2015 is winding down, and so it is time to award the best games of the year. I spent most of my gaming time playing just two titles, so this isn't going to be a lengthy list.
My third-best game of the year: Ark: Survival Evolved. A Steam early-access title that isn't even at the alpha stage yet, Ark is already very popular, due to its surprisingly underused premise. People love dinosaurs: that a bad movie like Jurassic World could set box office records proves as much. Ark lets you tame Tyrannosaurs and giant sharks, while crafting settlements and weapons in a huge open world. The survival mechanics need a little tweaking, however; everything is way too grindy for the casual player. Also, there's no way to protect your settlements when you log off a server. I played mostly in singleplayer, which is fun, but it lacks the tribe aspect of the game, and certain perks are locked. Performance is terrible, which is to be expected in a pre-alpha game. Still, it lets you ride dinosaurs, and surely the devs will spend some of their considerable funds to improve the game. Recommended for dinosaurs lovers and people with a lot of free time.
My second-best game of the year: Fallout 4. Fallout 4 is much more enjoyable when you realize that it isn't an RPG, but an open world first-person shooter with RPG trappings. This isn't a title interested in letting you create a character; in Fallout 4, YOU are the primary character. Like Skyrim, Bethesda have simplified old features and removed several systems entirely in order to create a more streamlined experience. Still, this is game with a lot of faults. The conversation system is the worst I've ever experienced. The graphics engine is very dated, essentially looking not much better than five-year old Skyrim while performing much worse. Bugs and crashes are plentiful. Did you like Fallout 3? This is a better Fallout 3. Don't go in expecting Fallout 1/2 or an actual RPG.
Best game of the year: The Witcher 3. The Witcher 3 proves Bethesda wrong; it is possible to make a huge, detailed world and fill it with meaningful quests and characters. Unlike Fallout 4, the Witcher 3 is about playing as Geralt, not as yourself. Though it is perhaps a little too long, and the plot a little too meandering, the Witcher 3 is full of interesting things to do. The Bloody Baron quest is perhaps the best quest in all of gaming history. Graphically, this is a beautiful game. A true classic.