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11 Amazing Video Games I Couldn't Stop Talking About In 2015

"Have you played Metal Gear Solid V yet?" - me to everyone I know.

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As an adult, it's hard to find time to play video games. So when I game, I make sure I invest in experiences with a lot of value. These aren't all the games I played this year, but they are the ones I can guarantee will be worth your time.

1. I learned to be patient with indie roguelike Invisible Inc.

Patience is my weakest stat as a human being, and turn-based future-noir spy game Invisible Inc. punished me for that. Still, it was incredibly fun, with randomly-generated levels, punishing scarcity, and gorgeous design. The whole game can be played in about 6-8 hours, but I found myself replaying it in order to experiment with different characters, builds, and strategies. Indie games are difficult pickups for me at times, but I eased right into Invisible Inc. and actually had to take a step back because it took up too much of my time. A new update in 2015 made it one of my most played games of the year.

Available on: Steam

2. I got wasted in the wastelands of Fallout 4.

Bethesda Softworks

Fallout 3 was a wash for me. My best friend gave it to me secondhand and I had no idea it was part of a legendary game series. I gave it a shot for about two hours, but couldn't handle the stiff mechanics and grey, dreary world.

Fallout 4 is another story. It starts in a brisk and bright manner and transitions you into the horror of nuclear Fallout. I have rarely played open-world RPGs but I get the appeal now - my hot, wastelanded-version of myself gets to do things I never could in my own life. I can see myself replaying it with any number of new builds, something I rarely consider when I play games.

Available on: Xbox One, PS4, PC


3. Metal Gear Solid V ushered me into the new generation of consoles.


When I was 13, I picked up a a dinky game with breathy brushstroke artwork one winter night at Blockbuster. It was called Metal Gear Solid and it became one of the most important games of my life. Little did I know that this game had a history dating back to an even dinkier console called the MSX, but still I learned the lore of Big Boss well. MGSV promised to be the end of a legendary series, so I bought a PS4 for it. While the game wasn't exactly what I expected, mostly due to what seems like meddling with auteur-video game-wizard Hideo Kojima's gameplan by Konami, it may be the smoothest designed game I've ever played. I picked up games lauded for smoothness like InFamous: Second Son and Rise of the Tomb Raider after finishing MGSV and had to put them down because they couldn't compare to the level of polish that MGSV's gameplay had. It's not perfect, but it's undeniably video game art.

Available on: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC

4. Batman: Arkham Knight was the full Batman experience I've always yearned for.


The Arkham Games are traditions at this point for me - unlike the Metal Gear Solid or Street Fighter games, where I obsess over little details of release for months and months ahead, I don't realize I'm excited about a new Arkham game until it comes out. This was true as well for Arkham Knight. It did not disappoint - unlike the weak story of City or the limitations of Asylum, this is the complete package. Yes, there are too many tank sections, but the game is the best in the series at making you feel like Batman in every sense of the world - in one moment, you're investigating serial kilers across Gotham. The next, you've jumped into the Batmobile to chase down flying Arsonist Firefly. And of course, you're constantly taking out guards. Constantly. It's a solid series that consumes me for a week every time a new one is released.

Available on: Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC

5. I travelled to another world in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.


Like many young people in the '90s, Ocarina of Time was a massive cultural touchpoint for me. The game design and atmosphere were a gigantic leap forward for gaming as a whole. Link aged and so had we. When Majora's Mask was originally announced and I saw that Link was back to being a little kid, my teenage hormones flared and I felt strangely betrayed by Nintendo. I never touched the game. But over time, I read more and more essays on Majora's Mask, more than any other game in the series, and I realized I had to give it a chance. In that beautiful, surreal Nintendo way, Link deals with bodily horror, disconnection from the self, and anxiety as the moon comes crashing down on him. The game is basically a playable Kafka novel. It's amazing how wrong I was.

6. Rocket League introduced me to a new type of gaming.


Rocket League is nuts. I generally avoid games with sports, cars, or balls in them, but this game, a frenetic combination demolition-derby and soccer, has me hooked. I'm pretty terrible at the game, but I love how free-form it is. I yearn for the day when I make a full-screen save flying save in a little Delorean. Just look at these ten insane goals and tell me that doesn't look like a game you could dedicate hours upon hours to?

Available on: PC, PS4

7. Project M 3.6 was my everything.


Smash Bros. is the fountain from which all my male cousins drink a familial bond. It has been a ritual for at least 15 years that when time we meet, we Smash. At some point, with Melee worn to dullness, Brawl too sluggish, and Smash 4 a distant dream, we downloaded a humble little mod called Project M. It took the characters and updated graphics of Brawl and endowed it with Melee mechanics, a polished interface, and superior gameplay design. We fell in love. And for the first time, we wanted to compete in tournaments. And so my family has embarked on an e-sports journey, with Project M as the ship we pledge allegiance to. There's a reason I spend every Friday night at a tournament for this game. Version 3.6 was released this year and is the slickest, most fun version of the game yet.

Available on: Wii


8. Super Smash Bros. For 3DS/Wii U fueled me with hype and nostalgia.


If Project M drove my competitive spirit, than Smash 4 was a major source hype and legacy love for the world of retro gaming. I don't really play Smash 4 competitively, though I occasionally pick it up with friends. The thing that keeps me coming back to it is the truly unbelievable hype train that is downloadable characters. When I was 15, my cousins and I argued endlessly about who would make the perfect addition to Smash - I was convinced one day, Ryu, the original legendary fighting game character, would make his way into Smash. He seemed tailor-made for series. That came true and I felt validated. And then Nintendo announced Cloud, and I realized all bets were off. This game could be anything. And that's why I can't stop thinking about it, even though it was released in 2014.

Available on: Wii U, 3DS

9. I found my squad in Heroes of the Storm.


MOBAs as a trend have almost completely passed me by. I already spend so much time playing fighting games that the idea of dipping my feet in another competitive game seemed overwhelming. Not so with Heroes of the Storm. It's streamlined and touches perfectly on my nostalgia for classic Blizzard heroes. I probably haven't been as invested in a Blizzard game since Diablo 2. There is tons of versatility when it comes to different characters and their abilities. I have a huge bias for Starcraft heroes, especially Zeratul. Even though there has been a recent decline to Zeratul's popularity with the introduction of new playable heroes, his stealthy abilities allow my fraudulent self to have some thrilling moments. "I will erase the demons of the past!"

Available on: PC

10. Street Fighter V reignited my passion for a series I thought had become too safe.


When I was 6, I made my sisters, nearly triple my age, pantomime the special motions of Street Fighter 2 as we ran through the malls in the Midwest. The series has always held a special place in my heart, but it's cache fell when Street Fighter 4 was released. It was the safest move Capcom could do - the original 12 fighters plus some fan favorites, with barely any moveset or costume redesigns. Street Fighter V, which is still in beta, is shaping up to be everything I want from a sequel. Major favorites like Zangief and Dhalsim have been redesigned with pillars of the series like Ryu and Chun-Li getting minor tweaks to update them. The new characters look less like stereotypes and more like the eternal archetypes Street Fighter is known for. I can't wait to dig my teeth into it fully and I anxiously await every character reveal.

Available on Beta available on PS4, PC. Full release in 2016.

11. And Gigantic changed the way I thought about existing game genres.


What even is Gigantic? I don't know. I spent two hours with it in a sweaty conference room at PAX but I can't get it off my mind. It's League but controls like an RPG-ish inFamous. But then there's the fact that you have a Colossus-like "guardian" to protect as a team and not a base in the traditional sense. The art style invokes mythology, Pixar, and sci-fi. It's the most beautiful type of mashup that I wish games would do more often. I can't wait for it to come out of beta.

Available on: Beta available on PC and Xbox One.

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