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

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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.
Thanks, yeah I missed some spaces from my game and semicolon or hyphens as well, whoops. Looking at my list again I realized just how heavy I was into narrative/story based games this year. Plus I forgot to put Rocket League in my honorable mentions.
 
(All the below are on PS4, if that matters)

1. Until Dawn ; I think when all's said and done this was both my favourite game this year as well as by far my biggest surprise. Supermassive managed to nail a bunch of self-aware horror tropes, create a genuinely unsettling game which straddles at least three sub-genres of horror, write characters I loved and hated (and everything in between) and deliver a tense and succinct plot which moves at a perfect pace after very cleverly spending the first two-ish hours building up. I really look forward to whatever they do next.
2. Everybody's Gone to the Rapture ; I bought this on launch but only got around to playing it a couple of weeks ago, and besides the overly slow pace I love everything about it. The presentation is incredible and puts some 'Triple-A' $60 games to shame. The voice acting and the music is incredible, and the visuals are superb as well. They manage to completely nail the feel of this isolated little English village while playing on the Cold War fears of the time and having a really interesting and original premise of
alien contact
.
3. The Fall ; I backed this game about two years ago on Kickstarter, but didn't claim my copy as I don't game on PC or own a Wii U, so I was pleased to see that it was making its way to PS4 last year. It was an excellent blend of a minimalist Limbo-style side-scroller and 1990s point & click adventure you would see from LucasArts. The presentation is superb and the puzzles are clever, with some interesting themes which should hopefully be built upon in the next part. Sadly hardly anyone talks about it, but this is a proper indie game and for my money, easily one of the smartest and most enjoyable releases of 2015.
4. Helldivers ; I've always wanted a decent Starship Troopers game, and this is probably the closest we'll ever get, with shades of the film's tongue-in-cheek tone and amusing propaganda. It's also an excellent co-op experience, with a high level of difficulty requiring players stick together and fight together to survive, and I love the simple yet devious stratagems which, in the middle of a firefight, go from being simple inputs to tense memory exercises.
5. Shovel Knight ; Shovel Knight is the perfect marriage between old school and modern game design philosophies. The level design is brilliant almost without exception. The retro visuals are complimentary to the experience and give it a lot of charm and character. The music is utterly superb. The gameplay is simple, but there's quite a lot of depth with the different items and suits of armour you receive. The bosses are great, and to top it all off, I even cared about the plot. A thoroughly likeable and enjoyable platformer all around.
6. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection ; Uncharted was one of my favourite game series from last gen, and this is an incredible standard-setting HD collection which improves the games and allows them to much opportunity to shine that the latter two could easily pass for current-gen releases. It also allows the incredible tech a chance to really show off, with lighting, tiny details and colours really popping and to 60fps making everything feel much more smooth and responsive.
7. Dying Light ; I was very late to the party with Dead Island and while the fact that I paid under £8 for it may have influenced my opinion, I found it to be a very good game on the whole with decent mechanics and quite a lot of depth, hindered by an awful narrative and a few annoyances with the combat. Dying Light is an excellent evolution of pretty much everything that game set out to do, with the ambitious parkour system making getting around feel much more enjoyable, the day/night cycle adding a real sense of danger and panic and the level design expertly crafted and really benefiting both the parkour and the grapple.
8. Titan Souls ; This is basically an indie version of Shadow of the Colossus, and it does a superb job of emulating that game. It has the same obscure style of storytelling with a lot of lore which is not explicitly told, but implied in lines of dialogue and the design of the bosses. The one hit mechanic is both very clever and the cause of a lot of frustration, and there is a lot of variety among the bosses.
9. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter ; I liked this a lot, and while I found the gameplay a little more engaging than Rapture, that's fresher in my mind and I very much enjoyed the plot, so over time my opinion between the two may change a little. Regardless, I really enjoyed Ethan Carter; I enjoyed its 'detective' feel, I thought many of the puzzles were very enjoyable without being too taxing or obscure, and I liked the narrative, although I would have gladly had more story (I particularly enjoyed the
Cthulhu-style mini-story about 'The Sleeper'
).
10. Destiny: The Taken King ; Destiny is a game which I feel little drive to play when it's not my 'go-to' game of the moment, I completely understand why some people dislike it, and I think the structure is complete balls, where a bit more plot and a bit more traditional level design would benefit it greatly. However, when I'm actually playing I think it's an amazing game, with some of the best gameplay from any FPS, a fun co-op aspect with a good community, enemies who are satisfying to fight and a cool sci-fi premise. When it's good it's amazing, but they probably need to bring high-quality content to the table a little more often if they want to be an MMO-style mainstay for the next decade.

Honourable mentions:
x. Bloodborne ; I haven't played enough of this to include it in my top 10. It's great, but I suck at it which affects my enjoyment.
x. Rocket League ; I like this a lot and I think it's a good concept with amazing execution, but similar to the above I'm not very good at it.
x. Dragon Quest Heroes ; the best Musuo I've ever played, this has excellent combat, neat monster coin system and lovely presentation.
x. Tearaway Unfolded ; I loved the game on Vita but haven't got around to playing too much of it just yet. Thoroughly gorgeous and charming, but it didn't quite get its hooks into me like the Vita version did.
x. Pneuma: Breath of Life ; a really neat puzzle game with interesting themes and a lot of varied puzzles. I had no expectations for this but enjoyed it a lot.
x. Axiom Verge ; Another game I very much enjoyed, but I have not played too much of it just yet so I don't feel like I can include it in my top 10. I got about three bosses in and got utterly lost, so lost motivation to continue.
 
My picks for Neogaf GOTY 2015:


1. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; This is the first 3d open world RPG I have played that felt truly expansive, without sacrificing the depth of the quests. Where Dragon Age: Inquisition sent you on MMORPG-esque errands to fill quotas and boxes, the corresponding minor quests in Witcher 3 had fully voiced dialogue, environmental storytelling, plot twits, and surprisingly often interesting combat encounters. I also really liked that difficult quests were accessible from the beginning of the game and beatable despite being far under the recommended level, if you used your signs and alchemy buffs wisely.

The world design is the true star of Witcher 3, though. Reaching Novigrad for the first time was unlike anything I had seen in a game before. One of the most massive cities ever built for a role-playing game, full of citizens and homes, but still expertly designed with fun height differences and points of interest. Seeing the landscape change with all those red banners everywhere on the road to Novigrad was also epic. In fact, the game was full of epic moments related to exploration. I was stunned by the early quest when you entered a massive underground dungeon that existed as a part of the open world environment and had realistic entry and exit points based on how far you traversed inside it. And by the dirty and ugly world that Baron lived in, as a contrast to the grandeur in Novigrad. And by the realization that the large open world area that you started in was only the tutorial section of the game.

Add to all of this one of the most interesting mini-games ever to occur in an RPG: the card game Gwent. Collecting all the cards, playing the simpletons as well as high stakes players and doing the epic tournament quest added up to tens of hours of additional content, in an already massive RPG. The mini-game added an important non-combat flair to the experience of playing the game, ultimately making the settlements more than just shop areas to facilitate combat. It boggles my mind that they invested so much in the mini-game, but I suppose they were rightfully very confident about the base game and felt they had the room in production to provide such a luxury additional feature.

First place was easy this year in my opinion. Bloodborne is a strange offshoot that happens to be excellent, but Witcher 3 is a benchmark game that future open world RPG quest design will have to be judged against. It is also a benchmark game in open world exploration. The game is destined to be influential and is simply the game of the year.


2. Bloodborne ; As a fan of the souls series, I bought Bloodborne to get more of the same. It surprised me how different the game played. It forced me out of my cowardly turtling habits and turned me into a hopeful dodger and back stepper. As it turned out, the main risk-reward gameplay loop that defines souls games worked just fine at a more hectic pace, with less room for turtling and more for muscle memory. The level design in the starting area and the forbidden woods was masterful, especially the placement of shortcuts. The only aspect holding the game back from being a complete success was a slightly obtuse inventory system and the lack of meaningful item progression tied to exploration.


3. Ori and the Blind Forest ; One of the best metroidvania games ever. The game had a strong visual identity that made it feel different from the get-go and a capable story, but it started to excel after introducing brilliant methods of traversal that you have never experienced in a metroidvania game before. The connections between the areas were a bit of a weak point, unfortunately, and did not reach the same highs as Shadow Complex or the best Castlevania games, but the game found its own niche with the visuals and strong platforming segments.


4. Pillars of Eternity ; A massive CRPG that felt like a homage to high level adventures like Baldur’s Gate II, but with fresh character development and combat systems for my D&D damaged brain to obsess over. The visuals were really strong compared with other isometric CRPGs, especially with some downsampling. I enjoyed the modern flourishes like the hassle-free inventory system and the combat focused mega dungeon that would ease my reputation/consequence paranoia after conversing too much in the big city.


5. Rise of the Tomb Raider ; A continuation of the brilliant reboot of the Tomb Raider series. The game set out to improve the open world aspect compared with the previous game and did an admirable job with that. The threat from wildlife was greatly expanded with lethal enemies such as bears, cougars and sneaky packs of wolves roaming the levels, which added a nice flair to the exploration gameplay. The side quest system was a bit underdeveloped, but it was a nice additional feature in the already packed hub worlds. The meat of the optional content in the game came in the form of explorable caves and challenge tombs. While some tombs were quite similar the ones in the previous game, most of them had interesting puzzles and almost all of them were exciting to explore on a visceral level due to the fantastic animations of the main character traversing them and varied environmental design.


6. Fallout 4 ; I get that a lot of people were disappointed. Unlike the previous Fallout game, this was clearly not an Obsidian RPG. Tough stat choices, allegiances and complex speech checks were nowhere to be found. The game turned out to be a first person shooter in an open world environment with quests/loot, reminiscent of and clearly influenced by games such as Borderlands 1-2 and Far Cry 3-4. If that strikes you as something awful, or if you feel disappointed and betrayed that a former RPG developer is venturing into this territory, just skip the game.

But if you do like the aforementioned games, or if you are interested in open world games in general, the game is quite good. The game is greatly simplified compared with all previous Fallout games, but it did bring some of the complexity and possibility space of those games into a more streamlined first person shooter package. The new perk system is the most fun character development system that I have seen from Bethesda, although the elegance and simplicity may end up being a problem if they ever try to expand the system. Building and maintaining settlements is an acquired taste, but as a fan of base building in survival games I really enjoyed the system. A bit more simulation would have gone a long way to make the aspect of defending your settlements more exciting, but just building base defenses and envisioning their greatness was satisfying by itself.


7. TIS-100 ; This game is fantastic. It is a truly free-form puzzle game that will require you to think creatively. Looking at my abysmal cycle and instruction counts in the last few levels, it is obvious that you can solve levels in more efficient and elegant ways than I can even think of. I am still proud of my sequence feeder (for the index problem), which cycles the sequence between two memory stacks and sends out the sequence every half-rotation, though ... You get a real attachment to the computing units you come up with in this game, and I am only half-kidding when I say that ...

This is probably the game I have had most fun with this year, but it is obviously an acquired taste. I am interested in programming on a hobby basis, but have zero experience with low level programming, so maybe that is way the game struck a chord with me. I would guess that the game is slightly less satisfying if you are a computer scientist who has solved these kind of problems in assembly before, but for me the challenge level has been almost perfect. I strongly recommend this game for anyone who is interested in programming or just solving tough logical problems in general.


8. Assassin's Creed Syndicate ; One of the better games in the series, somewhat overshadowed in a strong year for video game releases. The game sidelined the main quest in favor of a ridiculous amount of Ubi outpost/tower challenges, which made it quite similar to Assassin's Creed Brotherhood. I was surprised how demanding some of these challenges were, especially if you aimed for the optional mission objectives. The traversal was improved compared with last year's Unity, and the charismatic pair of main characters were also a clear improvement compared with the pale main character in that game.


9. The Beginner's Guide ; The game is about the internal creative struggle when trying to make a game. I would not want to spoil any more than that. The game is very different from anything else you have played during the release year, or I guess in general as well. I am not easily swayed by narrative games, but this offered an interesting and original point of view and it did not overstay its welcome like The Stanley Parable did. In addition to being a great game, I also really liked that this game came out of nowhere with zero pre-release hype. This was an especially appropriate choice here considering the plot, but I wish more game developers had the confidence to do this.


10. The Order: 1886 ; As someone who rarely watches movies these days, and someone who usually has no patience with press button to win cinematic games, I am surprised how much I liked The Order in the end. A poster in the OT said that hardcore third-person shooter fans expecting an experience like Uncharted or Gears of War will probably be disappointed, while people expecting a cinematic experience like Beyond or Heavy Rain will probably get more out of the game. I tend to agree with that, but in my opinion the game has a broader appeal than those cinematic games.

The third-person shooter gameplay loop is very simplistic compared with other games in the genre due to restricted weapon choices, low enemy variety and level design emphasizing "shooting galleries" over "mini arenas". However, as a means to engage the player in a cinematic experience, the gameplay loop seems successful at doing just this. The game strikes a middle ground between third-person shooters and cinematic games, although heavily tilted towards the latter. If Beyond or Heavy Rain didn't engage you, The Order very well may.

The quality of the cinematic presentation is unlike anything I have seen before in a game. It is something about how the game obviously breaks new ground in real-time graphics and how this technical edge is used to showcase a visually striking and cohesive setting. Meanwhile, the main cast of characters is designed and voice acted distinctively and beautifully. The "plot" has some issues, especially when it is obviously cut short in the end, but the presentation, the characters and the setting keep you interested in the game.

From what I can see, the professional reviews have judged the game too harshly. It does not get credit as a cinematic game because the plot is too conventional and it does not get credit as a third-person shooter because the gameplay is too simplistic. However, a cinematic game does not need to have a complex plot to be a memorable experience. The Order does not have a plot of the same quality as say The Walking Dead (to name a cinematic game that was widely praised in professional reviews), but it was a better cinematic experience for me due to the superior cinematic presentation and the use of third person shooting gameplay to keep me engaged. It seems like the game may be a victim of an assembly line review process where a cinematic game with a conventional plot is discarded as "dysfunctional".


Not good enough:

x. Human Resource Machine ; This is a puzzle game that asks you to solve simple low level programming challenges. The game is quite similar to TIS-100. Human Resource Machine is a bit more fleshed out when it comes to graphics, music and the setting (all have a lot in common with World of Goo), but TIS-100 had a better user interface and more complex puzzles due its weird multi core architecture.

It is a lovely little game, but if I had to recommend one assembly-like programming game in 2015, it would probably be TIS-100. There is something ingenious about how TIS-100 encourages you to learn all important tools (except stack memory, I guess) and sets you free to use all of them from the very first puzzle. In comparison, Human Resource Machine feels more "gamey", with clearer restrictions and a gradual introductions of tools.
x. Dying Light ; I liked the game in theory, but paranoia about the survival horror night mode prevented me from really enjoying it.
x. Grow Home ; I do not get it in the least. What do you do in this game?
x. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin ; Admittedly, I only tried this game out for a couple of hours and read about the differences compared with DSII. It seems like a nice enough game, but this kind of re-release does not warrant serious GOTY consideration in my opinion.
x. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood ; A generous DLC package for Wolfenstein: The New Order. It does not really do anything new as far as I played. I enjoyed less stealth helicopter rides over the world, to focus on immersive first person action in one location, I guess.
x. Splatoon ; I hope this game is successful with its intended younger target audience. I bought it to support Nintendo and I appreciate that it does some things differently in the competitive multiplayer space, but the game does not transcend the genre like the best Nintendo games do. This is a game for fans of competitive multiplayer games, but not a game for everyone and sadly not a game for me.
x. Batman: Arkham Knight ; Another great open world Arkham game, sadly hampered by its subpar PC release. The criticism against the tank segments was vastly overblown in my opinion, but as a PC player it is difficult to separate the seismic level technical issues from the somewhat decent game that hides under them.
x. Until Dawn ; Watched youtube footage instead of playing the game. Decent graphics and some fun plot twists.
x. Mad Max ; Great graphics and an impressively designed open world environment. I was convinced that this would rate higher, and it is seriously just below the ten game limit, but the game fails to live up to expectations when you move from the first hub world after the tutorial. The outpost and convoy challenges were really fun, but the game needed a more tangible escalation of difficulty and of the main story as well.
x. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; I played this for tens of hours, but it left me feeling empty in the end. Free-roaming open world gameplay should have been better supported in the game. It happened too many times that I scouted an area, were recalled to do a main quest there, were recalled to do a sidequest, to do an addition sidequest and so on … It starts to feel like a grind when you get to the end of the Afghanistan map and then, surprise!, they want you to do the grind once more on a second large map. NOPE.
x. Super Mario Maker ; Reviewers have to stop handing out these insane scores based on the promise of yet to be delivered user generated content. The praise may be deserved ten months down the line with some exceptional titles like Minecraft and Rust, but in most cases only trash will be delivered, like with Super Mario Maker and Little Big Planet.
x. Yoshi's Woolly World ; A cute platforming game.
x. Underrail ; I was incredibly excited for this game which was sold as some sort of unofficial sequel to the classic Fallout games. I think I had issues related to my 21:9 aspect ratio that made the game less fun that it could be. The text size was too small and the user interface looked weird. It was fun to spend hours coming up with a character build, but I did not really get going with the game.

Did not play enough or at all:

Her Story ; I did not have time to play, but sounds interesting.
Infinifactory ; This is right up my alley, but I did not have time to play it.
Soma ; This game seems great and I really wish that I had the guts to play it.
Prison Architect ; Did not play, but seems excellent.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes ; I need someone to play this game with.
Halo 5: Guardians ; Did not play enough.
Star Wars: Battlefront ; I played through the tutorial. It was pretty unremarkable, but I hear that the graphics are great.
Just Cause 3 ; Did not play enough, but based on only an hour or so the game seems incredibly similar to Just Cause 2.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege ; Did not play.
Xenoblade Chronicles X ; Did not play, but bought.
SteamWorld Heist ; Waiting for PC version.
 
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.
If you like that one, you might also appreciate the one I took after it. Note the scale of the man standing by the leg of the mech, relative to the bird:



(Also shrunk from original resolution, like all of my pics to minimize loading in this thread. If anyone wants the originals, just PM me.)
 
Not sure if voting is over but...

1. BloodBorne; I only played about 15 or so hours of blood borne due to a general growing lack of interest in videogames and it's easily my GOTY because it's world is incredibly realized and the combat is the best I've ever played.

I didn't play much else so I don't want to even begin ranking them but I still think about this game to this day even when my passion for games dwindles.
 
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.
Ooooooooh crap, I forgot Ark was released this year outside Japan. This'll complicate things but thanks for reminding me.
 
1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; This game completely took me by surprise. I've appreciated the odd storytelling of the mainline Metal Gear Solid games but have always been frustrated by the gameplay. So naturally I assumed MGSV would be cut from that same cloth, but I was so happy to find out how wrong I was. What I got is an open world game that absolutely nails what I look for in the genre - simple objectives that can be completed in a variety of different ways. The feeling of heading off into a mission with a buddy and completing it in my own way is immensely satisfying. The flawed narrative does not really bother me since the gameplay is so sublime. I consider this not just the best game this year, but the best stealth game I've ever played and easily the best game yet this generation.

2. Bloodborne ; The first From Software game that I have truly loved. The relatively small set of unique weapons really work for me, it feels like each has more personality than found in previous Souls games. The emphasis on being aggressive and not hiding behind a shield created a constant and satisfying tension. The game has incredible level design and is immaculately paced - unlike previous Souls games I feel that every level is well designed and almost every boss is enjoyable to fight. The art direction is among the best I've ever seen in a game and I would definitely be willing to spend more time in Yharnam.

3. Ori and the Blind Forest ; I love this genre of games and it feels like we only get a good one every few years or so, the last one I truly loved being Shadow Complex. Not only is Ori a completely gorgeous game but it also plays extremely well. The mechanics are tight and I really appreciate its unique approach to checkpoints. It's a bummer that the game completely locks your save after you complete it as I hadn't quite got 100% before running the final sequence. I do look forward to re-visiting this fantastic game when the definitive edition comes out.

4. Rise of the Tomb Raider ; I enjoyed the 2013 reboot of Tomb Raider and this sequel manages to improve upon that game in every meaningful way. The puzzles are well crafted, it has a meaningful progression system, and it's easily one of the best looking games of the year.

5. Rocket League ; My favorite multiplayer game of the year, both online and offline. It's a game that's easy to explain to newcomers and it only takes a few minutes after handing them a controller for them to start having a blast. The mechanics are tight and there is a huge thrill to scoring goals. This game will be played among my friends for a long time to come.

6. Splatoon ; My second favorite multiplayer game of the year. I've grown tired of online shooters over the years and Splatoon manages to breathe new life into the genre. I found myself having a great time in nearly every match I played no matter if my team won or lost. It's also great to see Nintendo finally create a new and exciting IP, I can't wait to see where they take Splatoon in the future.

7. Fallout 4 ; Bethesda has created another of their signature open world games. This is great in the sense that no one else makes games quite like they do, Fallout 4 still delivers a huge world with a near-endless amount of things to do. I really enjoy Fallout 4 for what it is, which is basically more Fallout 3, and I think it would have rated higher on my list if Bethesda shook up their formula a bit.

8. Batman Arkham Knight ; First off I must say that the PC version really killed my enthusiasm for the game at the time it was released. I got my refund from Steam and put the money towards the PS4 version. Getting beyond all that I really enjoy the core Batman mechanics, the gorgeous look, and the campy comic book story told by this game. The Batmobile doesn't really add anything to the game that I want, but it's functional enough and it doesn't hamper my enjoyment too much. I truly enjoyed my time with the game but I'm glad Rocksteady is moving on to do something new.

9. Mortal Kombat X ; MK9 was one of my favorite games of the previous generation so naturally I got really excited for MKX. I feel that NRS delivered an MK that's fun to play and introduces interesting new characters to the roster. The living towers provides some extra things to enjoy beyond the normal story mode, but I honestly miss the type of tower that was in MK9. My interest in the game has faded as they have added popular horror-movie guest characters in, I've been a MK fan for a long time because of the characters that are unique to that universe. I still think it's a great game and, as always, look forward to the next MK.

10. Super Mario Maker ; I'm not typically a huge fan of games that rely on user-generated content. However I find it a lot of fun to start up a 100 Mario Challenge and check out random levels that people around the world are creating. I'll never have the time or patience for creating levels of my own but I see myself continuing to enjoy figuring out how to get through Mario levels created by other people.

x. Guitar Hero Live ; This game really surprised me. I fully expected it to be a hot mess while Rock Band 4 took the music game crown this year. While RB4 is fine for what it is, GH:L provides a fresh take on the plastic instrument genre. The new instrument has been fun to master, and I think GHTV is a great alternative to the normal DLC model we've come to expect of these games.

x. Axiom Verge ; As stated above with Ori, I love this genre. Axiom Verge is a pretty good game with some great music, but I feel it fell apart at the end. I don't feel compeled to re-visit any of the game to get a full completion but I enjoyed a lot of what I played in my playthrough.

x. Galak-Z ; This game is really stylish and really opens up after the controls are mastered. I have some problems with the "progression" but still look forward to checking out chapter 5 when it's released.

x. Assassin's Creed Syndicate ; I must say that ACS is a marked improvement over Unity. The traversal, mission structure, and overall variety is pretty good in this game and I have been enjoying it. This is a series I've been with from the start and I'm honestly just too burnt out to be overly excited for Syndicate. I really hope the rumors of it taking a year off are true so I can re-kindle my love for Assassin's Creed in 2017.
 
1. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt; Amidst nearly every developer chasing the success of Skyrim with the open world genre, CD Projekt Red puts them all to shame. The Witcher 3 is full of interesting, dynamic, and surprising quest lines that rarely ever go as expected. It avoids the pitfalls of most games of its size by filling a massive world with an equally as massive, yet deep set of quests and activities that are handcrafted, memorable, and contain plotlines better than some entire games. The ways Geralt becomes interwoven in some of the world’s biggest issues, like anointing a new Jarl for a nation deep in war, aiding the mages doomed to exile in a city out to kill, or even plotting the assassination of a king, are always done in ways that feels natural. A big pet peeve of mine when it comes to open world games is the lack of purpose and emphasis on scope versus intimacy and handcrafted quality. The Witcher 3 proves that both are possible; it never sacrifices the strengths of a linear game in its expansion from a 20 hour adventure with the last game, to a huge sprawling 100+ hour epic.

The characters are unique and well written, with few clichés among them. But it’s the way they interact with one another that all comes off as so real. The banter between Geralt and his fellow Witchers, kings, spies, and other influential figures pokes at history years in the making. Or how about the flirtatious talk with Yennefer and Geralt which gives insight to an intense on again off again past relationship. It gives the sense that this world is lived in; that it’s existed far before the player came into the picture and will continue to exist even when the player leaves. It doesn’t simply revolve around the player. Everything matters so much more because of this. It makes choices have more consequence, characters resonate more closely, and most importantly, the world feels real. This is absolutely essential to good RPG world building, and The Witcher 3 nails every part of this with rare stumbles.

Many open world games burn me out before I ever see the finish line. With The Witcher 3, not only did I barrel through the main quest in 60 hours, but I immediately went back to a new game to see it all over again. I have rarely ever been so entranced, so enamored with a game to the point where it was all I could think about when I’m not playing it. And even then those moments last little more than a few days. The Witcher 3 stayed with me for months, even up until the stellar Hearts of Stone expansion came out where the cycle started all over again. This game changed the way I look at open world games by setting a standard of quality AND quantity so high above the rest. It's the best open world game in years, and maybe one of the best RPGs ever made.

2. Pillars of Eternity; There's no crazy nostalgia in Pillars for me which makes it more impressive how well this game stands on it's own. In a year without The Witcher 3, this game would stand head and shoulders above many RPGs made within the past few years. It's a smartly written take on the fantasy genre that utilizes the hook of reincarnation and past lives in extremely smart ways. It's heavy on the text and light on the production values, but the storytelling is no less impactful and powerful than even the biggest budget efforts this year.

But it's not just the great writing and memorable characters like the Grieving Mother, Durance, and Eder that carry the overall experience. Pillars pays homage to the old CRPGs but successfully adapts the formula to modern standards with small little additions. Whether it's presentational aspects like injecting voiced dialogue in just the right places, or having options for tuning the speed of movement in the game, Pillars doesn't sacrifice playability and convenience for nostalgia. It's brought together by a great soundtrack by Justin Bell, and incredible environmental art that sets an amazing tone and feel. I cannot wait to see what comes next for Obsidian and this franchise.

3. Ori and the Blind Forest; The tightness of the overall experience and amazing artistry of both the graphics and score elevate Ori and the Blind Forest to an echelon of platformer I feel is reserved nearly exclusively for Nintendo’s best works. And Ori definitely feels like something crafted out of Nintendo’s EAD team, with a hint of the tight design philosophies that brought Valve’s Portal series to the status of cultural phenomenon. Like Portal or Super Mario Galaxy, Moon Studios had no problem using gradually escalating mechanics that have the ability to constitute whole games. Yet they constantly change things up, never letting anything become stale or boring. The platforming itself carries the tightness of Super Meat Boy; it’s responsive, fast, and challenging, yet rarely ever unfair or clunky.

4. Undertale; Look past the Earthbound inspired veneer of Undertale, and you’ll find a game that delights in subverting your expectations. It’s easy to declare it a homage looking from the outside, but Undertale is full of surprises, constantly expanding its combat mechanics in a condensed, fast-paced, and surprisingly heartfelt RPG. Undertale starts out a bit like a slow burn, but over time it becomes more and more endearing. Humor is so difficult to get right in games, but Undertale had me constantly laughing with gags that were genuinely unexpected and funny, and not just random for the sake of having meme inspired humor.

It's really how Undertale subverts expectations constantly that makes it a true classic. It's hard to say what exactly those surprises are without spoiling the game, but suffice it to say that things are rarely as they seem. Just when you think you understand the combat system, it adds a new twist to everything. This is a game where so many reveals are meant to re-contextualize your understanding of the entire game. When that rug is pulled out from under you, it's an amazing and chilling feeling. And it happens so many times in Undertale, and each one keeps the game so resonant in my mind. By the way...that soundtrack? Unbelievably good.

5. Bloodborne ; From Software’s latest at first came as somewhat of a disappointment to me. Gone are the swaths of different builds, vastly different weapon types, weight, armor upgrades, etc. On paper while those changes sound like oversimplifications, the trade-off comes in the form of faster and aggressive combat where success is less determined by the character you’ve built, and more by building your own personal skill level. It wasn’t until I jumped back to Dark Souls 2 that I truly realized this. This is the Souls formula in a crystalized form. It takes that feeling of learning the environments, the enemy types, and their patterns, and removes some of the superfluous outside distractions.

Even removed of past expectations, Bloodborne is a beautiful yet horrifying experience with a crimson drenched aesthetic that’s one of my favorite in years. It’s dark, dirty, mysterious, and rarely ever lets up from a foreboding and intense tone. Yharnam is a masterfully interconnected hostile world where everything is out to kill you and details are far and few between. While the Souls games emphasize a weak player stuck in a world where everything is way stronger than you, this game makes you feel like an aggressive badass cutting down hordes of crazies and giant spider beasts with dozens of eyes strewn all over them. Bloodborne just oozes style all around, especially with the player’s transforming weapons. It makes little sense to have a tiny sword that can somehow attach to a giant sword or sledgehammer, but who cares because it’s pretty fucking cool. From Software have experimented with their great formula in really interesting ways, some for better and some for worse. Nonetheless, Bloodborne is both a harrowing and refreshing divergence from the Souls series.

Also, huge shoutout to the The Old Hunters for being one of the best DLC packages ever. It not only adds some much needed challenge to the game, but brings in some weapons that add a lot of value to the core experience.

6. Rocket League; I didn’t fall head over heels as most people did with Rocket League. Still, it remains a game that I’m constantly returning to every now and then thanks to its core formula and strong post launch support. Its simple formula of soccer with acrobatic cars sounds incredibly simple, but is a joy to play. What elevates Rocket League beyond the vast swath of fun multiplayer games that hit Steam these days is the approachability, yet high skill ceiling. A novice could hop into Rocket League and understand the basics only after a few short hours of playtime. Give a person a few days to truly dive into the mechanics and work together with teammates, and you’re looking at all sorts of different trick shots and defensive strategies that might develop. Rocket League is the most fun I've ever had with Soccer.

7. Splatoon; The freshest shooter to emerge in decades (heh). Splatoon starts with a simple formula: paint more territory than the enemy team. But it’s in the different weapons, environments, and abilities that makes the experience really unique and fast-paced. The game has a great aesthetic and every game mode feels like it puts a nice twist on the shooter genre. There's a bunch of different viable playstyles too. I found myself gravitating towards using the close quarters weapons like the rollers or paintbrushes. That's really the best part of the game for me. A lot of other shooters have your simple shotgun, sniper, heavy machine gun analogues, but Splatoon is so creative with the different weapons and the way paint spreads change with each one. It results in a shooter that feels really different than anything else out there.

8. Soma; Instead of taking the predicable route of attempting to outdo Amnesia, they went for something more subversive, cerebral, and terrifying in its own unique way. Soma is deceptive, starting off with an unexpected premise and light scares, before developing into a psychological horror thriller that strikes at your very core. Like the Swapper, this is great science fiction; diving deep into themes of what consciousness truly means when duplication is involved, and concepts of the physical body versus the digital. It’s at times a chilling examination of the human consciousness, and yet a terrifying exploration of the deep sea depths and the cavernous research facilities within. The plot deals with themes that challenge the player to think about heavy themes regarding our existence, and what lengths we would go to in order to guarantee ensure the survival of our species. For its willingness to tackle intriguing themes, and present a tense and well-paced horror narrative, Soma may not be anywhere near as scary as Amnesia in the traditional sense, but it’s equally as chilling and haunting on a different accord.

9. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain; I’ve never been so conflicted on a game before. I struggled whether to even place this on my list. It’s been often repeated, but MGSV is the one of the best playing third person action games ever, and easily a contender for best stealth game of all time. This isn’t the venue to dwell on the negatives, so I’ll also avoid going too in depth regarding the unfinished story, uninspired boss fights, and repetitive missions. I’ll admit that it took me a while to reconcile what MGSV really is, however once I did that I was able to see a core set of mechanics that is unmatched in the third-person action genre.

What MGSV really succeeds at is creating open play spaces where anything can happen. The possibilities truly feel vast and endless. There’s little else more satisfying than strapping fultons to a series a crates out from under a group of soldiers, surrounded by a dense and foreboding jungle. Or how about learning the pattern of a weapon seller and buyer, and stealthily sabotaging their truck using C4 with no one else the wiser? Moments like these are what makes MGSV special, despite the rather large caveats. Setting aside the micro transactions and all the superfluous mechanics for a second; the core of what MGSV entails is strong enough to overcome them. When you truly feel like a badass, completing a difficult objective in a large area packed with enemies, MGSV makes a strong argument for the stealth crown in terms of pure moment-to-moment gameplay.

10. Until Dawn; The “new” adventure genre set by Quantic Dream and Telltale is pretty well worn territory at this point. Yet it feels like Until Dawn is the first game to really use that style to its fullest potential. The horror B-movie genre is such a great fit for this type of game, and latching onto the sense that any character can die at any time due to a mistake of yours is a tense feeling. It was one of the best parts of Heavy Rain, and Until Dawn takes it even further. It’s all brought together with convincing performances by actors. The characters start out as these assholes you want to see die, but by the end you eventually grow the like some, if not all of them: a good sign of strong character development. All of the different permutations with the Butterfly Effect system make me want to come back to the game, too. Until Dawn was a huge pleasant surprise, and I hope Supermassive can take it even further with a sequel (not that dumb VR thing).

x. Galak-Z; want to play more but haven't had time.
x. Life is Strange; loved it, even if the ending fell a little flat for me.
x. Nuclear Throne; enjoying this immensely but need more time with it.
x. Halo 5: Guardians; mechanically one of the best games of the year, but the single player is a let down and the MP maps are too repetitive.
x. Star Wars Battlefront: this game misses the mark in a lot of areas - not enough content, simplistic gameplay, poor progression. But there's really no other game out there that has been so authentic to the franchise. It's also one of the best looking games ever.
x. Her Story; like it a lot but wish there was a bit more meat to it. Cool little experience and great performance by Viva Seifert.
x. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood; cool standalone expansion, but the main game was still better.
 

Adam Prime

hates soccer, is Mexican
GOTY 2015: This year was REALLY tough for me to choose #2-#7. The wild card in the whole system was Trails in the Sky SC. I only played a couple of hours of this game before Xenoblade X was released, then I never came back to it. I feel like I should reserve the right to bump this game all the way up to #2 once I get around to playing/finishing it in 2016. Overall, I feel like this year wasn't the strongest compared to previous. I did not purchase many new AAA releases this year outside of Splatoon and Xenoblade X, (Mario Maker was gifted). Trails in the Sky SC was a value purchase at $30 and Steamworld Heist was a steal at $17. Plague of Shadows was FREE, and I think Shovel Knight remained one of my most played games in all of 2015 on my 3DS, before and after the DLC. Majora's Mask was my second 3D Zelda title, I finished Wind Waker HD this year and Ocarina of Time 3D after MM3D. Out of those three, I'd probably rank it third, but still a great title - I traded it in after finishing it. Box Boy and Stretchmo really stood out on the eShop, both for great prices ($4 and $10).


1. Xenoblade Chronicles X; My favorite memory of this game is playing it over Christmas break. Staying up late and waking up early, I did a lot of this game on the GamePad. It was a great experience from start to (almost) finish. It's the game that made me want to buy a WiiU, didn't disappoint. (only a little bit, the story isn't as good as XC)


2. Splatoon; I played this game with my family all summer. It got us through many summer days, kept us up late with my wife and I taking turns, and it was literally the first thing we unpacked when moving into a new house and played a few rounds before unpacking anything else. This game holds a special place because of the love it received from every member of the house - I personally loved the single player more than the multiplayer.


3. Steamworld Heist; This was the only game that I played when I took a break from playing XCX. This game is an amazing 2D XCom game, and one of the most fun turn based strategy games I've played. I really enjoyed the third area of the game, as it was the most like XCom. Not the most played game on my 3DS, but it was my favorite.


4. Super Mario Maker; My wife making amazing levels! I was not that high on this game until the update that added the Bookmarks and checkpoints. I think I'll continue playing this well into 2016. I'm not super big on the creating of the levels, but I really enjoyed playing everything.


5. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows; I can't believe how many hours I've put into Shovel Knight, I think I currently have around 60! And this is a game that can be beat in under 2 hours! The new update was awesome, and Plague Knight felt like an entirely new character. The new Amiibo mode and challenge levels were all superb and I look forward to having Shovel Knight on my GOTY 2016 next year with more updates. It's the perfect game that gives you MORE game FOR FREE! It's nuts.


6. Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3DS This game will always be remembered as the game that I played on nights while rocking my newborn baby to sleep. This was my second 3D Zelda title, I played after Wind Waker HD. I thought it was really WEIRD. But it was a nice change from the traditional formula of Wind Waker/Ocarina. I didn't do every side quest, I went the more efficient route, and I enjoyed everything that I did. The dungeons were definitely the best part of the game!


7. Trails in the Sky Second Chapter; Ahhh... the game that came out on a few weeks before Xenoblade X. Sorry Trails. I reserve the right to skyrocket this game up to the #2 spot after I play it in 2016. The FC was one of my favorite JRPGs of all time, so I only expect that from SC. From what I played up to so far (Ch.1 boss) I have really enjoyed. Looking forward to diving into this game after X.


8. Box Boy; What a great fun eShop game. And one of the best value purchases on the entire eShop, you get A LOT of levels for the $5.


9. Pokemon Shuffle; This game brought my wife and I through a very hard time in our lives, after our daughter was born she had to be hospitalized for about a month. My wife played this game as much as she could while in the hospital with her, and I even purchased her gems to continue playing. All in all it was my third most played game of the year on the 3DS, mostly my wife, but I enjoyed what I played of it too.


10. Stretchmo; I bought the full DLC packs, and I have enjoyed what I played. As is the case, this game quickly got buried by other games and I never really dove into it very deeply, but I had fun with what I've played and look forward to doing more of it in 2016.


LTTP GOTY 15: Punchout!! Wii


Previous year's top games

2014 Voting: Shovel Knight, DKC Tropical Freeze, Theatrhym Final Fantasy Curtain Call

2013 Voting: Ace Attorney Dual Destines, Animal Crossing New Leaf, Fire Emblem Awakening

2012 Voting: Xenoblade Chronicles, Kid Icarus Uprising, Virtue's Last Reward

2011 Voting: Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, Dissidia Final Fantasy Duoceidem, Trails in the Sky FC

2010 Voting: Super Street Fighter 4, Super Meat Boy, Super Mario Galaxy 2
 
After thinking about it, I decided to insert the excellent Hand of Fate into my number 8 spot. In case anybody wants to read the write up, here is the text, sans formula, so it doesn't get inserted into the parsers or disqualifies my vote. My vote is quite a ways back, so I don't really expect anybody to scroll back and read it.

I encourage anybody who enjoys these types of games to check it out. Hand of Fate is another unique game released this year, and I don't think it gets enough shout outs.

Hand of Fate is another game that mashes up two different genres of play and makes it work. In this case, rogue-like action adventure, RPG, and card games mash in a classic manner. This creates a “drawn to life” quality to Hand of Fate that, while hardly unique, stands out. The format purposefully evokes a game-like quality, which makes it a surreal experience. The narrative draws you in, and the semi random nature of the quest ensures that you’ll want to keep on playing. Only the somewhat lackluster combat keeps it from scoring higher -- while this game (and the next) drip with atmosphere, the weird 3-d plane and clunky combat are a turn off. The rest of the game is more than enough to engross you, however, so I’d encourage anybody who has access to it to give it a shot.
 
1. Xenoblade Chronicles X ; For a time I couldn't decide on my number one spot, but upon completion Xenoblade Chronicles X became my personal game of the year. There's so much I could gush about in this game from Mira's incredible world design, to the amazingly fun and well polished combat system, to how the game succeeds at seamlessly transitioning from moving on foot to riding a skell with both options being a joy to play. My only negative is that the main story isn't as fleshed out as I wanted it to be, but I still enjoy what's there. It doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would since not much emphasis is placed on it to begin with, and I'm also a bit understanding of the decision from reading about the game's development situation. However, I really enjoyed the fully voiced affinity missions and to my surprise, even the stories in the non voiced NPC missions. There's a ridiculous amount of worldbuilding and memorable storylines just from these simple missions. There are so many species that a player would never discover from only playing the main story, and the missions do an excellent job of fleshing out the state of Mira and this game's universe in general. The normal missions also have some surprisingly funny, heavy, and downright bizarre moments. Ultimately I feel like the game is at its most rewarding for players who dive into all of the subsystems and go out of their way to explore the world or do missions. I certainly fit into that playstyle, and I feel like the game rewarded me for it.

2. Bloodborne ; Out of the "Souls" games I've played, Bloodborne is easily my favorite. The combat is the best it's ever been, the setting is wonderful, the atmosphere is deliciously bleak, the weapons are memorable, the world design is fantastic, and the bosses are excellent. I don't feel like I can say much else about this game that hasn't already been said, but I absolutely love it.

3. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate ; Out of all of the games I've played this year, this is the one I wish I spent more time with. I still played it a ton relative to other games but much less than Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate due to it releasing alongside so many other titles. What I did get to play was a pure joy and a step up from Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate in pretty much every way.

4. Splatoon ; I was never really excited for this game until I tried out the first Global Testfire. Upon picking it up afterwards, I was surprised at how much fun I was having and just how creative the game felt. The multiplayer is surprisingly well balanced and the single player is fun despite its short length, with a fantastic final boss fight.

5. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D ; This was my first experience with Majora's Mask and it was fantastic from start to finish. Once again I'm really not sure what I can say about it that hasn't already been mentioned by so many people. I'll just mention that the only reason this isn't higher is because it's a remake and I like giving the top spots to brand new games.

6. Tales of Zestiria ; I had a lot of fun with Tales of Zestiria, but the game also has its share of frustrations. I really like the characters but I feel like a lot of the crucial story moments were poorly executed. It's great seeing the core combat system from Tales of Graces return, but it's nowhere near as polished as it was in Graces and Zestiria has an atrocious skill system. There's also a section in the final act of the game which probably sucks for anyone that hasn't been playing through some of the major sidequests. Out of all the Tales games I've played, Zestiria is middle of the road for me. It's not one of my favorite entries, but it's not one of my least favorites either.

7. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD ; I really like this game's combat system and its soundtrack . . . and that's about it, unfortunately. Any semblance of level design is basically nonexistent which I first thought might have been tied to its PSP origins. Then I played Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep which was made for the same system but had pretty solid level design. Type-0's story also feels like botched potential to me. I loved the opening but not much else grabbed me after that. Only two party members get a decent amount of focus and I find one to be mediocre while the other is unbearable. Then there's the ending where absolutely nothing makes any sense. I knew about the New Game Plus exclusive content beforehand and figured that would help clear things up, but only one New Game Plus mission has any relation to the main plot. The ending was just as vague and nonsensical the second time around as it was the first time. I probably wouldn't be as bitter about this if I stopped after finishing my first playthrough, but that second playthrough definitely soured me on the experience a bit.
 
I tend to play games behind the curve and wait on sales so many of the more popular games I have yet to experience.

1. Call of Duty: Black Ops III ; My favorite shooter since Black Ops 1. Everything feels right. The movement, the TTK, the weapon balance. Incredible multiplayer. A disappointing single player is most unfortunate though. I've always seemed to enjoy them for a once through or even a Veteran run, but I had zero interest in seeing this one through. Multiplayer and maps are great and balanced while avoiding the feeling of past games where the designers felt they needed to create lanes and populate them with an enormous amount of crap for the sake of disrupting sight lines (which became a significant issue around MW3)

2. Grand Theft Auto V ; Experiencing this on PC was simply incredible.

3. Cities: Skylines; A wonderful time sink. Pleasant and made all the better through extensive mod support.

4. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; Have not gotten too far into this one due to lack of time, or it would have almost certainly been higher.

5. Assassin's Creed Syndicate ; A step in the right direction. The setting, story and characters all were a draw. I was genuinely surprised to have this one hook me.
 

1. Life is Strange ; This is it, this is where I want games to go. Telling a unique story and creating an incredible atmosphere while crafting characters that you care about and invested in. Other games have attempted this using minimalism or symbolism but this is the best attempt at creating something real, something you might see in a small town in the pacific north west. I haven't played a game that has affected me this much. It deserves all the praise it gets.

2. Rise of the Tomb Raider ; An excellent follow up to the rebooted Tomb Raider.

3. Tales from the Borderlands ;

I can't stand the Borderlands universe but somehow this made me care about it. Fantastic characters and style in Telltale's best games since The Walking Dead Season one.

4. Forza Motorsport 6 ;

What Forza 5 should have been, a worthy successor and improves on the previous game in every way. I'm more of a Horizon person but this was still an excellent entry.

5. NBA 2K16 ;

Despite the shoddy servers, greedy F2P elements and obvious bugs this game still draws me to it. I play at least 3-4 hours a week and am hooked on MyTeam.

6. Fallout 4 ;

More of the same, I wish they had changed the formula or engine and made the quests more varied but I still can't complain, what we got was excellent.

7. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ;

This might have been higher if I had finished it but what I have played so far is excellent.

8. Hearthstone ;

I watch this game so much on twitch but never actually play it.

9. Kerbel Space Program ;

Another one I love watching Giant Bomb East play.



Not the best year in games for me, I had to give votes to games I enjoyed watching but not actually playing. Hopefully next year is better.

Fail of the year: HALO 5 GUARDIANS

343 Continues to mangle my once favourite franchise into an embarrassment beyond recognition. They launch it with half of the classic multiplayer modes that have been in since Halo 2 missing (a bunch of which still haven't been added) and a bland variety of maps. They also changed the aiming so much long time fans have just given up because their skills are worthless now. Lets also not forget that they promised DLC maps that would be free but failed to mention those maps would be forge maps made by the community or slightly reskinned versions of other maps. 343, thank you for ruining one of my favourite franchises.
 
1. The Witcher 3 ; "Vesemir told me about that job you did for those Nilfgaardians in Velen". "What...what are you doing?" [geralt voice] "Killing monsters" [/geralt voice]
This is one of the best open world RPG ever made. The story is great, the characters are great, there are choices and consequences, the combat felt great, crafting weapons and armors felt great, exploring the beautiful lands and environments felt great. Everything about this game is great and I'm grateful I got experience it. Excellent job CDProkek, can't wait for Cyberpunk.

2. Bloodborne ; "Farewell good hunter, may you find your worth in the waking world"
Holy Shit, this game was freaking amazing to play. It was my first souls-like game and it pretty much showed me why people love the souls games so much. The game encourages exploration, level your strengths, learn the environments and enemies a like. The game was pretty much a learning experience from start to finish, it kept proving me wrong and forcing me to change tactics. It was the right amount of difficult that I needed for a souls game to enjoy.

3. Fallout 4 ; "nani ni shimasu ka?"
Maybe not as good as 3 or NV, but this installment improves quite a lot in both gunplay, visuals and the world surrounding it. The voice acting is still top notch and the settlements are nice surprise that can lead to huge time sinks. All in all, it's a great Fallout game that will most likely be perfected by fans with mods.

4. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; "I won't scatter your sorrow to the heartless sea. I will always be with you."
The BEST action/stealth game ever made thus far. Kojima may have disappointed in terms of storyline, but MGSV's gameplay is nothing but perfect.

5. Rocket League ; "Stop rolling the ball to our goal post!"
Fun, addicting and rage inducing. A huge PS+ surprise and one that shouldn't be missed by no one.

6. Life is Strange ; "With great power comes great bullshit"
A beautiful time travel story where choices matter and the gameplay goes hand in hand with the story all the way through. It's hella good.

7. Tales from the Borderlands ; "You scratch my nuts, I scratch yours. What do you say, Rhys?"
Another surprise hit by Telltale games. Borderlands' stories aren't exactly memorable,and yet somehow Telltale made it work. Great characters, hilarious moments and a damn good soundtrack.

8. Batman: Arkham Knight ; "I am vengeance! I am the night! I am Batman!"
I'm currently playing the world's tiniest violin for the PC players. Arkham Knight was another great batman, with amazing visuals, greatly improved combat and a very well executed conclusion to the Arkham Trilogy.

9. Hotline Miami 2 ; "Violence without Passion is pointless, it's like fucking without cuming"
Harder than ever with an improved storyline, more weapons and more ways to die, this is another rage inducing game that should not be missed.

10. Her Story ; "Yes, my name is Hannah Smith"
A last minute hit for me, the game is easily one of the best detective games ever made along with great storyline that will require the use of taking actual notes to solve the mystery of Hannah.


Honorable Mentions:
x: Resident Evil Revelations 2 ; "Oversee this, bitch."
a fun coop game with a good plot, good visuals and good characters, it is a surprisingly good resident evil game.

x: Assassins Creed Syndicate ; "Who's a good horse? You are!"
After the mess of last years Unity, Syndicate is a bit of a fresh air that manages to channel some of the great aspects of the Ezio games. It's a good AC game with some great improvements a great setting and a pretty good protagonist duo.
 
1. The Witcher 3

2. Bloodborne

3. Fallout 4

4. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

5. Rocket League


6. Tales from the Borderlands

7. Life is Strange

8. Batman: Arkham Knight

9. Hotline Miami 2

10. Her Story



Honorable Mentions:
x: Resident Evil Revelations 2

x: Assassins Creed Syndicate
Read the op, your votes will not count.
 
1. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC ; Long awaited, much anticipated, probably cursed SC of Trails in the Sky finally got to us, and it delivered everything what was promised and more.
2. Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea ; It wouldn't be so much different from other Atelier games of the last generation, but two protagonists being back made it special.
3. Paint it Back ; Very nice nonogram type of game on PC, funny too.
4. Higurashi When They Cry - Ch.1 Onikakushi ; Not much to write here, even so many years after its original release, it's still as twisted, creepy and scary as only Higurashi can be, remaster could have been better, but at least it's officially released in the west now.
5. Crystal Story II ; final fantasy nostalgia trip, nice mishmash of genres too.
6. Letter Quest: Grimm's Journey Remastered ; letter scramble ultimate experience, extremely addictive and fun.
7. This Starry Midnight We Make ; I don't know how to describe this game, it's one of strangest and most complex games out there, basically you create Universe ... in a pool.
8. Fairy Fencer F ; Surprisingly fun RPG with very unfair challenges.
9. An Octave Higher ; Very good and original VN with a branching story and classical music.
10. Contradiction ; Jenks the game.

Honorable Mentions
x. Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden ; very zen and nice game.
x. The Royal Trap ; an interesting VN.
x. Cat Goes Fishing ; simple yet fun fishing game.
 

trh

Nifty AND saffron-colored!
1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; The greatest game ever to have so many flaws.
2. Kerbal Space Program ;
3. Bloodborne ; It lacks the character customizability that I enjoy so thoroughly in the Souls series, which is BB's biggest downfall.
4. Life Is Strange ; It made me like an Ashly Burch character
5. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ;
6. Cities: Skylines ;
7. Downwell ;
8. Undertale ;
9. Rocket League ;
10. Besiege ;
 
1. Bloodborne ; my first Souls game and a great entry point into the series.
2. The Witcher 3 - Wild Hunt; amazing how much quality content they've managed to put into this game.
3. Life is Strange ; I loved the setting and the sountrack, the story was great, too.
4. Assassin's Creed: Syndicate ; probably my favorite entry in the franchise, wonderfully streamlined for an AC game.
5. Splatoon ; one of the most stylish games I've ever played, making a shooter where you can truly contribute without shooting is a genius move.
6. Destiny: The Taken King ; greatly improved and my most played game of the year.
7. Until Dawn ; I'm happy about how much praise it has gotten because I really like this kind of game once in a while.
8. Rocket League ; super simple yet so addicting, what a great showcase of what PS Plus can do for your game.
9. Fallout 4 ; has most of the greatness of the Bethesda formula, the story could be better though.
10. Batman: Arkham City ; one of the best looking games I've ever seen, the design around the Batmobile and the fact that the true ending is hidden behind a wall keep it at the bottom of the list though.
 
1. Homeworld: Remastered ; Although the mechanics and systems are getting fixed later, Gearbox still managed to bring to life an all-time classic series that has been locked away and almost lost to time because of corporate incompetence. The attention to visual and audio restoration while maintaining the original aesthetic is really remarkable, while some of the mechanical restoration is refreshing. I am happy that an all-time classic that is close to my heart has been excavated and made available both in its classic and in its flawed restored form to all people.

2. Invisible Inc ; This is such an interesting game that takes stealth mechanics with the X-Com formula to make caring about your operatives in a really innovative way. Robert Yang did a good write up about its excellent game design.

3. Tearaway Unfolded ; A life-affirming and optimistic game that plays around with its game design and narrative in a way that brings a smile to your face while playing.

4. Grim Fandango ; A restoration of one of the best games of all time. Double Fine did a great job at bringing the old classic up to current standards without compromising the game and audio-visual design. The commentary track and documentary provide some great context and background.

5. SOMA ; A much more contemplative and abstract treatment of a philosophical theme through the game's narrative compared to Frictional's earlier catalogue. The horror elements in SOMA's design are much less emphasized to allow players more breathing room to ponder about the themes in the game, where the atmosphere takes precedence over visceral horror. On another day, I would really place it much higher, since it is a really great game with interesting concepts and storytelling

6. Tales From The Borderlands ; Telltale really need to update their game design and their engine, but regardless this is an entertaining and light-hearted game with excellent character writing.

7. Pillars of Eternity ; Obsidian delivered on their promises and managed to make a game in 2015 that harkens back to the old IE games of the late 90's. I think they were very successful.

8. Shadowrun Hong Kong ; Once again Harebrained Schemes delivers a competent and solid RPG. Its engine and game mechanics are certainly showing their age, but the writing, the world-building, the characters, and the serviceable RPG mechanics lift it up to be a really great experience.

9. Witcher 3 ; This is like an exorbitant luxury game with so much attention to detail, supreme graphical presentation, tons of content, and depth to even simple side quests. The main plot is disappointingly simple, but the craftmanship is just impeccable and probably won't be seen in years to come. It's an extravagant product.

10. Life is Strange ; DONTNOD took a different stab at the choose-your-own adventure genre with LiS. It was refreshing to see a different theme in regards to coming of age narrative centering around a Western-American girl and her teenage tribulations.

Honorable Mentions
x. Until Dawn ; Similar to Life is Strange, this was also a fun and refreshing take on the genre. The graphical presentation is very impressive and it's a really entertaining party game.
x. Bloodborne ; The level design is much superior to Dark Souls 2 and harkens back to the connected world of Dark Souls 1. It still feels like a game I've already played with a different skin, but it's nevertheless a remarkable experience.
 
Played not so much in 2015, here is my list:

1. Pillars of Eternity ; Rare case of kickstarter game delivering on all fronts. We wanted modern Baldur, we got it. Do we want more? Not sure, really, but this was an expertly executed wishlist. And what game can boast to have an GAF Inn in it? GOTY right there. :)
2. Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition ; Loved element mixing mechanics in spells and challenging boss battles. DOS 2 is a must buy now, good job, Belgians! :)
3. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; Something is still amiss in Witcher games, but this is the best try so far. Huge world, plenty of things to do, finally ok/good battle system.
4. Fallout 4 ; Much better story than Fallout 3 saved it for me. New Vegas is still the best though
5. Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 ; Dynamo Kyiv is back! Thats alone warranted the purchase. :) Also, way more fun to play than 3 last FIFAs together. :p
6. Beyond: Two Souls ; Waited for PS4 remaster patiently and was not disappointed. David Cage game with all its pluses and minuses, really looking forward to his PS4 debut.
7. Rocket League ; Surpise hit of the year, prove that really good game will always sell well. Concentrated fun, very difficult to master though. :)
8. King's Quest: Chapters I-II ; Quests are back! Old school quest fun, if your will is strong enough to not look for solutions online. Second part has surprisingly dark tone, especially if your play it just after the first one. Hopefully the conclusion will be satisfying, looking forward!


These are only games I've enjoyed, though I skipped on several blockbusters this year such as Bloodborne, MGSV, etc.
 
Played not so much in 2015, here is my list:

1. Pillars of Eternity
2. Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition
3. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
4. Fallout 4
5. Pro Evolution Soccer 2016
6. Beyond: Two Souls
7. Rocket League
8. King's Quest: Chapters I-II


These are only games I've enjoyed, though I skipped on several blockbusters this year such as Bloodborne, MGSV, etc.
Your list will not be counted.
 
1. Splatoon ; It's simply incredible what the team came up with, from the game design to the art style and the music. And there's still so much potential for a sequel.
2. Super Mario Maker ; I never thought it would happen. It's still missing some things to be perfect, but I think it's my most played game 2015, and I haven't created that many levels yet.
3. Yoshi's Woolly World ; I've never played Yoshi's Island, but this game is a top notch Nintendo platformer. Maybe not as good as Tropical Freeze or NSMBU/NSLU but still above everything else. I don't understand why it's still getting overlooked and dismissed.
4. Runbow ; Nice platformer with great ideas and crazy multiplayer modes.
5. Affordable Space Adventures ; One of the greatest uses of the GamePad, if you own a Wii U and you've never played this game, you're missing out.
6. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker ; EL CAPITAN TODD. After this game I was hoping Nintendo would do more spin-offs with this level of polish and quality.
7. Fast Racing Neo ;
8. Mario Kart 8: DLC Pack 2 ;
9. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars ;
10. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse ;
 
1. Bloodborne ; My 2nd favorite game of all time, amazing in all aspects without any weak points besides lag in PVP and weapon degradation (even if it rarely occurs). The Souls formula perfected according to my tastes. Great gameplay with unique weapons, focus on melee, streamlined formula with only one type of item required to level up weapons and no need to level up others things besides that (like armor, shields, hunter tools, etc), truly amazing artstyle, OST with some really great tracks, replayability with the Chalice Dungeons, and the most intense boss fights I ever experienced. Masterpiece.

2. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; Starting with the good parts, the gameplay/control of Venom Snake is superb, It feels so damn good... It's just amazing what KP was able to achieve in that regard. The performance is also really good. The way the game was structured is questionable, with a lot of pros and cons, so I won't go there. It has some big flaws though, like a poor story (not that I was expecting something good from Kojima after MGS4...), almost inexistent boss battles that were really lacking when compared to other MGS titles, and very few unique missions.

3. Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition ; Playing as Vergil is a blast, not much more to say since I played the main game when it launched on PS3. It's my favourite action game ever on par with Bayonetta.

4. Yakuza 5 ; I'm kinda tired of this franchise despite not playing it for a few years. The concept is always the same, even if they add different locations and minigames. To me the Yakuza series is kinda like the japanese equivalent of Assassins's Creed. They just keep adding things on top of it without truly evolving the base game mechanics, year after year. It has to improve significantly with 6 so It can regain my interest.

5. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt ; My biggest disappointment unfourtunately, playing this game is just not fun to me. Controlling Geralt feels bad/clunky and the combat is average at best. It has some serious balancing issues with way too many things that can impact the gameplay, and terrible mechanics like the Witcher senses, weight burden and weapon degradation that are consistently present. The world is quite nice, altough is full with shit that doesn't really matter, that you end up persuing with the expectation that it offers some good loot (which almost never happens). The performance is also far from ideal in some areas. Characters, some quests and music are good though. In the end, it fails on what I consider the most important aspects in a game, it surprises me how this is winning so many GOTY awards. Witcher 2 was a much better game IMO.
 
1. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Second Chapter ; One of the best games I've ever played. While I enjoyed the first game, it wasn't that good. It was more a stepping stone that set up everything that happens here. This game just takes it to the next level and was well worth the several year wait

2. Bloodborne ; My favourite "Souls" game. I've played them all but stands up above the other's. Sure due to the focus on melee combat there is less variety. But the combat is just so much more fun and better designed now. The gothic horror setting is amazing and far more preferable to the medieval fantasy of the other three games.

3. SteinsGate ; It's kind of surprising this game is up here considering I had watched the anime in English long before I played this Japanese audio only game. But even despite knowing the gist of the story, it still catches your attention and makes you feel in ways many things just fail to do. Loved the ride, and while the japanese audio was fine, I still wish we would have got English. Hope Stein's Gate 0 has it.

4. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt; Fantastic game. i played this on the back of reading the books and it is a fitting match to the tone and style from them. Fantastically designed world and characters and among the best sidequest design in terms of context and purpose that i've ever played. Geralt was an awesome character and I love dhis sarcasm and dry wit. My only complaints were the fact that the game was very glitchy and I had several quests bugged, combined with what i felt was a poorly implemented combat system that felt sluggish, awkward and had poor feedback. If not for those it would have gotten my GOTY

5. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin ; I've heard a lot of people call this game poor, from comments to B team and other stuff. Sure it had some issues. I mean as soo as I started it I felt movement felt weird. But It also felt difficult to play melee combat in this game after Bloodborne since it felt slow and lethargic by comparison. I'm not a fan of the whole Adaptability stat either. but despite all of that the game is still fantastic. The amount of content and variety in approach is the best the series has seen, as is the coop and PvP element. Sure It might not be as good as the other Souls games, but it's still awesome

6. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky ; I feel a bit weird listing this considering I played it years ago. But given the Steam release and the fact i felt the need to replay it before SC I put it in. I enjoyed it even more this time around as I spent more time talking to NPC's after story events and quests. All these little details that come together and go unnoticed by people who just do the quests and move on. A bit slow to start, but it was such a relaxing and enjoyable sense of adventure. It was also needed to set up the amazing sequel that is Second Chapter

7. Final Fantasy VII ; Yeah it feel weird putting this game down as well. It's been what nearly 20 years since I played this game? But it still felt as good as ever and with the Remake announcement I felt it was a good time to play it through one last time. The minor translation fixes were nice to see as was the emulation 3x Speed option. playing the game through with that on felt awesome as times and I can't wait for FFVIII and IX with similar enhancements!

8. Dragon Quest Heroes ; Now it might be strange putting this here considering what i said in the steam thread. However unlike FF Type-0 and MGSV down below, this game can be fixed to be a good game with some alterations. It's like there's a base there and just needs to be built upon. MGSV and Type-0 have wholesale problems that would mean just scrapping and reworking pretty much everything to get what I would consider a worthwhile product. Also the sense of finally playing a Dragon Quest game again was awesome

9. Final Fantasy Record Keeper ; What can i say about this? When I first got into I found it amazing. A sense of nostalgia combined with surprisingly tactical setups for battles made it a really enjoyable experience that i found really surprising considering my track record with mobile games. I played it for a goof few months before the seams came loose. As I mentioned in the OT, too little time is spent on doing content. You spend more time grinding and farming to prepare for the content to come. it's like a 10:90 solit and that's just awful. I gave up playing FFXIV ARR for similar reasons. I would have spent money on an infinite Stamina bar, but once I dropped out I'm glad I didn't waste money on the game

Honorable Mentions
x. Life Is Strange ; I actually played the first Episode of the game and really enjoyed it. If I had played the full release I am very confident it would be high up my list, probably around 5-6. I would have bought it, but the announcement of the retail release made me hold back my purchase for a little bit

x. Xenoblade Chronicles X ; I've been a big fan of Monolith Software for ages. As can be seen from my avatar, I was a huge fan of Xenosaga and several other works by Tetsuya Takahashi. I really enjoyed Xenoblade on Wii with my only concerns being the sidequest design. Now to my disappointment they seem to have gone more in that direction with a lesser influence on the narrative from what I've heard. yet despite all of that I'm sure this game would be on my list if I actually owned a Wii U to play it. Hopefully it gets and NX port (or it's BC) and I'll play it there.


The below are HM's, but i'm more using it as my disappointments of 2015.

Dishonorable Mentions
x. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD ; Now here's a game that I've anticipated for years. When i first saw the PSP reveal I've wanted it. then the localisation issues happened. I even professed instead of the usual £30 price, I'd be willing to spend up to £70 if I got a copy out of it. Thank god i didn't because bar some aspects like the music and certain elements of the combat system, the game has very few redeeming qualities. Why on earth was I begging for this?

x. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; It's weird in that I'm going to start this by saying the controls and moment to moment gameplay is the best the series has seen. But everything else is a severe downgrade. mission strucure, map and encounter design, story, music, characters, everything. There was nothing memorable unlike the other games. It turned what was previously a tightly controlled smooth and thrilling 10 hour ride into an 80 hour plus grind, farm and bore fest with little drive or purpose.
 
Played not so much in 2015, here is my list:

1. Pillars of Eternity
2. Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition
3. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
4. Fallout 4
5. Pro Evolution Soccer 2016
6. Beyond: Two Souls
7. Rocket League
8. King's Quest: Chapters I-II


These are only games I've enjoyed, though I skipped on several blockbusters this year such as Bloodborne, MGSV, etc.
Please read and follow the OP before voting, assuming you want your vote to be processed.
 
1. Life Is Strange ; I honestly had no exceptions regarding this game. I knew it would be a quick one to complete for me. I thought I might find something to enjoy with the story or the characters but it would be fluff. Episodic games by their nature tunnel their players toward a particular direction based on your choices and you aren’t really expected to be too attached. Boy, was I wrong. I found myself relating more deeply with Max Caulfield and the events of the game than I ever thought possible. In high school, I lucked into getting elected class president. People who knew me then never really knew that I was nervous, shy, and introverted. I had a difficult time in college and in a lot of ways, I was Max Caulfield. I got my degree from a college not unlike Blackwell Academy where classmates within a certain social strata had instant judgment of you before you even open your mouth (Bravo for Dontnod for picking that up in the game). The game brought me back to feelings I felt back then – it really was a time machine. For some, there are legitimate complaints about the characters and the writing in the game. I almost think it’s on purpose – they are teenagers (although in any medium, writing a teenager’s voice is difficult and is done by 30 year olds, not actual teenagers). Every character and every story arc with the game got to me. I almost couldn’t complete Episode 4….I had to take a break. Episode 5 did lose some points with me but that ending got to me like a punch in the gut. Ashly Burch and Hannah Telle are to be commended for their portrayals of Chloe Price and Max Caulifield. The only drawback I can find is there is truly no gameplay in the game.
The lone gameplay moment was straight out of Batman: Arkham Asylum.
But for a complete package, Life Is Strange is making a statement about video games as a viable, artistic medium. To borrow and change a quote from one of its complex characters, it captured little pieces of time but with a controller.
2. Bloodborne ; I’m a Souls fan through and through. In a lot of ways, Bloodborne is disappointing to people like me. The game is almost too ‘short,’ the bosses turn really stupid when you have summoned help and the chalice dungeons are almost ridiculous and the fact that if you care about getting a Platinum, you have to endure them. Not to mention that insight seems to have no impact on the game (other than being able to summon and buy certain items) and your character never obtains beast form (which feels almost incomplete). But like I was telling a friend from work while we were tackling a chalice dungeon, “FROM Software’s worst game is better than some companies’ best games.” So no, it’s not FROM Software’s best game but it’s truly exceptional.
3. Tales From The Borderlands ; The best way I can describe this game is “The Coen Brothers do Star Wars.” I found myself liking this game a lot more than I realized and I don’t have much of a frame of reference with Telltale Games (I’ve actually never played The Walking Dead Season 1 & 2 or The Wolf Among Us but I will soon). Episode 4 is a highlight to me (especially that epic awash in ‘80sness intro song and a part I won’t spoil). Episode 5 is incredible as well and goes into “Life Is Strange” territory but not nearly as emotional (for me at least).
Go Go Power Gortys.
4. Rocket League ; Closed eyes and body see through. Time flies when I’m with you. Follow me through the clouds. We’re never coming down. Rocket League seems almost a throwback to the PS1/N64 days – days when a game could be explained by a sentence, gameplay is king, and you didn’t need to understand too much about ‘why’ you were playing something other than “it’s fun” and “drink beers and talk smack in a dorm.” This would be on the cover of EGM or GamePro. Buy all the DLC because it’s fun and there’s car toppers.
5. Star Wars Battlefront ; It’s almost blasphemy that this would be on my list. The game is pretty much over in less than an hour and it’s just multiplayer gameplay. If you complain about it and you knowingly bought it (like I did day 1), you can only blame yourself. The party system is still borked and Blast trophy is still unobtainable, but nevertheless I found Battlefront to be absolutely fun. It hearkened back to N64 days for me where I didn’t need an explanation for ‘why’ I’m playing this other than I’m enjoying it. Sometimes, that’s all I need.
6. Yoshi’s Woolly World ; Adorably cute, this game succeeded where Yoshi’s New Island failed. It seemed to capture the essence of Yoshi’s Island more easily and seems to understand how to make the Yoshi series better. I wish I spent more time with this to the point that 100% everything in the game.
7. Axiom Verge ; I spent a brief bit of time with this game and got past the first boss but this is too hard for its own and it’s not very good. It’s great to see a SNES style Super Metroid like game in 2015 however.
8. Persona 4 Dancing All Night ; One of the easier rhythm games and a lot of fun too. I’m hoping to get a Platinum on this soon.
9. Adventures of Pip ; Another game where I spent a brief bit of time but found it enjoyable. The aesthetics are almost DQ-esque and I like the platforming.
10. Game of Thrones ; Whereas Tales from the Borderlands had me liking it more than I realized, this had me liking it less. I haven’t really seen the TV series or read the books, so I found the game to be a complete turn off by the end. If this is how the mainline series is done, George R.R. Martin is a real asshole. It’s very hard to even get invested in characters when the author of the game world is intent on seeing them suffer. The game succeeds in the fact that it shows the flaws in the show/book series. As a game, it’s not as good as Tales from the Borderlands – if the story went more in that direction (where bad things happened but you felt a connection to the characters and you felt that the creators had faith in their characters), I think it would be even better. The game’s placement is a cautionary tale and a plea.
The ending of the game seems like a massive “audience fuck you” AND leads into a second season -- so House Forrester is done except for Asher/Rodrik and the chosen Sentinel, Beshka has Ryon, Gared is either marching south or still defending the North Grove (I had him defend the Grove because the Night’s Watch would kill him) and Mira is either dead or married against her will. Gee thanks.

Honorable Mentions
x. Shovel Knight; I held off on getting Shovel Knight until it was out on PlayStation -- I started out liking it but found myself not really returning to it.
x. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number ; Probably way too hard for me. Not sure if I really like it -- I liked Hotline Miami 1 a bit more despite its bullcrap.
 
I'll keep it short and simple!

1. Bloodborne ; Probably the only game that truly blew me away this year. No matter how many times I died early on, I kept going back for more. Every time I thought I had become unstoppable, something absolutely frightening just waiting somewhere to put the fear of the old blood in me.

2. Batman: Arkham Knight ; The batmobile was repetitive for sure, but everything else was solid and I enjoyed the plot moreso than Rocksteady's previous entries.
3. Metal Gear Solid V: Speaking of plot... Despite feeling somewhat shallow at the end, no metal gear game was this fun to to just mess around in.
4. Dragon Ball Xenoverse ; Man, I hate RNG! Still, very addictive and fun experience.
5. Star Wars Battlefront ; I don't play a lot of shooters so I think I was actually the target audience for this game lol. Walker Assault made me feel like I was playing an actual SW battle. What else could I ask for?
6. Disney Infinity 3.0 ; I bought this for, yup, more Star Wars! Just all around fun little experiences jam packed everywhere.
7. The Order: 1886 ; There's a list of things I don't like about this game, but the lore and characters have me desperately hoping for some sort of sequel.
8. Grim Fandango Remastered ; I loved this on PC back in the day and I loved it here, despite me wondering how the hell I beat it without a guide back then lol.
 
1. Life Is Strange ; I honestly had no exceptions regarding this game. I knew it would be a quick one to complete for me. I thought I might find something to enjoy with the story or the characters but it would be fluff. Episodic games by their nature tunnel their players toward a particular direction based on your choices and you aren’t really expected to be too attached. Boy, was I wrong. I found myself relating more deeply with Max Caulfield and the events of the game than I ever thought possible. In high school, I lucked into getting elected class president. People who knew me then never really knew that I was nervous, shy, and introverted. I had a difficult time in college and in a lot of ways, I was Max Caulfield. I got my degree from a college not unlike Blackwell Academy where classmates within a certain social strata had instant judgment of you before you even open your mouth (Bravo for Dontnod for picking that up in the game). The game brought me back to feelings I felt back then – it really was a time machine. For some, there are legitimate complaints about the characters and the writing in the game. I almost think it’s on purpose – they are teenagers (although in any medium, writing a teenager’s voice is difficult and is done by 30 year olds, not actual teenagers). Every character and every story arc with the game got to me. I almost couldn’t complete Episode 4….I had to take a break. Episode 5 did lose some points with me but that ending got to me like a punch in the gut. Ashly Burch and Hannah Telle are to be commended for their portrayals of Chloe Price and Max Caulifield. The only drawback I can find is there is truly no gameplay in the game.
The lone gameplay moment was straight out of Batman: Arkham Asylum.
But for a complete package, Life Is Strange is making a statement about video games as a viable, artistic medium. To borrow and change a quote from one of its complex characters, it captured little pieces of time but with a controller.
2. Bloodborne ; I’m a Souls fan through and through. In a lot of ways, Bloodborne is disappointing to people like me. The game is almost too ‘short,’ the bosses turn really stupid when you have summoned help and the chalice dungeons are almost ridiculous and the fact that if you care about getting a Platinum, you have to endure them. Not to mention that insight seems to have no impact on the game (other than being able to summon and buy certain items) and your character never obtains beast form (which feels almost incomplete). But like I was telling a friend from work while we were tackling a chalice dungeon, “FROM Software’s worst game is better than some companies’ best games.” So no, it’s not FROM Software’s best game but it’s truly exceptional.
3. Tales From The Borderlands ; The best way I can describe this game is “The Coen Brothers do Star Wars.” I found myself liking this game a lot more than I realized and I don’t have much of a frame of reference with Telltale Games (I’ve actually never played The Walking Dead Season 1 & 2 or The Wolf Among Us but I will soon). Episode 4 is a highlight to me (especially that epic awash in ‘80sness intro song and a part I won’t spoil). Episode 5 is incredible as well and goes into “Life Is Strange” territory but not nearly as emotional (for me at least).
Go Go Power Gortys.
4. Rocket League ; Closed eyes and body see through. Time flies when I’m with you. Follow me through the clouds. We’re never coming down. Rocket League seems almost a throwback to the PS1/N64 days – days when a game could be explained by a sentence, gameplay is king, and you didn’t need to understand too much about ‘why’ you were playing something other than “it’s fun” and “drink beers and talk smack in a dorm.” This would be on the cover of EGM or GamePro. Buy all the DLC because it’s fun and there’s car toppers.
5. Star Wars Battlefront ; It’s almost blasphemy that this would be on my list. The game is pretty much over in less than an hour and it’s just multiplayer gameplay. If you complain about it and you knowingly bought it (like I did day 1), you can only blame yourself. The party system is still borked and Blast trophy is still unobtainable, but nevertheless I found Battlefront to be absolutely fun. It hearkened back to N64 days for me where I didn’t need an explanation for ‘why’ I’m playing this other than I’m enjoying it. Sometimes, that’s all I need.
6. Yoshi’s Woolly World ; Adorably cute, this game succeeded where Yoshi’s New Island failed. It seemed to capture the essence of Yoshi’s Island more easily and seems to understand how to make the Yoshi series better. I wish I spent more time with this to the point that 100% everything in the game.
7. Axiom Verge ; I spent a brief bit of time with this game and got past the first boss but this is too hard for its own and it’s not very good. It’s great to see a SNES style Super Metroid like game in 2015 however.
8. Persona 4 Dancing All Night ; One of the easier rhythm games and a lot of fun too. I’m hoping to get a Platinum on this soon.
9. Adventures of Pip ; Another game where I spent a brief bit of time but found it enjoyable.
10. Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series ; Whereas Tales from the Borderlands had me liking it more than I realized, this had me liking it less. I haven’t really seen the TV series or read the books, so I found the game to be a complete turn off by the end. If this is how the mainline series is done, George R.R. Martin is a real asshole. It’s very hard to even get invested in characters when the author of the game world is intent on seeing them suffer. The game succeeds in the fact that it shows the flaws in the show/book series. As a game, it’s not as good as Tales from the Borderlands – if the story went more in that direction (where bad things happened but you felt a connection to the characters and you felt that the creators had faith in their characters), I think it would be even better. The game’s placement is a cautionary tale and a plea.
The ending of the game seems like a massive “audience fuck you” AND leads into a second season -- so House Forrester is done except for Asher/Rodrik and the chosen Sentinel, Beshka has Ryon, Gared is either marching south or still defending the North Grove (I had him defend the Grove because the Night’s Watch would kill him) and Mira is either dead or married against her will. Gee thanks.
Your numbering seems messed up. :)
 
1. Fallout 4 ; Played too much of this game to not be my top pick.
2. Rocket League ; The best MP game on next gen consoles, hands down.
3. The Witcher 3 ;
4. Battlefront ;
5. Dragonball Xenoverse; maybe the best DB game ever made
6. NHL 16 ; EA finally got it right
7. Until Dawn ;
8. Super Mario Maker ;
9. Batman Arkham Knight ;
10. Apotheon ;

In my backlog still: Until Dawn, MGS5, Mad Max, Transformers Devastation, Bloodboorne.
 
1. Homeworld: Remastered ; Although the mechanics and systems are getting fixed later, Gearbox still managed to bring to life an all-time classic series that has been locked away and almost lost to time because of corporate incompetence. The attention to visual and audio restoration while maintaining the original aesthetic is really remarkable, while some of the mechanical restoration is refreshing. I am happy that an all-time classic that is close to my heart has been excavated and made available both in its classic and in its flawed restored form to all people.
So what you're saying is Gearbox can make good games after all?

I'll have to check this out, it looks intriguing
 
I didn't get to play as many games this year but here is my list:

1. Ori and The Blind Forest; usually not a huge fan of platformers but this game looked and played beautifully throughout. easily my favorite game of the year.
2. Destiny: The Taken King; it runs out of steam in the endgame but the first two months of content were great.
3. Rocket League; such a simple concept executed perfectly.
4. Rise of the Tomb Raider; Enjoyed this much more than the first TR. Beautiful game.
5. Bloodborne; Loved the first half but thought it went downhill in the second half. My least favorite of the "souls" games but still a really good game.
6. MLB 15;
7. Rare Replay;
8. Metal Gear Solid V;
 

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!
1. Bloodborne
- What a damn game. From the atmosphere to the gameplay, to the music, to the boss design, this game is
2. Olli Olli 2
3. Rise of the Tomb Raider
4. Until Dawn
5. Tales from the Borderlands
6. Rocket League
7. Batman Arkham Knight
8. Splatoon
9. Black Ops 3
10. Destiny
Wrong formatting
 
So what you're saying is Gearbox can make good games after all?

I'll have to check this out, it looks intriguing
It's two games made by Relic in 1999 and 2003, respectively. It was temporarily lost after Sierra went bankrupt and THQ acquired Relic and the IP while subsequently just sitting on the IP. It never came to GOG or Steam for several years. It wasn't until THQ went down and under that Gearbox acquired the IP and got in touch with the old ex-Relic people to restore the game in both its classic version and its remastered version with better graphics, remastered high quality audio, and more streamlined interface. So Gearbox isn't responsibly for the Homeworld games, as such, but they are responsible for the remaster.

However, what Gearbox did with the remaster was taking Homeworld 1 and put it into the Homeworld 2 engine, which resulted in a lot of gameplay/mechanical changes that fucked up the entire balance of the amazing singleplayer campaign and some of the unit behaviors, unit balance, formations, and so on. They are still working on fixing it, which has required a lot of work apparently and presumably a new major patch is coming soon. So you could wait a bit if you wanted to relive the original experience with updated audiovisual presentation or simply play it as it is or just play the old classic versions. Homeworld 2 Remastered has always been fine, though.

Still, the remaster collection includes the classic vanilla games that can be edited to have widescreen resolution, so you should be good either way.
 
1. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; One of the best game I have ever played and possibly the pinnacle of the industry thus far. This game is unrivaled in scope, dialogues and creativity.
2. Bloodborne ; SEEK THE MOTHERFUCKING NIGHTMARE NEWBORN. This would be GOTY for me in basically any other year, just a tremendous achievement all around.
3. The Talos Principle ; The most underrated game of the past 2 years, it exists in that grey area between AAA and indie so it would never have much of an audience. It's incredible though and everyone should play it (without spoilers).
4. Fallout 4 ; 50 hours in, I have completed exactly 1 main quest. And haven't been bored. Great stuff, I'm a sucker for Bethesda games.
5. Super Mario Maker ; This is so right in all levels. I love how when you pick up a Mystery Mushroom and turn into Luigi he'll shout YEAAAAH. Christ I just love Nintendo.
6. Yoshi's Woolly World ; Fuck, forgot about this game, had to edit my list. I just love its graphics, the gameplay, the music, the everything. Yoshi is a badass motherfucker and this game is perfect to be played along other more violent game.
7. Rare Replay ; What a package, now all we need are versions of Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon, Mischief Makers and Pilotwings 64 and I may never need to dust off my N64 again.
8. Shovel Knight ; Beautiful game, can't wait to see where Yacht will go next. Love the physical edition, it comes with a big ass manual and every fucking game should do that. Fuck digital manuals.
9. Transformers: Devastation ; This game just nails it. It feels so much like Bayonetta which I expected to be weird but instead it's just awesome. I <3 you Platinum.
10. Splatoon ; I played this one very briefly at a friend's house and it looked and played awesome. Had that lovely Nintendo charm. Would probably be higher in the list if I had the fortune of playing it a bit more.
 
It's two games made by Relic in 1999 and 2003, respectively. It was temporarily lost after Sierra went bankrupt and THQ acquired Relic and the IP while subsequently just sitting on the IP. It never came to GOG or Steam for several years. It wasn't until THQ went down and under that Gearbox acquired the IP and got in touch with the old ex-Relic people to restore the game in both its classic version and its remastered version with better graphics, remastered high quality audio, and more streamlined interface. So Gearbox isn't responsibly for the Homeworld games, as such, but they are responsible for the remaster.

However, what Gearbox did with the remaster was taking Homeworld 1 and put it into the Homeworld 2 engine, which resulted in a lot of gameplay/mechanical changes that fucked up the entire balance of the amazing singleplayer campaign and some of the unit behaviors, unit balance, formations, and so on. They are still working on fixing it, which has required a lot of work apparently and presumably a new major patch is coming soon. So you could wait a bit if you wanted to relive the original experience with updated audiovisual presentation or simply play it as it is or just play the old classic versions. Homeworld 2 Remastered has always been fine, though.

Still, the remaster collection includes the classic vanilla games that can be edited to have widescreen resolution, so you should be good either way.
Thanks for the response, I'll definitely check out the game and the OT now. I'm Gearbox Intolerant, it's a sensitive medical condition, so I was surprised to see something that appeared safe for my consumption
 
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