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Let's do best of the year ... Things.

Game of the Year: Pillars of Eternity. Superb revival of Infinity Engine RPGs with fantastic lore, intriguing storyline and great combat system. It took everything I disliked about IE games, fixed it, and then added some. Game's not perfect, certainly - but I'm already looking forward to doing a second playtrough once second part of the expansion is out and I'm the kind of guy who usually only plays everything once. It's also my surprise of the year by a large margin.

Best Writing would have to be Sunless Sea, no contest there. The game's writing is absolutely stellar, and I don't think I have ever played anything quite like it. With lighthearted tone and minimalist use of text, the game presents us bizarre, depressing and utterly alien setting. In a very Lovecraftian fashion it only hints, never fully spells anything out. It gives player snippets of lore, characters and conversations and then leaves it up to player to piece everything together, to complete this engrossing puzzle of Sunless Sea. Everybody needs to play this.

Witcher 3 for not getting how the **** do RPGs work, but being a stellar storytelling experience nonetheless. The combat system in the game is fantastic, the game is absolutely gorgeous, and the writing is superb. Bloody Baron questline is up there when it comes to best videogam writing, voice acting and generally direction I've ever seen and while the rest of the game isn't quite up there, it's damn close. A relatively unexperienced Polish studio has shown us how do you do open world storytelling well and surpassed all expectations.

Best Homeworld Homeworld Remastered is the best homeworld game of 2015. ... Really, I was just looking for where to squeeze Homeworld as the two games have been a stellar experience and everybody should play them. Very untraditional approach to real-time strategy games, very slow, very elaborate with engrossing story and amazing soundtrack. And finally a reasonable drawing distance which is what stopped me from playing the originals. And yes, I know remasters are cheating.

The best old game played this year would have to be Shadowrun: Dragonfall. It's cyberpunk which is an automatic +, but it's generally got a fun storyline, great companions and companion quests. It's also a game which really made me care about my "base of operations" - I got massively invested into my part of Berlin and cared a lot about fates of its inhabitants. Fantastic mission variety and quite a few ways of reaching an objective help too.

Feel free to make up your own categories :-P

Edited by Fenixp
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Keep in mind that I didn't play many of the mega blockbusters this year.

 

Game of the Year: Xenoblade Chronicles X - Clumsy storytelling and poor (or non-existent) explanations of its systems are more than made up for by extreme customizability, extensive skill and effect interaction systems with almost limitless depth, and a spectacular and mind-bogglingly gigantic open world to explore.  Really, the world is the star of the show, it's so phenomenal.

 

Pleasant Surprise of the Year (aka The Outta Nowhere Award): Crookz - The Big Heist - Mediocre writing and less than stellar production value hold this one back a little bit, but the fantastic gameplay and level design, and the nearly flawless difficulty curve and game length made it easy to overlook those faults.  A true gem that flew under the radar.

 

RPG of the Year: Xenoblade Chronicles X

 

Tactics Game of the Year: Crookz - The Big Heist

 

Racing Game of the Year: Fast Racing Neo - It's not quite F-Zero and Shin'en had to use some clever tricks to get 60 FPS on the limited hardware of the Wii U, but it's nevertheless a great looking game and it completely nails arguably the most important part, the feeling of speed.  The game absolutely lives up to its name.

 

Action Game of the Year: Dying Light - Terrible QTE final boss fight aside, Dying Light is a thoroughly enjoyable parkour romp through a sprawling world filled with zombies.  It's the game we wanted Dead Island to be.

 

Adventure Game of the Year: SOMA - Nowhere near as scary as Frictional's previous efforts, SOMA is, however, their best effort in storytelling, even if it is a bit ham-fisted sometimes.  It helps that the game is equal parts creepy as **** and breathtakingly beautiful, which really helped pull me into the game world.

 

Nostalgia Award For Best Series Revival: Satellite Reign - While it doesn't actually bear the Syndicate name, it's the Syndicate game fans have been waiting for for almost 20 years.  Far from perfect, it's nevertheless a good game that really nails the look of its dystopian cyberpunk setting.  (Note: I almost put Shadowrun: Hong Kong here, but I feel that series had already been revived in 2013)

 

Best Writing: Shadowrun: Hong Kong - While not quite up to the standard set by Dragonfall, the game nevertheless showcases the phenomenal storytelling and character writing that Harebrained Schemes possesses.  The game pulled me into the story and it made me care about its characters, even the kinda scummy ones.

Edited by Keyrock

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Hmm, I always have trouble remembering what I played in the calendar year.  I also typically don't finish a game until a year or two after I get it.  For example, Dead State and Wasteland 2 were the two games I really pushed through and finished this year.  Dragon Age Inquisition also took me awhile to finally commit to.  I haven't even finish Pillars of Eternity.

 

I'd probably give my game of the year award to Wasteland 2 Director's Cut, but that's because it is the freshest game in my mind I felt was worth finishing.  

 

Invisible Inc. and Dead State Reanimated come in tied for 2nd.   

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Game that has stuff which is good award: Witcher 3

 

Game what deserves award award: Bloodborne

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"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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Personal favorite of the year: Sunless Sea. It may be mechanically subpar, but it easily trumps even classics like Arcanum in terms of worldbuilding. Coming from an essentially unknown studio that only had a browser game to its name so far, that's amazing.

 

Biggest, sprawlingest, content-richest RPG made on a by AAA industry standards laughable budget: Pillars of Eternity. My first playthrough ate 56 hours of my life. It held my attention to the point where I powered through it despite only having half the memory listed under minimum requirements, which caused the game to crash on about every second area transition. It's really, really good.

 

Best RPG I could actually run this year: Shadowrun: Hong Kong, hands down. It's much tighter and thematically more focused than Pillars, to its credit, which is why it inches its esteemed rival out in the end.

Edited by aluminiumtrioxid

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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I mostly played Titanfall, Battlefield 4, Payday 2, GTA V, Insurgency, Dying Light, Dragonfall, Wasteland 2 and Pillars of Eternity. I am sad to report that I didn't like any of the RPGs I played this year. of all the games that are left only Dying Light is a 2015 game, so I don't have much choice but to give it the award for Game of the Year :(

I really wanted to try Mad Max and Witcher 3, but just didn't have the money. I think I would have liked Mad Max a lot.

Let's Play The Temple of Elemental Evil (Complete)
Let's Play Neverwinter Nights and Hordes of the Underdark

Let's Play Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

I was struggling to understand ths until I noticed you are from Finland. And having been educated solely by mkreku in this respect I am convinced that Finland essentially IS the wh40k universe.

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^To expand on my reply a bit, one of the things that stuck out to me was just how much detail and depth the Witcher 3 had for each sidequest.  Unlike a lot of games' sidequests, where it's just a generic fetch quest, TW3's sidequests were crafted where it was like each was its own short story.

 

If you want an example of a game with the complete opposite approach, look no further than Dragon Age Inquisition.

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"Console exclusive is such a harsh word." - Darque

"Console exclusive is two words Darque." - Nartwak (in response to Darque's observation)

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2015 Game that I loved the most: The Witcher 3. Simply put, it was the single best role-playing experience I've ever had. Five minutes into the game and I felt like I was Geralt of Rivia. I cared about the people he cared about, I hated the people he hated, I laughed, loved, and for 200 hours WAS a monster slayer with a heart of gold in a beautiful and detailed world where NPCs felt real and not like quest dependencer. As someone who prefers literary entertainment to any other forms of entertainment, I could sense the weight of an entire book series behind the story and it made the world more vibrant and alive. 10/10

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Yeah, Witcher 3 deserves (almost) all the praise it can get. I still believe it would be a better game without RPG and item progression as the game gains very little from those and not including them would give CDP space to polish up combat mechanics and perhaps give bigger differences in light/medium/heavy armors and various weapons which I would dig, but overall it's quite phenomenal.

... And all of you need to play Sunless Sea.

As someone who prefers literary entertainment to any other forms of entertainment

... Especially you. Do you like Terry Pratchett and Lovecraft? Then definitely you.
 

Best Writing: Shadowrun: Hong Kong - While not quite up to the standard set by Dragonfall, the game nevertheless showcases the phenomenal storytelling and character writing that Harebrained Schemes possesses.  The game pulled me into the story and it made me care about its characters, even the kinda scummy ones.

I'm yet to finish it, but after how much of a shift was Dragonfall to Returns (and Dragonfall is utterly brilliant), I'm a bit saddened to see that Harebrained is sticking to the formula from Dragonfall for the most part. Nonetheless, characters are great again, and your base of operation (whatever it's called this time around, I'm terrible with names) again feels like a living place - people coming and going, slowly changing, with tons of small stories to tell all across the place. It's quite magical.
 

I felt like I was Geralt of Rivia

I adore how every choice you make, it's written in such a way that it feels like the right choice for Geralt. Almost every single choice in TW3 feels like a decision Geralt of Rivia would make and almost none are out of character for him - that's writing brilliance.

Edited by Fenixp
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I don't do well with "Game of the year", I play too many games to particularly say "This was the best one". Instead, I will go for experiences and what's most "memorable".

 

Most memorable experience(s) of 2015:

 

1) Pillars of Eternity (Released)

I've only finished it once, created several new characters (solo mode to Defiance Bay, PotD, oddball comps etc.), have barely touched White March (waiting on Part 2, going to make a musketeer Cipher). Suffice to say, I remembet what I felt when playing, the excitement, the joy and a sense of constantly diving deeper for the next plot point, exploring each corner. I remember the whole game and each part, from petty side-quests to bigger revelations. Great circumstantial plays that saved my party in a pinch and character developments.

 

2) Underrail (Released)

Ever played a game that just sweeps you off your feet and suddenly you've played 20 some hours? Yep. Although I played this during Early Access, it was a great journey and knowing this was something to look out for. A bit of a barrier to get into again, just like the first time, but when I overcome that obstacle again, then gold and glory awaits on the other side.

 

3) NEO Scavenger (Released)

This was a completely new experience to me. Not the world or the Civ aesthetics per say, but what I would like to call and name an "Enlightenment System". It's such a great and learning experience, that talking about it doesn't do it any justice, you have to play it yourself. Preferably blind. And preferably without and restraining yourself from Wikias and Hint forums. This is a game you simply learn to understand while playing it (and dying, a lot).

 

4) Battle Brothers (Early Access)

What happens if you combine TES: Arena, Darklands and XCOM? Battle Brothers. If this was or is the developer(s) intention, I don't know, but regardless what he/she/they intended: it's working. Albeit repetitive at this stage, and only a meager Early Access title, great things await this gem.

 

5) Project Zomboid (Early Access)

Fantastic! One of the absolute best LARPing simulators out there. I never got into single player, neither did I get into any PvP or the like. Instead I forged bonds with real people (met some friends), invested a lot of time creating characters out of game (background story, portrait, writing etc. etc.). A fun game if you are imaginative, creative, or just like zombie survival. A great Skill system, fatigue, hunger, sanity, crafting, injury system, bordering near or close to reality.

 

----------------------

 

These are the titles I've sunk most time into, but what would a list be without some honorable mentions?

 

Honors:

1) Divinity: Original Sin

Fight with your friend about video game decision simulator! Loving the game and it's on the shelf in line of getting played. Just need to play with someone who's intelligent and tactical and doesn't take half a year to make a decision in dialogue. Anyone?

 

I also have Dragon Commander to finish first (chronology).

 

2) Wasteland & 2

I'm a gamer who wants to play and progress chronologically. So whenever I fire up Wasteland 2, I can't quite stop thinking about playing Wasteland, and when I play Wasteland I feel old and slightly confused (used to features that didn't exist back then). A difficult process to enter, as it requires a certain mindset. With that said, I do find Wasteland 2 fun and interesting,.it's just busy work because of aforementioned reasons... (remake.. inXile? :D)

Edited by Osvir
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for the longest time I thought Neo Scavenger and Underrail were the same game  :facepalm:

Let's Play The Temple of Elemental Evil (Complete)
Let's Play Neverwinter Nights and Hordes of the Underdark

Let's Play Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

I was struggling to understand ths until I noticed you are from Finland. And having been educated solely by mkreku in this respect I am convinced that Finland essentially IS the wh40k universe.

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I have to agree with a lot of people here. Witcher 3 was one of my top games for the year.  But list of top games would probably include:

 

Witcher 3

Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition

Batman: Arkham Knight - Probably because I played it on the PS4

Wasteland 2

Pillars of Eternity

 

Surprises

Victor Vran

The Talos Principle

 

The game I spent the most time with though is Grim Dawn which is technically content complete, but will have a "soft release" in the spring sometime, so that game will definitely be at the top of my list for next year.  

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