of your ship, pestering the local wildlife or stabbing anything in a red coat… Assassins Creed 4 – Review
5 – Grand Theft Auto 5 (Not the multiplayer)
One of histories most successful games, this list simply could not ignore it. Seeing that GTA4 bored me, I wasn’t expecting to have so much fun. Yeah, it lacks top of the range visuals and is extremely glitchy but the huge story and the mad antics are entertaining. It’s a game you can pick up and enjoy without having the use your head. However, I don’t enjoy the multiplayer much. It’s a cluster of people paranoid that they’re going to get wiped and will shoot without a thought. Simple, crazy and unruly. Great with a few friends, some beer and some terrible food.
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I truly cannot believe that I left it so long to play this game. I have just wrapped up playing it and it’s safe to say that the game was one of the best I have played. With the morale choices, the cause and effects moment that shapes the story, I find myself emotionally attached, possibly a little drained. A game, with such a detailed, exuberant story and character development has managed to make me feel for the characters in a way that I would not normally do. Moments of sheer panic make me crease, fear making too much noise or shouting at the screen for the stupid thing I just did.
Just looking back through the story, reminiscing on the short, but wondrous journey I’ve just undertaken, I feel a sense on anger and dismay at how we ended episode 5. Leaving Clementine to wonder the world alone, in search for who ever you told her to look for is dark and really kicks you in the teeth when you could have kept Lee if he didn’t just go grabbing things. It was dark, gritty and disturbing, especially when you don’t know who the two silhouettes are (Just downloaded 400 Days, so hopefully that will shed some light on it for me). It’s a testament to how well the game was scripted and directed, you felt for the characters like you would in the books. It doesn’t help that I had a soft spot for Clem. A bond between her and Lee was adorable and blossomed quickly but she played an asset all the way through, which other character didn’t. With the love for some of the characters, you also hate a few and I tended to them in the best of fashion…
The ability to change the outcome of he story is crazy, every twist and turn is calculated for. Extra lines written, new dialogue for each part which also affects the story. It’s a complicated process and is just stunning to look at it being done. It’s a shame that you can’t save certain people, most notably would be Lee. Without him and the announcement of a season 2 makes it unknown territory with new characters and could leave you with no answers at the end.
There is only a few problems I had with this game. Fortunately, I bought the hard copy and got all of the episodes, but I feel those that did could have felt a little cheated on the purchases. My second issue is the visuals. They are gorgeous and remind me of Borderlands but darkness levels plummet at points that make it really difficult for you to even see Lee, and some of the smaller textures, like the bushes, looked a little messy. Thirdly, the Sound is variable. I found myself turning the volume up and down continuously, alongside a lot of the glitching and buggyness, it was making it hard to watch the videos, which was a let down. Finally, the last problem I have is with the shooting. Aiming is incredibly difficult, sluggish and unresponsive. Aiming on FPS games is crisp and easy to use, but it takes the biscuit for me. Glitching about as I’m trying to shoot makes it hard enough and the sluggish movement isn’t helping anyone.
So overall? Due to a few technical issues, I shall be giving this a 9/10. With a little more focus on the technical aspects of the game, season 2 should be one hell of a ride. Please comment if you would like a review of 400 days once I’m done playing and be sure to check out the new youtube channel that is in the works. Has a few Walking dead testers on there but check it out! – http://www.youtube.com/user/BlackRibbonGaming