The best games of 2015: Your top 10
The results are in: these are the top 10 games of the year as voted by you.
We know, it was hard. Your Steam queue is starting to look like a phone book, and Sony and Microsoft keep throwing free games at you left, right and centre. Let’s be frank: 2015 was a ridiculous year for gaming. Picking your favourite games of the last twelve months was and is a difficult task when finishing all of the five-star games released in that time is a flat out impossible one.
As always though, you came through. Tens of thousands of you took a steely, discerning look at our longlist last week, and now the results are in. Will driving games be as well represented as they were in 2014? Will the indies and crowdfunded games crack the top ten this time? Which game will follow Far Cry 4 as the Red Bull reader game of the year? Read on to find out, and check back again tomorrow to see which mobile game came out on top too.
10. Just Cause 3 (2.19 percent of the vote)
It’s been five years since Just Cause 2 landed on home consoles and knocked our socks off, and Just Cause 3 delivers the same explosive experience, just bigger, bolder and more beautiful. Just Cause has never been about quality voice acting or deep, thoughtful plot devices – this is a game about carnage, and making things go boom. You want to attach a henchman to a passing truck? Sure thing. You want to grapple onto that passing fighter jet? No problem. Just Cause 3 is the best the series has ever been – Avalanche has no problem poking fun at its own shallow thrills, and there’s always something fun to do just around the corner.
9. Cities: Skylines (2.27 percent of the vote)
In a line-up of AAA blockbusters, the little Sim City that could stands out as a shining example of what’s possible if you just listen to your fans. As developer Colossal Order told us earlier this year, they’re not making the game for themselves, or even for the money, they’re doing it for the modders. Cities may only be ninth on the list of games of the year, but it’s your top voted indie game of 2015. Keep up the good work, guys.
8. Star Wars Battlefront (2.75 percent of the vote)
A new Battlefront to coincide with a new Star Wars movie? How could this possibly go wrong? It hasn’t, obviously, though it would be fair to say that this still isn’t quite the game many expected. If you thought that this would be Battlefield in a Star Wars setting, well, it’s not. It isn’t as deep or as tactically challenging. But there’s still plenty to appreciate here – it’s polished, accessible, jaw-droppingly beautiful and a total blast. And come on, you can play as Luke and absolutely wreck everyone’s world. If you want a game that immerses you in the Star Wars universe, and makes you feel part of classic battles like Hoth and Endor, Battlefront unquestionably does that. For that reason, it’s worthy of the top 10.
7. Bloodborne (2.86 percent of the vote)
Dark Souls what now? PlayStation gamers were in for a treat this year with FromSoftware’s action RPG exclusive, delivering an unsettling, gothic, horror masterpiece with gameplay every bit as challenging as the company’s own Dark Souls series. Ridiculous boss battles, a more aggressive playstyle than its multiplatform sibling (no shields) and plenty of mysteries to uncover has landed this as your seventh favourite game of the year. Bring on Bloodborne 2.
6. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (3.71 percent of the vote)
“Snake. The intel team have found that Metal Gear Solid V is one of the finest games of the year, according to a recent survey, which hailed the game for its open world stealth gameplay and daft plot about a vocal cord parasite. I’ve sent the results to your iDroid.”
“Thanks Kaz. Did they say why we didn’t win?”
“Our asset says that Konami, a Japanese PF with extensive pachinko interests, diverted funds for the game to finance an invasion of the mobile gaming theatre in Asia. As a result a large sector of the ending was excised, leaving players with the sense that The Phantom Pain was quite literally missing something vital.”
“At least they didn’t cut my hamburger monologues.”
5. Project CARS (3.76 percent of the vote)
What a year for racing game fans, with more rubber-burning racers than you even know what to do with. From the likes of the trail-chasing DiRT Rally to the lavish Forza Motorsport 6, there have been plenty of racers to get stuck into, but it’s Slightly Mad Studios’ incredible Project CARS that took your top racing title in our poll. With top-notch graphics, realistic handling, plenty of cars and tracks to mess around with, and a passionate community to top it off, there was no question it’d be in the top ten. See you on the track soon.
4. Fallout 4 (7.08 percent of the vote)
With the likes of Metal Gear Solid V, Star Wars Battlefront and Halo 5 appearing this year, 2015 really was a year for the big cult release, and Fallout 4 was arguably the biggest of the lot. After giving us a mere five months to prepare for its arrival, Fallout 4 delivered exactly what you expect from a Bethesda RPG – a weird, wonderful, sprawling world packed full of life. Granted, the storylines and moral choices are a little more streamlined than the previous game, and Radroaches aren’t the only bugs you’ll have to worry about, but there’s no denying that this is something very S.P.E.C.I.A.L. indeed. Clearly, you thought so too, giving Fallout 4 a big chunk of the vote.
3. Rocket League (9.65 percent of the vote)
Football plus rocket-propelled cars seems like the most obviously excellent mashup since Marvel met Capcom. And it is, this time. But as we found out when we spoke to Rocket League’s creator recently, Psyonix had to learn some harsh lessons from the failure of a previous game with the same concept, and it took an entire console generation to ready the game PS4 players fell in love with instantly on launch this summer. Swoon they did though: with a near-double digit chunk of the vote, Rocket League is your top-rated multiplayer game of the year.
2. Life Is Strange (22.60 percent of the vote)
While Telltale Games have long since shown that narrative-driven, episodic games can be every bit as gripping as the boxsets under your TV, it’s heartening to see other developers starting to agree. Dontnod Entertainment is the first of them to make it onto our shortlist for Red Bull reader game of the year, and that huge turnout in our poll for Life Is Strange is testament to its efforts. The game’s five part structure and time-rewind mechanic allowed Dontnod to finetune a thoughtful puzzle game with feedback from players as the season went on – much like a TV show. Bring on season two, and maybe some Emmys.
1. The Witcher 3 (32.10 percent of the vote)
The Witcher 3 isn’t just an exception that proves the rule. It’s a game so good that it makes everyone realise that the rule was pretty stupid to begin with. Tumbleweed starts blowing, the rule looks awkward, covers its nether regions, casts around sheepishly for somewhere to hide and shuffles off stage to howls of laughter.
In point of fact, the Witcher is so excellent, so confident in the execution of its vision, it’s as though the developer considered every jibe thrown at the games publishers on Twitter and explicitly decided to shame everyone in the industry. Too many games launch buggy and incomplete, so The Witcher 3 arrives bug-free with hundreds of hours of gameplay and sidequests as well written and realised as a season of Game Of Thrones; gamers complain that DRM is crippling the PC as a platform, so The Witcher 3 arrives DRM-free and then instead of pirating it, more than 6m people go out and buy the game in the first six weeks; gamers decry publishers for cynical DLC, so The Witcher 3 hands us endless free DLC, then only charges for an expansion pack not a great deal smaller than the original, massive, game itself.
As if to prove yet another point, The Witcher 3 absolutely trounced all competitors in our poll. Players clearly could not get enough of this gripping fantasy adventure with beautiful graphics, deep combat and yes, the odd sex scene too. In a year as strong for gaming as 2015, Geralt was even stronger, and the award for Red Bull reader game of the year couldn’t be more deserved: The Witcher 3 is the game of the year. Congratulations, CD-Projekt Red: you are just awesome. Now, where’s Cyberpunk 2077?