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- 2015's voting thread
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01. Bloodborne = 2729 points, 27 honorable mentions
My very first type of souls game. Brutal to the point of screaming in difficulty but so so worth it. You feel like a god every time you beat a boss. No other game gets you addicted to pain and reward so much. The atmosphere/level design locations are some of the best I've ever encountered. HP Lovecraft would be proud.
Karl Hungus said:
One of the most intense and rewarding games I have ever played. The close to perfect gameplay is matched by the dark and disturbing world and a haunting atmosphere that gets under your skin. A truly addictive experience that you cannot stop playing or thinking about.
A haunting and oppressive game world that will get your heart beating through your chest and your hands sweating. A faster-paced and more offensive combat style than previous Souls games. Grotesque and frightening enemy design.
Or as I tend to call it: "The Souls game I've always wanted." Bloodborne finally does away with the Souls series' penchant for sluggish, trial-and-error gameplay, and replaces it with some much-needed fast-paced, offense-oriented combat.
02. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt = 2460 points, 27 honorable mentions
What an achievement this game is. The Witcher 3 is an enormous and expansive open world game with amazing writing, memorable characters, and engaging side quests even! Never has a game combined so many different elements while still retaining its identity of character driven narratives. The world is gigantic, and the characters that inhabit them even more so. Each quest, and I mean each, not just the main quests, but the side quests, the contracts, the gwent tournaments, just everything in this game has a place and history within the world. The way in which Geralt grows as a father figure to Ciri throughout the journey is amazing and well thought out. I don't want to give too much away, but this game is the best Western RPG ever created.
I expected Bloodborne to be my favorite game of the year, but I was completely taken by surprise by The Wild Hunt. I had tried a little bit of each of its predecessors, but neither really gripped me quite like the third installment. I haven't played an RPG this engrossing in years; maybe ever.
03. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain = 1786 points, 35 honorable mentions
With over 270 hours played, this game consumed my life for the months of September and October. A tremendous achievement in gameplay, it allowed me to tackle a multitude of different situations in a creative and unrestrained way. Overly ambitious to it's detriment, disappointing story and FOB Konami hijinks aside, no other game has come close to fully realizing my dream of a freefrom open approach stealth game. A truly flawed masterpiece and one of the best games of recent years.
Simply put, this game is the best open world stealth game ever created. One can wonder what the possibilities would have been for this game with an unlimited budget and the curiously absent 'Chapter 3'... but sneaking around and infiltrating a base as The Final Countdown is playing and I'm rocket punching fools is absolutely one of my favorite moments of gaming this year. The amount of incredible options to continually do dumb shit in this game is astounding.
04. Rocket League = 1237 points, 21 honorable mentions
This game is a fucking sensation. Every once in a while someone comes up with a stupid concept for a game that against all odds turns out to be absolutely amazing. The concept for Rocket League is: Monster Trucks/Cars with rockets charge after a gigantic ball in a game of football. The basic controls are simple enough, drive car into ball to score goal, pick up boost and use charge to gain speed or to fly through the air. Still it takes a lot of time to master your vehicle properly, to get a good feel of the game and not least how to cooperate with your team. When the feeling of mastery hits you, there's no escaping this pleasure machine.
It's not often that I'm hooked on a multiplayer game, but this title is pure digital crack. I knew it was special the moment I felt my body jerk forward in anticipation as I was hurtling towards a large soccer ball, bracing for impact. Just one more.
05. Life Is Strange = 1030 points, 20 honorable mentions
I always appreciate games that try to do something other than give people fun ways to kill things. Gameplay is nonexistent, but that's to be expected. This is a game about story, interactions with NPCs, and the world of Arcadia Bay. All in all, this game was a fun ride, and deserves its praise not only for its quality but also for the fact that this is an excellent game about a normal, teenage girl . Life is Strange is a brilliant game out there helping to legitimize games as an art form.
wowee, a 'your-choice-matters-but-not-really' game that actually works. life is strange feels like a david cage game that doesn't suck, and a telltale game where your decisions feel like they have weight. going in without any expectations, i was surprised to find the story of a high school photography student with time manipulation powers. the time manipulation is not only fun to mess around with, but it allows the player to weigh their decisions based on the reactions of the characters in the game. when the player makes their choice, they're not doing it as part of a qte or by plucking floating answers in a tense situation. they make a consideration and then own it.
06. Splatoon = 997 points, 23 honorable mentions
No other game comes close to the joy Splatoon has brought me this year. It is the not only the most fun I've had all year, it also boasts the most refreshing and brilliant game design I've played in a long, long time. Blending and mechanics of old while synthesizing completely new ones, Splatoon plays like nothing else before it and stands assuredly on it's own as one of the most fantastic and unique multiplayer experiences.
Earlier this year, I was playing Rising Thunder and thinking about the emphasis that game makes on different aspects of fighting games. Execution matters, yeah, but so does being clever and creative, playing mind games with the opponents. I think Splatoon does this same thing for shooters. It simplifies the shooter to the point where the battle itself is an artistic performance. It makes it all sound so grand, but in the moment, it's just a fun thing where you do your best and have fun. It's the espresso shot shooter and it's masterful at it.
07. Fallout 4 = 832 points, 28 honorable mentions
Blue Ninja said:
In a year filled with great games, Bethesda's latest outing still manages to take home my absolute favor. No game does exploration, discovery and general randomness better than a Bethesda game, and Fallout 4 delivers that in spades. The studio still sorely needs a few new writers, but their vision of post-apocalyptic retro-futuristic Boston is one that no other game in 2015 has managed to top.
Without a doubt the most entertaining world to fight in and explore this year. A new building or location to explore every few metres with a little pre-war backstory sprinkled in to make you feel like the world was truly lived in. The combat was a blast and the leveling system promises to make a second playthrough a reasonably different experience. Definitely the game I spent the most time on this year.
08. Undertale = 791 points, 27 honorable mentions
Undertale is both my favorite game of the year, and the one that stuck with me the most . I actually laughed out loud, felt tremendous sadness, and grew attached to characters portrayed by crude sprites because their writing was just that good. It's wacky, inventive, genuine, scary, and brilliantly unlike anything else I've ever played. It's also fun to play, challenging and a great example of tight pacing. I can't say enough nice things. Play this game.
I think we undervalue sincerity because it's really easy to be cynical. Cynicism helps protect us from disappointment and cynicism helps us feel smart because we're not falling for that one. But, you know, cynicism will eat you alive as that doubt turns inward. Undertale completely rejects cynicism and, consequently, is the most sincere game I've ever played. It's a shame that I cannot say any more because I want people to play the game for themselves and reach their own conclusion about its themes and content. It's also a shame that the previous sentence has been said so many times about Undertale that people who haven't played it are sick of reading it and have perhaps turned on the game without checking it out. But maybe you should let your shield down and trust that no one's trying to fool you and the effusive praise around the game is just as sincere as the game itself.
09. Until Dawn = 698 points, 24 honorable mentions
This practically took me by complete surprise this year. I didn't get it at launch but I played through it in two sittings . I couldn't get enough. Supermassive did such a great job making all the characters come into their own, and you definitely will have favorites by the end. A surprisingly well made story, fantastic acting and writing with what felt like real, emotional interactions between the characters. That Killzone engine does wonders too as these are some of the most lifelike characters I've seen in a game. I didn't want the game to end.
Mexican Sting said:
A lot has been said about how you're "not supposed to take this game seriously," or some such. But everything about it forces you to once you're inside. I felt genuine fear as I walked through blizzards in the middle of the night with nothing but a flashlight. The characters felt rounded, real, and I cared about some as much as I didn't for others— and that's the brilliance of this game. A unique, fresh take on a genre that has been getting worn out by it's own pioneers, and a AAA game that stands fiercely apart from any of it's competitors this year. Until Dawn is my 2015 game of the year.
10. Super Mario Maker = 679 points, 31 honorable mentions
I will admit I wrote this game off prior to release as just another wacky gimmick game but having sunk an unreal amount of hours into the game I could not have been more wrong. Nintendo has managed to make the act of creating levels so intuitive and simple that it is actually fun. Playing through the creations of others leaves me constantly floored by the creativity they bring to bear. Of course this is all made possible by the rock solid platforming that has always been a staple of the Mario franchise. It is this core that provides the game with the vital backbone upon which it builds one helluva package. To put it simply this is the most fun I have had with Mario in a very very long time.
I cannot think of a more perfect way to celebrate thirty years of Mario than this game. This title allows us to share what we love about Mario through our levels. Whether it's insane platforming, clever puzzles, or straight up goofiness, we all get to express our own ideas about what Mario games should be like. It is by far the best use of the GamePad and making levels is so stupidly easy that I wonder how so many other developers messed it up before. The game also gives you a tremendous appreciation for the folks who actually make Mario games. There are so many factors and small changes that can completely alter a level, and the fact that Nintendo has pumped out dozens of levels of incredible Mario levels throughout their history shows how singular they really are.
11. Xenoblade Chronicles X = 650 points, 27 honorable mentions
A powerful reminder that games are more than the sum of their parts. In the year of Witcher 3, the hardware compromises of XCX glare brightly. The dub is frequently annoying, and the story is fine but lacks the grand ambition of XCX's predecessor. Yet these complaints are petty when stacked against the game's expansive alien landscape which, unlike so many open world games, stirs real curiosity and rewards exploration. The game's complicated systems are intimidating, but to master them is to create and merge with a dynamic, living world. Perhaps the year's deepest game, and one of the best at inspiring awe.
12. Ori and the Blind Forest = 598 points, 21 honorable mentions
Rare is the game that sets its sights so high and surpasses them with the grace, quality, and beauty of Ori and the Blind forest. To say this is an expertly crafted game in every department is a criminal understatement. There is so much about Ori that deserves praise, but I have to start by acknowledging the overwhelming beauty of this game's visuals. The hand-crafted vistas are varied, vibrant, and full of depth. This is easily the most beautiful game I have ever played, and the visuals give a unique character to each distinct section of the game. Underscoring the visuals is the sublime soundtrack, which perfectly sets the mood for each environment, situation, and set piece with beautiful themes and ambient tracks. Simply put, Ori and the Blind Forest is an audiovisual masterpiece.
13. Batman: Arkham Knight = 531 points, 20 honorable mentions
Outside of the Batmoblie portions, this was the perfect Batman game. One thing that stood out to me was the level of polish on display here. I loved the way gameplay and story were integrated. The story in this game was actually great, and was something that really could only have been told as a video game, which Rocksteady should applaud themselves for. The combat is the best that it's ever been, showing all of the other copycats how it's really done.
14. Tales from the Borderlands: Episodes 2-5 = 447 points, 10 honorable mentions
Hilarious beyond words, yet knows exactly how to play with the emotions of the player. What started out as a promising yet not amazing episode one goes headlong into one of the best games of the year. Each character is super fleshed out, an amazing feat given the small amount of time you spend with them. Some of the best writing done in a Telltale game thus far.
15. Pillars of Eternity = 383 points, 13 honorable mentions
This vote is from the heart more than the head. When I think back on 2015 in videogames , my favorite days were the ones I lost thinking about PoE -- which quests to take on and where the story might take me; my favorite hours were those I wasted on the party creation screen before even starting the game; and my favorite minutes were those I spent devising tactics for one of the game's challenging encounters. For all I have joined in the criticism of Eternity, it was the best time I had playing videogames this year.
16. Rise of the Tomb Raider = 326 points, 12 honorable mentions
Jumping Chief said:
The best game I played all year. Fun gameplay, mix with a great story is only the beginning of what makes this game great. The crafting system adds a survival layer to the game that Tomb Raider was lacking. More optional tombs, and awesome set pieces add to the fun of this action packed game. Camilla Luddington's performance as Lara Croft was nothing short of a home run. A fantastic experience from start to end.
17. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate = 302 points, 5 honorable mentions
This game took 250 hours of my life and crippled my hand and I still love it. Why? Perhaps it's the mountainous amount of content. Or perhaps it's high level of quality despite the quantity. It might also be the infectious charisma that drapes every aspect of the game. Not just the NPC with their quirky dialogue but the monsters too in all their drooling gruesome glory. From rubbing you tummy after a hearty meal to pulling a of a devastating ultra combo with the charge blade, all the animations are top notch. Nevertheless, my love for this game is due to it's tight addictive gameplay loop. Hunt monsters, gather materials, craft gear, hunt bigger monster and repeat. Combined with deep combat mechanics and reiterated to perfection, MH4U is a fantastic titular experience.
18. Destiny: The Taken King = 283 points, 11 honorable mentions
Destiny got to me again. I played vanilla until the perpetual level 29, then stopped. Came back two weeks before TTK was released to see the Dark Below and House of Wolves content and prepare for TTK. This is my go to game now. The music is excellent and bought the soundtrack. The new levels felt great, the new strikes are awesome, King's Fall was excellent and challenging the first go around. Everything was improved, and I now play TTK every day since its release, every day. Play Destiny so much, I own TTK on both XB1 and PS4. Now back to the Iron Banner.
19. Dying Light = 262 points, 10 honorable mentions
Imagine a no-frills open world action game where you wouldn't want to use fast travel because every moment of the journey was dangerous and unpredictable. Better yet, play Dying Light. Your eyes won't have a chance to glaze over while you parkour your way through a zombie infested city, busting skulls and hacking limbs with whatever makeshift weapons you can scrounge up.
20. Yoshi's Woolly World = 258 points, 12 honorable mentions
It should be laudable enough for any game to adequately capture, as this one does, the vibrancy, invention, gorgeousness, and patient exploratory freedom that makes the original Yoshi's Island hold up so well today. But where Yoshi's Woolly World stands out, on a platform already overstuffed with the most refined side-scrolling platformers of the current era, is in the gentle gradient of variable challenge latent in every stage, from the ease of merely reaching the goal to the demanding precision and observational acuity required for a perfect clear. This is Yoshi's answer to Donkey Kong Country Returns: a straightforward revival on the surface, cottoned with delights for the most seasoned players.