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 warned Stephen he'd have to explain the meaning of 'Quintumply' if he didn't decide upon his list.
Fifth Choice: Undertale
It may have taken a couple of years for Toby Fox's acclaimed RPG to make its way to PlayStation, but boy was it worth the wait. Undertale is a real treasure. It's a game that subverts your expectations, upends gaming conventions, and constantly strives to entertain. The world building is excellent, and is supported by an immensely loveable cast of characters that accompany you through a melancholy yet heart-warming and hilarious story. So strong is the writing and characterisation that you'll even fall in love with base-level enemies. It's definitely one of the most memorable games I've played this year.
Fourth Choice: Yakuza 0
Speaking of memorable games, Yakuza 0 was my entry point into the long-running series, and I'm so pleased that I decided to jump into this crazy, kick-ass world. The central story is up there with the year's best narratives, effortlessly interweaving the paths of Kiryu and Majima, two fantastic characters I loved spending time with. There is almost too much to talk about, but the brutal brawling and the endless assortment of mini games and side missions countered the melodrama and furrowed brows of the story. The result is a riotous mash-up that had me hooked for dozens of hours.
Third Choice: Sonic Mania
Another highlight from SEGA came in the form of a classic, 2D Sonic title made by a group of passionate fans. Sonic Mania earns its place on my list because it turned out to be exactly what I wanted: a no nonsense, proper Sonic game. It recaptures the feeling of playing the early games perfectly, and I had a constant, stupid grin on my face. Christian Whitehead and his team should be applauded for their achievements; the level design, the presentation, and the classic gameplay transported me back to a simpler time, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.
Second Choice: Everything
From nostalgia overload to an experience unlike anything I've ever played before, David O'Reilly's Everything had always intrigued me, but I didn't expect it to resonate with me to such a degree. Going into it, I didn't think I'd find the game so relaxing, so profound, and so captivating. The simplistic look and funny animations belie a game that's deeper than you think, with numerous ways to interact with its universe soundtracked by the fascinating philosophy of Alan Watts. I just love existing in its world, one with no rules or objectives, but a unique sense of freedom and playfulness.
First Choice: Horizon: Zero Dawn
For me, though, Horizon: Zero Dawn sits above Everything, and everything else this year. Aloy is already one of PS4's most iconic protagonists, but perhaps even more impressive is her story, an origin tale with twists and turns right to the end. While you mulled over the mysteries, you had huge, powerful, robotic beasts to take down. Not only were they well designed, but excellent fun to fight, and with the gorgeous world begging to be explored, it was impossible to put the pad down. Guerrilla's best game, and also one of the most enjoyable action titles PS4 has to offer.
Are you nodding your head vigorously in agreement with Stephen's selections? Raise your hands above your head in the comments section below.