We’ve tried many ways of choosing our favourite geekdoms in years past, but this year it went down to a simple top three vote for each of us, followed by a tabulation of scores. No real arguements this way, and with that, the hive mind has chosen winners for TV shows, movies, comics and games.
Gaming continues to evolve: The new generation of consoles are starting to truly find their feet, while mobile gaming – with games such as Fallout Shelter, Hearthstone and Marvel Future Fight – continues to steal time away from the bigger games. Even smaller, indie titles like Undertale and Her Story are worth a mention – but in the end, big titles like Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3 will still grab headlines.
Yet, even with the giant gaming behemoths taking up hours and hours of our time in their huge open worlds – something quite different took home the big crown. But first, credit where credit’s due …
BEST GAME OF 2015 (RUNNER UP): FALLOUT 4
Peter: There’s always a lot to love about Bethesda’s Fallout series. Building on the incredible world building that Interplay gave us with Fallout and Fallout 2, Fallout 4 continues the action open world RPG with FPS-style real time combat that its predecessor Fallout 3 debuted. Not content to sit on their laurels, Bethesda introduces new elements to Fallout 4, including the ability to customise just about anything.
That’s right, weapons and armour can now be developed according to your favourite combat style. Prefer sneaking and sniping? Add scopes to a regular firearm to increase its range. Prefer combat up close and personal? Add a bayonet to your firearm for greater melee damage. The choice is yours.
Fallout 4’s settlement building ability is arguably the biggest new feature and it’s a sandbox heaven for those who enjoy this kind of play. I for one appreciated the changes, especially the fact that the various junk items – almost always worthless and cumbersome in previous Fallout games, now have significant value as they can be scrapped for various component items. These components are used for everything from customising weapons and armour and settlement building.
With all these opportunities for customisation, Fallout 4 really becomes the game you want to play, and that’s what keeps me coming back for hours. If there’s one tiny complaint I have? It’s that the use of post-apocalyptic Boston as the setting really didn’t have quite the same kind of impact as the much more familiar settings of post-apocalyptic Washington, DC in Fallout 3, but that really is a small complaint. I’m sure those who studied in MIT or lived in the New England area will be very pleased to know that many of the locations are faithfully recreated.
BEST GAME OF 2015: TALES FROM THE BORDERLANDS
Direcow: If you’ve read our earlier review you’ll know that Tales From The Borderlands was among our choices for game of the year. With 2015 now fully in our rear-view mirror, it’s safe to say it – the Telltale adventure game truly deserves the top slot in a pretty amazing year for gaming.
It’s a little out of left field, of course – Tales From The Borderlands doesn’t have the huge open worlds you see in Fallout 4 or The Witcher 3, and neither does it have some ultra-realistic blood splatter (but it has blood splatter by the buckets at times). What it does have, however, is amazing, amazing writing. The world of Borderlands is not something I really cared for – having played a little of the pre-sequel – but coming in blind into this made this even more pleasurable than it had any right to be.
TFTB is a perfect alchemy of storytelling, great characterisation, good choices in music, all done in Telltale’s adventure game style, coated in Borderland’s stylistic excess. And boy does it work – from the huge, huge laughs, to the mystery of Gortys, to heroic choices in the story and some little nods for long-time fans of the franchise, TFTB is a great ride from start to finish. There’s even a promise of part two – but right now, I feel very pleased even if it stood alone in a single season.
Not that that’s a bad thing – it’s really a solidly told tale. In a year where adventure games are making a return – Telltale themselves also released games for Minecraft and Game Of Thrones, and let’s not forget Life Is Strange or Dreamfall or Grim Fandango Remastered – Tales From The Borderlands shows that the guys at Telltale really know how to make a great game that just sticks around in your head for a long time to come.