Let me preface this by saying that I am not talking about what I believe was the best-made game. If that was the criteria, then it would be Bloodborne. That game is amazing in every way, and with the new expansion is has gotten even better. On a technical level, that game goes above and beyond everything I’ve played this year. But when I talk about my best game of this year, I am talking about the game that I got the most invested in, enjoyed playing the most, and felt that I got the most for my money. It’s pretty damn close, this year. There were some very fun games that I played. Some were games that had flaws but were still fun, like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. That was a game that was boatloads of fun to play, but the story was a ridiculous mess. Then there are games like Until Dawn, where it is a game that I will put on whenever I am looking for a scary story. Or something to scare my friends with.
So, all of this in mind, what is the best game that I played this year? What is the game that stands above the rest in terms of enjoyment and me feeling that I got the most bang for my buck? Some of you will see this coming from a mile away. Groj knows, I’ve talked about it enough. But with this year coming to a close, we’ll have new stuff to talk about next year. New things for me to bore you all to death with. So my pick for the best game of 2015 is…
I have never played a game like this. I have never played a game that got me so wrapped up in its characters. Some of you know that I prefer character-driven narratives to plot-driven ones. It’s the reason that I am such a HUGE fan of Game of Thrones. The plot in that show is definitely a back-seat to the characters and their journey throughout the series. The characters in this game was all so good! Even the ones who we weren’t supposed to like. Like Chloe’s step-dad, David. Sure, he was a dick, but his heart was in the right place. I like how in Episode 5, you actually got to have a heart-to-heart with him, after he stops Jefferson from killing you. There was a great moment when I got to truly see what demons were inside him. Especially if you tell him the truth about what happened to Chloe. You find out that he truly did care about the students, because he was tortured by what happened to him in the war, and he didn’t want to see anyone else get hurt. That is pretty profound. Just one of the many things that could have been improved if the ending to the series wasn’t so stupid.
This game was one that I wanted to see more. That’s the best thing that you can say with any game. And I don’t mean that I want a sequel. I don’t. After how badly this series ended, I want it to be over and done. But I wanted more from each episode. I wanted to explore more of the town and get to know more people. Get a bigger perspective on the mystery. I also would have liked to get to know Rachel Amber, learn more of her story. Another thing that the ending to this series messed up, since I was damn certain that the power was connected to Rachel Amber. Still, there was so much more to look into.
Was this a perfect game? No. I wrote a Critical Examination post where I talked about one of the game’s biggest flaws – facial expression. This game often had very lackluster facial animation, which would have made certain scenes SO much better. Like the scene where Max confronts Chloe about the alternate timelines. When Max’s voice is choking, telling Chloe about what happened, I could see her crying. So much pain that she’s been bottling up, exploding out, with Chloe looking awkward but wanting to hold her friend. It would have been better.
Which brings me to another thing I like – the voice acting. If the facial animation was an issue, it was made up for by the voice acting. The dialogue wasn’t always natural. Episode 1 had the worst of it. I am glad that the dialogue improved dramatically as the series went on. But the performances in here were all at the top of their class. It tells how small a production this was, due to how they had to reuse some voices for minor characters. But the major ones were great. One of the character who got overlooked was William. I loved the guy who did that voice. The scene where you’re talking to him in the alternate timeline was just great. He rode the line of trying to pretend that he was holding together, while showing signs of just how stressed he was.
But the two I loved most were Chloe and Max. Those two’s relationship, however you chose to go about it, was the force that held the whole plot together. I chose to pursue a romance between the two of them, and while I am disappointed by how it turned out (seriously, you only get them to express it if you let Chloe die? That’s bullshit), it still captivated me.
Not all games have endings that satisfy you. This one bugs me. But I was, in my own way, able to correct things, and now I still love this game for all the time I spent with it, and when I revisit it in the future, I am going to love it even more. Even if it face-planted at the finish line. What are some of your favorite games this year? Let me know down in the Comments. I love a good discussion.
Until next time, a quote,
“Chloe, I can’t keep fixing everything if all I’m going to do is just break it over and over again.” -Max Caulfield, Life is Strange