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GOTY 2015

Huh. I could've sworn I wrote a 2014 list... but apparently not. Maybe it was too hard to pick 10 games I liked that year. I didn't (and still don't) own a PC worth shit so I played everything on consoles. Re-release after re-release eroded any enthusiasm I had for my shiny new PS4. 2015 was better though!

Again, I regret having not played any of this years apparently great PC indie titles. I don't regret not having played Undertale though. You all ruined it, I hope you're happy.

Also, minor spoilers in some of these entries. (Life is Strange, SOMA)

List items

  • Best written game I've played in a loooooong time. Stuff this engrossing doesn't come along often, so I tend to ignore pretty much every bad thing about this game.

    What am I saying, there's nothing wrong with this game.

  • They say miracles don't happen but my Christmas Miracle™ did come true! That Yakuza 5 is the best game in the series is almost beside the point.

    This game was a monster to finish, with 5 playable characters, all with enough story and side content to fill 20 hours each. You can rush through the story stuff in maybe 40 hours, but I certainly didn't. I savored this one, and it did not disappoint.

    It's not everyone's cup o' tea I know; but c'mon are you really gonna be like Dan Ryckert? Be a cool guy instead and try it out.

  • Souls games are just at a certain standard level of quality now that I wasn't too surprised by how polished and epic Bloodborne was. What was surprising was just how much fun the new combat system was. I was expecting to struggle; I usually play very defensively in these games. But Bloodborne forces you to be aggressive and nimble, while incentivising through the regain mechanic and plentiful access to healing items. Its such a simple and brilliant design choice that even a hardened curmudgeon Jeff Gerstmann gave the game a good go.

    Oh, and that lore man.

  • So what kind of yahoos are running Techland anyway? I mean, they've proven multiple times now they can make good video games but then they fuck up so much more frequently. Fortunately for the January doldrums, Dying Light was "Good Techland." Freerunning around and grappling across the games levels felt simultaneously freeing and terrifying. The threat of getting stuck somewhere after dark or falling to your death added some nice tension to what could have been just another boring zombie survival game. Gold star.

  • SOMA is a little too short, but perhaps you could more gently say that it's lean. Each moment is packed with little details that put you on edge. The last area of the game especially felt like a hostile alien world. Wind whips around you at high speeds, filling your ears with deafening white noise. The lights on the ground, perhaps leading you to sanctuary, can barely be seen through the murk of the deep sea. And of course, a massive creature you can hardly make out lurks just outside the range of your light. Waiting for a chance to make it's move.

  • This game made me feel like a hero. I saved Kate Marsh from killing herself and I'm pretty sure it could have gone way worse. But then the game asked me to make an impossible choice, and the choice that I did make made me feel like a selfish asshole.

    And that's pretty great.

  • I couldn't even finish this one. Mechanically, this game is damn near perfect. It's suffering from bloat to be sure, but it's also just so damn fun to pay.

    It's just too much game; I wasn't ready for the commitment.

  • This one came out of nowhere. Turns out I really REALLY care about what happens to Scooter.

  • When I finally finished The Witcher 3 I thought "Man, Fallout 4 is gonna have some rough competition for game of the year." You kinda disappointed me Bethesda. By giving voice to your protagonist you effectively ruined any role-playing fun and now the thought of playing your game again fills me with dread. Just thinking of the clunky inventory managing, bland story, and general feeling of samey-ness annoys me.

    Still played 100 hours of it.

  • Just Cause 3 is what happens when your team of 100 or so developers just polish the shit out of a few really fun mechanics and little else. "Story? Yeah we got one, I GUESS. Character development? Leave me alone, I'm trying to make 10,000 different fire assets because every explosion has to look unique."

    The game drags as you realize the lack of depth, but goddamn there are just so many unscripted action moments that take your breath away and make you say "I don't think I could get this anywhere else"