Chris O'Regan, host of the Sausage Factory podcast, gives us his top picks for the year that was, as well as a handful of also-rans.
No. 5 - Darkest Dungeon
A game that has you thinking about the emotional health of the party you control in a dungeon as well as their physical wellbeing. I do not believe it has ever been done before to this depth and I really enjoyed the humour and way in which the stress of being attacked by monsters on a regular basis turned your party members into gibbering wrecks. A fantastic game that needs more attention than it's currently getting.
No. 4 - Pillars of Eternity
The game I keep calling Pillars of Autumn
thanks to Halo
, this isometric RPG was the result of a very successful Kickstarter campaign by a studio that had long since lost its lustre - Obsidian. They really turned things around with Pillars of Eternity
, though, and made one of the most engrossing and well put-together games of 2015. The ability to build a base of operations based on the conquests of the player as they make their way through the game is ingenius. My only complaint was that you really had to focus on this one game to the exclusion of all others or else you would forget what you were doing if even a small break was taken.
No. 3 - Kingdom
Ostensibly this game appears to be a form of Minecraft with simplistic command set, when in fact it's more like an RTS. The player controls a king or queen who rides on a horse and orders others to do their bidding. They cannot directly interact with the world other than to collect money and give orders. This very simple mechanic forces the player to think very carefully how to spend money vs. expanding the borders of their kingdom to the outer reaches of the map. A beautifully realised game that I found very difficult to both play and fault.
No. 2 - Fallout 4
Seven years ago I once again fell in love with the world of Fallout
thanks to the arrival of Fallout 3
. Now things have advanced significantly both in terms of game design techniques and technology, but here we are again marvelling at the vastness of the world Bethesda has made for us to explore. My only gripe was the initial need to look after the dog, as I really got very attached to that little mutt and if anything even looked at it funny I'd beat it about the head.
No. 1 - Rebel Galaxy
What's this? A game no-one has heard of yet sits on top of Chris's games of the year list? Well, yes it does. It takes the concept of Diablo
and turns it into a space-faring blast across the universe, the likes of which I haven't enjoyed since the Freelancer
days in the early 2000's. Rebel Galaxy
makes the player feel empowered and special and for me that is the genius behind it. You captain a ship and that ship is the player's avatar. Every add-on and enhancement alters its appearance and when you strike out across the cosmos you know you can't be challenged. At least until you get swarmed by a bunch of very angry pirates...
Notable absentees include:
The Witcher 3
- I never played it this year! Sorry!
Metal Gear Solid 5
- See The Witcher 3
- Not terribly different to Forza 5
, quite frankly.
Super Mario Maker
- As much as I admire the concept of the game, I just cannot really master platformers; they just defeat me every single time.
- Oh dear.
- This almost entered my top five, but hasn't gripped me as much as those found within those positions; still an excellent game though.