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2015: A great year in gaming

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Many will agree that 2015 was a year filled with many memorable events: Alberta and Canada had stunning changes in governments, the country braced for another recession and the world looked on in shock as Donald Trump became a real contender for the American presidency. You would almost be forgiven for missing that 2015 was an outstanding year in gaming. It was one of those years that will likely be talked about in future as a landmark year. Now is your chance to go back and try out some of the great games you may have missed.

If you haven’t already checked out the much lauded AAA masterpieces of the year – Bloodborne, Witcher 3, Metal Gear V and Fallout 4 – do yourself a favour and play them. Each one of these really are the pinnacle of their particular genre. But let’s recap some of the other excellent games of 2015 that you may not have tried yet:

In January, we had the opening chapter of Life is Strange, a game revolving around choices and the ripple or butterfly effect of those choices. Indeed it even displays a butterfly on screen each time you make a world altering decision in case you’re not paying close attention. With the mature subjects covered and the strong narrative, this is the closest you will get to controlling your own movie. Although the initial teenage angst can be off-putting, the compelling story will draw you in. If you enjoy games where narrative is the driving force rather than action then you should definitely check this one out.

With March came the surprisingly fun and accessible Helldivers. This third person isometric shooter is fairly basic as a solo game but joining up with three other space soldiers is when the fun really begins. Whether it was barely surviving a difficult mission, accidentally dropping a space pod on a buddy or finally getting four players in the four-man tank, this game provides many more hours of enjoyment than gamespot. com’s small $20 price tag would suggest. Add on free updates with new games modes and this should be in many gamers lists of top games of 2015.

For those MMORPG players out there, June was the month that Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV) released its first expansion: Heavenward. This added a myriad of new areas, bosses, classes and a strong narrative that even eclipsed the story in the first part of FFXIV. This high quality con-tent helped to propel FFXIV to the No. 2 spot in the MMORPG world, right behind the aging juggernaut World of Warcraft (WOW). If you’re a MMORPG enthusiast or have an affinity for Final Fantasy, then you should definitely check out a game with enough content to play for the next six months while we wait to see whether it can dethrone WOW.

July brought us the sleeper hit Rocket League. Few expected that a game that married soccer and bumper cars would be so successful. I myself was not enthusiastic when it was announced as the PSPlus free game of the month. But the precise controls, perfect physics, crisp graphics and whimsical car customization blended to make one of the most surprising and fun sports games in a long time.

There are many more great games in 2015 that were not mentioned and although there are various opinions about which games deserve to be considered the top ones of 2015, we can all agree that this last year was filled with many of the best games we’ve seen in a while. Here’s to 2016 and another great year in gaming.

– Jeremy Block

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