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How did Destructoid's most anticipated games of 2015 turn out?

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Either pretty good or not at all

While it is currently several days into 2016, I am still writing 2015 on all my checks. Rent's past due, by the way. Speaking of 2015, it was a year wherein a lot of video games came out, many of which we were dog-whose-owner-is-returning-from-getting-the-mail excited to play. We talked about them here, a year ago.

It was all promise, and exciting. Not even new romance, but the threat of it.

And then 2015 raged on like the festering wound that it was and many of us had to face reality. Many of us, however, picked games that didn't end up coming out in 2015, leaving us a bit longer strapped to fantasy that's safer than a released product with its jagged edges and unflattering lighting and forehead wrinkles, even if we might end up loving it in spite of all that.

At the start of 2015 my most anticipated game of the year was Broken Age: Act 2. As it happens, I actually forgot this came out this year. I was really, really disappointed with it and as a result almost entirely forgot it even existed until sitting down to write this. I maintain that the first half of Broken Age was an absolute masterpiece when released in isolation from its conclusion. A humorously written point and click adventure that featured well paced and designed puzzles, a memorable cast and one of the most gripping cliff hanger endings in any video game, I was damn impressed with it.

Act 2 unfortunately threw most of this promise away very quickly. The puzzles became obtuse, often deliberately unfair and just plain unimaginative. The narrative took a turn for the worse with a completely unsatisfying conclusion and many of the characters who had once felt exciting and new failed to bring anything new to the table. Considering how big a proponent I had been for the first act of the game, the second act falling so flat on its face was easily the most disappointing gaming moment of my year.

In hindsight, my faith in this game was a little misplaced, it seems. 

At the beginning of the year, I was most looking forward to SeaFall, a board game by Rob Daviau. After years in development, it was slated for a 2015 release. The legacy board game idea really started to catch on, and Daviau found himself working on several projects. Sadly, SeaFall was pushed back to 2016. So I didn't get to play my most anticipated game this year.

However, one of the other projects that popped up was Pandemic Legacy, a collaboration with designer Matt Leacock. Unlike SeaFall, Pandemic already had its basic mechanics in place, so developing the legacy aspect was all that needed to be done. Pandemic Legacy released in October, and it is widely regarded as one of the best board games of 2015. I haven't finished it, but from what I've played, it's been pretty great and it certainly lessens the sting of not having my top choice available.

My most anticipated game of 2015, The Legend of Zelda for the Wii U, was pushed back to 2016.

Before you jump to judge me for believing that a Zelda game may actually be released on time, let me remind you that Nintendo announced and released an entirely new title in the series all in one fell swoop this year. In fact, Tri Force Heroes was on shelves just a few months after it was unveiled at E3 2015, proving once again that the only consistent thing about Nintendo is its capacity for unpredictability. Linkle's recent debut as a playable character in Hyrule Warriors is living proof of that. 

I'd say Killing Floor 2 because it's basically all I play, but it's in Early Access and everyone's sick of hearing me talk about it. So...hmm. I wasn't sure if The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt would survive the transition to the open world style that it shot for. In a time when "open" usually translates to "lots of repetitive shite to pick up," I was concerned that CD Projekt Red would fill it with half-assed bloat.

Instead, both side and main quests were compelling in an unexpected way. Sure, there was a buttload of icons on the map, but because of environmental story telling and dense mythology (the Bloody Baron quest, anyone?) I actually wanted to see every inch of the map. Well done, Poland.

Bloodborne turned out about as well as I expected. With series director Hidetaka Miyazaki returning to the helm (after merely supervising Dark Souls II) the project was in good hands, and it managed to retain that classic Souls feel while forging an identity all of its own. Our staff agreed, and voted it our overall Game of 2015 -- not a bad endorsement!

As the year went on, Bloodborne got even better. Multiple updates fixed woes such as long load times, and added a ton of quality of life changes, like enhanced multiplayer. Augmented by The Old Hunters DLC, there's even more of an excuse to replay it annually.

Looking back, I have no regrets pegging Life is Strange as my most anticipated game of 2015. The potential I saw in that gamescom 2014 demo was realized without question, sometimes ten times over. By the end, I was invested in the lives of these characters and that's the absolute most you could ask of a game like this.

That's why it stung so much to watch the finale stumble the way it did. Episode 5 wrapped things up in a way that directly contradicted the slow pace and exploratory nature of the first four chapters. It was almost like playing a different game where you already knew the people and places.

That's a shame, but it didn't sully my fond memories of Max, Chloe, and Arcadia Bay. Spending time with them every few months was a joy, as I found myself looking forward to every new episode's release. When I think back on Life is Strange, I won't think of the game's climax. Instead, I'll remember Max popping in her earbuds to walk down the school hallway, her and Chloe taking a midnight swim in the pool, and Warren's relentless pursuit of just one date. Those were the type of moments that made this such a special game.

Even though it fell below my admittedly grand expectations, I stand by my most anticipated game of 2015, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The uneven story pacing and lack of location and side-quest variety were a letdown, but just about every other facet delivered.

I'm not a Metal Gear guy. I'm not even all that into stealth games. But I had such a fun time improvising my way out of mistakes and poor decision making. Although Bloodborne ended up being my favorite title of the year, The Phantom Pain was the one I was most curious to get my hands on.

My most anticipated game of last year, Bloodborne, turned out to be our site's pick as GOTY, so I'd say I was pretty dang pleased with my choice. I put my faith in werewolves and pitchfork wielding mobs and was not disappointed. A life lesson I'm sure we can all take to heart. 

I wasn't exactly Nostradamus when it came to my runner-ups though. Evolve squandered its amazing potential and post-L4D goodwill by managing to be mediocre in every single way. Batman: Arkham Knight was a fine game sabotaged by sequel-fatigue, repetition, and detestable Riddler-racing sequences. My final pick, Star Citizen, well, the less said about how I feel about Star Citizen at the end of 2015, the better. Maybe 2016 will be the year that mankind finally takes to the stars, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

I'll confess: I wrote about how No Man's Sky was my most anticipated game of 2015, mainly because I wasn't allowed to be the second person on last year's list to write about Persona 5. No Man's Sky was my second choice. Either way, that's egg on my face, since neither game came out this year. At least, we have a timeframe to go on, now. No Man's Sky hits in June 2016, and Persona 5 for a more nebulous "Summer" of the same year.

In the meantime, my enthusiasm has cooled ever so slightly for No Man's Sky, now that more information has begun tempering runaway expectations. Plus, with Elite Dangerous releasing its Horizons expansion and Star Citizen promising its own take on planetary landings, Hello Games' baby is no longer the only surface-to-space action to be found. 

My other most-anticipated games - the ones that came out, anyway - turned out quite well, though. Metal Gear Solid V is one of the best stealth-action games ever made, and I enjoyed Bloodborne more than any Souls title since Demon's Souls. I was also quite happy that Satellite Reign turned out to be even better than the Syndicate titles that inspired its developers.

All in all, it was a good year for seeing my (game-related) hopes realized, and here's to hoping 2016 turns out similarly.

As a diehard Metal Gear fan, of course I'm going to get excited when a new entry is announced. Many have tried and failed, and when it comes to creating a tight, deep gameplay experience that encourages you to play with the toys and mechanics it gives you in interesting ways -- no one other than Hideo Kojima and his gang have managed to hit that mark. Metal Gear Solid V had been on my mind for literal years. It released while I was at PAX Prime 2015, and you can imagine the six-hour bus ride home was grueling.

As for how it actually turned out, it far exceeded my expectations and let me down in others. I'm not one to agree with the general populace on something like this, but let's face it - the story is a little weak. Even the harder hits like the Truth ending failed to leave me with any sense of closure, it really ended up just opening up more questions and a few plot points left untouched or unsatisfied for me.

Regardless, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is hands-down one of the most satisfying and devastatingly dense games I've ever had the joy of playing, and I can rest easy knowing it was worth the wait for the gameplay.

Two years ago I picked Gravity Rush 2 as my most anticipated. Then I had to write about how it hadn't actually come out (and still hasn't). Last year, I picked Persona 5 as my most anticipated game of 2015 and guess what didn't come out in 2015, yep, you guessed it, Persona 5. My runners-up didn't do much better: "Gravity Rush 2, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Kentucky Route Zero, getting decapitated, Tetsuo & Youth, baseball." Swing and miss on Gravity Rush again; Metal Gear was good; KRZ, hah!; didn't get decapitated; it was fine; Giants miss playoffs.

I think there's some attraction in the idea of both of these games just based off my strong reaction to their predecessors. I also campaigned strongly for Kentucky Route Zero in the 2013 Game of the Year awards despite only one episode having been released in the multipart adventure game (three years later and only the first three episodes out of five are available). On the other hand, I parlayed my love of Invisible, Inc. in 2014 early access into one of my favorite games of 2015, so I'm not all betting on distant promise.

Plus, Gravity Rush 2 and Persona 5, my last two years' of most-anticipated, are both definitely coming out in 2016. Can't wait!

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What were you looking forward to in 2015? Did it actually come out? Was it everything you ever wanted, setting your heart a flutter? Are you now planning the perfect Roadhouse theme wedding with it? Just make sure you do not tell me what you're anticipating in 2016. I will upload another post for you to do that in. Please understand. 

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Steven Hansen
Steven HansenContributor   gamer profile

Steven watches anime & sports, buys meat out of trucks, dates a Muppet, and is only good at cooking. He stands before you bereft of solace and well on the road to perdition. ('^ω^) more + disclosures


 


 



Filed under... #bloodborne #Destructoid Originals #Metal Gear Solid #Notable

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