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Announcing my favorite games of 2015!
A magnificent game about the truth, how to discover it, and learning to be satisfied with only half of it, Her Story is my favorite game of the year. Play detective as you watch Sega Saturn-style full motion videos for a few hours, take notes, and finally close the game only when you feel it has concluded. It’s an experience unlike anything I’ve ever played, and one that has stuck with me in the six months since I puzzled over its unsolvable puzzle.
The game’s only actress is excellent, the interface and presentation is simple but effective, and the mystery is haunting. Her Story is proof that games are a growing medium.
Having played a bunch of Telltale Games’ adventure entries and never being completely satisfied, developer Dontnod finally nailed the formula with Life is Strange. The game’s gimmick of rewinding time to redo immediate decisions and even jump from place to place in the eye’s of others feels fresh throughout all five episodes. The relationship between the main characters also kept me connected and engaged as I waited for the next episode to drop.
There’s a lot to love about this charming game, from its dialogue that went from cringe to endearing over the course of the game, to alternate timelines the plot gleefully explores. Check out Life is Strange for its great accomplishment in the genre.
The PC version of Grand Theft Auto V finally came out last year and I loved it! My previous favorite game in the GTA series was San Andreas, and V manages to capture and enhance my memories of that game in every way. The multiple playable characters, the sprawling landscapes, and endless amount of things to do kept me busy for a month straight. Not to mention the game is just a blast to play.
One of my favorite games of the year and I never touched its extensive multiplayer once.
I experienced both the original Shovel Knight and its free DLC in 2015, but not only did Plague Knight actually come out last year but I think it’s a better game! They’re both fantastic throwbacks that capture the spirit of 2D platformers perfectly while embarking on new ground.
Though you basically play the same game again with the Plague Knight character (formerly a boss in the base Shovel Knight game), it feels so different. Plague Knight requires much more planning on where and how you’re going to jump, and feels like the game is giving you both a bigger challenge and more freedom.
I wouldn’t recommend playing Plague Knight without giving Shovel Knight a try first, but both games are essential to anyone who grew up on NES and DOS platformers.
I wanted to play Undertale because it was being recognized as one of those "touchstone" games, similar to Portal and Journey. A game that a lot of people will play and create memories from and conversations will grow from their shared experiences. I didn't want to be left out from at least reading and understanding these conversations, and knew that the required investment in the game was low, as far as dollars and time spent (as typical that these touchstone games are).
I did uncover a pretty great game once I got deeper into it. I may have different takeaways from it than were intended though, for example I feel like its mercy system really sheds a light on previous JRPG games I've played. Also the bullet-hell gameplay mixed into the battle system was very unique and quite fun.
The game has a lot of strong ideas about breaking down the typical video game experience and molding it into something New. Undertale would not have nearly the impact if this was someone's first video game or first JRPG, it relies on a generation's worth of knowledge, nostalgia, and EXP to be fully realized.