I’ve written for Forces of Geek now for just over 7 years but sadly, the time has come to fly the nest. Thank you to everyone who has read my work over the years, I’ll be back to write the occasional piece but until then I thought this would be a great opportunity to write a retrospect chronicling my favourite games of those aforementioned years.
There were three games that stood out to me back in 2011, the first of the bunch was L.A. Noire. As a fan of schlocky, noir films like Gilda and Double Indemnity, I was excited for this games release and Rockstar did not disappoint me. The motion capture was a definite highlight in this game, I had recently seen Aaron Staton in Mad Men and Ray Donovan so to see him as the protagonist in L.A.Noire, looking exactly like himself blew me away.
The technology was incredible and being able to interrogate the characters by interpreting their facial movements and body language made me feel like a real detective. Not only that, but the writing was detailed and borrowed from the entire film noir canon, I especially adored the nods to The Untouchables and L.A. Confidential.
In 2011 I also enjoyed playing Portal 2, so much so in fact that my husband and I decided to acquire the NECA figurines of Atlas and P-Body to use as wedding cake toppers three years later. For us, the symbolism was that if you could play Portal 2 on co-op mode with your other half then you could make it through anything that life throws at you. Portal 2 embodied everything I love about multiplayer co-op gaming; the team work and patience, the cursing under your breath and the exasperation.
The third game that drew me in that year was Alice: Madness Returns, a game I love so much that I have since made myself a costume from scratch and cosplayed at conventions as Alice herself. I really enjoyed the creepy imagery and dark, visceral storyline that plays out (that’ll be the inner goth in me that I let out on occasion).
The year of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, a year that I as a Londoner couldn’t escape, so naturally I delved into the world of video games to try my best to ignore all of the sport and activity.Two of the games that come to mind were sequels in their respective series’, both number threes that begin with ‘M’ weirdly; Max Payne 3 and Mass Effect 3.
Now I am one the defenders of the original ME3 ending, for me, it ended the only way I felt it could regardless of the choices I made in the game. However, if I’m perfectly honest, the best thing about this game was rebuilding my tattered relationship with Kaidan after getting it on with Garrus in the previous game (what was I to do? I thought Kaidan hated me so I moved on…a girl has needs and Garrus is great at calibrating)!
Max Payne 3 was a really well-rounded game with an excellent soundtrack from HEALTH and it genuinely surprised me because I found myself spending an awful lot of time in the multiplayer mode which somehow, I was good at. Admittedly, this was probably the real reason I was enjoying the multiplayer mode so much but I enjoy good ego massage from time to time!
Despite it’s winning soundtrack (seriously, check it out on Spotify) Max Payne 3 wasn’t my favourite game of the year. The game that received that accolade and that I instantly fell in love with was a brand new game, an original IP at a time when everything out there was just another sequel, Dishonored. Now this game absolutely captivated me, I loved the story, the world, the game mechanics that changed depending on how you played and the supernatural, steampunk feel of the whole series.
This was the year of Grand Theft Auto V and I had an absolute blast playing this alongside my friends online. Within the single player story, I very much enjoyed switching between three main characters and I appreciated the stripped down social aspect that the last game had pushed so heavily (I hated having to go bowling with cousin Roman, forced socialising irritates me in real life, let alone in games). The game as of writing is currently ranked number two in the July software charts, helped by the recently released GTA V: Premium Online Version back in April this year.
Another game that stood out in 2013 was BioShock Infinite, the finale in the BioShock series. I’ve long been a fan of this series and Infinite turned out to be my favourite, mostly because it answered questions from the previous games and I really enjoyed the character of Elizabeth and the airborne cities. It added to the previous underwater setting of Rapture with huge, sprawling cities in the sky and as such felt like a fresh take on an already excellent series.
When Destiny was originally released in 2014, I was a regular player and spent countless hours grinding on it with my friends. I always like to support Bungie because the early games in the Halo series mean a lot to me, having played them obsessively during my formative years. So, naturally I got behind Destiny at launch and was fortunate enough to have some friends to play alongside regularly which made it all the more satisfying.
Titanfall was another game that I was drawn to in 2014, I had played a demo while at Eurogamer and I fell in love with the concept of big stompy mechs and free-running. My obsession with this game got so bad that my husband would often have to force me to play other games instead of endlessly joining Titanfall servers. Subsequently, due to my constant playing, I got really good at it and that made me really competitive…with myself. I used to try and up my kill counts or beat my own record for the number of humans I was able to squish underfoot in each game.
Despite the time I spent on Titanfall, I was able to fit in more gaming in the form of Assassin’s Creed Unity. For me, the Assassin’s Creed series is all about the time period, I’m a history buff and I find the French Revolution fascinating so despite all the hilarious glitches during the games release, I found the game enjoyable. The setting and subsequent costume, architectural and character design, with its grandeur and resplendency pleased me greatly.
A game not unlike Unity in its heavy reliance on the stealth mechanic that came out the same year was Thief. I really enjoyed this remake and was reminded at time of Dishonored. There was a particular level in the game that really attracted my attention, it was set in an abandoned asylum and this level felt more like I was playing a horror game, I remember being terrified and exhilarated all at once because I really enjoy the survival horror genre but the unexpectedness of it all had me on edge.
I turned 30 in November 2015 and as if Bethesda knew, the fourth instalment in one of my absolute favourite gaming series’ was released, Fallout 4! I always immerse myself in these games and my current save is made up of over 100 hours of gameplay, I was so hyped for this game to the point I thought it might disappoint me but fortunately that didn’t happen.
I live for side quests and will often spend the vast majority of my time focusing on them, enjoying the world building, crafting and boosting my XP and skills before taking on the main story missions. The fact I still play this game, three years later, is a testament to how much I love it.
There were other games in this year but to be perfectly honest, when I think of 2015 this game dominates!
Overwatch, much like Destiny is a game that I played remarkably often when it was first released in 2016, but stopped playing over time. It still gets a spot on my favourite games because I liked the gameplay and despite disliking healer based characters, I found myself playing as Mercy for the majority of the time. This struck a chord because until this point I had always written off healers as boring but Mercy was anything but.
Naturally, after my obsession with Dishonored in 2014, it was no shock that Dishonored 2 quickly became a favourite game of mine. As much as I had a soft spot for Corvo, I really enjoyed playing as Emily and I admired the continuing story.
2016 was also the year that I first experienced VR, at first I thought it was all a novelty but then I played some stellar games that changed my mind, perhaps the one that sticks out best in my memory is Superhot VR. I felt like I was in a Max Payne game or my own John Wick film, the way the bullet time worked in this game was so intuitive and I felt like Neo!
Lastly in 2016 was the very beginnings of Pokemon Go, which despite it’s ability back then to suck up my phones battery life and constant screen freezing has endured. I still play this game and it’s evolved into a staple game that I play on a near daily basis. The additions of friends and quests since the early days has made this game all the more entertaining and I’m excited to see what Niantic do next.
There is perhaps only one contender for this 2017 because The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was released and I was fortunate enough to loan a friend’s Switch and his copy while he had a writing deadline to work on. I am so grateful for this as the last Zelda console game I had played was Twilight Princess. This was the game I didn’t realise I needed, I was infatuated by this game, it was so beautiful and I found every opportunity I could to play it.
When the time came to give back my friend’s Switch, I moved on to Assassin’s Creed Origins and wow, the enormity of this game did not disappoint me, after enjoying the open world of BOTW this was just as vast and equally beautiful. I have long been a lover of Egyptian story and mythology so it’s no surprise that I’m still playing this game. When I like a game, I take my time with it and spend as much time as I can and submerse myself in the game world. Plus, the addition of discovery mode, where you can take virtual guided tours and learn about the monuments and places of interest was a genius move by Ubisoft and one I hope they’ll pursue in upcoming Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
So far, this year has been the year to play catch up for me. I finally became the proud owner of a PS4, my first Sony console since my beloved PS2 and so I made it my mission to play through all the get exclusives I’ve missed over the years so the game that sticks out for me most is The Last Of Us, fortunately I’ve been able to play the remastered version.
Whether it’s the years that have passed since the games original release or the fact it had been hyped so much I was alarmed to find that I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I thought I should have. That said, although I was able to predict the story and found the combat repetitive, there were some moments in TLOU that stood out whether as set pieces like the “that giraffe scene” or the fact I was able to play as Ellie, I can definitely see why this game received the high praise. Of course I’m also hyped to play Shenmue 3, Fallout 76, Red Dead Redemption and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey this year too!
So, there you have it. My retrospective of the last 7 years in video games, I hope you enjoyed it and I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed my previous articles for the site. I will miss my FOG! family and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of it. If you want to continue to follow my work you can do on Twitter @emmajanecorsan – I’ll see you there!
Thank you and so long!