Game of the Year 2015

It's that time of year again, the best season! Not because of holidays, because it's the season to rank games from best to worst for arbitrary reasons. This year has been strange. I got a normal day job and found myself playing games a lot less, I played a Metal Gear game that I actively disliked, and the game I think is the actual best game of the year is on a system that I don't have any interest in owning.

Weird.

List items

  • The Witcher series is by far my favorite RPG series of all time. I enjoy the lived-in world, the slower more "human" based stories that are told throughout the game and I love Geralt as a character to embody. This game is massive. In fact it contains a full game length quest that on its own would be the best game of the year, but there's so much more to this game. Additionally, the first DLC came out and is incredible on its own.

  • Narrative driven, non puzzle-y, adventure games are becoming some of my favorite things in video games. Life is Strange is excellent. In a world where The Witcher 3 doesn't exist, Life is Strange would easily be the best game of the year. It had that great pull of, "Oh my god, I need to take a shower after that and cry in a corner" with "I need more of this in my eye balls immediately." I loved this game. The corny writing that occasionally rears its head just ads to the weird charm of this game. These characters sometimes don't make sense, but there is so much heart here. It's a tragic tale, that I have some theories about too (in the end, nothing happened right? maybe it was all in Max's mind in the aftermath of seeing her childhood friend murdered). This game just has so much heart, and outside of one sequence (bottles, obviously) that was annoying, Life is Strange is a lovely game from front to back.

  • Easily the best surprise of the year. This was not on my radar at all, but thanks to Vinny, Alex, and Austin, it became clear to me that this game needed to be experienced first hand. I've now watched two full play throughs of this game in addition to my own, and I hope to see someone else play this game. The characters are fun and effortlessly evoke one of my favorite films, Scream, and just plays with expectations in great ways. I loved every minute of this game.

  • What a goofy game. I'm glad I had a good friend singing the praises of this game to get me through the abject sadness of the first 45 minutes. I almost put it down forever, but I'm so glad I pulled through. Undertale dances between absurd and serious on a dime. One minute you're in a deadly game show with a death robot to going on an incredibly emotionally revealing date with a goofy skeleton. This game is wonderful. I only beat it once, so I know there's more out there for me, and maybe that would change its place on my list, but unfortunately I didn't have time to check it out further, but I can't wait to dive in later.

  • I couldn't sleep after finishing Her Story. Not because I was scared, but because my mind couldn't stop turning. I felt like a detective. I beat Her Story quickly. I think I stumbled into the right answer quicker than intended, but it almost made it more fun that I was able to beat the game way faster than intended. I don't understand how FMV became a thing all of a sudden in 2015, but it did and I'm happy because Her Story would not work without it. The game has a shocking emotional core to it, and I still can't stop thinking about it.

  • Hitman Go was excellent but took the "look" too far. Lara Croft Go does the turn based puzzle solving but in a more beautiful world. It has a difficulty curve wherein the puzzles feel tough but solvable and satisfying. Additionally, the game teaches its mechanics organically. I haven't seen a single pop-up tutorial for the entirety of the time I've spent with it, and that kind of minimalist design goes a long way to giving it the style that I love so much.

  • I have a tendency to quit playing games like this once I have one incredibly bad-ass moment. In an online match, I had one incredible save that just encapsulated how incredible this game can be. Unfortunately I don't have the attention span to keep up with online only games, but Rocket League is the hype-est game of the year and has thus earned a spot on my list.

  • Not as good as 10,000,000. This could have been a better game, but it still managed to be a game that absorbed me into my phone for the hours it took to actually complete. I think this is the game my boss hates the worst without even knowing it, because I was definitely much less productive the week it came out.

  • I reached the halfway point. Bloodborne is a good game. It's just not the game I wanted it to be. I quit the second The Witcher came out and never could come back, not for lack of trying. I beat.. Rama?.. the giant spider, and felt good about where I got. I didn't love the world, I didn't love the change to the Dark Souls formula without it being an actual different game. I wanted something completely different, and what I got was a more restrictive and less fun Dark Souls with an aesthetic that I like a lot less.

  • I've barely played this game and that makes me sad because it combines three of my favorite genres. I think this will go down as something that should have been much higher on this list, but for the amount I've played, I can't put it higher.