1. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Off the bat, I reward innovation and the Nemesis system is the best addition to the gaming landscape this year. Within 30 minutes of playing Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, I had already created a rival and seen him rise through the ranks and begun my own custom Orc killfest. I even ran across Orcs who had taken out friends of mine in their games and then I tracked them down and took care of them.
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Combine the most innovative system of gaming this year with already irresistible Arkham style combat and an even more refined Assassin’s Creed type of exploration and you have yourself a winning game. Sometimes a game can be rewarded for being just a game. Most of my list bears out a ton of games that are good at specifically that. Amongst them, Shadow of Mordor is a shining example of what broadening horizons and pushing archetypes can do. It does not succeed or try doing so in every way, but it does it in what I feel is the most important way for the medium. As such, it is my game of the year.
Here is looking to some glorious experiences to come in 2015!