2015 was a big year when it came to the amount of games I played. Making a list was hard! But here’s what scored big with me this year:
This game surprised me. When it launched in Japan it felt like it had a very lukewarm reception. I took the dive and I’m so glad I did! This game has an engaging and attentive battle system, a beautiful (and massive) world to explore, and giant robots. Sure, the learning curve can be pretty steep, but you will be glad you stuck it out with Xenoblade Chronicles.
Legend Of Zelda Marjora’s Mask 3D
A revisit to the Classic Nintendo 64 title, and arguably most emotionally powerful entry in the Legend of Zelda series, this handheld port might be on a smaller screen but it makes all the right changes to give this game a fresh feel. One of the only games of the year that had genuinely interesting characters I wanted to engage with. It’s a rare thing to give NPC’s such an impactful role. It looks great, is more accessible than its predecessor, and is still a pure blast to play.
You didn’t have to ask me twice if I wanted to hop back into the wasteland. Fallout 4 became such suck that I actually had to limit the time I was spending with it. Ultimately, in terms of story and interesting characters, it falls short of its older brother Fallout 3; and it’s a glitchy mess at times, but there are a lot of things to love about this game. The customization options will keep you busy for dozens of hours while you wonder what irradiated roach meat actually tastes like.
Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain
Konami had a tough year, everyone knows that. Luckily, they knocked it out of the park with the production value of MGS 5. Kojima’s swan song title with the company is packed full of detail. If making you feel like a badass is this game’s objective, then consider Phantom Pain the Citizen Kane of our generation. This game is definitely not without issue, voice acting and multiplayer are lackluster and painful at times; but if you like sneaking, shooting, and some of the best horse riding this side of Red Dead Redemption, you owe it to yourself to check this game.
Super Mario Maker
This game. I don’t know if I can actually put into words what this game means to me. Mario is in the DNA of all of us who play. Nintendo giving players the tools to try their best at making a masterpiece not only works, but it soars. It gives you a fantastic revisit to the worlds of the Mustachio’d plumber, and gives you the reign. If you take off your nostalgia goggles for a moment and get beyond Mario (which was all this game needed to begin with), you will find a deep and easy to use creative tool that will keep you busy for days. Super Mario Maker makes the best use of Wii U’s pitifully underutilized gamepad. It’s easy to pick up and easy to play. Within minutes of turning it on you will be on your way to being an amateur level designer. It’s clear that not everyone is a game designer and not everyone will be making the next Super Mario World with this game, but you will find a lot of interesting ideas in this game. Trust me, find a way to play this game. You won’t regret it.
I agree with Tristan’s sentiments above—coming up with five favorite games for the year was no easy task, but I wanted to highlight games that we each loved throughout the year, in no particular order. I don\’t believe in \”Game of the Year\” because not any one game rules them all.
Life is Strange
I\’ll be the first to admit that Episode 1 was rough with some hella cheesy dialogue, but what followed was one of the most moving games I\’ve played in years. I couldn\’t get enough of Max, Chloe, and Arcadia Bay and was on the edge of my seat during the final episode. Square Enix and DONTNOD offer an experience that shouldn\’t be missed.
I\’ve admitted numerous times that I\’m just not good with open world games. I usually lose interest or become turned off by the sheer amount of quests to do, but Fallout is different. Before I knew it I sank thirty plus hours into the game—which is a lot for me. The thrill of coming across undiscovered territory never wore off and the upgrades for armor and weapons kept me scavenging every inch of all areas I came across. I still haven\’t completed the campaign but I\’m having a blast taking on side missions and stumbling into chaotic firefights.
Super Mario Maker
People have been hacking roms to create custom Mario levels for years now, so the premise isn’t anything new. What makes Super Mario Maker shine is it’s authenticity and simplicity that only Nintendo could bring. Just about anyone can pick up a controller and make the most basic of levels and have fun doing it. You can create crazy enemy types not that defy the physics of a Mario games to date with some wacky results.
Ori and the Blind Forest
Within the first ten heartbreaking minutes I knew Moon Studios latest game was something special. The visuals are gorgeous and the soundtrack is brilliant, but don\’t let the cuteness fool you—this game can be challenging. Ori is a breath of fresh air for this who love the old Metroidvania platformer a of yore and I strongly suggest you don\’t skip over this. Especially for some Call of Duty shit.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
I wasn\’t sure if the team at Crystal Dynamics could make a sequel better than 2013\’s rebooted Tomb Raider but they did it. Somehow they made everything I loved about Lara Croft\’s recent adventure grander with the same stellar combat, collectible and upgrade systems, tombs, and voice acting while also refining aspects of gameplay. The story and cinematcs are top notch and the set pieces rival what we\’ve seen in the Uncharted series and as someone who\’s played every one of thos games, I\’d argue I like the rebooted Tomb Raider series more than Uncharted.