It’s nearly the end of the year. Santa is revving up his reindeer, our 2015 diaries are battered and falling apart, and the socks we got for Christmas last year are just beginning to wear thin at the toe. It can be time for only one thing. Okay it’s actually time for many things including a sudden sellotape shortage, stomach ache, walking sideways and secretly hoping we get more socks, but for us here at Punk and Lizard it is also time to announce the games we went nuts for over the last twelve months. Here they are, after a small non-lethal argument and in no particular order, narrowed down to a top, erm, eleven.
Disclaimer: No Punk and Lizard writer was injured or rendered unconscious in the compiling of The Punk and Lizard Top Eleven Games of 2015 list.
Game of Thrones – It was a very close call between this and Tales from the Borderlands but GoT just edges it. Telltale Games have taken their usual approach to graphic adventure games and produced another masterpiece. Set during the events of season four, it seamlessly intertwines the characters’ story arcs and has you conversing with the likes of Lord Tyrion, Margaery Tyrell, Daenerys Targaryen and even Jon Snow. There are plenty of unexpected twists and turns much like in the television series, and it concludes with an epic finale that almost rivals the Red Wedding.
Steins; Gate – S J lost her tiny mind over this one. Steins; Gate is quite possibly the greatest visual novel ever made. Everything about it is spectacular, from the time-travelling story to the characters, mechanics, graphics and trophy list. Whether you’re a visual novel pro player or a newbie to the genre, Steins; Gate is a must.
Fallout 4 – It’s Skyrim with energy weapons and nuclear devastation. Fallout 4 proves beyond any doubt that gameplay is king. A massive world to explore and so much to find. Walk for less than two minutes in any direction to stumble over something new to do. Even after you’ve achieved the platinum, the exploration doesn’t stop. The missions are engaging, the side quests are fun, the upgrading is a class act and the crafting is as good as any of the best RPGs ever made. Play however you want at any difficulty level, in first or third person point of view. Fallout 4 is hugely accessible to everyone. Try it.
Penarium – Avoiding the many various and most certainly lethal death-traps is the key to survival in this macabre carnival of death. With its catchy festival music and instant ‘pick up and play’ gameplay, no game will feel the same. You will want to play Penarium over and over to try to better your high score. Who would have thought that a barrel-collecting game could be so addictive!
DRIVECLUB BIKES – My gosh, as we’re still being blow away by the detail, handling, streams of updates and new DLC packs in DRIVECLUB, Evolution Studios caught everyone with their pants down when they released BIKES. BIKES came out of nowhere and delivered a supremely awesome motorcycle experience. A breathtaking chase of the two wheeled kind comparable to its older brother in terms of style, class and value for money. Where other motorbike racers fall short, this monster devours tarmac for breakfast and spits out an alarmingly slick and fast arcade racer. Evolution Studios must be commended for their work, for their blood, sweat and maybe even tears. Put your heart on your sleeve, and you get passionate results. Thank you, Evolution Studios.
Star Wars Battlefront – The game may lack the depths of a full single player campaign but we’re of the Star Wars generation so how could we not include it. EA DICE have fully loaded this FPS with some of the film’s most iconic locations, vehicles, characters and sounds. The first time you get up close and personal to an AT-AT on Hoth you’ll realize this is the game you were looking for. So while you wait to go see The Force Awakens for the umpteenth time, grab a blaster and choose whether to take on the Empire or shoot some Rebel scum.
Zombie Vikings – Zoink Games brings us some awesome co-op button bashing in this excellent beat ‘em up that has witty dialogue, great voice acting, fantastic characters and a bonkers storyline at its very core. With Oink the Unicorn Pig set to join you in single player mode once the inbound update lands, this undead adventure looks as though it’s here to stay.
Until Dawn – This is the game we’ve been dreaming of all our gaming lives, or certainly since the days that Gabriel Knight, Under a Killing Moon, Phantasmagoria and all the other interactive movies first reared their choice-laden heads. Until Dawn is a gripping and atmospheric experience. No strategic saving, no do-overs and no game over. Everyone can die or everyone can be saved. It’s a ten hour movie that you control and, oh my god, it’s pretty much perfect. We’d like to see more like this, and not just a sequel or a similar game in the same genre. Just imagine the butterfly effect applied to any genre you can imagine. The possibilities are utterly endless.
Disgaea 5 – The disappointment of no Vita version this time around was soon forgotten when NIS presented the glory that is Disgaea 5. The same addictive gameplay that’s always tougher and much more in depth than it looks, but this time it shone like a Christmas star. The graphics sparkle, gleam and nearly burn your retinas they’re so bright. Disgaea has always been a colourful game, in every sense of the word, but now, on a big screen, it’s simply beautiful. Contains slightly less sardines than Disgaea 4, but fishnatics do not despair because amongst a stunning line-up of DLC is Lord Valvatorez himself. All is for you, my Lord.
Rocket League – Psyonix’s Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars hit the PS4 this year with a new moniker and boy does it deliver. This insanely fun physics-based rocket powered car football game will have you jumping around the room as you perform a well-timed somersault to snatch victory from your opponents in the dying seconds of a match. With constant game modes and vehicles updates it’s easy to see why over 200 million matches have already been played.
SOMA – This first person horror will mess you up. Although you’re creeping about an abandoned facility, in the dark, with nothing but your wits to save you, SOMA is not a horror game in the traditional sense. Yes it’s scary, yes you’ll jump ten feet out of your bunny slippers and, yes, you’d be mad to play it in the dark with a headset. What makes SOMA so different and so much more frightening is the story. This is psychological horror at its finest, and it’s absolutely terrifying. Never before have we used the word ‘horrific’ in such a complimentary fashion. With a very early start and a late finish you can play this in one sitting. Just don’t expect to sleep afterwards.
2015 was filled with magnificent games, and no doubt your top picks will differ from ours, and so they should. PS4 and PS Vita are blessed with incredible diversity. There is something for absolutely everyone, for all tastes, ages and skill levels. Merry Christmas, PlayStation – thank you for a wonderful year and may 2016 be equally as awesome if not more awesome.