Word's That Kill's Melancholic Game Of The Year: 2014

This year sucked but I guess there were some good games though. Also, super spoilers below for certain games. Watch out for that.

The fact that I sit here, googling what even came out this year should go ahead and paint a picture as to the quality of what I've played, much less liked. I have played pretty much ever major game that I could, being a holdout of the last generation. I had to pass on many titles, like Shadow of Mordor and next-gen versions of the games I already do like. But alas, I've got a list and I've checked it twice. Actually, I haven't even written it yet, so that was a lie, I haven't even checked it once. Okay, here we go.

You know, for the readers of this thing it's going to look instantaneous. These words that follow each other are just right there, right next to each other. It looks like one continuous thing. But it's not. This is the first blog I've written in months that I've started up with a clear direction and sense of purpose and yet, it's been days since I've actually written anything down. See, I look at all of the games I liked and even loved this year and when it's time to write about them... well, I don't have anything nice to say about them. I made this huge thing about Dark Souls 2, but I spent the entire thing whining about why I didn't like it as much as I did the first one. I had all of this stuff ready to go about why I think FarCry 4 is a horrible shooter and stealth game... even though I thought FarCry 4 was fucking awesome.

I've come down with a virus, so I'm sick yet again. Maybe that's clouding my judgement, or writing abilities. I can't say for certain. I might just delete all of this and try again before deleting even that too. But I'm gonna do this, goddamnit, one way or another. For truth and justice. For America. For lil baby Jessu and the shins he died for.

Truthfully, I think that this issue stems from the quality of games to come out this year. Personally, and it's just me, but I think the video games this year have sucked ass. Sure and, again, there were games that I liked and even loved, but you look at the games and it's just... this one's broken, this one is just another annual release that's the exact same as the one before it, this one's just not fun. So much shit. Even worse than that, so many games I wasn't even interested in to begin with. It's not the good or the bad that gets me, it's the indifference. The games I look at and go "Eh, I don't need this", whereas any other year seems to be "NEED THAT, NEED THAT, DON'T NEED THAT, NEED THAT". Last year had better games, is what I'm saying. Or maybe I just hate fun. All of these are possible.

Bonus Game: Resident Evil Revelations

ah yeh bby thts it right thrr uhhh
 Yeah, I know, Revelations didn't come out this year, but I played it this year, and if you remember this blog here, you'll remember that I fucking loved Resident Evil: Revelations.

It wasn't quite so instant, as there was a bit of the game that I felt like I had to "trudge" through. But once the charm and personality of the game(And Parker) began to shine through, it was an instant hit and I couldn't put it down. I also played an embarrassing amount of Raid mode and never looked back.

After playing Resident Evil 6, I was pretty down on Resident Evil, Capcom as a whole, survival horror as a whole, just everything. RE6 burned the fuck out of me. I honestly thought I was done with Resident Evil and would never look back, but just when I got out, Capcom is there pulling me right back in. And it introduced me to Jessica and her sweet ass, Parker and his sentient lust for lunch, Quint and Keith's dumbass-faces.

It was an experience, that was for sure, one I'm glad to have... uh, experienced? Yeah, that's right.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

This blog brought to you by the letter "You paid for a demo you jackass, no wonder this industry sucks", which is the most aggressive letter, I think.

You read that right. Ground Zeroes came out in March and I got my hands on it as soon as I possibly could, which was almost delayed in a sense of irony because Sony was having issues with the Playstation Store again and the thing didn't update for two weeks. Luckily I somehow managed to bruteforce my way into the Store and download GZ and delay the, well, delay.

It was intense and awesome. The next generation of Metal Gear Solid powered by this new thing called a "FOX Engine". It looked great, it sounded great, well, whenever Miller stopped talking to you that is... which was never. The story was nonexistent and there were a lot of technical issues, many of which I've talked about in my huge three blog write-up that you can find here, here, and here.

There were more issues present in this very tiny representation of the next generation of Metal Gear Solid than any of the other full length Metal Gear's and it struck me hard, like when Alistair hardened up in Dragon Age: Origins. Suddenly, this young beautiful, hilarious flower, withered a little. But in doing so, it was stronger. The day that Metal Gear Solid is released to be buggy and as incomplete as Ground Zeroes it the day that this boy wakes up to reality and sees the world the way it is as a man. In a world so black and white, all I see is gray... and I don't know what to do with gray.

But the gameplay! The gameplay is tight and open. And the story, while there wasn't much on display, adapted to the decisions you make. Sure, it's as simple as "Do you rescue Chico or Paz first?" but the game has an answer for you no matter which route you take. The way Chico will react depending on if you rescue Paz first or not is a small detail that most people might not even see, but it's there and I can really, truly, appreciate that.

See, my relationship of Ground Zeroes is one of self-awareness. I loved it, but I'm keeping it real(Word, ya dig, my homies? Hippity hoppity) with the fact that Ground Zeroes is a demo. It doesn't offer much, but what it does offer is incredible gameplay and a multitude of different scenarios for you to run around and sneak yourself into. It was also great taste of what The Phantom Pain will bring, which comes out sometimes next year. With Ground Zeroes, the fun really is what you make it. Some people didn't take so well to its length, but my issues weren't with the length, and so I found a ton of hours of replayability and fun sneaky situations.

But for real though Kaz, shut the fuck up!!!

 The Walking Dead Season 2

Kenny... had a hard life...
Walking Dead Season 1 and 2 MEGA SPOILERS BELOW

The Walking Dead by Telltale is a really genius stroke of storytelling. They establish so many characters, and seem to kill of so many more, but the beauty is how they handled the arc of Kenny. The guy comes across as an asshole for the entirety of Season 1, trying to swing his big ol' hatedick around until he gets his way, and he most certainly doesn't care who he pisses off.

It all begins to change as he loses his family one by one. First his wife, and then his son. Not only does he lose his son, but it was Kenny who killed his boy to prevent him from turning into a "walker" himself. Yes, it's true, Kenny had a hard life. In fact, it was even implied that Kenny dies as well, in some terrible way while trying to be a hero.

And that was just Season 1! Season 2 rolls around and when you finally meet up with Kenny, he's different. He's become more and more unhinged. If his character can be defined by anything, Kenny would be defined by "Loss". He's had everything taken from him, forcibly. He was pushed to the brink of his sanity and the people around him question his every word. He's driven into fits of rage as his life gets worse and worse. No one takes him seriously, people constantly talk about him behind his back, no one can trust him. Kenny hears it all. He knows what's up, even if he's not really fit to handle himself with any composure from time to time.

I understood Kenny, or, at least, Clementine understood Kenny. After all of what happened in Season 1, people freaking out about Kenny almost offended me. The guy's fucked because we're all fucked, I would think to myself. Why is no one pointing out that we're all fucking crazy, it's not just Kenny, I would say into my controller as I have no real friends to talk to and oh my god I'm so lonely.

Time and time again, Kenny proves himself to be worthwhile and trustworthy, and time again people refuse. "He's a powder keg waiting to go off, he's a psychopath that doesn't care who he kills, he's fucking crazy!" And I was having none of it. After all, I was shoulder-to-shoulder with him in Season 1, and I knew him more than anyone else.

So when it was time to act, when it was Kenny or anyone else, I choose Kenny. I trusted Kenny. And in the end, I believe I choose right. It was between an fucking insane, proven psychopath-among-psychopaths who would abandon even her sister, or pretend to have killed a baby just to prove a point, or Kenny, who's only fault was he let everyone know what he was thinking and refused to back down. It was an easy choice.

In the end, I think I got a better ending. Emotionally rewarding on pretty much every level. We get to see these characters at their worst, and also their best, and I feel like my ending was more complete because of this, especially when you see the alternatives which are a lot more "cut and dried". But my decision felt... powerful. And it certainly meant a lot to me.

The arc of Kenny may or may not be over. As he is now an "optional" character, there's a very good chance that Kenny goes away forever regardless of your decisions in the next season, but for now, I'm gonna let it end on the hopeful note and wait and see for myself. Kenny's had a hard life, but he's got a second chance with Clementine and little Alvin and I'm excited to see where their adventure goes regardless.

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Them hookers looking so hard they straight hit the curb
Dragon Age. What an interesting series. I remember when I first played Dragon Age: Origins I was so blown away. The amount of choice and decision making you get in that game is almost criminal.  You're always either able to kill someone or steal something or do something nefarious, or do some nice and kindhearted. You've got the power in your hands.

Dragon Age II introduced a whole 'nother set of issues to the series. It was just as buggy as DAO, but it retained most of the quest-layouts of the first game. You get a quest, go to a cave, and then choose how to resolve it. You get another quest, go to the same cave, and choose how to resolve it. You could still make decisions and feel powerful, although they weren't as deep or rich as the first game. But that's okay, because Dragon Age II was rushed to the market so they would certainly ensure that the next game was even better than ever, right? Well... sort of.

The thing about Dragon Age: Inquisition is how fucking huge it is. I remember when Bioware announced that there was a single area in DAI that was so big it could contain all of Dragon Age II, people laughed at them. "You expect us to believe that? Seriously?" and everyone was expecting this game to come out a broken mess of some sort just because of the way Dragon Age II came out. Then with the controversy of Mass Effect 3's ending, no one truly knew what to expect from Inquisition.

But that's the funny thing, the game is huge. The levels are massive. They absolutely delivered on the promise of level scale. What they didn't deliver on was, well, meaningful quests.

I liked Dragon Age Inquisition. Maybe I even love it. I've put over 130 hours into the game across 2 playthroughs, but the issues I'm having aren't of quantity or level size, it's of quality. You'll be walking around in this massive levels and you'll find a dead body with some stupid love letter next to it. The letter will read like some frilly story about lost love, and it will lead you to some bush, or a tree stump, or some rubble somewhere. And inside of that something, is an item that is always several levels under leveled so it's immediately unusable. And that's the quest system in Inquisition. Walking around this massive landscape and picking up shitty rings or amulet's. No longer are you able of finding roving bandits and talking them down, or using them to your own end, or even persueding them into being friends with you or anything else you could ever do in DAO or II. It's the closest thing you can find to a single-player MMO and that burns me so much, because ultimately I just wanted more Dragon Age Origins.

For example. There is a quest that you can find in the Storm Coast. The quest involves you going to this stronghold in the hills and defeating this group of people called the Avaar.(Or Avarr, or Aavvaarr or some other fantasy shit). This quest has an optional route though: You can craft a special amulet that will allow you to converse with the leader of this group, instead of walking in and slaughtering everyone. I thought, wow, this is incredible. They give you the choice to do this and it's so rewarding! Having a choice is a choice in this game! NOPE! That's right, it's a one time thing and it's not even meaningful. Because having talked to their leader will always result in instant battle, and having killed the entire group just means you get one less mission for your war table.

Really, the decisions you make in this game are the least interesting and definitely the least meaningful. You would figure the leader of a massive INQUISITION could affect how shit gets done, especially as you gather more and more allies and support as the game goes on, but it's all worthless in the end because you can only reflect on the success and growth of your Inquisition through your war table, where everyone assures you time and time again, that the Inquisition is big and mighty and everyone loves you ohhhh boy, but you never get to actually see it. No one sends dignitaries, no prime ministers come check your shit, no hero ever visits you asking for support in a cause he's invested in, with the tables turned that now you are in the position to help heroes of Thedas, whereas before it was you that were the heroes of Thedas. Nope, you get nothing.

Really, the only redeeming factors in this game are the main missions, the characters which I think are great, and the gameplay. They all have their own sets of problems, but I have fun with Inquisition. It's so fun to load it up, kick it with Dorian and Blackwall while you fight a big fucking Dragon.

If Inquisition is the template for Dragon Age as the series moves forward, I don't think Dragon Age can have lasting power. In Origins or even II, you were tasked with important decisions all the fucking time, even then you were just some lowly Gray Warden, or some refugee that no one wants. In Inquisition, you are supposedly the leader of this mighty establishment, and here you are, scouting the wilderness for level 7 rings and then escorting a fucking buffalo back to its owner. What the fuck? Seriously? There's no personality in this game, and while they have absolutely made a lot of great decisions for Dragon Age as a franchise, I want more Origins and less Skyrim. More personality, less "Look through this fucking bush for stupid shit".

Wolfenstein: The New Order

Killing nazi's is fun, but killing nazi's with Jewish Super Weapons of Mass Destruction, it's even more fun!
The New Order is the first game of the year that I had such an intense reaction to. It was fun immediately. The stealth was fun, the gunplay was fun, and the main fucking villain is voiced by Howlin' Mad Murdock from The A-Team!? I am so fucking in!!

"DOPE LAZORS, KILLIN' NAZIES AND TITTIES, SOMEONE GET ME A BEER AND WATCH THIS" is the shootermans reaction most people would have to this game. And that's the thing, the game goes beyond all of that, because once you enter the world, or should I say, the new order, you see it's a lot more than shootermans. There's a deep and strong narrative that's carried by characters that almost have no right to be as entertaining as they are. Villains that you want to wollop in the mouth, allies that you want to hang around with forever, and guns you could shoot all day. Oh, and you go to the fuckin MOON. There's so much waiting for you to play around with, and it's all so fucking fun.

Not only that, but you get to make some decisions in the game as well. Sadly, I didn't get around to a second playthrough to see the impact of my decisions, but early in the game you get to choose who lies and dies between two of your friends, and the way the story turns out, you get put into a catatonic state for 14 years. That's when Nazi's burn down your hospital and take your girl. And that shit JUST DOESN'T FLY. So you wage your war against them and find your friends along the way. And it's all so fucking fun.

Honestly, aside from my #1 this year, there wasn't any other game that I had as much fun with as I did with Wolfenstein: The New Order. The story was ridiculous, but at the same time really mature, and smart. The cutscenes were also something I didn't expect to be as well directed as they were. It seemed like every shot was framed extremely well and obeyed some rule of thirds or other to position everything just so great.

Really, even though it may seem like I have less to say about Wolfenstein: The New Order than I do the other games on this list, it was an incredibly fun game that I have very little to say negatively about. I enjoyed every second of my time with it and I will be playing through this game again.

The funniest part, to me at least, was that this was the sequel to 2009's Wolfenstein and I had no idea. I borrowed that from my uncle and played the shit out of it, enjoying every second. It's funny, because while it's a sequel, I'm pretty sure there's no supernatural events at all in The New Order. It's all science-fiction out the wahzoo.

I absolutely loved Wolfenstein: The New Order and how it's all so fucking fun.

 Game of the Year: The Evil Within

I bet you didn't expect to take such a LONG WAY DOWN to find this here, eh? EH!?!?
The New Order was the first game of the year that I had an immediate reaction to, and this is the second and only game to follow that.

As I've written before, I didn't expect The Evil Within to be anything. With the whole marketing scheme of "FROM THE CREATOR OF RESIDENT EVIL 4" I was like, oh, they're trying to sell it on name-power alone? "That guy from that thing made this other thing, so it must be good!". I expected nothing from this game but a terrible experience that could possibly be plagued by bugs.

What I got instead, however, was my favorite game of the year. The only game of the year I wanted to play over and over and over again.

The story begins with Sebastian Castellanos, who has one of the coolest names in video games, and his partners as they venture forth into a mental hospital. As they get deeper in, the entire world explodes into madness and they have to fight their own minds as well as the nightmares set forth on the world.

You use a combination of stealth and smarts to survive the horror and weigh the odds in your favor. Just one of the many tools at your disposal, matches change the entire way the game is played as enemies are critically weak to fire. Knock them down and light them on fire to get an easy kill, but one thing if for certain, they don't make it easy for you.

Upgrade your weapons, conserve ammunition and play it close to the vest as you explore a world gone mad.

I'm gonna cut the "review" bullshit because that's not what I want to do. I just want to gush about how much I liked this game. The reviews are mixed, and it can get annoying to see people so authoritatively put the game down, but it's clear that this game is polarizing. Aspects that one person may love, another may hate and vice versa. I like to think that it's a fantastically well made game with some janky issues, and it's absolutely far from perfect, but in the end, I got so much joy from this game. In some ways, I felt like a kid again playing the game. Everything drew my attention and made me want to sit and watch, listen and make sure I understood everything. I wanted to explore everywhere and see everything. And out of all of the games I've played this year, The Evil Within(And I mean, I guess Ground Zeroes as well) was the only game that I beat and immediately went back into again. I needed to keep playing. I had so much fun fucking around in the game that it was almost impossible to put down. I played it three and a half times and even managed to get all of the upgrades, collectibles, and beat it in under 5 hours.

If there was ever going to be a game of the year for me this year, it's absolutely The Evil Within. The gift that keeps on giving, and a treasure trove of entertainment for hours to come.

Sure, sure, let's get the "fluff" out of the way. The characters are pretty much non-existant, the voice acting is... all over the place(HOSPITAL!!! HOSPITAL!!!), and there's jank. It's not perfect, and honestly, I don't know if I'd even want a game like this to be perfect. I think the imperfections are just a part of its charm and I appreciate it more for the shortcomings.

Besides, the janky shit will just get fixed in the sequel. That's the norm in this industry anymore, right? I mean, the norm is also releasing completely unplayable games, so let's hope they skip that route.

Honorable Mentions

There were some other games that I liked this year, absolutely
 The year was also home to some great games that I liked but maybe wasn't so hot on.

Dark Souls 2 just didn't reignite the spark that the first game left inside of me. It was fun, and I spent over 150 hours on it so clearly it did something right, but... man, I don't know. It's the Borderlands effect. The first game comes out, is totally fuggen cool and stuff, but then the second game comes out and it's just more of the first. I didn't take to it as much as I did Dark Souls 1, even though I still liked it.

Far Cry 4 was weird. For the first 20 something hours of my time with it, I loved it. It was like all of the best of Far Cry 3 but none of the worst. But then something happened towards the last 10 or 15 hours... It just started to ware on me. To be blunt, if I may(Fuck, it's my blog, I sure hope I can!), the shooting is shit. I realized all of the sudden that the reason I used to Recurve Bow so much wasn't entirely that I loved it(Though, I did), it was because I hated all of the other guns. And it's not that they are bad, per se, it's the way the fucking A.I. moves. Sometimes they do this thing where they are moving at a full-sprint even though it looks like they are walking, and they are shooting at you too and it's just annoying dealing with that.

I also find the stealth to be grating to my soul. It seems like farting the wrong way will alert the entire base and so it's really frustrating to make an effort to stealth your way through areas, since enemies can become alerted without you really knowing why. Sometimes they see a dead body through a wall, sometimes they just decide now would be a good time for a freak-out. It felt more like I was "dealing" with enemies than dispatching them at times, and I didn't enjoy that so much.

It's a shame too, because the freedom that Far Cry 4 gives you is incredible. At any point you can hop off of a ledge and wing-suit your way across the map, land, take out two guys with a stealth take down, hit the third with a throwing-knife execution, then headshot guys further away with the super silent bow. You feel like a fucking badass, and it's great fun. Not to mention the elephants, man, those elephants though. Fucking powerful.

The narrative was entirely predictable. You can easily see where the story is going from pretty early on. It's a little bit if a disappointment, but the story itself is interesting as the main villain of the game, Pagan Min, is completely infatuated with your character, Ajay Ghale. He calls you throughout the game, talking about you like a shining star. Not to mention the amazing alternate ending that feels better than the already-pretty-good endings that have to do with choice-here and choices-there.

I think if maybe they try to reinvent the gameplay like they did from Far Cry 2 to 3, Far Cry could go a lot farther than it can now, with Far Cry 4 just being "Hey, more Far Cry 3!". There's nothing entirely wrong with it, though Ubisoft has shown that if they can squeeze every ounce of water from that "annual release" stone, they absolutely will. I just hope the Far Cry guys will take good care of the IP before we see shit like 2 Far Cry's released in a single year. Boy wouldn't that be something? How about pirates? It worked for Assassin's Creed!

The Wolf Among Us. In my opinion, not better than The Walking Dead Season 2, but that's probably an unfair judgement to make as I already had an emotional investment in The Walking Dead when The Wolf Among Us came around.

I don't have too much to say about the game. I just wanted to include it because I truly enjoyed the world and the characters of the Fables. I hope I get to see more, but only time will tell.

Ultimately, I am not satisfied with the quality of games this year. Hopefully next year is awesome. I mean Resident Evil Revelations 2 is coming out soon so that's gonna be awesome.


My name is Ryan. I like to play video games and Dungeons and Dragons and all kinds of other cool stuff. I also like to write. This is my website, it's nothing special, but I write about topics from time to time that probably make no sense. But if you think they do make sense, then hang around and check out some other articles. My friends call them "blogs" but goddamnit I've got a URL and everything, so they're "articles".

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