5) Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
Before the Danganronpa series, I’d never experienced a visual novel game, and the concept of it didn’t really intrigue me. When I was lucky enough to review both the first and second titles, my perspective changed and I fell in love with the series and its characters (I even have a Monokuma figure, now). While I feel the first title is superior in most aspects, the sequel still blew me away with its twists and turns, and how well it balances humor with really, really, and I mean really dark subject matter. Figuring out who killed who in this twisted game of survival kept me on the edge of my seat almost entirely through, and culminated in one of the most satisfying – if not mind-blowing – endings I’ve ever seen in a game.
4) Fantasia: Music Evolved
If you would have told me that this game was going to be on my game of the year list when Fantasia was announced, I probably would have laughed at you. One night after playing Fantasia with my friends, however, and I was sold. I drove home and immediately downloaded it onto my Xbox One, and it’s become a staple with group hangouts. What makes Fantasia so great is its mix of new and old music of all genres and the easy to perform motions with Kinect that make success satisfying and failure mostly because of yourself. Don’t believe me that this game is amazing? Go to a Best Buy (or whatever has it set up), put on Elton John’s Rocket Man, and prepare to have fun.
3) Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to Shadow of Mordor. It looked like an Assassin’s Creed game with a Lord of the Rings skin, but, man, was I so wrong. Sure, if features similar elements from Assassin’s Creed, but the Arkham-like combat elevates Shadow of Mordor to such a high level. The interactions with the Uruk leaders is also impressive, and it creates a rivalry with NPC enemies like I’ve never experienced before. The environments might have been a little lifeless, but everything that inhabited it was anything but.
There’s a lot of people who felt burned by Destiny, and there’s definitely some warrant to that, but all I know is that I’m still playing it and having a blast along the entire way. Tight shooting mechanics and the never ending quest for better gear have kept me hooked since day one, and mixing together MMORPG elements with a shooter has produced mostly fantastic results. Playing with friend is certainly the best way to go, but even playing by yourself, whether it be in the PvP crucible or PvE quests, can still bring lots of enjoyment. If you can get past the disappointing story, there’s a lot to love about Destiny.
1) South Park: The Stick of Truth
Perhaps the best licensed game ever made, South Park: The Stick of Truth has become one of my favorite games of all time. Mixing together simplistic, yet satisfying turn based combat interlaced with the outrageous humor of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, The Stick of Truth looks and feels identical to the show. It’s one of the few games I’ve ever played where I was laughing so hard that I had to pause the game and gather myself together.
Honorable Mentions: Titanfall, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Sunset Overdrive, Freedom Wars, Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros (Wii U & 3DS), Wolfenstein: The New Order, The Wolf Among Us, and The Walking Dead Season 2.
Noteworthy games I still haven’t played: Shovel Knight, Dragon Age Inquisition, Far Cry 4, Broken Age, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Dark Souls 2,