The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The summer drought is here, just as it is every single year. But have no fear, 2015 has brought some truly amazing gaming experiences to the world. Some are a bit too long to have been properly enjoyed, but since all the biggest titles are taking a small summer vacation, you should have ample time to get through some of these insanely fun experiences. One such daunting affair that seeks to claim hundreds of your hours is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Playing as Geralt of Rivia, players will have a massive open world to explore as they seek out their long lost ward, Ciri and try and get to the bottom of the titular Wild Hunt. Filled with horrific monsters, equally evil humans, a highly addictive card game, and some truly wonderful action RPG gameplay, there is more than enough here to satiate the most thirsty of game drought sufferers.
If you’re looking for adventure and challenge to get you through the next couple of months, look no further. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is available on PS4, XB1, and PC. And, to make things a little easier for those dipping their toes for the first time, we have a handy wiki to help you through this large game.
Maybe you don’t want to go through the drought alone, but you still want to face a serious challenge. Then Helldivers may just be to your liking. The folks over at Arrowhead Game Studios put together one of the toughest co-op experiences out there, and it is as fun as you could hope for. But, be warned, this awesome 2015 release is not for the faint of heart.
The worlds of Helldivers are brutal. Well coordinated teamwork is of the utmost importance, especially since friendly fire is always on. This means no going lone-wolf or acting with reckless abandon. Communication is key, and the escalating challenges provided to teams that last long enough will undoubtedly provide hours upon hours of play. Between taking down impossibly large alien hordes and shouting at your friends until you lose your voice you’ll hardly even notice that you’re in the middle of the summer gaming drought. Helldivers is available on the PS4, PS3, and the Vita.
Ori and the Blind Forest
Back in March, Moon Studios released one of the most beautiful games ever to grace a home console, Ori and the Blind Forest. Here is a beautiful platformer that will take you on a journey through love, pain, regret, hope, loss….pretty much every emotion your body is able to experience. The stunning visuals combined with a moving narrative make for an experience that is even amazing to just watch.
The summer drought is a perfect opportunity to sit back and catch up on one of the best indie games of the year so far. Master the traversal, solve the puzzles, and watch in awe as the beautiful suffering is put on display. Definitely something to put on your summer list to hold you over until the flood comes through. You can get your hands on this gem on the XB1, 360, and PC.
Okay, so Destiny might not be on everyone’s good side at the moment as fans are still trying to figure out their Taken King situation, but there is no denying the fun to be had in this shooter. Yes, this game didn’t release in 2015, but it has maintained a solid presence during this year thanks to the House of Wolves expansion which brought the Prison of Elders, and the Trials of Osiris. Each of those activities allows for hours long gameplay sessions with groups of friends.
The best way to fill your time during the summer drought, especially if you don’t have an extensive backlog of games, is to find a simple to get into a time-sink. Destiny is exactly that. Its gameplay is accessible, and the repetition actually becomes one of its strengths in this instance since it easily allows you to get into a flow. Pick up to do your daily bounties, just run the weekly strikes, or dominate the trials. How you decide to approach is entirely up to you and why this game is perfect to pass the time. Destiny is available on PS3, PS4, XB1, and 360.
Battlefield: Hardline is one of those games of 2015 that ended up being better than many individuals expected. That’s not to say that people expected it to be bad, but leading up to launch many were worried that it would be nothing more than an overpriced Battlefield 4 expansion. After the initial beta it was understandable why they would think that. But once this game released back in March of this year, fans were in for a pleasant surprise.
A gripping drama that looked and felt like it was ripped right out of prime-time television, fun, varied gameplay, and a solid multiplayer experience made Battlefield: Hardline one of this years premier triple-A experiences. There’s a good chance that during all of the excitement in the first few months of this year that you may have passed on this one. What better chance than the summer drought to pick this up and see just how explosive it is? You can fight for the law on PS3, PS4, XB1, 360, and PC.
We’re more than halfway through with 2015 so it’s pretty understandable that this game may have gotten lost during the influx of games over the past few months. But Dying Light is easily one of the best open worlds to run around in with friends to come out this year, especially if you like your enemies to come in the shambling, forever rotting variety. This is a game that you absolutely must get into during the summer drought if you haven’t had a chance.
Set in a quarantined world where a deadly virus has been released, it’s up to you to find out exactly what is going on in this city. The story is pretty by-the-numbers, but the gameplay is what will keep your thirst quenched during these paltry summer months. Quickly moving through this world in first person using the fluid parkour system is exhilarating, and the meaty crunch you hear every time you bash into one of those god forsaken zombies is sure to please. While there may not be much in terms of new coming soon, this January release will definitely help ease the blow. Dying Light is available on PS4, XB1, and PC.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China
Okay, so you may be a bit tired of the annualized Assassin’s Creed franchise, but hear me out. Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China is a very different game from what you’d expect. Yes, you still play as an assassin, and yes, you will have an arsenal that you must use strategically to best accomplish your goal. But, the way in which this story of treachery and revenge is delivered is what makes this small title so worth your time.
The whole side-scrolling aspect, as well as the heavy focus on stealth over aggression makes this game a much more thoughtful affair. True, it isn’t open world, and for some that is the biggest selling point of the series, but if you can look past that one point then you’ll be in for a real treat. strategically using cover, and moving swiftly around the screen as you try and make it from point A to Point B is satisfying. Think of it as a Mark of the Ninja-like game with a healthy dose of Assassin’s Creed lore. And there is a solid score and progression system that helps inject a bit of replayability into the whole affair. Definitely something that isn’t too expensive if you’re looking for something to tide you over while also not breaking the bank. You can grab this addition to the creed on the PS4, XB1, and PC.
Broken Age is an adventure game which had its first half released in January of last year. But, the full adventure wasn’t made available until this April. Narrative heavy, point-and-click gameplay, interesting characters, and hilarious writing leave this indie game oozing with charm.
It may possibly be the shortest game on this list, but it also is one of the titles with the most heart. Playing as both the headstrong Vella and the adventure seeking Shay is an experience that shouldn’t be passed up on. Definitely something that would fit in quite nicely in between whatever other games you may be stocking up to make it through this drought. Broken Age also serves as a pleasant palate cleanse between some of the more action oriented titles on this list. You can partake in this coming of age story on Android, iOS, PC, PS4, Vita, and the Ouya.
If you were a fan of city-building games back in 2013, then you were probably one of the millions of disappointed individuals when Sim City released. Its creativity restricting gameplay, horrible DRM practices, and myriad of other issues certainly didn’t provide the joy that many gamers were looking for. Fast forward to March 2015, and Colossal Order has the remedy to this horrible affliction with their release of Cities Skylines.
Now city-building games aren’t for everyone, but the freedom offered by Cities Skylines through its openness and variety is a must try for everyone. It’s a perfect game to seek hours into, or to play in short spurts when ever you’re feeling just a bit bored. Summer drought be damned, you’ll be able to create a perfect utopia (provided that you have the time and patience) where these issues never even occur. Pick this one up on PC.
Life is Strange
Life is Strange is another adventure game of sorts that makes this list because once again here is a game that manages to deliver a superb experience thanks to amazing characters and an interesting narrative. And once again it is an experience that honestly shouldn’t be missed.
You play as Max, just your average teenage girl trying to navigate the struggles of high school life. Except she isn’t as average as you initially perceive, because she has the ability to alter time. What follows is a journey of epic proportions as the player must prevent horrible events, and uncover the secrets behind many wrongdoings happening around her. This episodic game (which is unfortunately still not complete) is one to definitely dive into if you don’t mind the wait until upcoming episodes.
What better way to get over the summer drought than to head back to high school? Find out just why on the PS3, PS4, 360, XB1, and PC.
GTA V/GTA Online
This is the second game on this list that didn’t come out during this year, but most certainly has made its mark and deserves a spot on this list. Although the game initially released during the Fall of 2013, Rockstar have made sure to continuously build upon this blockbuster hit with free updates, and even managed to release current gen versions, as well as the much awaited PC port. All of the new additions to Grand Theft Auto V can lead to some summer drought mayhem that can easily carry even the most disappointed gamer through.
Most notable is the opportunity for fans (on PC) to get in touch with their creative side via the new video editor. Make an Oscar worthy (or not) GTA V film as you play through the solo game or during GTA Online with friends. We can think of much worse ways to spend your summer. If your ready to dive into this massive game, you can pick it up on PS3, PS4, 360, XB1, and PC.
During the summer drought, while you’re trying not to focus on the fact that all the games you want won’t be out for some time, why not play something that takes you back to the golden days of gaming? A game that puts precise, skill-based gameplay at the forefront, while slick visuals and an amazing soundtrack keep the background just as wonderful. We’re talking about Shovel Knight.
Fast engaging action, an enjoyable story, and tons of secrets to be found make this a perfect game for those who may have passed on it earlier in the year, or back when it released on Nintendo platforms and PC in 2014. You can even make a case for picking it up on multiple platforms due to exclusive goodies that are certainly worthwhile (Kratos on PlayStation Platforms, Battletoads on XB1).
Shovel Knight can be purchased on PC, Wii U, 3DS, PS3, PS4, Vita, and XB1.
Bloodborne/ Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin
2015 saw the release of two of the most difficult, yet hard to resist, video games of all time. The PS4 exclusive Bloodborne, and Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin have dragged players back into a dance of hatred, stress, and ultimate triumph. While each of these titles has sold exceedingly well, many players may have passed them over after hearing about their reputation. But, those avoiding their difficulty are doing themselves an incredible disservice.
Behind the challenging, yet completely fair, gameplay are worlds ripe with a deep lore, and a beautifully tormented imagery. There is no feeling like walking through the dark, gothic architecture provided by these worlds as you head towards another seemingly impossible beast to slay. Claiming victory over some of the toughest bosses video games have to offer will have you feeling like even this drought is beneath you and unable to dominate your mood.
If you’re ready to face your fears you can pick up Bloodborne on the PS4. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is available on PS3, PS4, 360, XB1, and PC.
LEGO Jurassic World (and all other LEGO games)
LEGO Jurassic World may not have been the best LEGO games in recent years, but it is certainly filled with fun to be had. While other major LEGO games put you in the shoes and capes of numerous, this title lets you run around as dinosaurs and live through the best moments of all four Jurassic Park films. It happened to come out right before E3 2015 kicked off, so unless you’re a huge fan of this particular series you may have missed this one, something that should definitely be rectified during the summer drought.
There’s nothing like playing like a raptor and taking a fight to those gun-toting humans. You can experience this first hand on the PS3, PS4, 360, XB1, Wii U, Vita, 3DS, and PC.
Mortal Kombat X
The summer drought is pretty frustrating, and players need ways to vent that frustration in an approved manner. One such way is to completely eviscerate your friends in a digital battle to the death, and there’s no better place to accomplish this than Mortal Kombat X. Here is a fighting juggernaut that managed to bring the same gameplay fans fell in love with decades ago, while also introducing just enough new to keep it fresh.
Add in Jason Voorhees and the Predator, and you have one of the greatest rosters in the franchise’s history. New fatalities, a fun, if not a bit corny, story, and enough modes to keep players occupied for some time, Mortal Kombat X is perfect for the current drought.
You can get in on the fight on PS3, PS4, 360, XB1, and PC.
J-Stars Victory Vs+
If this summer drought is giving something to anyone at all, it has to be anime fans. There is no shortage of anime inspired games on the horizon, but even then players will have to wait until the later part of this blistering hot season. For now those fans can sink their teeth into J-Stars Victory Vs+ on the PS3, PS4, and the Vita.
Play as characters from some of the most popular anime as you battle in a huge tournament on your journey to achieve your dreams. Huge battles in large arenas, lights flashing as everyone uses their signature moves, and voices ripped right out of your favorite series. Launch an all out attack solo, or with friends along for the ride and use the power of friendship to dominate all.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
The Elder Scrolls Online was recently released onto the PS4 and XB1 as Tamriel Unlimited, and it is definitely worth a look for fans of the lore, and those looking to fill the void. To be clear, this game doesn’t play like Oblivion or Skyrim. This is an MMO through and through, but it does have hints of classic The Elder Scrolls gameplay that help to broaden the variety in player choice and builds.
Take your standard MMO combat and throw in some seriously branching skill trees that allow for true control over your character. Add in a vast open world that promotes exploration just as much as previous entries in the series, and some really interesting visuals and you have something perfect for the drought. Journey alone through the major regions, or bring some friends along for the ride as you fight to break Molag Bal’s hold on Tamriel.
Story of Seasons
Story of Seasons is one of those games that is easily overlooked due to its pretty simple nature. But, this is a game that will grab a hold of you and never let go, and the reason why isn’t exactly the easiest thing to pin down. The only thing that is certain is that this game will own you in a pleasant way.
You play as a bored young person who is looking for excitement, kind of like those of you suffering through the drought (is this game speaking to your soul yet?). A flyer leads you to the town of Oak Tree where your journey to becoming a great farmer begins. Interact and help your neighbors as you assist one another in expanding. It’s a simple, yet engaging experience that is perfect for those on the go. And, it will definitely help you through the upcoming, rough couple of months.
Water guns are one way to cool off during the hot summer months, and there is a game that utilizes these super fun toys to help you get through the summer drought. Splatoon is the little shooter that could coming to you from the folks at Nintendo. They’ve managed to take the super popular team-shooter and make it into something that the whole family could enjoy. It’s simple enough to be accessible to everyone, but has just enough strategy for the really competitive souls out there to find full enjoyment.
The colors, the squid now/kid now gameplay, and the fun to use weapons make this a must play for anyone who like fun. It oozes adorableness while also being a solid experience. One that is constantly being grown by the developers through constant free updates offereing loads of new content.
Forget about the drought, and celebrate the summer in one of the most exciting experiences of the year which can be found only on the Wii U.
Batman: Arkham Knight
Closing off this list is a 2015 release that is an absolute must-play. Batman: Arkham Knight is the final chapter in the Batman Arkham series and it turns up the dial on everything to the max. Faster combat, a large, beautifully rendered world, a large cast consisting over fan-favorite characters, and the Batmobile combine for the most explosive entry to the series yet.
Even the overall darkness of the game makes this a worthy game to add to your list of things to play through the summer. Death, betrayal, regret, and suffering are major components of Arkham Knight, and it provides this dark overcast to every single aspect of the game that make this the most twisted entry to the franchise. There is also a surprising amount of content that will help eat up a chunk of your spare time, plus with the upcoming Batgirl DLC, you’ll have something to look forward to.
So the summer drought isn’t all that bad. There are plenty of games that released this year that should definitely be caught up on. Experiences ranging from deep and meaningful to just over-the-top action, all of which will make these next couple of months pass by in a flash. Are there any releases you feel should’ve made the list? Looking forward to trying some of these out yourself? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.