So, most end-of-the-year game award posts/videos are about the top ten games of the year, which is fine, but not that interesting. Sure, there is slight variability, but it’s mostly the same games over and over again. In addition, I’ve probably played little more than ten games this year, and not all of them were great. Or new. So, I’m going to do my own twist and just give out the game awards that tickle my fancy in no particular order. Ready? OK! Oh, and, this way be spoilers.
The Best Game I’ve Been Replaying Obsessively Despite My Previously Being Done With It Months Ago
Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
I’ve put countless hours into this game back when it was Rebirth, and several into Afterbirth, then lost complete interest when Afterbirth+ came out. I’ve already complained about the expansions and how they’re for the hardcore players, which I’m not (and I have Real Platinum God!). Hardcore meaning those who did all The Lost shit without the Holy Mantle (I did it with), which means not getting hit the entire run (barring the use of certain items). Since I’ve been sick, I mostly game on my laptop, and BOI: R runs easily on it. I reinstalled it and fired it, and I rediscovered the joy I originally had playing it. There’s been a ‘booster pack’ added since I last played, which means more items, trinkets, and cards. I stick mainly to Isaac, Eden, and Azazel, but I’m also trying to finish The Keeper’s Post-It Note. I only have MegaSatan and Delirium to finish off, but, man, it is no fun at all.
Still. A run can take up to and over an hour depending, and I like to do the rerun of the run immediately following. If I’m playing Eden, I can usually win the run without much problem IF I start with more than one heart, decent speed, and decent damage. By the way, speed makes such a difference in this game. Anything under the base of 1 makes it really difficult for me and my slow-ass reactions. It’s funny because I watched Pat and Woolie (of Super Best Friends) play the game for the first time, and it was both hilarious and frustrating as hell. I actually yelled at my monitor when Woolie (on the sticks) or Pat (giving commentary) did or said something stupid. It was especially funny when Pat would declare something confidently, and he was 100% wrong. He does that a lot, especially in the Souls series. He’s not so much factually wrong there as he’s taking his own personal feelings about something to be universal.
Anyway, BOI: R is my version of comfort food, and I’m enjoying it once again. It’s a way to turn my mind off and give it a break, and I am thankful for that.
The Most Anticipated Sequel That I Had Given Up Hope Would Ever Happen
Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!
I loved the original game, and when the sequel was announced soon after, I was hyped! Then, a year came and went with no sequel and nary a mention of it. Then, the sequel was announced, and I was hyped again! Then, it was postponed, and I feared it would never happen. The roller coaster of emotions! The ups! The downs! When the release date was announced again, I held my breath. When it released, I was overjoyed. I dived in and was immediately transported back to my frenetic pounding on the keyboard days of CSD, the original.
The sequel is better in so many ways. The chores are more streamlined and no longer feel as intrusive. The food is gorgeous, and it makes me want to eat every time I play the game. I like the info on all the food, and playing is as intuitive as always. The menus are better than in the original, and I love the ability to design my own restaurants. It’s a wonderful sequel, and I’ve played the shit out of it. There are constant updates, and I’m glad the emails are back. The sequel was definitely worth the wait!
The Game I Have a Love/Hate Relationship With And We Are Currently On A Break
Oh, Nioh, Nioh, Nioh. You can’t see it, but I’m shaking my head sadly as I utter each ‘Nioh‘. Anticipation was so high when I first started this game. It’s Dark Souls in feudal Japan! It’s samurai Geralt! It’s an amazing combat system that rewards technique over button-mashing! All the superlatives were flowing from people’s lips when this game released, and I was into it when I first started. The combat system is, indeed, incredible, but I’m not able to switch on the fly to optimize it because I’m old and slow. I gorged on the game when I first started playing, and while I was enjoying it, I found it just missed the mark of making it Souls-like for me.
I’m about halfway through the game, and the little things that have nagged at me throughout have become more evident now. One, the drab and boring environments. One of my favorite thing about Souls games is exploring all the lavish and lush environments. Plus, they’re laid out in ways that while they’re complex and usually vast, they’re distinctive enough so that I don’t get lost (there are a few exceptions, of course). In Nioh, everything in a mission looks the goddamn same, and it’s frustrating to run around in circles. The bosses are varied and interesting, but it’s insane to realize as I did with the latest boss I beat that using a specific weapon can make a huge difference. I was having so much problems with this boss using my axe and more dex weapons, and the fight was dragging out for several minutes. Then, I switched to the odachi and finished the boss off in less than a minute on my second try.
My biggest problem, though, is that once you start a mission, if you quit it, then you have to start from the beginning again. It hadn’t been a problem until the last boss. I was running low on Elixirs, watching in alarm as I was rapidly depleting my storage. You start with a base 3, and you can up that base by finding Kodama and sending them back to the Shrine, but you only get one extra Elixir per five Kodama found. Your Elixirs can go up to eight per region, which is not that many. Anyway, grinding for Elixirs is easiest in doing it in an early area so you don’t have to heal up going through an area. However, if I had left the mission with the boss I was fighting to go grind Elixirs, then I would have to do the whole mission again. What I ended up doing was grinding in the current area with all my healing regen Jutsu equipped so I didn’t have to waste Elixirs. I beat the boss, then I put down the controller and haven’t played since.
I probably will finish it at some point. I still think it’s a really good game. I just didn’t click with it the way other people have.
The 2015 GOTY In 2017
Listen. There could be no other, could there? I bought a PS4 solely so I could play this game. A Demon’s Souls remaster for the PS4 would be much appreciated, by the way, FromSoft. Anyway, I had already seen several playthroughs of BB before I played it because I figured I would never have a PS4, and I really regretted it when it came time play the game. However, it was still amazing to run through the Lovecraftian world as seen through the eyes of the brilliant Miyazaki, and I absolutely adored soaking up the Gothic horror.
The playstyle is much faster than in Souls games, and I was nervous about adapting to not having a shield or an invincibility roll. Yes, there’s a roll, but it’s not nearly as important as the quickstep–which is godlike. The new playstyle took some time to adapt to, but once I did, it felt so goddamn good. Everything is fast and furious, and being encouraged to attack rather than retreat so you can regen your health is intoxicating. I mained the Hunter’s Axe all the way through the game (along with my arcane-fueled Hunter Tools that are really badass if you pump up your arcane), and it’s the best weapon in the game, bar none. I know the Whirligig Saw from the DLC is what all the cool kids rave about, but while it’s fucking cool, I found myself returning time and time again to my Hunter’s Axe.
I will say the last act of the game plus the DLC are brutal, and that’s where I’m at in my second (tank) playthrough. I still don’t like the Blood Vials system, even though I love how fast you can jab the syringe in your ass, and this is the Soulsborne game I’ve played the least, but mostly because it’s on the PS4 and I’ve been sick. If it came to the PC (which it will never do), I would definitely play it much more. I also think the last third plus DLC are harder than the Souls games, but I will say that beating Lady Maria using both my Hunter’s Axe and my Tonitrus, plus the Augur of Ebrietas and Executioner’s Gloves for staggering, was the highlight of the DLC for me. I summoned for three of the five bosses of the DLC because I was just done with it (an arcane build is a liability in the late game and DLC for a scrub like me), but I solo’ed all the bosses of the main game, including the optional bosses.
I have a few more games to discuss, but I’m tired and worn out, so I’ll have to wait until the next post. Until then, happy hunting!