I wrote one of these things last year simply because it was a fun little way to kill time. I figure I might as well do it again this year. As will last year I doubt many people will read this, though I do have a bit of increased traffic from the Game Boy Macro stuff so maybe a few people will see this and find it interesting!
To preface, I’m primarily a PC gamer, so pretty much all of these games you can assume I played on PC, and one game on the list is technically a 2015 game since that’s when it was released for PC! Anyways, I’ll stop wasting your time. Here’s the list:
Favorite Old Game – The Walking Dead: Season 1
I did this last year as well. I don’t have a ton of time for games, so I play a lot of games from previous years. I put this game off for a while but finally decided to tackle it early 2015 (literally started playing it on January 1). After episode 1 I was hooked. I practically played non-stop throughout the story and even the 400 Days expansion trying every option that felt meaningful. If it weren’t for this series I may not have ever tried Life is Strange. The Walking Dead really opened my eyes to these Telltale style point and click adventures. I am certainly hoping for more.
Runner Up – South Park: The Stick of Truth
I don’t really have a ton to say about this game other than it was an incredibly fun RPG, especially for someone who doesn’t typically like turn based RPGs. The art style was incredible and felt exactly like I was watching the show. It’s a great game that easily would have been my favorite had I played The Walking Dead one day earlier.
I’m honestly not sure what to write that could properly express my opinions on this game, but I’ll try. Klei has made some incredibly fun games, but this might be my favorite. There is something to the simple play style coupled with the music that just makes it absurdly fun. Once you get into the rhythm of the game it’s difficult to stop, and when the shopkeeper kicks in with his singing it takes the gameplay up another notch. That’s really all I have to say about this game. It is just so simple and fun.
The 2012 Tomb Raider was one of my favorite games from that year. It took a stagnant franchise and made it exciting and over the top. Rise of The Tomb Raider is really more of the same, except this time you actually raid tombs! Weird, right? They have somewhat built a main town where you can get side quests and find more tombs to raid. While the 2012 Tomb Raider was essentially a straight line, Rise is more of an open world adventure, while not being completely open-world it is still a refreshing change. The set-pieces have also been upgraded and made even more incredible, even the side tombs larger scale and more intricate elements than the main story tombs from 2012, it’s a great change and you can really see that Square Enix knows they have something here. I can only hope they continue the improvements for the next installment.
It’s no surprise to most people that I love Guitar Hero. I was both excited and concerned when Activision announced Guitar Hero Live. At the time an FMV music game sounded like the most 90s thing that could happen. Was it being released on the Sega CD? Why on earth would they do this? Somehow the game came out and wasn’t terrible. In fact, it was fantastic! The FMV is done unbelievably well, the transitions between crowd/band attitude are smooth, and overall everything just works. Even the new guitar is a welcome change. Most Guitar Hero veterans can play any song you throw at them without issue, changing the layout and adding a sixth button added a new layer of difficulty that I love. While I still can’t play expert on this new setup I know I’ll get there eventually and that change just keeps me coming back for more.
Even Guitar Hero TV, which I was skeptical over, is fantastic. A constantly rotation song library with individual play purchases was a great move and I hope this game stays alive for years to come. Instead of doing more of the same Activision took a chance and released a phenomenal game.
In 2013 when Sim City came out it felt like EA and Maxis had salted the earth and killed city-builders forever. Cities Skylines came out early 2015 and shows us what really could have been. It is a more budget title, and only cost $30 at launch. While the budget aspects of the game are fairly obvious in the game play it is still a fun and exciting game.
All you need to know is that this is game will quickly have you liking city builders again.
At the time of me writing this I haven’t even beaten Life is Strange. Yet somehow I’m still compelled to include this game on my list. The story beats and interactive elements of the game are some of the most compelling I’ve seen this year, and maybe ever. The choices you make can be so impactful and change absolutely everything, it makes me want to go back and play through every possible option to see how much the game can truly change. Everything feels so meaningful and true that i can only imagine road the other decisions would take you down. Many of the choices even have you feeling helpless no matter which way you go. Would you rather tell the truth and have your friends hate you, or lie and keep them happy? It’s difficult to decide and I love it. DONTNOD has done everything right with this game.
I didn’t see this one coming. A Warhammer team survival game? That just sounds awful, right? Vermintide is the second best multiplayer experience I’ve had in years. Fatshark took the Left 4 Dead formula and improved practically everything. Even when I play the game alone I’m having a great time. The scenery is beautiful and the waves of vermin are a welcome change from zombies. Because really who needs another zombie game?
Up until a few weeks ago I wasn’t very fond of Bloodborne. It’s objectively a good game, but I can’t stop comparing it to Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls. Then it happened, Bloodborne finally managed to grab me the way Dark Souls did last year. Again, I have no idea what it is that did it, but it pulled me in and I can’t put it down. As I write this I’m sitting in a hotel room with my PS4 and Bloodborne booted up.
As I mentioned, it doesn’t quite hit it out of the park like Dark Souls, but some of the changes are a vast improvement over the past mechanics and the lovecraftian theme is gorgeous. This game is the reason I bought my PS4 and I do not regret it at all. Even if I did get stuck on Micolash…
I didn’t start this game until a week and a half ago, but holy crap is it great in practically every aspect. The art direction, the music, the gameplay, everything! On the surface Ori looks like another indie platformer trying to appeal to indies. “Oh, another side scrolling game with a cute protagonist, great…” When you give it the time you really start to see something great. Then, eventually the game smacks you in the face and becomes one of the most difficult and frustrating metroidvania style games you’ll ever play, but wow is it satisfying! The combos you can pull off and the ways you can upgrade Ori give you so much control over the way you play the game. It’s hard to believe a dev team that never even met managed to make a game, and even more difficult to believe they made one so fantastic.
This is kind of an odd choice, but it came out for PC this year, and I feel it belongs. I’ll be honest, many times I’ve said I’m tired of the Rockstar formula and I really don’t want to play their games anymore. In a capacity that is true, but only for their single player experiences. I had no fun with the campaign, but when I tried the online I was blown away.
GTA Online is some of the most fun I’ve ever had playing online. The mayhem and absurdity of it all is incredible. When you tire of open-world insanity you can move onto doing a heist. While they take hours, the planning and smaller bits of mayhem you experience with friends are great. This is simply a great experience made even better when you have a few friends to play with. Rockstar hit it out of the park.
1. Rocket League!
This game is phenomenal, it is one of the best, if not the best multiplayer experiences I have ever had. The simplicity of the game is where the beauty is. All you do is drive a car and hit a ball into a goal! The presentation is where the game excels. You explode, the ball explodes, your car can fly, they took soccer and made it absurd. This game is a masterpiece and I really don’t know how to properly convey it, everything it does, it does right and I don’t see myself stopping playing it any time soon. I’ve even gone so far as to buy all the dlc on both PC and PS4, and I even plan to buy everything once they release the Xbox One version. Congratulations Psyonix, you created a masterpiece.
Honorable Mention – Kerbal Space Program
I love this game. I really wanted to include it on my list, but I barely played it this year. Considering it was officially released this year I felt compelled to at least mention it. This game is just a bucket of crazy and completely worth your time.