With the end of the year fast approaching, you’re going to be inundated with game-of-the-year lists. So have one more: here are Ben’s picks for 2015.
I’m struggling to remember a year as good for gaming as 2015. Throughout the past twelve months there has been a series of quality releases across all platforms which has left gamers thoroughly spoiled. But with so many good titles demanding hours and hours of investment, it’s meant that many haven’t been able to play them all – but that’s not not necessarily a bad thing, as missed games will now make up the sales and pre-owned bargains in 2016.
Everyone will have their favourites and over the coming weeks you’ll be inundated with ‘best-of’ lists that will see a spectrum of game-of-the-year nominees and winners. You’ll agree with some and disagree with others ,which is yet another sign of the strength in depth of the industry right now.
I’m no different and so here are my picks…
Best single-player experience:
|Name:||The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt|
|Developer:||CD Projeckt Red|
|Publisher:||CD Projeckt Red|
|Release date:||May 2015|
|Platforms:||PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One|
|More information:||Official website|
Present time: “Right, tonight I’m going to complete this quest. All I need to do is ride my trusty steed to this location and I’ll… oooh… what’s that? That looks interesting. A quick look won’t hurt and I’ll get back to the quest in a jiffy…” Five hours later: “Wow, what an adventure. I didn’t see that twist coming. I’d better get back to the… It’s 02:00 in the morning. I’ll do that quest tomorrow.”
That’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in a nutshell. The world is so well designed, so well conceived that even the most innocuous of things can lead to an epic adventure. It’s an environment crafted with expert care and attention, with great love for the source material and with a focus on delivering for the player. There’s no filler in this title. Every ‘go-here-slay-that’ objective is so well written that you don’t notice the repetition, even after a hundred of them – it’s that good.
What’s even more impressive is that CD Projeckt Red designed the game knowing that not every player would experience the nooks and crannies therein. It’s the most open of open-worlds and an adventure you’ll lose yourself in whether you want to or not. Simply brilliant.
Best multiplayer experience:
|Release date:||July 2015|
|Platforms:||Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One|
|More information:||Rocket League|
Football and cars shouldn’t work. Yes, it’s good for the occasional novelty piece on Top Gear but it’s certainly never going to appeal to the mass market, surely? Rocket League disagreed in style. Pitching teams of one to four players against each other, the aim is simple: drive your car into a giant ball to try and knock it into the opponent’s goal. Do that more times than them and you win. That’s it. No other rules to worry about, just get that ball in the back of the net.
It makes for blistering fun. Cars zipping and speeding about the pitch, trying to time their jumps and boosts just right to block, hit and nudge the ball goalwards. Emotions rollercoaster from the highs of smacking the ball home from the halfway line to the lows as you despairingly watch it fly over your head, helpless to do anything but listen to the sound of your team conceding a goal.
It was a masterstroke to include it as a free PS Plus game, instantly delivering it to millions of players, and making the matches multi-format so PC gamers could challenge their console-loving counterparts. Such an immediate and huge player-base means there are always plenty of matches to join and equality across vehicles means it’s always down to skill rather than equipment that wins the day. Easy to understand, difficult to master and an absolute blast to play with friends.
Eat my goal!