The Official Top Five List Of the Best Games I Played This Year
I’ll be honest, I rarely pay attention to game awards anymore. There was a time I’d tune in to the VGAs and all my favorite other outlets’ game awards ceremonies every year, but my interest waned about the same time G4 stopped airing original and fun gaming-related content and started airing re-runs of Cops and Cheaters. Still, there’s an undeniable allure to seeing what the “official” rankings are for best games of the year, especially in a year with such a huge crop of great games I can’t wait to get my hands on. Unfortunately, I am “monetarily challenged” and lack any current generation consoles, so many of the best games this year slipped me by. And by many, I mean “all of them”. What I do have are games I purchased this year and enjoyed the hell out of, so here are my top five picks for the best games I happened to get my mitts on this year as compared to the VGAs’ picks. With the exception of the Game Of The Year category, this will be more of a loose list, though given the same five games took most categories as usual, they’ll line up all right with the clear favorites.
Game Of The Year
“Recognizing a game that delivers the absolute best experience across all creative and technical fields.”
VGA Pick: The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
My Pick: The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
I’ve been a fan of The Witcher for a good long while. I even hold the ever so lofty honor of being one of about a dozen people that actually played the first game all the way through, or at least that’s the impression I get from talking to people online. As is tradition, I have purchased each game in the franchise long after everyone else has gotten to play it to completion, and managed to dodge all spoilers for every game in the series. The only thing I heard about The Witcher 3 boiled down to “it’s really, really good”. And it holds up to that praise quite admirably. Sure, the game has its flaws (the level gated content gets annoying sometimes, particularly on the rare occasions when you’ll get, say, a level 30 Contract target slumming it near where your level 12 Secondary Quest is) but so does every game. The game’s ups far outweigh its downs, however, as it takes even elements that could have come across as a cheap grab for current trends like the now ubiquitous open world and pulls them off better than its competitors, putting games like Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (its contemporary) to shame. CD Projekt Red deserves all the praise it gets for this masterpiece of storytelling and gameplay.
VGA Pick #2: Super Mario Odyssey
My Pick: Overwatch
Look, I told you I pick things up way later than others, right? I’m a big FPS fan. Particularly team objective based FPSes, with Team Fortress 2 being my previous favorite. Overwatch fills the void TF2’s decline left in my heart and does it well. The characters are fun (though lack the personality of TF2’s in many ways in my opinion), the game feels slick, it looks nice, and the design on most maps is pretty solid (except Temple of Anubis, screw that level). It’s easy to see why it got so big, and it deserves the following.
VGA Pick #3: NieR Automata
My Pick: Endless Legend
This game scratches the 4X itch I didn’t know had been begging to be scratched for a while. I recently reviewed it, and stand by everything there. It’s beautiful for a 4X, fun to play with friends or alone, mod supported (always a plus) and has tons of variety and flavor. I strongly recommend it.
VGA Pick #4: Cuphead
My Pick: Dark Souls III
You know, it’s funny. I bought Dark Souls III on launch day, and tried to play it. Unfortunately, I learned my computer sucked too much to actually run it. Fast forward to January of this year and I finally had a new gaming rig all set up to play, and it was as good as I could have expected. Some choices were disappointing, the ramping down of difficulty particularly, and Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin remains my favorite entry, but I got loads of time into the game and made a few strong friends along the way. If you somehow haven’t played it yet, give it a try. It’s a good entry into the franchise for those that don’t care much about the lore and want most of the Dark Souls experience but with much greater polish.
VGA Pick #5: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
My Pick: Streets of Rogue
I bought this game on a whim because a friend recommended it and didn’t expect to put so much time into it. It’s a fun little rogue-like adventure game with a killer soundtrack and a good sense of humor. I find myself popping it on any time I have about 10 minutes to kill and it’s well worth the time spent. Technically still in an alpha build but perfectly playable, I can’t wait to see where development goes from here.
And just for fun, one more real category.
VGA Most Anticipated Game: The Last of Us Part II
My Pick: Kingdom Hearts III
Nothing against The Last Of Us II or any of their other picks (Red Dead Redemption II is a strong second for me), but a lot of the sequels that are anticipated feel like follow-ups to completed stories. I’m not mad they’re coming, but feel like they weren’t needed. Kingdom Hearts III on the other hand…I need it. I’ve wanted this game for over a decade and I feel like it’s finally in my grasp. Say what you will about the franchise but it’s one of my favorites. Ever. There isn’t a game concept that could hype me more than KH3’s eventual, actual release.
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#The Official Top Five List Of the Best Games I Played This Year