Rabidgames’ GOTY awards 2015 – We Need Time Machines To Make More Time!

In hindsight, 2014 was a rather average year, but 2015 had it coming straight into our faces, especially in the last months of the year! So much, we have a top 13 this year! Mind you, even the dying Wii U  had a GOTY contender with Xenoblade Chronicles X – shame one game isn’t worth a failed console, and shame for such a great series being stuck on backwards family consoles!

A few words in case you’re missing some games: Metal Gear Solid V did not just fail because of Konami – the game is tediously repetitive at too many times, the story is told rather randomly why you work through sometimes 5 arbitrary missions before proceeding, and the forced online aspect integrated after launch is just bullshit. Oh, and then there’s the buttloads to microtransaction DLCs as well … Sure, Rabidgames enjoyed Metal Gear Solid V for a while, but at some point, boredom and competetion from various other games proved too strong for Konami’s and Kojima’s swansong – and since then, there has been zero desire to return to it. Shame.

Down the road, The Order 1886 and Until Dawn are nothing but glorified interactive movies with shiny graphics, any Telltale game is the same anyway – linear stories and unnecessary QTE where watching on youtube is more fun than playing, the ever hectic Bloodborne is leagues apart from the Souls series, and Batman Arkham Knight got ruined by the insane use of the Batmobil hardly anyone was asking for. And every fucking time there’s an excuse why there is no one but criminals left in the city – it starts to get boring, folks. And then it’s the worst PC port ever …

Anyway, away from games which left hardly any impression to stuff that makes us, well, emotional – let’s start with the shame awards, shall we?

Fuck your customers up the ass Award 2015
And the winner is … Destiny! Not only took it fucking Bungie a fucking year to finally give us some story, the original Destiny is now just an even emptier shell if you don’t buy The Taken King – mind you, stuff has been TAKEN OUT of the core game and hidden behind the add-on pay wall! Plus micro-transactions plus paying 25 quid to get to level 25 (which doesn’t even get you that far so it’s even worthless cheating); Destiny has always been destined to get a top spot here. Congratulations, it takes some hard work to get 2 rewards in 2 years!

Worst Remake Ever Award
Again, Activision wins! Great job, lads! That Prototype bundle does a miraculous job on the next gen – it runs worse than before! Suffice to say, there are zero improvements but the obligatory resolution upgrade. Lazy or stingy, it’s a pure rip-off … at least the name, Prototype Biohazard Bundle, nails it perfectly – it’s a hazard to your wallet. Avoid this deconstruction job – unless you find it really, really cheap, because Prototype 2 was one hell of a game! And use CEX so Activision doesn’t see any cash from you!

Fuck QA Award 2015
Oh Just Cause 3 … These loading times, seriously? Nothing more to say here.

Fuck this company Award 2015
And the likely winner here is … Kofuckinami! Well done, fucktards!
First, these scumbags told us “no more AAA games”, then they released an unfinished Metal Gear Solid V while they told Kojima to fuck off. And then they fucked around with MGS V to make it always-online … Seriously, fuck off! We don’t need the likes of you! Pro Evolution Soccer may still be a great football game, but now, even devilish EA looks like a saint next to you two-timing corporate whores!

Okay, seems we need a kitten pic to calm down, right?

Aaaaah, better! So, with that out of the system, let’s get to awards for doing GOOD things:

Remake of the Year
Well, let’s have a look at Saints Row 4 Re-Elected! All DLC packs included (yes, all, and even on the disc!), and Gat out of Hell on top of it! That’s value for money. And the game itself is super-powered fun anyway!
But we can’t fail to mention the great Borderlands Handsome Jack Collection – 2 games with all DLC included in one package! So yes, Saint’s Row and Borderlands both get this award. Who would win a fight between them … good question … imagine Johnny Gat vs Claptrap – ouch!

DLC of the Year
Again, Saints Row says hello … While Gat out of Hell does not feature the full customisation options of the series, it is still fun to raise hell – in hell! And who wouldn’t want to sit in an armchair armed with machine guns and missiles?

Developer of the Year
Well, this award does not just go to CD Project Red because they made an amazing game but also because we got a game without pre order DLC, day one DLC or any DLC shit like that. Even more, we got 17 FREE pieces of DLC, including New Game +, which was in high demand by fans. And throughout the year, CD Projekt Red kept on changing The Witcher 3 according to what the fans wanted. Now, some critics claim this is just a PR stunt from CD Projekt, but so be it – they do a great, fan-friendly job to be ahead of the competition, and we say thank you and keep buying their games. Smart, eh? And win-win for everyone, right?

And now, let’s have a look at Rabidgames’ top picks:

Rabidgames Top 13 Games of 2015

13. Broken Sword 5
An old-fashioned point & click adventure, Broken Sword 5 delivers everything fans of the genre and the series have been waiting for; puzzles, humour, absurd dialogues and a crazy story with some conspiracies. Nothing more, nothing less.

12. Wasteland 2
Only new for console gamers, but Wasteland 2 is pretty much what you want when you think about “what about classic isometric Fallout without first person shooting”? And it is hard as fucking hell! Don’t worry if you have to restart a few times because you fucked up – that’s normal … well, used to be normal back in the day but is again now.

11. Rocket League
It’s not the first time the mix between football and cars works well – but let’s face it, Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars doesn’t sound great! Rocket League sounds better and plays better, and it is especially one thing – more fun through simplicity!

10. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
Maybe rather a walking simulator than a proper game, but never has walking around in bright daylight been creepier than when trying to figuring why everyone in an English village in 1984 is gone. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, but staying back, watching, walking and listening isn’t too bad either.

9. WWE 2K16
After last year’s shambolic fully priced demo of misery, WWE 2K16 is a return to creation suite glory. Bits are still missing, but we have a huge roster, a fully functional creation suite and universe and career modes to sink time into. It is not perfect yet though; online is still a mess, some matches are still not back – for fuck’s sake, give Rabidgames Special Referee already – and the career mode is at times uneventful as the real WWE product. And yet, for once, Dean Ambrose runs the asylum so there you go!

8. Mad Max
This game brilliantly catches the atmosphere of Fury Road, and throws in some open-world fun like bringing down entire convoys, exploring the barren world of Mad Max, taking apart thousands of cars and outracing massive sandstorms – unless you want to brave them to find valuable loot. Sadly, there are a few catches; the open world feels repetitive, there is waaaaay too much of the same, and a Batman style fighting system might be nicely brutal, but ultimately doesn’t fit the Mad Max universe. If you just want to have fun racing around in a beautifully barren landscape, here is your game!

7. Just Cause 3
Originally, thought to be a serious GOTY contender, the terrible loading times, the horrible unstable shaky online system where the only cure is to disconnect your PS4 from PSN thanks a lot Square, the 20th century is calling with its internet infrastructure), the weak upgrade system, the way-too-many escort missions and the weak story almost make Just Cause 3 bomb hard. Almost. Because, if you actually carpet bomb an enemy base into oblivion, some faults can be forgiven. And the varied landscapes as well as the beautiful explosions make up for some of the weaknesses. Plus, tethering enemies to gas tanks never gets old!

6. Divinity Original Sin
Finally, a nice old school fantasy isometric turn-based RPG on consoles! And yes, Divinity Original Sin works perfectly fine. The deep customisation system (not in terms of how your characters look, but how they play), the deep battle system, the weird humour and the huge world make this Divinity one of the best of the series!

5. Dying Light
Released way earlier than most other titles on this list, Dying Light is still one of the best games of the year. The mix between the parcours-style running of Mirror’s Edge and the zombie-gutting of Dead Island works perfectly fine, especially at night, when the fight for survival becomes serious, at least in the first half of the game.

4. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Definitely the best Assassin’s Creed since Black Flag, and to some, almost reaching the greatness of the AC2/Brotherhood era, Syndicate is a really strong entry with a vibrant and diverse London, two (well, actually three) very different protagonists – Evie being the more interesting one, a few nice little secrets and cameos in the mix and finally, a much-needed twist at the end.

3. Fallout 4
Narrowly beaten, Fallout 4 finishes 3rd. Any other year, Fallout 4 would have easily managed to occupy the top spot – yes, the RPG aspects have been toned down a bit, but hey, you still have to choose your perks wisely, and you still can role-play Fallout 4 any way you want! The welcome additions of settlement crafting and weapon/armour modding add some more depth to an already deep game, the whole Commonwealth around Boston is full of stories waiting to be discovered, full of locations waiting to be explored and full of loot waiting to be found. Any other year, this would have been enough to take the throne, but while Fallout 4 is still an amazing game full of details and it can last you hundreds of hours,  this time, it wasn’t enough – through no fault of its own!

2. The Witcher 3
When it comes to second and third, it’s the small details that make a difference. Dialogues feel more natural in The Witcher 3, the world feels more alive, and the side quests are of higher quality. And the game profits from Geralt as defined protagonist, who helps you find your way in this beautiful yet war-torn, colourful yet bloody, and fantasy yet deeply political world. The Witcher 3 is a truly mature game full of violence, sex and politics, and yet it is easy to walk through its various shades of grey thanks to Geralt’s weary sarcastic view of events. In order to sum up The Witcher 3, try to think of it as a “thinking man’s Skyrim“.

1. Life is Strange
Admittedly, it might seems strange such a (relatively) tiny game beats two behemoths and open world beasts. But Life is Strange is a different kind of game – instead of gunning and running, you sit back, listen to some music and start thinking. This wonderful mix of teen drama and Twin Peaks hits different notes: there is no game over whatever you do, just rewind time. There are hardly any action sequences, most of the game is you trying to get to terms with the world as Max Caulfield.

Gameplay-wise, Life is Strange is minimalistic – lots of dialogue, bits of exploration, a few puzzles, and all connected by the ability to rewind time in case you need it. The greatness is how it all connects though – except for a very few cases, it all flows naturally, you have all the time in the world to proceed, and seemingly small decisions can make a big difference later on.

But the true power of Life is Strange lies in its ability to make the characters feel alive – be it Max or Chloe, her best friend, be it poor Kate, the very weird janitor, nerdy Warren, bitchy Victoria or even Chloe’s “step douche”, David; they all seem like real characters – and depending on your choices, they can behave very differently to you! The only other game that managed to populate a world with life like Life is Strange has been the underrated Bully – but make no mistakes, Life is Strange goes further here, as you actively decide quite some fates throughout the game.

Sometimes, a game doesn’t need to have a massive open world, an epic quest to save the world, it doesn’t need lots of action to keep us busy – sometimes, and hopefully again, all we need is a game that slows time for us, that makes us listen and observe without pressure, that lets us just sit back, listen to music and ponder. In this regards, Life is Strange is a step away from our culture of business, from all the hassles of modern life – and a reminder that games can be much more if they just dare to do so!

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