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.

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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.

8-PS4-HELLDIVERS-Mech-Bug-Desert

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.

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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.

Fallout4_E3_CityVista

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.

rocket-league-review

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

Helldivers

Best Voice Acting

This category examines all the voice acting in a game.

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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.

Runners-up:

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.

her-story-1

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.

Runners-up:

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.

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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.

Runners-up:

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.

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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.

Runners-up:

Undertale

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?

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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.

Runners-up:

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.

Runners-up:

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

Undertale

Best Boss Fights

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

UndertaleReviewSpot2

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.

Runners-up:

Titan Souls

Bloodborne

Best Story/Writing

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

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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.

Runners-up:

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

Undertale

Best New Main Character

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

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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.

Runners-up:

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.  

Runners-up:

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.

AmiiboPalutena

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.

Runners-up:

Green Yarn Yoshi

Ganondorf

Most Memorable Moment (Personal)

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

Flowey

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?

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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.

Runners-up:

Transhumanism as a narrative device

The Fall of Konami

Most Anticipated (Personal)

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

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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

 

 

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