Every year now is chock full of utterly fantastic games. This year it seems that the last half of releases may have a hard time topping the first half. Of course its incredibly hard to narrow the list down to just ten as many games could make this list, so keep in mind it’s somewhat opinion based. Nevertheless take a look at ten of the very best games this year has to offer already, and with the PS4 and Xbox One launching later this year gamers have even more greatness in store.
10. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Blood Dragon is like a wonderful fever dream. Even after it was announced a lot of people figured it was some kind of joke, but boy was it not. Although it bears the Far Cry name, Blood Dragon bears no similarities other than the fact that it’s a shooter. You assume the role of a high-tech commando Rex Power Colt and what ensues is a nonstop ride of hilarious 80’s reference ridiculous weapons and a game that feels like it’s ripped right out of a classic 80’s action movie. Blood Dragon is one downloadable game you shouldn’t miss.
9. Project X Zone
What do you get when you throw popular characters from Sega, Capcom, and Namco Bandai into one? Well that’s Project X Zone, a game that surprised everyone in the west when it got a localization. Project X Zone is a grid-based strategy game, but with a twist. When you fight an enemy, you enter combat and directly control the characters and their moves. Combat is what really drives the game home as the story is nearly nonsensical. But seeing some of your favorite characters blast enemies away with incredibly flashy moves never seems to get old.
8. Ni No Kuni
Ni No Kuni is a dream for a lot of people. A wonderful meeting between JRPG masters Level 5 and the animation king Studio Ghibli, Ni No Kuni is a thing to behold as well as play. Decidedly more innocent than a lot of rpgs, the game doesn’t suffer for it. Although the combat system could do with a little more depth, the journey of Ni No Kuni is a beautiful one that you won’t forget, and also isn’t lacking on content.
7. Metal Gear Rising
If you like over the top, Metal Gear Rising is definitely for you. Rising can definitely take the place of most ridiculous over the top game of the year, and boy does it do it well. With a fast paced action system that never slows down, and some truly great boss battles, Rising is a blast. It’s the kind of game you finish and just want to restart all over again, and will certainly have your jaw dropping more than once.
6. Animal Crossing New Leaf
Animal Crossing is like an OCD simulator. You have to pull the weeds, you have to get that new wallpaper, you have to catch that next bug, and get more money to pay your house off. We don’t know why but boy do we love Animal Crossing. It’s oddly fun and addictive gameplay is what keeps us all playing for 100+ hours. Be warned though, if you haven’t experience Animal Crossing yet, you may want to set aside some time in your life before you do.
5. Tomb Raider
Lara Crofts new origin story is a dark and brutally violent one. Lara though is a character you can’t help but care for. Tomb Raider is an intense journey that keeps you invested throughout. With a ton of collectibles it will keep you playing for quite a while too. It’s great to have Lara Croft back, and I count myself among the people that can’t wait to see where she keeps on going from here.
4. Metro Last Light
Post-apocalyptic games are a dime a dozen now, but Metro is a little different than the rest of them. Set in the dark Metro tunnels underneath Russia, Last Light continues the story of Artyom from Metro 2033. Every last bullet, and breath count as you struggle to uncover the truth and save mankind in this tight emotional shooter that manages to stand a head above the rest of the bin.
3. Fire Emblem Awakening
After years away from the west, the Fire Emblem series came back with a vengeance with Awakening. The newest addition to this top tier strategy series is by far the best yet. It brings a new team-up system into the mix as well as almost limitless DLC. Awakening absorbed my life for weeks after it came out, and it’s the kind of game where you find yourself talking to the people at work for a good hour on what support relationships you chose.
2. Bioshock Infinite
Let me pre-empt the last two entries here by saying this was one of the hardest choices I’ve ever had to make on a list between the placement of these two. When the original Bioshock was released it was widely lauded as one of the very best games ever made and a prime example of why video games are art. Never in our wildest dreams had we imagined there would be another Bioshock game that meets the heights of the first but maybe surpasses them as well. The tale of Booker Dewitt and his quest to save the girl Elizabeth is a wonderful piece of video game storytelling, one of the best there is. Just like last year’s The Walking Dead, Infinite manages to create a character with Elizabeth that you truly connect with and care about. The games mind-bending ending only happens to make the incredible story all the sweeter, once you take a couple of days to figure it all out of course.
1. The Last of Us
If there’s one thing you can say about Naughty Dog, it’s that they know how to make incredible video games that stick with you long after you’ve beaten them. Taking place in a post infection world, The Last of Us does things differently than most zombie games. It shows you the initial outbreak at the beginning but after that skips way ahead, instead focusing on how people have built lives coping around this worldwide epidemic. The Last of Us never really focuses to much on the actual infection, which benefits it. Joel and Ellie are two such people trying to survive in this world, and through various events Joel comes upon the task of taking Ellie who may be mankind’s last hope to a certain group of people. With brutal combat, a beautiful engine, and masterful storytelling that shows us all that things are never quite as black and white as you may think. The Last of Us sits with you for more than one reason, but mostly the growing relationship between Joel and Ellie, and the immense character shift that both go through. The games ending causes you to wonder about your own actions throughout the course of the game, and it definitely left me pondering moral questions days after completing it. Not many games can make that claim.