Top 8 Video Games of 2015

2015 was a great year for games, but here are the absolute best!

Although it started off a little slow, 2015 ended up being a huge year for video games. Absolute classics were released this year across all platforms and genres, giving gamers plenty to choose from when it came to their hard earned cash. But we wanted to give a special shout out to the best of the best: Games that shouldn’t be missed by anyone looking for an excellent interactive experience. Here it is, our top 8 games of 2015!

Hotline Miami 2

This list is full of sequels and Hotline Miami 2 does what every good follow-up strives to do: It improves upon all of its predecessor’s mechanics and adds even more. The hidden plot lines of the first game are much more fleshed out; each new character adds a new dimension to both gameplay and narrative and those sick beats you’ve been missing are now back in your life. It controls just as well as it ever did, but the ultraviolence has been ramped up and the replayability is much higher, with a level editor on the way for even more murder simulation.

Halo 5

Although it had an entire franchise’s weight upon its shoulders, Halo 5 proved to be both a quality Halo game and an excellent modern multiplayer shooter. The campaign is divisive, giving players less time with Master Chief than expected, but the game’s epic scale, massive firefights, online co-op and gorgeous frame rate make it a must-own for Xbox One owners. The multiplayer is still the star, as new mode Warzone combines PvP-style combat with PvE objectives, creating mass battles never seen before. It’s the beginning of an all-new trilogy, so be sure to pick this one up before the inevitable Halo 6 and Halo 7 come out between now and 2020.

Tales From The Borderlands

There are so many reasons why this game should have sucked. Telltale has been pumping out licensed games like crazy, Borderlands has hit its own critical mass and the one thing the franchise is famous for—mostly shooting everything in sight—would no doubt be minimized in a serialized adventure game. But someway, somehow, Telltale has pulled it off again, by doing what they do best: writing. The dialogue in this game is some of the best all year and the player’s choices actually matter, unlike a few other Telltale jams. The soundtrack is perfect; the voice actors are top notch and the world of Borderlands now seems 10 times more vibrant than ever. If this doesn’t get you pumped for their take on Batman next year, I don’t know what will!

Rocket League

Rarely will a free game make a Best of the Year list, but few games are Rocket League. If you were lucky/smart enough to snag it during its free PlayStation Plus stint, you know exactly how addictive this soccer-meets-racing game is. The incredible simplistic gameplay worked wonders, pitting players against one another in a pure game of skill, without any handicaps of boosts, low gravity, or any other wacky non-sports tweak. Instead, intense battles waged between tiny RC cars with rockets strapped on their backs, creating fast-paced micro-moments of joy, something no other game came close to achieving this year. The game is so good it might end up being on our list NEXT year, when it comes out for Xbox One.

Fallout 4

Not giving this game Game of the Year might be blasphemous to those in awe of everything Bethesda produces, but while Fallout 4 is an amazing game in its own right, it might not even be the best Fallout game. It does improve in a ton of important places, namely the shooting mechanics, density of the world and variety of things to do. But its clunky inventory system, half-baked crafting mode and stale narrative keep it from achieving greatness. Still, I’ve pumped 75 hours into it and plan on buying every scrap of DLC, as there is nothing like a Fallout game. The atmosphere and characters of this living world are both enchanting, even if I had a better time with Fallout 3.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

It’s hard to believe that this is probably the last we will see of Snake and his friends, but with Hideo Kojima’s departure from Konami and that company's lack of insight into the video game business, we will have to cherish this masterpiece of a game for the rest of time. Truly, no game felt, controlled, or played as good as MGSV did. Its ability to take an open world and turn it into an authentically boundary-less experience was remarkable. The freedom of mobility and strategy was something thought only to be a dream, tarnished by every bad Assassin’s Creed game over the past decade. But for those willing to deal with some insane story beats and frustrating bosses, MGSV proved to be potentially the best entry in an elite franchise.

Axiom Verge

Here we come to a truly remarkable piece of software. Axiom Verge sort of came out of nowhere, made by a single person over the span of multiple years. The music, gameplay, story, dialogue, literally everything you see and hear, was the product of a single visionary. Whereas that dynamic can sometimes create tunnel vision and singular faults in other games, it established a cohesive dream world where gamers went back in time and visited the glory days of Metroid and Castlevania. Axiom Verge only got better as you dug deeper, finding out more about this insane universe and each gadget or weapon granted access to new portions of this alien world.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Here it is, the game of the year. CD Projekt Red was extremely ambitious with this title, making every side quest feel like a main storyline. Every character had various motivations, all enemies had the ability to be life ending, and our hero, Geralt, was badass throughout the entire adventure. Unlike MGS or Fallout, your motivations are you own and actually reflect both your character at the end of the game and the world’s view of them. The combat perfectly blended magic and sword fighting, and taking on mythical creatures took creativity and subtlety. The world is gorgeous, sprawling across multiple continents, each filled with dozens of hours of adventuring and questing. If playing through a fantasy world or RPGs are your thing, The Witcher is a truly next-gen experience built just for you.
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