It’s time to weigh in on our favourite games of 2015! Now, while everyone didn’t play everything, you can see some strong trends running throughout this list. More importantly, these choices show just how life and our personal experience shape our gaming habits and preferences. So without further ado, here is the Girls on Games team’s 2015 games of the year.
Game of the year: Rise of the Tomb Raider
Why: I feel bad for all the PlayStation 4 owners who are not going to get to play this game for another year. Rise of the Tomb Raider takes the re-imagined Lara Croft story from 2013 and brings it to a new level. The graphics are gorgeous, the gameplay solid (like a rock), the story is good and Lara Croft is the badass archaeologist/gun wielding psychopath that I wish I could be in real life. She is strong and determined (to a fault) and I could spend hours discovering ancient ruins with her. It’s truly a shame that this game was buried by Fallout 4 and all the other big games that came out in the Fall season.
2nd place: Batman: Arkham Knight
3rd place: Ori and the Blind Forest
Game of the year: Neko Atsume
Why: This choice is 100% subjective. 2015 was a roller-coaster and as a result, I didn’t game as much. Fall came with all its anticipated releases: Forza Motorsports 6, The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, Assassin’s Creed; but that’s exactly when events in my personal life cumulated to a grand clusterfuck. Every time the pit in my stomach became unbearable or that I couldn’t stop my head from spinning, I just checked on my yard and looked at the digital kitties enjoying themselves. I was instantly soothed. And when I did have a minute to sit down in front of my TV or computer, I quickly became irritated with whatever game I was playing and often rage quit after an hour or two. I tried a lot of games in 2015, but I didn’t get involved with any one title as much as I did with Neko Atsume.
2nd place: Forza Motorsports 6
3rd place: Fallout 4
Game of the year: Halo 5: Guardians
Why: Okay, so this one is probably not surprising for those who know me, and may come come off as a bit biased since Halo is my jam. But honestly, I really do feel as if 343 deserves the title this year, just hinged on their insanely successful multiplayer.
343 really came through with Halo 5: Guardians. Reflecting back on their first installment sans Bungie in the form of Halo 4, they truly stopped, listened to the Halo community and added changes that were both demanded and necessary to the continuation of the franchise. This is why I wrote about the democratization of video games in 2015. A big part of it is that game devs are truly starting to listen to feedback on how games are received, and what changes can be made to offer a better experience for players. Halo 5: Guardians epitomizes this change. After they released the beta in in 2014, they had made many subtle and not-so-subtle changes that lead us back to the beginning, in winning my choice for GOTY.
So yeah, 343 had quite the hurdle to overcome, especially after the train wreck that was the Master Chief Collection. And even with the bizarre narrative of #HuntTheChief they were releasing in order to hype the game (spoiler: you don’t really do that), their story was still stellar and offered everything a good sci fi epic should hold, including the semi-continuation of the Chief-Cortana romance saga. But as noted at the beginning, the true magic lies in the multiplayer. Following the success of MOBAs, they’ve added their own twist in Warzone, a large PvPvE battleground where you score points, unlock weapons and vehicles and attempt to claim victory. But more so than that is in how they absolutely NAILED Arena. I haven’t had as much fun in a straight-up team deathmatch mode as I’ve had with Slayer. The increased movement speed; the battle for power weapons; the perfection that is the Battle Rifle not only sets the bar high for future competitive multiplayer games, but it adds that arena-shooter flavor that satisfies old-school shooter players, and gives new ones a taste in it. Especially now that they’ve added Big Team Battle (albeit, their maps are a bit lackluster in this mode), Halo 5: Guardians is my GOTY.
Also, side note: Their REQ packs and the ability to customize your spartan is the proverbial cherry on top. If TL;DR: CAT A + THE MASTER CHIEF = Luv 4eva.
2nd place: Life is Strange
3rd place: Fallout 4
Game of the year: Halo 5
2nd place: Fallout 4
3rd place: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 Siege
Game of the year: Bloodborne
Why: Up until very recently, The Witcher 3 was my clear choice. I loved everything about that game. The story, the characters, the gameplay… Everything was enticing and fun to play over and over again; but then, I started playing Bloodborne. I’m not sure why I didn’t pick it up before, probably because of all the comments and reviews on how hard and unforgiving the game was. I didn’t consider myself good enough to play it, especially not on a console with a controller, which I am not the best with. But after a few weeks with the game, I am completely blown away with it. Yes, the game is very punishing, but also incredibly rewarding. You have to be smart and adapt to every situation to be good at the game. It’s constantly challenging you to be better and you can never “relax”, let your guard down, because you will get completely destroyed. Every enemy is a challenge and adds a new level of depth and fun to the game. In fact, I am pretty sure that Bloodborne has ruined every combat based adventure games for me, not unlike how Counter-Strike has ruined every other competitive shooters for me. I’m even willing to go one step further and say that Bloodborne is very close to being in my top 5 games of all time. BOLD STATEMENT RIGHT?!
2nd place: The Witcher 3
3rd place: Rocket League
Game of the year: Halo 5
Why: It has to be Halo 5 for me. Usually I don’t like to make multiplayer centric games my GOTY, as I tend to prefer single player experiences. But this year, no game gave me as much fun as Halo 5 did. Yeah, I do have a terrific multiplayer group, which maybe wasn’t something I had in years past, and it truly does add to the experience. The speed of the game reminds me of the arena shooters I used to play during the 90’s; gone are the big, heavy, plodding spartans of days past. Now these guys run, dash, air dash and ground stomp their way to victory. Oh and don’t forget the terribly satisfying shoulder charge. It is a thing of beauty. Oh and they even have a Warzone mode for MOBA lovers, but I prefer to stick to Arena. Arena is my jam. Just to add a cherry on top, they have this cool customization option, where you can get unique pieces of armor or weapon skins through REQ packs. So now not only can I kick ass, and I can kick ass in style. And I love style.
But it’s not only the multiplayer; Halo 5 has the best Halo campaign in years. Sure, the story is a bit janky, but the gameplay and the set pieces are outstanding. I love the squad dynamic, it sounds like something I would have loved to have in Halo 2, way back when we thought the other spartans would be introduced to this series (we had to wait for Halo: Reach instead). I’m amazed at the work 343 has done, especially considering how much of a trainwreck the Master Chief Collection was. I love this damn thing. Things to improve? More maps please. Oh, did I mention that all future map packs are going to be free of charge? 343, you have outdone yourselves.
2nd place (TIE): Forza Motorsport 6 and Fallout 4
My second place choice is a toughie. I thought Fallout 4 might end up being my GOTY except for one problem: my life doesn’t allow me to enjoy Fallout like I should. I’m a full time student with a pretty hectic schedule, and therefore I can’t devote myself to a game. I find Fallout 4 REQUIRES your devotion to be fully enjoyed. It’s hard for me to feel engrossed in the gameworld when I can play only an hour every couple of days. So now, the game basically revolves around me logging in, walking around a bit, finding a cavern, clearing it out of baddies, then logging out for the night. Still, I feel like the game is a ‘tour de force’ and if I had more time, it might have ended up being my GOTY. MAYBE.
But guess which game fits my schedule just fine? Forza Motorsport 6. Now, I think I prefer Forza Horizon 2 just on sheer variety. There are things I prefer in Motorsport, such as the serious driving, the fact that the AI doesn’t spend 95% of its time cutting corners by going off-road (dammit Horizon 2, stop doing that), however racing around similar oval tracks over and over again does get annoying. Luckily, when I play it I only play it for an hour or two max, so I don’t have the time to get bored with it. It looks terrific, plays terrific, and is the perfect game for my schedule. Therefore, Fallout 4 and Forza Motorsport 6 tie for second place, the former more on potential, and the latter based on being the right game at the right time.