It's the end of another year, and as far as they go 2015 was a good one. While university was brutal this year and I didn't quite have as much free time as before, I did manage to sneak in enough play time to enjoy games on every platform I own, which is a good thing. Of course, some games stood out better than others, and in an attempt to organize my thoughts on the matter, I've assembled a list of the games I played this year which I enjoyed the most. Why not take a look?
Most Enjoyable Action Game
Dragon Quest Heroes (PS4, Steam)
I'll admit I'm not the best musou expert around. My experience to these games is restricted to loaning a single Dynasty Warriors game on PS3 (and I don't even remember which one it is), and playing Hyrule Warriors at a friend's place. Bad experience the latter was, mostly due to the garbage framerate. So when I say Dragon Quest Heroes is my favorite musou game, feel free to take it with a grain of salt.
But it is my favorite musou.
While the plot is fairly basic stuff about fated heroes of light who will save the world, the characters are lively, and the localization is very well done: the writing's whimsical and full of personality. The Tower Defense format also works to the game's advantage, since the main characters in these games rarely feel threatened unless they're fighting a boss battle to begin with. Having a defenseless weak point attacked from many angles feels like it can capture back some of that tension, and successfully completing a mission with a sliver of health remaining is very satisfying. Plus, the character switch mechanic is snappy and intuitive and feels right at home with a party-oriented franchise like Dragon Quest.
Special Mention: Bloodborne (PS4)
I don't enjoy Souls games as much as the average gamer, but I feel like Bloodborne's more aggressive combat works very well with its themes. Plus, it seems a bit more lenient than the average Souls games, with less traps and limited HP regen on hit... but beware the limited amount of health recovery!
Most Enjoyable Indie Game
Undertale (Steam, DRM free)
Why, Blonde Bass, it looks like you just made up a generic category because you didn't know where to put Undertale, you say. First off, how dare you assume such things.
But yeah, it's true. It's difficult to describe Undertale without spoiling too much of it, but it's basically those dodging minigames in Wario Ware mixed in with a traditional turn-based RPG - albeit with a single party member. The game's not afraid to play with your expectations, mostly for humorous purposes, and the game contains two of the most satisfying boss battles I've faced in recent history. Having followed the game since its original kickstarter, I've been very happy to see the final game has delivered, but how much you'll enjoy it depends on how much you enjoy its brand of humor: If you're on the fence, why not try the demo?
Special Mention: The Binding of Isaac Afterbirth (Steam, other systems???)
Afterbirth's release has been controversial if anything, with the developers locking away a character (The Keeper) with an ARG and with the announcement that the expansion would probably not release on 3DS, Vita and Wii U. As it stands, though, greed mode is a fantastic addition to Binding of Isaac, and the game will keep me busy for dozens and dozens of hours again.
Most Enjoyable Strategy Game
Disgaea 5 (PS4)
I love Disgaea games. While I don't think the story of newer titles is as good as the original's, the gameplay keeps on getting more refined over time. This time around, being able to purchase levels with HL (the in-game currency) during character creation is a fantastic way to help newly created character catch up without resorting to grind. As for the rest, the ridiculous fun of a strategy games where characters are universe-destroying demons is still intact.
Special Mention: Devil Survivor 2 (DS, 3DS)
I don't think Devil Survivor is as good as SMT or Persona, but it's still a ton of hours of fun and the tactics/turn-based combination is worth checking out.
Most Enjoyable Platformer
Super Mario Maker (Wii U)
Let's be perfectly clear: If you're only going to play 100-Mario Challenge without building or knowing a community of level creators, you're not going to have a lot of fun with the game. But when the stars are aligned, you're going to get a lot of bang for your buck with this game. The level editor is very quick and simple to use and it's super simple to test what you've made as you go. I'm currently working on a campaign right now, and you know I wouldn't be making
32 16 levels if making levels wasn't fun as hell.
Special Mention: Mega Man 3 (Pretty much everything)
The release of Mega Man Legacy Collection reminded me of how good this game is and always will be. Screw everyone who prefers Mega Man 2 for having different tastes.
Most Enjoyable Rhythm Game
Superbeat Xonic (Vita)
Do you enjoy DDR's crazy, fast-paced soundtracks of songs you've mostly never heard before? If so, you're going to love Superbeat Xonic. There are basically 3 ways to play the game: 4 buttons + 2 joysticks, 6 buttons + 2 joysticks and 8 buttons + 2 joysticks. With each, the game gets progressively more complex, but it never quite reaches clusterfuck levels. That's a good thing, I'm here to play some music, not save the world from american spellcasters from the moon.
Challenging and full of content, it's a no brainer for any Vita owner in the audience, all 3 of them.
Special Mention: Leg slapping to the beat of N.W.A's finest songs.
I didn't buy Rock Band 4 or Guitar Hero Live, but I know this activity has a lot of replay value, especially for the low price of 0$ (14 Canadian dollars).
Most Enjoyable Fighting Game
Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- (PS3, PS4, Steam)
It's gorgeous, and it's a blast to play. A Big Blast Sonic to be precise. With tight controls and a more generous control system for the series' special mechanic, Roman Cancels, you're in control of your Marionettes more than ever before. Most of the moves from Guilty Gear XX are left intact, though some are deliberately slower to allow newcomers to react to attacks more easily, making the game appealing to newcomers (like me, though I've played XX Accent Core since) and old players alike. The training options are very robust, and making the story unique from the arcade mode was a great move to prevent it from sucking like 99% of fighting games' stories.
And if you don't like Guilty Gear in general, you can go suck a sage.
Special Mention: Super Smash Bros Project M (Nowhere?)
RIP in peace, sweet prince. It's still possible to download this mod if you know where to look, thankfully, and it's still my favorite way to play Smash. Jump momentum and L-Cancelling are back from 64/Melee, while having the sheer variety in characters from Brawl and a few fantastic brand new additions like loop-around screens, and what they've made to Ganondorf in general.
Most Enjoyable Mobile Game
The World Ends With You (DS, iOS, Android)
TWEWY is soooo good. Unique soundtrack, gameplay and setting combine to make it one of my top 10 games of all time. And, thankfully, the mobile port is pretty fantastic. Some sacrifices had to be made due to the platform change: Your partner doesn't fight individually due to the lack of buttons, and you cannot play offline more than a handful of times before being forced to logged in when the game boots. Still, you owe it to yourself to try this game in one form or another. It's so good.
Special Mention: Plague Inc (PC, iOS, Android, Windows Phone)
Fun little time waster that doesn't fuck you up for playing for free, and I bothered to make a special mention for everything else so there it is.
Least Enjoyable Game
Pokémon Shuffle (3DS, iOS, Android)
At least the game lets you play more than 5 minutes per day. Also, thanks mobile for increasing gold costs compared to the already ridiculous 3DS version and forcing always online.
Special Mention: Nintendo Badge Arcade (3DS)
At least the game saves you from playing more than 5 minutes per day.
Overall Most Enjoyable Game I've Played This Year (also known as the OMEGIP2015)
Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-
I've spent so many hours online and in the various modes, and it's the game that got me into Guilty Gear. They knocked it out of the park with this one. I'm still not any good, but that's beside the point. It's a fighting game that's fun to play even if you're a piece of shit like me.
Special Mention: Undertale
The hard design work paid off, Toby. Great job.
Most Anticipated Game of 2016
Persona 5 (PS3, PS4)
As you can guess from my profile pic, I have a mild interest in Persona games. The slick interface, fun-looking characters and the improved demon models have got me wet down there.
Special Mention: Zero Escape 3 (Vita, 3DS)
I still can't believe it's happening.
Of course, I'm curious to hear about your feelings towards your gaming experience in 2015 as well. Any obvious winner? Or any stinker?