Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!
It’s almost a full year since I started this blog, and since then, I’ve play a lot of really beautiful and interesting games. It was a joy playing all of them and then sharing that with you, and I decided that I wanted to do a year end round up of some of my favorites. This isn’t a Top Five list by any means and is in no particular order, I just wanted to highlight some of the games that I’ve really enjoyed. I’ll be linking to their original post in each segment as well.
Okay, this one really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. There were years of build up to Persona 5’s release and it really delivered. Everything from the soundtrack, the art style, the gameplay, the characters, all of it was an absolutely joy to experience. Persona 5 acknowledged elements of every installment of the Persona series and blended it together to create what is possibly my favorite installment in the series. The themes included heavy material, but Persona 5 kept a strong tone of fighting for justice throughout, engaging the player and encouraging to see this fight to the end. That being said, Persona 5 does suffer for mistreating some of its characters for the sake of “humor” and undermining some of its storylines for the sake of fanservice, and I’m hoping that Atlus changing directors for Persona 6 addresses some of these issues for the future.
Persona 5 was a game well worth waiting for, and I’m excited to see some of its spin-offs and what future installments bring!
Transistor is one of those game that kept appearing everywhere for me until I finally bought. And I am so very glad I did. Transistor is something I can describe as simply beautiful: the gameplay, the artwork, the music, I loved every second of it. The story is fascinating, but what’s even more fascinating is the way that strategic battles are actually incorporated into said story. You unlock more about the world as you experiment with different ability combinations, forcing you to be constantly evolving in your style of playing. It is clever, and Transistor is one of the first games that comes to mind when I want to describe ways in which video games can be an excellent medium for storytelling.
If you haven’t already, please play this game.
A recent entry, but no less appropriate. A Witch’s Tale was a game I fell more in love with the more I analyzed it. I enjoyed seeing all the references to Alice in Wonderland, but I loved it even more once I realized that these were not just aesthetic choices. It was a great reimagining of the original story, pulling directly from the book’s themes and also connecting them to related fairytales and stories. Being completely controlled by the Nintendo DS’ touch screens, it was also one of the more unique games I’ve played on either a DS or a 3DS, fully utilizing the platforms’ iconic features. A Witch’s Tale is cute and fun and emotional when it needs to be, and it does well in uniting characters from well-known fairytales and stories to make an interesting world.
Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is a game I don’t talk about much when I really should. Originally part of a Kickstarter campaign, this game unites fantastical magic with the intrigue of Venetian masquerades. Venetian-style masks run this world and its politics, when their magical abilities only being granted to higher stations of power. These masks serve more than combative purposes, as it demonstrates various forms of symbolic meaning across the main cast and throughout the story. Since I played Masquerada, the game has been released on PS4 and Xbox One and it will eventually also be released on the Switch, so I definitely recommend taking a look at it.
I’ve mentioned this before, but the Dishonored 2 E3 trailer is what actually intrigued me to play this series in the first place. Despite assuming I’d be terrible at stealth games (a fact that was indeed confirmed upon gameplay), the aesthetics of the world was enough to pull me in. While either Dishonored or Dishonored 2 could be worthy of this spot, Dishonored 2 just nudges past because of the story’s decision to shift the character focus onto the protagonist and because it challenges our perceptions of established characters. Not many stories that I’ve seen are willing to highlight the flaws of characters we’ve grown to love from the previous installment, and at least with Emily’s perspective, she was given the opportunity to recognize said flaws as well as grow from it.
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this is not a Top 5 list and I wholly recommend any of the games I’ve played/posted about this year (so check them all out if you’ve got the time)! This is my last post of the year, but I will continue to post on my social media and I’m still uploading Extra Life Twitch Highlights onto my YouTube channel. And follow this blog if you haven’t already! I’ve got several exciting games already lined up for the beginning of the year, and I’m excited to share them with you all!