Hades is Supergiant's best game yet, and that is high praise. While it lacks some of the emotional punch of Bastion, that is basically the only area where it lags behind. The characters are likeable, the gameplay is phenomenally fun, the soundtrack is amazing, and the entire game is a joy. Even if you're not a fan of roguelikes, it's worth giving Hades a shot because it is the embodiment of a roguelike done right. It's easily one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch, and it's a solid port. Hades is a must-play and easily one of the best games of the year.
In short, why haven't you already purchased Okami HD? At $20, Okami HD is one of the greatest gaming values of 2012, representing the greatest and largest Zelda-like adventure to not come from Nintendo. It's been updated beautifully and features strong, complementary use of the Move technology. Even at six years of age, the game is better than many modern contemporaries. Hopefully, the HD update finally brings Capcom the success that the game has long deserved.
XCOM 2 took a formula that was already deeply compelling and made it even better. The game is even more punishing due to the expanded gameplay and the emphasis on urgency, but it gives you plenty of opportunity to succeed all the same. You'll celebrate every victory, you'll learn from each defeat, and either way, the game manages to be amazing. As good as the previous release was, XCOM 2 is an even better game in every conceivable way.
Shovel Knight is a modern classic that takes the 2-D platforming genre and modernizes it. There are minor complaints here and there, but they're easily overlooked when you're having so much fun playing the game. The PlayStation 4 version runs perfectly, and since it's a cross-buy with the Vita version, it helps to make it feel well worth the $14.99 price tag. If you're a fan of Mega Man-style platformers or are looking for something that's both challenging and fair, Shovel Knight is a worthy purchase.
Bloodborne is easily an early contender for game of the year, and it's the best PS4 exclusive to date. It captures the immensely strong design of Dark Souls and mixes it with high-intensity combat. The new setting and mechanics keep the title feeling fresh even while it retains many familiar aspects from the Souls games. Some minor problems, such as an occasionally poor frame rate, lightly tarnish the experience. Bloodborne is a must-have for any gamer who isn't afraid to die. The intense, fast-paced gameplay and grim world combine to create an experience that's both familiar and distinctive. It's time to die all over again.
The ideas behind the design of TitanFall aren't new to the genre, but the resulting combination works well. The pilot gameplay makes incredible use of a map's surfaces and elevations, the Titan gameplay trades vertical gameplay for heavy firepower, and the transition between the two is seamless. The sheer fun and unparalleled mobility that the game provides cannot be overstated. The Xbox One finally has a console-exclusive shooter, and TitanFall is such a damned good one that it's tough to go back and play others.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a modern classic. It does so much right and so easily that it's difficult to believe. The exploration and the sheer sense of freedom bring to the forefront what Zelda used to do. Aside from some frame rate problems and annoying puzzles, it's a solid and enjoyable game. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a Zelda title will find a lot to love here, and anyone new to the franchise couldn't pick a better place to start. Breath of the Wild might be the swan song for the Wii U — and the herald of the Switch — but it's one heck of a note to go out on.