For the next ten days, Dan will be posting picks for the Games of the Year in no particular order. These are favorites from 2015 that he actually played and were released during the calendar year. Enjoy!
I broke one of my own rules. Darkest Dungeon is an Early Access game on Steam and should not be on this list. When this list was created, I had thought that this game was fully released, but if you looked at the Steam page, it is clearly still marked as in Early Access. So, I am at fault in naming a game that is still not technically released as one of my games of the year. However, it is telling that Darkest Dungeon is so fully featured with hours of content that it did not occur to me that it was still in Early Access.
With that out of the way, please be assured that Darkest Dungeon is a great game and easily one of the best of the year. This rogue-like, dungeon crawler, tactical RPG is extremely difficult and only for the most hardy of players. Darkest Dungeon is one of those games that doesn't care if you are having fun, and, call me sadistic, I am thankful for the punishment. Each foray into one of the several dungeons is hazardous. Managing risk is a hallmark for all games with permadeath, but Darkest Dungeon really amps up the sense of danger. It makes for tense and stressful gameplay that is missing is most releases on this list. Unlike XCOM, it never feels that your party is ever comfortable. There is no easy part to Darkest Dungeon and that is refreshing.
Perhaps the best part of Darkest Dungeon is that makes the dark, Lovecraftian fantasy interesting and foreboding. Most representations of Cthulhu-like settings in video games strikes me as corny, but this game really dwells on the insanity, melancholy, and darkness in a great way.
The art style compliments the setting and difficulty well with harsh lines and design. It absolutely belongs on the short list of the most stylish games this year. Among all of Darkest Dungeon's originality, the art is remarkably the most impressive. In a game with lots of great mechanics and deep gameplay, I feel this is a notable accomplishment.
Of all the games on this list, Darkest Dungeon is the only Early Access game, and the only one that will come with a warning. This game will defeat you.
Come back tomorrow for urban planning and traffic in another games of the year pick.