Every game should give you the option to hug the NPCs.
Podcast Links: iTunes, Hipcast, Direct Download
Day two! Niall, Michael, Mike, and John hit their stride and hand out yet another set of awards. If you’re curious how we came to these conclusions, or want to surprise yourself, grab the podcast from one of the links above and listen to us deliberate.
Today we deal with awards like “Hella Broken-est”, “Best Multiplayer”, “Best Surprise”, “Most Disappointing”, and “Best Robot”. Just like yesterday, we are looking for one winner and two runners up for every award given out today. Who will win, who will lose, who will we inevitably forget?
Hella Broken-est: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5
Runners Up: Risen 3 (PS4), Rory McIlroy’s PGA Tour
A chugging frame-rate (despite the relatively empty levels), rails that don’t have full collision detection, textures that don’t load, a propensity for player characters to suddenly ascend to the heavens like they’ve been raptured for no real reason… Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 is an absolute mess. When the game came out, significant numbers of Xbox One players couldn’t even get past the Activision logo following bootup, the game completely failed to function offline, saves were lost, and the tutorial couldn’t be finished as it couldn’t detect grinds. How Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 even made it to shelves is a wonder. This is a game that feels like it was released in alpha, although, to be fair, even if it did work, it still wouldn’t be good, but that’s a discussion for another time.
Best Multiplayer: Rocket League
Runners Up: Splatoon, Metal Gear Solid V
Rocket League didn’t re-invent the wheel, but it strapped it onto a car and launched it hurtling at a large soccer ball. Sports games have been transfixed on realism lately, so it was a breath of fresh air to get arcade style nonsense in a widely celebrated game. Rocket League was met with disdain when it was announced as a PS+ title, but almost immediately after release, the Internet collectively smacked themselves upside the head and shouted “We made a mistake, this rules!” Rocket League controls smoothly, allows for tight gameplay, and lets you dress your car up in silly hats. Thanks to PS+, it’s easy to find someone to play with any time on PS4.
Best Surprise: Contradiction: Spot the Liar!
Runners Up: Undertale, Her Story
2015 was somewhat of a renaissance for FMV games, as the much-maligned genre finally managed to find it’s feet with two outstanding games, Her Story, and Contradiction. What really sets Contradiction apart, however, is the sheer unlikeliness of it’s success – for a game made on an obviously microscopic budget, by a developer who apparently had to learn to code as he went, to not only come out at all but be downright incredible? That’s pretty impressive. The opening moments of Contradiction are admittedly strange, but before long the game’s sparkling sense of humor comes to the fore, with Rupert Booth’s Inspector Jenks carrying the game’s colourful supporting cast to unlikely success. Towing the line between self-aware camp and unintentional kitsch isn’t easy, but Contradiction nails it.
Most Disappointing: Hotline Miami 2
Runners Up: Metal Gear Solid V, Life is Strange
When the first Hotline Miami came out, most people were impressed by its smart level design, tight controls, and intriguing storyline. Hotline Miami 2 throws pretty much all of that out the window. Sure, there are interesting characters and the variety of gameplay styles that comes with them, but the game’s level design is so wide and unfair, it ruins the best parts of the original. Deaths no longer feel like your fault, and Hotline Miami 2 punishes you severely for error thanks to its much larger room layouts. Sure, MGSV and Life is Strange were a bit of a bummer here and there, but Hotline Miami 2 dropped the ball completely compared to the original. At least the music’s still good.
Best Robot: Loader Bot (Tales from the Borderlands)
Runners Up: Mettaton (Undertale), Nick Valentine (Fallout 4)
Contradiction may have won “Best Surprise,” but the even bigger surprise is the fact 2015 ended up being packed full of quality mechanical characters. From the intrepid little explorer of Environmental Station Alpha to Undertale’s name-in-lights superstar, this year somehow found itself knee-deep in diodes. There were a lot of choices, but the best robot of 2015 (and possibly ever) is Tales From The Borderlands’ Loader Bot, a standard Hyperion worker droid turned into your best ally on Pandora. With his deadpan attitude (“I cannot hold back your tide of bad decisions”) and charming interactions with fellow robot Gortys, it’s hard not to find Loader Bot endearing- not even to mention his role in the game’s most shocking moment. Even if Tales From The Borderlands never gets a second season, Loader Bot will be stored in our memory banks forever.