The Richie Report – The Annual Reflection of One Quite Bitter Being

richie_report_28_01It was the year that was the year in Back to the Future 2 or 1 or fucking 3. I don’t know. It was the year that was two years before the ants arrive in Earth Defense Force. That’s right, 2015 was a year. And what a year it was. Twelve months. Count ‘em. 2015, we salute you.

And now, like primitive man in the face of a thunderstorm, we’re here to pay tribute and sacrifice a few young ‘uns for good measure. I can’t even fucking remember what the fuck happened this year and we’re only two months in. I know we’re at war with Syria now and that there’s a new Star Wars film. I think Cumbria no longer exists and is now just a puddle. But where Northern towns are temporary, gaming is permanent, and with the help of Wikipedia’s ’2015 in video gaming page’ I’m going to act like I even care or remember half the shit that happened in 2015.

January isn’t even a month in my book. It’s cold, it’s shit, everyone’s too fat to start dieting yet, work is technically on but no-one wants to do anything, and everyone’s pulling a sickie anyway or the office sickness martyr is in and spreading SARS around the office like a chocolate fountain full of mucus.

Games-wise, the highlight was Dying Light. This mixture of by-the-numbers zombie ‘em up and Parkour lootathon was actually surprisingly good. In fact, I loved it and it might be my game of the year. That said, I stopped playing when I got to the second island because I got distracted by something… ANYTHING… that didn’t have zombies in it.

Saints Row IV got a this-gen remastering. It’s still fun but it wasn’t a great looking game on the 360 and somehow looks even worse now. The bundled-in expansion, Gat out of Hell, was fun but this is a series that probably needs to die now. It went toe-to-toe bravely with Grand Theft Auto but then Rockstar replaced their game with a killcrazy T1000 made of punches and Saints Row suddenly seemed all a bit gash.

On the digital side of things, January saw the release of Resident Evil HD Remaster which did only one thing well – showed us that Resident Evil was dogshit. I can’t even play this, it’s so bad. And it cost me like £16. Nah, fuck you Raccoon City. The zombies can have you.

Joe Danger 2, Ironclad Tactics, and Unmechanical Extended all rounded out a dreadful month for PSN although Life Is Strange turned up and everyone seems to love that. Must give that a go at some point.

You don’t expect much good out of February and that’s exactly the right mindset but the shelves did see a few titles of varying quality.

Sony’s big release was The Order: 1886, a third-person horror action game that saw you playing as a shadowy knight of the Round Table in Victorian London. The graphics on the game were legitimately stunning and the combination of a short, to the point linear game and an easyish platinum trophy meant I quite liked this one.

The shelves also saw Evolve (an easy-to-ignore online-focused squad shooter from the makers of Left 4 Dead), Don Bradman Cricket 14 (a cricket sim set in the shadowy underworld of Miami in the ’80s), Dead or Alive 5 (which I think has been released about ten times so far and is doooogshit) and yet another Dynasty Warriors 8.

WiiU owners got Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. But, luckily, a course of antibiotics soon cleared that up.

Digitally speaking, we got Pillar (I own it and am never likely to fire it up), Q*bert Rebooted (fucking abysmal reboot of the worst ‘classic’ arcade game of the ’80s), Super Stardust Ultra (an initially disappointing return to the twin-stick series although I did like a bit more a few months down the line) and a bunch of other shit that I can’t be bothered to pretend to remember.

Probably the most enduring title from March is the top-down twin-stick shooter, Helldivers. Now, this game has had a lot of support from the devs (which is to say it has far too much DLC) and is widely considered to be good. Here’s the thing: it’s shit. I mean powerfully shit. It’s the most bland shooter of this type that I’ve ever seen. Co-op play helps a bit, but the lack of variation in gameplay and visuals kills this and given that it’s by Arrowhead (the team responsible for 2014′s rubbish Gauntlet reboot), it’s no surprise that this is dull and full of grinding.

Zombie Army Trilogy was an expansion for Sniper Elite 3 that brought in zombies for no good reason. I blame Call of Duty. DmC: Definitive Edition was a minor update of the last gen’s most forgettable hack and slasher. Likewise, Borderlands 2 and the Pre-Sequel both had an outing on the current gen hardware thanks to The Handsome Collection. Hotline Miami and Olli Olli both got their sequels and cemented their indie darling spaces in the gaming consciousness.

The biggest of the bigboy games was Bloodborne, the latest misery ‘em up from Japanese sadists From Software. The game (a spiritual successor to the Dark Souls games) was the big exclusive of the year. I tried to play it for ten minutes and ended up giving up gaming forever and moving to fucking Peru.

Also quite big was Battlefield Hardline, which introduced some cops and robbers action to the now infinitely huge Battlefield series. I have no idea if it’s good. It could come with a lifetime’s supply of butterscotch Angel Delight and I still wouldn’t play it.

Toukiden: Kiwami snuck out at the end of the month. This Japanese monster hunting hack and slasher was average on many levels but had an addictiveness to it and when the gameplay was at its best, the low production values didn’t seem to matter. I put in about a billion hours and was still nowhere near finishing it.

The big game of April was Mortal Kombat X. Now here’s the thing about Mortal Kombat. All the games after Mortal Kombat 3 were rubbish and when you go back and play the old ones, they aren’t like you remember. They’re rubbish too. Thankfully, Mortal Kombat X was dope. Packed full of content and simply gushing with blood. It was smooth to play and shocking to watch, and it delivered everything you could want from a Mortal Kombat game.

As the weather warmed up, the big releases dried up. Tropico 5 made it to the shelves but not even Tropico fans bought it because they were all locked up for crimes against humanity. The digital scene provided a few notable games. Tower of Guns was a first-person shooter with some Rogue-like tendencies. It looked awful and was sluggish to play but ended up being harrowingly addictive. Shovel Knight, Titan Souls, and Kerbal Space Program all showed up on various platforms to some acclaim although We Are Doomed, an ugly, dull twin-stick shooter, rather stunk up PSN that month.

The previous year’s Wolfenstein outing got a minor prequel called Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. It cost about the same as a packet of Viscount biscuits and still no-one bought it. Hmm. Maybe they were all buying Project CARS (Project DULL), Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (nonce fodder), The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (yet another massive RPG for those of you who didn’t commit suicide while playing Skyrim), Magicka 2 (a broken piece of shit) or Ultra Street Fighter 4 (the latest version of a game that has had more unwanted entries than a Bill Cosby support group).

When I played Oblivion all those years ago, I loved getting lost in the world it created. Running around being a rogue or a hero or both. What I never thought was ‘gee, this would be great if it was a bullshit online RPG.’ Alas, The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited exists and no-one really knows why.

Payday 2 made it to the next gen consoles. I could never get into Payday 2. It felt like an exercise in making bank heists really unexciting and the whole thing baffled me. Also, anybody who did understand it really annoyed me so I could never penetrate it at all.

Devil May Cry 4, a frankly upsetting game to play, had an unwanted and unnoticed remake also. No one was sure why. Batman got his usual yearly outing with Batman: Arkham Knight. Holy apathy, Batman! BANG! SMASH! SNORE! PISS!!

July belonged to one game. Sure, there were some proper full-retail games out there but this game wasn’t just a digital game. It was also FREE. Rocket League ended up being just about the best sports game ever made. Even if playing football with cars isn’t really a sport. It should be one though.

My most anticipated game of the year came out this month. Godzilla: The Game was exactly what you’d expect. You play as Godzilla (or a bunch of different variations or other kaijus) and you stomp around Japan fucking shit up. It’s slow, kind of ugly and the appeal is very shortlived but I love me some Godzilla shit so it’s the game of the year.

Given that I like games that are stupid and hard to love, I was incredibly excited about Onechanbara Z2: Chaos. Admittedly, the Xbox 360 prequel was a mess of a game (and full of Japanese weird perviness) but the action was glorious. Zombies, swords, and heaps of soft zombies to plough through. Z2: Chaos was more of the same but this time the combat wasn’t as confusing and the weirdness was optional and mostly hidden behind premium DLC.

Ever since the world found out about Tiger Wood’s fuck problem, EA has moved on and cast Irish golfing man, Rory McIlroy, as their cover star. Golfing games stopped being good after PGA Tour on the Amiga/Megadrive mastered the genre so fuck knows how they keep churning this shit out.

Downloadable fun came in the shape of Sega’s Tembo the Badass Elephant which was a better platformer than Sonic ever was. A port of the PS3′s most overrated game ever, Journey, also came to PS4 and was forgotten by everyone just a week later despite a heap of gushing reviews.

The only real game of note in August came right at the end and that was Until Dawn. This survival horror joint received some very positive reviews. I’ve not read any of them though because this is on my ‘to play’ pile.

Aside from some tedious Japanese shit (I don’t know what ‘One Piece‘ means and I don’t much care) and an unwanted remake of Dishonored, the rest of this month’s offerings were mostly digital.

Beyond Eyes was an indie feelings ‘em up about being blind, Galak-Z was a decent rogue-like shoot ‘em up, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture was like trying to play a Radio 4 play, Gauntlet: Slayer Edition was a horse shit reboot of the classic top-down RPG-flavoured coin-op and Zombi turned up on the real consoles after starting life as a Wii-U launch title.

With the summer petering out, the releases started ramping up. We had plenty of big releases but none bigger than Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain which answered the question ‘what if Metal Gear Solid was open-world and a million hours long?


Mad Max came out to the sort of middling reviews the movie deserved. Driving around an open-world desert? I’d rather drive around Fife. This game sounds so fucking boring that if it ever ends up free on PS+ I’ll set fire to my PS4 and my face rather than play it.

The Vita’s most charming and lovely game, Tearaway, got a legit bigboy version with Tearaway Unfolded. But if you ever played Tearaway then you know playing it without seeing your face in the sun is just wrong, so fuck this version. Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 and FIFA 16 came out but I hate football at the moment so they can both fuck clean off. Oh, Blood Bowl 2 came out. Who knew? And Forza Motorsport 6? Who knew? Wankers. That’s who.

The month ended with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 which was declared broken beyond belief by all the reviewers. Which is odd as I platinumed the fucker and it never fucked up at all on me. It’s no Tony Hawk 1, 2 or 3 but I did enjoy the fact that it was a back-to-basics skating game with no gimmicks and it was fun in co-op. It’s no Rodney Mullen but it’s not Bam Margera either.

I used to play guitar in a band. We were good. We never had any success (although we did headline The Marquee once) but it’s a time in my life I’m very proud of. So the idea of playing little plastic Fisher Price guitars along to fucking Fallout Boy or some shit is something of an anathema to me. But, Rock Band 4 came out. It was a thing.

There was also a Guitar Hero game too, but people care about those even less than Rock Band. Apparently the IAP situation on Guitar Hero was bullshit though.

More excitingly, Transformers: Devastation also hit the shelves and this roaming beat ‘em up came from the highly-rated devs over at Platinum. Brilliantly, they fucked off the last thirty years of Transformers history and made everything look like the original cartoon. Suffice to say, it was a glorious thing. I’ve still not played very much of it because I’m saving it for when I’ve got days off. Like a child.

Fans of the male Tomb Raider dullfest, Uncharted, were treated to a compendium of the first three games updated for the PS4. I’ve never been sold on this shit and the ten minutes of E3 footage of Uncharted 4 looked like a ‘falling over in the jungle’ simulator.

I say it every year but I don’t get why Assassin’s Creed is still a thing. The first one was alright, the second one was very good (although it got a bit boring after a while) and since then it’s just the same old shit. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is apparently the best one in a while though. Jumping around the rooftops of London sounds like it could be fun but I’ll wait about eight years until this is free on PS+.


There was a new Need for Speed. Of course there fucking was. It was released at Chav Xmas which is the period between Halloween (antisocial behaviour and begging) and Guy Fawkes’ Night (making lots of noise). Not sure how many times they can reboot this fucking thing.

Speaking of Guy Fawkes’ Night. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, they used to run an advert where a kid had fucked up its fucking face with a firework and the slogan was ‘don’t let your child start November the 6th like this‘ with the kid’s bandaged fucked face behind it.

Well, November 6th saw the global release of the latest Call of Duty game, Black Ops III (it’s bad when your series is so annualised, even the sub-titles have two sequels). Don’t let your child start November 6th like a cunt who plays this shit.


The world’s favourite tramp simulator, Fallout, returned to some acclaim with Fallout 4. This time Bethesda are letting you simulate being a tramp with a dog. If rooting around bins looking for milk bottles to recycle is your thing, then save up a year’s worth of pennies and pick this game up. Even if your ‘TV’ is a cardboard box that’s on fire.

Star Wars: Battlefront arrived and the world went a bit mad. As you’ll find with the new movie, fans of Star Wars tend to get a bit excited, proclaim something to be amazing and then a while later the dust settles and you realise it isn’t. Battlefront is a Star Wars-flavoured Battlefield game. With no single-player campaign and just a handful of worlds, the overall package seemed a bit anaemic. Add to that a FORTY FUCKING QUID season pass and it’s no surprise that the game has already dropped to £25 at some retailers.

The WiiU crowd got something called Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival. I’m not even clicking the fucking link on Wikipedia on that in case I end up on some sort of watch list. Oh and some sort of Mario Tennis game. Cool story.

December is dope. It’s all Christmas shit, excessive food, days off and Die Hard movies. I love it. But this December came with a dilemma. A dilemma in the shape of Just Cause 3. Everyone says Just Cause 3 is brilliant. It certainly looks good. It’s got my favouritest thing in the whole world in it: fully destructible enviroments and gives you a myriad of ways to move around a cause chaos. It looks like all the fun in the world.

The problem is Just Cause 2 was just like that but the dull-assed story missions meant that the game was essentially a tech demo and while it’s very impressive to have maps that are hundreds of square miles big, I don’t really want to be running around in four hundred square miles of fuck all. Of course, everyone loved Just Cause 2 because they didn’t realise. So, fuck knows if Just Cause 3 is good or not.

It’s probably better than Rainbow Six Siege though. The two Rainbow Six Vegas titles on the 360 were amongst the best shooters of the whole generation but I trust Ubisoft about as far as I’d travel to buy an Assassin’s Creed game and when they pulled a Star Wars: Battlefront and fucked the single-player campaign clean off, I figured this was dead in the water.

Aside from that, the Amercians have already got TWO Earth Defense Force games. Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space on the Vita and Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of Despair on the PS4. Suffice to say, anguish!

So, that was 2015. Plenty of highly-rated games in there so you could say it’s been a pretty good year. I’m not sure though. My favourite game of the year was probably Rocket League and yet I was bored of that after a week so what do I know?

And that is that.  2015 in a nutshell.  Not sure if I liked it or didn’t like it.  2016 started off like a cunt with icons dying all over the place.  Oh well.  Have some charts.

1. Call of Duty: Black Ops III. Fuck back off to Knightmare, Treyarch.
2. Star Wars Battlefront. Fuck back off to making Pinball Dreams on the Amiga, DICE.
3. FIFA 16. A simulation of the beautiful game that was ruined twenty years ago by Sky Sports and is now a big bunch of shit.
4. Fallout 4. A simulation of scutting around bins.
5. Minecraft: Story Mode. Fuck back off to making me choose which of Clem’s friends get to live, Telltale.
6. Just Cause 3. To say I love you.
7. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. Oi! Oi! Pwopa!
8. Grand Theft Auto V. Doing well to stay in the top ten given that the price hardly ever seems to drop.
9. Rainbow Six Siege. Oh, Geoffrey.
10. WWE 2K16. Sounds like the sort of thing you’d read scratched into a bus shelter by youths.

See you next time, people.  Fight the power!

Last five articles by Richie


One Comment

  1. Chris Chris says:

    Fuckin’ A. 2015 was a good year. Dying Light was probably my GOTY.

    Good round up Richie.

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