We have returned, and its time to get into the top five games I enjoyed the most in 2015. As with the 10-6 list, these are all subjective to my preferences, and what I played. obviously I didn’t play every game and these are just my opinion. With that said, lets crack that top five
#5 – Bloodborne
If there is a game type that has ever frustrated more than the Dark Souls series, I do not know of it. Punishing difficulty, madding hidden enemies to jump out and kill you, and the need for slow and methodical exploration (at first) gives these types of games a special place in peoples hearts. Bloodborne takes what the Dark Souls series does best and adds in its own unique layers. The game for one is faster than Dark Souls and many other ‘Souls inspired’ games, such as Lords of the Fallen. Having a quicker combat pace is both a boon and a hindrance as you feel like you have more control over the character and it seemingly gives you that false sense of security. . . at first. Enemies also turn, jump, and swing with more zeal compared to its comparative rivals, turning what seems a simple fight into a frenzy of dodges and blunderbuss interrupts as you try and regain your positioning, all while dodging a ranged enemy you didn’t see earlier who is taking pot shots.
Bloodborne kicks my ass, I am one of those people who is not very good at it, and I have a hard time grasping the mechanics and remembering how best to exploit them. I like grinding block & swing style combat games, which is not what this type of game is. That being said, I still really enjoy trying to advance my character through the levels and I am slowly chipping away at the game. With the first boss down, I am now working on re-learning the mechanics of the side-step dodge and the blunderbuss interrupt when I mess up my positioning. There is DLC out for Bloodborne which people have been very positive about, albeit there is still a huge difficulty curve to it. If you like to punish yourself and test your mettle, Bloodborne is a good pick up, and will give you hours of near madding enjoyment.
#4 – Rocket League
The sound of a turbo kit whine, the rumble of a V8 big block growling to your right and a giant soccer ball directly in front of you as the timer counts down, and at zero six super tiny cars race towards their spherical objective in a cacophony of colourful boost stream, front flips and vertical lift. Rocket League is game that on paper sounded fantastic, but should have failed on execution. Having micro machines drive around in an arena playing soccer is a ludicrous concept that friends talk about when they are spit-balling idea’s late at night however the Psyonix team took this premise and cranked out one of the best critically received games of 2015. This game is pure enjoyment to play. You are having a good time, even if you are losing (unless you are trying to play competitively) as you zip around the field trying to beat your opponent to the ball, leaping into the air for ill-timed attempts at ball return and the occasional explosion of your opponent (or yourself) when someone boosts into ludicrous speed!
Once you get over the simple fun of driving around you begin to understand the games actually deep mechanics as it takes into account your cars angle, speed, the speed of the ball and the balls rotation when you hit it. Learning to control your boost, proper timing for wall climb jumps and Ariel combat bring Rocket League from a simple “racing-sport” game to a pretty serious and skilled competitive experience. In most team based games I like playing defensively or in goal while my allies do all the attacking, and being the goalie in Rocket League might be the harest part of the game, as you have to combine all of the skills above, along with the situational awareness to keep tabs on how reboundsoff the side and back walls will play out, and where the opposing team members are in relation to said rebound. This game is still going strong with (on PS4) upwards of twenty thousand users online. I am not sure if that also includes the PC players, who can play against their PS4 brethren, but even still it is a heafty number of players to battle against. Couple that with the cheap/free DLC for new cars, arena’s, decals and paints, you have yourself a great experience that you can enjoy in five minute bursts.
#3 – Heroes of the Storm
If you are part of the Kinda Funny community, right now you are saying “Fucking MOBA nerd”, and laughing. All jokes aside, Heroes of the Storm is actually quite an entertaining game, as it takes all of Blizzards properties and picks characters out of their respective universe to battle one and other in a 5v5 team battle. Those familiar with League of Legends or Dota 2 will instantly see the parallels and, depending on your salt level, see why this game is enjoyable. As mentioned, characters from all of Blizzards properties battle each other, so you can have a Team of Diablo, Jim Raynor, The Lost Vikings, Jaina Proudmoore and Uther Lightbringing all fighting together for a common goal. The games classes break down into Assassins, Support and specialist in both ranged and Melee, there is also the tank class called Warriors. They feature characters such as the previously mentioned Lord of Terror, Diablo, Muradin Bronzebeard of World of Warcraft or the Holy Crusader of Zakarum Johanna.
To me, what makes this game such an enjoyable time sink is its ease to get into, compared to its competition, yet difficulty to master. Each of the heroes has their own difficulty curve and play style, which allows you to crush witless minions and mercenary camps with your own dramatic flair, but in that learning curve, you also begin to understand one of the main draws of the MOBA experience; the team fight. Quick reaction time, proper spell rotation, and cool-down management are all part of the games more competitive scene as players learn how to combine Ultimate abilities such as Nova’s orbital strike with Gazlowe’s Grav-O-Bomb 3000 for what is known as a ‘wombo-combo’. These team dynamics and combo’s make not only playing the game enjoyable, but watching the game, which has been VERY popular with games like LoL and Dota2, all the more entertaining. Seeing a Azmodan Dunk at max range get a kill on a fleeing Falstad who is hidden by Fog of War is a thing of beauty, or watching a Tassadar lay down a clutch Force wall to save his team from pursuit as his team retreats from a bad engage gets you amped to log in and try these high level tactics yourself. Heroes of the Storm is free, and besides variant skins, you can earn everything in game with their ‘gold’ currency that you get after each match. A fun game to pick up, and I highly recommend it.
#2 – The Witcher 3
To say I am an RPG fan, is like saying Cheese burgers are good, a clearly obvious statement that regardless on how you make your cheese burger its still good. The Witcher 3 is like a triple cheese burger with Bacon onions, pickles, mozzarella cheese, Gouda cheese, BBQ sauce, Mayo, and an onion ring because why the fuck not an onion ring. To say Witcher 3 is stuff to the brim is an understatement. While I am chipping away at it, the game ha given me over thirty side quest in the beginning areas of the game, an inventory full of materials for crafting and a developing hatred of enemies who wield shields, though I do love to kill ghouls. The vanilla version of the game is a monstrous expanse that allows you to roam at will, and when you couple that with the additional content they gave away for free AND the two massive DLC’s they have, Geralt will have plenty of game to go through
Some criticism of the Witcher are that it is too dense, as its content overwhelms the player and that its combat isn’t as fluid or succinct as other games that have come out this year. As with opinions, I think all complaints can be taken as valid when they have some good reasoning behind them, as who can have a discussion about an opinion of “Game sucked, cause it sucked”. That being said these complaints, of which I find to be the two most common, are reasons why I actually love this game. Its combat is both deep and challenging, if you want it to be, and gives you the room to try out different combinations, armour types and signs, and this doesn’t even get into runes and mutagens which start altering your skill selection and and sign usage. Its breadth of story line options and sub-quests give this huge world so much more life as you move from town to town plying your trade, monster hunter, and delving deeper into this incredible world. If you enjoy RPG’s but cannot pick up every game that comes out, I HIGHLY recommend The Witcher 3 and its Season pass, as it gives you an incredible amount of content for its price.
#1 – Helldivers
HOW ABOUT A NICE CUP OF LIBER-TEA! I love this game. It scratch’s an itch for me that I didn’t really know until it came out. Diablo, Baulders Gate and the like had been my only real entry into the isometric style gameplay for quite a long time. After those days the RPG Market turned more towards first person and shooters, still a first person dominated genre, kept on trucking along. It wasn’t until August 2011 when Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team came out for Xbox 360 did I realize how much I had missed this style of game. The fast paced action of a shooter with the micro-rpg action of upgrades is in my wheel house. Fast forward to March 2015 and I am signing up to defend Super-Earth!. I realize that there are other games like Helldivers that have come out over the years, and other isometric games in general but for some reason they didn’t have everything I wanted in them, so died out fairly quickly for me.
What, in my mind, makes Helldivers such an entertaining and enjoyable experience is how the entire game fits together. First off, you have a good looking game, and while I normally do not care too much about the graphical fidelity of a game, as I prefer story/game-play over graphics, having this stylized look to it makes you more invested in your little diver as he could die at any moment. Speaking of dying, everything in this game can kill you. Want to call in some extra ammo because you are running low? Great idea, just don’t stand under that drop of it will crush you as it hits the ground and sub sonic speeds. Bringing a buddy to battle the Bug, Cyborg, or Illuminate hordes? You got the right mindset soldier, just don’t stand in front of them when they are firing as bullets hurt you just as much as it does the enemy. You’ve called down a chain gun turret to defend you as you extract because that’s how you get the brass to notice your moxy solider, however when the bullets start flying, you are just as likely as the baddies to start dying. With its terrain effects such as snow and water slowing you down, Volcano’s throwing lava at you to burn you to death and pits in the map which you will fall down, Helldivers punish’s you for your mistakes. It also rewards you for your successes.
Completing missions and planets give you experience which levels you up, and throughout each map there are resource samples which you collect. Every ten samples you collect you get a research point, which allows you to upgrade your weapons and your stratagems. Remember that chain gun turret I mentioned earlier, upgrade that and its turn speed increases, or you can start upgrading a rail cannon turret instead, so you have some anti-armour to back you up. Along with the planets themselves, the difficulty goes up with each planet, leading to some really ridiculous shit happening, for example I have solo’d a level ten planet with a ninja build, yet trying to four-man that same planet was a nightmare for the reasons above of team killing and dying to stratagem drops. That being said, this game is incredibly enjoyable, and is out on PS4 and PC, though I do not believe there is any connectivity between the two groups. You can pick up the full game with all its DLC for half the price of a regular game and there is still a small but entertaining community to play with. I personally almost have the platinum trophy for this game, and it is one of the few that I legitimately look forward to getting. Pick up Helldivers and enjoy the frantic good times. FOR DEMOCRACY!!!!!