Happy New Year everyone! The unwrapping of a new calendar means that I must once again deliberate on what titles shall earn a spot in my annual top fives. Starting things off are the best video games I covered in 2015. It was the year when I finally embraced the next gen by purchasing a PS4, partially because enough good games came out for the console and partially because the PS3 was on its last legs in terms of new releases. Looking back at my other top fives, I think the 2015 list has been the toughest one to compile due to the sheer number of exceptional titles I got to play. Let’s kick off the show with some fun games that narrowly missed the cut.
Honourable mentions: Atelier Shallie, Criminal Girls, Disgaea 5, HuniePop, Hyperdevotion Noire, Lost Dimension and Nekopara.
5th) Valiant Hearts: Commemorating the Great War, which took place a century ago, Valiant Hearts proves that Ubisoft are still capable of delivering creative titles (something that is easy to forget given how many bug riddled Assassin Creed games they churn out on a yearly basis.) This educational tribute, to the people who fought in the conflict, impressed me as it favoured puzzle solving over combat. Don’t let the cartoony visuals and lack of dialogue deceive you; Valiant Hearts is an emotional experience from start to finish. You may want to keep a hanky close by for the tear-jerking finale.
4th) Until Dawn: You know a game is good when you feel compelled to keep on playing, even if your natural cowardice is pleading for you to turn off the TV and cower behind the settee. Similar to David Cage’s productions, Until Dawn is a realistic looking interactive story… with the difference being that Until Dawn is actually fun to play and well written. Taking inspiration from monster movies and slasher flicks from the nineties, this tour de force has players controlling a group of teens who are marooned at a remote cabin. Despite its short running time, overuse of QTEs and motion controls I really enjoyed Until Dawn. Well worth the asking price and the new pants I had to buy after soiling the trousers I was wearing.
3rd) Tales from the Borderlands: You’ll have to forgive me for including another interactive story in this chart, but alas I am an old fogey who no longer has the reflexes to play high-octane games. The fun I had playing through this five-part adventure was a big surprise, given that I detest the mainline Borderlands games (nothing personal, I just happen to suck at FPS titles.) No one could have predicted that Tales would outshine Telltale’s Game of Thrones adaptation but it did thanks to a hilarious script, which proves the company’s comedic efforts can equal their dramatic forays. If you enjoy space westerns like Firefly I highly recommend giving this Pandora based heist caper a try.
2nd) Bloodborne: Who says that the PlayStation 4 has no good exclusives? My 2015 runner-up says otherwise. Seeing a From Software release nab second place is unexpected, as I am not fond of the Souls series. Although I can appreciate their quality, my inept gaming skills are not up to the brutal difficulty. Bloodborne however managed to win me over, perhaps because the Lovecraftian setting is so cool or perhaps because the more offensive combat system forces you to attack rather than hide behind a shield. Multiple endings, chalice dungeons and the recent DLC ensure that Bloodborne players get a lot of bang for their buck. As the name suggests, Bloodborne is bloody good.
1st) Eiyuu Senki The World Conquest: Unless Yakuza 5 can convince me otherwise, Eiyuu Senki is likely to be the final PS3 game I ever purchase. If that’s the case, I can happily proclaim that Sony’s seventh gen system bowed out on a high note. This digital only release, were you lead an army of gender-bent historical figures, really deserved more attention than it got. The harem comedy cut scenes are hysterical and the turn based combat succeeded in scratching my strategy game itch. If you aren’t averse to playing text heavy games, and like battles akin to what you would find in Fire Emblem, it’s well worth unearthing your PS3 from the loft to give Eiyuu Senki a bash. Many games on this list have stellar storylines and excellent gameplay, but only Eiyuu Senki allows you to snog a female Napoleon. That alone is enough to win my 2015 award… yeah I really need to get a girlfriend.