Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Let’s be real, the quality of Assassin’s Creed games fluctuates so wildly with each installment that you almost need to start grading them on some kind of curve for each one. Unity is definitely a low point for the series, and it had people wondering if it was a downslide the series could ever come back from. When Syndicate was announced, everyone was appropriately skeptical of what Ubisoft had cooked up for the newest installment.
With expectations ranging from “ANOTHER ONE?!” to, “Okay, let’s give this one a shot,” Syndicate ended up doing a lot better than expected. It definitely feels like Ubisoft learned from their mistakes and took the series back to its single player roots with twins Jacob and Evie Frye. It’s likely that without them and the banter they provide as they take down the Templar Order in London, the game wouldn’t be as successful as it is. They make the game such fun, and their interactions with different historical figures certainly doesn’t hurt things. There may be nothing entirely new here, but the twins and their adventures give the series a much needed shot in the arm.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a Techland-developed first person action game about a zombie outbreak with cooperative play.
Dead Island and Dying Light are similar in theory, but Light ends up making a bigger impression thanks to how much more immersive it feels. The first person view certainly helps, making it feel like you’re actually in a deadly zombie infested world that requires you to do whatever it takes to survive. A day/night cycle adds more tension to going out and performing missions before the sun goes down, and even if you’re unlucky enough to be out at dark, the parkour system will help you get away with no trouble. Zombie killing may not be new, but Dying Light gives the undead some life.
Nintendo is often known and mocked just making repeats of the same games over and over. Splatoon marks their first IP in quite some time, and even from the first glimpse, people were hooked. How many shooters out there let you play as a kid and a squid? None, that’s how many!
The game rightly deserves praise for its well
inked oiled mechanics and fun gameplay, but special attention has to be paid to just how charming and stylistic it is. It’s refreshing to play a shooter that isn’t afraid to lighten the hell up and do something kooky. Who hasn’t wanted to be a kid, then a squid?
The Transformers games haven’t exactly had the best track record. Much like the movies and cartoons themselves, the quality of the games wildly fluctuates between being solid (if disposable) fun like War for Cybertron and just really, really bad, like Rise of the Dark Spark. So when Activision randomly announced a new Transformers title by Platinum, the guys who created Bayonetta, people weren’t entirely expecting something to blow them away.
As it turns out, Transformers Devastation ended up being a helluva lot of fun. It combined the things Platinum is best known for (fun, twitch gameplay) with the nostalgia factor that Transformers fans haven’t felt since… well, a pretty long time. Even when things are going off all around you, the action manages to be coherent in a way the more recent movies can only dream of, once you’re prepared to wrestle with the camera a bit. Things can get a bit repetitive, but like the robots themselves, this seemingly random game ended up being awesome in disguise.
Coming out of nowhere as a free PlayStation Plus title for the first month of release, Rocket League came out of nowhere and, like a thief in the night, stole our hearts with zero resistance.
Don’t be fooled by its straightforward nature. Even though it’s basically soccer with rocket-powered cars (and even that would be enough to warrant a playthrough), there’s a secret depth that makes it fun to play. The floaty physics and controls compliment the game’s chaotic fun quite well, and even just whirling around in the air makes things entertaining on their own. Turns out that rockets solve everything!
There are a lot of games that focus on violence, fighting, and just plain killing anyone who doesn’t like you. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it can get old for some people. Toby Fox’s Undertale does something different from other action RPGs by letting you choose not to fight at all. Sure, you can still hack bad guys to pieces, but you can also try to reason with them and come to an understanding.
While the combat system is a great mix of live fighting and turn-based elements, the true draw of Undertale lies in its writing and cast of characters. Everyone you meet as Frisk has something interesting to say or will win you over with their humor. It’s hard not to grow attached to characters like Sans and Papyrus once you spend some time with them, and the low-res visuals help deliver their charm. The old saying is “make love, not war” and you’ll certainly love the characters that Fox has created.
There’s been many a Friday night spent with popcorn in hand and the lights off yelling at the screen in horror as the killer in a horror movie sneaks behind the teenager and proceeds to hack them to pieces. And even before all the death starts, you’re watching these guys interact and thinking, “God, I just want them to die.”
Supermassive’s Until Dawn knows how annoying those characters can be and decides that the only thing that would be more fun than watching those obnoxious shits die is to put their fate in your hands. Having control of each character endears them to you, or hopefully will enough for you to keep them alive. You may end up hating Sam and Josh, but once you learn about their lives, will you still feel the same way? There are plenty of outcomes for you to choose from to get everyone to survive or watch them all have horrible, gross deaths. If nothing else, at least when you tell the TV “don’t go in there,” you can actually make them not go in there.
What games ended up being surprisingly great for you? Let us know in the comments below.