365 Best Of - 2015

As a recent yearly tradition, I’ll make a Best Of list at the end of the year of my favorite things from that year. It’s a little bit different from some other year-end lists, because it doesn’t have a maximum or minimum amount for each list, and more importantly, it’s a list of my favorite things that I experienced this year, not my favorite things that were released this year.

This year I played (and finished) roughly 55 different games, and spent about 712 total hours gaming. That’s up from only 484 hours in 2014, but still down from the record-setting 1004 hours in 2013.

So, for relevance, I thought the “Games” portion of my Best Of list this year would be worth sharing! Usually my list doesn’t include descriptions, but I’ll write a little bit about each here, to make it slightly more interesting. Listed in reverse order:

##9 - Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (PS4) This is coming in as the second oldest release on my list. I’ve been forever slowly catching up on the Assassin’s Creed series, as I joined the game late what with not getting a PS3 until around 2011. I’ve since played Rogue, the followup to this, and will be playing Unity soon. Something about the setting, characters, and even the story of this one was really appealing to me. You actually start out the game as a character impersonating somebody else, which was immediately interesting and gripping. The refinement of the naval aspects of the series that appeared first in Assassin’s Creed III was a great surprise, and it’s only getting better throughout the newer games.

##8 Dragon Age II (PS3)

This one is the oldest on the list, released in 2011. I played Dragon Age: Origins on my Mac a few years ago and loved it, and I actually loved this one equally as much. Many people seemed to disapprove of many of the deviations it made from the original, but I liked how streamlined and focused the experience was. It’s definitely set me up to play Dragon Age: Inquisition this coming year.

##7 Infamous: First Light (PS4)

I played Infamous: Second Son earlier this year, and had a really great time with it. Far and away the best of the series yet, or so I then thought. This stand alone mini chapter was somehow even better yet than its main big brother. The story focused on an interesting and troubled girl with powers that are unbiasedly more interesting than Delson’s from Second Son. That alone sets it apart enough, but the story, brevity, and focus of the experience really put it on top for me.

##6 Armello (PS4)

This was released maybe last year I think, on Steam first. But it came to PS4 this year, and I’ve been playing it off and on since it was released. It’s essentially a digital board game, kind of like a hybrid of Catan and Civilization and, I guess, Small World kind of? It’s a wonderfully balanced and interesting experience, and has a beautiful art style. One of my favorite aspects of it is there are so many different ways you can win in the game, and really gives it a great level of replayability.

##5 Card Hunter (Steam)

I played this almost entirely cooperatively with my brother Lance, online. We had a blast with it, and there’s not much more to say than that. It’s free, but I was more than happy to pay them for some of their extra add-ons later in the game.

##4 Magicka 2 (PS4)

I think this game has been out for a little while now, on Steam. I only found out recently it has a fairly decisive set of reviews there, as it seems to have deviated in many ways from the original (which, actually, I have not yet played since it’s on PC only). I played it cooperatively with my friend Eric over the course of 2 or 3 days. It’s by far one of the best written comedic games that I’ve ever played. Genuine laugh-out-loud moments every other minute or so, combined with unique teamwork-based gameplay made me excited to play it again some time soon.

##3 Fallout 4 (PS4)

This one is a no-brainer. I have a post about what makes games like this different from other open-world games, and I stand by that. Other than #1 on this list, Fallout 4 has been the only game this year that has gained any sort of level of “addiction” in me (although, I use that term loosely compared to other gamers). The most interesting thing about this game is that it truly grows as an experience the more time and energy that you put into it. If you just did the main quest of the game, you’d have fun, but you probably wouldn’t put it on your top 3 games of the year, for sure. But once you start deviating from the main path, it really opens up in a beautiful and, well, addicting way.

##2 Super Time Force Ultra (PS4)

This one surprises me that it’s this high on my list! But, here we are. It wasn’t a long game, but I think it probably inspired me the most of any game I played this year. Unique in many ways, and so very very hilarious.

##1 Persona 4: Golden (PS Vita)

Ok, so actually this one is the “oldest” game on my list, released in 2008, but the “Golden” update is different enough I think that it warrants being considered a remake. This game I put about 3 times as many hours into as I expected to when I started it. It was such an emotional journey, and it converted me into a full-blown Persona series fan for life. Getting to know the characters in that world was in many ways a life changing experience for me, and some of the best 100 hours I’ve ever put into a video game. It’s settled itself nicely at the top of my favorite JRPGs, right next to Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, and Ni No Kuni.

[ Today I Was Playing: nothing… ]

December 31, 2015