So as 2016 downs a bottle of Viagra and prepares to bugger us as hard as last year did, I realise I can’t get away with not doing what everybody else is doing: a comprehensive list of my Top Ten Games Of 2015. Luckily, there were some stand-outs in this otherwise incredibly boring and forgettable year, so let’s begin by getting down and dirty with a dreary but downright doggedly deserving display, demonstrably drab yet damnably difficult and delightfully daring.
10. Darkest Dungeon: “Though in a constant state of technical flux and still in need of refinement, the solid core of Darkest Dungeon is something that stays the same. Bleak, beautiful and superbly narrated, Darkest Dungeon drips with a palpable atmosphere.”
9. Grand Theft Auto V For The PC: “For a while I struggled to find what it was that had made this game so popular, and then I found it – the joy that comes of screwing around with friends in a world so dripping with potential chaos. That’s something it does incredibly well.”
8. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: “A silly, boring script and an ending that screeches to a halt half an hour too early can’t detract from some very organic stealth mechanics and a nice sense of freedom. Also, pop songs from the eighties – you can’t go wrong with those.”
7. Sunless Sea: “It’s slow enough that it’s almost a deal-breaker, but then turns around and slaps you with a world so wonderfully creative that you’ll be unable to stop exploring until you’ve seen all of the perilous Unterzee. All hail the terrible might of the Dawn Machine!”
6. Dark Souls II: Scholar Of The First Sin: “Could it ever be as good as the original Dark Souls? Probably not. Does it still shine as a game anyway? You better believe it.”
5. Elite: Dangerous: “Yes, it came out late last year, but ED only started to become the game it should’ve been recently, as constant patches are ever added to make it bigger, better and more fun. The new CQC multiplayer mode is like fighting a battle from a Star Wars movie, and the rest is filled with a hundred little joys. This game is why I sit drooling for the release of the Oculus Rift.”
4. Fallout 4: “Yes, 4 is fourth. Some claim that Fallout has lost its way a little and in some respects I think they’re right, but I still found myself eating it up regardless. What it’s lost in narrative focus it nearly makes up for with tighter mechanics and a richer world than the previous ones. Maybe it falls short in comparison to the old guard, but compared to most of the games this year, it’s a powerhouse.”
3. Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: “Expect a review for this one soon, though I’ll confess that after the boring mess that was the first Witcher game, I didn’t have high hopes for Wild Hunt. But powerful character arcs, a rich, tangible atmosphere, a variety of fun missions and a surprisingly engaging core theme of “supernatural pest control” makes Witcher 3 one of the best fantasy games in a long time.”
2. Tales From The Borderlands: “Telltale returns to form with a story filled with lovable characters and mountains of ridiculous excitement, proving that they can make us laugh as well as cry. One of their strongest creations and a shining star in the growing genre of interactive narrative.”
1. Undertale: “Holy cow. Undertale reminds me of why I love video games, of the moments where everything comes together perfectly and I find myself blown away. And yet it’s so outside the box that I can barely describe it – and I’m not sure I should try. Those of you who haven’t played it should come to it fresh, because it’s totally worth it and will stay with you forever. An amazing soundtrack, an unbeatable story and more heart than anything I’ve seen in ages. My Game Of The Year by a country mile.”
Happy New Year to all of you out there! I never expected that people would enjoy this site as much as they say they do, and I hope that you’ll all have as much fun reading these articles as I do writing them.
Anyway, lovely to see you. Mwah, mwah, party streamers, champagne corks, etc. Now let’s all give up on our resolutions and get back into those terribly unhealthy habits again. Cheers!