Zero Punctuation: Top 5 Games of 2015

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Dannyjw:
I tried the demo for undertale and can only assume i didn't "get it".

I'm not sure how the demo worked, but it took me awhile to really get into Undertale. Really it wasn't till about half way through that things started to come together. Then the closer I got to the ending, the better it got. To the point where I completely get why it deserves game of the year, maybe more than that considering how much it does and in such a way as I've never seen in such a way before.

So yeah, Undertale number one, deserves it.

And Man:

Silentpony:
Just seems to me the #1 shouldn't be controversial, or at least should be a game that is universally loved.

That kind of thinking encompasses everything that's wrong with the "AAA" games industry. Why try anything different or unique or possibly polarizing (though as a fan of Undertale, I believe that the only reason the game is so polarizing is because its fanbase has exceeded Sonic levels of horridness, but I digress) when you can pick something safe that everyone can agree is good enough?

Really? You think throwing in a literal last second review for Undertale isn't playing it safe? You think Undertale fans would have been okay if he never even acknowledged the game?
Somehow I really doubt it.

Silentpony:

And Man:

Silentpony:
Just seems to me the #1 shouldn't be controversial, or at least should be a game that is universally loved.

That kind of thinking encompasses everything that's wrong with the "AAA" games industry. Why try anything different or unique or possibly polarizing (though as a fan of Undertale, I believe that the only reason the game is so polarizing is because its fanbase has exceeded Sonic levels of horridness, but I digress) when you can pick something safe that everyone can agree is good enough?

Really? You think throwing in a literal last second review for Undertale isn't playing it safe? You think Undertale fans would have been okay if he never even acknowledged the game?
Somehow I really doubt it.

Check out the Escapist best game of the year thread. No one cares that Witcher III won and UT got zero mentions. Everyone's saying it's a good choice. People in the recent Critical Miss comic are more comedically upset that Rocket League lost, rather than UT. The only reason anyone would've brought it up is because of the Extra Punctuation he did making people curious as to why he didn't mention it in this year's round up.

Please don't do that.

Silentpony:
Really? You think throwing in a literal last second review for Undertale isn't playing it safe? You think Undertale fans would have been okay if he never even acknowledged the game?
Somehow I really doubt it.

Well first off, I'm pretty sure Yahtzee doesn't care what Undertale fans think. And I believe he had every intention of including it on his list as soon as he was finished playing it; he's stated numerous times that the reason he didn't do a review for it is because he thinks people should play it knowing as little as possible and that watching a review could spoil the game.

I spent a couple of months in Swindon on business and it seemed like a nice little town....what is so bad about it? Is it stuff I'm too american to get?

Hungryfreak:

Silentpony:
Just seems to me the #1 shouldn't be controversial, or at least should be a game that is universally loved. Amongst my group of friends, I honestly would say its a pretty tight 50/50 split over who thinks Undertale is worth playing or not.

I think that's an absolutely wrong attitude to have. For starters, it's a dude's personal list, so whatever ranks ranks.

Also, for a reviewer to cater to a preconceived notion of what is best is for them to make themselves redundant and thus unnecessary. Plus, something universally loved isn't necessarily the best, just on average inoffensive or some level of good. The first Marvel's Avengers movie is pretty universally loved, but for a lot of movie fans wouldn't rank anywhere close to as high as a film like 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is polarizing among people, but evokes a much greater reaction from its fans than the latest action blockbusters normally do. Undertale's controversy and fanbase woes come from the fact the the people who enjoy it really love it. It definitely doesn't click with some people, but a bunch of the players who do get it get really affected by it and then attached to it. It clicked for Yahtzee enough for him to break his own rule just to put it at the top of his list.

For disclosure, I'm a self-professed Undertale fanboy, so I do have that reason to defend Yahtzee's position, but I don't think that makes my point any less valid.

I always found 2001 to be a massively overrated borefest.

Lightspeaker:

saxman234:
I don't know where these rabid crazy fans of Undertale are.

Literally any social media platform where games are discussed.

It took me roughly two days after first hearing about Undertale to become utterly sick of it and I've not even played it. I'm sick of the very concept of it because the fanbase alone has outright put me off. Maybe I'll play it in a year or two if it ever gets really cheap and when people finally stop going on and on.

Indeed, the rabid fanbase has made me never want to play that game, as the fans have a tendency to mindlessly attack anyone who dares not to hail that game as the second coming of Jesus.

I like the new format. On to the New Year! Really gotta try this Undertale thingy sometimes.

I liked Undertale. It was genuinely funny all the way through, nicely designed, had an interesting plot, and at least had something in the way of challenge, unlike most indie games with an interesting story. Yes, it's mostly just an homage to Earthbound, but there are worse things to be an homage to.

Hungryfreak:

Silentpony:
Just seems to me the #1 shouldn't be controversial, or at least should be a game that is universally loved. Amongst my group of friends, I honestly would say its a pretty tight 50/50 split over who thinks Undertale is worth playing or not.

I think that's an absolutely wrong attitude to have. For starters, it's a dude's personal list, so whatever ranks ranks.

Also, for a reviewer to cater to a preconceived notion of what is best is for them to make themselves redundant and thus unnecessary. Plus, something universally loved isn't necessarily the best, just on average inoffensive or some level of good. The first Marvel's Avengers movie is pretty universally loved, but for a lot of movie fans wouldn't rank anywhere close to as high as a film like 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is polarizing among people, but evokes a much greater reaction from its fans than the latest action blockbusters normally do. Undertale's controversy and fanbase woes come from the fact the the people who enjoy it really love it. It definitely doesn't click with some people, but a bunch of the players who do get it get really affected by it and then attached to it. It clicked for Yahtzee enough for him to break his own rule just to put it at the top of his list.

For disclosure, I'm a self-professed Undertale fanboy, so I do have that reason to defend Yahtzee's position, but I don't think that makes my point any less valid.

Well put, I tune into Yahtzee's vids to hear his opinions, not to hear the Wikipedia entry.

Art is meant to invoke a response, even if you hate it at least it gave you something to talk about.

CrazyGirl17:
Woo! Extra-length video this time! Anyway, it's nice to see that a game like Undertale has to be doing something right when it could touch even Yahtzee's cold black heart...

I think it has less to do with Yahtzee's heart and more with the fact that, if you play games for a living, you come to appreciate quirky little novelties such as Undertale over the good, solid, but ultimately "been there, done that" games. Same reason once upon a time everybody fawned over Stanley Parable: it did something nobody had ostensibly done before, and called itself out for it.

While I did read the written review of Undertale from Yatzee but I still wanted a video version of it (just to see the quirks of the imps and his cartoon version reaction and etc).

That's going to rustle a few jimmies, but from watching the Game Grumps play through of Undertale, it deserves all the praise it gets. Although it is probably the first instance I've ever had of being "spoiled", so it's best to play before you watch.

Granted, I'm going to play it once I've worked though my backlog and forgotten everything. Although I'll never be unable to unhear Rosses Skeletor voice, it's magic.

Yahtzee is free from copying Jim as he had it as a side article, not a proper part of the Jimquisition awards forbadum. Crossing my fingers for a Yahtzee guest appearance on the podcast though, although I don't think that the Australian times would be the biggest problem with how much they used/still do out vocalise Gav.

Undertale is absolutely deserving of the best game of the year, and the lengths some people will go to in order to assure you *they* don't think Undertale is that good are just as impressive.

HaywirePoet:
Damn, wasn't that a low year. Yahtzee had to make a second list for games he didn't like. Quite the rocky year for the worst list though, It's pathetic how the games with the largest funds and the most expensive talent (not necessarily the best talent) can turn into such boring or just poorly designed slop that overshadows all the games made with actual passion coming from human beings.

Damn this is depressing.

Better then 2014's mediocrity in my opinion.

OT: Thought Undertale ranked pretty high when Yahtzee called it one of his favorite games this year already. I disagree with him about Halo 5 though, I thought it had some pretty good refined gameplay,and warzone was sick!

Michael Prymula:

Hungryfreak:

Silentpony:
Just seems to me the #1 shouldn't be controversial, or at least should be a game that is universally loved. Amongst my group of friends, I honestly would say its a pretty tight 50/50 split over who thinks Undertale is worth playing or not.

I think that's an absolutely wrong attitude to have. For starters, it's a dude's personal list, so whatever ranks ranks.

Also, for a reviewer to cater to a preconceived notion of what is best is for them to make themselves redundant and thus unnecessary. Plus, something universally loved isn't necessarily the best, just on average inoffensive or some level of good. The first Marvel's Avengers movie is pretty universally loved, but for a lot of movie fans wouldn't rank anywhere close to as high as a film like 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is polarizing among people, but evokes a much greater reaction from its fans than the latest action blockbusters normally do. Undertale's controversy and fanbase woes come from the fact the the people who enjoy it really love it. It definitely doesn't click with some people, but a bunch of the players who do get it get really affected by it and then attached to it. It clicked for Yahtzee enough for him to break his own rule just to put it at the top of his list.

For disclosure, I'm a self-professed Undertale fanboy, so I do have that reason to defend Yahtzee's position, but I don't think that makes my point any less valid.

I always found 2001 to be a massively overrated borefest.

That's kinda HungryFreak's point though. To really hit people's top spot you have to appeal to their specific interests, interests which may not be shared by everyone. Whereas something that everybody loves will be 'less' people's absolute favourite, as in going for mass appeal, it doesn't appeal to their specific niche, and isn't as special to them. For example, my favourite game ever is Deadly Premonition. That, as a game, couldn't have been more perfectly constructed to fit my interests if I had gotten a degree in game design and made the damned thing myself. It is, however, very specific in the niche it fills, and to most people will just seem weird, and, from the purely objective standpoint of technical issues, borders on flat out broken. Most people will hate it. They are right to do so. I absolutely love it. I am right to do so. There is no objective truth to an opinion on art, some people love what some people love.

Undertale slotted perfectly into a niche that is pretty under-represented (the closest comparison everyone makes is the 'Mother/Earthbound' series, from 20ish years ago, most of which never made it out of japan), and nailed that niche so perfectly, that to the people in that niche, it felt like a godsend. I'm somewhat in that niche, and somewhat enjoyed Undertale (and certainly appreciated it for doing its cool, unique thing). It wouldn't be my top game, but I don't begrudge people for it, I see why they love it so much.

Also, let's not forget that his number 2 best was 'Elite Dangerous', the review of which he prefaced by saying (paraphrase:) 'I love this, but I'm weird, so you shouldn't trust this recommendation'. This is clearly his own unique personal opinions he is basing them off, which is great. That's what makes him interesting and worth listening to.

Silentpony:

And Man:

Silentpony:
Just seems to me the #1 shouldn't be controversial, or at least should be a game that is universally loved.

That kind of thinking encompasses everything that's wrong with the "AAA" games industry. Why try anything different or unique or possibly polarizing (though as a fan of Undertale, I believe that the only reason the game is so polarizing is because its fanbase has exceeded Sonic levels of horridness, but I digress) when you can pick something safe that everyone can agree is good enough?

Really? You think throwing in a literal last second review for Undertale isn't playing it safe? You think Undertale fans would have been okay if he never even acknowledged the game?
Somehow I really doubt it.

You really think Yahtzee kowtow's to public opinion. He reviews games, usually negatively, for the gamer audience. The same audience that shits the bed when someone gives GTA 5 an 8/10 for not being high enough. He's been doing this for over half a decade. I think he's used to going against public opinion, and all the 'stimulating emails' it brings, to not be afraid of the response he'd get for not mentioning a game.

Hey, I'm having fun with AC: Syndicate so far, even though it felt like they took features off since Unity. I got some sadistic glee from Yahtzee ripping on 1886 as the #1 worst. And what's this I hear about Jim Sterling doing a Blandest list? Are he and Yahtzee still friends?

If I had any complaints about Undertale, it's the "bullet hell" combat. I really don't like it and would have been incredibly happy if they had just stripped it out if you weren't going to fight. And it wouldn't even have been so bad but if you're doing a pacifist run, that means no XP, and therefore no leveling up. So your HP is sitting at 20, and your base defense at 0. The ENTIRE game. Yeeaaahhhh... Sure you can equip better and better armor and stock up as much as you can on healing items but that's really about all you can do.

Besides all that though... (I haven't beaten the game yet so please, no spoilers.)

i really liked Batman arkham Knight on ps4.. maybe the tank battles are too frequent and new game plus mode is impossilbly hard, but other wise i really liked it. same for assassin's creed syndicate.. it's really, surprisingly, good

Michael Prymula:
I disagree with all but one of the games on the "bland" list

Rise of the Tomb Raider is definitely one of my top games of the year.

It's on my radar. The last one was spectacular. I'm up for another go.

sneakypenguin:
I disagree with the halo 5 being blandest. It was a refreshing throwback to arena shooters with balance and just tight tight gameplay.

On my radar too. I haven't even finished 4 yet though! Do you have the polished XB1 version of Halo 4? I wonder how it compares visually to 5.

And the new Batman game? Took no risks? They incorporated an all new Batmobile mechanic! Terrific fun and great to look at.

That written, while Battlefront 3 does not deserve to be on a "worst" list, I have to write, in a generaton that includes Titanfall, this is pretty thin stuff. I bought it anyway. It's Star Wars man!

rembrandtqeinstein:
I spent a couple of months in Swindon on business and it seemed like a nice little town....what is so bad about it? Is it stuff I'm too american to get?

It's not a bad town. It's just dull, which is why it's a worthy mention on his dull list. I'm not sure why it's considered to be the epitome of dull towns though, when there are so many other contenders in the south east of England.

Dannyjw:
I tried the demo for undertale and can only assume i didn't "get it".

I played the entire game and I don't get it. I mean, I get why people like it. It's not an unlikable game. It does a few clever things and the writing is fun. But I don't get the massive praise like it's the best thing since sex. It's not in any way a representation of what's best about video games. Nothing about Undertale stayed with me after I was done with it.
But that's what opinions are for. I'm glad that so many people found an indie title so enjoyable. That's always nice.

Gorfias:

sneakypenguin:
I disagree with the halo 5 being blandest. It was a refreshing throwback to arena shooters with balance and just tight tight gameplay.

On my radar too. I haven't even finished 4 yet though! Do you have the polished XB1 version of Halo 4? I wonder how it compares visually to 5.

I have the MCC with 4 it looks like the xbox 360 version really. In 5 the levels are a lot more expansive and everything looks polished as hell with a smooth framerate and good environmental physics. Levels don't really have invisible walls so if you wanna grenade jump to somewhere high you can and stuff like that. It looks great in game and the cutscenes are incredible. (almost too good so its a little jarring when you go from FF advent children levels of prerendered stuff to in game graphics.)

Silentpony:
...the 2nd coming of Firefly...

Um... That was Serenity, wasn't it? ;D

Never thought I'd type these words, but "I agree with Yahtzee's views on Halo".

I've been a fan of Halo since the beginning. Loved it's story, enjoyed it's entire gameplay loop, I just really enjoyed it. And then 343 took over and has been jettisoning features that used to be considered core to the experience. One by one they go or get late releases like the FORGE mode.

For the first time since the series began, I have skipped a Halo game. And I highly doubt I'll be jumping back in. With 4 hour campaigns and making the theater and FORGE modes all but pointless afterthought I just don't think there is any steam left. And I never thought I'd feel that way.

Such a shame.

It was hard for me to remember them all to discuss any, so I made a handy list: (You're welcome)

BEST
5 Bloodborne
4 SOMA
3 Witcher 3
2 Elite Dangerous
1 Undertale

WORST
5 Battlefront
4 Hatred
3 Godzilla
2 Alone in the Dark Illumination
1 The Order 1886

BLANDEST
5 Arkham Knight
4 Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
3 Rise of the Tomb Raider
2 Assassin's Creed Syndicate
1 Halo 3

Here's my thoughts...

-Wow, the Witcher 3, I wonder if the PC-Master-Race Witcher-Fanboys will gloat after the crap he gave 1 and 2.

-All the "Worst" are either new IPs or resurrections of dormant IPs while all the "Blandest" are longer-running series with recent past success (except for E.G.T.T.R.). Interesting pattern.

-I need to play SOMA and Undertale... No, I need to install Steam on my work laptop, and THEN play SOMA and Undertale.

-I was actually kinda looking forward to Rise of the Tomb Raider and Assassin's Creed Syndicate once I get a PS4. Now I wonder... I enjoyed Tomb Raider 2013 and I used be a big fan of AC; these games seemed right up my alley. But ever since Dark Souls, I've been craving games that are deeper, different, and more complex than most AAA mainstream games; I'm not sure about ROTR and ACS now...

-Everything I've heard tells me that Arkham Knight just isn't for me. This is another one of those things.

undertale to me seems like a jrpg for people that don't like jrpg's. i did not see the appeal and walked away from it after about 2 hours of playtime. then i played through all of "barkley: shut up and jam gaiden" with tears of joy in my eyes for the entire duration of the game. come at me fanboys!

ot: "but yahtzee, sterling did the blandy bland list already" i shouted at my screen... and 5 seconds later he went ahead and set me straight. good man.

Richard Claus:
undertale to me seems like a jrpg for people that don't like jrpg's. i did not see the appeal and walked away from it after about 2 hours of playtime. then i played through all of "barkley: shut up and jam gaiden" with tears of joy in my eyes for the entire duration of the game. come at me fanboys.

>.>

2 hours is like most of the game, as an FYI. It only takes like 4-6 to beat.

SPEAKING OF!!!

OT: ok, that last second 'revivew' of Undertale just to get it in the running was probably the first time in a LONG TIME ZP has actually made me laugh.

It is impossible for me to adequately express how sick and fucking tired I am of the constant wankfest about Undertale.

Most overrated game ever, and it's not particularly close.

Well, my turn.

BEST:
5. Hotline Miami 2
4. Shadowrun: Hong Kong
3. Spirits of Xanadu (seriously, so many people overlooked this game)
2. Darkest Dungeon, even though it isn't finished yet
1. Undertale

WORST:
5. Arkam Knight
4. Battlefront, you look amazing, but nothing else.
3. Hatfall. Dammit, I like your work, Yahtzee, but I won't buy your collection of refences held together with spit.
2. Vendetta: Raven's cry. Imagine a pirate themed porno with all of the sex scenes and erotica cut out. Yes, it's that hilarious.
1. The Crew, simply for ads and microtransactions in a 60$ game. I used to like you, Ubisort

meh:
5. Call of Duty 9: Modern Warfare: Ghosts: Black Ops: Advanced Warfare: Nazi Zombies: World at War: Game of the year edition.
4. Assassin's Creed 6: We are out of ideas.
3. Minecraft story mode.
2. Every zombie survival early access game on Steam.
1. Order: 1886, they were to occupied with rendering every wrinkle on the character's face that they forgot to insert a compelling story or even original gameplay.

Honorable mentions:
The Uncanny valley is an interesting psychological horror game that aims high, but doesn't quite pull it off. Still a fun expirience on the weekends. Spot all the Steven King, Lovecraft and Jacob's Ladder references.

Downwell - a snacky arcade game with increasing difficulty and complexity.

Emily is Away - A Windows XP, dial up internet, 160p fly video themed nostalgia trip. A simple adventure game with remarkable presentation. Would love to see something simmilar, but more fleshed out.

The Consuming Shadow - the latest installment in the Chzo mythos by some really obscure auteur developer. One of the better roguelikes on Steam that nails the ominous tone and atmosphere. Sadly, it is weigh down by the lack of content and lack of modding support. I unlocked most of the modes and all of the characters in an evening, which didn't quite feel right. I hope Yahtzee continues experimenting on roguelikes, since he loves to jump genres and game engines. CS really needs a follow up or an expantion pack, kinda like FTL: Advanced edition.

Lovecraftian horror is based on the fear of the unknown, so it is detremantal for it be so familiar.

sneakypenguin:
I have the MCC with 4 it looks like the xbox 360 version really. In 5 the levels are a lot more expansive and everything looks polished as hell with a smooth framerate and good environmental physics. Levels don't really have invisible walls so if you wanna grenade jump to somewhere high you can and stuff like that. It looks great in game and the cutscenes are incredible. (almost too good so its a little jarring when you go from FF advent children levels of prerendered stuff to in game graphics.)

Oh man. I gotta get it. My wife is going to kill me for spending the money.

Level 7 Dragon:

WORST:
5. Arkam Knight

meh:
1. Order: 1886, they were to occupied with rendering every wrinkle on the character's face that they forgot to insert a compelling story or even original gameplay.

Really? I don't own Order yet (figure it will be $5 soon and I'll pick it up for a lark) but compared to Batman? I'm not done yet but the new mechanic of driving around in the Batmobile, added to souped up graphics? I surprised you put the Order above Batman.

Silentpony:

And Man:

Silentpony:
Just seems to me the #1 shouldn't be controversial, or at least should be a game that is universally loved.

That kind of thinking encompasses everything that's wrong with the "AAA" games industry. Why try anything different or unique or possibly polarizing (though as a fan of Undertale, I believe that the only reason the game is so polarizing is because its fanbase has exceeded Sonic levels of horridness, but I digress) when you can pick something safe that everyone can agree is good enough?

Really? You think throwing in a literal last second review for Undertale isn't playing it safe? You think Undertale fans would have been okay if he never even acknowledged the game?
Somehow I really doubt it.

This was not a last second review of Undertale, considering he wrote one back in October.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/columns/extra-punctuation/14860-Undertale-for-Best-Written-Game-2015#&gid=gallery_4930&pid=1

The mention in the video is likely just him trying to nip any dissenting arguments about him breaking his own rule for reviews.

Gorfias:
#

Level 7 Dragon:

WORST:
5. Arkam Knight

meh:
1. Order: 1886, they were to occupied with rendering every wrinkle on the character's face that they forgot to insert a compelling story or even original gameplay.

Really? I don't own Order yet (figure it will be $5 soon and I'll pick it up for a lark) but compared to Batman? I'm not done yet but the new mechanic of driving around in the Batmobile, added to souped up graphics? I surprised you put the Order above Batman.

Because I tried playing batman on my PC. Needless to say, I didn't play it for very long.

Order is functional, boring, yet functional. Every element of the game is polished to a mirror shine, yet it all feels lifeless and familiar.

It's not that I don't like Undertale... yes, I think it's over-rated and not worth all the praise it gets but itself as a game isn't a problem. Nooo it's the insufferable, idiotic fanbase - call me shallow or whatever but fanbases DO turn me off of shit. Also I'm STILL irritated that people are like "I've never seen anything like it before" and I'm like "OFF DID IT FIRST. EARTHBOUND DID IT FIRST."

Also I'm not a big fan of the characters. Can't put my finger on why.

I agree about Mehsassin's Creed though. And I didn't like Dark Souls I or II but I rather liked Bloodborne.

I agree with you 100% on Undertale being the best game of this year, but I don't agree with The Order: 1886 being the worst. I mean, I think Alone in the Dark is far worse than 1886, mostly because Alone in the Dark is a like a bad greenlight item. It was buggy as all hell, it didn't have a singleplayer mode that worked, and the game didn't even follow it's own title. At the very least, 1886 worked, and it looked good. It was still boring and had lackluster gameplay, but it at least worked.

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