Niche Gamer’s Favorite Games of 2015 – The Witcher 3 is Our 2015 GOTY

the witcher 3 11-13-15-1

It’s the end of 2015 as we know it – and we’ve corralled the Niche Gamer staff together and had everyone write a short blurb of their favorite game of the entire year – our game of the year, if you will. The games which received votes are as follows:

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – 3 Votes
  • Undertale – 2 Votes
  • Bloodborne – 1 Vote
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – 1 Vote
  • Pillars of Eternity – 1 Vote

This means CD Projekt RED’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is officially the Niche Gamer 2015 game of the year!

In case you’re wondering what each of our staff had to say for their picks, you can find all of that juicy writing below:

  • Brandon Orselli

I’ll be honest – I played about half of the original Witcher and I never got around to playing its sequel – however, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt really blew me away. It was the kind of game I just couldn’t go on media blackout for (which I do for lots of stuff I play just for enjoyment), despite wanting to wait for the finished product and see it firsthand with my own eyes. It’s a testament to the modern RPG, and it’s done right, and it has lots of things I love in western fiction. It’s got everything, monster slaying, beautiful women, a good story, and a womanizing, brooding, badass protagonist. I can’t recommend it enough.

  • Alexis Nascimento-Lajoie

Having not played any of the other entries in the series, I was going in this game with a completely blank slate, having only heard passing things about the series up until this point. I was weary if it would be hard to follow jumping into The Witcher 3, but not only was the story easy to comprehend for newcomers, but it was by far the most engaging game I’ve played this year. The Witcher 3 has probably the highest quality I’ve seen in terms of quest structure and stories. From the main quest to simple Witcher contracts, each one feels fleshed out and realised with nice little stories attached to each one, making many of them incredibly memorable. Geralt as a protagonist was also refreshing, as he’s simply a player in a much grander story, with the only goal to live a life away from politics and war.  I plan on going back to this game sometime in the future, as I’ve only scracthed the surface of what it had to offer. The Witcher 3 was the most enjoyable and surprising game this year, and it’s only gotten me excited for what else CD Projeckt have in store for us.

  • Maciej Miszczyk

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – I may be biased in favor of this game because it comes from my country but regardless of where you come from, Witcher 3 is a great game. It’s a modern action-RPG not unlike the ones made by Bioware but it easily beats them at their own game. It’s a great looking game (from both aesthetic and technical standpoints) with a big but well designed world you can navigate without using the in-game map, memorable characters and choices that have actual (often difficult to foresee) impact on the story while avoiding the obvious black and white morality. It’s not the deepest or most non-linear RPG out there but within its subgenre, it’s an instant classic.’

  • Cody Gulley

I would have to argue that my favorite game this year is Undertale.  I found a great appreciation for the work Toby Fox has put in to this game. I found the cast engaging and I loved the fact that the enemies you face actually show up as NPC throughout the game. The gameplay was a challenge for me due to my inexperience with bullet hell type games, but it gave me a newfound respect for that genre of game which I’m very thankful for. The story was engaging enough to choke me up from time to time and the humor often had me laughing. The best part about the game for me however was the soundtrack even a month after I’ve played it I still come back to it. Toby Fox put a phenomenal amount of work into this game and for a 1 man team it rightfully won the GOTY for me at least. I look forward to his next game.

  • Cody Long

Undertale is my game of the year. Awesome characters, great gameplay, and one of the best soundtracks in recent memory. I can’t remember the last time a game made me smile as much as Undertale, I had a big stupid grin on my face the entire 5-6 hours. Can’t recommend it enough.

  • Carl Batchelor

Pillars of Eternity had a lot of competition, sure, but for as large as The Witcher 3 was, and for as addictive as Dungeon Travelers turned out to be, nothing combined every aspect of the modern RPG together the way Pillars of Eternity did. The branching quests, the choice and consequence, the satisfyingly crunchy (if not sometimes broken) combat…even the graphics were some of the best I’ve seen in an isometric game. Is it perfect? Certainly not, but what Obsidian has done is create a rich and original world that they can build on in much the same way other companies have done with their own. This was Obsidian’s very best work, no doubt. There were doubts about the writing after Avellone left, but after seeing the quality of the two new expansion NPCs, I think they’ll do just fine.

  • Claude Smith

While I’m disappointed by its missing content, and unhappy with how the creative staff who made it were treated,  I think that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain would be my pick for game of the year. The mechanics, controls, cutscenes, and music are all fantastic, and it’s a good swan song for a series I’ve been playing for almost thirty years.

  • Chris Gregoria

I’ve always enjoyed From Software’s games, and Bloodborne still hits that magic mark. I’m always impressed with the world building, and Bloodborne’s Gothic Victorian-esque setting was nothing short of amazing. The locales and art direction was incredible, and the story – when you dig into a bit – was really well put together too. And, of course, the gameplay delivered on all fronts.

What did you think of our picks? We promise that next year, we’ll give fans the ability to poll/vote for their top games (a feature we’ll roll out with our upcoming redesign).

What is your 2015 game of the year? Sound off in the comments below!

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The premiere enthusiast gaming site and community for niche and unique video games across the globe.

  1. ρяøxч
    December 31, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Wow, not a single one of you had Her Story as GOTY? How am I supposed to take Niche Gamer seriously? :^)

  2. Alexis Nascimento-Lajoie
    Alexis Nascimento-Lajoie
    December 31, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    Don’t worry I’m applying for Polygon as we speak. surely this will help my credibility

  3. Heavily Augmented
    Heavily Augmented
    December 31, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    A great finale to the end the year. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2016 for Niche Gamer and video games in general!

  4. Para-Medic
    December 31, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    Glory to NG in 2015! You guys were amazing! Glory for 2016 and beyond!

    Happy New Years everyone, stay safe, good health and fortune to all in the new year! :3

    On topic: My vote goes to MGS V, (I played PC Ver.) It was extremely well optimized thanks to Fox engine and despite all the bullshit (story wise), I still put 160ish hours into it. XD

  5. deadeye
    December 31, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    I actually bought Witcher 3 recently knowing absolutely nothing about it or it’s predecessors. I feel like I maybe should have looked up something, because I’m really muddling my way through. I’m also refusing to look at any guides. I heard choices and consequences is actually a thing here, so I want everything to be raw.

    Also bought Bloodborne recently. In contrast to Witcher 3, I pretty much know everything about it. Still amazing though.

    I figure I ought to play at least some of the big 2015 titles.

  6. sanic
    December 31, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    My game of the year is yakuza 5, for 2012 and 2015.

  7. sanic
    December 31, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    Pretty sure it’s spelt porygon and you need to win 3000 tokens at the team rocket casino to get it.

  8. Fear Me I Am Free
    Fear Me I Am Free
    December 31, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    Let’s hope the new year is filled with good games that don’t get butchered to hell by censorship or are hamfisted political preachy messes.

  9. Tubsiwub
    December 31, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    I guess I’m boring when I say I loved Fallout 4…

  10. Tenryuu
    December 31, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    I’d say that just means you have low standards. :p

  11. deadeye
    December 31, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    What killed Fallout 4 is the dialogue choice bullshit and how it felt like you had almost no control over what your character said. Also releasing in the same year as a bunch of superb RPGs. Bloodborne, Witcher 3, Pillars of Eternity, Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition, Pillars of Eternity, Undertale.

    Standing next to what are likely some of the best RPGs in years, even something decent will look awful.

    Then you have to compare it to the previous Fallout games. It honestly doesn’t feel like a proper sequel to Fallout 3. It just feels like another spin-off with a slightly better engine. I would say it’s mostly better than 3, but just pales in comparison to NV.

  12. Master Bating
    Master Bating
    December 31, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    Go play the predecessors to tje GOTY you goddamned casuals.

  13. Siveon
    January 1, 2016 at 12:04 am

    Well, if it’s meh ranging on bad, then it is a proper sequel to Fallout 3 :P

  14. snugdarkly
    January 1, 2016 at 12:04 am

    Why would anything good ever happen?

  15. deadeye
    January 1, 2016 at 12:10 am

    I was gonna disagree with you, then I remembered F3’s story was about water filtration.

    Yeah, okay.

  16. Siveon
    January 1, 2016 at 12:12 am

    Technically, so was Fallout 1. But it was a lot more cooler.

    [Middle-Aged Guy Intensifies]

  17. Tenryuu
    January 1, 2016 at 12:13 am

    LMAO. The new year is off to an amazing start. Holy shit.

  18. Para-Medic
    January 1, 2016 at 12:32 am

    I dunno about Steam yet, but on handhelds, the new year starts off with FF Explorers and FE: Fates for me.

    Fates is gonna get rekt by NOA. (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

  19. scemar
    January 1, 2016 at 12:59 am

    Good year for RPG’s huh?

  20. Go D. Usopp
    Go D. Usopp
    January 1, 2016 at 2:02 am

    Bloodborne > Xenoblade X > the rest of this year’s mediocrity

  21. Dammage
    January 1, 2016 at 2:25 am

    Play the first Witcher! The story is my favorite in the series, though I have yet to beat Witcher 3

  22. Carl_Ed
    January 1, 2016 at 3:14 am

    Well, Porygon’s name is Polygon in the original Japanese version. Maybe that’s why there was a moral outrage over a two second animated strobe?

  23. Antoinant
    January 1, 2016 at 3:48 am

    Yakuza Zero is pretty good too as a 2015 release.

  24. Stilzkin
    January 1, 2016 at 5:08 am

    I highly recommend the first two games, even if the first is a bit clunky. Also the books, if you’re into reading.

  25. Stilzkin
    January 1, 2016 at 5:10 am

    Based Chris, Bloodborne is my GOTY as well

  26. Softclocks
    January 1, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Disappointing year tbh

  27. Momiji
    January 1, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Great year, when I discovered nichegamer and kept coming back for more. Keep it up! :)

  28. MusouTensei
    January 1, 2016 at 8:44 am

    Havn’t played any of them nor do I plan to, my Top 5 are
    #5 Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson (3DS)
    #4 Omega Quintet (PS4)
    #3 Fallout 4 (XB1)
    #2 Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)
    #1 Tales of Zestiria (PS4)

    Happy New Year and keep going strong in 2016 Nichegamer.

  29. djluke_1993
    January 1, 2016 at 9:04 am

    What no love for Tokyo Twilight? That was one of the better games this year.

  30. KefkaFollower
    January 1, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Nice list friend. And diverse console-wise.
    I’m curious.
    How many consoles you have in “active duty” ?

    P.S.: Happy new year.

  31. MusouTensei
    January 1, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Technically I can hook up all my consoles (almost everything by Nintendo, Sega, Sony and MS from NES till today) in 10 minutes max, but in actual “active duty” are Wii U, PS4, XB1, Vita and 3DSXL, with Wii, PS3 and 360, PSP and DS, pretty much on standby and ready to be played in a minute.

  32. Mr0303
    January 1, 2016 at 11:57 am

    A respectable choice. 2015 was a good year for games and 2016 looks to be better. Happy New Year Niche Gamer! I’ll be following your output with interest.

  33. Dammage
    January 1, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    I’ve not played many new games this year yet, been working on that backlog but I’ll give this a go.
    1. Bloodborne
    2. Nekopara Vol. 1

    Shit I really didn’t play much this year

  34. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    January 1, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    I liked Her Story better when it was called Night Trap and it had Dana Plato in a towel running around a mansion getting chased by monsters.

  35. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    January 1, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    Beat both Witcher 1 and 2 when they came out. Still treasure them. I still consider TW1 to be the best of the series.

  36. PenguinPlayer
    January 1, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    I bought all 3 Witchers in the Steam Winter Sale and finished the first one yesterday. Downloading the second one right now on my shitty internet and hoping it is as good as the first one.

    Also no Yakuza 5 votes means this site is trash and I am never coming back here until you build a shrine to Kiryu-sama.

  37. Arbitrary
    January 1, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    Holy shit; you have bad taste.

    This is the kind of thing that makes it very difficult for me to take you seriously as reviewers.

  38. djghost1133
    January 2, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    “i don’t like you because your opinion is wrong.”

  39. REAPER
    January 2, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    A title well earned for The Witcher 3! All hail the Patriarchy!

    Though I still wish CDPR would get around to fixing most of the bugs in the game soon. Its still a great game though.

  40. TsukuyomiMagi99
    January 2, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    A badass shrine priestess like yourself is always welcome :D

  41. Kamille Bidan
    Kamille Bidan
    January 3, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    I liked fallout 4 when it came out. Then Bethesda “patched” the game.

  42. Etherblaze
    January 4, 2016 at 7:05 am

    Yakuza 5 and Trails of Cold Steel for me. ToCS might be edging out on top because I’m on my second consecutive playthrough right now. Can’t wait for ToCS 2.

  43. alterku
    January 4, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    According to this list, Undertale was almost their GOTY. Undertale was their #2. I just don’t get it.

  44. Cody Long
    Cody Long
    January 9, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Arbitrary? Sounds pretty accurate. ;)