I, uh, didn’t really play any of the big titles this year. Yeah, I know, that makes me a fundamentally bad person and I acknowledge that. No Witcher. No Metal Gear. No Fallout. You know, none of the important games.
But Trey, were there even any other games out this year? I certainly didn’t see any.
Yeah, turns out there were other games. A whole bunch of them in fact. Yeah, I know.
So while everyone else spent the year dedicating their gaming time to making sure everyone knows that they play popular games, I was at home frantically grinding my way through games because someone has to and I am a hero like that.
So here are the major new games that kept me busy during 2015. Available now in the bargain bins of all good gaming stores.
Dragon Ball XenoVerse
[Watch New Game Plus’ review of Dragon Ball XenoVerse]
A new console generation isn’t official until it has a Dragon Ball game, we all know that.
Continuing the Budokai trend of emphasising the brawling over the straight fighting, you create your own Dragon Ball avatar and save the universe from power-creeping enemies and… stuff.
Dragon Ball XenoVerse is a game that is fun and really hits the core of what a game based on a franchise should offer: All your favourite elements with just enough unique parts to make it fresh. It felt like glorified fanfiction, pandering to fans in every way possible, but in the best way imaginable. In was also a brilliant kickoff to the revival of Dragon Ball as an animated franchise.
Rock the dragon. Do it.
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD
[Watch New Game Plus’ review of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD]
There are many reasons why Final Fantasy Type-0 had a cult following despite its unavailability in the west. It had an action combat system that relied on timing and counters and a story that was both politically and emotionally charged, taking cues from just about every Final Fantasy game in the series.
There were a lot of strange things about Final Fantasy Type-0 as a re-release, not least of which was its push as a full next-gen release. Fans were probably right to be cynical despite the fact it is easily probably the best Final Fantasy release in 10 years.
But now that the game has come down in price the prospect of it as a purchase is much more reasonable, so I invite anyone who loves action RPGs, Final Fantasy games or just wants something a bit different to give it a crack. Niggles aside, it is an experience will stay with you for a long time. That ending, unf.
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos
[Watch New Game Plus’ review of Onechanbara Z2: Chaos]
Okay, hear me out on this one. Yes, it is from a series from which only the most perplexing installments get released in the west. Yes it ticks every box that ought to upset right minded gamers in 2015 with blatant sexualisation, 2edgy4u dialogue, horrific enemy AI, and a main story run time of maybe a few hours depending on your skill factor.
But the game is just fun.
Combat is frantic but has an immediately graspable flow. You discover that although everyone is dressed Dead or Alive costumes rejected for being too tasteless, these characters are all oddly empowered and in control. And all the fun unlockables take exactly long enough that you only just start feeling the game has overstayed its welcome; it’s a game that doesn’t hold your time to ransom for the sake of it.
Of all the games I went into expecting nothing, this is the one I walked out of having enjoyed. I know everything that is wrong with it, but this is one of those times that you can enjoy it despite that. Don’t believe me? Give it a try.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3
[Watch New Game Plus’ review of One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3]
Another day, another Musou/Warriors game release, ey. Uh, yeah, pretty much.
Not a staggering jump from Pirate Warriors 2, it nonetheless cleaned up a lot of elements and introduced a new take on the tag-team system. The characters and voicework are well done and the draw distance on PS4 is pretty damn amazing; your super attacks literally go off into the distance and can take out hundreds of people in one go.
The cast isn’t huge, only about 50 (with only about half of that actually playable) in a series with hundreds of characters, but the scenarios were really damn on point: They somehow managed to recreate a lot of the major elements of the arcs within a single battle in ways that were pretty satisfying. This is a game that has a deep understanding of the source material.
If you like One Piece, this game is worth the time. If you like Pirate Warriors, you’d been waiting for this. If you like Musou/Warriors games, this is another to play if you aren’t already.
Dreamin’. Don’t give it up. (I’m sorry.)
Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below
Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Wo(Editor’s note: Nope) is new franchise in the Warriors/Musou stable in an already busy year for Koei Tecmo.
And good news, it is pretty legit.
It carries over the cutesy aesthetic of a lot of the older games, the game includes some popular characters from across a handful of the games and since the designs are based on Toriyama you can go Super Saiyan because of course you can.
In a world where there are now over half a dozen Warriors spinoff titles running, it is harder for each title to justify its existence and keep the formula fresh. But that is exactly what Dragon Quest Heroes manages to do: You never forget you are playing a Warriors game but it is unique enough that you don’t feel as if it is just a sprite swap.
An interesting new addition to the overall Warriors/Musou franchise and one that will please fans of Dragon Quest as well.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
[Watch New Game Plus’ review of Xenoblade Chronicles X]
Okay, technically this game had a huge amount of hype leading up to it, so I guess it is not an edgy weeb game despite its appearance (though the mixed response to it helps)
Xenoblade Chronicles X is a huge game in just about every sense. It has a huge open world that is actually full of stuff and things to do and is well designed so that you have to learn the terrain to get around. An entire city full of people to get to know, more people to find and a story that at the end of the day is about them. It has about a billion sidequests; heck, even the damn story missions are sidequests. And then there are the giant robots that rain down destruction, which is are exactly as satisfying as it sounds.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of weird quirks to the game that will make a lot of fans write it off as the greatest crime against humanity ever, but all of that pales in comparison to the sheer scope and execution of the exploration in the game.
It was worth it just to get lost in a world of alien politics, high concept sci-fi wank and giant robots. Seriously. Giant robots. And they transform.
Special Mention: Samurai Warriors 4-II
So Samurai Warriors 4 was my game of the year last year, if only just in terms of pure hours sunk. So why only a special mention?
Well, the “–II” is sort of misleading, as this really is just an Extreme Legends style release. Most of the original content is the same, with the weapons and, perhaps more significantly, the item system getting an overhaul. The addition of story sequences unique to each character is a welcome bonus, but ultimately the game plays out much the same. Though the removal of the sprawling conquest mode will relieve completionists.
It’s not quite a full or unique release so it is hard to call it a proper new entry, but it is still a great game. Honestly speaking, it had more than enough content to get me sucked into the game yet again.
So that was my list of major games. This is not even factoring in smaller Steam releases, the multiple re-releases, mobile games and etc. 2015 was a huge year, even factoring out the major releases, and 2016 looks to to continue that trend.
Come back tomorrow for more of the New Game Plus crew’s favourite games of 2015. For our overall Game of the Year, watch our 2015 Game of the Year Special.