Almost there… Almost… There…
With our Top Ten games on the horizon, it’s time to just look through some of the games that didn’t quite make our list for whatever reason. Some of these were due to reasons of platform availability, some for reasons of time, and some due to financial restraints (hey, we’re all doing this for the love of it, we can’t buy everything!)
Also this year, we reached out to a number of the folks who help us bring you content all year round. The picks below are personal picks and in no way represent the views of their employers. The rules were that they could pick any game, as long as it wasn’t published by the company they work for.
THE “ALMOST” LIST
RAINBOW SIX SIEGE
Ben: Siege is a fantastic multiplayer shooter that has had some issues forced upon it by some strange decisions that were clearly out of the hands of the developers. A seeming over-reliance on micro-transactions once you hit a certain point grates a little, and the launch at full price for a multiplayer-only game have caused a lot of noise, but not enough to drown out the groundswell of positive public opinion relating to it. The perfect balance in the 5v5 matches, slowed down due to the lack of respawns, has made it an entirely different beast to the likes of Call of Duty, and it’s currently my go-to online game. The promise of free DLC throughout the game’s lifespan is one that I hope they can live up to, and we can only hope that it’s as strong as the initial package.
Andy: An online shooter developed in the most “Nintendo-like” way possible, Splatoon takes the core concept of the team based shooter and strips out anything “mature” about them, and Splatoon is all the better for it. A huge amount of fun.
SUPER MARIO MAKER
Adam: The Wii U has had its fair share of criticism since it has been released. Mostly fair people would say. However, Super Mario Maker still makes it into my list for my GOTY. I grew up playing Sonic and Mario titles, and to be able to play millions of levels other people in the community have created, is just pure brilliance from Nintendo. I’ve not shared my own levels as of yet (I’m not the next Miyamoto), the levels I have played have been brilliant, creative and so much fun.
RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER
Asim: If the reboot was the gaming equivalent of Batman Begins, this is undoubtedly The Dark Knight. The jump in quality is astounding. No matter what you’re doing, whether it be raiding tombs (yes, they’re in), traversing ice walls or taking down bears, the gameplay is rarely short of fantastic. Throw in a good story and sumptuous visuals, you have a very special game. It’s just a shame PS4 owners have to wait until next year to play it.
Gari: For the most part, I was a huge fan of Crystal Dynamics 2013 reboot (besides from its shallow storyline) but with Rise of the Tomb Raider, they’ve taken a solid base and improved it in every aspect. A stunning game from start to finish. Fluid gameplay, a part-open world with tons of content to keep you interested, one of the best looking titles on this generation and a fantastic story. Lara Croft has raised the bar and if you own an Xbox One, do yourself a favour and buy one of the greatest games of 2015. If you love your action-adventure games, then Rise of the Tomb Raider is quite simply the best of its genre.
STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT
Gari: Star Wars Battlefront isn’t without its issues (no campaign, lack of multiplayer options) for example, but for a huge Star Wars nut like myself, Battlefront ticks all the boxes. Whether its taking control of an AT-AT on Hoth, in a fierce battle on Endor or taking down Stormtroopers on Jakku, the visual look and the authenticity to Star Wars is second to none. DICE have done a fabulous job at creating the Star Wars universe in all its glory on the current hardware that makes you feel like you’re part of the cinema universe that we love. Alongside its pleasing visual look, a fun multiplayer aspect awaits you to get stuck into. Star Wars Battlefront is by no means perfect, but my word, its a fun multiplayer shooter thats for sure.
Deb: Tearaway was the main game that lured me to the purchase of my PlayStation Vita 2 years ago and one that I completed to 100% with much joy. Needless to say when I heard it would be coming to the big screen on the PlayStation 4 I was ecstatic but also a little apprehensive; after all how different would it turn out to be? It was neither a sequel, port or a remaster, but rather like a half open map that has been fully unfolded revealing more than what you imagined before. The controls on the Playstation Vita were fully utilised in Tearaway and I was uncertain how the same experience could be transitioned onto the PlayStation 4 that lacked the same intimacy. Needless to say that Media Molecule did a fantastic job at utilising all the Playstation 4 had to offer. The camera once again put your face in the sun; the microphone echoed your voice across the lands and the DualShock allowed you to reach into the world in a new way. You could illuminate the messengers path; play a game of catch and even stroke the gophers inside the controller.
It was like a brand new world, yes locations were the same but expanded beyond new horizons that it was almost unrecognisable. The new ways to play made it a fresh experience and even with my previous experience it was more of a challenge than I thought possible. There were new frustrations; friends old and new and a touching story with new fun and hidden surprises that made me fall in love with it all over again!
Charles: Halo is Halo. Like your mothers Sunday Roast, you know you can rely on it. The campaign however really let Halo down this year. Whilst playing through it, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had missed a game between 4 and 5 because the story just seemed to be far more advanced than I remembered it. The fantastic multiplayer that can be enjoyed solo or with friends, is the saving grace that warrants this game as a favourite of the year.
It’s safe to say that whilst the Cities franchise has always been quite strong, I never thought I’d be joining in the chorus of declaring ‘this is everything SimCity should have been’. It’s addictive and enjoyable whilst retaining a pleasing amount of complexity and depth to boot. Then, of course, Skylines is openly mod friendly, which creates a whole new selection of community created content to keep the game continually fresh and inviting. I’ve been playing this game all year and can’t get enough.
JON RHODES – INSERT COIN CLOTHING – BLOODBORNE
Stunning art combined with superb gameplay and tight controls make this my choice for GOTY. Yharnam is a world I just loved to explore and experience – great to be going back there with the new DLC. Definitely one of the hardest challenges I’ve faced in gaming but nothing beats the feeling of lighting that lamp after a crazy hard boss fight. It also brings the ultimate in bragging rights being able to say you got the platinum!
SUNNY SANGHERA – UBISOFT – METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN
The first Metal Gear game I ever played was Metal Gear Solid on the PS1. Since then, I have played every Metal Gear game ever released which means I have gone through the evolution of controls, camera angles, combat systems, shooting mechanics, vehicle handling, visual upgrades, cut scenes, insane story-plots and more that the franchise has offered over the years. In every area of mechanics and game-play, MGS V is the franchise peak. The control system is complimented by the animations of Big Boss, which makes playing the game feel like true tactical espionage action. The visuals are stunning, some of the best this generation. The story is set-up for you to discover on your own which is perfect and fresh for a Metal Gear veteran. Everything about this game is perfection and without spoiling it, Mission 43 Shining Lights, Even in Death is the most powerful bit of story I have ever played in a game.
In a time were games are released buggy or broken, along came Kojima Productions to release a HUGE game with no issues. (Imagine Kojima dropping a mic here) a feat that is worth celebrating in a generation of poor development care.
Metal Gear Solid V The Phantom Pain, not only my game of the year, but the game that replaces the original Metal Gear Solid as the greatest game I have ever played.
GRAHAM DAY – JELLY MEDIA/KONAMI – ROCKET LEAGUE
Rocket League. Nobody expected it to be a success, which is understandable when nobody really gets the concept of driving Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars… Until they try it. I’ve sunk more hours into Rocket League than any of the major releases of 2015 – and the fact that I’m comfortable playing at home on my own or with my daughter, online with friends, or with colleagues during lunch breaks just shows how wide reaching it is.
It’s a recognised eSports title, has been a hit on YouTube worldwide and now even has BTTF’s DeLorean in it (and has new content incoming… Portal anyone?). Yeah, it’s not as pretty/huge/complex as a Fallout 4 or a Witcher 3 – but that’s where I find my love for it. Simplicity at its best.
STEVE MERRETT – VOLTAGE PR/KONAMI
As an angry man, busy PR and parent, I just do not have the time to spend with the likes of The Witcher III or anything that requires heavy investment of time. I respect their scale and ambition, but no way will I get the time to get into them. First world problems and all that. I think Red Dead was probably the last ‘huge’ game I spent any time on (aside from a certain open-world Stealth thing I worked on…), so I need my games bite-sized to fit in around everything else.
As such, I am plumping for Star Wars Battlefront for my GOTY. Who doesn’t love Star Wars? Who hasn’t wanted to see TIE Fighters scream past, control an AT-ST with its groaning guns blowing chunks out of Hoth, and slam into a tree on a SpeederBike? Battlefront delivers all this, and within the best reproduction of the Star Wars universe ever rendered in a video game. The open world environments and level of detail bring to life the worlds of Star Wars, and I genuinely laughed out loud as I picked my way across Hoth and found Lord Vader seeing off rebels with his twirling red light sabre.
Yes, it is short, and yes it is best enjoyed as a multi-player thing. But I need my games to be bite-sized and within the context of players working together for a cause I reckon the online thing is very well balanced. I’d rather be a small part of a rebel or Imperial machine than constantly shot in the face by some tosser who mainlines CoD all day and night.
It is a bit shit you can’t kill the Ewoks, though.
And there we go! Our Game of the Year 2015 list kicks off in earnest tomorrow. Any predictions? Any guesses as to which will hit the top spot? Are you expecting any surprises? Let us know, and hit us up tomorrow for the first half of our top ten!