2015 was an amazing year for gaming with one of the best games of all time released in The Witcher 3: Wild hunt CD Projekt Reds masterpiece. For a long time I was actually wondering if anything could top it and the answer right now is honestly, I don’t know. However there could be a contender.
As a whole 2016 has been a lousy year on a variety of fronts, however in our small niche of video games 2016 has been another amazing year with some of the best games of its generation released and as you can probably tell one game in particular that everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief over. Here are my top 5 games of 2015.
Please note other then then my Game of the Year these are in no particular order.
I’m not going to lie for a while this game wasn’t going to be on this list. For a dozen hours and more the changes were just not working for me, I found myself like Civilization: Beyond Earth before it looking at Civilization V longingly. However as I was playing a map as Russia the game just clicked, it suddenly became clear what Firaxis wanted to do and it worked.
As a radical departure from the previous game I expect many people might have felt the same as I did. As our skills in Civilization are notably worse - myself personally having never been that good to begin with makes this even more of an issue. However once you understand the systems and how they relate to each other the game takes on a complexity previously unseen in the series and makes city design one of the most intricate and fun gaming experiences you will have. If you are a fan of Strategy Games you must check this game out.
2015 was the year of The Witcher which as I said I consider one of the best games ever made. Easily a game of the generation which is why Blood and Wine was such a pleasant surprise as the Expansion just made it even better. Funny enough for most other games besides The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Blood and Wine could easily be considered its own game. As between twenty to thirty new hours of contact added on top of its late 2015 Expansion Heart of Stone the Witcher 3's expansions are almost a new game in and of themselves. Bravo CD Projekt Red, this is how you do expansions, something other developers could use a lesson on.
However that wasn’t the biggest surprise to come out of the Witcher universe this year. Gwent: The Witcher Card Game currently in Closed Beta is actually a lot of fun too. Easily the best free to play game I’m playing right now Gwent may have what it takes to take on Hearthstone once more players have a chance to get involved. I honestly can’t wait to see what 2017 brings to the actual game.
In a year of big handheld JRPGs like Fire Emblem Fates, Bravely Second, and World of Final Fantasy to be one of the best handhelds is saying something. However Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse manages this feat nicely. A worthy follow up to is amazing predecessor Apocalypse does the Shin Megami Tensei name proud. Built upon the foundation of the previous game Apocalypse could have been so much less, however an inventive story line, improved pacing, and a massively expanded demon list Apocalypse is everything a fan could ask for.
It is one of the games this year that has shown being played on a small screen is no longer a hold back for making on the best RPGs of the year. Apocalypse and Shin Megami Tensei may not be for everyone, the difficulty alone could be a turn off, however for those who wish to brave deaths embrace Apocalypse is a story about the end of the world worth playing.
Last year Trails of Cold Steel lost out just due to it being released so late in the year. Had I known then what I know now it would have made the list EASILY. This lucky enough is easily rectified as The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 2 is as good mechanically as the first and with more insanity that made the first game so great. A PS Vita RPG of great quality Cold Steel is a great entry into the long running Legend of Heroes series from Nihon Falcom. Taking a risk on these games XSEED has brought over one of the biggest and most challenging RPGs to ever grace a portable.
Doing away with the high school setting of the first game Trails of Cold Steel 2 tells of a story of war that has fully engulfed the region. By expanding the setting Cold Steel feels like a Legend of Heroes game that has the biggest stakes and is better for it. With a cast of characters each as colourful and interesting as the next numbering in the dozens it can get overwhelming, however it all works. Thanks to superb voice acting and quality writing Trails of Cold Steel 2 easily deserves a place on this list.
“I wanted it to be you so badly”. My love for the Final Fantasy series is no secret and my status as one of its most fervent defenders is also no secret. However I’m so happy this should not be a controversial pick this year, Final Fantasy XV is the best game of 2016. While not nearly perfect like The Witcher 3 before it Final Fantasy XV transcends all its flaws to make it an experience that almost anyone can enjoy.
“A Final Fantasy for Fans and New Players Alike” greets any player when they start spinning the disk and this is true. No matter your feeling on the series as a whole you can find a lot of enjoyment in this game. While there is grumbling from purists that XV moves too radically away from the tried and true formula of the series those are often tempered by the comment “but it’s still a great game”. Which is true, this game is just fun.
With a semi-open world to explore Final Fantasy XV encourages the player to play at their own pace. To move as fast or as slow as they wish as the experience this lovingly crafted world that while reminiscent of our own, still invokes the wonder of exploring a world steeped in fantasy. If you only play one game this year no matter who you are I have a feeling you will not be disappointed by Final Fantasy XV.
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