One of our favorite months of the year is December. Obviously, Christmas has a lot to do with that, but the main reason is because it’s when the conversations begin about what the best video games of the year were. 2015 has definitely been a tumultuous year for the gaming industry. There’s been a ton of great games — as well as more than a few disappointments.
But, let’s celebrate the good — for now, anyway. 2015 saw the release of some mega-hits, and it has truly been one great year for video game releases. Xbox One and PS4 each had their own successes, and even the Wii U deserves some love for a game or two. (In fact, a Wii U game made our list of the best Christmas gift ideas for gamers, too).
So without further ado, here are the top 10 best video games of 2015 (all of which can be found on Amazon):
1. Fallout 4
Obviously, Fallout 4 had one of the biggest launches in gaming history. The game sold millions of copies in just days, and if we had to guess, more people bought Fallout 4 than Adele’s new album. Although the game has some bugs, it’s still one of the best games of the year, with a vast wasteland for you to explore, weapons and a base to craft, and some of the best questing and storylines we’ve seen in an open world game to date. Developer Bethesda should be proud of their latest game, and we’re hoping they’re now working on the next Elder Scrolls.
2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt took the gaming world by surprise earlier this year. Sure, we were expecting a good game, but we weren’t expecting a great game. And, The Witcher 3 exceeded our expectations in just about every way imaginable. The world is incredibly large, dense, and beautiful, and there’s plenty to see. The quests are exciting, and there are plenty of cool ideas within so it doesn’t feel repetitive. Like Fallout 4, The Witcher 3 contains bugs, but that’s to be expected in such a large open world game, and the game has already been patched numerous times, so many of those original bugs no longer exist. Taking the time to explore the game is highly recommended, as you’ll come across glorious beasts, cool characters, and impressively designed parts of the world. The amount of gameplay alone makes it one of the best gifts for gamers this year.
3. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
Don’t let the frequency of the Call of Duty franchise fool you — Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is a gem. It’s much better than Advanced Warfare, thanks to better multiplayer maps, cool guns, and a quicker pace. It’s highly polished as well, and there are very few hiccups during gameplay. No, it’s not a back to basics, no-frills Modern Warfare like we were hoping, but it’s still the best Call of Duty of the past three years. The zombie mode is the best it has ever been as well, and the game deserves to be on your Christmas list.
The best console exclusive of the year is Bloodborne, the PS4 exclusive that took the hardcore gaming crowd by storm earlier in the year. In fact, it holds a 4.5/5 on Metacritic. It’s a dazzling work of horror action adventure, with a faster, more aggressive combat playstyle than any of the Dark Souls games. The environments are gorgeous, the character design is stellar, and the boss fights are absolutely glorious. When you finish Bloodborne, you feel accomplished, and that’s why it is one of the best PS4 video games to date, and is well deserving to be on your Christmas list.
5. Batman: Arkham Knight
Don’t listen to a lot of the controversy surrounding Batman: Arkham Knight. If you’re looking for the best Batman game to date, Arkham Knight is the clear winner. The environment is huge, the world is filled with DC easter eggs, and combat is tighter than it has ever been. The story is fantastic, and you’ll want to know exactly what the Knightfall protocol ending means by the time you’ve completed the entire game. This is Batman’s best adventure yet, and despite its miserable PC edition, the console versions are great.
6. Super Mario Maker
For a bit of lighter fare, the Wii U had a couple of great games hit the shelves this year. But the best new Wii U game of 2015 is Super Mario Maker, a game that allows you to create your own Mario levels and share them with friends. You’re also able to download new levels from the community and try them out, and the creativity is always commendable. With the Wii U on its last leg, Super Mario Maker couldn’t have come at a better time.
7. Halo 5: Guardians
Halo 5: Guardians is the best Halo to date, at least when it comes to the multiplayer. There are numerous game modes, huge maps, and gameplay is as tight as it has ever been. The visuals are stunning, and it pushes the Xbox One to its limits. Most commendable about the game is its new guns, all of which are impressive. And, the Needler is the best it has ever been, as well. Master Chief vs. Master Locke doesn’t play out how we expected, but the story is great, and we’re looking forward to a Halo 6. Check out our Halo 5: Guardians review to read more about it.
8. Dying Light
If there’s one game on this list that’s going to be overlooked as a GOTY contender, it’s Dying Light, and unfortunately, it has everything to do with its release date. Had Dying Light released in, say, October, it would be on the forefront of everyone’s mind. But since the zombie game came out in late January, no one is going to remember just how great it was. The game revolves around an undercover agent named Kyle who is tasked with infiltrating a quarantine zone in Harran, a city infested with zombies. The game takes place in an open world, and it has a focus on parkour elements. Basically, you’re running from zombies while killing any in your path. The huge open world is incredibly dense, and there’s a lot to see in it. The game’s graphics are the best we’ve seen in a zombie game to date, and the free-running parkour mechanics are incredibly fun.
9. Rise of the Tomb Raider
Like Dying Light, Rise of the Tomb Raider‘s biggest mistake was its release date. Unfortunately, Microsoft put it head to head with Fallout 4, the biggest game launch of the year. So, many of us skipped Tomb Raider with the intention to circle back to it at some point early next year when there is typically not a lot of new games to play. But Lara Croft’s latest outing deserves your thumbs, and it’s one of the best video games of 2015. The graphics are incredible, there are no bugs, and the gameplay is exciting. Crystal Dynamics, the developer, has created the best Tomb Raider game to date, and we suggest throwing it on your Christmas gift list so that you can circle back to it in January.
10. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
Of course, it’d be ridiculous of me to not mention Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain in a best video games of 2015 list, because, well, it’s among the best of the best. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding the game with Director/Producer Hideon Kojima and Konami bickering throughout the end of its development might have tarnished its legacy. Still, the game features a number of impressive gameplay mechanics that give the player freedom in approaching objectives. The story has a great deal of emotional power, and it explores the futility of war in a compelling and cohesive way. Most importantly, it’s the best Metal Gear Solid to date, making it one of the best gifts for gamers of the year.