The Games of 2015 Ranked

If one of us played it, then we are ranking it. Below is the list of all the games we played from 2015 ranked in order of worst to best.

164 J-Stars Victory VS+
163 Castle in the Darkness
162 Woah Dave!
161 Zotrix
160 Egg Returns Home
159 Aaru’s Awakening
158 htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary
157 Dream
156 Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival
155 Cibele
154 Resident Evil: Revelations 2
153 Harold
152 Time Clickers
151 Adventure Capitalist
150 Knight Squad
149 Five Nights at Freddy’s 3
148 Just Get Through
147 Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball
146 Airscape: The Fall of Gravity
145 Gunnheim
144 Plug & Play
143 Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!
142 Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
141 Citizens of Earth
140 Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash
139 Tallowmere
138 Rise of Incarnates
137 Princess Evangile
136 Project CARS
135 The Magic Circle
134 XBLAZE: Lost Memories
133 HuniePop
132 Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax
131 Sublevel Zero
130 Audiosurf 2
129 Karmaflow: Rock Opera
128 Human Resource Machine
127 OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood
126 Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters
125 Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell
124 Prison Archetech
123 Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson
122 Read Only Memories
121 Fingered
120 Parallax
118 Deathtrap
117 Guns, Gore, & Cannoli
116 Swords & Soldiers II
115 Skyshine’s: Bedlam
114 Emily is Away
113 Aviary Atorney
112 Mario Puzzles and Dragons
111 Story of Seasons
110 Chroma Squad
109 White Night
108 Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy
107 Evoland II
106 The Fruit of Grisaia
105 Gunman Clive 2
104 Broken Age
103 Tales of Zestiria
102 Warhammer: Vermintide
101 Volume
100 The Executive
99 Evolve
98 Kingdom
97 Renowned Explorers: International Society
96 Kerbal Space Program
95 MonsterBag
94 Three-Fourths Home
93 Not a Hero
92 Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed
91 Lost Dimension
90 Mushihimesama
88 Onechanbara Z2: Chaos
87 Nuclear Throne
86 Zenzizenzic
85 Samurai Warriors 4-2
84 Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart
83 Mario Party 10
82 Code Name S.T.E.A.M.
81 Dragon Ball: Xenoverse
80 Contradiction: Spot the Liar!
79 Apotheon
78 Yo-Kai Watch
77 Forza Motorsport 6
76 Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
75 Five Nights at Freddy’s 4
74 Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines
73 Act of Aggression
72 Mad Max
71 Just Cause 3
70 The Beginner’s Guide
69 Downwell
68 Stretchmo
67 Dragon Quest Heros
66 Galak-Z: The Dimensional
64 Clannad
63 Crypt of the Necrodancer
62 Grey Goo
61 Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX
60 Titan Souls
59 Hand of Fate
58 Broforce
57 Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
56 Convoy
55 Roche Fusion
54 Jackbox 2
53 Soma
52 Duck Game
51 Affordable Space Adventures
50 Westerado: Double Barreled
49 Mortal Kombat X
48 Rock Band 4
47 Box Boy
46 The Order 1886
45 Yoshi’s Wooly World
44 Super Mario Maker
43 Flywrench
42 Massive Chalice
41 Call of Duty: Black Ops III
40 Star Wars Battlefront
39 Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
38 The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes
37 Heroes of the Storm
36 Halo 5: Guardians
35 Assault Android Cactus
34 Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late
33 Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea
32 Rebel Galaxy
31 Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
30 Grow Home
29 Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
28 Runbow
27 Persona 4: Dancing All Night
26 LEGO Dimensions
25 Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls
24 Guitar Hero Live
23 Ori and the Blind Forest
22 Transformers Devastation
21 Splatoon
20 Dying Light
19 Inivisble Inc.
18 Rocket League
17 Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture
16 Final Fantasy Type-0
15 Her Story
14 Yakuza 5
13 Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
12 Rise of the Tomb Raider
11 Until Dawn
10 Helldivers
9 Life is Strange
8 Xenoblade Chronicles X
7 Tales of the Borderlands
6 Undertale
5 Batman: Arkham Knight
4 Fallout 4
3 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
2 Bloodborne
1 The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

Game of the Year 2015: Special Categories

Another year has quickly gone by. There were some games that came out in that time, and here are our thoughts on which were the standouts in our special brand of categories.

Best Non-2015 Gaming Experience (Personal)

We begin today with our personal categories, the “Best Non-2015 Category” encapsulates all games released prior to 2015, Early-Access games that have not yet been released, and episodic games that have yet to release their final episode.


Isaiah B – Payday 2

Brock – Destiny: The Taken King

Derek – King’s Quest

Zach – Destiny: The Taken King

Alex – Dreamfall: Chapters

Drew – Destiny: The Taken King

Thomas – Persona 3 Portable

Most Surprisingly Good Game (Personal)

We expect a lot out of our games, but some more than others. These are the games that surprised us the most in 2015.


Derek – Helldivers

Isaiah B – Helldivers

Zach – Undertale

Brock – Life is Strange

Thomas – Rocket League

Drew – Rocket League

Alex – Runbow

Biggest Disappointment (Personal)

In direct opposition to our “Most Surprisingly Good” we have, “Biggest Disappointment.” Games that bummed us out, did not meet the hype, or were at all disappointing.


Derek – Star Wars: Battlefront

Drew – Star Wars: Battlefront

Brock – Rock Band 4

Zach – Star Wars: Battlefront

Isaiah B – Evolve

Thomas – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Alex – Resident Evil: Revelations 2

Most Addictive (Personal)

What games could we simply not tear ourselves away from? Some games are addictive by design, and here are our picks for “Most Addictive” game of 2015.


Brock – Persona 4: Dancing All Night

Thomas – Fallout 4

Isaiah B – Fallout 4

Zach – The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

Alex – Fallout 4

Drew – Batman: Arkham Knight

Derek – Batman: Arkham Knight

Best Multiplayer

2015 might have not been quite as strong of a year for multiplayer as last year, but it was no slouch.


Winner – Rocket League

Beauty through simplicity is Rocket League’s appeal, and what it accomplishes wish so little is undoubtedly impressive proving to be an obsession for many throughout 2015.

Runners up:

Affordable Space Adventures


Best Voice Acting

This category examines all the voice acting in a game.


Winner – Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture’s voice acting is critical to its success at what the game is going for. For being such an emotionally-charged experience, it is amazing what it accomplishes without characters models. The British accents certainly don’t hurt either.


LEGO Dimensions

Batman Arkham Knight

Best Voice Performance

Where “Best Voice Acting” looks at the entire game, “Best Voice Performance” looks at one singular performance.


Winner – Viva Seifert – Her Story

In a lot of ways, Viva Seifert is Her Story. Without a solid performance, Her Story lacks the breadth necessary to make it engaging or sell the character on the screen. Viva manages to produce the ambiguity needed to confuse the player just enough to keep going to the game’s arbitrary conclusion.


Oliver Dimsdale as Steven Appleton from Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Peter Stormare as the psychiatrist from Until Dawn

Most Original/Innovative

As time continually marches on, it gets harder and harder to feel original and innovate in an established place. This category recognizes those who dare to try to be different.


Winner – Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes definitely feels different in the field of 2015 videogames. Playing more like a board game, one player (or a group) is armed with a bomb-defusal guide, and it is their objective to help the other player disarm the bomb before somebody explodes. It’s fresh, it’s original, and it’s our winner for this category.


Affordable Space Adventures

Kerbal Space Program

Most Funny/Ridiculous

It is hard to master comedic timing in videogames, we also value a good dose of the absurd on occasion, thus the category of “Most Funny/Ridiculous” was born.


Winner – Tales From the Borderlands

Tales From the Borderlands is among the most funny videogames ever made. It is continually laugh-inducing and more than suitably ridiculous. It was the easy winner of the category this year.



Plug & Play

Best Looking Game

Combining artistic and technical merit produces our “Best Looking Game” category. Which game was the most visually impressive in 2015?


Winner – The Order 1886

The Order 1886 shows that consoles can still compete graphically despite aged hardware. The Order is highly directed making the visuals pop, the lighting stand out, and the character models impress. Also, just check out the game’s cloth physics.


Star Wars: Battlefront

Ori and the Blind Forest

Best Music

Typically one of our more contentious categories due to the subjectivity of musical taste, but we decide which games had the best music anyway. The quality is always raising in this category from year to year.

Winner – Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

A clear standout with its choral pieces and string arrangements, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, feature a soundtrack like no other. The music aids in driving home the game’s more poignant moments and always complements what is happening on screen.


Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number


Best Boss Fights

Boss fights are still relevant as a test of player’s’ skills and we always like to reward that.


Winner – Undertale

Nearly every encounter in Undertale is unique, and the boss fights even more so. From heart-wrenching to maddeningly difficulty, Undertale always has something up its sleeve when it comes to its boss fights.


Titan Souls


Best Story/Writing

We combine overarching story and moment to moment writing in this category.


Winner – Tales From the Borderlands

While having a great culmination of choices at its end, none can compete with the moment-to-moment dialogue in Tales From the Borderlands.


The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt


Best New Main Character

In what was a weaker year for new main characters, a couple rose above the rest.


Winner – Rhys – Tales From the Borderlands

Rhys, though he may be altered by the player somewhat, is a defined character that is easy to root for. Stuck under the shadow of Handsome Jack, he attempts to fill the power vacuum created by the end of Borderlands 2. His arch throughout the five episodes is interesting and possesses a surprising amount of depth.


Jenks – Contradiction

Max Caulfield – Life is Strange

Best Secondary Character

“Best Secondary Character” does not have to be new like with our “Main Character” category. This allows for a wide array of characters new and tried.

21 Joker

Winner – The Joker – Batman Arkham Knight

The Joker is what makes Batman Arkham Knight. His implementation, though lazy in concept, is executed brilliantly. His dialogue makes him unforgettable in a game that might not otherwise be the pinnacle of its series.  


Gortys – Tales From the Borderlands

The Bloody Baron – The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

Best Amiibo

Continuing the madness that is Nintendo’s supply shortages, we support amiibo here at the EXP Shared podcast.


Winner – Palutena

Detail was the name of the game this year, and no amiibo is as impressive as Palutena’s with her shield, staff, and translucent blue aura.


Green Yarn Yoshi


Most Memorable Moment (Personal)

What moments stood out as the ones that are still ingrained in our minds? Don’t worry *NO SPOILERS*


Zach – End of Until Dawn

Brock – Flowey Fight in Undertale (neutral route)

Isaiah S – Genocide Route in Undertale

Isaiah B – Dying by Old Woman in Mortal Kombat X

Thomas – Besting the Vicar Amelia in Bloodborne

Drew – The Barbara Gordon scene in Batman Arkham Knight

Derek – Sidequesting in Batman Arkham Knight

Alex – The End of Episode 2 in Tales From the Borderlands

2015 was the year of…

What defines the year?


Winner – Open-World Domination

The Triple-A games industry has been trending towards the open-world genre for a while now with the unprecedented commercial success of games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto V. But 2015 witnessed an absolute saturation of the genre with varying success. As someone who plays a lot of games, it was a year filled with long, satisfying experiences, and it proved difficult to get through all them (especially when two come out in December, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Yakuza 5). It says something when our Top 5 games of the year are all open-world games.


Transhumanism as a narrative device

The Fall of Konami

Most Anticipated (Personal)

Now that 2015 is over what are we pumped for next?


Brock – The Witness

Isaiah S – The Oculus Rift

Derek – Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade

Zach – Uncharted 4

Alex – Zero Time Dilemma

Isaiah B – Pokken Tournament

Drew – Final Fantasy XV

Thomas – Horizon: Zero Dawn

Paul – No Man’s Sky



24 Hours of Gaming: September 2015 Edition

I’m excited and ready to get back to it! Thanks for joining me as I attempt to again play video games for 24 hours straight. Whoa, it has been a while since the last one; time to knock the rust off. I have a few new games this time around that I am pumped for, so it should make for a good day. It also looks like it is going to be raining all day, so naturally, that makes it wonderful weather for gaming.


Getting back into the grove of Final Fantasy IX, and I must say that it feels good.


The most notable happenings this time around were that war is breaking out all over the place and Dagger has acquired the ability to use eidolons or Summons, a series staple. The story is brewing nicely as I cross the 12 hour mark.


Atelier Ayesha is back on the docket. As it becomes a series staple to my marathons, I do want to finish it soon so I can move on to Atelier Shallie.


The whole point of the game has been to find Ayesha’s sister, Nio. We finally saw her for the first time at about the 12-hour point. The gameplay has been a satisfying grind of crafting and turn-based combat. I’m still liking it a lot.


I started playing the peculiar RPG Undertale.


The game messes with players’ expectations early and often. I put in about 30 min in, just enough time to get through the game’s introductory sequence. I will certainly be finishing this one up next week.


I started playing the confusing and overwhelming Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy.


From the maker’s of last year’s great Demon Gaze, Operation Abyss is not nearly as story driven so far and not nearly as straightforward. It is trying to be more investigation-based with less of a focus on the turn-based combat of Demon Gaze. It sets an interesting tone and atmosphere, but it has been rough around the edges so far. The art, however, is fantastic.


Isaiah S. and I started playing Secret of Mana for the SNES. It has been a while since I played an older game in a marathon.


I had heard that Secret of Mana is the Kingdom Hearts of the 16-bit era, and I am definitely seeing it. The more action-based nature of the game’s combat is refreshing for that era of video games. Pleasant music and bright visuals also help to carry the experience. The story seems painfully cliché at the moment. Hopefully, that part changes.


It is time to find out what all this Shenmue business is all about. My love for the Yakuza franchise will likely set unreachable expectations for the gangster simulator, but maybe I’ll see why so many people love it and are so pumped for Shenmue 3.


Well… I tend to write a “Before & After” section when playing through games during marathon like this one. Unfortunately, my Dreamcast didn’t feel like reading the first disc of Shenmue today, it played other games fine, but no Shenmue. I then tried to play some F.E.A.R. 2 and my disc had gotten damaged sometime between now and the time I got it. So, there goes 2 games and 4 hours of what I had planned for today. Time to ad-lib.


I started to the play some XBLAZE Lost: Memories.


The first XBLAZE game was a great looking, but boring virtual novel, and Lost: Memories is so far, trying to be more “gamelike” with varied results. The games still look striking and impressive, and there are some more interactive elements, so hopefully it ends up having a better story than Code: Embryo.


The opening hour of Swords & Soldiers II sure looks better than the first one. However, the game does not have the original feel of the first one. The missions without the base-building and character creating are boring and tedious.



Back to Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.


It is still solid, but there was the introduction of a very annoying enemy that stuns characters and is very difficult to hit. I managed to get through a mission in an hour pushing my play time up to 3 hours.


It has been far too long since I have played Ori and the Blind Forest.


I finally made a lot of progress in my one additional hour of time with the game. There is no way around it, Ori is a hard game, and it is going to take some patience to finish off.


With two games not working for me I decided to start Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.


I did not stop playing Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture until credits rolled. It took 4.5 hours and it was a wonderful, and absolutely gorgeous experience. More to come on Rapture in my review hitting soon.


I had not gotten stuck in Final Fantasy Type -0 I would probably already have had it done by this point of time.


I got unstuck quickly and finished up chapter 4. I still really really like this game and I need to wrap it up soon.


I’m going to close the night off with a little Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls.


I tend to leave some of the games I want to play most for the end of the marathon to keep my motivation up, and more Danganronpa is typically great motivation. I finished up a lengthy Chapter 2 and got a good jump on Chapter 3. It is not as good as last year’s two GOTY contenders, but there is still plenty to love here.


6:30am – 10:00am – Final Fantasy IX

10:00am – 12:00pm – Atelier Ayesha: Alchemist of Dusk Plus

12:00pm – 12:30pm – Undertale

12:30pm – 2:00pm – Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy

2:00pm – 4:00pm – Secret of Mana

4:00pm – 6:00pm – XBLAZE Lost: Memories

6:00pm – 7:00pm – Swords & Soldiers II

7:00pm – 8:00pm – Code Name S.T.E.A.M.

8:00pm – 9:00pm – Ori and the Blind Forest

9:00pm – 1:30am – Everbody’s Gone to the Rapture

1:30am – 3:00am – Final Fantasy Type – 0 HD

3:00am – 6:30am – Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls

Game of the Half-Year 2015

Vector 2015 Happy New Year background

Another six months have blown by us. Five of us discussed the best and worst of the year so far at length; the results of said discussion are below.

Most Surprisingly Good

We started off the day positive; looking at games that were better than we initially expected.


Alex – Monster Bag

Isaiah B. – Splatoon

Brock – Hand of Fate

Paul – Her Story

Thomas – The Order 1886

Best Multiplayer

Always one of our more contentious categories, Best Multiplayer shows how we like to play with others.




#IDARB encapsulates what an e-sport can be. Upon initially diving in, the player can feel how deep and complex the team dynamics are in #IDARB, and oh, does it feel so good.




Biggest Disappointment

The first six months of 2015 have not been free of crushing disappointment. Which games bummed us out?


Alex – Broken Age (Act II)

Isaiah B. – Life is Strange

Brock – Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Paul – The Order 1886

Thomas – The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

Best Hunt

In putting together the list of categories, it was clear that a lot of games this year focused around the mechanic of hunting. Thus, this award was born. If more hunt-tastic games are released in the next six months then we will keep it on board for full year.




Evolve is a game all about hunting, so it felt right to give it the win. A game about hide-and-seek, trapping and escape made for an exciting hunt.


Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

Best Looking

Which game is the most visually impressive?



The Order 1886

The Order may suffer from a lack of interesting gameplay, but it does not lack technical prowess and beautiful visuals.


White Night

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

Best Music

It has be a solid year for music in games so far, here are our top picks:



Crypt of the Necrodancer

Music is gameplay in Crypt of the Necrodancer. The hard hitting techno/electronica beats are undeniably awesome. Toe tapping is important as to keep the beat in the game is when one can move and attack.


Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late

Best Story/Writing

It’s been a weaker year for good stories, but here’s what we have so far in 2015:



Tales of the Borderlands

As long as all five episodes make it out this year, Tales of the Borderlands is looking to dominate our awards proceedings. Its humor and dialogue are second to none in a video game making it a fairly easy pick this time around.


The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

Her Story

Best Games of 2015 (Jan-June)

We took our personal top 10 picks of the year, through them all together and saw what stuck to the wall:


34. Plug ‘N’ Play

33. I Am Bread

32. J-Stars Victory Vs. Plus

31. Saints Row: Gat out of Hell

30. Mario Party 10

29. Mortal Kombat X

28. Fallout Shelter

27. Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart

26. The Order 1886

25. Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late

24. Dying Light

23. Grow Home

22. Heroes of the Storm

21. Helldivers

20. Splatoon

19. Box Boy

18. Axiom Verge

17. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

16. Roche Fusion

15. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

14. Ori and the Blind Forest

13. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

12. Crypt of the Necrodancer

11. Invisible, Inc.

10. Hand of Fate

9. Evolve

8. Titan Souls

7. Her Story

6. Life is Strange

5. Batman: Arkham Knight

4. Final Fantasy: Type – 0 HD

3. Tales of the Borderlands

2. Bloodborne

  1. The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

24 Hours of Gaming: May 2015 Edition

It’s that time again: time for me to attempt to play video games for 24 hours straight. Today’s focus is primarily on starting or continuing games from 2015, but the usual suspects from my backlog will appear as they always do.


I’m getting started a little earlier today, and of course, I’m beginning with Final Fantasy IX.

One of the more disturbing party members I've ever encountered.

One of the most disturbing party members I’ve ever encountered.

FFIX has a “mechanic” called Action Time Events that not like quick-time events as we know them in a post-God of War era. They are little scenes that fill in backstory or show what another character is doing at the same time as the current playable one. It’s interesting, completely optional, and adds some nice flavor to the game.

Six hours into Final Fantasy IX and things are going well.


New party member in Grandia II!!!


Though one party member left, another has joined.

The story is really heating up as I return to Ryudo’s (the main character) homeland. The air is thick and the atmosphere is tense as he is about to have a showdown with his brother.

It should be said that despite having spread my playthrough of Grandia II out quite a bit, I always know where to go and am still invested in the story. That says a lot, I think.


It was a rough two hours with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.


I was hoping to have my time with the game wrapped up by now, but the game is soooooo HUGE. I’m getting very close to where I would be comfortable reviewing it however.

I fought and killed two monsters in 2 hours; long fights that I died on and had to do again. Whew. At least their corpses now lie at my feet.


I got through about a chapter and a half of Super Paper Mario. Unfortunately, chapter 5 was not very good… at all. Annoying puzzle and enemy design made for a slog for 2 hours.


At least chapter 6 starts off well enough with a faux 100-man face-off. So, the session ended well-enough.


Oreshika: The Tainted Bloodlines is a weird one. I’m about 5 hours into the game and it hasn’t really grabbed me yet. That is probably due to the lack of structure and defined goals.

The game is beautiful.

The game is beautiful.

Like Animal Crossing or Tomodachi Life, one is expected to make their own fun and objectives, except there is even less outright direction in Oreshika. It feels especially strange in a JPRG. There is a character designed to help the player out, but it is easy to rely on her as a crutch and think, “Okay, you just do everything.” I’m trying to wrap my mind around the game, but it is going to take some more time.


Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is another weird one. It is a strategy-RPG/virtual novel. The strategy part is different in that you have to predict where enemies will be before you attack. You don’t know where they are going to be, but you have to attack them. This makes for a very frustrating time.


The presentation is fantastic however and carries the game a long way. It doesn’t look like it is going to be super long, so I will hopefully finish up it up soon.



I am still thoroughly enjoying Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk Plus. The more freeform nature works, and the story is more engaging than Escha & Logy’s, but the overall flow of the game is not as rewarding.


We got four people together and played Mario Party 9. We have been working through all the Mario Party games getting ready for 10, and we were on 9, so 9 is what we played.

Boss fights add a lot to the Mario Party formula.

Boss fights add a lot to the Mario Party formula.

I first played Mario Party 9 sometime in 2012. The second time I played Mario Party 9 was today. It was much better the second time. The complete upheaval of the old structure of the games was not as dramatic when I knew it was coming. Regardless, playing them all so closely together made me not hate 9 nearly as much as I thought I did for whatever that is worth.


I started playing Code Name ST.E.A.M. today. It is a challenging game from the makers of Advance Wars and the Fire Emblem games, but it plays like SEGA’s Valkyria Chronicles.


The game looks a lot better in motion than I expected based off of the previous footage and screenshots. Critiques that I had heard about the game ring true, mainly that “overwatch” (a mechanic popularized by XCOM: Enemy Unknown) is completely and totally broken. Enemies can get two free shots on a party member without moving or shooting, breaking line-of-sight is all it takes and to make matters worse, the little buggards are deviously hidden.

It’s not bad. It’s not amazing.


One of the roommates wanted to play Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, so that is what we did. We got lucky and got a guy in our party who was Hunter Rank 255. For perspective’s sake, my roommate and I have put in around 30ish hours and we just hit HR 4. Let that sink in. Seriously. Some people REALLY like Monster Hunter.

The monster design is still incredible.

The monster design is still incredible.


Final Fantasy Type-0 is pretty great. I definitely didn’t want to stop after my 3 hours of it. The game looks good sometimes, and at others it reminds you that it was a PSP game first. The graphics as a whole can be jarring at times, but keeping in mind the game’s crazy journey to the States makes it much more tolerable.

Capes. That is all.

Capes. That is all.

The game is just fun. The combat is a blast. Experimentation is encouraged and there is a lot of it to be done. The RTS mechanics are light, but interesting and I’m intrigued to see how far they will go in that direction.


I intentionally saved some of the games I wanted to play for the end of the 24 hours. And Type-0 and Ori and the Blind Forest certainly topped the list for games I wanted to play today. I was an hour in Ori before I started today, and the first 10 minutes of the game are up for my “Most Memorable Moment of 2015.” The game makes an incredibly strong first impression, largely because how exceptionally amazing the game looks.


The game gets tough. It counters this by allowing the player to save a number of times wherever they want, so make one tough jump… plop down a save point so you don’t have keep doing it over and over again. The system works for the most part, but I am still fairly early in the game, hopefully the game can remain consistent to the end.

And that was my day. 24 hours of gaming goodness… well not all goodness, there were a couple of speed bumps along the way but we made it. Grandia II, Type-0, and Ori were definitely the highlights of the day with Atelier bringing it consistently as well. See ya next time!


6:00am – 9:00am – Final Fantasy IX

9:00am – 11:00am – Grandia II

11:00am – 1:00pm – Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

1:00pm – 3:00pm – Super Paper Mario

3:00pm – 5:00pm – Oreshika: The Tainted Bloodlines

5:00pm – 7:00pm – Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters

7:00pm – 9:00pm – Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk Plus

9:00pm-10:00pm – Mario Party 9

10:00pm – 12:00am – Code Name S.T.E.A.M.

12:00am – 1:00am – Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

1:00am – 4:00am – Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

4:00am – 6:00am – Ori and the Blind Forest

If the Video Game Music of 2014 was a Full-Length Album: The Best Game Music of 2014


Each year it proves harder and harder to choose the best music found in video games. Developers are getting better at utilizing music in creative ways as well as having generally stronger efforts from composers. This list is less about how well music is used in a game and more of which tracks sound the best on their own.

Presented in an album format, we have an “A” side and a “B” side totaling in 20 tracks. The only rules of the list are 1. Only one song per game. 2. No remixes of previously existing songs. Here we go!

A Side

#1. Tomorrow is Mine – Bayonetta 2

The music from Bayonetta 2 is similar to that found in the first game. While playing through the game the music fell somewhere in the background and I never really caught any of it. However, after listening to the soundtrack outside of the game it blew me away. The game is so crazy with what is happening on screen and so demanding in its action that the amazing music is missable, and that is unfortunate because it is some of the best music to be found in a video game in 2014.

The Bayonetta 2 soundtrack is available on iTunes.

#2. That Person’s Name Is – Bravely Default

The boss battle theme from Bravely Default is performed by Revo of the Japanese band Linked Horizon. The music takes the classic style of the older numbered Final Fantasy games and infuses them with hard rock. The result is a soundtrack that helps propel the player through a long game with catchy melodies and memorable music overall.

CDJapan is going to likely be the best place to acquire Bravely Default’s OST. Amazon also has it, but at a higher price.

#3. My Name is Legion – Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky

Logy’s battle theme from Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky is among the best I’ve ever heard. The entire Escha & Logy soundtrack is refreshing with its smooth jazz, use of flute and acoustic guitar. It has a unique feel not heard elsewhere in video games.

Play-Asia is the place to lock down this soundtrack.

#4. New World Order – Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

The music of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is special. The music always fits what is happening and always enhances the raw emotions that the game pulls out of the player on a consistent basis. New World Order swells as the game begins to reach its conclusion and sends the player on ride to the insanity that is the end of the game. Few tracks hit me harder than this one in 2014.

The soundtracks for both Danganronpa games are available on iTunes.

#5. Misrid Hunter – Demon Gaze

Demon Gaze’s OST is short, but extremely well done. If I have said it once, I have said it at every available opportunity: “A JRPG has to have a great battle theme.” Misrid Hunter is Demon Gaze’s main battle theme, and it is fantastic. The game utilizes voice more than most game soundtracks, and I think it is utilized to great effect.

Demon Gaze’s soundtrack is hard to come by, and unfortunately your best bet might be YouTube.

#6. Our Heels Bleed From the Bites of Wolves – The Banner Saga

Now, I am not the biggest fan of Journey. I’m not even that big of a fan of the game’s Grammy-nominated soundtrack either. The game’s simplicity and look are its biggest selling points to me. The composer of Journey’s OST also did the music for one of my favorite games of the year: The Banner Saga. The music is never intrusive, but is always there and fits the dour tone and mood of the game perfectly.

The Banner Saga’s soundtrack is available on iTunes.

#7. Too Late to Love You – Kentucky Route Zero Act III

Though Kentucky Route Zero is not even a complete game yet, I would be remiss to not mention this track as it is the best use case of music in a game that I experienced in 2014. KRZ’s music is more ethereal and atmospheric than anything else, but in Act III, the music takes center stage… quite literally. Too Late to Love You is a choose-your-own-lyrics song, and it is incredible. Kentucky Route Zero’s gameplay is largely picking from various dialogue options, so getting to choose the lyrics to a song was memorable. It doesn’t hurt that the song is excellent to boot.

Kentucky Route Zero Act III’s music is available on iTunes.

#8. We All Become – Transistor

The Transistor soundtrack is tied to the game’s identity. Few OST’s this year encapsulate their games better than Transistor. Many of the tracks have a vocal accompaniment, and We All Become is a standout in a collection of music that stands on its own.

The Transistor soundtrack is available on iTunes.

#9. Elusive – Toukiden: The Age of Demons

Now, Toukiden: The Age of Demons may not be the best game of 2014, but I constantly found myself going back to the game’s music. With flares of Eastern musical stylings, the music matches the action in this Monster Hunter-style game from the makers of Dynasty Warriors. Though the gameplay can quickly become dull and repetitive, the music helps in alleviating the game’s poor design.

Toukiden: The Age of Demon’s OST is best sought after from CDJapan.

#10. Scream – Lethal League

Lethal League came out of nowhere for me last year. It was quite the pleasant surprise, as was the game’s soundtrack. Scream easily outclassed the rest of the soundtrack, but the music in the game always elevated the intense action and fierce competition found at the core of Lethal League.

These bangin’ beats can be located on the Lethal League website and SoundCloud.

B Side

#11. Strike the Earth! – Shovel Knight

It was a great year for chiptune music. Super Time Force and Mercenary Kings both provided strong offerings, but it is Shovel Knight who buries the competition. Strike the Earth! is among the first tracks heard in the game, and it is among the most memorable with its catchy hooks and depth of variation.

Shovel Knight’s nostalgic soundtrack is available on BandCamp.

#12. The Opening Theme – Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney

Though I was disappointed with how the game ended, the music of Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wight Ace Attorney was far from disappointing. It perfectly fuses the style of music from both handheld powerhouses in creative and impressive ways. It can also be emotionally manipulative when it carefully chooses to play certain character theme music.

There are Amazon and eBay listings for the import version of the soundtrack.

#13. The Showdown – Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

Final Fantasy XIII possesses one of my favorite soundtracks from last generation, and Lightning Returns is full of amazing remixes from FFXIII and FFXIII-2 plus plenty of excellent tracks of its own.

The soundtrack for Lightning Returns is available on iTunes.

#14. “Folding Socks” by Meat Market – Sunset Overdrive

Sunsets Overdrive’s music is incredibly distinctive and unlike much that can be found in another video game. Sunset fully commits to its over-the-top and ridiculous tone, its brashness is also felt from its strong collection of tracks.

Sunset Overdrive’s soundtrack is available on iTunes.

#15. To the Songless Hill – Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star

This list could have easily been a list of all the anime opening tracks from the myriad of Japanese games from 2014, but for the sake of diversity, Ar Nosurge’s opening scene and accompanying song was the best one of the year. Song is a weapon in Ar Nosurge, so the strong soundtrack was not surprising in its high quality.

The OST for Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star is available at CDJapan.

#16. Untold Legends – Destiny

Despite Destiny’s many flaws, its soundtrack stands as one of its best elements. Though Bungie fired composer Marty O’Donnell shortly after completing his work on Destiny, his effort stands right there with his now-classic work on the Halo franchise.

Destiny’s OST is available on iTunes.

#17. War – Valiant Hearts

The soundtrack for Valiant Hearts is phenomenal, but I never noticed while playing the game. The track “War” is clearly taking a little inspiration from John Williams, and that is more than okay. The entirety of the OST is exceptional, though the available versions of the soundtrack do not include all the tracks.

The Valiant Hearts soundtrack is available on iTunes and Amazon.

#18. Light the Fire Up in the Night-Dark Hour- – Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth

The Persona games all have some excellent music, especially P3 and P4. Persona Q has two possible routes. The player can choose to play as the P3 protagonist or the P4 protagonist, and the music, especially the battle theme above, is dependent upon who is selected. Despite the grind that is Persona Q, the top-notch battle theme helps the hours go by a little easier.

The soundtrack for Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is available for purchase on CDJapan and PlayAsia.

#19. Theme of D4 – D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die

Like a trippy walk into a time-travel-y sitcom, the docile opening track to D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die feels out of place, yet it feels so right. I would say that the opening track sets the tone for the madness that is the rest of the game, but it doesn’t, and maybe that is how it was originally intended; soft rock to soothe the player in order to subvert the expectations. Regardless, it is a track that I greatly enjoyed from 2014.

D4’s soundtrack is available on Access Games’ BandCamp page as well as iTunes.

#20. Big Top Bop – Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

The original Donkey Kong Country games have some of the most iconic video games tracks out there. Tropical Freeze is full of brilliant remixes and some rockin’ boss themes like those above. The music is probably the best part of Tropical Freeze.

Sadly, the OST does not appear to be available for purchase anywhere, and YouTube is among the few places to hear it.

It was a wonderful year for video game music. Honorable mentions go to TxK, Strider, inFamous: Second Son, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Conception II, Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming, Divinity: Original Sin, Guilty Gear Xrd – SIGN, and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax. There is so much amazing music from games to choose from. I hope you enjoyed my picks, as we look forward to another year of awesome games and outstanding game music.

24 Hours of Gaming 7: 2015 Edition

February 21, 2015

It has been way too long since I did this. Moving and getting readjusted took a little longer than I expected, so this will my first marathon in the new location. Today’s goal is to continue chipping away at the backlog and catch up on the flurry of new releases in February of 2015. Only nine games today though.


I started a little later than I wanted to. I was aiming for 7, but I guess that happens when I forget to set my alarm.

I’m starting with Final Fantasy IX. I may have not finished FFVIII (I got really close), but it is finished with me. Think of it as “a new year, a new Final Fantasy.”


I am pretty excited about starting IX, I have heard from several people whose opinions I really trust that it is their favorite in the long line of Square RPGs.  It also has the highest metascore of any game with the big ole FF attached.

The game begins with some nice scenes on a boat.

The first three hours of FFIX were solid. The world is being set up, the characters introduced, and the, thankfully, more traditional combat is being explained. It is definitely too early to call it, but IX is looking a lot better than VIII and I could see myself liking it more than VII by the time credits roll.


Starting another new game! This time it is Kirby and the Rainbow Curse for WiiU. Kirby Canvas Curse is one of my top 2 Kirby games, so seeing a sequel on WiiU seems like the natural progression.


Rainbow Curse is pretty great. The art style carries it a long way. I was able to get through the first two worlds of what looks to be a not very long game, which is fine though. The game was only $40, and so far I would say that it is well worth the price of entry.


It’s time to hunt some monsters in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.


MH4 is a lot like MH3. There are some nice tweaks here and there, but I’m still not loving the series. I understand the appeal. Maybe I just need more narrative justification in my gaming obsessions nowadays. I’m getting close to 15 hours in the game, and it still isn’t clicking like I know it can, maybe it just take a couple hundred hours more for me to properly appreciate it.


Super Paper Mario. The two hours fly by fairly quickly as I complete world 4 and a good chunk of 5. It is nice finally being over the halfway point in this game. I find it weird how this game is more like an adventure game than anything else with its puzzles and focus on exploration.

Chapter 4 take place primarily in space.

Chapter 4 takes place primarily in space.


Back to Grandia II, it has been far too long.

I beat the Claws of Valmar on my first try. The bosses keep getting more difficult, and the fights keep getting longer. I’m glad I was able to make such progress.

This battle took far too long.

This battle took far too long.


Now for some Atelier Ayesha PLUS: Alchemist of the Dusk Sky. I love me some Atelier.


It took me a while to figure out where I was at and what I needed to do since it had been over a month since I last touched the game. However, it did not take long for the game to cast its spell on me again. I’m going to have to blitz through the rest of Ayesha because the new Atelier game comes out in a couple of weeks.


One of the main reasons I wanted to another 24-hour marathon was due to myself falling behind on the year’s releases, one of which being Grow Home.


News Flash: Grow Home is excellent. It might run a little on the short side (I beat it in under an hour and a half), but I haven’t played anything this fresh in quite a while. A full review should be coming shortly.


Another reason I needed to do this marathon is to get in some serious time with Apotheon. The game looks like a Greek painting/pottery art. Much like Rainbow Curse, the art style gives the game a good edge.


Apotheon has some nice gameplay to back it up too. The game is like a Metroidvania style RPG. Armor and weapons can deteriorate, be repaired, and be upgraded. The game is more deliberate than its action-heavy genre bedfellows. Attacks take a while to wind up, momentum is gained over time while running, and it has a crafting system. It has a unique feel, and some cool boss fights so far.


I left 2 hours open for the day to be filled with whatever I was feeling, and with guests over, handhelds make sense. So, it’s back to Monster Hunter 4!

Earlier today the focus was on multiplayer, now I’m going after single-player.


I defeated several enormous monstrosities.


I got unstuck in Oblivion rather quickly, in order to get stuck right after it. I need some bright dust from a will-o-the-wisp in order to summon a daedric being in order to get an artifact for a reason I can’t remember. ESIV: Oblivion has continued to be obtuse and generally unfun to play. It should not come as a surprise that I do not think it has aged well. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to finish it or not.



Back to Apotheon to close out the day. I probably got through a good two-thirds of the game today and should be able to finish it up quickly later this week. It is still solid, and the boss encounters are probably the best part.

Apollo is a jerk.

Apollo is a jerk.

As I always say: there are far too few hours in the day, and I’ll be ready to do another one of these soon. After all, March is typically one of the busiest game release months of the year.

The Breakdown

7:30am – 10:30am – Final Fantasy IX

10:30am – 12:30pm – Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

12:30pm – 3:30pm – Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

3:30pm – 5:30pm – Super Paper Mario

5:30pm – 7:30pm – Grandia II

7:30pm – 9:30pm – Atelier Ayesha PLUS: Alchemist of the Dusk Sky

9:30pm – 11:00pm – Grow Home

11:00pm – 12:00am – Apotheon

12:00am – 2:00am – Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

2:00am – 4:00am – The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

4:00am – 7:30am – Apotheon

The Games of 2014 Ranked

If one of us played it, then we are ranking it. Below is the list of all the games we played from 2014 ranked in order of worst to best.

208 Daylight
207 Rougue’s Tale
206 Kung Fu Rabbit
205 SkyPeace
204 Lyne
203 Intake: Be Aggressive
201 Bug Heroes 2
200 Alien on the Run
199 Final Horizon
198 Leo’s Fortune
197 Mind Zero
196 A Bird Story
195 Titan Attacks!
194 Tap Titans
193 Chariot
192 Gunslugs
191 Thief
190 Insurgency
189 Mighty Gunvolt
188 AeternoBlade
187 The Legend of Korra: A New Era Begins
186 Vibribbon
185 Metal Dead
184 Kinect Sports Rivals
183 Secret Ponchos
182 Tengami
181 Volgarr The Viking
180 Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville
179 Finn & Jake’s Epic Quest
178 JazzPunk
177 Crossy Road
175 Loadout
174 If My Heart Had Wings
173 ETHER One
172 Surge Deluxe
171 Scram Kitty and His Buddy on Rails
170 Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder
169 Kiwanuka
168 Great Little War Game 2
167 Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment
166 Boom Beach
165 The Legend of Korra
164 Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z
163 Pokemon Battle Trozei
162 The Fall
161 Eidolon
160 Unpossible
159 Senran Kagura: Bon Apettit
158 The Last Tinker: City of Colors
157 Weapon Shop de Omasse
156 Sakura Spirit
155 XBLAZE: Code Embryo
154 JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure: All-Star Battle
153 Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution
152 Tears to Tiara II: Heir of the Overlord
151 Deception IV: Blood Ties
150 Doorkickers
149 The Hungry Horde
148 Among the Sleep
147 Tower of Guns
146 1001 Spikes
145 Abyss Odyssey
144 Hitman Go
143 Drunken Robot Pornography
142 Battleheart Legacy
141 Gods Will Be Watching
140 Murisaki Baby
139 Monster Monpiece
138 Hack ‘n’ Slash
137 Defense Grid 2
136 Goat Simulator
135 Ollie Ollie
134 DeadCore
133 Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom
132 Monument Valley
131 Fract OSC
130 Toukiden: The Age of Demons
129 One Finger Death Punch
128 Yoshi’s New Island
127 Akiba’s Trip
126 Rollers of the Realm
125 Pix the Cat
124 Five Nights at Freddie’s
123 Age of Wonders III
122 TxK
121 Geometry Wars 3
120 Elite Dangerous
119 Half-Minute Hero II
118 Never Alone
117 Murdered: Soul Suspect
116 Azure Striker Gunvolt
115 Hatoful Boyfriend
114 Hohokum
113 Disney Infinity 2.0
112 Trials Fusion
111 Costume Quest 2
110 Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
109 BlazBlue: Chronophantasma
108 Mario Golf
107 Wayward Souls
106 Tales of Hearts R
105 Inazuma Eleven
104 Pushmo World
103 Fairy Fencer F
102 Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star
101 A City Sleeps
100 The Talos Principle
99 The Floor is Jelly
98 Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus
97 CounterSpy
96 Threes!
95 Hyperdimension Neptunia PP
94 The Witch and the Hundred Knight
93 Hidden in Plain Sight
92 The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
91 Professor Layton & the Azran Legacy
90 Gauntlet
89 Smite
88 Octodad: Dadliest Catch
87 Metrico
86 Valiant Hearts
85 Fantasty Life
84 Velvet Sundown
83 Lara Croft & The Temple of Osiris
82 PT
81 Escape Goat 2
80 Road Not Taken
79 Guilty Gear Xrd – SIGN
78 Strider
77 Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball
76 Luftrausers
75 Freedom Planet
74 Velocity 2X
73 Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi
72 Shantae & The Pirate’s Curse
71 Fantasia: Music Evolved
70 Five Nights at Freddie’s 2
69 Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
68 Hatsune Miku Project Diva 2nd F
67 Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call
66 Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
65 Sportsfriends
64 Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare
63 Drakengard 3
62 Kirby: Triple Deluxe
61 Divinity: Original Sin
60 Diable III: Reaper of Souls
59 Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments
58 Super Time Force
57 Littlebigplanet 3
56 Samurai Gunn
55 Super Smash Bros. 3DS
54 Neverending Nightmares
53 This War of Mine
52 Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
51 Captain Toad
50 Astebreed
49 Lords of the Fallen
48 The Evil Within
47 Demon Gaze
46 The Yawgh!
45 Mercernary Kings
44 Nidhogg
43 Tomodachi Life
42 Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
41 Zelda: Hyrule Warriors
40 Child of Light
39 Assassin’s Creed Unity
38 Assassin’s Creed: Rogue
37 Tales of Xillia 2
36 Watch Dogs
35 Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars
34 Wolfenstein: The New Order
33 MGSV: Ground Zeroes
32 Destiny
31 D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die
30 Earth Defense Force 2025
29 Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
28 Mario Kart 8
27 Towerfall: Ascension
26 Lethal League
25 Titanfall
24 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
23 Sunset Overdrive
22 Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
21 The Walking Dead Season 2
20 Alien: Isolation
19 Far Cry 4
18 Transistor
17 Freedom Wars
16 Shovel Knight
15 Steins;Gate
14 Bravely Default
13 Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky
12 South Park: The Stick of Truth
11 Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
10 inFamous Second Son
9 The Banner Saga
8 Bayonetta 2
7 Dark Souls 2
6 Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
5 Super Smash Bros. WiiU
4 The Wolf Among Us
3 Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
2 Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
1 Dragon Age: Inquisition

2014 Game of the Year Awards: Special Categories


Another year has bit the dust, and here we are to sweep up the ashes.  Our winners (and losers in some cases) follow below. Unless otherwise stated, the following categories were debated by a panel of 7 people until consensus was reached. Naturally, some were easier to agree on that others, but either way, we all hope you enjoy our picks.

Best Non-2014 Gaming Experience (Personal)

This category is designed for us to be able to talk any great standouts from our backlogs, any unfinished episodic games, and early access games that have not officially released yet.


Paul – Spec Ops / Binary Domain

Thomas – Pokémon Omega Ruby

Zach – I Am Bread

Drew – Chrono Trigger

Isaiah – League of Legends

Brock – Dark Souls

Alex – NES Everything

Most Surprisingly Good (Personal)

This category is for going over the biggest expectation buster (in a positive direction).


Paul – Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Zach – Pix the Cat

Drew – Earth Defense Force 2025

Thomas – Lethal League

Alex – Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky

Brock – Dragon Age: Inquisition

Most Original/Innovative

Most Original/Innovative rewards games that strike out and do something different.




P.T. definitely does something different. Traversing a hallway over and over noting the changes and going mildly insane was certainly one of the most unique experiences 2014 had to offer.


Velvet Sundown

Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball

Biggest Disappointment (Personal)

Time for the sadness, the games that bummed us out and didn’t live up to the expectations we had for them.


Drew – Destiny

Brock – Yoshi’s New Island

Paul – Destiny

Zach – Destiny

Isaiah – The Legend of Korra

Alex – Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney

Thomas – Watch Dogs

Most Addictive (Personal)

These are the games that gripped us and wouldn’t let us go.


Alex – The Banner Saga

Thomas – Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Drew – inFamous: Second Son

Brock – Dark Souls II

Paul – Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Zach – Destiny

Isaiah – Tap Titans

Best Looking Game

We combine all aesthetics, technical proficiency, and art direction to form our category for Best Looking Game. It is as simple as it sounds.




The game looks like some found footage horror movie. We haven’t seen a more realistic looking game making P.T. our Best Looking game of 2014.


Mario Kart 8

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Best Boss Fights

Many could consider this category somewhat antiquated, but we here at the EXP. Shared podcast still love us a great boss encounter.



Freedom Planet


Shovel Knight

The Evil Within

Best Voice Performance

A new category for us this year! Who delivered the best vocal performance of the year?



Erin Fitzgerald & Amanda Miller as Junko Enoshima from Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Junko’s voice performance was no easy task. No spoilers here, but the fact that two people had to voice her character should be a hint to how much her awesomeness cannot be contained.


Mamoru Miyano as Rintaro Okabe from Steins;Gate

Troy Baker as Pagan Min from Far Cry 4

Best Voice Acting

Where Best Voice Performance looks at only one specific voice acting entry, Best Voice Acting examines the game as a whole and rewards the game with the best vocal talent across the board.



Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Danganronpa has an edge due to the sheer impressive amount of voice acting in this half-visual novel experience. The cast is varied with no weak links in the 16+ person cast. Again, Danganronpa has both quality and quantity when it comes to great voice acting making it our winner for this category.


South Park: The Stick of Truth

The Wolf Among Us

Best Multiplayer

In what was our most contentious category at Game of the Half-Year 2014, we had much less strife in selecting our winner here at Full Year. We combine both local and online multiplayer experiences for this category.



Super Smash Bros. for WiiU

This was not a shocker. We are pretty big Smash fans, but it was experiencing the game’s 8-player mode that made this category go so much smoother for us this time around. Smash’s greatness as a local multiplayer get together staple is undeniable.


Towerfall: Ascension

Lethal League

Best Amiibo

As Amiibogeddon still strikes fear into the hearts of millions with its crippling supply shortages, we tasked ourselves is deciding which one of the first two waves is the best one. There were no clear parameters for how we determined which one was “The Best One,” so we just argued for a while about the little Nintendo figurines.




…because of course it is. His pose is perfect and encapsulates everything that is the Man in Green.




Best Music

Best Music includes a game’s soundtrack and how a game uses music.


Bayonetta 2

Honestly, I was not overly impressed by Bayonetta 2’s music as I was playing it. This is likely due to how crazy and over-the-top the game is, so there wasn’t room in my brain to process the music as I running through the game’s onslaught of insanity. However, upon listening to the OST on its own, I was floored. Moon River and Tomorrow is Mine easily steal the show, but the game’s soundtrack is surprisingly diverse and we had to give it to Bayonetta.


Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Best Story/Writing

We combine story and writing together for this category because they go hand in hand with each other. For example, though a game like Dragon Age may not have the strongest overarching story, the character-to-character interactions display how well written a game can be despite its story.



The Wolf Among Us

The Wolf Among Us won this category for us this year due to how well it all comes together. The courtroom like setting at the end brings all of the game’s decisions back and reminds the player that they have made an impact in this world regardless of how they determined to play. It is this feeling of “mattering” that gave strength to the game’s overall story and writing.



Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Most Funny/Ridiculous

A game doesn’t have to be funny to be nominated or win this category, if it isn’t then it better be pretty ridiculous. We combine the two adjectives to praise games that essentially aren’t boring.



Hatoful Boyfriend

Hatoful Boyfriend is a game where the player is a female human who attends a school for all boys… who just so happen to also be birds (mostly pigeons). It is indeed as stupid and ripe for humor as it sounds. The game perfectly encapsulates what we are going for with this category, and though this category appears to get harder to choose a winner every year, it was clear that Hatoful Boyfriend was easily the most funny and ridiculous game of 2014.


South Park: The Stick of Truth

Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Best New Main Character

A new generation of consoles typically brings a new wave of great new characters, but that was not the case in Generation 8’s first full year.



Bigby Wolf from The Wolf Among Us

Bigby’s strength of character and viewing the world through his eyes made him unforgettable this year. Being an established character where everyone had views of him already then choosing to alter them or feed into the expectations made his role in Fabletown an appealing one for players.


Rintaro Okabe from Steins;Gate

Zero from Drakengard 3

Best Secondary Character

A main character cannot stand alone. Most video game protagonists are blank voids for the player to project themselves on, so typically story-heavy games have strong supporting casts. This year was no different. 2014 was full of rich casts and top-notch secondary characters.



Nagito Komaeda from Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

It was a surprisingly easy decision to give the honors to Nagito. Though one NEEDS to have played Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc to get the most out of Danganronpa 2, it is the continuity between the games that adds so much to Nagito’s character. His name is an anagram for the player character in the first game, and he resembles him as well. Danganronpa 2 is chock full of moments where the player asks, “What is happening!?” And most of those moments come directly from Mr. Komaeda.


Reggie Rowe – inFamous: Second Son

Junko Enoshima – Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Most Memorable Moment (Personal)

*SPOILERS!!!* Our most memorable moments of the year follow. Some are sad, some are happy, all are stand-out moments from the year.


Drew – Reggie’s end in inFamous: Second Son

Thomas – The end of episode 1 of The Wolf Among Us

Alex – Realizing what it means to return to the prime timeline in Steins;Gate

Isaiah – Realizing what it means to return to the prime timeline in Steins;Gate

Zach – The Alien, from Alien: Isolation

Paul – The series of insane happenings that is the end of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Brock – Besting the Dark Souls II DLC


Most Anticipated Game of 2015 (Personal)

What is going to rev our engine in 2015?


Thomas – The Order 1886

Zach – The Division

Brock – Hyper Light Drifter

Drew – Kingdom Hearts 3

Paul – No Man’s Sky

Isaiah – Heroes of the Storm

Alex – Persona 5

2014 is the year of …

Our last category (other than Best Game) is what defined the year that was 2014. 2014 wasn’t the best year for games, but what was it that made it that way?



Hype Train Derailed

The new consoles brought with them unbelievably high hopes; hopes that were, in many cases, dashed to pieces. Games like Watch Dogs, Destiny, Assassin’s Creed Unity, among others failed to live up to expectations. Even the “good” triple-A games all came with caveats, inFamous: Second Son and Dark Souls II were far from the pinnacle of their respective series; Titanfall had a campaign that was joke, the Halo: Master Chief Collection is a burning ruin of online technical problems, and Platinum Games put out their worst game to date with The Legend of Korra.  The failures at the top of the game’s industry allowed for smaller titles to take center stage, and boy did they step it up. Indie games flourished while the triple-A’s floundered.


The Vita!

Great Multiplayer (both online and off)

Stayed tuned for our ranked list of ALL THE GAMES we played from 2014 coming shortly.

Steins;Gate: Why Playing the Game is Better Than Watching the Anime

So, Steins;Gate is great. Since it was recently announced for PS3 and PSVita, it probably has some people questioning “Is it really worth all this hype?” The short answer would be, “Yes, absolutely.” Others might be wondering if it would be better to watch the anime or play the game first, and my answer is “play the game!”  Explaining this answer allows me to gush even more about one of the best gaming experiences of 2014.


#1 It’s All About Perspective

The main character of Steins;Gate, Rintarou Okabe, is among the best and most well-developed game protagonists out there. He can easily rub people the wrong way at first with his extreme immaturity, but his character arc is so good you have to see it to believe it.

In the game, the player’s experience is viewed through Okabe’s eyes. This allows the player to connect more with him as he details his thoughts internally, where they cannot be found in the anime. The added commentary to everything in the game goes a long way in establishing place and the further developing the characters even if it is warped through the mad scientist’s worldview.

The internal dialogue is delightfully entertaining.

Playing through the perspective of Rintarou Okabe and his delusional alter ego, mad-scientist, Hououin Kyouma is the number one reason to play the game first before watching the anime; which nicely lead us to #2…

#2. It’s a Game

Think back to Metal Gear Solid 3… remember how powerful one of the final scenes of that game is due to the player having to quite literally “pull the trigger” on a loved one. Yeah, that is the power of the medium of video games. Interactivity adds so much to a narrative by the simple request of asking the player to do what has to be done to continue the story.


In Steins;Gate, the player is faced with crushing choices that lead to some of the game’s multiple endings. The game forwardly asks its players if they possess the emotional fortitude and strength of resolve to completely wipe a character’s happy memories. It goes as far to even requesting that a character essentially sacrifice their father for the greater good. The game and anime get incredibly heavy, but the weight of the actions on screen is felt tremendously more when the player has to personally seal a character’s fate instead of watching another execute an unthinkable act.

#3. Time is of the Essence

Time breeds intimacy and connection. Playing through Steins;Gate’s multiple endings efficiently is going to take over twenty hours while watching the anime is going to last between 10-11. The time investment of the game may push people towards the anime, but the experience is richer after spending about a day of real time with the amazing cast.


#4. There’s More to This Story

As previously mentioned, Okabe’s internal dialogue adds a lot to the game that those watching the anime will miss, but this does not even make up for half of the excellent content and writing that is not in the anime. The most interesting sections of Steins;Gate come from the false endings centered on specific characters.

Steins;Gate is actually structured exactly like a dating sim game, with there being endings for all the major female leads (sorry Daru, no Cloud/Barrett date for you). The endings provide yet another reason to why the game should be played before watching the anime that is to be discussed next.

Some of the false endings are absolutely brutal.

#5. The Game is Darker, Deeper

While playing Steins;Gate can often feel like a mental exercise in questioning the validity of differing theories in quantum physics, the false, character-specific endings explore the negative consequences that go along with this brand of time travel.

The alternate endings in Steins;Gate are obviously not found in the anime, and it really is a shame. The endings offer a deeper look at time travel and the effects it might have on a human being, such as becoming completely detached from everything around you; questioning what is right and wrong when you can just redo anything. In one of the alternative world-lines that Okabe explores, he finds that he does not know any of his friends and falls into an expected depression.  The game also allows itself to get much, much darker than the anime in its false endings. I’m not going to spoil anything, but I certainly will not soon be forgetting how twisted the human mind can become under the right circumstances.


#6. It Just Looks Better

With what is my most “subjective” reason for playing the game before watching the anime, I think the game is more distinct in its appearance and the character drawings are more aesthetically pleasing. The biggest example of this can be found in the character of Kurisu Makise.

In Defense of the Anime

Although I would whole-heartedly recommend playing the game before watching the anime, the anime is not without merits of its own.


There are several smart changes in the anime like trying to explain Okabe’s “Reading Steiner” ability. There are also some great shortcuts the anime makes to help speed things along. Early on in the story Kurisu delivers a lecture on all the time-travel theories that is heavily rushed through, unfortunately.

The OVA, which of course is absent from the game, is quite good. It fills in a couple of the blanks left open by the game like meeting Daru’s future wife, and what happens to the characters after the events of the main story.


No Way to Lose

The game is the best way to experience Steins;Gate, but it’s a story you need to experience no matter what. Make it happen however you can. Just know that the game presents the story in an impactful and visually unique way that the anime cannot match.