The end of the year is nigh, and you know what that means. A plethora of game journalists putting up their “Game of the Year” lists. This is something that I’ve grown up with in various game magazines, and I’m honored to have a chance to write my own GOTY list, for you to compare with the other people on the site. To be honest, I wasn’t too amazed by the games this year, so I’m sticking my list down to just five games. Which, by the way, proved to be more difficult than I thought; I had a bunch of games that I genuinely enjoyed this year, so I was a bit distraught to just pick five.
Without further ado, I give you my GOTY list!
5. Dark Dreams Don’t Die
All right, I know how unorthodox this is. In fact, one of my fellow writers actually put up a scathing review earlier this year. However, it’s easily my fifth favorite game this year. The reason being, it’s just so damn fun. I was a big fan of Deadly Premonition, also directed by Swery, which is just as wacky as this, except with a lot more Twin Peaks references. Dark Dreams Don’t Die, or D4, is a fun game about a former detective who is looking to see who killed his wife – by going into the past. Using “mementos”, or objects that carry a lot of residue of the past, David, the main character, can travel back in time and view, and even participate, in the event in question. The event that he focuses on for the first episode is about a plane that is hit by lightning – and a person who mysteriously vanished from the plane. And that someone might know who killed David’s wife.
The whole game, while seeming like a crazy acid trip, is very much like Swery. Throughout it, I’m reminded of the way Deadly Premonitions unfolded. It’s easily one of the most innovative/original concepts that have come out this year, which is why it solidly lands itself as number five on my list of my games of the year.
4. The Evil Within
With this, you guys know my opinion.In fact, I wrote a whole article on it. However, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it. In fact, it still lands itself as number 4 on my list of games of the year. Why? Because it was still a good horror game. While it was more of a nostalgia trip than an original creation, it was a good mix of survival and psychological horror=. And it scared the crap out of me. Without repeating my previous article, it was still a really good game, and that’s why it deserves a spot on my list.
3. South Park: Stick of Truth
Now this was a surprise for me. I’m a big South Park fan, have been for quite some time, and yet, I was still skeptical going into this game. The first time I played it, however, I played it with my best friend who isn’t a fan of South Park, and we both were very amused. It takes a lot of the tropes common in RPGs, games like Skyrim and Dragon Age, and plays with them in that usual South Park way, which is completely over the top and hilarious. The game plays like an episode of the show, and the dialogue and voice acting is all completely on point. It’s easily one of the best licensed games I’ve ever seen, and the humor lands it this place of number three in my top games of the year.
2. Bayonetta 2
Now, we’re getting to the really good stuff. This has been lacking on a lot of game of the year lists, for the simple reason that not many people own a WiiU. Which, as it turns out, is a damn shame, because a lot of Platinum games are coming out for it. Who’s Platinum, you may ask? The same team that brought you Mad World, Metal Gear Rising, a company that stemmed from Clover studios, which brought around Viewtiful Joe.
Bayonetta was a great game; using the beauty of the main character, they hid a massive plot under an otherwise normal beat-‘em-up. The number of times that the main character is viewed in an objectifying lens is ridiculous – which turns out to be the point. If you view her in that way, then watch out, because she will ruin you and destroy everything you know and love. And Bayonetta 2 is no different – it perfects the play style from the first game, and, now that the characters have been properly introduced, it finally gets to a lot of the fun that the first one didn’t. It truly is a great game, and would have won GOTY for me if it weren’t for the last contender.
1. Dragon Age: Inquisition
If you haven’t played this game, stop reading this article and go play it. I mean it. I don’t mind, really. It’s been on several GOTY lists on this site and many others, and, more often than not, actually wins number 1. It won the Game of the Year award at Geoff Keighley’s The Game Awards, and even had a lovely nomination video for that.
It can’t truly be all that. In a year of over-hyped games, how can this one game, which wasn’t even released too far from the end of the year, actually win GOTY from so many people with such varying tastes? The solid plot, the amazing characters that have had two games worth of development and go above and beyond in the latest installment in the Dragon Age series… I would even say that Bioware learned their lesson from a lot of the side things that made Mass Effect 3 annoying – and made them even better, to the point where I wouldn’t be able to go forward with the main plot because I just kept getting side tracked with these missions. And the music…
Not to mention how differently you can play the game, and get different results. You have the choice of playing four different races: Human, Elf, Dwarf, and Qunari. My friend and I, who went with two completely different races, often have arguments on who has the better path, and whether or not it lends itself better to one path or the other (hint: it doesn’t). Certain romances tend to lend themselves to different races, and there is so much to be learned about the world, it’s utterly ridiculous. All I want is for all of the lore to be put into a book for me to read.
It’s an amazing game, as well as a cinematic experience. Sure, it has some bugs – but it’s clear that the developers put most of the effort into the plot and characters, which makes me forgive those minor flaws.