Dec 22, 2015
Klein Maetschke’s Top (Not Quite 10) Games of 2015
Klein is the sole designer of all that you see on this site. When he’s not team-killing you in a multiplayer game, he’s found many singleplayer games that grabbed his attention among his multiplayer-focused gaming habits during 2015.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
If this were an ordered and numbered Top 10 list, The Witcher 3 would capture slots 1 through 3. I avoided this game pretty intentionally as press was building for it. I’d not played any other games in the series, so I assumed I’d be out of the loop on lore and “the World of the Witcher.” Sure, there were some winks and nods toward previous iterations of the franchise, but I never felt like I was missing something by getting into it during it’s third installment.
With stunning visuals (even on my budget rig) and powerful story lines, Witcher absolutely locked my attention for months. In games of the same ilk, the sidequests often get repetitious and dull. In Witcher, each sidequest has a rich story with fun, unique, and interesting characters. Each of which are voice acted and modeled superbly.
Other games have since grabbed my attention, but I’ve no doubt I’ll circle back for the DLC soon.
I really do have a tendency to be “late to the game” on franchise games. Had I not received a copy of this game, I’m not sure I’d have ever played it. What a mistake that would have been. I’m a big fan of Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls series, but I’d never felt compelled to dive into the Wasteland.
As a father, I found the main story to be particularly soul-crushing. Though, the game seems to focus a lot on being heavily sidetracked from the quest to save your kidnapped child. In that same spirit, I all but abandoned the main quest… and may also have abandoned the sidequests to some degree.
You see, Fallout 4 became something to me that I’m not sure was intended to be the core experience of the game. It became a post-apocalyptic Minecraft meets The Sims. The crafting and fortress-building system in this game is robust and expansive. I’ve spent hours building out my fortress, and find it quite relaxing.
Rocket cars playing soccer. Pitching the concept to the unitiated is a bit tough to do, but I’ve never had such a high suggestion-to-fanatic conversion rate among friends. The beta came during a lull in my workload and this game consumed my life. I never yell so passionately at the TV screen as I do when playing Rocket League. (And I’m a Colts fan that survived Super Bowl XLIV.)
Though my initial fervor for the game has faded since its release, I still play it once or twice a week with whatever friends are available, and have never had a bad time. It keeps you coming back, even after a terrible match.
Destiny: The Taken King
Bungie has long reigned high on my “Top Games” lists, long shall Halo live. I had concerns that a “FPSMMORPG” was a bit of an ambitious undertaking, but thought if anyone could pull it off, surely it would be Bungie.
But, I’d heard they had learned from their mistakes. That Destiny 2.0 and The Taken King expansion assuaged the concerns of fans who’d previously given up. I had my doubts that Bungie could “right the ship” and get Destiny back on course.
They could. They did. It’s great.
Decisions they’ve made since the release of The Taken King have left me worried for its future, but Taken King was worth the return.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
This one may be a bit of a cheat, as Elder Scrolls Online had been out on PC for some time before it made its way to the PS4, where I now play it. But, Tamriel Unlimited did away with the monthly subscription and maintained the integrity of the game. Going from subscription-based to an F2P-esque system was a wise move. The game garnered a lot more attention. Though it is still a bit “under the radar”, it has a strong community, and for good reason.
If you’ve played Skyrim or any of the others in the Elder Scrolls saga, you’ll be immediately accustomed to the gameplay, and it translates remarkably well to the MMO realm. Though this is one of my more recent endeavors, it has already earned a top spot for me as the go-to for when the children and wife have gone to bed.
OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood
Yet another game I’ve gotten into after having missed the first installment.
OlliOlli2 is an infuriatingly addictive game. Solely because of this game, I had to buy replacement thumbsticks for my DualShock. Shredding in-game literally shredded the rubber grip on the stock thumbsticks. It’s not an endless runner, but it certainly evokes that feeling. I found myself, more often than I’d like to admit, resetting… then, resetting again… and then, when I’d finally complete a run, saying “Oh, just one more,” and proceeding to repeat that process for hours on end.
Downwell is one of the endless runners that grabs me and doesn’t let go. A quick game in the car before I run into the store never fails to let onlookers watch me, alone in my car, yelling at my phone for some unreasonable amount of time. It’s rare that an iOS game entices me. I’ve never been much of a mobile gamer. But, Downwell reminds me so much of Stage 2 on Battletoads (NES), that my six-year-old self can’t put it down.
Attack the Light – Steven Universe Light RPG
Steven Universe is an endearing cartoon about a young boy, half-human/half-“gem”, coming of age through adventure and shenanigans. It is wacky and also sobering. If John Hughes and Pendleton Ward collaborated, I imagine we’d end up with something similar. Rebecca Sugar, the show’s creator is a genius. Go watch it. I’ll wait here.
You loved it, didn’t you? Thought so.
Attack the Light is a game made from a TV Show. That sort of medium-hopping usually always ends in disaster. (With rare exception, I know, don’t write me about it.) Attack the Light blew me away in its ability to be an entertaining game and also capture all the charm of the series. It should have come as no surprise that the story was written by the show’s creator, and features original voice work by nearly all the cast members.
The game bills itself as a “light RPG”, which is accurate. It’s not as intensive as a Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy, but it has all the right parts to still be considered an RPG. It is perfectly at home on mobile.
Star Wars Battlefront
This one is more of an honorable mention because I’ve yet to purchase the game with the holidays eating up the majority of my moneys. I played Battlefront during the beta period and was blown away. I had set my expectations quite low due to bad pre-launch press, but it delivered. I think some of the flak it was/is getting is due to what we’ve come to expect from modern first-person shooters, which are nothing near what Battlefront was and is. Battlefront is a fun game. It’s not complex by any means; It’s not a tactical shooter. It’s a fun dive into the Star Wars universe. A love song for the fanboys.