There were a lot of games out in 2015. In fact, there probably were too many games. If nothing else, 2015 will be remembered, to me at least, as the year of games that I need to go back to. A ton of them stuck out to me, but as is required by the law of the internet I must now compile a list of my favorite games of the year.
First, though, a few runners up.
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
Assassin’s Creed, as a series, has been on the steady downslope for me. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, while a great game, felt like it was barely connected to the rest of the series. Really, discounting that game, the last really great Assassin’s Creed game, to me, was Brotherhood.
That’s why Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate was such a breath of fresh air. It feels like a well polished, well thought out game that feels more like a direct sequel to Brotherhood than Assassin’s Creed: Revelations did. Plus, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate was helped by the fantastic Jack the Ripper DLC. Unfortunately, I haven’t had enough time with it, so it has to stay in the category of runner-up.
Platinum makes damn good games. There have been some really good Transformers games in the past, specifically with the Cyberton games. Devastation plays damn well and works great as a continuation of the G1 series of Transformers cartoons.
Life is Strange
Only being a couple of episodes in, it’s possible that Life is Strange will drop the ball in later episodes. However, being that I’m only in Episode 3, the game has impressed me a lot. The first episode was really nothing interesting, but the second episode is where the game picks up heavily, especially at the very end. Hopefully, I will get the chance to finish it soon.
Now, for the main event.
5: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
The Phantom Pain should be my favorite game of the year. If you don’t know, I have played almost every Metal Gear game (main series and side games) multiple times. So, naturally I was excited for MGS V. However the actual game was way better than I expected.
The way that the game plays is unlike anything else in the series. The open world gameplay is spot on. Exploring the game and fultoning people is incredibly fun. Building your arsenal is great, even though the wait times feel unneeded. Even finding boomboxes and stealing tapes is fun.
However, the game is held back but a somewhat relatively light story compared to the rest of the series. Even if this was the biggest issue, though, it still would be near the top. Due to a series of terrible decisions by Konami, though, MGS V now actually feels like an actively worse game. However, the core game still is fun and probably the best playing game in the series.
Bloodborne is a lot like Dark Souls. That is almost an unavoidable comparison. However, if you’ve played both games, you can almost immediately feel a difference. While Dark Souls is a slower, more defensive based experience, Bloodborne almost forces you to go on the offense. The Lovecraftian environments feels unlike almost anything is Dark Souls.
Honestly, both Dark Souls and Bloodborne are fantastic games, but to me, Bloodborne is the better game. It felt like Bloodborne is the kind of game that you can just go back to any time. Playing Bloodborne felt like the first time that I played Dark Souls, which was an eye-opening experience. While Dark Souls might have been my favorite game of last generation, Bloodborne feels like a better version of that.
3: Rocket League
I really, REALLY, hate competitive gaming. For years and years, there have only been a few games that I’ve really been able to get in. Really, before 2015 I mostly had gotten into Titanfall and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. However, Rocket League just clicks in a way that no other competitive game has for me.
Years earlier, I had played Super Sonic Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battle Cars, the progenitor of Rocket League, and while the game plays very similarly, Rocket League just works better. The driving is spot on in the exact way it needed to be. Scoring a goal feels godlike and when each member of your team plays their roles just right, there is a cohesion that feels unlike anything else in competitive gaming.
Undertale was always going to be a game that I liked. Maybe not a game that I loved, but a game that I enjoyed playing. The idea of an RPG where you don’t have to kill anyone sounds like an interesting concept. However, hearing all of the hype for the game, easily put me off from playing it until the buzz died down.
So, right before our Game of the Year discussion, I finally played through Undertale and I am glad that I did. Undertale is more of a bullet-hell, puzzle game than an RPG, and your expectations help to make the game. You might expect Undertale to be just another RPG-Maker game but when you actually play the game, there is much more. The characters are all memorable, enemies all have unique ways to beat them and the multiple endings each help to build the overall story.
Undertale really is something unique and unlike almost any other game that came out in 2015.
1: Until Dawn
What a weird game Until Dawn is. It is a game that started as a PS Move game, originally meant for the PS3, made by the people who made Tumble. It is a slasher horror movie in video game. Yet, somehow it works and works incredibly.
Choices in video games are nothing new, but all of the different decisions and how they all work together is an incredible thing to watch. Small things like hitting an animal with a snowball have a huge impact on the game. More than that, the campy, b-horror movie feel of the game just feel like the developers understand these movies.
The characters all feel like they fit into the stereotypes made famous by those kind of movies. There are twists and turns, plus a much deeper story than you originally are expecting. Moreover, the addition of The Analyst makes the game feel like a spiritual successor to Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, the secret best Silent Hill game. It might not be earth shattering, but it’s probably the best of these types of games that has ever been made.