Well it’s that time of year again, the time to take all the amazing games and try to put them into some sort of list. Doing so is never easy, and there are always heated battles in my head trying to decide between two games. In the end, I managed to narrow the list down to five games that I enjoyed the most this year. Games that aren’t just my personal favorite, but games that I think really deserve recognition for how great they truly are. There are already some lists to check out like Jose’s list as well as NGN’s Editor-In-Chief’s list. We’ll just have to see if my list agrees with theirs or if I spark some heated debate.

 

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5. Rayman: Legends

Man this game is fun, and I mean really fun. There are few platformers that really bring out this level of enjoyment. This is a one-of-a-kind platformer in its ability to take people who are just so-so when it comes to the genre, and make them really love it. I played my fair share of platformers, but never before have I had such a riot playing one. I tend to prefer platformers like Trinewhere the gameplay is slow but thoughtful. Legends is the opposite in that there isn’t any difficult puzzle to solve, but in its place, there is over-the-top, outrageous, fast-paced, crazy-intense, non-stop action that will have your palm sweating as you try to keep up with the level. Here’s how fun this game is: I stopped playing GTA V and played this instead. I’m not saying it’s better than GTA, but it’s good enough to have me hooked for hours. I’m even more excited that it’s coming to the PS4 and I will absolutely play it when it is rereleased.

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4. Tomb Raider

I was waiting for the Tomb Raider reboot for years, ever since it was first announced. Once I finally got my hands on it, I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest. I loved every minute of this game, from the terrifying cave in the beginning, to the final pick-axe swing. This game had me the entire way and even into the multiplayer, which was surprisingly fun (until everyone stopped playing it and it became hard to find a good lobby). People complained there wasn’t enough survival elements in this game, but Crystal Dynamics never called it a survival game. It was a third-person action/adventure from the very beginning, and I loved it. Watching Lara struggle through the difficulties was emotionally draining plenty of times. But more importantly, the gameplay was gritty, intense, and just fun. The story was great, the voice acting was surperb, and I had a lot of fun playing it. What more could you want in a game?

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3. Ni No Kuni – Wrath of The White Witch

It feels like this game came out years ago, but technically it was last year. This game made me love JRPGs again. The genre seemed to be switching over to handhelds, which I’ve never been a fan of. So whenever I can get my hands on a  good JRPG for a console I usually love it, but Ni No Kuni went above and beyond what I was expecting. Studi Ghibli never disappoints and it was easy to see how they left their mark in this game. The childlike wonder of such a magical world was nostalgic of my younger days, and Oliver was a prime protagonist. What started with trying to rescue his mother turned into seeing a majestic world, meeting a cast of characters along the way, and trying to do good against pure evil. Then there was the graphics, the music, and of course, the gameplay. Catching familiars, raising them, training them, and fighting with so many different kinds was wonderful. Sure, it had a very Pokemon feel, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun. But really, what made this game stick so much in my mind was the story and the world it created. The whimsical word full of intrigue and mystery. Who doesn’t love a magical kids adventure, that is, if it was even real?

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2. Grand Theft Auto V

I’ll be honest, I’m not really the biggest GTA fan. I never really enjoyed any of the previous ones, in fact, I’m not even that big of a fan of any of Rockstar‘s games. Big sandbox game just tells me there will be a lot of running, riding, or driving around in big, boring, open spaces. So I wasn’t expecting to like GTA V that much, but I tried it anyways. I ended up loving the story, mainly because the characters are so awesome in their own ways. The world was huge, but there was a lot of stuff to do. So much stuff to do, that there is always something new to occupy yourself with. The online mode may have had a sketchy beginning, but now that it’s ironed out (mostly) it’s a ton of fun. I played with my friend online a few times and the fun we had just messing around doing stupid stuff was some of my most memorable video game moments in recent memory. I’m still not the biggest GTA fan, but I can admit that this game is amazing and is well worth the spot I gave it.

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1. The Last of Us

This game was incredible. I beat the game four times, and enjoyed it every play-through. The emotionally driven story, the apocalyptic world, and the amazing characters really sold this game for me. Joel and Ellie might be my favorite characters of all time. Joel, the protagonist who isn’t really a good person, and Ellie, the little foul-mouthed girl that was sweet and tender on the inside. The gameplay was a blast to experience in all its grittiness. The game was plenty terrifying, but not just from the infected. As everyone learned, people would often be far scarier. Still, there was something about crawling through a clicker filled room, moving inch my inch and taking forever, then moving just a little too loudly. That terrifying screech to let you know you’ve been caught. Then all hell breaks lose, and you go from quiet sneaking mode, to run for your life, and fight with tooth-and-nail to survive. The Last of Us had everything I could ever want in a game, even the multiplayer which I played more than I thought I would. It was tactical, action-packed, and nerve racking. But utterly fun at the same time. This game completely deserves being game of the year.

There’s my list. Got arguments? Take it to the comments below and battle it out.

About The Author

Neil has had a passion for video games ever since the Atari entered his life so many years ago. He's been writing about them for over two years and sees no end in sight. Reach out to him on twitter @nconnors13