Greetings! 2015 was quite a year for me, between moving from home, changing my job (which was stressful as fuck), upgrading my PC (shut up, it’s good enough for me) and… well, some personal discrepancies with some family members, I feel like I got closer to one of my cousins that I didn’t spoke with too much, but… I feel a bit estranged from my other cousin… it’s complicated.
So yeah, that pretty much sums up 2015 for me, lots of changes, I feel like I bonded with some old and sometimes forgotten friendships, both with family members and friends, while walking off a bit from my current ones.
But who gives a shit, you came expecting an arbitrary list of vidyagaems and here they are!
My arbitrary Top 10 games from 2015.
Before we start off, a little disclaimer, you won’t see Bloodborne here, because I don’t own a PS4 and you definitely won’t see Undertale here, because I haven’t played it yet. Same with some other glaring omissions, if it didn’t make it here, I haven’t played it, simple as that.
This one absolutely deserves to be on many other people’s GOTY lists, as it was a very big surprise. Honestly, I was skeptical when it was revealed for the first time, a shooter that doesn’t emphasize killing other people? How will Nintendo ever pull out a decent control scheme for this? Will it be enough to grab audiences from all ages? I didn’t wish it any ill whatsoever, but it wouldn’t really surprise me if it flopped.
Oh, how wrong I was. It absolutely destroyed my expectations, which were already really low in the first place, the control scheme is really tight (I use motion controls to aim), it’s fast and snappy, the aesthetics are amazing and it runs really smooth, the single player campaign is a lot of fun and in many ways it reminded me of Portal 2, as it didn’t outright felt like a shooter, but more like a puzzle platformer with some really tight shooting mechanics.
Also the regular updates, which a lot of people have criticized, but I say more of this please.
So yeah, it’s a lot of fun to be a squid… and a kid… and a squid, and a kid, and a squid…
9. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows
Shovel Knight by itself was a 2014 release, although I played it for the first time in early 2015, so this is the perfect excuse to add it into my 2015 list with its expansion/update Plague of Shadows, also 2015 saw its release into physical media and it added some awesome boss battles on the Xbox One and the PS4/Vita versions. So yeah, Shovel Knight was definitely a game that kept on delivering throughout 2015 with yet some more content to come.
If Shovel Knight already played like Ducktales with some Megaman influences, Plague Knight is straight up littered with Megaman gameplay influences, he emphasizes on long range attacks, charge shots for jumping higher, midair attacks and lots of potions for everything, from temporarily upgrading his health to mixing and changing his attacks, making him much more customizable than Shovel Knight himself.
Also his story is awesome and I love how this fleshed out Mona, making her one of my favorite characters from the game. And Plague Knight is simply an adorable little scamp :3
8. Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns
Disclaimer: I won a copy of this game on a contest by Destructoid and for that, I’m extremely grateful, however, that doesn’t influence on what I think of this game.
It has already said that this expansion won’t change your mind if you already disliked this game and I absolutely agree, however, I’m not here to talk about its shortcomings J
The expansion brought lots of new stuff, like masteries, which is almost an entirely new way to progress your character beyond level 80, new PVP zones, new explorable areas and even vertical zones where you can glide around (no mounts yet, but this will definitely suffice, for now), the awesome Revenant class, raids for the first time in the series (and it’s awesome) and a F2P switch that brought lots of new players.
This expansion doesn’t really re-invent the wheel, but it definitely adds a lot of improvements for veterans to look forward to, in fact, I haven’t played the game this much since I bought it in 2013, I’m in love with it all over again :)
7. The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth
Like some of my previous entries, this is my perfect excuse to talk about this game. I’ve always had a complicated relationship with The Binding of Isaac, ever since the first Flash based version.
I originally waited for it eagerly, because I’m a massive fan of Edmund McMillen and I always want to support him however I can. But I didn’t play it as much as I wanted, the Flash version was extremely slow and I had to make my own controller configuration using Xpadder. It was rough, to say the least. When Nicalis announced Rebirth and all the features it’ll have, I literally jumped off my chair out of pure joy, because every single complaint I had with the original release was going to be fixed and even improved upon.
I pre-ordered Rebirth and although I initially didn’t like the change of pixelated aesthetics and music composer, in the end it won me over. But same as the original, I didn’t play it as much as I wanted. Afterbirth is announced and just like Rebirth, I pre-ordered it. Upon release, I started playing the heck out of it and despite not having played Rebirth that much, I did notice a lot of changes and new stuff.
And I FINALLY started playing the heck out of it, I know Afterbirth is a really bad place to start off and it has definitely kicked my ass in many horrible ways, but still I started loving the heck out of it and this quickly became one of my three go to games that I would love to have if I ever get stuck on an island with nothing else to play.
… Yes, I cheated with 3 expansions, so what? I didn’t play that many new games last year :(
6. Crypt of the NecroDancer
This is the second of those three games I mentioned I’d love to have in an island, this game takes on the regular premise of the Rogue-like genre, but flips it on its head by adding rhythm based mechanics, so it’s pretty much Dance Dance Revolution, but instead of ranking on points and look like a dumbass in a public arcade, you’re trying to kill fabulous dancing skeletons and dragons. The soundtrack is made by the wonderful Danny Baranowski and you can even add your own tracks, giving it a lot of replayability. And it has a wonderful singing shop keeper.
I also recorded myself playing it as best as I could :P
And this right here is the third game of those I want if I have nothing else to play. 2015 was definitely a wonderful year for the Rogue-like genre (Nuclear Throne says hi), this one has an incredibly simple premise, go down into a well, but you must survive either by shooting whatever is down there, or jumping in its head Super Mario style. Simple, yet addicting, this one will definitely benefit from playing it on mobile devices, as it’s wonderful to play this in short bursts (no pun intended).
4. Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse
What? Don’t look at me like that; this is still technically a 2015 release! At least on Steam :3
For those who haven’t got the pleasure of
meeting playing any of the Shantae games, it’s a platformer with Metroidvania sensibilities, meaning you need to explore nonlinear levels and get new items to access some previously unreachable areas. The series have always had a great sense of humor and an amazing soundtrack.
Canonically speaking, this is the third game of the series (with a fourth one coming out this year), in this game, due to some nefarious circumstances in the previous game (Risky’s Revenge), Shantae loses all her half-genie powers and is completely human, but that doesn’t stop her from wanting to help and save the day once again.
Not only is Shantae extremely likable, but she gets some cool gadgets this time around to compensate for her lack of powers. Until Half-Genie Hero (the fourth one) comes out, this is the best looking game of the trilogy, with full HD display support, beautiful pixel sprite work and some incredibly smooth animations, with everything running at a silky smooth 60 fps.
The game isn’t very long, but it’s definitely an amazing ride, both for nostalgic gamers and newcomers alike.
3. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Oh boy, this one sure is a doozy. Lots of negativity surrounding this one, some of them deserved, like it’s publisher #FucKonami mistreating Kojima and his studio, adding horrible microtransactions, the kerfuffle surrounding Quiet, the much touted missing content, the shorter cutscenes, Big Boss being mute 95% of the time and some others I won’t bother including, or I just forgot about adding.
But you know what? This is still THE absolute best stealth game I’ve ever played; the open world was wonderful, giving you plenty of options to infiltrate into a base and it has tons of little details that are pretty much expected from Kojima.
This is a sandbox game at its finest and the action can be nerve wracking when you get spotted and shit hits the fan. Also, the Fox Engine is simply a thing of beauty, I seriously didn’t expect this to run so smooth and look this wonderful in an era when other publishers swear by their “cinematic” 30 fps.
Also the Mother Base stuff is pretty much a separate game on its own.
I still wholeheartedly recommend getting this if you haven’t played it yet.
I’ve previously stated that SOMA is my GOTY 2015 and while it does have a lot of merit to it, I decided against it in this list and I’ll later explain why in my #1 entry. So, why did it come so darn close to it being my #1 GOTY 2015?, because it made me think a lot. Sometimes I still think about its underlying themes. This game was originally pitched as a horror game, especially because it’s made by Frictional Games, the guys that re-invented the horror genre (for better or worse) with Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
There were a lot of expectations about this one and… It was very different from its predecessors. It was spooky alright, but also it was a very thoughtful sci-fi story. I’m generally against artsy indie games that offer nothing more than style over substance, or even games that pretend they’re substantial, but this game did tackle a lot of heavy philosophical themes with care and respect.
Despite taking place place in a scientific complex under the Atlantic Ocean, the environments feel very alien. The atmosphere is a thing of beauty, the voice acting is pitch perfect and playing this game with some good surround headphones or 5.1 speaker sets is a must.
I think it’s only shortcomings might be the actual horror elements, because the world is so well made, the environments so rich with painstaking detail, that having to keep an eye on the proverbial Boogey Man deters a little bit from the experience, but I can’t deny that it actually made me panic in some places (looking at you, Theta Labs).
So yeah, this game is all kinds of awesome, despite its shortcomings and it absolutely deserves its second place in my list.
1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
*GASP!* what a surprise! The game I always preach about turned out to be THE GOTY 2015 for me! Sarcasm aside, this game did have some shortcomings, mainly with its performance in consoles and some PC configurations, especially with AMD setups, heck; even some Nvidia cards were having problems with its own Hairworks technology, requiring multiple patches and even a multiple GB update that reworked most of the terrain to improve its performance.
Just like Splatoon, it had a ton of free cosmetical updates that are on par with what any other big publisher would normally offer as a pre-order bonus or a Day 1 Edition game, also the paid DLC definitely feel like a proper expansion from the golden days of PC gaming.
Besides its technical hindrances, this game is the ultimate open world that all open world games should strive to be, with a world so chockfull and brimming with detail, it really feels like a living, breathing world with each small town feeling different to the next, each area having its own verbal slangs, an extremely involved combat system that requires tons of tactical thought and actual use of each and every one of your abilities (and a lot of skill).
Also choices with actual consequence, sometimes some serious ones, that aren’t apparent until several hours later, sometimes a small, seemingly irrelevant choice will have several consequences much later.
And fucking Gwynt is addicting as hell.
So, there you have it! My first Top 10 list, hopefully this is the first of many :)
Honorable mentions goes to EYE: Divine Cybermancy, which I played it for the first time last year (thanks a lot Amna Umen!, you rock! :D), Dark Souls 2: Scholar of The First Sin, which I could’ve easily added in this list, but decided against it, Tales From the Borderlands, which I only played the first episode and not the entire thing yet, Killer Is Dead and Turok, which I played both for the first time and I FUCKING LOVED THEM and the incredibly awesome Season Pass of Mario Kart 8.
Thanks a lot for stopping by to read my nonsensical ramblings and have a happy new year!