Game of the Year 2015

What an amazing year for video games! So many great and so many different kinds of video games have come out, that I'm sure every top 10 out there will end up looking different.

With just a few weeks left of December, I don't think I'll be have time to even play all the games that I wanted to play. Three games that I think might have landed on my top 10, had I played them yet are: Rise of the Tomb Raider, Xenoblade Chronicles X and Undertale. They'll have to wait until next year... On to the list!

List items

  • Yakuza 5 is the perfect 2015 game!

    If the massive backing of Shenmue 3 is any indication, the world is finally ready to embrace the Yakuza series to the fullest.

    As always, Yakuza is fantastically detailed action RPG with a very mature approach to presentation and storytelling. The slow burn means that you'll get a lot more rewarding experience, compared to other modern games that revolve around constant, instant gratification.

    Despite the protagonists very serious look, it is still an incredibly funny and quirky game and things like watching Kazuma Kiryu throw up peace signs in the photo-booth, while still being completely stonefaced makes me laugh every time.

    Being a digitial-only release on PS3 might not be in the games favor, but I'm positive that the next announced western release, Yakuza 0 on the PS4, will sell gangbusters.

  • How can The Phantom Pain NOT be in the top of every GOTY list out there? It's a phenomenal entry into the series, that takes every other Western-developed open world game and throws it under the bus, with it's super tight controls and stealth mechanics.

    It's not only a game that has reinvented the genre, but it also feels like it's reinvented Kojima's design philosophies. With such a massive focus on gameplay over story, it almost wouldn't surprise me if Konami came out and said that he didn't make it at all.

    While being a massively solid game, it almost feels like it lacks in the story department. Maybe it's the loft expectations I had, but I just wasn't blown away by any twists and turns like I've been with previous Metal Gear Solid games.

  • It's Batman!

    Any open-world action game that suddenly needs to lean on racing missions, needs to end and Arkham Knight did just that. I think Rocksteady nailed the formula with Asylum, because of the pacing and the novelty of the systems. The Batmobile felt like a desperate attempt to innovate... it was okay-ish, but fortunately it was saved by the quality of the gameplay and the story of the rest of the game.

    I powered through and 100% the PC version, despite all the jankyness, which should be a testament to just how good the game is.

    In the end, I got a refund (pretty late since I bought it off GMG) and had repurchased it on PS4 instead, where it feels like it was meant to be played.

  • Probably the "Fuck you, I like it" of the year, for me.

    Star Wars Battlefront is a more streamlined, casual experience where even an old fart like me is able to keep up and stay competitive. In many ways it's the game I've waited 30 years to play and it looks and sounds amazing.

    It's kinda unfortunate for EA that the narrative around their season pass has been that they've cut content from this game, when the reality probably is that they are able to develop and improve on the modes that prove to be popular, while being able to balance and patch the game over time, without the need to lay people off.

    They've already announced that they are gonna do more Battlefront games, so one would hope that the next games are more fully-featured.

    I'm still not sure if I'll jump on the season pass for this thing, but it probably won't take much more than including Lando Calrissian for me, because it's STAR WARS.

  • The Witcher 3 is the antithesis to Battlefront: A MASSIVE game with hours of content, oodles of free content and a whole extra massive campaign released (for money) just a few months after release. It's almost too big a mouthful and truth be told I haven't completed the game myself either.

    That being said, I don't necessarily feel burned out on it and I will absolutely go back to finish it up in 2016.

    That Dragon Age Inquisition was somehow the best RPG of 2014 on any top list, almost seems like a joke compared to games like Witcher 3, Pillars of Eternity and Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition.

    An excellent RPG in a year of excellent RPGs

  • People keep wanting Resident Evil to go back to it's roots as survival horror, which almost seems ridiculous when you look at how many other modern games does survival horror better.

    To me, Resident Evil was never about the horror, but the characters and the story. Revelations 2 brings all the charms of classic Resident Evil, with hokey dialogue and crazy characters, but for me it was also the greatest episodic game experience I've ever had.

    That a new episode came out weekly, fit perfectly with the way I play games. It was fun to discuss the episodes with people online and guess how the story would unfold, while comparing equipment and progress in Raid mode. I think the episodic games that take MONTHS between each new episode, take too long. By that time I'm usually engaged in another game and rarely feel like going back.

    Also, Moira Burton is probably my "Character of the Year"

  • It's another HD Remaster, but it's of one of my favorite games.

    Being a sort of bizarre console RTS, it tells the story of The Hundred Year War from the typical quirky Koei lens of historical accuracy. The extra Nightmare Mode where you go up against monsters and dragons, is a pretty clever way to expand on the game without making a brand new one and the fancy equipment you earn can be used across modes.

  • Maybe I'm a sucker for style over substance, but I think Hard West rocks.

    It plays sorta like XCOM, set in a gothic Wild West with demons is absolutely dripping in style. As expected from a Kickstarter game, voice acting is sparse and most of the games story is presented through text, but the guy who narrates the game as "Death" does a fantastic job.

    It's not perfect though: They didn't clone XCOM's gameplay enough to have things like Overwatch mode and the AI isn't very smart, making the missions drag out a bit longer than they have to, but with a few changes and some more production value, I think it would be a fantastic game.

  • Another year, another musou.

    It's honestly my favorite genre of games and the Hyper Attack introduced in vanilla SW4 makes it move at a rapid pace of fun and explosive hack and slash!

  • I thought this game would end up ranking higher than it did, because it has two things I love: Dragon Quest and Musou. Unfortunately, I think Samurai Warriors 4-II has kinda ruined it for me, since Dragon Quest Heroes doesn't quite move at the same speed. Inventory management especially sticks to the unfortunate traditions of Dragon Quest where it kinda slowly has to give you dialog upon dialog just to buy and equip and piece of armor.

    I guess it's part of the charm of the series, but I really feel that DQ should evolve to be a bit more modern in that regard.