I like lists and it just seemed appropriate to put a “top 5” list here for the games that caught my attention the most in 2015. As I said in my post about gaming disappointments, it has generally been a very good year for me as I had lots of games that entertained me. So, without further ado, here is my list.
1. Life is Strange
Even though the last episode of “Life is Strange” is on my list of gaming disappointments, the game as a whole is still simply awesome! I haven’t been this engaged with a game and its characters in a long time. I started playing it shortly before episode 4 was released, so I did not have to wait long for that one. I had marked the release of the last episode (5) in my calendar and made sure I had nothing to do that evening, so I could finally play through and see the end. No matter how good, bad, weak, strong, boring or amazing the last episode had been for me, the game as a whole was definitely the best I played in 2015.
2. Prison Architect
I had bought Prison Architect almost exactly one year ago, but did not really get into it, because it was in Early Access and heavily in development with things changing, features getting added and so on. When it finally released (in October 2015), I started playing and got hooked immediately. I love building games like this one and as somebody remarked (I forgot which blogger it was, sorry!): No matter how well you build it, of course, your inhabitants will never be happy. They are in prison! You can’t make it awesome to the point where they love it and feel like they are on holiday and simply ignore the fact that they lost their freedom. So this is a nice change to the other building games out there where you can build the perfect city, for example, that everybody loves.
3. Cities: Skylines
Perfect keyword there – city-building. Cities: Skylines is this kind of city-building game where I always strive to build a city that everybody loves and everybody wants to come in and live in. Thankfully, what makes Cities: Skylines great is that there always will be traffic chaos, especially when I build that place. I actually had to look it up now, because I wasn’t sure anymore, but Cities: Skylines also released in 2015 (in March). The game’s first expansion released in September. So that was pretty quick. Thankfully, the expansion wasn’t too expensive. ;) Either way, I have gotten 45 hours of time played. I certainly do feel that I got my money’s worth here. But it’s also been so many years since I last had that much fun building cities. It was SimCity 2000, to be exact.
Number 4 is the only game on this list so far that did not get released in 2015. However, I did not purposely make a list of games released in 2015. It just so happened to be that they all did – until now. Wildstar released in 2014 and re-launched as free to play in 2015. Ever since I first tried out the game, I said that I would play it the minute it goes free to play. That part wasn’t exactly true, though. I played it the minute they announced their upcoming switch to free to play. ;) What I love most about this game is that not only is the combat a lot of fun (and much more modern than “static combat” like in World of Warcraft or Lord of the Rings Online), but that the world has such quirky humour and a satirical point of view (Wintersday is a celebration for Consumerism, for example, with squashed sales clerks among other oddities).
I obviously did not play a game called “Tricky”, but I simply could not decide what to put as number 5. There are a few games that I liked, but nothing that I really want or can put there over the others. Tropico 5 came to my mind, as I “re-found” that game and finally started to like it (with 108 hours played by now). It could also be Guild Wars 2 as it launched its expansion. On the other hand, I did not play Guild Wars 2 that much in the time before the expansion which is most of 2015. If this was my top 5 of fall 2015, it would certainly be on the list! Trove released in July 2015 and it surely belongs on this list! The reason it did not just get that spot from me is because the game has gotten a bit boring recently. This isn’t Trove’s fault. It’s just that with Rift’s dimensions and Wildstar’s housing, I don’t really feel like building in Trove and since the game has almost no NPCs, lore or quests, there isn’t anything to explore. So yeah, I guess those three games share the 5th place.