It has been a much better year for games than last year! Sadly, we had to trim a lot of awards out because many of us had time constraints. We have abbreviated it to special awards, platform awards, and our over top ten. Enjoy!
3. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
2. Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D
Winner – Rare Replay
Best Game Forgot Last Year Because We Are Idiots
3. Alien Isolation
2. Shovel Knight
Winner – Rogue Legacy
Most Memorable Moment
Honorable Mention – Undertale – The Sans boss fight
1. Batman: Arkham Knight Ending
2. MGSV – The Phantom Pain “Second Ending”
Winner – Bloodborne – Last boss of Bloodborne
Best 3DS Game
3. YO-KAI WATCH
2. Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D
Winner – Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
Best Vita Game
2. Persona 4: Dancing All Knight
Winner – Shovel Knight
Honorable Mention – Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward
3. Pillars of Eternity
2. Heroes of the Storm
Winner – Undertale
Best Xbox One Exclusive
2. Forza Motorsport 6
Winner – Halo 5: Guardians
Best Wii U Exclusive
3. Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash
Winner – Super Mario Maker
Best PS4 Exclusive
3. Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance
2. Until Dawn
Winner – Bloodborne
Platform of the Year
3. PlayStation 4
Winner – Xbox One
Overall Top Ten
Honorable Mention – Ori and the Blind Forest
10. Rocket League – Rocket League takes the basics of soccer, and throws in hyper-fast-rocket-afterburner cars on a mega field with a huge soccer ball. The result is one of the best, most hyped multiplayer experiences of the entire year. The speed of the rocket cars makes the game feel very fast paced, frantic, and even destructive, but still has the two most hyped up things about soccer, teamwork, and scoring goals. Basically, Rocket League can be summed up in this one video clip.
9. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate – This is Monster Hunter, you hunt monsters, big monsters, with big weapons, in big spaces! Need some help? Have your friends bring their heavy weaponry! Feel like trying a different play style? Various weapon types to choose from! Want to look like a badass? There are plenty of customization options! Want to feel like a badass? Slay that giant monster! Have a Nintendo 3DS? Have a friend teach you this game, and reap the benefits.
8. Halo 5: Guardians – Halo 5 is 343 Industries’ second attempt at making a Halo game to match the greatness of the old Bungie games, and they succeed in a lot of ways. This is easily the best looking Halo game around. There are huge set pieces that aren’t in any other Halo game, great co-op, and, while not all of them are fully fleshed out, the campaign has some fantastic ideas on where to take Halo. However the real star of the show is the multiplayer. With perfectly balanced weapons and maps of Arena, the large scale Warzone fights, and easily the most satisfying shooting in any Halo game, Halo 5 lives up to the legacy of past games and in some ways surpasses it.
7. Super Mario Maker – It is hard to do new and fresh things with a character that just had his 30th birthday this year. With Super Mario Maker Nintendo found a way, by giving the fans the power to easily create almost anything they could think of in the engine of Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, or New Super Mario Bros. The tools are easily the best creation tools in any game ever, largely thanks to the Wii U’s touch screen and clever tutorials. The awesome ideas since launch have been endless from recreations of original Zelda dungeons, to weird music levels, and then just the levels from hell that should be considered cruel and unusual. Super Mario Maker is a gift that keeps on giving.
6. Batman: Arkham Knight – Batman: Arkham Knight is not just the best Batman game ever made, it is the best superhero game ever made. With nearly unmatched fantastic visuals, superb combat and stealth sections, and the mind-blowing Batmobile, no game has ever made you feel this much like Batman. It also has one of the best surprise twists of the year.
5. Heroes of Storm – Heroes of the Storm is what happens when you realize that not everyone out there likes MOBAs that are slow, complicated, and difficult. The result is Heroes of the Storm a game that is faster, easier to learn, and more action oriented than most MOBAs. Heroes also sets itself apart thanks to having more variety, better visuals, and having a more light-hearted tone than other games in the genre. With other members of our staff playing this game weekly and sometimes nightly, Heroes of the Storm is a game that is highly compelling to return to.
4. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is not the best story in the Metal Gear franchise, but is easily the best playing game in the franchise. You have more options in one mission of MGS5 than you do some entire games. Do you want to take the stealth route with tranquilizer guns with D-dog scout the area, or do you send in the chopper and go gun down the whole camp? Do you want to blow up the radio tower cutting off the enemy’s access to back up, or would you rather do a combo of shooting and stealth playing it by whatever is best for the situation. No single strategy will prevail because the enemies start to adjust to the way you do things. When you are not infiltrating places, you have Mother Base, where you build your army and research and develop weapons, armor, and security. MGS5 is filled with varied interconnecting systems to make sure you are constantly progressing and having to apply different tactics to different scenarios. It’s so deep you could play for weeks and not find out every little detail.
3. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – On paper, the Witcher 3 has all the standard equipment a game of its type would have, but the way the game does it is near tops for the genre. You have a large open world that is outright beautiful and filled with functional human beings and stunning communities. You have a large load of sidequests, with enough significant plotlines to feel like the world moves around the player. You make many decisions that are not always a clear right-or-wrong. You have relatively simple RPG action combat that needs to be adapted to enemies to survive. You have an adventure of a story where sidequests will aid you in the coming battles. What we have is The Witcher 3, a Western Role-Playing Game, one of the best western role-playing games.
2. Bloodborne – It is truly rare that you find a game that is a complete package like Bloodborne. It’s challenging, but never overly difficult. The story is fantastic, but rarely told through exposition. It is all told through the world itself such as text on items, gameplay mechanics, and side quests that fully flesh out the world. It may just be the only game to do Lovecraftian horror correctly. There is the atmosphere, which is always tense and oppressive, like at any moment you could meet your end. Then you have the combat which is unrelentingly fast, fun, and deep thanks to all the different types of weapons with multiple modes. Finally killing bosses in Bloodborne is some of the greatest feelings of accomplishment one can ever get in gaming for 2015.
Game of the Year – Undertale – Undertale snuck up and surprised just about every gamer in the community this year coming from one individual with a message, and a story to tell. Heavily influenced by Earthbound, this game brings you into an underground community full of quirky, hilarious, and lively characters with tons of personality. Undertale has one of the best and most humanizing stories to come out within the last ten years, let alone just this year. There are so many moving, poignant, and hilarious moments that, by the end of the game, will leave an incredible and lasting impact. Every single action in the game will influence your outcome; the game goes so far as to remember past playthroughs which is something essentially no other game has done. It heavily encourages pacifism as you can go through the entire game without making a single kill. It is also riddled with secrets, and months after its release new things still continue to be found. The game play is unique in its combat system and it’s a brilliant medley of turn based and live action combat that never seems boring and changes with nearly every single boss fight. Undertale’s lo-fi style sound track brings you some unique and incredibly catchy tunes, and the aesthetic, though remarkably simplistic, can be absolutely gorgeous in moments. All these things and more make Undertale our Game of the Year for 2015.