2015 Community Game of the Year - Results posted! Check the front page!


Voting for the 2015 Gamers with Jobs Community Game of the Year is now open!

The first response post in this thread has more detail, but here's the skinny on how we do things around here:

  • You can vote for anything you played for the first time this year.
  • It does not need to be a new release.
  • You don't need ten games but, please, rank your choices.
  • If you edit your list, put up a post saying that you did.
  • Finally, I would encourage you to write a little bit about what you liked. This year, I'll be using comments from this thread in the final results post.

Have fun! I can't wait to see the results!

Here are the Official Rules of the 2015 Community GOTY Voting Thread. We'll do this FAQ-style.

  • What games are eligible for voting? Anything you played for the first time in 2015. So, you Dark Souls nuts who have been salivating over that game for years now don't get to vote for it again. But if this was the first year you cracked open a classic like Chrono Trigger or Thief: The Dark Project, go ahead and stick it in your list if you loved it enough. Voting this year is open to any game on any platform from any year.
  • How do you know if I really played it for the first time this year? I don't. We're on the honor system. But what's the point of trying to rig a silly forum poll?
  • What if I didn't finish it yet? If you haven't finished a game but feel like you've played enough to know that you really love it no matter what happens in the end, go ahead and list it. Let's face it: some games are really stinking long, and you might not have been able to finish them yet but still know they're excellent.
  • Why are we doing it this way? Because we're old. This is a site packed to the brim with mature, adult gamers with jobs, family obligations, hobbies, and other things that take up our time. This is also a site packed to the brim with people who can't afford the new hotness as soon as it's released. We've all got piles, and we all play through them, but we don't often get a chance to say that we really love something even if it's old.
  • What if the top game ends up being from 2007 or something? It won't.
  • So how are votes counted? Games in the top spot on a list get ten votes, second place gets nine, et cetera, et cetera, with tenth place getting a single vote. Out of format lists (i.e., lists that aren't ranked and/or lists that go over ten) will get one vote for the first ten games mentioned.
  • Can I vote for an expansion pack? For the purposes of vote counting, votes for expansions are folded into votes for the base game. So for example, a vote for Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is counted as a vote for Diablo III.
  • I played a game before, but this year I played the remastered Director's Cut with new content on a new platform. Can I vote for it? The spirit of this thread is to vote for things that were new to you this year, and replaying a game you love with spiffier graphics runs somewhat contrary to that. On the other hand, some remasters and re-releases significantly change the original game, and sometimes replaying something can feel more revelatory than playing something brand new. So, it's up to you.
  • Can I list a game multiple times so that it gets more votes? No. That's annoying cheating.
  • When does voting open? When does it close? Voting is open as of right now, so go post your list! Voting will close at midnight-ish on the 31st of December. That'll give people time to wrap up some of those late November games and also to sample whatever they might find under the Christmas tree.
  • Are you going to do anything really neat and special with the results? I'm so glad you asked, because yes! Aside from the community's top ten list and the traditional top games for each platform, the results will be sifted through for some other results like:
    • Best-Loved Game of the Year and Most Loved Game of the Year - These are given to the games with the most #1 votes and most unranked votes, respectively.
    • Classic Game of the Year - Given to the game with the most votes that wasn't released in 2015.
    • Darksiders of the Year - Given to the game that's maybe good. Better ask just to be on the safe side.
    • And more! If I think of something! Or if you think of something! Or something!
  • What if I change my mind after I posted my list? Then pretty please be sure to put up a new post that lets me know you changed your list. It'll seriously mess with my thread-tracking if you don't.

First post! Whelp, time to go to the FInished Any Games Lately? thread and see what I played.

Also, as always Clocky, let me be the first to say thank you for organizing this. It's greatly appreciated by the rest of us.

Sometimes I think my GOTY should be figuring out my top ten list for this thread. Thank you, as always, for organizing this Clocky! DECISION TIME.

Final Fantasy XIV ate up most of my gaming time this year, so I'm going to have a hard time coming up with new games I loved that aren't Undertale. I'd probably put ten votes for Undertale if I could :p

Love'em or hate'em or held hostage by'em, achievements do make it a cinch to figure out what I played this year.

Thanks in advance for all your hard work again this year, Clock! Off to the pontification chamber with me.

Looking forward to everyone's picks! I have to wait till closer to the end of the year to post. Furiously trying to finish a few games.

Is the voting rigged again this year by femists?


Look out for the femists!

Thanks for doing this again, Clocky!

This was a weird year for me. I probably plopped about as many hours into games as I normally do, but I had few standouts. Dragon Age: Inquisition was on last year's list, so I can't really count the 50+ hours of it that I played in 2015. Expected champions Fallout 4, Torment: Tides of Numenara, and Persona 5 were delayed, or won't be played (by me) until 2016. Colossal time sink Star Wars: Uprising just ended up not being fun, so I don't really feel justified listing it either.

That said, here's my list:

1) Pillars of Eternity (PC) - The spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate felt more thematically related to Planescape: Torment in many ways. A mature story told with good characters, an initially confusing combat system, and at least one metacontroversy that was handled with the grace of a sedated cow in a trebuchet. Still, as the one long RPG I beat (solely) in 2015, it gets pride of place at the top of the list. That said, I don't see myself buying the big DLCs, or replaying it.

2) Star Wars: Battlefront (PS4) - The game that got me into multiplayer first person shooters again, for the first time in 15 years or so. While the FPS aspects of the game are gorgeous, and I'm absolutely awful at them, I shine, and the game is most fun in the fighter combat mode. I can't wait to see whether it will be expanded, with the potential for Death Stars, Fleet battles, Capital Ships..

3) Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes (Android) - Another fun Star Wars game, the second of three on my list - this one actually came out of nowhere. I saw it pop up on Google Play, took a flyer, and have been having a ton of fun with it. Less grindy feeling than Uprising, with a greater sense of player control over the action.

4) Rocket League (PS4) - While I don't think I'm any good at it, I had a good time teaming up with HarpoMarxist and Captain Domano in the league games. I can't see myself sinking too much more time into it, except in that sort of scenario as my lack of skill, and the competitive chest thumping it engenders are not a fun combination for me.

5) The Witcher 3 (PS4) - Gorgeous, well written, great quests. That said, I still bounce of the game's combat, and after letting it sit for a couple of months, I found it really grating on going back this past week. If I try it again before month's end, it may rise again in the list.

6) Art Academy (3DS) - This game was another left-fielder. I'm very down on myself for lack of artistic skills. This is exacerbated by being married to an art school graduate. That said, I turned in (with extreme assistance from the game) some pretty serviceable digital paintings.

7) Heroes of the Storm (PC) - I started off pretty obsessed with this, and have let it peter down to not playing at all, but I got a good six months of fun out of it.

8) Shadowrun: Dragonfall (PC) - I finally started this after having it sit in my Steam account for quite some time. Better plot and characterization than the first Shadowrun game from Harebrained. The improvements to the engine were also very welcome.

9) Diablo 3 (PS4) - Couch co-op with my wife. Awesome.

10) Disney Infinity 3.0 (PS4) - the Star Wars stuff - not a great game, but I love the characters, and the figurines, and the weird tweaks to the story that Disney had to do to get all the characters together at inappropriate times.

Honorable mentions:
Infamous First Light
Jackbox Party Pack Volume 2
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm

Last minute dark horse:
Telltale's Game of Thrones (PS4) - I just picked this up on the PSN holiday sale (along with Tales of the Borderlands) and blew through the first episode. This is *really* *really* good stuff.

The only games I could add to this list for this year are Fallout 4 and Fallout New Vegas. (Everything else I'd already started in previous years and just finally got around to playing or finishing them.) If I must choose between them, then Fallout 4 will have my vote.

For Fallout New Vegas (Xbox 360), I liked starting out as a generic courier so that my character could potentially turn into anything. The side quests were pretty fun and the main quest did hold my interest for a while. It had an open world feel to it even though it was primarily story-based. It also included the Brotherhood of Steel faction, which automatically makes it worth playing.

For Fallout 4 (Xbox One), it's turning out to be a very worthy sequel to Fallout 3! Despite the lame beginning of starting out as a family member looking for another family member, the game is chock full of interesting places to explore and it has been pretty easy for me to forget about the main quest until I'm ready to do another part of it. The side quests I've found have been very entertaining, and I'm loving being able to build up settlements and hope Bethesda will be adding more to it in a "Hearthfire" type expansion. The new companions have unique personalities and Dogmeat is cuter than ever! I am just loving this game and easily see myself playing it for months to come.

Edit: To add console type.

Tag so I remember to post.

With Plants vs. Zombies, I put in probably an hour last year, but I really put in way more time this year, so I barely played it last year. Is that cool? This year is when I really got to the 'enjoyment' part of it.

1. Bloodborne - PS4 - They knocked it out of the park again. A completely solid game which manages to nail the environment, combat, style, and whimsy of the previous 'Souls' entries. The changes to combat and some of the game's 'rules' took a little adjustment, but likely changed the way I will play any of the older entries in the series. A completely enthralling experience inside and out, and offers the player the true definition of progression in every sense possible.

2. The Jackbox Party Pack - Multi - One of the best party-oriented video games I've played. Not only are the games a ton of fun, you don't need controllers as you play on your mobile devices. Support for these devices seems to be fairly widespread, as are the possibilities for involvement. Theoretically, streaming the host's gameplay to a third-party service would allow other non-local users to join in and play without missing a beat of the hilarity, which I've done. I can't recommend this enough, and I have yet to introduce this to a person who's had a single bad thing to say about it.

3. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare - Multi - A generic class-based shooter with seemingly no value out of the box. But then you realize how much fun you're having and how much character and stylistic merit this game has. The Skinner Box-like card packs are addicting to receive, and the incentive of earning coins by playing well can keep you coming back for more again and again. There is a bevy of different modes, only half of which I've played, and they're all a blast. Definitely an underrated game. I'm excited for the sequel's improvements.

4. Rocket League - Multi - I'm sure I don't have to spell out why this game is so great to anyone here. Accessible yet challenging action keeps you on the edge of your seat, and considering the source of such excitement is an RC vehicle chasing a giant ball, that's pretty impressive. I'm loving the experimental faux-sports subgenres coming out, and this is such a refinement on Super Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars, that the only relation between the two is the feel of play.

5. Super Mario Maker - Wii U - A very robust Mario level designer with a lot of neat little easter eggs included for those who spend the time to look. It's a great start at scratching that Mario itch. I'm hoping there's a sizable update in the near future which includes a bit more customization on this idea. But if you're looking for a one-shot endless Mario level generator, this is your title.

6. The Wolf Among Us - Multi - One of the first Telltale games I ever actually finished, to my knowledge. The art, voice-acting, and illustration were all really great here. The story was that of a TV drama, since this is based on a sort of film-noir fairytale graphic novel, but it was compelling and gruesome at all the right times. No complaints here. Worth a play through.

7. Wolfenstein: The New Order - Multi - An interesting take on post-WWII if things had gone the other way. Lots of really nice setpieces, only marred by a few uninteresting scenes/level bits. Overall, this shouldn't be missed and is a solid romp through a future that never was.

8. Battleblock Theater - Multi - Similar to Mario Maker in that there is a level editor. But, the campaign is fun to play through as well, and Stamper has some hilarious dialogue here. A really great narrator-centric game with some solid platforming and design choices. A good timekiller.

9. Earthbound - Multi - Another good timekiller, but in a different way. The reason this ended up so low on my list is that a few areas felt particularly grindy. However, the characters, dialogue, battle system, and script were all very interesting and unique. I don't regret not playing this earlier, as I think it's taken some experience with RPGs to make me understand how different this game can be. Still, a thoroughly good time, and it felt good to take a little trip back in time.

10. OlliOlli 2 - Multi - Sometimes it takes a little bit of experimentation in controls to find a breath of fresh air. While I can't say that everything OlliOlli 2 does control-wise was a great idea, it definitely is a hell of a lot of fun to play, while noticing yourself greatly improving at some of the things you just learned. The levels in this game are outrageous and will give your skill level a run for its money. I had to stop barely after completing the Normal campaign, but I'm also not claiming to be a champ. Worth the pick up, and worth the play if you particularly enjoy what it's delivering.

Can I offer a suggestion? Can we list what console the game was played on? I'd be interested to know what console got the most love this year (ok... it'll be PC, but second console)
Ok, here's my list:

1) Fallout 4. PC. I am nowhere near done with Fallout 4, and when the mod tools are released, I'll sink even more time into it. I mean, I put 250 hours into Skyrim, so Fallout 4 will probably get close. And considering I'm already 73 hours into it without the big mods, I should probably give F4 my top spot.

2) Bloodborne. PS4. I agonized a bit over which slot to give this game in the top three, and really, I'd say Bloodborne and Fallout 4 tie, but since I have to choose, I have more complaints about Bloodborne, and Fallout 4's eventual mod support just barely bumps it higher. I really do enjoy Bloodborne, despite all the criticisms I threw at it in the Bloodborne thread. I've played through it twice, and really... really... REALLY want the DLC soon.

3) Life is Strange. PS4. I love Life is Strange. It's a unique concept (for gaming... mostly), the characters are interesting, and I get that feeling of "I really want to know how this ends, but I also really don't want to finish the game," which I only feel with the most engaging games.

4) Persona 4: Dancing All Night. Vita. I thought I didn't like rhythm games. Turns out I do, if they have a connection to another game I really like. The story is more linear and shorter than Persona 4, but still strong, and P4:DAN has the distinction of being only the second game I got a platinum trophy for.

5) Elite: Dangerous. PC. Every time I dig out my controllers, update the game, and actually start playing, I have a blast. There's something insanely satisfying about flying around the vacuum of space, being a smuggler or a trader or bounty hunter. Admittedly, it's mostly fun for the stories it lets me make up in my head, but that's ok!

6) Soul Sacrifice Delta. Vita. Here's another game genre I didn't think I would like, the monster hunter genre. But again, it turns out that I do, if it's presented in a way that appeals, and with SSD, that way is to blend in a heavy dose of Grimm-esque fairy tales and magic.

7) Rule of Rose. PS2 via PC. Rule of Rose was part of my ongoing nostalgia TL:DP review series, and it has everything I look for in a horror game. It's tense, unnerving, and makes me depressed... fun! It is basically Silent Hill meets Lord of the Flies, but it works so well, that I'm really happy with it. Obviously RoR came out ages ago, but I only just played it this year, so it fits.

8) Batman: Arkham Knight. PS4. There are two things I can definitely say about Arkham Knight. 1) I liked it better than Origins, and 2) It should definitely be the last in the series. Not that it was a bad game, but the instant I was done beating up the last bosses, I pretty much forgot everything about it. Or that I had it. Enjoyable while it lasted, but no replay-ability.

9) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. PS4. Here's another game that should most definitely be the last game in the series. It has more than it's fair share of problems, particularly in female representation, but I like TPP because it's the first game in the series where I can mess up the stealth without feeling like I messed up the game.

10) Lumino City. PC. What a wonderful point and click adventure game! It's fantastic and everyone with even a passing interest in either puzzle games or point and click games needs to play it. My biggest critique is that it's not that long, start to finish is about 3 hours, but that also means it isn't padded and doesn't overstay it's welcome.

Thanks for organizing this, Clocky!

1) Ori and the Blind Forest - What a fantastic surprise of a game. This metroidvania was bleeding with atmosphere giving me vibes of old school games like Flashback and Echo the Dolphin. The art, music, controls, & story telling were all top notch. I'm really looking forward to what this studio does next.

2) Heroes of the Storm - I was burning out, fast, on DOTA and this just cut down on all the MOBA clutter I didn't have time for. No more memorizing builds and shop items, combined with quick rounds, means more play time for me.

3) Witcher 3 - Another game that provided tons of atmosphere. There were so many little interesting stories tucked away in this RPG. I played over 80 hours and there were still tons of things to do. The scope of it is just mind boggling to me.

4) Starcraft 2 LOTV - I don't know how Blizzard manages to consistently make single player RTS levels new and exciting. Magic?

5) Halo 5 - Halo games are best played with friends and provide some great sandbox experiences. This does not disappoint. Booooo on no local split-screen!

6) COD: Black Ops III - So many modes, so many options. This fills in the local co-op versus shootemup needs, that Halo didn't, quite well. This is the first time I might actually have enjoyed a COD campaign. Treyarch's zombie modes are always fun.

7) Company of Heroes 2 - Ardennes Assault - Threw in a new player choice driven campaign that was really refreshing but could also be very brutal. It was really fun at first but after about 5 restarts I kinda wished it just had a normal campaign that I could work my way through.

8) TowerFall: Dark World - My favorite local versus game this year. Tons of laughs, tons of shooting myself with my own arrows.

9) Rocket League - I'm not as fanatical about it as a lot of people here but It has provided some fun couch co-op / vs nights.

10) Forza 6 - More Forza which keeps getting better with each iteration. I still want turn 10 to do proper rally though.

don't have 10 this year but here goes;

1) project gorgon; despite being early alpha project gorgon is really jiving with me, most fun i've had in an mmo in ages.

2) Flame Over; a challenging little gem stumbled on solely because another goodjer mentioned it in the steam sale thread. Tricky balance of managing many different resources at once, but thoroughly fun.

3) Lyne: a puzzle game where you have to connect the colored paths, I still enjoy diving into daily puzzles and i'm only about half way through the base puzzles.

4) Energy balance: another puzzle game which is sort of suduku on steroids in a broken down spaceship with a cat named meowie who is (I think?) the captain. If that description doesn't sell you than I can be of no further aid here.

Games I was expecting to make the list but which did not:
Soma; for whatever reason this just didn't jive with me as well as penumbra and amnesia did,
Fallout 4: here too I just can't seem to get into it, having a hard time caring about the npcs or even the main character's journey.

Good thing I'm a pile-tracking nerd who records what I played each month.

1. Xenoblade Chronicles X (WiiU) - This is the sci-fi JRPG I've been waiting for so many years, after having my heart broken by the Star Ocean ("ha ha actually a fantasy game") and Rogue Galaxy ("oh sorry you wanted something serious?") and even Xeonsaga ("here's a great first game; now for the sequel, magic space ghosts"). I'm only partway in and getting a handle on a fraction of its depth, but I've already gotten my money's worth.

2. Dishonored (PS3) - Great mechanics and writing, but the amazing worldbuilding puts it on top. I suspect that its addition to PS+ and PS4 re-release means I'm not the only one who didn't play it until this year.

3. Child Of Light (PS4) - So charming and beautiful, and short enough that it didn't feel like it lacked depth. I'm really curious to see what else people make with the UbiArt framework. (Valiant Hearts and a number of Rayman games were also made with it.)

4. Hatoful Boyfriend (PS4) - For a game that clearly started life as a joke, it was genuinely funny and actually wrote a compelling story that you could unravel after multiple playthroughs. I didn't get to play it until it came to consoles because, yeah, my PC is that bad.

5. Until Dawn (PS4) - There was a lot of trickery to make you think choices mattered more than they did, but there was still a lot of branching, a great b-movie plot with genuine twists, and... nobody really talked about this much, but, the game really looked and sounded amazing. It was hard not to keep taking and posting screenshots every fifteen minutes.

6. Spec Ops: The Line (PS3) - Late to the party. Not much to add that hasn't already been said.

7. Assassin's Creed: Syndicate (PS4) - Good enough to vote for, not good enough to put it above almost anything else I played. They shove so much into these games that almost anybody is going to have things they love and things they hate. I won't bore you with my own subjective list.

8. The Order: 1886 (PS4) - It deserves love for looking beautiful and building an amazing world, even if the game itself was kind of a plodding shooting gallery.

I played a couple more games, but nothing I want to give votes to.

Adding console was interesting. I think it's time to pass on my Xbox 360. I loved it, but I think I'm out of games for it. Now that I have PS+, the handful of older generation titles I might play are more likely going to be on PS3. I think it's just some saves and DLC ("just in case I want to play this again") making me hold on to it...

My top games of 2015:

1) Super Mario Maker (Wii U) - Far too often in my gaming history, I have let myself get overhyped for a game only to end up mildly disappointed (or worse). I was quite possibly more hyped for Super Mario Maker than I had been for any other game in many years, and I knew there was the possibility I was setting myself up for disappointment.

I was not disappointed.

Mario Maker has turned out to be pretty much exactly what I hoped for, and I have put in an impressive number of hours in terms of the percentage of my gaming time since it released. We have several community members here at GWJ who have likewise been quite enamored with the game, and who have created a rich diversity of Mario levels to play and enjoy.

This is the game I have wanted ever since I was a schoolkid first venturing into the Mushroom Kingdom back in the days of the original Super Mario Bros. I vividly remember the many hours I spent drawing my own levels, making up my own Mario power-ups and enemies, and dreaming of a day I might be able to make my own Mario game.

That day is now, and I am hard-pressed to imagine Nintendo doing a better job with this first offering of a creation toolkit of this pedigree. I've created a full Mario game's worth of levels already (world 1-1 through 8-4!) in the original game's style, and am hip-deep in doing a final (or so I keep telling myself) revision pass to update those stages with the much-requested features of the most recent game update.

70 hours into this title, and it will easily number into the hundreds by the time I've built out my Mario stages in the other game styles. This has been a near-guarantee for my game of the year since it was announced, and is likely to go down as one of my favorite games of all time. I simply cannot praise this game enough.

A sidenote/disclaimer for #2:

I put this game rather low on my list last year (#7) after I plateau'd early on in the game and put it on hiatus. The problem with rating a game the year I start it rather than the year I consider it "done" is that, quite often, games end up higher in my estimation when I am finished with them than when I hit a temporary stopping point. So I'm potentially breaking the rules here by re-including this game in my 2015 list; I'll leave it up to you to decide whether this one counts, or whether to skip it and treat this year's list as a "top 9" list instead. I have never been convinced of the need to do this before, but this game is so good that I feel compelled to make up for the short shrift I gave it last year.

2) Alien: Isolation (PC) - When taken as a whole, Alien Isolation is a monumental masterpiece in gaming. It is a landmark game that should be experienced by anyone who enjoys stealth and adventure in a game due to the combination of exploration and impressive enemy AI. The alien is especially an important achievement. As others have said in the GWJ discussions, I concur that while I have certainly gone up against some tough computer opponents in games, this is the first game in which I have genuinely felt as though I was being hunted.

Creative Assembly understands the core conceit of Alien. It is foreign and otherworldly, it is a relentless hunter, and any regular human put into an unexpected situation with it has only two options: escape it or die. There is no "kill it" option. There is no winning against the Alien. The best-case scenario amounts to a pyrrhic victory. In gameplay terms, the Alien doesn't cheat. It plays by the rules; I never once died to the Alien without understanding that I brought it upon myself.

And if that's all that defined the game, it would still be a good game. But the balance of dealing with the Alien, and other survivors, and a lot of sh*t that I refuse to spoil, along with a story and environment that balanced slavish devotion to the source material along with creatively expanding upon it -- all of this combines to elevate the game to greatness.

If I were forced to make a list of the ten greatest games ever made, Alien Isolation would deserve inclusion on that list. I don't know what I'd have to cull to make room, but it is such a unique and masterfully crafted experience that it deserves to be recognized for raising the bar to a new height.

3) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PC) - I have not finished this game. I have put in a total of around 25 hours, and will be putting a lot more time into it in the future.

I tried several times to get into both of the prior Witcher games, and repeatedly bounced off of them. I can't quite explain what exactly failed to work with me in each case. In the case of the third game though, CD Projekt Red has finally managed to snag me somehow.

This game is one of the most impressive virtual worlds I have run across. The sense of place is distinct, the NPC's that populate it are believable, and it has an ecosystem that is surprising in its internal consistency. The simple acts of exploring the world as Geralt, learning about its inhabitants, and pursuing missions that are usually more than simple fetch/kill quests in their execution are all very compelling. The main storyline, which is usually the weakest link in open-world games like this, is actually quite intriguing as well.

Even having bounced off of the prior games, the way Witcher 3 draws from the history of the franchise is impressive, and makes me want to -- yet again -- try to play through the first two titles!

And rounding all of this out is the fact that this game is one of the most technically impressive games yet released. It is very scalable, and when running at high settings it is quite a sight to behold. The controls initially feel a bit rough, but as I got accustomed to them I gained an appreciation for the decision to give Geralt's movements real weight.

4) Bloodborne (PS4) - FROM Software continues to score a solid hit with me for the third year running. While I enjoyed Dark Souls 2, it was missing that special something about the gameworld that Hidetaka Miyazaki brought to the previous two Souls games. He headed up Bloodborne instead, and it certainly shows.

The world of Yarnham was every bit as lush, mysterious, and enthralling as that of Lordran. The decision to have the gameworld progress from dusk through the night over the course of the game was clever, as it left areas explored earlier to take on a more sinister atmosphere when ventured through again later in the game.

I was initially skeptical of the switch from the slower, more deliberate pacing of the combat from Dark Souls to the system in Bloodborne which is faster and even more focused on active movement. However, it perfectly suited the setting, with the hunters of Bloodborne sharing more in common with fencers and duelists than with medieval knights. The loss of a shield to hide behind left me struggling in the early hours of the game, especially in boss fights. However, by the mid-point I barely even thought about missing a shield anymore. I had finally adapted to the avoidance style of combat in Bloodborne.

There's not much I can say otherwise that I haven't already said in praise of the Souls games. I will say that I missed the more varied build options of the prior Souls games, which left me less interested in starting over with a different Hunter in Bloodborne; I can't see much of a different build that I would be interested in playing, which is contrary to the lure of trying widely differing character builds in the prior Souls games.

5) Cities: Skylines (PC) - On the one hand, I'm a little saddened to see Maxis dethroned as the king of city simulation developers. On the other hand, I think we're in very good hands with Colossal Order taking their place. It seems like for every questionable decision that Maxis made with their 2013 update to the Sim City franchise, CO made a smart decision with their transition from Cities in Motion to a full-on city simulation title in Cities: Skylines.

The core game's content does become a bit bland after playing a substantial length of time, but thankfully CO has been more than willing to give freedom to the playerbase through support for the Steam Workshop. Not only has that given us countless additional props to pick from, but an abundance of impressive mods that the game incorporates near-seamlessly.

CO's experience with traffic simulation is clear; Cities: Skylines has the most compelling urban engineering gameplay of any city simulation yet. Managing traffic is an ongoing challenge from the start of your small city all the way through to bustling metropolis. I never expected that I would spend so much time tweaking highway interchanges and liking it.

6) Dragon Age: Inquisition (PC) - I started this too late last year to factor it into my 2014 games list (much like how I'll be starting Xenoblade X on the Wii U too late this year to consider it for this year's list).

The characters were every bit as compelling as the cast of prior Dragon Age games, and I was especially thrilled to have Varric and Cassandra returning from Dragon Age II. Varric was easily my favorite companion from that game, and I was interested to see how Cassandra was going to play into the story given how she fit into the ending of Dragon Age II. Both of them earned permanent spots in my party through my entire Inquisition playthrough.

I was happy to see so many other characters appear that tied back into the previous games, though the change in Leliana from my playthrough of Dragon Age Origins to Inquisition was rather jarring. Solid character work throughout, though!

The side stories, world building, and general exploration throughout the game were very enjoyable. I found the main storyline a bit disappointing, which is unfortunately par for the course for the Dragon Age titles. My experience with each one has been that the main storyline had a very strong first half, only to start sputtering in the second half and end with a lot of missed opportunities. In this case, I felt that the inquisition itself had a great setup and started to feel very important by the mid-game, but the latter portion of the game just kind of fell apart in terms of the inquisition as a major force contending with Corypheus's army. Pretty similar to how the ending of Dragon Age II fell apart in terms of factions and instead left the player with a couple over-the-top boss battles.

I was also very disappointed with the limited control over the party in combat, compared to the better options present in Dragon Age I and II. I ended up just playing on normal difficulty and treating it as an action-rpg where I had some semi-braindead NPC companions. It dampened the enjoyment of the gameplay some, but overall I still quite enjoyed the game as a whole.

I look forward to future games building further upon the world of Dragon Age!

7) Endless Legend (PC) - I finally started putting some real time into this game this year, especially in multiplayer. I love the diversity of resources, terrain bonuses, and the significant differences between the factions in gameplay terms. The Summer/Winter mechanic is unique and very interesting, though I wish there was a little more control given to the player in the advanced game setup options to modify this more. The equipment/research options also go far in allowing the player to customize their military units more than most fantasy 4X games I've played.

8) Star Wars: Battlefront (PC) - It's a fairly recent release, but I've found it very engaging and fun, ironically bringing back the more down-to-earth feel of the early Call of Duty games that I've missed for the last several years. DICE's Battlefield foundation certainly shows through, but Battlefront excises the bloat that Battlefield has picked up over time and distills the game down to the core essence of shooter gameplay with interesting gadgets & vehicles thrown in.

The variety of game modes available are satisfying, the controls are solid, and the art & sound design are spot-on recreations of the classic Star Wars trilogy. There are a few flaws (questionable spawn-point generation, some weird hitbox/clipping issues I've encountered, and the inevitable balance issues that take some time to shake down once the general public start playing a shooter game), but overall this is a really solid product, not some cheap and dirty movie cash-in.

9) Middle Earth: Shadow of Morder (PS4) - Speaking of cheap and dirty movie cash-ins... I cringed far more often than I expected at the butchery of Tolkien's literature while playing this game. The interviews with the developers led me to believe it would be more strongly in line with the stories, but no... not really. I did quite like the inclusion of artifacts with Middle Earth lore strewn throughout the game to collect; those felt fairly in keeping with the source material. But otherwise, mostly just cringeworthy stuff.

What lands this game in my top ten for the year is the gameplay. The much-lauded Nemesis system was every bit as fun as reports indicated, and that is what gave the game a story to me. Instead of feeling like punishment, being killed in this game actually managed to add to the story by virtue of building up named orcs into my own tailor-made arch-nemeses. Whether I was stealthing around and assassinating orcs carefully, or getting caught up in a giant battle with multiple captains, the gameplay was captivating and always entertaining.

I expect to see variations on the Nemesis system showing up in various other open-world games in the future, and can't wait to see what developers come up with to build upon the very solid foundation this game laid down!

10) The Legend of Legacy (3DS) - Despite a laughably bad title, this is a solid quality jrpg in the vein of the classic SaGa series, which I enjoyed in years past.

It takes a while to find its stride, and is a little too reliant upon straight up random number generation for upgrading your characters' traits, skills, and equipment, but the combat is pretty engaging and I thoroughly enjoy the emphasis on exploring the gameworld. There simply aren't enough games like this anymore, so I'm glad we got a good quality one to pick up and play.

Yay! Thanks for doing this Clock! Hope to find some time to go through my list and submit some meaningful nominations. 25 game completions this year!

And a list of years previous to that

I've been horrible at finishing games this year but I've played at least significant chunks of a great deal this year. I made an initial list, and it's at 31 games so far. There's just been too much released this year, and I've wanted to play everything.

Tagging along for now, I still hope to play (although likely not finish) Fallout 4 this year.
Reading the few lists so far has already reminded me of games I had forgot to include on my list-in-progess.

21 games on my list so far. Not sure I can remember a year with this quantity of high quality games.

I'm still putting my list together. Right now I have 7 definite contenders. There are a bunch of other games that I really enjoyed that I could fill out the list with, but putting Very Good next to Fantastic feels like maybe I shouldn't. I have a couple other games that I'm not done with that are likely to go in the fantastic list, so we'll see if I can finish them before the end of the year. Otherwise, they are probably shoo-in for next year.

Gonna post now and elaborate later.

1. Xenoblade Chronicles X
2. Elliot Quest
4. GTA V
5. Shadow of Mordor
6. Bloodborne
7. Affordable Space Adventures
8. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
9. The Misadventures of Tron Bonne
10. Xeodrifter

Hmm, forgot Fallout 4. Maybe that is telling?

1. Fallout 4 - I like it. Everyone else likes it. It's going to be on the final list. It will be number one.
2. Undertale - It's gonna be on the final list no matter what. I still haven't finished it once.
3. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain - I liked it but I didn't get to the end.
4. Pokemon Alpha Sapphire - I actually prefer the Ruby version that I have but people like the color blue so I put this instead.
5. Xenoblade Chronicles X - I won't even get the chance to play it until 2016.
6. Destiny - I hate the fact it's an online exclusive game and there are ads for it everywhere on the internet if you don't have adblocker on. Since the world seems to prefer it though...
7. Super Mario Maker - Literally the best Super Mario game to date. Unless you play on expert and try to get through everyone's cheap death courses.
8. Bloodborne - This game kicks ass.
9. Just Cause 3 - I'm still playing this as we speak and would put this higher on the list if it weren't for everything else overshadowing it. That said, I realize this game has flaws and suffers from a high amount of repetition. Even so - the freestyle open world gameplay and intense action is incredibly fun.
10. Call of Duty Black Ops III - I haven't even played it.

I'm a tool.

RamblinRob wrote:

1. Fallout 4 - I like it. Everyone else likes it. It's going to be on the final list. It will be number one.


Blind_Evil wrote:

Hmm, forgot Fallout 4. Maybe that is telling?

I probably played games this year!

But I control enough things around here from my smoke-filled room. Also organizing things is hard.

garion333 wrote:
RamblinRob wrote:

1. Fallout 4 - I like it. Everyone else likes it. It's going to be on the final list. It will be number one.


Blind_Evil wrote:

Hmm, forgot Fallout 4. Maybe that is telling?

To be clear, I like it. It's just very similar to FO3 and I'm not sure I needed 80 more hours of that.

1. Rocket League. One of the best games ever made. The definition of "easy to learn, difficult to master".
2. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Aside from Witcher 3, this is the only game I've played that feels "next gen". Just an awesome game.
3. Witcher 3 Redefined sidequests forever. One of the most gorgeous games I've ever played.
4. Shin Megami Tensei 4
5. Monster Hunter 4
6. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Best one since MW2. Netcode is tight and Treyarch cares about their MP base on PC.
7. Fallout 4
8. Just Cause 3

Didn't play anything else that warrants a spot.

Can I vote for an expansion pack? For the purposes of vote counting, votes for expansions are folded into votes for the base game. So for example, a vote for Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is counted as a vote for Diablo III.

So, I forget: how does the spirt of this rule apply to things like MMOs, where you get a series of huge content patches that constitute as much content as an expansion, or even a full new release?

I ask because my game of the year was something I played last year, and included on my list last year (not at number 1, mind you, but it was still there). While it's not a traditional MMO, it's received that level of support over the past year, AND has a legit, named, new-SKU-to-buy expansion coming out next week. I guess I could just list it as the expansion (I have played a bit of the beta of that as well) and maybe I'm wasting people's time by asking since I could just do that, but I want to keep within the spirit of the rules here as much as possible.

That said, any list I made that didn't have this game at the top would be a flat out lie, since I spent well over six months of this year playing it at the near complete exclusion of all else, and it is single handedly responsible for the fact that I might not even have ten games to list.