2015 was a great year for gaming. Full of new IPs and returning favorites, it was an improvement over 2014's year of unfinished, broken games and constant remastering of old titles. I felt that 2015 was a breath of fresh air -- a year to start anew and try to put the past behind us. So, that's why I decided to take a look back and see what games truly entertained and engaged me the most this year.
From AAA titles to indie darlings, there was something for everyone this year, making it one of the best years in gaming.
This will be split into to two parts with Part 1 covering 10-6. With that said, let us begin.
While zombie games aren't a new thing, Dying Light was able to remain fresh and unique. It borrowed elements from games like Assassin's Creed and Mirror's Edge, but did that so well that the lack of originality didn't hinder the overall experience. From its surprisingly well told story and characters, to its immensely addictive missions, Dying Light is more than just "a more polished version of Dead Island." It's a great game and an underrated gem.
While Nintendo has a habit of relying on old standby franchises, the big N surprised the world with Splatoon. This original online shooter had simple, yet addictive gameplay. Shooting ink all over well-designed maps made for some of the most fun to be had online this year. And it's only been getting better as the months go on, with free DLC maps, weapons, updates and so much more.
Now if only I didn't have to buy those darn amiibo figures to get some cool samurai outfits.
When I first got my Xbox One, I never had any interest in racing simulators. Playing only arcade racers like Mario Kart, Need for Speed, or Split/Second, I never had the time or patience to really get the hang of them. After receiving an Xbox One for Christmas, I decided to give racing sims another shot with Forza Motorsport 6...and fell in love immediately.
Everything just started to click with me. The game is incredibly accessible, letting you take off the training wheels at your own pace. It also features the most varied and detailed selection of cars, tracks, and upgrades I've seen in any racing game. And it easily has the best car handling in game.
Add the Drivatar AI that learns from your races, plus the ability to increase the difficulty and aggression of your opponents, and you will have a fair challenge. It's one of the most fun experiences I've had with a racing game, and worth picking up if you have an Xbox One.
The 2013 reboot of Tomb Raider was a solid title -- even if somewhat lacking. The story was average, its characters throwaways, and it tired too hard to emulate the success of the Uncharted series. Rise of the Tomb Raider manages to fix most of its predecessor's problems, with an improved story, more varied locations, and new crafting mechanics. It mixes them with the same fantastic combat and set pieces that the reboot had.
While it still feels like it's playing catch up with Sony's action franchise, Rise of the Tomb Raider manages to surprise and overcome its shortcomings to prove that it's a force to be reckoned with. It's a shame PS4 and PC owners have to wait until later this year to play it.
After the disastrous launch of Assassin's Creed: Unity, many look at Syndicate with cynicism. It's easy to understand why, but I was still won over. With an improved story, two likable leads, and the addition of the grapple hook, Syndicate was able pull me back into the war between the Assassins and the Templars with one of the best installments of this now 8-year-old franchise. Hopefully, this trend will continue, and the next game (rumored to be skipping this year) will continue to grow and reclaim its mantle as the definitive open-world series.