2015 in review

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

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2015 in review

Postby Koa » Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:15 am UTC

It's been a fairly good year for tha vidya games, especially compared to 2014. Post your thoughts, games you want to mention, top10, however you want to do it.

My GotY is definitely Wither 3. I wrote a bunch of thoughts I had one it already. I didn't like it at first but it gradually won me over. The only additional thoughts I've had since then is that it's interesting how uniquely mature the game treats relationships. Ciri could have easily been a sort of sex interest, but the whole time you see her through the eyes of Geralt, and so the player feels paternal emotions. For Yennefer, you see a relationship that has gone through an incredible amount of turmoil, and through that she and Geralt trust one another even though they aren't completely sure that they want to be together. They're ultimately small details in a huge game, but I really like the emotional depth of the main characters. The good moments are good enough to overshadow the few times the game trips up (the whole "Finding Dandelion" part). I need to play the expansions at some point.

Pillars of Eternity is a stupidly gorgeous game. It's a fun infinity engine-style romp, it's just a shame that it's not terribly memorable. The companions and side characters need more depth. Quests feel like they end a little abruptly, like there should be another 30% more content to wrap them up. A few more interesting surprises than solemn ends. It feels hollowborn in retrospect, but when I'm in the midst of a play or a replay it doesn't feel like it matters. I'm sure the great music helps.

My arcadey game of the year is Sublevel Zero. It's a six degrees of freedom action shooter ala Descent. I usually listen to podcasts while doing a run. Not sure what to say about it, it is as it plays, so here's a tip that I had wish I had known earlier -- repair kits take up inventory space, so holding less guns lets you hold more kits for the harder parts.

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Re: 2015 in review

Postby DaBigCheez » Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:02 am UTC

Undertale, for me. It made me feel many feels (and not all the same feel!), provided what I feel like is one of the stronger arguments in favor of video games as art, and provided an interesting take on a lot of RPG tropes that are kinda taken for granted. Hard to say very much about the game without spoiling *something*, and I'd definitely recommend that people go into the game knowing as little as possible about it, as it's very spoiler-fragile and is an experience best played for oneself rather than e.g. watched on an LP. What I *will* say is that, as described to a friend, I was having trouble dodging the final boss's attacks because I couldn't see through the tears. Good tears. And it's not every game that manages that, even the ones that try for it.
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Re: 2015 in review

Postby Zohar » Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:31 pm UTC

Undertale is indeed very good. Other games I've really enjoyed this year (but weren't from 2015 so are probably an illegal post) - FTL and Tomb Raider 2013.
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Re: 2015 in review

Postby Obby » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:50 pm UTC

I had a really good time with quite a few games this year. These are in no particular order.

Witcher 3 - Considering how much I didn't like the first Witcher game, and how uninterested I was in Witcher 2 after about 8 hours of playing it, I was really skeptical about this game which is why I didn't play through it until ~6 months after it released. I had heard from pretty much everyone that it was amazing, so I decided to pick it up once it was on sale over the Halloween sales. And I'm definitely glad I did. I spent over 80 hours playing through it, which I think is probably a record for a single playthrough in any game for me (there are games I've spent more overall time playing, but that was over multiple playthroughs). I felt like the story was engaging enough that it kept me wanting to play more, and the character development was phenomenal. I got invested in the characters almost as much as I did playing the Mass Effect series, which is a big accomplishment in my book. There are a lot of reasons that I play video games, and this game seems to scratch just about all the right places for me to really get in to a game. The gameplay was much better than in the previous games, in terms of combat and movement, which was my big reason for not liking the first game in the series. And Gwent. Holy shit, Gwent. I really wish there was a mobile companion app or something that would just be the Gwent card game, I had a lot of fun with it and trying to build my deck.

Tales From The Borderlands - I had heard a lot of people saying the Telltale games were really good, but I had never really gotten the chance to get too in to any of them between my other games. I decided to pick this one up during the Steam holiday sale, since I really liked the other Borderlands games, and was definitely blown away. They did a really good job of capturing the feel of the Borderlands series, while at the same time making it different enough that it didn't feel like it was rehashing anything. Again, the narrative and character development were top-notch. I'm not really a big fan of the quick-time event style of play (particularly the button mashing parts) but overall it was really enjoyable and I burned through all five episodes in one day. The lighthearted humor and mostly feel-good nature of the story were definitely a nice change, too, compared to how heavy Dying Light and Tomb Raider are, for example.

Rebel Galaxy - Probably my "sleeper" hit of the year. I love sci-fi, and I love spaceships, so when my cousin told me about this game I thought I'd give it a shot. If you haven't heard of it, it's basically the ship combat from Assassin's Creed Black Flag, but in space. The story is cheesy and mostly mediocre, but there are dozens of different ships and different weapons and armor and shield types to customize those ships with. Some ships are fast and agile capable of quick striking, some ships are slow and armored and armed to the teeth, most are somewhere in between. Ship customization is a pretty robust system, and obviously what the most development time was spent on. There is some trading between stations and systems, but it's a fairly simple system for the most part that's only really rewarding in the early part of the game when funds are low. Overall it's a decent combat game with some side trading.

Dying Light - While not a "blow me away" type of game, I feel it was very well done. It's a really well-done version of Dead Island with most of the crap taken out. You run around and customize weapons trying to survive and complete the story missions. The story is decent, but not amazing, but I really enjoy the day/night mechanic of the game. Basically you can run around in the daytime to complete a lot of the objectives during the day cycle, and then night falls and things get pretty difficult for you. There are very strong zombies that rip you to pieces pretty quickly if you aren't prepared. Eventually you start to get enough confidence and skill to be able to survive more effectively at night, and that's where the real rewards are in the game. Overall I don't think I'm doing it justice, but I really enjoyed this game.

Besiege - Certainly not a big time waster, but for the ~10 hours I spent in the game it was a blast. You basically just construct random machines/vehicles and try and destroy as many peasants/buildings/sheep as possible before your contraption gets destroyed. There were a decent amount of basic building tools and simple machines to work with, and I found a lot of fun in making "creative" machines to complete the objectives. For the price, I think it's hard to beat something like this, despite the early access tag.

There were a number of other games I played this past year, but seeing as they weren't 2015 releases I didn't include them.
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Re: 2015 in review

Postby Xeio » Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:20 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:and Tomb Raider 2013.
Can't wait till Rise is out later this month...

I concur with everyone above about Undertale, it's just really good. I'm not even entirely sure why.

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Re: 2015 in review

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Jan 07, 2016 10:31 pm UTC

It saddens me to see the gamer community so fragmented today, when before it felt a lot more unified. On the one hand, 2015 represents the complete and utter dominance of small-scale games and indie developers once more. Tons of failed Kickstarter projects, but still the rise of Undertale, various MOBAs, Smash Wii U, Splatoon, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate... and of course all the mainstream games as well.

For me, 2015 was:

1. Super Smash Bros Wii U -- I got a local scene that I visit occasionally but am not good enough to be (or beat) anyone notable. Still, its good to see where I stand vs the best in the country.

2. Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void -- This chapter of my life finally finishes. I've been waiting for a proper ending since the cliffhanger ending of 1997's Brood War. Blizzard finally gives complete and utter closure to a legendary series. While I have no interest in competitive gameplay anymore, I enjoyed the campaign. I realize that there have been complaints about the storyline, but honestly... I don't care about the complaints. I enjoyed the ending.

3. Superbeat Xonic -- Vita isn't dead yet. Okay, so its dead, but Xonic was still a great game to come out late last year for the Vita.

4. Trails in the Sky: Second Chapter -- The release of this game has finally given me the courage to start the first game. All I know about the story is that chapter-one has a cliffhanger ending that pissed off the community for years (Second Chapter took 4 years to translate). While this old 2000-era classic JRPG is quite dated... its official English release marks a high point of 2015 for me. I'll start playing through this one soon.

5. Pathfinder: Iron Gods campaign -- In the pen-and-paper realm, I've led my trusty adventurers through the lands of Numeria. We've gone through roughly 30-inches by 50-feet of hand-drawn hex maps of my own design, and everyone seems to be loving the campaign. (Everyone seems to have a preference for the hex-maps I draw, although they are inspired from the Numeria square-maps in the book). We are about 70% through book 2. This is my first non-homebrew adventure that I've run (generally I just make up shit as dungeon master).
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Re: 2015 in review

Postby Zohar » Thu Jan 07, 2016 10:37 pm UTC

In what way do you see gamer community more fragmented than in the past? I recall console wars always being around, at least from when I started delving with consoles (original PS).
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Re: 2015 in review

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Jan 08, 2016 12:05 am UTC

Zohar wrote:In what way do you see gamer community more fragmented than in the past? I recall console wars always being around, at least from when I started delving with consoles (original PS).


Back in the PSX-era, an "niche" game was like Tomba, or Bust a Groove. Relatively unpopular, but you may find one other person at your school who has that game. More importantly, finding a game like that was more or less a personal pleasure. There's no community hyping the game, arguing that EVERYONE needs to play these niche titles.

Today, the explosion of Kickstarter and indie games on all platforms has led to some really really obscure titles that are almost unknown outside of their respective community. Just think of the indie or small-time publisher games that people play now: Touhou, Osu!, Undertale, Mighty No. 9, Shovel Knight, Divekick, Awesomenauts, Smite, Skullgirls, Superbeat Xonic, Hyperdimensiona Neptunia Victory 2, Axiom Verge, Transistor, Galax-Z, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd, Trails in the Sky SC... each of which has a very strong, outspoken community that demands other players to share their experience. A lot of these games (or series) are considered "best game ever" within their respective communities (in particular: Touhou, Trails in the Sky, Shovel Knight, Awesomenauts, Smite, Skullgirls... and of course Undertale).

And that's before we get into somewhat "niche mainstream" games that have big followings. Wonderful 101, Monster Hunter, The Peanuts Movie Snoopy's Grand Adventure (seriously, its got good reviews), Overwatch, Heroes of the Swarm, League of Legends, Hearthstone, Counterstrike, Rainbow Six: Siege, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Super Smash Bros, Super Mario Maker, Persona 4: Dancing All Night, Cities: Skylines. I see more buzz on these games than the games I described in my previous paragraph (and they're made by big, mainstream companies). I mean, seriously wtf, there's a new Age of Empires II expansion that was released in 2015 that's apparently the best thing ever.

Yes, Age of Empires 2. Microsoft likes to troll hard I guess.

Then you've got "AAA" games like Dota, Battlefront, Witcher 3, Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Bloodborne, Fallout 4, Life is Strange, Just Cause 3, Batman Arkham Knight... games that truly have widespread appeal and hundreds of millions of dollars in budget.

There have never been so many "must check out games" before. Before, it was PS vs N64 vs Saturn. And the general "must have" games for each were well defined. (OoT, FFVII, Knights into Dreams). Today? Hundreds of Indie games rule the market. Its not really a bad thing, but it becomes frustrating trying to keep up with everyone now. Even within the same console / company combination, like Nintendo, you have several big-name games through 2015. Splatoon, Super Smash Bros Wii U, Super Mario Maker, Kirby Rainbow Curse, Yoshi Wooly World, and Xenoblade Chronicles X as 1st party releases... and several "must have" exclusives (Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water, Bayonetta, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse).

Many of these games have literally infinite replayability as well, due to huge DLC and/or "living" communities (ie: Super Mario Maker). Just trying to keep up with the Wii U must-haves is a full-time job in of itself! Let alone the exclusives on XBox (Tomb Raider, Halo 5), PS4, and PC (Starcraft Legacy of Void). Minecraft still continues to receive updates for example, and still seems like a major game people play.

Another note: the longevity of these game communities is growing. Perhaps in 1996 I felt like I missed out on a MUD, Ultima, or Everquest... but now some games have exponentially huge learning curves. DOTA was relatively easy to get into when it only had 20ish characters, but now it has hundreds of characters. I've missed the boat, and the learning curve is too demanding (IMO anyway) so I do not really consider that game anymore. Game Developers have learned how to grow and foster huge communities that tie hundreds of thousands of people together... but they still haven't really mastered the "newbie friendliness" aspect of it yet. (BlazBlue as another example, is a modern hyper-fighter that was relatively n00b friendly with 8 characters in its first iteration. But today with 30+ characters and extremely screwy mechanics, its hard to keep up with the metagame).

------------

I'd argue that 2015 is one of the best years of gaming... maybe ever. Indie, Mainstream, AAA, at all levels. 2015 was an epic year for gaming. The issue is now there's too many games to play, leading to fragmented communities where people have only played a few of these "must play" titles. The 2010ish revival of fighting games (MvC, Blazblue, SFIV) was probably the best year ever for the fighting game community. But 2015 is one of the best years for gaming as a whole... probably the hands-down best year for indie games as far as I am concerned.
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Re: 2015 in review

Postby infernovia » Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:54 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Today, the explosion of Kickstarter and indie games on all platforms has led to some really really obscure titles that are almost unknown outside of their respective community. Just think of the indie or small-time publisher games that people play now: Touhou, Osu!, Undertale, Mighty No. 9, Shovel Knight, Divekick, Awesomenauts, Smite, Skullgirls, Superbeat Xonic, Hyperdimensiona Neptunia Victory 2, Axiom Verge, Transistor, Galax-Z, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd, Trails in the Sky SC... each of which has a very strong, outspoken community that demands other players to share their experience. A lot of these games (or series) are considered "best game ever" within their respective communities (in particular: Touhou, Trails in the Sky, Shovel Knight, Awesomenauts, Smite, Skullgirls... and of course Undertale).

And that's before we get into somewhat "niche mainstream" games that have big followings. Wonderful 101, Monster Hunter, The Peanuts Movie Snoopy's Grand Adventure (seriously, its got good reviews), Overwatch, Heroes of the Swarm, League of Legends, Hearthstone, Counterstrike, Rainbow Six: Siege, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Super Smash Bros, Super Mario Maker, Persona 4: Dancing All Night, Cities: Skylines. I see more buzz on these games than the games I described in my previous paragraph (and they're made by big, mainstream companies). I mean, seriously wtf, there's a new Age of Empires II expansion that was released in 2015 that's apparently the best thing ever.

That's why I love short and high production value games. On top of that, it's hard to find people that have tried out a bunch of different games as there are a lot of insular communities that just want you to try their games. Like the Undertale people are trying to come into topics where I am discussing shoot 'em ups. R-type and Undertale aren't quite the same experience, are they?

As a result, while there are some good games out there, it's hard to see actual commentary behind the fanatics.

KnightExemplar wrote:I'd argue that 2015 is one of the best years of gaming... maybe ever.

It's really hard to beat 2001. Like seriously, look through it. 1998 laughs at 2001's feeble attempts to unseat it as Best Year In Games Ever -ST

===========================
Dying Light is a really nice co-op game that came out this year. It's Mirror's Edge (FP platforming/climbing/melee basis) combined with an open map with zombies that run after anything that makes sound. I would highly recommend the co-op experience. The ambiance is absolutely fantastic with some really grotesque and beautiful scenery as the story demands. Every single time I open up the game there is one thing or another that completely stuns me, I feel like I take a vacation with my co op buddies. It's a real treat to explore. And the crafting system is good too. The story is solid as long as you don't expect anything intricate.

Planetary Annihilation: Titans. This is cheating but is still a solid RTS if you want big scale and you want to play co op with people.

More to go on the list as I play them: Dirt Rally (only due to VR support), Metal Gear Solid V, Bloodbourne, Rainbow Six Siege.

The Witcher 3. I am not a fan yet. The beginning is really dull and the controls are balls. I respect the work, but can they please hire a japanese dude to do the controls? Pleaseeeeeeeeee. Real people do not have turning circles. I also wished they made Geralt have a reasonable inventory system too. I just love the trailer shot of him riding with the monster's head tied to his horse. Why can't we have more of that? More adventure, less grinding.


Outside of that, I am pretty much catching up on old releases or Steam re-releases of old releases (ex: Mushihimesama/Arcana Heart: Love Max!!!!!!). There are a ton of games to play even if I ignore every single indie game ever produced, so that's what I am doing. Outside of Rocket League. It's somewhat nice to find games that don't live up to expectation (Elite: Dangerous), because it means I can ignore it.

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Re: 2015 in review

Postby Zohar » Fri Jan 08, 2016 1:54 pm UTC

It sounds to me, KnightExemplar, like what you're describing is being overwhelmed by the choice. And I really get that, so many of us have dozens (or hundreds...) of games on Steam that we haven't gotten around to playing. I have a similar experience with books, too. But even in the PSX era, I never had the opportunity to play ALL the major games, and I never even played all the major games on the platforms I personally owned. So I don't see that changing much. People are more connected, of course, and it's easier for smaller games to gain traction, I personally see that as good. And I've given up on playing everything that's awesome - I try to concentrate on what I think I will enjoy, and skip the rest. If people are being obnoxious and judging me for my gaming choices - I don't really need those negative people in my life, and most online places have blocking functions in one form or another.
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Re: 2015 in review

Postby infernovia » Fri Jan 08, 2016 4:12 pm UTC

Well, it's more of the sheer number of communities that are incredibly vocal about their one game. It's due to the internet we have now, everybody who loves something can find like minded individuals and they quickly start proclaiming their love of the game. Back in 2001, when twitter/reddit didn't exist, this didn't happen quite as frequently. And when it did, it was usually limited to bigger releases or companies with a long and inspired line of work (SRK and Capcom fighting games for example, Dustloop for the ArcSys one). Finding out about games takes a while too. Nowadays, it's much simpler on one hand to proclaim your love of your game to the world. But at the other hand, there is a lot more noise.

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Re: 2015 in review

Postby goldem » Fri Jan 08, 2016 4:27 pm UTC

I always loved PS2 console :D

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Re: 2015 in review

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Jan 08, 2016 6:34 pm UTC

infernovia wrote:Well, it's more of the sheer number of communities that are incredibly vocal about their one game. It's due to the internet we have now, everybody who loves something can find like minded individuals and they quickly start proclaiming their love of the game. Back in 2001, when twitter/reddit didn't exist, this didn't happen quite as frequently. And when it did, it was usually limited to bigger releases or companies with a long and inspired line of work (SRK and Capcom fighting games for example, Dustloop for the ArcSys one). Finding out about games takes a while too. Nowadays, it's much simpler on one hand to proclaim your love of your game to the world. But at the other hand, there is a lot more noise.


Yeah, this is the feeling I get. I think game curating has fallen behind game creation. Before, there were fewer magazines to keep up with, and the gaming community for the most part was unified within their respective communities. Playstation players would read PSM, Nintendo players would read "Nintendo Power". And from there, the communities mostly knew what the "must play" games were, and gamers in general would be quite unified in the games they played.

Virtually all PSX gamers played Crash Bandicoot and Final Fantasy 7. Virtually all N64 players played Smash, Mario 64, and Diddy Kong Racing. Lets fast forward to 2015. Virtually all Steam players have played (in 2015) ... what? Honestly, too many games, too many communities. There's no singular game on the Steam or Good-ol' Games distribution network that "everyone" has played. Even just a few years ago, "Portal" would have been that game. But I'm not seeing anything from 2015 that united the gamers in general.

Even if we drill down into a particular genre like first-person shooters, we've got Rainbow Six: Siege, Battlefront, Counterstrike, Halo 5, Destiny: The Taken King, Call of Duty Black Ops 3, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, AND Overwatch as 2015 games. I think of 2015 as that year when a whole bunch of good games came out, and everyone went off and played their own game. Even if you only played "FPS games", its unlikely you played all of the must-plays for the year 2015.
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Re: 2015 in review

Postby Zohar » Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:23 pm UTC

OK, I get that, but why do you consider that a bad thing? It's the same thing, pretty much, with books, movies (with the exception of The Force Awakens which I suspect everyone has seen), it's been that way for ages with TV as well (ever since you had more than one channel), definitely comic books... I dunno, I personally don't mind missing out on some games, or playing some games a few years after they were released. I like the added variety, I like there's more games and more genres. I was a use fan of turn-based tactical battle games on the PSX (Final Fantasy Tactics and its friends), and for years I didn't have anything resembling that, but in recent years I've had X-Com, Shadowrun, Invisible Inc., Massive Chalice, The Banner Saga... X-Com is the biggest game on this list, and I'm not sure the other ones would have come out if the gaming community hadn't grown and diversified. And yeah, I'm going to miss some awesome games, but I always did in the past as well, I'm just more aware of my options, I suppose.
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Re: 2015 in review

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:26 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:OK, I get that, but why do you consider that a bad thing?


I don't? It just makes it frustrating to keep up with everyone.
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Re: 2015 in review

Postby Zohar » Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:33 pm UTC

Ah, sorry for misunderstanding. Well, you know, fear of missing out and all that.
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Re: 2015 in review

Postby infernovia » Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:44 pm UTC

I completely agree that game curating needs to improve. It shows in the market too, Steam has not made as much money since greenlight and early access. I feel like it's a chore to look through all the games nowadays whereas before, I was relatively excited about exploring the news.

I am not worried about "games that everyone has played". There are rather large fanbases like the one for Skyrim (a game I dislike), but more importantly, I don't think it's likely to happen. One of the issues with PC/Steam is that there is just a wide variety of hardware out in the world right now, so there are a ton of people who can just play LoL and Dota 2 and CS:GO so it's not quite fruitful to combine these people with "everyone."

Furthermore, back in the day, people segregated their platform by genre as well. If you liked FPS, WRPGs, Grand Strategy you stuck with PC. If you liked fighting games, JRPGs, third person melee/shooters, shoot 'em ups you stuck with consoles. Nowadays everything is on pretty much every system, so people get exposure to more niche genres than ever before. A PC owner might be aware of Ikaruga or Street Fighter II, but there is no way he would be aware of Espgaluda or Guilty Gear XX. So there is that as well.

Ultimately, curation is super important. But once you solve that, I don't think you are likely to get games that "everyone has played" anymore than you used to.
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Re: 2015 in review

Postby Zohar » Fri Jan 08, 2016 8:00 pm UTC

Wouldn't following the right blogs (that suit your preferences) solve that problem? Speaking of, any recommendations on blogs? Also we are WILDLY off topic but meh? Maybe?
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Re: 2015 in review

Postby infernovia » Fri Jan 08, 2016 8:04 pm UTC

Yeah, I do that already. Blogs and forums. :) It is the solution, I just wish it happened with Steam itself.

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Re: 2015 in review

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:20 pm UTC

2015 for me:

Majora's Mask 3DS. Ocarina of Time (alongside GoldenEye) is the reason I own an N64. Ocarina 3DS is the reason I own a 3DS. Acquiring Majora's Mask was a foregone conclusion, though at this point it falls into the "was that really less than a year ago" category. I don't remember the details, but my impression is that, as with Ocarina, it did a good job of recapturing the classic game on a new platform, with the motion controls exploited where they improve the game, rather than being shoehorned in as a gimmick.

Life Is Strange. Seriously flawed, and with an ending that lets the rest of the game down (caused by running out of budget). Even so, probably my favourite game this year - not because it does everything right, but because the things it does do right, it does well enough to make up for the things it does wrong. If I had to pick one moment from all the games I've played this year to remember, it would be one of the times Max just sits, the camera loops through several vantage points around the current scene, and the ambient music plays.

Terraria 1.3. Having put in a lot of hours before 1.1 added the Wall of Flesh and Hard Mode to the game, and then played a little with 1.1 and 1.2 without ever getting to the new late-game, 1.3's release over the summer brought me back to the game and managed to keep my interest through the early stages and all the way to beating the Moon Lord repeatedly - I've yet to defeat the Moon Lord on Expert Mode, and have only survived rather than triumphing over the late-game invasions, but otherwise, I've roughly doubled my total time in-game and seen most of what it has to offer.

Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void. More for completion than for any great attachment to the gameplay. I enjoyed the single-player campaign, have no intention of going competitive, and lack a suitable wingman for the new skirmish mode, so, with the end of the story, I'm pretty much done. It avoided my major complaint about Wings of Liberty - the possibility of locking yourself out of the best end-game upgrades by buying upgrades as they become available rather than saving the limited funds for more important toys - by allowing you a full respec before each mission (Heart of the Swarm flagged its irreversible upgrades and let you try out both options before committing, so also avoided the worst of it). I'm satisfied with the ending - it tied up the plot threads from Brood War and left everyone, if not happy, at least in a situation where they could co-exist more-or-less peacefully.

80 Days. One of those "games you've never heard of", it owes a lot to classic "choose your own adventure" books. The basic premise is familiar to anyone who's heard of the original novel - Phileas Fogg makes a wager that he can circumnavigate the globe in 80 days (in order to prove that it is possible to do so with late-19th century modern transport) and, accompanied only by his new valet, Passepartout, sets out on his journey. In the game, rather than having a mathematically calculated itinerary (of dubious accuracy), you, playing as Passepartout, are responsible for finding a path around a steampunk world, uncovering new potential routes, and having various adventures on the way. You are also responsible for the luggage - each item takes up a certain amount of space, and each means of transport offers a certain carriage capacity, so the problem often arises of whether to abandon items (often selling them for a pittance) or pay additional money to carry your excess baggage. Since some items can be sold for a very healthy profit in certain locations, and others have direct in-game benefits, unlocking better dialogue options, letting you purchase earlier departures, or reducing the negative effects on Fogg of the more uncomfortable conveyances. You have three resources to balance - the 80 day time limit (the game doesn't end until you return to London, though missing the deadline will almost certainly leave you seriously in debt), money (you start with a certain amount, and can, in exchange for waiting several days, acquire loans from banks in the cities you pass through), and Fogg's health/comfort - the rigours of travel weigh on your master, and you can find yourself facing a choice between attempting to make a little extra money, investigating for travel information and various adventures, and restoring Fogg's deteriorating condition. There are lots of things in the game's world aside from the actual adventures Fogg faced in the novel, and it can be very tempting to allow yourself to get sidetracked into following a rumour. I've yet to encounter him myself, but there's a Steam achievement for encountering a particular sub-marine adventurer, and others for exploring the Pole or descending into the heart of the Earth. I have managed to Poirot my way through a shipboard murder investigation, and technically earn the title of American Lightweight Boxing Champion, and my best trip is under 60 days (59 days, in fact, if memory serves) - Steam achievements go as low as 40 days, though many more people have had Fogg die than have made it that quickly.

Undertale. Unlike the other games on this list, I've neither played nor purchased it, but it has had enough buzz that I expect that will probably change at some point.

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Obby
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Re: 2015 in review

Postby Obby » Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:21 pm UTC

infernovia wrote:I completely agree that game curating needs to improve. It shows in the market too, Steam has not made as much money since greenlight and early access.

Sorry, how do you know that? As far as I know Valve doesn't release revenue numbers to the public, being a private company and all. You can probably estimate based on total number of people playing on Steam, but even then it won't be accurate since you can add games not purchased through Steam (i.e. the Humble Bundle stuff). The only reports I can find are for 2014, and those are just estimates from third parties.

I'm not saying you're wrong, I really don't know one way or the other. I'd just like to know how you came to that conclusion.
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Re: 2015 in review

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:58 pm UTC

If anything, I'd say Steam's revenue has gone up given how much early access stuff has sold on Steam. True, that's going to crash and burn at some point in the future (I give it another 6 months, tops) but since they take a cut of every thing sold...


Back on topic, using Wikipedia as a guide and with a rule that I have to have put in more than 15 minutes...

Saints Row: Gat out of Hell is my GOTY.

.... it's also the only game that qualifies, as KSP, while technically being released this year has been playable since 2011, Elite:Dangerous was technically released in 2014 (and I think was playable before that), I've not put more than 15 minutes in to Pillars of Eternity and I haven't even turned Shadowrun:Hong Kong or Life is Strange on yet.

I simply have too many games I've yet to play and want to play to justify spending money on a brand new game. The ones that came out in 2015 I purchased at pretty deep discounts, most of them during the Winter Sale two weeks ago.

... all that being said, I'm still pretty pleased with my Best Game of 2015 (So Far). It's a fun game. After the gliding around in Saints Row 4, actual flight is a welcome addition and I'm also glad they included Kinzie instead of Shaundi or whazerface.
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Re: 2015 in review

Postby wumpus » Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:19 pm UTC

Just a note, kerbal space program left early access in 2015 and thus counts for last year. Being an xkcd forum (Randal has made a number of comics about KSP including "knowledge of orbital dynamics vs. time" and "don't say it works in KSP", plus mentions in the alt text) I thought I'd mention it.

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Re: 2015 in review

Postby infernovia » Thu Jan 14, 2016 5:16 pm UTC

Obby wrote:Sorry, how do you know that? As far as I know Valve doesn't release revenue numbers to the public, being a private company and all.


https://medium.com/steam-spy/some-thing ... .rsb7remmx
Of course it wasn’t always like this. Until 2012 Steam’s growth was matched with slowly growing catalog of games and that led to gradually increasing average sales. But it stopped when Valve introduced an easier way for indies — the snowballing quantity of games (some of them of dubious quality) led to dramatic decrease in average sales. It’s no longer enough to just launch your game on Steam to sell something. Now you have to do PR, marketing, support and all the other stuff that only big companies were paying attention to before.


Well, I suppose it's average sales per game that's down and not Valve's revenue, so that was a mistake. Personally, I dislike exploring the store since both Greenlight and Early Access launched. There is absolutely no reason for Early Access games to be in the frontpage.

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Re: 2015 in review

Postby johnmuir » Tue Jan 19, 2016 5:29 am UTC

2015 for me was the year I bought a Wii U + 4 controllers + adapter solely to play Super Smash Bros 4.

I'm still playing it daily and now that we have a Wii U at work I'm managing to double my time wasted :)


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