With only three months of the year remaining, we’re about to reach ‘silly’ season—the time of year when so many AAA titles are released that it’s near impossible to keep up with them. For the avid games player, it’s an expensive but exciting time. So now is the perfect time to take a look back at some of the solid games released earlier in the year that you may have forgotten about, or never noticed at all.
Released in January, it’s no surprise that The Witness seems like an increasingly distant release. Inspired by classic point-and-click adventure game Myst, The Witness has you exploring an open world island of strange structures—both natural and man-made.
Devised by Jonathan Blow, made famous by indie puzzler Braid, it’s a game that focuses on non-verbal communication, encouraging players to figure things out from their own observations, as they negotiate various puzzles and mazes.
Available for PC and PS4, with an Xbox One release forthcoming, it’s garnered critical acclaim due to its delightful visual style and its difficult but not impossible set of puzzles. Impressively, it boasts 650 puzzles, although not all need to be solved to complete the game. It’ll be ideal for those long winter nights.
Street Fighter V
When you’re part of an iconic franchise, you’re less likely to be forgotten about. February seems fairly distant, though, right? Street Fighter V also had a somewhat rocky start given it was released without a story mode and with a number of characters missing.
Now is the right time to dive in. With more expansive single-player content available than earlier in the year, and a more stable experience when playing online, Street Fighter V is finally the game it should have been back in February.
It’s a little bittersweet, still lacking some of the wow factor of its predecessor, but it’s hard to resist the wonder of this classic series.
Far Cry Primal
Will the February release Far Cry Primal win prizes for revolutionary gameplay, or be remembered for decades to come? Probably not, but it’s good, mindless fun.
Set in the Stone Age, Far Cry Primal is quite a departure from other Far Cry games, with its focus on survival. Weapons must be crafted, with no sign of guns or vehicles. A day and night cycle affects how difficulty, keeping you on your toes at all times.
If you’re up for the challenge, Far Cry Primal is great palate cleanser before the heftier holiday fare is released.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
The original Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare went a little under the radar, and that’s a similar story for its sequel. Released in February, the game is a blast in every sense of the word.
A third-person shooter like its predecessor, PvZ: GW 2 nonetheless offers more options, including 6 new plant and zombie classes, each with their own set of abilities. There’s also more support for solo play. But it really stands out for its split-screen multiplayer (a rarity these days), and plethora of maps for online play.
Thanks to such additions, it’s a stronger installment than before, and ideal for young and old to dip into some more lighthearted shooting.
Bravely Second: End Layer
I’ve talked before about the wonders of Bravely Second, but it bears repeating. It’s one of the best JRPGs in years, but it was released in April to, well…not fanfare. It was critically acclaimed, and its sales figures were decent, but not mind blowing. In short: it’d be easy to overlook this one.
Bravely Second is a delightful game that makes JRPGs accessible again (but not necessarily easy). It makes experience grinding—one of the more tedious parts of JRPGs for many—a joy, streamlining the process and speeding things up, while offering an enticing story along the way.
It’s an ideal game for chipping away at while you’re curled up on the sofa during the winter months.
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered
Valkyria Chronicles is a fantastic turn-based strategy game that rarely gets a break. Originally released in 2008 for the PS3, it suffered from some weak sales figures then, as it did again when a remastered edition was released in May.
It easily deserves more attention. Set in a fictional region of Europe during the early days of World II, Valkyria Chronicles is a tough but rewarding strategy game. One wrong move can make all the difference between success and failure, but that level of tension makes it all the more interesting.
The remastered version includes all the DLC of the original, and looks notably better than before. Available at a budget price, it’s the perfect time for strategy fans to pick it up.
Not every game has to be a heavy, story focused experience. Dangerous Golf taps into the fun that can be had from party gaming-style experiences.
Released in May on PS4, Xbox One and Windows PC, Dangerous Gold was a breath of fresh air for those with a destructive urge. From the makers of the Burnout franchise, the game had you destroying furniture and landscapes in a bid for high scores, before tapping the ball into the hole, much like golf.
It isn’t perfect–performance is a little sluggish at times–but recent updates have ensured it’s a much stronger game now than before. Ultimately, it’s great fun. There are plenty of opportunities to chase your friends’ high scores, and it’s multiplayer offering means you can duke it out in person too.