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Published on December 24th, 2015 | by Tony

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HGR’S Games Of 2015

Another year is nearly over, and it’s that time once again where whoever on the team has made it to the end of the year gets to tell us all about their top 3 games of 2015, as well as their one to watch in 2016. Before we begin however, I just want to say a huge thanks to all that have provided content on the site over the last 12 months, with a few moving on to take their reviewing skills to the next level. If I never said it enough at the time let it be known now, I’m hugely grateful for any time that you took out of your life to write for us, and good luck in your future endeavours. For those that have also checked over reviews and things for the terrible grammar that I, Guild, and Mullen, all possess, well you get a ton of respect 😉

Tony’s Top Three: 2015 for me has been a pretty decent year for games, both in Indie form and AAA. While no Indie games have made the cut in my top three though don’t be fooled into thinking some of them never ranked highly for me after playing them. Games such as Lifeless Planet and Q.U.B.E being just a few that spring to mind instantly, but tons of others that kept me entertained with the time I spent with them.

3: Batman: Arkham Knight

My list purely is full of games that I’ve found myself sinking a stupid amount of hours into upon the release, as I love nothing more than a game that offers value for money, and in the case of Batman: AK, that’s exactly what I got. Offering me a Batman game that not only saw me losing a crap ton of time into the story that it offered, but a trend you will see over my choices is also the ton of side things to do which offer even more value, Sure the Batmobile sucked a little, but in terms of keeping me entertained this is one game you need to pick up and play if you missed out on it at release.

2: Rise of the Tomb Raider

I only picked this game up recently but since then I have found myself being sucked into the world of Lara ever since. It improves on what was an already solid foundation seen in the last release, with this one feeling more open and looking even more gorgeous. While you plod through the standard Lara Croft experience in the story you can also play and find optional tombs, challenges and other things to keep everything ticking along smoothly. A great exclusive for the One this Xmas, but PS4 guys can look forward to a release next year.

1: The Witcher 3

This game was a no starter for me right up until launch week, as up until then I  had pushed it to the side and thought nothing of it. The closer release got though the more I wanted it, and after finding a cheap (£25.00) download code on Ebay for it the day before launch I thought what have I got to lose? Turns out it was the best decision I ever made. The Witcher 3 is without a doubt one of the best experiences I’ve had on a game in a long time this whole year. I can’t put my finger on why I spent so much time with it, but the time I did spend never felt like a chore or doing the same thing over and over that I’ve got playing games like this before. Also the free DLC that released for ages aferwards was something new and interesting that other devs should look at, as yeah while some of it was pants it also kept gamers interested to see what was being added next.

Worst game of 2015: Toro

I could talk about how utter shit this game is for hours, but I don’t believe in kicking a dead dog when it is down. Simply put just never pay money for this pile of utter tosh…well unless you like bullfighting and terrible games *looks over at Guild with his finger on the buy it now button*

One to watch in 2016: Unravel (could have easily been Rocket League on the XB1 or Adr1ft)

Now last year I went Cuphead, so with that stll not seeing a release until 2016 I could have gone with that, but oh no. Unravel caught my eye way back at E3, with its charming and cute looks mixed in with a genre I’m really enjoying at the moment, that being a good ol’ puzzler. With it now confirmed as releasing in February too, I can sleep knowing that my choice ths year will actualy come out 😉 Check out the trailer to also fall in love below.



 

Dannie’s Top Three: Like Tony I have found 2015 to be a great year for gaming. There have been a massive number of Indie and AAA games that have been hugely enjoyable, so picking a top three is actually pretty difficult. I will however be putting a little something together on my own blog (dkplaysgames.blogspot.com) that will include more of what I have enjoyed – and what I’ve not – from this year. Head on over later this week for that. Doing this has made thinking about my top three much easier, as like Tony I have pretty much chosen games I have sunk a ton of my time into. So without further ado here are my picks of 2015.

3. The Swindle

The Swindle is easily my favourite indie game of the year and is the perfect example of a simple premise that has been perfectly executed. The graphics are good but the controls and handling are where this game really shines, it is just so slick and responsive. The aim of the game is to complete a number of heists in the hope of doing the big one within 100 days. Each heist is different as they’re all randomly generated so no two players games will be the same. Your character can die (mine does a LOT which I’m sure anyone who watches my Twitch streams is surprised to hear) but you can respawn with a new one minus all of the upgrades you had purchased. The Swindle is the perfect game to have pinned for whenever you have a spare ten minutes, but be warned ten minutes is never enough on The Swindle.

2. Life is Strange

Life is Strange is an episodic game that, to date, I have only played through once so it obviously hasn’t had that many hours put into it. But this game makes it onto the top three list anyway because it is just that good. Yeah the dialogue is sometimes pretty cringe-y but Life is Strange deals with ideas that are rarely touched upon in this medium and it does it really well. In a year that saw a huge slew of episodic games Life is Strange is the standout title for sure. The graphical style is beautiful and whimsical making Arcadia Bay one of my favourite game locations of the year. For the most part the characters are engaging and well-written, but the best thing about this game is the way in which it explores “The Butterfly Effect”. As always I’m spoiler free so I won’t go into much more detail, but I see this being in a sale in the not so distant future and if you haven’t already bought it then you should definitely pick it up then. Life is Strange is a brave idea of a game that actually worked and I can’t wait to play it through again.

1. Fallout 4

Anyone who knows me knows I am a HUGE fan of the Fallout franchise, and well, Bethesda in general. Bethesda can do no wrong for me and Fallout 4 has just cemented that for me. Fallout 4 has offered a vast improvement on all previous Fallout games and given us yet another amazing open world to explore. Graphics aren’t quite as shiny as some of the other offerings this year, but it’s a new Fallout game so most of us can forgive it for that. And for the first time your character has an actual voice – something I never realised I missed in previous Fallout games until this one. You don’t need me to go into a ton of detail about a game as huge as Fallout 4, unless you’ve lived in a bunker you know of it and what it offers to gamers. Fallout 3 had always been the game I’d take to a desert island but Fallout 4 has hopped, skipped and jumped right over it. I have sunk many an hour into it already and barely scratched it’s surface. But the time I’ve spent in the Commonwealth isn’t nearly enough, and I fear that I could spend a year of my life on it and still miss some of it’s offerings. If you’re looking for a game that offers MASSIVE value for money look no further. Buy it. Now.

Worst Game of 2015: Toro

I mean, seriously, if this isn’t on everyones worst games list it’ll be a miracle. Everything about it is terrible and it had the honour of being the first game I ever deleted from my XB1 and gave a 0 star rating when forced to review it. To be fair on RecoTech they seemed to take all of the stick I sent their way quite well, even sending me multiple copies of their next release for review and giveaways. I’m still trying to decide whether that was meant as more of a punishment though…

One to Watch in 2016: Gears 4

I found this really tough to narrow down, and I was hoping I’d pick a little known indie or something less mainstream. But I’m a MASSIVE Gears fan and I am thoroughly invested in the universe so the opportunity to play another Gears game on the new hardware is hugely exciting for me. With the release of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition earlier this year my excitement for another Gears instalment only grew and I can’t wait! Sorry to anyone reading this who was hoping to see something they had missed for next year!



 

David’s Top Three: 2015 has been packed full of games but I’ve found myself spending less time playing them. Not many games have grabbed my attention and sadly personal life has taken more of my spare time. We have seen a ton of new indie games hitting consoles but sadly we saw quite a few stinkers, like mobile ports. Lucky there was a few gems that caught my eye and I loved, I’m praying next year we will see more quality than quantity.

3. Guns, Gore, Cannoli
God, I loved this wee game from Crazy Monkey Studios. The 2D shooter had a cheesy sense of humour, hand drawn visuals and simple gameplay that made this a joy to pick up and play with my son and friends with its up to 4 player coop story. It’s one of those hidden gem indie titles that didn’t get much of an announcement and an impulse buy that I haven’t regretted.

2. Rocket League
Rocket League, what else can I really say about this game which folk haven’t seen or heard. While I did grab it for free on PS+, I’ve spent more time playing it on PC with my son as I’m not the biggest fan of the PlayStation controller. With matches only lasting 5mins but packed full of action, this is the sports game that folk have been wanting. Easy to get in to but solid to master, Rocket League should easily be in everyone’s top 5 games of 2015.

1. Just Cause 3
Just Cause 3 lacks story but makes it up with over the top action. I’m honestly shocked at how Just Cause 3 has improved over the last game, the only thing missing is coop! Apart from that though, Just Cause is just one of those games you can pick up and play when you have a spare 30 mins to knock out a few outposts and towns, without worrying where you are in the story. I’ve been playing it strong for the past two weeks and I’m still finding easter eggs and other wee things I didn’t notice before.

Worst Game of 2015: Lego Dimensions
Probably not the worst but my biggest disappointment. I’m usually a lover of Lego games but Dimensions is the game that I had so many high hopes for and it failed to deliver on so many fronts. First of all, the price of the game is extremely high and only so expensive due to the name Lego, and then the extra models are just as pricy but needed to fully complete the game. Plus it’s not one of those games you can sit back and enjoy as your always interacting with the models and portal which is a killer for the back. Lego and Disney just look at what Activision has done with Skylanders and bloody try better and duplicate it, please!

One to Watch in 2016: Crackdown 3/Mirror’s Edge
Of course Crackdown 3 was going to be my game to watch for 2016 but will it actually fully release next year? We all know that multiplayer launches summer next year but that could just be the beta. So failing that Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is the game I’ve been waiting for since the first. I love the whole free running thing but I’m scared of heights and due to my increased size in mass I’m just not built to do it myself so doing it in a video game is the next best thing.



 

Gary’s Top Three: 

3. Prison Architect
Is this a new game for  2015? No however techinically version 1.0 launched in October so I am having it my list on the technicality as since day one I loved this game and the old school feel of building my prision brings back memories of games like Theme Hospital.

2. Football Manager 2016
This game is simply like a drug, I was off this game for years and started to play it again this year and I can’t seem to stop, every football fan thinks they know best and this is a fun way to test your plans against other teams.

1. Cities Skyline
When SimCity came out it wasn’t that great, this game came out and did everything SimCity should have done, it had the offline play, it had the larger maps, it was the game we wanted as players and any fan of the old SimCity game would love this game

Worst Game of 2015: Warhammer Quest
This game came out first on the tablet, for the tablet game I must say I was actually happy, it was fun and at an acceptable price point however this is about when they decided to “port” this game to the PC which was just pointless, if that was not stupid enough then to increase the price was just an insult to us all. The port of this game to the PC seem not a simple upgrade, graphics and gameplay were exactly the same, fair enough the game was still ok to play (a bit boring on the PC as you could be playing a million other games) but the price was just wrong and really got under my skin of a quick way to make a few quid.

One to Watch in 2016: XCOM 2
This game come out in the second month of the year and what a way to start the year, a game where losing a few solders is not optional but guaranteed, it’s one of those games where you get annoyed playing it so much you can’t stop as you don’t want it to win, the method of running the players using turn based is one of my loved methods away back to the likes of Fallout Tactics and Jagged Alliance, XCOM does this in the modern day and it still works as good as it did back in the day.



Now for some followers on Twitter and their choices.

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About the Author

Help start this place. Left. Came back as a part-timer. Shall be here to post mostly PlayStation stuff while I focus most of my Xbox one content on my blog www.honestxboxreviews.com (cheap plug).



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