Lucha Underground Season 2 – Week 1 Power Rankings

Lucha Underground, Wrestling

The episode of Lucha Underground is in the book and boy was it a doozy. There’s quite to unpack here, with so many developments happening in quick succession (those last five minutes, though). I wanted to shy away from a straight recap episode, so this column is going to be a little bit of a hybrid between power rankings and analysis. Enjoy!

10) Catrina

Catrina probably ranks higher if the episode ends a minute or two earlier. Unfortunately, episode one ended with Pentagon Jr. breaking Mil Muertes arm. So, while he’s still champion, he might be out for a few weeks, at the very least. That said, Catrina is seemingly head booker now, so it’s not like Muertes is going to drop the title. Also, Muertes and Catrina have some supernatural powers, so maybe his arm isn’t broken at all? I’m not sure, but that’s the best part of this episode. We’re left with more questions than answers and all of them are intriguing plot points for the rest of the season.

9) Dario Cueto

So, El Jefe is apparently running a brand-new fighting pit that puts unsuspecting strangers against his insane brother Matanza. I guess? I’m not sure what exactly is happening with Cueto; however, I can’t wait to see how he plans to get his temple back. I have a feeling it’s going to be some sort of fight between Cueto’s champion and Catrina’s, but I don’t know how we get there. That said, I cannot wait to see Cueto back on top as the best authority figure in the business.

8) Angelico

Angelico had a pretty solid showing against Son of Havoc and Ivelisse in the match for the #1 Contender spot. He did eat the pin, which leads me to believe that LU creative wants to protect Son of Havoc for a potential future Singles run. However, that could just be my WWE cynic talking, as LU has shown an ability to bring any competitor back from just about any loss. The next few weeks will be very interesting to watch and see if the Unlikely Trio stays together. Angelico and Son of Havoc have real Singles potential, I just don’t know if there’s an open spot for them in that crowded scene.

7) Son of Havoc

Son of Havoc got the benefit of not being pinned by Ivelisse, which makes him look stronger than Angelico as a competitor. Are they priming him for a Singles run? He certainly has the bulk of the Believers behind him. But, he and the Unlikely Trio were one of the highlights of season one and it would be very bitter-sweet to see them broken up. I don’t know what I want, but I know that Lucha Underground will deliver.

6) Fenix

Fenix should maybe be slotted a little lower than this. After all, he lost his Gift of the Gods title to King Cuerno, but you have to assume that he’ll be given an opportunity to bring it back. Plus, that vignette between Cuerno and Catrina makes you think that there’s a bigger on-going story here that Fenix will be a part of. From the moment I first saw him compete, I’ve thought Fenix had Rey Mysterio-like potential here in the States. So, it’s great to see him seemingly in the middle of a main event feud to start season two.

5) Prince Puma

Puma was barely in this episode. Only running in to save Ivelisse from Mil Muertes after their match. Even without a single second of character development, it was great seeing Puma back in the ring. It wouldn’t have felt right if season one’s break-out star wasn’t in season two’s first episode and, for a second, I thought that might be the case. Here’s hoping his involvement only grows next Wednesday.

4) Mil Muertes

Coming into season two, Mil Muertes was the most feared man in the company, the reigning champion, and apparently the new owner of the Temple. And his match with Ivelisse was a great beatdown that nearly ended in a mauling of Ivelisse. However, she was saved by Prince Puma and, immediately after, Pentagon Jr. broke Muertes’ arm. What does this do for Mil and Catrina moving forward? Does her rock have healing powers? Will he drop the title now that he’s weakened? I’m very interested to see how this all plays out.

3) Ivelisse

I have to give it to Ivelisse. I did not expect her to beat out her trios partners in that first match and, when she did, my interest went down quite a bit for the main event. However, she really brought it and now I’m completely bought in on her. She looked like a legitimate competitor tonight and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her in program against someone like Sexy Star sometime in the middle of the season. She’s really improved from her time on Tough Enough.

2) King Cuerno

I love King Cuerno. I love his look. I love his gimmick. I especially love his backstage gear. So consider me a very happy man to see him take down Fenix for the Gift of the Gods championship and seemingly enter into a partnership with the most powerful person n the promotion. It was a great night for Cuerno Nation and I’m hopeful that many more will follow.

1) Pentagon Jr.

Cero Meida sure knows how to make an impact, doesn’t he? In maybe 30 seconds of TV time, Pentagon Jr. made the biggest move of the season thus far in breaking the champion’s arm; setting the stage for a potentially devastating clash down the line that could rival Pentagon’s match with Vampiro at Ultima Lucha I. Does Pentagon Jr. even care about the title? Or is this part of Vampiro’s bigger plan? I just don’t know. But I am incredibly excited. This season started with a big bang and, if history tells us anything, the story of Pentagon Jr. and Lucha Underground as a whole, is only going to get better.

 

Lucha Underground Season 1 Power Rankings

Lucha Underground, Wrestling

Over  the past four days, I watched the entirety of Lucha Underground season one to refresh all the storylines and refamiliarize myself with all of the luchadores. Because I’ve spent so much time watching them and dumb, pointless lists are all over the Internet, I went ahead and wrote up my “Lucha Underground Top 10 Power Rankings”. This list is more focused on how good the characters are over how good the wrestling is, but wrestling (and wrestling accomplishments) are obviously still going to have an impact. With season two starting later tonight, I assume this will become a weekly feature, so go ahead and check back here every Wednesday or Thursday to let me know how much you hate my list! Anyways, let’s get to it.

Honorable Mentions: Marty “The Moth” Martinez, Jack Evans, Aerostar,  Sexy Star

Marty and Sexy Star seemingly go hand-in-hand as we head into season two. And really, that final vignette is what has me interested in where The Moth’s character is going. He started as a fan who wanted to wrestle and now he’s a crazy person who has a sister who has some strange interest in Sexy Star? Speaking of Sexy, her booking was way too up-and-down for me in season one. She was constantly billed as someone who could beat the boys, but her record was something like 1-9? Maybe that takes a turn in season two. For now, I don’t really view her as an actual threat.

Both Jack Evans and Aerostar are incredibly athletic performers with gimmicks that could turn into something. Evans is a cocky, American luchadore and Aerostar is an astronaut…or something. There are rumors that LU is going to dig deeper into the supernatural this season, so maybe Aerostar will play a bigger part? Either way, I’m incredibly excited to see what these two can do when given a full season to work through.

10) Cage

The man called Cage looks like Vince McMahon’s wet dream, while possessing some truly awe-inspiring athleticism. His match with The Mack at Ultima Lucha is one of my personal favorites of season one and a great example of how good weapon matches can be. And Cage brought it every single time he went to the ring. The guy really is a Machine and I would be very surprised if he doesn’t play a big part in season two.

9) The Mack

As mentioned above, I really love Cage and The Mack’s Ultima Lucha bout. Both of those guys looked like potential stars moving forward. That said, I’m a bigger fan of The Mack, largely because his look is so different. It’s pretty crazy to see a guy who, on the surface, looks out of shape pull off the same gravity-defying moves as the traditional luchadores. Additionally, The Mack comes off as a great, happy-go-lucky baby face that you can’t help but love. That said, I wonder if he’ll be held out of action in the early parts of season two to sell Cage curb-stomping him through a cinder block.

8) Drago

Drago proved to Hernandez and all of the Believers that dragons are, indeed, real. It says a lot about this promotion that they’re willing to all the way with their literal dragon-man and this kind of stupid (in the best way) storytelling is what made me such a big fan. Drago also had that incredible best-of-five series with Aerostar that ended in Drago’s title shot and subsequent dismissal from the temple. However, nothing sums up my love for Drago better than his scene with Dario Cueto where he just screams “LET ME FIGHT!!!!” Drago is love, Drago is life. More Drago is #BestForBusiness.

7) Johnny Mundo

Johnny Mundo is one of the best wrestlers in this business. He can do things in and out of the ring that 95% of humans wouldn’t even believe were possible. His string of matches against Alberto del Patron (who isn’t on this list simply because he went to WWE) were incredible. His heel turn was probably my favorite turn of the season. And the Up All Night match against Prince Puma is my third favorite match of the season. So why is he only seventh on this list? Well, in a land of outlandish, crazy characters, Mundo is mostly just a guy. He’s a great wrestler, but his character almost seems out of place in the Temple. Of course, I hope he continues to blow the roof off every single week.

6) Angelico/Son of Havoc

I suppose you could add Ivelisse here, but she isn’t the reason I love this team. Son of Havoc is likely the most over babyface in the Temple and the creativity of his moveset is unparalleled. His “go off the ropes with my neck and then elbow two guys” move might be my favorite consistent thing in wrestling. And Angelico? Well, everyone knows that he has the rawest cross body in the game, but, for my money, his dropkick off the perch into the ring was the moment of the season.

Goodness.

5) King Cuerno

I might be a little high on Cuerno just because I love his look and the big game hunter gimmick. After all, Cuerno hasn’t won a ton of big matches, though he’s been in some memorable feuds. He’s had programs with most of the top talent, including Drago, Johnny Mundo, and Prince Puma. He just has yet to capitalize on those chances. I’m hoping that big things are coming for Cuerno in season two. I’d love to see them go all the way with him and have Cuerno take trophies from his opponents after each win. There’s a lot they can do with him moving forward, which has me excited.

4) Fenix

For my money, Fenix is the darkhorse candidate to become the breakout star of Lucha Underground. He wrestlers like a modern day Rey Mysterio Jr. and I would be very surprised if WWE doesn’t try and scoop him up soon. He’s also the current Gift of the Gods champion, meaning that he’ll have an opportunity to challenge Mil Muertes for his championship. Considering that their “Grave Consequences” match is most Believer’s best match of season one, I think they can make a lot of money there. Look for the Fenix to rise to incredible heights in season two.

3) Prince Puma

Puma held the championship for almost the entirety of season one, after winning it at Aztec Warfare. He was able to defend his title eight times and only lost it to the Man of 1,000 Deaths at Ultima Lucha. Considering that Mil Muertes has some crazy undead powers, I think Puma can eat that loss. Puma might be the most athletically gifted wrestler in the business today and he’s still improving. He also has two ready-made feuds to start season two. He’ll either claim a rematch with Muertes  or he and his mentor Konnan will engage in a feud with Pentagon Jr. and his maestro Vampiro. I’m hoping for the latter. I also hope Puma finally gets a chance to talk in season two, as that’s really the only thing he hasn’t proven to be great at thus far. Either way, Puma is sure to be a main event mainstay in season two.

2) Mil Muertes

The Man of 1,000 Deaths is your current champion and it’s well-deserved after his great match with Puma at Ultima Lucha. Muertes is no where near the best wrestler in LU. In fact, he might be one of the worst luchadores on the roster. However, he has a great gimmick and works his style to it perfectly. He’s living proof that, if you do it right, you can still wrestle that old school, strong style and be a main event player in 2016. He owns that gimmick and his stable has to play a big part in the season two storyline. Will someone bring together a band of luchadores to challenge them for dominance? Or will Mil and his Disciples continue to run roughshod over Lucha Underground? Time will tell.

1) Pentagon Jr.

Wow. Pentagon Jr. is, without question, the best character in wrestling. Not just in Lucha Underground. In the entire world. No one owns their gimmick so fully as this guy. No one’s style meshes as well with the character they’re playing. Pentagon Jr. is on a completely different planet from anyone else in the business. Seriously, if you like wrestling, even a little bit, you need to find a way to go watch this guy’s story in its entirety. It’s that good. Pentagon Jr. is the reason I hope and pray that Lucha Underground stays alive for the next decade or more. This kind of storytelling just couldn’t exist in the WWE or TNA. He represents what is so, so special about this promotion and Vince McMahon can keep his senile, old hands away.

Thoughts on…Undertale and LISA The Painful (and, to some degree, Jeff Gerstmann)

Reviews, Video Games

The other day, while I wrapping up my play through of LISA The Painful, something clicked with me. Something that had been gnawing at me for about for about the last year. And I don’t think that something would have happening if I had not finished LISA and Undertale within weeks of each other (while listening to a ridiculous amount of GiantBomb content in between).

Before we get to that, it’s important that I set the stage a little bit. So, bear with me here. My girlfriend is a computer engineering student who loves to code in C++ and Javascript, but is taking a job at a big company where she’ll get to do neither. She knows that I’m big into both video and board games and has asked me multiple times if I would be interested in co-developing a video game with her in our downtime to keep her programming skills up to snuff.

I agreed without really thinking about because it felt like something we would talk about a lot, but not ever do. Something with no stakes that would make her happy when I said, “sure, let’s do it !” But then, sometime last year, I was listening to a particularly heated rant from GiantBomb’s Jeff Gerstmann about the state of professional wrestling video games. He said a lot of things, but the one nugget that stuck out was when he spoke to how badly 2K games go about actually capturing what wrestling is all about. 2K’s WWE games are essentially fighting games, trying to sim a WWE match as if it’s an actual athletic contest instead of a predetermined show of skill that furthers a storyline. In fact, a game like WWE 2K16 misses the point of wrestling in almost every way and, even with its top-notch presentation and (sometimes) life-like character models, it fails to actually be a wrestling game.

Which got me thinking, what does that game look like? How could you make a wrestling game where the matches were more about telling a story than beating down your opponent? Is it possible to truly capture the glorious “sport” that is professional wrestling?

So I started thinking about it quite a bit. At first, I thought the best way to go about would be to make a game that plays like Kairosoft-like (the makers of Game Dev Story, among others) game that put you in charge of your own promotion. You would be signing various wrestlers and placing them in storylines that would improve your profit and allow you to sign bigger and better wrestlers.

In a lot of ways, that’s a potentially great game and I even started to prototype it by building up a board game version. However,  I quickly realized that, while this macro approach to the wrestling scene could be fun to dig into, I was much more interested in the micro side of things. I wanted to take a few characters and tell a real story about their lives in-and-outside the ring.  I wanted to turn this idea into an RPG.

For a long time, that’s as far as I got. I knew that I wanted the aesthetic to be akin to an SNES game (largely because RPGmaker seems like a tool my girlfriend and I could most easily use for our first foray into game design), but I didn’t know how to make a classic RPG battle system work within the framework of a wrestling match. How could I take that menu-based combat and make it simulate a match where entertainment is more important than damage without it getting too abstract?

At the time, I didn’t feel like I had the knowledge to solve that problem, so I shelved the idea. Hoping that someone would come along that could figure out how to do it right.

Then I started playing Undertale. A great indie game that does some excellent story-telling that really twists what you’ve come to assume from an old-school style RPG. Heck, it even messes with the way you think games are designed by playing with how we understand saving a game. To say more would be a mistake. This is a game you need to experience on your own to really “get”. I’m not on the “This is the BEST GAME EVER!!!!” bandwagon like so many people of the Internet, but it’s worth your time.

In lieu of an actual review (which I’ve started to shy away from anyways), I decided to just keep my thoughts on Undertale to myself. “After all,” I thought, “everyone and their mom is putting out Undertale content right now.” So I just moved on to other games, knowing that pretty much everything I would say about Undertale has been said. That said, one thing continued to stick with me. The combat.

I mentioned above that my biggest hurdle to my dream wrestling RPG game was figuring out how to do combat right. I couldn’t think of a way to take traditional, menu-driven combat and make it work for my needs. And then I played Undertale. I’m not saying that I now want to use a bullet hell mechanic to facilitate putting on a quality match, but it got me thinking of ways to subvert the common tropes of that style of game design.

That said, I was still pretty pessimistic that I could make it work. After all, Toby Fox is an actual game designer, who boasts some music ability to boot. I’m just some dude who wants to use RPGmaker to try and realize his dream game in whatever way possible. I wouldn’t have the first clue about programming something like a bullet hell mechanic in the middle of my classic RPG game.

And then I played LISA.

 

Now, I don’t want you to take that sentence and assume that I’m saying LISA is an inferior product to Undertale. In a lot of ways, I actually like it better. It’s certainly more my style of game and, while it doesn’t play on your assumptions of gameplay like Undertale, I would put its overall package right up there with Undertale.

No, what LISA did was show me what’s capable when you start with RPGmaker. Dingaling put together an incredible tale that lets players do almost whatever they want and has real consequences for your actions. There are branching paths (a must for the game I’m dreaming up) and, in the follow-up, he even adds some flair to the combat system. If Gerstmann’s thought was the spark, Undertale was the tinder and LISA is the huge log that’s going to turn the fire into a blaze.

Obviously, this is the first real attempt I’ve ever made at producing a video game. I expect it will take quite a bit of time and honestly might never come out. That said, I felt the need to write about how inspiring these two games have been as I begin working on this game. Expect semi-regular updates on this blog as they come, but, for now, go buy Undertale and LISA. They’re great experiences and who knows? Maybe you’ll get inspired to.

 

2015 Game of the Year

Lists, Video Games

2015 was a very good year to me in terms of video games. I was able to complete the most games ever in a single year (42), which is pretty surprising given that I put 200+ hours into both Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3. My Game of the Year list is really all over the place because of the plethora of experiences available over the past 12 months. This leads me to believe that the current console generation is really maturing well along with the continued presence from indie developers. In fact, 2015 stands as one of the better years in gaming for me; making the process of selecting my list very difficult.

Of course, a difficult GOTY list is always a good thing and, because I liked so many titles this year, I have quite a few honorable mentions I’d like to get in before the list proper. As you’ll soon find out, 2015 was a heck of a year.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

The Uncharted Collection – I was a 360 owner during the past console generation, so I missed out on this great series. The remaster is an incredible value and the big set pieces have aged well. That said, it didn’t feel right putting this game in the top 10 when so many new games were so great. In 2014, this probably makes the list, but not here.

Citizens of Earth – This was a game I was really looking forward to in early 2015. It’s Earthbound inspiration was evident and the battle system looked interesting. Sadly, myriad technical issues pushed it down the list.

Not A Hero – I like Not A Hero’s styyyyle and Bunny Lord is a pretty fun character. Unfortunately, the game quickly becomes pretty repetitive and, though I enjoyed my time, there are better games from this year.

The Order: 1886 – This one had a lot of potential. While the gameplay was lackluster, the graphics were super slick and the story had some interesting hooks that should’ve turned into a solid story. Then the game ends during the first act and we’re left wondering if Ready at Dawn will ever get funding to finish what was apparently seen as a trilogy.

Fallout 4 – In my “Thoughts On” article about this game, I compared it to a synth. On the surface, it looks and plays better than past games in the series, but it lacks the heart that made those old games special. I stand by the comparison and still can’t recommend this game. That said, I have to assume that anything I was able to play for 200+ hours is, in some way, “good”, so I’ll give it an honorable mention to sate my ego.

Her Story – It’s barely a game and the story is preeetty dumb. That said, I think the story has be “out there” if you want to make the gameplay experience worth it. This is a very interesting experiment in how to do interactive story-telling and I hope Sam Barlow gets to continue pushing the medium in new and interesting ways.

Tales From the Borderlands – Tales was probably going to make my list due to its humor and solid characters. But then another game came along and demonstrated how powerful episodic, narrative-driven games could be, and Telltale’s brand become infinitely less impressive. This is, for all intents and purposes, number 11 on this list and you really should play it. I just think there are better games out there.

10) Rocket League

20150211_rocketleague_01

The nature of my job is that I’m basically working 16 hours a day, seven days a week during the summer. So, you’ll forgive me if I missed the initial rush of love for Rocket League. In fact, during that first month, my only real knowledge of the game was my brother texting me things like, “yo, this Rocket League game is pretty good” and, “I can’t stop playing”. As soon as my summer season wrapped up, Rocket League was the first thing I jumped into and let me tell you, it was worth the wait. As I get older, I’ve started to value fun-factor above just about anything else (other than maybe story) in video games. I don’t really care if it looks pretty or if there are some buggy technical stuff, I just focus on how much fun I had when I was playing it. Rocket League wasn’t the most fun I had in gaming this year, but Psyonix has seemingly synthesized a “fun-drug” and turned into a video game that, much like my brother, “I can’t stop playing”.

9) Until Dawn

Until Dawn is a game you can play through in an afternoon. For some, that’s a turnoff because “eight hours isn’t worth my 60 bucks”, or something like that. If you get past that, you’ll find my favorite horror game of the year (though I haven’t gotten around to SOMA) that takes a great teen slasher and turns it into a David Cage-esque Quick Time Event game. The writing is appropriately campy, the characters are spectacular in their own ways, and your choices actually matter. I can’t think of many better ways to spend a Saturday night.

8) Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Your mileage with Keep Talking likely comes down to whether or not you can find a good group to play with. Luckily for me, I play countless board games with my friends and family, so Keep Talking was a pretty easy sell to both of my board game groups. It doesn’t get much better than watching your mom and grandma try to “work with” your aunt to solve a puzzle using Morse Code. And when I say “working with”, what I really mean is your aunt is yelling and terrified because there’s only 30 seconds left, your grandma is so confused she can’t see straight and your mom is yelling at you, asking, “why are you laughing at me? The world is about to explode!” If you have a party coming up, put down your 15 bucks, print out the manual and prepare for big laughs and bigger thrills. Of all the games on my list, I can easily see Keep Talking being relevant five years from now because of how great it is as a party game.

7) Nuclear Throne

It feels kind of weird putting Nuclear Throne on this list when I’ve probably only played 4-5 hours of it. Compared to my 300 hours in Binding of Issac, that feels like nothing in a Roguelite. That said, in games like these, when I know, then I know; and I know that Nuclear Throne is my favorite Roguelite in quite awhile. Right now it feels super fast and hectic, but I can slowly feel it slowing down and my skills are catching up to the point of respectability. If you liked Issac, I would give NT a try.

6) Undertale

What follows is a typical conversation my girlfriend and I had during my first Undertale playthrough:

GF: What have you been up to today?

Me: Well, I went to go fight this skeleton, but couldn’t beat him, so he captured me. I escaped and then he captured me again. That happened like four times before he took pity on me and realized that I just wanted to flirt with him. So he invited me on a date where we ate spaghetti and he showed his room and his “cool dude” clothes. Then we went on a super date, during which he decided I loved him more than he loved me, so he couldn’t date me and instead we just became best friends. I have his number now and we talk a lot, but it’s totally platonic.

That’s why Undertale is on my list. It’s dumb. It’s silly. I love it. Now it’s time to see the other endings.

5) Bloodborne

Bloodborne is first real experience with a Souls game (I played DS2 on the 360 for a few hours, but then they announced that they would port the game to PS4, so I decided to wait and sent it) and I was in love from my first death. The punishing difficultly is something that I’ve craved in my AAA releases for awhile. When I turn most games up to their highest difficult, it feels more cheap than hard, which is why I gravitated so much to games like the Binding of Issac. In Issac, and Bloodborne, your death is your fault. The game isn’t cheesing you by sending out stupid amounts of enemies or limiting your health. It’s your execution that put your corpse on the floor and execution is something you can work on. I still haven’t beaten Bloodborne, but it has been such a great experience for me that I’m salivating at the impending Dark Souls 3 release in early 2016.

4) The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

Prior to 2015 started, I probably would’ve told you that The Witcher 3 would be the front-runner for my game of the year. And for awhile, it looked like that would be the case. The opening 20-30 hours are pretty incredible story-telling and the character building is some of the best in the business. But then the boring gameplay starts to wear on you and the story slows down considerably. By the end of the game, it felt more like a slog than I had expected and, even though I loved most of my experience, the full experience never captivated me like those first big quests did. Of course, I still think it’s the fourth best game in a year full of huge games, so it’s far from a bad game. It’s just not quite as great as I thought it would be. Well worth your time though.

3) Super Mario Maker

I’ve probably watched more Super Mario Maker than I’ve actually played this year; largely due to the excellent Dan Ryckert-Patrick Klepek feud that lasted the entirety of the fall. That said, this level editing tool is an incredible game that really should have been on Wii U from Day 1. That would’ve undoubtedly driven a few more console sales for Nintendo. Sadly, it took a few years to get Wii U a real “system-seller” and, with The Big N seemingly looking ahead to the NX, it’s tough to see SMM having as big of impact outside of core gamers that it could have. That’s really a shame because, like Wii Sports, SMM makes this platform. You simply couldn’t do this game without the gamepad and the core Mario game is fun for casuals and hardcore players alike. Nonetheless, I sure am excited to have infinite Mario in my future.

2) Life Is Strange

Life Is Strange is the most powerful game I’ve played in a long time. This narrative-based game from DontKnod forced me to take a step back from the story being told and examine my own life. That’s something great art does and I can’t remember that happening for me before in a video game. I realize that the reasons this game spoke to me are deeply personal and aren’t something everyone is going latch onto. That said, even without those big, personal moments, I think the story told here is pretty interesting and the time-warp mechanic is the best addition we’ve had to the Telltale formula. As I said in my “Thoughts On” article, this game is worth your time. More so than almost anything else released in 2015.

1) Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

Like I said in my Rocket League entry above, fun factor has become huge for me of late. I honestly can’t think of a more fun experience I had in 2015 than playing through MGSV. Yes, the story is pretty garbage and, in some ways, it barely feels like Metal Gear game. However, the moment-to-moment gameplay is so engrossing and open, that it doesn’t really matter. Kojima really, truly nailed “Tactical Espionage” in a way that has never happened before.

I don’t want to get into too much hyperbole, but I would probably call this the most technically perfect game I’ve ever played. Would I love to have 10 more hours of story that actually explains things in a way that satisfies us fans? Absolutely. But if you put the story aside and just analyze the gameplay, there wasn’t a better, more fun game released in 2015. And that’s why it tops my list.