I am a dedicated amateur audio engineer and spend most of my time recording and jamming with my band. My top five bands are: Paul Simon, The Doors, Jerry Reed, Talking Heads and XTC - honorable mention: Peter Gabriel. When I'm not playing or listening to music I am an avid gamer with a focus on first person immersive experiences. My top five games are: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Deus Ex, System Shock 2, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and Thief 2: The Metal Age - honorable mention: No One Lives Forever. From time to time I enjoy writing a blog on ModDB about gaming or music experiences I have had. Also - everybody needs to watch Rick and Morty... seriously it is the best cartoon.
The five games presented below were the games released this year that I played to completion (with the exception of Alien Isolation which was released Fall 2014.
These five games were the experiences that stuck in my mind while I was at work or out and about away from the computer. Life is Strange in particular had me thinking about it's story and choices I had made for even a few weeks after I finished it.
5. Life Is Strange - Playtime: 16 Hours - Brilliant choose your own path adventure game with a great visual style - reminds me lots of Donnie Darko only set in the new millenium. Some of the puzzle elements fell flat, and the writing at times felt a little cringe worthy especially with some of the dialog. But the plot and pacing kept me interested all the way through.
4. Deus Ex Revision - Playtime: 38 Hours - A highly enjoyable and lengthy update for the first Deus Ex. The new city levels are where the spectacle of the mod is as they are large redesigns of the original maps that look and feel more like real places now. But the subtle lighting and the retooled soundtrack are the highlights for me as they give the overall game a more cohesive and cinematic style.
3. Dying Light - Playtime: 30 Hours - took me by surprise and didn't let go until the very end. Usually I get tired of this style of open-world design, but the minute to minute gameplay combined with the excellent mission design kept me playing until I finished. The first person running and parkour mechanics feel so natural that I wish they were the standard for all first person gaming.
2. Alien Isolation - Playtime: 27 Hours - OK so this was actually released Fall 2014 - but I didn't buy it until February 2015. The only game that has compared to System Shock 2 in terms of both how believable the world is and the sheer terror felt because of this. The Outlast games may have scared me more - but Alien Isolation accomplishes so much more than just tense chase scenes as it is an authentic replication of the visual style of the first film. Seriously this is the only time a movie license has been done true justice - the game hits all the same marks that the first movie did.
1. Grand Theft Auto 5 - Playtime: 79 Hours - I really enjoyed GTA5 and I could use this space to say what I liked and didn't like about it - but it is deservedly the game of the year for me. I spent a lot of hours playing through the missions in this game and spent just as much time taking in the sights and playing with in the free form sandbox provided. The city presented is nothing short of stunning - the sheer attention to detail that becomes apparent from the first person perspective blew my mind away. Like Alien Isolation the world just feels believable in a way that previous GTA games barely touched. Is it a perfect game - not in the slightest, but it is a very good game with some of the best production values on display for 2015.
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