Every week I ask my friends a question about video games and I post their answers as an article for you to read. This week is the first week of the fourth month in the year, meaning that we’ve completed the first quarter of the year. With one-fourth of 2015 behind us, I asked “What is the best game this year so far?”
It’s been a slow start to the year, and there hasn’t been the apparent GOTY contender that we might typically see in the last quarter of the year. That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been some standout games this year, nor that releases we’ve seen couldn’t end up in that end of the year conversation. In fact, the handful of new releases that I’ve played certainly have potential to come up during December.
The first release of the year that stands out to me is OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood. Not only is the game an example of a sequel done right, it’s a game that is outstanding on its own. It teaches you how to play and understand what it wants from you gradually until you get to the point that you become a master. OlliOlli2 is such solid game design that provides hours and hours of opportunity to play, if only to better your personal bests. It takes the best of classic games and skateboarding games and shoves them together to create a fantastic modern release.
Next up for me is Bloodborne. Having not played any game in the Souls series, I was cautiously excited for Bloodborne. Now that I’ve spent a few weeks with it, I totally get why people love these games. I have fallen into the hell that this game is and I don’t want to escape. In many ways for me, it’s the evolution of Castlevania that we never got to play. I think that’s what is keeping me so excited for this game even after the punishment that I’ve endured. Like OlliOlli2, it teaches you what to do as you progress, making sure that no one is at fault for your failure than yourself. This too, offers so much in terms of length and challenge, only making itself more attractive and addictive the further you progress. Because the game balances risk and reward so perfectly, the excitement comes from what waits around the corner. I’ve spent a lot of time replaying sections that give me trouble, and finally completing the challenge rewards me in the most satisfactory of ways. Then, entering a new area keeps me intrigued because I don’t know what is coming next. I’m unsure if the next step I take will be my last, or if it will lead to a new opportunity. Bloodborne is certainly something that a lot of folks will be talking about this year, and I will be too.
Finally, Axiom Verge was released just in time to make it into this conversation. Having been just a few days from release, I’m not too far into the game, but already I can see the potential for this game as a Game of the Year candidate. Make no mistake, this game is Metroid. It doesn’t do much to hide from its inspiration. However, it stands apart because of the number of weapons and the glitch mechanic, both examples of how to keep the genre fresh. It’s been a long-awaited release, but now that it’s here I don’t want anything else. Much like Shovel Knight, which felt like a lost NES cartridge, Axiom Verge feels like a Metroid spinoff that we never played. As I’ve played, I keep forgetting that I’m not playing Metroid. The great part about it not being Metroid, is that I don’t know how it will end. I don’t know what weapon I will find next. I have the chance to play one of my favorite games for the first time again, not knowing how it will all turn out.
I just looked at the game releases for this year up to this point and I’ve only played Citizens of Earth. I didn’t even think it was that good but I guess it’s best by default. It’s EarthBound without the spirit of EarthBound, but it felt weird after a while.
I’ve got a list of games to play and Bloodborne is at the top of that list.
I’m going to say OlliOlli2 since it’s the only recent game I have that came out this year.
The art style and simplicity of Apotheon was very impressive, but it only kept my attention for about two hours. I’m sure I’ll go back and play it more, but I wasn’t completely immersed into the game due to its aesthetic appeal alone. Not saying the gameplay was bad, but I just would have liked more RPG or Metroidvania elements.
Mario Party 10 is awesome; any game in the series is usually a fun experience. Having a game in the series in HD makes it a little easier to play for 30 turns, but not much. However, after playing without other human players in order to try out all of the mini games, I got bored very quickly. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it more once I have a few more willing people to play with me.
Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 2 – Atlas Mugged may take the award for my favorite game released this quarter. The marriage of a Telltale story line with the world of Borderlands can only make one of my favorite combinations of all time. The game itself plays really well on my phone, which is surprising because I was having trouble playing Wolf Among Us on my PS3 without any freezing or glitching. The story is incredibly fun and the characters are developed very well, so putting the game down is pretty hard. On top of that, there is a surprising number of challenging action sequences which mix up the monotony of many other point-and-click adventure games. I played through the first episode a second time immediately after finishing it once, and I will probably do the same thing with this one.
That’s it from us. We’ll be talking more about all of these games likely for the rest of the year. At the end of each quarter, we’ll do another question of the week like this one to see where our minds are at that time. For now, let us know what your favorite games are from 2015 so far in the comments.