- Rocket League
Rocket League is plain and simple. You play soccer while controlling race cars. There’s a couple of different modes and a ton of modifications in the physics, but that’s about it. However, Rocket League makes up for it’s lack of content in pure fun factor. Rocket League is the most refreshing sports game I’ve played in years. I haven’t had this much silly fun in a sports setting since the original NBA Jam. Like NBA Jam, Rocket League barely resembles the sport it emulates at all. Instead, the soccer being played in Rocket League usually amounts to frantic boosting and aerial maneuvers, often accompanied by laughter and excitement. The gameplay strategy is also deceivingly difficult. Unlike other modern games, the only way to get better is to keep playing. That’s what I love the most about Rocket League. There’s no upgrades or stat boosts, and all of the customization is cosmetic. When you play competitively you are on an even playing field with everyone, regardless of how long they’ve played the game. Which leaves just you and your skill. Luckily, even the practice drills are super fun. I’ve sunk almost one hundred hours into the game, which is amazing when you consider its low end price. It’s a game that gives you guaranteed fun everytime you play it, and that’s a game worth owning.
- The Last of Us: Remastered
Naughty Dog, the creator of the Uncharted franchise, challenged our perspective of narrative with this instant classic. A third-person survival horror game, The Last of Us puts us in control of Joel, a middle-aged man with some serious baggage. Taking place in the near future, the story is more about the characters in the world than the world itself. All of our characters deal with some pretty heavy stuff, and that’s not even counting the hoards of infected humans trying to kill them. The Last of Us is not a game full of sunshine and happiness, it’s quite the opposite. However, Naughty Dog succeeding in delivering some of the most compelling and relatable characters in the action genre. Joel and Ellie are in contention for gaming’s best duo, hands down. Not only will you learn to care and love the characters, but you’ll have an exhilarating gameplay experience while you do it. The Last of Us is a masterpiece of modern storytelling.
- Fallout 4
Bethesda’s second stab at the Fallout franchise, Fallout 4 gives us another dose of that sweet RPG radiation we’ve been waiting for. It’s not as expansive as Fallout 3, but Fallout 4 does an excellent job cramming its world full of detail and story. As the title hints, the game takes place in a world post-nuclear fallout, and it’s going about as good as you’d expect. You play a character who has been thrusted into this new radioactive world and forced to fend for yourself. That’s the beauty of the Fallout franchise. The entire world is busting at the seams with characters to meet, quests to fulfill, buildings to explore, and weapons to craft. You can create your own settlement, recruit travelers, scavenge supplies, and even fall in love. You can alternatively do none of that. Fallout 4 is a game about freedom to be who you want and do what you want. It’s possible to complete the critical path with only killing a few enemies. You can also spend hundreds of hours killing every single person in the entire wasteland. Fallout 4 is a highly customizable, incredibly detailed, and content-packed open world RPG. This is a game that will always have something new to be discovered, even hundreds of hours in.
- The Witcher 3
Unlike Fallout 4, The Witcher 3 gives us a clear and designated storyline to experience. Although the game is open world, the narrative is clear and concise. However, The Witcher 3 excels in almost the exact same aspects as Fallout 4. It has an incredibly dense world with deep characters and expansive relationships. The combat is unique and easy to learn. The narrative and mythos is enthralling and imaginative. We also get a refreshingly sincere and great protagonist in our main character, Geralt. A witcher by trade, Geralt is a rugged yet collected man, who probably eats nails for breakfast. This guys kicks some serious butt, no doubt about it. The game tasks you with being a witcher; a slayer of mythical beasts. You’ll encounter werewolves, poltergeists, gryphons, and so much more. The awesome combat and enemies are backed by rich and motivational storytelling. Every side quest and random encounter has a story to tell, and they are all fantastic. In fact, one of my favorite aspects of the game was a simple card pub game called Gwent. You’ll probably fall in love with it too, but it goes to show that even the smallest experiences in the Witcher 3 are fully fleshed out. It’s one of the deepest and most narratively rich open world role playing games in a long time.
- Grand Theft Auto V
There’s not much that has to be said here. Since the dawn of Grand Theft Auto III, Rockstar has been stirring the beehive with its ridiculous open world action series. Known for being incredibly vulgar and adult, Grand Theft Auto V puts every other open world to shame. This is doubly true for the Playstation 4 and Xbox one releases of the game. The amount of virtual space available to play is insane. The map is big enough to house giant beaches, mountains, full cities, and more. There’s also an uncountable amount of side quests and activities. You can also switch between three main characters on the fly, all with their own personalities, motivations, and storylines. Each character has upgradeable statistics, their own missions, and their own bank accounts. Which is good, because sometimes you’ll want to play the stock market differently between your characters. Did I mention there was an in-game stock market? You can find it on the in-game internet, which you can find by using your in-game smart phone. Honestly, Grand Theft Auto V is basically a life simulator. Each aspect of the game is so detailed and refined that you can lose hours simply walking around. You can also play the game in both third and first person modes. Combine this with the explosive online community, and you’ve got a perfect gameplay package. Grand Theft Auto V is that perfect package.