Each year, we like to list off the games that we think are the best and most deserving of your time. This list is purely subjective, so your favorite game may not even show up on this list. There is no way in hell Nick and Scott will ever agree on a true top 3 list order, so they decided to make their own lists. Surprisingly, there is some overlap, but each game is on this list for their own reasons. Give it a look and let us know what your top games of 2015 were.
Third Runner Up
On black Friday I got a deal on an Xbox One that was too good to pass up. It came with Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider. Tomb Raider (the first in the new re-imagining) took a faltering series and made it relevant again. Rise of the Tomb Raider took the excellent work done in that one and built further upon it. The story is great and you get the opportunity to flesh out the world and legends with collectibles and monologues at camps. Tombs actually matter this time around given you new skills and nothing is a tense is walking into a cave only to find a bear or a pack of wolves waiting for you. The combat feels raw and brutal and part of the fun I had was seeing how often I could just rely on using the bow as my main weapon (it’s a lot btw). I look forward to seeing where the series goes from here.
Second Runner Up
Fallout 4 was revealed and shipped within 6 months time. I’m always super apprehensive about Bethesda created games but by the time the E3 presentation was over I had a deluxe edition pre ordered. The games feels more like a a true FPS than RPG. Its fun and expansive and I’ve spent more than my fair share of time just building up my house, scrapping it and starting over. The game is a step towards the mainstream in many ways but what holds it back from earning a higher spot is the lack of explanation on a lot of core elements ( I think I was level 8 before I realized I didn’t have to pump points into the main stats before I could unlock skills) and the engine could use an update. Other than that it has been hours of wondering and scavenging greatness.
First Runner Up
Metal Gear Solid V is the grand finale in Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear franchise that I didn’t even know I wanted or needed until it came out. Kojima waited for the last one to take what gamers thought the series was all about and flip it around and deliver a tight sandbox style action game, Players can choose to take on longer story critical missions or do sandbox style shorter missions and tackle them anyway they see fit. While it is thinner in the story and cutscene department compared to other entries, it is a nice change of pace knowing I’m not going to get stuck watching a 45 minute cutscene after doing “just one more mission” before bed. The controls have been streamlined for a more action feel and even stealth feels better in a series about being stealthy.
The Witcher 3 is hands down my favorite game to come out since The Last of Us. I tend to have game ADD so for a game to hold my interest for months on end is truly unique and special. The world building and mythos put into this game is simply incredible. Main Stories branch into side quests and some side quests bleed into and change the outcome of main story missions. Not to mention the fact that you can stumble upon multiple side quests that could keep you engaged for hours and that spawn their own side quests. The world is not black and white in this game and you are constantly reminded of this when the weight of your actions are not always fully known. Add in a sleek combat system that makes you feel powerful (once you get the hang of it), brilliant voice acting, writing, settings and an overabundance of gameplay value, it will take a lot to make me lose interest in this game anytime soon.
Rocket League came out of nowhere to become one of the biggest surprise hits of 2015. Of course being featured as one of the free games of the month via PS Plus doesn’t hurt (even though it already had a huge PC following), but when the game is actually fun and fresh than it is really something special. Soon it was the fastest growing online game. It’s a game you can pick up when you have 20 minutes to kill or a whole evening. The controls are solid and easy enough for an level of player to pick up and learn, while the amount of tricks and maneuvers you can master is impressive. This game succeeded in making me pay attention to two genre of games I couldn’t care less about, Soccer and driving. With an upcoming release on Xbox One this game is only going to get more popular.
Third Runner Up
Metal Gear Solid V was a game that a lot of fans were looking forward to for a long time. I’m not a die hard MGS fan, but I have followed the series closely over the many iterations that have come out. The game was a blast to play, but unlike Nick, I wish the game was more like it’s previous entries in the series with it’s flowing narrative and bombastic cutscenes. While I do wish it would have remained true to it’s previous installments, the game is still a monumental achievement in gaming and shouldn’t be missed.
Second Runner Up
The Witcher 2 was easily one of my favorite games of the last few years. I played the original Witcher, but never finished it, but with The Witcher 2, I beat it and then immediately started it back up to play more. I can’t help but shake that may be why this game didn’t hit number 1 in my eyes this year. I was in love with the Witcher 3 for a solid month and it was pretty much all I did…until I didn’t anymore. I think the ever increasing quest list started to wear on my psyche and while I easily put in about 50 hours, I had only just reached Skellige before the game began taking a backseat to other games on this list. It’s an incredible game and I will be coming back to it in the future.
First Runner Up
FROM Software, year in and year out, is always at the top of my favorite developers list. This year was no exception and with the release of Bloodborne on PS4, I was greeted once again by the masochistic side of my gaming persona. Bloodborne took everything I loved about the previous Souls games and basically threw it out the window. I could no longer hide behind a shield, instead I had to learn to use quick weapons and dodges. The disdain for this game’s new mechanics early on turned into an obsession as I became better and tweaked my gameplay. This hasn’t happened to me in a long time, especially with having a kid and a lack of time, but every night after my son went to bed, I found myself playing more and more of this game. Eventually, it fully engrossed me with it’s Werewolf in 1800’s London style intro which eventually gives way to a much more sinister Lovecraftian horror story. Throw in some truly amazing and unique weapons and this was a game I completed and then immediately restarted to play it again with a different weapon style build of character. If you own a PS4, I can’t recommend this enough.
Fallout 4 was a game that we all knew was in production, but we had no idea when we were going to be able to play it. At E3 this year, Bethesda made big splashes in the gaming news world when they not only showed it for the first time, but said the game would be playable come November, just a few short months away. The hype train took off from there and the rest was history. Fallout 4 is basically Fallout 3 just with better visuals, a more engaging story of love lost and regret, and a new world. If you weren’t swayed by the previous installment, then this game being at number 1 for me will be a bit of a head scratcher. But if you truly love everything Fallout as I do (I’m even wearing Fallout socks to work today, thanks to my wife’s Xmas gift) then this game was something that was desperately missing from your life. Every night when my son goes to bed, I’m sitting in my recliner playing some Fallout 4 on the Xbox One. I enjoyed the game so much, I even bought it for the PC where I have another story going with a different character. A game that creates that level of dedication and love in someone deserves to be at the top spot, and that’s why it’s my Game of the Year 2015.
The Honorable Mention category exists to call out a game that may not be able to go toe to toe with the big boys of the year, but deserves it’s praises. Nick picked a good one with Rocket League, but I have another – Xenoblade Chronicles X. I was looking forward to playing this game when I first heard about it last year, but I had no idea just how good it was going to be. The sheer size of the world and the mechanics in play make you constantly double check to make sure you’re playing on a Wii U. The convoluted nature of the mechanics may turn some away from it, but that only worked to increase my desire to learn and absorb everything I could about this game. Subreddits and websites were my main areas of focus and for the latter part of December, I played little else. If you own a Wii U and enjoy RPGs – Xenoblade Chronicles X is a must play.