2015 Game of the Year

2015 had a lot of great games. A surprising number, as I actually had to not include some games on my list that I really enjoyed. That's a good problem to have.

List items

  • LEGO Dimensions is a game where I can have Batman drive a DeLorean around Ghostbusters HQ with Scooby Doo. Think about what is in that sentence. In a world where every corporation has an army of lawyers to protect their brands, this is a thing you can actually do in an official game. WHAT?!

    LEGO Dimensions is an incredible game that combines my love for building LEGOs with some of my favorite franchises, such as Batman and Back to the Future. If you've played a LEGO game before, the general gameplay is familiar territory. Punch everything and grab all the studs. But what makes this unique is the "toys to life" element where it gives you a digital instruction book and a pile of real LEGO bricks to build things to use in the game. Plus you can even rebuild vehicles for upgrades but in the game and in real life.

    This game might not be for everyone, but it hit a sweet spot for me. If you don't like building LEGO or have no interest in the LEGO gameplay, you won't like this. But I had a blast watching all these different worlds fully crossing over (something Disney Infinity lacks) and finding easter eggs both from the featured franchises, and from ones you wouldn't expect (Universal and Hanna-Barbara licensed more than Back to the Future and Scooby Doo it seems). I hope this game does well enough to continue going, because I'm all in.

  • I skipped out on Batman: Arkham Origins and I'm really glad I did. While a lot of people this year went into Arkham Knight a bit worn out on these games, I was at the point where I was ready to jump in again and this is easily the best Batman game ever.

    The Batmobile is an addition to the game that has had mixed responses, but I saw it as an extra challenge. The fights weren't the best, but it didn't take too much away from the game for me. I did prefer gliding around, but things such as the racetracks made the Batmobile make sense. It controls well, and come on - Batman HAS to have the Batmobile. It's one of the character's coolest gadgets.

    The story was fascinating and served as a perfect end for the Arkham series. Having the Scarecrow as the villain allowed more reality manipulation that had me questioning everything, and this being the final game made every character at risk of not surviving the night. I loved the side missions, but the story kept pulling me away since I wanted to know what was next.

    This game is great, and if you haven't been playing the Arkham games you have been missing out.

  • Do I need to explain to you why Rocket League is rad as hell? You should be playing this game already, because it's the best online multiplayer game out this year.

    Rocket League is car soccer where you can fly off the rails and out of control at any second, and it's damn fun. Every match tends to have some "holy shit" moments, whether it's someone attempting to fly through the air and block a shot, or someone bouncing the ball off the wall and on the roof of the goalie to score a late goal. There's also tons of customization, mutators that were added an update, and cross-play between PS4 and PC. Oh, and did I mention they added the DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future that has all the effects you'd want for it?

    Come on, you must have been playing this game by now. It's so good.

  • I consumed the original Persona 4 through the Endurance Run, and now I'm slowly working my way through Persona 4 Golden. But between those I got to play Persona 4: Dancing All Night.

    One of the best parts of Persona 4 is the music. This is a rhythm game full of dance and dubstep remixes of that music. IT HAS A VOCAL VERSION OF THE JUNES THEME. The gameplay is super fun, and I enjoyed banter between the characters through the routines. The story mode is a full-on Persona 4 sequel, with no corners cut. It was great to see these characters again fighting shadows through the power of dance.

    Along with being a fun game to play and having a great story, there's also a ton of unlockables with silly references to the original Persona 4. If you have a Vita and are on this site, I strongly recommend it.

  • When I played this game I did it with my sister, who doesn't play video games very often. But having seen some of the episodes through Giant Bomb East, this felt like a story-heavy game we could do together with me steering and her making the decisions.

    This was a really great experience, as the story took some really neat time travel twists and turns, and gave us time to discuss what was happening and what we expected the consequences of our actions would be. I don't want to spoil this game too much since it's all about the story, but I felt it was a brilliantly done tale and had several "holy shit" moments.

    This is a great game to play with a sibling or significant other, and that's the way I recommend playing it. It's not nearly as fun alone.

  • Insert squid/kid reference here. When putting this list together I went back to Splatoon to see if it deserved a spot, and I was quickly reminded how innovative and fun this game is. It's an online shooter that looks and plays like nothing else out there, with the focus being coloring the floor with ink more than shooting people.

    The game has great style and amazing music. When Skyping with friends and playing it, you can't help but hum along as your inking the battlefield. The weapons are also unique and add a lot of dimension to the way you play. I personally enjoy the paint brush, which wasn't there at launch. You can either swipe it around quickly to cover a wide area, or run quickly leaving a thin trail. It helps me be versatile when I come across different terrain.

    My one big problem with the game is the matchmaking. When I played with my friend, we were on separate teams in a majority of the matches, even though I used the "join friend" feature. It doesn't seem to prioritize this, or even give you a toggle to choose whether you'd prefer to be together or facing off. I've had the argument given to me that it doesn't matter since the matches are 3 minutes and it goes by quickly, but when you have 4 straight matches of not being able to work together it's a bit frustrating.

    Still, this game is super fun and unique. I'm glad it exists.

  • I'm sure a lot of people are going to give me shit for ranking this game so low, but it wasn't my favorite game this year. It was a lot of fun, but I think I had more fun watching other people playing the game than I did building and playing the game.

    One problem I have with the game is the ability to find levels I want to play. There really isn't a way to filter and search for levels in the game without knowing who to follow or finding level codes on Twitter, and I know they did something browser-based to make it a bit easier, but it still isn't quite enough. Maybe more updates will fix these problems, but this is Nintendo and online features. That doesn't tend to go together well.

  • This is actually for Destiny: The Taken King, the expansion that came out and totally changed the mechanics of the game. The game gained a story, actual quest structure, a new leveling system, and new area to explore, a new raid, and a ton of other missions hidden through timed events that reward exclusive gear and weapons. I had thought I was done with Destiny, but these changes made it feel like a new, improved game.

    It isn't higher on my list, because I put Destiny at the top of my list last year so I already gave this game its props. But this expansion is still big enough and I put in enough time to put it on this year's list.

    If you're going to do the "but it's DLC" argument, I get your reasoning. But it got nominations at The Game Awards, so it's fair game.

  • I wasn't sure if I wanted to play this game at first. I had seen Giant Bomb East play through it, and I watched most of Dave Lang's stream during Extra Life. I felt like I had already seen what the game has to offer.

    Little did I know that actually having control during all the quick time events and decision-making was REALLY STRESSFUL. I was always on-edge while playing with it, and it checkpointing nonstop on a single save file meant that all my actions were irreversible. Then the game started diverging greatly from the other playthroughs, and I got the sense that anything could happen next.

    I'm not a big horror fan, but this game is damn cool.

  • For the past couple years, I reserve a spot on my list for a obscure browser game. This year, it's going to a clicker game that actually puts in an effort to do something different, or at least give the illusion of it.

    Time Clickers is a game where you shoot cubes with guns and the numbers go up. THE NUMBERS GO UP! I've been playing for a few months on Steam and my iPad while working, and it's a weird, calming bliss. Plus they keep rolling out updates, which gives me a reason to keep checking in on it.