What more can I say? I loved SteamWorld Heist and I think everyone should play it. Even if you don't normally like tactics games, Heist might be able to change your mind. It might not make a lot of Game of the Year lists, but I can assure you that it is one of 2015's best.
Overwatch may yet cool off and fall by the wayside at some point in the near future, but it sure seems like it's here for the long haul. Pretty much everything about this game feels fresh and exciting: the class-based combat, the art style, the roster, the modes. It's equal parts strategic and twitchy, encouraging you to think while also rewarding skill, and its roster is a delight. Overwatch may well be the best new multiplayer shooter to come along since Modern Warfare and Team Fortress 2 took 2007 by storm. I can't wait to play more.
NBA 2K17 addresses most of my biggest issues from last year in cutting out canned animations and going back to basics with MyCareer, and it's still as polished as ever. It's easy to take its excellence for granted, but Visual Concepts' ambition and willingness to take risks keeps it from ever becoming stale. NBA 2K17 is the champion, and it's tough to see it losing that title anytime soon.
I was delighted by Metroid: Samus Returns. It hits pretty much every note you hope to see in a Metroid game, and MercurySteam's console background is evident in their flair for the dramatic— whether in their introductory cutscenes or their boss battles. Their dramatic reinvention reinvigorates the source material and strengthens the story's bridge to Super Metroid. In short: They nailed it.
The Messenger establishes itself as an excellent tribute to old-school platformers, then proceeds to rapidly up the ante with a series of outstanding gameplay twists. I'm deeply impressed by The Messenger's ambition and polish. It's a must-own for any retro enthusiast.
Sony San Diego overhauls almost every single aspect of MLB The Show with this update, with the outstanding March to October and Moments modes leading the way. At least for right now, it seems destined to go down as the best baseball sim of the generation, and maybe as one of the best sports sims as well.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is a graphical showcase for the next-generation consoles—a sprawling, beautiful open-world RPG with a deeply satisfying exploration loop and just enough in the way of mechanical depth to keep hardcore adventurers happy. At more than 50 hours for a single run through the story, it packs in a tremendous amount of content across a wide number of locations. After stumbling a bit of their past few releases, BioWare has recovered to deliver a truly excellent piece of epic fantasy.
NBA 2K15's scope and ambition as a sports sim is admirable; and though its execution doesn't always match its vision, it's still an altogether polished and impressive package. Even if you don't care much about basketball, it's worth checking out for its highly entertaining MyPlayer mode alone. Once again, Visual Concepts has nailed what makes the NBA so appealing to a wide swath of people.
FIFA 15's improvements don't jump out right away, but they rapidly manifest themselves in smarter teammates, livelier stadiums, and more tactical gameplay. Beyond that, FIFA 15 is still a remarkably polished and complete experience, boasting excellent career modes and a variety of touches like Seasons mode and Match Day Live that remain unmatched by other sports sims. NBA 2K may yet challenge it for supremacy, but for now, FIFA remains the best all-around sports sim on the market.
Pillars of Eternity is more than an appeal to nostalgia; it's a rich RPG in its own right, boasting enjoyable combat, a strong story, and masterfully paced quests. What flaws it has — poor pathfinding A.I. and a Stronghold that feels somewhat derserted — are comparatively minor in the grand scheme of things. Right now, its biggest problem is a surfeit of bugs, which seem endemic to Obsidian's RPGs. Ignoring all that, though, Pillars of Eternity is enormously entertaining, and may end up making a strong claim to being one of the best RPGs of the year.