Pandamanana’s Video Game Awards for 2015

 

heroes-storm12015 was a big year for me: I started a new job as a writer, continued to write blog posts about video games, and even got invited to write for MMOS.com. With Indivisible just recently surpassing its funding goal of $1.5 million and Psychonauts 2 starting their funding campaign, it seems like gaming is on the up and up as well. Come with me as I assign meaningless accolades to events and games that have graced our industry throughout these last 365 days.

Top 5 Games I Wish I had Played

  • Splatoon
    • I was originally working at a local Gamestop when Splatoon was announced and marketed. The fact that this game took the gaming industry by storm took me by surprise. There’s something about the combination of a competitive FPS with a fun and cute atmosphere that drew me in─not enough to buy a Wii-U, mind you, but enough to want to play the game for a year.
  • Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late
    • I love fighting games. I’ve tried just about every fighter that’s been released since I got into them back in 2008. One of my favorites was Melty Blood, but the developer’s second title, Under Night In-Birth, comes in a close second. Fighters are all about the characters in them and UNieL has some of the most interesting anime-inspired characters I’ve ever seen. They’re surprisingly restrained for a Japanese fighting game, but each have their own unique aesthetic and gameplay style that keeps me interested in the game despite not having played it.
  • Axiom Verge
    • Metroidvanias are one of my favorite genres, from the DS Castlevanias to Super Metroid. Axiom Verge seems like a giant love letter to the classics with a touch of indie gaming charm. The fact that I haven’t played Axiom is astounding to me, but we live in a world where every PC gamer with an average busy life has a backlog of games that they want to play. I’ve made my decisions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t end up playing Axiom Verge eventually.
  • Undertale
    • Talk about a game that took the gaming industry by storm. This little gem confuses and intrigues me, leaving me with very little room for deciding whether or not to play it. I think I’m going to have to to keep up with modern gaming culture awareness, but I also predict that I’ll have a blast doing it, so it’s not that big of a deal.
  • Bloodborne
    • Dark souls meets Van Hellsing plus Cthulu mythos equals an amazing game. Playstation exclusivity shoots all of that potential in the foot, however, making me feel more and more like I’ll have to skip this entry in the series to save myself $400. That’s not normally a good look, but I’ve already devoured as much information on the game as I can, so I may not have to play it at this point.

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Top 5 Games I Played in 2015

  • Battle Fantasia – Revised Edition –
    • Everyone collectively lost their shit (in a bad way) when Battle Fantasia was released on steam. Not being Guilty Gear XRD is apparently a sin worth burning a game at the stake, regardless of its actual quality. While not being Guilty Gear XRD, Battle Fantasia does delivers a fantastic fighting game experience with gorgeous visuals and tight gameplay mechanics. I’m a training monster at heart, and Battle Fantasia tickled that itch perfectly, despite its sub par online play.
  • Dark Souls 2
    • Yea, it may not be Dark Souls 1, but what the hell is these days? Dark Souls 1 was a miracle blessed upon by the mystical powers of From Software, and it would be silly to expect the company to catch lightning in the bottle twice in a row. Luckily, the sequel succeeds in replicating some of the same feelings from Dark Souls 1 while allowing the player to explore an entirely new world.
  • Far Cry 4
    • Once again, my first introduction to Far Cry 4 was through the eyes of a jaded PC gamer working at a Gamestop. I would not normally buy FC4 for myself, but I received it for free with the purchase of my new graphics card, so I had to give it a try. To my surprise, Far Cry 4 is actually very fun! It’s stupid fun, sure, but I still find myself logging in and running around the Himalayas with my assault rifle.
  • Street Fighter V
    • It seems like Capcom is learning a lot about why Street Fighter 3: Third Strike is one of the most beloved entries in their flagship series. I was looking for unique interpretations of old school characters alongside brand new fighters. Besides F.A.N.G, all of the new characters and alterations to older ones make me want to play them in training mode for a year. SFV is also an attempt to bring the competitive barrier to entry of SF4 down to zero, which gives me hopes that I’ll be able to finally play a Street Fighter game on a competitive level with my local scene.
  • Grand Theft Auto 5
    • The GTA series has always been incredibly fun, but none of the entries has felt so much like satire as GTA V. This isn’t just the best GTA in terms of gameplay, it’s also the best piece of satirical critique of American culture in the last 5 years.

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Top 5 Least Hype Games Released in 2015

  • Star Wars Battlefront
    • I loved Battlefront as a kid for its mindless fun and movie tin-ins, but that doesn’t pass for me nowadays. I’m not excited at all about this game at all.
  • Codename S.T.E.A.M.
    • I think the best way to make a game seem really stupid is to ask someone who doesn’t know anything about it to pitch it to the brain-dead gamers that shop at Gamestop. “This game is a cool adventure where you fight alongside Abraham Franklin and Huckleberry Fin!” Why the hell is that a selling point? Why are they romanticizing these icons of American history that is so heavily tied to slavery? God this game was so dumb.
  • Dying Light
    • Zombies are big now, right? Good… :/
  • Mortal Kombat X
    • I usually don’t get caught up in gaming controversies, but it starts to get personal when a company’s bullshit-ery gets in the way of me enjoying a great game. Mortal Kombat X’s PC port caused such a shitstorm that I was forced to shelve the game alongside Bloodborne as games that I’ll never play because they can only be played on the Playstation 4.
  • Five Nights At Freddy’s 4
    • I own the first FNAF, but it’s such a one-note joke that I’m genuinely surprised that more games were released. Good on the developer, who I hear is fairly pure of heart, but that doesn’t mean I’m obliged to care about the rest of his games.

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Top 5 Worst Events in 2015

  • Failures In Free-to-play
    • 2015 was the year that the Free to Play bubble burst. Bandai Namco’s experiments in F2P have shut down, EA’s Dawngate (which is one of my favorite new entries in the AoS genre) didn’t reach projected numbers, the gaming industry has realized that League is League, and no one else will be as popular as League by doing exactly what it did already.
  • The Death of Satoru Iwata
    • I never knew Satoru Iwata well, but his face should be very familiar to anyone who plays games. Gaming is a very young industry, and it seems that Iwata is the first true legend of the art that has passed away way before his time. RIP Iwata.
  • The Death of Joystiq
    • Gaming journalism can be a tricky topic, but no matter what I think about modern best practices, it always sucks when news outlets crumble and good writers lose their jobs.
  • The Fall of Konami
    • Konami sucks… that’s about it.
  • PC Ports of Death
    • Mortal Kombat X, Batman Arkham Knight, et al sucked nards on PC. The community has finally started fighting back against developers that think that PC gaming is the realm where shitty ports of console games go to die.

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Top 5 Games Released in 2015

  • Heroes of the Storm
    • After more than ten years playing AoS/ARTS/MOBAs, I was very surprised to be genuinely excited for a new entry in the genre. HOTS takes all the best parts of games like DOTA, Tides of Blood, and AOTZ, and strips away all of the indie development fluff, creating an experience that is uniquely Blizzard. I didn’t expect a giant step forward for game design so soon after the genre’s jump into mainstream popularity, but Blizzard delivered.
  • Fallout 4
    • I only really bought Fallout 4 to keep my mind off losing one of my best friends, but my interest has lasted past my grieving period. It’s a faithful reinterpretation of what makes Fallout great in the fantastic Commonwealth that I currently reside in.
  • Rocket League
    • Here’s the pitch: soccer with rocket-propelled cars. Sold. Done and done.
  • Odallus: The Dark Call
    • Unlike Axiom Verge, I was immediately drawn to Odallus. I actually thought it was a classic NES title that I didn’t know about before realizing that it was released in 2015. It’s a great interpretation of the Castlevania formula and a great example of retro-esque done right.
  • Skullgirls: 2nd Encore
    • Skullgirls is one of the best stories in gaming industry success from the past 5 years. 2nd Encore is the final version of the game, with all of the new crowd-funded characters and stages, as well as a plethora of gameplay fixes that have turned Skullgirls into one of the most solid fighting game experiences.

That’s it for me. 2015 has been very interesting, but I’m looking forward to 2016 like no other year. I hope everyone has a great holiday season and a fun New Years! Thanks for reading.

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