Batman: The Arkham Knight
Gotham City is in peril once again thanks to Scarecrow and his newest partner, the titular Arkham Knight. The third title from Rocksteady Games and their conclusion to the Arkham trilogy, was hyped up by the fans ever since the title was announced last year. Undeniably, it’s current-gen iteration is the most beautiful I’ve seen in their three games. The action was superb and as always you get a pitch perfect performance from Mark Hammill and Kevin Conroy.
However, as much as I would like to love this game, it really isn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the technical aspects of the game, and I feel it has improved a lot since Arkham City. But it just did not hook me. I don’t know. I didn’t like the whole Batmobile sequences (and there is a LOT!). Driving in video games has been my weakness ever since, and this game has a lot of it. So much so, that you can’t progress further into the story if you don’t utilize the vehicle. And I hated it.
Good thing Youtube has videos of all the cutscenes for this game. I have no patience to solve all of Riddler’s trophies and puzzles. I know there are over 200 of those around Gotham City. It’s too bad really because if you take those out, Arkham Knight is a brilliant Batman game. It has a solid combat system. Every villain has their own play style and fuck, all of Man-Bat’s appearances begin with a jump scare!!! The story has its flaws, but it’s engaging. It’s gripping, and they almost always require you to think on your feet. You really do become the Batman when you’re playing Arkham Knight.
But my idea of being Batman is one where I don’t drive the Batmobile a lot.
Sony’s sleeper hit last August is one of the few games I actually finished this year. In the advent of huge open world video games, it’s refreshing to play a short story driven game. I loved video games that you can finish in one weekend, and this is one of the bests that came out in 2015.
Until Dawn follows 8 teenagers headed by Hayden Panettiere, who return to a cabin one year after a tragedy befell two of their friends. What originally was set to be a reunion of some sorts turned out to be a nightmare inspired by all of our favorite scary B-movies.
In my gameplay, I only saved 3 of the teens, but this game has a lot of choices and consequences that it is possible to kill or save them all. I watch of gameplays online for Until Dawn, and rarely do I see similar scenes per gameplay. No, it is not an open world game, unlike the other titles on my review, but there are still a ton of things to keep your attention to. There are collectibles, clues, totem poles, sometimes I delay the story so I can walk around and find loot.
I truly enjoyed my 8 hours of playing Until Dawn, if it weren’t for my huge backlog, I would give another try with this title. Hopefully, with all kids surviving next time. This is not Game of the Year material, far from it. But in terms of pure enjoyment, Until Dawn delivered in droves. It is tense, suspenseful and can be funny when it needs to be. I finished this game in one weekend because while playing, I found myself not wanting to let go of the controller. I wanted to find out what will happen to Mike, Chris and the other kids I got attached to in the 8-10 hours I played this game.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Oh Kojima you brilliant son-of-a-bitch. I have played and finished most of the Metal Gear Solid games since I first discovered it in 1999. I remember enjoying all the unique and absurd things that you can find littered all over the world of Solid Snake or Raiden or Big Boss.
However, The Phantom Pain felt different. It felt unfamiliar. It looks like something new. But not the bad kind of different, don’t get me wrong. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was excellent!
For one, this game is now an open world. You are free to wreak havoc on Afghanistan or Africa in any way you want. You can be stealthy, you can go guns blazing. You can choose to have a dog as a sidekick or a robot, or a sexy sniper. There are several ways you can go about completing missions, and you are only limited by your imagination.
There is no game like this one before. My initial impression, specially after playing Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is that I’m not going to like this game. Trailers, kind of made it look difficult. Complicated. It certainly is overwhelming, if you have not played this game before. It will not hold your hand. This game will treat you like a smart person, because it expects you to be one.
Honestly, I don’t remember the story of this game that much, because majority of my playthrough of this game was spent running around the map, fultoning people and animals to bring home to my mother base. In TPP, everything has a purpose. Soldiers you kidnap will become your followers which you can use to expand your base or to complete tasks or gather more resources. Animals you fulton will go to your own private zoo. There are over 250 missions/side missions to complete in this game. Considering how much games are these days, It’s more than worth what you paid for.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Assassin’s Creed is slowly becoming a tired concept. I have played several games in its franchise with varying levels of enjoyment. Black Flag and AC2 being the best ones in my opinion. Unity, even after all of its patches remained a broken mess when I tried to play it again a couple of months ago.
Fortunately, Syndicate is one of the good ones from this series. London is a great place to run around in. Maybe because it’s finally easier to traverse the huge map, that’s why I like this game. But the thing is, it’s still the same Assassin’s Creed.
You are shown a map with its little icons for treasures, missions and sidequests that you need to check off. 10 hours in and it’s become a bit of a chore. A chore that I don’t want to do anymore.
Jacob and Evie Frye are definitely interesting characters, that may initially play different, but eventually are the same. They are interesting characters, definitely. It’s such a shame though that their world isn’t.
I guess I’m just tired of playing around the world of Assassin’s Creed. It is no longer that awe-inspiring world. I don’t feel the vertigo anymore whenever I jump off eagle’s perches. It is a stealth game that does not really feel too stealthy. Maybe I just got spoiled by how great MGS:TPP was at stealth action. Or maybe it’s really just time for this franchise to go away for a little bit and find its purpose again.
This has been the only game I played since it came out a few weeks ago. It has totally swallowed up what little free time I have. Fallout 4 probably will be the only game I’ll be playing until the next big game comes out in the next couple of months.
So far in the 60 hours that I have played Fallout 4 I have walked all over the upper half of Boston. I found 5 Power Armors. I freed and befriended a Super Mutant, a Synth detective, a dog, a pretty investigative journalist, a Minute Man and a heavily outfitted soldier. I finally learned how to put up a decent house, and built a three-story fortress. I have started about a hundred quests and sidequests, finished only a few and still have not moved forward in my main mission which is to find my kidnapped son.
Just like all the other Bethesda games, this will devour all of your free time. Fallout 4 will keep you playing until your head hurts and your eyes begin to deteriorate. I have spent a couple of sleepless weekends already trying to find new locations on my map. But it’s because I have been a huge fan of the developer ever since I played The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
I get though that this is not for everyone. Walking around the wasteland can be a bit boring. It’s not as fast as your typical first person shooter and not as engaging as your typical linear games. Fallout 4 requires you to be patient. It wants you to enjoy discovering. It asks you to not be afraid of its world. This game has bugs and glitches, which are I guess a staple of the developer already. Some might say, that’s the game’s charm, but we’re now on the latest generation of consoles where everything is powerful now, so we expect games to not have floating corpses or flying Brahmins. That turns me off a little bit. Fortunately, I have not experienced and game breaking bugs on my playthrough.
But I guess, the question now is: is this a Game of The Year type of game?
It could be.
(Images courtesy of Google)