| Tom Ham |
WASHINGTON (WP-BLOOM) – This was an amazing year for video gamers.
All three of the major consoles hit their strides, and we got our hands on the games that we really wanted to play.
Covering all genres, tastes and platforms, there is more than enough here to keep you busy over the holidays.
We have also included a few titles that won’t break the bank if you’re looking to buy for your brother or sister.
Here are some of the top video games of the year:
Super Smash Bros
Platform: Wii U
You’ve waited patiently. You’ve played it on your N64, GameCube, Wii and 3DS. Now the fighting game makes its much-anticipated appearance on the Wii U. With more than 50 fighters, this version of Smash is Nintendo’s biggest. You can choose to battle against the game, but the real challenge comes from playing against your friends. Super Smash supports up to eight people at a time locally as well as online gameplay. Beautiful visuals, dynamic arenas and the addition of Amiibo figures totally change the way the game is played.
Little Big Planet 3
Platform: PlayStation 4
When the evil Newton releases Titans onto the world of Bunkum, it’s up to Sackboy and his new friends to take him down and prevent the destruction of their creative sandbox. LBP3 continues the addicting gameplay that fans love by giving players all the customization tools necessary to build complex yet incredibly fun levels and worlds. What’s cool is that you can play your creations locally or with friends online. On the PlayStation 4, players are treated to incredibly detailed textures and lighting effects. It all looks amazing.
Child of Light
(digital downloadable game)
Platform: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U and PC
In this visually stunning game, players take on the role of Aurora as she ventures into the realm of Lemuria to help restore its sun, moon and stars. Along the way, the Dark Queen, Umbra, will pit you against her evil minions and put obstacles in your way. With your trusty sidekick, Igniculus, you can slow down attacks, heal allies and pick up helpful items during your journey. Ubisoft calls this game a “playable poem”; we call it wonderful.
Mario Kart 8
Platform: Nintendo Wii U
Everyone’s favourite kart racer is back, this time in HD glory! This Mario Kart sports new racing circuits, new characters and new items for your arsenal. A new feature in MK8 is anti-gravity racing. On certain tracks, your karts can ride on walls and on ceilings. The true stars of the game are the tracks themselves — 32 in all. You may get nostalgic racing through tracks from previous versions of the game. Some go all the way back to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. MK8 supports four players locally and as many as 12 players online. This by far is the best Mario Kart yet.
Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2.0 Edition)
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii U, Xbox One and PlayStation 4
The sequel to last year’s hit game puts players in the world of Marvel Super Heroes. The main campaign is split into three story lines, or play sets. The first has players as Avengers trying to defeat Loki. In the second, you are Spider-Man trying to defeat the Green Goblin. The third story line has you playing as the Guardians of the Galaxy as you try to defeat Ronan and his minions. Just as before, gamers can play two ways: play set and toy box. Play set is more structured and uses the figures in a more linear fashion. Toy box is your virtual sandbox, where players can create their own worlds and various game types. The game is highly addictive and a whole lot of fun. Thankfully, your figures from last year’s game are compatible with 2.0.
Forza Horizon 2
Platform: Xbox One and Xbox 360
If you ever had dreams of racing exotic sports cars through France and Italy, look no further than Forza 2. You take part in a virtual driving festival where you try to complete various racing events and challenges. Your rewards? Only some of the most expensive sports and classic cars on the planet! There are more than 200 cars in the game, including the beautiful Lamborghini Huracan and the classic Mini Cooper. Play solo or with eight of your friends online. The open road is yours for the taking.
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC
Part action and part strategy, the incredibly popular smartphone game has made the jump to consoles, and the result is pretty awesome.
Players can choose to play either as zombies or plants.
Each team has four classes, including your basic infantry unit and more support and offensive units.
After picking their class of unit, players are treated to three addictive multiplayer modes, where your shooting skills are put to the test.
As many as 24 players can be in a game at the same time online! As an added bonus, the downloadable content for this game is free. Pretty cool.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Platform: Wii U
Everyone’s favourite gorilla returns in his latest platforming adventure, and for the first time, he’s making an appearance on the Wii U.
When Donkey Kong Island is turned into an icy wasteland, its up to Donkey Kong and his family to save the day.
Gameplay is spread across five islands, each filled with obstacles and bosses.
Two new playable characters, each with special moves, adds to the fun and depth of the game. As one would expect, the visuals are top-notch and the level design is genius.
Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC
This unique platforming game is truly special.
A big game publisher didn’t make it; instead, it was produced by a small company in conjunction with the Alaska Native community.
The game was created not only to help share the culture of its people but also to expose players to experiences they probably would never otherwise encounter.
As a young girl named Nuna, players embark on an adventure across eight chapters in which she must find out the cause of a never-ending blizzard.
Along the way she will face enemies, solve puzzles and interact with wildlife.
What’s great about this game is that while players are having fun, they’ll be learning about an indigenous people.
Coupled with beautiful visuals and a great soundtrack, this title is not to be overlooked.