5 – Ori and the Blind Forest
Usually, I am not a fan of platformers but when I discovered Ori and the Blind Forest on Christmas day, I quickly fell in love. The game itself looks amazing and the art was all drawn by hand. The story is wonderful and is accompanied by music that is tear-jerkingly beautiful. The actual gameplay is simple but amazing, and the various skills and ‘perks’ that you pick up along the way are really fun to use.
4 – Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
I have been a long standing fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise and when the leaks came from Ubisoft that the next game would be in Victorian London, I was very excited. Unlike Unity’s launch, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate was released relatively bug-free and I had endless amounts of fun running around the streets of London wielding my grappling gun. The introduction of a female assassin was also a major bonus and I think that Evie Frye is one of the best gaming characters of the year.
3 – Life is Strange (Episodes 1 – 5)
2015 was the year of episodic games. With games ranging from an adaptation of Game of Thrones to the Minecraft story game, I have always loved the fact your decisions in one episode directly affect the events in the next ones and so on. Life is Strange has a unique mechanic in that you can manipulate time in the game and reverse your decisions, and choose another option if the outcome is not what you wanted, which I think is a huge benefit. I used it to explore my options, which, in the other games, I would have had to start another play-through to do. The story itself is amazing and it has a really dark, unexpected turn towards the end.
2 – Just Cause 3
Whilst I normally play games for their story, there is an exception to that rule. Just Cause 3 is basically an explosion simulator. With a map that is 30 square kilometres big and plenty of fuel canisters to blow up, I had hours of fun making chaos and havoc which, I am glad to admit, is not something I do in real life. It is as simple as that!
1 – Batman: Arkham Knight
With a beautiful combination of action and story, Batman: Arkham Knight was my favourite game of 2015. The story itself is enthralling and occasionally heart-breaking as Batman battles with the Joker inside his own head. The combat from the Batmobile was incredibly fun, with destructible environments and plenty of enemy tanks and camps to destroy. The art style was pretty typical of a Batman game but the way in which Rocksteady incorporated the flash backs and the moments with the Joker were immensely enjoyable. I was left feeling truly scared and freaked out a couple of times. When I reached the end of the game, I felt truly sad, because once you know the plot, the game itself seems less special somehow. I normally get bored playing a game through twice, but not with this game. I have played it through three times this year and every time I have loved it from start to finish. And I cannot wait to see if there is another Batman game up Rocksteady’s sleeve.
So there you have it: my top games of 2015. I cannot wait to see what gaming wonders there are in 2016. I have hopes for the next Call of Duty game from Infinity Ward, and the Batman episodic game from Telltale. I’d really like Bethesda to give us an Elder Scrolls announcement this year as my copy of Skyrim is getting rather well worn, but we shall see.