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PressA2Join Best Games of the Year 2015 Staff Picks

The end of 2015 is fast closing in on us and as well as recently releasing our 2015 Video Game Review, a select number of PressA2Join staff writers have combined to come up with their personal picks of 2015. There have been so many great games released this year that it would be hard for them all to get a mention, so of course, some miss out but that isn’t to say that those particular games are not worthy of a place in any of the following lists, the lists are purely personal choice.

Paula Turner [Xbox Reviewer]

5. Dying Light – I love killing zombies, I also love gaming with my boyfriend, mix the two together for some undead co-op fun. Although chivalry was dead, I was left many times to fend for myself as my boyfriend sprinted away saving his own ass, suffice to say he came crawling back whenever he needed one of my medpacks. Zombie Army Trilogy came a close second in this department and deserves a small mention.

4. Rise of the Tomb Raider- Lara Croft used to explore tombs and try to avoid Tigers and Sharks, she is now a bonafide mass murderer and she isn’t ashamed to admit it. With an assortment of arrows and guns in her arsenal and a desire to explore, she has never been boring and the storyline pulled me in for many hours.

Rise Of The Tomb Raider Screen Shot 2015-11-09 11-08-14

3. Fallout 4- I waited for this, for so long. After the disappointment of New Vegas compared to Fallout 3, I had high hopes and expectations. Safe to say it didn’t disappoint, although not quite reaching the greatness of 3, still an outstanding game with great companions and a huge wasteland to explore, just don’t talk to me about the bloodbugs. “shudder” They grab you, they suck your blood…ahhhh.

2. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – When this came through my door I was excited, Ubisoft have redeemed themselves massively with probably one of the best AC games yet. Exploring Victorian London with the loveable Frye Twins made for laughs and an intriguing story with players helping out many famous people from history.

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – A stunning, huge open-world RPG with love triangles, deadly enemies and enough quests to keep you busy for a month. A definite highlight and a must for fans of RPG’s.

Witcher-3-The-Hearts-Of-Stone

Will So [Xbox Reviewer]

5. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate – Assassin’s Creed Syndicate succeeds where Unity fails. It manages to create a substantive world filled with plenty of activities, a well-crafted story with likeable protagonists, and a huge city with a great attention to detail and full of life without all the glaring bugs and technical issues plagued in Unity. Set in Victoria Era London, Syndicate stars a pair of assassin twins in Jacob and Evie Frye. Despite being twins, both couldn’t be more different from each other. Jacob is brash and rushes into things headstrong, while Evie is more careful and calculating in the way she approaches her target.

They each have their own playstyle which is supported by their skill trees that you unlock as you progress through the game. The option to switch back between the assassin’s at almost any time meant that I could tackle certain missions the way I wanted to, and I had the right character to do so at my disposal. All the new navigation tools introduced in Syndicate allowed for new ways to explore this detailed city. I haven’t had this much fun climbing up buildings since Assassin’s Creed II. Despite being set in the Industrial Revolution, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate feels the most modern in the series.

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4. Mortal Kombat X  The resurgence of 2D fighting games kicked off by Street Fighter IV also brought about a reboot in the Mortal Kombat series. Beginning with Mortal Kombat 9, the series went back to its 2D roots whole also rebooting the entire universe through a time travel event. In Mortal Kombat X, the series goes further into the future with a new generation of Kombatants. These include Cassie Cage (the daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya), Jacqueline Briggs (the daughter of Jax), Kung Jin (a descendant of Kung Lao), and a few others that have ties to series regulars. On the new generation of consoles, Mortal Kombat X is easily one of the most gorgeous and brutal fighting games to date. Each skeleton and muscle is crafted with such detail that it makes you cringe whenever you witness a fatal X-Ray or Fatality performed.

The fighting mechanics were also quite improved quite a bit, with each fighter having 3 variations of styles that give them different options and toolsets. These options gave players more freedom and a better chance at dealing against certain matchups or situations. It’s something that hasn’t really been done before in other fighting games, but works well in providing new ways for players to approach their favourite characters. The introduction of DLC characters that bring their own unique style to the universe like Jason Voorhees (from the Friday the 13th series) and Predator suggests that developer NetherRealm Studios intends to support the game and its fans for as long as they can. Anyone looking for a polished but brutal fighting game need not look further than Mortal Kombat X.

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3. Star Wars Battlefront – It’s been a while since I’ve seen a game that really captures the spirit and imagination of its source universe more so than Battlefront. Everything about it just screams Star Wars, which is just about the largest compliment I can give to developer DICE in rebooting this beloved series. The maps are based off of iconic scenes from the original Star Wars trilogy, and it looks and sounds like you’re actually in the films re-living those iconic moments. This sense of nostalgia also extends to the audio of the game, with the sounds of the guns and aerial ships flying above taken straight from the films themselves.

The soundtrack also features original scores from the movies blended with some new tracks that fit well with the universe. Needless to say Battlefront is one of the most visually impressive games of the year. The gameplay is equally polished, with each gun feeling varied but powerful in their own unique way. As DICE is known primarily for their Battlefield games, a game known for its precise and intuitive controls, that same level of precision and response is carried over into Battlefront. Being mainly a multiplayer focused game with few single player modes (and a lack of a proper campaign mode), those who aren’t a fan of multiplayer shooters may not have much fun with this game. However despite the lack of a campaign, Battlefront manages to deliver epic cinematic experience that will appeal to just about any Star Wars fan.

Star Wars Battlefront1

2. Batman: Arkham Knight – Rocksteady’s Arkham games have always been a personal favorite of mine both because of how great they were as games, but also because I’m a big Batman fan and enjoyed all the little nods and references they threw in throughout the games. For a game that is touted to be the end of this iteration of Batman, Arkham Knight was the perfect conclusion to this saga. The story neatly wraps up the plot of the Arkham games, and the game itself refines all the mechanics from the previous games while introducing a few new ones. The most notable introduction was the Batmobile, which was implemented well for the most part, even if it was a bit overused by the end. This was also one of the best looking games on console to date, making this one of the best open world games to glide around in. The excellent presentation was enhanced by some great performances from Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy reprising their famous roles as Joker and Batman. The lengthy campaign combined with all the various side missions and Riddler trophies meant that there were easily dozen of hours of gameplay in Arkham Knight. If you’re a Batman fan, you owe it to yourself to check out Arkham Knight.

1. Life is Strange – Out of all the games that came out this year, I probably would not have expected that an episodic game from a relatively unknown developer to top my list for 2015. However, the game did so many things right that by the end I knew this was my personal game of the year. I was hooked after the first episode of the game, and I was left wanting more every time a new episode had released and I finished it the day it came out. Life is Strange was an emotional rollercoaster. Much like the town the game takes place in, Life is Strange blends together a story that is simple but filled with complex characters and relationships. The rewind mechanic was a great new feature that fit in perfectly with the narrative of Max’s powers, as well as introducing puzzle elements that took advantage of this mechanic well.

Life Is Strange

It also gave players more control over their own actions, and allowed them to correct any decision they might have otherwise regretted. Most importantly, Life is Strange had some of the most interesting and best written characters. Max starts off as a clichéd hipster girl in college who’s just trying her best to fit in in college. Throughout the 5 episodes she develops and matures into a strong lead who always tries her best to do the right thing despite increasingly dire circumstances. For a game that seems simple and boring at first, it introduces very dark and disturbing themes that haven’t really been explored much in any other game. The themes of doubt and acceptance were present throughout the game, and were heavily emphasized in the game’s final decision. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of Life is Strange, which is why it tops my list of 2015.

Paul Policarp [PC and PlayStation Reviewer]

2015, for me, was a year dedicated to working through my backlog of older releases that I haven’t had the chance or time to play until now. As such, notable titles that would surely be on this list but won’t because I haven’t played them at all or enough, but really really want to, include: Pillars of Eternity, The Witcher 3, Bloodborne and Undertale. Without further ado…

5. Rampage Knights – This indie mashup of arcade beat ’em up games and roguelikes gave my girlfriend and I a lot of fun times playing co-op. It has a great style and a lot of replay value.

4. Stasis – This marks a return to form for the adventure genre. It has a terrific atmosphere and nails the space thriller theme with grace. I hope to see a lot more like Stasis in the future.

3. Fallout 4 – Flawed by design, losing a lot of what made the previous titles great RPGs Fallout 4 remains a good game, if not a fantastic RPG. I’ve lost a lot of time to it and plan to lose more in 2016.

Fallout 4

2. Dark Souls II – Scholar of the First Sin – I discovered the Souls series in the latter part of 2015 and lost myself completely in Dark Souls 1. A harrowing several weeks later I was done with it and started playing its remastered sequel. It looks and feels great in glorious HD and moving at 60 frames per second and it’s currently the only thing standing between me and Bloodborne before Dark Souls 3 in 2016.

1. Destiny – The Taken King – You may find this an odd pick and I don’t blame you. Had any of the honuorable mentions made it to my game time I probably wouldn’t have even listed it. Because Destiny, as a game, is an all or nothing kind of deal. It’s grindy, has odd design choices and can get frustrating as hell from time to time and yet I keep playing. It does away with a lot of the insipid meat of a classic MMO or makes the grinding for the most part fun. I’d say more, but I really have to go back and play some PVP matches. I hope you’ve had a great 2015 and here’s to an even better 2016.

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Daniel Pitt [Xbox, PlayStation and PC Reviewer]

5. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege – Despite it’s lack of story mode, Rainbow Six Siege excels at delivering a great and compelling multiplayer experience. I am a massive fan of the Rainbow Six series and loved both Rainbow Six Vegas and Rainbow Six Vegas 2. Siege boasts a lot of great game modes to take part in as well as some vairety with the list of operators available through unlocks. Each map is thought out well and brilliantly designed., the destructive nature of Siege is a great site with almost every wall and door accessible with a device.

4. Star Wars Battlefront – Like Rainbow Six Siege, Battlefront lacks any real single player story mode experience and while I found that to be slightly sad the games multiplayer more then pulls it’s weight. With numerous game modes that tailor to almost every gamers needs, Star Wars Battlefront springs to life. Of all the game modes available I loved Fighter Squadron the most, the ability to take to the skies in one of the many aircraft’s available was a real treat. While I struggled at times with some of the games other game modes Fighter Squadron felt like home to me.

Overall Battlefront is beautifully presented with some glorious maps like Endor Forest and the Jawa Refuge. DICE are clearly massive fans of the Star Wars franchise and it shines through across every map and game mode.

PressA2Join Star Wars

3. Mad Max – Back in July, we interviewed John Fuller of Avalanche Studios about Mad Max, which was due to launch after the release of the film. The highly anticipated game did not disappoint for me with a wide open apocalyptic world to traverse and a captivating storyline to go with it, Mad Max was comfortably in my top five.

The first thing that struck me upon loading the game up were the graphics, the terrain was beautifully sculpted and the weather conditions fit the game perfectly. At times while out scavenging for precious steel and fuel I would be caught up in one of the games storms, which if out in the open would do their level best to kill Max.

Environments aside, Mad Max boasts some fantastic enemies to engage with and a great combat and levelling up system that leaves very little to chance. For me personally, Avalanche Studios delivered a wonderful experience full of explosive action and pulse racing vehicle combat.

2. Until Dawn – Supermassive Games’ Until Dawn was one of the major highlights of 2015 for me personally. From the moment the game was announced it had my attention. Throughout my 25+ years with video games both as a gamer and a journalist I have always made survival horror my safe haven, I love the games and every thing they represent. Until Dawn brings together all the terror and confusion you would want from a horror game. At times it really drives home that sense of being alone, especially when walking through the caves or forest.

Each character in Until Dawn is likeable for their own reasons and the mixture of egos and opinions between the games characters makes for an experience of a lifetime, one that left me wanting more of the same. I was very impressed with how Supermassive Games took the player choice genre and pushed it out into a full game with freedom to move around and differing environments that make it one of the best games of 2015, if not thee best.

Until Dawn1

1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – Let me state for the record, I’m a huge fan of Hideo Kojima. I have loved the Metal Gear Solid series for many years, ever since experiencing Sons Of Liberty on the PlayStation 2. I waited, along with the rest of the gaming world for the announcement of the new title in the series; The Phantom Pain and I wasn’t disappointed. This is the kind of game that I would happily part with money to experience and I’m sure the majority of gamers around the world would agree.

After the hugely successful launch of Phantom Pain’s predecessor Ground Zeroes, Snake returns under the nickname Punished “Venom” Snake, although The Phantom Pain and Ground Zeroes are very similar in gameplay, Phantom Pain offers players a wide open world to navigate by vehicle or animal and a much wider array of missions and side missions to take part in. Another seperation from Ground Zeroes saw the introduction of companions for Snake to take out on missions with him, that can help assist in various ways.

Hideo Kojima might have now departed from KONAMI but he has left possibly the greatest legacy anyone could ever dream of and the world of Metal Gear will not be the same without him at the helm, that’s of course provided KONAMI wish to continue the series.

MGSV PP1

Well, there are just a handful of our staff writers games of the year, what are your games of the year and why?, leave a comment below.

About Daniel Pitt

Profile photo of Daniel Pitt
Dan has been gaming for nearly 30 years and has survived everything from Nuclear Fallouts to Zombie Outbreaks but his main love is Survival Horror and don't we all know it. Favourite games include Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto, he can be regularly found cruising the streets of Vice City listening to the classics.

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  • Cameronie

    Shout out to Will. Life Is Strange FTW! CHEEE!!!!
    hahaha. that’d have to be my game of the year too.
    Seems like all the other places I check, they all got their game of the year as The Witcher 3