FIFA 18 brings back Alex Hunter and makes his story better. With a detailed focus on the protagonist's many complicated relationships, this new Alex Hunter tale is the best narrative in a sports game. There are some smaller tweaks needed on the pitch that seem to be getting ignored, but FIFA 18 has hints that those issues are slowly being addressed. FIFA continues to be one of the best sports titles on the market.
Agents of Mayhem is a very interesting game with some wild concepts, many of which didn't seem like they would work out. While the combat is enthralling, the mission design surrounding it is consistently disappointing. The city of Seoul is wonderful and begging to be explored, but that's not something Agents of Mayhem encourages through its design. Agents of Mayhem is hit or miss, but has more misses than hits.
The Golf Club 2 follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, providing an unrivaled golf simulation that still lacks surrounding content to keep it relevant for months to come. The new career mode leaves a lot to be desired, but few sports games can compete with how solid the on-course gameplay is within The Golf Club 2. Societies is also a welcome addition that golf-loving friends will really appreciate. The Golf Club 2 is still a ton of fun to play, but it's clear that HB Studios needs to revamp some of the side activities heading into The Golf Club 3.
Prey's sound design and soundtrack are some of the best to come from a game this year. Unfortunately, a lot of the aspects surrounding that hamper the potential set up from the game's impressive opening hour. The combat is a source of frustration, and the load times neuter exploration. But if you're able to look past that, Prey can provide some thrills.
MLB The Show 17 is another solid entry into an increasingly solid franchise. It slips a bit with the new additions like a tweaked Road to the Show and Critical Situations, but it succeeds in a silly, wholly enjoyable retro mode. But even with the negatives, the MLB The Show series is enjoyable enough to mask those bumps and bruises. MLB The Show 17 is another bullet-point in a historically successful sports franchise.
Believe it or not, dating simulators are not the highest forms of entertainment. Despite this, they do have their place as those weird ass games that some people get way too invested in. They are similar to sports games, in that respect. Those sorts of people will find some enjoyment in Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker, as it is a perfectly acceptable one of those games. That being said, if you want a dating sim to get a lot of traction, you need to go full on with the silly features. More ridiculous farting mini-games, less “trendy” dialogue… these are the recipes for success. While you get glimpses of the intentional stupidity this kind of game needs in order to succeed, you do not see it often enough for it to work.
There's a lot to like in Mafia III, the presentation is very impressive and the discussion of race is brought up appropriately. The story unfolds well and doesn't disappoint, but the mission structure brings about a host of disappointments. Missions rarely give the opportunity to let side characters develop, and the main story consists of doing the exact same objectives over and over until the credits roll. Unfortunately, Mafia III is as disappointing as it is impressive.
If you’ve enjoyed the FIFA franchise up to this point, you won’t be disappointed in FIFA 17. The Journey is a smart addition, though it can be a little tedious at times, top-notch presentation and decent performances make the tedium tolerable. The actual gameplay is still enjoyable, but mostly unchanged from previous iterations. FIFA continues to be a solid sports franchise, and The Journey is an interesting experiment thrown into the mix.
Few games execute as well within their actual play as NHL, and that continues with in the newest installment. There’s a lack of girth around the main game, with Draft Champions and Franchise Mode feeling like copies from previous EA Sports games. But at the same time, the on-ice play has never been better, the on-ice trainer is improved further and adding in net battles was a smart move. While it disappoints slightly, NHL 17 is still a must-play for hockey fans.
Madden NFL 17 boasts some changes that players may not find entirely intriguing. The practice system with franchise has been bumped up, but it still remains a tireless slog that should be avoided. The new commentary duo is breath of fresh air and one that should stick around for years to come. While making the special teams useful again was nice, the on-field action has changed very little. Madden NFL 17 feels like more Madden NFL 16, which isn’t always a bad thing.
No Man’s Sky is an unforgettable adventure, one plagued by lack of direction and lack of meat. It brings about one of the most incredible worlds ever seen in a video game, but it doesn’t always take advantage of that. Despite the issues, No Man’s Sky is a milestone in video game development.
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter continues to be one of the best adventure/puzzle games around. It has nearly perfected the deduction system, but the contrived action sequences forced into the new title can be very frustrating. While one is slightly disappointing, five of the six new cases are quite enjoyable and features all the twists and turns you could hope for. Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter is another solid entry into this long-running franchise.
Homefront: The Revolution is a reboot of a mostly acceptable game. A reboot that brings about nauseating visuals, lackluster combat, and a dull narrative. An impressive customization feature is far from enough to save this sad installment.
1979 Revolution: Black Friday tells the story of the Iranian Revolution in the year within the title. It’s a beautiful, heart-wrenching story that makes you quickly fall for every character on screen. The lack of polish and occasional technical frustrations hamper its impact at times, but the message is still loud and clear. This isn’t about crafting some experience you’re going to sink one hundred hours into; it’s about expanding your horizons and learning about some truly important people.
While the gameplay is similar to years past, the new modes add a ton of previously unfound variety. The Road to the Show mode has finally been updated and is guaranteed to hook longtime players. On top of that, Diamond Dynasty no longer feels like an afterthought, and is instead one of the most joyous things about the game. After a slip and fall last year, Sony has managed to make sure MLB The Show 16 lands directly on its feet.
The newest installment in the Far Cry franchise runs into a few hiccups, most namely its tiring combat system. The new taming/companion system is well executed and Ubisoft has crafted a respectable amount of detail with their sculpture of 10,000 BCE. While it sometimes feels like just more Far Cry, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Yarny heads a fantastic 2D platformer that suffers from one or two issues, but ultimately becomes one of the more enjoyable experiences in recent memory. The music is peaceful, challenges are introduced intelligently, and the visual design is stunning. Unravel is an absolute delight of a video game.
Shooting Stars can provide some thrills due to its solid bullet-hell focused gameplay systems. The mechanics are tight and the special pick-ups diversify the combat a bit. But at the end of the day, its comedy feels more painful than enjoyable. The fact that it is thrown your way constantly only makes it more unenjoyable. It simply feels forced.
Just Cause 3 provides a ton of thrills. Its main goal from the outset seems to focus on raising the player's blood pressure and enthralling them with the action. While it achieves that feeling for a majority of the game, the console version suffers from some serious frame rate and loading issues that bog down their experiences. That being said, Just Cause 3 is a great game to simply sit down and have fun with. Turn your brain off, relax, and embrace the explosions happening on your television screen.
For the most part, The Old Hunters feels like a tight, good bit of content that fans of the original game will thoroughly enjoy. The Old Hunters ratchets up Bloodborne's difficulty quite a bit. But in doing so, the satisfaction of beating bosses only gets stronger. Found throughout the confines of the expansion are a host of new weapons and armor, all of which are welcome additions. The visual design is stronger than ever, as well. From Software has confirmed that there are no current plans for future Bloodborne expansions, meaning The Old Hunters is more than likely the bow on top of Miyazaki's 2015 project. If that is the case, it is a solid outing for one of the best games of 2015.