What. A. Year. Seriously. What a year to be alive while also enjoying video games. We’ve seen strong years regarding game releases in the past, but 2015 could easily top any of those. In any other year, games like Splatoon, Rocket League, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Rise of the Tomb Raider and a bunch of others would fill out my top ten. Aside from the sheer number of awesome games that were released this year, games are as diverse and interesting as ever. I’ve always enjoyed game of the year discussions because they lead to interesting debates. In those arguments there is never a clear winner because personal views of games are so subjective. Unless that is, we’re talking about how bad Rayman is. With that said, on to the list!
10) NUCLEAR THRONE
Was released in early December and knocked Rocket League off of my list. My time with it has been shorter than any other game on my list but my enjoyment while playing it has been off the charts. The gameplay is fast, frenetic and trance inducing. If you’re a fan of rouge likes, dual stick shooters or dying in general, you should check this out
THIS FREAKING GAME. If you listened to the Talking Games podcast at all, you know how much I hate to love this game. That’s right, I hate to love it because it’s so frustrating almost all the time. However, there’s something there with their gameplay loop. The intense controller gripping, rage inducing, pure hatred I felt for Bloodborne was only matched by the sheer elation of clearing another boss.
8) METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN
Two things almost kept me from playing MGSV. I’ve never played a Metal Gear game and I’m possibly the worst stealth player on Earth. It’s a real good thing I didn’t let those stop me in the end because this game rocks. Knowing nothing allowed me to focus every ounce of attention I had on the gameplay, and that is where the game shines. I got my full after 30 hours or so, but I feel the itch to go back and Fulton some more things away.
7) EVERYBODY’S GONE TO THE RAPTURE
The walking simulator, or that’s what I thought of it in its first 15 minutes. What I didn’t know was I was playing one of my favorite games of the year. Beautiful music, wonderful performances and a heart breaking story combine to make this one of the years best.
I don’t play horror games. Nope, nope and nope. Yet, something about SOMA called out to me. The reviews were positive and I figured I’d at least try it. I almost quit after 20 minutes but stuck with it and was rewarded with one of my favorite stories in years. SOMA is dripping in atmosphere, so much so, that I wanted to never have to deal with any actual gameplay. The themes that are laid at your feet were fascinating and it left me only wanting to walk around and learn more about that world.
5) BATMAN:ARKHAM KNIGHT
Batman. Batman. Batman. This was my favorite game in the Arkham series from Rocksteady by far. I feel it enhanced everything that Arkham City had to offer and then some. The Batmobile is very divisive among players, but I found it to be nothing but good fun after I saw how it was going to be used. A very good game was made stronger by very great ending. A fitting and perfect conclusion to this series.
4) STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT
An admitted newer Star Wars fan, I never imagined I’d be dropping 40 hours into this game in under two months. Yet here I am, having hit max rank and still continuing to play. I love the games simplicity. No kill streaks, no attachments, no never ending list of different weapons. There’s none of that. You just go out there and shoot anything that moves. It’s as beautiful as any shooter I’ve ever played and it has some of the best sound design I’ve heard in any game. DID I MENTION YOU CAN FORCE CHOKE FOOLS?
3) FALLOUT 4
Bethesda went out and made another Fallout game. If that sentence excites you then,congratulations, we’re now best friends. I loved Fallout 3 and the idea of another one of those was enough to get me excited. I’m about 20 hours into Fallout 4 and I never want it to end. The best part of these games is that they can be nearly endless if you want them to be. Jacqui has 600 plus hours in Skyrim, and although I don’t think I’m that particular brand of crazy, I can see myself playing this game for over 200 hours. Losing an hour or two exploring some quest you stumbled into while entering some random building is what makes me happy. That and mini nukes.
2) DYING LIGHT
An open world zombie game with parkour elements? Mehhhhhhhh, okay, okay fine! I’ll try it. That was my thoughts about Dying Light before I saw it. After seeing it, I was intrigued, after playing it, I was hooked. Running around a quarantined city, crafting weapons, meeting survivors and exploring for hidden Easter eggs was a ton of fun. The best part of Dying Light was the sun going down. XP goes up but so does the danger you’ll be in. That enticement was too much to ignore and I generally found it to be scary the first few times I was being chased by super zombies. Throw all of that together and you have my runner up for game of the year. GO PLAY THIS. THERE’S A HUGE EXPANSION COMING.
1) SUPER MARIO MAKER
Super Mario Maker is one of the most important games to come out in the last decade. Maybe more than that. Mario is a cultural icon, everyone from little kids to your grandparents know what he looks like. People have been playing Mario levels for the better part of 20 years. Now take that and give the world the freedom to create their own levels and share them. Congratulations you’ve found the formula to magic. Now, other games have tried the create your own levels and share them idea, and with some moderate success. Yet Super Mario Maker nails it because everyone is familiar with the tool set. You see a shell and you know what it’s for. The same hold true with bricks and coins and P-switches and POW blocks. It’s like looking at the alphabet and deciding to write your own story and share it. The results have been downright incredible. Things I’ve never dreamed of are being achieved in the game daily. I loved watching an expert level being built and watching someone else try over and over to beat it. I loved playing the expert levels and losing all 100 lives almost immediately. Hey, I never said I was good at it. Sitting around with a bunch of friends and loading up the hardest levels the Internet had to offer was a great time. Building our own levels with custom sound effect made me run out of air laughing. For me personally, knowing that I’ll teach my sons the basics of video game mechanics with this game is a really cool thing. It’s amazing. It’s the reason to buy a Wii U. It is 100 percent my game of the year.
Example of one of the hardest courses out there 🙂
You can find more of these insane ramblings over on the Talking Games Podcast!