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Actor Scott Porter Shares His Top 10 Games Of 2015

by Game Informer Editorial on Dec 26, 2015 at 07:00 AM

Bethesda Softwork's Erin Losi, Game Informer's Andrew Reiner, and actor Scott Porter at E3 2014

On the lead up to Game Informer's Game of the Year awards of 2015, we've invited a number of the video game industry's influential figures to share their favorite games of the year.

If there's a video game convention in town, there's a good chance Scott Porter is there to get his hands on the latest and greatest in games. In addition to seemingly being everywhere at once, Scott is an actor who can seen in Friday Night Lights, Speed Racer, Hart of Dixie, Caprica, The Good Wife, Prom Night, and his voice can be heard in X-Men (Cyclops), Robot Chicken, and the video games Batman: Arkham Knight (Nightwing), Minecraft: Story Mode (Lukas), The Walking Dead: Season 2 (Luke), and Lego DC Super Heroes (Aquaman, Superboy). Porter took a few moments out of filming a new TV show to give us his Top 10 Games of 2015.

Here is Porter:

My top ten might not align with yours. It might not even align with the type of picks I've had in the past. The reason is simple: This year I had my first kid. He's awesome. He's only six-months-old, but he has already changed how I game, and what I play when I do.

Gone are the days of being able to immerse myself in the giant, sprawling, intimidating landscapes of sandbox games. The 80- to 100-plus hour games aren't really my jam any longer; they just can't be. Extended solo experiences have gone the way of the dodo for me. So please don't yell at me for my omission of Fallout 4 or The Witcher 3. I know they are most likely phenomenal, but I'd be lying if I ranked them here, as I haven't had a chance to play them extensively.

What has taken their place are games that I can jump into for 40- to 90-minutes at a time and feel like I accomplished something. It's what I like to call "Naptime Gaming" – solo experiences with chapters that move quickly enough or with enough side quests that are doable in short spurts.

Platformers. Action and Adventure games. Well written stories that don't try to do to much. Simple fun. That's what I gravitate towards now – with a dash of sports, and a driving games thrown in for good measure.

Multiplayer does remain a key option for me though. Games that I'm familiar with that don't have player bases full of vitriol and testosterone will always net some of gaming time. Multiplayer games of this variety speak to me as a father, since most of my days are spent speaking to a tiny human whose favorite word is "Agoo!"

With all of that in mind, here's my Top Ten Games of 2015:

10. King's Quest
A fresh take on a old tale. "The Odd Gentleman" gave us an amazingly endearing alternative to the cavalcade of Telltale games out there. Free of all of the weight that other adventure games usually throw at the player, King's Quest plays easy. I like that. A colorful world full of puzzles that don't vex the player too much, and humor that deserves a chuckle make this one a treat to play. Throw in some of the more inspired voice over casting this year for a fantastic cast of characters and King's Quest becomes a contender.

9. The Order: 1886
Hugely cinematic. Gorgeous. Well acted. A story that weaves in and out of historical London much like Penny Dreadful does on Showtime, The Order: 1886 more than makes up for its short run time with its incredible action. In my mind, the worlds of games and cinema are on a crash course for entertainment supremacy. This game offers casual gamers seeking a cool narrative (that won't unfold over days of their lives). It's quite possible that a game like The Order: 1886 could start a trend towards more accessible gaming for the non-hardcore crowd of gamers who just want a fun story that doesn't kill you repeatedly, or ask you to do too much.

8. Rock Band 4
This one is all about family...and that trunk of plastic instruments I keep upstairs. There is no video game that I can get my entire family (ages 18 to 65) to play together like Rock Band. Sure we play Mario Kart and the Jackbox titles, but those games are competitive, and usually end up with my father driving the wrong way, screaming expletives at Lakitu, or my mom answering every question with the word "Fart." With Rock Band, there is no "mom" and "dad," just five rock gods. We click together like Voltron, and form a mega-band that five stars every song under the sun. WE THRASH. And we love it. My mom and dad met in an '80s rock band named Rukus, so maybe this was meant to be. The only thing keeping Rock Band 4 from ranking higher is the fact that we have to be in the same room to do it. With me living in California and them in Florida, it's a bummer than online play is no longer present. It's too bad, because with it, Rock Band 4 might just have been my game of the year.

7. Halo 5: Guardians
Halo. The first FPS I ever sunk my teeth into. The game I sat in a house with 15 other gamers linked up to 4 TVs and slayed all night with. The franchise has morphed over time, to the chagrin of some, but Master Chief always delivers. This iteration has some new bells and whistles. Some, like Warzone, really shine while others (cough, cough, downed teammates) make fans scratch their heads a bit. When you're a Spartan, you want to feel invincible. Crawling around on the floor, begging for help, really takes that away from you. The campaign is buoyed by Locke, Buck, and a rich cast of characters whom help fill out the Halo universe, and ultimately deliver the broadest Halo story experience since Reach. The competitive multiplayer feels tight, but I scratch my head at the omission of some of my favorite modes in regular rotation. The absence of local co-op was, for me, the most glaring omission of all; cementing the fact that the Halo I remember is no more. All that being said, Halo 5 is still a Spartan class shooter, and it has earned its REQ Packs in my Top 10.

6. Yoshi's Woolly World
I got lucky in life and married a woman who not only lets me log hours and hours into games, but actually wants to play some of them with me. These titles are usually games with cute characters, easy hooks, and fun mechanics. No one beats Nintendo in the cute character arms race, and Yoshi may be at the top of the heap. There's nothing cuter than a dinosaur/dragon creature eating and regurgitating yarn balls as it destroys and recreates the game world it lives in. It's like a Kaiju as imagined by Agnes from Despicable Me. It's not all sunshine and rainbows in Woolly World, as there are a lot of "accidental" eatings and boppings on the head of your "cooperative" partner, but that's part of the joy. Mastering the simple, yet elegant controls takes a minute (less if you're familiar with other first-party Nintendo offerings), but once you do, the world opens up in entirely new ways. It's a blast alone, but truly awesome with a partner.

5. Tales from the Borderlands
Sometimes I like a lightweight adventure game, and sometimes I like a game where every character is questionable and your choices may lead to any number of their demises. Telltale is good at this stuff. Very good. Fables and The Walking Dead both felt great, but this game ups the ante completely. Your ability to loot in game adds a whole new layer to Telltale's proven formula. Tales from the Borderlands may take a bit to start cooking, but by the time episode three hits, the story pushes the player in ways they had never before been pushed in a Telltale game. Top notch acting, and the joining of two of my industry favorites (Telltale and Borderlands) should put this game squarely in every gamer's sights.

4. Batman: Arkham Knight

This game stretched me to my limit. Luckily when it released, my son was napping...a lot. He would sleep on my chest as I would gleefully track down Riddler trophy after Riddler trophy, and one-up my friends best AR Challenge scores (I'm looking at you, Nyambi Nyambi). The Batmobile feels incredible as another new gadget, and controlls like a dream. The new perks to flying make traversing the city by air or land a breeze. The addition of the new buddy-system fights make what is one of the most fluid fighting systems we have ever seen better and even more dynamic. Some of the boss fights underwhelm, but even when they do, they almost feel right – one punch from the Bat is enough to down most of his foes. From the opening scene to the closing credits, Arkham Knight pulls the player into a dangerous story. Well scripted and incredibly well acted, it delivers as the closing chapter to Rocksteady's Arkham trilogy in ways we all hoped it would. It is Gotham's shining knight. It is the hero she deserves.

3. Destiny: The Taken King
Destiny's year one problems have been documented ad nauseam. Whether you took umbrage with the lack of story, or felt constantly cheated by RNG, it had its issues. However, Bungie had just birthed a game unlike anything we have ever seen before, and it was bound to have growing pains. The Taken King shows incredible growth while keeping the best parts of year one intact. Bungie seems to be listening to its fans in a way few game companies can or will, and they delivered big time at the start of year two. The Taken King's story line is robust, and its aim to fill out the overall lore of the universe, hits the mark. Thanks to the expanding roles of characters like Cayde-6 and Eris Morn, the story has depth and pulses with an energy sorely missed in the first year. The gunplay is still hands down the cleanest you will find on this generation of consoles. The changes to how you level both as a character and your gear works in the players favor. On top of all that, Bungie sprinkled in exciting hidden quests and timed events for good measure – the rewards of which are well worth it without having to depend on RNG. I'm excited about the future of Destiny thanks to The Taken King...but I do want Bungie to bring back one thing from the past. I want my Dinklebot back. A toggle function? Please?

2. Rise of the Tomb Raider
Man. Lara Croft is back, and she came ready! This Tomb Raider tops the last in every way possible. More combat options. More beasts. More ancient goodies. More pieces of Ms. Croft's past. Bigger caves to explore and puzzles to solve. Longer nail-biting, controller-gripping action sequences. even larger collection of ways to watch Lara croft die gruesomely. What's not to love? New mechanics that allow for quicker looting and gathering of materials make survival more fluid, and being able to craft items on the go allow you to never quit moving, if you don't want to. Some of the action sequences outdo Indiana Jones' most daring deeds, and I loved every minute of it. Go exploring, you'll thank me for it.

1. Ori and the Blind Forest
Ever since my younger days, I have had a weak spot for tales of loss and redemption. Take The Land Before Time or any number of Disney flicks and put them in front of me and I'll tell you to take my money. As an adult gamer, I've always had a weakness for the little games who could. In the past few years Bastion, Dust: An Elysian Tale, Child of Light, and Limbo have demanded my attention the way few AAA titles have. Moon Studios deserves an ovation for not only working in a non-conventional fashion, but for crafting a game that truly cares for on all levels. Like a cute, little assassin, Ori and the Blind Forest is deadly. The mechanics demand almost perfect timing and are as tight as any game in a good while. The payoff is worth the pain, and the poignant story can only pay off if you stick with it. A number of my friends quit after the first "escape" portion at the Ginso Tree, and I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful of a game they missed out on. Don't be like my friends.