by Matthew Thompson
With the 2015 half over, I thought I’d look at a couple of my early favorites in gaming from the year so far as well as talk about some things I’m looking forward to throughout the rest of the year.
My Favorite Games of 2015 So Far
For me, it has been a lackluster year for games and a number of delays mean it will probably finish that way as well, but I shall wait and see on that front. There have been a few gems in there though with two separating themselves from the pack as my clear favorites from 2015’s first half.
Batman: Arkham Knight: No game had its hooks in me as much as Rocksteady’s latest. The most addictive games have me thinking about them when I’m not playing. When I put them down to try to do something more productive, I end up with the controller in my hands again in an hour. And that was how it was with Arkham Knight. One’s enjoyment of it will probably hinge on how they land on the game’s biggest addition: the Batmobile. Luckily for me, despite some small quibbles with it, I loved it, tearing through the streets of Gotham and how it was used in unique puzzle-solving challenges being the highlights. Other strong points for AK include the tandem fights with characters like Nightwing, the new Fear takedowns, and Scarecrow’s role (played brilliantly by John Noble) and the psychological effects his presence has on Batman. Of course, this all comes with more of the fun brawling and stealth that we have come to expect from the Arkham series. In short, the game’s a blast and sure to rank high on my year-end GotY list.
Life is Strange: I think what impresses me so much about Life is Strange is that it really isn’t my type of game, but I still love it all the same. I think that speaks to how much they’ve improved upon what similar games, like Telltale’s newer style of adventure games, have done. That means granting me more freedom to explore a bit. That means using the rewind function to examine my choices and even gain information I wouldn’t if I just went through conversations and situations normally. And then there are the ways LiS reminds me of some of my favorite TV series. The setting of Arcadia Bay is reminiscent Veronica Mars’ Neptune. The soundtrack reminds me so fondly of what I’d hear on The O.C. each week. And on top of all of this is developer Dontnod’s excellent time-bending narrative. I’m a gameplay first kind of guy and that definitely takes a back seat in Life is Strange, but with everything around it being so strong I couldn’t help falling for the game anyway. It is wonderful and I can’t wait to play the remaining two episodes.
Games to Come in 2015
What 2015 is lacking most of all for me is that one huge game. For some it is MGS5 or Halo 5, but there is nothing left for me personally that warrants the sort of excitement that fans of those series have now. I find myself rather excited to revisit Uncharted through the Nathan Drake Collection. I’d probably have started replaying them already if the collection’s release wasn’t imminent and the chance of trying Uncharted 4’s multiplayer, assuming the beta starts this Fall, has me even more excited. It isn’t the only game I’ll be replaying on the PS4 as Tearaway Unfolded looks to be offering plenty of new content as it hops onto a home console for the first time. I’m also ready to get the band back together with Rock Band 4 when it hits shelves in October.
Nintendo has a trio of titles I can’t wait to get my hands on. I’ve always enjoyed Yoshi’s unique egg-flinging, flutter-jumping gameplay and Yoshi’s Woolly World looks to wrap that in some of the most adorable visuals I’ve ever seen. While I’m not much for creating, I see huge potential in Super Mario Maker and am really looking forward to seeing what the community can do with it. Finally The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes will give me a reason to fire up my 3DS again though I might need to round up a couple of 3DS-owning friends for maximum enjoyment.
I think what is most likely to make my gaming in 2015 more interesting is getting the final current-gen console I’m missing, the Xbox One, which I plan to do before the big releases come this Fall. That will mean playing Rise of the Tomb Raider at launch, which is looking more appealing to me after E3. Just as fun will be catching up on old titles I have missed out on. Games like Sunset Overdrive and Ori and the Blind Forest that have hit the Xbox One since it released. Or all the gems I never got the chance to try that will be coming via Rare Replay. Maybe I can even finish off Halo 4 in time Master Chief’s next adventure. I may not have that one big title to be super excited about in 2015, but there certainly isn’t a shortage promising titles releasing and I should be plenty busy throughout the year.
That will do it for this post. I hope to have a similar one up for television within the next couple of days. Do you have a favorite game from 2015 so far? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!