It’s been a crazy year for video games. We’ve seen long dormant franchises make a comeback, highly anticipated games get delayed, DLC flood the marketplace, and a few indie surprises pop out of the woodwork. Yet, at the end of the day, only a handful can be considered for the year’s best.
Without further ado, here are my top ten games of 2015, with a few honorable mentions thrown in for good measure:
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt – CD Projekt Red didn’t disappoint with its thrilling conclusion to the Witcher series, featuring monumental action and breathtaking visuals.
Transformers Devastation – After dragging to the bottom with Rise of the Dark Spark, Platinum Games brought back a beloved franchise, and how, with this thrilling entry.
Lego Dimensions – Even though it does take some time to get everything built, Lego Dimensions is one of the best games in the franchise in years. Hilariously written, too.
The Top Ten Games of 2015
10. Call of Duty: Black Ops III – Say what you will about the storyline getting jumbled in a few places, but this year’s Call of Duty delivered far better than expected. Single player, co-op and multiplayer all lived up to the hype, and the new Shadows of Evil zombies mode is truly one of a kind. Don’t miss it.
9. Just Cause 3 – Even with its minor slowdown issues, Just Cause 3 ended up being one of the year’s biggest parties, mainly due to how well it played and just how much chaos you could muster within a matter of seconds. Here’s hoping the DLC continues the destructive trend. Just say no to gas stations!
8. Pac-Man 256 – How do you bring back a classic franchise for today’s mobile market? That’s easy – just do what Hipster Whale did with Pac-Man 256. It retains the classic gameplay we’ve come to expect from the series, but with some extravagant new twists that make it a joy to behold.
7. Downwell – Leave it to Devolver Digital to present an 8-bit style shooting and platforming experience that challenges at every turn, and makes us yearn for the classic days of gaming. Downwell is frustrating, challenging and a hell of a lot of fun. Now we just need a console release already.
6. Guitar Hero Live – Even though Rock Band 4 is worth its weight in gold, you can’t deny how captivating a return Guitar Hero made. Featuring ingenious streaming channels that do away with unnecessary DLC, as well as a new gameplay system that works wondrously, this franchise rocks harder than ever.
5. Ori and the Blind Forest – One of Microsoft’s biggest releases was in fact a smaller one, a wonderful platforming adventure that isn’t afraid to throw some emotional punches while, at the same time, creating a world that stirs the imagination as you venture through it. More Ori would be a good thing.
4. Splatoon – Nintendo CAN still do original games, guys. And how. Splatoon not only managed to introduce a “hardcore” style shooter for the Wii U, but also did so in a non-violent way, so that adults and kids could like it equally – and have no trouble getting the whole place covered in paint. Here’s hoping for some sequels.
3. Rocket League – Even though Psyonix’s Rocket League isn’t based on an original formula – it’s actually a sequel – it still nails down the perfect basics for addiction. It’s a sports game, but it’s not, as you master skills on the field using various cars. Single player is fun, but in multiplayer, nothing can top this Rocket.
2. Super Mario Maker – With this “do it yourself” kit, Nintendo has created the ultimate gift for Mario fans, allowing them to create simple – or absolutely diabolical – levels based on their own creative means. With tons of community based features and unlockables, Super Mario Maker is a treasure to behold.
1. Rise of the Tomb Raider – Say what you will about the Microsoft exclusivity, but Crystal Dynamics absolutely nailed a home run with this sequel, continuing the sheer intensity we’ve come to expect from Lara’s 2013 reboot. With fantastic visuals, challenging tombs to conquer, and absolutely stellar gameplay, this game fires on all cylinders – and does Ms. Croft’s legacy proud.