The lights are on
With the transition to new-gen consoles, we’ve had to deal with lulls between worthwhile releases and it doesn’t look like that’s changing soon. Since the triple-A games are slowly trickling to retailers, now is the perfect time to play some titles you may have missed out on. Maybe these games got lost in the shuffle of a heavy release schedule or simply fell under your radar. Either way, we figured you may be searching for some games to keep you busy, so the Game Informer staff got together to share some recommendations for games that released this past year that you should consider taking a chance on.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon The Nintendo 3DS continues to be a bright point in Nintendo’s portfolio, with a healthy library of first-party games and third-party support. With the Year of Luigi now over, I’m going to return to where it all began: Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. I’ve loved what I’ve played so far and Luigi is a unique and charming protagonist.
The smart level design, playing hide-and-seek to capture ghosts, and the witty sense of humor all hooked me when I started playing it last year (even though I got distracted). I’m ready to pick up the Poltergust once more, if only to hear Luigi exclaim, “I did it!” – Mike Futter
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy HavocIf you love story-focused games that keep you guessing at any turn, you’ll love Danganronpa. The premise is interesting: You’re trapped in a school and your only way to escape is to kill other students. Sounds a bit intense, right? It is, because you never know which character is going to stab the group in the back, or who will be killed next. You investigate the scene of the crime and then participate in suspenseful trials where you must correctly guess the killer. If the killer gets caught, you secure the safety of everyone, but if you succeed, the killer is then murdered before your eyes. Even when you win, watching somebody die terribly still makes it feel like a loss. With plenty of plot twists, interesting characters, and figuring out the "how" and "why" behind every death, Danganronpa keeps you invested.– Kimberley Wallace
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger Go back and play Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. I know it's "Call of Juarez", but it's one of my favorite FPS single-player campaigns from the last couple of years. The entire game is narrated by an old gunslinger in a bar and the action is modified depending on interruptions to his story. There's no multiplayer mode, but it was released at a discounted price and I'm sure it's even cheaper now. The game is a no-brainer if you appreciate a unique approach to game narrative, over-the-top shooting, and the wild west setting. – Ben Hanson
FTL: Faster Than Light (iPad)This challenging starship management simulation finally arrived for iPad this year. While 2012's original PC version worked just fine, this iOS iteration feels slick as hell. Selecting crew members and adjusting your ship’s power resources feels like a true sci-fi experience thanks to the smooth touch interface. All the challenge and updated content is intact, so don’t hesitate to pick up this improved version whether you played the original or not. – Tim Turi
Dragon’s CrownFor all of us with fond memories of side-scrolling brawlers from the old days, Dragon's Crown is a wonderful trip down memory lane. However, it isn't just pure nostalgia. I love how the team at Vanillaware reinvigorates the genre by adding depth to the combat, loot, and side quests, all wrapped in a gorgeous art style that we never would have seen back in the arcades. Despite the need to repeat levels, the multiple paths through them (not to mention extra bosses) helps to keep each session interesting. Whether you own the PS3 or Vita version, you can team up with the whole community via cross-platform multiplayer. Up to four players can hack and slash through the fantasy environments and creatures, but I played a large chunk of Dragon's Crown solo and still had a blast. It didn't seem to spread beyond a niche audience when it released last summer, but this overlooked gem deserves some attention. – Joe Juba
Rogue LegacyWhile roguelikes and “whoa, this game is actually challenging and it’s fun too!” are experiencing a nice boost these days on the PC scene, Rogue Legacy was lost in the shuffle a bit. Rogue Legacy is a brilliant little title, pushing the concept of “roguelite” to the forefront. So while there’s permadeath from life to life in this action RPG platformer, there are persistent upgrades in the form of items, enhancements, and abilities that players unlock by building up a castle. This allows crazy-skilled players to blow through things faster, but players having a rough go of it can eventually overcome obstacles through permanent progression aspects. I don’t think the game got nearly enough attention for how good it is, and if you haven’t played it consider heading over to Steam and doing so. I promise you’ll have a good time. – Dan Tack
ResogunOne of the best games on the fledgling PlayStation 4 has been there since the day the system launched. Its status as a free-to-download PS Plus title may have convinced some players to overlook the shooter for other more hyped games in the launch window, and that’s a shame. Housemarque has crafted one of the most complex and engaging shooters in years, with increasing layers of depth that are uncovered the more you play. The game borrows the formula established by the classic, Defender, but advances it to this new generation in a number of key ways. Combining boost and overdrive (to produce a devastating laser blast), players are challenged to keep their multiplier alive for minutes at a time. With practice, it’s easy to drop into a zen-like state of tracking the lights and colors on the screen with uncanny skill, leading to high scores that seemed impossible when you first began the game. Take the time to invest some effort into Resogun, and discover what devoted players already have – its simple formula, voxel graphics, and high score chasing are incredibly engaging. – Matt Miller
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black FlagAssassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was one of the first
games I got for my PlayStation 4, and the one I’ve put the most amount of time
into thus far. I really enjoyed its different take on the series, as well as
the ship upgrading and naval warfare elements. However, I didn’t even come
close to beating it – I wasted way too much time chasing down sea shanties and
plundering enemy ships. This spring’s lull in new releases is the perfect time
to return to the high seas. If you lost interest in the Assassin's Creed over the years, or were too intimidated to jump into the middle of a series for the first time, Black Flag is different enough to stand on its own two feet – or one foot and a peg leg, if you really want to continue with the pirate metaphors. – Jeff M
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.