Let me preface this post by saying that there are many games I didn’t have a chance to play like Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Call of Duty Ghosts, Battlefield 4, plus all of the next-gen exclusives [Shameless hinting: My birthday is coming up next month]. There are also some games that I wanted to try, but couldn’t bring myself to buy them (e.g. Dead Island Riptide and Deadpool). Maybe this year I’ll get around to reopening my Gamefly account. [Did I mention my birthday was next month?]
Of the ones that I did have a chance to buy and play, the following picks are the games that I thoroughly enjoyed. They’re the ones that kept me glued to the TV, made me lose track of time, and caused me to agree to random requests from my wife only to immediately forget them:
6. Plants VS. Zombies 2: It’s About Time (iOS, Droid)
My casual gaming has dwindled since I don’t play Words with Friends or Draw Something anymore. I even weened off of Candy Crush, but Plants VS Zombies 2 is a game that I’ll keep coming back to. Just as addictive as the first one and it’s Free-to-Play!
5. State of Decay (XBLA, WIN)
This was a huge surprise for me, especially being an XBLA game. Open world, zombie survival game combines elements of GTA, resource management, and a very slight tower defense feel. Lots of bugs and choppy gameplay, but for the price it was easily overlooked. The game eventually becomes a lot of errand and escort missions, but there was something that still drew me to play the game. The DLC of Breakdown was a nice addition, since it increased replayability and allowed me to power out several more hours of zombie head-bashing fun.
4. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (PS3, Xbox360, WiiU, PS4, XBO, Win)
While the storyline left a little to be desired, the sheer vastness of the game and things to do is what stands out for me. There was never a shortage of things to do: assassinations, sea battles, exploration of lush environments, deep sea diving, whale hunting, treasure hunting, etc.
3. The Last of Us (PS3)
Gripping story and take on the Survival Horror Genre. Although this didn’t warrant multiple play-throughs for me, the experience with the world and cast of Joel and Ellie was unforgettable. The voice acting and cut-scenes were amazing, and I become emotionally invested in their well-being. The stealth/survival gameplay allowed me to approach each skirmish in different ways. Most of the time, stealth was the obvious route, but short bursts of run-n-gun-then-hide sometimes worked. When the infected were aware of my presence, encounters were chaotic and thrilling.
2. Tomb Raider (Win, PS3, Xbox360)
This origin story was fantastic. Having been a fan of the original Tomb Raider series and puzzle gameplay, I really enjoyed this Drake Uncharted + Tomb Raider formula that provided a gritty take on Lara Croft. Hunting with the bow and sneaking around was extremely satisfying. Can’t wait to see where they take the series next.
1. Grand Theft Auto 5 and Online (PS3 and Xbox360)
For me this was a no-brainer. Tons of content in the story mode and essentially a completely different experience online. Although the bugs and glitches for the first few months hindered online gameplay, it wasn’t enough to keep me from trying to join up with friends or attempt to log on. The ability to play as 3 main characters, all with relatively good story lines, was fun and unique. I still have yet to dive into the new DLC content and user-created missions, but I fully expect to be playing this game well into the new year.