Black Ops 3
It’s easy to look at Black Ops 3 and see that not a lot has changed, and that’s certainly true, but not entirely. Sure, you’re still going through a roller coaster of action events that defy all logic in the single player, still swapping out guns and perks in the multiplayer. The new “additions,” like a robot arm that shoots fireflies or being able to wall run, are just extensions on what you’ve previously been able to do in other games, but they definitely add to the fun of it all. Shooting up robots certainly never gets old, and the array of weapons at your disposal here are all pretty great, and Zombies continues to be a delight. If the series is going to keep continuing, Treyarch is at least making sure to keep them fun.
Star Wars Battlefront
And yet, while in some cases it definitely is, Battlefront manages to succeed just by being a really fun blast to play. It looks and sounds great but, more importantly, DICE just nailed what made the previous two games work. The shooting works whether you’re in first or third person, and the weapons are balanced. Star Wars’ big scale fights seen only in the movies definitely come across here through most of the modes the game provides.
Still, if you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’re in some of Star Wars’ most iconic battles (that weren’t in the prequels), you certainly can’t go wrong with Battlefront. Plus, it’s currently the only game out where you can play as iconic characters from the original trilogy and completely shatter your perceptions of them by dying horribly. And that’s worth the $60 alone.
Halo 5: Guardians
It’s a saying that gets thrown around a lot, but Halo 5 really does feel like the biggest game in the series. The story mode is certainly no slouch on the action or scope of the story, constantly coming at you with action sequences that don’t let you rest. Regretfully, some of the biggest action occurs in cutscenes instead of player input, but there’s no denying there’s awesome to be had either way. The addition of three extra Spartans as your co-op partners or AI teammates has definitely increased the number of enemies you face, but it still maintains the classic flow and balance that Halo’s been known for.
But multiplayer is truly where the game needed to sell itself, and it is awesome. Fans who weren’t into the loadout and ordinance drops of Halo 4 will be glad to hear that those have been wiped away in favor of putting everyone on an even playing field. All Spartans can aim down sights, sprint, clamber, and use thruster packs in what helps to provide more mobility and combat to things, and each map is thankfully tuned with these new mechanics in mind. Halo games have always thrived on multiplayer, and in that regards, Halo 5 is more than a worthy successor. Well done, 343.
Splatoon certainly feels polished like Nintendo products do, and it’s definitely got the charm their other games possess. While the single player is pretty fun, it’s the multiplayer where the game truly shines and shows why it won the Game Award for best multiplayer. Paintball’s got nothing on what Nintendo’s got to offer.
Painting an entire area the color of your team and painting an enemy to death never gets old, and sliding around as a squid may just set a new bar for fun ways to travel in games. Not to mention the free updates the game has been getting that add new maps, weapons, and outfits. Can’t go wrong with free on top of great, can you? Plus, who hasn’t ever wanted to be a squid? Just look at them!
Destiny: The Taken King
If nothing else, Taken King’s biggest success certainly comes in providing a coherent story for Destiny that the base game was lacking. Even though he makes brief physical appearances, Oryx is a constant threat throughout the story, and your mission is to clear the entire way through. There’s genuine stakes in what’s going on, and tying the story in to Eris Morn and Cayde-6 helps this feel like a joint effort instead of you going on solo quests with vague objectives.
The Taken King brought with it a bunch of new content, turning Destiny from a good game into a great one. The base game hasn’t changed all that much, but new loot and subclasses changes things up; flaming hammers and electric hands are always welcome. Quests feel more like actual missions with personality instead of typical MMO fashion, and they definitely feel more fleshed out than missions in the original game did. When you add in the new Raid and modes that come in packaged with the Taken King, there’s no denying that this is the comeback Destiny’s needed for a while.
What’s your favorite shooter of the year? Let us know in the comments below.