Before I delve into my list, a little disclosure; this was hard! Unfortunately, it wasn’t difficult because there were a plethora of games for me to choose from either. Not at all, quite the contrary actually. I struggled to get past the first two that came to mind instantly. Maybe it was because I’m not a very big list writer, or maybe, just maybe, there weren’t that many games released that I really enjoyed. A crazy thought but most likely true.
Anyway, to the subject at hand, these are the five games that made me happy to still be a gamer. I’ll list in reverse order of my enjoyment (which is measured by the amount of time I invested in each title…which includes replays)
This game is basic…very basic, but that is part of the charm of it. It’s just down to the simple components. You, with your single, trusty arrow, against a few titans; perfect. I heard about this game and thought that it sounded familiar, which is what piqued my interest. After playing it for a few minutes I realised that my assumptions were correct. It’s Shadow of the Colossus all over again. One of my favourite games reimagined in a different style…yes please.
Another thing that appealed to me was the difficulty. Ever since being introduced to the world of pain, that is the Soul’s series, I long for that torture. I have become a gaming masochist, and this fulfilled my desire nicely, so it makes the list.
Olli Olli 2
Anytime a skateboarding game is released I always say, “I’m going to buy that!” then I play the demo and say, “I’m glad I didn’t buy that.” That’s a different story here. This game is fun beyond fun for me. None of the unnecessary aspects of open world exploration, or near impossible to execute moves, just pure fun. I guess skateboarding enthusiasts will say that this isn’t a REAL skateboarding game, but to me, this is as close as it gets.
To highlight another point, I LOVE the soundtrack, which is another big reason for me to play the game. I can zone out, do some cool movements, engage the gaming side of my brain with the timing of button presses, whilst just sitting back and enjoying the tunes. Good times, little things.
I know that there’s a lot of gamers who worship Metroidvanina (aka Castletroid) games, but I never really got into them. I played Metroid Fusion about six years ago and loved it, and only recently played Super Metroid. I also always played a short burst of the Castlevania games, but yet again, never really got into them. It wasn’t because they weren’t good; they just weren’t my kind of games. Saying that, Rogue Legacy blew me away. As with the two games above, really basic title, but it did everything that I wanted it to do.
I love the concept of being a descendant of your previous character, and the ever-changing layout of the stages (one of the reasons I liked The Rebirth of Isaac…but that’s another conversation). The game hooked me. It was…no, still is ridiculously fun and difficult, which gives it longevity and character. Great game.
Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
I’m a huge RPG gamer. I also thoroughly enjoy open-world games. This was a great marriage between the two. The RPG elements, which were a lot more western than I usually prefer, were very detailed and engrossing. There was enough tactical play involved for me to keep playing without losing interest. The characters were believable and the world was amazing.
I can’t begin to express my love of the lore and background in the game, and yes, I know it’s slightly unfair to give the game props for it’s depth when that all comes from the books, but that is something that makes this game even more interesting. It’s something that goes even further than the days and hours worth of gameplay you get from the title. I loved Witcher 2, but haven’t had the chance to read the novels yet, so there’s still so much for me to learn about the rich world I’ve been introduced to.
I would say that this game has entered the ranks of my favourite games ever. Not terribly high in the list…but it’s in there.
I don’t even know how to start without never ending. This game is amazing. From the combat system, level design, character design, enemy detail, boss battles, to the lore and atmosphere. I enjoyed every second of this game. EVERY SECOND, even those moments where my wife complained about the amount of profanity coming out of my mouth when I kept on dying. It was an experience I will never forget.
As with all of Miyazaki’s games, the best part of the game was finding the story. Realising what on earth is going on is just an amazing experience that can only be gained from a game. I spent hours reading through item descriptions, looking around the environment, just trying to piece together what was going on, and why I’m killing so many enemies.
The atmosphere was just enveloping. I felt creeped out, scared, unsure and uneasy all at the same time, whilst always saying to myself, “Just to the next lamp…then I’ll go to bed…………Ok, one more.”
I could spend hours writing about the combat system, enemy placement, weapon choices and more, but this is just a simple list, so I’ll leave that for another time.
My favourite game of the year though, hands down.
Honourable mention – Grim Fandango Remastered
I know, I know, this wasn’t made in 2015, but I had never played it until now, as I’ve never owned a PC (same reason I never played Witcher 1) but this game is great. It’s Tim Schafer at his best. I loved Psychonauts, Brutal Legend and The Cave, (haven’t played Broken Age yet, but I’m sure I’ll like it too) so I’m not surprised that I enjoyed the humour in this game. It’s well written and very easy to intereact with. Just thought I’d send some props out to Mr Schafer.
So that’s my list. All good games, but surprisingly predominately indie titles. The majority of AAA games that came out were disappointing. Saying that, I think I’ll make a ‘Most Disappointing Games of 2015’ list next…that will be an interesting one.
Guard your flames people.