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Jason Oestreicher's Top 10 Games of 2015

In the new year, Jason resolves to spend less time writing Top 10 lists and more time being on Top 10 lists.

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Jason Oestreicher is a video guy that does video guy stuff at Giant Bomb. He owns too many arcade sticks, scientifically ranks fighting games, and just wants to hold Brad's hand. Please enjoy his Twitter account which is currently lousy with adorable baby pictures.

I somehow managed to quadruple my plushie collection this year. I'm up to four now. Only one was an unintentional addition.

Video games were good this year. Remember last year? Whoo boy. This year brought us the Bloody Baron, the Kirkhammer, FULTONS, Mario making, a new(ish) Earth Defense Force, and flying cars. Truly, too many great things for this guy to handle, but if I had to choose ten, the list would look a little something like this:

10. RONIN

This is a hotly contested spot! There’s a lot of games that deserve to be on this list, but RONIN earned its place by wowing me with its mechanics. RONIN’s 2D, stealth-based gameplay evokes shades of Gunpoint and Mark of the Ninja, but combat plays out in a turn-based fashion. As a result, zipping across ceilings, dodging bullets, and slicing up dudes becomes a puzzle, of sorts. It’s a really neat little game with a cool vibe that stood out and stuck with me since playing it early this year.

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9. Batman: Arkham Knight

Damn, man. Settle down. Ok, there’s that Batmobile business. Yeah, there’s a whole lot of the same old stuff that we’ve seen in previous games. But I really enjoy that stuff. It’s my list. Let me like my Batmans.

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8. Mortal Kombat X

The previous game left a bad taste in my mouth - an awful vomity taste. So, naturally, I had misgivings going into Mortal Kombat X. But some hands-on time left me very hopeful. Surprisingly, the netcode was… pretty ok! That PC port? What in the holy hell happened there?! But overall, MKX is an absolutely gorgeous looking game and damn fun to play. Truly, a worthy addition and one of my favorites to play in the series.

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That’s high praise for a game that I ended up dropping only a few months after release, but I partially blame Dan Ryckert for beating me in a drunken first-to-five where he just spammed shit with Kung Jin. I really liked that game (and myself) up until that point. Dammit.

7. Bloodborne

Kirkhammer
Kirkhammer


Kirkhammer
Kirkhammer

"A trick weapon typically used by Healing Church hunters. On the one side, an easily handled silver sword. On the other, a giant obtuse stone weapon, characterized by a blunt strike and extreme force of impact. The Church takes a heavy-handed, merciless stance toward the plague of beasts, an irony not lost upon the wielders of this most symbolic weapon."

Kirkhammer
Kirkhammer

6. Rise of the Tomb Raider

As we sat down to the the Quick Look for Rise of the Tomb Raider, Brad and I got to talking about how good the previous one was. Tomb Raider did a lot of things right--clumsily at times--but was a surprisingly solid package.

“I think it out-Uncharted Uncharted," I said. “I politely agree to disagree,” said Brad in his Brad voice.

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But lo! During the Game of the Year talks, when the subject of Rise of the Tomb Raider came up, what line did he punctuate his argument with? “It out-Uncharted Uncharted.” He stole my line and I can’t even be mad at him because he’s got that Brad voice and also because, hell, HE AIN’T WRONG!

Rise of the Tomb Raider improved upon the previous outing in a few ways. Notably, by bringing actual tomb raiding back into the fold. Combat is still fast and loose, but with more freedom in how you approach it. There are even more crazy spectacle moments, but during the down time, you’ve got some interesting collectibles and points of interests to keep you occupied. There’s a lot of game here and it’s all pretty damn good.

5. Ori and the Blind Forest

Never have I frustratingly muttered so many foul-mouthed obscenities towards such a tender, touching, and visually stunning work of art before. I love you, Ori. But holy hell you’re hard sometimes!

Why won’t you just let me in?
Why won’t you just let me in?

4. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Mmmmmm SO TASTY!
Mmmmmm SO TASTY!

I got Brad to play it for a bit. Drew even longer. That deserves a spot, right? Also, I played it for a good couple hundred hours or so.

You and me, Monster Hunter. For life. Those other guys? They’ll come around.



3. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

There are precious few gaming moments that stood out to me this year, but most were from The Witcher 3. My time spent playing as Geralt left a lasting impression. Major decisions kept me up at night. I felt a connection to the world’s inhabitants. The Bloody Baron. The Crones. Keira. Hell, even the seemingly random side-quests were full of expertly crafted stories and characters. In terms of storytelling and world immersion, especially in an open-world setting, The Witcher 3 is on a different level.

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2. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

You’re a looker, MGSV. And man are you great to hang out with. It’s really too bad… I mean, shame about all that, you know, stuff with your dumb storyline. But whatever. You and me had some amazingly fun times this year. You too, Quiet--once we got some proper gear on you. D-Dog! Who’s a good boy? You are, you adorable little death dervish! D-Horse! Do it, buddy! D-Walker? Uh, cool machete arm, bro.

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1. Rocket League

So, I played a little bit of that Super Acrobatic Rocket Cars Or Whatever game back in the day. Pretty fun, right?! When I got a chance to try out the Beta for Rocket League, I thought, “OK, cool. So more of that other game?”. I dismissed it.

I messed up. It’s so much better.

High-five!
High-five!

As it turns out, Psyonix has indeed adopted the formula from the previous game, but they’ve been busy making tweaks. Refining it. Playtesting it. Perfecting it.

That oversized bouncy ball is just the best damned thing. It plays well with newcomers and seasoned aerial masters alike. The random chaos that ensues when newcomers flail about often leads to the most spectacular moments. And, later, mastery over that chaos-ball and the cars that bounce it, leads to its own kind of excitement and beauty.

I’m using a lot of superlatives because I get all lovey-dovey when I think about Rocket League.

That game is really fun, guys.

95 Comments

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SyrenneMcN

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Great list - really enjoy the writing style, too! A lot of personality coming through :)

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winsord

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Even as someone who didn't really like Bloodborne very much, Kirkhammer is easily the greatest weapon of 2015.

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spankingaddict

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Best list by a mile so far , Jason . Respect

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fixerofdeath

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Nice list Jason. It's good to see The Witcher cracked the top 5 on at least one staff member's list.

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Based

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ROCKET LEAGUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

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hassun

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Keep repping that Kirkhammer Jason, you're doing the lord's work.

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Edited By slimepuppy

Kirkhammer.

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PoToSkull

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Monster Hunter 4.....I wish I played more than just 60 hrs!

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100mullets

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Never change Jason! Great list

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viking_funeral

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I had somehow not heard of Ronin, and Mark of the Ninja cracked my top 3 in 2012. I'm going to have to add it to my January catch-up pile next to SOMA.

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Nightcrawlah

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Kirkhammer bro 4 lyfe!!!

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ShadowSwordmaster

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This list is so Jason.

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Joe423

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Jason confirms he has the best taste of anyone ever.

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MilesTheWolfman

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Spiritof

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livewyr90

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Jason is the hero we deserve.

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Epsilon82

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If you would have told me after the 20 minutes or so I played of the PS4 version of Rocket League that it would end up being my Game of the Year, especially knowing how much I had already loved The Witcher 3, I would have asked you get your head examined.

I thought the concept was nifty, but I figured it would just be a disposable thing I'd play a few matches of then forget about. And the frame-rate on PS4 just didn't seem quite up to the task. It really felt like this game SCREAMS for a locked 60 fps. When I found out the multiplayer was cross-platform, I figured maybe I'd like this game better on more powerful hardware so I took the plunge and bought the PC version and BOY was I ever right.

I haven't been this addicted to a game since I first got into music rhythm games with Rock Band 1, and I basically NEVER play competitive multiplayer. That this game could get its claws into me as deeply as it has is a true testament to sensational design sensibilities. Every single match it feels like I'm learning a new trick, subtlety, or approach to a type of situation, and every time I quit a session it feels like I'm withdrawing from a drug.

Props to Jason for giving this game the respect it truly deserves. What an amazing accomplishment, and I will continue to shovel cash to the devs for as many of the cosmetic DLC I don't really care about as they choose to release. Even 60 bucks feels like an act of larceny for as much as I've gotten out the game already and will surely continue to get for as long as people continue populating the servers.

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radioactivez0r

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Rocket League represent. I play that game every god damn day and I love it every god damn day.

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OMGFather

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Captain Kirkhammer

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AlwaysBeClothing

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I really enjoyed parts of Batman as well, it was up to #4 on my list. The lack of Mario Maker on these staff lists really makes me curious if Jeff and Dan were able to take down MGS V. Great list Jason

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Rufuscrim

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paulmako

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The Kirkhammer is truly something. Also the sword part of it looks rad as hell too.

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Smugglesthecat

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Finally... the Witcher 3 has broke someone's top 5!

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Cav829

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Kirkhammer for Game of the Year.

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DrDarkStryfe

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DrDarkStryfe  Online

Kirkhammer Cameron.

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Jinoru

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Stop

Kirkhammer Time

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Death_Metalist

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Aw yeaaahh Ori!, sweet list.

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Colonel_Pockets

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Kirkhammer.

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cooljammer00

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Kirk Hammer is my favorite guitar player.

Also, Jason didn't like MK9? Surprised. I thought it was generally well received by most people, especially MK/fighting game fans.

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LochRaven

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Rocket League has become my favourite game of all time.

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Ravelle

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I love how Jason's personality comes over in his writing style. In his Jason voice.

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steveurkel

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Good list I like this one because he actually does a top 10 and doesn't stray from the question at hand "top 10" whereas everyone goes here's my top 30 of my favorites but not reallies.

My game of the year were witcher 3, rise of tomb raider, assassins creed syndicate , just cause 3, dragon quest heroes, rainbow six siege, and I don't know what else but none of these cheapo indie games 2015 was a year of spectacular art and graphics anyone putting undertale above syndicate or rise is delusional.

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GiantLizardKing

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I'm starting to think Super Mario Maker won't win the whole thing and that bums me out a bit

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Quicklyer

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Weird, it turns out Blades of Mercy are significantly awesomer than the Kirkhammer. Weird!

Regardless, thanks for the list Jason. I hope to hear you on podcasts more in the future. You and Austin are such incredible pickups for GB. Happy New Year! <3

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Mezmero

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Jason continues to be my favorite of the new hires. That is a dope ass list duder. So far of all the staff this is the one closest to my own personal top ten list this year. I'd expect nothing less from such a fighting game scientist. Keep being awesome and doing awesome work. I'm more of a Rifle Spear man myself.

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JosephKnows

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I feel you on the love of the Batmans, Jason. We need to stick together and just continue to ignore the burning pile that is the hottest mess of 2015.

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takayamasama

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Boo Kirkhammer

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jiggajoe14

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Kirkhammer should be higher.

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Kukamunga

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Now this is a list I can get behind. Kirkhammer.

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AC_Shredder

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@quicklier: That fucking Blades of Mercy animation where you switch from 2-handed to 1-handed and you flick them into place by whirling the second knife around the first one's tip, is so fucking cool. It also fits into that sense of visceral aggression and speed that Bloodborne goes for over the Souls games, so it's got that going for it. I will mention how amazing the Burial Blade is though, as well as shouting out that satisfying shunk that you get when you flip out the Saw Cleaver/Spear.

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deactivated-5e4c09d3ba1b3

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Jason totally got me into Monster Hunter this year and I both love and hate him for that!

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criacow

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Jason, I love your writing style here. Please write more things for the site. :D

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TracerX

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Bloodborne weapons deserved to win best styyyyyyle on their own as far as I'm concerned.

Mechanical stake driver that fires a spike into bad guys with a gunpowder explosion.

Huge badass sword that shoots magic slashes out when you swing it.

Badass katana that you cover in your own blood to make it hit harder.

Giant fucking hammer that explodes when you hit people with it.

Weird... parasite... thing that turns your arms into tentacles for some reason. Okay, maybe not that last one.

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IshimuraD

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Great screenshot choice for MKX

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Quicklyer

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@quicklier: That fucking Blades of Mercy animation where you switch from 2-handed to 1-handed and you flick them into place by whirling the second knife around the first one's tip, is so fucking cool. It also fits into that sense of visceral aggression and speed that Bloodborne goes for over the Souls games, so it's got that going for it. I will mention how amazing the Burial Blade is though, as well as shouting out that satisfying shunk that you get when you flip out the Saw Cleaver/Spear.

Completely agreed. It doesn't hurt that you are showered in sparks during the transform, especially that switchblade transform.

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TPoppaPuff

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I don't know if either new Tomb Raider has out-Uncharted Uncharted, but I do know they were my personal favorite games of their respective years. That and the combat is definitely better than Uncharted's.

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ripelivejam

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Edited By ripelivejam

KUNG JIM