Last year, when I posted my game of the year list on my Tumblr, I just posted it all at the same time. This year I’m going to try and do something a little different. I’m going to count down the last days of the year and list my top ten of 2015 as I go.
This is not a critical breakdown of the games that came out this year either, rather it is a list of the games I most enjoyed my time with. Also keep in mind that there are a few games I’m sure would have found their way onto this list If I had found time to play absolutely everything. But I’m a busy guy and here’s what I got.
Okay then, so here we go. Starting with my tenth favourite game of the year:
#10: Halo 5: Guardians
Played on the Xbox One | Released 27th October | Developed by 343 Studios
This game nearly didn’t make it onto the list. The number ten slot is always one of the most difficult ones to pick, because it’s the difference between me writing about it here or it not getting a mention at all. In a way, Halo 5 only makes it onto the list because I don’t feel like I’ve spent enough time with some other choice games to justify adding them to this list. That’s a good way to start a “top” list, saying the first entry is more or less there by default.
I already wrote my feelings about Halo 5: Guardians shortly after the game was released. I was dubious as to whether it would have the legs in a world where shooters have become a formulaic and less diverse. I complained about the story, saying it felt very transitional and more like a stepping stone to six, rather than a full episode in its own right. I also wasn’t too sure about the game’s Warzone mode, the MOBA inspired large arena mode that was very dependant on players unlocking cards that the game flaunted to you for micro transactions.
In the end though, this is still Halo. It’s another entry in a series that always looks, sounds and plays great. Halo 5 is no exception, but might suffer from the legacy left by the games that came before it. In a market where Call of Duty is the bread and butter of many consumers, getting your game noticed takes some doing. It might be even harder for Halo considering the name it needs to live up to and the fact that the original developer has gone on to other things. While Halo 5 might not be a world beater, it’s a very competently made game and unlike the Master Chief Collection of last year it works (it’s kind of sad that that needs to be a positive point).
The additions to the game, while they may peeve the purist, are a welcome change to a game that could become stale if it sticks to its old tropes in a world where fast paced shooters rule supreme. 343 have continued to support the game, adding weekly playlists, expanding the game modes available and giving their players that sense of community that Halo has always done so well.
The more I played of Warzone, the more it managed to get its claws into me and I’ll admit that I spend some money on commendation packs. Opening packs of cards is a primal high for people like me and I get the feeling that 343 knew that going in here. I’m on the cool down for Halo already, but it’s a game that I can see myself going back to at some point next year if the developers continue to support it like they have so far.
It feels weird to think that the next main series Halo game will be the end of this new trilogy, maybe it was because so little happened in Halo 5 that almost felt like a side note.
The game this came very close to being beaten out by was Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam for the 3DS. While I am a good few hours into it and am enjoying it, there is next to no difference between it and Dream Team, the game before it. But who knows, maybe Halo was lucky to get on this list, after all this has been a significantly stronger year for games that 2014 was. And I’ll continue with number nine tomorrow.