Steverulez.com Game of the Year Awards 2015 (Part 2)

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Part 2 of my Game of the Year Awards with a bunch of new categories and my overall GOTY.

Part 1

Best Early Access Game

Early Access games are still in development working towards full release and so with that in mind I’ve given it a pass on launching this year, as it happens two entered Early Access this year and another two fully launched this calendar year too.

  • Mad Games Tycoon
  • Sheltered
  • Prison Architect
  • Invisible Inc

Winner: Mad Games Tycoon

MGT

Not necessarily the best game on the list but it has had an astounding 61 updates spread between new content and bug fixes since it launched on January 5th 2015. The game has come a long way in that time from a basic game with a lot of potential and features yet to be unlocked to what it is today, it’s not perfect yet and still has places it can go from here but as an early access game I think it’s a great example of how you should do it and I’m pleased it has “Very Position” listed as its User Reviews description.

Runner-Up: Prison Architect

PA

One of the poster children of Early Access with its high quality monthly updates and masses of new features added Prison Architect is another shining example of how Early Access can work really well for gamers and developers. It finally launched into as a full game on October 6th and the award here is to give it recognition for the great job Introversion Software did.

Biggest Disappointment

Ahh the games I was excited for that ended up disappointing me the most, what a shame:

  • The Order 1886
  • Call of Duty Black Ops III
  • Batman Arkham Knight
  • Saints Row IV: Re-Elected
  • Helldivers
  • Screamride

Winner: The Order 1886

The-Order-1886-Game-Wallpaper

Sony’s first big new IP of the generation (no I doubt count Knack) and my first PS4 game was certainly a looker but unfortunately lacked in some key departments. The gameplay was alright but the cinematic narrative focus over gameplay was over done, very little reason to replay it, the story was alright but not good enough given the focus on it, some frustrating gameplay sections, unstoppable cut scenes and poor designed boss battles, it felt like a game held back by their aspirations rather than their ability to actually make a game had they focused on that.

The gameplay base for the game was good enough and the setting was really interesting for the genre but there just isn’t enough of it.

Runner-up: Call of Duty Black Ops 3

BLOPS3

I play COD for the campaigns and they are usually pretty good for just a linear FPS set-piece simulator but somehow Treyarch managed to make one of the most disjointed and awful FPS campaigns I have ever played. By the time we were at the end one of my co-op partners wanted to just turned it off and forget about it, the story is stupid and the levels just descend on a downward slope after the first one, even 4 player co-op wasn’t enough to save it.

Best GwG/PS+ Game

Best free game!

  • Transistor
  • Super Meat Boy
  • Styx Master of Shadows
  • Tomb Raider Definitive Edition

Winner: Transistor

Transistor

A 2014 release but a 2015 PS+ title Transistor is a great game that I would recommend to anyone and an absolute treat that it was free with a PS+ subscription. A really enjoyable RPG with a nice setting, interesting gameplay mechanics and wonderful art style, a good inclusion.

Runner-up: Styx Master of Shadows

Styx

Another 2014 release but 2015 PS+ title Styx is a very fun stealth game that deserved the extra exposure of having the masses at large download it and experience it. A bit of an old school stealth game you play as an orc who is trying to find his origins, with good level design and side missions, Styx is a good game.

 

Biggest Surprise

Surprises are awesome, I love to be surprised and its great when I am not sure what to expect and I realise a game is pretty damn cool, this was a particularly tough group to choose from:

  • Dying Light
  • The Swindle
  • Planetbase
  • Tales From The Borderlands
  • Until Dawn

Winner: Tales From The Borderlands

TFTB

I’m not into the Borderlands franchise, it’s just never made me want to play it but Telltale’s Borderlands experience is a really great game that made me interested in the franchise and still stands out really well as its own thing. Theres obviously returning characters and other stuff that will expand your knowledge of the universe by knowing but the characters were great and the story has great writing.

Runner Up: Dying Light

Dying Light

A really great co-op game always goes down well with me and I really enjoyed playing Dying Light which I thought looked incredibly good, has a great open-world to explore mixed with good gameplay full of lots of mechanics I like. It’s a great basis for a franchise even if it is a bit flawed in places, I was surprised at how much I liked it and I looked forward to whats next in the franchise.

Best new IP

Everyone likes new things:

  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Until Dawn
  • Dying Light
  • The Escapists
  • Planetbase

Winner: Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori

Ori was a wonderful game that had something special about every aspect of it, the art style is so detailed and wonderfully brought to life in the game, the story is deep and moving and as a metroidvania platformer it has a good hub world with different sort of combat. It’s just such a wonderful combination of things and with the Definitive Edition out soon and hopefully more in the future its going to get even better.

Runner-Up: Until Dawn

UD

I must admit I’m really disappointed Supermassive Games are working on a PSVR on-rails shooter “Rush of Blood” but as the basis for a franchise it has a really great idea of surviving “Until Dawn” and I’m really interested to see how they build on the original with a fully fledged sequel. It’s possible they will go down the Quantic Dreams route and call it something new but as a style it’s really good.

Best PC Game

Best game I played on my PC, most likely to be a simulator of some sort:

  • Planetbase
  • Mad Games Tycoon
  • Football Manager 2016
  • Sheltered
  • Invisible Inc
  • Parkitect

Winner: Planetbase

PB

A game I’ve given so much time too in a short period unquestionably deserves my PC award, as I said in its earlier award its like Banished in space and I just love all the different aspects which determine survival of your space base on various planets. Theres an element of needing to rush to get certain things built and trying to get new survivors, planets with different hazards and trying to balance key resources like food, water and power, great game.

Runner Up: Sheltered

Sheltered

Basically a non-branded Fallout Shelter I backed on Kickstarter and have had a really great time with between the Early Access updates it received from its launch in August through to the end of the year. A survival game set in a shelter to protect a family (and their pet) from an apocalyptic event for as long as possible with management aspects which are really good, a turn-based combat system that has improved a lot and resource management is good too with scavenging and crafting necessary to survive.

Best Playstation Console Exclusive

A small list because most of the PS4 games I played this year released in 2013 or 2014 but a nice diverse list of games:

  • The Order 1886
  • Until Dawn
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
  • Volume

Winner: Until Dawn

UD

It’s impressive how Until Dawn managed to come through the development changes it did, engine swap and 3 years later was a very enjoyable game which stood out for me personally as the best PS4 game of the year. It’s a very interesting and enjoyable experience I would recommend to anyone with a PS4 to give a try, its worth it!

Runner-up: Volume

Volume

Mike Bithell’s next game is like a whole bunch of new Metal Gear Solid VR missions, which is pretty great as it does a lot to add in some new elements, different distracting objects to guards, great level design which provides a big challenge and is a very enjoyable stealth game.

Best Xbox Console Exclusive

  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Halo 5 Guardians
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Gears of War Ultimate Edition

Winner: Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori

 

As Microsoft start to publish more new IPs and hopefully not more “one and done” games like Ryse and Sunset Overdrive (both of which I enjoyed immensely) Ori and the Blind Forest is the one that I think will stick around, its a great game that stands out amongst the game that it is trying to emulate and has so many expertly crafted parts to it its my favourite Xbox One game of the year.

Runner-up: Halo 5 Guardians

H5G

Between this and Rise of the Tomb Raider is an incredibly tough decision but as a franchise that has had a tough time in recent years its great to see Halo back with a bang including new and genuinely franchise improving gameplay mechanics, multiplayer returning to compete with the best of them in the genre and the level design was really great and I enjoyed the campaign a lot because of it.

Game of the Year 

The big one… its difficult to choose just one game, looking at the ones I’ve played and enjoyed the most there are a lot of titles that deserve the recognition as great enjoyable games that all do different things and end up being really. I’ve got a decent amount of variety here I feel with plenty of genres present which represent the varied types of games that I enjoy playing a lot.

  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • The Swindle
  • The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt
  • Halo 5 Guardians
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Planetbase
  • Until Dawn
  • Gears of War Ultimate Edition

Winner: The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt

TW3

A game of such incredible size and scope that it seemed impossible to hit all the right notes but it does. The world is massive and incredibly well designed with great quests, much to explore and bad ass loot, the gameplay is fun and deep, the choices you make give you plenty of options and its also a masterclass in visual design, music and story telling.

What a game.

Runner-Up: Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori

Ori is as good as you can possibly make a metroidvania, it stands up as one of the best games of the year through such incredible design starting from the first impression of the visuals as well as telling a great story with fun gameplay. For a 2D title it sits alongside the games that influenced it and is a particularly impressive feat when you consider the unique arrangement of the studio, all of their hard work paid off to make a great game.