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

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Elixist

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1. Rocket League ; The dream game design: simple and fun to play right away and the skill well runs deep. Graphics pop and the game overall just harkens back to the 16 bit days in a new way. awesome bruh

2. Bloodborne ; A better souls sequel than part 2 :p Truthfully alot of fun and challenge. The graphics are overly busy for me at times and the frame pacing sux the dix, but its still great. Miyazaki games just so fun to explore and find secrets, solid combat is the cherry on top.

3. Grow Home ; Very original. Goofy physics that work with the goofy main character. Awesome artstyle and sound effects. Growing the vines is bizarre and amazing. Just liked it alot all around.

4. Ori and the Blind Forest ; Very beautiful, plays great. Cool atmosphere and intrigue. Combat is eh for me feels like an ipad game, but they work around it well to stay challenging. very cool stuff.

5. Dying Light ; Great graphics, good combat, awesome world and sense of place. The nighttime is actually scary and you want to head for a safe place, should i stay out a little longer to get more loot or should i head for safety? great tension in that design. Leveling up is very satisfying as you get better at parkour etc. If you feel like some open world Z, look no further yo.

6. Fallout 4 ; I enjoyed my 30 hours i played this. Samey, yes, settlement stuff kinda throway: yes. Shooting shit feels amazing? yes

7. Mad Max ; enjoyed my 30 hours again. pretty fun base invasion "mazes" pretty fun car stuff. amazing looking at times. good stuff even if i dint beat it and dont care to play more.

8. FAST Racing NEO ; Great speed heh. Fun tracks, mechanics, quite challenging. love me some arcade racing.

9. Xenoblade Chronicles X ; Huge world, with huge stuff going on. Fun to explore. If i played more of it, it might be rated higher. Its so big.

10. Tearaway Unfolded ; Not much of a core gamers game. but a blast to play with your niece, messin around with the app and taking dumb pics that go into the game etc.

Honorable Mentions
x. Witcher 3 ; Havent played enough, i dig everything except for combat which is just ok.
x. Metal Gear Solid V ; Havent played enough, i had fun with what i did play, graphics are nice and smooth as are the controls.
 

Papercuts

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Game feel is very important to me (responsive controls, strong feedback, etc), and I can't get into W3 based on what I've seen.

I appreciate the high level of detail (I watched an hour-long documentary focusing on this aspect of W3 — like how the ice thaws realistically along trails, and the way so many assets are unique), and I appreciate the work that went into every quest. But it doesn't look fun to actually play.

But I don't want to be negative. Just answering your question. I'm happy for you if you liked it. :)

The main game I want to LttP is Rocket League. Everything I've seen and read there looks on point.
I've found this to be a pretty strange year considering I feel the same as you regarding game feel. I LOVE good mechanics, buttery smothness, etc. but I still ended up putting Witcher really high up, and didn't have MGS5 anywhere on it despite that game basically being a giant pile of good mechanics.

Nice XCX writeup, too. I didn't get far enough to feel comfortable putting in on my list since I just recently got a skell. Even if it took ~30 hours still feels early on, lol.
 

RoKKeR

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Oct 17, 2012
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5 honorable mentions, 5 ranked games... here are my favorites from this past year in games.

My Top 5 Games of 2015
1. Ori and the Blind Forest ; Rare is the game that sets its sights so high and surpasses them with the grace, quality, and beauty of Ori and the Blind forest. To say this is an expertly crafted game in every department is a criminal understatement. There is so much about Ori that deserves praise, but I have to start by acknowledging the overwhelming beauty of this game's visuals. The hand-crafted vistas are varied, vibrant, and full of depth. This is easily the most beautiful game I have ever played, and the visuals give a unique character to each distinct section of the game. Underscoring the visuals is the sublime soundtrack, which perfectly sets the mood for each environment, situation, and set piece with beautiful themes and ambient tracks. Simply put, Ori and the Blind Forest is an audiovisual masterpiece.

Ori's gameplay is really where it starts to exceed expectations, combining tight and responsive platforming controls with increasingly challenging puzzles, encounters, and escape sequences. Abilities are introduced at an appropriate pace, and the game constantly checks what you've learned with well designed situations that require those new abilities and a bit of creativity. The divisive escape sequences are the ultimate test of your skills, and serve as the game's main "boss battles." While they are challenging and perhaps could be tuned slightly to be less frustrating, the cathartic feeling of completing them is why Ori is such a special and complete experience. Weaved throughout the stellar gameplay and metroidvania style exploration and platforming is the story. The narrative is never overbearing, but is always present and produces some surprisingly poignant and emotional moments. This is just another factor that contributes to success of the game, and keeps you pressing forward through the beautiful world.

Ori and the Blind Forest has given me more joy than any other game this year, and that alone is worthy of a top spot on my list. I can't thank Moon Studios enough for pouring such passion into this game, and congratulate them on a successful debut.

2. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; There is this beautiful moment in The Witcher III, in which after spending a sizable amount of time learning the many systems, mechanics, and quirks to the game, you venture into Velen and realize you have only just completed the intro of the game. Here is where The Witcher's ambition comes to light, and it consumed me for well over 80 hours earlier this year. This was the first game I've played that felt like it took complete advantage of the increased power of these new consoles, with a world more dense and detailed than any I have played before it. The stories that this world produces is what makes The Witcher 3 truly special. Everything feels alive and well-lived in, with believable characters and stories that resonate with the things happening around Geralt.

It's hard not to get completely engrossed with a game when the side quests alone echo the depth and polish that many open world games reserve only for their main quests. Throughout a map littered with icons and secret locations, there are meaningful and engaging stories to be discovered. The Witcher 3 is an incredibly ambitious game that somehow manages to successfully string all of its mechanics together, and I am happy to have been able to spend such a good portion of time with it this year.

3. Rise of the Tomb Raider ; Lara's newest adventure in the reboot franchise is a triumph over its predecessor in nearly every way. Rise of the Tomb Raider feels like a more complete realization of Crystal Dynamic's vision for the series in this new era. The hub worlds are bigger, the gameplay mechanics are more developed, the tombs are more plentiful and varied, and the story felt more cohesive this time around. This is simply a fun game to play, with great setpieces and a wide variety of ways each encounter can be approached. I was also very impressed with Tomb Raider's graphics – this is easily one of the best looking games on the Xbox One.

Rise of the Tomb Raider succeeds in delivering a focused narrative that affords the player a good deal of freedom in how they proceed throughout the game and tackle its various encounters. Crystal Dynamics took the lessons it learned from TR2013 and made improvements across the board.

4. Life is Strange ; It is fairly uncommon for me to launch head first into a game I know so little about, but Life is Strange hooked me right from the start and continues to consume my thoughts even days after completing it. I was not prepared for such an engaging, heart-wrenching, and beautiful story about two best friends living a strange life in Arcadia Bay. The story telling in this game is extremely personal, and the connections you develop with these characters makes the larger events of the game all the more impactful. The unique mechanic in the game presents interesting solutions to puzzles and branching pathways to take through conversations, and ultimately forces you to closely examine the consequences of every choice you make.

I can't recommend Life is Strange enough, and commend DontNod for making a game that kept me locked in to the story of Max and Chloe all the way through to the end. A surprise hit that should be played by all.

5. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; Though I have not and may never complete MGSV, I would be remise to leave off a title with some of the greatest, most polished open world sandbox gameplay from a list about the greatest *games* of the year. I put about 25 hours into this game, and being completely new to the franchise, (apart from briefly playing Ground Zeroes earlier in the year) I was not prepared for the scope, ambition, and freedom this game offers. In many ways, this freedom and "play it your way" approach is both MGSV's biggest success and failure, sacrificing a more directed and linear narrative for emergent and open gameplay. Not being heavily invested in its story, though, I was fine to take on MGSV's various side missions and objectives at my own pace.

MGSV is truly an overwhelming game in terms of its size and scope, but it delivered some of the most exciting and refined gameplay of the year, and for that I must recognize it in my Top 5 of the year.

...

Honorable Mentions

x. Halo 5: Guardians ; This is what a next generation Halo game is supposed to feel like. It's fast paced and skill-based, has interesting and flexible movement options, and starts every player on an even playing field. It all sounds good on paper, but unfortunately a lack of content on both the single player and multiplayer side of things ultimately relegates Halo 5 to getting an honorable mention. The single player campaign succeeds in it's level design and classic sandbox gameplay, yet falters with an incomprehensible and frustrating story. The multiplayer feels tight, fun, and competitive, but lacks a whole host of options that Halo fans have come to expect. I think 343 has shown that they understand how to craft a high quality core of a Halo game, but they need to bring back the full suite of game types and play styles that Halo games of the past have offered.

x. Tales from the Borderlands ; To be quite honest, this seemed like a game that had no business being good... but it was. It was really damn good. Though typical Telltale bullshit in the realm of performance and technical issues frustrate, the narrative, character development, and humor ultimately prevail to make it one of the years most memorable stories. This is easily one of the funniest games I have played, and really enjoyed watching these characters develop and change throughout the course of 5 episodes.

x. Massive Chalice ; I'm not typically a turn-based strategy fan, but Massive Chalice's great looks, humor, and unifying mechanics hooked me solidly for about a week. The family tree/lineage system adds a very unique wrinkle to the game, and the core gameplay to support the larger strategic systems is fun and engaging. This is the perfect game to dedicate a week to, and I commend Double Fine for putting together such a nice and polished title.

x. Fallout 4 ; While I usually find myself longing for a new Elder Scrolls game every time I fire up Fallout 4, it's world building and Bethesda's trademark story-building through environment is deserving of note in and end-of-year retrospective. Fallout 4 is best is when it limits the direction it gives you, and turns you loose on the wasteland to explore and discover at your own pace. This is another game I may never finish, but jumping on for a few minutes to do a small quest or explore a new area is exactly what I want from a Bethesda game.

x. Destiny: The Taken King ; For better or worse, it's hard to ignore a game that I spent such a good portion of time with. The Taken King most certainly feels like a better realization of what Bungie had in mind when launching Destiny over one year ago. The quests are more interesting, there are more ways to funnel your time, the leveling and loot structure has been refined, and the game generally feels more complete. Though I still have a lot of problems with Destiny and I stopped returning to it after about 40 hours into TTK, I have to give Bungie credit for making such a big turnaround with this game in one year.

...

Personally, 2015 has been one of the better years in recent memory in terms of high quality and diverse games. Enjoyed collecting my thoughts and reflecting back on the year in games... looking forward to another great year ahead!
 

gogosox82

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May 24, 2014
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Unfortunately, didn't play a lot of games this year. So my list will be small.


  1. Bloodborne ; Amazing aesthetic, amazing lore, and amazing gameplay makes this game by far the most satisfying game I've played all year.
  2. Tales from the Borderlands ; Who knew that you could take everything we know about the borderlands universe and make an interesting story that was gripping, compelling, funny, and heartbreaking all at the same time. This is probably my favorite Telltale game next to the Wolf Among Us.
  3. Assassins Creed: Syndicate ; I'm totally shocked that I'm putting an AC game in my top three but here it is. I have mostly fallen out of favor with the games since AC: Revelations but this is a return to form. Evie is a great character. Charismatic, smart, and confident without coming off as boring or brash. Only thing that ruins it is that she gets pushed to the side for Jacob who is a terrible character. Exploring the city is fun with grappling hook and they have redone the combat so its not just counter into multikills anymore and knocking fools out with a cane is never boring. Stealth still isn't were it should be be its better because of the new systems they have added into the game. I really liked the way they handle mission progression. You do quests for people and you get rewards like a new outfit or a new weapon. I think this works better than just opening up the shop and buying the best weapon in the shop and destroying everyone with it. Leveling system is a little disappointing because the skills between Evie and Jacob are mostly the same but it does encourage you to explore the city and not just do story missions and beat the game in 10 hours. I really enjoyed my time with it.
  4. Life is Strange ; Really loving the story. Reminds me of being in HS with all the clicks and this person hating this person for whatever dumb reason. I haven't finished it but I really really like it and I think the story is fun though ep 2 took a dark turn which I'm not sure if I liked or not.
  5. Fallout 4 ; Hated what they did to the dialouge system and most of the quests are radiant quests which is really lame. Main story isn't that great either. Also didn't like what they did with leveling system. I think there's less build variety as a result. But its fun to explore the wasteland, get loot, and shoot things especailly since the shooting is actually decent in this game unlike FO3 and NV. Disappointing but still a fun game.

Honorable mentions

x Undertale ; Didn't have time to finish but I've liked what I've played so far.

x Metal Gear Solid V: The Phatom Pain ; I haven't gotten far enough into but the gameplay is quite good.

x Witcher 3: Wild Hunt ; Just started. Loving the quests. Not liking the combat as much as the quests but its decent.
 

spekkeh

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Apr 18, 2011
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Has anybody else here concerns about very short lists or lists with only 1 game on it?

Of course it's possible that you only played one game from 2015 that you liked, but then go out into the voting thread and post one vote for that one game? I wouldn't feel well informed enough about games of 2015 to do that.
It's more likely that very short lists are trying to boost the game they are rooting for by denying other games they also liked but don't really care for their points.

Has this been talked about? (I wouldn't know how to search for it in this thread)
Yes I mentioned it before and got some flak for that. It curiously (not so curiously) almost only happens with Bloodborne and Witcher 3, and some of the users have very, very few posts on the forum. But there's nothing really to be done about it. I guess we should be happy that it's such a tight race.
 

SomTervo

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Jan 19, 2015
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1. Bloodborne
2. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
3. Until Dawn
4. Life Is Strange
5. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
Get your formatting straight, dawg.


1. Metal Gear Solid V The Phantom Pain- Beautiful in its gameplay fluidity, vast and varying in its encounter design, MGSV finally realizes the true potential of Kojimas stealth action vision. Having the story take the back seat is just what the series needed, and what’s on the table still remains interesting, thought provoking and filled with fourth wall-breaking meta commentary. There is one huge caveat though, and that is the oversexualized depiction of Quiet. I don’t know why we tolerate this kind of crap in 2015, but I guess I’m part of the problem by putting it on top of my list.
Nice one mate, I 100% agree with this opinion on MGSV.
 

Ryan_MSF

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Dec 31, 2014
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Have you seen all the GOTY threads that have been ruined because of Bloodborne not winning and the fans being insufferable about it? it even became a gaf meme.

What you're saying isn't surprising.
I've seen more people bitching about bloodborne fans than bloodborne fans actually moaning about it not winning things.
 

Mexican Sting

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1. Until Dawn ; A lot has been said about how you're "not supposed to take this game seriously," or some such. But everything about it forces you to once you're inside. I felt genuine fear as I walked through blizzards in the middle of the night with nothing but a flashlight. The characters felt rounded, real, and I cared about some as much as I didn't for others— and that's the brilliance of this game. A unique, fresh take on a genre that has been getting worn out by it's own pioneers, and a AAA game that stands fiercely apart from any of it's competitors this year. Until Dawn is my 2015 game of the year.
 

SomTervo

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Game feel is very important to me (responsive controls, strong feedback, etc), and I can't get into W3 based on what I've seen.

I appreciate the high level of detail (I watched an hour-long documentary focusing on this aspect of W3 — like how the ice thaws realistically along trails, and the way so many assets are unique), and I appreciate the work that went into every quest. But it doesn't look fun to actually play.

But I don't want to be negative. Just answering your question. I'm happy for you if you liked it. :)

The main game I want to LttP is Rocket League. Everything I've seen and read there looks on point.
FYI they patched in a great control option - 'Alternate controls' - in the game's menus. Immediately makes the movement feel far more responsive and quick, so exploration and traversal becomes way more fun.

Also the combat is infinitely better than anything I've seen in a Bethesda game - in fact, better than the vast majority of real-time RPGs I can think of. It feels brilliant when it works: when you slice 6 bandits apart, dodging the whole time, without getting touched by them. Unfortunately, the encounter design has a few very low lows. Some enemies have terrible strikeboxes and there are a handful of fights in the game which are just messed up bad design; too many enemies/rounds with unfair stunlocks and shit everywhere. But still, that's only a handful of fights out of thousands, and the combat is still very deep and intelligent. You really have to become a Witcher and use his tools to do well. It's incredibly clever. (And it gets super easy after you hit about level 10.)

A lot of people compare it directly to Bloodborne for combat which is ridiculous.

PS your GotY list is absolutely glorious
 

Lostconfused

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I think I am going to have to reorder and re write my list after I finish the first draft. Because my comments pretty much start with "this game sucks for a various number of reasons, but it's not the worst piece of shit ever". Well that's what the comments are for I guess, to actually reflect on what you played this year.
 

chadboban

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May 11, 2013
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Cheesemeister, Timetokill, I'd appreciate it if you could check the above ballot to make sure it will work with the parser.

And for anyone who wants the three parts linked in one place:

Click here for Part 1
Click here for Part 2
Click here for Part 3
Truly truly incredible write ups. Sums up everything I love of those games that I've played while simultaneously making me incredibly anxious to get into the ones that I haven't. Absolutely stellar work Neiteio.
 

generic_username

I switched to an alt account to ditch my embarrassing tag so I could be an embarrassing Naughty Dog fanboy in peace. Ask me anything!
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FYI they patched in a great control option - 'Alternate controls' - in the game's menus. Immediately makes the movement feel far more responsive and quick, so exploration and traversal becomes way more fun.

Also the combat is infinitely better than anything I've seen in a Bethesda game -
To be fair the Alternate controls just make it more tolerable than the default option but still nowhere close to MGSV and BB. Also the bolded is not a very high bar in my opinion as Bethesda's combat is as banal as combat can get in a videogame.
 
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This year's list is almost a distilled version of last years list. Every theme and trend in 2014's upped to rotgut strength: the polished classic topper, the strong but single-flawed second tier, the half off/half amazing bottom tier, and a few undercooked but respectable bench-warmers at the end, the vast litany of on-the-cheap LTTP all-time classics gone unmentioned in this go.



1. Rocket League ; I am 39% terrible at this game. The music is generic bleh. I whiff 70% of my aerials. Ballchasers enrage me. I still have problems with striking consistantly.

I find myself disgusted, but then I want more. I land that aerial. I bank-pass for the score. I get that hat trick painting the corners of the net like Greg Maddux. I go René Higuita on a vicious offensive barrage. I steal the dribble. I get better. I play again.

And again.

And again.

And again...

You can't ask for more out of a game, dammit.

I wish more games nailed The Feel that this game does of consistant engaugement, perfectly interlocking mechanics, and responsive controls first, then the bells and whistles. Cuz gosh darnit, you do that and the world will beat a path to your door like we did to Psyonix.



2. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Second Chapter ; Second Chapter was the payoff to a very unsure wait of four and a half years and it almost over-delivered.

Wait, lemme explain that.

With SC, the writers at Falcom pulled off actions that most RPG designers never even attempt despite calls for it in passing from players: characters both inside and outside the party have full arcs, even some generic-model NPCs like Anton and Miranda do. Bringing different optional characters to events brings specific rich dialogue, no plot thread goes unwoven, full short stories, backstories, on and on and on in that rich, conversational, personality-driven way.

The issue is that there's almost too much of it in repetition;
you journey thru four regions, observe four plots by four dastardly agents of the antagonist organization, later fight thru four towers to fight said four agents for the first time, then fight them again in the final dungeon, then a very long final "point-of-no-return" end boss extravaganza to close it out.

This leaves all this richness of dialogue, music, characterization, theming, side-quests, metaplot, and many other wonderous facets at times burying us players in "almost too much good". I hate to call it a pacing issue as that usually results in stretching the game out thin and what they were doing is usually the same quality goodness as the rest of what you played, but it ended up leaving me feeling tired until the late parts of the foursomes hit exceptionally high notes.

And there is so much good in this. Estelle and Joshua's journey is done exemplarily well; I have never seen a better romance soup to nuts in this medium with this combination of density and quality. Their choices, their triumphs, and their setbacks pass muster with their personalities and the plot (which is too often in others just leaping from high point to high point).

The music is a triumph, hitting industry-topping benchmarks for composition and passion, the overall metaplot is an excellent dance partner for the main plot that never feels tacked on and the writers gave us everything we need to understand the signifigance yet always leaving you hungry for more information, and Chapter Six is easily one of the best segments of a game in history.

All in all, too much good is better than too little, but it is getting knocked for a loop having the opposite for once and is still an exemplary journey for everyone who likes worldbuilding and light narrative excellence.

Bring on more Trails, the Thirst still needs slaking.



3. Sunless Sea ; On the very very short list of "games whose writing can stand in sight of Planescape: Torment". This game knows when to go direct, when to pour on the flowery purple prose, how to coin a phrase, or when to use an obscure euphamism with exemplary grace and power.

It is eerie, it overflows with choking atmosphere, and the creativity is off the damn charts. Islands where people play chess 24/7 till they're covered with coral? A city of self-mummifying dead? An island where postmen desperately organize lost mail? HE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN T

The few flaws come with the utilization of Roguelike mechanics on this text adventure/CPRG/Roguelike hybrid. Some say the start is too repetitious, but I feel the real problem comes at end game when currency and resources are a trifle and you're tooling around in a Behemustache-crushing death ship searching for the next knot in the story thread you're currently embarked on.

But it's small potatoes for how many highs this game has. Set sail, the Zee calls.



4. Crypt of the Necrodancer ; Another great peanut butter & chocolate indie darling that was hard to put down. Taking the "everyone and everything takes a turn" regimen of Roguelikes and putting it to a booty-moving beat is the kind of brilliance that is a big reason why video games are fun. Many different characters to play as, the graphics have deft shading on them (take that about eleventy gorillion pixel art games!), the upgrades are deep and full of pluses and minuses, and the game does the "unlocking of upgrades" deal much, much better than Rogue Legacy did by shunting it off into a seperate mode. It's just a great silly time.



5. Bloodborne ; Some have been suffering from Frenzy and clashing with the those who delved into too much Insight about this title, but From did a pretty damn solid job trimming the metaseries down to an action game with RPG trappings.

It's the same cohesive art direction, level design, theming, darkness, brutality, and the dignified descent into insanity and ruin that characterizes Miyazaki's genius. Trick weapons are a delight (PIMP CANE MOTHERFUCKERS), the use of ranged weapons as the parry system is a brilliant solution to the problem of magic being easy mode and the reliance on shields for riposte, the Space Marine-esque use of healing via cuttin' fools is well-implemented to make combat beastly good, and those little touches like The Doll being an MGS2-level meta-commentary on the waifu movement's atraction to The Maiden In Black of DeS is all too, too good and well-implemented.

Hitboxes are great again! Early on, I missed thrusting some werewolf with my charge attack due to its attack at the same time rearing back mere centimeters from my devastating blow, leading me to getting rolled. Was mad for a split second before smiling. Enemies also don't do that damn DS2 thing where they run up and crowd you swinging on a swivel that narrows combat; they're again dangerous duelists, powerful mages, and feral monsters trying to kill you, not punish you for when you're attacking "when you shouldn't".

"We're back to this being my fault 99% of the time and this is fun again."

There are problems. PvP and PwP are dumbly both hidden away in a few levels and requires a consumable, the camera when any overhangs exist is a nightmare with all the quick-lunging huge beasties you tangle with, and there's a wierd frame problem with the riposte that took some getting used to.

Still, it's a great time and I need to get around to that expansion pack they cooked up this year sometime. The Hunt calls, it does...



6. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel ; The Year of Dreams 2015 drops another hot plate of goodness in our laps with this 6th title in the Trails series. We get to see the teetering viper's nest that is the Erebonian Empire, the metanarrative and world-building of Falcom's rumble on in its greatness, new beloved characters get introduced, old beloved characters continue being belovable, and last but not least another magnificient soundteam_JDK soundtrack rocking out oh so sophisticatedly for our enjoyment.

This game got much, much better as it goes along. Don't get me wrong, by hour 4-ish it's right in-gear with classic Trails goodness we know and love, but the prologue is a chore that's drug down with an unfortunate case of the Stock Dull Anime Situation "Humor" Syndrome to the point that the characters then and later are almost different people. There's also a real problem with a few characters that clearly exist as creeper bait that either exhibit disturbing fetishy behaviors, dialogue, or dress that...and I'll be blunt, do not belong here and did nothing but drag down every scene they're in. Luckily, two of them get better later on to become much more tolerable but it puts an otherwise much better title almost at war with itself (hell, the whole series really; this ain't some random JRPG here).

There's also the fact that this is Falcom's very first foray into full 3D and the technical hurdles present some problems in the form of seriously varying texture quality in close proximity, awkward animations, a framerate that chugged like crazy in crowds, and those crowds that were always smaller than they should be for their scenes and always eerily unmoving. Luckily this was fixed in the sequel and I don't usually go in on this sort of thing but it was enough to erode enjoyment a little bit.

Past that though, it's a great build up of political, fractional, ancient mysteries, clashing personalities, and plotting till a fantastical Thrist-Inducing ending that left me smiling and hyped for the sequel.

Combat and the sorta-simplified orbment system (the "materia" system of the game sorta) is a wierd one; the game is very generous with mechanics, spells, food, and skills that replenish CP, and the logarithmic nature to the offense calculations leads all-too-easily to stacking strength, getting 200cp and a STR buff or two over much else (aka the "One-Shotting Bosses with Laura 'I'm Fucking Guts' Arseid" method). Still, combat is quick, flashy, and they didn't fall into the trap alot of RPGs do with link mechanics of it overshadowing everything else; they really thought it thru and even had story purposes behind it! Falcom, you so smart.



7. Witcher III: The Wild Hunt ; I really enjoyed my Witcher 2 playthru; it was a game that was by adults, for those they percieve as adults, and Witcher 3 continues that noble tradition.

This game frames black-gray-white moral and ethical choices in orders of magnitude better ways than other games of its ilk. You just stumble upon things going Bad Wrong with no warning and no framing of what's coming as a D&D alignment test, and even when I knew some were coming (Bloody Baron and Ugly Baby) they kept the surprises coming early and often putting me on the backfoot where I should be there. Geralt is a good-hearted, powerful man and all that can get him in many cases is in trouble, incapable of setting things right, and safe with his neck intact. All of this is tapped off by fixing a flaw with W2's narrative of indistinct social station in the language of the speakers. Various factions, races, ethnic groups, classes, etc speak much more distinctly from each other in W3's English VA and script, allowing say, Geralt's brusque manner around the emperor come off as the dangerous way of addressing him it is compared to the subservient floweriness of his attendants and officers towards him; something that was lacking in 2.

This game also does open world reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal good. It reminds me of Xenoblade with a strong Slavic flair. They're not scared to put large tracts of nothing to give off the vibe of large tracts of nothing. Camps are few, the environment of Velen behaves like it would in the northern european plain with rivers meandering into the sandy bluffs, poplars and willows in the bogs and pines and spruces on the highground, and the natural political, economical, and lore of the world has a ton of influence on the quests and makeup of the lands you travel thru. Commendable.

But there's reasons it's 7th on my list, and they constantly fight with the game's flow. W3 has a dark fetish with Detective Vision so much of our investigations with the White Wolf involve a nasty case of headache-inducing tunnel vision and highlighted clues that could have been, you know, stick out via something more subtle or just have Geralt look at it. Its combat is in this odd no man's land between Japanese APRG, intricate euro jank, and sludgy NA/WE ARPG combat that is admittedly alievated by specking like I did into bombs and swift strikes to end fights before they started to wear down on my nerves. Then you have the wierd behavior of just walking indoors like in a zillion other AAA games where the camera is too close and the turning radius is just off which for the life of me I can't understand the need to change towards. The fix helps but still.



8. Celestian Tales: Old North ; This is a pretty fun rough draft of the intricately-interwoven politically-charged light-mechanic RPG that, along with the Trails series, helps fill the Harmonia-sized hole in my heart thanks to #FucKonami. You get some stumbles from a crew just now putting that love of Suikoden into action, in a language they're also coming to grips with expressing nuance in, the explicit stating of moral/ethical dilemmas, and a few animation quibbles. But countering this, you have this snazzy aggro system that makes tanking a thing with flair, pleasant music, and a mountain of heart. I look forward to seeing them get better with the sequels.



9. This Starry Midnight We Made ; A wierd, wierd wierd game I picked up on a whim in a dry spell seeking out some of that Carpe Fulgur localization fun. Capyhouse has this wonderful way with their art, kaleidoscoping, tesseracts, bold colors, and layouts that show visual talent aplenty. Plus it's just so soothing to set this wierd star-creation engine into motion and then alt-tab to do something else (good QoL feature done right here), then come back to see what onmyodo wierdness I cooked up. It's grinding without the neurosis.



10. Legend of Legacy ; It's like a kiddie-pool expy of Kawazu's deranged flight of fancy SaGa titles, and despite that, still has the maddening flaws of that crazy man's work they ape in contrived arbitrary mechanics, inexplicably dropped character narratives, and general filling-space chapters. Yet I don't hate it; I think Hamauzu's intriguing OST and the general dream-like air of the game did a lot for that.

x. Luckslinger ; This is a very serious silly game.

x. Trine 3 ; A very thin game with a troubled history.

Still ain't bought myself a Wii U for Xenoblade X, and Pillars of Eternity and the Enhanced Edition of the second best game in 2014 Divinity Original Sin is unplayed. But I guess you can't play them all and that leaves me something for lazy late spring days in a few months.
 

shintoki

sparkle this bitch
Oct 9, 2007
29,365
0
1,200
1. Witcher 3 ; Honestly, it was everything I want in a finale for the series.
2 Huniepop ; Surprise hit of the year for me. Addictive and fucking bitches, what's not to like?
3. Pillars of Eternity ; It was a great call back to the greats.
 

GotchaForce

Member
Nov 29, 2005
9,221
0
0
1. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain ; The triumph of how smooth the gameplay is in this vs how big the world is is what got this here. 60fps on a console open world game simply has no precedent. Translating MGS's ambitions into an open world game successfully not only made it the best playing Metal Gear but also a huge leap forward in open world design.

2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt ; Neck and neck tie with MGS5, but technical issues bogged this one down just a notch below. Another ambitious open world game and one with my favorite game world in a long time. Why this is here is it's so easy to tell the love and craft that went into every inch of this game. I never use the screenshot feature on my PS4 but man did I take like 100 photos of this game during my playthrough.

3. Fallout 4 ; I really enjoyed my 200 hours in this and did it in a fairly short amount of time. I mainlined this like crazy but it's below the other two because of technical issues and how little it innovates. I'm glad for what it does move forward, like how better the combat is. The power suit stuff, along with the warring factions lead to some crazy chaos moments and makes it my favorite Bethesda game.

4. Mortal Kombat X ; Played a ton of this this year with friends and for about 2 months almost every night with one friend in particular. We trained for a tournament which we never entered though my friend got far and won some small local ones. The 3 variation system is the biggest improvement here and the story mode, graphics and training mode remain some of the best in the business. The tournament scene for this was very fun to watch except for when Tanya debuted and everyone picked her (was hilarious in it's own way, though). Looking forward to the 2nd Kombat Pack this year.

5. Rocket League ; Not a huge fan of cars or sports but man is this some of the most fun I've had with friends. The week I got this we played wayyyy past everyone's bed time. Easy to get into, but a crazy amount of depth as far as feeling out how best to approach each situation. Hand to heart, made me interested in watching actually soccer which I never ever ever thought I'd say.

6. Bloodborne ; Demon and Dark Souls I put about 30 hours into each, saw most of the enemies/environments and said I had my fill. Dark Souls 2 barely an hour in and I felt too disappointed to continue. But I saw Bloodborne through to the end. The small amount of streamlining and difficulty lowering combined with the new setting pushed me just enough to want to see the credits for this one. The game was unnerving all throughout and still tough as nails but it felt great to finally say I felled a (honorary) Souls title.

7. Halo 5 ; I've played all the Halo games and the campaign for 4 for me was the only letdown in the entire series. I dug the mp, but it was the only campaign I only played once. So 5 to me, from the first showing looked so much better with it's companions and environments with a lot more variety. It delivered on that but also added the smoothest playing mp in the entire series. The Warzone stuff is a ton of fun and there's an insane amount of upgrades to get obsessed about obtaining. Happy to be a Halo fan again.

8. Star Wars Battlefront ; My little experience with the previous games didn't leave me very impressed. So when I keep seeing on the internet I'm supposed to be upset with this game I just have to shrug. The experience of playing this is incredible, easily the best looking game this generation so far. The lack of depth in comparison to your Halo's and COD's to me is totally fine, I don't want to compete with 12 year olds with nothing better to do. I also love most of the modes (online and off) and have put nearly 50 hours into it with still lots of stuff in the trophies and unlocks I'm excited to work towards.

9. N++ ; The best N yet and one of the best platformers in forever. Felt like this took ages to come out but was totally worth the wait. The visual unlocks are really cool and that you can share levels adds a lot to the longevity. It's the co-op mode that puts it here, it's so much fun to get into this with friends and try and try (and try and try) to get through each simple to play but impossible to master level. Crazy good soundtrack as well, keeps you hypnotized while not realizing you've put an hour into beating just a handful of levels.

10. Transformers: Devastation ; My favorite surprise of the year. I felt the Cybertron games were quite good and underrated but Platinum are the kings of combat and translating that into slick-as-hell old school Transformers presentation was the thing this year I didn't know I wanted but sure as hell was glad got made. The level design isn't the best and the screen tear is wicked but the joy of combo-ing a whole team of Constructicons with an axe-wielding Optimus Prime melts the memories of the Bay movies away.

honorary mentions

x Mario Maker ; It's sucks to not have this in the top ten, as I've had some amazing moments with it. But I've had to experience so many crummy levels for the handful of honestly great ones that it soured me a lot on the whole thing. I also have a huge reverence for the original games and a lot of respect for what Little Big Planet did.

x Dying Light ; Huge jump in quality over Dead Island and I actually liked Dead Island a lot. No open world game is half as intense as this.

x Steamworld Heist ; Favorite turn-based game in ages. I've not finished it so it's off the top ten.

x Fast Racing Neo ; Best homage to F-Zero and Wipeout in forever. Great presentation and crazy good for it's price.

x Killer Instinct Season 2 ; the 2nd half of this came out this year and continues to be among the best fighting games this generation. The new character and old (Riptor is a favorite) are so well done. Great job, Iron Galaxy.

Other stuff I liked in 2015 - Nuclear Throne, CODBLOPS3, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Evolve, Gunstar 3d, Streets of Rage 2 3D, Sonic 2 3D, Broken Age, Rise Of The Tomb Raider, Just Cause 3, Life Is Strange, Tales From The Borderlands, Soma, TT's GoT, Until Dawn, Ori, Mad Max, Grow Home, Axiom Verge, Xeodrifter, Batman: Arkham Knight, Rare Replay, IDARB, Shovel Knight dlc, Talos Principle, Jackbox 2, EDF4.1, Skullgirls PS4, Disney Infinity 3.0, Roundabout, Towerfall dlc, Capsule Force, Gauntlet, Helldivers, DMC4 CE, Galak-Z, Borderlands Pre-Sequel PS4, Hand Of Fate, Hotline Miami 2, Olli Olli 2, Jamestown+
 
Jun 9, 2011
16,657
0
0
www.neogaf.com
I'm expecting 2016 to be much slower for me even though there's a good amount of stuff I want to play. Between work and home stuff, it's become too much of a struggle for me to play everything I'm interested in the year it comes out anymore. I've had to just be honest with myself that the 100+ games in my backlog will never happen, not for another 35 years at least, and now I just wing every year best I can and hope I find time for 2 or 3 games from the previous year I can finish.
 

hitmon

Member
Jul 29, 2007
2,718
0
550
Might as well get my list in before I forget.

1. Until Dawn ; My game of the year. It was like playing an interactive horror movie, absolutely loved it. Well written with great pacing and visually beautiful.

2. Rise of the Tomb Raider ; Raiding the tombs was fun and the gameplay was great. I look forward to the next iteration. My Xbox One game of the year.

3. Marvel Future Fight ; Free to play game on the iOS and I haven't spent a dime. I find myself logging in daily to grind for characters, costumes, and levels. My mobile game of the year.

4. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 ; More Musuo goodness with more One Piece characters.

5. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate ; First Monster Hunter game that kept my interest as long as it has. Fun online co-op.

6. Heroes of the Storm ; Games don't take as long as the other MOBAs.

7. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

8. The Order: 1886

9. Disney Infinity 3.0

10. Xenoblade Chronicles X

Honorable Mentions

x. The Witcher 3 ; Need to finish this
x. Yakuza 5 ; Need to buy this when it's on sale.
 

tok9

Member
Dec 17, 2014
291
0
0
Travelling - Currently Sydney
1. Bloodborne ; I think this might be the best of the Soul's series so far. The extra nudge to go on the offence and slightly quicker pace just make this game so brutal and rewarding.

2. The Witcher 3 ; A series that I'm not familiar with but it hooked me in immediately with how rich the world was, the fantastic side quests and most of all... gwent!

3. Metal Gear Solid V ; This easily could have gone into second on my list but again the obvious signs that the game is incomplete holds it back. It's a huge pity as Metal Gear Solid has never felt this good before but it's just lacking as a whole package.

4. Life Is Strange ; Disclaimer here, I haven't played episode 5 yet as I've been travelling and currently do not own a PS4. As soon as I get one, this will be the first game I complete on it. I love the setting, the characters and so far they've done a great job with a sci fi story that would usually be full of holes. I'm confident the final episode delivers too. Also it's got a fantastic soundtrack

5. Until Dawn ; Not much more to say other than surprise game of the year. I think it caught everyone off guard with how fun it is and it actually has a really good teen horror story. Highly recommend it to everyone.

6. Rocket League; PS+ GOTY! Sometimes a game just has to be very solid mechanically and be a tonne of fun. Rocket League is exactly that.

7. Shovel Knight ; I loved this game on the Vita. Everything about it brings back so many good memories from the 8 bit era. Colour palette is beautiful, the boss fights are fun and it has a really nice story. Free DLC makes it even better.

8. Everybody's Gone to The Rapture ; It's simply a beautiful game. Going around listening to conversations, putting together what happened while an amazing soundtrack plays in the background.

9. Batman Arkham Knight ; It's still Batman. Personally I was fine with the Batmobile, the issue was all the boss fights that revolved around it. The story here was still fantastic and a beautiful way to wrap up the series.

10. OlliOlli 2 ; It was close between this and Super Meatboy but OlliOlli 2 wins out just for the amount of times I repeated a level. I loved the original and this game adds even more. Another PS+ game too.
 

StrongBelwas

Banned
Sep 16, 2015
977
0
0
I see a lot of people making their lists that don't even have Witcher 3 in them! I think it's hard to accept the validity of these lists when people are voting without even having played my favourite game of the year? I mean if they haven't played it how can they even know it's the best game released this year?

In my opinion a better way of doing these things is only letting people that like my favourite game best vote.
 

Crayolan

Member
Sep 30, 2013
15,304
0
0
GAME OF THE YEAR 2015



Xenoblade Chronicles X (WiiU)
Monolith Soft, Nintendo
I don't know when I'll get around to playing this but

Fucking. Sold.

Has anybody else here concerns about very short lists or lists with only 1 game on it?

Of course it's possible that you only played one game from 2015 that you liked, but then go out into the voting thread and post one vote for that one game? I wouldn't feel well informed enough about games of 2015 to do that.
It's more likely that very short lists are trying to boost the game they are rooting for by denying other games they also liked but don't really care for their points.

Has this been talked about? (I wouldn't know how to search for it in this thread)
I only voted on one game but it's cause I only played 1 new game this year (well 2, but I specifically didn't vote for MM3D because I didn't feel it was different enough from the original to justify a vote). So what about people like me? I don't think it'd be fair to immediately disqualify people just cause they haven't played an arbitrary number of new games in a year.

That being said I think I know my tastes well enough that Splatoon would've been a lock for top 5 regardless of what I played.
 

R3cki

Banned
Nov 23, 2015
29
0
0
Bavaria
1. Ark Survival Evolved Xbox Early Access: I have never ever made a online gaming experience like this game has to offer before. Playing with 4 m8s since day one and its endless fun. The PvP Tribe wars/intrigues/etc are the ultimate online online experience.
2. The Witcher III: I dont have to write much about this game. The ultimative open world experience imo.
3. Halo 5 Guardians: had a lot of fun online, best online shooter at the moment, they lost a lot players after the release because of the "lack of aming options" disaster to cod tho.
4. Tomb Raider - still love the new Lara
5. Fallout 4 - cant help myself im a fallout fanboy and had a lot of fun but also a lot to criticize tho.
6. Metal Gear solid phantom pain - i love the modern open world aspect and had a lot fun infiltrating enemy bases. anyways the game gets 75% from me, because after 60h free roaming the only interesting thing left were quiets boobs.

all in all 2015 really wasn't the big bang in gaming history besides witcher 3 that rised the open world quality to a new level.
 

FerranMG

Member
Oct 19, 2007
1,869
0
890
1. Rocket League ; An amazing multiplayer experience that got me hooked for a good couple of months. Flawless game.
2. Dying Light ; A nice follow up to Dead Island.
3. Capitals ; Very well thought and presented words game for iOS. Love NimbleBit.
4. Alto's Adventure ; Very good-looking game, solid gameplay, and deeper than your average endless runner.
 

spekkeh

Banned
Apr 18, 2011
14,647
0
0
www.neogaf.com
I don't know when I'll get around to playing this but

Fucking. Sold.



I only voted on one game but it's cause I only played 1 new game this year (well 2, but I specifically didn't vote for MM3D because I didn't feel it was different enough from the original to justify a vote). So what about people like me? I don't think it'd be fair to immediately disqualify people just cause they haven't played an arbitrary number of new games in a year.

That being said I think I know my tastes well enough that Splatoon would've been a lock for top 5 regardless of what I played.
How would you determine the quality of a release in comparison with other releases this year if you haven't played other releases this year.
 

Aceofspades

Member
Mar 31, 2015
2,219
479
395
I see a lot of people making their lists that don't even have Witcher 3 in them! I think it's hard to accept the validity of these lists when people are voting without even having played my favourite game of the year? I mean if they haven't played it how can they even know it's the best game released this year?

In my opinion a better way of doing these things is only letting people that like my favourite game best vote.
 

TwiztidElf

Member
Mar 5, 2005
2,853
313
1,395
Has anybody else here concerns about very short lists or lists with only 1 game on it?

Of course it's possible that you only played one game from 2015 that you liked, but then go out into the voting thread and post one vote for that one game? I wouldn't feel well informed enough about games of 2015 to do that.
It's more likely that very short lists are trying to boost the game they are rooting for by denying other games they also liked but don't really care for their points.

Has this been talked about? (I wouldn't know how to search for it in this thread)
Yes it was talked about. Pages and pages ago. I played a ton of games last year, and I only felt that six games I played deserved votes.
People only voting for a few games != that they only played a few games.
 

Alessandro

Member
Jan 19, 2010
1,206
0
560

1. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege ; Surprise of the year. 5v5 as Dota2 and just as rewarding when gameplay and teamwork click.


2. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; It could have been much more, but what we got is more than enough. A love letter to fans.


3. Bloodborne ; Bought Demon Souls back in the days because of GAF. Never got into it. Bought Dark Souls and never got into it either.
Then Bloodborne cameth. Now I've finished DSouls 2 and I'm planning on tackling Dsouls 1 once and for all.


4. Shadowrun: Hong Kong ; One of my new favourite series. I hope they'll start using a new engine for new entries as the one they're using was meant for mobile.


5. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; Got burned-out right before the last 1-2hrs after 40hrs of overall gametime.
As it happened with Inquisition, I felt overwhelmed with too many things or places to discover.


6. Until Dawn ; Well executed mix of genres: start as a horror flick, then steers towards slasher to end as supernatural.


7. Helldivers ; Fun to play with friends. Nothing beats being crushed by a pod after reinforcement call.


8. Yakuza 5 ; I've yet to finish chapter 2. Karaoke is fun and you can read a chapter from selected manga.


9. Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires ; After a few step backs, Omega Force seems to have found its way (back). They improved movesets with weapons and musou attacks.
Fortunately there are 3 main Musou-like games in which everyone can find a favourite: Sengoku Basara (which in my eyes has dethroned DW during the years), Samurai Warriors and DW.
The upcoming Arslan and the recent Dragon Quest adds variety to the genre and will bring more players into the genre.


10. Total War: Attila ; The GOAT of the series remain Shogun 2. After some backlash they brought back family tree.
In my opinion city and army management has become too confusing, probably inspired by Paradox Interactive games like Europa Univeralis.
They need to remove some clutter like 3% increase of projectile ammo for your units and refine what they already have.
 

Owensboro

Member
Oct 22, 2007
4,544
0
0
I apologize for the walls of text. I've never been good at grabbing images to throw on the front of these lists :)

1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; I was so done, so incredibly done, so absolutely 1000% definitely done with Metal Gear after MGS 4 that when the announcement of MGSV came out, I ignored it and did a damn good job of ignoring it until PSN gave away Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes as a PS+ game. Boom, I’m hooked, I’m watching a lets play of Peacewalker (because it’s the only game I hadn’t played), I preordered a copy of MGSV, and went on complete blackout, which was the best thing ever I could have done. This is absolutely the best playing Metal Gear Solid game ever. Infiltrating every base or outpost in this game and planning to tranq and fulton every enemy is both insane and intensely gratifying. Finding just enough Metal Gear weirdness to keep me interested but not enough to turn me off was wonderful. Simply being in the world, planning your attack on a base, attempting to execute, having it all go to exactly as planned or all-to-hell and then salvaging it somehow is one of the best moments of the year alone. It’s so damn fun infiltrating bases that I constantly got sidetracked trying to Fulton better and better troops from each base along my path, sometimes taking major detours to do it. Oh god, and we haven’t even touched on the Fulton device, and how quickly you get obsessed with getting EVERYTHING you can get your grubby little mits on. Guns, Jeeps, Tanks, Boxcars, Dogs, People, Bears…. it’s just crazy. I’ve since seen the backlash against this game’s story (or lack thereof) and all I can do is thank god I went on complete blackout, didn’t hear the talk about this being the final link in a story, didn’t care about Big Boss’ descent into madness, didn’t get hyped about figuring it all out, and just had a damn good time enjoying the ride. In the end, I’d suffered the MGS 2 storyline at the height of my Metal Gear fandom and it left such a sour taste in my mouth I skipped MGS3 for years (a horrible mistake in hindsight). If anything, I understand why everyone is mad about MGSV’s story, but considering how wonderfully it plays I just can’t give a damn about being burned by a MGS’s story….again. *Late 2015 edit* -> With all that being said, this game also has a hugely disappointing aspect to it. Unlike other games this year that keep getting better after release (Mario Maker, Rocket League, Splatoon, etc.) Metal Gear is actively getting worse, which is a real shame. And even knowing that, I’m still making this thing my Game of the Year. There was no other game I played this year that consumed me so much it invaded my dreams (props to XCOM for being the last game to do that). It was the game I came back to again and again to just waste time in the world trying to do insane stuff, or replay missions for better ratings, or try and find quirky ways to beat missions. The truly sad part of MGS:V isn’t the story, or the post game “support”, or even the cut content, but that we’re never going to get another game in the Metal Gear series that isn’t a terrible cash grab/pachinko machine. Holy hell, can you imagine what the sequel to this game would have been? Sweet god.

2. Bloodborne ; Bloodborne and it’s DLC just further solidified that, more than anything, I love the exploration and discovery parts of the entire Souls series. I love slowly and methodically tiptoeing through locations full of creepy monster designs and piecing together just what in the hell happened in this world by reading every item’s description. I love being challenged by the monsters and level designs, learning enemy patterns, sniffing out traps before triggering them, helping others through levels and killing bosses, and just the general “learn by doing” that this series of games lives by. Bloodborne does all these things wonderfully, with it’s story, locations, and monsters being some of the truly most horrific things seen in the series so far. However, my favorite parts of bloodborne were everything but the combat. I enjoyed it, platinumed the game, and even soloed almost everything in the DLC (but the final boss, of course), but the entire time I just wished repeatedly that I could have a sword and board. The worldbuilding, locations, story, NPCs, and bosses were great but this game just would have ranked higher if after 80+ hours of playing I had gotten a better hold on the counter mechanic and combat in general. It didn’t help that I had to start the DLC at NG++, making most bosses just one shot me with certain attacks. For some reason, my brain cannot figure out when the counter window is with a gun but has absolutely no problem when it’s a shield batting the attack away. I loved my time with Bloodborne, but I’m really looking forward to the next Dark Souls game.

3. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate ; You know a game is special when you can’t stop thinking about playing it no matter where you are. This was my first ever Monster Hunter game and while I thought I might like it thanks to Dark/Demons Souls teaching me how fun “strategic animation-heavy combat” can be I never thought it would get it’s claws this deep into me. I found myself blowing hours at work (I’m so sorry boss) on my computer or phone looking up armor sets, materials, quest chains, monster weaknesses, weapons, map layouts, even damn cat helper armor for “which looked the most ridiculous”. That’s right, I spent over an hour looking at Cat Armor. What the hell is wrong with me?!? I found myself dorking out about finding new Hunting Horns (is that an electric guitar!?!) and trying to find the best songs to play for each monster, or knowing where to swing to aim for their head and go for a KO to help my team. In the end though, there was just too much grinding in this game for my liking. I realize this is probably a strange statement coming from someone who should have known what they were getting into, but when I was trying to make the jump from one difficulty (online rank) to another, and found out that I needed to make better gear, and then realized I’d have to build the whole set in order to keep my bonuses I had worked really hard to get (earplugs and such) I just broke. No thank you, I really don’t want to grind the same boss 30 times to get a specific drop so I can create the pants, then do the same thing to get all my other pieces, and wait to equip everything so I don’t lose my stat boosts. I can’t wait for the next iteration to find out if the formula is as fun the second time.

4. Xenoblade Chronicles X ; The basic pattern and scale of this game is crazy. While the original Xenoblade had a very traditional point A to point B story with you following a very linear path most of the time, XCX ends up throwing all of that out in order to drive home one point: you crash landed on an Alien Planet two months ago. The game is all about humanity’s struggle to explore a new world in order to find a vital piece of their crashed ship and you’re thrown into the role of main explorer. The basic pattern of playing ends up being this weird combination of MMO-ish style questing (talking to NPCs, picking up jobs from a board, running around town to gather information from locals/touch a spot on your gamepad map to check quests out) and fewer traditional main story missions. Whereas the first game forced you into seeing all the characters interact, this game gives you the choice of tackling those fully voiced character missions (“Affinity Missions”) if you want to. As a major fan of the original game I actually didn’t like this story/questing set up all that much but absolutely tolerated it because HOLY HELL THE SIZE OF THIS WORLD IS INCREDIBLE and exploring it is intoxicating. You spend 30 hours of this game running around the world trying to figure out how to scramble up that impossibly tall mountain ("those look like footholds...hrmm"), or if you can get to that floating section of rocks over there ("If I get a running start from that ledge..."), or just how in the hell you get to a beacon point that has to be below you in a cave or something. You skirt around completing quests while avoiding more powerful, gigantic monsters and jumping EVERYWHERE because of how much fun it is (including off the highest peaks you can find. The jump animation is just superb). Then, the whole damn concept flips. You get a MECH that is significantly more powerful than you. That mech can jump HIGHER and go FASTER than you (it transforms into a damn DRIFTING CAR). You quickly realize that these environments you’ve been tooling around in for 30 hours were designed not only for ant-size you, but also mech-sized you. Suddenly you’re driving around to spots you couldn’t get to earlier, transforming to robot form to beat the hell out of a monster that gave you such trouble earlier in the game, and filling in more probe locations to get even more quests/money/minerals. Then it freaking happens AGAIN when you get a flight module. I don’t know how to adequately describe it, but getting that mech is so much more than just getting a car or airship in other JRPGs. It doesn’t just change how you travel, it changes how you look at the world you’re in.
With all that being said, I still would have preferred a tighter story and something more along the lines of the original Xenoblade. I really did love exploring this world and the story of the game was passable, but in the end I just didn’t have as much of a drive to finish mostly because I wasn’t so attached to the characters. The real reason I finished was because I wanted to get to the endgame so I can keep building better and better mechs. This isn’t even a damn MMO and I’m obsessed with getting more gear that is ultimately useless in the grand scheme of things. If I could give a separate award, the post-credits grind of this game getting materials to make those mechs was “best game to play while watching Awesome Games Done Quick”, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

5. Destiny: The Taken King ; The fact that Vanilla Destiny grabbed me after reading a million GAF threads about how horrible it was, was a real shocker to me. Then, seeing just how much Bungie changed from that product to this was astounding. I had a damn blast playing through the expansion content, exploring the Dreadnaught, finding hidden chests and the keys for them, and just experiencing leveling all over again. The absolute best part of the entire game though was getting off my ass and putting in the extra work required to find 5 other people who had never done the raid OR read about how to do it and figuring out each boss, maze, and encounter by ourselves (DestinyGAF really is the best, you should hang out with em). I really can’t stress enough that being the raid leader requires work, and coordination, and is a hell of a lot harder than just hitting a “Matchmake” button, but it is 100% worth it if you can find a group of people who are ready to try, and die, and postulate just what the hell you’re supposed to do, and try, and die, and repeat this until you hit that wonderful euphoric moment of “Boss is at 2% health! Oh shit, ignore adds and burn him. 1% left! I’M DEAD HOLY HELL SHOOT HIM! …… … AHAHAHAHAHAHAH YESSSSS!” Destiny was the best co-op experience I had all year, hands down.

6. Rocket League ; Easily the surprise of the year for me. The first time you play you think “Oh, this is a cute little idea.” Then it’s “Well, the controls are a little weird, I can’t really control anything, and no one plays with any strategy but I scored a goal!”, to “If I start playing a little smarter I can play defense and cleanup/sweeper”, to “I’m getting better and really helping my team!”, to “oh #$&@! Come on you assholes, play better!”, to “DID THAT GUY JUST LAUNCH OFF THE WALL, FLY OVER MIDFIELD, AND SCORE A GOAL?!?!”, to finally the moment when you keep saying to yourself “JUST. ONE. MORE. GAME.”, keep restarting until your team wins or you finally dominate a game, finally look at the clock….. and realize you’re going into work on 3-5 hours of sleep because you couldn't stop playing… and this is the 2nd time this week… and you’re probably doing the same thing tomorrow.

7. Mario Maker ; My experience with “course building” games has just been awful up to this point. The tools for creation have always been well thought out but they’ve just been too hard to understand. Tutorial, after tutorial, after tutorial really makes you just sick of the whole thing. Then along comes Mario Maker, a game that speaks a language that everyone who’s been playing games for at least 5 years understands. Suddenly you don’t need crazy tutorials to get across that you just make jumps, fill a level with coins, put powerups in item boxes, and then set the goal at the end. Everyone from game designers to 6 year olds can make levels and actually make them interesting if they want. Then you add the wrinkle that there is some crazy shit you can do with items, and shaking enemies to change their properties, and combine multiple things to change their behavior, and your mind just pops full of possibilities. I’m really excited about unlocking all of the creation tools so I can start posting levels in the GAF thread and start getting feedback. The only issue with this game is finding the truly great levels takes effort, and the tools to find them aren’t presented in the game. It doesn’t take long to hit up the bookmarking website and find awesome levels you want to play (I loved using it to mark the AGDQ levels), but sometimes I just want to get home and play 2 levels quick before doing something else, and that turns into a 10 minute affair checking the GAF thread, or searching for top 10 lists, or browsing people I’ve followed. If Nintendo’s track record updating the game so far is matched, though, I could see this problem getting fixed during 2016, and that would be magical.

8. Splatoon ; Pardon the unoriginality of this statement, but Splatoon is seriously the “freshest” game released this year. It takes a concept that is so very well worn (multiplayer shooter) and adds a wonderful wrinkle (paint territory control) that changes almost everything about how you play these types of games. Suddenly, I’m not caring about just hauling ass across a map and killing as much as I can, I’m much more focused on playing support and inking as much ground as I can. I’m allowed to have more fun helping my team (I always enjoyed playing medics/healers/tanks more than assault classes in other games) and not feel like a horrible detriment to my team. I also really, really love the style of this game. From the slightly insane music, to the spectacular character design, to the quirky attitudes / personalities of the NPCs, to the sheer fun of weapon types you can’t find a more fresh game this year. For real. I can’t wait to keep playing this game and get better at it, because I bet I’ll have even more fun when I don’t actively stink at aiming! (Paint Roller for Life!)

9. Grim Fandango Remastered ; I have never, ever, liked adventure games. When I’ve been beating my head against a puzzle for an hour and have made no progress I just start frowning, and cursing, and blaming everything but myself. So imagine my surprise when I LOVED this game and it’s all thanks to the setting / characters / and help from my little friend called “the internet”. I instituted a “15 minute internet rule”, which allowed me to beat my head against a puzzle for 15 minutes before I searched for a hint and it made a world of difference. I wish someone had said to me 10 years ago: “Do you like Casablanca? You should play Grim Fandango. It’s basically that, but with skeletons in a Day of the Dead world”. Major bonus points for having a Developer’s Commentary that is nothing short of spectacularly fun to listen to. I’m really excited for “Day of the Tentacle Remastered” now!

10. Final Fantasy 7 ; (I am such a tool for putting this on a 2015 list, I know). I have beaten this game once, and only once, and that happened this year in December. Yes, you read that right. This year. 2015. Keep in mind, I’ve started and played FF7 up until the final boss TWICE but have just never beaten it. The first attempt was lost to a faulty memory card (curse you Madcatz circa 1997!) and the second to the OCD like compulsion of trying to 100% everything in the game (including grinding everyone to level 99 before fighting the last boss to get the super hard version of him) completely draining me of wanting to even attempt the final dungeon. Ever since those fateful tries back in 1997 and 1999, my opinion on this game has slowly soured over the years. “Bad translation”, “nonsensical story”, “racist character”, “horrible writing”, and “questionable scenes” had made me really doubt how good this game had actually been. I got the itch to pick up an old RPG, bought a 20th anniversary PS4 controller, bought Final Fantasy 7 off PSN, and partied like it was 1997 (I even ate a bag of Funions and got a Jolt Cola). Over my time with the game liberally using the (3x) speed boost, limit boost, and (rarely) the no encounter boost, I was reminded of one thing: This really is one of the most enjoyable, astounding, and just downright fun to play versions of Final Fantasy ever made. I was shocked by how often I was surprised by the static backgrounds suddenly moving, or the camera sweeping around a room to show blockly, awkwardly animated characters in a “3D room”, or just how amazing it was to hear all the music again. I really did love every minute of re-playing this game and it absolutely was one of the best games I’ve played (and enjoyed!) this year. I want more re-releases with 3x speed boosts, god modes, and the ability to turn off encounters. The only thing that could have made it better was a director's commentary.

Whew, now that that's done I can start reading other people's lists and making a horribly long backlog that I surely won't complete this year.
 

Crayolan

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Sep 30, 2013
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How would you determine the quality of a release in comparison with other releases this year if you haven't played other releases this year.
I have a pretty good idea of just how much I like my #1 and I know that there are few games I like even more than it. I doubt 2015 just so happens to be the year where every game released surpasses that threshold and even those games which look like they're not to my tastes are not only exactly to my tastes but enough so that I like them even more than my #1 choice.

Besides, it's not like people who put in 10 votes have played every release this year either.
 

jimboton

Member
Sep 14, 2013
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415
1. Bloodborne; Another year, another FromSoft masterpiece. What a time to be undead.

2. Axiom Verge; The closest anyone has got to nailing the metroid part of 'metroidvania' in this century. Not quite as good as Super Metroid, but frighteningly close.

3. Crypt of the Necrodancer; The Rogue-lite formula is a tricky one to get right, you need to balance randomness and surprises with fairness and an adequate(ly hard) difficulty level. Crypt of the Necrodancer succeeds on every level with a genius premise and really fun gameplay. It could have done with some more effort in the presentation department cause the game clearly deserves it.

4. Infinifactory; Spacechem is one of the best puzzle games ever and this is an evolution of that concept, in 3d space, with assembly lines instead of molecules. If you think puzzle games can't have replayability you should try this one.

5. Destiny: The Taken King; Destiny gets a lot of flak everywhere, most of it deserved. However no other game this year provided an experience comparable to tackling the King's Fall raid for the first time, and for that alone it has a place here.

6. Ori and the Blind Forest; The most beautiful 2d game released in a long time, with excellent platforming mechanics that make it a joy to play and replay. It's just all a bit too tidy and generous with the hand holding to really satisfy the adventuring and exploration itch the best metroidvanias scratch so well.

7. The Talos Principle: Road to Gehenna; Good sized expansion to last year's amazing first person puzzler. Puzzles and script on par with the base game (i.e. really cool).

8. FreezeMe; 80% Mario 64 to 20% Mario Galaxy. This early example of the 3d platformer renaissance is still a bit glitchy and unpolished, but already a lot of fun.

9. Pillars of Eternity; Very competent and smooth RTwP RPG that feels every bit like the Infinity Engine games that inspired it. Fun enough but it just never reaches the memorable heights of Baldurs gate 2, Planescape Torment or even Icewind Dale 2 for me. Could do with deeper exploration too, but that's a complaint I have with the whole Infinity Engine subgenre really.

10. Ys: The Ark of Napishtim; An arpg that's mostly focused on the things I enjoy in JRPGs and doesn't feature much that is intensely annoying (that Romun ship sequence tho :/ ). Light on hand holding, which I appreciate a lot, with more exploration than later entries had. Gameplay is pure modern Ys, which is to say about the most responsive and slick hack'n slash action you're likely to experience today. This game made me think how nice it would have been if the series had grown in scope and length instead of featuring ever more streamlined game worlds with each iteration.


X. Batman: Arkham Knight; The open world I found most enjoyable this year. Hunting riddler trophies throughout Gotham felt a bit like hunting heart pieces in Zelda, and some of the the best levels also had a Zelda dungeon quality to it. Unfortunately that godammned hand holding still permeates everyting :(
X. Metal gear Solid V; I don't usually enjoy stealth gameplay, but this was quite fun for a while. You can't help but admire the insane attention to detail in this game.
X. Stasis; Looks better than it plays, but nice to have isometric adventures back.
X. Halo 5: Guardians; Super smooth multiplayer experience. Destiny 2 please take note.
X. Finding Teddy II; FEZ + Monster World. While the slightly undercooked reality can't do justice to such a concept, it's still a great little adventure that I would recommend to fans of 2d explore'em ups. Hopes are high if there's ever a third one.

I totally regret not having played Underrail and Serpent in the Staglands yet.
 

Neiteio

Member
Nov 10, 2007
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Owensboro, I suspect you and I will have similar affinity data this year. Great list! If you haven't seen mine, check it out: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

You touched on something in XCX I didn't discuss much in my writeup, which is how the world works on multiple layers. The experience of exploring it on foot is remarkably different from exploring it in a mech, etc. It's amazing. Like you say, exploration in XCX is downright intoxicating. I can't get enough!

Also, I see you approached MGSV from the same position I did. We were both fed up with Kojima's storytelling style and went into MGSV with virtually no hype and no expectations, which allowed us to appreciate the new style of storytelling for what it is, and how it allows the incredible new gameplay to breathe.

Good stuff!
 

PlatypusDude

Member
Jan 2, 2016
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Austin Metro
1. Life Is Strange ; While it does have its issues, primarily the lip-sync and predictable ending, Life is Strange is one of the best stories and emotional journeys I’ve experienced in a video game. Complete with memorable moments and a soundtrack that made me wish more video games used licensed music, Life is Strange is my game of the year.

2. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; Everyone whose played the game knows the issues in the game namely the weak story, the second Act, Cut content, the fact the game outstays its welcome by 10-20 hours, and Konami shenanigans. Despite all these problems MGSV is still a joy the play with its best in class stealth gameplay and a worthy farewell to Metal Gear regardless of intent by Kojima.

3. Until Dawn ; I’m not a particullary big fan of horror games but Until Dawn perfectly captures the feel of being in a surpisingly competent B-movie. With its appropriately corny dialogue, love to hate characters, and intense atmosphere, Until Dawn is joy to experience.

4. Bloodborne ; I’ve never been able to really get into a Souls game before Bloodborne but, while not as high on the game as some people Bloodborne made me want to give the other Souls games a shot. With its meticulous but fast paced combat and wonderful art design that goes along with its tough but fair difficulty with a few exceptions, *coughfrenzyandgrabbingcough*, Bloodbonre should be a must have for anyone with or getting a PS4.

5. Tales from the Borderlands: Episodes 2-5 ; Aside from the first season of the Walking Dead Telltale’s recent output hasn’t done much for me. But upon hearing good things about their Borderlands game I decided to give it a whirl one weekend and was happy that it was a return to form for Telltale and a legitimately funny game.

6. Her Story ; A truly unique little gem with a story told in a different though fascinating way. It was one of the few games this year that truly made me think and comprehend what I just witnessed after finishing the game and want to read the theories everyone had about it.

7. Undertale ; Though Undertale can come across as heavy-handed with its message at times it was one of those game where I had a genuine smile on my face for most of my time with it. A loving tribute to old school RPG’s Undertale was a joy to play and deserved to be one of the breakout indie hits of the year.

8. The Beginner’s Guide ; Another game that truly makes you think about it while playing it. The Beginner’s Guide is hard to talk about without spoiling anything but anyone who is interested in narrative focused games with a meta twist should play it.

9. Batman: Arkham Knight ; The weakest of Rocksteady’s Batman games but till a great game regardless and better than Origins. Not much to say about the game other than its more Batman and the Batmobile is overused but still enjoyable to use.

10. Axiom Verge ; A great Metroidvania that’s a loving tribute to Metroid and subverts your expectations on the power-ups you receive.

x. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; A truly great open world that is content rich and rife with meaningful side quests. Only reason why it isn’t in my top 10 is I never got around to beating it.
x. Contradition - Spot The Liar! ; Look Contradiction is a “good” game not a good game. It this was a weak year like 2014 it would of appeared in my list but alas this year had tight competition so its just an honorable mention for its joyful cheesy acting and FMV sequences.
x. Rocket League ; Much like Witcher a great experience that would be on my list if I had invested more time into it. Who knew rocket cars could be so cool.

First post on Neogaf and it's my GOTY list go figure. Overall this year was much better than 2014 which was probably the weakest in my recent memory.
 

Majestad

Banned
Sep 10, 2013
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1. Ark Survival Evolved Xbox Early Access: I have never ever made a online gaming experience like this game has to offer before. Playing with 4 m8s since day one and its endless fun. The PvP Tribe wars/intrigues/etc are the ultimate online online experience.
2. The Witcher III: I dont have to write much about this game. The ultimative open world experience imo.
3. Halo 5 Guardians: had a lot of fun online, best online shooter at the moment, they lost a lot players after the release because of the "lack of aming options" disaster to cod tho.
4. Tomb Raider - still love the new Lara
5. Fallout 4 - cant help myself im a fallout fanboy and had a lot of fun but also a lot to criticize tho.
6. Metal Gear solid phantom pain - i love the modern open world aspect and had a lot fun infiltrating enemy bases. anyways the game gets 75% from me, because after 60h free roaming the only interesting thing left were quiets boobs.

all in all 2015 really wasn't the big bang in gaming history besides witcher 3 that rised the open world quality to a new level.
Invalid vote. Fix your post according to the OP's rules.
 

Neiteio

Member
Nov 10, 2007
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Speaking of images, I hope you guys appreciated the XCX screens in my writeup. Took forever to get a good shot of those ostrich-sized turkeys. They were fidgety to a maddening degree, yet the final result looks so peaceful, lol.
 

Micerider

Member
Mar 1, 2011
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1. Witcher 3 ; For a while, I almost thought that open world RPG were doomed to be formulaic and derivative, that it was part of their nature because it was too difficult to carry a consistent story while still leaving enough for the player to be free to explore. Witcher 3 not only managed to make side-content as interesting as the main one but managed to be excellent on both fronts at that. The world and the characters were amongst the best. The atmosphere, the music, the dialogues...everything was crafted which such care that it was hard to even imagine how the game could be so long. Sometimes a bit too much even if you lose your focus. Not only a game of the year, but one of my better games of all time.

2. Bloodborne ; a remarkable offensive twist to the "Souls" formula, with an absolutly sick art-style. A continuous challenge that you can't give up on, mesmerized by the world, charmed by the combat mechanism and a mastered level and world design

3. Rocket League ; pure fun multiplayer...what else?

4. Splatoon ; pure fun multplayer AND an interesting take on the shooter formular.

5. Forza 6 ; a return to form for a series I always felt as the better simulation compromise to not make you insane while still letting you enjoy finer "automotive" aspects

6. Metal Gear Solid 5 ; incredible gameplay, a technically solid game....aaahhh what could have been with a decent second half and a consistent story.

7. Until Dawn ; Really, I had zero interest in the game and almost bought it by mistake. Never disapointed, a perfect take on the teen slasher atmosphere with real impacts of your choices, beautiful presentation and a pleasant game that you can't put down until the end.

8. Rise of the Tomb Raider ; Solid Sequel to the reboot, nice environment and still enjoying the bow mechanic. Much better tombs also...but sometimes a bit bland, especially in the story department.

9. Ori and the blind forest ; absolutely charming, with thight level design and interesting gameplay.

10. Batman Arkham Knight ; a technically astounding game, with "high" moments and some interesting narrative approach...but so little focus on what made Arkham games great for me (encounters with bad-ass characters and metroid-vania progression in a more focused approach)... also, batmobile is nice, but overstays it's welcome.

Honorable Mentions
x. Battlefront ; amazing rendition of the Start Wars "feel", mindless fun, not too deep but that was a quality for me : easy to pick up and play.


Many more games I barely started to play that might have joined the above list but I don't feel like I'm in a right position to judge with only a couple of hours of game.
 

Nocturnowl

Member
Jan 1, 2011
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Speaking of images, I hope you guys appreciated the XCX screens in my writeup. Took forever to get a good shot of those ostrich-sized turkeys. They were fidgety to a maddening degree, yet the final result looks so peaceful, lol.
I'm not surprised, those things just keep on running.

Though I'm more partial to the Skell in Noctilum chilling with the musical horn bird thing, easily the best XCX critter.
 

SomTervo

Member
Jan 19, 2015
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To be fair the Alternate controls just make it more tolerable than the default option but still nowhere close to MGSV and BB. Also the bolded is not a very high bar in my opinion as Bethesda's combat is as banal as combat can get in a videogame.
Oh, absolutely.

And of course Bethesda doesn't set a high bar - I was mainly responding to the person's complaint that TW3's combat seems bad. It's certainly not great, but for an RPG it's fucking good.

Great list - but watch your citing, man. Your votes will be discounted due to your formatting. Read the OP.
 

SomTervo

Member
Jan 19, 2015
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First post on Neogaf and it's my GOTY list go figure. Overall this year was much better than 2014 which was probably the weakest in my recent memory.
Nice list, and congrats on the first post! Watch your formatting, though. You're missing out the subtitles/correct titles for a couple of games on that list. That will discount the votes.
 
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