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It’s been an incredible year for gaming with major releases like Fallout 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. Unfortunately for survival horror fans everywhere (including me), the genre still struggles to make an epic comeback, but there were some promising titles released this year. When it comes to gaming, I’m a bit of a different gamer. I love platformers, games with in-depth and emotional narratives and sometimes the occasional bro-down in a first-person shooter. Games that had these elements made it onto my top 10 list of video games for 2015.
10. Rayman AdventuresI bet you weren’t expecting to see a mobile game on this list. When I first downloaded Rayman Adventures for free on my iPhone, I really thought it was going to be another scheme to get me to buy items in-game. Or, even worse, get me to buy my way further into the game like Candy Crush or the Mean Girls narrative adventure game. But, I thought I’d try it. Rayman Adventures is a satisfying mobile platformer with all of the colorful environments and magically-composed music similar to the original Rayman games. And the controls don’t even trip me up! You do have the option of buying more diamonds and potions to make your eggs grow faster, etc., but I collect so many diamonds from completing levels anyway, I don’t really need to purchase anything. The game acts like an endless runner, but you can change directions (when you’re not getting tossed around by raging waters) to reach other areas. It’s probably the best platformer I’ve ever played on mobile.
9. Mortal Kombat XWhen Mortal Kombat X was released, I was up past midnight and just figured I’d run to Target to buy it. I’ve got this thing about fighting games and have invested in others like the Street Fighter and Soulcaliber franchise. The best part about Mortal Kombat X is it’s not just a fighting game, it has a pretty in-depth storyline. Plus, the gore is fantastic. It’s amazing to see the journey Mortal Kombat has taken from its arcade days; after pushing out a few embarrassing films, the game still holds its own today. The best part about the new Mortal Kombat game, and the reason it’s on my list, is because it’s still the same Mortal Kombat game everyone has come to know and love. There are tons of references and throwbacks to earlier games; from the echoing “Finish him!” to signature moves. It’s always reassuring to know a developer understands what their audience wants.
8. Rocket LeagueRocket League didn’t appeal to me at first, but once I started playing it, I was addicted. It’s so simple yet so complicated. Get the ball into the net, but maneuver your car in a way that will crash other players while scoring. What makes Rocket League so amazing is how quickly people realized this game wasn’t just a soccer game. It was like FIFA and Twisted Metal got together, had a baby, and out came Rocket League. I’d like to see some more explosive gameplay implemented into the game, though, like weapons to use against the other team. That would add to the challenge and make it even more fun. The outrageous ruckus you can cause in this game of explosive car-soccer is one that had to make my end of the year list.
7. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom PainI had never played a Metal Gear Solid game before picking this one up—and I’m not sure why. Kojima has done an amazing job at telling the twisted story within Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, despite the number of scrolling credit scenes. At some point you can almost relate to Snake’s character and his feelings toward Quiet. It definitely had to make my top ten this year.
6. Fallout 4I didn’t buy into the hype at first, I really didn’t. But I had never played a Fallout game before and really wanted to experience this massive, apocalyptic open-world. In Fallout 4, you can literally go anywhere. Explore everything. You can even change clothes and play with your dog. It’s almost as fun as exploring a real abandoned location in real life, thinking about the people who used to live there and what their lives were like. I can definitely understand why some people lost themselves in this game. One of my friends didn’t put it down for almost 48 hours straight. Despite all of the bugs people mentioned (which I never experienced), and the rushed release, we still got a solid, enjoyable game.
5. Lovers In A Dangerous SpacetimeIf you have a boyfriend or girlfriend who loves to game, you need to play this with them. I first saw this game while I was at the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) in the Indie Game setup. You and a partner work together to man a giant ship with four weapons. Weapons, shields and the ship can be upgraded to fight against alien creatures. You and your partner travel through different worlds, rescuing kidnapped space-bunnies and experience different obstacles in each world you visit. It’s one of the most entertaining indie games I’ve played all year.
4. Fatal Frame: Maiden Of Black WaterI’ve been a longtime fan of the Fatal Frame games, since their early release on PlayStation 2. The true fear that you feel when you’re faced with an angry spirit through the lens of a camera is truly terrifying—but you have to play the game right. That means pitch dark, no lights, volume up. But with the newest installment of the Fatal Frame series, the Wii U gamepad becomes your camera and it’s a whole different experience. I was spinning around in my living room looking at the haunting environment around me until I literally came face-to-face with a ghost. The game was more immersive than any other Fatal Frame game I have ever played.
3. Star Wars: BattlefrontSurprisingly, I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, but I also don’t dislike the franchise either. I’m on more of a neutral standpoint. But, there’s one particular aspect I really enjoy about the Star Wars: Battlefront game. The multiplayer game mode, Fighter Squadron, lets you dogfight against other players and I can’t get enough of it. There are no other weapons except the ones on your ship and no ship upgrades, everyone is equal. If you’re lucky, you can snag a power-up on the ground to take control of the Millennium Falcon or Slave 1. But other than that, it’s a fight to the death, making the game cripplingly addictive and so hard to put down. One more game, just one more game.
2. Until DawnI’ve been watching this game for a long time and waiting impatiently for its release. I’m a huge slasher fan when it comes to horror movies and grew up watching Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger. Until Dawn was supposed to be the epitome of horror slasher films in the style of a video game—and a pretty good one too. The game is driven entirely by the player’s decisions and it’s not easy to keep everyone alive. It’s like watching a slasher film, but getting the power to control who lives and who dies. The story elements, the incredible graphics that showcase the actors’ and actresses’ facial movements while speaking, and the nostalgic homage to horror movies throughout time, have convinced me to make this number two on my list.
1. Life Is StrangeThis game takes my number one spot for a few reasons. When it comes to gaming, I am all about story. I will rave on and on about the story elements in Beyond: Two Souls until I’m blue in the face. But Life Is Strange’s story was so engrossing, the time waiting between episodes was almost unbearable. It was downright genius. The character development throughout the game really gripped the essence of today’s teenager, down to the very lingo of the main characters, Max and Chloe. The changes seen in characters you thought were villains blew my mind. In Life Is Strange, each event is directly affected by your decisions and at the end you’re left with a very hard, very emotional decision. I held back tears. You play this game and grow so close to the characters and their lives, it’s hard to see it come to an end. Even if they do come out with a sequel, it won’t have these characters in it. They’ll have to invent some characters equally as likable and a story just as gripping. I knew this was my number one pick the moment I started playing the game. I just knew.