It’s Loresworn Games of the Year Week! Today, we run through the games you won’t see on our Games of the Year list tomorrow… but we think probably would have made it if not for the fact that we just didn’t get around to them. Not everyone can check off every awesome game that comes out in a given year, and we are but a handful of mere mortals with lots of demands on our time. Hopefully, we’ll have a chance to visit these forgotten gems in the new year.
Thursday: GAME OF THE YEAR
Friday: Most Anticipated Games of 2016
T.J.’s Pile of Shame
I’ve been an Assassin’s Creed fan since I picked up the first two plus Brotherhood (on a whim, for something like $20) one frosty, Steam Sale morning in 2011. The main draw for me has always been interacting with locations, characters, and events ripped from the history books (and often mangled in the process), so I’ve been able to stick with the series through the ups and downs in writing and gameplay. But hearing the overwhelmingly negative buzz for Unity killed my momentum in keeping up with Abstergo’s shenanigans. With a new winter sale upon us, it may be time to dive back into the Animus. But alas, not in time for the likes of Shay, Evie, and Jacob to be under consideration for Game of the Year.
Double Fine’s quirky, generation-spanning strategy game was a Kickstarter I followed with great interest… and then completely lost track of by the time the end result was actually released. The art and setting look charming. The underlying mechanics intrigue me. I’ve heard it described as “Crusader Kings-esque”, which is enough by itself to get me to give it a try. Unfortunately, it didn’t make a grab for my time in 2015. I hope to rectify that soon.
Telltale has become a fixture of my gaming diet. Ever since The Walking Dead, I’ve grown to see them as reliable scribes of excellent, interactive storytelling that will engage and delight me even if I know nothing about the source material (as was the case with The Wolf Among Us). Their foray into Game of Thrones was one of my favorite games this year, and also my pick for most underrated game of 2015. Considering how Game of Thrones’ greatest critics (and even people who don’t care about Borderlands, for that matter) sung Tales’ praises on high, I’m almost certain I would have enjoyed it, and it probably would have cracked my Top 5.
I absolutely loved Shadowrun Dragonfall. Harebrained Schemes is carving out a place for itself as a first echelon developer of story-based, character-driven RPGs. Hong Kong, unfortunately, released at a time that I had a pretty heavy assignment load. And even more unfortunately, it was not one of those assignments. Thus, I have yet to set aside enough time to really sink my cyberware into it. But if it follows in Dragonfall’s footsteps, I earnestly await the day when I can.
And so we have arrived at possibly my greatest shame as an RPG fan since I finally got around to finishing Planescape Torment in 2013. The Game of the Year Apparent for anyone who knows my taste… and I haven’t played a minute of it. There is no truly proper excuse, but here’s my lame one: I refuse to play the series out of order, and I still haven’t finished Witcher 2. I’ve tried a number of times, but certain mechanics and core assumptions of Geralt’s middle chapter keep bogging me down to the point that I decide to play something else instead. Many a friend has already shouted at me to skip straight to Wild Hunt, but my stubbornness has not yet been weathered away to that point. Come hell or endless winter, I will get to it one day. And when that day comes, I have little doubt it will be a glorious experience. But that is not this day. This day, I will get yelled at in the comments for not having it on my GotY list.