Movie Review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Game Review: Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (PS4)
Hardware Review: HyperX PulseFire FPS Gaming Mouse
Movie Review: Spider-man – Homecoming
Game Review: Marvel Heroes – Omega (Xbox One)
Game Review: Crossout (Xbox One)

Game Refraction: Jennifer’s Top 5 XBOX ONE Games of 2015

2015 was an epic year for gaming, especially on the new generation consoles. There was never a short of titles available to appease the gaming interests of any gamer. I spend most of my time utilizing the Xbox ONE console, as it has the all in one package when it comes to entertainment needs. Though there were countless games that were available for play this year and while all fantastic on their own levels, I have narrowed down the list and picked my top 5 Xbox One games of 2015.

5. Plague Inc Evolved20140131_plague_inc_evolved

This game is one that I could simply not put down and even now is one that I will take a hour or so to dive into for a challenging brain drain. There is simply something so interesting (and kinda sadistic) about being in control of an epidemic like strain that must wipe out humanity. The draw of this game is that you take on the form of several different disease types (virus, bacteria, etc..) that have unique evolving capabilities and lethality and it challenges you as a gamer to select your method of transmission, location of infection and how the epidemic evolves to ensure that you can successfully infect the whole world before a cure is developed and eradicates the disease. The interface graphics are realistic and appealing to the gaming experience. The game is never the same, and personally is always challenging me to rethink my strategy, because just as you think you have the upper hand on humanity, they take back control. A fantastic download that is endless entertainment and slightly educational on the effects of disease in the modern world.

4. Rare Replayrareplay

Honestly, this game is made for the nostalgic child in the older gamers. Inspired by the Xbox One backwards compatibility feature, Rare provided their top 30 games in their development library, ranging from platforms ZX Spectrum to the Xbox 360. The game is ideally 30 individual full game downloads in one (better make sure you have hard disk space available), wherein you select them through the Rare Replay menu. The nice part of this game package is that cheats have been added to help in the complexity of some of the older games, and they have a Snapshot mode which has challenges selected from the various titles for the gamer to complete (reminded me a lot of NES Remix). I really was thrilled to download this game to take advantage of such loveable titles as Banjo Kazooie/Banjo Tooie and  Viva Pinata/Viva Pinata Trouble in Paradise which are games that I have for the Xbox 360, but the graphics and interfaces have been updated to breathe a new life into the Xbox one versions. There is at least one game in the package that will spark some old school gaming memories in everyone, so I highly recommend downloading it just to be able to relive some of the gaming classics.

3. Assassin’s Creed SyndicateACS-media-SS-4-big_202195_202309

I have been a longtime fan of the Assassins Creed series, and this ninth game in the saga does not disappoint. Set in Victorian era London, the open world design allows players to freely roam and discover the map while following a dedicated storyline. The exciting part in this game is that you are actually in control of two unique players and as a female gamer, it is nice to have more opportunity to play as a female lead versus a defaulted male lead in a game. The overall graphics in the game are mesmerizing as the finest of details have not been spared, and it makes for a realistic visual experience. While the game follows the typical layout of game play controls and interfacing that is known in the Assassins Creed series, I found that it has such a well-defined storyline that it will captivate your interest. While this game may have taken a back burner spot due to the influx of game releases around the same time, it is one that is worth putting time into, especially before the release of any future titles in the series, as to continue the overall story that has linked all the games in the series together thus far.

2. Fallout 446743_orig

This fifth instalment in the Fallout series was one that I waited patiently all year to finally un-box and experience. While the gameplay is very similar to that of Fallout 3, the addition of such features as scavenging, companions to travel with (which is handy if your skills are not high enough in say lock picking, you can have your companion do it for you), and the ability to construct/de-construct buildings and items has added a new refreshing touch to the gameplay experience. The open world setting of the game allows for a non-liner gameplay, which has led to a lot of crazy scenarios occurring, requiring further thought and planning in navigation throughout. The revamped S.P.E.C.I.A.L. chart and perk chart has made it easier for a player to customize their character to be even more unique than before. The graphics are visually appealing and detailing is much crisper as compared to previous games in the series. I haven’t experienced as much of this game as I would have liked by now, but the storyline and endless opportunity for game experience (even when the main story is completed) is captivating and I’m sure will be a title I spend a lot of time playing in the future. Not since Bethesda’s release of Skyrim have I been so invested in a game.

1. Metal Gear Solid 5 Phantom PainMGS5-4

This game was definably the most overall defined game of the year, between the enhanced graphics, open world exportation concepts and the continuous troubleshooting techniques required to advance in storyline gameplay, it leaves you constantly on the edge of your seat. Right from the start where you get on your horse to explore the Afghan countryside, you get a sense of being overwhelmed in terms of the open world availability and the vast amount of concepts the game expects you to grasp, but the game is designed in a perfect integration to provide a player with valuable gameplay abilities and many interesting decisions to make that will ultimately affect your further progression in the game. I have been a fan of the Metal Gear series since the beginning and with every new game, the storyline gets more complex, the available abilities/skills more advanced and the graphics more realistic. This game is definably not made for a junior gamer, but is not one that can be put down, regardless of how many times you die. To be successful you have to be good in sneak skills, strategic in plotting your moves because there are traps and enemies everywhere and they don’t want to play nice. Everyone needs to have this game in their collection as it is the full package on all levels.

 

Honourable Mentions:

There were too many fantastic games that came out this year, but there were a few that didn’t quite make my cut for the top 5 but are totally worth mentioning.

1. World of Tanks: Xbox One Edition

This game had already captivated the gaming world, especially via PC and Xbox 360 platforms. This mass multi-player game is where you are in control of a vast amount of various tank types fighting to basically be the last one alive. It was exciting to see the game come available to the Xbox One, but also that it provided cross platform on-line play with friends on Xbox 360 and Xbox One; something that all gamers can appreciate. Perhaps one day all platforms can play with each other as it is so much more fun to play with friends rather than just strangers on-line all the time.

2. Mad Max

This game followed what appears to be the gaming style of the year, open sandbox mode. The game came out in collaboration with the release of the Mad Max: Fury Road movie and provides players with the opportunity to basically play within some structure via a storyline, but mostly play opening in however they wish to take their gameplay. The game mostly involves necessity to drive, scavenge, build/design and evolve. While I found the general storyline intriguing and was exciting to experience, it does lack the drive to pull someone back to playing it often when compared to the draw from some of the other games available on the market currently, especially when you spend more of your time driving back and forth from your home base with new vehicles you stole or with parts, rather than actual interactive gameplay.

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