What does one say to end a year? 2015 was, like the years before it, simply just a year, and trying to sum up a year’s worth of experiences into a single paragraph always comes off as wanting for words. It, like others, was a year of tough choices, as my budget determined both when and what I was able to play. Gone are the years of throwing caution to the wind on a questionable choice; now everything is carefully measured out, and sometimes it feels like the only chances I take in my gaming life are done through reviews, where the question can shift from price to experience. Regardless, judging by the list below, the time I did spend gaming didn’t turn out to badly. I mean, I once again played the GOTY, and a I got a new Batman game to boot. So 2015, you were alright.
Favorite 2014 game in 2015: LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
A comic lover’s dream and a must for any fan of DC comics and their heroes/villains. The use of the various Lantern colors to give light to the different aspects of the personalities we love is a highlight, as is the enormous roster, improved flight, and hub like overworld. Fix the soundtrack (something other then ‘89 Batman AGAIN!!!) and this is an all time high for the series.
5. Axiom Verge
When is a clone not a clone? When it breaks free from the mirror in the most interesting way possible. Axiom Verge sets itself apart from the game it sought to ape through a great story, some stellar mechanics, and some hot takes on what it take to make a Metroid. Love that I got to start my year with this.
4. Destiny: The Taken King
Finally Destiny becomes the game it… should have been? Really couldn’t have been? Regardless of my thoughts from last year, I spent a lot of time with Destiny and it’s expansion The Taken King. Fixing the loot grind, and tightening the screws till the grind no longer felt like so much of a grind, Bungie’s sprawling epic becomes more than just a mechanical showcase. It’s still missing a story, or at least the majority of one, but the steps taken have put this game on what looks like a fine projectory going forward.
3. Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward
300+ hours this summer. Steam reports 300+ hours spent in this MMO, and to be completely honest, I haven’t even finished the expansion’s story yet, and while I blame the majority of that on FFXIV’s inability to break from its story to allow folks into new content in a timely manner, it’s the story and the friends I made that kept me coming back for as long as I did. I will pick this up again, and I will write something about this craziness, but for now, suffice it to say that Heavensward is my #3.
2. Batman: Arkham Knight
I love Arkham Knight. I played it on the PS4, which probably goes a long way to explaining the how I was able to love it, but the job Rocksteady did with their final chapter in the Arkham series is beyond belief. Mark Hamill puts in the Joker performance of a lifetime in probably my favorite incarnation of the Clown Prince of Crime, and despite the problems others had with eh Arkham Knight’s reveal, I loved watching Batman work his way through the problem, following the evidence till its inevitable conclusion. I love Arkham Knight.
1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Why did you have to come out this year, Witcher? Why couldn’t you let Batman claim my top spot, as was his right to do? Why did you have to present not only a main quest that mattered, but side stories so lovingly crafted that they were nearly indistinguishable from Geralt’s primary purpose? I may love Arkham Knight, but The Witcher 3 is that stuffed unicorn that keeps you warm during those cold nights. It is the bar through which all others shall pass, and woe be to you that decides to take on a Witcher and be found wanting.
Honorable Mentions: Fallout 4, Just Cause 3
Reviewer and Editor for Darkstation by day, probably not the best superhero by night. I mean, look at that costume. EEK!