Top Games of 2015
This is Star Wars: Battlefront, and it's so faithful to a galaxy far, far away that it hurts. It hurts because for all that it does right, it's lacking in depth and content. It looks like Star Wars, it sounds like Star Wars; hell there were even moments where I swore that it smelt like Star Wars but in between the moments of dazzling brilliance and remarkable fan service you'll realize that Battlefront is a lot of sizzle and not a lot of substance.
Star Wars: Battlefront isn't a bad game, it can just feel like an unfinished one. It's not the best shooter of the year, but it is one of the best Star Wars games you'll ever play. No game has captured the feeling of being in the middle of a Star Wars battle quite this well before and when it works, it works so damn well but unfortunately it doesn't always work and you're likely to get bored with what EA has launched with the game before long. That being said, Star Wars: Battlefront is still a must play for all fans of the franchise.
The growing toys-to-life genere has been waiting for a game like LEGO Dimensions. It's a game that marries the physicality of playing with one of the world's greatest toy brands with the interactive world of video games better than any title before it. The price of admission may be higher than any game before it, but something about LEGO Dimensions personality and fun makes LEGO Dimensions a must play for both kids and adults, especially anyone even remotely interested in the many franchises in it's worlds.
Like it or not, The toys-to-life genre is here to stay and LEGO Dimensions is the best yet and unfortunately it's also the most expensive. If you're willing to shell out the cash though, you'll be grabbing one hell of an experience that can be played by everyone, regardless of age or skill.
A fantastically gutsy shooter that dares to try new things in a series that doesn't technically need to if it wants to make a ton of money. Black Ops III is still unquestionably Treyarch's brand of Call of Duty, but it does enough different that you'll likely be spending a lot of time with it this fall. With an action packed campaign, an addicting new zombie mode and of course the series trademark multiplayer modes, Black Ops III is the biggest and most daring Call of Duty yet.
Above all else, Black Ops III is a Call of Duty game; but it's a great one at that. I wasn't as thrilled with it's campaign as I was with last year's Advanced Warfare but Treyarch's gutsy move to add abilities that completely change how you'll play the biggest shooter in the world more than pays off. From it's multiplayer to it's campaign and zombies in between, Black Ops III is another step in the right direction for the series and more fun than you're probably willing to admit.
In an industry full of recycled ideas and non original thought, Her Story stands out. It dares to not only try something different but try change how you think in the process. Please be advised, it's unique style of storytelling and problem solving isn't for everyone; and I'm pretty sure that a good portion of readers may end up hating Her Story, it's still an idea worth checking out and a world that I quickly became engrossed in throughout multiple playthroughs and can;t recommend it enough for anyone looking for something different.
I highly enjoyed my time with Her Story and I'm pretty sure I'll end up going back through and trying to piece things together again though I'm pretty sure I know what happened. Be warned though, if you're the type of gamer who needs closure and needs some sort of official end game, you're likely to not be very interested in Her Story. It's really your loss though as this is one of the most unique detective stories I've played in years.
The first time I beat a boss on Titan Souls I thrust my fist in the air in celebration. It was a move that I found myself repeating each and every time. The game's unique combination of elements from different genres and time periods is a strange concoction indeed, but it's also one that works. Titan Souls is not just an extremely fun and rewarding game, it's the type that sticks with you and you think about strategies even when you're not playing the game. It's the type of game that you break out the notebook and pen for, a pretty amazing feat when you take into account just how simple the game's base idea is. Awkward level design and lack of exposition be damned, I loved Titan Souls.
Titan Souls is not for everyone but I simply can't recommend it enough. It's fun, rewarding and seems to get bigger each time you play it. I've poured hours and hours into the game, drawn maps and written notes into my notebook and I still don't feel like I've seen nearly everything the game has to offer. It brings me back to a time period where not everything was online (though it is) and I had to figure things out on my own.
For the Assassin's Creed franchise, last year's release, Assassin's Creed: Unity had to be considered a wake-up call. It was confusing, pompous and full of bugs, some that even rendered the game unplayable. Less than a year later however and the franchise is seemingly back on track with Assassin's Creed: Syndicate; a game that not only reminds you of why you fell in love with the franchise in the first place but also feels like an actual finished game. It's still not perfect and suffers from a number of the same issues that have haunted the series for years but Syndicate takes what makes Assassin's Creed great and focuses on them and the result is a mostly fantastic open-world experience.
All things considered, Assassin's Creed: Syndicate is one of the best games the series has seen in quite some time, and certainly the best since Black Flag. It's fun, full of things to do and actually feels like a fully put together game. It still feels like an Assassin's Creed game and if you're tired of the formula, this one won't do much to fix that but if you're looking for a fun action game that's full of content, you could do worse than Syndicate.
Batman: Arkham Knight is the definitive Batman adventure. It may stick to the formula of previous games quite closely but it's the best use of the formula to date and a fantastic adventure game that send the series off to a (mostly) satisfying conclusion. If you've got any interest in The Dark Knight and his adventures you need to play Arkham Knight.
If this truly is the end of Rocksteady's time with the Caped Crusader then Arkham Knight is more than a fitting send off. It's one of the most complete action games I've ever played and one of the standout pieces of software that's available for the new consoles. If you've got even a passing interest in Batman, superhero games or just being a badass in general, you're going to want to play this game. Now if you'll excuse me I've got some more Riddler trophies to hunt down.
Telltale's Tales from The Borderlands is both a safe bet and an undeniable risk. It takes the established world of one of this generation's most beloved franchises and expands it to places it's never been before but at the extent of what made it so popular in the first place. It's a strong entry into an already impressive resume and serves as a welcomed book-end to the world of Pandora, Hyperion and Handsome Jack while introducing us to some great new story elements. This is Borderlands done like you've never seen before and just how much you'll like it depends on what you're looking for, a good story or some good shooting.
Tales from the Borderlands is a a great example of how to take an established franchise and turn it on it's head. Fans of the Borderlands series will dig the expanded look into the worlds of Pandora and Hyperion, even if they don't feature the trademarked insane shooting. This is Borderlands as you've never seen it before and it could be TellTale’s best game to date.
I'm sure I wasn't alone when I was a bit apprehensive about The Odd Gentelmen's reboot of the classic King's Quest franchise. After all, King's Quest is one of those few franchises that somehow seems holy, that harkens back to the earliest days of our hobby and didn't really need to be updated.
Turns out it did. Not only does the new version of King's Quest do well by it's now ancient ancestor, it's also a refreshing adventure game determined to carve out it's own legacy. Thanks to a cast of memorable characters it's a complete blast to experience and even more fun to play through with it's challenging and rewarding mechanics. King's Quest may be the reboot we didn't know we needed, but I still can't wait for the next episode.
I can't recommend King's Quest enough. Regardless of if you have fond memories of the original or brand new to the series, it's a complete blast to play and once you finish it you won't be able to wait for the next chapter. This modern King's Quest is everything a great adventure game should be and then some - it's fun, it's charming and it's accessible to nearly everyone who shows an interest. Play King's Quest.
It's a fighter that's as fun as it is challenging and unlike other fighting franchises, it's equally worried about honoring it's past as it is with moving the franchise forward. Even if you haven't played a Mortal Kombat game in quite some time, this is the one you want to jump back in with. Mortal Kombat X may not be perfect, but it's mix of fun and challenge make it unquestionably one of the greatest Mortal Kombat games of all time.
If you liked literally any other Mortal Kombat games in the past, you really need to play Mortal Kombat X. It takes literally everything that's worked in past games and fine tunes it to make it undeniably one of the best experiences the franchise has seen to date. It's an entry that proves that the developers are as interested in honoring the series' past as it is with moving it into a new age. It's a fighter that's fun to play but also features a ton of depth for those who are looking for it. Mortal Kombat X is easily one of my favorite games of the year.