I have to admit, I went into 2015 with some trepidation. On paper, it was going to be a great year for games, with Bloodborne, The Witcher 3, Metal Gear Solid V, and other huge AAA games finally set to be unleashed upon a salivating public. For me though, I couldn’t have been less interested in just about everything that was coming out, and at the beginning of the year, I was struggling to think of five games that would even make this list.
I had been wanting to play the Metal Gear Solid series for years – the first three games had been sitting on my shelf since the PS2 days, but my aversion to stealth had kept me from getting past the first screen of the first game. Finally, in 2014, I managed to power through the game and…actually really enjoyed it. So I made it my goal to play through the rest of the series this year, in anticipation of The Phantom Pain.
In the course of this playthrough, MGS2 and MGS3 became some of my favorite games of all time, and even though MGS4 wasn’t quite up to the same standards, it was still a great way to end Solid Snake’s story. Peace Walker, on the other hand, was an absolute chore and I had to force myself to even finish the main story of that game – and I wasn’t even about to do the side ops. But even with that I was convinced by spring that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain would be my clear Game of the Year – it wouldn’t even be a competition.
And then it actually came out. And it was Peace Walker on steroids, with the dullest, blandest open world I’ve ever experienced. The stealth was frustratingly unforgiving (at least, for someone who is terrible at stealth), the mission-based gameplay was repetitive, and it was lacking the trademark Kojima wackiness in plot and characterization that I had come to love from the series. In short, it was my biggest disappointment of the year and one of my biggest gaming disappointments ever, and I put maybe 10-15 hours into the game before I just realized I wasn’t enjoying myself at all.
Let’s not even talk about Star Wars: Battlefront, which should have been a shoe-in for this list since I’m a huge Star Wars geek. And don’t get me wrong – when it works, it delivers a Star Wars experience like no other, and no other game has ever made me feel so much of a part of a Star Wars battle. But that’s if you can get past the horrific matchmaking, the lack of any semblance of balance in weapon and map design, and the frustrating silence and slowness from DICE and EA on rectifying these issues.
But, even with those two big disappointments, it turned out that I had nothing to worry about, because 2015 was a damn great year for gaming. Even though a combination of my MGS marathoning and a busy schedule kept me from enjoying a lot of the games on this list until late in the year, I think this is probably the strongest list of games that I’ve been able to put together since we first started posting these on 4P. So, with that, off we go!
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