Today I want to bring you my favourite games that have been released in 2015, I will say now though that this list may change slightly, I haven't played Just Cause 3 or Fallout 4 yet, either of which may well be on this list, but due to their late releases may be featured in next years list. So here we go, the best of the best games that have been released in 2015(that I have played). There will be games on this list, and I will count them down in descending order, starting with.....
Assassin's Creed Syndicate takes the number 7 spot on my GOTY Awards, Syndicate is a very good game, with superb characters and amazing visuals and the missions are designed perfectly. You will be taken from the mud filled workhouses to places of much greater affluency, which will remain nameless due to spoilers. The reason this game has only reached 7th place is two fold, firstly the franchise needs to take a break, let me explain, while this is a very good Assassin's game, the formula that governs this game, is still far too close to the last entry, Unity. The second reason is that the free running still hasn't been fine tuned, this would be acceptable on the first or second, even the third entry, but on the ninth, it is unacceptable that one of the core mechanics of the series still hasn't been improved enough with each passing year. There were still many occasions when I wanted to go somewhere, or climb something, but my character would either get stuck mere inches from the top, or simply refuse to climb it. Combine this with section(though few are still present) when you need to chase and catch an enemy, as you may be able to imagine, this often does not turn out well! Those are the reasons Assassin's Creed Syndicate got number 7 on my GOTY list, onto number 6!
Borderlands The Handsome Collection packages together Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel along with all the DLC that has been released for both games. While The Pre-Sequel is a somewhat lacklustre game, Borderlands 2 is one of my favourite games of all time. So to have the opportunity to play it again, with all of the DLC I never picked up on the PS3 was a chance I couldn't pass up. There are 4 Campaign based DLCs for Borderlands 2 and 1 for The Pre-Sequel, along with a large collection of smaller bit of DLC, which can be just as good as the high standard set from the main DLCs. Tiny Tina's Assault of Dragon Keep(the final Campaign DLC released for Borderlands 2) is the second best DLC I've ever played, beaten only by The Last of Us Left Behind, it is a 5-7 hour campaign that all Borderlands fans should take the time to play! All in all Borderlands The Handsome Collection has taken many, many hours from me, and it still a joy to go back to every now and then. With a diverse range of classes, and more guns that any single person could count, Borderlands is a fantastic game, even under the scrutiny of time!
Call of Duty Black Ops 3, this years franchise entry from Treyarch, and it is easily my favourite Call of Duty since Black Op 2, and it could well surpass that! With is subtle tweaks on the movement system, there to help with traversal but not used as frequently in fire fights as Advanced Warfare. There is quite frankly superb weapon balance; I have always thought that the tell of a well balanced game, is when you can Google what the most powerful weapon is, and come up with tens of ideas on what it is. I personally have gravitated towards a few of them, but I know I could do just as well if I wanted to spread out and use other weapons. I will admit that I haven't even touch the campaign yet, but I have sunk a decent amount of time into Shadows of Evil, the new Zombies map, which it perhaps too complicated to want to get into on a very regular basis, but has enough hidden secrets that it still brings me back to it from time to time. There is also the Free Run mode, which I dismissed as a tiny tag on, and while it is very small(I completed all the tracks in around 25 minutes) it has continued to bring me back to beat my previous best times. Looking at the bigger picture of Black Ops 3, it is the complete package, with a superb multiplayer and enough other activities to keep you going even if and when you get bored of the multiplayer. Black Ops 3 has definitely earned 4th place in my best Games of the Year.
Coming into the podium positions, we have the Dark Knight himself Batman Arkham Knight. The Arkham Trilogy is one of my favourite series, and Rocksteady finished it of with style and poise. While I am aware that many people correctly guessed and were disappointed with the identity of the Arkham Knight, I was blissfully aware until the moment of reveal. I think this game gets an unnecessary amount bad press because of the quite frankly atrocious version of the game on PC, but because of this I think many people don't give this game the credit it deserves. This game wraps up the Batman games with what is in my opinion the best story to date, set it the best and most detailed world yet. One controversial addition to the game was the Batmobile, I think for 90% of the time it fits in very well, but it is that remaining 10% that causes people varying levels of grief.
Other that the occasionally sloppy use of the Batmobile Arkham Knight is a game that should be celebrated and played, in previous years this game might have topped my list, but it was beaten out by some tough competition!
Now we come to a truly stunning game, and one that has taken the number 2 spot in my heart this year; Witcher 3 Wild Hunt. Unlike some of the people playing Witcher 3, I hadn't played any of the previous games, so I was a little daunted when I first started playing, but I soon got to grips with the story and mechanics. This isn't a perfect game, in fact there are some level balance issues which really annoy me, but when this game does something right, it blows you away. Whether it be the best Quests I have ever played, or the vistas that just make you want to put your controller down and enjoy. Witcher 3 is one of those games that pulls you back in from time to time and reminds you how a game should be made. Although it isn't my favourite game ever made, I have no hesitation in saying that it is my favourite Fantasy game, even topping the spectacular Skyrim! High praise indeed!
Was there ever any doubt? The game that I have put the most hours into, thought about or played every day since launch, and the driving force of content since release on this website. Destiny The Taken King is my favourite game released in 2015. You might argue that it is a DLC and not a game, but it changed the whole game, and in my opinion was how the game should have launched last year, so yes it is a game, and a fantastic one at that. I could write about Destiny until I wear my keyboard down, but let me just run you through some of the things that make this game so amazing. The campaign, although far shorter than I was expecting, was filled with more details of the characters I had grown to love over the last year, and all of it was paced superbly, it actually feels like you are fighting a war against the Taken. There is also the Raid, Kings Fall in hands down the greatest single experience I've ever had in a game, I have played all of the previous Raids many times, but Kings Fall seems a more developed experience. From the platforming to the mechanics, it is a fluid and fantastic experience, and something that should be commended.
So there you go guys, my favourite games that have been released in 2015, I truly think that has been an amazing year for gaming, and one that we will look back on in future years and marvel at. Now you know what my favourite games are, I want to know yours, let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter!This won't be the last you hear of me in 2015, but I'm already planning some exciting things for 2016, I hope you are as excited as I am!
Thanks for reading,
"Be The Batman" so say the tag line for Batman Arkham Knight, the third and last instalment in the Batman series from Rocksteady, who are arguably the father of the superhero game. How does this epic conclusion stack up to the high bar set by its predecessors? Will it swoop to new found heights, or slump under the weight of expectation? Let's find out!
If you are new to the franchise or even a returning cowl toting veteran the same thrill of the chase will meet you the first time you open up your cape and feel the wind and the city beneath you. The prelude to this opening of the caped crusaders wings is a sorry one. Gotham citizens have been plunged into a frenzied panic as the main antagonist of this game, Scarecrow, threatens to release his fear toxin on the city. The ensuing campaign of terror from Scarecrow will test Batmans mental and physical skills to the limit and beyond! From the start of the game you know that Scarecrow has a very exact plan of how to bring Batman to his knees, and the thrill filled ride that constitutes this journey will stay with me for years to come.
It is clear that Rocksteady have learn the fine work of their craft even more since that last Batman instalment; Arkham City. This time around the game is filled with a wider array of challenges to overcome, and an arsenal that has suitable increased in size to meet this new found danger. Where Arkham City was filled with roles that were barely larger than cameos from many familiar faces from the Criminal Row that makes up the Batman Cannon. In Arkham Knight this has been refined, to the campaign which features several familiar faces, but doesn't hit you over the head with the thought that all of Gothams villains are against you. Fear not though, for these villains still make an appearance, this time confined to side quests through out the massive hulking shape of the Gotham Skyline.
The Batmobile is the most notable contribution to the series making an appearance in Arkham Knight for the first time as a fully drivable vehicle. I always liked the idea of the Batmobile being drivable around the streets of Gotham, and I trusted Rocksteady to pull this new found transportation off with aplomb. One thing I was not expecting to see released under the hood of the suitably menacing exterior of the Batmobile, was what can quite effectively be called a tank. When I took to the streets to fight drone tanks I was still a little spectacle as to whether it would work. This feeling was sadly not blown out of my head the first time I completed a tank battle, however my opinion of the new addition to combat, has slowly evolved over the course of the game. In the end I loved every second I spent in the tank iteration of the Batmobile.
However one of the only things that I think Rocksteady has done wrong with this game are the stealth sections with the Batmobile. Fights taking place against much stronger tanks feel irritating to start with, and this feeling sadly is never shaken. These segments of the game, have you in the Batmobile having to sneak up behind these armoured tanks, aptly named Cobra Tanks, and waiting a few second for your weapons to lock onto the conveniently placed weak spot on the rear of the tank and exploiting this at the expense of the tanks integrity. To start with you are only faced with a small number of Cobra Tanks, one or two to start with, but rather than introducing a new mechanic to these fights, you are instead faced with a growing number of these enemies to best before you can carry on. It is at a discord with the whole game which feels immensely polished and thought though, however these fights feel like a very cheap way of wasting the players time. However it is a mild annoyance compared to the game at large, so I shall speak no more off it.
There are two main themes throughout the medium length campaign which has you taking up the mantle of the Dark Knight one last time. They are Scarecrow, who I mentioned earlier, and the titles name sake the Arkham Knight. Both of these formidable foes are the backbone of the story, and keep the pacing and intrigue at the perfect levels. From the start of the game the Arkham Knight clearly has a very strong vendetta against Batman, though the man under the mask never shows his face. I was totally enraptured by theories of who was under the mask, and though I obviously won't spoil the identity, rest assured I think the reveal is one of the best moments of the game. I say one of the best moments because the Arkham Knight is littered with these amazing, stand out moments that you will remember for years to come! There is a specific mission in the second half of the game, which really throws out the rule book for third person games, and is certainly a segment that I can't wait to play again in the New Game + option given to you after you have completed to game.
Dual Play, is another feature that is making a franchise entry with the Arkham Knight, letting you play either as Batman or three of his companions at specific points in the campaign and side quests. Simply by pressing R1 you take control of the other vigilante and continue to rack up your combo multiplayer. I was sceptical about this addition when it was first announced, thinking that it would get in the way of me progressing at my own pace. However I am very happy to say that it has been implemented perfectly. These occurrences are only on the rarest of occasions, with only two or three such segments appearing in the campaign. This co-operation is never implemented in predator sections, so you can be as slow and stealthy as you like in those encounters. When you rack up a high enough multiplier with either or both characters you can unleash a lethal take down on one unwitting adversary. I enjoy these titbits of co-operation far more than I thought I would, and even wish there were more encounters that utilised dual play, my ultimate goal would be for dual play to be usable during free roam in the main city. Sadly this option is not given to us, maybe for good reason, as traversal might be difficult whilst playing as another character!
Batman goes by many names through out the comics, games and films, and people calling him a detective are not lying. There are more elements to make you feel involved with the investigations than ever before. With truly memorable tasks that are both fun to work out, and rewarding once you have! I must also mention the second of two problems I have with the game. The first as mentioned above is to do with Cobra Tanks, but my second is the boss fights in this game, Rocksteady have never been able to concoct a good boss fight. I obviously won't detail any of these encounters, but let's just say that they live up to the expectation of Rocksteady boss fights. This is a shame because all other elements have been refined by the team over the last few years since Arkham City was released, so it would have been nice to see an improvement in the boss fights.
Batman Arkham Knight is a game that I shall neither forget nor stop playing any time soon. It has raised the bar for both superhero games and third person games in general. I would be sad that this is the last Batman game bursting its way out of Rocksteadys doors(and I believe it is), but I'm okay with this. They have put to bed one of my favourite gaming series of all time, and simultaneously left me wanting what ever game to be released from Rocksteady.
Truly a game for the history books, combining all of my thoughts onto the game, I give you my final score!
Thank you very much for reading,
Batman Arkham Asylum caught everyone's attention by creating arguably the best hand to hand combat in any game before it, and made the most believable portrayal of Batman we had ever seen in a game. Arkham City built on this framework and created a massive open world, filled with things to do, places to visit, and villains to take down. Combine this with a new playable character, Catwoman, and a plot line that you will not forget, and you have a sequel that was even better than the original. Was Rocksteady able to make it a hat trick, and finish their world famous series off with a bang, or is it closer to a fizzle? Let's find out!
Arkham Knight starts off on a very sombre tone, with the whole of Gotham being evacuated following a threat of a terrorist strike from the famed villain, Scarecrow. All citizens leave the city, leaving only the low and high level villains to reek havoc on Gotham. Only the Batman and GCPD stand in their way, but Batman has a new tool of crime suppression at his disposal. The Batmobile has made its inaugural debut into the series, and it does so with a bang. With Batman being let loose in an even bigger section of Gotham than ever before, the Batmobile is an incredibly fun way of getting around Gotham. If you have been paying attention to this game, and specifically it's reviews, then you will know that most people don't particularly like the "Tank Mode" of the Batmobile. I am currently torn on the issue, part of me likes the principle of it, though there are a few things getting in the way of my enjoyment. Firstly I don't feel like a proper Batman when I'm effectively in a tank destroying other heavily armoured vehicles. I know the other tanks are remote controlled, but it still jars with me somewhat. The other thing is there is no aim assistance for the main weapon. I have found it rather hard to actually hit the enemy tanks as my cross hairs glide over them like there is nothing there, just a slight stick would be quite nice.
One of the things I love with the Batmobile are the puzzle sections using both the Batman and the Batmobile, I feel these puzzles make more use of a second party from Batman, and they are rather enjoyable! The other thing that the Batmobile does which so far, is one of my favourite things to do, and they are the Riddler tracks. I have only finished a few as of writing these impressions, but they are incredibly fun. With the Riddler putting obstacles in your path that will need both quick reflexes and good control of the car.
During the time I have currently spent with the game, I have progressed about 30% through the main campaign(which appears to be shorter than I would like). I have also picked up a fairly large number of side quests, all of which revolve around villains of Gotham! I mentioned the Riddler race tracks a moment ago, but there are also scores(over 200) actual Riddler Trophies to collect! These are both incredibly fun to collect, but also unlock extra content to play! Though I am yet to unlock many of these!
The graphics shown off in this game are stunning, with no cap on the render distance you can see the whole of Gotham, assuming you can get high enough to see it all! There are some amazing environmental affects occurring in the sky box of the game, with rain constantly pattering down on Batmans head, and also occasional lightning seen in the distance!
All in all this game is amazing, and one that I can't wait to complete to it's fullest! Don't forget that haven't touched much today on the actual story of the game, which has had both surprises that I am loving, but the whole thing has me encapsulated! The only thing that doesn't make me sad that this is the last Batman game from Rocksteady, is that they are creative geniuses and will doubtlessly produce amazing games in the future(hopefully still based on DC characters!)
Thanks for reading,
Today I wanted to talk to you all about my feelings towards Downloadable Content, or DLC. There has been a lot of controversy this year surrounding DLC, with Batman Arkham Knight announcing an incredibly small amount of information, that they were then expecting people to buy a £32.00($39.99). Bungie has had people up in arms talking about the different versions of their upcoming expansion, The Taken King. Every year without fail, the big shooting franchises such as Call of Duty or Battlefield(not quite yearly but the point stands) release a season pass. In the case of the latest CoD, Advanced Warfare people had to shell out £34.99($49.99) in order to continue to get new content after the game has been released.
Looking at the other side of the spectrum, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is in the process of releasing two small pieces of DLC every week until a total of 16 pieces have been released. They have released these bits of content for free to all gamers, to matter what console or version of the game they bought. This is because they think they owe gamers for buying their game! Now on top of this there is a season pass you can buy for The Witcher 3, which will "only" set you back £19.99($24.99) which includes between them 30 hours of gameplay.
The cost of season passes, specifically surrounding multiplayer games is very hard to quantify, some people will play these DLCs for countless number of hours. Where as someone like me who bought the Advanced Warfare season pass, but I no longer enjoy the game, thus barely play the DLCs! Looking at the single player game DLCs which are slightly easier to lock down in terms of the amount of time they will take to complete. As I said above The Witcher 3 season pass is claiming that the two DLCs that will be included in the season pass will add up to 30 hours of total gaming content. Looking in terms of content then, rather than the amount the gamer will play said content. It is impossible to say how long it takes to produce say the Advanced Warfare DLCs in comparison to The Witcher 3 DLCs. However I would take an educated guess that two of the Advanced Warfare DLCs don't take more time to create than both Witcher 3 DLCs.(I reached that comparison loosely basing the price of the 2 Advanced Warfare DLCs £17.50 or $24.99 and The Witcher 3 DLCs being £19.99 or $24.99)
Now I would like to stress that I have no game development knowledge, however I do reckon I know enough about games in general to know the difference is literal content in the above, compared DLCs.
To bring this discussion to a conclusion, maybe DLCs are a good or bad thing, I feel that I am not qualified enough to answer that question. However I feel that the prices of these pieces of Downloadable Content are far more expensive than the content supplied warrants. It has nearly reached the stage where Year 1 content is costing the gamer nearly as much as the original game, when arguable the additional content doesn't supply nearly as many things to do, as the base game.
I'm sure many of you have opinions on the issue of DLCs and the price tags attached to said DLCs, you can let me know what you think in the comments below, or you can Tweet me!
Thank you very much for reading,
I would like to say at the end of this article that the prices(and their Sterling to Dollar differences) have in no way been made up by me, I have used a combination of Amazon.co.uk and comparing those prices to Amazon.com.
Today we will be looking at Batman Arkham Knight, I'm sure it is a game that you all have heard of, and most of you either want it or are getting it at launch. I have played both preceding games in the "Rockstar Trilogy", those being Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. There isn't a single other game that does collectables as well as the Batman games, that may sound inconsequential compared to the main game, it may also sound like that is the only bit I like. Neither of these is the case, rather it is a near perfect game, which I believe has perfected the collectibles. Although somewhat short(only by 2011 standards, 10-12 hours is a positive hoard of gaming these days) the campaign is truly amazing. Back when I first played it I wasn't massively into the Batman universe, I liked the look of it, but didn't always know who was on screen despite the reaction of Batman making me think I should know the enemy currently inhabiting the screen.
Where should I start on the gameplay, not just the combat but also the stealth are incredibly addictive. Spurred on by the combat training rooms(unlocked from specific collectibles), which throw Batman into a room and either expect him to beat them all to a pulp and earn points for it, or stealth his was through an entire room of enemies. Neither of which is easy, especially when the difficulty ramps up the the near god like skill required to get three stars(or batarangs) on the later levels. There are also a whole heap of side quests which are perfectly fitted in to the world, without the player feeling like anything was shoe horned into the world.
Anyway enough about the previous games, and why I love them. We are here to look at Arkham Knight, the third instalment in the series from the parent developer Rockstar. Unlike in previous games where the main villains are ones we already know the previous lore of Batman, in Arkham Knight(as the title suggests) the main antagonist is the newly created Arkham Knight, who is adorned in high-end military gear which is designed to look similar to Batmans trademark armour. There is rife speculation about who is under the mask of the Knight, though I care not for these discussions as I eagerly await the nail biting moment when the Knight takes off his mask, though there is no indication that he will ever take his mask off! The whole of Gotham has been evacuated after Scarecrow issues a threat against all citizens who stay within the walls of Gotham. We don't yet know how or even if the city will then be divided up by the respective villains, Penguin, Two Face, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and more are making a triumphant return to Gotham. The size of Arkam Knight's City is apparently 5x the size of our previous superhero playground in Arkham City, and with an increase in size comes a new way to transport the Batman around. No longer will the famed and incredibly fun cape be the only way of traversing the city, now we will have the Batmobile to wreak havoc on the villains unwittingly residing on the streets of Gotham. The Batmobile has been the one feature that I have taken some warming to, but with every new trailer that is released, my excitement for the new transportation mode grows. The Batmobile appears to be just as armoured and weaponised as the Batman himself, with cannons and more have been spotted rising from the sleek body of the vehicle.
If you couldn't tell from the whole tone of this above spiel I am incredibly excited for Batman Arkahm Knight to be released in early June(no hype for this game at E3 the!), oh and have I mentioned that this is the last Batman game Rockstar are releasing. It is unclear if they will pass the franchise over to another team like the did for Arkham Origins, but I personally would suggest this will be the last outing of Batman we will see in gaming for quite some time. When this was first announced I was obviously sad that this was going to be the last one in the series, until someone pointed out that Rockstar are still going to be making games. So which franchise(hopefully superhero) will they turn their expert gaze to next? Or might they tread their own path with a new IP being released from their doors in a few years?I am not one to answer this question, but I sure as hell am excited both about Arkham Knight at the future of Rockstar.
That is me done for now, and I am just left to thank you for reading, and to tell you that this new page on my site dedicated to Batman Arkham Knight, will be updated in the future leading all the way up to my review! So stay tuned!
Friends of The Games Critic:
My name is Ed, I write everything here, covering all kinds of games, but I only play them on the PS4!