noiseredux vs.

Posted on Dec 17th 2015 at 08:00:00 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC

Another year ends, and another Top 10 lists needs to be assembled. I have to admit that this was kind of a weird year for me as far as new games went. There were actually a lot of unexpected disappointments really. I loved Wolfenstein: The New Order last year, but couldn't enjoy The Old Blood this year. I loved Shovel Knight last year, but the Plague expansion did nothing for me. Ori and the Blind Forest and Mortal Kombat X come to mind as well as let-downs. I also played a lot of indie games that just didn't leave a lasting impression.

The other weird thing is that this was a huge year for independent Dreamcast releases and a bunch of them were released in the latter part of the year. While many of these are either on their way to me now or still on my want-list, I unfortunately didn't get to play all of them. So for all I know, this list could have or would have changed by the time the year officially rolls to an end. I guess you could say that about any list of favorites: it's always going to be in-flux. But as of right now, at this very moment, as the words pour out from my fingers, these were my favorite games of the year. The top half feels really solid to me - the best of the best, but strangely, the lower half feels like games that were 'just good enough' to make it onto the list.

1. Heroes Of The Storm
This was the big surprise of the year. I never thought I'd enjoy a MOBA, but Blizzard has proven me dead wrong. I can't count the hours I sunk into this game over the months, an maybe I'm lucky that Blizzard doesn't track them either. Heroes Of The Storm feels so perfectly orchestrated. There's a bit of a learning curve for those of us not versed with MOBAs prior, but once you get it, everything just makes sense. The daily quests gave me much reason to experiment with different classes and the free Hero rotation meant that you could spend as much money or zero dollars and still get plenty of diverse playtime here. And of course, there's near constant updates and expansions which keep the game interesting. I expect that I'm far from done with this one.

2. Pillars Of Eternity
There were some pretty major RPG's released this year, but the one that really grabbed me was Pillars Of Eternity, a throwback to classic Infinity Engine computer RPG's. The crazy thing is that this year also saw the release of an official Dungeons & Dragons multiplayer game in the form of Swordcoast Legends, and this was the one I was excited about getting into this year...until I found Pillars. Oh the hours I spent gleefully exploring this world. And I'm still not done, friends! No, Pillars Of Eternity is the sort of RPG that I'm in no rush to finish. Instead, I'll take my time, re-visiting it when I feel the need, thumbing through related books on its world and lore and looking forward to even more upcoming expansions on top of The White March, which was already released this year.

3. Hearthstone
Including Hearthstone here is sort of cheating since the game itself was released in 2014. However, here's the thing, I didn't want to play it until it was released on Android. To me, Hearthstone looked like the perfect mobile game. Maybe it comes from my love of Card Fighters Clash on NGPC, but a card game feels like a great portable game, so I waited. Unfortunately, that wait stretched out until the beginning of 2015. I downloaded it to my Shield Portable and immediately lost hours to it one weekend. I kept playing and played so much that I found a reason to pick up a new tablet (and a new (old) laptop) just so I'd never run out of ways to play Hearthstone should a battery die. I admit that by the end of the year, I've found myself all Hearthstone'd out; it's just tough to keep up with an evolving metagame while you're also trying to play other things. However, to deny the game's hold on me this year would be a lie.

4. Cities Skylines
I've never played a city building game for any extended period of time in the past. To be honest, I never really thought the genre would appeal to me. However, I kept reading about Cities Skylines and the more I read, the more intriguing it got. I finally bit the bullet, fired it up, and watched as my city turned to a disaster within the first hour. For a moment, I felt that I had wasted my money, but then I took a deep breath and read up a little bit on how to get started. After that, everything started clicking with me. Cities Skylines became an amazing compulsion; it was somehow both a riveting balancing act and a serene vehicle for relaxation. I'd spent hours upon hours watching my tiny city transform into a gigantic metropolis. I had arguments with my wife about the best method for dealing with refuse. I created stories for my residence and made mental notes of how I'd do things differently the next time I built a new city. This is a lovely game that I can't see myself uninstalling for a very long time.

5. Her Story
I got a Sega CD back when they first launched. At the time, FMV seemed like the future, but very quickly it faded into an antiquated past. So it should come as a shocker that one of the most compelling games I played this year was in fact a FMV game. It took a long time folks, but this is what FMV looks like when done right. Her Story is pure brilliance. It is a game where you solve a mystery by searching through old video clips of police interrogations. The fact that such an open-ended means of discovery is able to stitch together such an incredible story is commendable. And the acting, entirely a one-woman show, is top notch. Her Story created a night that I'd call one of the absolute best co-op experiences my wife and I have shared. With me sitting at the keyboard, and she on the couch with a notebook and pen, we truly felt like an investigative team. But the true mark of what a great game this was, was the fact that days, even weeks later, we were still discussing theories and pointing out new bits of intrigue. Even now, months later, the thought of a certain song from the game gives me goosebumps.

6. Undertale
Much has been said about Undertale this year, although much has been left out. This is intentional. Those of us who have played know how saying nearly anything about the game's plot is borderline spoiling it. And those of us who have played it, know that any spoilers at all will detract from the pure charm of experiencing this game. I think that Undertale will go on to only grow in reputation. It's a game that provides a world that is truly worth exploring and revisiting. It's the sort of game you experience and then go back to so you can play around and try to see what you may have missed. The best thing I can say about it is that I recently sat on a bus and overheard a young girl (probably a pre-teen) telling her mother all about a bit of dialogue that she found humorous in Undertale. It was a bit of dialogue that I had missed out on in my playthrough, and her re-telling made me chuckle to myself because I felt like I knew the characters that she was describing.

7. Pokemon Shuffle
Seriously. A free Android Pokemon game. Yup. I know. I'm surprised too. Pokemon Shuffle is another one of the many (MANY) puzzle games out there where you... y'know what? It's easier to just say it, "It's like Bejeweled." The difference here is that the ultimate goal is to collect Pokemon after defeating them, and I'm not going to lie, there's definitely some "pay to win" stuff going on here. However, I can't deny that this is a super fun game and one that is highly addictive. Luckily, I tend to do those Google surveys that pay you in Play Store currency, so I always have some extra credit in my account to pay for extra Hearts or what have you when I felt desperate. If you hate these sorts of games, Pokemon Shuffle won't change your mind, but if you like a good mindless game like this to kill some time on the go, then you'll like this one as well.

8. Grand Theft Auto V
For many of you GTA V was a 2013 game, but for those of us who were waiting to play it on PC, it was a 2015 game....a huge game. This was the first major release I played this year, and it kept me quite busy for a while. I admit that I enjoyed the story more than I thought I would, but during the vast majority of the time I spent playing, I was doing nothing in particular. GTA V was a great game because it let me do things like play chicken with trains, go pool-hopping in The Hills, get eaten by a shark, drive a motorcycle off of a mountain while deploying a parachute, and a million other stupid little things that I did just to see if I could do them. Heck, some of them even gave me achievements! I gave up on the story mode months ago, and I'm fine with that. Truth is, I had just as much fun this year reading about UFO conspiracies within the game as I did actually playing it.

9. Resident Evil Revelations 2
As the RE series marches on, I find that a lot of my favorite latter-day entries are some of the more unique non-numbered games. It seems like there's always a new Resident Evil game that has some completely different mechanic than all the other games, and those are the ones I gravitate towards most. Revelations 2 is The Resident Evil where you control two characters at once. I know that technically you've done this in other games like RE Zero, but in this one, they're always together. In a sense, it feels a bit like Brothers A Tale Of Two Songs: RE Edition, if that paints a clearer picture. However, there are a lot of things working against Revelations 2, chief among them is how ugly it looks. Other complaints include its linear approach and the decision to go episodic, yet somehow all its flaws add up to a game I really enjoy. It's as if the more off-the-rails the RE series gets, the closer it comes to its original B-movie sources.

10. Life Is Strange
There's something so perfect about Life Is Strange...under the right circumstances. Let's say that you're 30-something, grew up listening to grunge and watching Twin Peaks. Life Is Strange is parts Donnie Darko and My So Called Life, and that's almost the most I can say about it. If you liked Telltale's adventure games, then you'll surely dig Dontnod's first foray into the genre. If you were also a 90's teen, then I feel like you'll love it. I did.

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That's a solid list.

I still need to play Pillars and Undertale.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 was a surprise hit for me and it's cheap.

What did you think of the ending for Life is Strange? I thought it was too black & white for a series that had a great narrative thread.
actually - I haven't finished Life Is Strange yet. *embarrassed* This is why I hate playing episodic games before they're done. I get out of a rhythm if I can't binge play the episodes. But I'll get to it!
Great List Noise.  I don't even want to try to get into a moba but its interesting to hear how much you enjoyed it.  I've heard great things about Pillars of Eternity but my eternity is taken up by fallout 4 right now.  thats not to say that a Steam sale couldn't tempt me..
@Bill: do you have $18 to spend?
^great price!
Some obvious choices, and definitely some interesting choices.
That is a great price.  All of my PC gaming money is tied up in Steam Wallet...Hoping they have a similar price when the sale starts Tuesday

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