This year is half over which means we’re taking some time to reflect on some of the amazing games that have come out of the first half of 2015. My list consists of some pretty high profile games, while also acknowledging a lesser known title as well as a free-to-play game that’s been eating up a lot of my time since launch. So without further adieu, here are my picks for Top 5 Games of the Mid-Year
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
As soon as I started playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I was instantly hooked by its story, combat, and the amazing sprawling world CD Projekt Red created. Even though I only dabbled in a bit of The Witcher and its sequel, I didn’t feel like I missed much of anything since the story of The Witcher 3 is told through its own entity.
The combat system in The Witcher 3 might seem easy to grasp at first, but the deeper you get into the game, the more you’ll need to rely on various strategies. The use of oils and potions opens up a world of possibilities when combatting a strong adversary. Geralt is no pushover, but some of the monsters he comes across are downright deadly if you attempt to take them head on without any sort of planning, and there’s nothing more rewarding than doing research on a monster and being able to dispose of them easily because of it.
The main story and numerous side quests fill out an already impressive game as the adventures I’ve been on with Geralt are some that I will never forget. I won’t ever forget learning what a Botchling is and what needed to be done to get rid of it nor will I forget how helpless I felt when I saw Priscilla was hurt by some random lunatic. I know there are more stories that I need to experience, and I’ll be sure to make as much time as possible to experience them all before I consider my time with The Witcher 3 to be over.
Having dabbled in previous From Software games like Demon’s Souls and the Dark Souls series, I was very interested in checking Bloodborne out. I’m happy I was selected to write up our review of the game because that meant I needed to take it more serious than previous From Software games, which would often end with me flinging a controller across the room and playing another game.
Bloodborne is not for the weak of heart as it’s a brutal experience that will continually remind you that you’ll never be any good at the game, only lucky in your battles with the enemies you’ll face. But if you’re able to overcome the insurmountable odds against you, there won’t be any more rewarding experience than actually completing Bloodborne.
Arrowhead Game Studios’ Helldivers is a top-down twin-stick shooter that fans of co-op games need to check out. As a Helldiver, you’re tasked with fighting for humanity and democracy against three alien races across a variety of locations. There’s both direct and indirect co-op as players can fight with up to three other Helldivers and have the outcome of their battles be tallied up in the game’s Galactic Campaign feature. The Galactic Campaign shows the results of other Helldivers efforts to push back alien attacks and to ultimately defeat them once and for all.
Friendly-fire can make for some hilarious and frustrating moments as your Helldiver will be mistakenly shot by other players, by his own equipment, and be flattened by incoming ordinance. Players will need to be aware of what’s going on around them at all times during various fights, which becomes increasingly difficult depending on your mission. If you can survive the numerous missions in Helldivers, you’ll be in for one hell of a time.
As a fan of the Dead Island and Dead Island 2, I was looking forward to Dying Light for the fact that I just wanted to kill more zombies with random melee weapons in a new location. Dying Light has you playing as undercover operative Kyle Crane who has been sent by the GRE to infiltrate the quarantined city of Harran. Crane is able to perform some impressive parkour moves that rivals Faith’s from Mirror’s Edge, which gives him way more freedom to adventure through his environment than what was previously achievable in the Dead Island series.
Dying Light has a wide variety of enemies to take on that offer varying difficulties depending on what it is and what time of day it is. Biters are the standard zombie, while Runners are more agile and will climb over obstacles to get to you. Then there’s the Volatile, which I still feel a bit of anxiety just thinking about seeing as they’re very fast, agile, and ferocious.
Dying Light is a great follow up to the Dead Island series that I still enjoy playing every so often when a new piece of DLC is released. If you like killing thousands of zombies with a variety of melee weapons, then there isn’t a better experience than what Dying Light offers.
Heroes of the Storm
I’ve had access to the Heroes of the Storm beta for some time, but I never had the chance to check it out. Once the game finally released, I decided to give it a chance and most of my free time for the past month has been spent playing this game.
Yes - it’s a free-to-play MOBA, but as a fan of Blizzard’s real-time strategy games, I get a sense of nostalgia when I play Heroes of the Storm. What makes it so appealing to me is I don’t have to worry about any resource management or controlling various heroes. All I need to worry about is my one hero, who I level up as my team gains experience, and take on various objectives.
Each map has it’s own distinct feel and list of objectives to complete, such as collecting doubloons to hire a mercenary ghost pirate to shoot cannonballs at enemy towers from his ghost pirate ship or hold specific points of the map in order to call a large dragon to wreak havoc on enemies. And with the release of Eternal Conflict, I have a feeling my obsession with Heroes of the Storm won’t be getting any better any time soon.