GOTY2015-Day02_Feature

Game of the Year 2015: Part 2

Welcome to Press Play TV’s Game of the Year 2015 Awards! We will be releasing five lists over the course of this week, each covering genres or facets of the games scene that we think are important to our industry, culminating on Friday with our final “Game of the Year” decision. With each ultimate choice, you can also see the individual selections of our three judges: Senior Producer Nick Hawryluk, and guest judges Chris Nagy and Peter Kendall from How Do I Jump. We’ve tried to be as fair as possible, but we don’t make any claims to have played every game that came out this year- we even have a category for the best ones we missed from last year’s awards!  Plus, in the interest of transparency, you can also listen to our entire deliberations process in the embedded podcast at the bottom of this article.

Jump to another part of our Game of the Year 2015 series:
Part 1 • Part 2 Part 3 • Part 4 Part 5

 

02-01_FreeToPlay-GOTY2015

There’s something to be said for a free to play game that we love specifically because it isn’t like a free to play game. Fallout Shelter was an enormously charming management sim meant to be a primer to Bethesda’s Fallout 4, and it certainly got us hooked. While there were things you could buy in the game, progress was never gated by whether or not you spent money- you could get everything simply by playing it. And the playing, of course, was quite compelling- this was a sort of fire-and-forget game, where players would build a base that could manage itself, which would then notify them if something required attention. And as the base would get bigger, so would the problems- between raider attacks, deadly equipment malfunctions, population control, and managing Vault Dwellers’ morale, there was always plenty to worry about. We never missed checking into Fallout Shelter every few hours for weeks on end, and that makes it our Best Free to Play Game of 2015!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: n/a
Pete: n/a
Nick: Fallout Shelter

 

We all know that the fine folks at Platinum Games make great combat, and that should honestly be enough for you to go play Transformers: Devastation. There are so many insane moves you can pull off in this game that feel silky smooth to execute, and the whole thing manages to feel like the original Transformers series, despite being so over-the-top. For appealing to our nostalgia and having the crazy Platinum battles we all love, Transformers: Devastation wins our award for Best Combat of 2015!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: Transformers: Devastation
Pete: Batman: Arkham Knight
Nick: Fallout 4

 

There’s something beautifully dissonant about cruising around to A-ha’s “Take On Me” in the middle of a darker-than-pitch story that deals in blood diamonds, child soldiers, chemical warfare and nuclear annihilation. But leave it to Kojima, right? In true series fashion, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain manages to pull off this weird tonal juxtaposition extremely well, and has quite the catalog of trashy 80’s pop to boot. Add to that a score that, even if not a standout for the series, is still quite compelling, and you have a hugely well-rounded aural package. For giving us chills every time that ‘returning to Mother Base’ theme comes on, and making us laugh when our extraction chopper belts out Hall & Oates, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain wins our award for Best Soundtrack of 2015!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: Undertale
Pete: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Nick: Fallout 4

 

There’s so much to be said about Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain‘s absolutely incredible stealth gameplay that, to be honest, we’re not even sure where to begin. The core sneaking mechanics from 2014’s Ground Zeroes have been carried over, and make perfect sense in an open world environment. Tons of resources and collectibles have been scattered around, giving us better reasons to interrogate guards rather than simply take them out, and the necessity of recruiting enemies for the base-building aspect of the game completely reframed how we thought about stealth in a video game. All of a sudden, we had a hugely compelling reason to let guards live, which directly affected not only growing our base, but weapon unlocks, item development, and all sorts of other goodies. Add to that all the wonderfully dynamic ways that enemy guard encampments will evolve with your specific play-style, and you have not only the best stealth game of the year, but quite probably of all time. We could keep going, but you get the idea- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain wins for Best Stealth Game of 2015!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Pete: Invisible, Inc. 
Nick: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

 

02-05_LevelDesign-GOTY2015

It’s one thing to make a bunch of completely new levels for a game’s expansion, but Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows manages to show off the impressive craft of the original game’s level design while introducing new functionality- not an easy feat! Using our new abilities as the Plague Knight, we were able to traverse the existing stages from 2014’s Shovel Knight in completely new ways, making us think about the game in a whole new light. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows takes our award for Best Level Design of 2015!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: Bloodborne
Pete: Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows
Nick: Fallout 4

 

Remember all those nice things we had to say about Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain? None of that applies to The Skulls Unit. A bunch of mini-boss fights that pop up now and then, these tedious enemies completely break the balance of the game. We don’t want to go into too much detail, but suffice it to say that of the three of us, the best thing anyone had to say about these enemies is “Meh, I found a way to cheese the AI to get past them.” The Metal Gear Solid series’ gameplay is known for challenging puzzles, engaging stealth, and legendary boss battles. The Skulls Unit doesn’t fit into any of these three precepts. Let us give you a tip: if you’re looking for that ‘Hideo Kojima’ “A-ha!” moment where you realize the ‘trick’ to beating these guys, you’ll be disappointed. There’s nothing compelling about The Skulls Unit, and for throwing a wrench into the pacing of an otherwise-incredible video game, any time we had to fight the Skulls was our Most Frustrating Moment of 2015!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: Orphan of Kos (Bloodborne)
Pete: Companions (Fallout 4)
Nick: Skulls Unit (Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain)

 

02-07_GreenlightKickstarter-GOTY2015

Darkest Dungeon combines the grueling difficulty of a roguelike with a terrifying exploration of what it takes to break a man, and we absolutely love it! This might look like a normal dungeon crawler on the surface, but as your party delves deeper into the levels of this game, different traits begin to surface. Some of these things are positive, but most will hinder your party in some way: anything from an adventurer attacking his allies in a critical moment to whimpering in a corner. Add to that some fantastic turn-based combat and you have one hell of an idea for a roguelike! Darkest Dungeon is our Best Greenlight/Kickstarter Game of 2015!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: n/a
Pete: n/a
Nick: Darkest Dungeon

 

Jump to another part of our Game of the Year 2015 series:
Part 1 • Part 2 Part 3 • Part 4 Part 5


The Game of the Year 2015 Awards were judged by Press Play TV Senior Producer Nick Hawryluk with guests Chris Nagy and Peter Kendall from How Do I Jump. Don’t think we made the right choices in a category? Let us know what you think should have won in the comments below!

Trophy from The Noun Project



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