So I have to be honest with you from the outset. 2015 is a year of in which I have played the least amount of games in a long time, and it is also the year in which overall I’ve spent the least amount of time with games. I’m not sure why, a lot of the games on offer have been enticing. I think like we all do from time to time, a wee break was what I preferred.
That being said I haven’t been completely void of the interactive experiences, a few games still caught my fancy enough that I had to pick them up and sink a healthy level of hours into them.
So this list will comprise of those games that I enjoyed the most in 2015. Now I’m not saying that these are the best of the best – as you already know I didn’t come close to playing everything. So I’m just going to share with you what out of the games I played I think were the best. Who knows maybe something will appear on this list that you also liked or maybe I’ll highlight a game that you’ve heard of but not yet played – anyway on with the list of my favourite games from 2015.
Jackbox Party Pack 2
So this might seem like a strange one to start off with but for me this is a game that has perhaps more than any created some of the most hilariously drunken times with my friends and me as we sat around the TV trying to make each other laugh.
I remember the first time we loaded up the game and stumbled our way through our first few games and learned how it all worked. I think it was around 7:00am the next morning when we finally finished up and call it a night. It was the “Oh just one more round”, situation.
Now not all the games hit the mark in this party game collection and Fibbage 2 is clearly the most fun to be had but this is a game that breeds good times. Almost every time that my friends and I get together now this is what we always end up playing, and I have to say it is just as fun as the first time we played it. What I think is one of the things that makes it so great is that so much of it is based upon your creativity and the ability to hone in on your friends senses of humour and then use it to your benefit.
This is absolutely the game to pick up, gather your good friends, crack open whatever drinks take your fancy and have one of the most fun couch co-op experiences there is to have. I promise you won’t be disappointed with this one.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
As a confession to you before we get into why I loved this game so much I must admit that I haven’t yet completed the main story of The Witcher 3 but in time I will – anyway.
What pulled me into this game and had me hooked was the scale and discovery of the world. CD Project Red created a world that I could ride off into, on a horse that was as useful as a cart with no wheels and find ever new and interesting things. I love to be able to go off the beaten path and find the little nuggets of surprise in a game – CD Project Red made this so very possible and it was always exciting to be able to do so.
What would I find on these random little journeys? Bizarre characters who would always elicit some sort of emotional response from me (whether smiling or being a little creeped out). Powerful monsters that I’d be stupid to go up against but what the hell, if I pull it off then it’ll be all the more satisfying. Beautiful vistas that on next gen were a constant little treat for the eyes. There was just so much and I’ve barely scraped the surface of things to discover and interact with.
What was also great about forging my own path in the game was that the game made little effort to hold your hand. If you come across a flying beast and its wrecking shop, well then it’s your fault for being stupid enough to think that you could waltz in and be the invincible hero – instead you’re the idiot who’s now flat on his back with a bruised pride.
This was a game where I could disappear into for an alarming amount of hours and always be completely engaged, a game that always had something interesting around the next corner, a game that was certainly a stand out when you consider the overabundance of open world game that now saturate the market.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt wasn’t a game without flaws, but goddamn if I didn’t have a hell lot of fun getting lost in this game. If you have the free time and want a big meaty game then this is certainly one to consider.
Rocket League is a game that is through and through addictive, like addictive on a fun but slightly worrying degree.
It was because of a little YouTube channel called Kinda Funny that I got early access to the Beta for this game and from that moment I was hooked. I described it to my friends as car football from Top Gear meets Grifball from Halo. That description got them on board and I remember the first time we all sat around the same TV and tested our friendship as we did 2v2 matches over and over. This game is simple in concept and a ridiculous amount of fun.
Why I think it works so well is that the game is easy to pick up – within 1 or 2 matches you can have the general controls down and then beyond that it becomes a game of slowly perfecting and understanding the physics of your car and the ball. This game is so well balanced and like I already said, wholly addictive.
Rocket League is one of those games where my friends and me can jump online and play match after match for the whole night or if I’ve got some time to kill I can jump on, play a couple of matches and then head off and do something else. This is a game with a long life span ahead of it and I’ll certainly be there to be a part of that life span.
If you haven’t already then I highly suggest you pick up this wonderfully unexpected little gem from 2015 – I promise you’ll have a blast.
Batman: Arkham Knight
You can read my full review for Batman: Arkham Knight here.
Since the release of Batman: Arkham Asylum I have been infatuated with the Arkham series of games, and Arkham Knight delivered what I wanted (plus a lot more) for Rocksteady’s final outing with the Bat.
What’s great about Arkham Knight (and the other Arkham games as well) is the well-rounded package that it offers. The story is exciting because well… it’s always like being in your own Batman Comic – add to that Rocksteady’s attention to detail when Batman lore is considered, and what you end up with is some fantastic story telling.
But what I think elevates those stories is the level of presentation in the games. Rocksteady deliver story and other such elements in such a way that you almost always feel involved. The simple use of panning the camera with the right stick will reveal things that at first where not there. This little trick always gets me and its touches of detail like this are why I love experiencing these games so much.
It’s not only the engaging storytelling and interesting environments to explore – at the heart of these games is some excellent gameplay that for novices can be picked up easy enough but for the more hardcore inclined can become an almost masochistic experience as the game tests your abilities to the extreme.
Batman: Arkham Knight delivered so much of what I wanted from it and while yes the Batmobile became a bit of a hindrance after a while I still think this to be another excellent outing for Rocksteady and Batman. If you liked the previous Arkham games then you’ll certainly enjoy this one.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Now we get to what is personally my favourite game of 2015. It is said that, “Gameplay is King”. No truer a statement could be attributed to Metal Gear than this one. This is a game with a bottomless pit of detail when gameplay is considered and it is one that I certainly got lost in and fell in love with.
What at first felt a little overwhelming soon became a masterclass in engaging game design and I was hooked to every new moment of discovery. I was constantly learning new things to do, things that would build my base and further my abilities as Big Boss. The word I think best describes what the gameplay is like to play is “evolving”.
The Phantom Pain was always introducing new toys or abilities that could open up a while new avenue of playing. One that I hadn’t considered before and now couldn’t imagine playing without. This was a game of learning and adapting and the finesse in which it was done only helped to make me feel like more of like the badass that Big Boss is.
I sank a lot of hours into this game and looking back the thing that stands out most to me is the level of manageable complexity to it. What made that complexity even more rewarding was then discussing my personal experiences of the game with other people. I would learn whole new ways of doing things or approaching situations. This was a game that was continually surprising me, while still making me feel confident in the knowledge I had. Perhaps more than any other game that I have played in quite some time, The Phantom Pain is a game that has a real sense of love behind the making of it. Kojima and his talented team put so much into this game and it shows in big way and also in the smaller ways.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a special game. Not only because it is the last to be headed by the master that is Hideo Kojima, but also because this is truly at its core a video game. If you haven’t already, make the effort to experience this astonishing game.
There you have it; those are my favourite games from 2015. With that all being said and done I now turn to you to share any thoughts you have on either this piece or the games within it in the comments down below. I know a lot won’t agree with some of the games on this list and that’s fine. I’m just really interested to hear anything you might have to add.
I also want to give you a thank you for taking any amount of time to read this it is so very much appreciated. So if you like this and maybe want to keep up with the rest of my ramblings, then feel free to follow me on Twitter – @GavinsTurtle. All that’s left to say is that I hope 2016 brings some great gaming experiences for you.