Top 10: Best Games I Played in 2015

Tales from the Borderlands 01

As a personal way of bringing 2015 to a close, I’m sharing a list with the best games I’ve played this year. Note that this isn’t tour typical “Best Game of the Year” list, since most of the titles featured here didn’t even come out in 2015. Instead, I’m sharing the ten games I’ve played in 2015 that left a mark on me. Of course, this is a personal list and most of you will disagree with some of the entries below which is why I encourage you to share your own list with some personal favorites of 2015 in the comments below.

10. Spec Ops: The Line

“Spec Ops: The Line is a thought-provoking and memorable title that’s worth playing, if only to see its narrative.”

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The third-person shooter where shooting in third-person mattered the least. Spec Ops: The Line is all about a thought-provoking narrative that makes you question all the decisions you make. It does have some problems, mainly the inclusion of an unremarkable multiplayer that feels completely unnecessary, but if you’re looking for a shooter that tries to convey a profound message using mundane gameplay, Spec Ops: The Line won’t disappoint.

9. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

“Not only is Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions the dual-stick shooter we know and love, but the game incorporates enough features to keep you entertained for a long time.”

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Both Geometry Wars and Geometry Wars 2 were beloved arcade games, so it’s understandable that a lot of people were incredulous about this third entry in the series. Ultimately, it doesn’t surpass its predecessors, but Dimensions introduces some new ideas that make the Geometry Wars experience fresh and entertaining again. Innovations come in the form of new geometrical-shaped levels, but the responsive controls, entertaining classic modes and minimalist visuals are still here.

8. L.A. Noire

“L.A. Noire is one of the best graphic adventure games in recent memory and one that sets a new standard for the genre.”

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For a while, I thought that the future of point-and-click adventure games was going to be something like Telltale’s The Walking Dead, but when L.A. Noire came out, it made me rethink everything I knew (or thought I knew) about the genre. Despite looking like a Grand Theft Auto clone, L.A. Noire has more in common with classic adventure games. It also brings some new elements to the genre in the form a a fantastic-looking motion capture technology, an episodic structure and a refreshing gameplay where you interrogate suspects and accuse them of a crime. Like most graphic adventures, L.A. Noire isn’t for everybody, but if you’re into it, you owe it to yourself to check out this game.

7. Tales from the Borderlands

“Tales from the Borderlands is a terrific title that will satisfy both fans of Telltale-style games and Borderlands.”

Tales from the Borderlands

In a way, I feel like developer Telltale Games is oversaturaing the market with point-and-click adventure games and what was once novel and fresh, soon felt boring and repetitive. That said, Tales from the Borderlands made me fall in love with that style of games all over again. How did that happen? The charming characters, colorful visuals, fantastic licensed songs that were used as part of the introduction of each episode and laugh-out-loud sense of humor made sure that I was excited for a Telltale series all over again.

6. Final Fantasy VII

“Final Fantasy VII is still one of the best JRPGs of all the time and a timeless classic that’s worth playing to this day.”

Final Fantasy VII Gameplay

I have a long history with Final Fantasy VII, but 2015 was the year where I finally played the game in its entirety. Of course, I knew what I was going to encounter beforehand and while there weren’t that many surprises in terms of story, I enjoyed going back to this classic JRPG from the PlayStation era and fall in love with Midgar, the characters, the ATB combat and the fantastic cutscenes all over again. It remains to be seen what Square Enix will do with its upcoming Remake, but for now, I’m glad I went back to the source material.

5. Rock Band Blitz

“If you wanted more reasons to hate your Facebook friends, Rock Band Blitz will give you plenty, as well as a social experience that’s fun to play if you’ve been buying DLC for years.”

Although I didn’t end up playing against Facebook friends as much as I had anticipated, checking out all that DLC that’s installed on my Xbox 360 hard drive, as well as the content that comes as part of this downloadable game, was a ton of fun. I have a soft spot for rhythm games and Harmonix has been making some smart decisions with its Rock Band series and Blitz is simply one of my favorite arcade games that I’m constantly going back to. If you have dozens of DLC songs and you want to play something in a few minutes, Rock Band Blitz is your game.

4. Green Day: Rock Band

“Although Green Day: Rock Band won’t make you an instant fan of the Oakland-based punk trio, those who already enjoy their music will have a blast with this rhythm game.”

I don’t care that much about The Beatles, but make a Rock Band game about Green Day and you have my money. The punk rock trio is one of my favorite bands and while the discussion if this band deserves a game of their own, especially after the release of The Beatles Rock Band, is a discussion for another day, I enjoyed every moment of this game. It isn’t without some issues: the crowd looks terrible, the visual aspect doesn’t really represent the band, some of my favorite songs weren’t included and the censored lyrics don’t make a lot of sense in a game where there’s a lot of political outcry. Nevertheless, Green Day: Rock Band is the best band-oriented rhythm game I could have asked for. Thanks Harmonix.

3. BioShock Infinite

“BioShock Infinite represents an achievement for the medium and no one should miss that.”

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I know I’m in the minority here, but I absolutely adored BioShock Infinite and everything this game is trying to make even if it doesn’t pan out. In fact, I liked this game so much that I can’t decide if I like Infinite or the original BioShock more. But controversial opinions aside, BioShock Infinite is a modern masterpiece that anyone should experience. This first-person shooter introduces some fundamental changes to the gameplay, it never shies away from serious topics, the ending is amazing and the musical score is simply outstanding. I would say that this is such a brilliant title that pushes the genre and the medium forward in a way that few shooters have pushed before.

2. Tomb Raider

“Tomb Raider is an exhilarating orchestra of bombastic setpieces, flashy explosions and gruesome head-shots and despite its clichés and contrived story, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy every single moment of this game.”

Tomb Raider is the best reboot anyone could have asked for. Fans will notice that it captures the essence of the series and newcomers will find a bombastic experience that hard to get away from. I’ve never been a fan of the PlayStation classics, but I found this reboot to be a fantastic introduction to the series, since the flashy setpieces, and explosive gameplay make up for all the setbacks (such as the contrived story and characters.) Interestingly, the part where you raid tombs is completely secondary to the experience to the extent where you can focus on the main path and completely ignore it. Despite its minor problems, Tomb Raider is one of my favorite action games.

1. Dark Souls

“From Software’s Dark Souls is a modern masterpiece that breathes new life into the action RPG genre.”

I didn’t know what to expect from From Software’s Dark Souls. After all, this action-RPG was covered extensively by so many publications and people had so much to say about the game that I didn’t know if I was going to like it or not. But after the first few hours, I was hooked. It’s easy to go to this game and say that it’s extremely difficult. But I prefer talking about it as a cohesive experience that allows you to have some incredible adventures that will certainly differ from that of other players. And anyone who played this game definitely has some stories to tell. We’ve all felt that intoxicating sense of jubilation when defeating a boss after several attempts and that’s one of those virtual moments that will remain in my mind forever.