Alright let’s finish this! Here are the final five games of my top ten list! There are spoilers buried in there somewhere. So read carefully if that bothers you.
5. Rocket League – When I first saw footage of Rocket League, I was hooked. I hadn’t even played the game and I wanted it to consume my life. Talk about a game that’s designed its physics to perfection. Despite being endlessly frustrating, Rocket League is one of the games I’ve had the most fun this year. The only reason it’s so frustrating is because I’m actually really bad at it. Rocket League is that game where everything is your fault. It’s a game made up of skill and rarely random chance.
4. Life is Strange – When I started Life is Strange, I had no idea it would take me on the emotional roller coaster that it did. The journey of Max Caulfield is one to remember. The game is stressful, not only for the moments designed to be so, but it also showcases the loneliness of being an awkward college student. It was a game that reminded me of my own past in more ways than one. I was able to connect to it on a fundamental level. It’s probably the closest I’ve come to crying over a game.
3. Tales from the Borderlands – While Life is Strange was an emotional journey in terms of sadness and loneliness, Tales from the Borderlands made me laugh more than any game this year. The writing is so good, throughout all five episodes. I was glad that I waited until all five were out before buying the set. Because playing one right after the other made it so easy to stay on the high each game left me in. The game isn’t perfect, there are some weird plot things, but the characters are amazing. Fiona is one of my all-time favorites.
2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – This was so tough. It took me so long to choose between this and the next game. Witcher 3 is a wonderful game. It’s world is full of life and feels like a place that people exist in. Unlike something like Fallout or Batman, they don’t shy away from putting people in their world that aren’t meant to be your enemy. The world is just as dark though. This is not a good time for the people involved.
The writing spectacular, some of the best I’ve seen in gaming. The story takes you all over the world, each place feeling completely unique with its own culture. The characters – especially Ciri and Yennifer – are fantastic and are easily two of my favorite characters in the game. Ciri especially is such a great character. Not only is she different from Geralt in terms of personality, she also plays very differently (and is way more fun in my opinion). I liked Witcher 3 so much that after playing it on the PS4, I rebought it again on PC just to replay it with mods and grab the expansion packs.
1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – Alright, here we are. In the end I chose MGS V because of what was going on behind the scenes as well as the game itself. Ignoring the Konami nonsense for a moment, this was billed as the final MGS game. Now whether or not that meant to be the case, it is now. This is the last true MGS game we’ll ever see. So knowing that as I went in, there was a bittersweet sense of this being the grand finale.
And boy was it a finale. The game spreads it story thinner than previous Metal Gear games and I was okay with that. It made me super excited to see what was at the end of each mission. The cast of characters is as eclectic as ever. You have Kaz, who’s the grumpiest person in the world. Ocelot is a cowboy, Huey is a bastard, and Quiet is a psychopath. Then there’s Big Boss.
Or is it? Not really, as we find out. Instead he’s Venom Snake, a soldier brainwashed into thinking he was Big Boss in order to draw heat off the Big Boss. It’s an insane, Kojima level twist. Personally, I loved it. There were many other moments like that I loved even more.
Despite the grossness that surrounds Quiet physically, her character is easily one of the best in the game. She says next to nothing for the entire game and yet she has more development than most of the cast. Because of that, it makes her ending of the game even more potent. There was certainly a hole left in my heart when her ending came along.
Lastly, the greatest moment in the game comes when there’s a viral breakout in the quarantine base. Big Boss is forced to go in and take out his soldiers lest they spread the plague to the rest of his men. It’s a morbid level, one where your own men scream out for mercy as you execute them. But that’s not even the most haunting part. That comes later, before you leave. You come upon a section of soldiers who were waiting for you. They knew what was going on. They understood. So you know what they do? They don’t scream, they don’t beg for mercy. Instead they stand and salute you. And they tell you it’s okay.