It was so hard to limit this list to just ten, so I had to make sure I mentioned some games that I had to cut off from the final slate of games, for one reason or another.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
It’s like if Ubisoft were given the rights to the Lord of the Rings series and released their fourth title with Shadow of Mordor. It’s that good! Combat is intuitive, the action-RPG elements of gameplay are sensible and it beats the hell out of a lot of other Tolkien game entries. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t get to spend as much time as I wanted in order to finish the game, and it would be a disservice to include it and not even get halfway through.
When strictly talking about gameplay, there’s nothing so beautiful and concise (that was released in 2014) as the multiplayer combat in Nidhogg. Its pixelated NES-like art style provided an intriguing aesthetic that complemented the rock-paper-scissors-on-the-fly combat of this Indie fencing title. Unfortunately, my experience with the game came on the PC, with a spotty netcode that impacted online play. Plus, with only one controller on the PC, offline co-op proves difficult. Being ported to the PS4, it’s a lot easier to enjoy tournament play that the game richly deserves, but I cannot honestly attest to that just yet.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
A worthy precursor to the open world stealth action of The Phantom Pain, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is a neat little starter set of objective-based gameplay. All the Kojima trademarks are there, including neat tricks like shooting out an enemy’s flashlight to catch them off guard, and the side missions will extend the shelf life of the product.
Still, even in the months leading up to release, Konami was planning on charging $40 for a physical copy of a game that had a 1-hour main mission. Thankfully, they corrected that problem before it began, but even with that fix, the game itself is decidedly short. You wouldn’t remove the Tanker mission from Metal Gear Solid 2 in order to fund production of the Outer Shell mission unless you were fairly desperate; a sign that hopefully isn’t foreboding about Konami’s funding of future Metal Gear games.
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