I (Rob: guest writer) will remember 2014 as one of the most disappointing years for Gaming. Bugs, delays and below par releases dominated the calendar and left me feeling frustrated with the latest consoles and gaming in general. There were a few glimmers of hope however, in the form of GTA V hitting the PS4 and Xbox One and Mario Kart 8 power sliding onto Wii U. If 2014 represents a low point then 2015 will be the year that signalled a return to form and perhaps resurrected my love and restored my faith in computer games.
After a frankly epic E3 2015, I can only look forward with excitement at what’s to come in 2016. This year we’ve been treated to gems such as Splatoon, Mario Maker, Minecraft Story Mode and a new Rainbow Six game. It’s been another strong year for the industry and the future looks good, but before I look ahead to what next year has in store I’m going to share with you some of the titles that stood out for me from 2015. It’s important to note that games can be a very personal thing. Just because the majority of people enjoy and love a game doesn’t mean we’ll all feel the same way. A good example would be Metal Gear Solid which I personally stopped playing because I just wasn’t feeling it but many people loved what they saw and rated it very highly. This is just my take and I welcome you views.
I have to say that I think the Wii U has had an astounding year with quality releases and despite Nintendo looking ahead to the Nintendo DX, we’ve seen that the Wii U still has plenty of life left in it and continues (in my opinion) to be underestimated. Looking at the other platforms, things were just as good and whilst I can’t name all the great games that 2015 has given us, as there are too many, here’s what found its way on to my radar.
BloodBorne is a title I’ve not actually played yet but caught my attention. When it hit the PS4 gamers loved it. Offering a challenging experience to those who dared explore the dark world and discover its secrets and horrors. This is on my “to do” list and partly why I’ve invested in a PS4 (again). The Witcher 3 cast a spell on gamers everywhere when CD Projekt Red delivered one of the best games I’ve ever played and certainly one of the most beautiful. This is story telling at its finest and has cemented itself as one of those title you’ll talk about for years to come. With plenty to explore in the lush and vast open world and with new DLC content being added that puts some full priced releases to shame this is a must have for any gamer. Absolute Masterpiece.
Fallout 4 emerged from the Vault and instantly captured the hearts of gamers everywhere. With so much to see and explore you’ll easily sink hundreds of hours into this game and in the process lose your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend/job etc. it may be a little rough around the edges at times but it is undoubtedly one of the highlights of 2015. Forza Motorsport 6 took pole position after a frankly disappointing Forza 5 left us in the pits. A beautiful game with some beautiful cars and some of the best and most challenging race tracks in the world. With the usual in-depth tuning and painting features we were treated to the new weather effects to compliment an already great handling game, making this a must have racing title that raises the bar for all future racing games.
Batman: Arkham Knight is another game I’ve yet to play and to be honest I wasn’t going to mention it due to the disgraceful state of the PC version I played on release, but it’s a game that signals the end of a great series and a game that I have since bought for console and can’t wait to start playing through. The game world is wonderfully crafted from what I’ve seen and although I can’t speak first-hand about the story or gameplay I have it on good authority that it’s going to be well worth my wait. Star Wars: Battlefront is a tough one because I can’t stress enough that I’m firmly against the ridiculous price tag (104.99) attached to this game if you want to get the full experience. I personally refuse to buy the game on that basis however I did play the Beta on PC and Xbox and what I played looked gorgeous and sounded as if I was actually in the films. Dice have done a fantastic job recreating battles and battlegrounds and have certainly done the Star Wars name justice. I can’t help but feel that given more time the game could be even better but with a new film about to release I guess they had their hands tied a bit. It’s probably one of the most memorable betas I’ve played and one that will stick in my mind for years to come. It’s up to you if you decide to pick it up but whether you do or not there’s no arguing that this is a proper Star Wars game and not just some reskinned Battlefield.
Call of Duty Black Ops 3. Well where do I start? I spent much of 2015 bitching and moaning about the franchise and the direction it was going in and I was quite vocal about how rubbish this latest title would be. Allow me to explain first my history with Call of Duty. I played CoD2 and found it great fun but to me back then it was just a shooter that was a bit of fun to play. A good friend of mine recommended Call of Duty Modern Warfare or CoD4 as its known, and I fell in love with the game. My wife even started playing and eventually we bought her a 360 and her own copy. We got very good at the game and sunk many hours into it. I still look back with fond memories and to this day it remains as one of my all-time favourite titles. After that I played World at War, Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops but that’s where my love for CoD came to an abrupt end.
The people playing seemed to get younger and the games seemed to get more chaotic and less skillful with kill streaks shaping the games’ outcomes and the addition of jet packs and exo-skeletons making it almost unrecognisable from the game I fell for all those years ago. With Black Ops 3 being another futuristic CoD I finally gave up on the series and the release date passed by without any regret from me about not picking it up. Then Black Friday happened and there was a PlayStation 4 bundle that was too good to pass on but unfortunately it came with Black Ops 3. I decided to play as I didn’t want to start Uncharted or Batman until I had finished Rise of the Tomb Raider and well what can I say, I LOVED it. Yes it’s still got thrusters and wall running *cough Titanfall* but they’re backed up by decent map design and the gun play seems to have rediscovered its mojo after years of…. well crap. This is a return to form for the series and great fun. Great work Treyarch.
The final game that I’m going to mention caused a bit of controversy when it was announced as a timed exclusive for Xbox One at E3. Rise of the Tomb Raider manages to build and improve on the series’ last outing with an engrossing story and a stunning game world that will draw you in and leave you struggling to put the control pad down. Tombs make a welcome return and there’s the usual collectables and side missions to keep you busy as you creep and shoot your way through the game. An absolutely exceptional game and one of the most beautiful on Xbox One. An essential purchase if you haven’t already invested. So they are the games that caught my attention and in some cases found a place in my heart. No doubt you’ll have your own views or your own list of memorable games from 2015 so feel free to share in the comments and don’t be afraid to speak up for a title that you think others may raise an eyebrow at. I’m off to look at what’s in store for 2016.
I’ll see you there.
Words by Rob Pearce, a 4-One fan and guest website contributor throughout the year.