Bugs, glitches and a severe lack of undercooked games have plagued us this year. Some of our most anticipated titles were struck down by this blight. Out of the digital ashes some true hero’s have emerged to truly make this a memorable year in gaming. Here, at the spacious TFGP HQ we have been mulling over our current GOTY nominees. This year we decided to let you in on the process.
Eric “Fathergamer” Gibbs
Destiny – Yeah, I know what some of you are going to say. I loved Destiny for what it was, a time with friends. Yes, I spent hours mining for stuff. Yes, I would get frustrated at times, but I stuck it out. I wanted to level my warrior up to take on the bigger foes as a team. I’m not normally a big sports gamer, but this became my Madden. I like Destiny, so deal with it!
Valiant Harts: The Great War – Ubisoft Montpellier created a fantastic puzzle adventure game that both kept me involved as well as tugged at my heartstrings. The game is inspired by letters written during the Great War and has four characters who’s stories revolve around love, survival, sacrifice and friendship. I even learned a few things I didn’t know about WWI. What a fantastic game!
The Wolf Among Us – This game is visual treat of neon infused comic book art come to life. The Quick time events are actually fun and can lead to very violent outcomes. As well as a well-written story filled with dark noir tones, humor, fascinating characters and the unexpected.
The Wolf Among Us is a great example of the evolution of the point and click adventure games of the past. The world of Fables is brimming with twisted versions of the fabled characters of literature. In Fabletown, a secret community in New York where famed characters conceal their true identities with magic, nothing is as it seems and everyone has something to hide. The characters you remember from your youth are gone and are now replaced with foul mouthed and complex characters that live in our real world. What unfolds is a gripping experience of diverging story paths, visceral fight scenes and a healthy dose of whodunit.
South Park: Stick of Truth – I was so pleasantly surprised by Stick of Truth. It managed to keep the South Park craziness and depravity and extract a somewhat refined RPG. Like Jordan said in his article I couldn’t stop playing. I ended up beating the game twice, which I don’t do very often. I’m even planning on beating it again on the PS3. That seems to have all the markings of a potential GOTY winner to me.
Dragon Age: Inquisition – I am in love with this game! It, more so than any other game this year has managed to scratch my gamer itch. From the fantastic graphics to the overall mechanics, Dragon Age managed to rarely disappoint. Every new area is a visual feast that I couldn’t wait to explore. I wanted to search every square inch of its amazing landscape. It did hurt that the story had me compelled from start to finish. On my list, this is the game to beat. I am truly thankful for such an amazing game to [play this year. The digital gods truly smile on this title.
Shadows of Mordor – What a wondrous way to dive into Mr. Tolkien’s universe! My greatest achievement in life could very well be completing The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy as a non-reader. That being said, it was absolutely rewarding to get into an open-ish world (truly only getting to explore the black gate and its immediate geographical neighbor). I found myself actually WANTING to 100% this game, solely because of the lore and fun places around the black gate I got to explore. Almost as if designers took a cue from Peter Jackson, there are gorgeous landscapes to rival those of the movie, and terribly daunting structures to give a player chills just before charging into masses of orcs.
There were some very nifty features to this game as well. For example The Nemesis system, in which the orcs growing stronger and more effective after every successful encounter against the player, kept things fresh when very easily they could become monotonous. Once certain progress is achieved the player can begin to dive deeper into this system, thus allowing for more choice or customization on how to tackle the next objective.
The drawback to this game is one that reaches from the past generation even into this one. Lack of refinement. There were so many good things that made me want to play this game, but, the auto target feature needs work, the collision detection everywhere in game needs work, the plot of the game past hour 10 of play needs work. All in all I had a wonderful time playing this game, and residual taste on the pallet is a tolerable one.
Assassin’s Creed Unity – Like all great Creed games, Unity is not lacking in gorgeous landscapes, architecture and a fun twist on historical events. This time we venture to Revolutionary france and if you are any kind of a architect buff or if shiny things attract you…. Versailles.
If you have played the Creed games before you are probably familiar with the present setting parts of the game. This is the first Creed game I’ve played (barring handheld titles and Rogue for now) that is 100% playing the ancestor. This is not a bad thing because of the amount of things to be done in your ancestor’s memories. however much like i mentioned in my rant on Shadows of mordor, it lacked refinement.
Though seeing literally hundreds of peasant NPCs is incredible and impressive. Watching one or two of them walk on thin air once in a while ruins the air of immersion. This isn’t condemning by any means but it did get more and more glitchy even in solo play whilst trying to think about rending all that extra stuff. All said, there is still plenty of content i have yet to play through and i am still looking forward to do so.
Titanfall – WHY IS THIS EVEN UP HERE IT WASN’T EVEN A FULL GAME BLAH WORDS AND stuff i don’t agree with… 100%. I put it on my top three for a few reasons and probably the biggest being, i dislike playing competitive First person shooters. But matt… thats all it was. Indeed you are correct my good sirs ‘n madams but, Titanfall had so many things that interested me, I decided to endure what usually turned me away.
First, a JETPACK THING??!!?!? Can we not talk about how awesome the layouts of all the maps were, and how much hardcore parkour you could do. Not too mention there was a very clear difference in the players who learned the limitations of the movements and those who just picked it up to ‘try it’. Once you mastered the decision making of ‘can I make that jump’ and you learned how and where you could make what jumps where you felt like a complete beast.
Second, GIANT ROBOTY SUIT OF AWESOME. When the game first came out and i tried to explain the concept of the robot suits the most frequent i got was can you change what they looked like. No… you couldnt make your very very own mech suit. BUT YOU COULD STILL PILOT ONE! That seemed to be so overlooked because it was so. much. fun.
Third, battle flow. What i cannot stand about the almighty evil that is the camper. I understand kills a kill and blah blah. I don’t think any fps is made with where can players sit all game? The flow in this game was so fast, shifted so much that you almost feel like you’re being left behind if you didn’t keep moving.
Child of Light – Anyone who knows me knows I am a Final Fantasy fan. Child of Light literally drew you a gorgeous and magnificent setting through which you enjoy a very fun twist on turn-based battle system. Even once you grinded your path to god mode and could slap measly baddies once and watch them drop it was still hard to overlook using all the tools in your kit.
The most breathtaking part of the game in my opinion was the setting. Everything was hand drawn in Child of Light and I wouldn’t have had it any other way at all. Each setting was more unique than the last and it was such a wonderful way to explore the world. As if bombarding one sense wasn’t enough with the extravagant artwork you start hearing yourself hum the music when you arent even playing the game. The game is really just that beautiful.
Also i would like to add that it had considerable weight in my mind that my girlfriend refused to put this game down. She loved it and ate this game up, spit it out, and ate it all back up again. So well done on attracting milady to the gaming.
Warlords of Draenor – I hail from a blizzard family and that has almost always been my motivation to play. I traveled a lot and being that we all game World of Warcraft was the way to go. This expansion is the first time that i wanted to play WoW for the sake of actually playing WoW.
World of Warcraft has changed so many times from its initial launch. Some changes good and some changes bad. The amount of work and changes implemented in this expansion were all good at least in my opinion thus far. The new character models alone are marvelous and when compared to the old content of Mists of Pandaria and before its baffling. It is almost as if its a whole new game.There have been drastic changes to the way you play the game too. These have been both good and bad and the opinions on them have all varied. From talent trees, and class quests and faction specific classes (the old horde only shaman and the ally pally) to the new talent system and glyphs and Stat changes galore. the road wow fans have endured has been a turbulent one to say the least. of all the changes I personally have experienced I thoroughly enjoy these.
The final product that is Warlords of Draenor is, as I have said already, an amazing ‘finished’ product of all of Blizzard’s work thus far. Fun to play, fun new story and fun raid mechanics to master this go around with many many more to go.
5. Fantasy Life – Level 5 did a fantastic job bringing the classic JRPG feel that they toyed around with in Ni No Kuni and the adorable charm and dialogue that we have seen in all of the installations of the Professor Layton series. This game has an almost overwhelming amount of content from the very beginning; with three different quest systems, an expansive and diverse world to explore, a job system that offers twelve different lives you can lead, and a well done online multiplayer system. If you would have asked me in 2013 what my favorite handheld game of the year is I would have told you Rune Factory 4, and I feel that Fantasy Life brings all of the things that I loved from Rune Factory 4 and then injected them with steroids. The combat is well balanced and the ability to level up your character even when you are not playing in a combat oriented life keeps me from feeling like I need to endlessly grind enemies in the expansive outer world to keep up with the game. And the charm, have I mentioned the charm? If you have a soft spot in your heart for RPGs, I definitely recommend picking up a copy of Fantasy Life.
4. Binding of Isaac: Rebirth – Thanks to Playstation Plus, I was able to pick this game up for free in November and despite the short time the game has been out I can easily say that this is my absolute favorite action rogue-like game available on most platforms. With the insane amount of items (a whopping 341 after all are unlocked), the varied effects they have on the game, and with the availability of many different characters, each and every play through is completely different from the last. Although the game is incredibly unforgiving in that once you die the game is over, the thrill of getting an item build sent from the gods themselves is enough to hit restart after a particularly trying run through the caves or the womb. Not only does the game have an insane amount of content – secret and otherwise – my favorite thing has to be the macabre feel that you get from simply watching the opening cinematic. The demented dynamic between Isaac and his mom is similar to that in Stephen King’s Carrie; a hyper religious mom that attempts to kill their child. Therefore the game takes you on an emotional journey where you fight Mom and her heart, and you pick up items of a similarly disturbing and macabre nature (which is why this game is obviously rated M). If you enjoy the disturbing yet hilarious nature of games like Cards Against Humanity, you will definitely be able to appreciate the gross dark humor of Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.
3. Child of Light – Thank you Ubisoft Montreal for the charming and poetic platformer that stole my heart. It is gorgeous, unsurprisingly thanks to the UbiArt Framework engine used to make Rayman Legends and Origins, and the poetic writing has a special place in my heart. The story follows a child named Aurora who is on a quest to return to the home she was stolen from, while also defeating the Queen of the Night who has taken the sun, moon, and stars captive. It is a side-scrolling platformer and RPG, with a time based combat system (similar to those found in many Final Fantasy games), skill trees, and many companions to pick up along the way, and the game also has a unique co-operative mode where one player plays as Aurora and the other plays as Igniculus the firefly who aids Aurora in her journey home. This game is great for players of all ages and I highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys side-scrolling platformers and RPGs and to those who appreciate fantastic writing and breathtaking art in games.
2. Mario Kart 8: Nintendo did what it simply does best: first party titles. Mario Kart 8 is a fantastic entry in this series and it has been the most played game on my Wii U all year. With the full roster of characters, vehicles, and customizations the most satisfying was finally find out who my favorite character to play was (Baby Rosalina, feather class) and favorite vehicle combo was (yoshi bike, retro off road tires). The track line ups are fantastic and the nostalgia to be felt when racing the remastered N64 Rainbow and Yoshi Valley is overwhelming. The new tracks, new items, and game changing anti-gravity revamp the series in a great way. Additionally, the team working on Mario Kart are also working on, and have released, downloadable content. At first I was skeptical as they announced and advertised their “Mercedes Benz” DLC, but it was free so I downloaded it anyway. Then they announced their DLC “package” that would include two separate packs that not only added tracks, but also expanding the scope of the game to include characters from other hit Nintendo titles. It would be $11.99 to purchase both DLC packs at the same time. $11.99 to purchase 8 tracks, 6 characters, and 8 vehicles. Expanding the content of the game by over 50%. The satisfaction from being able to race as Link is incredible, and I can’t wait to be able to race as the Villager after the second one drops in May. If you are on the fence about picking up a Wii U, my recommendation is to DO IT and then buy Mario Kart 8. Immediately.
1. Dragon Age: Inquisition – This game is simply fantastic. I was honestly not a huge fan of Origins or Dragon Age 2, but I’m so incredibly happy that I opted to pick this game up. It adopted the sandbox open world that I enjoyed with Skyrim and has the the ever famous decision tree mechanic that Bioware has been perfecting over the years, and the ability to just explore for hours (because I just simply cannot help it) is what sold the game for me. I haven’t had much time to play it since my finals have just ended, but I have been following this game closer prior to its launch and since its launch, and I had a hunch that this game would be my GOTY. And I ended up being right.