Best Games of 2015


Originally, this list was supposed to be our Top 15 Games of 2015. That lasted until we voted on our favorite games of the year, and discovered that, collectively, we’d had wildly varied gaming experiences this year. 75 different games received votes, spanning not just every modern platform, but the Atari 2600 too (Fat Albert represent!).

In the end, however, thanks to a not-so-complex point system (15 points for a 1st place vote down to 1 point for a 15th place vote, plus 3 points simply for being on a list), we managed to whittle it down to our Top 16 games, with a three-way tie for 14th place. Without further adieu, they were…

dying light 14 (tie). Dying Light

Techland did an outstanding job of addressing the faults of the Dead Island games and added parkour elements that work and take the experience to a whole new level. This was one of the few games in 2015 that genuinely had me on the edge of my seat being chased by zombies that only come out at night. They continue to support the life of the game with new content set for Feb 2016 called the Following. (Benny Rose)

Read our review of Dying Light.


zelda majora 3ds14 (tie). The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D

Nintendo kicked off 2015 with a bang. Fan favorite The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask was remastered and released for the 3DS. If you’ve never played Majora’s Mask, you’re missing out on one of the most unique Zelda experiences ever. Mix the gameplay of Ocarina of Time with the concept of time travel to prevent a moon from crashing into Hyrule and there you have Majora’s Mask. As is tradition with Nintendo’s rereleases, Majora’s Mask for the 3DS is a top notch port and is absolutely worth being in your library. (Paul Rosselli)


Uncharted 14 (tie). Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection

There are probably all kinds of discussions and debates to be had about how to properly rate remastered PS4/Xbox One games, about nostalgia versus objectivity, and about whether it’s fair to include a collection of remasters on a list of best games of the year. I get that, I really do. The thing is, when I play the Nathan Drake Collection, all of those debates and discussions melt away to the back of my mind, and I’m reminded of just how awesome these games are. Uncharted 2 remains one of the best games ever made as far as I’m concerned, while the inclusion of the first and third games alongside it just sweetens the pot. It’ll be nice when Uncharted 4 comes out next year, so we can see how smoothly the franchise transitions into the current generation, but if this collection is any indication, it’s going to be pretty seamless.
(Matthew Pollesel)

Read our review of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection.


axiom 13. Axiom Verge

Being a lifelong Metroid fan, I?ve been happy to see the indie community take Nintendo?s ball and run with it, considering that Nintendo has no goddamn idea what to do with the property themselves. Axiom Verge is a shining example, delivering one of my personal highlights this year, with a combination of visuals, soundtrack and gameplay that come together in a way few other Metroid clones manage to do. But simply calling it a clone doesn?t really do the work that developer Tom Happ did justice. He?s taken obvious cues from the games that have clearly influenced his work with Axiom Verge, and built upon it with unique mechanics, weapons, and other tools that help make Axiom Verge one of the best games released in 2015. (Dustin Chadwell)

Read our review of Axiom Verge.


xenoblade 12. Xenoblade Chronicles X

One of the largest and most epic Japanese RPGs you’ve ever experienced, Xenoblade Chronicles X is a breathtaking ride with sweeping vistas, memorable characters, a (mostly) fantastic soundtrack, and an intense and satisfying combat system. The world is so huge that it may seem daunting at first, but the urge to explore is off the charts with so many lands to discover, each teeming with a vast array of exotic creatures and alien life forms. A sense of progression is ever-present ? each new probe planted uncovers more of the map, leading to new quests always at the ready. Landmarks that had been out of reach since the beginning of the game eventually open up and reveal their secrets once you obtain your Skell license and overhaul it with a flight module. The feeling of soaring through the sky and exploring areas once locked away is the stuff of magic, and unraveling their secrets is glorious. This is easily the best Japanese RPG released so far this generation. (Craig Majaski)

Read our review of Xenoblade Chronicles.


mgs5 11. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

A difficult consideration in candidates; it’s the best the stealth genre has to offer, and brought out the worst of developer-publisher relationships. The Phantom Pain is a tightly wound, addictive, and ultimately hollow experience that’s destined to leave players empty, searching online for answers about its incomplete production. Exemplary mostly for delivering a competent game under grim circumstances, it’s maybe the most important game worth skipping. (Aaron Vaughn)

Read our review of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.


fallout 10. Fallout 4

One of the ultimate time consumers of 2015. The combat was vastly improved and became more accessible to a wider audience resulting in record breaking sales. The season pass content is yet to be released, yet vault dwellers are still clocking in hours into the core game. (Benny Rose)

Read our review of Fallout 4.


Until-Dawn 9. Until Dawn

Eight friends go up to a cabin on a snow covered mountain to mourn the one year anniversary of their friends passing away. What could possibly go wrong? Supermassive Games’ latest is a thrilling interactive horror adventure that plays out better than any cliche horror movie to come out in the past 10 years. Until Dawn’s story is told through all 8 friends and during that time you will grow to like, love and even hate some of them. These emotions might play into how hurt you are by some of their possible deaths. Until Dawn is definitely a must play title of 2015. (Paul Rosselli)

Read our review of Until Dawn.


Destiny 8. Destiny: The Taken King

There’s not a single game — portable, PC, mobile, console or otherwise — that I’ve played more than Destiny and Destiny: The Taken King in 2015. Yes, vanilla Destiny is old news now, but The Taken King expansion proved that Bungie still has it in them to produce compelling content that will keep gamers engaged. Beyond the campaign, PvP and endgame content and modes, the game’s strong community and enjoyable special events (such as the competitive Sparrow Racing League and Iron Banner, and the goofy Halloween-themed Festival of the Lost) have done an amazing job in keeping my interest. Toss in a variety of challenging, rotating quests to unlock unique/powerful gear and Destiny has been a difficult game for me to put down for long. It’s still not perfect by any means, though I appreciate the continual effort to improve and refine the experience that Bungie has put forth. To spite the occasional bitching and complaining from a portion of the community no less.

With an erratic gaming schedule and a relatively casual-but-dedicated relationship with the game (maining one character/class), I still managed to put hundreds of hours into the game over the past year. So it’s hard to ignore that fact when it comes to choosing Destiny: The Taken King one of my personal Games of the Year for 2015. (Jim Cordeira)

Read our review of Destiny: The Taken King.


witcher3 7. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

My expectations for The Witcher 3 were set by the surprisingly short Witcher 2. We were told the third game would provide over 100 hours of gameplay in scale and quests, but after years of empty promises from developers, it was hard to believe any expectations would be met. CD Projekt RED exceeded all and any they’d set, with a trilogy concluding in manners both satisfactory and complete. (Aaron Vaughn)

Read our review of The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt.


tombraider 6. Rise of the Tomb Raider

This sequel complimented everything its predecessor accomplished and added enough new content without taking away from the core experience. The newly added Endurance mode makes the game the most challenging by having to hunt for food and craft everything to survive. (Benny Rose)

Read our review of Rise of the Tomb Raider.


Bloodborne 5. Bloodborne

Visually stunning and despite its difficulty, a great entry point into the “Souls” series if you never played before. Easily one of the best games I’ve played in 2015. This was one of the few games where I welcomed the online components. From Software had continuous patches throughout the year to improve the game, including new DLC to purchase called the Old Hunters. (Benny Rose)

Read our review of Bloodborne.


yoshi 4. Yoshi’s Woolly World

It only took 20 years for a worthy sequel to Yoshi’s Island to be released, but Woolly World takes the excellent gameplay mechanics from its predecessor and gives it a new coat of fabric. This exceedingly charming game not only looks amazing, but also the excellent soundtrack will keep you entertained from start to finish. The levels are fairly large and packed with secret collectibles to find that unlock bonus stages in each world. Throw in a 2-player co-op mode and some clever level designs that truly take advantage of the yarn conceit, and you have a recipe for one of the most creative and fun games of the year. (Craig Majaski)

Read our review of Yoshi’s Woolly World.


Super-Mario-Maker 3. Super Mario Maker

Super Mario Maker deserves to be on everyone?s top list of 2015 games. It makes the seemingly impossible task of creating daunting Mario levels very easy and super fun. There were a few complaints when it launched, such as the lack of mid stage save points. However, Nintendo did the rare thing and listened to their fans and put new features into the game post launch that made it easier to create levels that players want to play through. They also added event levels. These are stages that famous figures in gaming, and gaming press have created that, when completed, unlock new mystery mushrooms to put in your own stages. Even if you decide not to create your own stages, playing the stages players create are a blast! The rules have changed when you create your own levels, want a turtle shell on your head? How about a flying bowser? Now you can have it! Any Mario concoction you can dream up can be real. (Chris Laramie)

Read our review of Super Mario Maker.


Batman 2. Batman: Arkham Knight

The great thing about the Arkham series is how Rocksteady slowly makes Batman’s world a little bigger with each outing. They started off by getting all the character details right in Arkham Asylum, then they broadened that out to show him interacting with Gotham in Arkham City. With Arkham Knight they threw in the Batmobile and…well, reviews on that are pretty mixed, but I’m squarely in the camp of those people who love it. Sure, there’s a bit of a learning curve with it, but I’m totally able to overlook that as I’m taking out bad guys with Batmobile-assisted takedowns, crashing through barriers, and launching myself into the Gotham skyline. Add in am ambitious world that never has any shortage of things to do, and it’s easy to see why Arkham Knight belongs on our list of best games of the year.

Read our review of Batman: Arkham Knight.


splatoon 1. Splatoon

Splatoon’s genius lies beneath a basecoat of wild style and manic territory-based gameplay, where a unique mix of shooting and traversal are blended into the perfect primer for long-lasting mechanics. Add a continuous stream of free content over the months following its release, and you’ve got a new IP with more than just a shiny coat of paint on third-person shooters. (Aaron Vaughn)

When Splatoon was first released, I wasn?t into it. The awkward controls, and strange online setup made me lose interest quickly. The online play, which was the main selling point of the game, was lackluster and there was really no way to play with your friends. After a few months of some Free DLC and some fantastic updates, Splatoon became on of my top played games in 2015. The shaky start probably put a lot of people off of buying it, but as it is now you own it to yourself to play this great game. New modes like ranked battle, and 1 vs 1 balloon battles, not to mention all of new arenas that have been released since launch, game this game the shot in the arm is sorely needed! At a time where there are not many A+ Titles for the Wii U, Splatoon really delivers a solid good time. Even playing single player is a joy to experience with all of the new weapons and updates to the gameplay that have been implemented over time. Either online or off, Splatoon is a fantastic game that deserves it?s spot on one of the best games of 2015! If you passed on this game before, I highly recommend you giving this fantastic title a second look — you will enjoy what you see!(Chris Dunlap)

Read our review of Splatoon.