Half a Decade in Gaming

Five years. It seems like a healthy chunk of time but you’d be surprised just how fast it can go by. My oldest will be five years old this summer. It’s a great milestone, she’ll be entering Kindergarten in the fall and she’s becoming her own independent person. Although it’s sad to see your little babies grow up, one of the nice things is that you start to have a little more free time. They can sit and watch TV or read some books on their own. Or they can play with each other while you catch up on some work. (or Netflix, whatever)

This also means that I can finally start catching up on some games I’ve left behind. Ever since 2010, I’ve had a lot more priorities. Kids, family, I also went back to school, so let’s just say I was pretty busy. In that time I missed out on a lot of games. While I managed to play every once in a while, it wasn’t nearly as much as I used to. I couldn’t help but feel like I had missed out.
So, now that I have a little more free time and some time off coming up in the summer, I thought maybe it’s time to catch up on what I’ve missed. I did some work and I complied Game of the Year lists, scoured through ratings from other websites, and asked fellow gamers to come up with the best games of  the last five years. Here’s what I came up with.
There are some years in which a game comes out and blows every other game out of the water, 2010 was not one of those years. Mass Effect 2 and Red Dead Redemption were pretty much tied when it came to ratings and Game of the Year awards. Mass Effect 2 slightly edged out RDR with 13 Game of the Year awards compared to RDR with 11. An honorable mention goes out to Super Mario Galaxy 2 with several mentions. I somehow managed to finish Red Dead Redemption that year, but I never got around to beating Mass Effect, let alone ME 2, so that series is definitely on my to do list.
Now 2011, that was a different story, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim blew everything out of the water. Portal 2 and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword had decent showings but Skyrim had twice as many votes for GOTY as Portal 2 and beat Skyward Sword by a margin of 3 to 1. I loved Oblivion but I had no time for Skyrim and frankly, I’m not sure I’ll have the time to go back now. These type of games require huge time investments and while I’m sure the experience would be memorable, I’ve got five years of gaming to make up for! I have played both Portals and they are of course, amazing.
2012 was an odd year. There wasn’t a real favorite among people. Journey slightly edged out The Walking Dead, but Borderlands 2, Dishonored, and Mass Effect 3 were all right there in terms of GOTY votes. In regards to ratings The Walking Dead edges out Journey and Dishonored comes in third. Overall I’m going to give 2012 to The Walking Dead, but it’s really a toss up. I’ve played it and I loved The Walking Dead. It also isn’t as much of a time sink as some of these other games. Journey looks great and I want to try it out as well. I never got into the original Borderlands, so I didn’t give the sequel much thought, although a lot of people seem to enjoy it. Dishonored interested me, but again, decisions must be made and games must be cut.
Four words can sum up the state of gaming in 2013. The Last of Us. Grand Theft Auto V was a distant second in regards to GOTY wins. Black Ops 2, Super Mario 3D World, and Monster Hunter had some mentions. Somehow I made time to experience this game last year, and yes it was an experience. I also eventually master prestiged Black Ops 2 and I’m pretty close to finishing GTA V, so I think I’ve got the games of 2013 pretty much covered.
2014 was another blow out. Dragon Age: Inquisition topped the charts leaving every other game behind. Super Smash Bros. (my personal favorite of last year), Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Destiny, Dark Souls II, and Bayonetta 2 also got a few mentions. I’m not really interested in Dragon Age, again it’s probably too much of a commitment, and Dark Souls II and Bayonetta 2 are sequels.
At this point I think I’m going to stick to IPs or titles with which I’m already familiar unless it’s something I really need to play. Destiny has been kind of a disappointment. It was probably the title I was most excited about in regards to the Xbox One and I found myself losing interest in it rather quickly. Watchdogs was last year too right? I beat it, and loved that it was set in Chicago, but it was also kind of a letdown. Shadow of Mordor is waiting for me and I still play Smash Bros. at least once a week. (I’m a sucker for those Amiibos too)
Oh what the heck, might as well look at 2015 too. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt looks amazing, but I haven’t played the first two. Mortal Kombat X has been a lot of fun and Bloodborne looks cool but is supposed to be really difficult and ain’t nobody got time for that. Then there’s umm…Splatoon and Battlefield: Hardline. Hmm…luckily Fallout 4, Star Wars Battlefront, and Black Ops 3 don’t come out until later this year. Heroes of the Storm just came out and that’s been pretty enjoyable. Ugh, there’s just too many games! (#firstworldproblems, I know)
Thanks to all of the Xbox Gold freebies, Steam sales, used games, and Gamefly rentals there’s really no shortage of games to be played. So, where do I begin? Leave me some comments if you have any suggestions or if there are any games I missed. Thanks for reading!
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