Every year, I reflect on what entertainment from the previous year I enjoyed the most. I do this so that others may find something they didn’t previous know about or wasn’t sure it would be worth their time. I, of course, didn’t see every movie, watch every TV show, or read every comic. What that disclaimer in mind, here are my favorite video games from 2015.
Until Dawn (Developer: Supermassive Games) – This game came out of nowhere and took over Twitch in September. A modern day “choose your own adventure,” Until Dawn takes the troupes of horror films and uses them to makes a campy, fun story. Unlike other similar games, choices and actions change the outcome of the story and who survives in the end. Starring such Hollywood actors as Hayden Panettiere as Sam and Brett Dalton (Agents of S.H.I.E.LD) as Mike, the actors not only lend their voices but also their acting ability through motion capture. Until Dawn was such a fun experience to play and would be a great party game to play with others.
Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture (Developer: The Chinese Room) – Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture was a breath of fresh air. Its sole purpose is to tell a story through interactive narrative and did not feature a single gun or combat scene. By focusing on the story, the developer, Chinese Room, found ways to tell the story through interacting with the world and a beautiful soundtrack (which I still listen to today). And what a stunning world it is. With its spectacular first-person visuals, you feel like you are in this town, trying to figure out what happened. This is the type of game that I would show someone to demonstrate how video games can tell a narrative story like no other medium.
Life is Strange (Developer: Dontnod Entertainment) – Another game that featured no guns or combat, Life is Strange, is an episodic narrative adventure game that tells the story of a young girl in high school named Max. She discovers she has the ability to rewind time, and the player determines how she uses this power to adjust what happens in different situations. The game’s best attribute is its characters which you truly care about. You’ll do some brief puzzle solving but most of your interactions are through dialogue with other characters. What you choose to say to them can change your relationship with that character. By the end, I felt a real connection to Max’s best friend and Max herself. It was another example of a story that wouldn’t be as affective in any other medium.
Destiny: The Taken King (Developer: Bungie) – Destiny was the game that I put the most hours into this year. It has many features in a game that I love the most like, playing for better items for your character, a real sense of community among players, and a gorgeous environment. The Taken King expansion fixed many of the problems from the original game. The inventory system was improved and the way to “level up” your character became more straight-forward. The Taken King’s biggest improvement was to its story. The story related content and the motivations of your character were clear throughout and featured the best raid to date. If you have ever wanted to give Destiny a chance or didn’t enjoy it when it first came out, I would suggest you give it another chance.
Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Developer: CD Projekt Red) – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was one of my most anticipated games since seeing a preview at Comic-Con in 2014 and it didn’t disappoint. This game was the best value of any game released this year featuring over 100 hours of content. Not only does Witcher 3 have quantity but quality in spades. Its side missions are better than most main missions in other games and the characters you meet are both layered and memorable. I’ll never forget many of these characters and can’t wait to see them again. The developer, CD Projekt Red, created a more detailed world than I’ve ever seen in a video game. It felt like it existed before I arrived and continues after I leave. This attention to detail created an experience like none I’ve ever had.
I also wanted to give a nod to Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, which I played in 2015 but came out in 2014. If it was released in 2015, it would be on this list. Blizzard knows how to make polished, fun games and Diablo III: RoS was so addictive. It always has you looking for better loot to put on your character and that drive for loot propels you through the game. The cut scenes that relay the story are second to none and the art design on the world feels lived in and creepy.
Thank you for reading this and my other favorites of 2015. Stay tuned for more features coming soon.