If you know anything about me, it probably won’t be too hard to guess what my favorite game this month was. I’ll try not to spend the whole page talking about Dark Souls, because there were actually a few other good games that came out in March (but Dark Souls was my favorite). This one’s late due in part to a busy past couple of months with plenty of stuff to dig through, and due to the fact that I’ve become hopelessly addicted to Hearthstone and replaying the original Dark Souls.
Dark Souls is a time sink. After putting about 60 hours into Dark Souls II last month, I’ve restarted Dark Souls 1 before I jump back into the second game for a New Game Plus. I’ve often called the Souls games my favorite modern series in gaming, and Dark Souls II only strengthens my belief in that. It’s nearly a perfect game from start to finish, and I’m pretty sure it’s the best game I’ve played since Dark Souls. You’re dropped into a gigantic world to explore, and it’s up to you to figure out where you need to go and what you’re going to kill first. At some points, I had four or five different huge areas I could take on, that all lead to rewards and treasures to seek out. Playing Dark Souls is a reward enough though, because every time I turn it on I never have any idea what surprises are waiting for me. I can’t wait to see what other games come out this year, but there’s a special place I hold for this series, and it’s going to be tough to beat how much I enjoyed this.
As much as I love the Metal Gear series, actually playing the games has never been my favorite part. I love the weirdly chaotic story nonsense above all else, but some of the games are even entertaining while hitting their serious notes. This time, Ground Zeroes nails the gameplay while lacking almost entirely in any meaningful narrative content. I love a good stealth game, but sadly, I find them really hard to come by. This is the stealth game I’ve been waiting for since Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and while it’s not quite as good, it’s better than most that come my way. Sneaking past guards feels really satisfying, and putting them to sleep with tranquilizers while hiding on a rooftop is more fun than almost everything from the previous games, aside from the boss fights. For the perfectionist way I play stealth games, I really wish there was a manual save option, but the saves come often enough to not cause too much trouble. I hope when the final game comes along it takes cues from this, but lightens up a little on the hardcore “WAR IS HELL” story it seems to want to tell. I didn’t find much of the goofiness that I enjoy from Metal Gear here, but it’s a good enough playing game that I enjoyed it way more than I expected to. While I didn’t (and still really don’t) think I need more Metal Gear Solid after 4, this is something a little different, and still satisfying.
I flew into the sky, stalled my engines out just enough to let the enemy pass me by, shot everyone else into bits, and then dove straight through a boat causing it to burst into flames. Luftrausers is a fast paced, high score chasing action game, and it’s the perfect game to jump in for a few rounds and come back to later. You play as a fighter pilot, taking down plenty of other pilots and ships and everyone else hell-bent on making sure your plane bites the dust as fast as possible. As you shoot down enemies, you’ll chain multipliers together, unlock new parts to customize your plane, and complete skill-based challenges to prove your Red Baron-esque flight skills. It’s another fast-paced arcade game from Vlambeer, makers of Ridiculous Fishing and Super Crate Box, and it’s one I see myself coming back to, especially once I can jump into the Vita version.
Another couple of stellar entries in my favorite horror gaming anthology, with some of the most intense shocks from any game I’ve played this year.
While it turns out I may have bled Titanfall dry for myself during the beta (which I discussed last month), it’s still a good shooter, though one I may not stick with all year long.