We are in the final stages of 2019 and are nearing the end of another decade in video games. Yes, I know it’s “not actually the end of the decade” and all that, but for convenience I’m going to make up this list a year “early”. The past decade has been great for gaming; our wonderful hobby is enjoyed by more people every day and we have seen new ways video games can be pushed in terms of technology and as an interactive artistic medium. Video games as an industry have surpassed movies and music in terms of revenue and I would even dare to say popularity as gaming is light years away from the niche hobby of basement-dwelling loners as nearly everyone partakes in some aspect of video games; I haven’t even mentioned the rise of platforms like YouTube or Twitch. I have, after much deliberation and numerous lists scribbled on my desk, created two separate lists for my games of the decade; one list with my favorite game of each year of the decade and another simply comprising of my 10 favorites of the decade. After looking through all(well, pretty much) the releases of the decade it’s hard to not point out 2015-18 as being downright amazing years for gaming. The early years of the decade saw some great games like the first Red Dead Redemption, Mass Effect 2, Skyrim or The Last of Us, but outside of a few big games I don’t feel anywhere near as enthusiastic about 2010-14 as I do 2015-19.
2015 – the year that saw releases like Bloodborne, Metal Gear Solid 5, Fallout 4, Undertale, and The Witcher 3.
2016 – we received the phenomenal Overwatch and Persona 5, along with the revitalization of beloved franchises with the release of Resident Evil 7 and Doom.
2017 – the year began with a brand new Sony-exclusive in Horizon: Zero Dawn, only to be eclipsed by Breath of the Wild and the surprising success of the Nintendo Switch(yes, it was a surprise for most of us), with Super Mario Odyssey capping(get it?) off the year.
2018 – I don’t even need to say much further than – God of War, Spider-Man, Red Dead Redemption 2, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
***I will point out right away that while both The Witcher 3 and Persona 5 are looking to be INCREDIBLE games, I feel like I haven’t played enough of them at this time to accurately include them in my list, not entirely at least. Without further ado, here are my favorite games of each year of the past decade…
2010 – Red Dead Redemption
2011 – Batman: Arkham City
2012 – Far Cry 3
2013 – Grand Theft Auto 5
2014 – Destiny
2015 – Bloodborne
2016 – Overwatch
2017 – Super Mario Odyssey
2018 – God of War
2019 – Death Stranding
Here’s my personal favorites games of the decade. I included Red Dead Redemption 1 & 2 as a single pick, NOT sorry, I DO make these rules…
Super Mario Odyssey
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
Far Cry 5
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Grand Theft Auto 5
God of War
Red Dead Redemption(1&2)
That’s my list! What are your favorite games from the past decade? Let me know in the comments or just let me know how much you agree or disagree with any of the included games. I have also been working on a 2019 Games and Moments of the year that I will post soon. I’m heading back to re-watch more Star Wars movies! Thanks for reading!
We are currently in day number five of the 30 Day Geek Out Challenge, as started by Megan at A Geeky Gal. The month long challenge has already included questions such as your first and most recent fandoms, as well as most and least positive convention memories. I did not create a post for yesterday’s geeky question – What was your worst convention experience? I stated in my post for day 3 asking of your best convention experience that I had never attended any sort of convention, but listed some of the things about the prospects of going to any sort of convention that I would enjoy. I simply didn’t have anything to share for yesterday’s challenge question, so let’s jump into today’s Geek Out Challenge question…
What is the geekiest thing you’ve ever done?
After thinking it over, there are a couple things I came up with. The first thing that springs to mind is my younger brother and I, along with our next-door neighbor attempting( and failing miserably) to stage lightsaber duels…I can barely type that without cringing. We had a few of the battery-powered lightsaber replicas you could find in the toy department at Wal-Mart, and we would try to mimic those of the films. This was back during the time of the Star Wars prequels, and THANKFULLY before YouTube existed as I fear we may have had the brilliant idea to post videos online of us awkwardly swinging around plastic lightsabers, remember Lightsaber Kid from the early days of YouTube? It was pretty much like that….
The other geeky thing that came to mind isn’t quite as cringy as lightsaber fights, mercifully. In November of 2004, my brother and I drove to our nearest GameStop, which was still 90 miles away for the midnight launch of Halo 2. I remember sitting in the parking lot of the little strip mall where the GameStop was, anxiously waiting for the store to open up. We sat and waited in the car for about 30 minutes before deciding to brave the cold weather and stand outside as the line had begun to form around the store. I remember how excited everyone was in line waiting for the doors to open. The GameStop employees had moved a tv to the front window of the store and had an Xbox set up where they were playing a store copy of Halo 2, which at the time seemed a bit of a tease as we stood freezing outside. The doors did open however, and we were able to pick up the collector’s edition of the game we had reserved, the collector’s edition of Halo 2 that came in a steelbook case. This was before a steelbook case was available for seemingly every game, so it was extra exciting at the time. We grabbed some Taco Bell on the way home, finally making it home after 2 a.m. I don’t remember getting a lot of sleep or studying the next few days…;)
Day 5 of the Geek Out Challenge is complete! Thank you to Megan for initiating the challenge, and I look forward to more questions!
We all have games that for one reason or another end up being put in the backlog, usually with the intention that we’ll get back to it after we finish up whatever we’re currently focusing on. For me, I seem to come across games that I begin playing and seem to enjoy enough before…kinda…stopping. What then typically happens is enough time passes that I then decide I’ll just start fresh from the beginning, some games this process gets repeated several times…so I was extra happy to see through to the end a game I have spent years playing off and on – Doom 3; a game I’ve played off and on since its release in 2004. So, after 15 years I figured it was about damn time to see this one through.
After the successes of the first two Doom games, the result of which spawned ports and iterations of the original Doom on just about every operating system and console available (including the notorious Sega 32X and Game Boy Advance ports), iD Software in the early 2000’s their next entry in the Doom franchise would be a remake/reboot of the original first released in 1994. The game spent the next several years in development from announcement to release date. Doom 3 was released on August 3 2004 to critical acclaim and still remains an interesting, if not unusual entry to the franchise.
Doom 3 is a bit of a departure for the series in that the fast paced run-and-gun element of the first two games have been slowed down and takes a back seat to atmosphere and storytelling similar to the BioShock or F.E.A.R, which Doom 3 undoubtedly influenced. You still engage in intense gunfights with demons from the depths of Hell, however the gameplay is more survival horror and narrative than simply shoot everything in sight…though you STILL do plenty of that. The tone of the game is dark and brooding with reanimated zombie soldiers and an entire army of demons seemingly lurking around every corner. The lighting effects and shadows in the game are very impressive and I found myself stopping frequently to take in the terrifying ambience in Doom 3. The story is the same as the original Doom and takes place on the UAC Mars Base Research Facility where scientists have discovered several stone tablets at a nearby excavation site and in the process open a portal to Hell unleashing everyone to unimaginable horrors.
Throughout the game you encounter random survivors, soldier and scientist alike to further flesh out the story of the game. You play as a Space Marines recruit en route to the Mars Facility just as…<don’t say it!>…all Hell breaks loose (no more lame puns 🙂 ). Upon checking into the UAC base, you are given a PDA( REMEMBER those? lol) to keep track of email, as well as audio and video logs; this serves as a way to keep track of your current objective as well as provide further backstory in the events leading up to your arrival as you collect the PDAs dropped by others to listen to their audio logs and email which provide details relevant to your objectives such as locker codes or computer terminal locations.
The majority of the game takes place inside the UAC Facility with its multitude of corridors, labs, and computer terminals; this further adds to the feeling of claustrophobia keeping you on your toes as this game is DARK, not only in tone but in that you are unable to ACTUALLY see what you are supposed to be fighting. This is probably my biggest gripe about the game – even with the brightness settings turned up, it is very very hard to see. Another element that adds to this is the conscious decision by iD to make you unable to hold your flashlight AND gun at the same time, this being the most common gripe I heard as soon as someone would mention Doom 3. You continue making your way through Mars Base until you are sent directly to Hell via teleporter, this was my favorite and far too brief level in which fight the Guardian and retrieve the Soul Cube – an ancient weapon capable of destroying the army of Hell-spawn. You are then teleported back to Mars and venture back through the remainder of the research facility and proceed to find the excavation site where the Stone Tablets and Soul Cube were discovered. You continue to blast your way through hordes of demons before battling the Cyberdemon and saving the day. The Cyberdemon fight I admit was brief and felt rather anti-climactic due to the power of the Soul Cube annihilating anything in its path(and refilling your health at the same time). Side Note: In later “BFG Versions” of the game the famous “duct tape mod” was added, giving you the ability to see AND shoot.
Though Doom 3 is a reboot of the franchise, the game still contains many of the same monsters and demons from the previous games like the Cyberdemon, Hell Knight, and Pinky, though the design of the monsters were changed around a bit( Pinky’s metal cyborg legs!). It also would not be a Doom game with a complete arsenal of weapons at your disposal, with everything from trusty shotguns to chainsaws and plasma rifles to perhaps the best known weapon in any FPS game – the BFG 9000, which is powerful enough to blow a Hell Knight to bits with a single charged shot….hell yeah!! 😀
There’s a lot about Doom 3 that I really enjoyed: the atmosphere is frightfully beautiful, and the graphics have held up remarkably well for a fifteen year old game. The weapons and demons are also well designed and fitting of the venerable Doom series. The levels work well to give the player intense close-quarters combat within the dark corridors of the Mars Base. My only real dislikes about the game were the screen shake when you are hit by an enemy attack to the point where it gets a bit disorienting, along with just how dark the game is, even with the brightness setting cranked all the way up. I know that was a conscious decision to provoke apprehension about just what might be hiding in the darkness as you make your way around, so I don’t feel it’s hugely detrimental to the game. The fact you have to choose to be able to see or defend yourself by not being able to use the flashlight and weapon at the same time is still an annoyance. Nevertheless, the positive things I can say about this game far outweigh a few minor critiques. If there is any other Doom fans out there that haven’t given this a play through yet, I very highly recommend it.
Playing through Doom 3 along with seeing more from the upcoming Doom: Eternal game has made me want to go through and play more Doom games. I mentioned last weekend that I had found a good copy of Doom 64 that I intend to make my way through shortly…as soon as I can find a Controller Pak…the modern conveniences like built-in hard drives that we take for granted these days, right?
In the process of throwing this week’s post together, I came across a list of the FPS games that were released in 2004 like Doom 3…my god what a list of shooters released for console as well as PC: Doom 3, Painkiller, Far Cry, Killzone, Star Wars: Battlefront…and then there was also Half-Life 2 and Halo 2! Following up on this and writing a gaming year in review sounds kinda fun so I may do that in the near future. Has anyone besides me NOT played Doom 3? Does anyone else feel like if they don’t play a game for long enough without completing it that they need to start all over from the beginning?
The video gaming spectacle known as the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 is currently underway in Los Angeles, CA running from June 11-13. During this time game publishers, developers, media and gaming community in general gather to the Los Angeles Convention center to either showcase or experience the latest and greatest(hopefully) the industry has to offer. The event has come a long way since starting in 1995 as an offshoot of the Consumer Electronics Show, or CES as everything around video games had grown exponentially larger – industry, media, and consumers. Every year multitudes of gaming fans keep watch on their online gaming news outlet of choice, or more recently Twitch and YouTube channels dedicated to showing every minute of the array of games and technology on display. Every annual E3 convention is kicked off with several days of press conferences from the major developers and publishers, and with these press conferences come announcement trailers and gameplay footage of upcoming titles. This has become a bit of a spectator sport in itself as game announcements can come as a surprise and create an enormous amount of excitement for anyone who loves video games. After some deliberation, these are the five games that I’m most excited about after seeing from E3 2019.
Final Fantasy VII
Square Enix’s remake of the beloved Final Fantasy VII has been in the works for quite some time now after being initially announced back in 2015. The game development seemed to go for very long periods of time without any word or update from the developers, with some skeptical the game would ever happen at all. Well…Square Enix finally showed off some actual gameplay of FFVII during its presentation on Monday night and this game looks downright gorgeous with the updated, NOT jagged angular character models of Cloud and Barrett’s boss battle with the Scorpion Sentinel from early on in the game. The combat controls have been reworked a bit, with a shift more towards an action RPG that I think is an interesting change particularly when dealing with a game as highly regarded by hardcore RPG fans as FFVII. Another aspect of the game that I feel is a bit strange is the fact it is going to an episodic release, with Square Enix stating the entire first episode will take place in Midgar. Square Enix also stated the game will be large enough to take up two entire blu-ray discs upon release in its completed form; though they admit they are unsure of just how many episodes the game be comprised. Final Fantasy VII is a game that while being the benchmark title for the series, is in need of a face lift as it is one of the first games I mention when the discussion of “games that haven’t aged well” comes up(along with Goldeneye and Ocarina of Time)…nevertheless I am incredibly eager to check this out when it releases in March 2020.
Watch Dogs: Legion
The announcement for Watch Dogs: Legion was leaked prior to E3 and like the other games in the Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs series, it looks to be a very ambitious game that I sincerely hope they are able to pull off as this game really piqued my interest after watching the demonstration during the Ubisoft E3 presentation. Watch Dogs: Legion is set in London of the not too distant future, where an authoritarian militia-government has control, with soldiers on patrol as well as drones surveying your every move…you know sci-fi dystopian stuff. The premise of the game is similar to that of the first two games, with a group of individuals with the ability to hack seemingly any device have decided to fight back. I admit I have missed out on the Watch Dogs games up to this point so this may be an excellent introduction to the series for me. One of the unique features of this game is the fact there isn’t any “main character” as you can recruit and then control ANYONE you see out on the street. The gameplay demo showed the character currently being controlled as they were able to scan and identify different people around the area, with their different abilities and skill sets being highlighted. You could recruit a retired police officer, an amateur MMA fighter, an expert hacker, or someone with an extensive knowledge of drones. The developers at Ubisoft stated you can recruit an army of resistance members with skills as varied as you choose. If a character is taken down while fighting, you are given the choice of either surrender and be escorted to jail with you being unable to use them for a set amount of time or you can choose to keep fighting. If you opt to keep fighting and the character is killed you lose that character indefinitely…perma-deaths will be a thing in this game. Ubisoft also stated that if one of your characters is taken to jail, you will be able to be released back into available use if any of your recruited members who have backgrounds as a lawyer. The highlight of the Watch Dogs: Legion was the portion of the demo where the control was switched over to Helen – an elderly woman who is also a retired espionage agent. Watching Helen shuffle around a London park, feeding the birds one moment and then the next moment she stealthily takes out an armed guard with a taser to the neck…I was pretty much sold by this point 🙂 . Watch Dogs: Legion was announced for a March 6 2020 release.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Ever since Jedi: Fallen Order was officially announced I was eager to see more, especially knowing the Respawn Entertainment would be developing the game. I have stated in the past how much I loved the Titanfall games as well as Apex Legends after it was stealth dropped back in February, so that combine that with the fact it’s another Star Wars game it seemed a no-brainer. I really want to see EA get a Star Wars game RIGHT, especially after the debacle around Battlefront 2 and…really any AAA title they have released the past few years. This past Saturday, EA and Respawn demonstrated a gameplay video after much speculation within the gaming community as to what the game even was going to be. In Jedi: Fallen Order you control Cal Kestis – a young Jedi who survived Order 66 has joined a band of rebels led by Saw Gerrera – the guerrilla leader played by Forest Whitaker in Rogue One; whose likeness is also used in the game. The gameplay video showed Kestis traversing the wookie planet of Kashyyyk and fighting Stormtroopers as well as hostile life forms. The gameplay we were able to see didn’t seem to be revolutionary in any way, with the traversal and general movements appear to be similar to that of any of the Uncharted games; the combat however, looks pretty enjoyable with really smooth looking lightsaber combat. The video shows Kestis will force-push a broken wall and then jump through and use the Force to freeze a Stormtrooper (a la Kylo Ren) in mid-movement before striking him down with his lightsaber. There is also the ability to freeze blaster fire mid-air and deflecting it back at enemies, along with the lightsaber throws we are used to seeing from the Force Unleashed games a console generation ago. What I did see of the game reminded me a bit of the Force Unleashed, with some of the jumping, and swinging across chasms we have seen from Nathan Drake in Uncharted games. I can’t help but still be just the smallest bit concerned given the track record EA has with their usage of the Star Wars universe, but the gameplay video did put my mind at ease quite a bit. Another interesting note about the game is the developers at Respawn have stated that among their inspirations for Jedi: Fallen Order were Super Metroid and Dark Souls and wanted to have the same nature of exploration and at the same time have the strategic combat of the aforementioned games. Jedi: Fallen Order is releasing on November 15 2019 and I certainly plan on checking this game out.
Cyberpunk 2077 – Special Mention*
I haven’t gotten to see any actual gameplay of developer CD Projekt Red’s follow up to the enormously popular Witcher 3: Wild Hunt so I wasn’t going to include it in a list of games that I was able to see actual gameplay from, but I after reading several accounts of the 50 minute gameplay demo being offered to those lucky enough to be at E3, along with watching the Cyberpunk 2077 cinematic trailer that was shown as part of Microsoft’s press conference on Sunday…and all I can say is that the hype for this game has been amplified tenfold; it looks to be the closest thing to a Blade Runner video game. Cyberpunk 2077 is set to be released on April 16 2020 and has the potential to be incredible, just watch this trailer…
I really don’t need to spend much time discussing what the newest title in the Doom series from iD and Bethesda looks like other than saying “It looks like Doom 2016…just bigger and more of it!” The gameplay video shown at the Bethesda conference Sunday night showed plenty of the over-the-top demon slaying we have come to know and love about the series. This time around you will be fighting not only on Mars and in Hell, but also in other dimensions and planets which I have absolutely no doubt will still provide the same experience as the previous game. Doom: Eternal releases on November 22 2019 and I CANNOT wait!
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Remake
I could have spent this entire time just talking about all the announcements from the Nintendo Direct Presentation of Tuesday morning. I could hardly contain my fanboy excitement as Nintendo announced a new Contra game – Contra: Rogue Corps, No More Heroes 3, a remake of Panzer Dragoon, Banjo and Kazooie FINALLY being added as characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and in the final moments played a very brief trailer announcing that a sequel for Breath of the Wild was currently in development…OH.MY.GOD :). Allow me to regain my composure for a minute and re-direct back to the game that I am probably most excited for after seeing more of it from E3 – the Link’s Awakening remake. I was intrigued when I watched the announcement that Nintendo was going to remake Link’s Awakening; a game first released on the original Game Boy back in 1993. I was also cautiously optimistic about the choice of animations used for the remake and being worried they may not do justice to a Legend of Zelda game however, after seeing extended gameplay segments shown by Nintendo over the last couple days I think the creative decision will work out perfectly. The graphics still remind me a bit of Peanuts movie, but it seems to make sense for this particular game. Link’s Awakening takes place all within a dream and has a bit of a goofy, oddball quality to it that I have begun to really like after watching the adorable cartoonish Link make his way around Koholint Island. They are including the Color Dungeon from the Game Boy Color DX version and what appears to be a Dungeon Creator in the remake that also looks fun. There is also a Link Amiibo that is being released at the same time as the full game on September 20 2019. I had embarrassingly never played through the entire game at the time of the remake announcement and quickly rectified that issue. (Side Note: I made a post about my thoughts about my playthrough of Link’s Awakening for the Game Boy a couple months ago if you care to read)
This fall is looking to be good for gamers as I am already game planning just the handful of games off the top of my head – Link’s Awakening, Pokemon Sword/Shield, Luigi’s Mansion 3, Doom: Eternal, Jedi: Fallen Order, and Death Stranding just to name a few. What games are you anxious to play later this year or that you’re really hyped up about after seeing from E3?
One of the problems that come along with having a wide interest in different game genres is – You simply don’t have time to play them all. Some games for one reason or another end up being put in the back log and you have to come back to them at a later time(sometimes much later…). I just recently had the chance to play through Guacamelee! the incredibly fun to play metroidvania style action platformer made by Drinkbox Studios. Guacamelee! was first released on the Playstation 3 and the Playstation Vita in April of 2013 and is currently available on just about every gaming platform. I’m embarrassed it took me this long getting around to it.
Players control Juan, an agave farmer living in rural Mexico. Juan is called to the local town after receiving word that his former flame and daughter of El Presidente – Lupita has been abducted by the evil Carlos Calaca. Juan dons the mask of the mystical Luchador and sets out to save Lupita, learning new abilities along the way. The backdrop is set with traditional Mexican culture and folklore as the events of the game are set during Dia de los Muertos(Day of the Dead). The visuals are colorful and make this game as satisfying to look at as to play. One of the favorite touches is right before you fight one of the game’s bosses such as the Trio of Death (a three headed skeleton armed with mariachi instruments) or the aptly named Flame Face (armed with a pistol and tequila bottle) there is a colorful billboard showing “Juan Vs. Flame Face!” that flashes before the screen adding to the Mexican wrestling vibe.
Guacamelee! is a metroidvania style side scrolling action game that isn’t completely non-linear, but leaves ample room to backtrack and explore the different levels. You come across “Choozo Statues” which from the name right down to the appearance are a nod to the Metroid influence of this game. You learn different move and abilities such as a double-jump, a destructive headbutt, or my favorite – Pollo Power! which allows you to switch back and forth to a chicken inside an egg( an allusion to your Morph Ball upgrade in the Metroid games). There is also the really interesting game mechanic where you gain the ability to switch between the plane of the living or the dead, which adds complexity to the puzzles and combat with the game. The combat of the game is much deeper than I would have guessed with move lists much more extensive than the majority of indie games like this.
The game has many nods to vintage games, but don’t take this as merely a “cover version” of a Metroid game, Guacamelee! is it’s very own unique game. I played the Super Turbo Championship Edition of the game on my Switch, which this edition of the game would suggest a reference to previous Street Fighter 2 titles( Super, Turbo, and Champion). I am making an effort to get caught up on more of these indie titles that I haven’t gotten to play yet, and the Switch is the perfect place to play them. I sadly admit I still have to finish the last level of Shovel Knight as well as pick back up where I left off in Hollow Knight and Journey. Guacamelee! 2 was also released back in October 2018. I very heartily recommend Guacamelee! to anyone, I assume I’m not the only one who hadn’t played it yet.
The current generation of gaming has been an incredible time for players with video games being bigger than they have ever been before. Today, I’ve listed what I have narrowed down to my 5 favorite of the games offered on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, etc. These are not in any particular order, and may change as there are some excellent games released just a few months into 2019. We also have not received much news as to when the next-gen consoles will be released.
Far Cry 5 – I have lost track of approximately how many hours I’ve spent running around Hope County’s gorgeous landscape in the fight against the Eden’s Gate cult. I have completed the game a few times and seem to keep coming back with how much I enjoy the mayhem the inevitably seems to follow me wherever I go. The rush of chaos and explosions is some of the most satisfying I have ever played in a game. Far Cry 5 and the entire Far Cry series for that matter are essentially being tossed into an action movie from the 80’s. Side note – Far Cry: New Dawn was released a month ago and I highly recommend that as well.
Red Dead Redemption 2 – There isn’t much I can say for Red Dead Redemption 2 that hasn’t been said already. Rockstar’s open-world wild west masterpiece will be discussed and played for years to come. The game is a very heavy, slow burn that certainly pays off in the end. The story is very nuanced, with new detail that I notice every time I play it. The in-game environment is easily the most impressive I have ever seen, with a landscape truly seems alive. The game conveys desolation, loneliness and at times hopelessness as well as the beauty and brutal struggle of life in the Old West. This game is a bucket-list worthy experience for anyone.
Super Mario Odyssey – When Super Mario Odyssey was announced, I admit I was mildly skeptical. So…Mario is running around a metropolitan looking world inhabited by humans…and he’s throwing a hat on things to transform into them? I mean…that is pretty accurate, but I absolutely loved this game! The main story itself is a little on the short side, but I invested 90 hours into this game going through and collecting all 999 power moons and different outfits for Mario. This aspect of the game along with the heavy dashes of nostalgia is where the most memorable moments of the game were for me. Going through the different worlds and collecting all the power moons and purple coins was reminiscent of the old “collect-a-thon” games on the N64 that I spent my childhood years playing. Super Mario Odyssey was the most fun I had playing a Mario game since the first Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii.
Horizon: Zero Dawn – Giant. Robot. Dinosaurs. That’s all I really knew going into my first play through of Guerrilla Game’s newest ip Horizon: Zero Dawn. There is so much more to this game than what may be first apparent. The gameplay itself is as good as it gets for an open-world sandbox game. The hours flew by just exploring the post-catastrophe world with terrain from snowy mountains to lush green open areas to vast expanses of rocky arid desert. The story is great and protagonist Aloy is one of my new favorite game characters as she is looking for answers to the world’s history as well as her own. An excellent brand-new series entry in a crowded space of remakes and remasters.
God of War – Another game that doesn’t need much else said about it, the most recent(and best) entry in the God of War series is as good as gaming gets. Kratos’ journey this time taking place with his son Atreus at his side. The game is this time around set in Norse mythology rather than Greek. The journey Kratos and Atreus embark on is as much personal as physical, as the story deals with grief, loss and allowing yourself to move on. Game director Cory Barlog stated he wanted to create a more mature Kratos whose past still weighs heavily on him. Everything about this game is excellent, and showcases what games can do as an artistic medium. The only thing left to say is…”Boy!”
Any given week I’m usually playing several different games, however the past couple weeks most of my time spent playing games has been playing Apex Legends and with over 8 million players in the first 48 hours after launch, a sizable portion of the online gaming community has been too(understatement).
Apex Legends was launched completely unaware by just about everyone two weeks ago on the date. I awoke Monday February 4 to read news that Respawn Entertainment had announced their newest project; a class based battle royale shooter “set in the Titanfall universe” and was launching immediately. I have to admit I was unsure what to think upon hearing the announcement as I, along with many others were hoping for news of Titanfall 3. I absolutely loved Titanfall 2 and regard it as one of my favorite first-person shooters I’ve ever played, alongside games like Goldeneye, Halo, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. As mixed…well…generally negative feelings as I have for EA, I wanted to support Respawn and give Apex Legends a chance.
The premise of Apex Legends is standard battle royal fare, (drops, shrinking area of play, random weapons scattered throughout map) but with 8 class-based “Legends” to select from at the beginning of the match. I find the class-based angle interesting in a battle royale game, as each character has different abilities to use throughout the match. Each character has a passive, tactical, and an ultimate ability. This being similar to Overwatch…I’m curious to know how long Blizzard has been contemplating creating a BR mode for Overwatch?
I have been playing Apex Legends for two weeks now and so far I have been very impressed. My favorite aspect of the gameplay would probably have to be the Smart Comms system, where you simply tap a button to point out or “ping” anything from your next map destination to items and weapons to pointing out enemies on the map for your squad to see. This intuitive context sensitive design lets you do ALL of this without having to get on the mic to talk to you squamates. Ask anyone who has ever tried to play in a squad with random players online or simply prefer not to use a mic can tell you what a blessing this is. There is also a respawn ability where even after you are knocked down and killed your teammates can grab your player beacon from your loot; a “death box” and bring it over to a respawn beacon and you will get another chance as your character jumps down from the next dropship. This gives away your position to the other remaining players as well, so you will need to move quickly as soon as you hit the ground.
The gameplay itself in Apex Legends is as smooth as it gets, this comes as no surprise to anyone that marveled at the gameplay of Titanfall 2 (also the fact that Respawn was founded by Jason West and Vince Zampella from Infinity Ward – developers of the first two Cod: Modern Warfare games). The shooting feels good and tight, the movement has enough “weight” to it, but you don’t feel like you’re running through quicksand.
There is currently only a single map you can play – King’s Canyon, but it has become one of my favorite maps in any battle royale game. The map has different terrain, from dry sandy wastelands which look like something out of the Borderlands games to green swampy lowlands with streams running through, reminiscent of SOCOM games.
As with most battle royale games, there is a very slight learning curve. Mostly just familiarizing yourself with which weapons are what and what the attachments and ammo types are, which in turn makes it more satisfying to utlitlize all the different gameplay aspects and see your squad as Champions.
Apex Legends is definitely worth checking out if your are a fan of the battle royale genre and it plays well enough to give a chance even if you aren’t a fan. I am having a blast playing this in the meantime. Here’s hoping the enormous success of this game in such a short time may result in Respawn making Titanfall 3 in the future…