As is becoming an annual tradition here at Push Square Towers, we’ve corralled our core group of staff writers and prodded them until they’ve told us what their favourite five games of the year are. With such a strong assortment to select from, added force was required in some instances. We had to tempt Liam with homemade lasagne before he gave us his top five.
Fifth Choice: The Evil Within 2
Far too many people focused on what The Evil Within 2 wasn’t, rather than what it actually was. Indeed it does ditch the linear trappings of its predecessor, but in its place is an open world that plays host to a meaningful plot along with side-quests that wouldn’t look out of place on the main path. Sure, the horror itself is toned down ever so slightly, but throw in the extensive upgrade tree and a lengthy list of weapon enhancements, and you’ve got an experience that lets you tackle Union’s ghoulies in any way you want.
Fourth Choice: Yakuza 0
As far as first experiences go with a long running franchise, it doesn’t get much better than Yakuza 0. This wacky adventure was my first undertaking in the underbelly of Kamurocho, and what a wild ride it was. The story gripped me, the side-quests are filled to the brim in the wonderful and weird department, and the variety in the game’s fight stances alongside its upgrades helped to keep combat fresh. The minigames had me boogying to J-Pop hits, while engaging in a steamy phone call is something I haven’t forgot in a hurry. Yakuza 0 brings it when it comes to anything out of the ordinary.
Third Choice: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is the perfect sign off to one of PlayStation’s greatest franchises. Chloe and Nadine’s expedition feels like a Greatest Hits edition of the entire series as everything that sets it apart from other action adventure games can be found within the tight campaign on offer. The two charismatic leads bring emotion and humour in each of their performances, the set-pieces rival the series’ very best, and the open world Western Ghats chapter feels like a true proof of concept for future Naughty Dog titles. There isn’t a better swan song than this.
Second Choice: Horizon: Zero Dawn
While the Killzone series was fine in its own right, Guerrilla Games wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire with the Helghast army. But then Horizon: Zero Dawn came along. This incredible new IP ushers in a world without limits, and one filled to the brim with Earth-dominating machines that are all begging to be conquered by the new PlayStation icon of Aloy. The story develops into a fascinating tale, the gameplay is a genre peak thanks to a ton of enemy variety, and the entire experience looks absolutely phenomenal. I still haven’t forgotten about my epic half an hour encounter with a Thunderjaw.
First Choice: Persona 5
Persona 5 is the greatest JRPG I have ever played. My 137 hour marathon through Shujin Academy by day, and as a Phantom Thief by night, is one I will never forget thanks to the title’s eye-catching style, its incredible cast of characters, and the general loop of role-playing as your average high school student. I loved increasing my social stats, I adored building friendships and relationships, and the turn-based combat was right up my alley. Persona 5 is the very greatest that video games has to offer, and if that ever falls into doubt, just remember that Makoto is the best girl.
Are you feeling Liam's selections this year? Groove to the Persona 5 theme tune in the comments section below.