Shmee’s Top 5 Video Games Of 2015!

2015 was the year that the current console generation finally came in to its own.  There were a ton of games to play this year so narrowing the list to five was difficult, but I think I came up with a pretty good group.  Here they are in reverses order!

5: Rise of the Tomb Raider


There were a lot of games bucking for this spot, and it almost went to any number of titles, but after the enthusiastic words of BlackRaven and playing ‘Rise of the Tomb Raider’ a bit for myself after getting it for Christmas, I can say it comfortably finds itself at number 5.  This outing is one of Lara Croft’s best outings!

4: Batman: Arkham Knight


Almost everything about Batman: Arkham Knight was perfect (if you played it on a console).  Almost, and that is way it sits and number four.  It was few less boring Batmobile fights away from being a number one contender.  Still, it was an amazing game and a great way for Rocksteady Studios leave the Batman franchise.  I can’t wait to play what they come up with next.

3: Halo 5


343 Industries needed a hit after some fans were disappointed with Halo 4, and they delivered with Halo 5.  It was a great effort!  While some of the single player levels were a little dicey (mostly due to a dumb reoccurring boss), Halo 5 might be the best pure multiplayer shooter in a long time.  I think it will be played on the pro circuit for years to come.

2: Fallout 4


Once Fallout 4 was announced, I thought for sure that it would be my number one game, but it came up just short because of a simplified dialog system.  The new dialog tree removed some of the role playing that the series was known for.  However, Fallout 4 is still an amazing game filled with a ton of content and it should be played by just about everyone.

1: The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt


It turns out that with The Witcher and The Witcher 2 that CD Projekt RED was just toying with us.  I was looking forward to The Witcher 3 going in to 2015, but I had no idea just how good it was going to be.  The Witcher 3 gave us a gripping and emotional story that truly felt like the player had a hand in crafting.  The Wild Hunt may not just be my favorite game of 2015, but it is one of the best games of all time.

Like I said there were a ton of great game this year, so I bet my list is different from just about everyone else’s just due to the sample size alone!  I would love to hear what games you thought rose to the top in 2015!

E3 2015 Press Conference Wrap Up!

E3 Logo

There was a lot of news that came out of this year’s E3 press conferences, and I think it is one of the better years I have seen.  Everyone had a major announcement or two, and I am really excited about the year to come.  I am going to try and go through the press conferences in chronological order, but we will see.  He we go!


Oh man Bethesda had a good show, and they had three epic games to show off:  Doom, Dishonored 2, and of course Fallout 4.  Any one of these games pretty much every publisher would kill to have, and Bethesda showed them all, and better yet they are not that far away with Fallout for coming out this year, and Doom and Dishonored next year.  Great work guys.  There is a reason they are one of my favorite game makers.


This was Microsoft’s year to get back in the fight, and I think they did a great job.  They showed off all their major franchises, and four of them are coming out this year: Fable Legends, Forza 6, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, and the one they a banking on Halo 5, but by far the biggest news was that they figured out how to make backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games work, and as I can attest to it works pretty well.  Oh yeah HoloLens looks crazy cool.  I think I may need one.  Microsoft’s problem is that they are not showmen.  If Sony would have had this lineup they would be dragging Microsoft’s dead carcass around.  Still it was a good year for the boys in Redmond.


EA was doing its best to show that they are not the evil empire any more, and they did a pretty convicting job by showing me two games I want.  No, need!  Star Wars Battlefront, and Mass Effect: Andromeda.  They also had a long boring section in the middle where they talked about sports and stuff, but pretty much they just needed to show Star Was and Mass Effect, and they did, so I will love them.  For now.


Ubisoft did a good job of pretty much just showing that every game they make is on its way back to the market.  Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, South Park, Assassins Creed, and whatever else.  If Ubisoft makes it, it is on its way to you.  Plus the show was put on by the amazing Aisha Tyler, so they get a lot of points for that.


Sony was in kind of a weird position this year.  All of its games are coming out next year, but if there is one thing Sony knows how to do it is put on a show, and they did a wonderful job.  Their theme this year was definitely we will have the games you want.  Remastered Final Fantasy 7, check; Shenmue 3, check (Kickstarted anyway); Hitman, check; all your favorite Sony games, check.  Considering that nothing was coming out this year, or was multiplatform, it was still an amazing show.  It was fun to watch.  If Microsoft would have had this show they would have been graded an ‘F’, but Sony played it just right, “We will have your games!”.


Their conference was pretty much: “Hey you guys like Star Fox right?!!!”  Luckily we do, but that was pretty much all they had.  Mario Builder looked cool, but not exciting.  The Wii U is going to need some games stat!


Square-Enix probably had the most new games to show, but pretty much all I cared about was their amazing Hitman trailer.  It looks like the Hitman I have always dreamed about.  Wide open areas with tons of different contracts to take out (not on dates), and all sorts of great gear to use.  So good.  Oh yeah there was some other stuff, but that was for other people, Hitman was for me, and it comes out in December!


They pretty much had to release a new high-end video card, and they did!  I can’t wait to see the benchmarks.  Until then, they did what they needed to do.  So good for them.  nVidia needs the competition.

Like I said this was a great year unless you were Nintendo, and there are so many great games coming out.  It is customary to declare a winner, but I am going to say the gamer was the winner this year.  We are getting what we wanted from everybody, so no losers here!  Again, unless you were a Nintendo fan.  You lost.  Sorry.

GDC 2015 Highlights!


Usually there isn’t a lot of news that comes out of the GDC (Game Developers Conference) since it is primarily a show for developers not the public, but this year was a little different, so I thought I would give you some highlights.

Everyone is in to VR now:


Oculus Rift showed that VR could be done well and cheaply, and since then everyone has jumped on the bandwagon.  This year Sony showed off more of its Project Morpheus which will work with its PS4 due in 2016, but Valve and HTC’s Vive stole the show.  Apparently it is the best VR headset ever demonstrated, so we will see how that turns out.

More Set-Top Boxes:


Valve is not content to stay on your computer it wants a piece of your TV as well.  It announced that Steam Box, a PC based console, will finally launch this year, and it is also launching the Steam Link.  A little box that Streams your PC games to your TV, so that if you already have a gaming rig you can play your games anywhere in your house.  It is an interesting concept, and for a certain subset of gamers I can see it being very attractive.  nVidia announced a new Android TV based console that is part of their  Shield line.  It can stream games from the internet as well as play games locally.  We will see how that works when it launches for $200 later this year.

nVidia wants AMD out of the game:


nVidia has been busy launching new video cards in its great GeForce GTX 900 line, while AMD can’t seem to get their Radeon R9 300 series out the door, so nVidia went for the knockout blow by announcing the Titan X.  It has 12 GB of RAM and 8 Billion transistors.  I am sure this card will cost a mint, but there is nothing faster than it on the planet.

Game development is now free to try:


You can now download and try to make your own games using the Unreal Engine 4 or Unity Engine 5.  Tools like these used to cost upwards of $10,000 a license, but now they are available to anyone.  These are not the stripped down versions either.  You are getting the full set of tools.  Once you are start to make money you will have to pay for them, but if you just want to try it out you are free to do so.

Microsoft’s one OS world comes in to focus:


Microsoft is getting serious about only having one OS.  At the GDC it explained more about its universal app store, updates on the new DirectX 12 API, Xbox to Windows 10 cross play and cross buying, Xbox One to PC streaming, and lastly a bunch of new games coming out to its platforms using the ID@Xbox program.  Most notably Elite: Dangerous.  I think it is clear that Microsoft sees itself as an underdog at this point, and is working really hard to try and be a dominant player again.  We will see how their plans work, but at least it is good to see them truly trying again.

It has been a great GDC, and still has a couple of days left, but all the major players have had their say.  If anything else noteworthy happens I will update this post.  I can only hope next year’s GDC is as interesting.

Don’t Hate On Developers For Dreaming!


Recently famed developer Peter Molyneux came under fire for his new game Godus.  People were saying that he lied to them to get them to fund Godus on Kickstarter, and now he is abandoning the game and moving on to other things even though Godus isn’t finished.  I don’t think he lied, I think his problem is that he likes to dream big, and then share those dreams with anyone that will listen to him.

This is not a new problem with Molyneux, he has always loved to talk about his crazy ideas for games.  His original idea for Fable was a real world simulation that would allow you to plant trees and gardens and then come back years later and see the forests you planted, or see tiny villages grow in to massive cities.  Obviously that is not what we got.  Fable ended up being a fun, but light action RPG with a good control scheme, a unique conversation system, and it let you be good or evil.  Still good, but not what was originally talked about.  There have been two sequels, and in each one time has passed and things have grown up, and that has been cool to see, but there were no forests that I have planted.

Now had Molyneux promised a fun light RPG people would have been happy, but no the internet rage was great.  It still flows today.  It is like a hot stream of magma.  It never cools.  With Godus again his dreams got away with him.  He wanted to create the greatest god game off all time, but with a budget of just under a million dollars, he was never going to.  Instread he created an interesting little time waster that translated well to tablets, so he focused on the iPad version.  If this was normal development, this would have been fine, but since this was Kickstarter, the backers are wondering were their amazing game is.

I like that Molyneux dreams big, and I like that he shares those dreams with us.  Every other developer is so tight lipped that you never know what they are thinking until they show us a very polished trailer done by a highly paid marketing department.  I understand that it is frustrating to not see the games he was talking about, but at least he wants to create them.  His problem is that the reality of what he has to work with gets in his way, be it money or processing power.

I will say that his treatment of the winner of Curiosity, their odd digging game, could have been better.  They should have worked hard to make him a PR plus not a nightmare.  I am hoping they will do right by him in the end, and he will get to be the mega god or whatever in the final version of Godus.

I love to hear people talk about their dreams, so it is refreshing to hear developers share what they are working towards.  Still maybe they should save those dreams for Ted talks or interviews, and not post them to Kickstarter.  I think we could use a few more dreamers like Peter Molyneux in the game business, and maybe, just maybe we as gamers can try and keep our hate to a minimum.  Maybe it would also be wise not to preorder his games.

Who mourns for Prey 2? ThePaladin mourns.

***A transcript from the wake of Prey 2, attended by friends and close relations. Also open bar.***

Alright everyone lets settle down… close the bar, close the bar… good, get Uncle John over here. He doesn’t need to hold up the bar, its not going to fall. ((laughs)) Where’s Uncle Horace, Aunt Ursula, and Timmy? Gone home already? Be sure to recount the silverware then. ((laughs))

We all know why we’re all here… Or should I say we all know why there’s an open bar. ((laughs)) Either someone got hitched or we had to bury a body; looking at the newly joined Mrs. Sunset Overdrive married just last Tuesday you’d think it was account o’ her but then you see this pine box here.

Here lies Prey 2, a life full o’ so much potential and promise the good Lord took it from us for his own game console in the sky. Now many of you younglings didn’t know our poor “Yorick” here, off in the backwoods of Texas he was, developing in our eyes into a fine young game. Who didn’t want a Blade Runner by way of Star Wars or Guardians of the Galaxy (depending on what direction you turned at the Galactic Core) styled game?

The teaser trailer promised alien bounties just waiting for your human justice to come down on them with a righteous fury – sayeth the Lord. ((AMEN!)) But the reality was behind that shiny glimpse of otherworldy Magnum P.I. there was something missing. What the French would call a certain what-have-you. Prey 2 went from home to home, but never came together like honest folk. Somethin’ was broke and no amount of time could fix that – right Cousin Duke? ((laughs))

If there is one take away from this tragic loss, it’s that bringing a young soul like this from alpha to gold is no sure thing. You might have the right pedigree, the right backing, or the right tools, but that ain’t no thing in the grand scheme o’ life. ((Preach it, brother!)) Naw, even the best can go bad and there ain’t nothing for it.

So tip your glasses to the horizontal and pour out a bit o’ spirit for the dearly departed. Pallbearers take up your corners and Mrs. Prey lead us to its final resting place. But no tears, Prey 2 is in a better place, it’s no longer languishing in developer hell. Also the bar will reopen when we return! ((huzzah!))

To the gone but not forgotten.