Though some might disagree, I found 2015 to be an excellent year for gaming, as it managed to impress me upon every passing glance; you’d be hard pressed to find a better year that excellently adhered to tried and true formulas while occasionally implementing innovative risks with selective new IP’s. However every rose is not without its thorn, as each and every year will have its own fair share of disappointments and 2015 was no exception. Understand that disappointing doesn’t necessarily equate to mediocrity, in fact some of these games are great, but they were just unable to live up to expectations and/or bit off more than they could chew. I made a conscious effort to avoid certain titles as their reception was nothing short of abysmal, and I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t find enjoyment in playing mediocre titles. So with that being said, titles such as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 and Devil’s Third will not be included in this list. These are simply five games that had the potential to be amazing, but to due obtuse design choices, ended up being a lowlight of 2015.
Goodnight Dark Knight…
Licensed games have a tendency to be mediocre at best and that rule is no exception to superhero video games I’m afraid. The licensed superhero department is unfortunately riddled with movie tie-in video games and these rarely stray from anything but fair. They’re rushed, uninspired excuses of a game and are, quite frankly, just a movie tie-in cash grab, nothing more, nothing less. Original games based on licensed superheroes weren’t necessarily bad at the time, but there was nothing particularly special about them either. Unfortunately this trend was the standard for what felt like an exorbitant amount of time; that was until Rocksteady released Batman: Arkham Asylum in 2009. Rocksteady handled the Batman license with the proper respect and treatment that it rightfully deserved, which resulted in the best Batman game (later series) ever created, and arguably the greatest superhero game of all time. Its sequel Arkham City upped the ante significantly; it featured a larger open world, ripe with new locales to explore, more iconic villains to add to the existing roster, and a riveting narrative that somehow managed to top its phenomenal predecessor. In short, it was better in nearly every way and quickly became the definitive Batman and superhero game. Four years later and Rocksteady’s trilogy has come to an end. However, no matter how hard Arkham Knight tries, it just can’t fill the immense shoes of its predecessors. The story is probably the most generic and predicable of the entire Arkham series, the Batmobile tank combat is criminally oversaturated and contradictory to Batman as a character, and the mission structure is surprisingly shallow. Despite my personal qualms with Arkham Knight, however, I still truly believe that it’s a great game. Every signature staple of the Arkham series’ core foundation is still here and better than ever. Arkham Knight may be the weakest in Rocksteady’s trilogy, as its ambitions and potential are neither fully realised nor cohered together successfully, but it’s still one hell of a ride and a fitting conclusion to one of gaming’s best.
2014, which was a decent year for gaming, is long gone. I’ll be uploading my top 10 games of 2014 shortly but I still have to complete a couple of games and contemplate their placement on my list. So, in the meantime, I decided to compose a list of my most anticipated games of 2015, a year that shows more promise than its predecessor. The list of 2015 releases is insurmountable, since many 2014 titles were delayed to the following year, and a lot of them have potential to be something amazing. I could have made a list of 20 or more games, but I decided to keep it short and simple; this means that there will be honorable mentions. Along with my 10 most anticipated games of 2015, I look forward to The Division, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Until Dawn, Evolve, No Man’s Sky, Halo 5 Guardians, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, and Yoshi’s Wooly World. But these next 10 games, ordered alphabetically, have got me extremely pumped for 2015, and I look forward to seeing how they are received both critically and commercially, and come next year, how many of them will land on my Top Games of 2015 list.