2015 is behind us, and 2016 can now begin. Before we start with 2016’s line-up of games, let’s talk about my favorite games of the last year. Personally, I felt that 2015 had a slow start. The very first big triple-A games that came out were underwhelming. That was until games that came out in March to December came out, and it became a pretty good year for games. I think all three big console makers had their ups and downs in terms of their titles, but the overall experience was more balanced than 2014. The rules still stand that no rereleases can be on the list. It’s lazy if you put it on there. There will be one exception on this list, but it’s only because we never got an official release of the game in the states. Now then, let’s begin with some honorable mentions.
Undertale: didn’t play it. Not that I think the game looks terrible, since it does a few things I am impressed by, but I didn’t have the time. Tearaway Unfolded: I really wanted to put this game on my favorite games of 2015, but I don’t put re-releases on my favorite games list. Still, if you don’t want to get a PlayStation Vita, you should definitely get Tearaway Unfolded, since it’s one of the best and most unique platformers around.
Transformers: Devastation: While this game was originally going to be on the list, I feel like if it didn’t have rehashed bosses, and a more interesting story, it would have been on this list. Still, this is easily one of the best action games of the year.
Super Mario Maker: Another game I didn’t have time to play, but I am so happy it’s doing well, and wish the community didn’t fill up the game with troll levels. Seriously, I don’t think I have been so disappointed in a fan base for a good game before.
Bloodborne: This was very close to being on my favorite games list, but it just missed being on this list, because I didn’t find myself enjoying it as much as other RPGs this past year. I respect what it does with its engrossing atmosphere, tough, but satisfying combat, and amazing music. However, I couldn’t get into its bone-crushing difficulty, and its underwhelming ending, unless you read the lore. I know a lot of people will say this is their favorite game of the year, and while I don’t fully recommend it to everyone, I still recommend you check it and its new expansion out! Other games that didn’t make the cut, and I won’t give full descriptions for are Broken Age Act 2 (frustrating puzzles), Massive Chalice (frustrating difficulty and too much micro-managing), Rocket League (not my cup of tea), Chroma Squad (gets a little repetitive), Telltales Game of Thrones (haven’t played it yet), and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Because Konami is the worst). Now then, this year’s list will not be in any particular order. I didn’t want to list them from my least favorite to my favorite since they all bring something fantastic to the table. Let’s get started!
1. Tales from the Borderlands
Tales from the Borderlands is officially my favorite Telltale Games’ series. It takes everything that I wanted from the main Borderlands franchise, like a story worth caring about, and pumps 12 gallons of personality, wit, emotional investment with the characters, and a fantastic Tarantino-worthy soundtrack into a span of five episodes. It has its problems, like the ending dragged its feet a little, and the official ending irked me, but if you want one of Telltale Games’ best outings, then pick up Tales from the Borderlands.
Out of the big original IPs of 2015, Splatoon feels like one of the only new IPs that didn’t crash and burn, like The Order: 1886 and Evolve. It was a shooter that took out what makes most shooters a ,dime a dozen and gave it new life with new gameplay mechanics of smothering paint everywhere, being able to swim through said paint, a bright colorful art style, and a huge dose of fun 90s personality. It’s a game I still see a lot of people play each time I boot it up, and is still just as fun to play through every time I enter multiplayer matches. I am so happy this game was doing well, and I hope we see a sequel in the future. I will be reviewing this game in the future so be prepared to see that review. Oh, and it has a creative single-player mode.
3. Witcher III: Wild Hunt
To be honest, Witcher III: Wild Hunt was one of the reasons I didn’t want to make a list that was in a particular order, since this game tied with another game on this list for number one. This game does so much that I love in RPGs. It has a great story, and a great universe, satisfying and easy-to-get-into combat, a downright amazing musical score, endearing characters, and the developer treated you like a respectful customer. Seriously, every developer should follow what these guys do. Witcher III is quite possibly my favorite western RPG next to the Mass Effect games.
4. Life is Strange
This is the evolution of the style that Telltale Games does, along with The Odd Gentleman’s King’s Quest. Life is Strange is like an episodic indie film, with a lot of the charm, well-written characters, and intentionally corny/fun dialogue. It’s a beautiful looking game with an interesting rewind time mechanic that can help you experiment with what choices you want to make during your time with the game. I am not done with all of it, but expect a review in January about this game. I am excited to hear about a season two, and if DONTNOD Entertainment sees this list, you all did an amazing job!
5. Xenoblade Chronicles X
This was the other game that tied with Witcher III as my favorite game of the year. While the pacing is a bit too slow, and the story takes a backseat to world-building, which bugs me since Monolith Soft can craft engrossing stories, I still had such a great time with the game. The combat was just like the last game, but with interchangeable classes/weapons, different party members, and having the ability to ride around in custom giant robots, which brought out the little kid in me. It’s like they unintentionally made the best Gundam game as well. I also have to give a shout-out to the composer of the game for making one of the most unique, corny, and epic soundtracks of the year.
6. Final Fantasy Type-0HD
I know the main cast doesn’t have a lot of personality, there is a lot of clunkiness to certain parts of the game, and it might have been a shoddy HD facelift, but I adored the Kingdom Hearts-style combat, and the interesting/dark ideas that were in the story. It was a Final Fantasy game that actually grabbed me, and that is something the more recent games haven’t done. I would love to see a sequel to this game to iron out some of the rougher parts.
7. Guild of Dungeoneering
This was a fantastic year for indie games, and Guild of Dungeoneering is a prime example of this. I played quite a lot of roguelike games this year, but a few of them broke the mold and brought something different to the table. I love that they gave you the ability to craft the dungeon around your hero, placing the enemies/money around in different rooms, and threw in an easy-to-get-into card battle system. It’s probably the PC game I have played the most in 2015 besides Massive Chalice. It also had an unexpectedly amazing soundtrack. If nothing else, buy the soundtrack to this game.
If for some reason or another, you still think Kickstarter isn’t a good platform for games, then you need to shut your yap, grab a controller, and download Jotun, a top-down Zelda-like experience that brings you into this world of giant elementals and large beautiful landscapes. It’s a pretty game with hand-drawn animations and breathtaking music. It might be hard, but you keep up the damage and use those special abilities, and you will have one of the most rewarding experiences of 2015
9. Galak-Z: The Dimensional
Once again, if this list was in order, Galak-Z: The Dimensional would have been low on the list because of its brutal difficulty. There was only so many times that I could tolerate having to go through five missions without dying to progress through the game. Luckily, they made an enhanced version for PC (and hopefully update the PS4 version), where an arcade mode is put in where you can just restart the mission you were on. It’s such a fun roguelike shooter that brings back memories of Robotech and Gundam. With breakneck action, multiple ways to tackle the levels, and a simple story, Galak-Z: The Dimensional should not be passed up.
10. Dragon Quest Heroes
You would think Omega Force would run out of ideas in terms of how to breathe new life into their Dynasty Warrior-style spin-off games that are based off licenses, but they found a way! Dragon Quest Heroes was probably my favorite Dynasty Warriors-style game with the lovely art style, satisfying combat, fun if corny story, and the newer tower defense-style elements that are in the levels. I am so glad this game did well, since for one reason or another, Square Enix was putting all of their bets on the franchise coming over to the states on this one game. If you want one of the better games of 2015, you can’t go wrong with Dragon Quest Heroes!
11. Until Dawn
It seems like everywhere I look, people were surprised at how good this game was. I wasn’t. I love these narrative-style adventure game, and while I do love the David Cage games, flaws and all, Until Dawn executes its ideas slightly better than Cage does. Sure, the motion bar thing was dumb, and it’s getting a VR-only piece of DLC, but if you want one of the more unique horror games around, then you should definitely pick up this PS4 exclusive.
12. Zombie Vikings
While Zombie Vikings did have a rough launch, it was a game I had the most fun with in terms of a beat ‘em up. It was quirky, easy to get into, and had a great sense of humor. It still had its moments of repetitiveness and some glitches, but I had so much fun with this game
13. Read Only Memories
The one game that brought back my passion to reviewing games. This very well done cyberpunk adventure game enveloped me with its story. I also loved the subtle and not in-your -face themes of the LGBT community. While I wish there were a few things done differently, this game is a blast, and I hope to try it out on home consoles in the future.
14. Hand of Fate
This was one of my favorite indie games of the year. A roguelike action RPG, where the dungeon around you is decided by cards that rest on the table. It has a solid and satisfying Arkham-style combat, a great musical score, and one of the best villain characters around. If you have not yet played this game for some reason, you should. It’s one of my personal favorite indie games
15. Citizens of Earth
I bet a lot of people forgot about this game. I know some are split on this game, and we have gotten quite a few Earthbound-style RPGs, but I adored this game’s sense of humor, personality, turn-based combat, and cartoony design. Seriously, if you love Earthbound or Undertale, you should check this game out.
16. Yoshi’s Wooly World
To round out my list is the awesome Wii U platformer, Yoshi’s Wooly World. It’s an adorable, colorful, beautiful, and calming experience. I mean, if I had to show you a game that represented why Nintendo was great, besides a Mario and Zelda game, it would be Splatoon and Yoshi’s Wooly World.