Friday, December 25, 2015

Games You May Have Missed In 2015

Oh crap. I'm reposting another list. But bare with me, because this one is one I not only agree with, but I encourage you to play the games on this list! GameRant took a moment to list the Most Underrated Games of 2015. And it's also proof that when you release a game will have a big impact on your sales, because all of these games suffer from poor timing of release dates.

The one you are most likely to know about among the rest is Rise of the Tomb Raider. For some inexplicable reason, SquareEnix decided to keep it's original release date of November 10, 2015. And I'm sure 99% of you have instantly realized why that's a problem. It was the same date as Fallout 4.

Oops.

Even with the floundering of sales, it's posted one of the highest review scores of a Tomb Raider game in decades. It dives deeper into Lara Croft's backstory and really goes more into the "tomb raiding" aspect that we missed out on the last remake. More action, more adventure, and it's a well polished game. I really dig the story and it's so much fun exploring ruins again! I'm enjoying the direction the developers are taking the new Tomb Raider story. But yeah...that's release date was a big no-no. While Fallout may not hold the same sway in the East, in the West we love Bethesda . As much as we love Tomb Raider, but Bethesda wins more. There was just no way to compare the two, and Fallout 4 clearly won. It also probably doesn't help that Rise is an XboxOne exclusive. Double oops.

Next up is Her Story which was an active winner at The Game Awards earlier this month. An indie game with a very ambiguous story that can change based on your decisions. Her Story follows a woman who's husband has gone missing. You watch her interview tapes as she's questioned by police officers and slowly see how the story unfolds to figure out the mystery. It's not on the level of L.A. Noire but it involves a heightened sense of realism since the game is all through live action. The writer is Sam Barlow of Silent Hill fame, so you know it's a good story. Again, timing was a factor as Batman: Arkham Knight and the backlash against the very broken PC version of the game was on the top of everyone's minds at the time.

2015 was also a big year for indie horror games. Stasis and SOMA made GameRant's list for very good reasons. SOMA was developed by Frictional Games, the creators of Amnesia. They know how to scare gamers. It takes place in an underwater facility where you have to figure out what happened to the rest of the crew. It's a lot of psychological horror mixed in with existential questioning about life and robots. It's weird, but in such a cool way, you can't help but want to play more of this game. I also have to give major props to how the artists utilized lighting. It can be your best friend or your worst enemy, and it really amplifies those scary moments, while highlighting some of the beautiful scenery surrounding your character.

With Stasis the scary factor is that it builds up the tension using classic action-adventure game mechanics. It's also very claustrophobic, so if have issues with that, I don't recommend this game. It can feel restrictive and tight in many situations to add to the suspense. You are the lone survivor on a space ship, and you have to use your wit, puzzles, and speed to find out what happened. What's cool about Stasis is that you're not playing in first person, like most  horror games. Everything takes place in a top-down layout/map view where you can see your character move from room to room, and can plan out where you are going. Which is weird because you'd think "well hey, if it's like that, then why does it feel claustrophobic?" Developers The Brotherhood did a fantastic job at creating a story and mechanics that grapple with most people's base fears: loneliness, tight spaces, and creepy ass noises.

Both of these games were side-saddled by another horror title that took over beyond anyone's expectations: Until Dawn.

The last game on the list is full of lulz and highly recommended to give you a fun laugh while still experiencing a great action-adventure game. Crypt of the Necrodancer is part Legend of Zelda and part Dance Dance Revolution. It had to compete with GTA5 for the PC, which ended up being just as big of a sale as the PS3/360 versions of the game.

So! If you're looking for something new to play this holiday and want to pick up some 2015 critic favorites, I encourage you all to give any of these titles a shot. They are well worth your time.

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