DJ (Optix) is one of the hosts of the ROMScast, tries to keep up with everyone on the popular Is It Moe? podcast and sometimes appears on the “Scene Anything Good Lately” podcast. Also if you ever meet him he will most likely give you a link to some “great” K-Pop, just ignore that and read his top 10 list.
This list actually took longer than I thought to create as even though I am one of the main hosts on this podcast website thing, I really only stuck with a few core games throughout the whole year. I feel that is not a detriment to video games as a whole but rather the games that I will list personally feel like they all were worthy of a hell of a lot of my time. A lot of these games I will still play through early 2016 and I think that is great, but first some…
This is a very old game. This is also a pretty bad game. The mechanics are tough to get a handle on and the true way to play this game is with “analog” swinging switched on. Even that is not enough to warrant me to tell anyone to play this game single player. BUT, if you have three other willing
lab rats friends, then this game is actually quite fun. From your average tooling around in an open world to just slaying zombies by the boatload, you can have a pretty fun time and completely forget what the hell is even happening in the story.
The Talos Principle
While it was barely 2014 I feel this deserves a mention. For one it is made by the Serious Sam team and I cannot think of a more varying game for those guys to make than this one. Secondly it’s actually a really good and challenging puzzle game with lots of puzzles to keep you thinking for hours on end. Finally this game might have been the most thought provoking game I have played in 2015 with many strands of its limited story and collectibles asking not only what defines us as human beings or the line that needs to be crossed to be considered human beings but also mortality, the future, what happens after us and so on. Yes it is very sombre, but it is also one of the most thought provoking and entirely unexpected stories that I uncovered within the year.
Now that is out of the way lets move on to the meat and potatoes, the showcase, the final battle, the top 10 list. I also did not create personal screenshots for each game so for every game I google searched the game name and “Cats” and the results are as follows… enjoy!
10. Her Story
Her Story is an interesting story. It barely made my list but it’s still a very valid game. While not specifically noteworthy for its actual video game aspects I give it full credit for what it aims to achieve with is FMV dialogue/monologues. The reason this is not any higher for me is purely because unlike everyone else I found the twist in the story within 10 minutes, and simply worked around that twist to find the whole story within the hour. However I still feel this game deserves to not only be recognised, but within my list for the reason that everyone will have their own personal experience playing with this game, and that is very rare when we consider video games in 2015.
9. Destiny: The Taken King
Oh Destiny. I tried. I bought your “GOTY” edition with Destiny: The Taken King. I tried so hard to enjoy your content and for the most part, you nail it but, is it a case of too little too late? Personally that is a yes. I am not one
to dabble within the MMO spectrum, and when Des
tiny launched I initially thought that this was the calling to get me involved in that type of play, but from what friends were saying, the gameplay was pure constant grinding. This release includes all the DLC and I honestly have to say it was a fun experience, I ignored the auto leveller as I wanted to see the story and grind myself up to the standard light level to do some of the higher tier stuff of 280. That is the exact point where i decided to quit as personally i don’t feel the need to spend 50 plus hours to simply just gaining 20 or so more light levels within this game. The whole package of this game with all of its DLC is a very nice package and one that everyone should play, but with its quoted “10 year cycle” there is always the strong possibility that there may be a second all encompassing package that you may as well wait for if you have not already bought into the Destiny universe.
8. Time Clickers
I started this game because of the hype, I stayed because this clicker game actually had legs to stand on. It arguably
does not become a clicker at all
within 20ish minutes, but as always, increasing the numbers is always extremely rewarding and with late game tiers of artifacts and skill trees that eat up multiple different late game currencies; it is very easy to instantly lose 50 hours with this game while it idles in the background. I think the reason why i preferred this clicker over most others is that instead of it being located on some webpage based off ascii art, this is a bona fide game with actual graphics and stuff happening on screen that you can interact with.
7. Hotline Miami 2
I am a Hotline Miami 2 apologist. I know that most people dislike this game when comparing it to Hotline Miami 1 and I can agree with almost
all of their reasons. The story is too convoluted and makes barely any sense, the expansion of the maps means that the game is too much trial and error and not enough thinking through the best combo mechanics, the soundtrack while larger is not as great and overall there is not as many “oh my!” moments from the previous one.
I will still go to bat for this game as it is still a really fun and enjoyable game to play and get immersed within. The soundtrack is still pretty great and more diversified and the end section is one of the best sections of a game I have played this year.
Splatoon is an incredibly fun game that I had trouble playing with this year. None of this was the games fault as the Wii U was in an awkward
location which I rarely had access to and with its commitment to having the map on the screen meant I could not play this game on the gamepad. With that out the way I have had a superb amount of fun with the time I played with this game. From customising the kid/squid to trying out all the weapons available and with a very robust single player campaign, Splatoon is a very solid shooter game that is wrapped in one of the most funky and coolest looking styles I have seen in a game all year.
5. Heroes Of The Storm
Ohgosh, not another MoBA. Can we please stop making all these MoBAs that are essentially clones? I will happily admit that I have a MoBA
problem, however Heroes Of The Storm delivers in what it sets out to do; Reclaim its original champions and mechanics stolen in Dota 2 from the Warcraft 3 mod Dota as well as implement an incredibly easy access game to encapsulate what Dota and League Of Legends have built upon so far. Yes people will call this the babies MoBA and I cannot disagree with them, however I also feel that this MoBA has given me the most fun lately. It has been a much more rewarding experience teaming up with friends and having a bunch of laughs within this game only really focusing on map objectives with a few friends who are not afraid to learn about MoBAs within this game than attempting to juggle eight or nine things at once and eventually getting angry at the end of a Dota or League of Legends game. The grind is real in unlocking champions in this game, but I am used to this within League of Legends and most importantly? There is a character that is a damn tank!
4. Guitar Hero Live
Just when you think you escape the plastic instruments, they reel you right back in. At the start of the year with the plastic war on the horizon again who would have thought that the victor would have been Guitar Hero Live? And what a superb little victor this game was.
While Rock Band 4 aimed to maintain its DLC plan and iterate on what it has been doing well for years, Guitar Hero Live aimed for a new approach
which definitely raised questions, but once you see it in action, most are answered. Yes, like everyone, I dislike pay to play models which this game loosely has online, however if you are regularly playing this game you will have enough play tokens to play as many songs as you wish. Personally, I rarely ever play specific songs as the two channels that this game has with playlists almost always does the job, if not on one channel, then the other. The other element which is superb is the fact that they are constantly updating the collection of music to play through, even on this day of write up six more songs will hit the catalogue and potentially six more will be pushed into the premium content section.
The single player FMV stuff is really unique and while the wrapper is flimsy at best it is somewhat fun to see that stuff and play incredibly cheesy songs from Skrillex or Rihanna on your fake electric guitar while a half fake crowd either chants your fake band name or will give you the most hated look they could muster as if you’re throwing cats off stage. Most of the time I will be cheering for Guitar Hero Live.
3. The Idolm@ster: Cinderella Girls Starlight Stage
When Mary told me about this silly game I laughed and went “OK, I watched the anime that ties in with this, lets see how bad this can get”.
This game has saved me from almost every boring bus ride since I
started playing it and has kept me awake through nights on more than one occasion. This game is a rhythm game like Guitar Hero during gameplay, is a collectible card game like Magic in the middle, and in the deep dark section within it hooks you like a clicker game. With a simple stamina system and a levelling bar which unlocks more songs the player first has that dopamine effect of levelling up but what if you could also level up your cards and the more you play with each idol in the group could level up that way? The game also allows you to feed lesser idols to increase another, better idols stats and ultimately the game turns into creating the best group to show off to other players as each card will have a rating between normal and super super rare. As of writing I only have two super super rare cards, which considering I have not spent a single penny on this game, is considered a real feat (I hope I have not blown all my worldly luck on this single game though) but each super rare card usually has special art work for each one and they all look cool and ahhh i gotta catch em all.
2. Rocket League
This game does not have a story mode. This game is arguably somewhat barebones with no more than five maps on rotation. The different modes of play are very limited. This is the epitome of a arcade sports game. This is also the game that I played the most in 2015.
When I was first notified of Rocket League I, like most other people considered it another one of those indie games that Sony wanted to fill their Playstation Plus lineup with. Little did I know that once I got into it, it is arguably the soccer/football game I have always wanted. When you combine Top Gears idea of car soccer and adapt it in an arcade setting with walled in zones, speed boosts that are not too different to Nitrous Oxide and adding jump mechanics it all somehow meshes into one of the most fun experiences I have had through 2015. Not to mention that similar to Splatoon, each game is a short time of five minutes and you have intense fun tactical games with other people online. Yes this game may have absolute garbage AI and the single player is only there as a practice zone/somewhere to grind achievements but what this game does with the online is something that kept me entertained every single time I played the game which has been almost daily.
1. Life Is Strange
Anyone who knows me or has talked to me about games that I have enjoyed within 2015 will probably know that I told them to play Life Is Strange at some point. If you still have not I shout at you now because you all should play Life Is Strange.
Life Is Strange is a strange game that is largely an adventure game with very loose multiple choice elements which affect the story in somewhat minor ways. Yes, the lip syncing system they used is absolute garbage. Yes, the choices you make largely actually do not affect the end goal. Yes, you could argue that the story is pretty obvious in where its going right to the final scene. What makes this game unique is how it gets to that final scene.
This might be my limited playtime with other adventure story games but I cannot think of any other story that has not only dealt with very legitimately dark themes that could happen in our everyday world, but also incorporate them into a fantastical story that you want to be a part of. This might just be my age and generation but always growing up with that 1990’s Americana viewpoint in media meant that this game suitably fit with themes that I very much enjoy. A high schooler with 1990’s themes but suitably appropriated within a 2013 lifestyle where hipsters are prevalent, jocks are still a thing, the geek culture is starting to take over and a indie/hipster soundtrack that I can get behind to wrap everything up together. All of these things mesh in a great way to promote the idea that the world that Life Is Strange is set in is somewhat believable.
Granted this all changes when every character seems to have an over the top style personality and supernatural stuff is happening like time manipulation. Still, the story is what is really special with this game and it pains me that if I type it out here it may still spoil some of you as it really deals with some superb adult topics and approaches relationships with close friends: new friends; lost friends as well as brand new friends you meet along the way.
I cannot write up this game more highly for its story and the mec
hanics presented were a breath of fresh air in a stale world of “modern day
adventure games”. Life Is Strange is an almost complete package that sadly clearly loses money and time near the end. Equally some may say that episode 5 is really bad but personally, I feel that it is one of the strongest in the whole season with how they use unique mechanics, scenarios and puzzles within their world to continue conveying the story that the developers of this game wanted to tell.
Normally people desperately want a sequel to games they love but I honestly pray that Dontnod keep this succinct and within its single season as I have not felt a story based game has come close to this for a long time and a second season will naturally just tarnish what they have created.