2015 In Review Part 2: The Big Games

2015 In Review Part 1: The News

The past year we had some of our wet dreams come true, but also a lot of disappointments. From Metal Gear Solid V and GTA V coming to PC, to Evolve completely crushing our dreams with its lack of content and awful business model, we’re going to re-visit 2015 for the last time in our new short series of articles.

Welcome to 2015 In Review Part 2: The Big Games

In 2015 we had a butt ton of Triple-A games that were incredible successes, but unfortunately that cannot be said for all of the titles on this list. We’re going to help you catch up with all of the important, big releases of 2015 and discuss if they failed horribly or succeeded against all expectation. If we miss anything please feel free to mention it in the comments below.

We plan a special article for all of the incredible indies that came out the previous year, don’t fret if you don’t find Life Is Strange or Rocket League or any other indie game that came out during 2015 in this recap, just stay tuned for Part 3 of this article series where we’re going to exclusively talk about all of the best indie games of the previous year.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Developer: Konami | Publisher: Konami

MGS V had a lot of mixed opinions surrounding it the past year, most of the controversy was caused because a major story chapter was cut from the game pre-release and thus some of the story along with it. A lot of people were throwing accusations that MGS V was an unfinished game because of this, but we tend to disagree.

Despite the wave of accusations and hate it still managed to remain one of the best games of 2015 and rightfully so. MGS V absolutely revolutionized the formula the franchise used, making it better and added a lot of new features and little details which made the game feel unique even when comparing it to games of the same series. This combined with the state of the art gameplay makes us forgive Konami for not including the final story chapter in the official release.

Zombie Army Trilogy
Developer: Rebellion | Publisher: Rebellion

This multiplayer co-op game saw the light of day thanks to the same studio that made the Sniper Elite games, Rebellion. Following in Valve’s footsteps, Rebellion launched all the content from the previous Zombie Army titles bundled with this one which should explain the name. Not only that, but all of the DLC has been free so far, how can you not love these guys.

The game was a success as far as we are concerned because it offered endless hours of zombie killing action with friends (or alone) and similar yet still fresh gameplay that reminds of the Sniper Elite games, of course. If you still haven’t picked this title up I would recommend doing so, but wait for a sale as it usually goes down to a very cheap price.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Developer: CD Projekt Red | Publisher: CD Projekt Red

The Witcher 3 was definitely in the top games of 2015 and probably in the top games of the whole decade, with one of the most incredible and mature fictional stories not only in gaming, but in general as far as TV and books are concerned, all of this complimented by stellar gameplay, living and breathing open world and amazing graphics. I can’t help, but say that this game was a dream come true.

Not only was the Witcher 3 incredible, but so were the guys behind it, in an era of paid downloadable content and microtransactions, CD Projekt Red kept their dignity and released 16 free dlc packs to keep the experience fresh and after the success of the game they announced two expansion packs which can be bought either separately or in the form of an expansion pass. Finally the good old days are back, where you could buy an expansion which features a significant amount of content as opposed to buying small unfairly priced pieces of DLC individually.

Star Wars Battlefront
Developer: Dice | Publisher: EA

By now you’ve probably heard of or seen the new Battlefront. Unfortunately EA took the first chance they had to rape the Star Wars license and plagued what could have been an amazing game with DLCs and microtransactions. Despite being a really enjoyable experience, the new chapter of the never-ending Star Wars saga was released with little content and oversimplified mechanics. Exchanging the regular formula for fucking power-up pickups and “skill cards”.

If we pretend Battlefront’s potential was a gorgeous woman it’s safe to say that EA took her on a date, subdued her and shot her in the head. Just thinking about the potential this game had for greatness pisses me off. Don’t get me wrong it’s still pretty fun, but it could have been way, way better. Did I mention that they are already making a sequel? Oh yes, this will be the next Battlefield/CoD, with new bare-bones sequels released every year. Leave it to EA to crush our dreams.

Fallout 4
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios | Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

One of the most expected titles of the previous year and of the most controversial as well. Fallout 4 was great for some people and not as much for others, but with big titles like this it’s almost inevitable to raise different opinions and eventually lead to one or another form of controversy. On the bright side of things Fallout 4 wasn’t as buggy as the third installment of the series upon launch, that being said doesn’t mean it wasn’t buggy at all.

Overall we can’t say Fallout 4 was a disappointment, on the contrary, it was definitely among the stronger titles of the year despite its negative qualities and to be honest we should have seen the controversy coming. For us Fallout 4 remains an amazing game and we are willing to swallow down its downsides and enjoy it for what it is.

Just Cause 3
Developer: Avalanche Studios | Publisher: Square Enix

Definitely in the top technical fuckups of 2015. If we look past the mess it was on launch and to some degree still is, Just Cause 3 was actually a pretty fun game and so far it has been getting support with more and more of the technical problems being fixed.

The sandbox world is larger than ever, the game truly lets you do what you want and adds several interesting systems that make the experience truly unique, of course it would have been nice to have more variety in missions and so on, but despite the one major problem this game has, the technical quality, we could safely say it is definitely an enjoyable experience.

Rainbow Six Siege
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal | Publisher: Ubisoft

Honestly after Ubisoft’s past fuckups I don’t think anyone expected a game as good as Rainbow Six Siege, arguably the price shouldn’t have been as high and the DLC pass should have been a series of free updates, but marketing aside, it was pretty fun and well done.

Of course, like every newer Ubisoft game it looked different on their pre-release trailers and by different I mean better. Similar to Watch Dogs and now apparently The Division it was downgraded graphically a bit before the final, release build, although the difference in graphical fidelity is much slimmer than what Watch Dogs experienced.

Developer: Turtle Rock Studios | Publisher: 2K Games

Hands down, the biggest letdown of the year. After knowing the same guys Valve hired to help make the original
Left 4 Dead were behind this title, I think most of us expected a pretty solid game. Suffering from a severe lack of content upon release and tons of microtransactions and DLCs, we can safely say the only thing Evolve didn’t fail at, was disappointing everyone.

If this game was like 20-30$ at release and all of the DLC was in the form of free updates it could have been a very big success because the core mechanics were there and they were solid, alas it’s sad to see something with the potential of Evolve fall down so low because of greedy companies. Take a note 2K, hats make money and people happy at the same time, purchasable monsters do not.

Dark Souls 2 Scholar of the First Sin
Developer: FromSoftware | Publisher: Bandai Namco

After a controversial release of the original game in 2014 an even more controversial re-release took place in 2015. What Scholar of the First Sin essentially was, is a remaster. The whole debacle was about FromSoftware graphically downgrading the original game and then re-releasing it with enhanced graphics exactly one year later, but that isn’t the whole story.

The new remastered version included a lot of enhancements over the original one. Every owner of the original edition of the game was given a hefty discount that got even bigger if they owned the DLCs. All in all I don’t think it was worthy of all the hate, maybe it is just my hardcore fanboyism speaking, but I really think the extra money for this edition was actually worth it. The improvements and changes were really good and it included all of the previously released DLC. I suggest you swallow your pride and give it a shot if you haven’t already.

Mortal Kombat X
Developer: NetherRealm Studios/High Voltage Software | Publisher:
Warner Bros.

Just a short while ago it was announced that PC support for this game has ended, the new Kombat Pack and future optimization will not be implemented for PC, this alone should give you the red light. Furthermore MKX was an awful mess of a port on launch, but since then it has gotten a bit better, still not perfect though.

As a game it was pretty good, but even if you overlook all the awful technical performance on PC there are other things that plague the game, such as the business model, for some reason they thought it was a good idea to sell characters as DLC/Pre-Order Bonuses and if that wasn’t enough they thought they would also sell skins not all of which were included in their so called Kombat Pass. Stay away from this title on PC and if you respect yourself and your money you would stay away on other platforms as well simply because of principal.

Warhammer End Times Vermintide
Developer: Fatshark | Publisher: Fatshark

The Warhammer license went batshit crazy the past year, there are new Warhammer games on every turn from a lot of different companies and in a lot of different genres, which I initially thought was a bad thing, but after seeing what some of the released games are and what some of the announced ones are shaping up to be, I’m starting to think it was a great idea.

Warhammer Vermintide is a great game to play with friends, the mechanics are solid, the gameplay is fun and the general experience leaves you wanting more after you play it for a bit. I’d say it’s definitely one of the better games of the year. So far all of the content updates have been free and the support for the game is pretty good. If you are looking for something engaging, but easy to start playing with your friends, definitely give this a try. It’s also cheaper than most new games nowadays.

Dying Light
Developer: Techland | Publisher: Techland

Dying Light is like Dead Island, Mirror’s Edge and Left 4 Dead had a beautiful (threesome) baby, but later on it grew up and befriended Far Cry. If you don’t get the idea, it’s a pretty good game, maybe the best zombie game since
Left 4 Dead. Developed by the same guys that made Dead Island, but obviously better in every way.

It’s clear that Techland really do listen and learn from their mistakes, you know how Dead Island was shit, but like good shit that everyone played even though it was shit, well this time it isn’t exactly like this. Dying Light is a much better and more polished experience and one worth your time and money. I would suggest picking up the complete edition, but waiting for a discount as it goes dirt cheap quite often. You won’t regret it.

Call of Duty Black Ops III
Developer: Treyarch | Publisher: Activision

What can I say, same game every year, yet people still buy it. Troubled by the same awful business model of every CoD game after MW2, I can’t believe people are still willing to pay 50 euros for Season Passes that probably won’t even include everything. I mean come on guys, you can do better than this.

If you are looking for a mediocre game with a mediocre port, congrats, you found it! I was tempted to not include this title in the list at all, but since all the other “gems” of the year are here I thought it was worth mentioning how much this game isn’t worth. It isn’t worth your money and it isn’t worth your time. Want to play CoD?
Get Modern Warfare 2.

Battlefield Hardline
Developer: Dice/Visceral Games/Criterion Games | Publisher: EA

For me personally Battlefield has been going downhill since Bad Company 2, I do agree that 3 was good, but I don’t think it was better than BC2. Maybe this has something to do with my irrational hate towards EA and them destroying the gaming industry. As for Hardline, it was a mediocre game at best, the drastic change of scenery was supposed to make the game seem fresh, but instead all it managed to do is make it dull and boring.

If you’re a hardcore Battlefield fan you’ll probably enjoy it to some degree at least. The one thing that makes every game that EA produce worse is present. Awful business model and a lot of unfairly priced DLC. Every new game EA make regardless of quality has a lot of DLC and people don’t understand that when they buy it it affects all of us. If more people just refuse to pay this much for DLC, EA will be forced to change their ways, so please, next time you decide to buy a Season Pass for 50-60-70$ realize it doesn’t only affect your wallet, it affects the whole industry.

Mad Max
Developer: Avalanche Studios | Publisher: Warner Bros.

Even if this game was made to promote the movie released at the time and generate sales based on the success of the movie itself, it was still pretty solid. I honestly didn’t expect this to be such a good game, even the marketing was pretty good, we didn’t get to pay extra for any sort of DLC, it didn’t have any big pre-order campaigns and I guess most of the advertising was done by the movie itself.

If you like post-apocalyptic atmosphere and cars it will definitely not fail to impress you, with an assortment of interesting game mechanics combined with some more conventional ones it can be considered a somewhat innovative title with enough things to do to keep you occupied for a while. Did I mention there is no DLC? I did! Sorry!

Project Cars
Developer: Slightly Mad Studios | Publisher: Bandai Namco/Slightly Mad Studios

It seemed like forever since we had a good and polished car simulator, but unfortunately, for all the positive qualities this game has, we have double the negative. The absolute lack of support being one of them and the devs even going as far as censoring bad opinions in the Steam discussions and negative Steam reviews being another.

So many months after release this game is still plagued with problems people have experienced and reported since day 1. The game devs and forum moderators alike love to silence people who have negative opinions even if they are well-argued. What makes this even more disgusting is that regardless of all the problems the devs are still finding time and money to make and release new DLCs for the game. It’s sad to see a title with such potential suffer greediness and lack of support, for now my advice is to stay away from this game and be cautious of future games made by Slightly Mad Studios.

Grand Theft Auto V (PC)
Developer: Rockstar North | Publisher: Rockstar Games

What seemed to be an amazing game on console is an astonishing game on PC. After months and months of rumors and waiting for real confirmation by Rockstar, we finally got GTA V for PC in April, 2015. The real concern prior to release was if it was going to be a good port and oh boy, this wasn’t just a good port, it was a whole new version developed side by side with the consoles from a long time.

If you ever had doubts, I can assure you GTA V is best on PC and that Rockstar did an absolutely wonderful job with the PC version. This is a game for both newcomers and fans alike, the Grand Theft Auto series has never been better. To this day we are still receiving support and updates and not one of DLCs has been released for money as of yet. The only thing Rockstar did, that was rather questionable, was selling in-game multiplayer money for real money. Rest assured that does not impact the ability to earn fast money in multiplayer though. The so called “Cash Cards” are just a way to get in-game money instantaneously. GTA V is definitely one of the must have titles on PC.

StarCraft Legacy of The Void
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment | Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment

The ending of the incredibly prolonged StarCraft saga is finally out for everyone to enjoy, we can finally have closure to our beloved StarCraft story. After so long this game still remains among the very best and most balanced strategies out there, probably among the most revolutionary ones as well, StarCraft is the title that revolutionized competitive strategy games and shaped them into what we see today.

An absolute must have for any strategy fan, the last expansion in the history of SC2 does not fail to impress, with a whole new story campaign, new units and major changes to competitive multiplayer, you will have more than enough content to enjoy. After so many years of StarCraft we can be certain that this game mainly stands out with its incredible multiplayer, but don’t think Blizzard have put less effort into the single player campaign because of that.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Developer: Ubisoft Quebec | Publisher: Ubisoft

In typical Ubisoft fashion the new Assassin’s Creed game is held back by things such as Uplay and crazy amounts of overpriced DLC. The previous year though we at least got a solid port and a better game comparing it to 2014’s disastrous launch of Unity. It seems like Ubisoft are putting much more effort into the PC version this time around.

Yearly releases have became something we’re very accustomed to unfortunately. Especially in recent years, franchises like Call of Duty, Battlefield and Assassin’s Creed have simply been bled dry with the sole purpose of earning money. It’s painful to see games that were once pillars of the industry turn into something so ugly. Despite all of this, Syndicate is still an alright game, certainly not the best in the series, but still enjoyable and fun to some degree.

Cities Skylines
Developer: Colossal Order Ltd. | Publisher: Paradox Interactive

It felt like ages since we last got a good city builder, last time we were promised a solid game it was from EA and it turned out to be a bloody mess, yes you know what I’m talking about, the latest SimCity. EA’s failure aside, Skylines proved to be an amazing game with a ton of attention to detail and incredible polish.

From the economy of your city to the amazing detail of the streets, it is definitely one of the best city builders ever made and yet it came so unexpected. This game proves that if something is good, it doesn’t need a huge marketing campaign and ads before every second Youtube video to achieve success. This is hands down the most competent City builder I’ve seen for the past decade.

Elite Dangerous
Developer: Frontier Developments | Publisher: Frontier Developments

I’m very torn about this game, on one hand it features a whole galaxy to explore full of well nothing, that’s the bad part actually. To be honest with you, dear reader, I can’t decide if this game is worth it or not. It has fun combat, but generic missions; a big galaxy, but empty; cool ships, but only few of them. I can’t really recommend it to anyone at this point especially after the failure of an expansion Horizons has so far been.

If you want an immersive, gorgeous Sci-Fi themed space exploration game full of possibility… This is definitely not the game for you. The concept sounds great, but the execution was somewhat bad. The worst part about all of this is that they plan to “support” the game for the next 10 years and by support I mean completely destroy it with a fuckload of overpriced DLCs, of which the first has been a very big disappointment to many thus far and costs more than the base game itself.

Heroes of the Storm
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment | Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment

Heroes of the Storm has been described by many of my friends as a MOBA for idiots. If this offended you, stop, take a deep breath and chill. What it is essentially, is a very simplified MOBA style game with no item shops, no individual player levels and so on. I have trouble considering it a full-fledged MOBA in all honesty, it is more or less an action game from an isometric perspective.

Heroes of the Storm is by no means a bad game, just a bit repetitive and really easy to learn unlike the other big MOBA games. If you always had trouble finding pleasure in games like LoL or Dota this is maybe something you would like, but I’m most certain that if you are a hardcore MOBA fan you’ll not enjoy it as much as other games of the genre.

Homeworld Remastered Collection
Developer: Gearbox Software | Publisher: Gearbox Software

With editions of the original games plus fully remastered versions and multiplayer support I can say this is an amazing deal. This is a franchise from my childhood and I’ve wanted to get it so badly, but until recently it was not available for purchase anywhere, not online and not at any known retailer. Imagine the excitement I had when I found out about this game and even more when I found out about the upcoming, completely new one.

The Remastered Collection is definitely a solid remaster of the first two games and even if you don’t like some of the changes, you can just go back to the classic versions. The graphics are amazing, the game is getting constant support and I cannot stress enough how good of a RTS this is. This game is as much of an icon and model for RTS games to follow as the original StarCraft was.

Batman Arkham Knight 
Developer: Rocksteady Studios | Publisher: Warner Bros.

Well, where to begin. First of all this isn’t as good of a game as some of the previous installments were, but that is the least of its problems. This was the worst port I’ve seen in a long time, it was so bad that I would prefer playing Dark Souls Prepare to Die edition without the mod that fixes it. It suffers from so many technical issues that it’s just hard to pinpoint a major one.

The port for this game was so bad it was actually pulled from Steam to fix. Did they fix it though? Nope. They may have addressed some of the issues, but no way in God’s name should this be considered a good and technically functional game. What the PC version of this game is, is an utter excuse of a port. Out of all of the words in the English language I cannot find a combination which expresses how disappointed I am with this game. Please, if you have any self-respect, don’t buy this, burn the money instead, it will definitely bring you more joy.

Wolfenstein The Old Blood
Developer: MachineGames | Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Let’s end this article with an actually good game, shall we? Wolfenstein The Old Blood was a standalone expansion to the critically acclaimed, Wolfensteain The New Order. The moment I saw this I fell in love with the game, it is every bit as good as the original. The Old Blood offers a whole new prequel story and its own unique levels, mechanics and guns.

I was underwhelmed when I saw how little attention this amazing expansion received. It cannot be said that the game went by unnoticed, but it definitely deserved more praise than it got. I thought that all of the thousands of people that cried and cried about how the old school shooter genre was dead would praise the hell out of this gem, but I was badly surprised to see it got next to none media attention and barely any mentions at most of the game awards shows.

Other notable titles of 2015 are:

Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition
Total War: Attila
Dragon Quest Heroes Slime Edition
Saints Row Gat Out of Hell
Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition
Resident Evil HD Remaster
Resident Evil Revelations 2
Grim Fandango Remastered
MineCraft Story Mode
Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered
Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns
DarkSiders II Deathinitive Edition
Disney Infinity 3.0

2015 In Review Part 3: The Small Games

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