A reader looks back at the outgoing generation of consoles and tries name the best game of each year, from Mario Kart 8 to Death Stranding.
Back in January 2015, a time that now feels like a distant memory with all the recent goings on in the world, I wrote a Reader’s Feature picking my favourite game of each year over the course of the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/Wii console generation. So I wanted to do the same thing with the outgoing generation.
With Sony and Microsoft releasing mid-gen console upgrades, and Nintendo marching to the beat of their own drum (even more than usual), it’s not quite as easy to define when a console generation starts and ends nowadays, but for this feature I’ve gone with the release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2014 as the start point.
Nominations: Bayonetta 2, Dark Souls 2, Dragon Age Inquisition, Far Cry 4, Mario Kart 8, Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor, and Tales From The Borderlands
Winner: Mario Kart 8
With the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 still in their infancy this isn’t the strongest year in terms of potential nominations but that takes nothing away from the winner. Mario Kart 8 doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel when it comes to this series, but it does pretty much perfect it. With its excellent controls, exciting gameplay, and vast selection of brilliant tracks (both updated classics and original designs) this is the definitive version of this long running series and a must buy for all Wii U, and now Switch, owners.
Runner-Up: Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor
Nominations: Bloodborne, Life Is Strange, Ori And The Blind Forest, Rocket League, Splatoon, The Witcher 3, Xenoblade Chronicles X
Some strong contenders here, but my winner is the game that almost single-handedly convinced me to purchase a PlayStation 4. Every bit as intricately designed and intriguing as the Dark Souls games, Bloodborne takes the template laid down by the previous titles and ups the pace of combat to make for another superb title from arguably the most reliable developer around today.
Runner-Up: The Witcher 3
Nominations: Dark Souls 3, Hitman, Inside, Salt And Sanctuary, Titanfall 2, Uncharted 4, XCOM 2
Winner: Titanfall 2
While it’ll never match Call Of Duty for sales, for me personally Titanfall 2 remains the best first person shooter of the last console generation. The online multiplayer offers a host of different game modes and thanks to the mix of pilots and titans present the gameplay is always fast paced and unpredictable. In addition to the excellent online options the game also offers a superb single-player campaign featuring some brilliantly imaginative missions. All in all, this is just a great package.
Runner-Up: Dark Souls 3
Nominations: Horizon Zero Dawn, The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Nioh, Persona 5, Resident Evil 7, Super Mario Odyssey
Winner: The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
2017 was amongst the strongest year for games last generation and Nintendo certainly came out swinging in the Switch’s debut year. The jewel in the crown was, of course, Breath Of The Wild, a game which fixed virtually every issue I’d had with recent titles in the series. Following an excellent tutorial section on the Great Plateau you quickly realise just how big this open world is and, guess what? You can go anywhere you want! There’s no artificial restrictions or areas you can’t access, Breath Of The Wild is all about freedom!
From the clever puzzles contained in the 300 shrines (essentially mini-dungeons) to the myriad of ways to interact with your environment, I could go on for pages about the brilliance of Breath Of The Wild. Not only does it set a new standard for the Zelda series, it sets a new standard that open world games are going to find it very hard to match.
Runner-Up: Horizon Zero Dawn and Super Mario Odyssey (I can’t split them!)
Nominations: Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, ,Celeste, Dead Cells, Divinty: Original Sin 2, God Of War, Into The Breach, The Messenger, Subnautica, Tetris Effect
Winner: Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
Another incredibly strong year (hence the long list of nominees) but Astro Bot, a game that remains the single biggest reason to purchase the PlayStation VR headset, simply has to be the winner. I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve been truly surprised by a game in the last decade, but this is an experience like no other and every level and little detail had me smiling from ear to ear. Playing Astro Bot was the first time I could actually see a future where virtual reality becomes an important part of gaming!
Runner-Up: Divinity: Original Sin 2
Nominations: Astral Chain, Death Stranding, Devil May Cry 5, My Friend Pedro, The Outer Worlds, Resident Evil 2, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Winner: Death Stranding
Following a cataclysmic event, the remnants of the human race are forced to live in underground bunkers isolated from the rest of the world. Their very survival relies upon ‘porters’ who deliver messages and supplies between these colonies. One such porter, known as Sam Bridges, will have a role to play in saving the world…
Death Stranding is not a game I could ever unequivocally recommend, and I’m sure many will be put off within the first few hours. Personally, however, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of delivering packages to increasingly remote locations, and the excellent acting and soundtrack perfectly complimented the unique, interesting, and sometimes downright bonkers plot. The ‘strand’, system in which players can cooperate to develop infrastructure such as roads and bridges, also adds an extra layer to the game.
Runner-Up: Resident Evil 2
Nominations: A Short Hike, Fall Guys, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Hades, The Last of Us Part 2, Nioh 2, Ori And The Will Of The Wisps
The rougelike genre has become pretty crowded over the last few years, but Hades is the absolute cream of the crop. The combat is excellent, with weapons and upgrades offering endless combinations of play styles to be experimented with, and the upgrade system means that you gain something from each run. Add to this an interesting narrative, told through a humorous and well voiced script, and you have the best game of 2020.
Runner-Up: The Last Of Us Part 2
Well, those are my choices. Let me know what you think!
By reader Dieflemmy (gamertag/PSN ID/NN ID)
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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