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Top Games of 2015

10. Jotun

Jotun takes nearly everything I love about games and wraps it up in a tiny little package. Giant boss fights? Check. Easy to pick up but surprisingly deep mechanics? Oh yeah. Breath taking visuals? Yup. Jotun is this year's game that your friends are going to be talking about early next year and it'll likely launch for a slew of new platforms but do yourself a favor and play it as soon as possible, it's a truly fantastic little game.

Haven't heard of it yet? Don't worry, you will. It's a gorgeous game with easy to use mechanics and rewarding exploration and boss fights. It may sound like a simple equation but it's one that Jotun carries out almost to perfection.

 

Every generation there's an unexpected little game that defines the early days if the hardware available and Ori and the Blind Forest is that game for this new generation. It's an incredibly charming and gorgeous platformer that plays like a dream and is sure to challenge you regardless of your skill level. It may not challenge many genre conventions but it always feels masterfully crafted from beginning to end and is sure to stick with you until long after the credits roll. Be warned though, it's a deceivingly difficult game and once the difficulty gets turned up, and it does so faster than you'd believe, you're sure to be humbled quickly. To put it simply - Ori and the Blind Forest is a must play.

It might not reinvent the platformer wheel, but what it lacks in new ideas, it more than makes up for with loads of charm, gorgeous visuals and an accessible yet challenging campaign. If you're looking for something new to play and experience you can't go wrong with Ori and the Blind Forest, one of the best games of this year so far.

 

Psyonix's Rocket League doesn't look like a game that you should pay a lot of attention to but rest assured it is. Oddly enough it feels like the perfect mix of fun and competition and ignores lines previously drawn between sports games and other genres. Most importantly it's the type of game that anyone can jump into and work to become better at. There's no pre-requisites here and Rocket League's brand of fun competition is the perfect brand of Saturday night fun with the right group of people (especially if you've had a few).

It's the ultimate party game and it only get's better when you've had a few. Rocket League is a fun and enjoyable sports game that's easy to get into and lots of fun to learn to master. If you value your free time you may want to stay away since it's just so damn addicting.

 
7. Halo 5: Guardians

I've never been a "Halo guy." Sure, I've played each game of the series and I appreciate what makes them such a big deal but I've never been the type to stay awake playing hours of death match until all hours of the night. Until now. In terms of shooters, especially those released this year, Halo 5 is in a class all it's own. Mechanically it's incredibly solid and adding in an entertaining campaign along with the biggest multiplayer suite the game has seen to date and you'll see why the game is turning heads of even people like me. Halo 5 is unquestionably one of the best shooters of the year and the definitive reason to own Microsoft's new console.

I loved each location, the teamwork was remarkable and I loved nearly every weapon I laid my hands on. I know that they're two different games and I may be in the minority here but the fact that I cared about Halo 5's story showed me exactly what Destiny could have been and thanks to 343's take on Bungie's old franchise, I don't think I'm going back anytime soon. Halo 5 is unquestionably one of the best shooters available for the newest generation of hardware and if you're picking up an Xbox One this year, you need to pick this game up as well. Now, let's just hope we get a PC version sooner rather than later.

 

Undertale was not supposed to be this good. It looks just like all of the other retro styled RPGs that have flooded steam in the last few years and it's design, made entirely in a game maker app is incredibly simple. Somehow though, in my six hours or so with the game I found myself enthralled with the world it created. Maybe it was the fantastic writing, maybe it was the unique battle system; it could have been a number of things but Undertale snuck up on me, and it's likely to do the same for anyone who plays it. It's a game that successfully takes time honored mechanics from games like Earthbound and spins them to something completely different and for that it deserves to not only be played, but to be considered in the conversation for one of the best games of the year.

Almost from out of nowhere the game comes out and surprises nearly everyone with it's depth, humor and writing. It may not look like much but perhaps that's part of the appeal. If you're looking for something different, Undertale is surely worth your time. It's a game that's sure to be considered by many as a game of the year contender and an instant classic.

 

If there's any justice in the world, Kerbal Space Program will catch on in the same way that the original Sim City did when I was a kid. It's light-hearted and fun approach to what's really a complex and even intimidating subject matter makes you somehow forget that despite all the fun you're having failing over and over again in often spectacular fashion, you're actually learning. It's a game that may try to make you believe it's a dumb physics engine but really packs a remarkable punch. As a guy who has always enjoyed science and who will soon be looking to teach his eventual kids fun ways to get into similar subjects, Kerbal Space Program is nothing short of a marvelous achievement. Plus, you know - the explosions are awesome.

What's most exciting about Kerbal Space Program though by far is the possibilities that come with it. An experience with rocket science that's this accessible can only do great things in getting kids into science. They'll come for the building and explosions but they'll come back to learn how to make their crafts more successful. It's for that reason that I have to recommend everyone at least experience KSP in some way. It's one of the most unique and well put together experiences I've ever put my hands on. It's a brave new frontier indeed.

 

Rise of the Tomb Raider is the type of blockbuster that Hollywood wishes it could make. From the moment that title splashed across the screen I was hooked by it's believable characters, wondrous world and thrilling action. The team at Crystal Dynamics has seemingly pored their heart and soul into this game and the result is one of the best games of the year and the best addition yet to the storied franchise. If you've got access to it, you absolutely need to play this game - you won't regret it.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a superb action game that has tons of heart and character, a rare occurrence in modern games. It's the type of game that you sit down to play for twenty minutes and then wind up playing for hours since you're so engrossed by it's story and action. When the final credits rolled on Lara Croft's latest adventure I couldn't wait to jump back in and see what I may have missed. Plain and simple, don't miss this game.

 

How good is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt?

Good enough to strongly encourage you to play it as soon as possible even though while playing I encountered not one but two bugs that erased hours of work I’d put into the game. It was frustrating no doubt but it didn’t take away from the fact that CD Projekt Red’s finale to the Witcher saga is one of the most immersive interactive experiences I’ve had the pleasure of playing. It’s still got a bit of a hurdle for players new to the series to fully appreciate it’s lore, but once they get moving they’ll create their own stories in the huge expansive world. Fans of Western RPG (I know, it’s made in Poland) or just remarkably created worlds should seek out Geralt’s final tale.

The Witcher 3 may not be perfect but it is one hell of an interactive experience. It’s at it’s best when you’re off the beaten path carving your own story but it’s compelling regardless. Fans of western RPGs will want to try their hand at The Witcher’s epic final conclusion, it’s right up there with the best in the series and genre.

 

Fallout 4 is a mess, but it's a beautiful mess. It's at once a mix of ambitious drive and tried and true gameplay mechanics that just plain feel right. I've spent seventy-plus hours wandering Bethesda's latest wasteland and I can't wait to go back. What works here is what's always worked for Bethesda, an huge open world full of remarkable choices and interesting choices; even if the same problems that always come up in the studio's games are all the more obvious here. Much like the classic Fallout 3 before it, Fallout 4 is a game that firmly believes that the journey is worth more than the destination, and this is undoubtedly a journey that's more than worth taking.

In essence is what makes Fallout 4 so much fun to play. It's familiar enough that most will be able to jump right in without much hesitation but the amount of gamer choice and replayability is nothing short of astounding. It may suffer from some of the same issues that have haunted Bethesda's games for years but at this point they sort of add to the charm of the game. II'm still not sure if it's quite as good as it's predecessor, but if you've ever loved Fallout and ever been lost in the Wasteland, you absolutely need to play Fallout 4 as it's everything that's great about the series and then some.

 

When this year started I didn’t care about Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but Kojima has a way of hooking me.

The true allure of MGSV: The Phantom Pain is that at any moment, it could played out in a million different ways. While other sandbox games may have given me larger sandboxes to explore and smaller ways to pass my time, none of them compare to how MGSV: The Phantom Pain made me strategically think about every situation I came across. This is the rare game that seemingly promises way too much but somehow delivers on almost all of it. It may not be perfect but it's a stellar action title that deserves to be talked about in the same conversation with games like Half Life 2 and Ocarina of Time. MGSV: The Phantom Pain is something remarkably special and it deserves to be experienced by as many people as possible.

I could go on for hours about how much I loved MGSV: The Phantom Pain and the little things that it does to make it so special but just take my word for it - it's something that you have to experience regardless of what platform you play it on. It's one of the most thrilling and remarkable action games that has ever been made even if the story leaves a lot to be desired. If you like games your year is not complete until you've played through MGSV: The Phantom Pain.

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