2015 had some pretty good games

It wasn't a particularly great year for games, but it was good. Last year was such a shit show for games though that the bar was basically placed on the floor and anyone could simply walk over it.

Awesome games that didn't release this year that I still want to give a shout out to:

inFamous: First Light

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I really did not like Second Son. It might actually be the single most disappointing game I have ever played. That said, First Light managed to be a really great game by simply cutting out a lot of bullshit and making a more focused product. Traversal is more fun here than in Second Son thanks to the little speed rings that have been added to the map. The little tweaks they have made to how Fetch plays compared to Delson make a world of difference. The combat arena was also a spectacular addition to the game. In hindsight it seems so obvious that a horde mode is the perfect post game content for a game like this. I still enjoy playing a round of this every now and again. This combat mode also highlights just how clunky Delson feels. Playing as him in the combat arenas is so much worse than it is with Fetch. After coming close to losing all hope in Sucker Punch this game showed me they still know how to make a good game.

The Evil Within

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The only reason I picked this up during the Halloween sale was because I remembered @n7 talking up what a great game this was and so I figured it was worth giving it a shot. I am totally glad I did. Outside of a terrible first chapter, the game is a ton of fun and feels like the true sequel to Resident Evil 4. It is a purposely clunky action game with a horror skin on top, just like RE4. Anyone who is deterred because they don't like scary games should still pick it up. While the game does have a handful of spooky moments, it is not that bad. There was only one jump scare that I can remember, and at least half of the game takes place outdoors during the day. The story is also interesting and did not pan out the way I was expecting at all. It is a really fun game and anyone who was a fan of Resident Evil 4 should absolutely check this game out.

And here are my top 5 games that actually released in 2015:

5. Splatoon

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The multiplayer is clearly the focus of this game but I would like to take a moment and point out that the campaign is surprisingly great and the characters are super charming. The platforming feels good and the puzzles are also solid if not a tad too easy. The bosses are also really really neat. I hope we get a more fleshed out single player mode in the inevitable sequel to this game. The outline for a great campaign is totally here, it just needs to be fleshed out more. The multiplayer is also pretty great and feels very different from anything else currently out there. The miiverse community is absolutely spectacular and it is easy to lose and hour looking through all the posts and drawings people have made. All that said, I would have loved if they had added the option for local split-screen online or really any other local multiplayer modes besides the shitty balloon game. I was really bummed that I couldn't play with anyone locally. The game would be fine with just the pro controller. You would be at a slight disadvantage with no map and no super jump capabilities but it still would have been doable.

4. Dragon Ball Xenoverse

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There are three types of people in this world. People who love Dragon Ball Z, people who have never seen Dragon Ball Z, and people who have no fucking soul. If you belong in the first group of people and haven't checked out Xenoverse yet you absolutely need to go play it. The game is full of fan service and the character creator and original story are fantastic. It does pretty much everything you would want from a game like this, allowing you to pick your race, costume, attacks and masters. It is a bit disappointing that they make your character a mute in the story mode though, especially since you get to pick your voice at the start and your character will actually say the names of the attacks. The gameplay itself also isn't perfect and the random loot drops on certain things fucking sucks but it is all forgivable because fuck, they let you create your own character in a Dragon Ball Z game that isn't garbage (looking at you Ultimate Tenkaichi). And if for some reason you haven't seen Dragon Ball Z before, go watch it.

3. Super Mario Maker

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Building levels is surprisingly simple and fun to do. As someone who loves stuff like LittleBigPlanet and Disney Infinity I can safely say that the creation tools here are 1,000x better than anything in those games. It isn't the most fair comparison because the tools here are much more limited but I believe that is why it works so well. Those other games try to be jacks of all trades and end up being the masters of none. Super Mario Maker is fantastic at making platforming levels and nothing else. The tools are incredibly simple to use and it doesn't take more than an afternoon to make something solid. I haven't had as much time to devote to building stuff as I would like to, but I did have a ton of fun building this level with multiple paths and a way of passing the level in 15 seconds if you know where to look. I have also been having a lot of fun simply grabbing the remote and doing a 100 Mario challenge every now and again. The community levels can be hit or miss but it is worth sifting through to see some of the greatness people have made.

2. Transformers Devastation

I got this on sale not expecting much and was very much surprised by just how much I ended up loving it. It is ranked this high based solely on its amazing gameplay. I don't like Transformers, never watched it as a kid nor did I ever play with the toys. The story in this game made no sense to me and the campaign took me less than 5 hours on my first playthrough, with subsequent playthroughs taking even less time. That said, the multiple playable characters, difficulties, and wide variety of weapons made me play through the campaign close to a dozen times. The real campaign doesn't even start until after you beat the campaign on hard, unlocking a fourth difficulty that changes the enemies you encounter and ramps up the difficulty a few notches. There is then another difficulty waiting after that in addition to collectables hidden in the world and 50 additional combat missions that for the most part are fantastic. Here is some gameplay for you all to enjoy from the second highest difficulty:

It is clear that the game was not complete, however. There is a loot mechanic, weapon upgrading system, character leveling and additional bells and whistles to add to your character but the campaign is so ridiculously short that it is unnecessary to deal with on lower difficulties and tedious to navigate on higher difficulties. There is also very little enemy variety and even less location variety. You go through the same three areas throughout the game, and even in such a short campaign you revisit the same areas over and over again. The combat is fucking ace though, and even with all of its flaws it is still really really really fun to fight robots as you pull off all sorts of crazy combos. I was really close to naming this my game of the year, but there are just too many flaws to overlook. If this game had been given the budget and development time of something like The Wonderful 101 it would have been a real thing of beauty.

1. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection

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I had never played either of the games in this collection. I have only beat Borderlands 2 so far which was pretty awesome to go through. I played through the game twice. Once alone playing as the commando and once again in co-op as the sniper with my brother playing the gunzerker. The classes have a different feel and the open areas give a lot of options for how to proceed. The humor is great and I appreciated them fleshing out the characters from the first game. I love me a good sniper rifle in a game and the ones in this game are really damn satisfying. I also have to commend them for adding local split screen multiplayer. It is always nice to see at least a few developers still care about this. Younger me with way more free time would have absolutely loved how much replayability there is here. Hell, current me still wants to replay it a few more times with the other classes. Even without having played The Pre-Sequel, I feel good about leaving this at number one based on Borderlands 2 alone.