So the year is drawing to an end and to wave it a very fond farewell, I’ve compiled a collection of my personal favourites from among 2015’s games releases. If you want to join me in my reminiscing then feel free to either watch the video or to read the article below.
Hand of Fate – Released 17th February
This is one of the most fascinating indie games I’ve come across to date. Rather than fitting into a single genre, this game is a mixture of three, action RPG, deck building and those old text adventures that, yes, I’m just about old enough to remember. I first came across it while watching a twitch stream and it’s one of those games that as well as proving compulsive to play, is also very entertaining to watch. It’s also being continuously updated with new cards and adventures, and they are released as fast or even faster than I can complete them.
I’ll be doing a full review on this game in the not too distant future, but if you haven’t checked it out then it’s well worth a glance as it definitely stands out in my mind as being among the best games in 2015.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue (PC) – Released March 10th
This is one of the few games in my list that I might be mildly cheating with as the game was originally released on Xbox360 and PS3 in 2014. However, I decided to wait until the PC version came out because I’m a graphics snob. Assassin’s Creed is a franchise which has very much been stagnating of late. Thankfully, this is one recent Assassin’s Creed game that is actually fun to play and doesn’t feel as much of a clone as previous titles, and that’s because it takes after Black Flag and stands apart from the more traditional Assassin’s Creed games.
Graphics wise, it’s nowhere near as pretty as the recently release Syndicate or even Unity, which launched on PC and next gen the same time this one released on last gen consoles, but that’s because it was produced for last gen consoles. Again, I’ll be doing a full review on this game in the not too distant future, but in the mean time I’ll just say that I would choose a game that’s fun to play over one with fancier graphics any day. Of course, if I can wait a little longer and get that game with better graphics…
Ori and the Blind Forest – Released 11th March
This is currently my favourite indie game of all time. Graphics and art style wise it is stunningly beautiful. You could take a still shot from anywhere in the game, frame it and stick in on the wall as a work of art. Okay maybe I’m getting a little carried away here… Either way, it was love at first sight for me with this game. I saw it being streamed on Twitch and immediately after only watching a few minutes dived on my steam account to buy a copy.
It’s a platform game which is quite Meatboy like in its design, in that the difficulty level is very high and you’re expected to die a lot and in quick succession. The game facilitates this by letting you save frequently almost anywhere, so you should never have too much to repeat when you inevitably die. Again, I’ll be doing a full review of this game very soon, so keep an out for it if you want to learn more.
Bloodborne (PS4) – Released March 24
An action role-playing game made by the developers of the Dark Soul series, which shares some of the series’ game mechanics and also its dark themes of demons and corruption. Graphics wise, it is a cornucopia of gothic wonder with some really stunning visuals which just make you stop and stare and then promptly die as an unseen monsters guts you from behind. Yes, like Dark Souls it’s a game that doesn’t like to play fair. Unlike other games, the player never has the advantage, but that’s what I love about it. It really is you versus the game and it does quite often become a grudge match as you charge forth determined to take down whatever entity last proved your downfall, only to be taken down on route by something else which you neglected to remember in your haste for vengeance.
Again this is a game that’s on my to review list. The only bad thing about this game is that it’s a PS4 exclusive and so will be inaccessible to many. If you do happen to have a PS4 then it’s certainly worth a look should you have either A – a lot of patience or B – a masochistic streak. If you have both then you’ll love it.
Pillars of Eternity – Released 26th March
A real-time strategy role-playing game. This is certainly one of the best games ever to be crowd funded via Kickstarter and Kickstarter has funded some real gems to date. This game is certainly one of them. The attention to detail with the story and customisation is just epic. It can take you an hour just to clear the character creation screen by which point you’ll already feel as if you know just about everything there is to know about the game’s world and lore, only for the game to start and for you to realise that all the lore you learned in the character creation screen was just a drop in the ocean.
The game has a deliberately ye olde RPG style in the form of pre-rendered backgrounds, but don’t let that fool you because in terms of scale and attention to detail, it borrows from more recent trends with features such as party chat and companion quests and back stories. I posted a full review of this gaming gem last week, so do check it out here if you want to know more.
Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin – Released 7th April
This is another game that I’m slightly cheating with as like Assassin’s Creed Rogue it was originally released for previous gen consoles with a PC port. This is the enhanced version for current gen consoles and rereleased on PC with improved graphics and new enemy locations. It has all three of the DLCs included, which in my opinion are some of the best parts of the game and certainly the most graphically impressive. As with its predecessor, Dark Souls 2 is not for the faint of heart or the easily frustrated. In terms of action RPG it’s about as hard as you can get and can sometimes lead to the sensation of smashing your head continuously against a brick wall, but it is also strangely enjoyable.
I’m sure you’re getting tired of this comment by now but this is also on my to review list, but in the meantime if you want to be delightfully frustrated then give it a look.
*Disclaimer – By endorsing this game, I accept no responsibility for controllers, consoles, furniture or anything else broken should you decide to play this game.*
Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt – Released 19th May
If you missed this release then you must have been on the moon or stranded on a desert island. This game is stunning and I lost all summer to it, right up until the release of Metal Gear Solid 5 which I’ll get to later. It’s The Witcher’s first ever foray into open world and likely to be the last as its been confirmed there’s to be no more in the series. Sorry, this article is on hold until I can stop weeping… What magnificent job they made of it, though. The world they’ve created is massive and every part of it from wilderness to mountains to cities has been beautifully crafted and brought to life.
They’ve also done a really good job in capturing the style and atmosphere of the Witcher novels that the games were based on. If you want to know more, you can find a review of the original game here, written by Kirill Ilukhin, and one for the first DLC expansion here, written by me.
Metal Gear Solid 5 – Released 1st September
This is my other great love of the year. It was the game that finally tore me away from Witcher 3. I’ve played quite a few of the Metal Gear Solid Games, some of which I’ve enjoyed more than others, but this one just blew all the others away. What I love about this game is the freedom it gives you. Not just in terms of its outing into open world gaming but also in terms of gameplay. There’s never just one way of getting through a mission, sometimes there are even six, so it’s pretty much unlimited. You can stealth, snipe, bomb, use sleeping gas, mines, pretty much any technique you can conceive can be achieved and I just love that.
If you want to learn more about this game then you’ll find a review of it here – but all you really need to know is that it’s awesome, so buy it.
Dragon Age Inquisition: Trespasser DLC – Released 8th September
Okay, so another minor cheat here as the original game was released in 2014 but this DLC was offered up this year so I think it qualifies. This DLC chapter has everything that makes the Dragon Age games such a compelling series. The storyline continues on from the end of the main game and brings some manner of conclusion to a certain event with a certain mage, that I may or may not get all weepy eyed at the mention of. The characters are great, the humour is top notch and the environments are stunning. This DLC brings a perfect end to the Inquisition game.
If you want to know more then there is a review of this DLC here. Now, don’t mind me. I’m just going to go off and cry over my framed picture of said certain mage.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Released 23rd October
I didn’t give this game the most solid review, granted, but I do still admire it in terms of the sheer beauty and detail of the game’s version of Victorian London, and there is plenty to enjoy in the game. From cantering carriages sending pedestrians scurrying for cover and lampposts flying, to just wandering around and people watching, like the gardeners in the park or the chimney sweeps on the roof of Buckingham Palace. Sure, the majority of the gameplay is still stuck as it was three games ago, but I can’t help but give credit where it’s due for every other element of the game and unlike the previous outing, at least it was fairly bug-free.
If you want to know more about the game, check the review of it here.
Fallout 4 – Released 10th November
This is a game that you really can’t fault on scale. The world is large, the crafting system is large and, yes you guessed it, the volume of quests available is large. I’s just a little unfortunate really that most of those quest boil down to the same activity of emptying area of bandits or other undesirables. But don’t let that put you off. Fallout 4 is all about exploration and shaping the devastation around you as you see fit. And, of course, there is my best buddy Nick Valentine, who, in my opinion, is incentive enough to buy the game.
If you want to know more then feel free to check out the review here.
This is of course just my personal selection of favourites this year. There were many more big releases but these are the titles that have found a place in my heart throughout the year.