Steverulez.com Game of the Year Awards 2015 (Part 1)

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The end of the year brings awards for games of all shapes and sizes, here is the first part (of two) detailing my favourite games in each category. All my awards are based on games that i’ve played at the very least extensively if not completed the story and played any multiplayer modes.

Part 2

Best Remaster/Collection

Lots of remasters and collections, I played a lot and enjoyed a lot of them, this was a hard one as there were some great games here:

  • Gears of War Ultimate Edition
  • Dishonoured Definitive Edition
  • Rare Replay
  • Resident Evil Remastered;
  • State of Decay Year One Survival Edition
  • Zombi

Winner: Gears of War Ultimate Edition

GearsUE

A remaster of one of my favourite games ever with a new coat of paint, dedicated servers and a host of improvements, its great to have Gears finally on Xbox One and the Ultimate Edition is a great game to bring people back to, showcasing why the franchise was such

Runner-up: Resident Evil Remastered

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An absolute classic on PS1 which was remade for the Gamecube then remastered over 10 years later, it feels timeless which is particularly impressive as a horror game which retains that claustrophobic atmosphere which enemies just as menacing. It’s a great game that got the treatment it deserved.

Best Action/Adventure Game

  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Dying Light
  • Resident Evil Revelations 2

Winner: Metal Gear Solid V The Phantom Pain

MGSV

Metal Gear Solid V The Phantom Pain is a phenomenal game, the gameplay is some of the best ive ever played, perfectly executed with great graphics/performance, a really good living open-world (well, two of them), lots of RPG-like features, upgrades, great missions and overall it’s a fantastic action game which I put 200 hours into and loved every minute of it.

Runner-Up: Rise of the Tomb Raider

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Fulfilling the adventure part of the game more than its competition, Rise of the Tomb Raider was a great sequel to the 2013 reboot, focusing on its campaign was a great move and gone is the Lara that needs protecting, instead she’s on the front foot trying to take down the shady grouped that caused her father’s suicide. The gameplay is much the same as the reboot but the game is bigger and better, incredibly enjoyable, with more tombs to raid, stuff to do and Expeditions mode on the side is a nice substitute to the fairly unsatisfying multiplayer of its predecessor.

Best Open or Hub World

As open-worlds become much more common and hub-based games also begin to rise up again I thought it was worth an award of its own:

  • Metal Gear Solid V The Phantom Pain
  • Dying Light
  • The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Dying Light
  • Halo 3: ODST (Halo MCC)

Winner: The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt

TW3

Never without anything to do the game itself is a masterpiece which is helped by the great open world of each region, there are always new places to explore, new creatures to find and missions to do. The changes of locations between lush open world forests, a busy city and highland islands are all varied and interesting.

Runner-Up: Dying Light

Dying Light

Dying Light really surprised me as an interesting action survival game with RPG elements set in a big open-world with lots to do and interesting world design. Built around parkour elements the games traversal isn’t without fault by any means but I really liked the world and enjoyed trying to survive in it, with many places to scavenge for new materials to help with crafting and a reason to stay outside in the dark at night for more XP the city of Harran was really well done by Techland.

Most Crushing Delay to 2016

Delays suck but these are some games I’m really looking forward to and was hoping to play this year:

  • Quantum Break
  • Alienation
  • Hitman
  • Adr1ft
  • Below
  • No Man’s Sky

Winner: Quantum Break

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Remedy’s next AAA adventure is a long-time coming and was delayed even further to April 5th 2016, Quantum Break looks incredible, their best work yet and I cant wait to finally get my hands on it. Remedy are one of my favourite developers after the excellent Alan Wake and Quantum Break seems like an evolution of their gameplay from Max Payne mixed with the detailed and interesting story of Alan Wake in one long-time-coming package.

Runner-up: Adr1ft

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Made by Adam Orth’s Three One Zero studio about an astronaut in peril as their crew are dead and they have no memory of what happened. It’s a first-person experience and im really looking forward to it, I love space stuff with films like Interstellar and The Martian being among my favourites in recent times, hopefully the game matches my expectations when it comes out in Q2 on console.

Best Indie Game

As the indie scene continues to expand at a rapid pace there is a lot of competition and I played some really interesting and fun games:

  • Planetbase
  • Shovel Knight
  • The Swindle
  • Pumped BMX+
  • Lifeless Planet
  • N++
  • Volume

Winner: The Swindle

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This game was a huge surprise to me and I loved it, one of my favourite games this year and just pipped Planetbase to my favourite indie game. It’s an incredibly well executed game with an interesting premise and great gameplay about stealing money to complete the ultimate heist with procedural levels, tons of upgrades and plenty of replay ability, The Swindle is a great game and worthy winner.

Runner-up: Planetbase

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Released on Steam in October I’ve put 169 hours into it and got all the Steam achievements, it’s a great management/city building game which I consider to be Banished in space – a great game that fits well into the genre and I just love the grind and building up of the station, getting resources, trading and managing everything. A very enjoyable game which I would definitely recommend if you enjoy that sort of game.

Best Game Played Released In A Different Year

I played some older games this year and enjoyed many of them!

  • Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker
  • Faster Than Light
  • Fallout 3
  • Sherlock Holmes Crimes and Punishments
  • Pokemon Black
  • Transistor
  • Limbo

Winner: Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker

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Where some consider The Phantom Pain failed in its story Peace Walker certainly did not, having played it the weekend before MGSV came out it was a great story which gave all the background to the upcoming game with a more typical MGS story. Despite its PSP routes it was a very enjoyable game with the first iteration of mother base building and a fun level based MGS game.

Runner-up: Faster Than Light

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A spaceship simulation rogue like… yep this is a game I really enjoyed playing although admittedly I’m not very good at it. With a raft of options for your ship its a really enjoyable and deep game which is playable is short or long bursts, a great indie game which achieved a lot of success.

Most Disappointing Game Played Released In A Different Year

Some incredibly popular games here that I played in 2015 mostly from last year but I didn’t really enjoy them and couldn’t be done with them quick enough:

  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition
  • Shadow Warrior
  • Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams Directors Cut
  • Retro City Rampage DX
  • Crimson Dragon
  • Killzone Shadow Fall

Winner: GTAV

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People control like buses and cars feels like they are made of paper, I just hate how it controls, was disappointed by the story, the characters weren’t that great, the heists (campaign) start good then trail off, there’s a ton of content in the game and I didn’t really like much of it. I think it wins because everyone else loves it and it sold 50m+ units but I just did not like it much, at all.

Runner-up: Killzone Shadow Fall

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I like the Killzone franchise but Shadow Fall is so disappointing in nearly every way, it looks nice but that is about it. What happened to the good story, level design and gameplay from 2 and 3? I’ve no idea but the demo at the PS4 unveiling was of the best level bit of the game by far and the rest is a big bag of disappointment culminating in the game somehow managing to fall off a cliff right at the end.

Best DLC/Standalone Expansion

I don’t buy much DLC so my list is a bit limited but i’ve enjoyed what I did play:

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
  • Sunset Overdrive Dawn of the Rise of the Fallen Machines
  • Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious
  • Halo 3 ODST

Winner: Sunset Overdrive Dawn of the Rise of the Fallen Machines

SODLC

My favourite game of last year got the final DLC expansion in April and it was awesome, another new area to roam around off the main map is a futuristic style zone with more collectibles, enemies and more story but what makes it stand out is the boss which somehow manages to top all the others in the game. Played by a familiar character if you watched the Sunset TV weekly news episodes, its more crazy awesomeness from Insomniac.

Runner-up: Wolfenstein The Old Blood

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An enjoyable prequel to The New Order it takes place around Castle Wolfenstein which has been central to the franchise in previous iterations. Its more of the same basically which is what I wanted, The New Order was an impressive first game from Machine Studios and they kept it going with The Old Blood.

Best Sequel

Sequels are so common its hard to narrow down but there’s been some great ones this year so this was a particularly tough category:

  • The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt
  • Halo 5 Guardians
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Fallout 4
  • Batman Arkham Knight

Winner: Halo 5 Guardians

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Halo 4 was 343s first game and not without fault in particular the multiplayer and other complaints over the overly complex story and linear levels, Halo 5 is not a perfect game, the story is disappointingly absent but as a sequel to Halo 4 it was a breath of fresh air to the franchise adding in genuinely interesting and fun to play gameplay mechanics to the Spartans, big co-op focus, more open and better level design as well as hitting the mystical 60fps target that many games have.

343 proved themselves capable in both campaign and multiplayer with the excellent and arena and large-scale Warzone, now they have a great base for Halo 6, please nail the story.

Runner-up: The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt

TW3

A game that took a great franchise and expanded to make something truly epic, with a great open world (see above) it manages to go not only bigger and better as a game but it builds off the great foundations laid before it with characters and world building and deliver an epic end to Geralt’s trilogy whilst being one of the best looking games this generation too.

Best Episodic Game

Only a small sample of episodic games to choose from with some great stories and a bit of variation in style too:

  • Tales From The Borderlands
  • Telltale’s Game of Thrones
  • Resident Evil Revelations 2

Winner: Telltale’s Game of Thrones

TGOT

Game of Thrones is a franchise I really like so I was really happy when Telltale took it on and it was tied into the TV show, they did a great job of advancing the story of side characters and mixing in some more well-known characters. Telltale games run like crap generally so it was tough to award this to a Telltale game but they did a good job on the game itself.

Runner-Up: Resident Evil Revelations 2

RER2

A franchise I have dipped my toes into a little bit, Revelations 2 Episode 1 was free on the Xbox Store and I really liked what I played, it’s not particularly “scary” but the level design in the prison is great and throughout its pretty good. The first and last episodes are the best with 2/3 being pretty good too but there is a good story behind it too with some intrigue and different gameplay mechanics in co-op which are nice too.