As we cap off the end of the first half of the year, it’s time to start preparing for 2015’s Game of the Year. Okay, maybe we don’t necessarily HAVE to start preparing this early, but we’re going to anyways. So, let’s start with some honorable mentions, which will mostly go to games I didn’t play yet still deserve to be mentioned due to their critical praise.
No, I didn’t buy or play this game, but that doesn’t negate the fact that this game made one heck of a splash when it released very early this year. This post-apocalyptic zombie survival game set itself apart from so many other similar games with its impressively genius take on open world traversal and parkour. With the millions of fans this game made so quickly, it’s nearly impossible to talk about 2015 game of the year nominees without at least mentioning Dying Light.
-Life is Strange
This new IP being slowly released episodically has taken the gaming community by surprise with its emotional story and interesting time manipulation mechanics. With only a couple of episodes out so far and more to come, I fully expect the game to continue receiving the critical praise it’s been getting thus far. Eventually I plan to play it once more episodes are released so that I can then give you my full, personal opinion on the game.
Hardline has received a LOT of mixed opinions, but personally, I really enjoyed the game’s multiplayer, and months after release, I still find myself playing it. The story didn’t catch me and I never did continue it past the first episode, but I still felt like I got my money’s worth for the game, just like many other gamers did. The game definitely has some pretty big problems though which is why it certainly isn’t in the running for Game of the Year.
By far the biggest console exclusive of the year, Bloodborne gave Dark Souls and Demon Souls fans more of the gritty, difficult hack and slash gameplay that they love while introducing millions of new fans to this type of game. Being the pitiful baby that I am, I choose not to adventure into the incredibly harsh and unforgiving world of Bloodborne, but I was still mesmerized by its incredibly realized world and its challenging style of gameplay. This game might very well be better than some of my Top 5 games, but I haven’t seen enough of it to personally award it a Top 5 spot.
Top 5 Games So Far:
Coming from somebody who’s never really been big on twin-stick shooters, I thought Helldivers was fantastic, and I wasn’t the only one. Critics everywhere were praising this indie title from the moment of its release. Helldivers was successfully able to marry humor, challenge, and fun in a way that is rarely seen in its genre, and that’s just one reason why this game deserves to be in the talk for Game of the Year.
4. Mortal Kombat X
Being the tenth installation of such a beloved and long running franchise, Mortal Kombat X had high expectations for many people, but I think that it was able to meet or surpass many of them. This game genuinely surprised me with how much I enjoyed the story campaign of this game, and there is still an abundance of other content available to explore after beating the story. This gory, easy to grasp fighting game is perfect for almost any gamer whose looking to just have some fun for a while.
3. Cities: Skylines
It doesn’t take long to realize that Cities: Skylines is the BEST city builder there is available right now, hands down. Stick with the game even longer though, and you realize that this game is actually just one of the best simulation games of all time, period. People will be playing Skylines for years to come while every other city builder game just tries to play catch up.
2. OllieOllie 2: Welcome to Olliewood
At first glance, OllieOllie 2 just looks like some weird, arcadey indie game you wouldn’t even spare a second glance, but you should, because this game is just utterly phenomenal. I’ll admit it, this game is not for everyone, but I still think everybody should at least give it a try. This game is so much more than it originally seems and had me eating out of its hands months after its launch. The completionist in everybody will be howling to complete every challenge in this side-scrolling skateboarding game while you curse its name one minute and then sing its praise the next.
1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
This game is beautiful, its world is incredibly realized, and its story deserves an Academy Award. Yeah, it’s that good. I’ve already sunk dozens of hours into this high-fantasy western RPG, and I STILL haven’t beaten the story! The sheer amount of content is almost overwhelming, but worth every minute of your time. It really is hard to put into just one paragraph how absolutely stunning this game is, so my best advice is to just play it yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
2015 is already proving to be a fantastic year for gaming, and there’s still so much to look forward to. From Fallout 4, to Just Cause 3, to Tomb Raider, to Metal Gear Solid 5, to Halo 5, AAA games are coming in strong this fall, and there are still plenty of them that I left out of that list. In the Indie market we can still look forward to a game like Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, as well as some with no release dates that might come this year like Firewatch and No Man’s Sky. I suggest that you prepare your wallets because if we though the first half of this year was great, I can only imagine how we’re going to feel after this fall.