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GAF Games of the Year 2015 - Voting Thread [LAST DAY FOR VOTING]

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Will drop pants for Sony.
Dec 21, 2005
1. Witcher 3 Wild Hunt ; Quite possibly one of the best RPGs I've ever played. I loved Witcher 2 and this game completely goes above and beyond witcher 2 in such awesome ways. The voice acting, graphics, story and ending were superb. I cannot think of another game that came out in 2015 that made me feel the way witcher 3 made me feel.


Nov 27, 2012
Denver, CO
1. Rocket League ; I have over 300 hours logged. It's just an unbelievably fun and dense game, my buddy and I are completely hooked.

2. Splatoon ; I haven't played in a while but I played the absolute crap out of this game the first month or so after release. I had a blast with it, I need to pick it back up one of these days.

3. Mortal Kombat X ; Game was dooooooope. It is the reason I bought a current gen console and I had a freakin blast with it. I'll be picking up Leatherface eventually and playing a bit more.

4. Ori and the Blind Forest ; Beautiful.

5. Rare Replay ; It was great playing through Conker for my first time (that ending man) and I 100%ed the sheit out of Banjo Kazooie for the first time. I never even knew about the boss fight after the credits! Or that puzzle minigame in Banjo's house after beating the game. I still need to play osme Viva Pinata. All in all it was a fantastic deal.

6. Undertale ; Very unique game and the art and humor is on point.

7. Star Wars Battlefront ; I played the beta for like 30 hours and have only played the actual game for a couple hours, haha. Rocket League man...

8. Else Heart.Break() ; Very unique gameplay, beautiful graphics and dope soundtrack.


May 24, 2014
1. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin ; It was my first time playing a Souls game and the only game this year I finished and immediately started a new game plus because I enjoyed it that much.
2. Ori and the Blind Forest ; Beautiful world, great soundtrack, along with being a good challenge made this game great.
3. Rise of the Tomb Raider ; Expanded upon what made the reboot good and made it even better. One of the best looking games of the year as well. Didn't want the game to end.
4. Halo 5: Guardians ; Story was kind of a miss but the multiplayer is the best FPS of the year. 343 Studios nailed what this aspect and it is incredibly fun to play. 60 FPS Halo is great.
5. Dying Light ; Surprise of the year for me. Parkour was great in the game along with the risk of staying out at night.
6. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; First time playing a Metal Gear game (I know) and it was a great experience. Best open world mechanics in a game ever.
7. Shovel Knight ; Finally got to play this as it released on Xbox One and it lived up to all the praise it has received. Kudos to Yacht Club games.
8. Mortal Kombat X ; Excellent fighter that unfortunately suffered to me due to the net code. 3 versions for each fighter was a really cool system.
9. Resident Evil Revelations 2 ; Loved the episodic weekly release. Kept me coming back to see what happens next. Loved the multiple stories.
10. Fallout 4 ; I haven't finished the game yet but I understand what makes this game good. First time as well playing Fallout as well and the game is massive. It's going to be awhile before I finish.


Nov 28, 2014
1. Bloodborne ; One of the best games I've ever played. The atmosphere, gameplay, level design, encounter design and music are absolutely incredible. And storywise, it has one of the best cosmic horror/lovecraftian stories ever told in ANY medium.


May 31, 2006
Seattle, WA

1. Tales from the Borderlands ; Both the funniest, most intelligent, and empathetic game of the year. Filled with fantastic characters and easily the most memorable sequences of any video game ever.

2. Rocket League ; The most fun i've had all year competitively. My friends dropped off eventually, but I kept going. It feels so great to win those 1 on 1 matches.

3. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; It doesn't have the overall story I perhaps wanted, but the gameplay and ending are brilliant. I'll fight to the death in defending that ending.

4. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes ; The most fun i've had with friends this year.

5. The Beginner's Guide ; Probably the game I've thought about the most. We are in an amazing phase in the evolution of the medium. We are at a point where someone has made the meta-story that so many other art forms have done so well. I love seeing peoples confusion toward the specifics of this story. There are so many levels of thinking on this game. Ultimately any thought whatsoever might even be a giant waste of your time. That's what makes this thing so great.

6. Bloodborne
7. Her Story
8. Splatoon
9. Until Dawn
10. Super Mario Maker

x. Ori and the Blind Forest

Hope to catch up on Undertale and a few other games before the deadline.


Jun 23, 2012
1. Rodea the Sky Soldier ; (The Wii version, of course, not the poopy Wii U and 3DS versions!) Yuji Naka's masterpiece.The art style is vibrant, the framerate is smooth at 60 fps, and the simple pointer and motion based control scheme works perfectly and allows the game's combat and traversal elements to really shine. Whether you're exploring the levels in full detail or speedrunning in time trial mode, the game is simply a joy to play.
2. Ori and the Blind Forest ; Stunningly beautiful game with really fun and unique platforming mechanics
3. Yoshi's Woolly World ; Strong level design, cool setpieces, fun transformations, hard to find secrets. It's everything a Yoshi game should be.
4. Grapple ; Fun indie 3D platformer that focuses entirely on one thing, and does it really really well.
5. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D ; Honestly I feel this is the weakest of the 3D Zelda games, however the remake goes a long way towards improving things that desperately needed fixing, and making it a much more enjoyable and user-friendly experience.
Didn't really play many games released this year.
Nov 19, 2013
1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; Litterally the best gameplay of any third person shooter or stealth game ever made. It plays so beautifully that even the faults can't deny it the top spot.

2. Bloodborne ; The Souls/Borne games is probably becoming my favorite video game series of all time and Bloodborne is a great entry, which makes the combat better than it has ever been fore.

3. Rocket League ; Best multiplayer game of the new and just a whole lotta fun with friends.

4. Undertale ; Different, thought provoking and a game I implore anyone to play + awesome music.

5. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; Gigantic game with an unparalleled way to create meaningful stories in the RPG world. But the gameplay honestly isn't that great.

6. Contradiction - Spot the Liar! ; Contradiction is barely a game when you think about it, but as a huge fan of hammy acting, that hardly matters a bunch in the end. I also love what Contradiction stands for, the fact that immensely entertaining games can still be made on a minuscule budget.

7. Apotheon ; I've seen a lot of hate on this game, but I really enjoyed it. The art style is great and unique + you get to be a huge dick and kill people in hilarious ways.

8. Magicka 2 ; Played through this twice, alone and with a friend, and both were fun and very different experiences. Never played Magica 1, but I did really like this.

9. Grow Home ; Just a relaxing and kinda dumb game + it's a game my girlfriend loves, which is a rare treat.

10. Until Dawn ; The best "Telltale" game ever made. Captures the campy teen horror vibe perfectly.


Aug 3, 2012
Merced, CA
1. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC ; Aidios what a game this is. A continuation that takes place straight after the first chapter and really expands on the story from the first game whilst having top notch quality writing and characters. The emotion from some scenes got me to tear up. The side quests are written so well, have tons of dialogue and varying objectives where it's much more than just the basic "kill Monster, gather shit" type quests. Sure there is still a few of those, but there are quests were you can be doing a variety of things. One quest even had me playing detective and trying to find out the culprit. Also the battle system is amazing and due to the game being more challenging than the first you definitely have to be more strategic in your fights, as well as set up your orbments and lines properly. I'm glad I got to finish this game before the voting time was up and really add it into my list, because it really deserves it. Those on the fence should really give the series a try, it's honestly amazing if you put the time into it. The first game may start slow, but once it gets going, god damn does it get going. Praise Aidios for based Falcom and Xseed. Please find a way to get Trails in the Sky 3rd and Zero and AO no Kiskei localized someday, I've officially fallen in love with this series. Thankfully I still have the rest of Trails of Cold Steel to look forward too (only on Chapter 3)

2. Bloodborne ; Always been a fan of the Souls series and when that Project Beast trailer came out, it was the hypest I think I have ever been in my life for a single game. I watched that trailer god knows how many times and it's still my favorite trailer of the game. The challenge, the art design, the bosses, the game was just dripping with greatness and every corner in the game was specially crafted and well designed. I do have a few issues with the game, but even with a few minor issues, it's pretty far and away the most fun I've had playing a game this year.

3. Life is Strange; This game came as an honest surprise to me, I played it just less than a month ago and didn't really watch any trailers, just went in on word of mouth that it was good. Expected some slice of life teen story, got an insane time traveling story and a great tale of 2 friends. Though I was a bit disappointed overall in how the choices play out, the journey is what really got me and made me fall in love with this game.

4. Ori and the Blind Forest ; This game is beautiful, every scene in the game made me gasp with how scenery played into the game. One hell of a metroidvania game and really loved the challenge that it brought. Wish they would have tried out more bosses and stuff, but the platforming and the challenge were just top notch in every way. If you don't have an Xbox One, it also exists on PC, seriously go play this now!

5. Box Boy! ; This is the most charming game I've seen in awhile, a puzzle platformer from Nintendo released on the eshop for a grand total of 5$. And for that 5$, this game sure came with a fuuuuuuuuuck ton of content, and a story, that while super simpilistic due to no actual dialogue, actually brought a tear to my eye at the end. The puzzle start out super simple, but as you get further and further into the game I hit alot of head scratchers that made me pause and have to think just what I was going to do.

6. Rise of the Tomb Raider ; Another game I haven't finished, but my god some of the setpieces as just so amazing. Really like the gameplay in the reboot series and found this to much improve on TR2013. Plus tons of more Tombs this time. Can't wait to dig in more

7. Rare Replay ; Another game jam packed with content, and me being a fan of many of Rare's game, of course this would end up making my list. I love how they created the stamp system where you get stamps by completeing achievements and those stamps raise your level in Rare Replay where you get new videos of unreleased games and behind the scenes features as rewards. Felt like Rare the Rpg and made me want to keep going for the achievements in the old games I loved. Wish they would have included the Battletoads SNES Remake Battlemanics, and there are a ton of other games that I wish could have made it on the collection, but I know that there are alot of rights and complications that tie up all those games.

8. Xenoblade Chronicles X ; This world is so huge!!! I haven't finished with this game yet, but I've put in over 40 hours so I'm at a point where I can safely place it in my GOTY list after enjoying the gameplay cycle that the game provides. While it sucks that story is taking a backseat, it doesn't really harm my enjoyment of the game since exploring the world was one of the main reasons why I liked Xenobalde 1 so much, and a big reason why I like the next game in my list.

9. Until Dawn ; This game is both awesome and scary as hell. Really like how the story changes depending upon your choices, really hard to say much about the game without spoilers lol.

10. Undertale ; Almost forgot about this game, but it was really good and I thought it was interesting how they made an RPG Bullet Hell type shooter game. Really neat how it pulled off it's story and how the game would mess with you. The bosses and the music were top notch and it blew my mind that this game was made by such a small group of people.

Honorable Mentions

Yo-Kai Watch ; A monster RPG like Pokemon, but that's where the similarites pretty much stop. I thought it was neat how the whole game takes place within this huge open city, and loved the dialogue with all the various townspeople and the quests they provide. Felt like a living and breathing town on my 3DS! Game pretty much doesn't have a story, but I really enjoyed the charm, gameplay and even the battle system gets good near the end, and the bosses where amazing, as was the post game dungeon.


Jun 4, 2013
As a reminder, it's "Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.", not "Codename Steam". The vote compiler is usually pretty generous with variations, but don't get careless.


Oct 13, 2013
1. Xenoblade Chronicles X ; Huge, complex, deep, tons of variety with locations, monsters, party members, vehicles/mechs, good soundtrack and art style, runs smoothly with minimal technical problems, story is good enough.
2. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; Large and beautiful open world with incredible story and characters, the best side quests ever made. Fantastic lore, good sountrack, serviceable combat.
3. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; Perfect gameplay mechanics, excellent level design, very non generic, good graphics, 60 FPS, intriguing narrative, excellent soundtrack.
4. Batman: Arkham Knight ; Excellent use of the batman universe, great graphics, uses old gameplay mechanics and designs but it works.
5. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD ; Brings back older designs of the series while implementing new story and combat. The PSP foundation keeps this from being higher on the list.
6. Rocket League ; The biggest surprise of the year for me, sunk well over 50 hours into this game. Easy to learn, difficult to master, just fun to play.
7. The Order: 1886 ; The bets visuals i've ever seen, great art style, good shooting mechanics and weapons, very interesting lore and setting, no bugs or technical problems, excellent soundtrack. Short game length keeps it from being higher.
8. Axiom Verge ; Great artstyle, weapons, level design, and boss fights.
9. Until Dawn ; Great visuals, interesting story, well acted.
10. Splatoon ; Unique gameplay, good art style, polished and fluid 60 FPS, really came out of nowhere.
Nov 18, 2013
1. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
2. Xenoblade Chronicles X
3. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
4. Persona 4: Dancing All Night


May 28, 2013
1. Pillars of Eternity ; A welcome return to a genre that never should have died.
2. Life is Strange ; Beautiful, heartfelt and emotional.
3. Until Dawn ; Man, imagine if they did another one of these with an 80's icon embedded in the chaos. I loved getting inserted smack dab into the middle of this cabin in the mountain scenario.
4. Tales from the Borderlands: Episodes 2-5 ; One of the best things Telltale has ever done. Would be my favorite visual novel-ish game of the year if not for Life is Strange.
5. Star Wars: Battlefront ; It has issues. Oh boy, it has issues. It's still my most played game since it came out, even with the damned DL-44 and A-Wing. No game has captured the Star Wars "feel" like this.
6. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt ; What it does right, it does very well. While I'd generally prefer to play a game in this world as a character I can mold and make my own as opposed to Geralt, it's still quite an accomplishment.
7. Batman: Arkham Knight ; Its infamous PC issues aside, this featured an imaginative showdown between two iconic characters that featured my favorite voice performance of the year.
8. Broken Age ; The game that kickstarted kickstarter, warts and all.
9. Fallout 4 ; Skyrim with guns, you can go to that mountain, etc. You could talk for days about the pros and cons of Bethesda titles, but damnit, this scatches an itch most other games don't even approach.
10. Godzilla ; Pure dumb fun. I got it for "free" by using a PSN credit during the last sale and I keep stomping Tokyo over and over. It's clunky, clumsy and slow, just like the Kaiju themselves. I'd say it's a guilty pleasure but I ain't guilty at all. SKREE-ONK.


Sep 2, 2010
1. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; One of the best games out there. Amazing from start to end, even the first expansion. Not a fan of rpgs, but this one got most of my nights after work.


Sep 16, 2015
1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt ; Absolutely amazing setting and fantasy world. Great story and quests, game looked amazing. Absolutely cannot wait for the next dlc so I can jump right back in.
2. Fallout 4 ; While the game isn't perfect and I could make a long list of things I wish were different I absolutely love exploring bethesda's worlds.
3. Bloodborne ; My first souls like experience and loved it. After years of baseless naysaying I absolutely cannot wait for Dark Souls III
4. Until Dawn ; Probably my favourite gaming "experience" of the year. Hope there is a sequel... Soon.
5. Dying Light ; Easily my biggest gaming surprise of 2015. Picked it up on sale for something to play before Witcher 3 and absolutely loved playing it.
6. Life Is Strange ; Not sure I'll be able to enjoy telltale games after this one. Legit made me tear up.
7. Resident Evil HD Remaster ; The game is still a goddamn classic, and I loved replaying it again this year.
8. SOMA ; A really great story, beautiful setting, really enjoyed this one.
9. Rocket League ; A really fun game, spent a lot of time with it when it came out, deserves to be on the list.
10. Mad Max ; Really unfairly treated by critics in my opinion. Game looks great and is a lot of fun.


Oct 31, 2007
Ontario, Canada
1. Bloodborne
2. SOMA ; Psychologically terrifying scenario which challenges you with moral dilemmas where the reward is personal and introspective. A pinnacle in heart-wrenching story, sound design and atmosphere that had me thinking about the decisions I made throughout my playthrough days and even weeks after I had finished it.
3. Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide ; A dark fantasy homage to Left4Dead that stands alone with the addition of addictive loot rewards, character customization and the most satisfying first person melee combat ever.
4. Pillars of Eternity
5. Downwell
6. DIRT Rally
7. Kung Fury
8. Nuclear Throne
9. N++
10. Mega Man Legacy Collection
Sep 10, 2013
1. Undertale ; Definitely my best gaming experience this year, brilliant game with a fun battle system, awesome soundtrack and clever writing
2. Bloodborne
3. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
4. Fallout 4
5. Hotline Miami 2
6. Rocket League
7. Metal Gear Solid V
8. Batman: Arkham Knight
9. Wolfenstein The Old Blood
10. Star Wars Battlefront


Dec 15, 2013

1. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; In the year of RPGs, the RPG that stood out to me. The RPGs of RPGs, one that sets a standard for writing.

2. Tales from the Borderlands ; I thought Telltale lost their magic, but apparently I was wrong. They still have surprises up their sleeve.

3. Rocket League ; Soccer and cars indeed. Perfection.

4. Until Dawn ; B Movie done right? Is there such a thing. Yes. Yes there is.

5. Helldivers ;
6. Life is Strange ;
7. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD ;

Honorable Mentions
x. Old Blood ;
x. Downwell ;
x. Lara Croft GO ;
x. MGSV ;
x. Undertale ;
x. The Beginner's Guide ;
x. Bloodborne ;
x. Axiom Verge ;
x. Apotheon ;


Sep 7, 2014
1. Life Is Strange ; The fourth episode was just incredible from start to finish.
2. Her Story ; The greatest FMV game ever.
3. Splatoon ; The game that got me to play a shooter online.
4. Rocket League ; Just pure fun.
5. Super Mario Maker ; Is just as much fun to create as it is to play levels or watch others play levels.
6. Metal Gear Solid V ; The best gameplay of the series but the worst story and boss fights.
7. Until Dawn ; A fantastic collection of the worst people who all deserved to die.
8. NBA 2k16 ; Still the best sports game.
9. Contradiction ; Perfectly overacted.
10. Grow Home ; Just when I thought I was sick of climbing towers in a Ubisoft game they find a way to make it fun again.


Mar 11, 2012
1. Code Name S.T.E.A.M.

The creators of Fire Emblem and Advance War do XCOM / Valkyria Chronicles. Incredibly solid and charming strategy game, and remained my GOTY throughout 2015. It's such a shame this game bombed so massively, because I would have loved to see this become a series.

2. Mortal Kombat X

Truly the best MK game to date, with great gameplay, balance, and visual design. It's an insane step up from MK9, and unlike my number one, I'm glad it has been very successful. Weak netcode is no small issue, though, and it prevents it from beating Code Name STEAM.

3. Kero Blaster Zangyou

My GOTY 2014 updated for 2015, with completely new levels and a bit of extra challenge. It finally arrived on Steam, too, so I'm hoping more people can appreciate it now. Kero Blaster is my absolute favorite indie game, and one of my favorite platformers, period.

4. Mercenaries Saga 2

Low production values will prevent this game from being more visible, but I never knew I'd be playing a great SRPG when I bought this for ~$5 USD. Battle system, balance, and pixel art are on point, there aren't a lot of these games being made nowadays. Great pacing and replayability, this would have been a $40 USD not that long ago in the DS era.

5. Stella Glow

This is kind of the opposite of Mercenaries Saga 2 - not in that it's not good, but in that this is a SRPG with high production values and way more focus on narrative. It's fun, colorful, has lots of content, and it's very engaging. The cast is pretty diverse gameplay-wise, definitely one of the best games I've played this year.

6. Dragon Quest Heroes

Musou meets Dragon Quest is a downright fantastic concept. Gameplay is super satisfying, the core musou gameplay actually benefits a lot from the ARPG elements, and the music and visual design are top notch. Square Enix spin offs usually grab me more than their mainline stuff, and I think this is one of my favorite games with the DQ name. Looking forward to DQH2.

7. Victor Vran

Victor Vran is a pretty straightforward Diablo-like game with great atmosphere, weapons, and controller support. This might be my favorite game of its kind to date, they really nailed it with the gameplay and level design.

8. Horizon Chase

Inspired by arcade racing games from the SNES era, Horizon Chase is my favorite racing game this year. Fast, fun, and challenging gameplay, with lots of content, superb music, and incredible visual design. It has basically no weak areas, and it really doesn't get old (I should know by now).

9. FAST Racing NEO

I can't really say it came out of nowhere, but feeling meh about the demo for the first game, I didn't expect this to be so insanely fun, fast and overall awesome. Gameplay is top notch, tracks are fun and diverse, and the game look fantastic.

10. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

Great platformer revolving around a pretty unique control scheme, gets even more fun with friends. Fantastic title with great music and visual design.

Honorable mentions: The Street Fighter V beta would be super high on the list, but the game is getting released next year. Also, Gunman Clive 2 and Grim Dawn.


Nov 24, 2014
1. Ori and the Blind Forest ; Better than all its influences.
2. Rocket League ; Endless fun!
3. Pillars of Eternity ; Just shy of BG2/PS:T - Amazing game.
4. Witcher 3 ; How did they pull this off?!
5. Crypt of the Necrodancer ; Throw in a dance mat, get a few mates around... Perfect!
6. Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void ; A few years too late, but makes up for it with a strong campaign.
7. Game G ; 1 point
8. Game H ; 1 point
9. Game I ; 1 point
10. Game J ; 1 point


Apr 9, 2014
1. Bloodborne ; Bloodborne is yet another of Miyazaki's a masterpieces and mys second favorite Soulsborne game. the world, the nightmares designs and the aret style is unmatched and probably won't be in a very long time. and the trick weapons are easily one of the most unique and innovative weapons I've ever seen in a game.

2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt ; A great sequel to what was already a great game. it surpasses my expectations in almost every way. easily the best open world this gen and probably the best open world game I've ever played and finished

3. Rise of The Tomb Raider ; Another great game from CD. I was absolutely overwhelmed by it.

4. Ori and the Blind Forest ; This game is a piece of art and the only metroidvenia game I finished.

5. Undertale ; Don't judge a game by it's cover. Undertale is easily the most pleasant surprise of the year for me. I underestimated it because of it's look, but it turns out to be good experience.

6. Life Is Strange ; I didn't expect to like these type of games after how Beyond Two Souls turned out, but I fell in love with this game's story and characters.

7. Splatoon ; The only multiplayer shooter I've ever enjoyed.

8. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; It offers the best TPS gameplay in gaming in my opinion by far.

9. Soma ; It had a slow start, but overall it was a fun experience.

10. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's mask ; Not the best, but a very good Zelda game.


Neo Member
Jan 13, 2015
1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Pantom Pain ; I can understand not liking having to do the same Side Ops over and over, but it wasn't a problem for me. because of the awesome sand box gameplay I had so much fun playing even the most repetitive Side Ops in this game. Their was also enough awesome original main missions, I would of been satisfied if only they were included. The story was also mostly good. It did suffer from some pacing issues, but there were enough memorable moments. (Mission 43 and the final cut sense at the end were some of my favorite moments in any Metal Gear game.) Can't wait for Kojima's next game. Also wouldn't mind seeing the Metal Gear Series continue with someone new in charge.
2. Bloodborne
3. Rocket League
4. Super Mario Maker
5. Until Dawn


Aug 17, 2011
1. Bloodborne; a masterclass in combat, level design, art direction and atmosphere. Shot up to one of my favorites of all time and I haven't even played the DLC yet.
2. OlliOlli 2; great simple, unique and addictave gameplay, the skating genre lives on through this overlooked indie
3. Rocket League; another indie with a great focus on unique gameplay, just wish the camera/ball cam was handled a little better. Personally it's easy for me to get disoriented playing it
4. Witcher 3: Wild Hunt; it's not as bad as The Order
5. The Order 1886; pretty poorly designed but at least it's pretty. The docks level in particular is mindblowing.

only games I've played of 2015 so far... oops


Aug 1, 2015
1. Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines ; A dungeon crawler that actually felt interesting and unique with a satisfying grind. Was addicted to this half of the year.
2. Yakuza 5
3. Bloodborne
4. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
5. Brandish: The Dark Revenant
6. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC
7. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
8. Resident Evil: Revelations 2
9. Summon Night 5
10. Stella Glow


Aug 5, 2015
1. The Witcher 3 ; Wild Hunt; I find myself often critical of this game, but it is my overall game of the year. I point out its flaws as a teacher would for a favorite student, because CDPR is the future in regards to big open world RPGs, the type with choices and consequences and meaningful stories. Bethesda and Bioware should take note. Upon my initial disappointment with the story, I had to ask myself: who does it better? Has any developer managed to create such a beautiful open world with meaningful side content and well-written characters as this one? The answer is none. There has never been a game with as much ambition and love poured into it as this one, and CDPR deserves every award for this masterpiece.

2. Bloodborne ; I found myself struggling to choose between this and TW3 for the number one spot, but the sheer ambition in The Wither 3, along with my pre-existing love of the books and previous games allowed The Witcher 3 to edge out Bloodborne. Still, Bloodborne is the pinnacle of Miyazaki's work in a fast-paced RPG whose rich art-style and lore complement what would already be an extraordinary game by virtue of combat alone.

3. Metal Gear Solid V ; The Phantom pain; The "hamster wheel" gameplay of constant motion, combined with the constant flow of numbers alleviated MGSV from its story telling woes. "An action-stealth game set in an open world with base management" is a description for a game we may never see again, and if this is how Kojima finished up his Metal Gear saga, I can't help but applaud his efforts despite Konami's meddling and the weak story. The gameplay in this game was damn near perfect, everything from shooting a gun to the feel of Snake's movement felt so right in my hands, as it did in the hands of many others.

4. Pillars of Eternity ; A return to old school RPGs was not something I asked for despite being a big Baldur's Gate and Planescape fan, always thought people let nostalgia blind them from progress and evolution. Boy was I wrong, there is something special and endearing about this style of RPG, with all the micro-management and isometric camera. I can safely say that Pillars of Eternity, if nothing else provides a compelling case for the continued existence of this type of game.

5. Batman: Arkham Knight ; The PC blunder aside, the only major con I can really think of is the forced Batmobile. It was still a great game, and I think its been rather underrated in a year filled with quality and high profile games.


Jul 23, 2012
1. Bloodborne ; Amazing gameplay
2. Witcher 3 ; Everything is good except the combat.
3. Batman: Arkham Knight ; Nice main story.


Jun 23, 2015
1. Bloodborne ; Best game ever!
2. Batman Arkham Knight
3. Witcher 3
4. Metal Gear Solid V
5. Rocket League
6. Black Ops 3 (No1 Online)
7. The Order 1886


Bloodborne is shit
Apr 6, 2008
1. Bloodborne ; Fuck everything else. If this game doesnt get GOTY then gaf has their collective heads further up their asses then I realized. Its a fucking masterpiece.


Sep 4, 2007
1. The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt ; I expected Bloodborne to be my favorite game of the year, but I was completely taken by surprise by The Wild Hunt. I had tried a little bit of each of its predecessors, but neither really gripped me quite like the third installment. I haven't played an RPG this engrossing in years; maybe ever.

2. Bloodborne ; Took the Souls formula and iterated on it beautifully. I was skeptical of how guns and removing the "sword and board" methodical action would work, but it ended up being a fantastic innovation. Souls is still #1 in my heart, but BB is a perfect addition to the lineup.

3. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin ; DSII was my #1 game from last year, and I had enough of a blast with SotFS that it warrants high praise this year, too. I spent even more time with this than Bloodborne despite picking them up simultaneously and already having spent a year with the vanilla version.

4. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; Even though the plot is half-baked and the game isn't even complete, the actual gameplay is sublime. Was never too sure about how mission-based gameplay or even open-world would work in MGS and I'm still not convinced either was the right choice, but it's so slick and fun to play I'm not sure I really care. Even if it's not a good "Metal Gear" game, it's the best tactical stealth game in years.

5. Fallout 4 ; Well, it's Fallout 3 with a new coat of paint. That's not really a bad thing, though. It's down lower on this list because it adds so little to the series, but it's on the list at all because that core game is still amazing.

6. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate ; I was really surprised by this one. I hadn't played an AC game since Brotherhood, and I had heard horror story after horror story about how far the franchise had fallen. After a little word of mouth and an impulse discount purchase, I ended up adoring it. The setting is fantastic and I can't really say no to chilling out with Karl Marx and Charles Dickens. Love the grappling hook.

7. Dragon Quest Heroes ; Another surprise. Never played a Musou game before, but it was on my radar as a DQ fan. It's mindless to play, but charming out the ass - to the point that I feel any DQ/JRPG fan is doing themselves a disservice by passing on it.

8. Brandish: The Dark Revenant ; tried a lot of new things this year; often by word of mouth. Been an almost-fan of Falcom for a long time now, and heard this was one to check out. It's a pretty simple dungeon crawler, but weirdly addictive. Not a *ton* of depth, but it's perfect for bite-sized sessions.The soundtrack is amazing.

9. Crypt of the NecroDancer ; This is low on the list because I haven't spent as much time with it as I'd like, but every second I spend with it is pure pleasure. The music is top-notch and the gameplay has that addictive quality Rogue Legacy had for me last year.

10. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection ; Giving it a shoutout because it's a stellar compilation of three of the best games from lastgen. Even though I've played through 1 and 2 countless times, it's still a blast to come back to them over and over.


Oct 1, 2014
1. Bloodborne ; A masterful action RPG. If the game allowed for more varied builds like Dark Souls this game would literally be perfect.

2. Fallout 4 ; The worst Fallout since the move to FPS. Even then though it's an INCREDIBLE game and timesink that I was engaged in for 80 hours.

3. Final Fantasy Type-0 ; Fantastic RPG with a nice emotional punch. Has the best Main Theme of the series.

4. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin ; My GOTY of 2014 made even better. Except Iron Keep. Good lord...

5. Disgaea 5 ; My favorite entry in the series. A mastery of it's mechanics that makes grinding actually fun.


Jun 1, 2013
After playing through a first batch of recent steam purchases, I think I'm getting close to what my final list looks like.

1. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; My choices have never made me feel this bad. - I've yet to finish this one, but what I've seen so far easily constitutes the most fleshed-out overall game I've played this year. The world, the quests, the various systems, and the story are all at the same level of polish (I feel so old for wanting to make a pun here) and craftsmanship I've come to expect from CDPR after playing the first two games. Not unrelated, I don't mind the combat, which I certainly wouldn't label as 'bad' or 'horrible' (come back after playing through the first Witcher on hard) - it simply gets the job done, and was never really the focus, anyway. At any rate, this one seeming negative can in no way negate all that The Witcher III just gets absolutely right. Finally, I feel like I should acknowledge the fact that it is a project that respects the consumer, as evidenced by the free DLC and solid expansions (a big factor for several of my choices this year). Not to mention, it definitely helps that I'm quite invested in the series, as well as the larger franchise, in general.

2. Splatoon ; I'm a kid, I'm a squid, I'm a kid, I'm a squid... - As much as I've grown accustomed to swallowing my anger after yet another losing screen in spite of my (in my opinion) adequate performance, I adore Splatoon and all its facets. I burned through the single player and all the amiibo challenges in a matter of days, mostly because the router at my parents' house made finding a stable connection quite an undertaking. Just based on the single player content and the general atmosphere and tone, Splatoon would have already been one of my favourite games of the year, but the multiplayer (which I finally got to experience in full this fall) elevates it even more clearly above the competition. If I hadn't seen it work so splendidly, I wouldn't believe just how well thought-out Nintendo's latest hit turned out to be (minor annoyances like map rotation aside). Splatoon is a game that celebrates itself and its game world, and in many aspects, it should be a shining example for other predominantly online multiplayer titles. Also, I love that soundtrack.

3. Yoshi's Woolly World ; Good-Feel, indeed. - It pains me that Woolly World is likely not to get the sales it deserves. It's the best Yoshi game in a long, long time, but above that, it's simply a really good 2D platformer. Its fabric aesthetic gives it an absolutely gorgeous visual style, and often, I feel that it has just the right amount of difficulty to give you pause without becoming frustrating. You can brush through the main stages in a relatively short amount of time, but searching for the collectibles, and especially tackling the special stages, makes for a much larger (and more rewarding) product.

4. Undertale ; The prospect of GAF-GOTYs fills me with determination - To be honest, after hearing so many good things about Undertale, it would have felt wrong not to give it a shot as soon as possible. Surprisingly, perhaps, despite seeing screenshots and brief commentaries on the game, I had almost no idea what to expect going in. Now, I can say that, while short, Undertale is one of the most memorable games I have played in recent years. I'm honestly having a hard time coming up with negatives in my head. Every part of the game feels like it has a purpose, and even though you constantly feel like one huge joke is being played on you for expecting a traditional RPG, you just kinda go with it, because it embodies the core idea of the game so well. The way in which you deal (or don't deal) and avoid damage during combat felt incredibly fresh to me, and I constantly found myself both surprised and amazed by the smallest of touches. Not to mention that the writing and presentation are absolutely hilarious (at one point, my mother thought I was screaming in anger because I was laughing so hard). I could go on, but I'd just quickly like to point out that I adore the soundtrack (especially some of the boss tracks).

5. Life Is Strange ; Telltale should be ashamed - I've played quite a few adventure games in my time, both classic and modern, and I've played quite a few narrative-driven games, as well. Looking back at all those experiences, I think I can safely say that Life Is Strange easily ranks among the best of them all. The rewind mechanic makes the gameplay much more interesting, as well as the choice system more lenient (I can't tell you how often I've had to reload a save just to see what the other side looks like, only to reload again when realising the original choice was the right one all along). The characters and their interactions felt incredibly intimate and human to me, to the point where I almost wished I could know some of them in real life. I feel like I can't got too much into the analysis I did for myself yesterday without entering spoiler territory, but suffice to say that Life Is Strange being an episodic, narrative-driven game, I had certain expectations as to the possibilities and limitations of the game. Some of these proved to be false (in the moment, your choices really do matter, and some of the best scenes in the game had me really feel the impact of my past actions), but in part, they also proved to be true (and you can have an entire discussion about the realities of episodic game development and possible intended messages at this point). Ultimately, though, I feel it's unfair to judge such a story-heavy game through the lens of a repeat-player, because clearly, the experience is much more about the journey than the end, and my playthrough proved to be so emotionally loaded that it has made a lasting impression on me.

6. Xenoblade Chronicles X ; When am I finally getting my Skell?: / - Another one of those RPGs that seem impossible to complete. I haven't been this frustrated because of a game in a long, long time, but I cannot deny that it also makes for an insanely stimulating experience. In a weird way, the planet Mira simply keeps you hooked, and that, to me, is a true testament to how interesting its environments are. The main plot takes a backseat in favour of character development and exploration, which is where Xenoblade Chronicles X really shines. Running and jumping across hills and mountains in Primordia, Noctilium and Oblivia constitutes some of the most engaging video game experiences I've had this year.

7. Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void ; My life for beating the epilogue on brutal. - This was more a habit purchase for me (as is the case for many Blizzard games), but I still ended up sinking tens of hours into the campaign and multiplayer, and now I can't wait for my brother's semester to end so we can do some co-op and archon mode together. I only get limited value out of the competitive multiplayer, but chasing solo achievements is so satisfying that I don't mind. Heck, not even the story could turn me off the more than solid core of the game.

8. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker ; 'Capitan Todd' - Just barely a 2015 title for the people of Europe, Todd's first solo adventure could have easily been an expansion for 2013's 3D World. What we got instead is a solid, stand-alone game that has all the joy and visual flair of the latest 3D Mario, but presents an exciting new take on the formula by foregoing jumping, altogether, in favour of a more cautious, calculated approach. In that sense, it is more puzzle-platformer than platformer, but in my opinion, there are far too few decent puzzlers in today's gaming sphere, so the Capitan is a much-appreciated change of pace.

9. Super Mario Maker ; Autoplay Stage Maker - I like Super Mario Maker. I've enjoyed my time with it quite a bit. Yet at the same time, I'm not really the creative type, so the bigger single player experiences will always win for me.

10. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse ; That is, 'paintbrush' for us Europeans. - Unfortunately, I haven't been able to finish this one yet (I got about two thirds through before Splatoon and Witcher hit), so I definitely have some more work to do here. Still, what I've seen, I've liked, albeit not quite as much as I expected I would. Perhaps the touch-based gameplay just doesn't resonate as much with me as the more simplistic and pure platforming of Woolly World or the Wii U's other 2D and 3D platformers. That doesn't mean that I think Rainbow Paintbrush is bad - it's just a bit unfamiliar to me.

Honourable Mentions:

X. Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 2 ; More cups you'll never get 3 stars on. - Since playable DLC is permissible, I would be extremely remiss not to give Mario Kart 8's second set of additional stages and racers a nod. The main game was one of my favourite games last year, and this pack is just as good. To be honest, I'd be perfectly fine nominating it just for the sake of its music, which is every bit as smooth and brilliant (if not more so) than that of the main game. And who would I be if I didn't acknowledge the thrill of flying down Big Blue at 200cc?

X. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D ; Once more, in 3D(ays)! - Majora's Mask 3D is a great remake of one of my favourite games of all time, but that doesn't change the fact that it is a remake on a handheld system, both of which work as detractors in my case.


is responsible for the well-being of this island.
Feb 28, 2013

1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; Loved it, Platinum'd it. Just an unforgettable, thought-provoking, masterfully crafted work of art. With MGS4 winning gaf's goty twice, this one better win goty or we riot.
2. Life is Strange ; Surprise of the year for me and an emotional ride like no other.
3. Bloodborne ; Another Souls game but with better combat and art. It's aight I guess.
4. Fallout 4 ; It's not Fallout 3 but it was good enough.
5. Batman: Arkham Knight ; Didn't like the previous Batman titles but this one somehow clicked with me.
6. Titan Souls ; This is like an indie Shadow of the Colossus in a way.
7. Ori and the Blind Forest ; Best metroidvania ever.
8. Halo 5: Guardians ; Awful campaign but the MP is the best since Reach.
9. Just Cause 3 ; Explosions.
10. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; Terrible combat, sure, but still somewhat enjoyable.

This was a good year overall, but it lacked something, dunno what, but something was sorely missing.


Oct 23, 2011
GOTY 2015

1. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ;
2. Bloodborne ;
3. Fallout 4 ; I have a lot, a lot of problems with this game, but as it happened with Skyrim, the first 40 hours or so were pure magic. Bethesda is the best world-maker in the RPG genre, the exploration and sense of discovery of their games is amazing.
4. Batman: Arkham Knight ;
5. Until Dawn ;
6. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ;
7. Life is Strange ;

Honorable Mentions
x. Journey ;

Dishonorable Mentions
The Order: 1886
Resident Evil: Revelations 2

Both were extremely mediocre games.

LTTP 2014
The Evil Within


May 13, 2013
1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt ; CD Projekt went above my exceedingly high expectations and made a massive game that provided me well over 100 hours of content. The expansion was really good as well.
2. Grand Theft Auto V
3. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
4. Dying Light
5. Fallout 4
6. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
7. Just Cause 3
8. Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition
9. Cities: Skyline
10. Olli Olli 2: Welcome to Olliwood


Jul 23, 2014
United States
1. Bloodborne ; (FromSoftware, SCE) - A macabre masterpiece that serves as a marvelous spiritual successor to the Souls franchise as well as the quintessential marriage between the mythology of fabled horror authors Bram Stoker and H.P. Lovecraft. I still remember seven years ago when I briefly contemplated importing Demon's Souls before nabbing it at launch where I exchanged cash believing I'd never even make it through the first locale. I'm presently five titles deep into the sadistic aura of these worlds and the latest offering is a fundamental "killer application" from a RPG powerhouse that delivers another masochistic, eldritch trepidation that permanently expands upon the visceral combat engagement with a sense of scale that will likely never be replicated in the world of cinema. Much of the premise has been left vague with an unnamed hunter traveling to Yharnam, a Gothic town embedded with depraved traditions and wicked beasts, in search of an something known solely as "Paleblood." Although the completion time of the experience falls short of the previous endeavors of Miyazaki-san and it wasn't the most evocative tale within these past twelve months, the punishing "trail-and-error" philosophy has been exquisitely polished with a damage reward system that encourages risk-taking at the cost of either coming out on top of an encounter or falling pray to your own impatience. Every pixel feels enriched with lore that amazingly conveys storytelling, even through the user interface, without players becoming aware of the fact unless they ponder upon it. I haven't been able to witness The Old Hunters DLC at the moment, but I have been aching for a reason to dip back into this bleakness. A frightful dark that could only be cathartic within the interactive realm and it's rather rapturous.

2. SteinsGate ; (5pb., Nitroplus, PQube) - Undoubtedly a crying shame it took six years for a visual novel masterwork to reach Western shores. Endless praise should be showered upon all those involved with the English localization process along with the key figures that fought diligently to secure a physical release, too. I must confess that I probably wouldn't have shoved out the extra dough for an interactive title notorious for its minimal gameplay had I not previously experienced the superb anime adaptation several years ago. Even with an established awareness of all the twist-and-turns, I was jolted with an emotional sci-fi roller coaster that extended upon the lovable rumblings of a self-proclaimed mad scientist, his undying devotion toward his superior lab "assistant," and a cast of his close friends that collectively stumble into an organizational conspiracy gunning to control society with time-travel. All of the characters have been well-rounded into some of the greatest, three-dimensional folks in gaming. A tale of comradery and romance in defiance of fate culminating into one of the best time-leaping feats since the Back to the Future trilogy. Hopefully it won't take half a decade for the recent "interquel" to hit shelves beyond the Land of the Rising Sun. I'll forewarn the playable source material doesn't come with an English dub and the opening half strives for a slow burn, but I implore you to experience this story in some form. El. Psy. Kongroo.
3. The Talos Principle ; (Croteam, Devolver Digital) - Admittedly the biggest surprise from the whole selection as it had never been on my radar until impressions begun to roll throughout the months on GAF. Surface evaluations could easily brush off this philosophical puzzler as a rudimentary successor to the Portal titles without an elaborate tech gimmick to snatch your eye. However, the Serious Sam developers knock out an outstanding display of craftsmanship with clever problem-solving mechanics that continuously build upon each other as you keep flexing those brain "muscles" to locate hidden sigils. The framework of the title concerns a variant of Genesis from the Holy Bible as an apparently self-aware android wanders tranquil ruins under the watchful presence of a voice identified as "Elohim" as you seek out items to reach the path of enlightenment. Despite being an optional portion, players can explore a series of computer terminals that drop snippets of contradictory knowledge along with an unseen user that questions both your moral standing and the omnipresent voice right above. A lot of the text might seem like elementary nods to stuff you'd find in a college course, but this adventure outright celebrates the complexity of human existence by not pretending to have the answers. It nails the type of reflective moments that designer Ken Levine of BioShock fame has failed numerously to achieve in an environment that makes these dilemmas relevant on a thematic level. In the end, I stumbled into a moving journey that embraced science as much as religion in one of the best hidden-gems from the current generation of titles.

4. Until Dawn ; (Supermassive Games, SCE) - It might've been released into the wild without much fanfare from its publisher, but Supermassive has crafted an unabashed homage to contemporary horror cinema that deserves sleeper hit status and then some. When I first heard about the project, I was honestly hesitant over whether it would serve as an appropriate addition to the Sony portfolio as they've already established their claim in the "interactive drama" format with Quantic Dream and Telltale Games has hastily churned out episodic, QTE content to the point of fatigue. However, all of my initial worries were immediately calmed after the E3 demonstration triggered "call and response" engagement from the press audience and viva voce has been downright positive from those that have invested time into the experience. Balancing between the key amount of entertainment and tension for the slasher sub-genre has been a difficult feat for even the most acclaimed of horror experts yet the development team manages to knock out the defined structure remarkably well. It doesn't take long to recognize the archetypes that the eight playable characters adhere toward in the group dynamic, but there's enough freedom offered in the player choice to where a presumed jerk could turn into a gun-totting hero later on. Handiwork of the animators should be commended as they blend the genuine performances of the cast perfectly into the nightmarish winter-scape that concerns a group of friends returning to the site of where two twins previously vanished one year prior as a consequence of a mean-spirited prank. Criticism has been tossed to one point in the second half of the tale as a "jarring tone shift" akin to From Dusk till Dawn (1996) or Cabin in the Woods (2012), but it frankly unfolds as a story revelation the whole encounter has been building toward from the very beginning culminating into an awesomely fitting finale. As someone who fought heavily to preserve even the miserable of the bunch, there are some notable oversights in the layout of the plot where the designers seemed to have banked completely on a few characters biting the bullet at specific events that become apparent when you've kept them alive. Plus, an upcoming spin-off for the PlayStation VR doesn't feel like the right direction at the moment, but I'm glad there's still some confidence in the property given how well it nails the enjoyment of slasher flicks by sticking to the right tropes and gleefully subverting elements into a polished entity that David Cage could only dream of delivering.
5. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 ; (Capcom) - Initial previews certainly highlighted the "bite-sized" scale of this latest tale in the oh-so familiar biochemical pandemonium that audiences have continued to appreciate. Deep down, I was partly unsure over whether this aspect would further limit the property after the halfhearted reception of Resident Evil 6. With slight reservations, I willingly took the plunge and I'm left bemused over how the same studio keeps churning out canonical spin-offs that successfully bottle part of the alluring horror roots of its universe more so than the mainstream installments. This particular incident packs a triumphant return for fan-favorites Claire Redfield and Barry Burton after having been absent from the limelight for well over a decade. Additionally, the eldest daughter of Mr. Burton, Moira, and an orphaned child, Natalia Korda, are introduced into the mixture as supporting roles with their own special defensive abilities, like blinding enemies momentarily with a flashlight or pin-pointing their location through supernatural sight respectively. These elements work in harmony with their trigger-ready leads allowing for a fluid co-op experience coupled with a notable amount of puzzle-solving to maximize the dependency between each pair. Now, the sprinkled storytelling efforts of the series haven't ever truly been worth discussing when the gameplay and zombified aesthetic have indisputably permeated our interactive pop culture. I'm shocked to comment that Revelations 2 actually attempts to transplant a "heart" behind the characters for the first time through small-talk and select segments that suggest depth behind their actions. While these bits don't fully resonate on an impassioned level since they're brought into the fray without the necessary build, it's blatantly clear Naughty Dogs' The Last of Us had an impact on how the two teams respond to their calamity between Claire/Moira being left for dead on a prisoner island and Barry/Natalia executing the rescue effort nearly half a year later. Hopefully Capcom will keep exploring the personas behind their established cast moving forward and I got to recommend achieving the "good" ending for those out there desiring a nice slice of fanfare to bookend one of the better titles in the world of survival horror.

6. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood ; (MachineGames, Bethesda Softworks) - I don't quite have as many remarks for the latest prequel expansion to the barrel-blazing shooter that served as my favorite pick in the previous year. Obviously, it offers the same amount of gratifying feedback through your artillery with Nazis soaking up your lead whenever they waltz in your iron sights, but one of the biggest faults in this splinter piece from The New Order is that it doesn't pack an ounce of the delightful character or world-building that was present in its predecessor. You'll definitely stumble across some embers of pleasant murmurs from our leading American hero, William "B.J." Blazkowicz, who delves undercover to infiltrate a German compound in search of intel for their ill-fated air raid on another fortress in the previous release where an alternate history of post-WWII era ruled under the Swastika becomes a reality. Based purely on the aforementioned plot synopsis, Old Blood doesn't carry the same intrigue or kinetic pacing of its meatier sibling, but you'd expect as much from an exercise clearly meant to explore heightened implementation of sneaking sections and vertical level design while exploring the monster romp found in earlier installments. Despite the shared timeline with previous parts, I ultimately found the emerge of the undead almost aesthetically jarring since New Order locks a tongue-in-cheek framework to convey a surreal portrait of humanity suppressed by Nazi scum through advancements in knowledge over otherworldly entities. I suppose Left 4 Dead and Call of Duty have begun to fatigue my interest in the reanimated, but I'm thrilled the development team has flushed this experiment out of there system in pursuit of bigger opportunities. I must acknowledge the nice endeavor to capture the B-movie feel with old-school shooting. There's still some fun value in the weaponry to make the side-trip worth the budget pricing, plus I'm happy it received a physical release in the States after the original reveal for digital exclusivity. Although the pack comes at the cost of an engaging narrative, which hurts from a creative team that has demonstrated mastery of its application the FPS realm, I still wish they were in charge of the latest Doom game.
7. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; (Kojima Productions, Konami) - I can't escape the suspicion that critics and die-hard fans were already throwing a celebratory farewell with the same party accessories from 2008 for Kojima's final hurrah with this beloved series well before it even landed in their hands for a fair analysis. With Metal Gear being my most favorite gaming brand of all time, I did have high expectations based on the remarks from the creative designer which seemed to indicate a desire to apply refined storytelling techniques and thematic ambition to make his last directorial input with his darling property as the high point of his artistic career. What landed into our possession was an effort doomed for failure well before Ground Zeroes got trimmed to siphon extra cash just to toss out their bigger follow-up in a less unfinished state. Yes, the overall infiltration mechanics have been immensely polished, smooth graphical display and registers the pinnacle of the stealth sub-genre, but it betrays every facet that established the signature charm of the world in the process. The open-world map feels so unfathomably devoid of activity compared to the real-time battles of MGS4: Guns of the Patriots (2008) with hardly no easter eggs or environmental variety in the side-missions to boot. I don't care what anyone argues, but the campy narrative has always been the primary draw based on the discussions I've seen through the past few decades and the solid gameplay has been just the icing on the cake. I agree that Guns nailed irreparable damage to the legacy of the canon, but it becomes a tiresome task to explore the longest entry to date without any notable plot points to make it a worthwhile exploration in the "downfall" of Big Boss. I want to avoid writing an essay on its numerous shortcomings, but the controls and visual presentation are the peak of this piece which concludes on a whimper. It's a shame Kojima took too much time focusing on the Fox Engine in sacrifice of the mission diversity and inconsequential story for something that could've been monumental. I'm sure a reader out there feels self-congratulatory believing they recognize the "ruse master" has churned out another misunderstood "masterpiece" that'll become appreciated as time passes, but it retreads the same framework of MGS2: Sons of Liberty (2001) with such an amateur flair that I'm finally convinced he has been devolving as a storyteller. I greatly respect his work from a design standpoint, but I no anticipate anything evocative or methodical in the subject matter that I grew up appreciating back in the forefront of three-dimensional gaming. I realize it wasn't Hideo Kojima needing to escape Metal Gear games. Metal Gear no longer needed Kojima and I look forward to seeing what becomes of the I.P. even if it results in mediocre affairs. Both its creator and parent company already sold the soul with Phantom Pain.

8. Life Is Strange ; (Dontnod Entertainment, Square-Enix) -
9. Call of Duty: Black Ops III ; (Treyarch, Activision) -

10. The Order: 1886 ; (Ready at Dawn, SCE Santa Monica, SCE) - If you've ever pondered what a console exclusive might look like when it prioritizes visual presentation over everything else, this production has undeniably arisen to answer your inquiry. This interactive drama explores a member of the fabled Knights of the Round Table, Sir Galahad, who struggles to fulfill his duties once a conspiracy unravels between rebel forces, Lycans, the East India Company and his own organization as part of an alternate spin on Victorian-era London. Publications notably mauled the title upon release with a number of understandable critiques, but it doesn't take too much digging to see the near unanimous admiration toward its pristine technical achievement. It's a cinematic experience that functions as a tantalizing demonstration of the graphical power of the Sony platform. However, the creative team sacrifices reciprocal influence over the chain of events that makes it deeply difficult to justify pursuing the story as a video game in contrast to a film with the absolute absence of consequential action. Coupling this critical fault that locks zero replay value outside of an easy platinum with a plot that trots the typical mystery cliches, wonky shooting encounters and unsatisfactory boss battles, why would anyone bother taking the trip? With this past holiday season, discount sales have offered a decent price point for this type of minimalist QTE venture and the atmospheric premise certainly has plenty of potential to explore in further sequels should they come to fruition. Additionally, I believe the shooting segments feel less jarring than the beat 'em up and rail-shooter portions from Asura's Wrath (2012), another streamlined exploit that committed an even more atrocious sin of actually locking the real ending of the game between payable DLC. Characters are treated with serviceable or good portrayals by their voice cast, especially Steve West as the main protagonist, and the combat scenes are definitely playable once you come to terms with the linear, simplified design of Dawn's first original property. On the chance you prefer something on the short-end with a mostly laid back demand on skill, The Order: 1886 could prove to be an entertaining time filler for a dreary afternoon that will hopefully have its loose-ends tied with a follow-up and, perhaps, it would be best if the developers side completely with either a third-person shooter or branching tale to redeem its present issues.
Honorable Mentions
x. Godzilla ; (Natsume, Bandai Namco Games) - I consciously ranked this project too high on my anticipation list for the year, but the localization announcement at TGA 2014 did leave behind a sliver of surprise for an obviously low-budget effort targeting Western shores for an indisputable film icon. Outside of the Earth Defense Force titles, the number of dai-kaiju simulators on the current market amount to zilch and the King of the Monsters has one of those licensed works notoriously plagued with humdrum adaptions. While Destroy All Monsters Melee (2002) and the subsequent brawlers were pleasant surprises, they didn't quite lock down the sense of weight that comes with navigating these towering creatures or offering the chance to unleash solo rampages upon familiar stomping grounds. Sluggish controls can render the fights as tedious affairs with repetitive mission goals and unbalanced maneuvers can easily cap off your back-and-forth exchange with defeat from a single, overpowered combo. Restricting the main campaign progress to specific achievements in order to reach the actual ending can be a tiresome undertaking even though it takes an amusing variation of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995). Regardless of the abysmal reception from critics and the ridiculous pricing at launch, Natsume has delivered a sensible attempt that's sure to please die-hard fanatics with the wide variety of characters and moderate awareness of scale to the battles.

x. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD ; (Square Enix, HexaDrive) - Another round of applause for the teams responsible for transferring this late PSP port over to home consoles in the West. It might not have been a direct result of the #BuildingTheList activism, but fan requests were successful in bringing over a sorely missed piece from the Sony handheld library. Having just a few hours invested into the trip, I can tell we've been gifted with one of the better installments in this household franchise from the last decade with fast-paced combat and an entertaining feast for the eyes of "old-school" fans through a number of familiar calling cards from the bit days. It doesn't break any new ground despite flaunting a superficial war-ravaged setting as a sign of "maturity" which, mixed with the number of underdeveloped, archetypal soldiers, makes it feel second-rate to the depth of stuff explored in Final Fantasy VI (1994) or Terranigma (1995). I remain optimistic that some day Japanese screenwriters will explore some darker themes beyond the surface level and it would be terrific to see an iconic staple of the gaming to start heading in that direction even though the convoluted nature of the lore tends to step in the way.
x. Xenoblade Chronicles X ; (Monolith Soft, Nintendo SPD, Nintendo) - With plenty of variety sprinkled throughout the enormous map that comprises Mira, I happily made a purchase for this title even though I don't have any proper means to actually play the thing. Confessedly, the facial design of the characters are rather unappealing and the graphical pop-in were flaws in the initial previews that I had to look past, but I find the niche nature of this JRPG as a grandiose display of the Wii U hardware. In the mean time, it'll have to keep my unwrapped copy of Bayonetta 2 occupied.

x. Yakuza 5 ; (Sega) - Congratulations to everyone involved with bringing this masterful saga intertwining the Japanese crime world and thrilling fisticuffs. I've been sitting on this series for about half a decade and, sadly, I haven't made much progress out of reaching the third-quarter mark of the original title. I never would've thought another game would reach State-side after the financial bumps of the earlier localized efforts, but Sony really pulled through with the #BuildingTheList campaign and grand-slammed a nice little gift to the market subset that'll appreciate the true send-off for the PS3 on the digital front. In terms of the content breadth, it does feel depressing that a physical copy won't arrive to the West and fans should be thankful it arrived in some form rather than nothing.
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