I’ve played a lot of games this year, and a great majority of my favorite ones actually weren’t released this year. I re-started Final Fantasy III/VI for the umpteenth time, finally beat Arkham City, and played through Doom yet again (a yearly occurance). As a matter of fact, the game that I chose originally came out several years back on an entirely different console in an entirely different country.
Ni No Kuni was a game that snuck completely under the radar for me. Brandon was the first person who brought the game to my attention earlier this year, and I definitely wanted to check it out after he made me aware of it’s existence. I downloaded the demo on PSN, which immediately made me want the game 3000% more than I already did. Luckily for me it was $10 off at Best Buy the very next weekend. It was fate.
I’m not really here to review the game, as my review would simply read: “This game is like $20 now, so there is absolutely no reason not to go pick up a copy.” Everything about this game is absolutely charming. The characters, visuals, story, music, everything. Once you pick up that controller, you don’t want to put it down.
For those not in the know, Ni No Kuni plays kinda-sorta Legend of Zelda but with an interesting battle system that replaces the “hya-hya!” hack n’ slash we’ve all grown to love. Just imagine if LoZ was more JRPG but you had Pokemon that you could fight with. Since this game is the product of Level-5 and Studio Ghibli, the visuals are nothing short of amazing. Even if the game sucked, I’d still keep playing it just to look at it (luckily, it rules).
Ni No Kuni is one of those rare games that grab you and don’t want to let you go. It’s finely crafted game oozing with personality and an absolute blast to play. If this game doesn’t go down as one of the best of the past console generations, then I really don’t have any idea what people are thinking. If you have a PS3 and don’t already own this gem, do yourself a favor and pick it up on the double.
Games I Also Enjoyed This Year (that didn’t really come out this year, maybe)
Batman Arkham City – Somehow better than Arkham Asylum, which was fantastic. This game is like free these days, so no reason not to scoop it up.
Borderlands 2 – OMFG! I was addicted to this thing earlier this year and it was an absolute blast. If it had been released this year, it would have been my GOTY hands down.
Battlefield 4 – I don’t really know what all the fuss is about with this game being broken. There were some wacky things happening every once in a while, but any issues I’ve had were minor or completely fixed (‘Sound Loop Crash’ was my biggest problem, and has been patched out). I absolutely love this game, and wish more people would PTFO and work as a team.
Grand Theft Auto V – OF COURSE I ENJOYED IT. The only reason I didn’t make this GOTY for my choice is that it’s everyone’s choice. The final hooray of the last console generation was one of it’s finest. Even if it had performance anxiety on home consoles, it was still a fucking BLAST to play.
Games That Weren’t All They Were Cracked Up To Be
Aliens: Colonial Marines – This was the talking point of the year in video game media. The oft-delayed, ultra-hyped Aliens shoot game was dropping to deliver us from mediocrity (since Aliens vs Predator 2 on PC *SUCH BOSS GAME. WOW*) and it absolutely fell flat. I played this game through to COMPLETION on X-Box 360 and was completely underwhelmed. The thing that sucked the most was that the environments were so atmospheric and well done, the rest of the game just felt that much more disappointing.
Bioshock: Infinite – I’m not saying this game was bad, because it wasn’t. I enjoyed it, but it is in no way better than the original Bioshock. It has it’s own merits and I really enjoyed the game, but I felt it had too much to live up to being the second sequel to a generation defining game.