5. Dark Souls II
I hate Dark Souls II. I hate it so much. But I just keep playing it. I’m probably going to buy the current-gen re-release, too. The moment-to-moment gameplay is much more fun than that of Dark Souls, but many more aspects also simply feel more unfair. Honestly, I can’t explain it. With four complete playthroughs and a character up to NG+++, there’s clearly something there.
4. Shovel Knight
The Mega Man series, with its classic platforming, absurd difficulty, and wide variety of bosses, has always been one of my favorites. Unfortunately, this style of game is entirely under-represented in modern gaming, and even less represented on modern handhelds, where I think they’re best played. Luckily, Shovel Knight comes to the rescue with its quirky sense of humor, dynamite soundtrack, and all the classic gameplay my little nostalgic heart can handle. It’s also a huge bonus for me when a handheld game can actually be played in short bursts, and, with each level only being about 10 minutes long, Shovel Knight is just excellent.
3. Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls
First off, I love Diablo 3. I’ve spent well over 100 hours in it, and even before the expansion, I kept coming back. Reaper of Souls just adds in another act, one that’s even better than the other four, and then a host of new content like a new class, Nephalem Rifts and Seasons. Additionally, the auction house was finally removed and loot drops were increased, making this feel more like a classic Diablo game. This added dozens more hours to the already delightful dungeon-crawler, and what’s not to love there?
It’s been years since I’ve played a multiplayer shooter that I could sink dozens and dozens of hours into. The last one was Halo 2, and, since Master Chief Collection has failed to deliver that multiplayer experience again, Titanfall is the closest a game has come since. Every aspect of the game feels as if the design process consisted of one very basic question: “What is the most fun?” The traversal is addicting, the weapons are well-refined, the titans are empowering, everything just works exactly as well as you’d hope. It helps that the servers are still well-populated ten months after release, and matchmaking only takes seconds.
1. Sunset Overdrive
For the technical version of why Sunset Overdrive is my game of the year, check out my review. The bigger reason, however, that Sunset is game of the year is much more simple; I was burning out on videogames in general, and Sunset reminded me why I love games. It was simple, fun, clever, and every part of it just plain worked. It is both the best game I played this year, and the most important to me, so it fully deserves this spot.
Chase Streetman is the Features Editor for BYTE