2015 was another good year for video games for me and I played a variety of them ranging from indie games (a rarity for myself) to big blockbuster hits and from JRPGS to an unique spin on the first person shooter genre. Many of these games I’ll likely play again down the road but for now lets dive in!
Games I played in 2015
3DS: Link Between Worlds, Phoenix Wright-Dual Destinies, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, Majora’s Mask
DS: Apollo Justice (started), Hotel Dusk: Room 212 (started) Fossil Fighters (gave up on)
PS2: Dragonquest 8
PS3: South Park: Stick of Truth
Wii U: Mario Maker, Splatoon, Xenoblade Chronicles X
PC Games: Her Story, Undertale, Huniepop, Tales from the Borderlands, Wolf Among Us, Star Wars: KotOR
Biggest Timesink: Dragonquest 8
So I bought this game on a whim at my local video game store shortly before my internship last summer. With no internet in the residence building, my primary entertainment indoors was either Battlestar Galatica and Dragonquest 8. The funny thing was that I was planning on playing multiple games but this game was so big and I had sank so much time on it (last check was well above 70 hours) that not only was it the only game I played, even King Trode scolded me for lollygagging. But I can’t help it! The minigames, the sidequests, and those damn Minimedals took up a lot of my time. The game was fun (even if the voice acting was a bit hokey), challenging, and entertaining all around.
Favorite Indie Game: Undertale
At initial glance, Undertale appears to be another SNES-style RPG with the only thing going for it a unique combat system. However, this is definitely not the case as the game will make you question many standard video game tropes and what it means to be the protagonist of your story. These ideas were further enhanced for myself as I had just played Dragonquest VIII, a fairly typical RPG, which adhered strictly to these tropes. The characters were stellar, the music was top notch, and the story was a wild ride, definitely check it out.
Biggest Guilty Pleasure: Huniepop
Okay, just hear me out; I initially bought this game because I saw YouTube-star Markiplier enjoying the hell out of it. From what I saw, it was a crude, raunchy, dating-sim parody that you play for laughs. What I got was not only a, dare I say, strategic game where you have to plan your gifts and puzzle actions, but a tongue-in-cheek look at how video games clumsily handle women characters. Is the game’s humor and overall appeal satirical or intentional? You’ll be the judge of that. Who knows, I might even dedicate an article to this game on my blog but for now, let’s just let it be.
Best Moment: The Fart Battle in South Park: Stick of Truth
God this game. Unsurprisingly, this game was so damn funny and I understand why people like it so much. There were so many great moments but the one that I have to go for is the epic Fart Battle I had against Cartman. When this happened, I was simultaneously laughing my ass off while pressing the button as fast as I could. This went on for at least five minutes and in the end I couldn’t make it but god damn was that great.
Worst Line Delivery: The Character Nikki Ann-Marie in Huniepop
In Huniepop, you can date a variety of girls that fit the standard tropes in anime, video games, and so forth. One of those girls, is the geeky introvert, Nikki Ann-Marie. Rather than trying to pass her off as aloof but still have some sense of humor, kindness, and passion, Nikki’s voice actress instead portrays her as a character whose constantly bored. It’s kind of annoying after awhile as Nikki has the potential to be as memorable as some of the other girls. I think what really seals it for me though is Nikki’s reaction towards your gifts comes off as feign interest rather than genuine intrigue and that’s too bad.
Best Supporting Cast: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Ah KotOR, although I’ve had my fair share of amazing characters, especially in Undertale and Tales from the Borderlands, KotOR takes the cake. You can’t help but love your ragtag team even if Carth is a wee bit of a nuisance with his “Carth wants to talk about something/no he actually doesn’t.” What I like about my crew is that there’s always a situation for one of them even if I use some more than others. Plus they got great chemistry!
Favorite Antagonist: Handsome Jack from Tales from the Borderlands
Flowey is evil because he has no soul, the Crooked Man does what he does to improve fable lives, and Dhoulmagus wants to resurrect the greatest evil of all time. These are all noteworthy antagonists but the one to take the cake is Handsome Jack. Although we see Handsome Jack prominently in Borderlands 2, the biggest change here is Rhys. Now, Jack can directly interact with you and it’s awesome. How far should you trust him? He’s a smooth talker with bouts of rage and lots of charisma. Jack dramatically affects Rhys’ storyline and makes him change for the better. Jack is insane, conniving, and hilarious and I love every bit of it.
Surprise Hit: The Wolf Among Us (tWAU) and Her Story
So I bought tWAU on a Steam sale around March, 2015 as I always wanted to try out a TellTale game but without paying full price for a game. After checking a few reviews online, I thought this looked good and dove into it. Wow, that’s all I have to say about that. I kept coming back again and again to play this game. Many times, I would start and end each chapter in almost one sitting. TellTale really told an immersive story that made you think about your decisions. Bigby is a great protagonist whose personality can range from angry law enforcer to a “jerk with a heart of gold” depending on how you play him. This game was great and I’m sad there’s not a sequel to it yet.
Her Story is another game that took me by surprise. I actually played it fairly late in the year (December) after I first heard about it in the Video Game Awards. Going into the game, the only thing I knew about it was the tagline “A Video Game About a Woman Talking to the Police.” Mary actually played this game with me and she was my note taker. We went back and forth what to look up next and she would write down many different dates and search terms to help us organize the story in our head. If you want a good detective game with no hand-holding, go for this one!
Favorite Game I played: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
In 2015, I sunk a lot of time into several games, especially when I was interning at Fossil Butte. Even after I turned off the TV, I still looked forward to playing these games again whether it was because of their comedic value (South Park), story (Wolf Among Us), characters (Undertale), or immersive gameplay (Splatoon+South Park). It’s quite hard to pick which is the overall favorite new game I played in 2015 cause a lot of the games were good for their own reasons. However, if I had to pick my favorite it would be Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic just edging out the Legend of Zelda: A Link between Worlds. Both of these games were great RPGs that gave you a large degree of choice in progressing the narrative. But while a Link Between Worlds basically retold a Link to the Past, KotOR told a whole new story using the Star Wars background. So many characters were good and I wish I got to know more about them like Canderous, HK-47, and Jolee. The morality scale, the missions, and the planets were so well done. It’s too bad I got spoiled for the game or else it would have ranked even higher in my love for it. After playing this game, I really wanted to try out Mass Effect so that may be for another day but still, this game was amazing and definitely my favorite game I played in 2015.