Wait, I have to pick 5 favorites? Well this will be easy : )
#5 – Super Smash Bros WiiU/3DS
I have been playing Super Smash Bros since 1999 on the Nintendo 64. These games will always hit home for me as I am terrible at most fighting games except Smash. Where I have always been able to stand my ground when playing the game. The fact that the game was released on both the Nintendo 3DS and WiiU made me see the game as more accessible this time around. Players around the world have two ways to smash which I find amazing.
Nintendo also took advantage of the situation by having the 3DS not only be the console to play it on but could be used as a controller. We haven’t seen this since the use of Gameboy Advances with the Gamecube. The playable characters are a huge hit with most fans as this installment covered most bases and even more (Cloud from Final Fantasy 7 and Ryu from Street Fighter). The reason Smash is in my top 5 is because of accessibility, gameplay, and characters.
#4 – Pillars of Eternity
It’s not too often that we see a game like Pillars of Eternity that actually captures the retro style of the Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale games. We saw Sword Coast Legends come in this year and, as a Dungeons and Dragons fan I considered it a flop. Pillars of Eternity covered everything that had been missing in these types of cRPG’s and more. Rich storyline, difficult battles and customizable options filled in every inch of Pillars of Eternity.
I found this game to be remarkable and challenging. I love the density of each conversation and how the game makes the player read to understand the plotline. This game could be compared to literature like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones with how heavy the lore and gameplay is. Pillars of Eternity will fill your time and enrapture you in the world of Eora as you experience everything the game has to offer.
#3 – Rocket League
Jesus Christ, Seriously. I have not played this addictive of this calibur of a game since Slimeball in the Addictinggames.com days of my youth. The mix of soccer and racing will get anyone involved and yelling at their screen as they play. Such an inventive idea that I have not seen implemented ever. It’s as if the Psyonics loved Fifa and Twisted metal and just said “Hell, let’s combine ‘em”.There are three reasons I find this game to be one of the best of 2015.
One; the game’s addictiveness adds to its fun. It’s a game that you don’t need to pay attention to stats if you don’t want to, you pick up the controller and GO! Two; Each match in Rocket League is simple, yet incredible. It doesn’t take long to understand the controls or physics to get started. Third; Rocket League is an all ages game. Anyone from age 3 to 100 can play this game and eventually understand its workings. Bright colors, fun music and great gameplay will get everyone attached and loving.
#2 – Environmental Station Alpha
This game is severely underrated and overlooked too often. Environmental Station Alpha captures so much of what Metroid and Castlevania games have. A platforming adventure where the investigation of an abandoned is lead by a single robot, you. Environmental Station Alpha brings the feeling of isolation in space, the player alone and figuring everything out while dealing with the terrors of the station. Deadly creatures, hard puzzles, and trials just to get to a save point enrich the gameplay greatly.
Hempuli took the best elements of the retro platformers and produced an incredible game. Between power ups and challenging bosses, the player will be asking for more and more as they return each sector of the station to normal. Hempuli really pulled through with creating this adventure between the great gameplay and the story told. I am excited to see what their next project will be based on how great Environmental Station Alpha is.
#1 – Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
Visceral, engaging, and difficult is how I describe Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. Who is the hero, who are the bad guys, and what are you killing for? Discovering the details of the story are confusing, yet invigorating. Such a complex plot that you literally do not have to pay attention to. Dennaton and Abstraction Games came together to make a sequel to the hugely popular indie game Hotline Miami and fans are already wondering when the next installment comes out.
There are several things about Hotline Miami 2 that stick out to me. The texture and design of each level and character is simply stunning. The playable characters and how they rotate within game are all intricate adding incredible challenge to the game. The game takes you out of your comfort zone and places you in a world where you have to murder literally hundreds of people to survive.
Hotline Miami 2 gets my number one for several reasons. The soundtrack in particular stuck out to me just as much as the first installments. Heavy trap/techno/electronica added a sense of urgency to each mission that had me on the edge of my seat nodding my head and tapping my foot as each song played. Because of the intensity of the soundtrack, I found myself having to, constantly, look over my shoulder to make sure someone wasn’t there to kill me.
The replay value of this game is another reason it gets my number one. I have beaten the game 4 times now and it doesn’t get old. Even levels I have memorized change when my character dies making the game difficult but appealing. The fact that you will die several times before beating the level really puts a different mentality on the game. It tricks you into thinking there are no consequences when really what you’re giving up is your sanity to kill hundreds of gangsters and drug addicts. Hopefully we will see a third installment of this series as both have done exceedingly well and have a mass fan following to prove it.