Games played in 2015

Games that I completed in 2015 or played enough of to know I didn't want to finish them. Kinda in order, but not really -- the first half is pretty scrambled. I decided to add comments well after this list was created (comments were written in November and after), so there isn't as much detail as usual. Also, my writing is terribly rusty at the moment D:

List items

  • Final Fantasy XIV is my first MMO. I'd previously avoided them because an ex boyfriend of mine had lost a few years of his life to it and I was always worried I'd do the same. My worries were correct -- FFXIV has taken over a lot of my free time since my boyfriend and I started playing it together last year. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with it: I've started running high level endgame content with a static raid group, maxed all my crafting and gathering classes, and made lots of friends in the Giant Bomb guild. The first expansion has been pretty interesting -- particularly the story -- but it's a little thin on content so far. I am actually pretty happy with the content drought since it's giving me time to play other games while just keeping up with the basics and leveling side jobs when I'm in the mood. My greatest disappointment with the expansion is that my main DPS class (Bard) was reworked from the ground up in a way I'm not very excited about -- luckily I'd already switched main jobs to White Mage for raiding, but I'll always miss 2.0 Bard.

  • Played some hours of HotS with my boyfriend and friends from FFXIV not long after it was released. I've been hounded by several friends to try out several different MOBAs over the last year or two, particularly LoL, but I've never been particularly interested in them. Heroes of the Storm confirmed what I'd already assumed: MOBAs are just not for me. I did have fun playing this casually, but I know that most MOBA's have a pretty steep learning curve -- I just didn't have enough fun with it to bother learning how to play properly. Will probably go back to this a bit at some point if friends want to spend some time messing around with it.

  • Completed in late October not long after the release of the last episode.

    Life is Strange is amazing to me. Anyone who has played several Quantic Dream games or Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, I think, will have a similar reaction to Life is Strange. The game play in LiS is everything I have always wanted a controller-focused adventure game to be save one major caveat I'll mention later. Games like Heavy Rain and Dreamfall tried to update the point and click format by adding too much unnecessary complexity: difficult QTEs, annoying tank controls, and ridiculous minigames. LiS mostly got it right by simplifying character action to rewinding time and interacting with objects and environments. This simplicity is anything but boring when you add an incredibly deep and emotionally affecting story, interesting characters, and a system of decisions that make you feel like you have real agency over the outcome of the story.

    My main problem with the game is the forced stealth sequences. Stealth sequences in RPGs and adventure games have always been a pet peeve of mine and they are often a source of significant frustration for me. The strength of all the other elements that make LiS truly great, however, keeps those sequences from bogging things down too much.

  • Completed this game in late summer/early fall.

    Her Story is a great exploration of interactive storytelling. Essentially a search engine game, the player searches for subject terms in a database of video clips. These video clips document several interrogations of the game's protagonist, Hannah Smith, regarding the disappearance of her husband.

    The actress who plays Hannah is fantastic, and the true crime nature of the story is very interesting, especially since it is revealed to the player out of sequence and in short, usually disconnected responses and vignettes.

    I loved it. It pushed a lot of the right buttons for me. I was doing research, I was using skills related to my own profession, and the payoff in the end was fantastic. I'd say the one real downside to this game is that the accidental guess of a good term can reveal a little too much about the story without adequate build up and thus the game can spoil itself a little bit. Overall, however, absolutely fantastic.

  • Played several hours of this with my boyfriend not long after it was released.

    When you and your partner both love video games, you're always looking for titles that you can enjoy together. This has led me to play a lot of games that I would never have tried on my own. Nom Nom Galaxy was definitely a fun way to spend a few evenings, but games like this and Terarria just don't really grab me that much. They can be a nice balance for us as a couple, however. He builds the base and I manage all the soup production and gardening. We will probably try more games like this in the future, just for kicks.

  • Played FFXIV all year long, see above for more comments. The end of 2.0 culminated in some pretty amazing beats and some fantastic raid content. I love this game!

  • Played many hours of Trendsetters during a significant break from FFXIV in the early fall.

    Picked up Trendsetters when I was feeling particularly sad about the fact that Style Savvy 3 hasn't yet been announced for release in North America. As of mid November, there is still nothing. Trendsetters is fantastic as always, but I would love to play a new game in this series.

  • Played Hearthstone off and on throughout the year against my boyfriend, and played some single player to level up characters.

    Hearthstone is my first CCG and while I do enjoy it quite a bit, I feel like even though it's quite simple, it will always be a steep learning curve for me, especially since I don't play often enough to keep up with new cards and other updates. Augh, dat boyfriend always beats me D:

  • Played several hours with my boyfriend in early January during the PSN outage. Enjoyed what we played, but we were sidetracked by other games. We do plan to pick this up again soon, however, due to the addition of controller support, which will probably make it more approachable for me. More comments to be added later.

  • Played about 10 hours with my boyfriend in very late 2014/early 2015 around the holidays.

    This was my first Diablo experience and it was pretty fun. Unfortunately, I added text to this list months after we stopped playing it, so I can't really say much. I remember having a good time but being frustrated by the menu system in this game. All in all a good co-op experience for my boyfriend and I, we just got sidetracked with other things.

  • Played about 10 hours in the second half of the year.

    Persona Q is a really interesting game that just didn't stick with me. I was a little worried initially about the mapping mechanics that are such a famous element of the Etrian Odyssey series, but I actually found the mapping to be quite fun. I also thought the voice acting was good, and the characters were pretty on point as well. I wasn't expecting to be as moved as I was by all the fan service as well. All that said, I found the combat in Persona Q to be boring and tedious. I'm not wild about turn based battle systems that have you plotting out all of your team's actions at the beginning of one turn -- I just feel like it doesn't give me enough flexibility to react to what the enemies are doing. I can usually get past this, but since Persona Q gives you so many team members to work with it became quite annoying.

    I also found that micromanaging the Personas of all of my team members was annoying as well. I love fusing demons and personas in SMT games, but I felt like having to coordinate personas for so many different characters to be a lot more work than I was interested in dealing with, especially when I wasn't that wild about the combat.

  • Played about an hour of The Fall in November.

    One of those titles I wish I could get a Steam refund for. I didn't pay much for it, but disappointed by the control scheme. One of those games where I know I'd love to see the story, but the way the gameplay works is just not for me at all. Very awkward control scheme, even with a controller.

  • Played about 1.5 hours of this in November.

    Played this out of morbid curiosity, really. The only clicker-type browser waiting games I'd ever played beforehand were Candy Box and A Dark Room, both of which are quite different from your regular clicker games.

    I can understand the popularity of Sakura Clicker: it's free, it has lots of attractively drawn anime girls, they moan when you click on them, and the gold you get for defeating enemies fills up the screen in a really satisfying way. That said, even for a clicker it's pretty short on stuff to do and has less going on mechanics-wise than Cookie Clicker. Play for anime girls only, I guess, which I'm not really that interested in.

  • Played quite a bit in November after dropping Sakura Clicker.

    Cookie Clicker is pretty fun and I can see why people can get into it and go to a really dark place. That said, it didn't really grab me as much as I thought it would. I definitely prefer games where there's a little more to do like Candy Box or a Dark Room. Cookie Clicker does have an excellent sense of humour and some good jokes, though, which is pretty nice.

  • Played about 8-10 hours of Earthbound in November.

    I picked up Earthbound on the advice of a friend who said I'd get more out of Undertale if I was familiar with Earthbound. I tried it out for about 9 or so hours and then decided to drop it. The decision to drop EarthBound was a bit tough for me. I was enjoying it quite a bit in some ways and then not at all in others. The very RNG-heavy combat was fine in terms of mechanics, but frustrating because it was so easy to die and lose a lot of progress. The game is very charming, however, and I immensely enjoyed the world and characters. I can now understand why EarthBound is so important to so many people who played it when it was first released, I'm just not so sure I'll have much fun finishing it.