Yoshi’s Wooly World
My minimal exposure and play time with Yoshi’s Woolly World has been nothing short of absolutely delightful. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so immediately swooned by a video game. Even Little Big Planet, with it’s similar visual design, didn’t quite have as much loving care put into the aesthetic as YWW. I never really played Kirby’s Epic Yarn, so for as cute as that game was, Woolly World is a whole new adventure for me.
From the gorgeous world to the details looking so yarn-like it feels as if you can reach out and touch them, the game also holds up as a classic foray into Yoshi territory. I loved Yoshi’s Story, which is pretty much in the same league as this, straying away from the “Yoshi with Baby Mario” titles. You’re just an adventuring little yarn dinosaur on a journey to save the other Yoshis. Jumping, fluttering and throwing eggs still feels as good as it ever has and the world is such a wonderful palate cleanser that I don’t know if I’ll ever need anything quite as cute in my life, ever again.
Tales of Zestiria
Tales of Zestiria is a real breath of fresh air for the series. It takes a lot of the ideas that Graces f really wanted to execute on, but failed in almost every regard. Graces was ambitious, but so is Zestiria. With its meta-game systems, sweeping camera angles, and just general jovial tone, it seems several steps ahead Xillia, and even Xillia 2, which by comparison feels mechanically archaic.
The push of Zestiria is making a magical world that has the “normal people don’t really see magic everyday”, so when you starting doing crazy feats, the world may look down on you. It’s a pretty standard-fare story for fantasy, but somehow it’s uncharted waters for the franchise. A big shift is that there really isn’t an unlikable character here, which may of course change, but it’s so refreshing to just love every second you spend with your party is just so damn enjoyable.
Where Zestiria takes the most after Graces is in it’s combat, which is the front-facing angle, as opposed to the traditional side-angle for Tales. It works here more than it did Graces because of the Spirit Chain system, which lets you manage your attacks a bit better, and also some transformations that make killing enemies oh so satisfying. The game is a massive improvement for the series and as someone who kind of lost their excitement for the game, I’m super surprised and happy to say this is very much worth your time.
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
Uncharted is without a doubt my favorite Playstation exclusive series. I remember seeing the first trailer for the Drake’s Fortune when I first got my PS3 and thinking how cool it looked. I was also catious because at that time I’ve never played a shooter game before. I was mainly into platformer, RPG, fighting, and rhythm games that I was too sure if it would click with me and it turns out Uncharted introduced to me into a whole new genre of games.
Though some people come to the Uncharted series for the sketical and graphics, I’m mainly for the story and character. Drake, Elena, Sully and eventually Chloe and Cutter are just some of the best protrayed people I’ve seen in video game and seeing the arch of a character like Nathan Drake is some of the most fun I’ve had in gaming.
The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone Expansion DLC
Give me any excuse to play more of The Witcher 3 and I’ll take it. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt isn’t just one of my favorite games this year, it’s one of my favorite games of all time. The characters, the quest, and the world of The Witcher is fascinating to just explore and be in it’s almost intoxicating.
Hearts of Stone, the first of two expansions for The Witcher 3, does just that and expands more into what I love about this game. Very challenging sections, especailly for me for the level of difficulty I was on, and with new characters to interact with provides a good chunk of game that I’ve already put more then 100 hours into.
Life Is Strange – Episode 5: Polarized
With the end of Life is Strange coming up, I was just continusly impressed on how every episode up to this point was not just good, but consistently good with every release. At the beginning of the year before episode one released I had a feeling that there was just something special about this game from the way it presented itself and I love it that I was so right on with it.
The only thing I’ll even mention about the story without giving anything away but when I started Episode 5 I came in with a goal that almost no matter what came in front of me, if given the choice, I would see that goal through to the end. I was given that choice, and though bittersweet, it was exactly what I wanted. Though it may not seem that it mattered in the end, what you expreienced make what you want at the end that more powerful. I love this game.
I’d say I have a lot to say about Life is Strange. I’m trying to figure out a way to do that in a full review, but my review of Episode 5 is out there as well.
Dontnod really did the impossible, delivering a satisfying and heart-wrenching finale, on top of four excellent episodes that came before it. I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish in this episode, and even if it had some weird or unnecessary moments, like a stealth section, the feeling of culmination was there. Both from Max, her powers, and her friends, you get a finale that hits all the points and epitomizes all the best parts of this series. It’s a tribute to adventure games, and is something that I hope will be considered a classic to the genre in the years to come.