Time to announce what you (and I) thought was the best console game of the year. Hold on to your hats my brethren!
The Last Of Us
A clear winner. Definitely up there for me. I still maintain this game could have done with a little less shooting and a little more stealth and exploration, but still one of the best written video games ever. Actually, scratch that. I think it’s the best written video game ever made.
2nd Place: Grand Theft Auto V
3rd Place: BioShock Infinite
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
The Assassin’s Creed series has a rare gift. When we expect it to be good, it’s bad. When we think it’s going to be terrible, it somehow manages to be sublime.
Assassin’s Creed — thought it was going to great. Slightly bad.
Assassin’s Creed II — Oh this series sucks, wait oh-dear-god-it’s-glorious!
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood — Urgh, spin offs. NO THANKS. What? It’s the best game in the series? How the hell did that happen…
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations — Ubisoft have got this annual Assassin’s Creed release thing down, this’ll be great. Oh dear god no…
Assassin’s Creed III — It’s the next numbered update guys — they can’t screw this one up. Oh wait. They screwed it up.
And then we have Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Urgh. Pirates? That’s a bit desperate. Are they trying to capitalise on the whole Pirates of the Caribbean thing? That’s a bit cynical and shit.
I don’t remember pirates looking like a goddamn Welsh David Beckham with eyeliner. DOUBLE URGH. That’s two urghs. A new numbered instalment a year after Assassin’s Creed III? This series has jumped the shark. Why Ubisoft, why? Why would you do this.
In a way we should have expected it. We should have expected Assassin’s Creed IV to be amazing precisely because we expected it to be terrible. So the next time you think Assassin’s Creed is going to suck — reverse that opinion. There is clearly a pattern here. Clearly.
Black Flag is good. It is very good. It’s easily the best game on next-gen consoles at this precise moment and I’m really, really glad I waited for the release of the PlayStation 4 to play what is, in my opinion, the definitive version of this game. Essentially the greatest pirate simulator ever conceived, Black Flag is simply dripping in glorious detail, expansive in scope, and peppered with some decent writing (amongst some clangers, admittedly, but it is a video game). Best of all, it’s sewn together by one of the most convincing, daring open worlds I’ve ever immersed myself in.
Speaking to friends, we all have the same story. We went in with zero expectations and simply could not stop playing. That’s the mark of a special video game right there. I want to be playing Assassin’s Creed IV right now.
Runners Up: The Last of Us, Super Mario 3D World