Nathan’s Top 5s of the Year

Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to be sharing our top 5s of 2015, from everyone who writes here at The Lost Lighthouse. Here is Nathan’s Top 5 of everything he consumed this year.

So here it is my 5 top 5’s of the year. I have gone for Games, Apps, Songs, Films and TV Shows. I would’ve included comics but I haven’t read that many and I would’ve liked to have included albums too, but the app category will clarify why I haven’t. There will be a few honourable mentions too. I will note that some of the choices may not have been from this year, however they are films, songs or TV shows I have been introduced to this year. I have also split the games between apps and consoles as well.

 

App’s

5. Candy Crush – Soda Saga
I know a lot of you find this annoying because everyone plays it, but it is brilliantly addictive and keeps the mind going. Also has the added advantage of being offline which makes things useful when you’re in the middle of nowhere and want to play some games.

4. 9gag
If you haven’t been introduced to 9gag yet, I suggest you get on the website and you’ll never leave. The app version is a quick and handy way to see all the hilarious posts of the day. You will be forever entertained with 9gag.

3. Spotify
I have always shunned away from Spotify as I wasn’t a fan of paying monthly for music, however I got it for free with my phone contract and I have to say it is possibly the most used app on my phone. Mainly because I am driving everywhere but the new Discover feature is brilliant. Every week I get 30 tracks I may or may not have heard before. It actually turns out that all my top 5 songs are from Spotify Discover. I haven’t tried the Running feature yet though, because that involves running.

2. Monument Valley
The only paid app in this list, but my god is it worth it. This game (also available offline) is a puzzle based adventure game, where you have to traverse levels and move the environment around you in order to open up new paths and doors. It is absolutely brilliant and worth the price.

1.Fallout Shelter

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I think everyone played this game. I couldn’t put this game down for ages. My girlfriend had to pretty much give me her iPad so I could play it. What a way to keep you interested in Fallout 4 by giving you this little gem. Many of my friends have shown me their shelters and some of them are extremely impressive. Definitely my app of the year.

 

Songs
Honourable mention to August Turns Red – Wrecking Ball, love a hilarious metal cover of a pop song.

5. The Hunter – Slaves
Not my normal genre of music but there’s something very likeable about this song. It is Royal Blood meets Sex Pistols, with a bit of 90’s britpop thrown in. Truly brilliant if you’re angry and want something to sing a long to to get the anger out.

4. Rasputin – Turisas
I will say that I am a massive fan of a metal cover of a pop song. This is one of the many songs that appeared on my Spotify list this year. Turisas are a Finnish folk metal band (I never knew such a thing existed) and the cover of Boney M’s ‘Rasputin’ is brilliant. They’ve even thrown in an extra verse to be safe. Fantastic cover that everyone should listen to.

3. Drink – Alestorm
If you like Pirates and if you like drinking, this is the track for you. The song reminds me of a famous night out I had and every time it comes on I am reminded of that night. Guaranteed you will singing this loud and clearly when you have a few beers and rums down you and surrounded by good friends.

2. Sail – Devildriver
Another metal cover yes, but I feel that this song is the song that the original should’ve been. Sail originally by Awolnation is brilliant in itself, mixes a chilled out dance vibe with screaming lyrics. Devildriver took it and added guitars and heavier lyrics. You can’t hate the track, it is fantastic.

1.Cirice – Ghost


Now if you have heard of Ghost, you may be thinking good lord how can you listen to this. Ghost are a controversial band, with many songs about the devil and including satanic lyrics, however it seems like this is all an act (hopefully). Cirice is the song that first introduced me to Ghost and I have to say Meliora (the album) has managed to make its way into my desert island discs. I absolutely love this song and the album. Everyone should give it a listen, if you’re into that sort of thing.

 

TV Shows
Honourable mention to Kill La Kill, very good series and I’m sure it would’ve made the top 5 if I’d finished it.

5. Peep Show
I know the show just finished but I love Peep Show, nothing makes laugh out loud so hard than Peep Show. Odd-couple meets Britain. Mark and Jeremy would not be friends in real life yet they have struck this hilarious friendship together and their thoughts throughout the series are absolutely brilliant. The series ended quite weakly but it still didn’t stop it making my top 5.

4. Attack on Titan
The only anime in this list, but what a fantastic anime. Storyline is epic and it tugs your heart strings throughout and what an ending, literally cannot wait until the next series comes out. I did feel that the story jumped around a little too much but still, what a watch.

3. Sherlock
What? This is show is old. Yes I know it is but I’ve just started watching it this year and I really wish I hadn’t waited. What a brilliant series. Still trying to figure out my favourite episode from the whole saga. The Hounds of the Baskervilles? Maybe the one with Moriarty and the bombs? It’s a tough choice.

2. Game of Thrones
I’ll admit that this season of Game of Thrones has been a bit slow to start off with but still it doesn’t matter as it finished so strong with an incredible ending. Cannot wait for next year’s season to start *************************** (edit – Nathan said a bunch of spoilers) *********** Plus we’ll get to see what Bran has been up to, lazy bastard made no effort last season.

1.Narcos

Narcos
A Netflix original, but wow what a series. It follows the dealings of Pablo Escobar, the infamous Colombian drug dealer and the DEA agents trying to capture him. It is all based on true events which makes it brilliant and terrifying all at the same time. I enjoyed this show so much that I didn’t want to binge watch it, I wanted to make it last. Honestly stop any TV show you are watching and put this on instead.

 

Films

5. Blackfish
A documentary? Really? Yes, this does make the top 5. I  went to SeaWorld when I was younger, as well as Discovery Cove and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. However since watching this film, I actually now feel ashamed that I went there. It is a very in-depth insight to the cruel world that the Killer Whales endure whilst performing and what can happen when things go wrong and let’s face it, they’re called Killer Whales for a reason. Also a film with such a huge message to cause a $15 million loss to such a large enterprise.

4. Big Hero 6
I adore this film. Pixar kind of meets anime in a way, but obviously the film isn’t as successful as Inside Out, but I believe it is better. It is a film about a boy and a robot that tries to help and heal people. It should be noted that the robot is shaped like a large marshmallow. A classic Pixar film, definitely worth a watch.

3. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Of course this was in my top 5 and the only Marvel film to make the list. I’m sure Ant-Man would be in here but I haven’t seen it yet. It was nice to see the Avengers really struggle to being with and then completely overcome everything against all odds. Also I thought the introduction of Vision was a nice touch. Can’t wait for phase 3 to be in full swing, looking forward to the next Captain America film especially.

2. The Lego Movie
Yes I know this film was released last year, but I only saw it in January and I have been watching it all year. Everything about this film is awesome. Love the voice acting, Will Arnett as Batman is brilliant, as well as Morgan Freeman, but I have to say that Liam Neeson’s character was absolutely hilarious. A chair as a weapon of choice is brilliant.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

Fury Road
This is it, the number 1 film of the year and I bet I’m not alone with this choice. Star Wars probably would’ve been number 1, but again haven’t seen it yet and I do plan to, but this film is absolutely brilliant. Not too dialogue heavy but filled with a huge amount of action, hilariously modded cars and a brilliant man who only plays the guitar on top of a huge lorry cab. I did think this film would be rubbish as it was a remake of sorts, however I was wrong, so very wrong.

 

Games
Honourable mention to The Witcher 3, game of the year, I imagine it is fantastic, just not my cup of tea

5. Sunset Overdrive
Probably not the best release this year, but I really enjoyed this game. It was colourful and fun throughout the entire thing. Also grinding on rails to travel is brilliant, and the weapons you had were hilarious. What a great game, but maybe not worth the full price when it first came out.

4. Evolve
One of my games on my top 5 to look forward to at the start of the year and I was 100% right. Running around trying to capture a truly terrifying beast or even better, be the beast and destroy all who try to stop you. It is tons of fun and really worth playing.

3. Dragon Age: Inquisition
I really enjoyed this game. Didn’t enjoy it at first as I was just stuck doing sidequests but then the storyline really opened up. The sidequests were fantastic too, I really did try my best to take down every dragon I could get my dirty hands on, just a shame my tactic is going in head first and hoping that I would deal enough damage to take it out quickly. I was right once, the rest I was dragonmeat.

2. Batmam: Arkham Knight
This was my number 1 game I was looking forward to this year, but only made number 2 on the list? Yes that’s right but don’t get me wrong, this is probably the best Batman game created, probably easily one of the best games ever created. The storyline is brilliant, keeps you going throughout the entire game but the sidequests were just as good. Chasing Firefly around the city, to uncovering a serial killer’s lair and taking him down. Also you have the Batmobile, or Bat Tank, enough said really.

1. Metal Gear Solid V:The Phantom Pain

MGSV
This was a shock to me, bought this on a whim because I enjoy Metal Gear Solid games. I’m still playing this game now, wanting to conquer all the sidequests, collect all the weapons and invade everyone’s base. Also there’s something gratifying taking down tanks with bazookas whilst listening to “The Final Countdown”. However it may be the last proper Metal Gear Solid ever made. Hideo Kojima is no longer working with Konami. He has said he will continue to create games elsewhere, but that may be a while yet. However, congratulations to Metal Gear Solid V:The Phantom Pain, you are my game of the year.

 

Nath

London MCM Comic Con – Day 1: Arkham Knight, One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 & Godzilla

Adam headed off to the MCM Comic Con Expo in London this weekend. This is what he saw.

As part of my first day at London MCM Comic Con this year, aside from some general wandering around (first impressions here!) I checked out a few of the video games on offer, focussing on some upcoming games that I’ve been looking forward to (some of which I had forgotten about until I saw the demos). Here are some thoughts on three of my favourites.

Godzilla the Game

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As you can just about see there, Godzilla is a Namco Bandai game already out in Japan for PS3 and PS4, but over here it isn’t being released until July 2015. Playing as Godzilla, I destroyed some buildings while being attacked by the army, with the aim (I think) of blowing up some generators and gradually growing in size. In my way were two other kaiju – King Ghidorah and Space Godzilla (like Godzilla, but from space) that I had to scrap with in an arena. I took out King Ghidorah while he was trying to deal with some giant stalagmites created by Space Godzilla, then melted the latter’s face with some multiple nuclear breaths. Apparently I also successfully destroyed the area. It was 100% more fun than last year’s film.

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Also the 10 minutes I played for involved more Godzilla screen time than the film too

The short Godzilla demo I played was at it’s core a very fun, if simple and easy game. Not that there is anything wrong with that, not everything needs to be Bloodborne and gaming would be exhausting if it was. Tonally it was much more in line with the classic Japanese films, tongue in cheeky rather than oppressively dour, unsurprising as it was made by Namco Bandai rather than a Western studio. The controls were quite basic and to be honest, fairly clunky and sluggish. But admittedly, having the King of the Monsters moving in a quick, smooth way wouldn’t look or feel quite right. So despite that, I’d be interested in seeing what the whole game is like.

 

One Piece Pirate Warriors 3

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Pirate Warriors 3, developed by Omega Force and published by Namco Bandai and Tecmo Koei again, is the latest instalment in the One Piece musou games (Dynasty Warriors style 1 vs. loads of enemies). I really like the One Piece world, and the powers of Monkey D. Luffy, his crew and the variety of interesting allies and enemies are perfectly set up for this sort of game. The levels typically involve hundreds of weak pirates or navy infantry for you to smash or hack through, followed by some big boss. It is basically button bashing fun, and the demo for the third entry in the series was no different.

20150522_120852A few new elements here (aside from even more characters added to the already huge cast) involved some of the more recent story from the anime and manga, including Fishman Island and Dressrosa, and the new team attack (apparently called Kizuna Rush) that uses multiple finishing moves from your companions at the same time in a massively damaging combination attack. It looks insane and is a ton of fun. Pirate Warriors 3 is already out in Japan, but is everywhere else in August on PS3, PS4, Vita and apparently PC too.

 

Batman: Arkham Knight

ArkhamFinally, I queued for about 10 minutes to watch some Batman: Arkham Knight footage. We were filed in to a stiflingly hot room and a screen of about 10-15 minutes of gameplay was shown to us, with one of the attendants doing a pretty solid job of narrating. For some reason, despite the game coming out next month and so hopefully finished by now, they weren’t offering demos to actually give the game a try. I wasn’t too bothered about this though, as having played 3 full Arkham games already I know what to expect – more of the same, with some new extras, better controls and improved graphics.

I wasn’t totally enamoured by Arkham Origins. It was fine, but it ultimately felt like a bit of a cash grab to me. The story wasn’t bad, but elements of the game felt inherently ridiculous (executioner gloves), the sandbox you played it seemed largely unchanged and some parts were just re-skins of assets from Arkham City (glue grenades, really?). I felt like it was a fine game from WB Montreal, but I consider Asylum and City to be from Rocksteady to be great games. I feel like if we hadn’t had a new Batman game since Arkham City in 2011 then general excitement, at least speaking for myself, would be much higher. And maybe rushing out an average game damages the brand somewhat. That being said, I really loved Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. The attention to detail with regards to Batman and his rogues shows a great love of the source material, and when they use ‘Be the Batman’ in promotional material it really is because the free flowing combat has been honed to the point where, aside from donning a cape and risking your life every night, it really does feel like the closest thing to being the caped crusader every time you slo-mo smash someone’s face into the wall at the end of a fight.

In the footage we were shown, some of which was for the first time, the mysterious Arkham Knight (supported by the Scarecrow) has occupied Ace Chemicals. Batman glides in and wrecks some thugs with the impressive new ‘fear takedown’ that allows you to chain takedowns after sneaking up on foes, before opening the gate and remote calling in the Batmobile (check out the full size Batmobile they had at the event at the top of the article!), seamlessly jumping in as it enters. Throughout the screening we were shown a few more fights that showed off improvements to the combat, and some battles between the Batmobile and unmanned drone tanks controlled by the Arkham Knight. We also saw an assisted takedown carried out by Batman throwing a thug up in the air and having the Batmobile take them out with a stun shot. It was pretty rad.

As far as storyline goes, little was given away other than the fact that the Arkham Knight has a serious hate on for Batman, and wants him dead before the end of the night. I’ve a few guesses for who it might be, and while I’m expecting a twist I really hope it isn’t something that involves the Joker. Please.

Arkham Knight is out on the 23rd of June, and I’ll be picking it up on release and reviewing it to avoid some work I’m pretty sure I should be doing that week.

 

I played a few more games, but Comic Con (as you can probably guess from the name) isn’t primarily a games convention so it wasn’t exactly a focus. I’ll be back with more articles tomorrow on what I checked out on Saturday. London MCM Comic Con is open until Sunday, so if you’ve been thinking about it come on down to the Excel centre for some geeky goodness either today or tomorrow! I’ll be the one wearing the nerdy t-shirt.

Adam