The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Let’s get the most obvious pick out of the way. The Witcher 3 oozes violent charm in a way few fantasy games do. Beheading beasts and dismembering bandits has never felt so abhorrently satisfying. Everything about the world and characters is crafted with more care than Skyrim’s weapon crafting system. There’s always something to do in The Witcher, which could be a negative if you don’t have the time in real life. You really have to commit with this game, but it’s worth it if you take the metaphorical plunge. Or physical plunge. Don’t know why you’d take a plunge into a game disc though. Your pick.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS
Technically, Smash Bros. came out in 2014. Technically, I don’t care. The game had a fantastic run of DLC last year, culminating in the release of Cloud from Final Fantasy VII. I still think this game is the pinnacle of multiplayer entertainment. 8 player smash may not be the most balanced mode out there, but it’s one of the most fun and chaotic. Along with functional online and a solid single player offering, this game has everything you could want. This game is reason enough to pick up a Wii U. I mean, I’d buy a washer if it was the only way to get Smash Bros.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
I bought an Xbox One for this game. The original Tomb Raider reboot was fantastic, so fantastic I beat it 3 times. I expected Rise of the Tomb Raider to be just as good, if not better, but I didn’t expect it to be THAT good. The gameplay, story, music, and graphics have all been improved. Collecting has been implemented to a greater extent and awesomeness is generally awesome. What I’m trying to say is that I really recommend this game. It’s also available on PC and will hit PS4 later in the year.
Mortal Kombat X
Another fighter I really enjoyed in 2015, Mortal Kombat X took the opposite approach that Smash Bros. chose. This game basically grabbed everything about family friendliness and stabbed it in the eyes, after decapitating it and tearing out its spine. Silly story mode aside, the game is a cupcake filled with gory delight. Just don’t try to eat it. It doesn’t work that way. Play it. Just play it.
I bought Fallout 4 on launch day. Even got an awesome Vault Boy mask with my pre-order. I didn’t end up committing to the whole game though. It’s just too long, maybe even longer than The Witcher 3. From what I played, it was basically Fallout 3.7835. I feel like they could have upped the stakes in Fallout 4. That’s not to say it’s not a good game, it’s excellent. It’s just that Fallout 4 feels more like a shinier version of Fallout 3 than a new entry in the series. If you like Fallout, or haven’t played one before, you won’t mind. Leveling up, hoarding, building settlements, using V.A.T.S., forging alliances, it’s all great. Definitely worth your hard earned bottle caps.
Batman: Arkham Knight
One of the biggest complaints Arkham Knight faced was the amount of forced batmobile usage. The extended use of the batmobile was honestly never a problem for me. It was a nice change of pace to previous Arkham games. The story, though packed, is really fun. Even though (spoiler) Joker has passed on by the time you get to this game, you could say this is Joker’s strongest game to date. Confused? Play the game. It’s great. Batman has never been more powerful, more emotional.
Again. What’s that? Oh, no problem. Just dying here. Again. And again. And again. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, actually, you’ll never really get dying out of the way. It’s part of the game, part of the learning process, but that’s okay. From Software has crafted a horribly beautiful world in Bloodborne, one I found myself compelled to return to again and again. I felt a dread most times I would play. This dread actually kept me from playing at times. It’s nerve-stretching to have three werewolves chasing you. Don’t judge me until you’ve been there yourself. Bosses are fantastically brutal, wonderfully created. Probably my favorite game of 2015 aesthetic-wise.
Telltale’s Game of Thrones
Telltale has been on fire the last few years. Beginning with their release of the phenomenal The Walking Dead, they’ve not let up with quality releases. Game of Thrones doesn’t disappoint. Whether or not you’ve seen HBO’s current television sensation, you’ll enjoy the game. Watching the show gives you more context into the events of the game and is certainly a plus. Even so, the mainline characters in the game were created specifically for the game. You have a new story to deal with here, brand new scenarios to stab and talk your way through.
More movie than game, Until Dawn does a great job of taking tired teen horror movie tropes and revitalizing them. The twist halfway through the game is only the beginning of your troubled delight. By the time you’ve reached the end, your characters have had a pretty screwed up week. One of the selling points of the game is the fact that any of your main characters can die by the end of the game. The thing is, they don’t have to die. Your decisions will mandate whether or not they make it to the very end, although they may wish they had died by the time they reach the game’s slightly anti-climactic ending.
Releasing on PS+ for free (you have to buy it now) earlier in the year, Rocket League was an immediate hit with PS4 gamers. Soccer with cars. It’s basically what the game is, but it feels like so much more. Also available on PC and now on Xbox One, you have to at least play this game. Missing that goal by inches is one of the most horrifying experiences of 2015, even more than the decapitations in The Witcher and dying in Bloodborne. But when you finally get it in; priceless. I don’t even like soccer, but I like this game. That says something.
Pokemon Shuffle (Mobile)
I hate this game. I can’t tell you how many hours I wasted taking my phone out during the day in 5-minute intervals. Stay away from Pokemon Shuffle. It’s evil.
Star Wars: Battlefront
Battlefront is in many ways a gigantic letdown. The amount of content the game ships with is staggeringly minimal. Sure, the graphics are gorgeous and the gameplay is smooth; the music is also fantastic as always, but you can’t ignore the fact that there’s not much to do. I enjoyed my time with the game, but don’t see myself spending $50 (the price of the season pass) extra to experience the full game.
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
I finally enjoyed Assassin’s Creed again. The series had been getting pretty tired with its yearly release schedule, but Syndicate changed that. You play as twin assassins attempting to restore order in London through murder and the equivalent of advanced hide-and-seek. The difficulty of combat has been raised or maybe I just suck at the game. Either way, you won’t be spamming your way to victory anymore. You actually have to block moves and use good timing to take out hoodlums. Lots of them.
YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! BROFORCE IS HERE! This game takes the definition of charm, shoves 15 sticks of dynamite down its throat and blows it up. Then it picks up all the pieces, sews them together, and does the same thing again. Every action hero imaginable has been included in the game, from “Brodator” (Predator) to “The Brode” (The Bride). The gang’s all here. Get ready to lose track of your character in the pixelated madness. Guts splash across the screen as you torch your way through mountains made of earth and soldiers. Add 3 more players to the mix and you barely know what’s happening, in a good way.
This game. I feel like I don’t want to say much about it so you can experience it untainted. The thing about this game is that you need to know about its 3 routes in order to enjoy it properly. The game plays differently based on how you choose to interact with enemies. Kill them all, spare them all, or a mix of both. The feels-full journey you’re about to embark on is steeped in retro, melodic genius. Even if you’re not into RPG’s, I’d still recommend this game. The amount of wit and unblemished charm in this game requires your immediate attention. This isn’t an “indie game,” it’s just a game, a really good game.