2015 was an incredible year for games, and you don't need me to tell you that. When I looked back on my list of games played I was amazed to realize how many of excellent games came out in the same year. Games like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Super Mario Maker, and Bloodborne made for a great year, but you already know those games are great. With that said, this list is more representative of great games that didn't get enough hype when they came out. Well, at least the first 4 games are. Number 1 is just the best game of 2015. Done. No arguments.
Favorite game released before 2015, played in 2015: Wolfenstein: The New Order
I had a few games from 2013-2014 that were sitting in a neat pile next to my PS4. Wolfenstein: The New Order was one of those games and I figured, why not? I popped the game in and, to my surprise, I was shocked by the game's quality. It wasn't just the graphics, the insane gunfights, or the weird robot enemies. What shocked me was the human aspect of Wolfenstein that had no right being in this game. Despite that truth, it was that very aspect that made the game one of my favorite gaming experiences of the year. Sorry it took so long to get to you Blazkowicz.
No game has gotten under my skin as much as Undertale. I don't think I "enjoyed" this game during my first playthrough, but I still played it regardless. There are enough nods and winks and clever writing to make the first playthrough worthwhile on its own, but it's when you start digging deeper that things get...strange. This isn't your typical RPG with witty writing and interesting combat. It's far more than that and I appreciate it for everything it is, and isn't.
4. The Beginner's Guide
I'm not sure if this game would be on my list if it wasn't for the DarkCast I had with Jonathan Miley. During that talk I realized all of the intricacies, symbols, and hidden meanings that The Beginner's Guide had. It was like discussing a great novel with a friend and it was a great experience. Not all games elicit that type of conversation, and not all games should. I'm happy this game exists.
3. Crypt of the Necrodancer
It took me many, many tries to get past the first level of this game. I'm not great at rhythm games but I'll be damned if I don't have heart! Crypt of the Necrodancer kept me coming back because of its short levels, easy-to-learn controls and great soundtrack. I found myself humming the tunes to this game in my head, all the while trying to figure out how to get past that damned green dragon. After getting the controls down I fell in love with this game. More people need to play it.
Last year's sleeper hit, The Banner Saga, was one of the most beautiful games I've ever played. Its hand-drawn art style had my jaw dropping over and over again. Jotun was that game for me in 2015. The sense of scale you get when you fight massive enemies, the intense boss fights that can turn on a dime, and the simply stunning art that never stops pummeling your eyes with beauty are just a few reasons to play Jotun. It controls incredibly well, the action feels heavy and hard-hitting, and it's just one of the best experiences I had in 2015.
1. Rocket League
This is the best game made in 2015. It's perfect. I don't like soccer, but I like Rocket League. I don't like racing games, but I like Rocket League. I don't like competitive multiplayer games, but I like Rocket League. Do you see where I'm going? This game changed everything, man. It's just...it's so...damn...good. 5 out of 5, all the stars, all the awards, all the merits. Witcher 3? Nope, not Rocket League. Fallout 4? Not Rocket League. Super Mario Maker? Great game, but it's not Rocket League! Play it, love it, BECOME ROCKET LEAGUE!
Honorable mentions: Super Mario Maker, Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, Axiom Verge, Galak-Z, Contradiction: Spot the Liar!