Wednesday, November 04, 2015

best of 2015: random edition, part 1

2015 is slowly but surely coming to an end, so I figured I'd go ahead and start my annual "Best Of" lists a little early!  Before I begin, a few notes:

  • Not everything here was first released in 2015, but that's when I first read/saw/played/smelled them.
  • In years past, I provided pictures for each item, but that became such a formatting nightmare that I'm not doing it this time around.  I have crappy hair, but I'd still like to keep it as opposed to ripping it out in frustration!
  • Some of the video games are available for multiple consoles, but I'll list the one I played them on.
  • I usually have a separate entry for the best manga/graphic novels of the year, but I only had a couple of titles this time around, so I'll just include them here instead.
  • As ever, your mileage may vary.

1. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd:  An insanely addictive rhythm game featuring virtual idol Hatsune Miku and her pals singing an array of catchy J-pop tunes.  (Playstation 3)

2. Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX:  Look who's back!  And this time around, Miku and her friends are in chibi mode, making them even more adorable than usual.  I don't know why everyone on GameFAQs shits on my absolute favorite song in the game ("LOL"), but even if you hate "LOL", which why, there are sure to be at least a dozen songs you'll enjoy.  (Nintendo 3DS)

3. The Evil Within: I had very high hopes for this game, both because I love the survival horror genre and because it was created by Shinji Mikami, who brought us several Resident Evil games (including, in my opinion, the best ones) and the Devil May Cry series.  And to be honest, it fell far short of those expecations, largely because of the bland protagonist and a few blisteringly hard bosses, but it still had a stratospheric creepy factor and some really fun fighting, so it's worth a rent if you like the genre.  (Playstation 4)

4. Displacement by Lucy Knisley: In this graphic memoir, Lucy takes her elderly grandparents on a cruise and learns a lot about them and herself in the process.  The watercolor art is charming, and the writing is quietly, beautifully heartbreaking.

5. A Lab on Fire Paris/L.A.: When perfume blog Now Smell This described this scent as "Coca-Cola meets macarons", I knew I had to try it, so I bought a sample from Luckyscent.  About two minutes after trying it, I placed an order for a full bottle.  It's fizzy and sweet, and far more sophisticated than the description would have you believe.  It's happiness in fragrance form.

6. Citrus by Saburouta: In this manga, cheerful and popular high school girl Yuzu is astounded to discover she has a new stepsister, Mei, who's also the student body president at Yuzu's school.  Yuzu is attracted to Mei, who keeps giving her mixed signals, and Yuzu isn't sure they'll ever be friends, much less something more.  It's a massive cocktease (please excuse the phrasing), but the art is beautiful and the story is intriguing enough that I'll keep reading to the end to see if they ever get together.

7. P.T.: This playable teaser was meant to be an appetizer for the now-cancelled Silent Hills, which had Guillermo del Toro, Hideo Kojima, AND Norman Reedus attached to it, so it was basically too awesome to live.  Even though it was in first person, which tends to make me vomit and/or get a massive headache, I knew I had to play it since it was the closest thing I'd get to a new Silent Hill game for a long time, if ever again.  And oh my god, it is fucking TERRIFYING.  I literally did not want to continue at certain points, and even G-Vo (normally much more unflappable) was freaking out.  It's been pulled from the Playstation Network because Konami threw a hissy little baby fit, so good luck finding it, but it's worth watching on YouTube at the very least.  (And for the record, I didn't get sick playing it, probably because I took frequent breaks and made sure to move very slowly.)

8. Resident Evil: Revelations 2: Claire Redfield (my favorite female video game character of all time until Ellie from The Last of Us came along) makes her triumphant return, and this time, she's got a friend named Moira Burton, estranged daughter of Barry.  Lots of great action, and Moira is a fucking riot.  (Playstation 4)

9. The Wolf Among Us: Telltale Games hits it out of the park again with this intriguing video game based on Bill Willingham's Fables comics.  Sheriff Bigby Wolf looks into the murder of a prostitute, and his investigation uncovers some dark secrets among the residents of Fabletown.  Familiarity with the Fables series is a plus, but not necessary; they do a good job of explaining the universe.  (Playstation 4)

10.  Broad City: Aimless twentysomethings Abbi and Ilana have adventures in New York City; think a much funnier Girls with much more likable characters.  All of the episodes are funny, and some have left me literally helpless with laughter.  I want Abbi and Ilana to be my BFFs.  (Comedy Central)

To be continued!