Deranged Midget

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DM's Top Ten Games of 2015

Well, another year, another set of a bajillion games I've either played, missed, or just ignored. It's been a busy year, but I thought with a bit of free time, I'd try to jump right back in it with a favourites list! HERE WE GO!

10. Battlefield Hardline

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Kicking off my list is Battlefield Hardline, which came as a huge surprise to me because it takes a rather large departure from the more militarized approach the series has become so well known for. As a first, it's developed by a different studio this time around (Visceral Games), instead of renowned series regular DICE. The engine used is the same, so you won't see a drastic change in general gameplay, but you can definitely feel the more personal and subtle changes that have become like unique signatures from a consistent developer.

The game has a frantic multiplayer, with a brand new setting (Cops v Robbers), which adds a little freshness to the multiplayer shooter. New modes, vehicles and progression systems are introduced, and it's all worthwhile! The biggest change, which a lot of fans have probably waited for, is a half decent campaign. It isn't exactly the best example of a FPS campaign, nor does it revamp anything either, it's a step up for the Battlefield series and it adds a breathe of fresh air that may or may not have been well needed.

9. Rare Replay

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Now here's a title that came as a massive surprise, and mostly stems from pure nostalgia! The Rare Replay collection, which boasts 30 of the biggest (and best) games that developer Rare put out over its time as an actual developer. It isn't exactly the most revolutionary package around, but you'd be crazy to say you don't get bang for you buck with this one! Many favourites like Conker's Bad Fur Day, the Banjo titles, Perfect Dark, Battletoads and more, make this more than worth picking this up alone. As a heads up though, these aren't full remasters, or remasters of any kind. They're simply ports, cleaned up a little to fit into a newer generation of hardware. Not that this hinders the experience at all, but it would've been wonderful to see how an Xbox One version of Bad Fur Day would've played and felt like.

But that's just me being complaining a little.

8. Mortal Kombat X

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Mortal Kombat. Man, how this series has made a complete 180 over the course of the past two games. Ditching the more popularized 3D battleground of recent fighters of years, developer NeverRealms decided to revamp and reboot the series back to it's (brutal) roots and they couldn't have done a better job than Mortal Kombat 9. Oh wait, I just ate my own words. Mortal Kombat X nearly improves on every aspect of the previous title and then some! Pitch perfect control scheme, gorgeous visuals, a worthwhile story (even if it is short) and a fantastic cast of characters, blended nicely with old and new. It's a gem amongst the fighting genre and one I was glad to get my hands on. Here's hoping NetherRealms hits it three for three!

7. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition

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Alright, so a remaster doesn't exactly count as a an actual full game to some people, but I couldn't resist and I mean wait... Whose list is this anyways huh!? Well if you have never played Gears of War, and you own an Xbox One, now is the time to pick this gem up. It was absolutely revolutionary in 2006 when it came out, changing the way we saw the third person genre completely. The cover system was a game changer, and the active reload system was adapted by many games to follow. A lot of what made Gears of War what it is, was the setting ,the characters, and man oh man, the multiplayer... One of the toughest, skill focused and competitive offerings that ever hit the market. It drove away the less competitive and hooked in the extreme. With the campaign and multiplayer being remastered, the latter offering full 1080 resolution and 60 FPS, I couldn't have been happier when this was announced, and it felt so natural jumping right back into one of my all time favourites.

6. Halo 5

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For most (or anyone) who really knows me, Halo has always been a staple of my gaming life. Ok, that was a really stupid sentence, but bear with me alright! So it may come as a surprise to some to see it lower on my list than it has typically been for previous installments. That doesn't mean it is any less of a Halo game, just that there were a lot better games this year, and the competition was stronger. But there were a lot of things holding Halo 5 back, and some subtle improvements could've made it the absolute best Halo title in the entire series. First off, let me just say that the multiplayer is probably the BEST we've seen, competing easily among the likes of Halo 3. It's superbly balanced, bringing back the arena gameplay we all came to love, and Spartan abilities are equal among every player, adding a fresh layer of movement that speeds up, but doesn't ruin the experience. It just helped everything become better, while remaining true to what Halo has always been.

Now, the part which could've been better. The campaign. Man, I don't know how to talk about this. It wasn't terrible, it wasn't particularly bad. It was just a massive let down. It was short, it had no drive, and it had no direction. It felt like a stumble for where Halo 4 succeeded so heavily. The new characters brought nothing to the story, they weren't particularly interesting because they had nothing to flesh them out. Any tension that Halo 4 brought was quickly snuffed out because of the constant four player squad play that was implemented. Don't get me wrong, I've read all the lore, I know the history between Master Chief and his fellow Spartans, but for newcomers, nothing is done to fill them in.

In the end, Halo 5 shouldn't be missed out on. It is still a great Halo game, and definitely a great game in it's own right. Hopefully, the third outing is where 343 really meshes both worlds and creates the Halo title deserving of what both the developer CAN put out, and what the fans have been wanting.

5. Batman: Arkham Knight

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It's always a wonderful year when we get a new Arkham game from Rocksteady. This year wasn't any different. This game had almost everything! GORGEOUS, GORGEOUS, GORGEOUS open world, entertaining new combat options, addictive riddles, fun boss fights! Did I mention the game looks gorgeous? There are a lot of unfortunate things that happened with this game this year, especially for those who waited for the Steam release. A completely broken port, which seems like it will never get fixed. But, I'll be sticking to the console release for this, and it was nearly flawless (not a bash at PC's). This isn't a perfect game though. Some of the boss fights were tedious repeats, or they were easy enough to breeze through. And I know a lot of people had issues with the Batmotank, and while I didn't, I can definitely see where those complaints would come from. But I felt as if it didn't exactly hinder the experience for me, and if this was the finale for Rocksteady's trilogy, well then colour me satisfied!

4. Star Wars Battlefront

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Now here's a title that greatly divided gamers and Star Wars fans alike. DICE's Battlefront. To many, and even for me, this game is a shell of what it could've really been (content wise). It's not exactly lacking in modes, more so with maps. But it is lacking in depth. It seems a tad rushed on the content front, boasting support for gameplay up to only around mid level 30's, and despite addicting, there isn't all too much to bring the extremists coming back consistently.

But anyone would be a fool to say that on a technical level, there is nothing like this game at all. The graphical capabilities that DICE has with their Frostbite engine. It's unmatched. You feel like you're in a Star Wars firefight, IT LOOKS LIKE IT TOO! And oh man... the sound design. Close your eyes, and just let the action envelop you. That's all you need, for some of course. But that only retains so much power over the course of time. It's a shame it couldn't have been more, but I have never had more genuine fun with a FPS/TPS shooter all year than I did with Star Wars Battlefront.

3. Tales from the Borderlands.

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Telltale Games is a developer that shot to stardom and caught everyone by storm. Their games were an overnight sensation and they haven't missed their mark ever since releasing The Walking Dead. TFTB is no exception. This could be, and I genuinely mean this, one of the best story driven games I have EVER experienced. And it's not just because of the series it stems from. The writing is so fantastic, you sometimes forget you are even playing a game. It was that immersive for me. The characters, the humour, the balancing of tension and emotion. It's wonderfully crafted together to make this... BEAUTIFUL GAME! I can't even handle talking about it.

Just... do me a favour and pick it up. Words, no matter how generous, do this game no justice.

2. Rocket League

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Rocket.League.

This is the epitome of sports games folks. Nothing comes close to touching this game. This is, and I say this conservatively, the most entertaining and time consuming game I've played in years. I've probably contradicted myself already throughout this list, but to hell with it. THIS. IS. ROCKET. LEAGUE. Never have I ever been so amped up and pissed off within the span of seconds. This is a true game changer among sports games. It's simplicity is the games strong suit. Less can sometimes be more, and I cannot express that more than with Rocket League. You are a rocket powered car... playing soccer. It seems silly on paper, but it's execution is marvelous.

If you haven't picked it up and want a refreshing competitive take on sports games, give it a shot. Actually, GO GET IT. I'm not recommending it, I'm telling you to go get it. JUST DO IT!

1. Dying Light

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Here it is, my creme of the crop ladies and gents. My favourite game of the year. OH LOOK, WHAT A SURPRISE. HE CHOSE ZOMBIES AS HIS FAVOURITE GAME. WHAT A PLEB! Yeah well, you're... not wrong...

Awkwardness aside, this is single handedly and without question or argument, the BEST zombie game ever created. It meshes the absolute best parkour/movement system ever seen in a first person title (adapted from Mirrors Edge), with the creative combat of Dead Island to create the masterpiece that is Dying Light. It's frightening, it's exciting, it's ohgodmypitsaresweatingwhatdidIdo. Yeah, I just went there. It's also a surprisingly deep game. Loads of side quests and exploration, a story worth playing through, and refreshingly lengthy for the genre. There are interesting characters to run into, HUGELY diverse environments that are meticulously crafted to fit perfectly with the games movement system. It just feels all too perfect to be accidental. There's a decent crafting system, a mock RPG system which works well, and the game is wonderful to look at. Oh who am I kidding, I've found myself stopping multiple times just to stare into the distance and admire it creatively and technically.

Oh and I'll leave you with one thing. Grappling. Hook. Yup, that's all.

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So there you have it! My favourite games of 2015. Thank you trudging through this bore fest. UNTIL NEXT TIME.

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