Between humongous games like Fallout 4 and mobile gems like Lara Croft GO, it’s been a great year for gaming.
I usually shy away from creating “best” lists for recent titles, because it’s easy to get overly excited about that-game-you-just-played and think it’s the best thing ever. New things always seem shiny, but shiny doesn’t last. Then you start regretting that you ever recommended that game that was just a fad, or that didn’t quite withstand the test of time.
Still, I found a few games this year particularly engaging for a variety of reasons, and they deserve some recognition even though they’re still new! These are five of my favorites and why I found them so interesting.
5. Life is Strange
What’s remarkable to me about Life is Strange is that it’s a teenage drama that I actually like. Normally, I shy away from teen movies and shows, because I prefer other themes as I get older. But Life is Strange features a believable, introverted teen protagonist with the incredible ability to rewind time. It’s just what I wanted from developer Dontnod Entertainment after their game Remember Me. Though I’m still playing through it, so far they have done a fantastic job of incorporating the game mechanic into a compelling story that tackles big themes — like bullying, violence, and suicide — with unforgettable characters.
4. Her Story
Her Story is an engaging experiment in storytelling through video games. Your only interaction with the game is through an old-fashioned computer screen, as you use keywords to search for snippets of police interviews. Unraveling the story as you go, you try to solve a murder case. I wrote more about it here and highly recommend the two- or three-hour game if you have a free evening!
3. Gears of War Ultimate Edition
I played Gears of War before, but I never loved it like I did this year. When the Ultimate Edition was released on Xbox One, I played co-op with my boyfriend and just fell in love with this series. The co-op experience is perfected in these games, and cover-based shooting never felt so good. I went on to the play the other two games and part of Judgment (not digging Judgment that much, to be honest), and I can tell you that there is now forever a special place in my heart for the Gears. I’ll be replaying these for a long time to come.
SOMA is such an amazing game. It’s memorable and creepy and smart. In it, you explore a run-down underwater lab, filled with robots and other machines that think they’re real humans. I won’t give everything away, but it’s a great exploration of what makes us people and the future of the human consciousness.
1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
I’ve enjoyed The Witcher worldbuilding and storytelling for awhile now, but Wild Hunt takes it to a whole new level. The fact that it’s open world is nice, but that’s not even what I like most about it. I just think the storytelling and accessibility of the game this time around are better than ever. Whether I was fighting monsters, picking flowers, meeting royalty, or catching up with old friends like Triss, I loved stepping into Geralt’s boots again for this epic conclusion to his story.
8 thoughts on “5 of the Most Interesting Games I Played This Year (Listmas 2015)”
I enjoyed Life is Strange, but I haven’t played the other 4 on your list. I’ve heard great things about The Witcher 3 and the series in general, but I don’t want to jump in with #3. Maybe if they make #2 backwards compatible for Xbox One?
Actually, I never finished 2 before jumping into 3. The reason was that 2 didn’t appeal to me in the sense of game play. I recommend just jumping right in. The story might be a bit confusing at the start but clears itself up pretty early on.
My reasons are that I don’t have a 360 and my PC doesn’t work well with either of them. I’m more of a console player anyway. I hate being in the dark, but I might give it a try.
I think 2 is great, but you can definitely jump in with 3 and it’s the friendliest! :)
I might give it a try, then. I think it’s probably gone down in price enough by now. It seems like it has plenty of content too.
I love that you still love The Witcher series as much as I do. I STILL need to beat The Witcher 3, but i’ve been taking my sweet sweet time with it and although the game clock eventually glitched out (multiple times) I know I have to have over 150 hours in it and i’m still nowhere near completion and I don’t care. I love that world and those characters so much.
And since you are a little late to the party, if you haven’t played Gears of War 3’s Horde Mode you must do that. Gears has the best Firefight mode of any series out there.
Yeah I do love The Witcher series! I also still need to beat 3, I think I’m closer to 70 or so hours so your time is impressive! :) It is such a great world and characters, like you said.
Thanks for the Gears info! That’s the multiplayer? I don’t usually play online but I might give it a try!
Gears of War has regular deathmatch multiplayer and also Horde mode, which the latter is what I loved.
Gears of War, along with Halo 3: ODST with its Firefight gametype, were two of the first games to implement the now common mode of battling groups of attacking enemies while defending a set location, but those two games are still the best at handling it.
Even with Star Wars Battlegrounds and Rainbow Six Siege making their single player components simply Horde mode variants they still can’t do it half as well as Gears and ODST. Gears 3 allows for 4 friends to set up turrets, traps and plans while defending against waves of enemies and random boss encounters on their way up 100 rounds of defense. I loved it and miss it.