With 2016 less than two weeks away, many of us are already looking forward to the video games set to hit consoles in the coming twelve months.
Next year, we can expect Tom Clancy’s The Division, Gears of War 4, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Uncharted 4, and more to consume hours upon hours of our lives – not a bad prospect for any gamer.
Still, 2015 has been a fantastic year for video games. While sequels and reboots have been the major talking points, original titles have slipped through the net too.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of 2015’s best games!
Batman: Arkham Knight
Without doubt, the Arkham series has been massively influential, not only with its iconic combat system, but also its tightly-designed open-world gameplay, striking visual style, and powerful storytelling.
After the huge success of Arkham City, Rocksteady knew they needed to up the ante, building on the plot threads they had skilfully woven into the series’ overarching narrative (Arkham Origins, developed by Warner Bros. Games Montreal, was a decent prequel that plugged the gap between ‘main’ instalments).
With Arkham Knight, they absolutely delivered the goods, building a bigger, deeper game filled with great moments.
While some fans and critics warmed to Knight less than they did City (due mainly to the Batmobile’s mechanics and the flawed story), it still received favourable reviews, and leaves us excited to see what Rocksteady do next!
Considering how big, beautiful, and downright breathtaking Fallout 3 was, it’s little surprise that millions of fans were chomping at the bit for any news of a sequel.
Well, 2015 saw the long-gestating Fallout 4 finally hit the market with all the force of an atomic bomb, racking up $750 million in sales right away. The game’s an absolute delight to play (despite the usual Bethesda glitches): with a deeper story than even Fallout 3’s, incredible customisation options, and the familiar, thrilling exploration-based gameplay, this is already a stone-cold classic.
The mobile-based companion, Fallout Shelter, is also great fun, giving gamers the power to run their own vault whilst on the move.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
For fans of the two previous games set in the world of Andrzej Sapkowski’s fantasy novels, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is something of a treat.
Boasting 30 times more scale than its predecessors, Wild Hunt puts players back in control of Geralt of Rivia, the eponymous witcher. CD Projekt RED revamped the combat system, introduced horseback- and sea-based fighting, as well as the new Witcher-sense, which alters combat & tracking.
The stunning day and night cycle also affects the game’s monsters, heightening certain powers at different times, and Geralt even grows a beard the longer the game runs.
Star Wars Battlefront
The Star Wars: Battlefront formula is still one of the greatest uses of the license in video games, throwing players into the midst of epic skirmishes across multiple planets.
EA DICE’s reboot, Star Wars Battlefront, finally saw release in November, and divided opinion somewhat. However, the game definitely has a huge fan-base, and gives players the chance to re-live some of the franchise’s most iconic battles by themselves or with others across the globe.
Walker Assault mode received much of the praise, thanks to its fast-paced action, and stepping into the shoes of Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Leia Organa, Han Solo, and more is always welcome. With The Force Awakens finally upon us, Star Wars Battlefront will help players to live out their fantasies as they soak up the franchise’s magic for some time yet.
Life Is Strange
This episodic graphic adventure is an amazing experience, released in five immersive instalments throughout 2015.
Following photography student Maxine Caulfield, the story explores such head-shrinking concepts as time-travel and the butterfly effect. Maxine, you see, has the power to rewind time and change things as she sees fit – an ability that comes in handy when she foresees a massive storm approaching.
Setting out to save her town from imminent destruction, Maxine embarks on a quest that features puzzle-solving, branching conversation-choices, and rewinding events within a specific time-frame.
Life Is Strange is a must for anyone looking for something different.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
The Phantom Pain is easily one of 2015’s most impressive video games.
Set during Big Boss’s time with the Diamond Dogs, The Phantom Pain takes place in Afghanistan, as his team of mercs fight to take down the Cipher organisation.
Featuring incredible graphics, staggering open-world gameplay, a powerful, less-intrusive storyline, and the most badass action, the fifth main instalment in the MGS series is a must-play for fans.
Pillars of Eternity
As the one-time highest-funded crowd-sourced video game on Kickstarter, Pillars of Eternity is a spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate, one of the most iconic RPG series of all time.
Set in the world of Eora, Pillars of Eternity is a party-based title employing isometric visuals, offering fans of the genre an old-school thrill. Character-creation is wide-ranging, with eleven classes available to choose from (wizard, ranger, etc.), and the long, involving campaign offers many an hour of immersive fun.
Ori and the Blind Forest
This indie title is a beautiful little game based around Ori, a white guardian spirit, who pairs with Sein, a spirit able to launch Spirit Flames: together, they must navigate multiple levels of platforming and puzzle-solving.
With a story inspired by The Iron Giant and The Lion King (two incredible animated features filled with great visuals and ideas), Ori and the Blind Forest has been given a fantastic reception from players, with much praise aimed at the stunning design, originality, and distinctive environments.
Ori and the Blind Forest is essential for any gamer looking for a breath of fresh air.
Other titles released in 2015 that deserve a mention include:
Rocket League (a wild game based around football … played with massive vehicles!)
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (the latest instalment of the series, set in Victorian London, jam-packed with awesome elements, such as ghost-hunting with Charles Dickens himself)
Mortal Kombat X (need we say more?)
Call of Duty: Black Ops III (the third entry in this phenomenally-successful series)
Mad Max (a decent adventure starring everyone’s favourite Road Warrior)
Just Cause 3 (more chaotic dictator-busting action, filled with absurd explosions, parachuting, wingsuit-gliding, and more)
FIFA 16 (a great instalment in the series)