Ys: Memories of Celceta
At first glance this action JRPG appears to be totally generic, but ultimately it exceeds the sum of its parts. The combat is hugely fun with a great special move system and the ability to switch between three characters on the fly to keep it fresh. The map exploration is really enjoyable and the nice little story combined with a cast of characters you actually care about makes it really compelling. The story puts you in charge of mapping an unknown part of the land for the Empire so you are always opening up new and interesting areas as the story progresses. The dungeons are fun and packed with varied puzzles and the overworld is colourful and charming. The cheesy rock music is catchy as hell too. It’s a fun little game and once I started I couldn’t stop playing all the way until the end.
With visuals which could have come straight from a NES, this retro side-scrolling platformer could be mistaken for just a cash in for the nostalgia freaks. Not so. Yacht Club Games have taken the best bits from retro classics like Megaman, Duck Tales and Castlevania and and improved upon them with modern gaming sensibilities and refinements to remove the frustration. The levels are cleverly designed with tons of hidden areas to find and the power-ups are varied, fun and keep you interested to the end. Its a hard game but very fair and the check-pointing system means you can always make progress. I had lot of fun with Shovel Knight and can’t wait to play it all again on Vita when its released later this year.
Shadow of Mordor
This one came out of nowhere and is basically a combination of Batman’s Arkham-style combat and Assassin’s Creed’s traversal system set in the Tolkien universe. The thing that sets it apart though is the Nemesis system which imbues real meaning and consequence to the battles with the various uruk captains and warchiefs inhabiting Mordor. Each captain has his own strengths and weaknesses which you need to exploit to succeed. And when you fail the pull to claim your revenge gives it that ‘one more go’ vibe. The combat is the best I’ve seen in a third person game and only becomes more and more fun as you unlock the many skills and upgrades which gradually turn you into a legendary badass. The environments and story could have been better, but the combat and nemesis system alone are enough to make it a real standout.
MGS Ground Zeroes
Derided on release for being too short and a shallow cash in, Ground Zeroes had a tough time of it. You could finish the main mission in 9 minutes on a speed run, but that would be missing the point. For me, Metal Gear games have always been about experimentation and toying around with the enemies and environments. Although the map is relatively small, there are a number of other missions to complete after the credits roll which will keep you coming back. The controls and AI are excellent and the level of graphical detail is phenomenal. I could go on an on, but I already have HERE so will leave it at that.
The Wolf Among Us
Following on the heels of the hugely successful Walking Dead, Telltale took its tried and tested formula and added it to the Fables universe. The stylish artwork is amazing and I found the premise of the storybook characters using ‘glamours’ to make them look human really interesting. The characters are all really well voice acted and the tense situations into which you are thrown forcing you to make difficult choices work really well. The irregular periods between Telltale’s release of the episodes and the sometimes clunky loading overall didn’t detract from what is an excellent action packed murder mystery with a wonderfully irreverent cast of characters.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Child of Light
Haven’t Played (enough of) It
Dragon Age: Inquisition