Welcome to week four of the Boss Rush Bucket List! The writing staff at Boss Rush has curated a list of the top 50 games released since 2014 that are a must-play. Five games surrounding a genre or theme will be featured every Friday at 10a.m. until September 3rd. The fifth game of each article will count down the top ten, so stick with us to find out which title is our number one recommended game!
Adrenaline junkie? This week, we list some of the best hack ‘n slash, FPS, and beat ’em ups available.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
By: The Madpharmacist
Developer: Omega Force. Publisher: Nintendo, Koei Tecmo
Release Date: 11/20/2020. Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity in three words: Zelda on steroids
This is the second installment in the Hyrule Warriors arm of the Legend of Zelda franchise. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity takes place 100 years prior to the events in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the highly acclaimed 2017 Nintendo game. Omega Force blends the best of the Dynasty Warriors hack ‘n slash formula with the lore of Zelda. Players can fight as several characters, from the traditional choice of Link and Zelda to the four Champions and even the Great Fairies. Despite some frame rate issues that many complain about, the visuals and story are quite enjoyable, and the DLC continues to make it worthwhile. The first DLC, Pulse of the Ancients, has already been released, and Guardian of Remembrance is scheduled for November 2021.
Snack Pairing: Fresh mandarin slices or other fruits to go with this juicy hack ‘n slash.
By: The Madpharmacist
Developer: Superhot Team. Publisher: Superhot Team
Release Date: 02/25/2016. Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC/Mac, Nintendo Switch, Oculus (VR)
SUPERHOT in three words: Innovative indie shooter
SUPERHOT is an indie game that took me by surprise. Simple in layout, it begins as if you are sitting in front of an old-school computer where you get a DOS prompt–your friend wants to share a file called superhot.exe. You, the player, launch the program. From there, you are “in” the game. The levels are simple with white and gray environments and red hostiles who attack/move only when you move. This provides us with situational awareness and a means to really calculate each and every move.
Each level has a unique setting or mechanic, and the number of weapons used are plentiful. There is something so satisfying as hearing the sound of crystal shattering every time you destroy an enemy…until the system starts talking to you. The system warns you to stop playing the game. Of course, you cannot stop, as if you are becoming part of the software itself…
Snack Pairing: Crackers or veggies with hummus. You need nutrition to keep your focus up!
Developer: Platinum Games. Publisher: SEGA/Nintendo
Release Date: 10/24/2021. Platform(s): Wii U, Nintendo Switch
Bayonetta 2 in three words: Hair-raising Hack’n’slash
Bayonetta 2 is the sequel to the cult classic game that no one thought would get a sequel. Taking place not long after the first game, Bayonetta finds herself being attacked by angels. Luckily, fellow witch, Jeanna, joins the party to help Bayonetta out. Bayonetta 2 adds new features that weren’t available in the first game, like a co-op mode and new abilities for Bayonetta to unlock, changing gameplay drastically. If that wasn’t enough, Bayonetta even sported a cool new hairdo.
This is one of those few rare cases where this game wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for a big publisher coming in to save the day, and in this game’s case, that publisher was Nintendo. Nintendo turned a multi-platform game, one that never released on Nintendo consoles, into a Nintendo classic, selling millions and giving the series a new lease on life. This is one of those games for the record books and one of the only mature games left that Nintendo is still publishing.
Snack Pairing: Pop-rock candy or anything that’s colorful and loud, giving you an absolute sugar rush. If you are playing Bayonetta 2 without a high sugar intake, then you are playing the game wrong. Just remember kids, too much sugar will rot your teeth.
Streets of Rage 4
Developer: DotEmu, Guard Crush Games, Lizardcube, Seaven Studio, BlitWorks. Publisher: SEGA
Release Date: 04/30/2020. Platforms: Xbox One, PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch
Streets of Rage 4 in three words: Welcome back, King.
In a time before every game was a FPS, there was another genre that ruled the gaming sphere–a genre so great, that every second game came in this style. This was the 90’s beat ’em up. It was the king of gaming, and every developer wanted their own version of the most successful beat ’em up franchises: Streets of Rage. Streets of Rage 4 revives the classic beat ’em up genre, with classic side scrolling fun as if it was straight from the 90’s.
Streets 4 will always be known as the game that revived the beat ’em up genre in 2020, especially considering the release of another revival in the form of Battletoads occurred shortly after. With more revivals on the way, and the beat ’em up genre looking to make a comeback, Streets of Rage 4 will always be known as the beginning of a revival.
Snack Pairing: You can’t play a beat ’em up game without having a good old roast chicken or at least an apple. How else are you going to revive health for lengthy sessions?
Boss Rush Bucket List Top 10: #7 Titanfall 2
Developer: Repawn Entertainment. Publisher: EA
Release Date: 10/28/2016. Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Titanfall 2 In Three Words: Mech Shooter Parkour
Hot off the heels of the Xbox exclusive, multiplayer-only Titanfall comes Titanfall 2, surpassing expectations with its fast paced first-person shooter action. Not only does it feature robust multiplayer modes, but it also has a captivating campaign that puts you in the shoes of Riflemen Third Class Jack Cooper, the Pilot for the Titan BT-7274, aptly named “BT” by Jack. Throughout the course of the campaign, you build a great rapport with BT, who is fully voiced and aware, asking questions about its purpose and role as Jack’s Titan, as well as even offering tactical advice, like throwing you into the air from moving air ship to moving air ship. The game blends Mech-Warrior style combat, first-person-shooter mechanics, coupled with wall-running parkour elements, and even platforming elements that add to the traversal. Each level is surprisingly different and unique, with one level even blending time-travel mechanics to advance through. Throughout the course of the story, you develop a strong bond with BT that truly adds to the story, with BT being one of the best supporting characters in video games today.
Multiplayer has something for everyone. If you enjoy Pilot combat, Titan combat, or even a mixture of both, there’s a mode for your style of play. You can play in Attrition, where you build up points to summon Titans, Pilot vs Pilot where it’s just boots on the ground combat, Armed Hardpoint where you capture strategic points from the enemy and hold them as long as possible, and many more. It was a shame that it didn’t garner more attention, as it was released in between Call of Duty Infinite Warfare and Battlefield 1, but nonetheless, it received critical acclaim and multiple awards.
Beer Pairing: A cold crispy boi, like a Busch Light or Pabst. The adrenaline coursing through your veins as you play this game means you need to be sharp, so a cool light beer should keep you alert and focused.
Honorable Mentions: Cuphead, Far Cry 4 and 5
This wraps up week four of the Boss Rush Bucket List. Next Friday (7/30), we talk RPG! We also have the entire Boss Rush Bucket list schedule here. Remember, there are hundreds of amazing games that have been released since 2014, and this is just our personal, curated recommendations. If you see a game that is not listed, we would love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts on these nominated games on our friendly Discord channel!
This week’s contributors: David, the Madpharmacist, Charlie, Stoy