It’s the start of a new year for gamers, and as we enter 2015, the second year of this new generation of consoles is already well underway. Developers are starting to get their heads around the new architecture present in the PS4 and Xbox One, and this should result in much better, richer gaming experiences as we progress through this year. Games like No Man’s Sky, Scalebound, The Order: 1886, Silent Hills, and more look to validate your purchase of an Xbox One and/or PlayStation 4. The only constant carrying over from 2014 is that gamers will be spending a lot of money this year to experience everything there is to play. Despite all of the choices that gamers will have in front of them in 2015, if there were five games releasing this year that I MUST play, these five titles are the ones I’m most excited to get my hands on.
Tom Clancy’s The Division (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
There is so much excitement surrounding The Division, yet it’s almost completely shrouded in mystery. There still isn’t a launch date outside of the nebulous “coming 2015,” but with so little gameplay shown outside of the tidbits we’ve seen at E3 — and pretty much nothing coming out of Ubisoft regarding what the game entails — many gamers are wondering if we may be looking at the possibility of another delay. I’m all for delays nowadays (thanks DRIVECLUB, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, and The Master Chief Collection!), especially if it makes for a much better experience come launch day. What we do know of The Division – it’s an open world third-person shooter with RPG and MMO elements – sounds pretty damn ambitious. Clearly this is going to be a game of massive scale and scope, so it doesn’t surprise me that Ubisoft is playing their cards close to the chest; they want to make sure everything is in order before committing to a specific date. The gameplay looks extremely tactical, similar to the style found in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, while the post-apocalyptic, plague-stricken world creates a depressing take on New York that is akin to the look and feel of the setting featured in The Last of Us. The way players seamlessly move from working a mission cooperatively with friends, to finding another team of online players trying to accomplish the same goal, before finally breaking out into an objective based PVP match, is extremely ambitious. With added RPG elements to help tailor your character to your preferred style of play, there appears to be a very deep experience awaiting gamers. Hopefully, Ubisoft will confirm that The Division is indeed dropping in 2015 so that this first entry on my top 5 list doesn’t become irrelevant!
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (PS4)
I shouldn’t really need to explain to any self-respecting gamer why this game is on my Top 5 list, but for the sake of those that are new to the PlayStation platform, I’ll fill you in anyways. The Uncharted games are arguably Sony’s most important flagship titles. Not only do they feature some of the best storytelling, animation, and voice over performances in the business, but they’re often the games that showcase what PlayStation consoles are truly capable of. After an impressive showing - humorous glitch and all – at the PlayStation Experience, Uncharted 4 looks to continue its trend of blurring the line between movies and video games. From what we’ve seen so far, this appears to be a much more non-linear experience in terms of how we will be able to approach mission objectives. In previous installments, each mission had more of a scripted feel. In Uncharted 4, you will have the choice of going in guns blazing or using the environment to your advantage to get the drop on your enemies stealthily, which opens up a variety of gameplay paths for the player. Let’s not forget either, that Nolan North (Drake) will be paired with Troy Baker (Drake’s brother), combining two of the industry’s most talented voice actors side-by-side in the same game, which will definitely lead to some powerful scenes between the two. I have a feeling this will likely be the final game in the Uncharted series — and I’m OK with that — because I’m pretty confident Naughty Dog will want to bring it all to an end in epic fashion.
Quantum Break (Xbox One)
Not much is known about the plot of Quantum Break, but that’s a good thing because this third-person action game looks to be very much a story-driven affair. Keeping details about the plot under wraps is much appreciated, as I can’t stand spoilers. What we do know is that the game has something to do with a failed experiment revolving around time travel, and that there are characters — both good and bad — that were present for this event and were granted a variety of abilities that now allow them to manipulate time. Remedy Entertainment (Max Payne, Alan Wake) knows a thing or two about drawing up fleshed-out characters, creating believable worlds, and penning engaging narratives. There are plenty of Xbox One exclusives coming out this year, but this one stands out to me because of its unique gameplay mechanics and intriguing premise.
The Legend of Zelda Wii U (Wii U)
While I was a huge Nintendo fan growing up, The Legend of Zelda was not one of the games I played religiously as a child. That honor went to the likes of Super Mario Bros., Metroid, Ten Yard Fight, and Contra. After missing out on the very early installments of The Legend of Zelda, I basically brushed the series off because I feared I had fallen too far behind to truly appreciate the story that started all those years ago. So here I am, 2015, and after seeing that little snippet of gameplay at the Video Game Awards last month, you can say that Nintendo has definitely piqued my interest. With talks of tons of side quests, a massive world to explore, and a long epic tale, The Legend of Zelda looks to be the first Wii U game that will pry me away from my Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for an extended period of time. If The Legend of Zelda Wii U can somehow deliver a massive open-world action-RPG experience, filled with hundreds of tasks, mind-bending puzzles, and a solid narrative, I’m going to have a hard time paying attention to the other games on this list!
H-Hour: Worlds Elite (PC, PS4?)
I’m a proud Kickstarter backer of H-Hour: Worlds Elite, and why wouldn’t I be? The game is being created with SOCOM in mind. It’s no secret that SOCOM 2 is one of my top five games of all-time, and it kills me thinking about how Sony just let the franchise die an embarrassing death (SOCOM 4), which ultimately resulted in the shuttering of Zipper Interactive. One of the main reasons I backed H-Hour: Worlds Elite was because David Sears (SOCOM 1 & 2) was the creative director. I was so excited after all the talk about how H-Hour was supposed to be the spiritual successor to SOCOM. Finally, us SOCOM vets may get a game that isn’t built using the Call of Duty blueprint. However, here we are a few months later, and the disheartening news of David Sears no longer being a part of the project has raised a lot of doubt among backers. There are still plans to proceed with H-Hour on PC, but it remains to be seen whether or not it’s still in the cards to appear on the PlayStation 4. The alpha was recently announced — it begins in March — but unfortunately I’m not a PC gamer and I don’t have a rig to play it on! That being said, despite the shocking exit of David Sears, I believe the fine folks over at SOF Studios are working hard to deliver on their word. If H-Hour even remotely resembles SOCOM 2, there is no doubt in my mind that this will be a game I will play for a very, very, VERY, long time.
Honorable Mention: Fallout 4
…No? OK then! Can’t a guy dream?
Well, there you have it! Those are the five games I’m dying to get my hands on sometime in 2015. These titles have the potential to deliver the types of experiences that end up being examples of why we all love gaming in the first place. The best part about it only being January is that there are bound to be dozens of games that have yet to be announced that could arrive in 2015, so there’s still a pretty good chance this list will change by next month. What games are you looking forward to in 2015? What’s your opinion of my list? Do any of them pique your interest? Let us know in the comments below!