The past year has been especially good for gaming. Almost all genres got hefty releases that really made a bang, and, naturally, so did RPGs – the kind of games that fuel the epic dreams of every gamer who has played “pretend” at least once in their life.
I’ll be going through the dynamic duo that really got my attention.
DARK SOULS III
And the incessant masochistic self-punishment continues, now in the third installment of the ever-revered series that took the gaming world by storm.
Back when developers thought that gamers needed a quick and easily digestible gaming experience, FromSoftware dared and took it further by leaps and bounds, producing a masterpiece that would be known as Dark Souls, directed by the then-emerging game director Hidetaka Miyazaki.
Their step further was a more aggressive approach towards game progression, in which the players had to battle enemies and bosses of difficulty that was reminiscent of the retro-arcade era – in other words, the enemies were unusually (and perhaps, extremely) hard to defeat, which made the game very challenging.
The game franchise soon garnered a steadfast fanbase and developed into a cult game series in the video gaming world – crushing gamers worldwide and spawning memes such as our beloved “Praise the Sun!”.
This year was greeted with the latest (and potentially final) chapter in the series: Dark Souls III.
The storyline is a direct, and at the same time indirect, follow-up to the events of the previous games. Without spoiling much, the game again has to do with the lifecycle of the First Flame, and the players are tasked to once again ignite it (or try to) – for the dear life of their world.
Built upon the previous Dark Souls games, and including the best traits of Bloodborne, Dark Souls III presents a challenging, punishing, and artistically masterful world in which players can indulge in endless slaughter (and self-slaughter) and immerse themselves in the deep lore and level design that the game offers.
The story is unique and deep, the gameplay is fluid and fast-paced, and the overall gaming experience can satisfy many of a gamer’s dark desires.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine Expansion
We were all taken aback by The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in 2015. That goes without saying. Like, just go play that game. NOW.
The entire game is so incredibly executed, that CD Projekt RED (the relatively small developer team behind this ambitious, absolute DIAMOND of a game) literally made the jaws of other major developers drop in utter awe and envy – and at the same time they captured the hearts of the vast majority of the gaming world. Well, I don’t like to generalize, but still: I doubt there’s anyone that reasonably dislikes The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.Well, there probably is. But we don’t like that guy, do we? (just kidding, of course we do)
So, the third installment in the Witcher series destroyed all competition in 2015. But like all good things, it had to end some day. In particular, it ended with the final expansion DLC for the game that was released in 2016: The Blood and Wine expansion.
The inner workings of the game, as well as basic backstory, you probably know. You are a monster hunter for hire, that embarks on epic quests and adventures that define the future of his world. The game features awesome battles, friendships, romance, intrigue, saving the world – the stuff people love about a good story.
In Blood and Wine, Geralt of Rivia, the protagonist of the game, embarks on his final adventures before he decides to retire, like any badass monster hunter would, after a lifetime of endless adventure. The DLC features a conclusion to the beautiful story of the series, inspired by Eastern European folklore, and offers a solid 30 hours of extra gameplay content, for a very low price.
An excellent closing remark to one of the greatest RPGs of all time.
Here are a few hand-picked, fan-made songs about each game: