[See my 2016 Most Wanted here]

It’s that time of year again, kiddies!!  That’s right, it’s the end of 2015 and that can only mean one thing: unrealistic and unenthusiastic New Year’s resolutions!!  Wait…  And “best of” lists.  Huh.  So I guess there’s 2 things.  Man, you learn something new every day.  I only intend to take up a few minutes of your time with small write ups on the games, but, I tend to ramble, so I apologize if this turns into “16-hour flight to Tokyo” reading for you.  I hope I don’t ramble…

Well, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s just dive right into what should prove to be a long, sad look into what I wasted my time on this year!!*

*according to my girlfriend and therapist.  They are not the same person.  I won’t make that mistake AGAIN…

honorable mention flag
I figured it would be nice to start off with some games that I thought were worth a holla and a dolla of your time.

 

In no particular order…

honorable mention b&b

If you’re a fan of what we all now know as a “Telltale-style” game, then this game is right up your alley.  Think of this as a kind of sequel to The Untouchables and throw in a little bit of the Frogwares Sherlock Holmes series and you’ve got Blues and Bullets.  While only on Episode 1 (of 5) currently, what we’ve gotten so far  is a wonderful and captivating story that has me eagerly awaiting my next hit from developer A Crowd of Monsters.  I’m jonesing bad, fellas.

 

honorable mention #IDARB

I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve sunk into #IDARB this past year.  Well, I can (thanks, SmartGlass!!), but I don’t know if that will make me cool or make me an embarrassment to the outside world.  This indie sports darling is fun, addictive, and almost infinitely creative via the user creation tools for teams, logos, and songs.  It’s like handball, but, much different than that.  Too hard to explain in a little blurb, but I urge you to check this out if you own a PC or XB1.  Great fun to be had locally or online.  And something tells me this isn’t the only indie sports darling to make my life better this year, but I’m getting ahead of myself and potentially spoiling something later.  Like when my friend told me how Chewbacca is the new Darth Vader in Episode VII.  Thanks, Todd.  Now I don’t need to bother seeing it.

 

honorable mention br=tf

OK, so I know Tennis in the Face came out LAST year, but I didn’t know it existed until THIS year.  And, because of the greatness that it is, it spawned the other 10tons developed game in this entry that DID release in 2015, Baseball Riot.  They’re small-ish physics-based puzzle games where you hit balls into people’s faces.  For revenge.  And points!!  Whether on consoles or mobile, these games are definite fun when you need to get a little fun in during your day.  There’s also a Clowns-only version of Tennis.  Look it up and you’ll understand.  Understand all the way to the Fun Bank (account fees vary).

 

honorable mention starw

Starwhal is an odd little multiplayer game that’s seemingly got a little Tron spilled into it’s Whale/Unicorn DNA.  The whole porpoise of the game is to take your horn and stab your opponents in their exposed, colorful hearts.  It’s hardcore, yo.  The controls take some time to get used to, but even if you never do, in a group of people, the uproars of laughter watching everyone flop around trying to pierce each other is all that you care about in the end.  The game definitely missed a trick by not having online multiplayer, not sure why, although it’s a decision I’d probably understand ($$$).  But, if you have people to play with, you’ll likely have a colorfully fun time.

 

honorable mention mario

Super Mario Maker is a game many of us 80’s Nintendo kids never thought possible.  30 years later, here we are:  WE CAN MAKE OUR OWN SUPER MARIO BROS. LEVELS (legally)!!  Say that again to yourself and try to understand it.  If you’re my age, that almost sounds foreign and a little bit insane, but in 2015, it’s as true as 2+2=4 and as real as my love for Kristen Bell, which, if you know me, is the realest thing there is.  If you own a Wii U (all 17 of us should hang out and play Smash Bros. one night), you owe it to yourself to pick this up.  I sometimes hesitate to call it a game, because 50% of it is, and 50% of it isn’t, but it is 100% fun.  It’s likely at some point in your life you said one of 2 things – I could make better levels than these baby ones Nintendo keeps giving me or I’ve beaten every Mario level a hundred times, and I NEED MORE – or something not so hyperbolic.  Either way, you now have something you could spend the rest of your life dedicated to, and if you combine both elements of the package, the rest of your reincarnated life, too.  Good job, Nintendo. Now don’t fuck up the NX.  Please?

 

honorable mention ggc

First off, I know it’s no secret that I’m a huge sucker for all things zombie-related, especially games.  But I don’t praise them unless they’re GOOD games.  Take Contra or Metal Slug and The Godfather movies, mush them together and you’ve got yourself a Cannoli.  And what a delicious Cannoli it is.  Tight and fun side-scrolling gun play for up to 4 players locally (same as with Starwhal), Guns, Gore & Cannoli is a beautifully drawn game, with exactly the kind of goofy story and voice acting you’d expect, and I’d love to see Crazy Monkey Studios make a sequel.  So, let them know Heazie said so.

 

honorable mention white night

You may not think a game with 99% of the color being either the absence of all or the entire existence of all, would be worth playing, but then you’d be wrong.  White Night is absolutely worth your time.  The art direction wonderfully represents the early 1900’s noir feel and the game features neat puzzle elements related to light.  OSome Studio did it right.  They don’t make many adventure games like this, so if those are your bottle of Pepsi, this is the Wild Cherry flavor – i.e. one of the best.

 

honorable mention RE

And speaking of adventure games, the REmake of Resident Evil is one of the best adventure games featuring action sequences throughout ever created.  Originally released for Nintendo’s GameCube in 2002, this game (and its fans) has been begging and deserving of an HD remaster for years, and we finally got it.  If you don’t know what it is, I urge you to go find out right now.  This was back when Capcom was in its prime and RE was great.  Now?  Not so much.  But, with all the work they’ve done to bring this masterpiece to the current specs we love, they’ve made a masterpiece even better.  And with RE0 getting the same treatment next month, we can relive past glories all over again.  But don’t pretend you loved Zero back in 2002, because we all know you didn’t.  Me and 30 other dudes did and have been championing it ever since.  VIVA LA RESIDENT EVIL!!

 

WWE 2K16_20151026225838

OK, I just want to make it clear that this mention right here is mostly based off the huge roster that 2K has given us with WWE 2K16.  Sure, there are some odd/stupid decisions that were made with it, and yes, I do think the game is better than last year’s current gen version, but that was pretty much a given with what that game was.  It’s still lacking certain things, but, it does play better and offers enough to not make me frustrated with it to where I’m not having fun.  And, again, the huge roster of over 120 Superstars and Divas (thanks a lot, Vince…).  So that’s pretty damn cool.

 

Now that we’ve run through that long list, a list I honestly didn’t realize was that long until I started doing this, I’d like to just toss out a few little “awards” as it were.  Just some stinkers that I felt deserved to be pointed out, because I can’t keep my opinionated, small, yet giant, mouth shut.

 

Worst Feature:  Be the Story

Spike-Lee-NBA-edited

I love basketball.  It’s my favorite sport.  The Celtic Pride is plastered all over me and I bleed Green.  Cliches excused, 2K Sports has year after year given us a pretty damn good career mode.  It’s a mode that really caters to people like me who could never realize their dream of playing in the NBA.  Aside from the voice acting, every year it’s been a very solid mode that millions look forward to.  HOWEVER, this year, in NBA 2K16 they decided to up the ante for some reason.  Ante that never needed to be upped.  They decided we all needed a “cinematic experience” and enlisted the world’s most annoying basketball fan, Spike Lee, to Joint-ify and craft a story mode for your created player’s career.

I can’t state enough just how poorly this was done.  I often wonder the true feelings of the devs while this experiment was going on.   The scenario was cliched and annoying.  The main cast’s acting – way over the top.  The script?  Laughable at best.  And the entire story itself feels completely shallow, but it’s also technically shallow, too.  You control almost nothing that happens.  Played an amazing game?  Too bad, the script says otherwise.  Excited to advance in the playoffs?  Cool, but you get to play only one game, then the season is over and you then move on to free agency.  Oh, and forget about knowing how your team did, because the “story” doesn’t ever mention it again.  Add to the fact that you only play about 20 games in this “amazing” story (including high school and college) and you quickly start to realize it’s not even worth it, but you have to do it anyway.

I know this may come as a shock to many of you, but I’m a white male.  Why am I being forced to play as a character that’s biological family is black?  With a twin sister to boot?  Play your race card somewhere else, folks, because you’re barking up the wrong tree here.  I’m simply wondering why they couldn’t have made the player adopted should you differ.  Was it truly that difficult to write and film 1 extra line or scene to explain that away?  Apparently it was.  It immediately takes you out of the experience.  Ya know, if the acting and writing of the first scene don’t.  Everything about the mode before the story ends is just dismal, and don’t even get me started on the name you’re forced to use.  Since the beginning, we were only allowed one awful voice choice, and we had to deal with it.  We had just finally gotten the ability to choose Awful Voice #1 or Awful Voice #2, and the next year we get this.  Sigh…

2K16’s Be the Story mode is one of the worst things I’ve had to go through this year, and I know my homey Matty Mo feels the same way.  Oh, and GO CELTICS!!  Pierce and KG, I know you’re reading this, and I know you know we miss y’all…

 

Best Free 1 Day Rental at Redbox:  The Order: 1886

the-order1-edited

What can I say about this game that hasn’t already been said before, either by me on our podcast, me on social media, or the many others whether professional reviewers or otherwise?  The Order: 1886 is a beautiful game, arguably still the best looking console game to date.  However, I just wish they decided to take some of that effort into making a good game.  What we got was a below average game at best.  It’s super short (I Platinum’d it in 6 hours) and the game play is that of a shallow shooter infested with annoying QTEs just when you think you’ll get to fight something cool.  It’s not 2005 anymore, guys.  Let’s back off a little bit now.  Luckily the story is not that bad and it does just enough that you want to keep going.  However, again, it feels like the devs and Sony just wanted to make a movie and not a game, because you’ll spend entire chapters either watching a cut scene or walking to and from one.  That’s not good game design.  Now, harsh as that seems, and I acknowledge it is, because it’s meant to be, I still feel like this is something people with a PS4 should experience, but with the proper expectations.  Those are not dropping $60+ (lord help those who bought one of the numerous limited or collector’s editions) and basically being left holding the gun after a bank heist with no getaway car, and instead knowing all the shortcomings Sony’s PR had to deal with at launch.  Sony and every other retailer has had this game on sale countless times since it’s release in March and even now I believe the game is permanently $20 on PSN.  Still too much.  Which is why I feel like since Redbox constantly and consistently gives out free game rentals, you should take advantage and snatch this up, beat it, hope for a majorly fleshed out sequel in a few years, and return it later that day to reuse the free game rental code for a much deeper experience, like, say, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection or a Batman game.  I heard the bitches love those dudes.

 

Game I Can’t Recommend Unless You NEED Every amiibo:  Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival

amiibo-festival-editedZZZZZZZZZZZ

I’m an amiibo whore.  I’m not ashamed of it, but sometimes I am a bit disturbed by it.  I’m also a huge Animal Crossing fan.  Not ashamed of that, either.  So when they announced a new AC game I knew they’d sucker us into using amiibo.  What I did not know, but in retrospect should have because I know Nintendo, was that they’d make a Mario Party clone but instead of giving us any semblance of the limited fun that series offers, they’d shit out this lazy mess of a board (bored?) game where almost LITERALLY NOTHING happens.  If you thought MP games just arbitrarily dished out stars and coins and a winner by the end, this game does it tenfold, with LITERALLY NOTHING to do but use your amiibo to roll the dice.  Honestly, the only positive thing I can say about this game is that they have the AC music and aesthetic that we all know and love, and the game comes bundled with 2 exclusive amiibo figures and 3 amiibo cards (don’t get me started on that shit…), because you have to use amiibo to play this game.  Good job Nintendo on making really cute and sturdy figures for the 8 or so characters out now, boooo Nintendo for thinking this was an acceptable game to shit out at Christmas (or ever) for $60.  The amiibo should have been in a bundle for $20-$25 and this game came with them for free.  And I think I’m being generous.  To anyone who has played this, you know what I’m talking about.  The final thing I’ll say, because honestly this whole thing should have just read “DON’T BUY THIS”, is that every time my girlfriend and I played this, she fell asleep almost immediately.  Every.  Time.  We’ve played more than you think and more than I’d like to admit.  I have not fallen asleep, though.  But I almost did.  Every.  Time.

 

games missed
In this section I’m going to list some games I wanted to play this year, but unfortunately never had the chance to.

SORRY - splatoon

SORRY - gears

SORRY - VEC

SORRY - RARE

SORRY - LEGO

Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance Demo Version_20150925123001

SORRY - EDF

SORRY - ori

We can’t always get to play everything we want to each year, and this one especially was a difficult year to do that for me.  HOWEVER, I do have to thank the several people who gifted me some games this year as well as (more importantly) my girlfriend Meagan, because she did everything in her power to allow me to play as much as possible.  And honestly, I got to play so much this year thanks to her that it’s almost borderline criminal.  So, thank you, for allowing me to do what I love to do as often as I got to do it, and thank you for pretending to care and constantly listen to me rant and rave over every video game incident this year, when you couldn’t have cared less about what was going on or what I was saying.

 

top 10

We made it.  It’s been a treck, but, I hope you’ve stayed the course and read my thoughts.  If you have, I hope you’ve at least semi-enjoyed them.  So while we still have a decent amount more to go, assuming you read the reasoning behind each one, we’ve reached the home stretch and have finally gotten to the point of this article.  My Top 10 Games of the Year.  In order.  Why?  Because that stuff matters to me and I think it matters as a whole.  I’m not part of the new wave of thinkers in the video game “writing and talking about them” arena that many of us live and breathe each and every day.  From big companies to small, each has their ideas and philosophies on reviews and these kinds of things.  I think ranks and scores matter, so, it’s now time for me to rank them.  Enjoy.

 

GOTY 10

Ah, The Jackbox Party Pack 2.  Some may think it’s really odd that a collection of party games has made a Game of the Year list, and I can halfway understand that line of thinking.  Each game on their own, a riotously good time and worth the asking price.  All 5 together?  Well, that’s a riotously good time that’s worth the asking price times 5.  What?  Did you think there was going to be more to that?  Don’t underestimate what “riotously good time” really means.  Luckily for Jackbox Games (and players), they bundled them all in one affordable package so we can all live in scenario #2 and have a blast all the while making their way to a random internet dude’s Top 10 list.  These games are simple to set up and operate (you use your phone or tablet as the controller) and once you get it going, the insane fun begins and only ends when you realize it’s well past your bedtime, but, hey, one more game for the road.  Whether playing with friends and family or on a stream with random strangers, the fun and laughs you’ll have is palpable. And if you don’t?  Well, then you just don’t like fun.  Also The Jackbox Party Pack 1 is amazing as well.  So, deal with that bombshell while you’re at it.  Not in any way affiliated with Bomb Corp.

 

GOTY 9

Until Dawn came out of nowhere for a lot of people this year, and I am no exception.  Now, I already had this game on my radar way back when this was going to be a PS3 game, but, luckily for me (and the rest of PlayStation Nation) it was delayed and delayed until it finally graced the PS4 in August.  It helped it.  A lot.  Now, I won’t say anything about the story because a heavy story-based game like this deserves to be experienced fresh, so don’t worry if you haven’t played it yet.  Which you should, when you get the chance.  To boil it down it’s basically a stereotypical teen horror movie in video game form, but that almost feels like it sells the game short.  If you’re a fan of Quantic Dream games, then this is the best Quantic Dream game ever made.  Which is weird, because they had nothing to do with Until Dawn.  The game is a blast to play, and with branching paths that allow you to determine whether each of the 8 teens live or die (think PS2/Xbox game Obscure and you’re on the right track), there’s plenty to play for, especially for Trophy hunters.  Plus, the game isn’t a massive undertaking, so you can finish it in one extended sitting.  Which is part of the reason why it’s not higher on my list.  I feel the price is too high at $60.  Absolutely worth $30, but I think anything above that, you need to evaluate where you feel your dollar is making the most bang.  Whatever the case, the game is a great time and should be on your radar.

 

GOTY 8

Wow…  This game really did come out of left field for me.  Rocket League was nowhere near my pitch and luckily for me (and millions of PS4 owners along with Psyonix) this released as a PlayStation Plus title.  Were it not for that, I’m confident this game wouldn’t be as huge as it is today.  It’s the constant updates, new modes, free DLC, and even the paid DLC that keeps people coming back, me included.  Even months after I have Platinum’d the game I keep coming back for more.  The additions are just that enticing.  I mean, hello?  They just added a limited time hockey event.  Just when you think you’re out, they suck you back in!!  I put more hours into this game than I ever thought I would, and likely probably ever should, but the game is oftentimes so addicting it can feel like you’re doing crack instead of playing a game.  I never thought I’d say that about a game that’s basically soccer with remote controlled cars.  Cars made of pure black tar heroin, apparently.  I can’t wait for this to come to Xbox One just so I can do it all over again.  However, even though the game has a big following now, if this isn’t a Games With Gold title out of the gate, I fear the goodwill and praise will only take it so far on a new platform where those fans will see that the opposition got it free and they have to pay.  I may be willing to, but I don’t believe I am the rule, I am the exception.

 

GOTY 7

What a fantastic, fun, and vibrant turn-based RPG!!  If you’re a fan of Earthbound and other classic 16-bit era RPGs, you’re in the right place.  As the Vice President of the world there’s plenty of citizens to recruit to your party so they can help you stop the aliens from taking over the planet, and each come equipped with their own special skill to make your journey easier.  Although, it’s already pretty easy.  I mean, as the VP, you can’t be expected to do anything but order everyone around.  And you don’t!!  Just sit back and tell everyone else what to do.  It’s what you were elected for after all!!  Citizens of Earth is a wonderful love letter from Eden Industries to the aforementioned Earthbound and the wickedly funny script is worth your vote on the ballot alone.  I own it on 3 different systems, so, how much more praise do you need?  Vote with your wallet, and BUY, BUY, BUY!!

 

GOTY 6

When Wolfenstein: The New Order came out last year, it took everyone by surprise.  A single player only first person shooter?  And it’s great?  No one was expecting that from Wolfenstein.  When Machine Games was handed this franchise, I’m not sure anyone knew what to expect.  Well, since then, we’ve come to expect greatness, and that continued into Wolfenstein: The Old Blood this year.  Set over a decade before The New Order, where the Nazis have won World War II and the world is forever changed, we find BJ attempting to infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein to thwart those plans.  As we know, Hitler and those pesky Germans were heavily researching the occult and that’s no different here.  Expect to find great game play and shooting mechanics along with a neat story and nice twist that I had no clue was coming, and I’m glad I didn’t.  I was really looking forward to this game, which was originally going to be 2 separate DLC packs for The New Order but they wisely decided to combine them into its own game, and it paid off.  I had a blast sneak-killing Nazis and seeing what BJ went through prior to his misadventures of the previous Reich.  The game does stutter when it tries to shoehorn in the same “choose one person” mechanic from the prior game, but, that doesn’t detract from the fun ride you’re on from start to finish.

 

GOTY 5

MORTAL KOMBAT!!  The brutal fighting game that misshaped my childhood is back with it’s 10th installment, and good lord, what an installment it is.  If you follow the story line set up with the reboot 4 years ago, this time it’s over 20 years later, and the roster is full of fan favorites, new kombatants, and some of the offspring of previous kharacters.  They’re really going with the family vibe and that’s the theme throughout.  While I wasn’t really a huge fan of where the story went, it was still enjoyable.  And, duh, the fighting mechanics are buttery smooth, too.  NetherRealm Studios clearly took lessons from the DC Comics fighter Injustice: Gods Among Us that they worked on between MK releases, and they improved upon that formula, which Injustice improved upon the MK formula before it.  Upping the brutality level (literally) in Mortal Kombat X was just the start.  We also got hourly, daily, and weekly challenge towers to keep us busy, as well as a robust online suite of modes.  They really went all out here.  Add in fun DLC kharacters, with more on the way next year and this is a fighter that you can keep coming back to.  The best fighter this gen so far.

 

GOTY 4

When this game was announced I never thought it would come close to being one of the best of the year.  I know, I know, this is another wild pick from me, but, as a huge RE fan, I’m sadly conditioned to expect new RE games to be crap.  Yeah, it’s been a long 10 years.  Resident Evil: Revelations 2 bucks that trend, and for that, I am so happy.  Sure, Capcom elected to jump on the Telltale episodic release system, which was weird, but to be fair to them, the first Revelaitons was structured episodically from the get go.  However, it was still meant to be played without waiting.  Credit to them, though, because they completed the game fully and only had players waiting a single week between each of the 4 episodes, and then after that a physical release with all the DLC and Raid stuff included came out for those who didn’t want to wait (me).  I don’t recommend they do this again, and if they don’t, I’m glad they potentially got it out of their system.  I wish the game’s co-op could be played online as well as local, but only Raid Mode is available online with friends.  Fun mode, too.   The game is actually really good.  Perfect?  Absolutely not, but it’s fun and it plays well.  Whether co-op or by yourself, the game works well.  And the story is actually interesting.  Yeah, it’s typical RE nonsense, but the good nonsense, with surprising callbacks to previous open threads and it leaves just enough to want more by the end.  And, yeah, I definitely want more, especially if they keep this style going.  I would be A-OK with single player only, but, I get the sense that if Revelations 3 happens, we’re getting something similar to what we have here.  If that’s the case, it could be much, much worse to RE fans.

 

GOTY 3

I never thought this would happen.  No, not that Fallout 4 would come out this year – I was actually right there with a certain Colin M. on everything he predicted – and no, not that it would be set in Boston – there was too much evidence pointing to it – but the fact that Fallout 4 would not be my Game of the Year.  Shit, it’s not even my #2!!  Honestly, it’s hard to fathom it, but, I’d be lying to everyone and especially myself if I said otherwise.  Don’t get me wrong, the game is great, no question.  They do a lot of things super well.  However, as huge a Fallout fan I am, there are just some things about this bad boy I simply do not like. This game is the most polarizing game I think I’ve ever played.  Either that, or certainly in recent memory.  I absolutely love this game and it’s crazy difficult to put it down.  I’m  over 230 hours into this game, and I don’t see an end in sight.  And I’ve hardly explored at all it feels like, especially just from looking at my map.  On the flip side, I also hate this game.  Yeah, you read that right, and it’s so weird for me to say, but even weirder to feel.  What Bethesda changed about the formula from Fallout 3 and New Vegas as well as how they “streamlined” this game is exactly what I was afraid was going to happen.  All my fears came true.  I’ll leave it at that, because this is a gigantic rabbit hole I could go down that I really don’t want to right now.  Trust me, Meagan can tell you just how animated I get over it.  I’d rather focus on the things I like.  I have no issues with the graphics, as some do.  I think they look perfectly fine.  This is exactly what I was expecting with the jump to current gen with  this engine and I am happy with what we have.  So, graphics sorted.  The density of this game is crazy.  In a good way.  Some games’ density can be a problem, in this one, it’s a positive.  It works here because a major draw of this game is exploration and finding things littered around the world.  You see something off in the distance?  Set off to reach it and 14 hours later you’ll realize you found 20 other points of interest in between and maybe you got there, maybe you forgot all about it.  It’s exhilarating and challenging, and most of all, just plain fun.   How’s the frame rate been?  Either steady or negligible to where it never bothered me in the slightest.  And as for the glitches?  Nothing but the quirky Bethesda open world bugs.  Floaty characters or items.  Occasional environmental hazard interrupting a conversation.  That’s it.  Something I kind of hope are always there, if I’m being honest.  It just feels like home that way.  Never a crash and never have I gotten stuck in a wall like I used to often do in 3 or New Vegas.

I could go on for hours with this game, so I’ll spare you that.  Just know that this game is still incredible, even if it did not meet all my perfect-scenario expectations, and is definitely a game you should be looking into if you haven’t already.  The final thing I want to say about the game is a shout out to a certain part in the game that is a pretty big spoiler that I will not say more about other than when I got to this area I felt genuinely terrified being there.  And that lasted the entire time I was there.  Bethesda did a fantastic job setting the mood for that place.  Just thinking about it gets my nerves on edge.

 

GOTY 2

Wow.  What a fantastic game.  What a fantastic experience.  Wonderful game play, beautiful graphics, and amazing voice acting.  You really feel for Lara the whole way and that is not just because of the great animations, pretty character model (which sport some new scars as well as the ones from the previous game – nice touch!!), and situations she gets into, but because of the great voice work Camilla Luddington has done taking over since the Tomb Raider reboot in 2013.  Rise of the Tomb Raider is a study in exactly how you should make a sequel.  Take everything the first game gave you and improve upon it.  And they did that in spades.  The story is very good and keeps it interesting throughout.  There are potentially obvious twists and the game ends in a potentially obvious way, but none of that detracted from the experience and none of that hindered the story.  They have a set path they’re on and I am very curious to see where this story goes.

I never cared for Lara Croft 20 years ago, so imagine my surprise when I suddenly fell in love with her 2 years ago.  Credit where credit is due.  And another example of double-dipping – 360 and XB1 reboot owner here.  Crystal Dynamics worked hard to bring her up to date and they succeeded mightily.  It’s a shame this game so far has done poorly.  Well, according to our standards and guesses.  Microsoft and co. have apparently be very happy with the sales.  I hope so.  Plenty of places to speculate and turn for blame, I’m sure, but if you have an Xbox One (or Xbox 360), do not miss this one.  Go get it immediately.  You owe it to yourself to enjoy this masterpiece.

 

GOTY 1

Another possible controversial pick, but if you’ve played this game, you know that isn’t the case.  I’m noticing this is getting left off a lot of end of year lists and I don’t know why.  Did the release date hurt it?  Likely.  I don’t subscribe to it being because 2015 was just full of great games.  It’s true, 2015 was an amazing year, and I think it far exceeded expectations, but Dying Light opened the gates for great games this year in January and I truly believe it didn’t leave the front of the pack.  Yeah, it’s a game about zombies, but remember, I’m into GOOD zombie games, and this one isn’t just good, it’s great.  If you enjoyed Dead Island and Mirror’s Edge with a dash of Far Cry, you have your formula for fun.  This game is the most fun I’ve had all year.  It feels lovely traversing Harran.  The parkour is done super well.  The weapon crafting and first person melee combat is a blast to endure.  The main story, while nothing to go nuts over, works well, but it’s the many side quests that litter this open world that really shine.  And, the game uses the same online co-op style from Dead Island, only much smoother.  It’s a game so good I bought it twice.  So good I Platinum’d and 1000/1000 it on  both PS4 and XB1.  Not bragging, just pointing it out to, uh, make a point.  I don’t do that for almost anything, especially full priced retail releases.

Dying Light was the gift that kept on giving all year long.  Developers Techland kept themselves engaged with the community the entire time, listening to feedback (and well deserved praise) and giving players reasons to keep coming back, all the while staying in constant contact with fans, whether on social media or within the game itself when you turned it on and there was a new video that played thanking us and detailing patches or new features to look out for.  Whether it was XP bonuses, new weapons, or even game altering effects like wacky physics and things of that nature, there was always something given back.  The success, feedback, and support was clearly a surprise to everyone (devs included) and since that kept everyone engaged, it directly impacted future DLC, transforming the upcoming expansion  The Following from something moderately sized to something that is just as big as the base game itself.  February 9th can’t come soon enough for this fan.

 

Dying-Light-Techland-Graphic
Initial stats showcasing the love & support less than 2 months after launch

 

Dying Light is my personal Game of the Year.  Yours will very likely vary, and I would venture a guess that my entire list is pretty impossible to be duplicated by someone else.  And that’s one of the great things about these kinds of things.  Everyone is different and almost always no one is wrong (if you vote Sonic Runners or Garfield Kart as your GotY, just…  Ugh…  Stop playing games…).  The fun I’ve had with it was enormous and I still go back for more, whether it’s DLC or just to play with friends, the fun is still there.  And in the end, isn’t that all that really matters?

 

Thank  you all for getting this far.  I know reading all this was a chore, BUT, I think we dodged the Tokyo flight bullet and ended up with a flight from Logan to L.A.X. instead.  Hey, they can’t all be winners.  Even if you literally just scrolled down without looking at anything and read this paragraph, know that I appreciate it all the same.  If you’re feeling generous, like and share this with your friends if you made it this far.  Hell, you can even get crazy and comment with your thoughts or even your personal lists.  I’m interested in seeing them.

 

GOTY THANKS

Heazie's Best of 2015

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