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The 50 greatest games of 2015

The 50 greatest games of 2015

The 50 greatest games of 2015
15 December 2015

Our social life took a major hit this year. Several major hits.

From the hours spent wandering post-apocalyptic deserts to the apps that consumed the hours we should have spent getting an early night, 2015 has been gluttonous in its gaming offerings. 

Roam through the gallery to discover titles you may have missed.

Fallout 4

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

The reason you need to buy a next generation console. 

Sell a kidney. Eat pot noodle for a month. Do whatever you must to get your hands on the finest role playing game ever crafted. Deserving of every hyperbole and plaudit in the English language, Fallout 4 is a masterful example of an open, narrative-filled world, balanced with addictive combat and character building.

The hype is real.

Get it here

Halo 5: Guardians

Platforms: Xbox One

The Master Chief returns - and he's brought some friends.

The fifth iteration of Halo sees the campaign split between two co-op stories: you're no longer a lone-gun against the galaxy, as Spartan 117 is joined by his Blue Team (who you'll have only heard of if you read your Halo fiction. Which we don't either). The other half of the tale follows Jameson Locke and his Fireteam Osiris in their search for Master Chief. 

What you really need to know? The multiplayer is sublime and the solo story challenging if you ramp it all the way up to Legendary. It's the reason you'll want an Xbox One for Christmas.

Get it here

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC

The biggest MGS to date, The Phantom Pain takes players back in the story of snakes and soldiers, to 1984 - trotting Venom Snake (Big Boss) around the giant dustbowls of Afghanistan and further afield, as he quests for revenge against the faction that took out his army and put him in a coma. A masterful slice of stealth action that forces you to think and improve your play style, the final chapter of Metal Gear Solid is a worthy conclusion to the famed franchise. 

Get it here

The Witcher III

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

In other years, The Witcher III would go down as a pinnacle of role playing design: the detail and consistency maintained across its vast scope is staggering. The story is superb, the combat is brilliantly balanced and the challenges are seemingly ceaseless. 

While the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout 4 may be the major RPG highlight of 2015, the third instalment of The Witcher should be remembered in the same breath. This was a year when gamers were treated to two of the finest examples of role playing any console generation has ever seen. 

Get it here

Batman: Arkham Knight

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC (but with issues)

Arkham Knight is the closest you've ever come to being the Dark Knight since you ran to the shops in your Batman pyjamas and cape when you were six.

The third and final part of Rocksteady Studios’ Arkham series (they didn’t have a hand in Origins) the game follows the action of Arkham City and sees Batman take on a posse of villains including Penguin, Two-Face and Harley Quinn (a playable character for those who pre-order the title), all headed up by The Scarecrow and mysterious newcomer, the Arkham Knight.

A fine conclusion to one of the best video game trilogies of the decade. A thumping good time.

Get it here

Bloodborne: Game of the Year edition

Platforms: PlayStation 4

We don't know what a game has to achieve to warrant a Game of the Year edition, but Bloodborne more than warrants the self-bestowed plaudit.

Software's dank, unforgiving title hasn't been tweaked, but rather bundles in all of the new, wretched challenges of The Old Hunters DLC pack. That translates to even bigger bosses, more twisted blades and another month of your year consumed with trying to work out how to get another of those bloody gates to open.

Get it here


Platforms: iOS, PC

The picture doesn't do this bonkers creation justice.

You play a young guy armed with rocket boots. You're falling down a well, unable to propel yourself up, but able to smite all the nasty things lurking below. Amidst the nasties are heaps of treasure, which comes in handy for buying new gear at the shops you also encounter.

Does it make sense? No. Will you care? Not one jot.

Get it here

Forza 6

Platforms: Xbox One

Neeeeeoooommmmm. Brrrrrrrruuuuuuuuaaaaaaaaa. Vuv-vuv-vuv-vuv-vvvvvvvveeeeeeerrrrrrrooooommmm.

Just some of the noises you'll be making after a few hours in the gorgeous world of Forza 6

If you've come to expect great things of this racing series, fear not: Turn 10 Studios have held true to their exacting standards.

If you love racing games for detail and simulation, you'll love Forza 6.

If you love racing games for driving challenges, massive tracks and big garages, you'll love Forza 6.

And if you love crashing multi-million dollar supercars into fences or racing against the Stig... you get the idea.

Get it here

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360

You wait all year for a console-defining video game, and then two come along at once. 

Rising from the shadows of Fallout 4's huge release is the best action platformer of the decade (yes, it's that good). Charting Lara's 'rise' from a knee-scuffed teenager to all out tomb ruiner, this new adventure sees her go in search of the secret of immortality and the mysteries of the human soul. Which involves shooting a lot of badguys with a bow and arrow.

Get it here

Assassin's Creed Syndicate

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Another one? Already? Less than a year has passed since the glitch-filled launch of Assassin's Creed Unity, but you can stab any fears of this being a broken flop in the neck. 

Set in the gorgeous, bustling streets of 19th century London, Syndicate does what few of the Assassin's Creed games of the past have managed: make you feel like a badass, lethal assassin, without blocking your experience with tedious quests and awkward controls. Time to reacquaint yourself with the Creed.

Get it here

Fallout Shelter

Platform: Android

A resource management strategy game, you're in charge of your very own vault: look after your growing population, build new power stations, water works, diners and attempt to keep everyone's mind off the nuclear apocalypse outside. 

Surprisingly addictive, despite not having much of an end game. We guarantee you'll be staying up late to see what your explorers have brought back from the wastelands.

Get it here

Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection

Platforms: PlayStation 4

We know, you want to play Uncharted 4.

Well you can't - but you can itch your Uncharted scratch with one of the finest remakes to grace the PlayStation 4. The Nathan Drake Collection is more than a visual polishing of the original console trilogy (though it does a fine job of making eight-year-old Drake's Fortune look 'modern'), adding neat extras like Explorer Mode (wander about levels without the hindrance of bothersome foe spoiling your fun) and Brutal Difficulty Mode (does what it says).

And if you still want to play Uncharted 4, you'll be pleased to hear it comes with a pass to the beta test of the game's multiplayer. 

Get it here


The Room 3

Platforms: iOS, Android

Another carefully crafted point-and-click puzzler here to haunt your daily commute.

The third in a hugely successful series, The Room presents you with a series of apparently lifeless puzzle boxes, switches and scenarios: as soon as you start tapping, though you'll soon find that all isn't as it seems. 

Superbly atmospheric, this could be the best puzzle app you download all year.

Get it here

Everyone's Gone To The Rapture

Platform: PlayStation 4

Haunting. Affecting. Beautiful. Different. There's a long list of words you can sling at this "walking game", but none of them will do it justice.

You're in a quaint English town (in Shropshire, if you're interested), where everyone appears to have gone to The Rapture - slipping into heavenly realms and leaving you behind. Discover the story of just what the heck is going on through six characters, wandering about this isolated spot.

Play it, get lost in it and then try and tell your mates why it's one of the most interesting games you've ever played.

Get it here

Lara Croft GO

Platform: Mobile

A puzzle game that manages to successfully condense the exploration and adventure of Croft's original outings into a handheld format. Anyone who's played Square Enix superb Hitman GO will be immediately familiar with the layout: Croft has a set of paths she can take, with traps and foe moving around in a turn-based sequence. Avoid the bad guys, capture the loot and get out alive.

You're in serious danger of missing your bus stops with this one.

Get it here: iOS (£3.99), Android (£3.99) and Windows (£3.89)

Just Cause 3

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Yes, that is a man grapple-hooking his way toward an attack helicopter. Because that's how Just Cause 3 takes its tea: with two sugars and a grenade.

If game "realism" isn't your thing, and you long for sillier skills than the likes of Grand Theft Auto can offer, this is the title for you. Mad doesn't even begin to cover it. Everything can be blown up in a world that plays fast and lose with the laws of physics. Silly fun.

Get it here

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Standing in perfect contrast to the stupidity of Just Cause 3 is the latest title bearing the well-worn Clancy tag. 

Rainbow Six: Siege is brutally 'real'. Losing the hostage will make you squirm with guilt, shrapnel will have you ducking in fear, and bullets have a tendency to tear through you rather than bounce off sci-fi shielding.

If you need a new online multiplayer challenge, strap on your riot gear and aim for the kneecaps.

Get it here


Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC

If you loved sneaking around corridors in the original Metal Gear Solid, you can skip straight to the Get it here link. 

A stealth game inspired by Hideo Kojima's classic, Volume sees you scuttle around a simulated heist scenario, tip-toeing round AI guards and negotiating a variety of security measures. It's a pure, thrilling piece of indie game design, with 100 levels to soak up your evenings.

Get it here (PS4, PC)

Lego Dimensions

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U

It's not a kiddie game. Okay, it is, but it's not just for kids. 

Combining the fictional worlds of... well just about every popular narrative you care to think of (Back to the Future, Lord of the Rings, Portal, Batman, Ghostbusters, Doctor Who - seriously, there are SO MANY), you "load" real-life LEGO characters and creations via a 'Toy Pad' and proceed to play with them in the game to complete quests to defeat evil Lord Vortech.

Yes, it's going to drain your wallet, but it's also going to be the most fun you've had with a video game since you were six years old.

Get it here

Game of Thrones, Episode 6: The Ice Dragon

Platforms: Android, iOS, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3

The concluding chapter of Telltale Games' superb click-a-long Game of Thrones adaptation sees a number of lose ends tied up - by which we mean, more people die.

The fate of House Forrester are rounded off with more drama, as Gared learns what's going on in the mysterious gardens of North Grove, and Mira discovers the full extent of Cersei Lannister's control.

A series well worth investing in if you're yet to dabble.

Get it here

Beneath The Lighthouse

Platforms: iOS, Android

There are a lot of puzzle apps kicking about on mobile stores - and few of them are as inventive as this rotational gem.

Enter a world of twists and turns beneath the foundations of the lighthouse, in a search for your lost grandfather. 

Each puzzle section will require a careful sequence of rotations to guide your character over your standard array of platforming obstacles: spikes, giant swords, bottomless pits. Why you'd build a lighthouse on top of it is beyond us.

Get it here - iOS, Android

Football Manager 2016

Platforms: PC

If Fallout 4 didn't threaten the rest of your social plans, the grandfather of football management will all but annihilate them. 

Same obsessive detail, same addictive mechanics, new features - including expanded press interaction, fantasy draft mode and cross-compatibility with the tablet version. 

Time to take Accrington Stanley to the Champions League final.

Get it here

Football Manager Mobile 2016

Platforms: iOS, Android

Terrible news for your phone battery, a brilliant development for your commute.

The mobile version of the definitive football management title, this portable edition leans toward tactics and transfers. Choose a side from 14 countries around the world (that's a staggering number of leagues to dip your thumbs into) and see if you can do any better than Jose. 

Get it here

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void

Platforms: PC

Did you enjoy StarCraft II? Did you battle through its massive levels, conquer the known universe and then do it all again? Then you'll be wanting the new expansion, Legacy of the Void.

The space strategy game's newest chapter sees you play Hierarch Artanis, leader of the mighty protoss race. Years ago, your homeworld of Aiur fell to the merciless zerg Swarm. Now it's time to organise your amassed forces and take it back.

Get it here

Call of Duty: Black Ops III

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Another year, another instalment of Call of Duty - and it's a good'un at that.

Set in the not-too-distant future of 2065, 40 years after Black Ops 2, there's a campaign littered with explosive set pieces - and a chunk more gameplay than previous efforts. 

But the real star of the show is the multiplayer - frighteningly quick and cramming in more features than you'll really know what to do with (robots, jet packs, bows and arrows - you get the idea). Add in a solid zombie mode and you've got yourself enough game to last until Christmas. And then some.

Get it here

Dark Echo

A properly brilliant bit of what gamer journalists like to call "ingenuitive design" this.

The minimal setting sees you staring at a set of footprints. Tap around your dark surroundings and a series of "echo" lines emanate from your path, highlighting obstacles and potential foes ahead. 

Beautiful, addictive and surprisingly terrifying, you need this app in your phone.

Get it here

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Platforms: Xbox One

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is all about... well, love.

It's about the love between you and your ship - which you want to keep floating through space by shifting your tiny pilot around the inside of the craft in order to stop it crashing into stuff. Given the internals of your ship though, you've got to climb a few ladders if you want to get from your shield controls to your gun. 

It's also about the love between you and your co-op partner - as the game comes into its own if you've got a buddy to battle with. Take on aliens, upgrade your ship and try to stay alive in what makes for a seriously challenging arcade action shooter gem.

Get it here

Mad Max

Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

A vast, dusty wasteland to explore. Monstrous vehicles to drive. Faces to punch. And that's only the first hour. A standalone narrative, that plays on similar themes to Miller's film franchise without directly referencing their stories, Mad Max is a driving-stroke-brawler action game, similar in combat style to the likes of Batman: Arkham Knight. But with fire. And sand. And a plot line that doesn't really matter. And that's a good thing.

Get it here

Rock Band 4

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Nope, it really is 2015, and Rock Band has returned like the combo-hunting phoenix with its best build yet.

The microphone, wireless drums and guitar have been improved for 'next-gen' consoles, with greater accuracy, and there's a whole heap of new songs to test your skills on. When you hit a bum note, you'll now get a crowd reacting to your efforts - making the whole experience that little bit more immersive than before. 

It's the new solos mode that really sets the fourth instalment apart from the rest - there are sections in songs that allow you to go note-tapping mad in a flurry of creativity. 

Get it here

Sword of Xolan

Platforms: Android, iOS

"Xolan is a young and brave man who fights for justice no matter what the cost", reads the sell of Sword of Xolan. What it fails to mention is that your plucky hero thirsts for justice via kickass sword and fireballs. Whilst wearing a cape. 

A brilliant action platformer that actually works for the small screen world of mobile gaming.

Get it here

NBA 2K16

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PC

Sports sims are becoming terrifyingly life-like. Case in point: NBA 2K16, the latest basketball title from 2K that sees them easily retain their court crown.

In addition to console-stretching visuals, there's a vastly improved AI - no more backward and forward zig-zagging to get the defensive line to fall apart, these players will learn and adapt to the way you play. Yes, you'll still score, but you'll have to work to earn those points.

Get it here

Star Wars: Battlefront

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

A flurry of lasers. The scream of a TIE Fighter. The obscure sound of weekend plans being cancelled across the nation. These were the sounds that greeted the arrival of Star Wars: Battlefront - a hugely enjoyable instalment of multiplayer chaos that helped break up the regular sessions of Call of Duty.

The graphics, sounds and characters are what makes Battlefront a great game rather than a good one. If you're a Star Wars fan, these details make all the difference: these are the battles you always wanted to shoot your way through. Yes, there could be more to it - but with each downloadable extra will come a fresh wave of nostalgia. 

Get it here


Platform: PC

Enjoy a good challenge? Even this one might tip you over the edge. You must pilot an aerobatic ship through the depths of space, shifting your 'shields' to match the coloured gates that you fly through. That might sound hard, but it's like Flappy Bird with the difficulty set to 11. Seemingly impossible, yet so addictive you'll wonder if you'll ever play another game ever again.

Get it here


Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC

A fan of things that go bump in the dark? Then SOMA is your new favourite nightmare.

Set beneath the waves of the Atlantic aboard the research station PATHOS-II, something has gone terribly (predictably?) wrong. There's no sign of the research team, and the machines aboard the station have started... thinking.

Visually arresting, with sound work that threatens to break your nerve (it's haunting), the puzzles are satisfying and the monsters hideous. A properly brilliant fright-fest.

Get it here (PC)

Fifa 16

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PC

Another year, another FIFA - and we don't mind the repetition one bit.

Along with the usual graphical improvements, the new FIFA includes improved defending (the AI is more intelligent now), more accurate slide tackles (LOTS of fouls ahead) and a defence-cheating "Quick Pass". Fun to master, and just as addictive as all those that went before it.

Get it here

Hitman: Sniper

You're right, it would be impossible to replicate the range of skills Agent 47 possess in a game that's playable on a 5-inch screen. Hitman Sniper succeeds by focusing in on one of his deadly talents for an immensely enjoyable pocket experience. 

You're stationed opposite a luxury complex housing a gaggle of high profile targets, armed with a high powered, upgradable rifle. First level - take out the target. Second - take out two targets. Third? Take out a target and dispose of the body in one shot. Impressive shots gain higher rewards - there's a neat trick you can do with a glass barrier we don't want to spoil for you.

With over 20 levels, this is the best £3.99 you've ever spent on a mobile game.

Get it here: iOSAndroid 

Destiny: The Taken King

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Destiny divided opinion when it arrived a year ago - many were bemused by its storytelling and ranking system.

The Taken King changes things up in a way that's set to convert the haters: the levelling system now makes more sense (you level up as you play, rather than according to the gear you collect), the story is move involved in the thrust of the action and the Crucible has some more competitive (and fun) multiplayer modes.

And if none of that made any sense, it's time you gave Destiny a chance. 

Get it here

Super Mario Maker

Platform: Nintendo Wii U

Thirty years after Nintendo changed everything with Super Mario Bros., the latest Mario title looks to change up its own franchise.

The game gives players a Minecraft-style chance to create their own levels, using blocks, obstacles and foe from across the Mario franchise, in all its many artistic styles.

Spend hours crafting your own fiendishly difficult world, share them with friends and take on the hardest levels in the world. A must for Nintendo, Mario and platforming fans.

Get it here

Tearaway Unfolded

Platform: PlayStation 4

From the minds of the incredibly charming LittleBigPlanet series, you shoudln't be fooled by the 'cutsie' exterior of Tearaway Unfolded.

You must guide the messenger atoi (a folded envelope) around Tearaway's papery world, interacting with your PlayStation 4 in fun ways: stroke the touch pad to change the direction of the wind in-game, shine a light on your character using your controller's light bar. 

It might sound like child's play, but sometimes that's exactly what you want from a game: an inventive way of reconnecting with the playful core of gaming. Give it a go.

Get it here

Until Dawn

Platform: PlayStation 4

A survival horror set in the chilly climbs of a mountain retreat, eight friends find their trip takes a turn for the sinister. So far, so average teen-horror-popcorn-flick - but it's the manner in which the eight interlocking stories of the game's characters can shift the whole narrative that makes Until Dawn a unique, chilling experience. A proper horror experience - bring your best pillow to cower behind.

Get it here

Mega Man Legacy Collection

Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

"Video games used to be hard", is the complaint of many older gamers who haven't bothered to pick up Dark Souls/Bloodborne. Now you can try a slice of the old school frustration master that is Mega Man, with his first six 8-bit adventures compiled into one astonishingly cheap package (about £12). Jump about, shoot bad guys and marvel at just how bad your coordination skills are.

Get it here: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

I Am Bread

Platform: PlayStation 4, iOS

Stunning graphics. A gripping narrative. Vast combat experiences. You'll find none of them here - it's a bread simulator. Surprisingly challenging and deeply enjoyable, you must 'walk' bread towards its target point, a toaster, while avoiding substances that might make your resulting slice less edible (dirt, glass, muck). There's more to this than you'd think.

Get it here

WWE 2K16

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3

Finally - redneck opera for the next-gen console generation.

With an improved reversal system, fluid animations and impeccable recreation of some 120 characters makes this a welcome return to form for the WWE console franchise. 

Time to start learning some new combos.

Get it here

PES 2016

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PC

"They've done another PES? Well mark me down as amazed," said no one.

Pro Evo certainly hasn't parked the bus with its new title, with a raft of new features that will look to convert many die-hard FIFA fans: there's now dynamic weather (can Brazil do it on a wet Wednesday in Stoke? Find out), a new master league system, a slick dynamic camera function and the best goalkeeper system you've ever played with.

Definitely not just another football game.

Get it here

Kerbal Space Program

Platforms: PC

So it turns out rocket science is pretty difficult. 

Kerbal Space Program allows you to build your own space programme from the ground up - way up. Put together rockets, balancing payloads with optimal orbits, building your own space stations in an effort to get the oddly cute Kerbals into space. 

The limits of this title are your own: build anything, watch it explode during lift-off and do it all over again without a hint of annoyance. A superb example of creativity and re playability. 

Get it here

Rare Replay

Platform: Xbox One

Perfect Dark. Banjo-Kazooie. Battletoads. Cobra Triangle. If these names aren't sending tingles down your spine, you'll have no interest in the Rare Replay collection - 30 titles that made this UK studio one of the most respected in the world.

Released to celebrate the studio's 30th anniversary, new content has been squeezed into these graphically-improved classics. Shoot bad guys, race boats, battle... well, toads. 

And no, GoldenEye isn't included. Something to do with the James Bond rights. We're as gutted as you are.

Get it here


Platform: 3DS

Yes, those really are the extent of the graphics of BoxBoy - one of the year's finest examples of a title that doesn't need thousands of pixels to ensure a good time.

You play Qbby, a tiny cube tasked with making its way through some 173 stages of puzzles, platforms and headscratching layouts. It's a game that retro gamers have been training for their entire lives - though these puzzles aren't rehashes of old classics. 

A new challenge for gamers who miss the "good old days".

Get it here

Grim Fandango Remastered

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Android, PlayStation Vita, iOS

To paraphrase the great Manuel Calavera, "You can't hide from the Grim Reaper. Especially when he's been remastered".

Apparently bereft of new ideas, the minds behind one of the finest games of 1998 have tweaked and polished an aged classic in a bid to introduce it to a new generation of HD-obsessed gamers. And rightly so - despite being 17 years old, LucasArts' Grim Fandango is a funnier, slicker experience than the majority of modern adventure games. 

Get it here


Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

We wouldn't be any good in a hunt. We're not the quickest, our eyesight isn't what it used to be and we don't find mud all that agreeable.

Mercifully, Evolve doesn't require you to leave your living room to participate in an adrenaline-pumping game of predator versus pray. From the makers of Left 4 Dead, this sci-fi hunting experience dominated much of our multiplayer needs at the beginning of 2015. There's so much to specialise in - whether it's ripping soldiers apart as a giant beast or learning how best to utilise the skills of the sniper.

Get it here

Dishonored: Definitive Edition

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Another week, another remake. But that's no bad thing, as Bethesda's stealth 'n' slashing title Dishonored is well worth a second (or even fifth) go. Set in a rotting steampunk world of cobbled streets and plague victims, you play the disgraced protector of a murdered queen, out to seek revenge on those who framed him while using a series of other-worldly abilities - from teleportation to mind control. Give it a try before the sequel arrives next year.

Get it here