Normally, I like to write these entries on platinum trophies that are either easy, hard or interesting in some way. Nier: Automata is an narratively brilliant game that does some really great things with its story and by the end of my play-through, I felt like I was pretty done with it. It was at that moment, I heard about something intentionally built into the game by the developer that made me want to go ahead and get the platinum. I’ll get into what that is and how it made me feel in a bit, but suffice it to say that this alone made this game worth writing about.
If I’ve learned anything from playing video games over the years, it’s that I would make a terrible assassin. Translating being a badass contract killer into gameplay is very difficult and I had bounced off of nearly every Hitman game to date. As such, I didn’t have high hopes when the new Hitman was announced. This is one of those rare instances where I’m not even quite sure what to tell you they did right this time. Something about the formula in this particular entry clicked with me in a way it just hasn’t before lending to one of the best stealth games out there.
Lara Croft has come in and out of vogue so many times I’ve lost count. This last reboot they’ve done however, seems to be sticking the landing in just the right way. Rise of the Tomb Raider, though not my favorite name, addresses several of the main concerns with the 2008 reboot and expands upon the new formula in thoughtful ways. It was even engaging enough to pull me away from Fallout 4 until I was finished, which is saying a lot about the quality of the game.
Reboots don’t always go as planned. More often, they just end up rehashing what the original series was trying to offer without providing anything new to experience. The first game on my top ten list for the year had none of these problems. Tomb Raider was an excellent reboot of a long-loved series of action/adventure games that had started to lose focus and frankly were beginning to be bad.
The new directions this game took the series were really fun and made for a game that really does deserve praise. The grittier tone in the game, while a little cliché for a reboot, works really well for it. The game’s shift towards a nice mixture of over-the-shoulder action and tomb-crawling adventure felt right and did not lean heavily in one direction over the other. The visuals are also often beautiful and make for a graphically stunning tour around the island. While I wouldn’t call it my favorite of the year, it certainly deserves it’s spot as my number 10 game of the year.
As the year draws to a close, I think back to this year in gaming. It’s been a pretty interesting year and there have been some great games and a few bummer titles. Stuff like indie Kickstarter funding and the release of the Wii U continue to drive the industry further and open up new possibilities for the future of the industry.