2015: My Year in Gaming

Every year, I like to look back upon the games I played. While I’m getting pretty far removed from my time covering then working in the game industry, games are still a big thing to me.

In 2015, I played 86 video games: 44 on PlayStation platforms, 25 on Apple devices, 14 on 3DS, 1 on Wii and 1 on PC. I’m not going to list them. I hope you don’t mind.

I completed 22 video games in 2015. Those I will list, in the order in which they were completed:
Walking Dead Episode 1 (PS3 and PS4)
Theatrythm: Final Fantasy (3DS)
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition (PS4)
PathPix Pro (iPhone)
Rogue Legacy (PS4)
ICO (PS3)
Super Mario 3 (3DS)
Hotline Miami 2 (PS4)
Diablo 3 (PS3)
Never Alone (PS4)
You Must Build A Boat (iPad)
Black Bar (iPhone)
Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4)
Proteus (PS3)
DmC: Devil May Cry (PS3)
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD (PS3)
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PS4)
Bloodborne (PS4)
Everybody’s Going to the Rapture (PS4)
Shantae: Risky’s Revenge (PS4)
Spec Ops: The Line (PS3)
Ratchet & Clank Future: Crack in Time (PS3)

Top 10 Games of 2015
I need to have played a game for it to make the list. As such, this was pretty easy to compile. Once I put together a list of decent games I played which came out in 2015, there weren’t a whole lot of them. Still, this is a stacked list.

  1. Pac-Man 256 (iPhone): Making a free-to-play mobile Pac-Man game with good control is quite the feat. It’s also quite fun.
  1. Super Mega Baseball (PS4): I can’t stand watching baseball; it’s basically my least-favorite sport. However, as a video-game it can be really good – especially mixing old-school simplicity with modern-day customization and statistical tracking.

Rapture

  1. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (PS4): A super slow game, but just as engaging and beautiful. If you put this in the hands of 100 staunch non-gamers, I think more than half of them would fall in love with it.

Downwell

  1. Downwell (iPhone): A great take on the endless runner, Downwell plays like a Metroid cave. You have a decent amount of weapons, styles and even color palettes (like Game Boy green). All of this keeps you playing. I think I’m still only just getting the hang of the mechanics.
  1. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PS4): I love the original game, which I called a murder simulator. But Hotline Miami’s overhead view, over-the-top violence and over-the-hill visuals give it that “perfect run” feel which made Tony Hawk games so amazing. This didn’t reinvent the series, but I still really enjoyed it.
  1. YMBAB (iPad): The follow-up to the equally superb (and oddly-named) 10000000, YMBAB finds your Atari 2600-esque main character playing smartly-paced match-three puzzle levels in order to kill enemies and level-up many aspects – not the least of which being your boat. At the end, you end up on a giant ship full of crew, monsters and a futuristic energy ball.
  1. Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4): I welcome Retro Studios back to Gotham City with open arms. The developer behind Arkham Asylum and Arkham City returns with an even more ambitious game that shines on current-gen consoles. Somehow, Retro keeps upping the ante on drama, gameplay and openness. The Batmobile was shoehorned and tough-to-get Riddler trophies made being a completionist impossible, but this is still one hell of an action game.
  1. Until Dawn (PS4): The idea behind this game is both brilliant and risky: Combine the adventure-leaning gameplay of titles like Heavy Rain and the scares of the survival-horror genre, and craft an insane tale with a dizzying amount of divergent narrative paths. Unlike most scary games, main characters will die in Until Dawn. Like, forever dead. And you can’t wuss out by reloading a save; you’re stuck with the consequences of your actions. Until you start all over again, of course, which is almost impossible to resist.

Bloodborne

  1. Bloodborne (PS4): Someone hacked into my brain, found out the right type of game for me, then called it Bloodborne. I’m a fan of the Souls series, and to put it in a less-fantasy setting with faster-paced gameplay only made me a happier camper. You still get steep-but-fair difficulty, crazy bosses that will eat your lunch, and vague-yet-intriguing mythology. Also, there’s an item called “one-third of umbilical cord” that leads to the true ending. And I found 4 of them!

Fallout4

  1. Fallout 4 (PS4): Only a Bethesda open-world RPG could beat out a From Software action game like Bloodborne. I have played so much Fallout 4 since its release. When I heard “buildable settlements” I was less than amped; yet I can’t stop arming settlers or building fences or scrapping rolls of duct tape. Then there’s all the weapon and armor customization; a bunch of companions to earn the trust of; the pure joy of just picking a random direction and walking around; the “dungeons” that contain their own unofficial stories… I could speak for pages about the game’s problems – be it poor explanations of mechanics or my distaste for where the main quest goes (though I haven’t beaten it despite likely playing it more than the 22 games I beat combined) – but this game has me so contained in its deathclaw grip. It couldn’t not be my game of the year.

2016’s Gaming Forecast
I will be living and working in Japan for most of 2016. The only home console that is likely to acompany me is my PS4. Still, I doubt I’ll be left wanting for games. In fact, I’ve sort of stocked up via Black Friday and digital sales. I’ll have Witcher 3, Dragon Age, GTA V, Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain, and countless download titles to entertain me on the off chance I have time away from work and cultural immersion. Plus, my 3DS and Apple devices will be close at hand.

If you have thoughts on any of the games I’ve mentioned, or think there’s a glaring omission, let me know!

 

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