GOTY 2015 | Number 1 — Bloodborne

Hav­ing never played through the entirety of any games in the Dark Souls series, I was excited that they were shak­ing up things a bit with Blood­borne. Focus­ing more on action than patience, the game suited me almost imme­di­ately and never let go. Blood­borne fires on all cylin­ders with intense game­play, just the right amount of story and gor­geous visu­als. The Dark Souls style of trial and error is immensely sat­is­fy­ing when you man­age to get through a tough spot and kept me play­ing long past when I should have on sev­eral occasions.

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GOTY 2015 | Number 2 — Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

I still hold to my orig­i­nal review of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phan­tom Pain when I said that it may just be one of the best games ever made. It speaks vol­umes about a game when you can spend dozens of hours just doing side mis­sions because they are out­right fun to do. Kojima and his team nailed the game­play for­mula for this final Metal Gear Solid game. The Fox Engine also ensured the game looks absolutely gor­geous which tons of weather effects and some of the best tex­tures I’ve seen.

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GOTY 2015 | Number 3 — Until Dawn

Before play­ing a moment of Until Dawn, I knew it was going to be a hit with me. As an avid fan of both the hor­ror genre and the narrative-driven games I knew this game would be tailer-made to scratch all of the right itches for my var­i­ous inter­ests. Antic­i­pat­ing this, I recorded my entire first play-through and had a blast while doing so. Since then, to see what var­i­ous effects choices might have, I have played through the entire game another three times. Even with the rel­a­tively low amount of time it takes to com­plete the game, this is quite a bit of time and clocks in eas­ily as one of my most-played games of the year.

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GOTY 2015 | Number 4 — Super Mario Maker

Build­ing cus­tom Super Mario Bros. lev­els sounds like a great idea on paper, but there was plenty of room for doubt as to whether Nin­tendo would nail it in prac­tice. Thank­fully for Super Mario Maker, Nin­tendo did the fran­chise jus­tice with their level builder and cre­ated a game I still boot up on a daily basis. Let’s face it, the Super Mario games are fun and hav­ing a nearly unlim­ited sup­ply of new stages to try can only be a good thing. From the ter­ri­ble lev­els to the clever and devi­ous ones, I enjoy hop­ping into Super Mario Maker every time.

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ESH | Gotta Feed Em All in Episode 2 of ‘King’s Quest’

One of the most com­mon pit­falls when games are episodic is stag­na­tion. Some­times just a new bit of story isn’t quite enough to sep­a­rate it from the other episodes. The Odd Gen­tle­men have pro­vided an excel­lent exam­ple of how to do this right withe sec­ond episode of their reboot of the King’s Quest series. Rub­ble With­out a Cause takes a chance by adjust­ing the for­mula set forth by the first episode and suc­ceeds by cre­at­ing a darker and more intense chapter.

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Check out more on the ESH page on EGMNow.

GOTY 2015 | Number 5 — Tales From the Borderlands: Season 1

There is always that one game you keep hear­ing good things about, but put off play­ing it until the last minute. Tales From the Bor­der­lands was that game for me this year. It’s fairly easy to ignore praise for a game when it feels like you don’t have time, but I’m glad I finally gave it a shot this time, because this may be Telltale’s best work since the first sea­son of The Walk­ing Dead. Sport­ing inter­est­ing and well-written char­ac­ters, this adven­ture game had me laugh­ing my butt off sev­eral times, which is some­thing more of Telltale’s games should explore.

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GOTY 2015 | Number 6 — Rise of the Tomb Raider

Lara Croft has come in and out of vogue so many times I’ve lost count. This last reboot they’ve done how­ever, seems to be stick­ing the land­ing in just the right way. Rise of the Tomb Raider, though not my favorite name, addresses sev­eral of the main con­cerns with the 2008 reboot and expands upon the new for­mula in thought­ful ways. It was even engag­ing enough to pull me away from Fall­out 4 until I was fin­ished, which is say­ing a lot about the qual­ity of the game.

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Smashed Rook Live | Mario Kart 64

I know, I know, there was no Wednes­day Night Stream last night. By way of an apol­ogy, please accept this very spe­cial episode of Smashed Rook Live fea­tur­ing myself and my sis­ter Jenny! Check it out as we relive our child­hood mem­o­ries with this clas­sic rac­ing game!

GOTY 2015 | Number 7 — Fallout 4

Back in 2008, just months before I moved to the Wash­ing­ton DC area, a lit­tle game called Fall­out 3 came out. Not sure what to expect, I dove right in and ended up putting quite a bit of time into the game. Seven years later and they’ve finally released Fall­out 4 upon the world. Sport­ing mas­sively improved shoot­ing mechan­ics and far more inter­est­ing com­pan­ion char­ac­ters than before, Fall­out 4 looks to be a sta­ple in my PS4 for months to come.

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GOTY 2015 | Number 8 — Soma

Scary games tend to ter­rify their audi­ences using jump scares most often. Some titles choose to go down a dif­fer­ent route and, while some of those same cheap thrills exist, they decide to make you really think about what’s going on. In Soma, in between being chased down by weird diver-looking under­wa­ter mon­sters or giant fish, your forced to make some dif­fi­cult choices that will not only have your sweat­ing bul­lets, but hav­ing to think hard about who you really are and whether your per­cep­tion of your­self is really true.

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