I played a lot of games in 2015. I mean, I play a lot of games in general, but compared to previous years, the number of games I consumed in 2015 is borderline disgusting.
As I’m sure you’re well aware of by now, we here at Factory Sealed prefer to shy away from the norm. In fact, you could say we pride ourselves on being different. (Just go with it. That’s what got us through middle school, OK!) As such, we will not be compiling a list of our favorite games released in 2015, but rather a list of our favorite games that we played in 2015. Any console, any year, for any reason. Different, I know.
Here are my favorite games from 2015!
#12: Crash Team Racing
Who would have ever thought that I, an avid Diddy Kong Racing support, would ever concede defeat? We pitted Crash Team Racing, Mario Kart 64, and Diddy Kong Racing against one another in a no holds barred Grand Prix race to the top; a race I was confident I knew the outcome before it even started. But in probably the biggest upset of the year, Diddy Kong came in second in favor of a far more entertaining and difficult racer.
While this wasn’t my first experience with Crash Team Racing, it was the first time I had taken it seriously and actually tried to master the game’s complex mechanics. While I can’t say I got to the coveted 101% completion, I did manage to best each of the game’s progressively more difficult bosses and reached the end. It took a bit of persuading, but with all the facts laid out, this game is easily one of the best cart racers available, and one that still holds up exceptionally well to this day.
Hear our full thoughts in what may very well be our most well-thought out show ever.
#11: Just Cause 3
Explosions. Explosions. And more explosions. Need I go on? OK fine. Strapping C4 to a deer, strapping the deer to a jet, flying the jet towards a crowded village, ejecting, detonating the C4 attached to the deer attached to the jet careening towards the town square, and floating away carelessly as mushroom cloud of fire erupts behind me, accented nicely by the popping of fireworks reserved for the day I was meant to liberate that village from vicious dictatorial rule. A fine cigar and a bourbon would be the only things to make that scene more perfect, but those can be had at the title screen… while watching an oil rig explode in the distance.
#10: Mega Man Legacy Collection
Hey, it’s in the top 10. Leave me alone. Throwing this one up at #1 would have been too easy, and it also would have been a lie. I love me some Mega Man, but this legacy collection wasn’t anything I haven’t seen already in the form of Mega Man Anniversary Collection a couple generations ago. I won’t say that I’m a Mega Man purist since I tend to use an emulator to get my MM fix from time to time, but the inclusion of instant save states on a sanctioned console release was a severe misstep. While it may have opened the series up to new audiences, it effectively axed the one of the series most defining features; it’s difficulty. Memorizing a level and reaching the final boss with full health and maximum lives only to get obliterated because you failed to learn his patterns
# 9: PoPoLoCrois
Any kid whose mom or dad read them bedtime stories at night surely found themselves drifting off to sleep imagining what it would be like to live in those magical lands. Well, PoPoLoCrois is about as close as you can get. Easily the most wonderfully whimsical game I’ve played since Ni No Kuni, PoPoLoCrois is a one game I’ve set out to complete many times before, but never found the time to complete. This game sufficiently scratched both my JRPG and Tactics RPG itches while managing to preserve the overall lighthearted pick and play feel that makes this such a great title to take on the go.
As an adult I find myself lacking people willing to read me a bedtime story, but this game has filled that glaring gap quite nicely.
As it stands, Tom and I are 2/3 of the way through recording our thoughts about this wonderful title. Check out the first two parts here:
#8: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
2D Zelda games reign supreme. Sure, Ocarina of Time is and always will be one of the best games ever made, but nothing beats a good top down romp through Hyrule and the Minish Cap is, dare I say, almost as good as Link’s Awakening. Zelda typically shines with its dungeon design, but The Minish Cap is at its best when you least expect it. A cleverly designed and beautifully animated world coupled with some truly mind bending puzzles give this tiny game a much larger feel.
In case you want to know more about what we all thought of this game, check out our two part coverage of this tiny game.
It’s a little known fact that I consider myself a Souls purist. There never has been and there never will be another Souls game that can live up to Demon’s Souls. It is for all intents and purposes, a perfect game. However, From Software decided to move the series forward and actually managed to recreate the same level of addition with Dark Souls (a spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls), but quickly proved with Dark Souls 2 (the sequel to the spiritual successor of Demon’s Souls) that too much of a good thing can be bad. So naturally when From Software announced Bloodborne (a spiritual successor to to the sequel of the spiritual successor of Demon’s Souls), I was a bit apprehensive. The Souls series had officially gone mainstream and the I feared From was on the verge of trading some of the series traditional values for wider accessibility. Fortunately, they did not and the result was one of the most refreshingly difficult games I’ve played in a long time.
There is little more satisfaction to be found in gaming than cutting a swath through hordes of enemies in an attempt to make your way to a boss for the 40th time, knowing full well that you’re probably going to die even quicker than the previous 39 tries. However, Bloodborne manages to stoke that tiny tiny ember of confidence hidden deep within that makes you believe that against all odds this time will be the time you emerge victorious. The satisfaction I felt felling some of these bosses will remain with me for many years to come.
Apparently I played my number 6 choice in 2014, so I don’t have a number 6 and shifting everything around would mess up the continuity between this article and the podcast. We can’t just going mucking about with the podcast article continuum now, can we?
#5: The Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask
Sorry I’m late! I had to wait for an entirely new console to come out before I could play this game. For such a stark departure from the traditional Zelda formula, this game drew me in from the very outset. Although, part of that may have been a bit of excitement at the thought of returning to a Hyrule that looked like it did in The Ocarina of Time. Majora’s Mask is far from the best Zelda game, but it does cement itself as the most unique. Racing against time only to fall a minute or two short and watch as your work unravels in front of you is an extremely tense proposition. On the bright side, when you fail, and you will, that just means you get to play more Zelda. I can proudly say that I collected every mask and saw every side quest through to the end. What I cannot say is how many times I opened a guide for this game. In fact, this game got so complicated and confusing at one point that I set the homepage on my phone’s browser to a walkthrough. I probably read this game before I finished it, but I enjoyed every second of it… except for the last dungeon.
People are easily the most interesting things on the planet and Tim Schafer’s magnum opus is a shinning example of just how strange people can be. In a time when 3D platformers were a dime a dozen, Tim Schafer took a gamble and made the platforming take a backseat to the incredible worlds he and his team created within the minds of his characters. Of course, Psychonauts is one giant caricature of several personality types (the self-doubting family black sheep, the hopeless romantic, the melodramatic narcissist, and the paranoid conspiracy theorist) that manages to highlight each so accurately that you can’t help but draw comparisons to between the characters in the game and people you know… possibly even yourself.
My only complaint is that for a game that starts out as strong as Psychonauts and runs as strong as it does the whole way through, the ending was a one frustrating grind to an overwhelming let down. Fortunately, after more than a decade, the cliff hanger at the end will finally be resolved since Double Fine has announced the imminent release of Psychonauts 2.
Check out our full coverage of Psychonauts on the our two part special!
#3: Final Fantasy VIII
While this isn’t the first time I’ve played the best Final Fantasy, it is the first time in which I decided to really analyze the world in which I was playing. With a game that spans 50+ hours, it is understandably easy to forget some of the key plot elements that drive the story and by the end you may find yourself failing to understand why certain events are happening. This time around I did what I hope would make my high school English teachers proud, I took notes. That’s right. I approached this video game like homework, fastidiously jotting down key points alongside a loose timeline of events as well as personal questions and thoughts about the events taking place. In the end, my notes filled nearly every page of a college ruled notebook. As for the result, something miraculous happened… I understood the game far better than I ever had in years past. (Maybe all of my teachers were actually onto something…)
Sure, I still feel like FF8 has one of the best battle systems the series has ever seen and that Squall and Rinoa share the most touching love story to date, but what was driving everything? The story is rightfully complicated and trying to wrap my 13 year old mind around the events was probably too large a task for my newly-pubescent mind at the time (very likely muddled with thoughts of girls and skateboarding at the time.)But perhaps the most enjoyable thing about my playthrough this time around was that I played it alongside Derek and Kevin (Jess started it, but quickly decided not to finish) and each of us took a different approach to the game. Kevin, a fellow Final Fantasy 8 veteran, took the low level approach and decided to complete the game without gaining one single level across any of his characters while Derek served as our control, playing the game as basically as possible, and I dove in trying to prove a wild conspiracy theory that Squall is in fact dead for the last 3 discs of the game.
I could write volumes on why Final Fantasy VIII is the best Final Fantasy, but I know that opinion is not shared by many. And that’s fine. It’s OK to be wrong. I forgive you. But if you want some 10 hours of solid proof, check out our in four episode coverage of everything in, on, and around Final Fantasy VIII!
#2: Chrono Trigger
So, I’m a little late to this party also, I know. However, in my defense, I prefer to drink a nice aged bourbon, so I was merely letting this game ferment before imbibing. Honestly, I have no good excuse for why I haven’t played this game until now other than, “because I never got around to it.” Part of the problem may be that I attempted to play Chrono Cross first and hated that game so much that I figured that a game that bad could only have spawned from something equally as bad. I have never been so happy to be so wrong. Upon completion, this sauntered its way near the top of my favorite RPGs of all time.
Check out our dedicated Chrono Trigger show!
#1: Rocket League
Who didn’t see this coming, honestly? It is utterly amazing how deep this game sunk its hooks into me, especially considering how much I loathe soccer. The mere thought of that sport puts me to sleep. I can honestly think of nothing worse to watch than that sorry excuse for a game being played by some of the most prissed up ninnies this side of professional FOOTBALL. Perhaps developer Pysonix felt the same way and thought, “How could we make this sport suck less? (Besides the obvious answer of ‘anything’.)” Well, as it turns out, they made soccer suck a lot less and all they needed to do was change almost everything about it. Flopping hypochondriacs flailing about trying to draw a flag? Replace them with exploding rocket powered cars! Stupid tiny checkered ball? Replace it with a larger one! Absurdly large field? Replace it with caged in field send the game onto the walls and roof! Unnecessarily long matches? You get 5 minutes. Shut up.
Rarely does a game engage me on a level at which Rocket League did and continue to do so for months on end. It only takes a minute to understand the controls, but it will take a lifetime to master them and that right there is what keeps me coming back. The thought of that next amazing goal being just around the corner is too enticing to quit. That and the endless amount of customization this game affords. Where else can you adorn your rocket fueled battle car with a top hat and a dollar sign antenna topper while setting your engines to spew cash? That’s right, nowhere.
This game has brought countless hours of joy to the Pederson house and, for what some may consider an unhealthy amount of time, served as means to entertain my one year old daughter for hours on end. The game that spawned such memorable moments as “Elevate thing game!”, “Irish Guy with a Lisp”, “The Jeeves Mobile!” is easily my favorite game of 2015 and based upon how much support Psyonix is throwing behind it, stands a chance at carrying itself well into my favorite games of 2016.
- Fallout 4
- The Witcher 3
- Final Fantasy Type-0 HD
- Silent Hill
- Actual Sunlight
- E.V.O: The Search for Eden
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
- Reviving the show… again.
- Recruiting Dan and Tom… and subsequently their cultural quirks.
- The great biscuit vs. cookie debate of 2015
- Yom Braider
- Hand delivering Jess to her personal hell of mouth noises.
- Pouring over every detail of Final Fantasy 8 with Derek and Kevin
- Playing “who can lose their dollar the fastest” against Tom in Vegas (and teaching him how to get drunk for next to nothing.
- Finally getting around to Chrono Trigger, a game I have no good excuse for having never played.