I surprised literally nobody with my picks for game of the year 2015. What can I say, I loved Metal Gear Solid V more than most people. But with that business taken care of and a new year of games coming our way, it’s time to think about what is currently piquing my interest.
Charlie already discussed the games on his horizon, and while there may be a slight cross over we both do seem to have different tastes. This is good, it gives us something to argue about around the office.
So, in no particular order, here goes:
I won’t have wait long before I get my hands on this one, given it launches February 5, but boy am I excited. XCOM: Enemy Unknown was pretty much the first turn-based strategy game I ever enjoyed, as it managed to defy the tedium of simply moving pieces around a virtual chess board and brought elements of intense action, varied environments and adrenaline pumping horror. Seriously, there is a level of fear when first infiltrating an alien spacecraft and not knowing the danger that lurks within that few other games have matched.
XCOM 2 looks to be building upon this notion as it expands into stealth mechanics, much like recent strategy game Hard West, allowing for a set up phase before the shit hits the proverbial fan.
There’s also the whole thing where you can name and personify your troops, with the brutal reality that should you lose them their deaths are permanent. Cannot wait to name all my guys after people I know, and then give their real-life counterparts shit for screwing up when things don’t go my way.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
I don’t care what anyone says: linear, singleplayer games are the best. Sure, the interactivity of video games allows for more choice based narratives, crafting unique experiences from player to player, and that’s great. I love that, and have played many a game that I would commend for such freedom and creativity. But for me personally, nothing beats a perfectly structured linear game; where though there was but one solution to a problem, I felt like I made it and wasn’t forced into it.
And no studio is better at this than Naughty Dog. With the Uncharted series, as well as their masterpiece The Last of Us, Naughty Dog show they can tell a story that we feel we’re a part of, with near cinema quality acting, writing and action sequences. Like I said in my review of The Nathan Drake Collection, the train sequence in Uncharted 2 is one of the most amazing scenes I’ve ever played. I cannot wait to see what they have up their sleeve for Nate’s final outing with the hardware capabilities of the PS4.
Sure, the microtransactions coming to the multiplayer mode are cause for concern, like most microtransactions in full priced games, but the multiplayer is merely a bonus extra to me. Uncharted is here for the singleplayer, and Naughty Dog have yet to let me down.
A prominent Kickstarter that caught my attention in the middle of last year, Perception is a new first-person horror title from ex-developers of the Bioshock and Dead Space series. If the resumes of the creators wasn’t enough to pique my interest, the twist that the player character is blind and can only see through echolocation (ala Marvel’s Daredevil) certainly did.
Seriously, watch the videos, it looks petrifying. I have concerns regarding the echolocation mechanic means frequently, and frustratingly, losing my way but perhaps that will also be half the fun of it? Learning to work with the character’s disability would provide an entirely different experience from most horror games and heck might even change our perception of games in general.
…Guys, I think I just figured out the meaning behind the title…
No Man’s Sky
This is where Charlie and I agree: No Man’s Sky looks very interesting. While my personal hype has been dissipating since its initial reveal some 18 months ago, No Man’s Sky still impresses me just by the fact of what it is: a video game that has built itself.
Well, not quite, obviously the team at Hello Games has built the game, but rather than creating each individual planet of their immense universe they have instead made a mathematical equation that generates all the planets at random as they are discovered. So the game is effectively creating itself, they just planted the seeds. I don’t know, I just feel that in and of itself deserves our attention.
I have worries there will be very little to actually do in the game other than “discover” things, shoot them and fly around given that is all they’ve shown off in the numerous demos we’ve seen. For a game to be all about making our own fun in a gigantic sandbox there needs to be a lot of things to do in order to make said fun, so hopefully they’ve just been holding back other elements of the game.
Regardless, colour me anticipated…
The Last Guardian
When The Last Guardian opened Playstation’s E3 2015 show, I lost my goddamn mind. I know, I know, that’s not very professional of me, falling for the hype machine like that, but the truth is I was just so happy there was some actual confirmation that the game was still a thing. The Last Guardian was up there with Half-Life 3 as a “that’ll be the day” kind of game, one where the idea of it actually coming out after this much time is ludicrous.
Well, The Last Guardian isn’t out yet, but the tentative date of 2016 has been given and I am still holding on to that glimmer of hope. Developer Team ICO’s previous title, Shadow of the Colossus for the PS2, is a work of art; a stunning example of minimalist storytelling, gorgeous landscapes and clever, engaging gameplay. So unique was this game that there has been nothing quite like it in the 11 years since it launched.
Until now that is. Or at least hopefully sometime later this year…
So there you have it, those are the games I am most keen for in the coming year. One of these games may even turn into my game of 2016, who knows? Perhaps some title I haven’t considered getting excited for or maybe never even heard of might come out of nowhere and blow me away. But right now, these are them.
Come on 2016: impress me.