2015, like every year, has had about a million games already. Between real life and maintaining the site, I’ve currently, somehow, played around 150 of them as of the end of July. This has been the year of a bunch of “Really, realy good” games, and just a few great ones. Bloodborne, as fantastic as it is, represents a low point in my favorite series, and one I hope Dark Souls 3 is able to take a leap off of to greater heights. Monster Hunter 4 took a significant portion of my early year, until I fizzled out about halfway (60 hours!!!!) through, weary from the action. Splatoon remains a wonderful charmfest, even though I haven’t touched it in about a month. My most memorable experiences this year have been things like Until You Wake Up, Life Is Strange, BoxBoy, and The Static Speaks My Name: smaller, weirder things that really haven’t been done before. Batman: Arkham Knight took me by total surprise with how much I loved it, and The Witcher 3 is starting to grow on me as I learn how its convolution comes together as something worth digging into. Castle in the Darkness is a hidden treasure, and this year’s Shovel Knight.
But none of these are that one, special thing you have to show everyone. Bloodborne and Splatoon maybe come the closest, but I’m still waiting for the thing that I feel in my bones is…it. That may not happen this year, or it may come in the form of Fallout 4. Or hopefully something even more surprising.
For now, 2015 has been a totally solid year without too many huge letdowns, and no equivalent of Last of Us, Kentucky Route Zero, The Walking Dead, or Antichamber to speak of. With the glut of releases still headed down the pike, I’m confident in saying this year still has a lot left to show us. Until Dawn, Super Mario Maker, and Metal Gear Solid V are just around the corner. The next month can’t get here soon enough.
Here’s a pretty, unordered, list of my favorite games this year with shiny pictures and words.
Life is Strange
Square Enix’s quirky and earnest high school drama doesn’t hit every note, but when it manages to strike, it hits hard. Quickly climbing the ranks of my favorite episodic series ever. Watch out Telltale.
That New Batman Game
I wasn’t ready for another Batman. I liked Arkham Asylum a lot more than Arkham City, and I feel like the only one. Arkham Knight is a super fun thing to just roam around and punch people and see spooky bad guys. Maybe I was ready for another Batman.
Also, Riddler built a bunch of race tracks for some reason, and the batmobile is fun to drive upside down at 100 mph. This is a dumb game.
Until You Wake Up
Figuring out the controls is the first puzzle. It gets weirder from there.
Resident Evil (2015 Remake)
I had never played the original Resident Evil until this January, and that was a mistake.
The Static Speaks My Name
A very, very short horror game that says more than some games 100 times its length.
Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate
About 60 hours of fighting awesome monsters with friends and seeing 5 A.M. more than a few times, I watched a beautiful ending cinematic and saw credits. Then this game was like “Man the FIRST HALF of this sure was FUN, how about another 100 HOURS???!???!!!?” and I never played it again.
Castle in the Darkness
Frontrunner for the “If anyone knew this existed, it would make every Game of the Year list” award. A super smart Castlevania-like with a surprising amount of heart, filled with bosses and secrets around every turn. I 100%’d it, and I’ll be playing that expansion as soon as it comes out. More please.
Plan Your Son’s Funeral
I punched my dead ghost son in the face, and then laughed for a solid minute.
Take notes and piece a jumbled story together. Solve a mystery. Get chills and turn the lights on.
I’m a kid, then a squid, then a kid again, and then once again, a squid. Nintendo’s magic turns any cynicism or sadness into an honest smile, and I pray they never lose their touch. Now I’m a kid again.
Made feeling smart really simple, in the vein of Portal and Braid. How is a game about boxes this cute? And how are there this many unlockables and levels for a game that costs $5?
Help Me, I’m Drowning
Another cute game, but about monsters and capitalism and loneliness. Also there’s this weird demon girl who might not actually exist… never mind, you’ll figure it out.
The Witcher 3: The Third One
A big fantasy open world game, except I actually want to ride around and see everything and talk to people. I helped an old lady find her frying pan and she was very happy. B+
Not always the Shadow of the Colossus sequel it wants to be, but I’ll take what I can get.
The Tender Cut
A weird Dali-inspired artsy puzzle game? Okay!
The fourth entry in what’s probably my favorite game series. It has some incredible ideas, but the whole thing doesn’t fit together as well as any of the previous three. Still easily one of the best games of the year, but From can do better.
My balls are still cheeseburgers.
Here is a picture of someone tricking Justin Bieber into signing the Death Note.
Have a nice day.