With Burial at Sea, Irrational's greatest accomplishment is resuscitating Rapture. The city is a visual feast, and the developer once again proves that it has some of the most talented environment artists in the industry.
Octodad is a great example of a game that conveys a message through gameplay. In conjunction with its story, characters, and setting, the controls offer an empathetic look into the life of an extreme outsider trying to fit in and trying to do right by his family.
Nintendo didn’t do Yoshi’s New Island any favors by adhering so closely to the game that spawned this Mario subseries. For Yoshi’s Island fans, New might feel odd. Despite that, solid gameplay and diabolically well-hidden collectibles have me sticking around.
I have issues with Mario Golf: World Tour, but they are completely unimportant when I'm playing the actual golfing parts. It feels great, it looks very nice, and it plays at a fast pace. And while the campaign packaging is a faint echo of Mario Golfs gone by, that didn't stop me from loving the 20 hours I spent with this entry in the franchise.
Tomodachi Life reminds me what I love about Nintendo. Another developer might try an experience like this on iOS or Android, but it's unlikely they would leave it unsullied by in-game purchases. I also doubt that many other studios could nail the effortless humor that makes this so refreshing to play. It's not about shooting people. It's not even about jumping on heads. It's about mixing people together to see what happens, and I'm not sure anyone but Nintendo could figure out how to make something that simple so much fun.
I'm not a huge car guy, but Forza Horizon 2 makes me realize that I am someone who loves driving. It combines all the best elements of car culture and empowers players to take and leave the things they enjoy. For example, it has deep tuning options for you mechanics. You can adjust the level of air in your tires if you want. And if you don't, then don't even think about it.
At its core, Shadow of Mordor is a fresh, exciting game. I love what it does to make every enemy feel special. Open-world games like Assassin's Creed and Grand Theft Auto haven't really done much to expand on the possibility for emergence in the genre. They look like a pair of Casio digital wristwatches compared to the complex moving parts of Shadow of Mordor's intricate cuckoo clock.
Bayonetta 2 is surprising. Some of that is because it is an M-rated Wii U exclusive. It's also because it is a good game in a genre that doesn't seem long for this world. With everything moving open-world and online, Platinum is still sticking to it's area of expertise. And it's working.
I was not expecting to love Unity, but I do. Ubisoft nailed the big assassination missions and everything in between. I lost several days to this game, and I'm looking forward to losing a few more. I want to see if I can find all the highest-rated equipment. I want to do some more multiplayer missions. I want to solve the rest of those brilliant murder cases. I want more Unity.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker most reminds me of the old Game Boy version of Donkey Kong (often called Donkey Kong '94). Both are spinoffs of other games that focus on small stages where you need to get to the end while collecting tough-to-get items.
I really like Game of Thrones on HBO, but I'm enamored with this game. Something about having ownership of character decisions in a fantasy story that lives up to the legend of George R.R. Martin is incredible. Once again, I find myself dying to see what happens next. April may bring the next season of the TV show, but if it brings the end of the game, it'll be bittersweet.