We are just over a year into this console generation, and have already seen some great games make their way into our machines and our hearts. I felt now would be the perfect time to take stock of my favourite gaming experiences from the past year and compile them into a top ten countdown of gaming goodness. The following games may not necessarily be the best, but they are my personal favourites. Without further ado; here are numbers 10-6…
10. WOLFENSTEIN: THE NEW ORDER
I didn’t play Wolfenstein during the 360 and PS3 days, and the original doesn’t hold any particular significance to me. So it was with great interest that I heard one of my favourite developers Starbreeze (or at least a large portion of the studio’s workforce under the banner of Machine Games) was to work on a single player only, heavily story-driven instalment in the bonkers robot Nazi-stomping franchise. The team responsible for Riddick and The Darkness had the necessary pedigree to make a real success of this game and they certainly didn’t disappoint. A meaty 20 hour campaign full of solid shooting, outlandish set pieces and a surprising amount of heart made this Wolfenstein reboot well worth shelling out for.
9. RYSE: SON OF ROME
I got home at 12.20am on November 22nd 2013 with my shiny new Xbox One, and although I had to be up early to go to my new job (selling more Xbox Ones to other people!) I set up my new machine and settled down for a couple of hours’ next-gen gaming. The very first disc I put in my machine was the Roman hack and slash RYSE: Son of Rome, for one good reason – of all the launch games, RYSE was the most visually impressive by a country mile. A pretty repetitive game is saved by a decent story with great acting and those sweet, sweet graphics. It set the next gen benchmark and was THE game to show off your new machine to mates. The fact that it is still to be bettered visually one year on speaks volumes.
8. ALIEN ISOLATION
After the excrement-on-a-disc that was Colonial Marines, it would hardly have been a challenge to create a better example of the original sci-fi horror franchise. Luckily the Creative Assembly didn’t merely rest on their laurels, producing a pitch perfect homage to the original movie and an edge of your seat lesson in survival horror. The campaign was perhaps a tad too long, but was packed with enough great ideas and tense situations to keep me playing til the credits. A worthy entry.
7. THE LAST OF US REMASTERED
I famously didn’t think all that of The Last of Us upon its original release (scoring it a good-but-not- amazing 7.5/10), but something undefinable had changed by the time I played its next-gen remaster. The new presentation certainly helped – the frame rate being kicked up to 60fps not only allowed for the already gorgeous visuals to be rendered in eye-popping splendour, but gave the combat a silky flow previously lacking. The story of Joel and Ellie’s post-apocalyptic trek across America had somehow gained more allure, more pathos and more enjoyability in the time I’d spent away from it. If I had to re-score it now? 9/10
6. TOMB RAIDER: DEFINITIVE EDITION
The very first next-gen remaster gave Lara a painstaking lick of graphical paint (dat hair!) and the entire game the chance to shine as it always should have. While the game itself hasn’t changed from the old gen (all DLC was included, but hardly necessary), the new controllers made it a pleasure to play through again, and the extra graphical sheen made Crystal Dynamics’ divisive origin story the definitive showcase for the new Lara. I can’t wait to find out just how far Rise of the Tomb Raider runs with this new technology.
– Matt Reynolds @thelostmoment