By: Mithrandiel & ALuckyBum
2015 is coming to an end, and that means it’s time to reflect on the great video game releases we saw this year!
Mithrandiel’s Top 5 –
5) Witcher 3
I know, I know. Prepare your pitchforks and ready the mob if you must, but Witcher 3, while a stunning and ambitious title, just didn’t captivate me as much as it seemed to captivate the rest of the industry. The graphics were amazing, the open-world was expansive and inviting, and the impressive cause and effect mechanics built into the story were clever. Here’s what killed it for me: the combat seemed awkwardly paced. Switching between swords and executing spells, attempting to defend and managing targets just didn’t seem to be handled well. That being said, any top list for 2015 would be remiss without Witcher 3.
4) Batman: Arkham Knight
Though plagued with a disastrous PC launch, Batman: Arkham Knight was a thrilling conclusion to the Batman/Arkham trilogy. With some spectacular voice acting, especially on the part of Mark Hamill as the iconic Joker, Arkham Knight delivered an excellent story-driven experience. The combat was smooth, with solid visuals and an open city and numerous side-missions to help pass the hours if you chose to pursue them. The tank-batmobile battle sequences certainly didn’t hurt either. Overall, one of the best titles I had the pleasure of playing this year, and definitely worth the time if you get a chance to play it.
3) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Metal Gear has been a franchise near and dear to my heart for quite some time: ever since I first played Metal Gear Solid on the original Playstation back in 1998. After a long and fruitful journey, Hideo Kojima, the father of Metal Gear, said goodbye to his long-standing franchise with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. While some faulted it for being heavy-handed with its messaging, and others grew annoyed with the constant credits at the beginning of each chapter, I found the game to be a great culmination of everything that worked well in previous Metal Gear installments. While the recent drama involving Konami and Hideo Kojima is unfortunate, I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to enjoy this game in 2015.
2) Fallout 4
When the surprise announcement of Fallout 4 was made back in June at E3, the internet promptly exploded with excitement. Titles as large as Fallout 4 typically are preceded with a drawn out hype-train sometimes lasting over a year. Bethesda didn’t feel the need with Fallout 4, and instead let the gamers do all of the hyping for them. When the game landed in November, it delivered much of the hype that was expected and then some. While there are some particularly loud critics out there who wish to poke holes in the graphical quality, given the size and scope of Fallout 4, combined with the extensive settlement system and various companions that can accompany you, Fallout 4 certainly provides some of the most engaging and long-running gameplay you’ll find from any of 2015’s titles.
And so, Mithrandiel’s 2015 Game of the Year goes to…
This one probably won’t be on a lot of lists this year, let alone topping many, but Bloodborne absolutely delivered the best gaming experience for me this year. With a sprawling Lovecraftian setting, an engaging and complex combat system and top-tier graphics and music, Bloodborne stood out as the best of both worlds: you could either sit down and enjoy a single play-through as an excellent action/adventure title, or you could take the world on as a challenge and make your way through the countless chalices and alternate dungeons to pile on the difficulty and game-time as a more open-world experience. Whatever you decided, you were in for a treat. A terrific title, and a must have for any PS4 owner.
ALuckyBum’s Top 5 –
5) The Witcher 3: Wild hunt
Full disclosure: I haven’t played this game yet. Everyone is talking about this game, it must be good right? I know it’s a hard game, in a good way. I know there is a lot to do. However, I get the feeling I shouldn’t expect much. Worst case, I get pleasantly surprised. I played the second one for a few hours. I was a little put off on the difficulty. “Oh, I need to actually coat my blade in poison, meditate, plant bombs, be in the right stance, use the right sword, plant my pivot foot, draw the foul, get the and-one, and hit my free throws to beat this? Coach, take me out, I’m done.” I hope it’s a little better this time around.
4) Rise of the Tomb Raider
Full disclosure: I haven’t played this game yet either. It’s been a busy year, ok. However, this kind of game (a.k.a. Uncharted) is my kind of game. I hear the death animations are cool. I probably wouldn’t have seen those anyway. I like to cleanse my palette with a good fun romp around and kill guys game. Drake is a mass murderer, I assume Lara is too.
3) Star Wars Battlefront
This game is here because I love Star Wars, Battlefield, and good multi-player gameplay. There is no story at all, but considering how much time and fun I got out of the game it deserves this spot. The feeling of playing in a movie is very novel and still brings me back to play more. The game feels a little hallow in terms of content. There are only 4 locations, many maps are derived from these 4 locations, but it still feels limited. There aren’t space battle like there were on the old battlefront games from 10 years ago. It feels like it’s their first attempt at this IP and it just makes me long for the second one they come out with after they go back to making Battlefield.
2) Batman Arkham Knight
I didn’t play the first 3 Batman Arkham games. However, I really enjoyed this as my first experience. The graphics, story, pacing, gameplay, and writing were all spot on. The game was the perfect length and didn’t have too much fluff. It’s probably the most polished game I have ever played. They delayed the game from releasing last year, and I think the extra time really paid off.
While the story was very well crafted, there wasn’t much input from you. You are experiencing the ride, albeit a very good ride. The emotion is there and the ending was good, but I never made a decision that anyone else wasn’t forced to make. That’s why Fallout gets the nod here.
And ALuckyBum’s Top Game of 2015 is…
1) Fallout 4
This game is my jam. Exploring in this game is a blast. Traveling around with your companion taking on dirty, bizarre, scary, gross, and hilarious missions never gets old. Fallout does this really unique thing where it gives you the sense of living in the past and the future all at the same time. It’s refreshing. Most games fall into the past, present, or future category, but fallout’s alternate history/future setting manages to transcend that.
You don’t play this game like normal. Even though it is a single player game, it doesn’t mean you don’t need help from your friends. This game is so huge that running to the computer every mission to read a walkthrough would be a waste of your time. You need to just do it yourself and tell your friends what cool secrets you found. The game doesn’t spell things out for you. There are so many things you could try to fix a problem, but it really feels like you are discovering the solution, instead of the game just yelling at you the answer. You discover features, quests, how perks work, and share that knowledge with your friends. It reminds me of playing video games 20 years ago when we didn’t have the internet to help us. There are nitpicks you could bring up, but none of them ruin your game saves or waste too much of your time. I like the wonkiness of the game. It’s endearing. The last 3rd of the game was amazing. It forced me to make hard decisions and made me really feel it.
That does it for our list of best games of 2015. Make sure to check back later this week for our top tech segment!