Gamer Escape’s Top 5 Reviewed Games of 2015

topfivefix

 

The year 2015 is drawing to a close, and it’s been (at least for me) a pretty good one! Numerous surprising announcements for upcoming games (Final Fantasy VII Remake, anyone?), the release of a new expansion to Final Fantasy XIV in the form of Heavensward, and we’re rolling ever forward toward the launch of a new design for the site!

More specific to my role here at Gamer Escape, we’ve been doing our best to get our game review department thriving again, and it’s been a good year on that front as well! By my tally, we posted 23 reviews this year…which, in my opinion, isn’t bad for two people in their free time (especially when one of those people is hard at work with the rest of the site)!

So, what I would like to do is take a look back at our reviews and bring to you the Top 5 games that graced our desks here at Gamer Escape. These are all presented in no particular order, but each game received a 9/10 score or greater.


pic1101

– Stella Glow –
Reviewed by: FireMarth
Release Date: November 17, 2015
Systems: 3DS
Reviewed Version: 3DS
Gamer Escape Score: 10/10

The most recently reviewed game on our list is Imageepoch’s Stella Glow. The game received one of two perfect scores given this year here at Gamer Escape thanks to its story and characters, along with a very strong soundtrack. The game is a turn-based and grid-based strategy game that hits the sweet spot between “too complex” and “not complex enough” in the genre.

The soundtrack and voice acting is of special mention. As a game that uses music as an integral part of its story, the songs written for the game are well composed and memorable. The voice acting (while available in English only) has one of the stronger performances we’ve seen for a niche game such as this.

As Imageepoch’s swan song, the developers ended their legacy on a strong note with Stella Glow.


Sequence-01.Still019-copy-1024x576

– Adventures of Pip
Reviewed by: Fusionx
Release Date: June 4nd, 2015
Systems: PC, OSX, WiiU, iOS, PS4, XB1
Reviewed Version: PC
Gamer Escape Score: 9/10

An indie release from the company Tic Toc Games, Adventures of Pip was a very strong release in the puzzle platformer category this year. Playing off the tendency of indie developers to use old-school graphics, this game involves controlling the character Pip in three different forms: a single pixel, an 8-bit sprite, and a 32-bit sprite. Each form gives you specific abilities, and the puzzles revolve around what forms to be in and when.

The game has a lighthearted story tying it together, along with an endearing soundtrack by Jake “virt” Kaufman. It also provides an excellent difficulty curve where the game doesn’t get stupidly hard, but offers enough challenge to bring a sense of satisfaction when completing later stages.

While many may overlook “just another old-school style indie game,” Adventures of Pip is one worth giving a shot.


E3_2015_Mediakit_016

– Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward –
Reviewed by: Fusionx
Release Date: June 23rd, 2015
Systems: PC, PS3, PS4
Reviewed Version: PC
Gamer Escape Score: 9/10

Now this is one of the games most of our readers come to this site for! Heavensward is the first major expansion for Final Fantasy XIV and offered an excellent amount of content for players of the game. The story offered up in this expansion is definitely a highlight and provided a great setup for future releases in the 3.x patch lineup.

As I said, the amount of new content is noteworthy: a higher level cap, new dungeons with a better drop system, a major new raid, a brand new component to gathering and crafting, and quite a bit more…but we don’t want this to turn into just one long list.

There’s a reason we have a focus on this game, and it just keeps getting better.


top

– Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker –
Reviewed by: FireMarth
Release Date: May 5th, 2015
Systems: 3DS
Reviewed Version: 3DS
Gamer Escape Score: 10/10

Our other perfect score this year is Atlus’ Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker. It’s also another turn-based grid-based strategy game for the 3DS, but this one offers up something a bit more complex. This game combines the strategy genre with traditional turn-based RPG battles a la the mainline Shin Megami Tensei series.

The voice acting was of note in this release, especially in the main cast. The art style and character designs (for the most part) are excellent as well, even with the fact that this is a port of an original DS game.

Don’t let the colon-heavy name or sequel number scare you away, this one is worth picking up for any 3DS owner.


lisreview

– Life is Strange –
Reviewed by: Fusionx
Release Date: October 20th, 2015 (Final Episode)
Systems: PC, PS3, PS4, 360, XB1
Reviewed Version: PC
Gamer Escape Score: 9/10

A collaboration between Square Enix and DONTNOD, this adventure game presented an intriguing and occasionally dark story over the course of five episodes. Life is Strange put a strong emphasis on player choice, which worked to various degrees.

Of particular note (and a common thread throughout this article) is the game’s soundtrack. In this case, Life is Strange makes use of a number of licensed tracks, and they are put to particularly good use to enhance moments in the story.

Despite a few storytelling stumbles, this game is an experience every gamer should have.


As I finish writing this article, I am just past my two-year anniversary here at Gamer Escape. Each year gets better and better, and I’m looking forward to what’s in store for the upcoming year…and you out there should be, too! There’s quite a bit planned, and we hope to bring you even more game reviews in the future!

Until then, Happy New Year, and I’ll see you in 2016!