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

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Carlisle

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Oct 26, 2006
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1. Super Mario Maker ; The game to end all games. Endless new experiences, endless ways to play, and endless fun. Creating a perfectly balanced level is just as fun and challenging as trying to beat your friends levels. It's the game that most made me lament the weak Wii U support within my inner circle.
2. Metal Gear Solid V ; The weak story is the only thing that kept this game from the #1 spot. But in every other department, the pinnacle video game series reached its pinnacle entry and left on (nearly) the highest possible note. It's one of the few games I can keep replaying over and over and get a new experience each time.
3. Splatoon ; The shooter to end all shooters. Like Rocket League makes it impossible to go back to EA Sports, Splatoon makes it impossible to go back to Call of Duty. Balanced with incredible precision, loads of weapons and different ways to play, and multiple objectives. It's the first shooter that doesn't punish you for being bad at shooters. Can't complete with seasoned trigger fingers? Just shoot the floor and walls to get points while you learn the ropes and get better. Or change your weapon and your role. Accessible to anyone, challenging for everyone, and fun for all.
4. Rocket League ; The sports game to end all sports games. I wish I could have had a tie between this and Splatoon because they both accomplish in their own genres something that's been badly needed. Rocket League finally hits that sweet spot that arcade sports games have been trying to hit for decades. Fun that can be either mindless or precise, a game where you don't have to be good at scoring goals to be successful and still have fun.
5. Yoshi's Woolly World ; I'm a big fan of the Nintendo platformer formula where the game is as challenging as you want it to be. A six-year-old kid would have little trouble blowing through the same game that a grown-ass man would be sweating anxiously trying to get 100%. Woolly World does all that better than any game since 3D World. It flew under my radar, especially after the ill-timed delay, so I expected a phoned-in effort, but what I got was the best Yoshi game since SMW2. It's also easily the most beautiful game on this list.
6. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D ; I expected a muddied 15fps mess when I read that Xenoblade Chronicles was coming to 3DS, New or not, and what I got blew me away. The best JRPG of last gen is more accessible than ever with a highly faithful port. The 3D can be troublesome during heated battles, but the performance is reliable and the graphics pop on the tiny screen. Top it off with a deep and engrossing experience and you have the best handheld game of the year.
7. Affordable Space Adventures ; A wonderfully polished, highly challenging experience brought together with engaging puzzles and one of the most brilliant uses of the game pad on the Wii U. The difficulty gets a bit out of control later on, but it's all doable if you put your mind to it. The best puzzle game of the year and best indie game as well.
8. Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. ; Valkyria Chronicles on the 3DS! Need I say more? The art style can be off-putting at times but the stylish comic book presentation more than makes up for it. Tight gameplay and exciting battles make the experience wholly engrossing.
9. Batman: Arkham Knight ; By the time I finished Arkham Knight I was very disappointed, left with the bitter taste of forced batmobile battles lingering in the back of my palette. But taking some time away and re-evaluating the game as a whole provided some much-needed perspective. Taking out the aforementioned blemish, the game was nearly perfect. Rocksteady somehow found away to make the same combat we've seen in the 3 prior games feel fresh and satisfying again. The open world provided dozens of hours of additional content, and the story was one of the best in the series. Not to mention the beautiful graphics and art that brought the whole package together wonderfully. To their credit, the batmobile battles did start out a very fun and unique experience, but they over-stayed their welcome in the worst way, which kept the game from landing higher up on this list.
10. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD ; Type-0 doesn't translate to the big screen very well, which kept it from being fully appreciated. But playing it in the mindset that this is a game built for a nearly-11-year-old hand held gives you a much better perspective on the feat that was accomplished here. Maybe that's giving it too much credit, but in any case Type 0 was a fun and engaging take on the ages-old Final Fantasy formula. Yeah, the story is nonsensical, the characters are the same vapid archetypes we've seen a million times, but the raw game experience there is something special that makes trudging through the muddier bits more than worthwhile.
 

TheWorthyEdge

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Aug 20, 2013
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1. Bloodborne ; What a damn game. From the atmosphere to the gameplay, to the music, to the boss design, this game is something else. This game gave me a sense of wonderment and accomplishment around every corner. I've seriously never played a game like it. This was also my first Souls game.

2. Olli Olli 2 ; HAHA! Olli Olli? What's that? The best damn skateboarding game EVER that's what it is. With amazing track design, and some of the best music, this game is nearly perfect. Going for a score is intense, and when you hit a 70x multiplier? YOU CRY EVERYTIME! Such a great game that I wish I would've paid for to so the devs how much I appreciated it.

3. Rise of the Tomb Raider ; This game met my expectations and a bit more. I knew it had to be good, even better than the TR:Reboot which I wasn't to crazy about and it was in every way. It's got to be one of the best looking games ever, and took my breath away around nearly every corner. The tombs in the game were ace, and the design actually made me think about how good the level design was. It was a near flawless game up until the end portion where it fell flat for me on all levels outside of story (which was great).

4. Until Dawn ; What a ride. This game knew exactly what it was. It wasn't serious, well it was but in a good way, and the humor was on point. The characters were great, and everything meant something in some way. TT needs to take note of this. A perfect Halloween game.

5. Tales from the Borderlands ; Fantastic stuff right here from TT. The one story I enjoyed to play from them. Wolf Among Us was decent but this was pure joy to play. Walking Dead was not enjoyable, simply stressful and emotional. TftB was enjoyable, fun to play, and emotional. Humor was on point. Loved this damn game.

6. Rocket League ; This game is on my list purely for the fun factor. It was so good. It has lost its luster for me at the moment but when it came out it was soooooooo great and fresh.

7. Splatoon ; I put this low on the list because I haven't played much of it but my god, if I had the free time this game would possibly have 40+ hours on it easily. Everything comes together in that game oh so perfectly. It's that perfect connection of two vastly different combinations that you don't see in games anymore. Amazing gameplay with innovation.

8. Batman Arkham Knight ; Hot damn was the presentation and the story in this game AMAZING. Gameplay was pretty damn shitty though, but I felt it was a great conclusion and the best story in the Arkham Trilogy. Batmobile whyyyyyyyyy? One of the only games where I say that the ending didn't feel rushed. The boss fights were bad, and not Arkham.

9. Black Ops 3 ; One word: story. KIDDING! It's shit, but the Multiplayer is a COD Revolution. It is amazing, and so (I know I use this word a lot) fluid. Everything, again, comes together quite flawlessly. The balance between weapons is something I have never seen before. The game is beautiful as well, and the 3 lane theory on maps is great.

10. The Order 1886 ; How could I forget this! This game was awesome. I loved it a lot more than other people. People thought that it was shallow as hell, boring as fuck, and not a game. I agree with the first as it is quite shallow. I feel like the game itself was not bad at all. It was a great tale about a story of heroes that I cared about. The supernatural elements were quite underutilized and when they were there they were not up to snuff. The gameplay was shallow though I must admit, but I felt the weight behind the weapons more so than any game ever. Each shot packed a punch, and each punch that hit looked like a full on hurricane. It was awesome. Graphics were also fantastic, and possibly the best I've ever seen. The game was unambitious but that was the point, it wasn't meant to have groundbreaking gameplay it was there to tell a great interactive story, and it was done greatly.
 
Feb 9, 2006
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1. Bloodborne
- What a damn game. From the atmosphere to the gameplay, to the music, to the boss design, this game is something else. This game gave me a sense of wonderment and accomplishment around every corner. I've seriously never played a game like it. This was also my first Souls game.

2. Olli Olli 2
- HAHA! Olli Olli? What's that? The best damn skateboarding game EVER that's what it is. With amazing track design, and some of the best music, this game is nearly perfect. Going for a score is intense, and when you hit a 70x multiplier? YOU CRY EVERYTIME! Such a great game that I wish I would've paid for to so the devs how much I appreciated it.

3. Rise of the Tomb Raider
- This game met my expectations and a bit more. I knew it had to be good, even better than the TR:Reboot which I wasn't to crazy about and it was in every way. It's got to be one of the best looking games ever, and took my breath away around nearly every corner. The tombs in the game were ace, and the design actually made me think about how good the level design was. It was a near flawless game up until the end portion where it fell flat for me on all levels outside of story (which was great).

4. Until Dawn
- What a ride. This game knew exactly what it was. It wasn't serious, well it was but in a good way, and the humor was on point. The characters were great, and everything meant something in some way. TT needs to take note of this. A perfect Halloween game.

5. Tales from the Borderlands
- Fantastic stuff right here from TT. The one story I enjoyed to play from them. Wolf Among Us was decent but this was pure joy to play. Walking Dead was not enjoyable, simply stressful and emotional. TftB was enjoyable, fun to play, and emotional. Humor was on point. Loved this damn game.

6. Rocket League
- This game is on my list purely for the fun factor. It was so good. It has lost its luster for me at the moment but when it came out it was soooooooo great and fresh.

7. Splatoon
- I put this low on the list because I haven't played much of it but my god, if I had the free time this game would possibly have 40+ hours on it easily. Everything comes together in that game oh so perfectly. It's that perfect connection of two vastly different combinations that you don't see in games anymore. Amazing gameplay with innovation.

8. Batman Arkham Knight
- Hot damn was the presentation and the story in this game AMAZING. Gameplay was pretty damn shitty though, but I felt it was a great conclusion and the best story in the Arkham Trilogy. Batmobile whyyyyyyyyy? One of the only games where I say that the ending didn't feel rushed. The boss fights were bad, and not Arkham.

9. Black Ops 3
- One word: story. KIDDING! It's shit, but the Multiplayer is a COD Revolution. It is amazing, and so (I know I use this word a lot) fluid. Everything, again, comes together quite flawlessly. The balance between weapons is something I have never seen before. The game is beautiful as well, and the 3 lane theory on maps is great.

10. Destiny TTK
- It's Destiny and the TTK was interesting as it changed some fundamentals to the UI and the economy. It lacked some majorly important aspects of what made Vanilla Destiny so great. It was still Destiny and that's why it makes my list. The gameplay is great.
Wrong formating. Use a ; between title and comment.

You might need to edit your earlier post too, because I doubt you're allowed to vote twice. :)
 

Zach

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I cannot believe the amount of people who post without reading the OP/following the formatting requirements. Haha...

I should probably work on this today.
 

curlycare

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1. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; Of the few (new) games I played last year, this was definitely the best. I just love the detail they’ve managed to put into it. This and CS:GO has taken the majority of my gaming time, which explains the rather short and underwhelming list.

2. Grand Theft Auto V ; Beautiful game with awesome single player content, and even if the online component is janky as hell, I still loved playing it with good friends.

3. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; Solid gameplay, but the story is a little disappointing. Missions get quite repetitive sometimes.

4. Fallout 4; Loved the changes in combat, as now you can play without VATS if you want. On the narrative side, I liked it better than the last Bethesda-made Fallout.
 

BiggNife

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Aug 15, 2007
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1. Undertale ; Undertale is the kind of game that left an impact on me in a way very few games do. The night I beat it, I literally couldn't sleep for over an hour because I just couldn't stop thinking about it. It is the kind of game where you can tell every single part of it was scrutinized with meticulous detail - the amount of easter eggs is mind boggling, and it feels like everything you do has an impact somehow. Plus, it does a fantastic job of using the medium of a video game to tell a story that wouldn't have the same impact in any other form. Not to mention the amazing music, legitimately hilarious dialogue, and surprisingly addictive "combat" system. Undertale is a game that caught me completely off guard and I'm so glad it did.

2. Super Mario Maker ; So here's the thing - normally I don't really care for level creators. I love the crazy stuff people come up with using them, but I never really felt inspired to make anything in games like LBP or Trackmania. But it cannot be overstated how brilliantly accessible the level creator in SMM is. You can literally create a playable level in minutes, and you can test out and iterate on ideas almost immediately. On top of that, while the curation tools aren't perfect, I love 100 Mario Challenge. Any time I've ran out of things to do I turn on my Wii U and play a game of 100MC. Being able to play a suite of Mario levels I've never played before in a bite sized chunk is the perfect time waster.

3. Bloodborne ; Confession: before Bloodborne, I was never able to get into a Souls game. The gameplay is just too slow and defense heavy for me. But with Bloodborne, I finally understand why people love this kind of game, largely thanks to the fast and viscerally satisfying combat. The atmopshere and art design are top notch, and I loved the feeling of venturing into the unknown without really knowing what would happen next. Not to mention the bosses, most of which do a perfect job of testing your skills. I'm really glad From decided to experiment with the Souls formula a little bit to try to attract different audiences.

4. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate ; Honestly, for all of the talk about Souls games being inaccessible, I think Monster Hunter is far worse. There's the fact that many weapons require monster parts that have a 20% or less chance of dropping; the fact that many key items need to be crafted and you need to use a guide to figure out what crafts what ; the insanely obtuse skill system that is confusing at best and a fucking mess at worst. Yet, despite all that, I kept playing because the core gameplay in MH4U is just incredibly fun and rewarding. Few things are more satisfying than finally figuring out a monster's pattern after struggling for ages and taking it down with ease. It's definitely not an easy game to get into, but it's worth it.

5. Splatoon ; I really had no idea what to make of this game before it came out. I appreciated Nintendo trying to do their own spin on a third person shooter, but I was worried the gameplay would be too shallow to sustain itself. I'm incredibly happy that I was wrong, and I can easily say Splatoon is one of the best multiplayer shooters I've played in years. The combination of focusing on shooting the environment while always having access to cover makes it feel completely different from anything else I've played. Not to mention the art style and atmosphere feel incredibly and unapologetically unique in a way I really appreciate.

6. Rocket League ;
I remember Austin Walker on the Beastcast at one point saying "It's hard to look cool in a video game." While that's normally true, I think part of what makes Rocket League compelling is that everything you do looks cool, even if it isn't. Even the lamest baby punt into the goal looks awesome in the slow mo goal cam. RL is a great pick-up-and-play game with friends that makes anyone feel like a pro.

7 Mortal Kombat X ; I wasn't expecting much going into MKX, as I wasn't a huge fan of MK9, but Netherrealm did a really good job of taking MK9's base and refining it into a game that feels way more fluid and accessible. Also I was pleasantly surprised to see a cast full of new characters that were actually well-designed and felt fresh.

8. Tales From the Borderlands ; As someone with little to no interest in Borderlands, I did not expect this game to grab me like it did. It's a really entertaining heist comedy with memorable characters and surprisingly funny scenes.

9. Batman: Arkham Knight ;
Honestly, horrible PC port aside, I think this game gets a bad rap. Overabundance of batmobile and crappy story aside, the moment-to-moment gameplay hooked me just as much as the other Arkham games did. And I actually really like the batmobile! I just wish there was less mandatory combat-mode sections. Also, probably the most technically impressive game I've seen on consoles so far.

10. Ori and The Blind Forest ; Hands down, the most gorgeous game I've ever played. Words cannot describe how pretty Ori is in motion; I think it's the first time I can say a game actually looks like a cartoon without any caveats. Not to mention, it's a pretty solid metroidvania with fun platforming.

x. Until Dawn ; Supermassive deserves a lot of kudos for taking the base structure of a Quantic Dream game like Heavy Rain or Beyond and building upon it in clever ways. And unlike QD games, UD actually has solid writing that doesn't take itself too seriously.

x. Downwell ;
I'm not a huge roguelike guy but Downwell rules. The ridiculously fast pace combined with the combo focus kept me going until I finally got to the bottom of the well.
 
1. Bloodborne ; Incredible atmosphere, music, gameplay. No other game has had me at the edge of my seat, sweating palms and tearing up after beating a boss after so many hours spent.

2. The Witcher 3 ; I love the world, the character interactions are very interesting and engaging. Easily one of the best open world games I've played.

3. Black Ops 3 ; Would never have imagined I would ever pick up a COD game ever again especially over a game I was more interested in. MP has been a blast, I love the mobility involved, but mostly, I really love the bot modes which so many FPS seems to lack.

4. N++ ; Nearly forgot to add this game. Great platformer and been a huge fan of N since ages. Colours have added so much to the game as well.
____

4. Journey ; Gorgeous looking game. Love how people manage to interact and finding out the amount of players at the end. $20 for a 2 hour game wells spent.

5.Tearaway Unfolded
; Beautiful game, Fun to play, and perfect for letting my younger siblings play through

6. Uncharted Nathan Drake Collection ; Very great work done on this collection. I enjoyed UC1, I found UC2 to be one of my most favourite games of all time, but was let down by UC3.

7. GOW3 Remastered
; As a remastered, I feel that there wasn't as much effort as the other remastered games released but as for the game itself, never been blown away by such game on a huge scale before.

Pretty good year for me despite a few massive disappointments.
 
Feb 4, 2014
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Chile
Finally, after a whole day of gathering thoughts and writing, I have my first contribution ever to a GOTY voting thread



1. Bloodborne ; As a long time Metal Gear Solid fan, it had to take something truly special to take the first spot on a year where a mainline MGS was released. Sure, the competition was strong this year, but the winner is just clear as day. Bloodborne was my first “Souls” experience ever, as much as I got turned away from the previous games because of their apparently ruthless nature, this time I just couldn´t resist that fantastic presentation and artistic design shown in each of the trailers, and this game delivered in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

Sure, the gothic horror setting was sublime and it was elaborated with exquisite attention to detail, but there is just so much more to love in here. The lore is just some of the best I have seen, not only for games, for any work of fiction ever, it just manages to tell so much, without showing barely anything. A combat system that is relentless and brutal, yet also strategic and methodical; but above all, so immensely fun and satisfying. One of the best collections of bosses in recent memory, whose fights are made even more epic by being coupled with an astounding orchestral score. And of course, the feelings…
The feel when you discover an incredibly useful shortcut in each of the masterfully crafted levels, the feel when you find an amazing item or weapon, the feel of overcoming a really tough section or enemy through the power of perseveration and “getting gud”. There is just nothing like it. Hell, even the Chalice Dungeons are great.

This my game of the year, because it also inspired me to finally try the other games in the series (already beat Demon´s and Dark Souls which I deeply enjoyed as well), and also because it sort of restored my faith in videogames, in an era in which there is just so much crap that gets in the way of just having a good time.

Bloodborne, the GOTY, the best PS4 exclusive so far, the game of the generation so far, and easily among my top 5 of all time.



2. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; Years will go by, and the fact that Kojima couldn´t get to properly finish this masterpiece shall be remembered as one of the greatest sins of humanity. But even if the story was severely flawed, no one can tell that MGSV is not an excellent game, because it is, and the only one of its kind.

A true technical marvel, showing that 1080p/60fps open world gaming is not a dream anymore, accompanied with a sensation that very few other games can offer, even after playing for more than 50 hours, I can´t shake the feeling that I just barely scratched the surface in terms of gameplay possibilities, it is just that colossal of a game. I can truly understand why longtime fans may be upset with MGSV, nevertheless, Koji Pro still gave us a beautiful parting gift, maybe just not in the way many of us were expecting.




3. Star Wars Battlefront ; I was seriously craving a good multiplayer shooter, and I also happen to be a mild Star Wars fan, so this just came right in time. This was also one those games that gave me some serious “next gen feels”, playing Walker Assault at 60fps, on the forest moon of Endor was like a dream the first time, the kind of which you don´t give credit to what you see, yet you also don´t want to wake up from.

The simplicity of the core mechanics, while hated by many, I find it to be its greatest strength, simple, but also addictive and fun, both on large and small game modes. And while it may be lacking on content and with some balance issues, the little that you get is insanely polished it will have you hooked for quite some time.



4. Life is Strange ; A Telltale-like game, but without all the jank, and with a fairly grounded setting, but also with time traveling included. It just instantly grabbed my attention when it was released, and it managed to hold it all the way to the last episode.

The tale of Max Caulfield is one that made explore many emotions, and confronted me with situations that showed me some of the best and worst that mankind has to offer.
It´s an expertly crafted story with many memorable characters, dialogues and moments, with a cherry on the top in the form of a very distinct visual style and a soundtrack selection that is just perfect.




5. Rocket League ; One the best additions to PS+ ever, if not THE BEST, I absolutely had no expectations for this game, but I guess that worked wonderfully in this case. The “simple and addictive” duo once again won the day. My whole body vibrated with each goal and each amazing save, and even when I lost, I was still having a good time.

Although, you don´t get much content variety, that doesn´t stop it from being my personal revelation of the year, and one the best indie games I have ever played.




6. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number ; The playable fever dream that was the first one gets a sequel that is even more chaotic, relentless and psychedelic. Fast paced action that put to the test my twitching reflexes like no other game out this year, and the one the most blood-pumping soundtracks ever made, that somehow even surpasses the original.

It certainly accomplishes the objective of a sequel in the way that offers so much more variety and quantity, but it is also divisive in the way that it handles gameplay, forcing you in many situations to take your time and clear the level as carefully as possible, instead of the sheer recklessness of the first game. I take it as a positive though, because that way we can enjoy two different experiences within the same world.

But, if there one thing where this definitely beats the first title, is in difficulty, I felt as if the easiest level of HM2 was harder than anything that you could find in HM1, but, again I see that as a positive… …kinda.



7. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt ; Have to be honest here, I haven´t completed the game, I was really beginning to feel really overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that the game had me to do, and also a bit annoyed by some of the technical issues that unfortunately plagued the game on release. (PS4 version) But still, I managed to put almost 50 hours into this. That just says an awful lot.

This is one the most wonderfully realized open worlds in gaming history, every corner of it is filled with an staggering amount of lore and things for you to discover, and the overarching story is one the most engaging and well written I have ever experienced so far, wasn´t enough to keep me playing (the least than decent combat was too much), but deep inside I´m feeling an itch to come back to this, and complete the journey.




8. Batman: Arkham Knight ; After the magnificent heritage of the previous games, this one had it all to become the definitive superhero videogame, the absolute best in its class. But all fell apart for one very big and specific reason, the dreaded Batmobile, you just can´t base the last entry of a successful franchise, around a completely new feature, that isn´t that great to begin with, and just ignore many of the things that made the previous games such instant classics in the first place.

But it still makes it on my list, because it has a thoroughly constructed world with mighty impressive graphics (despite that the UE3 showed it´s age at certain occasions), and from time to time it happened to remind me of the essence and charm of the Arkham series, with some awesome setpieces, villain interventions and moment to moment gameplay.




9. Everybody´s Gone to the Rapture ; One thing that I´m grateful for in this generation, is that is has opened me doors to completely new game types for me, one of those being the “walking simulator” genre.

There is just something extremely unsettling about this marvelously rendered and realistic world, totally devoid of any human life as I found out in my first steps during the game. Also this might be the least interactive “game” I have ever “played”, but just exploring and learning about the individual stories of each of the characters and their interactions is what makes so special.

We also get yet another magical orchestral soundtrack to add to the books of last year.



10. The Order: 1886 ; Extremely short and terribly non-ambitious in both story and gameplay, the only reason this makes my top 10 is because I really didn´t play anything else that was new this year.

If could say anything good about this, is that it´s without a doubt the most impressive graphical showcase you can find in the PS4. It also has some decent 3rd person shooting mechanics and terrific voice acting.

That would be all, If you managed to read all that, my sincerest thanks.
Long live to 2015, and let´s hope than 2016 is even better.
 

wingz

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Sep 16, 2011
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1. Bloodborne ; My first 'souls' game, and what an experience it was. So many highs with the great feeling of accomplishment, while at the same time, so many lows, where you can't get passed a certain part. Gameplay is king to me and this game delivered that gameplay I was so craving.
2. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; The story playing a back seat compared to the gameplay did not bother me at all, since the gameplay was first class. The best stealth gameplay ever.
3. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt ; Excellent game. Sort of dragged at some moments, but once I came to Skielliga, I started to love the experience.
4. Yakuza 5 ; Excellent story telling, with great boss battles.
5. Tales from the Borderlands ; Best Telltales game for me (even better the TWD Season 1) and THOSE INTROS. Best in the business (Especially intro to Episode 4).
6. Batman Arkham Knight ; Great game, but weak Arkham game. Lacked great boss battles, like those of the previous entries.
7. Ori and the Blind Forest ; Excellent platformer, with exceptional art.
8. Tearaway Unfolded (PS4) ; A great game to play, when you just want to relax.
9. Grand Theft Auto V (PC) ; Excellent PC port.
10. The Order 1886 ; Great graphics, that shows what the PS4 is capable of, but not much other than that.
 

Zach

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Mar 28, 2013
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1. Yakuza 5 ; Such a great, wonderfully immersive series. Goofy and awesome, Yakuza 5 is just fun fun fun.
2. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; My favorite series of all time, Metal Gear Solid V is impossible to get a hold on. Immensely disappointing, yet incredibly satisfying to play. Who knows out of ten?
3. Tales from the Borderlands ; Who could've predicted how great this game would be? Everything but the game engine is excellent.
4. Ori and the Blind Forest ; Lovely. I'll try not to hold against it the lack of New Game Plus/not being able to 100% the game after beating it.
5. Undertale ; Clever, cute, and consistently interesting. Undertale is a must-play. And what a soundtrack! Surprise of the year.
6. Batman: Arkham Knight ; I didn't think I cared to play anymore Batman games. I was wrong! This game felt like the complete package. Even if the Batmobile took a bit of getting used to, this game played great and looked even better.
7. Rocket League ; Here's another surprise! My son and I had a blast with this game for a few weeks. An old-school approach. Pure fun.
8. Life is Strange ; Probably the game I was most emotionally invested in this year. Great music and unique atmosphere/characters.
9. Super Mario Maker ; If I was younger and had a better imagination, this would probably be higher. Still! We've had a lot of fun playing Miyamoto. Sure, sometimes our levels are uninspired messes, but when everything clicks and you make a level to be proud of, that is fun to play... amazing!
10. Rare Replay ; The R.C. Pro-Am games alone deserve a nod. Great value! We've played through most of the games chronologically, and it's super fun to just jump in and see what each game is all about, and to see the evolution of a studio.

Honorable Mentions
x. Mad Max ; It was nice to play a competent game in the world of Mad Max.
x. Skiing Yeti Mountain ; iPhone game suggested in this very thread! It's a ton of fun!
x. Guitar Hero Live ; Good on them for changing up the guitar! And the Guitar Hero TV thing is fresh. Haven't played enough to warrant Top Ten status, but it could have legs.
x. Rise of the Tomb Raider ; Man, that snow looks amazing! I've barely played this, though, so I can only honorable mention. >_>
x. Until Dawn ; Looks great, just haven't been able to play a lot.
x. Fallout 4 ; Seems Fallout-y. I haven't been able to play it enough to really get invested, though.

Award for Game I Didn't Play Because It Hasn't Been On Sale Digitally (Xbox One)
Rock Band 4 :(
 

paul187

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May 26, 2010
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Toronto
1. Super Mario Maker - I never thought I'd get as addicted to making levels as I have been. I thought my majority if time would be playing other people's levels. So far I've been having way too much fun creating stuff and watching people play my creations. This is the game I always wanted as a kid.


2. Metal Gear Solid V - Despite all the negatives, and there are a lot of them, this fame still managed to suck me in for 70 hours. I never devote that kinda time into single player gaming anymore. Almost a perfect game if it had a more cohesive story and more variety in missions.


3. Undertale
4. Life is Strange
5. Ori and the Blind Forest
 

ohlawd

Member
May 28, 2012
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www.neogaf.com
1. Super Mario Maker - I never thought I'd get as addicted to making levels as I have been. I thought my majority if time would be playing other people's levels. So far I've been having way too much fun creating stuff and watching people play my creations. This is the game I always wanted as a kid.


2. Metal Gear Solid V - Despite all the negatives, and there are a lot of them, this fame still managed to suck me in for 70 hours. I never devote that kinda time into single player gaming anymore. Almost a perfect game if it had a more cohesive story and more variety in missions.


3. Undertale
4. Life is Strange
5. Ori and the Blind Forest
use ; instead of - between your game name and comment
 

StormBrute

Member
May 3, 2014
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1. Xenoblade Chronicles X ; XBX is interesting. As a huge fan of the first game, I can't help but be disappointed by how much a departure it is, but at the same time I can't help but be enthralled by what it does go after. Honestly, it is such a bizarre game in so many ways, but I think what ultimately brings it together for me is this: this is the first open-world RPG where I had fun with the actual gameplay, and wasn't just dealing with the gameplay to get to the other content. The depth – and fun – of that gameplay was enough to carry me for over 160 hours, whereas I've dropped every other open-world RPG under 10.

2. Splatoon ; This is the first multiplayer shooter that I actually have been able to get into. It's an absolutely amazing time and a fresh new take on a genre I had grown bored with.

3. Bloodborne ; I've played through every Souls game to completion now, and this is really just more of what I like about them. What makes it stand out beyond the fast and bestial combat is just how brilliantly the themes and lore are intertwined into the gameplay, surpassing even Dark Souls I's implementation.

4. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D ; Having been a fan of the original game, I was anticipating this for quite some time. All-in-all, I find it to be quite an improvement that justifies its existence.

5. Downwell ; I think I picked this game for 3 or so dollars, and it honestly blew me away. It was just fast-paced, frenetic fun that I really appreciated.


x. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; Having not completed the game, I can't say for certain whether I will love it or be massively disappointed by the end. For what it's worth, I love the gameplay so far, and that's worth the honorable mention for me.
 

Jucksalbe

Banned
Oct 31, 2007
10,664
0
0
So, my vote this year is gonna be rather long, so I'll use roman numerals for the ranking (and "-" for honorable mentions) and reverse the order, since that seems to be common practice for votes that takes multiple posts (sorry, this will be three posts, even though I was very close to cramming this into two posts). Plus since I don't want you spending a minute just to scroll past my vote, I'll skip the huge banners and instead provide you with some imaginary ones in case you really miss them. Let's get started then.


{Here, imagine two small but determined looking spelunkers (one female, one male), scared, looking into a pit that will soon be their doom}
-) Spelunker World
Really enjoyed this when it was released in Japan. Granted, I don't know Japanese, but for a game like this that doesn't matter much. I just didn't understand some of the microtransaction aspects of the game. They aren't really needed anyway. Compared to Spelunker HD, Spelunker World is much more player friendly. The controls feel better, and it's just overall easier. There's some grinding involved to get new equipment which in turn is needed to reach some places (which so far were all optional) and it seems there's some places you can't reach playing alone, at least I didn't find another way to keep switches pressed. That's a bit of a shame, since I rarely play games like this online and I don't imagine the community for this game to be all that big anyway, I haven't checked. Spelunker HD's online mode was pretty barren after a weeks, though. When the game was finally released in English and I switched to that version, I had to start over and I kinda lost interest in the game, I didn't even catch up to where I got in the Japanese version.
Anyway, at its core this is still a Spelunker game, that means a simple, but somewhat challenging platforming game. I enjoy those, so this gets an honorable mention from me.


{There's a beautiful landscape here, colorful, vast, and in the right corner, a bit in the distant, you can see a skell (=mech), broken, smoke is coming out, lying near some ridiculously huge monster}
-) Xenoblade Chronicles X
The world they give you to explore is wonderful, it's unlike anything I've ever seen before in a game. Just flying out of the city and everywhere you want to go without any (noticable) loading times is simply amazing. Also the map on the GamePad works really well. But that's about everything good I have to say about this game, but it's enough to at least earn it a spot on the list of honorable mentions.


{There's a somewhat frightened little Toad waiting for Toadette to rescue him}
-) Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
An immensely charming puzzle game that already stands out for being a (almost) full-price retail game in a world where puzzle games are relegated to cheap download games. That means for once, it's a puzzle game that not only plays excellent, but also looks excellent and there is a lot of content to play through. My only real complaint is that I found it rather easy, but that's only a minor complaint. It also seems part of Nintendo's year of extremely cute games (along with Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush and Yoshi's Woolly World), this is one game you can play just to feel a bit better about the world.


{To provide you with a realistic programming experience, imagine a person, kinda tired looking, staring at a computer screen, hand on his or her head, looking slightly worried}
-) TIS-100
It's nice from time to time to get back to the basics of things. Though, of course, it's not down to the very basics, there is an "add" function, at least, along with some other "convenience" functions, but still. I like how the limited lines of code in each module force you to take a modular approach to solving at least some of the puzzles. The very limited storage available made me want pull my hair out sometimes. But without all these limitations it would be a rather boring exercise and if they instead had increased the complexity of the provided problems it would have been a lot less approachable for anyone with no or very few programming experience. It would have been nice if you could save single modules to use in later puzzles, though. But I think you can at least use copy&paste as a workaround if you really wanted to. Having all the explanations only in the manual was a nice touch, that familiar feeling of always having at least one (probably huge) book next to you to look stuff up.
Anyway, I really enjoyed going through all these problems and I admit I found some of them rather challenging. It was a nice experience, but now let me go back to my world in which something simple like memory addresses actually exists, thank you.


{Well, of course, this can only be that one happy chibi Miku gif RurouniZel always posts}
-) Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX
Chibi Miku! If that already has you rolling your eyes, this is probably not the game for you. Everyone else should give it a chance, because it's a pretty nice rhythm game. My only real experience with the series is with the two Project Diva games and even among those I mostly only played the first one. Compared to that, Project Mirai is very different. Sure, the basic principle of hitting notes in rhythm is the same, but the change in how these notes are presented leads to a very different feel of play. Well, to be precise, there are two very different modes just within this one game. There's "tap mode" which is similar to the touch controls in Theatrhythm. You slide the stylus in the direction shown. But there's also a more traditional "button mode" that uses the four face buttons as well as the joypad. In theory you could even play "button mode" with a stylus since the buttons are also on the touch screen, but really, who does that? Both these modes have very different note sheets (unlike Theatrhythm), which makes it worthwhile enough to try both for every song.

But even the "button mode" that is much closer to the style of the Project Diva games (with no star notes, thankfully), feels very different. Notes aren't flying in from every side, but appear along a fixed path (though that path can run all over the screen), which personally I feel is less confusing, but somehow harder to react to, especially when there's a sharp corner. On top of that, the game uses a lot more notes even on "normal" difficulty, which seems to stem from the songs simply being longer. At least it feels that way to me. And the frequency of notes is just higher. I didn't think the game was harder to complete than Project Diva, but it's certainly harder to get a "perfect" on each song, well, at least for me. It took me a bit of getting used to, but after playing it for a while now, I think I prefer Mirai's play style over Project Diva's. But on the other hand, I found the music selection a bit weaker here, even though there are a lot of songs. I guess that's a matter of personal taste.

Oh yeah, and it includes Puyo Puyo! Even though it's not exactly a very nice version of Puyo Puyo, it's still Puyo Puyo in the West! Also there's plenty of other stuff you can do on the side with your character, but I never cared about that stuff, not in Mirai and not in Project Diva. It's certainly not getting in your way, if you don't want to use it.


{A lonely Splatoon player, female avatar, still struggling to keep the camera in the right position, about to get killed again}
-) Splatoon
I thought the single player mode was a lot of fun, though a bit repetitive, but the online multiplayer part, which is the main part of the game, showed me again, that I rarely enjoy playing games online. I couldn't really get into that mode and ultimately that meant I dropped the game rather quickly. But it's certainly a very unique game and it's good the genre sees a slightly different approach.


{A microwave, floating in space, some clocks around it, also imagine the Doctor Who music playing in the background and a Chron-O-John somewhere, a bit on the side}
-) Steins;Gate
It's kinda hard to write much about a visual novel without revealing anything about the story and I certainly don't want to spoil anything here, but there's still a few aspects of the game I want to mention.

First and foremost: The characters. It's strange. Most of them have a few very annoying traits either in the way they constantly avoid discussions with delusional fantasies or just in the way they talk, but at the end of the game, I still liked most of them. I guess with all their flaws they seemed a bit more real than your all-powerful and all-knowing mysterious character you often encounter in many other games. And that's despite the characters all fitting into some kind of anime stereotype, which the game happily reminds you of again and again. The main character especially often makes you want to punch him in the face. He gets less annoying the more danger he is in, but just when you think he finally dropped his antics it starts all over again. Given this character is basically the player I would have expected some more reasonable behaviour. But in the end you get used to it.

Everything in this game is revolving around otaku culture which I just can't get into, despite me being a big fan of Japanese games and (some) anime. And with that it sadly doesn't avoid some of the standard fare like unnecessary fan service, but it's not that much that you can't overlook it, if it bothers you too much. The only real disappointing aspect about this is that the second half of the game turns into what's basically a dating sim and in the end everyone's actually secretly in love with the main character for no good reason.

Choices in the game are rare and even fewer of those are actually meaningful. From time to time you get text messages from your friend and you can choose which topic to reply to. Most of those don't change anything or just lead you to some bonus CG. A few are actually relevant for determing which ending you'll get, but the game isn't very transparent about that. That's just half of the endings, though. The other half is decided by you taking the right action at certain times, these are a lot more easy to identify. Thankfully, you can fast forward through sections you've already seen, which makes getting the endings you missed easy and fast, as long as you know what you have to do. There's a good flow chart out there if you want to use it (just don't use it on your first playthrough). Save on a different slot from time to time.

But of course the most important part of a game like this is the story. It's rather well done. Basically it's about a bunch of kids accidentally inventing some kind of time machine and them dealing with the consequences of their actions. It doesn't shy away from difficult scientific topics, which is always a good thing, and it does a very good job of mixing real world events and theories with fictional ideas. Thankfully the glossary explains both and always marks stuff as “fictional” if the game made it up. You'll be surprised at some of the stuff that's not marked “fictional”. The focus of the story often shifts to essentially meaningless stuff, which I guess is meant to lighten the mood a bit, but it can feel too much like filler at times. On the other hand, those give you more time with the characters which in turn brings you closer to all of them and makes some of the later events all that more emotional. And there are some scenes that are gonna make you cry.

Sadly, and despite judging the player as intelligent enough to cope with difficult topics, the game is a bit too happy to drop hints for future story twists. Most of the important parts are easy to figure out long before they happen. So you often just wonder when they finally decide to reveal what was obvious long ago and it some cases this happens more than 10 hours later and is still treated like a big surprise. Less of those hints would definitely have led to a bigger impact of the story twists later on. But I guess if you somehow missed those hints it's all the more satisfying to discover them on a second playthrough and see that “it's always been there”.

One final complaint: The line wrapping in the PS3 version (can't compare it to other versions) is horrible. It makes text messages very hard to read and even the normal text box often wraps to a new line when it really shouldn't. You get used to it, but it's still an issue that could have easily been done better. On the other hand, the translation itself is excellent with hardly any obvious errors.

So, overall I liked the story and after over 40 hours of playing the characters really grew on me, but there are plenty of annoyances and other small issues that keep this from being in the same league as, say, the Zero Escape series. Still, definitely give this a try!


{Sweaty, confused, someone is looking at a computer screen (again!), a woman can be seen, for some reason she's playing the guitar, must be YouTube}
X) Her Story
A very unique approach to adventure games that works so well because of Viva Seifert's great performance as the interviewee. The way you experience the story can basically go any way, which means you don't have to wait for a revelation of the main character about something you knew hours ago, you just go along with all your hunches and see what comes up. This technically means you can find some major plot points way before you should and long before you have the proper context, but it's a story you probably will want to find out all the details about, so you'll keep going nevertheless. The game lets you decide when to end it on your own as soon as you've learned a few important points, so you can dig in as deep as you want to and you'll probably will be able to find more. It's a story that works well within the structure of this game, which is why I wouldn't recommend this as a template for other games, but it is a very unique experience I hope many people will try out. It's not a long game and it's rather cheap to get, especially since it's on sale often. So please give it a try.


{There's a huge tower, at least there might be, most of it seems to be underground, the hero of the game is still down there as well, so mostly you don't see much except a bit of a tower}
IX) Brandish: Dark Revenant
As a PSP release in 2015 this didn't get much attention when it was released early last year, but as you probably expect from Falcom this is a pretty solid game. It's a dungeon crawler (third person), a bit similar to the Shiren series, though not as punishing. Basically all you do for the whole game is climb an underground tower, trying to reach the surface. There's plenty of traps and mapping out a whole floor gives you bonuses that you'll be glad to have later in the game. Plus, there's some pretty sweet music, check my Soundtrack of the Year vote for some examples.
 

Jucksalbe

Banned
Oct 31, 2007
10,664
0
0
{It's your biggest nightmare, all of the amiibos, including those very cuddly yarn Yoshis and it's slightly angrier looking dad, have come out to haunt you!}
VIII) Yoshi's Woolly World
I've played through the whole game in co-op mode, which is a lot of fun, but certainly not the way the game is supposed to be played.

But first things first: It looks great, every detail from the enemies to the way platforms look and work fits within the woolly theme. It all looks perfectly adorable, though I still think Kirby's Rainbow Curse has it beat in that regard.

You now throw wool instead of eggs which leads to some new applications but overall it's still the same game as its predecessors (with multiplayer!). Eat enemies, throw wool, collect a lot of stuff. Each level has 20 stamps (which are basically hidden in the same way as the red coins in earlier games were), 5 balls of yarn (which give you a new Yoshi (i.e. costume)) and 5 flowers (which unlock bonus levels) to collect. So there's plenty of stuff to find and good reasons to replay a level once you're done. On top of the Yoshis you get from each level, you can also get new costumes from amiibos you scan, most of the currently available ones are supported as far as I know. Luckily, the game remembers which amiibos were scanned and you can switch to those costumes in a special “amiibo hut” and you don't have to scan the amiibo every time you want to use that costume. That, of course, also means you could scan the amiibo of a friend if you need a specific costume.

The game isn't particularly hard, at least in co-op mode, but it can get frustrating at times. There are no lives and you only get reset when everyone dies at once, but it often happens that one of the players is too far off the screen and then automatically “dies” (which means you're transformed into a flying egg until the other player touches you again). There are also many different things in the game that were clearly designed for single player and can get very hard to use with two players. Like the dog Poochy that runs in the direction you're facing when you're on top of him or towards you when you're not. With two players it regularly gets confused and you have to coordinate a bit to get him where you want him. Stuff like this happens regularly, but because you have infinite lives, it doesn't matter much in the end. On the other hand you have some advantages in co-op, like being able to reach platforms you couldn't on your own or, since it doesn't matter much if one player dies (apart from him losing his wool), you can jump into pits to get stuff which would usually be harder to reach. So overall, there's an upside and a downside to co-op mode, just be warned that it might make you scream at each other from time to time.

The levels themselves are pretty fun and varied. Most levels have one central theme they keep to. Bosses do repeat, but at least they play very differently when they reappear. Still, more unique bosses would have been nice.

The music is generally upbeat and fits the “fun” nature of the game. It's nowhere near the trainwreck that was Yoshi's New Island's OST. It immediately puts you in a good mood instead of, well, whatever negative feelings Yoshi's New Island stirred up inside of you.

The game also uses Miiverse to display other people's messages in the loading screen of each level and on the map in the form of Miis that are standing around. It's nothing new, but it is pretty fun to see other reactions to the levels you're playing beforehand, though there can be spoilers for item locations.

So overall, it's very much recommended for fans of the other Yoshi games or for anyone that enjoyed Kirby's Epic Yarn. It's probably a little bit harder than Epic Yarn, so if that was your main concern with that game, you should still give Yoshi's Woolly World a try.


{It's either a sex scene or something very violent, just please don't imagine both}
VII) The Witcher 3
I didn't know very much about the Witcher series before I played this game. I did play the first game for about 8 hours, but that's it, I never played the second game. This can be a bit of a problem in The Witcher 3 since the game kinda expects you to know about places and characters, at least you can look up some things in the glossary. The character descriptions in there help a bit, but there are still plenty of comments and references that mean nothing to a newbie. There's also a scene that lets you choose what happened in the previous games, but it's mostly a “I let person xyz live” and you've probably never heard of this person. But in the greater scope of things it doesn't matter much, the game is very much enjoyable with no knowledge of the other games. I certainly enjoyed it.

First off, the game looks amazing. I played it on PS4, so it wasn't exactly the PC's maximum settings, but it's still wonderful to look at. Watching the trees bend in a storm when you're in the fields of White Orchard or Velen, the huge city in Novigrad that's only really rivaled by the Assassin's Creed series in scope and detail or the amazing mountainous landscape in Skellige, it's all simply beautiful. Even the characters mostly look pretty nice, the important NPCs (and there are quite a few) all look very different and are easy to recognize, minor ones at least look more detailed than in most games. This isn't a Bethesda game, that's for sure.

The main story stays in the background for most of the game, it really only vamps up in the last fourth of the game, before that it's mostly “find that person” and everything you do is just for following vague leads. It doesn't really matter, though, because the characters you meet along the way and their own stories make up for it all. My favorite being the Bloody Baron, who is an asshole, but he is so well written (+ great VA!) and multifaceted that it's a joy to listen to all the conversations with him. And the conversations are probably what most impressed me about this game, they actually took the time to make them enjoyable on every end. From the excessively sarcastic main character, to the constant swearing (and worse), you never get the impression you're talking to a stupid puppet. There are plenty of sidequests to follow, after a while I skipped many of them and I still played this for a long, long time. It's a huge game, so you'll find plenty to keep you busy here. Not sure why anyone even needs an expansion pack.

Combat is good. There are many different options on how to approach a battle between different magic (use Axii!), many combat items like bombs or the plain brute method that allows blocking and dodging. On the standard difficulty it never really gets all that hard if you keep to the main story, but you can always challenge yourself off the road with higher level enemies. Since most of the experience in the game comes from finishing the main quest, you can probably just rush through the game if you really want. There are also options to create potions and similar stuff through alchemy or let actual craftsmen forge weapons and armor for you. That way all the small crap you pick up along the way has at least some use. Luckily weight isn't as much a problem here as in many other RPGs since you can upgrade you weight limit to a very comfortable point and most stuff doesn't weigh all that much.

One other thing that stood out to me was the way the game handles sexuality and profanity. You'll see plenty of nudity, especially when in Novigrad and often just as decoration. They usually fit right in with the environment, it never feels gratuitous or bothering and even the sex scenes are handled rather tastefully for a video game. It gives the game a much “mature” feeling than, say, the way Bioware handles it in their games. Profanity is often used in a rather natural way and fits the characters when used. It's just unusual to see it used so casually in a video game, but it's handled pretty well.

I can't say the same for the violence, though. I personally felt they went overboard here and after a short while I at least turned off the automatic finishers. That doesn't remove the violence, but it reduces the amount of sadistic camera angles you get to see. You'll still chop people's heads off and cut them in half. An option to turn that down would have been nice.

And while I'm discussing the negative aspects: there are two other things I wanted to mention: First the really uncomfortable menus. This probably comes from this being a PC series and with a mouse these probably work fine, but with a controller they take too long and the bigger your inventory gets the longer it takes to load the stuff under each tab.

Second: The bugs. I encountered many bugs during my playthrough, nothing that hindered my progression through the main story, but one blocked me from completing a side mission, others forced a restart because some options suddenly weren't available anymore (like diving). I played most of the game on version 1.08, so there were already plenty of patches to fix things and still these bugs remained. It's a shame, and maybe later patches fixed some of that. Compared to what Bethesda put out (especially on PS3) it's all pretty mild, though. Don't let this stop you from playing this game.


{Oh look! It's some of the nice Dragon Quest monsters, well, there's certainly quite a lot of them, looking closer they might not be as friendly as you thought, the tension's rising}
VI) Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below
As a big fan of both Omega Force's games and the Dragon Quest series (hey, since you're reading this: please check out the Dragon Quest community thread!) this game is made for me. And while it's a pretty nice game, unlike Hyrule Warriors last year, this isn't a simple copy of the Musou formula with Dragon Quest characters. The biggest variation probably is the focus on much smaller areas that most of the time involve some area or person you have to defend at all costs. I admit I don't like this style of play as much as I do the usual "get out there, run around the map and wreck everyone in your way", but to compensate the game adds some new features like the ability to use magic and the monster medals that let you summon monsters to protect certain areas for as long as they last or give you other temporary bonuses.

The cutscenes are great. Probably largely thanks to the excellent localization, that keeps the style they introduced with Dragon Quest VIII. Listening to both main characters argue is always a lot of fun, as are the comments of most of the old Dragon Quest characters. It's just a shame they didn't include anyone from Dragon Quest VII, but it seems they fixed that in the sequel (which I really hope will get localized, I hear the first one didn't do so well saleswise). In general the tone of the game is more funny than serious and it fits it well. I mean it's a story about many different characters from different "dimensions" coming together. This kind of story never works well, if it takes itself too seriously. Hyrule Warriors, on the other hand, has your standard fare cutscenes, that were kinda there, but also kinda boring and rather often feel like they're just keeping you from playing. In Dragon Quest Heroes I was looking forward to every new cutscenes, with my favorite probably being the silly one close to the end where
you get to see Healix's dad explain the Circle of Light
.

The music is your standard Dragon Quest tunes. As far as I can tell there aren't even any arrangements specifically for this game. So if you're a fan of the series, you probably heard it all before (or some of them if you've played Fortune Street), a shame really, they could have gone for some very different sounding arrangements.


{Some very relaxed looking car, yes, car, just driving on a rather curvy road, it's a bit sad, it so wanted to be a Ferrari, it's just a car, though}
V) 3D Out Run
Probably the best home port of the game. The 3D effect looks wonderful and the new music tracks fit the game surprisingly well (see my SOTY vote). All the different unlockables also make it easy for everyone who's not very good at this game (like me) to finally see all routes, though after some practice, I at least managed to get to the first two goals on default settings. I love all of the arcade ports they did for the Sega 3D Classics series, but this is probably the best one they released, along with Galaxy Force 2 which was on my list last year. Get this, if you have any love for old arcade games or fun video games or music. It's a perfect for a handheld. I don't think I have to say much more about Out Run itself, I hope.


{It's Mario! Looking at a rather funny looking contraption of spikes and lava and mean looking walls, it looks like he's sliding his finger along some kind of tablet thing, he seems a bit annoyed}
IV) Super Mario Maker
I guess it's surprising it took Nintendo so long to realize this more than obvious idea, but then again the WiiU was probably the perfect opportunity to do so. The GamePad is basically made for this, it might have been rather cumbersome to use on previous consoles, be it with pointer controls or even worse with standard controller inputs. With the GamePad it's very easy and intuitive to use (mostly) which makes this the easiest to use level editor in a console game I've ever used. It doesn't take long to create a somewhat playable level, even if some people seem to invest even less time going by some of the stuff that's available online.

It's also Nintendo's first console that has something resembling a proper online framework which allows them to provide a semi-decent way to share your levels. Most of my time with Mario Maker was spent during the release weeks, so I'm not too familiar with what their new "bookmark" service provides, and from what I've heard it fixes some of the problems the game by itself still has, but even then it could and should have been easier to find levels made by people on your friends list and even if you follow someone they missed the option to notify me if one of those people uploads a new level. At least sort them by who uploaded something recently. Oh well. A community feature within Miiverse like Mario Kart 8 has would have been nice as well, I guess that's what GAF is for then (thanks to daydream for managed the game's OT!).

But still, the core of it all is great. Making your own Mario level in your preferred Mario style is a lot of fun. It even brings a lot of new styles to the series, like airship and ghost house themes for the original Super Mario Bros., they fit in well. And even if it's sometimes hard to find something worthwhile online, if you know where to look, you have a (seemingly) infinite amount of great levels at your hand, which means you can lose hours upon hours just playing random levels. It's like surfing YouTube when you're bored. From what I've seen, they also added speed running statistics, so I hope this encourages people to keep a proper rhythm for their levels in mind.

They went a bit crazy with their amiibo and overall costume support for this game, which is kinda surprising given they are only supported in one of the four play styles, but it's a nice and sometimes total bizarre thing to include. Luckily there's the option to unlock stuff without owning the corresponding amiibos, even if it can be a bit infuriating. But it's there, and that's more than most (all?) other Nintendo games offer. Hopefully it's something they keep in mind for their future games.
 

Jucksalbe

Banned
Oct 31, 2007
10,664
0
0
{It's a nice looking island, lots of nature some buildings here and there. It's rather peaceful, but remember: enemies might be invisible here}
III) Resident Evil Revelations 2
This game is probably my biggest surprise of the year. Sure, I expected a somewhat good game, a bit like the first Revelations, maybe, but in the end I enjoyed it a lot more than any other recent Resident Evil game, I'd even say this is the most I enjoyed a new Resident Evil game since Code Veronica.

Often enough the fanbase tends to divide the Resident Evil games by “classic” play style (so more like the first Resident Evil games, with a bigger focus on adventure aspects and exploration) and the newer “action” play style that started with Resident Evil 4 and is more of a linear experience that focuses on combat. The first Revelations already tried to mix both of these styles in a somewhat weird way of having a main portion that's closer to the classic style and some side chapters that are more action focused, which even involved shooting down a huge amount of Hunters that the first Resident Evil so carefully tried to show as an extraordinary threat.

Anyway, my point here is: Don't judge Revelations 2 by trying to put it into one of these categories. It's a different thing, it's something of its own and clearly also draws some inspiration from horror games outside its own series.

The delivery method is a bit special and I can't say all too much about it. I bought the PS3 retail version that already comes with everything and a few bonuses, but from what I understand the digital version can be bought separated by the in-game chapters or as a Season Pass and some of the costumes and characters that come with the retail version are extra. I'm not completely sure about that, just keep in mind that everything I'm writing about is the content of the retail version.

The game is split into two different, very distinct parts: Story Mode and Raid Mode.

The Story Mode is divided into four chapters and each of these chapters consists of two subsections that have you play as Claire and Moira first and as Barry and Natalia second. Claire and Barry both play more or less the same, they are the standard Resident Evil characters that run around and shoot.

Their partners however are very different. Moira can't shoot (for story reasons) and is therefore on “flashlight duty”, that means she will light the room and she can use a crowbar to defend herself and open blocked doors. The flashlight can also be used to find hidden items, similar to how you could scan for items in the first Revelations. I haven't played the game in coop mode, but I guess this means the second player could get a bit bored with this. On the other hand it works as a good atmospheric tool when you play alone. If you do play alone, your partner is AI controlled, but at least this time you can switch the character you control at (almost) any time.

Natalia on the other hand is just a little girl, so all she can do to defend herself is to throw bricks that she finds lying around at enemies or try to smash monsters with them. But more importantly, she can detect nearby enemies even through walls. So if you use her, the game becomes more of a stealth game where you're slowly moving forward and try to avoid enemies or at least prepare them for Barry to easily take down. It reminds me a lot of how the Siren games play. It very much feels like the scenes in Blood Curse where you going through the hospital with the girl. It works very well. There are also enemies that can't be seen at all with Barry, so you have to coordinate with Natalia to hit them. If Natalia is AI controlled, she'll shout commands like “shoot!”, “more to the left!”, stuff like that.

And speaking of the enemies, there's actually quite a bit of variety here, that behave differently and often require a different approach to how effectively kill them. It's definitely a step up from the first Revelations. There are often sections with hardly any enemies or no enemies at all, so overall the game's on a slower pace than say Resident Evil 5 or 6, there's also some actual puzzles here.
The story is interesting enough, Claire and Barry don't explore the island at the same time, there's a few months between them. So you often get to revisit areas that are now in a different state, kinda like you got back to the prison island in Code Veronica later on and everything was falling apart. It's an interesting concept, but it's also a very obvious budget decision. You're often retreading the same paths, but personally I thought it always felt different enough to not get boring. And speaking of lower budget: it is a blessing in disguise. Resident Evil 6 was a cutscene driven mess, I guess they felt they had to put in as many action scenes and bombast as they could, but all this is cut back a lot in Revelations 2 and it makes for a far more interesting game. And it means Revelations 2 isn't such an overly long game as the last few main games were. There are also two other side chapters that aren't part of the main story. They have you playing as Moira and Natalia, respectively. I only played the one with Moira so far, but it's an interesting change from the main game. In this you have to catch food first to have more tries for later chapters. And if you don't have any food left, you have to start over from the beginning. Which isn't as punishing as it sounds, since this can be completed in under an hour. It also adds a bit of back story.

The other big part of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is Raid Mode. It's similar to the same mode from the first game, but with a lot more options and a different grading system. Or basically no grading system at all, since there are no ranks anymore. The stages are taken not only from this game, but also from Resident Evil 6 and the first Revelations. Maybe there are others, but I haven't finished Raid Mode yet. So basically a session of Raid Mode works like this: You select your character, your weapons and skill setup and a stage. In each stage you have to kill a certain number of enemies and reach the goal. A stage probably last you around 5-7 minutes, which means you can easily get into that “just one more” high. There's no puzzles or story or anything like that. Just shoot everything down. You can level up characters, get better weapons, customize weapons and distribute skill points to unlock new skills or upgrade skills. Basically it's all a big grind, but it's pretty fun, perfectly suited to play a few stages now and then. It might be a bit too monotonous if you're playing this for hours at a time, but you really shouldn't. To unlock new stages you have to earn medaillons, which you get by clearing stages in specific ways. These are by playing on or below the suggested level (you can adjust your character's level if you want), don't use herbs, kill all enemies and just for clearing the stage. There's also a fifth medaillon you get for fulfilling all these criteria in one run. It's mostly not that hard to do. And finally like other Resident Evil games before it, you can also exchange data with a special website. There you can unlock special in-game items (couldn't see anything especially interesting though), find friends and view a bunch of statistics (most importantly your play time!). It's an interesting concept, which they probably could do more with, but it's fun just to browse it from time to time.

My main negative about this game are the load times. At least on PS3, it's checking for a bunch of things on startup like DLC, compatibility packs, connection to the website. Stuff like that. And then it does it again when you start Raid Mode. It can get a bit annoying, especially when you just turned on the game to play a quick session in Raid Mode. In-game load times are no problem. Also it can be pretty weird how much the Story Mode and Raid Mode are separated. Even costume unlocks only count for one of them, and they each have a different currency used for unlocks, there's hardly any connection at all. Probably has to do with how the game is sold digitally.

I really liked the game, it's atmospheric, it plays well, the characters are interesting and Raid Mode is a fun addition. Very much recommended! Give it a try!


{A beatiful scenery, a lighthouse in the background, a girl standing on the beach, looking closer you see a football flying right at her, better do this again}
II) Life is Strange
Life is Strange doesn't innovate so much on gameplay mechanics as it does in tone. Where The Walking Dead tried to integrate action into the genre without complicating things (in contrast to, say, Alone in the Dark) and therefore becoming more hectic, Life is Strange is an incredibly calm and relaxing game without relying on complex puzzles like in the earlier days of the genre.

Choices are there, but you can always just rewind if you don't like the outcome of your decision and choose a different option. Those choices aren't always about big things, most of the game is spent getting to know all the characters, forming friendships, building an emotional bond. That's not to say your decisions don't have consequences, they usually do, but they are rarely obvious and often it'll change people's behaviour towards you much later in the game when you least expect it. This leads to more believable and interesting characters, though not always is their motivation shown subtly, which can result in some awkward writing that follows the basic formula of “If….then…else”, but those cases are in the minority.

What you hopefully have to get used to at first, is the way people talk. These are mostly young people and that's why you'll hear a lot of weird words. So you better get used to “wowser” or “hella”, but the good thing is you will and in the end it only adds to the characters since their speech patterns are largely preserved throughout the game and the main character is very aware of her own behaviour and often comments on it.

The game centers around photography and art which is presented with so much care and detail that those have to be subjects especially dear to the developers. Later on in the game you're visiting an art gallery that has so many different and interesting paintings that you can spend a lot of time just looking around, it actually feels like you visiting an exhibition after a while and not just serves as a background. The game also takes a lot of inspiration from movies which you can see in their carefully chosen camera angles and presentation, but also in references and maybe a bit too close recreations of certain movies.

The most wonderful and most unique idea in this game are the resting places. You'll often find a bench or some other place to sit down and collect your thoughts. The main character then proceeds to comment on her current situation at first, but you can just keep sitting down while the camera pans around the environment and relax as much as you want. It does a wonderful job of changing the pace. You can also often just turn on music and listen to it as much as you want.

The music is great, it's a mix of licensed tracks and original music for the game, that are all well suited and are playing a big part in setting the calm mood of the game.
Now that it's over I realize how much this world and its people have grown on me. I really feel sad that it's done like I rarely do after I finish a game. It felt like a rather personal journey in a way that similar games have failed to achieve and I want to congratulate Dontnod Entertainment (a developer studio I personally hadn't heard of before, but Remember Me really is so easy to forget) for making this very special game.


{There's a bridge, somewhere in the background there's a small boat, a man is standing on top of it, it seems he's playing a lute?}
I) The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - Second Chapter
First and foremost this is exactly what's advertised, a “second chapter” in the Trails in the Sky series, meaning most of the basics from the first game remain the same here.

The battle system is still largely the same, they added some craft combos that involve multiple characters, but those didn't seem to matter all that much, at least I didn't care about them or use them very often after their first introduction. But even so, I enjoyed the combat in this one quite a bit more, which probably has something to do with my mood or the fact I played this right after Zestiria which features rather hectic combat with barely any time to think things through. SC's combat is slow and bosses tend to have just a bit too much health and drag on a bit because of it, but it's fun to make up strategies for regular enemies to defeat them without getting hit (there's no actual bonus for that, though) or to experiment with your equipment and materia quartz setup to make a seemingly impossible boss fight trivial.

Similar things can be said about the game's music. Much of it is taken from the first game, still I enjoyed it more this time around. This has a lot to do with how many of the first game's areas are revisited here. About two third of the game takes place in towns and dungeons you've already seen. This is both a good and a bad thing. They all won't feel as fresh as they did the first time around and it can feel like a chore visiting them one by one again, but it allows Falcom to let you see what happened to many of the characters, major and minor, from the first game and to show you more of their personality. Some of the NPCs standing around in towns get more backstory than your typical RPG's party member. You'll soon get attached to the world in a way few other games managed to accomplish. The closest comparison I can think of would be Dragon Quest VII.

And this is also where this series' biggest strength lies. It's not about the main story, which is interesting and will keep you motivated, though somewhat cliché, but about the characters, their behavior among each other, their personality and just their general view on the world. It's written in a way, that makes them believable, they react in a way you'd expect a real person to do, they're not stiff puppets moved around the world to make sure you're at the right place at the right time. If you look back at the beginning of the first game after you finished the second, you'll see how all these characters changed in response to everything that's happened to them, and not just because they now have a shinier armor or because they learned about the importance of friendship.

The overall story does a good job of not only concluding what's happened in this game, but it also weaves the story of the first game into it and even prepares some stuff that's probably going to be important in later games on the side. At the end you'll leave the game satisfied, but there will be a lot of loose ends that should keep you interested to play the next game, should XSeed ever get the chance to localize that one. Not all's great, though, since there are some bigger pacing issues especially in the first half of the game. The first half consists mostly of revisiting areas you already know and getting introduced to one of the supervillains in each chapter. The structure is a bit too similar in each chapter which makes everything feel repetitive and can be rather boring at times. The second half improves on this in a big way and the final payoff is more than worth it. Though even then there's one chapter that has you go through four very similar dungeons in a row with mostly the same enemies with changed elemental properties. Even the characters themselves later admit that this chapter was rather pointless. You can't win them all, I guess.

With all the big stuff out of the way, let's talk about the smaller details:
- There's a casino! Yes, that's important. It's a bit easy to get a lot of chips and the rewards aren't all that great, but it's a lot of fun to play, since it all works pretty fast. You can easily lose a few hours here, at least I did.
- The animations are great. You'll see a lot of hugging.
- Experience point distrubition is rather annoying. Basically the higher your level the less experience you get from an enemy. It means that often even when you get to new areas enemies will hardly give you any experience at all, sometimes making it meaningless to engange enemies at all. You still get sepith from them, but those just don't feel as important as experience points. It's great for when you want to level up an old character you haven't used in a while, though, but then again I feel this would have worked better with regular experience distribution and shared experience for inactive party members. As it is it just means you'll probably start avoiding enemy fights in later chapters.
- The difficulty is uneven. It's not the ever increasing climb you'd expect. From my experience the first few chapters feel rather hard and some of the optional fights can be downright brutal, but after that it gets easier and easier. Only in the final chapter does the difficulty ramp up again, so at least that one's the hardest, as it should be.
- Speaking of which, the final chapter is awesome! I don't want to spoil any of it, but let's just say, you could make half a game out of this.

So overall, I really love this game, probably even more than the first one. It's a bit of a dilemma, though, since with that much repitition it feels like you should play this quite a while after you finished the first game, but if you want to get the most of all the side characters you meet, you should still remember them, which means you should play this as close to the first game as possible. I guess the conclusion of it all should be: Play the damn game (and play the first chapter first)!



So, once again, for the parser:
1. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - Second Chapter ; An amazing experience with an excellent soundtrack.
2. Life is Strange
3. Resident Evil Revelations 2
4. Super Mario Maker
5. 3D Out Run
6. Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below
7. The Witcher 3
8. Yoshi's Woolly World
9. Brandish: Dark Revenant
10. Her Story

x. SteinsGate
x. Splatoon
x. Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX
x. TIS-100
x. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
x. Xenoblade Chronicles X
x. Spelunker World
 

GamerJM

Banned
May 19, 2013
11,842
1
0
California
Ah I don't even know if I'm going to be able to make a list this year. Voting ends soon and there are still games I want to play and don't feel comfortable making a list without having played.
 

Shantom

Member
Oct 20, 2011
2,030
0
0
1. Rocket League ; This is the most fun I've ever had in a multiplayer game, and it's the first game I've been interested in just watching matches too. It does a far better job of making you feel like part of a football team than FIFA or PES's standard modes. I've already played more than 200 hours, and I expect I'll play it for years to come.
2. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Second Chapter ; In any other year, this would be top. A great conclusion to FC, continuing on with great worldbuilding, a wealth of NPC dialogue, and great characters. Every single character feels like they have a place in the world, and the brilliance of Estelle and Olivier, among others, makes this a contender for the best cast in any RPG. The writing also shines in the side quests. Some uninspiring dungeon design, and an iffy Chapter 7 are my only problems with it.
3. Life is Strange ; Improved on Telltale's formula impressively.
4. Her Story ; A refreshing take on detective games, it's a good change of pace to be arguing just in your own head.
5. Contradiction - Spot the Liar! ; The 2nd best FMV game of 2015, and that's actually pretty good this year! Great characters improved by hammy acting is the main draw here.
6. Cities: Skylines ; The first city builder I've put a fair amount of time in to, and I enjoyed it. Traffic is suffering.
7. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 ; Terrible PC port, but it's still the best musou I've played.
8. Paint it Back ; An excellent Picross game with great variety of difficulty. It's just very well done in all respects.
9. SteinsGate ; Had some great moments, but I felt the ending wasn't strong enough to make it truly exceptional.
10. Grandia 2 Anniversary Edition ; As expected, it has a great battle system, but it's slightly marred by pathfinding issues. I'd heard the writing was awful, but it's more hit and miss (more miss as the game progresses) than terrible, so I guess that's good.

x. Grand Theft Auto V ; Big return to form after the dreadful IV. This would've been 4th in my list, and it's the first time I played it, but I feel it's had time to shine.
x. Squarecells ; A good brainteaser, but it's a bit more fiddly than Hexcells, and is a bit short. Squarecells+, if it happens, will be an amazing game.
 

jepense

Member
Aug 10, 2006
702
0
0
Finland
1. Splatoon ; Splatoon is probably my game of the generation. The only other online shooter I've really enjoyed previously was TF2, and Splatoon tops it easily. Splatoon drops the violence of typical shooters and creates a fresh mix of shooting, platforming, stealth and tactics, topped with a cohesive presentation. This year, whenever I've played a game, I've found myself wondering whether I'd rather play Splatoon instead.
2. Super Mario Maker ; Mario maker is an amazing tool. I've done small scale game design since my teens (including a Mario hack) and Mario maker brings the joy of design and creation to everyone. Good design is not easy, but Mario maker makes it very easy for anyone to let their imagination run wild.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D ; Majora's mask is my favorite game of all time. The only reason I don't rank it higher is the fact that this is a remake of a game I've beaten a dozen times already. The brilliance of Majora stems from its world, which is twisted and desperate yet rich and meaningful. Majora does not cheat you to think your actions are meaningful - you do have direct influence on the world and the fates of its people.
4. Kerbal Space Program ; I haven't played much Kerbal this year, but I cannot ignore it if this is the year it is eligible. Working in science and engineering, the theme of the game speaks to me, and Kerbal delivers on the concept. It's hard to find a game that offers greater feelings of accomplishment.
5. Xenoblade Chronicles X ; My favorite aspect of Xenoblade was the exploration and scenery porn, and X delivers this in spades. The lighter emphasis on story is only a good thing in a JRPG.
6. TIS-100 ; SpaceChem is one of my favorite puzzle games of all time, and TIS works on the same programming/optimization gameplay. Programming is fun in itself, and Zachtronics knows how to gamify it.
7. Yoshi's Woolly World ; Woolly World is as good as Yoshi's Island - a brilliant platformer.
8. Cities: Skylines ; Skylines is the best city builder in years, and I've always been a fan of these kinds of god simulators.
9. Undertale ; Undertale reminds me very much about Mother games with its theme of innocence and determination and weird but charming world. As an RPG Undertale is mediocre, but it has very interesting metagame elements with how it plays on our knowledge of how RPGs are supposed to work.
10. Boxboy! ; I was surprised at how good a puzzle game boxboy is given the apparently simple mechanic it builds on. It also has superb design from the aesthetics to gameplay and level design.

Honorable mentions
X. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows ; Shovel knight is sublime, and Plague knight is cool too. But I count it only as DLC, so it's not in my top 10.
X. Axiom Verge ; This is a very good game, and I'm surprised it's not in my top 10. I love my Metroid, and Axiom Verge is basically it. The main reason why Axiom falls short of the greatest Metroid games is the lacking sense of progression as you advance in the game. You never quite feel like you are becoming more powerful or that you are getting closer to your goal.
X. Life is Strange ; This is a good adventure game, but after hearing all the hype about it, I was underwhelmed. There are some cool puzzles, but a lot of the gameplay is just collecting stuff. You also have no agency over the time travel mechanic as far as the plot is concerned, which means you can't actually travel through time. Majora does time travel much better. Still, it's good enough to get a mention.
 

JDHarbs

Member
Mar 23, 2013
3,769
0
0
Kansas City


1. Ori and the Blind Forest ; The single most beautiful game I've ever played in more ways than just the looks.
2. Her Story ; The most creative way of telling a game story that I've seen since The Stanley Parable.
3. Rare Replay ; 30 years of gaming history for $30. This is simply the greatest collection of games ever put together, and unlike most others it isn't a buggy mess.
4. Star Wars Battlefront ; I waited over a decade for this game, and it almost lived up to the hype...almost. It absolutely nails the Star Wars aesthetic and feel. It just needs more there to justify the price tag.
5. Halo 5: Guardians ; Hated the campaign. By far my least favorite in the series, but this is the best Halo multiplayer has been since 2007. Plus, free DLC.
6. Batman: Arkham Knight ; I've had a hard time coming to terms with how I feel about it. In some areas, it's the best in the series. In others it's the worst. A solid conclusion to one of my favorite series.
7. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege ; I didn't buy the full game yet, but I put more time into the Alpha and Beta than just about any other game I played this year.
8. Undertale ; I haven't finished it yet, and I'm liking the goofy style so far, but the gameplay continues to feel like it's getting in the way.
9. #IDARB ; It literally came out of nowhere as a Games With Gold title and became the most addicting game I played this year.
10. Broken Age: Act 2 ; I enjoyed Act 1 a lot, but I'd place this higher if it wasn't just more of the same. This game suffered from being split into two parts.

Honorable Mentions
x. Rise of the Tomb Raider ; This would've been near the top of my list if I hadn't only played the demo. Just waiting for the PC release.
x. Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist ; The name is longer than the game.
x. Life Is Strange ; I only played the first episode so I can't properly add it to my list, but I enjoyed what I played.
x. Grim Fandango Remastered ; I have a thing about putting remasters on my GotY lists even if it's one of the greatest games of all time.
x. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 ; Again, another game I enjoyed after the first episode, but didn't get around to fully completing.
 

Ozium

Member
Sep 3, 2007
11,199
0
915
Minneapolis
1. Xenoblade Chronicles X ; love the world, exploring is great.. piloting a mech is a dream
2. Contradiction - Spot The Liar! ; amazing FMV game,, Jenks is the best
3. Splatoon ; refreshingly fun
4. Super Mario Maker ; this is like a dream come true for me
5. Rocket League ; fun and addictive
6. Pillars of Eternity ; marked a resurgence in CRPGs
7. Yoshi's Woolly World ; best Yoshi game since the original
8. Undertale ; nicely told tale
9. Her Story ; interesting study in narrative constructs
10. Assault Android Cactus ; pure arcade fun
 

bigkrev

Member
Mar 12, 2009
17,346
1
855
1. Life is Strange ; A game that came out of nowhere to me ended up being my favorite experience of the year. I love school settings, something that is rote in Japanese games, but still rare in Western ones, and even though the concept of a college-like private high school isn’t something that I have experienced, it allows the developers to fill the game with gleeful amounts of Teenager bullshit and pretention while keeping parents out of the picture. I have –nothing- in common with any of the characters in this game- and that’s great! The rewind mechanic is used in some interesting ways (such as learning something, then starting a conversation over and using what you learned before), and used very well as a storytelling device. While the game has some issues- there is a bottle collecting puzzle in episode 2 that might make you walk away from the game forever, there is an awful stealth sequence in episode 5 that, while short, is infuriating- the important stuff all comes together in the end. I thought I was done with these narrative focused episodic games after The Walking Dead Season 2- now I can’t wait to see what Dontnod does next.
2. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; I did not expect to play this game, coming into the year. MGS3 was a game that repelled me every time I tried it, which meant that the copy of MGS4 I bought the day I got my PS3 in 2009 had never been played. After watching Drew and Dan play through MGS3 on Giant Bomb this spring, I finally sat down this summer and played MGS4… which is actually the best game that I played this year, but this is only a list of games from 2015. When I finished in August, It was merely weeks away from MGSV’s release, and I couldn’t have been more pumped to play it. And once it came out, the game consumed me. This was the first game in ages that became something I spent all day at work thinking about what I was going to do as soon as I got home. As someone who hates open world games, the way they structured the missions and the side ops really helped my enjoyment. The only issue? I could not finish the game. I reached Mission 45, and spent over 8 hours hitting myself over the head with it unsuccessfully before quitting the game, and going to youtube to watch the ending. The fact that I could not quit out of the mission (like every other mission!) means that I will never be able to go back in and continue my game, which is really disappointing. This was shaping up to be one of my favorite games ever, but due to that horrific, impossible mission, it ended up not even being my favorite game of the year
3. Hand of Fate ; As a lover of CCGs, gamebooks, and Batman combat, I feel like this game was made just for me. I love the way the smaller narratives in this game are told- encounter a card, clear it, and unlock the next card in the sequence to be played in a future game. The star of the show is the mysterious dealer, who takes a Star Trek TNG Q role of just taunting you while progressing you on in his narrative game. I really hope this game gets a sequel which cleans up some of the jankier elements- the Trap rooms are pretty rough, but for a developers first attempt at a real game, it really comes together well.
4. Rocket League ; Not much to say here. It’s the best multiplayer game of the year, scoring your first goal is about as exciting as losing your virginity, and the fact that the game was free on PS4 led to a very healthy community that still goes strong today. If I’m only going to play a game for 15 minutes, Rocket League is the first thing on a console I’m going to fire up.
5. Splatoon ; The spiritual successor to Jet Set Radio I never thought I was going to get. Had most of my time with this game not come at the launch, meaning game modes and maps were very limited, this would have been much higher on my list. That said, the game has a style like nothing else on the market these days, and soundtrack is something that will stick in your head for weeks after playing.
6. Madden NFL 16; This game is on the list for 1 reason- Draft Champions. They finally found a way to make me give a shit about Ultimate team, by taking the Arena format from Hearthstone, and applying it to Football. And in a rarity for EA, they didn’t fuck it up with microtransactions (it was completely free), and they gave it constant updates with cool themed cards- the 9 foot tall Clay Matthews I had on my team around Halloween was awesome! If your team sucked? You just had to play 1 game before you could jump back in the queue to draft again. They even managed to Trojan horse me into playing Ultimate Team for the first time, by providing rewards that carried over to that mode. I really hope that NHL gets this mode next year, because it’s the best thing to happen to sports games in years.
7. Superbeat: Xonic ; I love rythem games, but I suck at them. So why am I putting the hardest of the 3 major ones released this year (Persona 4 Dancing All Night, Project Mirai) on the list? It has the best, most varied soundtrack. The range of stuff, from idol pop to punk music to EDM, is all original and really impressive. While I found the other 2 games too easy for my liking, there are plenty of levels and options here to scale the difficulty- I can’t imagine playing 6 track songs at this point, but that will change as I continue to improve
8.The Beginners Guide; My favorite “walking simulator” of the year. Enjoyed the dark, fucked up story, and I got Goosebumps at the end when the line about
”stop putting lighthouses at the end of my games”
comes up. I can understand why some people thought it was real.
9. Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist ; It’s been a long time since we have had good Yu-gi-oh games- the last WC game on DS was in 2011, the last few PSP tag force games were left behind in Japan, and the 3DS game we got was feature incomplete. Enter this PS4 game, which features a fun story mode that lets you play with all the decks from the TV shows, Sealed deck and Booster draft play with multiple battlepacks, robust online play, and remote play functionality to finally put a Yu-gi-oh game on Vita. Of all the games they released on PSN this summer, this was the one that consumed the most time.
10. Picross e6 ; Nintendo has spent this year attempting to murder the Picross franchise. From wasting time with another awful 3D Picross game, to putting out Pokemon Picross, a game that demands you use in-game cheats in order to unlock items, it hasn’t been a good year. Picross e6 has a nice variety of puzzles, and has the best bunch of Mega Picross puzzles of all the e-series games.
 

Heel

Member
Nov 30, 2006
21,040
0
1,045
1. Life Is Strange ; A look at American Generation Z through the quirky lens of a French developer. The setting, soundtrack and charming characters all lend themselves to creating a unique tone, and sense of melancholia not often, if ever explored in the video game medium. This is an experience I'll remember for years to come.

2. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
3. Rocket League
4. Bloodborne
5. OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood
6. The Beginner's Guide
7. Tales from the Borderlands
8. Her Story
9. The Room Three
10. Grow Home

Honorable Mentions
x. Gwent, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
x. Until Dawn
 
1. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; A common answer but for good reason. So much about this game blew me away, and on top of that it had one of the best DLCs I've ever played this year. GOTY!
2. Undertale ; I didn't even know about the game until it came out, and didn't play it for two more months after that, but this one has really stuck with me. There's few games that I not only love, but can point to and say "man, I wish I could say that I was the one who made this."
3. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; In some ways this game disappointed me (story mostly) but there's no denying how good the core gameplay is.
4. Bloodborne ; Probably my favorite Souls game.
5. Life is Strange ; Such a cool and unique thing, with a type of writing we don't often see in games.
6. Destiny: The Taken King ; NEVER thought Destiny would bring me back after how much I hated the original game, but goddamn did they fix this thing with Taken King.
7. Rainbow Six Siege ; Very unique and intense multiplayer shooter. A real surprise.
8. Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition ; So many great additions here. Hopefully it's a sign of more DMC to come.
9. Rocket League ; Great, fun game. Again, a real surprise.
10. Transformers Devastation ; Every year needs a great Platinum game and this year was no different.

Honorable Mentions
x. Fallout 4 ; This would be on my list had I played more of it, I'm sure.
x. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D ; I bought and played the original Wii game this year and loved it, and also bought this version of it. One of the best JRPGs I've played in years.
 

depward

Member
May 3, 2007
2,547
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0
Vancouver, WA
1. Splatoon ; such a surprise. Fun SP and truly great mp. A game I can enjoy as can my 5 year old nephew.

2. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D ; tried playing on Wii and didn't stick. Found this version to be great and is the first RPG I've beaten in years.

3. Rocket League ; knew that if people played it, it had a chance at being popular. PS+ was the best thing to happen to it.

4. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate ; great version of Monhun.

5. N++ ; an insane amount of levels. The creators poured their heart and soul into it. Difficulty ramps up a bit too early and too much but still had fun.

6. Life is Strange ; beautiful game and loved it.

7. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer ; yes it's not a full fledged AC game. The tweaks they made for designing and the ability to get amiibo cards in there for your favorite characters was great.

8. Metal Gear Solid 5 ; a fine game but a poor MGS game. I appreciated it for what it was.

9. Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival ; yes it's true! This was the only game to hold my daughter's attention. Being able to unlock buildings and invite characters with cards was a fun hook to play.
 

Eusis

Member
Apr 15, 2011
36,667
1
605
Didn't quite get to play as much as I'd have liked this year, but I think I probably played enough to at least chip in.

1. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Second Chapter ; I don't think it quite lived up to my hopes, but kind of like Christmas when you're a kid if you work yourself up to a certain level then it may be impossible to match those expectations anyway. But it's still a great game and one of the best experiences I've had with a more standard JRPG in years. Definitely hit a spot that few if any newer games were hitting, and I suspect the only one to hit that will be other Trails games (and in a somewhat different way Dragon Quest, but look at how long it takes to get a truly new one!)
2. Bloodborne ; More of that Souls-style greatness that only FromSoftware can nail well. I actually didn't like this as much as I did Demon's Souls or Dark Souls, but it's still one of the best games I played this year.
3. Xenoblade Chronicles X ; I splurged a bit thanks on this (and Super Mario Maker) due to BestBuy having a Nintendo sale and wanting something special for Christmas I'd dig into sooner than later, and after lowering expectations it definitely hit a sweet spot for me. It's got a great world that really feels alien to explore, and that's something that I've sorely missed with more open games, especially RPGs.
4. Super Mario Maker ; I didn't really expect that much from this for some reason, but trying this in-store showed me it'd have more surprises than I expected, and even if I'd want some other options/features it's great to have effectively infinite Mario stages in an official capacity.
5. Axiom Verge ; Probably the best Metroid-style game from outside of Nintendo themselves since Symphony of the Night. Many others were letting me down in small or big ways and didn't really capture that magic, but this one definitely came the closest with it's mysterious story and alien setting.
6. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; Haven't gotten to spend too much time with this (could have been higher otherwise) but I definitely can see the signs of why it was so highly praised, and feel that regardless of how it stands compared to Witcher 2 it's definitely one of the high points of open world RPG gaming. More so than I thought Fallout 4 ultimately was.
7. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate ; Don't have too much to say here for now (need to get back to it) but it definitely has been some of the most solo friendly Monster Hunter has been.
8. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; The story from what I saw and spoiled myself on has been a huge letdown, but the gameplay's definitely great.
9. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin ; I don't really like voting in something that's just an update, but I didn't vote last year and this was rearranged so I'll go ahead and throw it in. Dark Souls II again, but mixed up a bit to be refreshing to those of us who already played the heck out of it last year. If it weren't for wanting to get into newer (to me) games I'd have probably put in more time.
10. Fallout 4 ; Well, it's still a very enjoyable game, but from what I've played so far I definitely have the sinking feeling that quests outside of main ones will be far less interesting than they were in Fallout 3, and either way Bethesda hasn't exactly lived up to the legacy they've inherited. It's been more like Bethesda's done a great job infusing a Fallout flavor to their brand of open world RPG than really create Fallout followups.

Honorable Mentions

x. Etrian Mystery Dungeon ; It's an interesting hybrid of Etrian Odyssey and Mystery Dungeon, but funnily enough feels easier than either of the two ever do.
x. Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector ; ... :3
x. Undertale ; This would probably be on my list if I had played more this year, but it's definitely something special, that much I can tell from what I played and some of the... odd bits posts have been hinting at.
 

Floody

Member
Dec 4, 2014
4,144
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0
1. Bloodborne ; It was my first time really having a go at a From ARPG, and I'm soo glad this was the one I did, as I love almost everything about, from the gorgeous (and a lot of the time terrifying) art syle, to the fast, fun and rewarding combat, bosses, enemies, and even the story. Also some of the best level design I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

2. The Witcher 3 ; Great characters, great stories, great world and an absolutely great game that has set the new standard for WRPGs. Gwent was also great too, and would probably make my top 10 if it got a standalone release.

3. Tales From The Borderlands ; The game completely blew my expectations away and made me eat crow. Likable characters, great story, amazing "villain", fantastic cast and a lot of memorable moment. TellTale's best work.

4. Dying Light ; I went into knowing very little, but left having had an absolute blast, the story is completely forgettable as are the characters, but just parkouring around with friends drop kicking zombies of buildings is too fun.

5. Assassin's Creed Syndicate ; It won't pull you back if you are tired of AC, but the world and protagonist are some of the best in the series and there's a lot of good missions, though they relie too much on taking a hostage.

6. Metal Gear Solid 5 ; It's also one my most disappointing games of the year, but the game is just so fun to play , that it makes up for almost everything else underwhelming.

7. Rise of The Tomb Raider ; Doesn't do a lot of new things compared to the reboot, but improves on almost everything, if they get a decent writer and cut off a lot of the bloated parts, it could be 1 of my all time favourites.

8. Rocket League ; Just pure fun, nothing more.

9. Until Dawn ; A pleasant surprise, went in expecting the worst and ended up playing it for about 7 hours straight. How no one (that I can think of anyway) thought of this first blows my mind.

10. Mario Maker ; I suck ass at creating levels, but seeing what the community can do more then makes up for it. Just wish I could find more well design levels that aren't super hard or easy.

All in all 2015 was an amazing year, there's soo much more I could list, but I think these 10 are the ones that I'll look back the most fondly. Hopefully 2016 can come close.


You need to fix the formatting, see the OP.
Thanks for the heads up!
 

charlequin

Banned
Oct 19, 2005
26,635
1
0
This year proved to be pretty unusual. For a number of reasons (mostly personal, covering a big range from significant to arbitrary) what I played looked a good bit different this year than is typical for me: a lopsided platform selection that leaned almost entirely on PC titles, and no big, giant, sprawling RPGs (and barely any RPGs at all.) Despite all that, I found the year extraordinarily rewarding; I had to struggle to cut to 10, and all my honorable mentions are games I would recommend without hesitation.

What didn't make it into consideration: All the top RPGs this year -- Xenoblade Chronicles X, Trails in the Sky: Second Chapter, Witcher 3, and Pillars of Eternity. All of these are games I'm pretty confident I'll enjoy when I get to them, and which would have been strong contenders for this list in most years. Invisible Inc. is a bit different, but similarly is something that most years would be near the top of my list and I just didn't have time to dedicate to this year. (And then there's a few other assorted things like Stasis and Soma that I haven't gotten to for more random reasons.)

What did manage to soak up 100+ hours: Terraria, which after years of ignoring I finally picked up at Nirolak's insistent urging this year, conveniently enough just after the massive 1.3 content patch. I had an idea of what this game was beforehand, but that idea proved woefully incomplete. I'd pegged it as just a building/crafting sandbox, instead of what it actually is: a rich and complex builder-RPG, with a tough boss progression, complex equipment system, and a shockingly good random-world generator. Until I finally defeated the final encounter I couldn't stop thinking day in and day out about the next fortress upgrade I'd build, or how I'd craft a complex system to farm for an item I wanted, or just how to beat the next crushingly difficult boss. This game really speaks to the challenges of this annual GOTY thing -- I'd want to go back and retroactively make this my GOTY 2011, except that so much of what I loved about it was added in through four years of content updates to that original game that I don't think 2011 Terraria could have even notched the list.

Now, onto my proper vote.


1. Undertale ; I hesitated a little bit on this pick -- I mean, what a cliche, right? But looking at it over and over I don't see how I could possibly pick anything else. The superficial pitch for Undertale -- a lo-fi RPG, heavily inspired by Earthbound, where non-violence and queerness are major themes -- sounds like it could so easily be a ghastly experience that cares more about The Discourse than being good on its own merits. And there's so many places Undertale could so easily tip over that line... but it never does. So often games that try to take after Earthbound just ape its superficial aspects, but Undertale manages a much harder thing and captures the essence of what makes the Mother games classics, while still being as much uniquely Toby Fox's work as Mother is Itoi's. The setting is strange, subtle, and interesting; the characters are richly written and you feel unusually close to each of them when you finish the game; the music is full of a ridiculous number of clever nods and references, but still entirely fresh and brilliant. But most importantly, Undertale has something to say about the process of playing games that's new and special. When I finished what you could call the "true" ending, I had an experience something only one other game (the incomparable NIER) had produced -- I felt compelled to make a choice about how I played the game (in this case, to stop and leave it exactly where I left without "going back" to do anything else) based entirely on how I felt about the game's narrative, its story and characters, and my emotional connection to them. That's a hell of a feat and for all these reasons I'm going to be thinking about -- and heartily recommending -- this game for years to come.


2. TIS-100 ; I am a certified fan of Zachtronics' games -- SpaceChem was my 2010 GOTY -- but for some reason I didn't grab this right away, and didn't actually pick it up to play until Aeana started poking me to compare scores. That kicked off a Thanksgiving break that, in between food and family, I spent mostly staring at black-and-white text in a faux computer terminal screen, writing assembly language and trying to beat seven or eight of the other mods on the leaderboards. This game's ultra-minimalist presentation and thin (but dedicated) premise throws away even the thin pretense of Zachtronics' earlier games and just straight-up admits that it's about programming, but that frees it up to craft a very elegant and surprisingly deep set of puzzles from very simple components. For anyone who enjoys the thought process that goes into programmatically solving a problem, TIS-100 is absolutely perfect -- close, but not too close, to real tasks, with carefully designed puzzles that will stretch your brain as you try to solve them, and then blow it out completely as you try to improve your own scores.


3. Castle in the Darkness ; There's something indescribably charming about great auteur games -- these messy, glorious works that seem to spill out of one person's subconscious, with both a unity of purpose that doesn't exist for collaborations, and an unavoidable rough edge that's unique and captivating. Cave Story is the classic example, and my #1 this year another, but Castle in the Darkness is another (sadly underappreciated) entry in the same category. A single-handed work by developer Matt Kap, CitD mines NES-era remembrance, but in a way very different from most games we see. This game leans heavily on elements of really classic Castlevania -- baroque pixel-art environments, waves of individually weak but collectively dangerous enemies, brutal and deadly platforming, a bit of unguided exploration, and a fuckton of hard-as-balls boss encounters -- without tempering them too much with modern conveniences like an in-game map or the ability to heal. The game as a whole is a bit buggy, but it has super-tight controls and a ton of powers and unlockables for your character, and its (enormous amount of) content rivals many classics in quality and cleverness. It also has a phenomenal soundtrack, NES-style chiptunes that tip their hat to many familiar tunes while still being very much their own excellent, catchy thing. Anyone who considers themselves a fan of any genre even nearby to this owes it to themselves to give this game a shot.


4. Ori and the Blind Forest ; Where CitD chops up and repurposes the fundamental building blocks of a Metroid-style game, Ori is one of the best efforts I've seen to keep expanding that genre into the future. This game is utterly gorgeous in every way -- its indescribably lush environments and haunting music, its perfect character control and excellent movement; its long list of interesting character upgrades and its subtle storytelling. In many ways it plays like a statement of what large-team exploration platformers could be in the future, with its speedrun-friendly mechanics, clever save system, and excellent but atypical level design. The level of craftsmanship in this game is off the charts and playing it feels like a dream -- hard to believe this is a debut title for the studio, but I'm sure as hell looking forward to what they do next now.


5. The Talos Principle ; This is one of those games whose high-concept feels like it was pitched straight at me -- Portal-style first-person puzzling combined with a meandering, heady story revolving around AI philosophy. Playing it, the low rent is pretty visible, in the environment and the ways the game's story is conveyed, but that winds up being a good thing. Rather than spending effort into visual whiz-bang and elaborate cutscenes, the game just does exactly what it needs to -- tells you a simple parable about the meaning of the soul while confronting you with devious and clever puzzles. The plotline is mostly fluff, but entertaining fluff, if you feel inclined to care about the topics it addresses. But any puzzle game lives or dies on the strength of its puzzles, and Talos has nothing to worry about -- they start simple but ramp up in difficulty very quickly, and manage to wring an incredible amount of range out of a seemingly simple set of interaction tools. This game is assuredly the best of the post-Portal crowd of first-person puzzlers.


6. Neko Atsume ; This title pushes at the borders of counting as a real game even for many people who usually wouldn't hesitate, but it's such an entertaining and charming title that I also don't really care. This is finally a plan-and-wait sim game without the threat of negative reinforcement -- instead of having to clean weeds or deal with broken relationships, you can let your cats slip away during a break and then come back like nothing's changed at all. This game's adorable cast of kitties and simple but fun activities (buying toys, taking pictures) makes it something I love checking every day even though I know there's no failure state, no way to screw up my cats beyond all recognition. Instead, it's just a chill and contemplative game that I can fill a few minutes with whenever I want to relax or keep calm; that's pretty worthwhile to me.


7. Her Story ; This is a game that really made it to the list for audacity of concept and sheer impact of how that concept was implemented. Sam Barlow looks at a much-maligned concept -- the "FMV game" -- and finds a new way to use it, putting disconnected but intriguing snippets of an interrogation in front of the player and trusting their own natural curiosity to carry them forward from there. The central conceit is supported very well by the format, and encourages a lot of extra investment -- keeping physical notes, carefully digging around for ways to unlock more clips, and breathless discussion with others about what just happened. For taking the risk and being able to deliver such a high quality game nonetheless, this game deserves every accolade it's received.


8. Cities: Skylines ; I was a dedicated, dedicated sim player in my youth -- I'm confident I've got thousands of hours each logged into classc SimCity and Roller Coaster Tycoon, but very little scratches the same itch these days. Cities: Skylines is significant almost entirely in that it's just a clean, thoughtful (and very successful) attempt to build a new city-builder based on those proven principles. Playing this game brought back every one of those old instincts and cravings; I'd see time disappear as I sat there tweaking individual road squares to improve traffic, or rezoning entire areas to deal with my new concept for how to run my highways, or scrambling to fix things after I accidentally flooded the town's drinking water with refuse. The fairly simple interface, the breezy music, the outstanding mod community, and the general thoughtfulness of the simulation make this game far better than any other entrant in recent years at capturing what made SimCity a hit in the first place, and I hope this'll be the start of a long-successful chain of similar titles for the team.


9. The Beginner's Guide ; Davey Wreden was one-half of the team that produced the brilliant Stanley Parable a few years ago (the other half put out a fun, free title called "Dr. Langeskov, the Tiger, and the Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist" this year) and I certainly eagerly anticipated where he'd go next from there -- even moreso after his interesting post about the stress of success last year. Where Stanley is a sharp but funny take on some aspects of game development itself, TBG takes a step back to look at how we experience and discuss games, with a perspective that's much more troubling. This game uses a deft touch (and a masterful understanding of the topics Stanley explored) to walk the player into a disturbing situation and leave them off in a place that simultaneously demands and confounds further analysis. It's one of only a few games that I desperately needed to talk to others about as soon as I was done, and I think what this game does is significant enough that anyone interested in gaming narrative or the role of critique in art should experience it.


10. SteinsGate ; Sometimes -- to keep this note on-theme with the game in question -- the placement of a title is less about some abstract idea than about the specific context in which it occurs. In another year, would this late import have made a list for me? Maybe not, but this particular year it showed up at just the right time, and I plowed through almost the whole thing on a trip, spending 8+ hours in endless airport layovers and long late-night sessions pushing through towards the grand conclusion. S;G is full of familiar anime cliches, but it's still quite fresh -- its take on time travel and how it treats much of the supporting cast, especially. Beyond that, it's simply a VN with an interesting subject matter and that subtlety of execution that leaves you oddly affected when you're all done. I'd highly recommend this to anyone whose tolerance for animu silliness is fairly high but who wants something a bit meatier and better-realized to enjoy nonetheless.

x. Axiom Verge ; The fact that this is only the third-best exploration platformer I played this year just speaks to how strong the crop was. A gorgeous love letter to the original Metroid and a great game in its own right.
x. You Must Build a Boat ; This was basically just more 10,000,000, but 10,000,000 was great so I'm not complaining.
x. Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim ; This is the worst of its era of Ys games (and clearly a learning-experience effort in some ways) but still very enjoyable.
x. Rocket League ; This missed the list mostly because I haven't gotten the chance to play nearly as much as I'd like, but it's an excellent refinement of a concept and deserves all its success.
x. SquareCells ; The latest puzzle game from the creator of the HexCells series, with most of the same positives to recommend it.
x. Grim Fandango Remastered ; It's just an elegant and respectful remaster of an old game, but it's an elegant and respectful remaster of a really good old game.
x. Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon ; It's a greatly improved and polished sequel to a solid but clunky game. I wish I'd gotten to it earlier, but as it is I've only scratched the surface after playing its predecessor so recently.
 

TripOpt55

Member
Nov 7, 2008
5,686
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0
thetripleoption.wordpress.com
Here is my list!

1. Rise of the Tomb Raider ; I was disappointed with the TR reboot. It wasn’t very Tomb Raider-y and it wasn’t very good at being what it was trying to be – a cinematic action game – either. Rise of the Tomb Raider is better in just about every way than that game though. That includes veering back towards the series’ roots with a greater emphasis on the adventure side of things with better puzzles, improved platforming and an expanded focus on exploration. They also did a fantastic job of improving the combat by increasing the ways in which Lara can approach combat as well as delivering better enemy encounters and layouts for you to utilize all of these new tricks up your sleeve. Heck there are even some good setpieces which have never been Crystal Dynamics’ strong suit. The result is an excellent, well-balanced action/adventure game. I absolutely loved it.

2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt ; I have never finished an RPG before. I gave this a rent in the summer since I didn’t have much to play and fell in love with it. Just my sort of fantasy. One of the best open-worlds I have ever experienced. And a really memorable story. Loved how my tale came to a close. Felt really satisfied at the end of it.

3. Yoshi’s Woolly World ; A really great platformer. Utilizes Yoshi’s unique egg-flinging, flutter-jumping gameplay really well. I love how the game constantly throws new platforming concepts and clever level design ideas at you. The artstyle is wonderful. While it is reminiscent of other games like a LittleBigPlanet, this feels more cohesive to me. And I loved unlocking new Yoshis. Moo Moo Yoshi was my fave.

4. Ori and the Blind Forest ; Absolutely gorgeous game. Loved the character designs. Loved the environmental art. I don’t necessarily think of these types of Metroid-esque games as having such great platforming, but Ori really delivered there with some of the most challenging platforming I have seen in a while. I liked the little dungeon type areas too. And it delivers a moving story as well. A short game, but a well-rounded one.

5. Batman: Arkham Knight ; This ended up being my favorite Arkham game. Maybe it just hit me at the right time. I didn’t know much about Batman when I played Asylum, but after four games and catching up with other media since I think I was just more into it this time. And for whatever reason this is the first one where I really got into the open-world aspect. I also dug the Batmobile. Sure, the tank battles were a bit much sometimes, but I liked how they used it for everything from puzzles to chases to combat. Oh and John Noble was a plus!

6. Life is Strange ; I have never really been into these types of games before, but this one really clicked for me. As someone who isn’t the greatest at making choices in games, the rewind mechanic was perfect. I also really enjoyed the characters, story and atmosphere. My favorite part was the soundtrack. It felt like it was made just for me. My favorite licensed music ever in a game and the original score was great stuff too. I didn’t love how they handled the final episode, otherwise this would probably be higher on this list.

7. Lara Croft Go ; This is an excellent example of how to take a console/PC-centric series and put it on mobile. It retains a lot of the things you’d expect from Lara’s bigger adventures (platforming, puzzles, battles with mythological baddies) and incorporates them into this swiped-controlled, turn-based gameplay that is such a great fit on mobile. And all the nods to classic Tomb Raider games made it extra fun for a long-time fan like me.

8. Splatoon ; I love seeing this kind of new IP from Nintendo. It is a really fun take on the online shooter. There are some real head scratching decisions made for it (like the map rotation), but I love the core ideas at work here. And the singleplayer was surprisingly a lot of fun for something so multiplayer focused. Some really clever usage of the game’s various mechanics and one hell of a final boss fight. Had a really good time with this one.

That will do it. I played a bunch of other games, but didn't feel super strongly about them, so I will cap this list here.
 

Timeless

Member
Dec 11, 2012
2,105
0
0
Before you get angry with me about Rocket League, when I played, it *was* like this. They have since patched it. However, playing a series of ranked games still involves manual effort, which I don't like.

1. Broken Age ; Adventure games have to nail their story. Broken Age *nails* its story. It has human emotion and sci-fi technology in equal parts. Broken Age refines classic adventure gameplay to not be too frustrating (mostly...), looks gorgeous, is funny, and had puzzles that really made me think. One time I got out a pen and paper to solve a puzzle. That's neat.
2. Rocket League ; Rocket League should be my game of the year. Its gameplay is thrilling and deep, and it still only takes a few minutes to learn enough of it to have fun with your friends. It takes colossal idiocy to screw up Rocket League, but that's just what its developers managed to do. The ranked game mode makes you quit to a main menu after every match. The alternative is playing an unranked mode where players are either far worse or far better than you. I have almost no fun playing against people who beat me easily, so I stick to ranked. That means I have to put up with Rocket League's awful menus. Each match its 5 minutes, and you'll spend another 10-15 seconds in-between matches setting up the next one. Then you have to wait for the servers to match you with other players before you begin. It's not just a matter of brainlessly pushing A a few times, either. You have to back out with B a few times, then go to find a match, then select the game type you want. For a game as fun as Rocket League, the fun dries up more and more with every trip back to the menu. Rocket League is one of the only games in existence that *doesn't* want you to play it.

I also think the stylistic modifications you unlock and use on your cars represent poor game design. The unlockable popups happen after a game, yet again slowing down the pace between matches. The hats for your car don't match the game's sporting-event aesthetic. The different shapes you can have for cars (like sports car, monster truck, etc.) dilute the "us vs. them" mentality a team-based game should have. You can paint your car to different shades of orange and blue, and the game is liberal with how far away from those colors you can get. I think it should stick to orange and blue, not orange and pearlescent purple. Visual customization works well in a game like Team Fortress 2, but it was the wrong choice for this one.

Everyone should play Rocket League. It's only $20 on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. I don't know anyone who has played it that doesn't like it.
3. Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival ; This game got very negative reviews, and I understand why. If I bought this game for $60, and couldn't even use all the characters in the game without spending another $40 to $80, I'd be upset. There's not enough content in Animal Crossing: AF compared to just about any other game on the market available for the same price. But as a fan of the Animal Crossing series, this game captures the Animal Crossing atmosphere perfectly. It's a slow, relaxed game for when you want to hang back and relax with your friends. I may have lost, but I got to spend an hour with people I care about. That's Animal Crossing.
4. Mini Metro ; I wish the creator of Super Hexagon were the maker of Mini Metro. The developers for this game have said they were inspired by the super-difficult style of Super Hexagon. The released product definitely appeals to someone, like my brother, but not me. I see this huge gulf between my mediocre transit management and how I assume the game is played at a high skill level. Unlike Super Hexagon, I'm not sure how to bridge the gap.

Just to be sure, I loaded up Mini Metro again and played two rounds of it while I was writing this. It was really fun. Still, the controls aren't as responsive as Super Hexagon - I want to do advanced re-allocating of the train lines and carraiges I have, but ever since the game launched in beta a while ago, the developers have not addressed this. And unlike Super Hexagon, I don't know if I'm any good. Super Hexagon gave me a goal - you unlock something new at 60 seconds in each level. Here, you still unlock new stages by making progress, but "400 people" doesn't mean the same to me as "60 seconds in this difficult environment".

And games last too long. I want to die fast and know exactly what I did wrong. My failures in Mini Metro are the culmination of 5-10 minutes of aggregated screwups, so it's hard for me to know what to change for next time.
5. Cities: Skylines ; I think I played Cities Skylines. My younger brother owns it and I think he plays it too, but it seems like he still prefers SimCity 4, which says something. All told, I played more SimCity 4 than this game by about 10 hours. My love of SimCity was white-hot for about a week and then it ran out. It's really easy to want to make your city as good as it can be in SimCity. Here, it feels kind of lifeless. The depth is there if you already want to build a city, but I'm still on the fence.
6. Chip's Challenge 2 ; Chip's Challenge 2 was supposed to come out in 1999 as a sequel to the 1989 game Chip's Challenge. Everyone in my family played Chip's Challenge 1 back in the day. I felt it was my duty to spend the $5 for Chip's Challenge 2 as soon as it came out, for all the hours of enjoyment its predecessor gave us. CC2 was pulled from release in 1999 due to a licensing dispute.

Sadly, puzzle games have come a long way since 1999. The creator of this game made a spiritual successor that added modern features like rewind to the basic gameplay formula of Chip's Challenge. I'm thrilled this "lost game" finally gets to see the light of day, but the creator's own game from before this beats Chip's Challenge 2 in pretty much every way. I have the sneaking suspicion Chip's Challenge 1 is also better than this sequel. However, that could be a lot of nostalgia talking. CC2 adds more gameplay elements to CC1, but none of it is vital. The art looks muddier than its predecssor. Puzzle is a popular genre for indie developers. CC2's position specifically as a block-based puzzler puts it in competition with around 100 better games.

Bummer.
7. Time Clickers ; I got way into Cookie Clicker, a game were you click on stuff enough times to get in-game devices that click for you. Your numbers grow faster and faster. Maybe you can only play one of these games before you get bored. Time Clickers didn't make me obsess over ever-increasing numbers in the same way Cookie Clicker did. The slightly nightmarish cookie art style of Cookie Clicker is better than the neon sci-fi of Time Clickers.
8. Kerbal Space Program ; I've hardly played this game at all. It's very complicated. That's why it's at the bottom of my list, because I haven't yet had fun with it.
 

Steveo

Banned
Mar 29, 2015
304
0
0
This was an absolutely amazing year for games, definitely going down in history as one of the best. Just an absolute glut of quality titles, so many that I could easily do a top 30 list.

1. Bloodborne ; 2015's finest game

2. Rise of the Tomb Raider ; took 2013's reboot and improved it in every way.

3. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition ; The best 3rd person shooter ever created.

4. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt ; The Bloody Baron quest line.

5. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; Would of been higher, last quarter soured me.

6. Dying Light ; I can't believe this made my top 10. One of 2015's biggest surprises.

7. Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide ; Took L4D's formula, and improved it.

8. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin ; Not as good as Dark Souls, but not many things are.

9. Assault Android Cactus ; I love this game, just wish it was longer.

10. Fallout 4 ; I've dumped dozens of hours, but heavily flawed, barely cracks my 10.

Honorable Mentions
Cities: Skylines ; I spent a week completely addicted

Until Dawn ; This game should not of been as good as it was. Hope there's a sequel.

Contradiction Spot the Liar; The game that showed me FMV games could actually be enjoyable!

Splatoon; I loved this game. Probably should be in my top 10 instead of Fallout 4.

Transformers Devastation; I know it's shallow and repetitive. But it's still so much fun!

Axiom Verge; Best Metroid game since, well, Super Metroid.

Ori And the Blind Forest; The little I've played of Ori, I absolutely loved.

Life is Strange; It was hard to get past the hipsterness of this game, but boy it told a good story.
 

Burgess_101

Member
Sep 17, 2012
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1. Bloodborne ; This was the first 'souls' type game I managed to finish, not that I don't like the others but BB just clicked better with me. It also houses the best soundtrack of the year hands down, the DLC compounds that fact.

2. Yakuza 5 ; I love Yakuza, 5 getting localised was the thing I was hoping for the most and the prayers were answered, alongside Yakuza 0 which just brings tears to my eyes. Fantastic game only beaten by Bloodborne because I haven't managed to finish it yet.

3. Yakuza 0 ; Haven't played it but its Yakuza so it gets a pass, I heard its the best one yet and I can't wait to play it later this year.

4. Hotline Miami 2 ; Another game I haven't finished yet (thats a theme last year, so little time) but I love HM and from what I have played this one is just as good. I have a huge tattoo of Tony the tiger on my chest, thats how much I love HM.

5. Rocket League ; Great fun all round, enjoy playing it with friends, can't go wrong.

6. D4 ; I love Swery, keep it up and get well soon xoxoxo

7. Ocotodad: Dadliest Catch ; Though the game gets a bit samey after a while, it is a great laugh with mates around.

8. DiRT Rally ; It is nice to finally see a proper rally game back that is hard as nails but fun to master.

9. Cities: Skylines ; Kept me entertained for a long time, helped rebuild the city sim genres reputation after the disaster that was SimCity.

10. Kerbal Space Program ; I have been following this for a very long time and it is nice to see it has succeeded. Fantastically well built game with tonnes of stuff to do and most importantly, charm.

I realised this year I have only really finished one game and that was Bloodborne... I'll have to get started on Yakuza again.
 

jeemer

Member
Feb 19, 2009
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1. Star Wars Battlefront ; Despite being slated for lack of content, I've had a ton of fun with this game. It's also absolutely bloody gorgeous. I have to be honest though, I'm actually quite conflicted about putting this at number 1. I've not actually played this game since Christmas. I think I'm running somewhere around 80 hours not including the beta. I had so much fun with the beta and with the initial release. At Christmas I brought my pc home and let friends and family play it. It was great to watch their reactions and be able to explain the mechanics to a number of people, but since doing that I've not picked up the game. Part of me feels like by showing it off to numerous people I burnt out on it, part of me feels like there is just no draw to go back and play it right now. I definitely will once the season pass DLC comes out though. I'd also like to add that despite the chances of DICE adding single player content being close to zero, I'd LOVE to see more speederbike levels. Everyone I've shown this game to has become hooked on trying to get a perfect run on the speederbike, it could almost be its own game.
2. Dying Light ; I LOVED this game right from release. It had been on my steam wishlist for over a year prior. Ever since I heard "mirrors edge meets dead island" I was sold, and I didn't even like dead island. The free running feels fantastic, although there are a couple of things I'd love to see in a sequel or upcoming DLC (I wish you could horizontally wallrun for a bit, or could more easily do a vertical wallrun/180/jump a la mirrors edge) - The story is completely pants and I didn't care about any of the characters, but that didn't matter because the gameplay was just so fun and immersive to me. I spent many hours early on just looting houses in the daytime. I recently replayed the game coop with a friend and didn't enjoy it as much, simply because he was playing it very casually and right from the get-go did not care about night. Night was terrifying initially for me when I played alone. I'll definitely play this again once the free DLC drops, would happily buy a sequel with the right additions.
3. Ori and the Blind Forest ; Gorgeously drawn, animated and with beautiful effects. The music is great and the platforming is awesome fun. I actually cared about the story, which is rare for me in gaming. I've seen a number of people complain about the difficulty but I can't ever say I struggled with this. This game would have won me over on looks alone, I wish more 2d games looked as good as this does. Thoroughly enjoyed and may well play again once the definitive edition comes out.
4. Mad Max ; From initial screenshots I assumed this was going to be generic movie tie-in trash. Instead it ended up being a massively immersive fantastic companion to Fury Road. Yes it's a bit grindy if you want to do all of the side missions, and you have to go up in balloons instead of climbing towers, but that comes with the territory. Another gorgeous game too. The first time a sandstorm hit, my jaw dropped. I've also never used the photo mode so much in a game before.
5. Undertale ; I don't think I need to say much about this one. The phrase "subverts expectations" appears in more or less every review I've read for this game, and with good reason. I would never have purchased this title based on screenshots alone, so I for one am glad for the hype train on this title.
6. Axiom Verge ; I have to make an admission here, I've never actually played through a metroid game. Some will be jealous of this, some will say I'm an uneducated fool. Despite that, metroidvania titles have been some of my favourites in recent years (cave story, guacamelee, shadow complex.) This game felt great, the story was interesting and the graphics created an atmosphere I really enjoyed. The soundtrack for this was great too (although I don't know if I'll ever listen to "Inexorable" again - despite my initial enjoyment of the track I had issues with a boss at this point in the game, and heard the track start over and over again within a few minutes until hearing it start made me cringe!) - Maybe I should go and play super metroid next.
7. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number ; The first Hotline Miami quickly cemented itself as one of my favourite games of all time. The sequel made some changes I wasn't so keen on (namely lots of open areas that forced you to use shift to look ahead to the limit of your vision, and use guns much more) but the core gameplay was still there. I love the whole atmosphere of the Hotline Miami games and this continued it well, the off-kilter dirty neon 80s feel mixed with Lynch, the fever dream story, the fantastic soundtrack. I did replay it, but nowhere near as much as the first. I can't wait to see what comes next from these guys.
8. Broforce ; I was an early backer with this and have been playing it for a while, but it would feel wrong to leave it off my list. This game is straight fun, I loved it from the first time I died in it. Great characters, fun levels, destructable chaos, online coop.
9. Elite: Dangerous ; I don't know if I'll ever load up this game again, since I feel like I've had my fun with it. I definitely did begin to feel "open-end" fatigue as I sank hours into the game and became concerned with shortening smuggling runs in order to get my next big upgrade. The initial 40-50 hours disappeared in a flash though. I absolutely adored some of the little touches in this (for example, I love the way in-game comms with another player sounds crackly and distorted).
10. Batman Arkham Knight ; The pc version. Yeah. I didn't have too many issues running this, aside from some very intermittent stuttering. I didn't hate the batmobile. I didn't love the story. However, the city was bloody marvellous and it looked the dogs bollocks. This had to be on my list, as I'm a big batman fan and have religiously played the series on release since asylum.
x. Transformers: Devastation ; I've not completed this yet but it's pretty fun. It essentially plays like "My First Bayonetta" and is very bright and colourful (possibly a little too bright and colourful for my tastes). Level design is a bit uninspired, and I'm not sure if it really needed the upgrade system. I really hope that the upcoming turtles game seriously outshines both this and korra.
 

milena87

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Sep 30, 2013
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1. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; I couldn't hope for a better ending to Geralt's adventures. I love the story, the characters, the world, the little details and the grand scope of the game.

2. Pillars of Eternity ; another great RPG from Obsidian. It's difficult (Path of the Damned is brutal), deep, with great writing and an interesting story.

3. Life is Strange ; best surprise of the year. Hella emotional.

4. Cities: Skylines ; finally something new and well done! Can't wait for the new expansion now.

5. SOMA ; I haven't even finished it and yet I'm thinking about it daily.

6. Contradiction: Spot the Liar! ; I really hope this will get a sequel, Jenks is too amazing to be in just one game.

7. Tales from the Borderlands ; they managed to make me care about characters from the Borderlands world. Impressive.

8. Until Dawn ; I love horror and I like adventure games with choices & consequences, so nothing to dislike here.

9. Paint it Back ; good puzzle game. I need more.

10. Her Story ; I like how you progress in this game. And the acting is great.

X. Rocket League
X. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
 

flonty

Member
Mar 19, 2013
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1. Splatoon ; The best new IP from Nintendo and a very refreshing way to play multiplayer TPS. It isn't flawless but the best game I played in 2015.

2. Xenoblade Chronicles X ; This game delivered to all my JRPGS needs. A huge world, fun combat system and mechs. The story is its weakest point but the side quests make up for that.

3. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; The first 30 hours fly by so fast because it hooked me with all the missions but the later half of the game kinda dips down in quality and the missions get repetitive really fast. Still a good game with probably the best buddys (<3 DD)

4. Dragon Ball XenoVerse ; Finally the Dragonball game that lets me create a character in the DB-verse. The battle engine is decent and reminds me of the Naruto ultimate ninja storm games. I hope they ged rid of the RNG for items in the sequel.

5. Heroes of the Storm ; This is probably the game I played the most in 2015. I like it and its the only MOBA that I play because of it simplier mechanics. Unfortunately the balance and META of the game is very lacking and can be frustrating.
 

Dolobill

Member
Aug 16, 2012
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1. The Witcher 3 ; (My new favorite game ever)
2. Bloodborne ; (A new entry in my top 5 ever)
3. Xenoblade Chronicles X
4. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
5. Halo 5
6. Rise of the Tomb Raider
7. Ori and the Blind Forest
8. Fallout 4
9. Batman Arkham Knight
10. Axiom Verge

One of the best years of gaming I've experienced.
 

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!
Jan 2, 2016
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1. The Witcher 3 (My new favorite game ever)
2. Bloodborne (A new entry in my top 5 ever)
3. Xenoblade Chronicles X
4. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
5. Halo 5
6. Rise of the Tomb Raider
7. Ori and the Blind Forest
8. Fallout 4
9. Batman Arkham Knight
10. Axiom Verge

One of the best years of gaming I've experienced.
Wrong format.
 

#1 defender

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Jan 19, 2010
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1. Batman: Arkham Knight ; As with Arkham City before it, Arkham Knight iterates on its predecessor's mechanics with many tweaks and additions to the combat, stealth and traversal mechanics, while significantly stepping up the presentation, making this the most refined game of the series and the ultimate Batman simulator. The most notable addition was also the most controversial one, but i ended up enjoying almost everything about the Batmobile. Despite a couple of mildly disappointing boss encounters and the relative lack of combat and predator challenge maps, this is a worthy conclusion to Rocksteady's trilogy.

2. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt ; As my first Witcher game and one of my first open world RPG experiences, Wild Hunt set the bar high with its expansive and detailed world full of wonder and adventure.

3. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ; Despite all the hubbub regarding the Kojima/Konami breakup, the odd chapter structure, the unfinished nature of some subplots and general Konami fuckery, this is the stealth action game to beat. An amazing free form open world sandbox with incredibly tight gameplay mechanics that lets you make it up as you go along, made this by far my most played single player game ever.

4. Yakuza 5 ; Another tale of honor, redemption, dreams, and macho bravado, this is more of the same, but as fans of the series will know, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Despite the now seriously aged engine, the expanded scope to 5 cities and the many new mini games and side jobs manage to freshen things up enough to provide yet another very enjoyable entry in the series.

5. Rocket League ; My surprise hit of the year. Never heard of it before it was announced for PS+ and didn't think much of it even after that, but once i've have actually played it, it instantly became my go-to couch co-op game of the year. Easy to learn, hard to master, as they say, but tons of fun regardless.

6. Driveclub Bikes ; While the tracks stayed the same, racing around them on bikes makes Driveclub feel almost like a new game. Despite the deceptively forgiving handling of the bikes, to be truly fast you need to relearn the tracks and how you approach each bend.

7. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection ; Great remaster of some of my most memorable single player experiences of last gen, playing through these games again all cleaned up and improved is an awesome walk down memory lane.

8. Counterspy ; With its charming low-fi cold war presentation and solid controls, the biggest downside to this game is the randomized nature of the stages, which can occasionally make it impossible to ghost a level.
 

Massa

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Jan 16, 2009
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The question can go further and ask should games only a person has finished count?

If not, what is the arbitrary cut off be? I have played the demo of Yakuza 0 does that count?
I don't think "favorite games that you played" is arbitrary at all.
 
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