Each year, the Entertainment Buddha staff gets together to do what we do best: argue with one another about video games. The end result is our annual Golden Buddha Awards, which are bestowed upon the best games in a number of totally arbitrary categories. It’s good fun, especially when no one gets injured (not counting hurt feelings, of course) and the end result is that you, dear reader, get to know what games are the best according to the EB staff.
In addition to the Golden Buddha Awards, we take the time to put together the staff’s official Top 10 games list. It’s much more straightforward than the GBAs, but fun to put together nonetheless. Below, are the top 10 games of 2015 as voted by the staff of Entertainment Buddha.
10) Transformers: Devastation:
Platinum Games in on a roll as of late. With Bayonetta 2 kicking off a new era of Platinum-dominated character action, a number of licensed titles that didn’t such, and NieR: Automata on the horizon, it’s clear that the scrappy development team is one of the industry’s most in-demand studios.
Transformers: Devastation is everything a Transformers fan could have asked for. Brilliant cell-shaded visuals that capture the look of the show, absurd action and breakneck combos, and tons of different weapons to collect make up for the game’s relatively short running length. Platinum’s ability to create a game that you actually want to replay over and over again is one of its greatest strengths, and no title get us kicking robot ass as frequently as Transformers: Devastation.
9) Rocket League:
The EB staff has a working theory: if you don’t like Rocket League, you probably don’t have a soul. Easily 2015’s biggest sleeper hit, Rocket League takes the basic concept of soccer and actually makes it fun by adding crazy-fast cars and fast-paced matches.
Rocket League is pure, unadulterated chaos in its most enjoyable form. It’s the kind of game that you can lose an entire evening to, blissfully flipping a car towards a massive ball with the hope that you score a hat trick while spamming chat with “WOW! WOW! WOW!”
8) Just Cause 3:
Just Cause 3 will certainly never be remembered for its narrative or lovable characters, but it will assuredly be remembered for the over-the-top demolition powers that it gives players. Rico Rodriquez’s return to the gaming world was accompanied by more explosions than we could ever count.
Because Just Cause 3’s map is so massive, it’s hard not to get sucked into exploring the tropic paradise. There are sights to see, sure, but really, we couldn’t stop playing the game (despite its late release) just because it’s too damn fun to use the grappling hook.
7) Yakuza 5:
The neon streetlights of Yakuza 5 will never escape your mind. The game’s massive, interconnected story, amazing combat, and seriously absurd side content are the stuff that legends are made of.
The Yakuza games have always been a relatively niche, but Yakuza 5 does everything in its power to show gamers that stepping outside of their comfort zone can be a good thing. After all, can you think of any game where a police officer will encourage you to enter an underground street racing league, cheer you on while you out-drive gangsters, and then go party at a karaoke bar? No? Then play Yakuza 5.
6) Until Dawn:
We’ve been collectively debating whether or not Sony tried to sandbag Until Dawn’s launch. Despite being years in the making and costing a pretty penny, Sony opted to do little in the way of marketing the game before it came out. Some of us think that Sony expected the PlayStation 4 exclusive to fail and tried to avoid over-hyping the title as a way of mitigating losses. Some of us just think that they forgot it was coming out.
Either way, Until Dawn is a smash hit. Breaking away from the traditional “choose your own adventure” style games that have been popular recently, Until Dawn forces players to make decisions that actually matter. Characters live or die by the player’s choices, making even the most inconsequential question carry the weight of a loaded gun. Couple this narrative structure with some genuinely creepy moments and a talented cast of actors and you’ve got a must-play title.
5) Ori and the Blind Forest:
An excellent argument for video games being the most interesting form of art, Ori and the Blind Forest is a beautiful, heart-wrenching game that is also frustratingly hard. It’s the best of both worlds, really, offering something for the art heads and something for the hardcore players at the same time.
Billed as a 2D metroidvania game, Ori and the Blind Forest has players navigating across dangerous landscapes on a journey to revive a dying land. It’s the kind of game that stays with you long after you’ve finished it, especially when you keep thinking about that opening cutscene.
4) Halo 5: Guardians:
It should come as no surprise that Halo 5: Guardians was one of the most popular games to hit the Xbox One this year. Halo’s legacy cannot be understated and Halo 5 was destined to be one of the “killer apps” for Microsoft’s latest console.
There’s a lot to love about Halo 5, even if its story leaves a little to be desired. Halo’s beloved multiplayer made a glorious return in Halo 5, earning it a deserved place in this year’s top games list.
To play Bloodborne is to see god. That god might be an unholy, tentacle amalgamation, but it’s still an almighty being.
From Software did so much right with Bloodborne. Shifting away from the slow-paced sword and board gameplay of the Souls games, Bloodborne actively encourages players to rush at enemies in an attempt to eviscerate them before they even get a chance to attack. It’s still a brutally challenging game, but it’s much more forgiving than past FromSoft efforts thanks to the game’s interesting regain mechanic that rewards health back to players who land blows after taking damage. Throw in some astounding architecture, a Lovecraftian narrative, and stellar character designs, and you’ve got Bloodborne, the gothic game of the year.
2) Fallout 4:
Say what you want about Fallout 4, but it’s still a damned fun game to play. It might not be the prettiest, and some of the game’s mechanics are woefully outdated and uninspired (I’m looking at you, settlement building), but Bethesda’s post-apocalyptic vision of Boston is an entrancing world.
Fallout 4 is chock full of content in the form of countless locations to explore, weapons to build, and enemies to destroy. Even if you’re not a fan of the new direction that Fallout has taken under Bethesda’s watch, you’d be hard pressed to find a game more addicting than Fallout 4 this year.
1) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Open-world games dominated 2015, but none had more to offer than The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The final chapter of Geralt’s saga, The Witcher 3 was hands-down the most compelling and engrossing video game of the year.
No game was bigger and more immersive than The Witcher 3, with moral decisions to make, brilliant writing, and some good old fashioned monster slaying to boot. Geralt proved once more that when it comes to RPG games, The Witcher remains king.
Downwell: The simplest game of the year was also one of the most fun to play. Downwell is all about precision, speed, and quick thinking as you guide a character on a decent through challenging stages. Aided only by a pair of gunboots, Downwell is brutal, fun, and addicting all in a single, charming package.
Crypt of the Necrodancer: By combining the traditional mechanics of a roguelike game with rhythm-based movement, Crypt of the Necrodancer set itself apart from the countless indie games that released this year. Moving and grooving to the game’s excellent soundtrack and attempting to overcome the wonderfully designed characters in Crypt of the Necrodancer are among our favorite memories from 2015.
Destiny: The Taken King: Bungie essentially rewrote the Destiny rulebook with the release of The Taken King expansion. By building a solid experience from the ground up, The Taken King made Destiny feel fun to play for the first time since its initial launch.
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