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Screenshots of the Year

And now for something a little different! Given the ease of screenshot taking on consoles these days (and how often I press that damn Share button on my PS4) I figured, why not make a silly Game Of The Year award list to help credit some of my favourite graphical and to be honest just general things in games this year. It’s going to get silly but we’ll get through this together.

Best Forest

Dragon Age™: Inquisition_20141213162050Dragon Age Inquisition
Forests, Jungles and pretty much any massively wooded and foliaged area of land are among the hardest areas to pull off well. Foliage is generally the first thing to get cut when a game’s performance is in question and frames need to be gained. Through a bizarre blend of the latest version of the Frostbite and what I can only assume was black magic, Bioware managed to create some of the most atmospheric and downright beautiful forests I’ve ever seen in a game. Now I eagerly await the inevitable space-forests in Mass Effect 4…

Dragon Age™: Inquisition_20141214182212Biggest Puppy

Dragon Age Inquisition
Okay so, it’s probably meant to be a wolf. A big scary wolf which the ancient elves worshipped or something. But holy crap these statues are in a few areas of Dragon Age Inquisition and they look like massive adorable puppies! Maybe the Elves really loved these adorable pups or something, who knows. All I know is the cheeky grin on their face makes them deserving of an award.

DRIVECLUB™_20141208201053Most Accurate Depiction of Scottish Weather

Driveclub (Post Weather Patch)
Anyone from Scotland knows that it’s a wet country. We get a lot of goddamn rain and the few times games venture to our lovely land, they either don’t portray it or don’t portray it realistically. Driveclub recently added its new (very impressive) weather system when turned to the highest setting on a Scottish track it feels eerily familiar.

Most Potential For Bringing Out The Foulest Part Of The Human Soul
The Jackbox Party Pack_20141205224329
Word Spud (Jackbox)
The Jackbox is one of the better gaming deals of this year, containing a handful of expertly crafted local multiplayer games, three of which allow for user input of words (and in one, drawings!) which can result in some really really horrible stuff. WordSpud is barely a game in a lot of ways, it just consists of everyone taking turns to write a word carrying on from the previous word. Naturally, it often devolves into a massive string of swear words.

Biggest Black Bars

Evil Within
The Evil Within_20141120223148It’s hopefully not becoming a trend but between The Evil Within and (the upcoming) The Order, running games at a weird resolution for “Cinematic” reasons with massive black borders blocking most of the picture is for some reason a thing. When I played The Order at EGX it didn’t really seem to get in the way, but with The Evil Within it’s not uncommon to be attacked by something that in a regular game you would be able to see because it’s above or below you. In the end the framerate is still super dodgy, implying this was for performance reasons rather than some cinematic nonsense. Love ‘em or hate ‘em they’re here to stay (unless you have the PC version!)

Middle-earth™: Shadow of Mordor™_20141016231926Best Beheadings

Shadow Of Mordor
The Nemesis system in Shadow Of Mordor is one of my favourite additions to a game so far this generation. Hunting down and investigating the hierarchy of the Uruk army is totally awesome and when your encounters end with an amazing looking beheading? Awesome. Just awesome.

inFAMOUS™ First Light_20140901223030Best Crazy Neon Stuff

Infamous Second Son/First Light
There’s a reason why whether they like or hate the game itself, everyone who has played Infamous Second Son or First Light will tell you “The neon Powers were cool.” They are cool. They are fun to use, gorgeous to look at and just all around fun. I personally was quite a big fan of both Infamous games we got this year and let me tell you, the neon powers were cool.

Assassin's Creed® Unity_20141124085930The “At Least It Looks Good” Award

Assassin’s Creed Unity
Assassin’s Creed Unity had a lot of issues at launch and I mean a lot. Most of them have been patched but it’s still not really as polished as you would hope for such a high budget game. Throughout the whole debacle however, there was at least one thing which could be agreed on; at least it looks good.

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