Game of the Year 2015 Users Choice

Final Fantasy XIV's first expansion, Heavensward, continues to raise the bar for modern MMOs.
Final Fantasy XIV's first expansion, Heavensward, continues to raise the bar for modern MMOs.

General opinion of this year, for me, was just too many games. I don't have enough free time! ;_;

Picked up a Xbox One in September and a Wii-U on Black Friday so they've added a whole bunch of potential games. Also picked up a complete Sega Genesis and a pile of games for that, then my friend gifted me the Sega CD add-on for my b-day.

My main list doesn't have as much detailed commentary as last year I guess. I just can't remember much or am not in the right mindset to write up detailed analysis. Also should be playing Xenoblade right now on my day off lol.

When I made up the Top 10 list, it felt a little bare or easy for some reason, when the impression I got this year was there were so many. It wasn't until I wanted to add a few games to the honorable mentions and going through my library again that I realized the list just kept growing and seeing how much stuff I did try to play. I think its much more representative of the big picture.

Honorable Mentions:

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Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii-U) - I'm currently trying to get through this. This may have placed on my list if I had more time with it. I've got about 25 hours on the clock and feel like I just finished the tutorial. It's giant. The sense of scale in the world is like no other game I've seen. It looks amazing for a Wii-U title. I think maybe it's a little too open-ended for me? As in I'd like a little more structure or flow to the mission system. Right now it's just a list with a ton of stuff on it and that's it. You kinda go and do whatever you feel like you can do.. which you often don't know if you can until you actually go and fight to monsters and find out. Haven't got my Skell yet which is what is keeping me motivated. Once I get that, I may get even deeper into it or lose all motivation to continue. Poor music choice for NLA. Combat system could maybe feel more intuitive or flowing or something. Not sure how to describe it.

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Front Mission 3 (PS1) - If I could put old games on the list, this would be way up there. Discovered the Front Mission series this year and started with the PS1 release. Super enjoyed it. Super addicting. Really wanted more. Started in on Front Mission 4 (PS2) but it isn't quite the same. Some good and bad adjustments to the combat system. Much slower game so I didn't get enough time with it.

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War Thunder (PS4) - Another one that is older I guess but I didn't dive into until earlier this year. Got really addicted to it for a week or two. Constantly played it. WWII plane fighting game. Very fun.

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Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition (PS4) - This was from a free PS+ thing I think? Didn't play it til spring of this year. Ended up completing it and really liking it. I think I got most of the trophies? Another Metroidvania structured game but with the backdrop of Mexican folklore and Luchadores or whatever. Great stuff.

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King's Quest: Chapter 1 (PS4) - Went out on a whim and gave it a shot. I vaguely remember the old games as a kid but maybe never playing one. This game was neat and charming.

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Mortal Kombat X (PS4) - I don't really do fighting games. Only ones I like the feel of and button structure is the Dead or Alive series. I gave this one a shot though and had fun. Was interesting trying to learn how to do button combos which is still way too hard IMO. Looked great.

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Farming Simulator 15 (PC) - I don't think this came out this year but I didn't play it til sometime til spring 2015. Hadn't played one of these before but I do like weird minutia sims like the truck driving games. Ended up getting addicted to this for a week. Non-stop playing. Learned a bunch about farming, the process, the equipment. Once I had built up enough money though to get most of the best equipment and just buy bigger plots of land, that kinda felt like the end of the road. From there is just would've been buying more of the equipment and more plots. Never played online but it would be fun to work with someone else who had this weird minutia fetish and handle a farm. Steam shows I have 108 hours but I think that must be double what it should be.

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Besiege (PC) - Remember that weird little physics builder thing that came from no where? I played that a bunch. Wasn't much to it but perhaps they've added more since it's release. I'd check it out again.

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Darkest Dungeon (PC) - Played this at its Early Access release. Got way into it. Very good looking and cool art style. Interesting gameplay. Would have to revisit it.

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Forza Motorsport 6 (XBO) - My complaint is that it just felt exactly like the previous four Forza games. The graphics/lighting whatever still looks the same, just higher res, and has a toy-ish look to it. Menus have been changed, like they've done in the others, but the actual tuning options etc are the same. Less tracks? Hard for me to remember. Weather effects were nice. Stupid Xbox won't support my steering wheel so thats a huge negative for it. It's not a bad game, its just the same game.

Need to Play More:

LittleBigPlanet 3 (PS4) - Finally got around to picking this up on PS4. Enjoyed what I played of it. Great unique game. Character movement and such doesn't bother me. Just got distracted by other games and need to play more of it.

Just Cause 3 (PC) - I picked this up. Played it for a few hours. Seemed potentially good but just too busy trying to play other stuff. Maybe I'll come back around to it.

Witcher 3 (PC) - Again, picked it up, played it a little on the PC, had some buggyness or jank. Didn't quite feel right. Something about it just didn't absorb me. Every time I see footage of it I think it looks incredible and I want to play it but I never do. It sounds like the patches have smoothed out some of the rough edges.. but is that really was is holding me back? Maybe I'll try it again some day. I don't know.

Ori and the Blind Forest (PC) - Yet another that I played some of, thought it looked absolutely stunning, but just came around at the wrong time or something and I wasn't quite in the mood for it maybe. I really want to check it out again on the new OLED tv. Someday maybe.

Dirt Rally (PC) - I'm way into driving games. This one looked great. I just wasn't in a particular mood for a rally game recently? Just had its "official" release so we'll see.

Jotun (PC) - Looks like an old Disney animated film. Played it for a tiny bit. Seemed cool. I got distracted by something else and haven't returned yet.

Super Mario 3D World (Wii-U) - Only picked up my Wii-U on Black Friday so haven't had it long. I've played this game mostly on the toilet. Looks great. Oddly finding it harder than I expected? Even in the first or second world? I think it has to do with the view perspective and missing jumps or drops on enemies.

In the Shrink Wrap/Barely Played

Need For Speed (PS4) - Opened it, played it briefly in one sitting until I unlocked the R32 GTR. Stopped playing. I was just starting to get used to the crappy car control. Maybe I'll play more of it.

Yoshi's Woolly World (Wii-U) - Seems like a great unique art style. I like Yoshi? I like cute stuff? Kirby's Epic Yarn was cute and I enjoyed the little bit I played of it, even if it was a bit simple. I'll get around to this eventually.

Mario Kart 8 (Wii-U) - Opened it, briefly played it. You can't change the button mapping!? Wtf man. It bothered me so much I put it down and haven't tried it again since. I'll have to get around to it.

Super Mario Maker (Wii-U) - Still in the shrink wrap. Pretty much just bought it because everyone loves it and it was on sale. I'm not that big of a Mario fan though. Not sure if I'll get around to playing it. Mostly just bought it for the collection.

Zelda: Wind Waker HD (Wii-U) - Still in the shrink wrap. Wind Waker was good. So why not have the HD version? A Middle East/U.A.E. version ended up being sent to me. I assume it'll work on my Wii-U. Different color box art. Interesting.

Super Smash Bros (Wii-U) - Digital copy came bundled with the Wii-U. I should at least fire it up once someday. I'll probably like it. Just too many other games.

Splatoon (Wii-U) - Digital copy bundled with the console. Eh. Same as above. I should at least try it once and see. Too much other stuff to do.

Halo 5: Guardians (XBO) - Still in the shrink wrap. I'll get around to playing this eventually I hope. I bought Halo 4 when it released and didn't actually play through it til like last year. Enjoyed it. So I'd not be surprised if the same situation happens with this.

List items

  • The PS4 release of FFXIV: A Realm Reborn made my #1 spot last year and the first expansion, Heavensward, is right up there again. I play the PC version though.

    Choosing Heavensward was a bit more difficult this go around though as there were a few other games I really enjoyed but I feel the game deserves the recognition.

    What I said about the original "A Realm Reborn" is still applicable: Fantastic music, artwork, 3 fun new classes, DirectX 11 support, all the new dungeons, the Gold Saucer was added, flying mounts paired with much larger zones, and one of the best final bosses in any Final Fantasy game.

    I will say they've been pretty much using the same content structure and progress since it's base release and it's starting to feel a little tedious, formulaic, boring or something. They really need to start making some more fundamental changes to the core structure of dungeons, gear progression etc. If all the top gear becomes obsolete in 3-6 months (which it has for over two years now) then why even bother? It's more friendly towards a casual audience, which admittedly I kind of am now, but I think the longevity of the game suffers for it.

    Unfortunately, I didn't spend as much time with it during the second half of the year with a job and the mountain of other game releases. I still look forward to more content releases and the next expansion with new jobs to play.

  • Similar to Dark Souls 2 making the second slot last year, Bloodborne is another satisfying release in the Souls-esque genre.

    Great visuals, outstanding art design, wonderfully tight combat, creepy atmosphere, and healthy game length.

    Traditionally being a shield user in the other Souls games, I found the lack of such equipment in this to be potentially intimidating prior to release but in the end it forced my hand and made me a better player for it.

    Very challenging and rewarding games as the series is known for.

  • MGSV was just a great fun sandbox stealth game. Not sure what else I can say. Looks great, plays great, sounds great etc.

    My complaints would be the lack of the signature MGS cutscene storytelling and such. This one didn't have much of it. The open world/gameplay loop structure felt a tad too generic. Similar to something like FarCry, most of the outposts feel the same and can be approached in the same way. You go in, get out, fly to the next mission or outpost and repeat.

    It is this high on the list though because it was so fun, added weird new Kojima elements to the open world stealth experience and thus I spent a lot of time playing it.

  • This was one of the surprise hits of 2015 for me. I'm usually too much of a chicken to play scary games as I tend to just freeze up and not want to progress. I pushed myself into this one though and, while it did have its super tense moments, it wasn't overwhelming and the narrative kept pulling me along.

    Super atmospheric, great environments, good voice acting, thought provoking story. A real unique experience for me.

  • It's a standard Bethesda game which almost guarantees it on the a Game of the Year list, yet somewhat hinders it's overall impact.

    According to Steam, I only have 19 hours of game time which is a surprise to me as it felt like a lot more, likely due to having a job and spending a lot of my free time playing it when I could.

    The world map looks like I've only explored about 25% of it. It's huge. Eventually I just felt I needed to get to the end of something so I'd feel a little better moving onto another game. I ended up completing the Brotherhood branch of the story.

    Not much to say that hasn't already been said by everyone. Buggy, janky Bethesda mess. No other games out there like it though. I liked the idea of the building stuff but there didn't seem to be much of a reason to do it. I would definitely like to get back to Fallout 4 at some point and continue exploring the world or playing through the other factions.

  • The surprise city builder. I didn't think Sim City 5 or whatever it is, was that bad? It wasn't quite like the old games but I still ended up building a fair amount of stuff in it. It left me unsatisfied though.

    Then Cities: Skylines comes along and proves the classic play style still works. I went out on a whim and picked it up after watching someone play it for a bit and I don't think I initially got the hook. It wasn't til a week or two later that I fired it up and got the ball rolling enough to sink its teeth in me. Binge played it for a week or two. Huge city, like nothing I was ever capable of in a Sim City game. It felt great.

    I prefer to make my cities look more natural? Less calculated, symmetrical, efficient etc which in turn created more realistic traffic issues IMO. Solving these traffic flow issues were probably my favorite part.

    I did pick up that After Hours expansion they did but, since my original time playing the game, I had done a fresh Windows install and backed up the wrong save folder apparently, and lost my massive city. That sort of killed my motivation to go back to it. I'd still like to but I'm reminded of how long it would take me to get back to where I was and that sort of stops me. It's my own damn fault.

  • Pixel Junk always does good stuff. This was yet another surprise for me. The Giant Bomb Quick Look may have been where I first saw it?

    Seemed very weird and original but I gave it a chance and became addicted. Environment and building reminded me of Terraria I guess? I really like building, designing stuff, and trying to make it more efficient.

    Nom Nom Galaxy is all about building a base/factory and then exploring and farming alien ingredients to create different soups, then having them shipped out via rockets launched into space. All the while, protecting your base from other competing soup companies who would send aliens to attack your base.

    Never played anything like it. Difficult but when you were able to get a system going that was mostly automated, it was very fun to watch it all work.

  • Hmm. Steam is showing I have 82 hours played on this but I don't believe that is accurate. I know I played Pillars of Eternity for a a fair amount of hours but felt like I barely scratched the surfaced. Seemed like a HUGE game. What I did play, I really liked.

    Excellent visuals, tons of dialogue and detail. Nothing else around these days like the old CRPGs.

    I really wanted and still want to play more of this but I wasn't getting completely absorbed and obsessed with it at the time. Not sure if it's the game's fault or mine. I can't remember any reasons to dislike it.

    I want to dive back in but I can't predict when I'll get the itch for this specific type of gameplay.

  • I skipped out on the previous Tomb Raider but decided to give this one a shot after the positive feedback.

    Incredible visuals and some slightly satisfying combat. Story was dumb. Not sure why they ever put a story in these games. I liked the slight touches of open world survival-ish stuff? Gathering materials and hunting.

    I would like there to be a Tomb Raider game that is more about exploration and survival. I'd completely ditch the story aspect? lol Sounds maybe dumb or generic these days but more of a Minecraft structure. Dump me in a big environment and let me build a makeshift shack or find a cave to settle in. Collect food, materials and supplies. Let me roam and do my own exploring.

  • I think this was free from a PS+ thing? I can't remember.

    Essentially a Metroidvania structured game but with a unique art style and ancient Greece as the backdrop. Fighting the gods and such. Neat sort of physics based combat which could be unwieldy at times but kept it interesting. Really cool art design and style.

    Played it almost a year ago so hard to come up with anything detailed.