What I played (and should have played) in 2015

I’ve been seeing a lot of Top 10 lists going around this week. This was my first year working on video games full-time, so I wanted to put together my own list of favorites, and what I’m looking forward to in 2016… all in no particular order.
(You can click the titles to check out trailers for each game.)

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

I put an embarrassing number of hours into Monster Hunter 3U in 2013. The only thing that kept me from doing it all over again with 4U: only half of my hunter pals own a 3DS. If 4U would have released on the Wii U, the only thing that could have pulled me away from carving up Zinogres all day would have been Bloodborne.

Bloodborne

The game that finally pushed me over the edge on buying a PS4… and, in my opinion, the best game in the Souls series. Running through chalice dungeons with a couple friends still hasn’t gotten old, and the Old Hunter DLC actually gave me a nightmare. I don’t think I ever got used to saying “Oh no, I lost all that blood!” They’ll always be souls to me.

Tales from the Borderlands

I’m a huge fan of everything Telltale has released since The Walking Dead. I was insanely excited by the Game of Thrones episodes coming out, but House Forrester doesn’t stand a chance when you put it next to Tales. A non-stop, hilarious thrill ride.

Grow Home

I might have missed this game, but luckily it was a free download on PS Plus. My 2.5 year old and I managed to find every single crystal and star seed… without an FAQ! After 100% completion, I’m still compelled to hop back in and just cruise around on some plants.

Destiny: The Taken King

This expansion fixed almost everything that was wrong with Destiny. I stopped playing around November of last year, and was surprised by how good it felt getting back into the grind. Setting aside 4 hours to complete a raid with a group of friends is totally worth it.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

I’ll be bringing this little gem with me to every party for the foreseeable future. I fell in love with the VR demo at GDC (VR is recommended but not required) and now my wife and I are testing the strength of our relationship by trying to disarm every bomb in the game.

Darkest Dungeon

Red Hook ran an incredible Kickstarter campaign for their debut release. Then, they set the bar for how to do Early Access on Steam. This RPG gets the mix of stressful and rewarding gameplay just right, and is driven by some of the best voice-acting I’ve ever heard. No need to wait for the full release next year, go grab Darkest Dungeon now.

Undertale

To be honest, I’m only halfway through Undertale. However, I’ve played enough to put it in my top 10. It oozes charm. It has the best soundtrack I’ve heard all year. I catch myself smiling and laughing every 5 minutes. Undertale has been on almost every top 10 list I’ve seen this year, and there’s a good reason for that.

Crawl

The couch multiplayer genre is almost out of steam at this point, but Crawl’s fast paced, 1 vs 3 free for all combat really sets it apart from the rest. Even if you can’t find 3 friends to join in, no need to worry. the AI is top notch. Crawl is still in Early Access, but don’t let that scare you off.

Her Story

Remember when people suddenly started listening to podcasts again, and Serial was all you heard about? Or when everyone on Facebook was freaking out about Netflix’s Making a Murderer? This is the game equivalent, and wins for best “ah ha!” moment of the year.

Games I should have played in 2015

I blame Destiny for not playing all the games I wanted to this year. Now that I’ve completed the raid a couple time, the allure of raising my light level has worn off and now I can get back into playing other titles!

Life is Strange

I’m still haven’t gotten sick of the choose-your-own-adventure style games sparked by Telltale, and I keep hearing how nuts this game gets. I was gifted a PS4 key for the season pass, but it expired or something. Groan.

Cibele

Made in Portland! I bought it, but still haven’t started it. I’m going to be on a panel with Nina Freeman (Cibele’s creator) next month, so I really need to play it before then.

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

As soon as we finish Keep Talking, this is the next game I want to try to complete with my wife. Or maybe Will (my other wife.)

Grim Fandango Remastered

Since I’ve always been a Mac guy, I never had the chance to play this back in the day. The closest I got was some shady fan port that crashed every 15 minutes.

Stasis

I really wanted to play this around Halloween, but never got around to it. Looks super creepy, and I love me some space horror.

Invisible, Inc.

The only excuse I have for not playing this one: I’m worried I’ll be terrible at it.

Until Dawn

I watched a few gameplay videos, and wrote it off because it seemed too cheesy. I’ve since read that the b-movie vibes are actually what makes it great, so I want to give it another go.

Jotun

Those hand-drawn animations… giant norse god fights… badass lady viking warrior protagonist… why haven’t I played this??

Yoshi’s Woolly World

I already bought the yarn Yoshi amiibo, so…

Splatoon

Another game that I’m sure I would have loved it I would have given it a chance. My Wii U didn’t get any love from me in 2015.

Games I’m excited for in 2016

I was able to play a ton of unreleased games this year. Here are some titles to keep an eye out for.

Below

I was at maximum hype for this game before I played the demo. It feels like they’re doing what Zelda-like games should have been trying years ago. Capy hasn’t let me down yet, and I’m very excited to hear what Jim Guthrie has put together for the soundtrack.

Tacoma

Gone Home… in space!! (Also made right here in Portland.)

Firewatch

After playing the demo at GDC, I don’t want to read anything else about this game until I finish playing it. Beautiful art direction by Olly Moss, solid voice-acting, and what seems to be a good mystery.

The Last Guardian

Shadow of the Colossus is still my #1 favorite fanboy game of all time — and this is being made by the same team. After all the rumors about the project being canceled, I’m stoked this is finally happening.

Dishonored 2

Part of me hopes they don’t change anything from the original game. I beat that one at least 4 times. More of the same please!

Hyper Light Drifter

The demo I played was MUCH harder than I expected. I almost threw a controller at XOXO trying to beat that damn frog boss… I’m just hoping the final gameplay can match the amazing style and music that’s already in place.

That Dragon, Cancer

A game about losing a child to cancer. As a parent, I feel sort of obligated to play this one. I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it all the way through.

The Witness

Jonathan Blow’s followup to Braid. Looks kinda like Myst, and I’m expecting a lot of tough puzzles.

Zelda U (?)

I still have “get a windfish tattoo” on my to-do list, so I’m not sure I need to say more about this one…

Darks Souls 3

I’m ready to die.

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Happy New Year!!

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