Over time, I’ve learned to not let other people’s opinions of games deter me from experiencing them myself. Watch Dogs is a perfect example. I read several articles about how people thought Watch Dogs didn’t live up to the hype - but I wanted to see for myself. I loved this game. The core gameplay of Watch Dogs might not be for everyone - but I personally loved the hacking abilities and the strategy that goes along with it. I spent over a month playing through this game and there’s still plenty I could go back and do. I loved the story and characters, the day/night cycle, the weather effects, the hacking tools, the driving gameplay, the city of Chicago, and your ability to basically hack anything and invade anyone’s privacy. Overall, I thought Watch Dogs was a fun game to play and a unique take on contemporary society. The Bad Blood DLC was also fun and was an interesting extension of the events following the end of the main game.
INFAMOUS: FIRST LIGHT - September 1st, 2014
When I was playing through Second Son and met Fetch, she instantly became my favorite character. I wanted to know so much more about her and her story and I wished she was featured more in Second Son. So when I found out there was a standalone expansion called First Light featuring Fetch as the playable protagonist, I couldn’t have been more excited. In my opinion, First Light was just as good as (or maybe even better) than Second Son. From a story perspective, this was one of my favorites from the Infamous series. Laura Bailey did an incredible job as Fetch (with both voice acting and motion capture). This story was by far the most emotionally driven of the Infamous games and it kept me invested in Fetch the entire time. From a gameplay perspective, this was my favorite of all the Infamous games. The neon powers were my favorite from Second Son, and the tweaks for the neon powers Fetch has in this game made me love it even more. Traveling with the neon powers was exhilarating and it was awesome how fast you could traverse the city. The arenas that you play in during First Light was so much fun and was an awesome addition to the already great story (in fact, I loved the arenas so much I decided to keep playing and get the Platinum Trophy, which I usually don’t attempt in games). First Light was a very memorable story in the Infamous series, and I cannot wait to see what Sucker Punch does next.
INFAMOUS: SECOND SON - August 18th, 2014
In my opinion, the best Infamous game so far. I obviously grew an attachment to Cole during my time with the previous games, but I liked Delsin just as much (I’m sure Troy Baker as his voice actor had something to do with that). The most memorable aspect of Infamous has always been the gameplay for me, and with Second Son, Sucker Punch make it even better. The power of the Playstation 4 makes the city of Seattle look amazing. It was so much fun just using the variety of powers you develop over the course of the game and causing mayhem at your leisure in a huge, beautiful open world city. The powers you develop were very fun to use and all unique in their own ways (my favorite being Neon). The overall story kept me intrigued and I definitely grew attached to Delsin and his story (with plenty of interesting side characters as well - Fetch being my favorite). The Paper Trail missions was also a cool way to integrate in game play with puzzles on alternate reality sites. I loved this game. Hearing about an upcoming standalone expansion with Fetch as the main protagonist was awesome news.
FEZ - August 14th, 2014
Much like Braid, Fez is one of the most unique puzzle platform games I’ve ever played. Besides the very colorful and appealing art direction, the gameplay is the major standout. The ability to rotate the 2D world you’re in makes for a very unique gameplay experience. Rotating the world makes exploration very fun in addition to adding an extra level of difficulty to puzzles and the platformer aspect of the game. I loved the old school sound effects and the music that accompanied the variety of levels. I will definitely be going back to the game to explore more and find things I missed during my first playthrough. A great indie game by Polytron Corporation.
THE LAST OF US: REMASTERED - August 11th, 2014
The Last of Us: Remastered made one of my favorite games of last generation even better. The overall experience was basically the same the second time around - but the graphical enhancements were incredible and somehow made a great looking game look even better. I loved going on this journey again and trying to find things I missed the first time. I will always remember The Last of Us for being one of the few games in my opinion to blend every aspect of a great game into one unforgettable experience. The emotionally driven narrative, incredible voice acting by Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, graphics and art direction, music, sound, and gameplay all come together in a way that is hard to rival. Like I said in my first thoughts on The Last of Us - this game has set the bar very high in this industry and I’m excited about where video games are going and how they’ll keep evolving from here.
LITTLEBIGPLANET - July 28th, 2014
LittleBigPlanet is a game that I could keep going back to forever and still have something new to experience. The amount of content in this game is basically endless. Thousands of new levels are created pretty much on a daily basis by the community. The art direction is extremely unique and I felt like I never saw the same thing twice. I love that in addition to the fun main storyline levels, there is also an endless amount of levels created by other players. You can easily filter the levels to see which ones get the most recognition and love by the community. I had a great time playing through a wide variety of community levels - and there’s still plenty more for me to check out. The fun gameplay, beautiful art direction, and the ability to play and create whatever type of level you want makes this a very memorable Playstation exclusive.
THE UNFINISHED SWAN - July 17th, 2014
Just when I think I’ve seen everything in video games, something completely different comes along. Giant Sparrow has created a very unique experience with The Unfinished Swan. I was immersed in the world until the very beginning (which is interesting since you start in nothing) all the way until the very end. The idea of literally painting your path and the world around you was brilliant. I love games like this that have a unique vision and keep you guessing about what will happen next. This is another one of those games where it’s hard to explain why it’s so special in words and just has to be experienced (much like Journey, which ironically has a very cool nod in this game). At the end of the day I just want to come out of a game with a worthwhile and memorable experience, and The Unfinished Swan gave me just that.
SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS - July 13th, 2014
This game blew me away. I think epic is the most appropriate way to describe it. It’s basically one huge boss fight after another. The scale of the colossi is incredible and the unique ways in which you have to defeat them makes this game a thrilling and addicting experience. Much like Ico, Team Ico has created something very memorable with Shadow of the Colossus. I really appreciate that Team Ico creates experiences in games that I’ve never seen before. All of the colossi were really fun to battle and I couldn’t help but admire the magnitude of every encounter. I cannot wait for The Last Guardian - hopefully more information about it is released soon.
ICO - July 11th, 2014
I can completely understand why Ico was so highly praised when it was released all those years ago. Team Ico has created a unique experience that is hard to explain in words. I think it has to be experienced to truly understand what it’s like. There’s not much music. There’s not much dialogue. There’s just you protecting and leading a mysterious girl through a castle. I think Ico is much like Journey in the sense that it’s the actual “journey” you go on that is the memorable aspect of the game. I think the fact that the developers force you to literally hold the hand of Yorda to lead her around makes the bond you develop very strong and the ending that much more memorable. There’s cool puzzles and there’s fighting off creatures - but I think Ico is about much more than that.
INFAMOUS: FESTIVAL OF BLOOD - June 30th, 2014
I loved Infamous 2. When I heard about this standalone expansion I was naturally pretty excited about it. It still contained the core fun gameplay that made Infamous 2 so great, and it added a couple new powers that kept things unique. The ability to turn into bats and fly basically wherever you wanted was really cool. The new enemies, atmosphere, and gameplay elements introduced made this a fun new addition to Infamous 2.