2015…what a year.
There was a wealth of AAA and indie game releases that gave gamers plenty of titles to play through. The Xbox One not only provided us all with new adventures for Master Chief and Lara Croft, Microsoft’s all-in-one console also let us return to Marcus Fenix’s 1st battles against the Locust. On top of those 1st-party games came some of the best 3rd party titles of the year. There’s some bonafide heavy hitters on this list and some sleeper hits that completely shocked us due to their high quality.
We’re here to break down the 20 finest Xbox One game releases of 2015. Every genre imaginable will be covered here, so you’ll definitely find something that fits your gaming tastes.
20. State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition
It’s amazing to see that the theme of “a world overrun by zombies” is still a viable one in this day and age. Thanks to games like State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition, gamers get to enjoy the undead apocalypse on the Xbox One. This remastered re-release arrives in 1080p and transports all the DLC that came with the standard edition. The extra content that comes with this open-world, zombie survival romp gives it a much deserved new lease on life. The gore factor is at an all time high, plus building up a reliable base and keeping your survivors alive is still as entertaining as ever. It’s time to test your survival skills in a world taken over by the rotting dead.
19. Resident Evil (HD Remaster)
We’re going to stick to the world of survival horror with this next pick. Capcom’s 1st release of this classic looked awesome on the GameCube. With this HD remastered edition, it looks even more awesome and horrifying. This version comes with the tank controls old school fans prefer, plus it features modern analog controls for non-masochists. Experiencing Chris and Jill’s initial conflict with Umbrella and Albert Wesker for the 1st time should be checked off of every gamer’s bucket list. And for those who want to gun down bio-weapons all over again in an oversized mansion, this game is the best way to do it.
18. Rock Band 4
In our opinion, there was a clear winner in the war between returning music party games. Rock Band 4 returned to the scene and brought along with it a new freestyle mode that lets air guitarists play out their wildest dreams. The track playlist on disc features a good selection of tunes, plus you have a near limitless group of songs to add to them all thanks to an abundance of DLC. The tried and true formula of this series is still intact, yet the fun factor of it all hasn’t been lost. Rock Band has returned to take over everyone’s living rooms once again. We’re happy to see it make a welcome comeback.
17. Rare Replay
When Rare was purchased by Microsoft and moved away from Nintendo, gamers everywhere had high hopes for what they’d bring to Xbox’s family of consoles. What hurt the most about this acquisition is the untapped potential that Rare was unable to realize since they were relegated to Kinect games and underwhelming sequels to past games. Rare Replay gave us all a reminder of how legendary this development studio used to be. The amount of games on this collection are staggering. There’s Battletoads for old school gamers and even Rare’s 3D platformers for those itching for past N64 adventures. The extra content (interviews with the development team, extensive looks into unreleased games, mini challenges etc.) makes this one of the Xbox One’s best game collections.
16. Transformers Devastation
PlatinumGames may have hit a snag with The Legend of Korra, but they came back strong with another licensed release featuring the Autobots and Decepticons. Transformers Devastation returned us all to the 80’s era of the cartoon with stunning cel-shaded visuals. As far as pure action goes, this title is jam packed with it. Tearing through your foes with axes, dual swords, hammers and ranged weaponry looks and feels satisfying. The boss fights are a blast (you HAVE to play the battle against Starscream!) and the vehicle sections are pretty damn fun diversions. Do yourself a favor and play this criminally slept on 2015 release.
15. Just Cause 3
The mayhem of the Just Cause series has finally made its way over to current-gen consoles. Just Cause 3 ups the ante with a sweet new wingsuit and retooled mechanics for the parachute and grappling hook. Blowing up the many forts owned by the evil dictator of Medici will bring out the anarchist within you. There’s so much to see, do and destroy in the biggest entry in the series. Just Cause 3 is one of the better open-world games that quietly dropped this year. You owe it to yourself to show this explosive fight alongside the rebels the attention it deserves.
14. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
We’re sure fans of the ongoing Assassins vs. Templars war had their doubts about this latest release. But Ubisoft Quebec got behind Syndicate and managed to bring Assassin’s Creed back on track. This time around, players are transported into Victorian Era London. You’ll spend your time pulling off sweet assassinations as Evie Frye and beating enemies into a bloody pulp as her twin brother Jacob. Thanks to the addition of a rope launcher, you can now get around the rooftops much faster and keep a closer tab on your targets. The gameplay itself remains strong and there are no glitches to speak of. Those factors and and brand new additions gives this sequel the kudos it deserves.
13. Forza Motorsport 6
Turn 10 Studious holds the distinction of being the masters of racing games on the Xbox platform. The 6th main game in its Forza Motorsport series arrived with a garage full of historic automobiles that you’ll spend a lifetime amassing. Driving under severe rain conditions is one of the newer aspects of this racing sim, which adds more strategy to how you conduct yourself on the track. It should come as no surprise that Forza Motorsport 6 looks insanely real, so passerby’s might mistake it for an episode of Top Gear. It’s safe to say that Forza Motorsport rules the roost as the current top racing sim in gaming.
12. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
In a year that was jam packed with remastered games, the Xbox One received one that marked the return of Delta Squad and the Locust Horde. The very 1st Gears of War that introduced gamers to Marcus Fenix and chainsawing lizard grunts came back with newly polished visuals. On top of those cleaned up graphics came additional gameplay segments that were once exclusive to the PC version and the fun multiplayer fans know and love. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition does an incredible job of releasing a proper remaster that treats its IP with care.
11. Pro Evolution Soccer 2016
Pro Evolution Soccer has finally hit its stride within the current-gen life cycle. This 2016 edition of arguably the best soccer (well, proper football) game simulation is by far the most stellar one ever released. The physicality on the field has increased, so now those impactful slides and tackles look even more close to life than before. The AI players respond much better to your playstyle, which means you have more chances to put together winning plays and hit spectacular goals. Across every mode, PES 2016 presents an unmatched sports simulation that will be hard for even the next FIFA to surpass.