Unlike 2014, there was a large quantity of seemingly stellar video games this year. In fact there were so many excellent titles this year I decided to compile a list of my own. These are my top 10 games of the year. However, I did take into account review scores and critical reviews from noteworthy reviewers and websites in order to eliminate some of my own bias. The outline of each title will be represented as following [ Game Title – Developer (Platform(s)) Noteworthy Awards]
*NOTE: No Sports Games or HD Remasters will be on this list
#10. Halo 5: Guardians – 343 Industries (Xbox One) VG Hunter 8.8/10
I will certainly get a lot of flak from Xbox fanboys for placing their beloved Master Chief in the number 10 slot on this list. However, I can back this placement up by the fact that the only awards it yielded this year all had to do with being the best Xbox One game of the year (that isn’t saying much when you look at 1st party Xbox games). I enjoyed the game a lot but excluding the warzone gamemode the game was sort of a disappointment. With a setup Halo 2 esque ending combined with abysmal writing and the fact that you never really hunt the Master Chief (even though the marketing campaign made this out to be a legendary hunt for the ultimate super soldier) I felt lied to honestly by the developers. Gameplay on the other hand is smoother than any other Halo game, and that is saying something since Halo is known for its simple but skill based gameplay.
Who would have thought one of the best multiplayer experiences of 2015 would be on a Nintendo console? I might (absolutely will) get some hate for placing this game ahead of Halo 5, but Splatoons simple and fun gameplay. Basically the object of the game is to cover as much of the map as possible with your own teams color of paint while covering the areas that the other team has painted with their own. Sounds simple? Well in most cases it is just that: simple. Yet this game for some odd reason gave me a since of pleasure and achievement even though i was completing a childish task. The art style is adorable (yes I used that word) and fits the game quite well. This game is playable by gamers of all ages and skill levels. That is why it was placed on this list, due to its availability, relatively balanced gameplay and somewhat lack of violence.
#8. Tales from the Borderlands – Telltale Games (PC/PS4/PS3/Xbox One/Xbox 360/ OSX/IOS) IGN 9.3/10
Honestly when it boils down to voice acting and overall writing for a game, Tales from the Borderlands delivers and then kills the standard for narrative and storytelling. With a cast including Troy Baker (The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite, etc), Nolan North (Uncharted, Batman Arkham Series, Assassins Creed, etc), Ashley Johnson (The Last of Us, The Avengers, etc) and countless other noteworthy voice actors, this game is full of talent. This five part Telltale series explores the world of Pandora from the Borderlands franchise. Although the gameplay is simple point and click puzzles with quick time combat moments, the writing focusing on the characters is absolutely astounding. The humor and overall lack of morality is exactly what a player should expect from a game taking place in the 2K’s beloved game world. I found myself laughing hysterically countless times during my endeavors on the surface of Pandora. Yet, I also found some of the player choices and moments to be incredibly thought provoking. If you want to play a game just for the story and you have a somewhat sick but great sense of humor pick this game up on its various platforms of availability.
Rocket League is the end product of combing football(soccer) and high speed rocket-powered cars. This title that has been released on the PC/PS4 so far (Xbox One in February) is simple from the surface, but truly has some depth to its gameplay. The object of the game is simple: knock a giant ball into the other team’s goal while protecting your own. Basically it is soccer with rocket cars, hence the name Rocket League. Whether you are playing a 1v1 or a chaotic 4v4 the gameplay in Rocket League is simple but effective when it comes to providing a spark of excitement to the player. Dramatic saves and goals will more than likely be plentiful in your own experiences with this fantastic indie game.
#6. Super Mario Maker – Nintendo (WiiU) Giant Bomb’s 2015 GOTY Awards Best Game
Nintendo finally made the game that their fans have been asking for decades, a game that lets the player make stages using Super Mario’s assets and set pieces. Super Mario Maker allows gamers to make everything from simple levels to seemingly impossible death traps. The community since the game has been released have created quite the variety of levels. The simple interface allows for fans of the series of all ages to have the ability to make levels that they can play and share with friends and family. Since there are thousands of player created levels the game has an incredibly high replay-ability so as a gamer you will certainly get your bang for your buck.
#5. Undertale – tobyfox (PC/Mac-OS) Destructoid PC Game of the Year
Undertale proved once again that fantastic games do not have to have fantastic graphics or come from the minds of a Triple A developer. This PC/Mac title shared some basic RPG elements, but honestly this game belongs in its own category altogether. Each of the game’s boss fights had its own unique and signature aspects and features. The game also gives the player the ability to play the entire game without killing a single enemy. The class RPG elements combined with the neat puzzles and animated/energetic non-playable characters is a nice touch. The combat is essentialy a bullet hell style system that gets progressively harder as the game moves on. Basically the player has to guide a little heart around in a box, dodging various things that will in turn hurt the protagonist. Undertale was a game that main stream gamers never saw coming, I for one am glad that gamers got this neat little game.
Bloodborne absolutely was the best original game of 2015. The games ahead of it on my list all are sequels in various game series. Bloodborne was an entirely new IP (Intellectual Property) all together. The PS4 exclusive was dark, difficult and quite foreboding. From the minds behind Demon Souls & Dark Souls, Bloodborne proves to be ever so difficult as the titles it takes elements and tropes from. This hack ‘n slash RPG stands on its own though by divulging far more plot elements than the other games made by FromSoftware. The Gothic art style and brooding setting in a dilapidated city stained by the blood of monsters and a psychotic populace was a nice touch to the aesthetic of the game. The gameplay does not hold the player’s hand in anyway. The game expects the player to be smart, it respects your intelligence and therefore provides the player with a difficult but rewarding style of gameplay.
#3. Fallout 4 – Bethesda Game Studios (PC/PS4/Xbox One) Game Awards Nominated Game of the Year 2015
Some readers may believe that this title should be closer to the best game spot, I however feel quite the opposite. Fallout 4 was no doubt a good game, it told a far more meaningful story and the new chunk of the American Wasteland that players got to roam in was full of incredible stories, moments and sidequests. Yet, the same thing can be said about Fallout 3 or Fallout New Vegas. Sure the game added a nice settlement feature and crafting but it lacked something special that would make it truly feel next-gen. There was simply no feature that could set it apart from the other games if all of the games appeared the same graphically. None the less the game is a fantastic RPG that is second only to the #1 game on this list. The game itself is what one would expect from a Bethesda style RPG, but I wanted more, something else was missing that is keeping this title from being higher on the list. Still a fantastic game though.
Hideo Kojima’s final iteration in the Metal Gear franchise was my personal favorite game of the year. The reason why it is not number one on this list is due to the fact that I already gave it a perfect 10/10 on my website and it seems too bias to place it in the top spot. The gameplay and overall aesthetic of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is precise and surgical down to the actual frame rate and presentation of the game. I have to give credit to the now defunct Kojima Productions for optimizing the game on every single platform it was released for. Yet, the best experience can be found on the PC version of this open-world stealth and action-adventure game. The gameplay is the best in the series and this title traces its roots from a phenomenal pedigree of previous games. Even the cinematography and overall animations seem ahead of rival game developer’s games. Everything from the dark and gritty opening Hospital prologue to the mind boggling twist ending fits in seamlessly with the gameplay. The level of customization and wide variety of player choice regarding nearly everything the game has to offer (ranging from combat, mission selection, loadout customization) combined with the Clash of Clans esque base building meta game bundles this game into an action gamer’s nirvana. Hideo Kojima went all out on his final installment for the franchise.
Oddly enough I didn’t write a review for The Witcher 3 out of respect for the title. No true words can describe the vast open world that is this game. I played the game twice first on PS4 then on PC. I beat the game to total completion on both platforms and enjoyed every minute of gameplay. CD Projekt Red ended The Witcher series with a game world that not only is incredibly large in scale, but also has depth and detail to back it up. The depth and detail can be used to describe the game world’s art design as a whole as well as the actual story and sidequests blended with the lore of the series. The game as previously stated is an open world game that takes elements from quick swordplay and rpg elements and the product is intense combat. Whether you are hunting a Griffon or fighting off a horde of bandits each swing that Geralt (The Protagonist) takes with his sword seems fluid and organic, like a deadly dance combined with silver and steel. The story is incredibly well written and takes several elements from the book series that the game is based off of that previously were not used in the games (Witcher 1 & 2) before it. If you enjoy fantasy worlds full of sidequests, extravagant set pieces and countless hours of gameplay you should go pick this game up.