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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Counting down the best games of the year

    Being in school, our idea of a year is a bit thrown off by schedules, semesters and summer vacations. It’s like that song from “Rent”; how do you measure a year? Well, in the video game industry, the Electronic Entertainment Expo is a pretty good marker. Held annually at the Los Angeles Convention Center in mid-June, E3 is all about new beginnings and things to come, so what better way to quantify a year than the time between these conventions?

    Here’s my list of the best games that have been released since E3 2014.

    6. “Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!” (Oct. 14, 2014)

    I was tempted to just put “The Handsome Collection” here, but I think that would sell “Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!” short. Gearbox Software does it again and evolves just enough to be outstanding and fresh while still respecting its fans and its boundaries as a game. Getting to play as some of the series’ best villains and most lovable NPCs — all while learning about the history of Pandora’s moon and, of course, Jack — is a treat.

    5. “Apotheon” (Feb. 3, 2015)

    Where did this come from? Apotha-what? Don’t sell this indie game short just because you haven’t heard of it. One of the most enjoyable gameplay experiences I’ve had all year came from this perfect combination of “God of War” and “Castlevania.” I legitimately could not set my controller down until I earned “Apotheon”’s platinum trophy. It’s pretty short compared to triple-A titles, but “Apotheon” has what it takes to revive the side-scrolling genre, and I pray to Zeus that it does.

    4. “Dragon Age: Inquisition” (Nov. 18, 2014)

    Mmm. Sweet, sweet RPG. “Dragon Age: Inquisition” does right everything that “Dragon Age II” did wrong. The combat is amazing, the characters are creative, the dialogue is witty and the world is as expansive as they come. Leading your inquisition across a sandbox world rich with interesting and worthwhile side quests is almost as fun as hunting down the game’s elusive and challenging dragons. The only reason “Inquisition” doesn’t rank higher is because I’m a sucker for narrative, and this game’s story hit a bogey where it should have easily hit a birdie.

    3. “Bloodborne” (March 24, 2015)

    The spiritual successor to “Dark Souls” is bound to be frustrating, but it’s way more rewarding than you think dying 1,000 times would be. This action RPG, like its From Software predecessors, is one of the most infuriating games I’ve ever played. That being said, I couldn’t put it down. The accomplishment of finally tearing through a boss that has already killed you five times is incomparable. “Bloodborne” is also scarier than my bank account balance, but the world doesn’t seem so daunting when you’re walking around with a hammer the size of a smart car on your back.

    2. “Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor” (Sept. 30, 2014)

    I don’t think anyone expected “Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor” to be quite this good, but I’m so glad I was wrong. This underdog of a game came out swinging, and those swings decapitated many an Uruk’s head. With gameplay similar to “Batman: Arkham City,” “Shadow of Mordor” is a blast to play, great to look at, and has a genuinely interesting narrative. The game’s “it” factor, however, comes from its enemy hierarchy system. Unlike many other games I’ve played, each death serves a purpose and gives incentive to keep playing. In a world where video game adaptations of pre-existing media are worse than a cancelled “Silent Hills” preorder, I salute you, “Shadow of Mordor.” You’ve wraithed your way to No. 2.

    1. “Super Smash Bros. Wii U” (Sept. 13, 2014)

    If “Super Smash Bros.” isn’t the best thing to happen to my living room and the worst thing to happen to my friendships in years, I don’t know what is. Old-school beat ’em up games don’t typically change much from year to year, but “Super Smash Bros. Wii U” is exactly what the doctor (Mario) ordered: nostalgia, new characters, updated graphics, gamepad play, eight-player battles. The list goes on and on, and for that reason, it tops the list. Salute the Sun!


    Follow Torsten Ward on Twitter.

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