The past year has been a great one for games. Sure, we had the usual cases of broken games like the pc version of Arkham Knight, and the drudgery of another Assassin's Creed game. But in between those we had some of the brightest, most innovative, and most enjoyable games to be released in years.
Best video games of 2015
From Software's latest entry into their infamously difficult Souls series, Bloodborne is a game for those who enjoy a punishing, brutal experience that doesn't hold their hand. Set in the gorgeously designed gothic city of Yharnham, Bloodborne successfully blends the Souls series difficulty with fast paced action, interspersed with terrifying monster designs and fascinating, Lovecraft inspired lore. Though it doesn't have the absurd longevity of its predecessors, Bloodborne remains the PS4's best exclusive title.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, is, simply put, a miracle. In a gaming landscape overflowing with open world games, and the once compelling Assassin's Creed series reduced to dull annualization, who knew that it would be a once obscure Polish developer to completely change the game. Based on a series of Polish fantasy novels, The Witcher 3 is open world gaming at its finest, with a challenging combat system, great sense of role playing, and easily the best side quests in any game ever. The folks at CD Projekt read have shown the world how it's really done, and I'm waiting with bated breath for their next release.
Life is Strange
Centered around the story of Max Caulfield, a photography student who suddenly finds herself with the ability to rewind time, Life is Strange is perhaps one of the most emotionally resonant games I've ever played. Point and click adventure games aren't a stranger to strong emotions, just ask anyone who played Telltales the Walking Dead, but no other game has quite touched the same emotional notes.
Weaving together themes of loss, teen angst, young love, suicide, futility, and hope, Life is Strange tells a time travelling story for the ages, perfectly capturing the apprehension, fear, and optimism of being on the edge of adulthood. Add in an innovative new game mechanic in the form of Max's rewind powers, and you have a point and click adventure game that stands out, proudly daring to be different, warts and all.
And on top of all that, it has perhaps the best love story a game has ever told.
A quirky, humble little game, Undertale is a delightful throwback to Earthbound-esque JRPGs, with simple graphics and chip tunes straight out of the eighties.The combat system, while simple, is centered around one thing. You don't have to kill anyone in this game. Right from the beginning, you are given the option of, instead of punching a monster in the face, giving it a hug, or complimenting their outfit. What starts as the simple story of a child exploring the underground world of monsters, soon evolves into one of the most devilishly clever game narratives ever written, with a powerful overarching theme about the power of simple kindness.
You know how a lot of games brag about their branching storylines, and how "your actions will have consequences"? Well Undertale doesn't advertise it, but it does it, drastically. A simple action can completely change how the story unfolds, and carefully piecing together the mystery of its world has been one of my most delightful gaming experience in years.
The words "Nintendo" and "Online multiplayer shooter" honestly feel like they should never go together. Yet it's Nintendo of all people who made what is easily my favorite online shooter. Splatoon's greatest strength is its color and its creativity. Rather than being centered on the standard of a bunch of dudes shooting each other in a brown, industrial themed map, Splatoon features squid children trying to color skateparks and abandoned malls with their team colors, flying through the air, posing in trendy clothes, and just having a blast. The three minute matches are incredibly addictive, and despite having no substantial single player content beyond a seemingly tacked on campaign mode, it's easily one of the most fun games released in 2015
Best comic books of 2015:
BEST crossover of the year, hands down. The Foot Clan has been raiding labs and warehouses across Gotham and in order to take them down, Batman must team up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
We Can Never Go Home
Two teens with super powers run away from home and go on a road trip filled with secret agents, crazy gangs and drug money! There's also a playlist that goes along with each issue located on the back cover.
A new political horror comedy. Jack is a royal fuck up whose life is going nowhere. He also happens to worship Satan and has a demon that follows him. When Jack decides to make a deal with his demon, he becomes an unlikely presidential candidate!
A group of paper girls from the 1980s make a startling discovery in their hometown! Soon their neighborhood is crawling with aliens and neighbors are being abducted.
Mark Waid (All New All Different Avengers) and Fiona Staples (Saga) breathe new life into this classic comic series! It's an Archie series for the modern world complete with a new spin on origin stories.