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

1. Super Mario Maker (Wii U) - This game managed to come out of nowhere for me to become far and away my favorite game of the year, and the only game of the past decade(!) to snag a spot in the top 10 on my all-time favorites list. I always knew I liked playing old-school Mario levels, and it turns out that I really enjoy making them, too! The fact that my 10-year-old also enjoys it and we can play one anothers' levels is a huge plus.

2. Curse of the Necrodancer (PC) - I was a PC gamer back before the mouse was a thing and games were controlled by the arrow keys. This rhythm-based roguelike game brings that fun back! It is really well-balanced for both new and expert players, the music is excellent, and the random level generation works great.

3. Axiom Verge (PC) - This is the game that those of us who have been waiting for a true successor to Super Metroid (SNES) have been waiting for. If you liked Super Metroid, grab a gamepad and fire up Axiom Verge.

4. Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void (PC) - Brings back fond memories of playing the original Starcraft 2 Terran campaign. Very well-balanced (difficulty-wise) gameplay with multiple difficulty selections, and interesting achievements to chase for even more replayability. (And I haven't even touched the multiplayer yet, which includes a new co-op mode!)

5. Shadows of Mordor (XBox One) - I was expecting to like the Batman: Arkham Asylum combat system put into a fantasy game, and I wasn't disappointed. This is the game that sold me an XBone, and even though no other games on the system have really grabbed my interest yet, I'm still happy with the purchase.

6. Cities: Skylines (PC) - Fun and beautiful successor to the SimCity series. Since money is pretty easy to come by after hitting a certain critical mass early on with a city, the fun for me has been playing on "interesting" maps (i.e. not just large swaths of flat terrain) and trying to build a city with maximum happiness and no traffic issues.

7. Darkest Dungeon (PC) - I really enjoy the turn-based fantasy combat in this game, and the inability to load state to an earlier point combined with character permadeath and reasonably high difficulty makes the game always feel tense. I'd probably have this rated higher were it not still in early access; since it is, I haven't let myself get too invested in it (but nevertheless I'm on my 3rd playthrough with 54 total hours invested).

8. Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten (PC) - Picked this up on a Steam sale not expecting much, only to have it become my favorite tower defense game ever. I like that the "towers" are actually immobile individual hero characters, and that the game actually manages to pull together a reasonable justification for why that works the way it does in the context of the game's world.

9. You Must Build a Boat (iOS) - Possibly the best Match-3 game currently available on any platform.

Edit (2015-12-23): Inserted Starcraft 2 at #4.

This is my favorite thread of the year. Keep up the lists! Thanks Clock for all the work!

Some of these lists are absolutely fascinating. I wouldn't be surprised, after all and contrary to what I previously indicated, if Fallout 4 wasn't number one! I'm still thinking about my list, changing the order, and mulling it over. It's going to be hard to fit just ten, there'll be a couple of honorable mentions, for sure.

Eleima wrote:

I'm still thinking about my list, changing the order, and mulling it over. It's going to be hard to fit just ten, there'll be a couple of honorable mentions, for sure.

I am in a very similar situation. I have switched games in and out of my top ten so many times that I've simply lost count. I don't even have a clear #1 pick yet, as that is floating in between about three or four games. I'm not sure if I've ever had this much trouble narrowing down my list in previous years, and I am extremely pleased by that

WolverineJon wrote:

7. Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten (PC) - Picked this up on a Steam sale not expecting much, only to have it become my favorite tower defense game ever. I like that the "towers" are actually immobile individual hero characters, and that the game actually manages to pull together a reasonable justification for why that works the way it does in the context of the game's world.

Yeah it's really great. Was definitely on my 2014 list.

Stele wrote:
WolverineJon wrote:

7. Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten (PC)

Yeah it's really great. Was definitely on my 2014 list.

Ah, nice! I actually didn't even realize that this wasn't a 2015 release, although I did see that the developers already have a good bit of progress made on the sequel!

WolverineJon wrote:
Stele wrote:
WolverineJon wrote:

7. Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten (PC)

Yeah it's really great. Was definitely on my 2014 list.

Ah, nice! I actually didn't even realize that this wasn't a 2015 release, although I did see that the developers already have a good bit of progress made on the sequel!

2012 actually. Heck it might have been on my 2013 list. But it's really great either way.

The TL;DR List

  • 1. Splatoon
  • 2. Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain
  • 3. Rocket League
  • 4. Super Mario Maker
  • 5. Her Story
  • 6. Alien: Isolation
  • 7. Bloodborne
  • 8. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • 9. Xenoblade Chronicles X
  • 10. Destiny

Honorable Mentions List

  • Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes
  • Grey Goo
  • Resident Evil: Revelations (3DS)
  • Persona 4: Dancing All Night
  • Monster Hunter 4

The Super Long Blog Explanation of the Top 10

Spoilered to save space:

Spoiler:

1. Splatoon
-----------------
I feel like I said "This is my GOTY" a lot this year. However, out of all of my GOTY's, Splatoon comes out on top. It's really easy to take a glance at the game and write it off because: 1) it's from Nintendo; 2) it's cute; and 3) it's primarily an online shooter. However, Splatoon successfully takes the typical shooter model and innovates on it in order to make it unique and refreshing. By forcing the game to be decided solely on how well your team paints the map, the obsession over kill streaks or K/D ratios practically disappears. Matches themselves only last three minutes, making each game tense as everyone scrambles to eek out that last half a percent to edge out a win. My connections were always stable from the moment the game released, and I never felt like lag was an issue.

I also enjoyed the single player campaign quite a bit, as some of the boss fights were very well thought out puzzles to figure out. All in all, Splatoon was the complete package for me this year and it will continue to be a game that I can fire up for 15 or 150 minutes in one sitting and still have just as much fun as when I first started.

2. Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain
-------------------------------------------------------------
As someone who has a reputation for checking out of games at around the 10-15 hour mark (even games I really like), I can say that I've put almost 80 hours into Phantom Pain, and I'm still going pretty strong on it. That should give you some indication of how much I like this game. Quiet was completely unnecessary and could have been handled in a much better way without being completely gross. It takes so much away from an amazing open world system that has been created.

I would love to see more games take some notes on how all of MGS' systems interact with each other because there is so much going on here it's very impressive in how it works. If the player does the majority of their infiltrations at night, soldiers will start equipping night vision goggles. If you take out enemies with headshots, you'll see an increase of helmets. And then you can respond to those tactics by sending out your teams to raid supply transports. Or, you can just try to figure out how to get around the problem with something completely different. Phantom Pain is one of the few games I've experienced where nearly everyone I talk to has approached a mission in a completely different way.

3. Rocket League
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I played Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars a little bit after I was introduced to it at PenCon 2014, but it never really took off for me. However, when Rocket League was released I instantly fell in love with it after playing with a few Goodjers and participating in the GWJ Rocket League League. It's a game that can be a blast playing with friends over some drinks, and at the same time it can be an amazing competitive experience when you really know what you're doing. Either way you want to play, this game will fit your need.

4. Super Mario Maker
--------------------------------------
I'll be honest and say that I saw this game being kind of a flash in the pan and then disappearing. That was before I actually got my hands on it. It's just a really slick and easy way to create your own Mario levels and then share them with your friends. I've seen amazing levels be created ranging anywhere from "typical" Mario levels, to automatic levels, to really well planned out puzzle levels. I have been pleasantly surprised by the reaction to this game and will continue to be amazed at the quality of levels being created.

5. Her Story
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A short indie game that had everyone trying to figure out just what the hell they played. It has been awhile since I've felt the need to actually bring a notepad next to the computer in order to take notes, but I needed to pore over each video clip in order to help with my own investigation. The interface for the game was brilliant, only showing the player a small sample of clips to choose from based on keywords. Of course, you could game the system in order to see every clip, but that does nothing but diminish the experience of this game. Her Story is easily one of the most unique gaming experiences I've had in years.

6. Alien: Isolation
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Holy sh*t, this game! Alien: Isolation's development was near-perfect in the tension department. I played this game in the dark with headphones on for most of it, and by the end of the first hour or so I was a complete wreck. I'm usually pretty good with horror games since they rely on jump scares that are over quickly, but Alien: Isolation did such an amazing job in the audio and visual department that I was constantly on edge. Unfortunately, there were multiple times where the illusion was broken because I couldn't figure out a way to get around the Alien or some other obstacle and I was dying and reloading frequently. It took a bit of the tension away, but overall it was still a very solid game.

7. Bloodborne
------------------------------
I'm a Souls fan. I'm not a super hardcore Soul Level 1 run type fan, but a fan nonetheless. After Dark Souls II I was wondering if I was beginning to suffer from Souls fatigue because I did not think DS2 was all that great. So when Bloodborne came out, I approached it very cautiously. It then proceeded to just take advantage of that caution and pummel me for the next few hours. From Software changed up the formula enough by putting an emphasis on offensive and dodging instead of relying on a shield or being overly defensive. While I still haven't finished this one, I'm enjoying Bloodborne much more than I was with DS2.

8. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
------------------------------------------------
There's really not much else to say here that hasn't already been said. When your side quest involves you looking for an old lady's iron pan, you know you've found something special.

9. Xenoblade Chronicles X
----------------------------------------------
Remember my previous comment about bouncing off games at the 10 hour mark? I'm pushing close to 20 in Xenoblade, and the game just came out last week! The game is absolutely gorgeous and it very much wants you to just go out and explore everything you can. And then it will promptly kill you because there's a high level monster walking around in a low level area and it has decided it's hungry. This game is very, very dense and I feel like I'm only scratching the surface on what the game has to offer. I'm looking forward to exploring every nook and cranny of this one.

10. Destiny
-------------------------
Despite Destiny being routinely shot down as being a horrible experience, I still wanted to experience the game for myself. What followed was pretty much a two week binge of nothing but Destiny. I finished up the single player campaign in a couple of days, and then immediately dropped into the Crucible and had a blast. The feedback loop of questing, getting loot, and upgrading my equipment to get a better Light level is a loop I really enjoy. Unfortunately I have yet to try any of the Raids because I simply can't make a time commitment for it unless I have guaranteed uninterrupted gaming to myself. That being said, I'm perfectly content with the basic single player components with the occasional Crucible match.

CptDomano wrote:

Splatoon successfully takes the typical shooter model and innovates on it in order to make it unique and refreshing. By forcing the game to be decided solely on how well your team paints the map, the obsession over kill streaks or K/D ratios practically disappears.

I'm pretty sure that's why I played TF2 more than any other online shooter, by a factor of 10 at least. Objective based gameplay is where it's at.

Stele wrote:
CptDomano wrote:

Splatoon successfully takes the typical shooter model and innovates on it in order to make it unique and refreshing. By forcing the game to be decided solely on how well your team paints the map, the obsession over kill streaks or K/D ratios practically disappears.

I'm pretty sure that's why I played TF2 more than any other online shooter, by a factor of 10 at least. Objective based gameplay is where it's at.

For sure, and I liked that Splatoon's objective isn't just another CTF or control point thing. It's a very unique objective that I don't think has been done before. At least to my knowledge, anyway--I could be totally wrong.

I feel like I just don't play enough games to really due a top 10 list justice but from what i have played.

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I think this may actually be the best game I have ever played. Certainly the best CRPG. The side quests are what really shine for me. I have multple saves of ones where I made a choice and I just wasn't sold on it being the best one. Eventually I have to let it go because I am not going to go back and play 20 hours of game but they still haunt me. Perhaps I could have saved her, maybe I could have stopped them, etc.

2. Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin. This may get higher in the future but I just got it so while I am enjoying it, it hasn't topped the Witcher.

3. King’s Quest Chapter 1. So funny, so beautiful. I am loving this and the kids are loving watching me. They constantly want me to repeat lines, to try silly things. It is just a hoot.

4. Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight. Very enjoyable. However there is nothing that makes me feel like I have to pick it up over the top three. Its value is when I am away from home and need a mobile game.

BadKen wrote:

And before anyone yells at me for listing games I didn't like in a Game of the Year thread, I prefer my posts in these threads to be more of a "BadKen's year in gaming" thing, where what I didn't like, and what I didn't even want to try are just as important as what I did.

No one asked me, but I wanted to chime in real quick to say that I'm completely in support of this. These game of the year threads always make me reflect on the past year in gaming including not only what I liked but what I didn't like and what surprised me. I won't be keeping any kind of tally for most disappointing game or least-liked game because that's really contrary to the spirit of this whole enterprise, but as long as everyone respects the diversity of opinions we have here, I don't see a reason we can't talk about both the ups and downs of our year in gaming.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:
BadKen wrote:

924 Hours

*slow clap*

He's not kidding. Every time I was playing anything Origin I got the "BadKen is STILL PLAYING Dragon Age: Inquisition" message.

1) Bloodborne
2) Yoshi's Wooly World
3) Shadowrun Returns
4) Child of Light
5) Boxboy
6) Wolf Among Us
7) Her Story
8) Monster Hunter 4U
9) Ori and the Blind Forest
10) FFXIV: Heavensward

1. SOMA - A refreshing step up from the youtube fodder horror cliches that sprung up post-Amnesia and horrifying more for the themes it addresses than from any physical threat (although there is plenty of the latter and it is as terrifying as you'd expect from the Amnesia team) AND it manages to do it without resorting to spooky castles or abandoned mental asylums.

2. Xenoblade Chronicles X - A late (but great) contender. Still NOWHERE EVEN CLOSE to being even a fraction of the way through the content in this game but what they've done with scale is just remarkable. I've barely scratched the surface of it but I'm looking forward to diving in properly over the christmas break.

3. Tales From the Borderlands - The best (and funniest) of Telltale's games to date and fleshes out the world of Pandora more in a few hours than a hundred hours of Borderlands 2. And, GREAT female representation as well, with a bunch of cool heros and villains. I have my fingers crossed for Fiona being a vault hunter in the next Borderlands game!

4. The Witcher 3 - Another game that I've not finished because HAHAHAHA HAVE YOU SEEN THE SIZE OF THIS DAMNED GAME OMG. It has problems of course, maybe not as many as it had back in Witcher 1 or 2 but if you can look past that it's definitely made improvements on the representation front AND it's significantly upgraded my expectations in what I expect from an open world RPG in the future. It's another one I intent to try to get back to and finish off in the holidays so I can tackle the DLC.

5. Bloodborne - Not my favorite Souls game I must admit (I much prefer the slower, heavier pace of the Dark Souls series) but I'm a sucker for the Gothic Lovecraftian setting

6. Until Dawn - Fun, campy and high budget example of the new "interactive movie experience" that's been championed by Telltale and the like. It's LITERALLY an interactive slasher mini-series complete with intact tropes, twists, (very) grisly deaths and Peter Stormare leering it up, as is his wont. Loses it's impact on subsequent playthroughs as you'd expect but it was a fun ride while it lasts (and it's just the right length - not outstaying it's welcome).

7. Darkest Dungeon - Grimdark Lovecraftian roguelike dungeon crawler with artwork torn straight out of a Mike Mignola comic. I put a TON of hours into this when it was first released (to the point of having maxed out all my characters to full levels) and then put it aside to wait for the final version so I can do it all over again with the full array of content. I've not seen or tried it since they made some...controversial...changes to the gameplay but I'm pretty sure it'll still be a blast.

8. Shadowrun: Dragonfall - technically I played both Dragonfall and Hong Kong this year but Dragonfall was by FAR my favorite of the three campaigns they've released to date. SO much opportunity for ACTUAL roleplaying in a CRPG and the ending is probably one of the BEST I've seen in any modern CRPG to date. It even has one of the best BAD endings to an RPG I've seen as well! Hong Kong was great too though and I really hope they're not done making content for the game yet.

9. Fallout 4 - I'm in too minds about this, since there's a LOT of problems with Fallout 4 (like, the fact that it can barely be classed as an RPG anymore - it's almost closer to a slower paced borderlands than to it's progenitors. Also the main story is rubbish and they've barely put much effort into sidequests (most relegated to being randomly generated repeat things) That said - I'm past the 100 hour mark and that's probably down to the one thing Bethesda excel in which is creating interesting areas and environments to explore and just generally poke around it....if they could only hire some decent writers...

10. Life is Strange - Sure, it's got problems. It's emotionally manipulative at a couple of points and the teen dialogue has been filtered through the brain of 30-something Frenchmen but I still love this weird, hearbreaking, strange little game to bits. Not much more I can say without resorting to spoilers. BUUUUY IIIIIT so that the dev's make more. And maybe so they can affort to hire some female writers.

Runners Up and notables...
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Duskers - I can see this one being on next years list. Played 20+ hours so far with only limited content, I'm just waiting for the full release now but it's SUPER fun for a game mostly played from a text interface.

Sunless Sea - Enjoyed what I played but it's REALLY slow paced. Will probably go back to it eventually. LOVE the writing

Resident Evil Revelations 2 - Turned out actually pretty good. Who knew.

Super Mario Maker (WiiU) - Need to get back to this, I just haven't had the time

Her Story - Really interesting little investigative thing. Would love it to be expanded into something a bit more meaty though.

Contradiction - Liked this more for the Giant Bomb playthrough than playing through myself. Campy FMV games need to make a comeback

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood - More Wolfenstein, still great but really just more of the same. Feels like an old-school Raven expansion pack

Pillars of Eternity - Good, but didn't grab me as much as I though it would, plus disqualified for transphobic douchbaggery

Tormentium: Dark Sorrow - basically a hidden object game but worth a mention for it's super creepy and inventive "album-cover" art.

pyxistyx wrote:

1. SOMA - A refreshing step up from the youtube fodder horror cliches that sprung up post-Amnesia and horrifying more for the themes it addresses than from any physical threat (although there is plenty of the latter and it is as terrifying as you'd expect from the Amnesia team) AND it manages to do it without resorting to spooky castles or abandoned mental asylums.

This is one that I regret not getting a chance to play this year. It's definitely next up when I can pull away from Xenoblade.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
BadKen wrote:

And before anyone yells at me for listing games I didn't like in a Game of the Year thread, I prefer my posts in these threads to be more of a "BadKen's year in gaming" thing

No one asked me, but I wanted to chime in real quick to say that I'm completely in support of this. These game of the year threads always make me reflect on the past year in gaming including not only what I liked but what I didn't like and what surprised me.

This is also part of what makes the thread interesting to read.

Was planning to play Fallout 4 before finishing my list, but I guess I wont get anywhere close to finishing it this year anyway. If I do manage, I bet it will enter my top 10 later on.

Short version:
1. Pillars of Eternity (PC)
2. Witcher 3 (PC)
3. Bloodborne (PS4)
4. Rocket League (PC/PS4)
5. Life is Strange (PC)
6. Legend of Grimrock 2 (PC)
7. Tales of Borderlands (PC)
8. Starcraft 2 (PC)
9. Game of Thrones (PC)
10. Talos Principle (PC)

This might be one of the best gaming years ever imo. Didn't have the absolutely best games ever, but the sheer quantity of good games... Even ignoring the ton of 2015 games I did not play (yet).
Each of my top 5 games could have been number one. Was tough ranking them.

1. Pillars of Eternity (PC)
Loved it so much! It is a flawed game in some ways. It had bugs! Believe it or not... it is an Obsidian game.
Good combat. Decent writing. Building on tried and tested combat, itemization and dialogue mechanisms from the classic RPGs of the 90s, while adding a few improvements to UI, game flow and so on.
I want my classic RPGs back for good. Please.
I liked Inquisition well enough, despite its absurd length compared to actual content, but it is just not the same quality as Pillars imo. What Pillars might lack in presentation, production value and companion character design, it easily wins back with its gameplay and narrative.

2. Witcher 3 (PC)
More often than not, I do not like open world games (too much emptiness and mediocre content), but Witcher 3 managed to make it much more than acceptable. In particular by having very well-designed side quests and overall an interesting world. Especially when compared to the similar games from Bethesda and Bioware.
Main issue felt like the combat being too easy/repetitive and never really encouraging or rewarding to use of the potions and buffs
The card game was much more fun that it ought to be.

3. Bloodborne (PS4)
I'm starting to repeat myself each year in these threads. But I love the Souls games.
Bloodborne did take some new roads compared to previous games. More often than not for the worse imo. Faster combat was literally a nice change of pace. The price was the removal of shields and magic. Not having those two playstyles, was too high a cost, making deep cuts into the range of builds and the replayability. And by "simplifying" the combat options into "dodge" the game, imo, also ran into issues with difficulty. Only way to increase difficulty was to add more "dodge dodge dodge" to the boss fights. This was especially prevalent in the DLC. Tbh, while the DLC was good, it also reminded me of the things I did not like in Bloodborne, moving the game down a bit on this list.
I hope future Souls/Borne games will merge Bloodbornes option for fast aggressive combat, with equally viable options for tanking and magic.
I disliked how much of the loot had been removed. Sure, each weapon had more options than in previous games, but removing a ton of weapons, rings, armor etc. again meant less diversity. Even more importantly, it made exploring feel less rewarding - something which has otherwise been one of the strongest aspects of these games.
The game could have learned a few things from Dark Souls 2, like more changes being introduced in NG+, new or better versions of items and a few new enemies even. Chalices were interesting enough, albeit grindy, but not a full replacement of a good NG+ experience.
On the positive side, Bloodborne has without a doubt the best level design so far, which is high praise when compared to Dark Souls 1. The interconnectivity within areas and between areas were amazing.
The setting was great, the atmosphere even better. So much to like in the game, that the negative aspects couldn't harm the overall experience too much. That said, even DS2 was better imo.

4. Rocket League (PC/PS4)
What a game. Fun when you win, kinda still fun when you lose. I get angry at myself when playing this, for screwing up, yet it is always too fun to stop playing. Probably the game I have spent most hours on this year (200 hours or so between PC/PS4). Only reason it isn't higher on the list; at the end of the day it is "just" a repetitive multiplayer game. I still prefer my big RPGs...

5. Life is Strange (PC)
First 4 episodes were quite strong. Sadly the last episode was quite weak. In all episodes Life is Strange tried too much to be a game. Like stealth areas or 'find the bottles'. Too much wannabe teenage emo drama sometimes. It often felt like Gone Home did the "experience a story" better, and Telltale did "choose a story" better.
Maybe it tells something about the quality of the experience, that despite the flaws, it was still amazing. Truly loved the overall experience. The characters, the soundtrack, the presentation really delivered.
I hope we get to see more 'games' in this style. Lots of potential for the format - especially in a "real-ish" setting (sure, it had timey-wimey stuff, but still). However game devs in this genre should accept already, that you don't need to make it 'gamey'.

6. Legend of Grimrock 2 (PC)
Liked this one a lot. More so than expected. Better than the first with way more varied content, and somehow felt less obscure in its quests. It really got that sweet exploration drive going for it.

7. Tales of Borderlands (PC)
Not sure what to say about Telltales games anymore. I like them. They hit the humor and atmosphere of Borderlands pretty well here. Good cast of characters for the most part.

8. Starcraft 2 (PC)
It did what it was supposed to. More of the same in terms of gameplay, which is still great. Blizzard sadly still can't tell a story without some old entity corrupting people.

9. Game of Thrones (Telltale) (PC)
Telltale surely have nailed down their design. Maybe too much, making it predictable and formulaic. Still enjoyable to "play" through, experience the story and choose your way through. And it felt like choices had more severe consequence compared to previous games, especially compared Tales of the Borderlands - which seemed like the most linear game yet (though also, not coincidently, the better story). Maybe most of the choices were fake, but if they can make you believe otherwise, that is all which is needed.

10. Talos Principle (PC)
Talos seemed to get a lot of praise around here a year ago. It was well deserved. Generally fun puzzles, and even enjoyed reading the story bits. For a completionist freak it however got a bit too much toward the end.

Honorable (and less honorable) mentions: (saving a little space)

Spoiler:

Ori and the Blind Forest (PC)
Beautiful, enjoyable game. Doesn't need to be more than that.
This could easily have been in spot 6-10 as well.

Elder Scroll Online (PC)
I've always liked to lvl up in MMOs the first time, exploring and trying everything. This has been no exception so far (still not that far into the game). I like the Elder Scroll touches here and there.

Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor (PC)
Wasn't as impressed by the nemesis system as it has been hyped up to. A good idea, but never felt like it really mattered that much. Still the combat and various non-combat ways to handle the missions were satisfying and I enjoyed the game. The setting and relatively repetitive gameplay and areas got boring after a while.

Shadowrun Dragonfall (PC)
I'm truly not a fan of this style of combat, but story and character-wise it had its moments.

Legend of Zelda: A link between worlds (3DS)
My second 3DS game (after the lovely, albeit repetitive Bravely Default). Actually, it might be my first Nintendo game since playing Mario on SNES/GameBoy as kid... I really should get a WiiU...
Great game with nice dungeon/ability design. I will never get used to the tiny hand-destroying 3DS controls, but I cant blame the game too much for that. It is however part of the reason the game couldn't breach my top 10.

Cities Skyline (PC)
Very enjoyable while playing it. However not enough obvious "goals" in there to keep me around. For better or worse I like when there are clear ends to work toward in games - whether short term (doing X) or long term (winning). Same issue I had with Banished, I need some sort of campaign to keep me going in these free-style building/city games. I wish I felt otherwise since the game (and others like it) was so nice.

Endless Legend (PC)
I so want to like this game. It has a lot of great Civ-like game design. More of everything. Even throwing in some RPG elements. And yet, I always kept feeling that I would have more fun playing Civ5 instead. I think the historical setting really makes the difference for me in Civ compared to similar games.
Maybe there is too much customization that seems to have too little impact as well, although that might just be a lack of understanding of the deeper mechanics.

Elite: Dangerous (PC)
I want to like it, but feels too slow, repetitive and grindy. Probably going to give it another chance with the expansion.

I was going to wait a week or two to post this just incase I had time to play one or two of the games on my pile by the end of the year, but realistically that’s not going to happen -- I’m still deeply buried an Xenoblade and Fallout, and Elite has a major content patch going live on Tuesday. So, yeah, barring something very unexpected, this is going to be my list.

Here’s the short version for tabulation purposes:

Spoiler:

1. Elite Dangerous
2. Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
3. Xenoblade Chronicles X
4. Fallout 4
5. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
6. Forza Motorsport 6
7. The Beginner’s Guide
8. Halo 5
9. You Must Build A Boat
10. Ori and the Blind Forest

I’m always a sucker for a big open world game, and especially a big open world RPG, but this year was a bit ridiculous -- my entire top 5 was that, and there are two games on my “wish I had time to play” list that were that as well. Not that I’m complaining about having a true embarassment of riches, just noting how well this year delivered for my tastes.

1. Elite Dangerous (Horizons) (PC)

Full disclosure: Elite was on my list last year at number 3, and I played a hell of a lot it both in beta and in the final release last year -- probably more than I spent playing most of the other games on my list last year or this. But, given that an honest to god expansion will be released next Tuesday (Elite Dangerous: Horizons), adding the ability to land on planets among many other things (all of which has been very impressive in beta form), and given that before that it received the kind of agressive support (read: significant feature and content additions) that even major MMOs struggle to provide throughout the year, I’m going to say it counts under the “voting for expansions” rule.

And more importantly this list would be a flat out lie if Elite wasn’t my number one game this year. It engrossed me more than anything I’ve played in recent years -- hell, maybe more than anything I’ve ever played that wasn’t called Mass Effect, Halo, or WoW. There is zero exaggeration when I say that for more than 6 months of this year (4 of which were contiguous) I played this to the complete exclusion of anythng else, and that wasn’t even true when I was a serious WoW raider. (If you think BadKen’s 900+ hours with DA:I is crazy, you’re lucky I have no reliable way of measuring hours playing this game. Let’s just say it’s well over 1000.)

Even though there is still tremendous room for improvement (the criticism of the game having crazy breadth but little depth of content remain painfully true even after a year’s worth of updates), I love this game so much. Its combination of limitless sandbox galaxy and meticulously immersive ship control are something I’ve been waiting a very long time for without really realizing it, and I cannot wait to see all the ways it will continue to grow over the coming years.

2. Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PC)

Honestly, I’m really unsure about how to appropriately rank games 2 through 5 on this list. Despite all being large open world (mostly) RPGs, they all offered very different kinds of experiences and which I prefer changes frequently with my mood.

I think Witcher 3 gets to be on top, though, because it did the best job of making me care about the story it was telling and the characters within it. It doesn’t hurt that it was also exceptionally good at many other things I love in a game, too: it was mechanically crunchy, full of the wonder of exploration and discovery, and (once I modiified the controls a bit) had very satisfying moment to moment gameplay.

3. Xenoblade Chonicles X (Wii U)

Over the years I’ve drifted away from my love of JRPGs -- or maybe they’ve just stayed too much where they were -- but I’ve always had a serious weak spot (maybe irationally so?) for the Xeno games, and this one’s release was enough to finally get me to buy a Wii U.

Thankfully, it has not dissapointed, and is delivering not only on what I’ve loved about these games all the way back to Xenogears (convoluted, philosophically heavy sci-fi melodrama, fun, satisfying, and unique RPG mechanics, and giant robots), but it also has vastly expanded on the new addition from the previous Xenoblade game: a vast, jaw droppingly awe inspriring, artistically unique world to explore. Every where you go in this humungous world is just beautiful and intersting beyond words, and reminds me all over again why I loved JRPGs in the first place.

4. Fallout 4 (PC)

I can’t believe this is sitting at number 4 on my list. Bethesda makes amazing games set in huge, fascinating worlds, and offer unparallaed freedom to their players in just about every respect imaginable. Generally speaking that’s enough to make me go head over heels about a game. And, Fallout 4 did all of that!

It’s just that I think maybe Fallout 4 gave me exactly what I wanted from it, whereas the above three games gave me something a little bit more, you know?

5. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PC)

This is a weird one. With many previous Metal Gear games I’ve loved them because of their over the top insane stories and in no small part DESPITE huge failings in how they actually play. This one was pretty much the opposite. While it had interesting moments, mostly the story just made my eyes roll, but that was more than compensated for by the pure, perfectly polished game mechanics, and the joy that it was to play with them in the sprawling sandboxes that made up this game’s world.

6. Forza Motorsport 6 (Xbox One)

Forza games always make my lists, and usually higher, to be honest. And really, it’s not this low because it’s not a fabulous game, but just because the above games claimed so much of my time that I didn’t spend nearly as much with Forza 6 as I usually do with this series.

Anyway, it was still brilliant, and there are few things I enjoy more that sitting down with my wheel, pedals, and shifter and losing myself driving in a shiny new Forza game.

7. The Beginner’s Guide (PC)

I think this game suffered greatly because people were expecting more of The Stanley Parable, and it was NOT at all that. But, it really, realy spoke to me. I guess more than many games, people each get something very different out of this one, but it resonated really hard with things I’ve experienced in my life with codependence, depression, and dealing with family and friends with mental illness and addiction.

While I’m sure it’s a game that might not really work for a lot of people, I think it’s something well worth giving a try, because if it does work for you, it will probably REALLY work, as it did for me.

8. Halo 5 (Xbox One)

While still a pale shadow of the games I loved in the Bungie days, Halo still provides some undeniably fun shooter gameplay.

9. You Must Build A Boat (iOS)

10000000 was the first match 3 game that REALLY grabbed me, other than the original Puzzle Quest I supppse. And this was the second! Which isn’t too suprising, since it’s pretty much the same game.

10. Ori and the Blind Forest (Xbox One)

Beautiful artistic direction paired with precision platformer action and Metroidvania game design made this a delightful little excusion between getting lost in all the giant open worlds this year.

----

Honorable Mentions

Pikmin 3 (Wii U) -- I’ve not actually played this, but my wife is really loving it right now.

Most years I’d have a ton of other entries here. Not this year! That top 10 is pretty much the full list of games I played enough of this year to have formed a meaningful opinion of. That said, we could also talk about...

Games I wish I had played (or played more of), and probably would have made the list if I had

Just Cause 3 (PC) -- I really love the first two games in this series, but Fallout and Xenoblade are claiming the time this would have occupied.
Rebel Galaxy (PC) -- Sounds cool, but yeah, maybe sometime soon.
Dirt: Rally (PC) -- I realy enjoyed trying this out when it first came out on early acess, but I decided to wait for the final release before really digging in. And, now the final release is here and, well, not enough time.
Batman Arkham Knight (PC) -- I love the series, and this actually worked well on my PC despite all the trouble others had. But, well, Witcher 3 and Elite were more interesting to me at the time.
Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC (PC) -- DA:I was my favorite game last year, and I’m sure I’d enjoy the DLC, but, well, Elite happened.
Splatoon (Wii U) -- This came bundled with my Wii U, but I’ve not had time to do more than play the tutorial. Seems fun though!
Rocket League (PC) -- all the cool kids seem to like this one, but, well, Elite.
Rise of the Tomb Raider (PC) -- The problem here was that the game didn’t come out on the PC this year -- only on the Xbox. A bit of a blessing in disguise, though, since November would have been even more crazy if I had tried to play this one too.

And then there are...

Significant games still on the pile from last year thanks to Elite Dangerous

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (PC) -- I meant to play this last winter, but, suprise! Elite.
Far Cry 4 (PC) -- I had big aspirations of finishing this one last winter too. Can you guess what happened instead?
Banner Saga (PC) -- Man, this one looks cool and way up my alley. But, you know what else is cool and up my alley? Elite.
Divinity Original Sin (PC) -- Let’s cut to the chase here: Elite.

Short list
1) Rocket League
2) Nuclear Throne
3) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
4) Massive Chalice
5) Keep Talking and No one explodes
6) Cities Skylies
7) Just Cause 3
8) Crypt of the Necrodancer
9) Grow Home
10) Splatoon

Not on the list: Fallout 4: more bugs, more features I didn't enjoy, poop emojii for days.

Rocket League
Good competitive balance. A game about positioning and execution. Skill ceiling is insane, DLC has been good and after release support with Mutators and ranked changes are meaningful.

Nuclear Throne
I have 650hrs in this game. I am a broken man, having crafted myself into the purest form which can reach the Throne and best it. I hear the cries of bandits, the cawing of crows in my sleep. Visions of laser crystal deaths haunt my nightmares. I cannot stop. I will not stop. Eyes has no mouth, but I must scream my love of this game.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
The sequel to Far Cry 2 I wanted. Open world stealth. I am the octopus badge. DDog for life.

Massive Chalice
I didn't think this would make a top 10 for me after my first play through. Then I beat the game 3 more times. The depth of the overworld systems affecting your tactical battles is there. Lots of fiddly things that allow different play styles once you understand the system. Oh and the controller support is great.

Keep Talking and No One explodes
Hat tip to Cathadan. Never had so much fun reading a pdf badly.

Cities Skylines
Worth it for the traffic simulation

Just Cause 3
I've taken down Certis in the wingsuit challenge. Elysium is a mad man that will force me to find some kind of wingsuit fugue state to beat him. I think I'll try rhythmic chanting.

Crypt of the Necrodancer
Not my favorite roguelite but a fun take on the genre. Feel the beat. Music is great, but not Nuclear Throne great.

Grow Home
I forgot about this for a minute. The I remembered the fun of climbing and everyone kind of needs this game.

Splatoon
You shoot things with paint. You are a paint squid. I can no longer order Calimari.

Okay, I realize this is mostly a lists thread, but I'm going to spoiler some comments and questions here so as not to take up room. Feel free to reply in a PM if this isn't the place.

Spoiler:

1) I haven't gotten especially far into MGS V: The Phantom Pain (despite it being on my list - I keep getting distracted by the openworldiness - totally a word). I subdued Quiet and took her back to mother base, but haven't advanced to the point where she's a companion yet. Is there an objection to her as a character or in the plot going forward, or is the main objection her entirely ridiculous garb (or lack thereof)? I was playing her mission with my girlfriend in the room and I was pretty embarrassed by the whole scene, so I'll understand if that's the main objection.

2) I think I was just talked into purchasing Pillars of Eternity. This thread is the worst of enabling threads. My poor Steam pile.

3) Additionally, the thread really highlights how different we can be as gamers. We've got everything from 1000 hours in a single game (they should put THAT on the box) to abandoning games after 10-15 hours. It's pretty fascinating.

boogle wrote:

Not on the list: Fallout 4: more bugs, more features I didn't enjoy, poop emojii for days.

+1.

newsletter.

etc.

My favorite game of the year is that Malor is still alive! Was actually concerned by all the silence! Glad to see you back!

Spoiler:

I will do my actual list this weekend. Still, good to see a goodjer returned to us.

Localgod54 wrote:

Okay, I realize this is mostly a lists thread, but I'm going to spoiler some comments and questions here so as not to take up room. Feel free to reply in a PM if this isn't the place.

Just shot you a PM, Local.

1 – SOMA – Two year ago, when Frictional Games released their first, creepy trailers for SOMA, I was intrigued. It was dark, creepy, and atmospheric. I thought for sure the game itself couldn't live up to the teasers. But it did. It delivered a dark, creepy would oozing atmosphere from every corning and in every sound. What more, it accomplished something that few games manage to do, even the fabled Bioware games where “choices matter”, I was left reflecting on what I had done over the course of the game and what exactly it meant. It is beyond a doubt the most memorable gaming experience for me in 2015.

2 – Child of Light – So much appealed to me here. It was like Alice stepping through the mirror. Exploring a whimsical world on the end of despair. Fighting it back and exploring while soaring through the air. So much fun was found within, the repeated mechanics never wore thin.

3 – Tansistor – I expected a thoroughly enjoyable game from the studio that gave us Bastion and, while being markedly different, it meet those expectations. While the story, im many ways, followed the same beats as Bastion, with a much less powerful and humorous narrator as Bastion, it's setting was different enough to remain interesting all the way to its tragically romantic end. The combat was interesting and it was a great pleasure to explore the different powers and modifications you could employ in your weapon. I just wish there were more of them to play around with!

4 - Just Cause 3 - Everything I want from a sequel! Everything that was fun with the first game, but with new, fun additions. While it didn't quite blow me away (irony) like the fun and enchanting titles above, I know I'm going to put more hours into it than all of them combined... and will love [almost] every minute of it! ҉ ҉

4 5 – The Last of Us (Remastered) – This game was so full of setting, characters, and emotion, it would have been impossible to make my top ten this year without including this one. While there were areas that I felt dragged a bit, I couldn't hold fault in its mechanics, only in the repetitiveness of sneaking/fighting through another area. Even through those areas, however, the characters kept me interested and the twists urged me to play on and discover what happens next. It didn't insult the play, either, feeling that it needed to explain every detail or openly acknowledge the characters' growth, but rather let the player understand it through the characters' actions and choices.

5 6 – Alien: Isolation – By far this is the most terrifying experiences of the year, if not years. Unfortunately it also provided some of the most frustrating experiences of the gaming year for me. The feeling of being hunted by a xenomorph, of hiding and sneaking past it, were exhilarating both for the tension and relief once your escape was made. Then there were the people and androids, often dumping the game into frustrating fights. If it wasn't for the attention to detail in the game (so glad I sat down and watched the movie before starting it) and thrill of the alien, I might not have bothered continuing through some of the fights.

6 7 – Omega Quintet – Yes, my annual Compile Heart entry only reached up to #6 this time. While I loved the girls, the music, and the beautiful mix of hope and despair the world presented, I felt the combat system lacked. While it was an absolute joy to launch into Harmony Mode and let the girls completely cut loose on enemies, the heavy toll fights took on your resources meant I spent much of my time running back to town to refuel and sneaking through the fields to my goal. It wasn't as strong as the main series Neptunia games, but maintained a decent challenge (unlike Fairy Fencer F) and didn't feel overcrowded with mechanics (like Mugen Souls), even if there was a mechanic or two I rarely touched. Still wish it had including an idol-raising game rather then just being a traditional JRPG with just an idol theme.

7 8 – One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 – Two years ago, Pirate Warriors 2 peeked into my list at #10. It was a fun blend of the Dynasty Warriors and One Piece franchises. This year they further improved the formula. While the impovement from 2 to 3 wasn't as drastic from 1 to 2, the improvements, particularly in including more of the characters through the various team-up systems, and the trimming of some fat to cram even more enemies on the screen, made it a blast to play and a real treat to fans of the One Piece franchise.

8 9 – Valiant Hearts: The Great War – Another UbiArt game, and like Child of Light, it was beautiful because of it. Valiant Heart managed to tell the interwoven stories of several interesting characters as they navigate through the madness of WW1. The game played like a simple point-and-click game, interrupted with short sequences of action, and, because of that, sometimes slowed to a crawl as you hunted down the various items in whatever scavenger hunt you were on.

10 – Hand Of Fate – Something about this game kept me coming back. Not sure if it was the need to collect the next card, overcome that next challenge, or defeat the next boss, but I had to keep playing.

9 Honorable Mention – Shovel Knight – A fun side-scroller with all of the classic elements, the most important of which was fun.

Quicklist to make Clocky's job easier:
1. Bloodborne
2. Fallout 4
3. King's Quest
4. Dragon Age: Inquisition
5. Chaos Reborn
6. Pillars of Eternity
7. Rocket League
8. Serpent In The Staglands
9. Never Alone
10. Legend of Grimrock

1. Bloodborne (PS4)

Bloodborne got me back into twitch / reflex based gaming. It was unlike anything I had ever played in a long time, and it gets the top spot, purely on how much of a revelation it was for me. It got its hooks into me deep and in strange way was a huge creative inspiration for my own personal work. I can't think of any part of it I didn't thoroughly enjoy. This is a gem of a game that was completely off my radar when the year began (heck, even when it came out it was the "annoying game getting in the way of Pillars coverage.")

2. Fallout 4 (PS4)

After being underwhelmed with Fallout 3, and being generally less impressed by Fallouts of earlier eras than a lot of other RPGers (even the original felt like it was Wasteland but with no party) I escaped Fallout 4 hype for a long time... Until I didn't.

A week before its release I inexplicably found myself purchasing a late ticket for the hype train, which I rode express straight to into the tender, tender belly of the deathclaw. Though I had numerous issues with the set up of the story and basic premise, the game came alive once the introduction was over. Having grown up in New England, I connected to the setting a lot more than I had for previous Fallouts. The companions are a huge improvement for Bethesda, and I love how the game rewards you for trying different folks out. In fact, I love how this game rewards you period. Pick up junk - reward! Try out different companions? Reward! Discover places? Reward! Cook something? Reward! I need that experience ka-ching sound effect IRL - it'd make me feel much mor eproductive.

I know the engine is old, and the jank is real, but it has performed well for me on PS4. I feel like a child when I play it, in the sense that my adult responsibilities actually somehow manage to vanish for a little bit. Time disappears. As stressed and full as my day-to-day can be, it is nice to have something with this much magic in it.

3. King's Quest: A Knight to Remember (PS4)

Adventure games will always have a place in my heart, particular the King's Quest series. With the KQ reboot I hoped for the best even though I feared the worst. The Odd Gentlemen surprised the heck out of me though. Of course they embraced Telltale-esque mechanics, but they didn't compromise an inch on the spirit of the original games. The game is hilarious, well-acted, and even moving. I can't wait to see where they go with the rest of this series.

4. Dragon Age: Inquisition (PS4)

This was the motivator for upgrading to a PS4, and kicked the new platform off with 200+ hours of fun (between my wife's two play throughs and my 1.2 playthroughs.) I have a lot of issues with the mechanics and some of the story beats, but I enjoyed the heck out of the characters and I think that DA:I did a world of good for the franchise.

5. Chaos Reborn (Mac)

Chaos Reborn is so, so very good. And so, so criminally underplayed. Even by me. WHY AM I NOT PLAYING YOU MORE CR? Oh, right. Fallout 4. As a strategy game, Chaos Reborn feels like it takes the best of poker and XCOM, and throws it together in a masterful way that feels both deep and complex as well as simple and intuitive.

6. Pillars of Eternity (Mac)

When Pillars came out I thought it might have had a shot at being my Game Of The Decade. Unfortunately, the strength of the first two acts gave way to a more tedious second half that was addled with a few storytelling problems, most notably an underwhelming end game.

That said, I loved the mechanics and I adored how much of a true old school role playing experience the game offered. I got super invested in my silent protagonist, and despite my issues with the second half, this game is clearly my GOTY... Or it was looking to be until Obsidian bungled the way they handled the trans-phobic backer content. Once that broke I actually contemplated leaving the game off my list entirely. I also thought about not penalizing the game at all and giving it the top slot anyway, reasoning that the controversy is separate from the game and even though Obsidian didn't handle it right they at least tok the content out of the game... But upon reflection, the controversy around the limerick actually did impact my experience of the game (even though I was most of the way through when the controversy happened.)

When I look back on other GOTYs of mine, they make me smile. A GOTY is a game that sticks with me well after it is over. When I look back on Pillars, I don't think about the game - I think about how unjust and messed up the world is. So, yes, Pillars is a fantastic old school RPG, one of the best, in fact. But the experience of Pillars has been marred, at least for me. I want to recognize how great the game is mechanically and honor how much fun I had playing it before the controversy. I need to acknowledge there is baggage around the game, and when given opportunity to dispel that baggage, Obsidian waffled. Instead of doing the right thing, they tried to please everyone, and in doing that they hurt people and gave a bully a platform to continue to be a bully.

I can't deny that I poured 60+ hours into this game, and that I enjoyed them all tremendously. So yes, you get to be on my list, Pillars. But you don't get to take the top spot. You don't even get to be in the first half of the list.

7. Rocket League (PS4)

This is not my usual kind of game, but man oh man is it fun. The highlight for me was getting play in the GWJ league with CptDomano and Tanglebones. We were the greatest team to ever fail to win a match in the history of professional sports.

8. Serpent In the Staglands (Mac)

SitS is an indie RPG made by a husband and wife team that didn't get nearly enough attention, IMO. The premise is a welcome departure from the traditional "save the world" narrative and the art is fantastic. Though some of the seams of low budget game development are showing, I'd absolutely recommend this title to anyone who loved Baldur's Gate or real time with pause RPGs.

9. Never Alone

I had a lovely day burning through this game with an old friend.

10. Legend of Grimrock (iOS)

I couldn't connect to LoG on a computer, but I gave the app a try on a lark and what a difference a platform makes! This game is WAY more fun on mobile devices and I'm glad I gave it a second chance.

BEST WRITING
Tanglebones and CptDomano in Rocket League

My teammates for season one of RL had some of the best delivery and best material of any game out there. We weren't the best in skill by a long shot, but I think we won where it counts - the "saying awesome things" department.

BEST ACTING
Christopher Lloyd, King's Quest

Lloyd is masterful in the comic moments, but despite a script full of absurdity and puns, he manages to make the darker undercurrents of the story pop. As you, the player, relive your own nostalgia for KQ games of yore, Lloyd skillfully manages to link your nostalgia to his as he relives his glory days with full awareness that they are in the distant, distant past.

BEST ENSEMBLE
Bloodborne

Bloodborne is not a dialogue driven game. Most conversations happen with the PC on the other side of a door or a window. Many of the conversations don't make sense / are deliberately obtuse... Yet I was consistently drawn in by the versatile and vibrant cast. Jaqueline Boatswain as Eileen is delivers a particularly great / nuanced performance, but the entire cast is dynamite. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3814634/...

THINGS I WANTED TO PLAY BADLY BUT HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO YET THAT WILL LIKELY BE APPEARING ON MY 2016 LIST: Divinity: Original Sin EE (Thanks Stanta!), Diablo III (More Stanta love!), Galak-Z, Darkest Dungeon, Sunless Sea

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Galactic Keep (iOS), Transistor (PS4), Guantlet: Slayer Edition (PS4), Grognak and the Ruby Ruins (Pipboy), The Jackbox Party Pack (PS4) (h/t to Tanglebones and kittylexy on this one)

Looking over my list, it seems that I've gone full-smelly-hippy this year. I think I'm OK with that.

1: The Beginner's Guide - Quite possibly the most literary videogame I've ever played. I was thinking about this game for weeks after I played it. A fascinating experience.

2: Dr Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist - This is The Beginner's Guide younger cousin. Short, punchy and to the point, it's in and done inside of a half hour. But it's a magnificent, gloriously absurd and wonderfully presented quick spin. It's free on Steam. Just go do it.

3: Her Story - Another brilliant game that defies explanation. An odd experiment in narrative delivery.

4: Infinifactory - Oh look, another Zachtronics game to make my brain physically hurt from overexertion. It's 3D fricking Spacechem, you guys.

5: TIS-100 - Oh look, another Zachtronics game to make my brain physically hurt from overexertion, wait a minute, didn't I just say that? Huh. Seriously though, programming puzzles? You have my number, sir. Presumably stored in an addressable integer register.

6: Prelogate - Apparently, 2015 is the year of the Digital Experimental Theater game, but also the brain-twisting puzzle game. This is very much in the second vein. A multi-layered puzzle game that is a 4D laser puzzle - the fourth D coming from the fact that your layout of mirrors, splitters and mixers to direct lasers to their goals must work for several different configurations of lasers. Trying to design a solution that meets 4 or more sets of different inputs is a meta-level task in abstract thinking. It's hard, but it's fascinating.

7: Jazzpunk - This may well be the funniest videogame I've ever played. Ever.

8: XCOM - Enemy Within + The Long War mod -The Long War mod changes up the gameplay of XCOM to such a significant degree it almost felt like a new game. Completely revitalised the game and gave me a great excuse to dive back into it ahead of the sequel launching next year.

9: The Talos Principle - While it's not quite "The New Portal", Talos Principle does the same thing - it gives the player an ingenious set of tools, and throws them into a whole host of ingenious problems to apply those tools too.

10: Invisible, Inc. - A blend of a few separate elements makes for an unusual, but oddly familiar game. A turn-based stealth tactics game, with a rogue-like strategic layer on top. It's Thief hanging out with XCOM and then they go out drinking with FTL. It's an excellent cocktail.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
BadKen wrote:

And before anyone yells at me for listing games I didn't like in a Game of the Year thread, I prefer my posts in these threads to be more of a "BadKen's year in gaming" thing, where what I didn't like, and what I didn't even want to try are just as important as what I did.

No one asked me, but I wanted to chime in real quick to say that I'm completely in support of this. These game of the year threads always make me reflect on the past year in gaming including not only what I liked but what I didn't like and what surprised me. I won't be keeping any kind of tally for most disappointing game or least-liked game because that's really contrary to the spirit of this whole enterprise, but as long as everyone respects the diversity of opinions we have here, I don't see a reason we can't talk about both the ups and downs of our year in gaming.

I've added dishonorable mentions in previous years for that same reason. I know they don't get ranked, but it helps me round out my gaming year in review, and if someone's actually interested in my opinion, it's even better!

More people taking a dump on things they did not enjoy plz.

Yoshi's Woolly World /endrant

boogle wrote:

More people taking a dump on things they did not enjoy plz.

Yeah, this is exactly what I was hoping we could avoid. Thanks as ever, boogle.