It's that time of year folks. The last few months where critics, reviewers and serious games journalists alike are all planning their Top 5 Games of the Year lists. It happens, it's a thing every game reviewer does. Even I will be doing one. But, what's life worth living if you can't occasionally meta it up once in a while? Today I'm making predictions. This list is my "Top 5 games that will make it into this year's Top 5 Games" list (and this seemed like such a good idea at the time).
First, some rules: This is not my Top 5 list. This should bear no resemblance to anyone else's Top 5 lists. This is not a reflection on the games themselves. These are basically guesses. Guesses that are based on the reasonably solid evidence of the internet being incapable of shutting up about them since release. There is also no relevance to the ordering here. I don't expect to see all of these games appear on every list in this order. The ranking is based purely on how much weight I personally give the chances of the game appearing on a list. So, let's have at it, shall we?
5. POKEMON X & Y
I admit, this one is a risk. I was tossing up between Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Batman: Arkham Origins and this. Particularly in the wake of news that sales for Pokémon X&Y have significantly dropped off after the first week, I could have made the wrong call here.
But, being that I'm still in my Anti-Bat place and my towns, so lovingly created in AC:NL are now probably deserted wastelands, filled with colourful, neglected animal corpses, Pokémon seemed like the obvious choice. It's a new installment in one of Nintendo's historic cash Milktanks. The new art style, a slew of new monsters to catch, and THE RETURN OF THE GEN 1 STARTERS OH MY GOD SO AWESOME! ~ahem~ ...these all add to the fact that Pokémon games are consistently solid. It's also one of the few titles on this list I would happily let my children (who currently don't exist) play.
4. THE LAST OF US
Hmm. You know, now that I'm writing this I am now aware that this game is the only game that was not part of an extended series. That's, interesting and disturbing, isn't it? This year has been a massive year for franchised titles but not a great deal of original IP from major developers. Disturbing industry trend? Maybe there's an article in that.
Anyway, The Last of Us was gaming's first Oscar Bait. On the surface it's a somewhat interesting and competently handled take on the Zombie Apocalypse that's been so utterly played out before. But just below that surface was a genuine attempt to make a player experience parenthood. The game's ambition alone gets it some points, but it's the stunning visuals and stellar gameplay that make it stand out. This game had many moments of genuine adult fears. The game also refused to pull its punches and that's going to do it a world of good come GOTY time. Having two of the most bad ass characters I have ever played certainly doesn't hurt, either.
3. SAINTS ROW 4
This is interesting because of the games on this list, this is the only one I haven't yet played. All I am hearing about it though seems like it's good. The open world and the super hero/fantasy aspect certainly appeals, but this isn't about my opinion. This is about me trying to guess other people's opinions.
Considering the struggles we had to get Saints Row 4 released here despite Australia's R rating and some minor content adjustments, everyone seems to think it's worth it. I wouldn't know. I still haven't played it. But what I keep hearing is that everyone thinks that this game is fun. Sheer unadulterated “let's go completely nuts in this giant world where we can literally do anything” fun. And I can get behind that. A lot of games seem to forget that sometimes we need to play them to have some fun. Some people are even calling it “The Fun GTA”.
...which brings us to...
2. GRAND THEFT AUTO V
Grand Theft Auto V is lots of fun. Really it is. I mean, yeah it's got about as much depth as a spoon, your characters are completely inconsistent, you don't so much get choice but rather sightseeing tours, but it's fun. The heist mechanic was a logical place to go for the series, the property ownership and live stock market are cool little features, and you can hit anyone you don't like with a car! What's not to like? (Well, the rampant sexism for one, so that's probably going to cost it quite dearly.)
It's another long running series with a lot to like about it in terms of gameplay. It tried, probably not very hard, with the story and character and when it got it right, it did pull a few heartstrings. There's also the online mode which, if anyone can ever get on one of the overcrowded servers, is actually a lot of fun too.
1. BIOSHOCK INFINITE
This was the first game I knew for sure would appear in his list. This will be on lists. This will be on A LOT of lists. I am sure that BioShock Infinite will end up on my own list.
From its massive hype campaign two years ago to the amazing and controversial ending, it was ALWAYS going to end up on lists. I mean seriously. It's a followup of one of THE landmark games. One of the games we can point to and say “See? Art!” And it's every bit as ambitious and thought provoking as its predecessor. The game created a lot of heat when it hit and, with a new DLC pack just about to hit, everyone is remembering just how stunningly big and culturally significant this game is.
That's what these lists SHOULD be about. Whether a game is good enough to alter the way you think. Here's hoping I get at least this one right...
Once a Reality TV Somebody,
Now just a big kid who loves video games, and the telling people about them.
Jimmy the Geek