You might be forgiven for thinking I played a lot of games this year. Really what I played was VR tech demos. I'll deal with them separately, after all most of them don't last more than an hour or two. Instead let's dig into the meaty games that were played this year. Remember they don't have to have come out this year, this is just the first year in which I touched them.
Mehs: Deathwing It's been a bit of a Warhammer Christmas but they can't all be winners. While Deathwing has it in the atmosphere department everything else in the game feels janky and unfinished. Space Hulk was never my favourite board game and this isn't likely to convert me. Pillars of Eternity This looked meh to me from the beginning and while I did find it a pleasant game which I completed to the finish I've little desire to go back to it. There were only a few interesting aspects to the world and no moments that stick out overall. Everything was serviceable, a firm meh. Star Wars: The Old Republic I don't know why I tried it it to be honest. A drunken dare? It doesn't do anything interesting as an MMO or a Star Wars game. It's just a time filler. If this is what KOTOR turned into, leave me out of it. The Elder Scrolls Online Another MMO, I have terrible taste. Elder Scrolls lasted longer in my mind than Star Wars but it's the same instanced off skinner box, just with larger areas. Play only with friends and murder them afterwards to preserve your secret.
Highs: Divinity: Original Sin This was the first year I actually dug into Divinity Original Sin. There were some false start attempts to co-op with friends but it's not really a co-op game. It's the sort of RPG that is more enjoyed alone in a dark room as the night draws ever closer... But seriously it's a fun game with just enough of everything. Credit goes to the simple but effective combo combat system which allows you to spam your favourite moves or experiment. Mordheim It's Warhammer and Warhammer is good. The studio have done a fairly faithful recreation of the tabletop game but put their own spin with the forced over the shoulder cam that keeps you involved in the action. It's enough to make it its own thing feeling distinct from XCOM. I've only played a little but I want more. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun Likewise I only played a little of Shadow Tactics but it has all the fun of the old Commando games or Robin Hood, with the added bonus of being about super ninja samurai happy time. The developers know their audience as the first prompt of the game asks if you want the dialogue in Japanese with English subtitles. Stellaris A strong contender for game of the year, Stellaris marked itself out from all the usual Space Empire games by being in real time. After the first few games it can get a bit samey but the developers have released promising DLC to spice up the weaker areas. Total Warhammer Alas, there was nothing anyone could do to take away Total Warhammer's crown for game of the year. I'll admit I was hyped for the release but waited until this year to pick it up. Every expectation of mine has been met. It provides the Warhammer experience AND the Total War experience. The Orks are fighty, the Chaos is foul and every zombie is rendered with the artistry a big studio like CA can provide.
My biggest meh was losing momentum in 7 Days to Die. I have to reinvigorate my reluctant frenemies to rejoin me in the apocalypse. Otherwise I'm forced to continue rubbing elbows and teamspeaking with strange, random people in unfortunate public servers.
BLAST YOU WEAKLINGS! I WILL BRING YOU BACK AND MAKE YOU PAY! I MEAN PLAY!