As the year formerly known as Two Thousand and Fourteen becomes the year currently known as Two Thousand and Fifteen, it’s time once again for an article as traditional as a jizz squirt to the face at the metaphorical and literal climax of a Porno. Yes, it’s the annual best and worst of list. Duct tape your nutsack to your thigh, cause this might very well blow your balls right the fuck off.
This list is basically a best of of what i’ve actually played. So anyone complaining about there not being any Super Smash Bros or Mario Kart should probably ask their parents permission before reading this article, and then complain about the lack of the aforementioned titles. There is no numbering here, games are either good enough to be included in the list, or their languishing in a WiiU somewhere else. So without further ado..
THE BEST – THE BANNER SAGA
Holy shit this game. The Banner Saga arrived on my hard drive unencumbered by expectation, as i really knew nothing of it other than “hey it’s got the same animation style as every shit cartoon from the 1970’s”. What i wasn’t prepared for was a game that was going to make me need to take tea breaks just to sweat over the decision of whether or not to donate a loaf of bread to a random group of travellers you meet on the road. Because unlike big AAA game where the decisions usually boil down to “Do you want to do the really evil thing, or the really good thing”, The Banner Saga forces you to make alot of seemingly small decisions that ultimately could either benefit you or bite you in the arse. Do too many nice things like allowing starving families to join your caravan and you’ll soon run out of food and wind up with a revolt on your hands. But be too harsh on people and you risk the same. Underneath the compelling story, gorgeous graphics and heart wrenching decisions (i straight up wrenched my heart at one point, spent 2 days in intensive care, i shit you not), is an enjoyable, tough, turn based tactical RPG. It’s a bit like if that Lord of the Rings animated movie from the 80’s (or 70’s??) was crossed with XCOM and crippling depression.
THE BEST – WOLFENSTEIN THE NEW ORDER
Wolfenstein TNO is a game that’s made most peoples ‘Best of’ lists, and is generally followed by sentiment such as “I had no idea this game would be so good!”, “Better than it has any right to be!”, “I expected it to basically be a load of fucking shit, but oh my god it wasn’t a load of fucking shit!”. It’s like most people automatically assumed Machinegames was staffed by nothing but people who wear bicycle helmets all day long. Personally i have no idea why everyone seemed to be so down on this game pre-release considering the pedigree of Starbreeze Studios, who hadn’t released a single bad game before a bunch of them left and became Machinegames. (and even post exodus to Machinegame, Starbreeze are still releasing games like the incredible Brothers). . And i’m also a pretty devout defender of Ravens pretty fucking great Wolfenstein 2009, so honestly, i had no doubt TNO wouldn’t bang in my fucking face. And face bang it did. A great story, fantastic, weighty shooting, and some lovely visuals (despite running on id Tech 5, an engine so crappy you’d expect to find it under the bonnet of a Skoda circa 1988). And fuck everyone who says “The opening level is terrible, but it gets better after that!”. Those people are professional dipshits. The Castle level in the beginning is an absolute Homage to RTCW and one of my favourite levels in the entire game. Hell it even gives you a Thompson SMG and hardly any ammo for it, just like RTCW does. That’s attention to detail right there, people.
THE BEST – THE EVIL WITHIN
The Evil Within is the exact opposite of Wolfenstein TNO for me. First off, i fully expected it to be absolutely shit. Buzz around the game was comparable to the buzz of flies around a freshly pinched off steamer. And the first level was an absolute abomination that goes about teaching you the gameplay mechanics in such a bizarre, backwards way, you’d think it was the tutorial of a different game to the one your’e playing. However stick with TEW, and it reveals itself to be probably one of the finest survival horror titles since REmake. The story makes no sense but it doesn’t need to, the gunplay is where TEW does all its talking. And i defy anyone to not have a fucking grin on their face after removing half an enemies head with a pistol, only for it to keep shambling toward you like drunk Uncle looking for an inappropriate hug, until you remove the rest of his skull with a well placed bullet and watch that head explode in a spray of blood, gristle and bone. The Monster design is excellent, the levels are creepy and atmospheric, and the gameplay, while a bit action heavy toward the end, is never anything other than excellent.
THE BEST – ABYSS ODYSSEY
I love Abyss Odyssey’s developer, Ace Team, a bit too much. I have photos of them on my Bedroom wall and occasionally doodle their names in the margins of my copybook in class and then call my girlfriends to talk about how cute they are. Ace team are the fucking shit, in short. With great, imaginative, original titles like Zeno Clash & Rock of Ages to their name, i was pretty hyped for Abyss Odyssey. I’m bad at competitive beat-em-up’s, and i hate roguelikes, so for a game thats a beat-em-up cum roguelike to actually grab my attention like AO did, it’s doing something very right. Not only do the 3 main characters have the moveset straight out of a Tekken game, but every enemy has a fully fleshed out moveset that could take days to get the hang of (and you can play with every single enemy in the game once you ‘capture’ their souls). The random dungeons could probably do with slightly more randomizing, but overall it’s a joy to play. The final boss is constantly evolving based on how the community plays, and they even did seasonal events for Halloween too. And La Pincoya is totally naked for the entire game too, so there’s also that.
THE BEST – THE VANISHING OF ETHAN CARTER
Another game from an under-appreciated developer, The Astronauts (formerly People Can Fly devs who made the amazing Painkiller & Bulletstorm), Ethan Carter is a Lovecraft inspired murder mystery that could probably be one of the worst games since Rambo – The videogame but would still rank highly on this list due to the fact that it’s so UTTERLY FUCKING GORGEOUS to look at. So its a good thing that it’s got a solid gameplay base thats part point and click adventure, part walking simulator that will break your ‘screenshot’ key due to overuse, and overall just a fantastic experience. Solid writing, puzzles, amazing atmosphere, and some great “what the fuck is happening” moments, mean it’s a game you wont forget anytime soon. TVOEC might not get everything right, but it’s a game that should be experienced by anyone looking for something a bit different.
There are other honorable mentions id like to make, concerning game’s that either came along just a little bit too late to make the list, or maybe just a bit too flawed but nevertheless enjoyable experiences. Elite: Dangerous arrives under the ‘slightly too late’ heading as i only got to play towards the end of December. And honestly it is a bit too barebones right now to thoroughly recommend it, but it is a great experience. Killer Is Dead: Nightmare Edition was a heavily flawed, hell, borderline garbage at times, title, but yet it’s a game that i thoroughly enjoyed and one whose visual design is stronger than almost any other game in this list that isn’t The Banner Saga. On the console end of things, Infamous: Second Son was a title i enjoyed immensely. Why isn’t it in the list? Some dodgy controls, a bit repetitive, underuse of the best character in the game (Fetch), and a slightly boring map, but despite those issues its a gorgeous, fun game. And i even liked Delsin. Seriously, i don’t see what people complaints were with him. He’s infinitely less aggravating than anything iv’e seen in Sunset Overdrive. South Park: The Stick of Truth also deserves a mention for achieving the impossible on several fronts: Firstly, for being a good licensed game. Secondly, for being a good, licensed game based on South Park, which is a license that has produced more shit than an Elephant Enclosure, (South Park FPS, Chefs luv Shack, etc), and above all, for making a turn based combat game where you use Farts as a weapon actually fun, and not just an irritating gimmick.
That’s it for 2014, coning soon, the crushing disappointment of 2014!