Game of the Year – Far Cry 5
While I have spent some time with the Far Cry franchise, I never really got into it until Far Cry 5 came out. After some goading by my brother I finally picked it up given its co-op campaign, a rare delicacy these days, and was not disappointment. Whether it be sniping from a ridiculous distance, running-and-gunning, or causing vehicular mayhem in the open ranges of Hope County, Montana, Far Cry 5 is great on its own, but is so much more with a friend. From flight suits to animal attacks to your very own canine companion, Far Cry 5 gives you, and a friend, plenty to offer and in true Ubisoft fashion, there is no end to the sheer number of sidequests that are spaced throughout the utterly massive and incredibly hectic Far Cry 5.
First Runner Up – Kingdom Come: Deliverance
I had longstanding mixed feelings about Warhorse Studios’ ambition RPG Kingdom Come: Deliverance for quite some time; I thought that they might be biting off more than they could chew and fortunately I was wrong. Set in the Kingdom of Bohemia (part of what is now the Czech Republic) during the 15th century, Kingdom Come: Deliverance set out to be something of a unique bird in a flock of standard roleplaying games and it succeeded in the most wild of ways; from the multitude of minigames that are the crafting system to the innovative yet extraordinarily challenging combat, Kingdom Come: Deliverance did just that. Unique, challenging, and massive in scope, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a healthy 80-romp as Hal through Medieval times.
Second Runner Up – Ancestor’s Legacy
Ancestor’s Legacy came out of left field and hit me like a semi-truck; I mean come on, who builds an interesting and relatively unique single-player RTS game these days? The great folks over at Destructive Creations, that is who. In a world plagued by MOBAs, Destructive Creations took a turn at bringing something unique to the RTS genre and they succeeded where many others have failed. A pile of interesting campaigns? Check. Well balanced and brutal medieval European combat? Check. Implemented an utterly phenomenal cinematic combat camera? Check. I only hope that Ancestor’s Legacy is the first in a long line of stunning squad-based RTS titles from Destructive Creations as the world needs more of it.
Biggest Surprise – Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War
I was utterly floored with the initial quality of Warhammer 40k: Gladius – Relics of War as it was one of the first Warhammer 40k titles in a long time that did not immediately set my gag reflex going. With the Warhammer franchise being such a long-standing and respected franchise it was only a matter of time until someone, anyone, would bring us a decent game; fortunately the great folks at Slitherine Ltd. And Proxy Studios finally did so. Climbing to the top of the veritable pile of garbage that has been the last decade’s-worth of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 titles comes Gladius – Relics of War, a semi Civ-like 4X strategy title set in the 41st millennium and it is glorious … “You carry the Emperor’s will as your torch, with it destroy the shadows.” Versus of Sigismund, Book CIV, Verse 1
Guilty Pleasure – Monster Hunter: World
I never really bought into the Monster Hunter titles but the latest offering, Monster Hunter: World looked interesting with its drop-in multiplayer that is not all that unlike Destiny, massive monsters, and hilariously huge weaponry. When I first loaded up MH:W I was smitten almost immediately; the lush and stunning settings, the varying tactics, the interesting weaponry… it all added up to something I was not expecting … a rich and diverse universe full of memorable moments. Not even a year out from launch and certain smells or sights or sounds will send the pangs of nostalgia through my chest that ultimately drive me back to the enchanting lands of Monster Hunter: World.
Biggest Disappointment – Strange Brigade
It pains me to say this but Rebellion really dropped the ball here; fresh off the gravy train that is Rebellion’s portfolio and distantly following up the super excellent Sniper Elite 4, Strange Brigade set out to be something of a Zombie Army Trilogy meets Indiana Jones and … it failed. “Puzzles” were lackluster, combat stale, graphics were naught but varying shades of brown, and a forced-and-fake competitive model in a cooperative title were all mashed together to make “standard soup.” Perhaps the issue is that I was expecting a level of cooperative excellence as found in the Sniper Elite or Zombie Army franchises when in reality Rebellion was trying to dish out something more party-based (ala Mario Party), I do not know, but what I do know is that the 15-20 hours that I sunk into Strange Brigade amounted to nothing more than disappointment after disappointment. Hopefully Rebellion can take this one on the chin, pick up, and move on to their next project in quick succession; I would like to get the bad taste of Strange Brigade out of my mouth sooner rather than later…