Top 5 Video Games of 2015 Jon Scarr What an amazing year 2015 was to be a gamer! With the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U in full swing, gamers were treated to a wide range of games that had something for everybody. Many beloved franchises saw new releases, and we were introduced to numerous new and interesting games that captured the minds and imaginations of gamers around the world. Now as 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to look back at the standout games of the year. As always with lists like these, there will certainly be choices that you agree with and some that you will not. With that being said, I present you with my top 5 video games of 2015. TEMBO THE BADASS ELEPHANT Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC Developer: Game Freak Publisher: Sega of America Genre: Platform, side-scrolling ESRB Rating: E10+ (for everyone ages 10 and up) TEMBO THE BAD ASS ELEPHANT is a digital only 2D side-scrolling action adventure game from Game Freak, the masters behind Pokémon and HarmoKnight, and is published by Sega of America. The basis behind TEMBO THE BAD ASS ELEPHANT is simple; destroy everything in your path while saving Shell City citizens along the way. TEMBO has some pretty cool moves that include smashing objects, jumping, dashing, punching, and a devastating butt stomp that will obliterate his enemies. The levels in TEMBO THE BAD ASS ELEPHANT often offer different routes that you can take, revealing hidden areas for you to explore. What makes TEMBO’s level design great is the choice to blaze through each level carelessly, or the ability to take your time and explore each nook and cranny. This side-scrolling cartoon platformer is absolutely gorgeous! Game Freak used a charming comic book style art that will knock your socks off! Watching the rescued civilians riding on TEMBO’s back is a joy; it is as if they were riding on a roller coaster with their arms flailing around. TEMBO and his surrounding environments are exquisitely animated and will leave you wondering if you are watching a cartoon or playing a video game. It’s that good! Why I like it: TEMBO THE BAD ASS ELEPHANT is the type of game I dreamed about playing as young teenager on my Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and Turbografx 16. I was impressed with the art style, hand drawn graphics, superb animation, and enticing gameplay that I often found myself in awe at this complete masterpiece. Until Dawn Platform: PlayStation 4 Developer: Supermassive Games Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Genre: Interactive movie, survival horror ESRB Rating: M (Mature) Until Dawn, originally conceived as a first-person PlayStation 3 game based around the Move controller, was later scrapped and built from the ground up to take advantage of the PlayStation 4. Set in British Columbia, this PlayStation 4 exclusive will give you an experience unlike any other game has before. The premise behind Until Dawn is straight out classic teen horror movies. Twin sisters disappear and are presumed dead due to a trick their friends played on them during a winter retreat. The eight remaining friends return to the sisters family getaway home one year later, where their surviving brother is holding a party to honour his sisters memory and reunite the group of friends. Soon after the arrival of all eight friends, the party turns into a deadly nightmare where an unknown terror hunts and splits apart the group. Until Dawn is about exploration and the choices you make that have an effect on the entire story. Make the wrong move, and beloved friends can die—there’s no going back. This branching narrative gives Until Dawn an incredible replay value that will have you trying to keep all eight friends alive until the very end. Until Dawn has an incredible cinematic feel that gives the game an authentic experience. The incredible motion capture technology used in the game in addition to the drop-dead gorgeous graphics, and the amazing camera work add to the thrill of the game. Why I like it: It is practically impossible not to fall head over heels in love with Until Dawn’s spectacular writing, incredible ambience, spine-tingling thrills, and amazing presentation. Everything comes together in an experience that brings something legitimately new and fresh to the survival horror genre. Fallout 4 Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC Developer: Bethesda Game Studios Publisher: Bethesda Softworks Genre: Action role-playing ESRB Rating: M (Mature) Shown for the first time at E3 2015, Fallout 4 takes place in a post-apocalyptic retro-future known as The Commonwealth in the year 2287. Emerging from an underground bunker branded as Vault 111, its now been over 200 years since the Third World War that ended in a nuclear holocaust. Fallout 4 is filled with drama, twists, and turns around every corner. You’ll experience death, murder, kidnappings and just about every crime imaginable under the sun along your journey. Fallout 4 introduces new features including a layered armor system, base building, a dynamic dialogue system featuring 111,000 lines of dialogue, an in-depth crafting system that implements every lootable object in the game, and much more. Fan favourite enemies such as mole rats, raiders, super-mutants, deathclaws, and savage ghouls make their return in Fallout 4. One of the best things about Fallout 4 is the complete freedom that the game gives you, with not only what you can do and where you can go but also how your quests turn out. The V.A.T.S. aiming system is back, which allows you to enter a slow motion mode where you can aim at particular body parts on an enemy. A percentage indicator above the particular body part you are aiming at advises you on your chance of a hit, and a flashing health bar tells you how much damage you’ll do. In addition, there is a critical hit bar which grows with every successful V.A.T.S. hit that will allow you to unleash a fatal finishing blow. While the V.A.T.S. system will ensure those gamers that are not as skilled at shooting will have a fair chance, Bethesda has ensured that it will not be over used by requiring the use of action points. The character progression system called S.P.E.C.I.A.L. makes its return to Fallout 4. The system represents seven statistics, strength, perception, endurance, charisma, intelligence, agility, and luck. The premise is simple, when you acquire enough experience points to gain a new level, a new ability is unlocked. The more points you assign to a stat, the more abilities can be unlocked. These perks can also be upgraded to improve the protagonist’s efficiency and to further unlock new abilities. Why I like it: Fallout 4 has an interesting and intriguing story, an abundance of quests to complete with both new and old factions, an incredible world full of places that you can explore, and a whole host of wonderful characters that will keep you coming back for many months to come. Rise of the Tomb Raider Platform: Xbox One, Xbox 360 Developer: Crystal Dynamics Publisher: Microsoft Studios Genre: Action-Adventure ESRB Rating: M (Mature) After the successful Tom Raider franchise reboot in 2013, Lara Croft is back in a race against an evil organization with the hopes of discovering the Divine Source—the secret of immortality. In Rise of the Tomb Raider Lara must user her skills and wits to survive and ultimately accept her destiny as the Tomb Raider. Following the events of Tomb Raider, Lara is convinced that her late father’s theories on the supernatural and immortality were correct, and becomes determined to clear her father’s name. The character development of Lara and everyone that she encounters is nothing short of amazing. You’ll become engrossed in these characters stories as the game advances. Konstantin, the games’ ruthless antagonist, will leave you in a love-hate relationship with the character that will keep you fascinated throughout the game. Rise of the Tomb Raider gives you the ability to take out your opponents sight unseen through a variety of different ways that were previously unavailable in Tomb Raider games. This new emphasis on stealth is a welcome addition to the series that allows you to change up the gameplay between high-flying action and quick silent unseen attacks. Tomb raiding makes its triumphant return to the series and Rise of the Tomb Raider contains nine tombs that are scattered throughout the game. You’ll experience some of the best platforming and puzzle solving that you can’t find anywhere else. Rise of the Tomb Raider sets the visual benchmark for open world games, the diverse environments and landscapes are nothing short of stunning. This game is one of, if not the best looking games to-date on any console. Why I like it: Rise of the Tomb Raider offers a fantastic story line, great character development, new gameplay mechanics, breathtaking graphics, and the return of tomb raiding that will keep you playing for weeks and months to come. 1.Splatoon Platform: Wii U Developer: Nintendo EAD Publisher: Nintendo Genre: Third-person shooter ESRB Rating: E10+ (for everyone ages 10 and up) Nintendo shocked the gaming world at E3 2014 when it showed off Splatoon, their first fast-paced online third-person action shooter game, for the Wii U. Nintendo knew that Splatoon had to stand out and be innovative if they wanted to compete with the likes of Battlefield, Call of Duty, and Halo franchises. Without a shadow of a doubt I can say that there is nothing else quite like Splatoon to date. As Inklings, with the ability to transform between humanoid and squid forms, you use your special ink-spewing weapons to cover as much of your team’s colour on just about anything before time runs out. By transforming to squid form with the press of a button, you can then swim through your own team’s colour ink at breakneck speed. All the while, you’ll be invisible to your enemies and replenishing your valuable ink supply. The Wii U GamePad is put to good use, as it displays the map of your surroundings and teammates allowing you to instantly super jump to their location. Splatoon has an ample supply gear that you can unlock and equip to use in battle. Nintendo has ensured Splatoon’s success by its continued support for the game. It has evolved significantly since its original release, launching initially with five multiplayer maps, there are now 14 stages and over 70 weapons available. Additionally Splatoon features a surprisingly compelling single player store mode. Travel through Octo Valley with the help of Cap’n Cuttlefish in the search of the stolen Zapfish. 3D platforming fans will be in heaven as Splatoon contains 3D platforming and puzzle solving mechanics that are reminiscent of the legendary Super Mario Galaxy series of games. Why I like it: Splatoon is truly a unique and compelling experience that is nothing like you have ever seen or played before from Nintendo. Splatoon is a perfectly polished game filled with an abundance of content that the whole family can enjoy, making Splatoon my game of the year for 2015. Final thoughts Let me know in the comments section below if you agree with my choices. Did your game of the year make the list? What game are you most looking forward to in 2016? Happy gaming, and have a safe and happy holiday.