It goes without saying that I’ll probably be a tad more passionate about these games for my New Years Edition. I am sorry if my choices don’t add up to others, in fact I know there are quite a few that won’t. But, it’s purely my opinion, and I’ll try my best to explain it, in a somewhat sane sense. Try.
Everyone Starts With The Top 5
Luckily I’m not everyone. So here are my Top 5 Disappointments for 2015. They are in no particular order, other than they all disappointed me in some way or another. Oh and I’ve played every game on this list for 10+ hours, so I’m not basing this off of other’s gameplay, reviews, etc. these are purely based on my experience.
Alright before the pitch forks are removed from the shed and the torches are lit, hear me out. I am a LEGO fiend, a huge one. As I sit in my office I look around at the dozen or so LEGO sets that decorate my room in the nerdiest/coolest way possible. I LOVE LEGO!
But, yup there’s a but; I couldn’t get into this game. It reminded me too much of Minecraft and lacked on LEGO characteristics. Now, most would say I’m crazy since the game is nothing but LEGO. My reasoning is that I grew up with LEGO games, new and old. Some of my fondest memories were playing Lego Island for the PC and Lego Island 2 for the PS1. Those were great games and I loved them. They allowed the casual LEGO experience, but also offered a storyline. I think I had a hard time grasping that LEGO wasn’t trying to copy Minecraft after they just acquired the rights to make Minecraft kits. Overall I was bored, it was fun collecting new characters, vehicles, etc. but beyond that, that’s all I did. I understand that buying LEGO products are expensive, especially the older kits. But, I think I prefer the hands on approach of what LEGO offers me.
There are a couple of pluses though. Since I downloaded it on Day 1, I heard they updated a lot of features, added more options, etc. I’m not really surprised since LEGO and TT Games really push out quality products (in my opinion). The graphics and controls were well done and it was great seeing old kits from years ago coming together. I remain hopeful and optimistic that something great will form from this game. But, at this moment it’s just a crate of LEGOs, which I can grab from my closet.
System Played On: PC / Steam
Once again, ARK Survival Evolved was purchased near the time that LEGO Worlds was released for the PC through Steam. I had originally had overwhelming high hopes for this game, and ultimately I still do. I thoroughly enjoy survival games, I love dinosaurs (who doesn’t? Besides Dr. Grant) and when you combine those with fantastic graphics, I’m hooked.
Well, I would of been hooked assuming that the game operated as effectively as it was shown. Before you say that it is an Early Access Game, understand that I am aware of that. However, there are a lot of them, and most of them delivered fairly stable performance throughout the game. ARK did not do that for me. The game was glitchy, it crashed often and was almost laggy 99% of the time. I understand that this experience wasn’t shared by everyone and that some, I repeat some had a great experience. Well that’s great. Unfortunately, building a PC game is like building an Android app. There are multiple pieces of Hardware/Software you need to account for, and if you’re going to release it for all, then you better have that figured out before any type of release. We’re not building an iOS app here.
Now, I gave them time, months in fact to at least fix some of the game bugs. It was frustrating seeing their posts every week about new content and new creatures added, and upcoming events. Yet the bugs weren’t their priority. Then you have the fanboys who basically said it’s Early Access they won’t fix the bugs till release. I disagree, Early Access is essentially Beta testing, this is when you should be fixing the problems that prevent people from playing the game, once it’s no longer Early Access then you can start releasing glorified DLC, not BEFORE! Fix your mistakes before releasing more crap that people can’t play. Luckily for anyone who disagrees, there’s quite a large collection of people who agree with me and multiple forums exist. Essentially, bring it fanboy.
System Played On: PC / Steam
If you’ve read my previous post you’ll see that I spoken pretty favorably about Fallout 4, and for the most part that is absolutely true. However, I have heard nothing but people saying that it should be Game of the Year, and I disagree. I understand that it sold a ton of copies and blew all other games out of the water, but that’s like saying every other movie released during the same time Star Wars Episode VII did sucks. That’s not true, they are just scheduled to release during a highly contested time slot. That’s all.
Fallout 4 has some addicting qualities. I loved the base building, it really doesn’t do anything and it’s more of a time/material waste than anything else. But, I still think it’s fun. What I didn’t care for was the actual campaign. Nothing really stuck out to me and the controls bothered me throughout most of the game. The graphics weren’t that impressive compared to others coming out and I feel that most Fallout games are essentially the same as all others. Once again, I realize I’m the minority; but, I feel that this game was all hype and most people followed in the footsteps of others. Perhaps it was just a little too slow, or there were bugs that shouldn’t of been there to begin with. Either way, I wasn’t that impressed and the hype wasn’t meant for me.
System Played On: PlayStation 4 / Disk
Let it be known that I got a 4-Pack of this game for around $4.00 total. I didn’t expect crazy great things from the get-go. But, I heard it was an alright LAN quality game, so being the big fan LAN games I had to try it. I mean I liked Left 4 Dead, this couldn’t be that much different right?
Actually I can’t say I’m super disappointed with this game. My girlfriend and I played this game together as a test before I brought my friends in to play it, and most of the experience was generally pleasurable. The graphics were decent, controls seemed to work fine and the zombies were well done (except they had glowing pumpkin heads since it was Halloween, kind of weird). But, my biggest nitpick was the fact that the direction of the levels is confusing and usually misinformed. We had cleared most of the level within 10 – 15 minutes, and we knew our objectives. But, it wasn’t clear where or how we were supposed to do it. After 15 added minutes of strolling around, we eventually quit; then tried another level with similar results. I like the overall game, however if they are going to have missions where you complete objectives, they need a little more guidance and navigation to complete it.
For $1 a game, I’m not complaining much. I’m sure I’ll figure it out sooner or later, but this year had some great games and it’s hard to pick out the bad apples, so this was my little grievance.
System Played On: PC / Steam
If you scrolled down then you noticed that H1Z1 is listed under my top 5 games also. If you didn’t scroll down, then unfortunately I became the ass that provided a spoiler; for that, I’m sorry. Ultimately I loved H1Z1, it is a great game with a lot of perks that I will get to in the next section. However, there are some flaws that should/need to be addressed.
I picked up this game for my friend and I to play. We liked the thought of DAYZ but heard bad things about support, and we did not care for ARMA too much. So H1Z1 seemed like a decent fit for us. This game is not meant for group play, but it could be. Some key issues that could make this game great are:
- Group Spawn: I’m not sure how this would work in the end, since you could be chasing a person and he/she could spawn their whole squad to murder you. That would suck. But, it also sucks when you’re playing with a friend and they spawn in A1 and you’re in H9… that takes over an hour to walk to each other. It’s a pain. That’s also assuming you don’t perish in the journey to each other.
- Provide Items: I appreciate the fact they provide a map… although it would be nicer if they had a red pin that said where you were at that time. Also, how about providing the compass from spawn? I’m not asking for a backpack, gun etc. Just a compass where it’s a little easier to find teammates from the get-go.
- Normalized Spawning: Items spawn in the oddest of places and sometimes not at all. There were times where there were no backpacks to be found, now they seem to be everywhere. Times where you find nothing but ammo and no guns and vice versa. Just trying to stabilize it might help with the overall feel of it.
- Crafting Guide: I would provide a crafting guide rather than discovering new recipes. Think of a Boy Scouts manual. That way people can see what they can build without switching back and forth from the WIKI.
Overall I love this game and you’ll see why, but those little fixes would make this game one of my top Steam games.
System Played On: PC / Steam
Top 5 Games of ’15
And now it’s time for my Top 5 games of 2015, that doesn’t mean they were necessarily released in 2015, but purely absorbed most of my little free time.
This was a shocker wasn’t it? Bet you didn’t expect this to be on here also huh. Well… it is. H1Z1 offers a lot of great gameplay, and it’s even more fun playing with a friend. I wouldn’t say it’s fun because you are going to spend a lot of time together, because you probably won’t. But having steady voice chat through Steam’s party service will allow nothing but enjoyable cussing and screaming back and forth. Plus, on the miracle that you survive the trek across the map and find each other it becomes a Homeward Bound moment where you’re reunited with your long lost brother/sister.
Before I mentioned the tweaks that should accompany H1Z1, well here are some things that I think they are doing well:
- It’s Updating: This is a big one for me, everytime I log on they seem to have updated or added something. I like the fact that they do this, it’s Early Access and most bugs are fixed, but they still listen to requests from users. They could probably release it, but I think Early Access is loosely used and no longer means anything.
- The Environment: I feel it actually captures a standard environment. There are large forests, houses scattered sporadically, and there are many times when you are completely alone and listening to the wind blow through the grass. Then out of nowhere you hear a gunshot, or perhaps a car engine. You crouch, hide behind a tree. The experience can be similar to downtown Flint. It’s not the people you see that you should be worried about, it’s the ones that you don’t. The environment adds to the overall anxiety of being alone, and understanding that although it’d be nice to have someone there, you know it’s for the best.
- Items/Customization: There are a ton of available items in this game… an immense amount of random “junk”, you can gather, harvest, loot, etc. and all of it’s enjoyable. Some things you can predict but for the most part it’s always random. You might find a shotgun in the back of a truck, or a steak dinner in the bathroom. You never know, and the randomness is like opening a pack of new cards, you don’t know what is coming.
There are a lot of great things about H1Z1 and it has a ton of potential which I am grateful for. I highly suggest it for Zombie Survivalists, Co-Operators, or anyone looking for a hauntingly empty environment.
System Played On: PC / Steam
The first Killing Floor was probably one of my favorite FPS games on the PC. Once again, the reason being co-op. Killing Floor 2 certainly lived up to its predecessor’s reputation. Needless to say, it’s fantastic.
Why might you ask? Well it has terrific graphics, great/realistic audio effects and the gameplay doesn’t stray too much from the original. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it… just optimize it. That’s exactly what they did and I’m grateful for that.
In all, the game is an exact replica of the first with everything optimized including classes, customization and choices (weapon, gear, etc.); plus the standard graphics, audio, etc. One downside of this game was the fact that it pretty much destroyed my PC on its first run. For some reason when this game was first released it would cause my graphics card to get hot… very, very hot. So much that it would BSOD my PC and hard restart it. After some research I found out that the newer couple Nvidia drivers didn’t work well with it, after a little tweaking and checking out some Legacy drivers that still fluidly supported Nvidia Surround; it was back up running at full speed.
Besides that little annoyance, KF2 is a fantastic game that delivered from the gate. With new options and maps being uploaded throughout the year, it’s a perfect FPS co-op shooter that offers countless hours of enjoyment for the new year.
System Played On: PC / Steam
This one snuck up out of nowhere. I had not seen, nor heard about this game from the get-go. In fact I usually am not a huge fan of these games since they seem to be a tad bit repetitive. This one though, it’s different.
First of all, I love the realism. I like the fact that everything kills you in this game; whether it’s friendly fire or miscalculated air drops. The world is destined to kill you. If you have read my review you’ll quickly know why I love this game. The graphics/worlds are very realistic. It’s essentially playing Starship Troopers, and the co-op is fantastic. Also, I enjoy the feeling of working with others around the globe, it seems like a group effort.
I think the thing that stood about this game is that it works. The gameplay is fluid, it makes you want to devote hours and I didn’t see one bug in my 6 hour spree. It worked well, you could tell the developers paid time/attention to creating this little masterpiece and it’s worth the $20 price tag (plus whatever DLC you want to pick up on the side, which is also worth it in my opinion).
In the end I would choose this for the PS4 since it comes with a few more things (see previous post), and it works very well with the dual analog sticks of the PS4.
System Played On: PlayStation 4 / Digital
StarCraft has been one of the most profound series in my life. The multiplayer has always delivered and the storyline was a space opera in itself. Overall, it is a great game. And, StarCraft 2 doesn’t fail to live up to its predecessor’s success.
Overall I am not a “typical” StarCraft player. I have similar tendencies with most RTS games actually; in the end I spend hours developing a booming industry/base and then unveiling a massive army. Essentially I am a no rushing kind of guy. It’s somewhat comical though since I’m the complete opposite in FPS games. You could think of me as the Leeeroy Jenkins in shooters. While my teammates are crouching through the side hallways, I’m running up the corridor ‘attempting’ head shots as I rush on in, waiting for the respawn to give me Round 2.
Anyways, my StarCraft 2 experience is more campaign and LAN oriented. It took a long time for me to get into the 1st StarCraft‘s storyline, but once I did I was hooked. StarCraft 2 probably has one of my favorite RTS campaigns around. Creating a base and defending against waves of “zombies/infected” soldiers, and attacking their bases during the day was a breath of fresh air from the standard, build this, build that.
The LAN features are great, it works well and although you technically need the internet it still has that LAN’y feeling thrown in there. Granted most of my RTS gaming is done online with friends or in the same room with them; and fortunately they all enjoy taking their time, using strategy and sucking the world dry like an oil tycoon in Texas.
In the end, StarCraft 2 has decent graphics that have held up well over the years, the new expansion packs keep delivering and the entire environment still seems true with the StarCraft universe, so kudos for them.
System Played On: PC / Disk
After reading my previous review, you’ve probably come to the conclusion that I love Destiny. Well, it’s true I do.
I do have some qualms with it though. I feel there is no tutorials, other than the control scheme. When it comes to events, people to talk to, etc. you are pretty much fending for yourself or you must reach out to others and gain knowledge the old fashioned social way. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, in fact when I first started playing World of Warcraft or Star Wars The Old Republic I was constantly asking for help/tips and the users were generally very forthcoming and mature. Unfortunately, you don’t always get the older/mature players on consoles. No, in fact you will mostly get the 13 year olds, who are skipping school to frag some newbs as they complain about how everything is hard in their lives. With PC gaming, you really don’t get that as much. Granted, it’s probably because buying a PC is a significant expense compared to picking up a $300 system. Learning curb aside, there’s also one other thing I don’t care for.
What is the classification of these games? I understand it’s a FPS/RPG game, but is the Taken King an expansion pack or a standalone? They marketed it as a Expansion Pack that required Destiny, but you purchased it with a copy of Destiny, making your copy essentially useless. Therefore buying a whole new game… therefore it’s kind of standalone’ish if you ask me.
Mild grievances aside, I think the things I liked most about Destiny are the graphics, the smooth gameplay, the worlds are gripping, the enemies vary and are ruthless and finally, it’s similar to Diablo 3, WOW and other MMORPG’s; where the top level is where the game changes its entire face and becomes a whole new game with new experiences, goals and strategies. Essentially leveling up from 1 to 40 is the tutorial.
In the end it’s a space opera by a company that has written many engaging space operas in their past, and this one doesn’t fall short.
System Played On: PlayStation 4 / Disk
Noteworthy ’15 Titles:
- Diablo 3 + ROS – PC
- Cities Skylines – PC
- The Sims 4 – PC
- Guitar Hero Live – PS4
- STAR WARS Battlefront – PC
- Battlefield Hardline – PC
Happy New Years everyone (or a day late)! It’s been a great first year for Candid Reviews and I appreciate all of the time, comments and likes you devoted to this blog. I’ll be sure to keep up with it more so in the new year. Also, I am hoping we can hit up some conventions, a few interviews and maybe a couple of Alpha/Beta exclusives. Regardless, onto the new year with high hopes that No Man’s Sky will be released!
ALSO, starting next week I will be releasing a post every Tuesday and Friday. This will give me enough time to get a feel for the game and grasp the concepts. Also, it will allow me to grammar check my posts before submitting them. So, follow me and I’ll see you every Tuesday/Friday! And as always, if there is a game you want to try/here before purchasing, shoot me a comment and I’ll try it before you buy it (money permitting).