Chris’s Top Fifty Videogame Completions of the Year (#40 – #31)

For the full context of this list, please make sure to read part 1 of this fantastic feature.

40: CounterSpy

Developer: Dynamighty

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Available on: PS3, PS4, PlayStation Vita, Android, iOS

This 2.5D side scrolling platform shooter takes place in the world of espionage and world domination. Set in the 60’s, you are part of C.O.U.N.T.E.R, who are aiding, or sabotaging if you choose to, the USSR and Americans with their nuclear arms race. The main thing that I really loved about CounterSpy was the setting and music! It is clearly influenced by the likes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Matt Helm and Our Man Flint. I used to love watching these shows when I was a kid, so CounterSpy brought back a lot of memories. The game itself is solid, if unremarkable, but worth checking out, especially if you are a fan of 60’s & 70’s spy shows.

39: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Developer: Infinity Ward

Publisher: Activision

Available on: PC, PS3, Xbox 360

Controversial, loud and explosive are just a few words to describe Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The follow up to the excellent Call of Duty 4, Modern Warfare 2 had a lot to live up to, and in many ways it delivered. Not only did it expand on the already excellent multiplayer, it also added a mode called Spec Ops. This allowed you and a friend to tackle different missions online and was fantastic fun! The single player campaign will always be marred with controversy for the infamous “no Russian” level. During this part of the game you play as an undercover agent infiltrating a gang of terrorists, who enter an airport and indiscriminately kill dozens of innocent civilians. You can take part in the event or simply walk through it watching the terrorists slaughter people. There is an option to skip this level at the menu screen, but to me that seems like a massive cop out. I felt uncomfortable about this level when the game was originally released, and I feel even more uncomfortable now, especially in the current climate of terror attacks. I would be very surprised if this level was included if Activision ever decided to remaster the game for modern consoles. Still, despite spending most of this review talking about one controversial element of the game, Modern Warfare 2 is still a fantastic blockbuster experience. Imagine Michael Bay made videogames instead of movies and that tells you all you need to know about Modern Warfare 2.

38: The Walking Dead

Developer: Telltale Games

Publisher: Telltale Games

Available on: Android, iOS, Kindle Fire HDX, Linux, PC, Ouya, PS3, PS4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Telltale Games have become the go to company for developing episodic interactive story based games. Although they have been making games since 2004, it was arguably the release of The Walking Dead in 2012 that propelled them into the stratosphere. You play as Lee who is trying to survive a zombie outbreak, whilst developing a protective relationship with a young girl called Clementine. The Walking Dead was critically and commercially acclaimed upon its release, however a lot has changed since 2012. The main problem I have with The Walking Dead is that it was unrelentingly grim. Before you say, “well isn’t that the point” I don’t necessarily disagree but, I felt that the game was overly manipulative, to a point where it relied on cheap tactics to make me feel emotions for the characters. An example of this is (SPOILER) that there is a section in the game where you have to kill your own brother who has turned into a zombie. You have an axe to chop his head off, and even though you hit him with all your might, it takes 3 attempts before his head comes off. Of course, this is seen in full gory detail! There are other examples where you are placed in a position of killing not one, but two children who are about to turn into a zombie, or already have turned. I appreciate The Walking Dead for its adult storytelling, and I know that many will disagree with me regarding my criticism but, I don’t play games to feel stress about killing children. Sorry, but it’s just not my bag.

37: Transformers Devastation

Developer: Platinum Games

Publisher: Activision

Available on: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Developed by acclaimed studio Platinum, Transformers Devastation is an action-packed brawler, that is a love letter to the robots in disguise from the 80’s. You take control of a number of different Autobots, including Optimus Prime and Bumblebee as they fight against the Decepticons. The graphics are fantastic, and have an almost cel shaded look which really makes them pop off the screen. There is a deep combat system with many combos to learn and master throughout your quest. Despite the campaign being relatively short at around 5 hours, there is plenty of replay value, as you upgrade each character with different weapons and abilities. I really enjoyed Transformers Devastation and it is another solid game from the makers of Bayonetta.

36: Assassins Creed Chronicles: China

Developer: Climax Studios

Publisher: Ubisoft

Available on: PC, PS4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One

Side scrolling action platform adventures appear to have had a resurgence over the past few years. I’m old enough to remember the granddaddy of them all; Prince of Persia, and spent many hours trying to avoid spiky traps and falling to my death. Although Assassins Creed Chronicles bears the Assassins Creed brand, it is very different to the AAA big budget releases from Ubisoft. To be honest, I couldn’t really tell you much about the story, except you are an Assassin (naturally!) and it is set in China! No shit Sherlock I hear you cry, but the story wasn’t the most interesting part of the game for me, with the gameplay taking centre stage. Everything felt really slick and responsive from climbing, to avoiding guards and stalking your prey before taking them out! There are also upgrades for your character and lots of hidden items to find. For a budget title, Assassins Creed Chronicles: China has a lot to offer, and I had a good time throughout! There are two other games in the trilogy set in Russia and India, and I am very tempted to check them out in the future.

35: The Last Guardian

Developer: SIE Japan Studio

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Available on: PS4

Any game that was originally announced in 2009 and released 7 years later was always going to polarise opinion. The Last Guardian was delayed and delayed and even suspected to have been cancelled at one point, so the fact that it exists at all is a minor miracle! If you played ICO, or Shadow of the Colossus, then The Last Guardian shares similarities, and is seen by many as the final game in an unofficial trilogy. There is certainly a connection to those games in terms of the world that the game is set, the graphics and general melancholy tone. You play as a young boy who awakes in a strange place. Not knowing why and how he got there, he soon discovers a huge injured beast that is as scared as him. The beast itself shares characteristics between a cat and bird. If there are any Dungeons and Dragons players out there, imagine a Cockatrice which is the size of a double decker bus! The main section of the game is about building a relationship with the creature, learning to trust each other and helping one another to achieve your goals. On the plus side there are moments of stunning beauty in The Last Guardian, where you find yourself catching your breath. Unfortunately for me there were also moments of utter frustration which ultimately soured the experience. Part of the frustration was not knowing where to go, which wasn’t helped by the wonky camera or unhelpful basic commands that the creature didn’t want to follow. I know my experience will differ to others, and there are things to appreciate, but I have the feeling that you will either love or hate The Last Guardian.

34: Murasaki Baby

Developer: Ovosonico

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Available on: PlayStation Vita

Murasaki Baby gets the award for being the weirdest game I have completed in my top 50! Released on the PlayStation Vita in 2014, this puzzle platformer features mainly touch controls, which may put some people off. The aim of the game is to lead a childlike character by the hand, helping them avoid traps along the way. Despite the strange nature of the game, it has a lot of charm and some very striking visuals. Although the touch controls can be fiddly, there is some quite innovative use of the touch screen, as you swipe different backgrounds to help you progress. Murasaki Baby won’t be for everyone, but despite the general strangeness of the game, I had a really good time, and I think it is worth checking out.

33: Captain Commando

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Available on: Practically everything, but played on the PlayStation Vita

Capcom were the kings of the arcade in the late 80’s and early 90’s, releasing a slew of amazing games, including some of the finest side scrolling beat-em ups. In fact, my top 50 features a number of Capcom games, which goes to show that they still remain relevant in the videogames industry. I’ve never completed Captain Commando before, but thanks to the amazing Capcom Classics Collection, and Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded on PlayStation Vita, I can now play these superb games on the go. Captain Commando is a fun game featuring a number of weird and wonderful characters, including a baby that controls a massive mech! Final Fight will always remain one of my favourite Capcom arcade games, but Captain Commando is also worth your time for some good ass kicking action.

32: Mercs

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Available on: Practically everything, but played on the PlayStation Vita

I’ve always been a fan of vertical scrolling shooters ever since I first played Commando in the arcade. I’d played Mercs before but never actually completed it, so once again, thanks to the PlayStation Vita and Capcom Collection, I managed to add it to my list of completions for the year. Mercs is the follow up to Commando and shares a lot of characteristics. The game has many improvements over Commando, including better graphics, more weapons and the chance to get in vehicles. Playing with a friend is great fun and Mercs is still a cracking game 27 years after it was originally released.

31: Golden Axe 2

Developer: Sega

Publisher: Sega

Available on: Practically everything, but played on the PlayStation Vita

I have trouble remembering one day to another as I get older, but for some strange reason I distinctly remember buying Golden Axe 2 in Electronics Boutique 25 years ago! I’ve said it before, but this is the reason why I love video games so much, as they provide such strong memories of happy times. As people will know, Golden Axe is one of my favourite games of all time which I still play regularly. What surprises me is that I don’t play Golden Axe 2 as often, because it is a damn good game in its own right! Truth be told it isn’t very different from the original, but it does build on what made the first game so wonderful! The three protagonists, Ax Battler, Tyris Flare, and Gilius Thunderhead return to defeat the evil Dark Guld. There are some minor improvements to your attacks, such as being able to throw enemies in whatever direction you want. The magic system has also been overhauled allowing you to decide how many potions you want to use. It has been a very long time since I last played Golden Axe 2 and I was pleasantly surprised just how much fun I had. I definitely won’t wait as long to replay it again.

Reviews by Chris (co-host of 60 Minutes With)