My top 10 most enjoyed games of 2015

  • I currently own a PC and an Xbox One so there are no PS4 games on this list. I'm sure I'll be getting a PS4 at some point down the line though.
  • I tend to enjoy deep and immersive experiences that have well-combined narrative and game play system elements (i.e. they are in service of eachother).
  • A well-built world with detailed lore also tends to impress me. (I like background that covers the 'why are they?' questions)
  • Overall build quality and functionality are only relevant to me only if a game is completely broken (i.e. developer-intended game play is prevented ). Bugs don't upset me if they are minor.
  • I value art style, ambition and scale above frame rate, fidelity, and texture quality.
  • If you have a similar outlook on games, you might find my list useful to you?

full notes on each game I played this year can be found here

List items

  • There were several games that I genuinely excellent experiences with this year which makes 2015 the first year that this has been true for since 2011 or 2012.

    The core of Fallout 4's game play could have come from one of those years and while there are modern flourishes, the graphics 'look' like they could have come from that time period also. This wasn't the prettiest game I played this year.

    There are significant performance glitches and bugs. The game crashed twice on me. This wasn't the most stable game I played this year.

    Still, I spent nearly 200 hours with Fallout 4 and arguably I have left enough content within it untouched to warrant a second play through someday.

    Fallout 4 was the game that I was most deeply absorbed by this year though and the one I had the most personal enjoyment playing. It was my favorite game of the year.

  • A truly excellent game world with varied and complex characters was brilliantly supported by some of the most flexible and engaging quest design I've ever encountered. I would say that in terms of quest design, The Wild Hunt is now the new gold standard in open world rpgs.

    I put 100 hours into this game and there's plenty left to do should I want to come back to it again one day.

  • A throw-back CRPG in terms of design, with some fascinating characters, a wonderfully fleshed-out world, great writing, and meaningful mechanisms for character and party development.

    A modern-day Baldurs Gate then... and one that might overwhelm those without the time to invest. People who get past the 10 hour mark have a chance of really loving this game.

  • The campaign levels are well designed as arenas for combat, and as beautiful and interesting locales with multiple options for traversal and engagement. The story is borderline hocum (enjoyable hocum though).

    The Multiplayer is a tight, extremely well honed experience and the best that the Halo series has seen. Will that mean anything in a field that competes with CoD and Destiny for the console multiplayer shooter demographic? I'd like to hope so as aside from the peculiar card reward system Halo 5 has become the standard bearer.

  • Very fun to play and very well polished. If I were to level one criticism it would be the faint one that there's nothing exceptionally new here and there's still a greater emphasis on the Nathan Drake-esque murder-rampage game play than was the case with the original Tombraider games. I think I'd like to see Tomb Raider go in a completely different direction in the future where the game becomes ALL about survival and exploration and not about combat. Maybe I wouldn't like what I think I want but hey.

    Anyway, this game still shines as an excellent semi-open world experience, it is richer in terms of gameplay than the Uncharted series (to date at least) but it is extremely similar to it.

  • This was pretty damned great. A super stylish game, with a fresh and positive story that at no stage bludgeons the player with its politics, but instead tells a cool cyberpunk story in a world that is also inhabited by gay couples, lesbian cops, trans-gender hackers, trans-species lawyers, badass fat lady wrestlers, bear (gay) bartenders, bear (actual) doormen, people who have rewired the inside of their brain, cyborgs, and a whole bunch of other stereotype-defying queered characters who absolutely exist in this world naturally and normally and are present to forward the plot, and not to fill a token quota. I loved the writing in this game, but the gameplay itself was never exactly what you might call challenging. This doesn't take away from the freshness of the experience though.

  • MGSV drops just slightly short of genius . I cannot speak to the online play component as I never engaged with it but the single player campaign is highly entertaining while also (in a weird way) seeming incomplete and unfinished somehow. Where it shines brightest is in the celebration of its own absurdity and in the way gameplay has consequence (not in terms of story but in terms of how encounters play out).

  • I've played both previous Harebrained Shadowrun titles and this feels comparatively very familiar. As usual, the writing quality is high and the party characters are well designed, with compelling backstories and complex motivations. The mission design is multi-path multi-solution and there are some branching narratives that appear to provide genuine choice and consequence moments in the game.

    On the negative side, the story starts off slowly. In fact, the first few hours aren't the game's strong point in terms of story, graphical prowess or gameplay.

    Stick with it though and there's quite a lot to enjoy here. It's fair to say that this is another great Shadowrun game. Dragonfall had better characters (although Gobbett and Rachter are pretty good) and it had a better story. Shadowrun: Hong Kong might be the weakest of the series but it was still among my top 10 most enjoyed games this year.

  • A legitimately good game and a lot of thought has been put into the arc of the experience to keep it intriguing throughout. That isn't to say that the story is especially fresh or interesting, rather that the method for framing the narrative and the progression of that narrative is satisfying. The same can be said for the gameplay really where everything works very well and the systems are well balanced.

  • Once you arrive in London, this game opens up and becomes genuinely fun to play. Victorian London is wonderfully realised in immense detail. The gameplay is solid, with the various activities on offer contributing to a larger system of taking back areas from the antagonist group. The story segments are interesting and the history fiction is fun and well characterised. In short this is a decent game and has a moderate degree of 'stickyness' that I wasn't necessarily expecting.

    By some margin, this is the best AC game since AC2 Brotherhood. I really liked it but I'm still getting a bit weary of the series and would probably prefer that they start developing some new IP instead of rolling out new AC games.