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,
I'm sure that many of you are aware that developers are constantly fighting the good to try to get the best combination, the right balance, between the graphical quality of a game, and the number of frames per second it can output. Now I'm no technical wizard by any means, so don't expect detailed analysis of game engines, frame drops and more jargon that nearly only developers would understand. I'm more going to be talking about what I think the right balance is, why a trend is appearing, and which games have done it right, compared to what upcoming games look like they will do.
So to get the obvious question out of the way first, I would prefer 60 frames per second(FPS) with lower graphical quality compared to a very good looking game, which runs at 30(or lower) FPS. Let me cast your minds back to when the PlayStation 4 was first released, the first game I ever played on this amazing new console was Battlefield 4. Battlefield 4 runs on average, at 60 FPS, even in multiplayer(taking aside some glitches present in the release version of the game for some people) and I never thought I would be able to see much of a difference between the 30 and 60 FPS, but I was blown away as soon as I spawned in for the first time and it all ran super smooth! The main reason I wanted to bring this issue to the fore of my site, is because of The Witcher 3, which is a game I adore don't get me wrong. However if there was one thing which constantly annoys me whilst playing, and that is the frame rate, which is 30 FPS at best. There have also been reports that this is new even lower in places since the latest patch 1.07, which to all intents and purposes is a very good patch with some awesome additions. However having a game playing out at less than 30FPS, is simply unacceptable to me. I would rather the world be broken down into smaller chunks that need individually loading, and ever a lower graphical quality to get a good frame rate.
I believe that the gaming community has grown to obsessed with how pretty a game looks, and this has forced developers to make rather serious cuts to the frame rate of their games. Look at the upcoming release of Uncharted 4, it goes with out saying that this game looks stunning, but especially for a game as action oriented at the Uncharted series only 30fps may be problematic. To compare this to The Uncharted Collection which will run at 1080p(HD) and 60fps, now this is obviously because they are all PS3 games running on the significantly faster operating PS4. I believe that it is only when a game drops below 30fps that we can see problems emerging, but if a game targets 30fps there is a chance that a lower frame rate will be noticed by the gamer.
It is possible that I am on my own with these ideas, but there is nothing that can squash my enjoyment for a game than a low frame rate, maybe I am over accustomed to high frame rate games, but when I am riding around on my horse in The Witcher 3 and there is very noticeable jerking from the character, I am disappointed. There is a correct balance between graphical prowess and frame rate, but I think that balance has yet to be perfected on the new generation of hardware. Which is okay, we are at the beginning of a new age of consoles, developers were working on games that are being released now well before the consoles were released, and in some cases even announced!
Well that is my fill of your time for today, check back soon for more coverage of Batman Arkham Knight(including a review and Riddler Diaries!) and The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt! Also let me know what you think about the balance between frame rate and graphical prowess!
I will leave you with some statistics for some of the well played games currently, and their frame rates, note that 1080p is also known as HD! Also(and I'm not trying to start a console war here) these figures are for the PS4 versions of the games, some of these stats are lower on the Xbox One, some also are upscaled on the Xbox One(which is something I don't really understand!)
Batman Arkham Knight, 1080p with 30fps
The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt, 1080p with 30fps
Uncharted Collection, 1080p 60fps(NOTE: This is a remastered version of PS3 Games!)
Destiny, 1080p with 30fps
Uncharted 4, Single Player: 1080p with 30fps; Multiplayer: 1080p with 60fps(NOTE: Frame rate for multiplayer is still a target and not confirmed)
Fallout 4, 1080p with 30fps
Evolve, 1080p with 30fps
The Order 1886, 1080p with 30fps
Bloodborne, 1080p with 30fps
There are more games I have missed, but I will leave that with you!
Thanks as always for reading,
Today I want to talk about something that I have been thing about the last couple of days. Is there such a thing as a game that is too big? Now, there is a difference between big games, for example Destiny is quite a small game in terms of content, but has immense replayability. Comparing Destiny to a game such as The Witcher 3 or Dragon Age Inquisition, both of the latter games are immense in scale and story. The thing is, for someone like me, who doesn't give over whole weekends to gaming, instead playing a little everyday, going into a game such as The Witcher 3 or Inquisition, I consciously think that I will not finish the campaign for this game. I will do side quests, level up, explore and acquire new gear, but I fear that I am not a committed to the campaign of the game because I know I won't finish it.
Take The Witcher 3, the story of the game takes most people around the 100 hour mark to complete, that would take me at least two months of only playing that game. In that time there will be new games released that I want to play, and also older games that still have appeal for me. I have played countless number of games, but only three games have ever taken more than 100 hour from me, Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4 and just recently Destiny. Now maybe that says more about me as a gamer than it does about the games, I'm a stickler for a good multiplayer game, where I'm "grinding" for the next rank up or piece of loot. They are also the most fun for me, as I can zone into the game, and just play. Where as a game such as Inquisition firstly takes an emotional toll on me, but also I always make massive decisions that will affect the rest of the game. Because of this I feel that it needs my full attention, why I don't think I can always give to a game!
A similar point could be made for The Last of Us, I highly doubt there are many players of that game that weren't emotionally affected by it in some way. However because I knew it was a medium length game(around 20-25 hours for completion) I "pushed" on with it and it is now one of my most cherished games. The problem, then, with games as large as The Witcher 3 or Inquisition is that they last around 4-5 times longer than a game like TLoU. I thus feel less of a drive to finish it, because I know that some other game will drag me away from it before I reach it's conclusion.
Casting our gaze back to the last generation, I played Mass Effect 2 and 3 to their conclusion(both Bioware games like Inquisition) because they were closer to the short end of the spectrum, at least when compared to Inquisition. Bringing yet another game into this debate, Batman Arkham Knight, has a large open world which is incredibly fun to explore; but Arkham Knight apparently lasts around the 15 hour margin to complete. Because I know that the story won't take me too long, I can focus my attention on that, suppressing my Destiny urges in the process.
Maybe there is no happy medium, though I know this, only AAA games have this problem. Unfinished Swan is a very short indie game, and knowing this, despite the fact that my interest in it was definitely present, but not burning. I set aside a few days in which to complete it; and did. This was because I knew that I could see the game from 0-100% in a few days. It is only when AAA games such as Inquisition The Witcher 3 enter the scene that I lose my focus on the story(despite both of them being superb), because I know myself as a gamer, and I know that completion of such a game is beyond me.
I know I haven't drawn and conclusion from this, and I apologise for that, maybe it is dependant on the gamer, how much time they can spend in a game, and what kind of game they like. I'd be very intrigued to hear your thoughts on this issue, you can either let me know in the comments below(which is open to everyone) or let me know on Twitter!
Thanks for reading,
I'm sure all of you have at least seen that The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt has recently been released on PS4, Xbox One and PC. Well I have sunk some time into it, and I'm ready to give you my initial impressions of this titan of a game. Don't worry if you haven't picked up the game yet, or have just bought it, I won't be talking spoilers in any way, just talking about characters, mechanics etc. I will only say this before I get into the specifics; Welcome To The New Generation!
Okay so theatrics aside this game is the most Next Generation game I have played so far, and the folks over at CD Projekt Red sure have set the bar very high, and I strongly believe that this new found bar will not be toppled for at least a year, if not two or three! I obviously can't speak for Projekt Red, but to me it feels like they haven't made a game with a world in it, rather they have made a world within a game; if that makes sense to you! I won't spoil the introduction obviously but let's just say you get introduced to the Wild Hunt very soon into your time with the game. The Wild Hunt is a mythical group of raiths who seem to want to bring about the end of the world. Nothing major then. These monsters are after our protagonists ward(adopted daughter) Ciri, however you want to protect her, and need to find her, Thus the story begins. I believe myself to be in the same metaphorical boat as many people at least on PS4 who are picking up The Witcher 3, I haven't played any of the previous game, nor had I paid any particular attention to the series prior to The Witcher 3 being announced. I did a tiny amount of research before picking up the game, which consisted of reading one article bringing me up to date with the series, however in my 15 or so hours with the game so far, I don't feel in any way like I don't understand what is going on.
You may or may not have heard that this game sets you free into a prologue area first, before the "main world", this acts as an incubator to let you grow into you new found Witcher skin(or remind if you have played previous games), it introduces you to the combat, bosses and other important mechanics that you will rely on later on the game. Having also never played any of the souls games(which was the loose inspiration for the combat in this game), the combat was a little hard to get to grips with. I never felt like I was being cheated when I died, just that there was a new area for me to focus on improving.
Despite what you may have heard other players say, I do not believe that this not 100% perfect, though it is closer than I have grown to expect from AAA games today. There are a few things that bug me while I'm playing, firstly there are unfortunately frame rate issues, these affect both cutscenes and gameplay for me, it can get quite severe at times, and I have had to reboot my PS4 to try to resolve the issues, this only occurred after I had been playing for a few hours and had fast travelled numerous times, though it is pure speculation on my part as to what caused the issues. On a quick side note of technical issues after most games of Gwent(A card game I will talk about another time) at the end of most matches the whole game crashed and I need to relaunch it, which is only a problem because the auto-save frequency is super far apart, and I keep on forgetting to save my game manually so it usually sets me back quite a way! Then there is the size of the world and the side quests that occupy the world. I am always an advocate of a large world that is filled with many side quests, however there are many, many quests which are a much higher level than me, this leaves me wandering around somewhat aimlessly at times when I don't want to carry on with the campaign for a bit, but don't have any side quests on my level!
All of those bad things aside, this is a game that I will be playing for a very long time, and it has enough content in it to keep me going even longer than that! The characters are probably the deepest I have ever seen, rivalling the likes of Dragon Age or Mass Effect(Bioware basically) in terms of character involvement. These impressions have touched on a few of the brilliant things The Witcher 3 brings to the table, and that is before I have talked about the deep crafting mechanics, the huge quantity of potions and general alchemy at you disposal, the mini campaign like side quests or the amazingly crafted cities and towns. This is a game that everyone should at least try playing, it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it will delight many, with its tales of witches, trolls and monsters from the deep.
Thank you very much for reading, my apologies for my absence recently my work has demanded more time from me, though that is at and end now, so expect some great things from me in the coming months!
Today I will be tearing apart the new Witcher 3 Wild Hunt gameplay trailer that was released yesterday. As we draw nearer to the release of this epic game, both the information available and my excitement grows. In this new trailer, we get some new information and a more in depth look at some mechanics we already know about, such as the alchemy in the game. Without further ado let's get into it! I would just like to say that there will be a lot of speculation below, some of the things I will be talking about are in no way confirmed and are pure speculation on my part, please treat it as such.
Here is another look at the map of the world of The Witcher 3, it is obviously huge, but I wanted to draw your attention to this segment.
This is taken from the top right of the map, it seems to show all of the activities that you can embark on whilst staying in The Skellige Isles. Starting from the left, this symbol to me seems to show an assassination mission, which could then be rewarded with money, as the coin seems to suggest. There is then a small cave entrance, which obviously will lead into some kind of under ground area, probably filled with monsters of varying ferocity! Next along is probably the most interesting symbol, it is the small green sign post, which in my eyes will signal a village you can go to. The quantity is what is surprising here, as it shows 56 available to go to, it is more than likely that some of these villages will have been over run with monsters. As the trailer says later on, once these monsters have been removed(you will probably need to go out and find the monster nest and destroy it using a Samum bomb) citizens will start to move into the village and you will be able to trade with them, and they will probably have missions you can do for them! The rest of these symbols are beyond my understanding, and I feel it would be pointless to speculate on some quite obscure icons.
Here we get one of our most in depth looks at the armour of the game. There were more screens of armour shown in the trailer, but I didn't think you would want to see them all. I have picked out some information, which I don't know if it is new, but it certainly excited my! Firstly there are four different types of armour rarity, there is Common(signified with no colour), Master(signified with a blue colour base), Witcher(signified with a green colour base) and lastly yellow(signified with a yellow colour base. It seems that the Magic gear(shown above) offers both a higher armour rating, and more bonus stats. Speaking of bonus stats, based on the armour pieces shown today, I can give you all a small list of the bonuses that can be offered on the armour: Resistance to: Piercing Damage, Bludgeoning Damage, Slashing Damage, Burning Damage, Damage from Monsters and elemental damage. There are also Attack Damage boosters, Adrenaline Point signs and Ard Sign intensity that can be boosted on armour, these ratings range from 3% all the way up to 40%! These armour pieces also come in types, with the traditional Light, Medium and Heavy armour making an appearance in The Witcher 3. All of the pieces shown have little baubles next to their icon, some pieces have no baubles and some have three. Although we don't actually know what these mean, other than the fact that they are all empty, I believe that these are slots either for runes(maybe to increase damage against a specific enemy), or enchantments(possibly to reduce how heavy certain items are).
Next up we have the magic section of the trailer, the spell used above is one we have seen used before, and it looks just a deadly as before. It is unclear as to whether it is a passive or aggressive spell. Basically whether it will just push the enemies away from you, to get you out of a sticky situation. Or maybe it does damage to the enemies at the same time as pushing them away.
Now I want to wrap up this post and give you some of the little details revealed by the narrator of this trailer. Firstly the cities of the game will have sewer systems that we will be able to explore and find monsters in, there will probably be some missions tied into the sewers as well, so look out for them! Then we got our first look at the vampires in the game, it is unclear whether these will be available to fight or just present in cut scenes. There was a rather nice skill shown off for the swordsmen out there, Geralt is advancing towards some archers and he is deflecting their arrows with his sword, this will more than likely be a high end skill to unlock, as it looks to negate the problems posed by singular or small groups of archers! We then got a look at two newly announced mini-games that will be present in the game, firstly there will be card games, which look rather complicated, however I am assuming you will be able to make rather large amounts of money of these games! The other mini-game we saw was horse racing, I believe we have see this in a previous trailer, but this is the first time we have been told that it will be an actual activity, presumably you will be able to bet/make money of these races as well! Lastly nearly all of the gameplay segments we saw, we taking place with no UI(User Interface) on the screen, whether this was just for the trailer, or maybe the game will be more cinematic in moments of non-combat that at least I was expecting! Either way I am incredibly excited about this game, and I hope that this post has given you some knowledge about this game that you didn't know before!
The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt is released on May 19th, on the Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC.
Thanks for reading,
If you didn't know this weekend is an event in America called PAX East, this event always produces some interesting results. This year we have got our hands on a new 7 minute segment of gameplay for the Witcher 3 Wild Hunt. This is my most anticipated game this year, so I am always interested to get my hands on new gameplay, and I thought I would bring you all a breakdown of some of the less noticeable features shown off during this trailer. If you are looking forward to the game,or like some of the things I breakdown today, why not share the article on Twitter?
Anyway, thanks for reading and until next time,
One last thing before I leave you, I'm sure you are aware that is was recently announced that Witcher 3 would be receiving 16 pieces of free DLC, slightly sadly one of those 16 pieces is the side mission we saw in this gameplay trailer, not a huge problem. However I would have liked them to keep the DLC secret until we are given it, post launch!
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!