10 best games of 2015: Fallout 4, Witcher 3, Rise of Tomb Raider and more
Open-world games with role-playing elements dominate this year’s list
Video game critic Lou Kesten’s favourite titles of the year featured monster hunters, treasure hunters, guardian spirits and murder suspects. Here are his top 10 games of 2015.
1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
This role-playing drama from Poland’s CD Projekt Red set a new standard for weirdness when it sent his hero in pursuit of a flying ghost fetus. For all its baroque touches, Witcher 3 boils down to a domestic drama about a jaded warrior and his impetuous adopted daughter – and it’s quite moving. Read our review. For Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC
2. Fallout 4
The latest epic from Bethesda Softworks crams in a bunch of genres – role-playing, first-person shooter, even a civilisation-building simulation – and veers from hilarious black comedy to heartbreaking tragedy. It’s most memorable for its haunting vision of humanity somehow surviving after nearly destroying itself. Read our review.
For Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC
3. Super Mario Maker
Nintendo gives its fans all the tools they need to build two-dimensional challenges starring Mario and his crew. Somewhere out there, kids are learning the ropes on their way to designing the games we’ll be talking about 20 years from now.
For Wii U
4. Ori and the Blind Forest
This melancholy yet action-packed adventure follows an orphaned spirit creature as it tries to restore life to a devastated woodland. It’s the year’s most beautiful game – and one of its most challenging.
For Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC
5. Her Story
Viva Seifert plays a young wife with a missing husband in this time-hopping mystery that takes place entirely within a police interrogation room. I’m not sure it’s even a “game”, but creator Sam Barlow’s clever plotting and Seifert’s nimble performance combine to deliver a knockout tale. Read our review.
For PC, iOS
6. Rise of the Tomb Raider
Chapter two of the franchise reboot finds young Lara Croft searching for the secret to immortality. It’s at its best when the Tomb Raider is, you know, raiding tombs, with clever environmental puzzles that work your brain cells harder than your reflexes. Read our review.
7. Pillars of Eternity
A character cursed with mysterious visions tries to find out why babies are being born without souls in this indie role-playing game from Obsidian Entertainment. Fans of old-school classics such as Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment will feel right at home.
For PC, Mac OS
This lo-fi project from Toby Fox turns game conventions upside-down. A human child is trapped underground - but instead of killing all the monsters he encounters, he can negotiate with most of them. It’s a thought-provoking approach, and one I hope more big game publishers will notice.
For PC, Mac OS
9. Rock Band 4
The ultimate party game returns, inviting you to jam anew with all those fake instruments that have been gathering dust over the last five years. The ability to download songs you purchased for earlier versions is a huge bonus. (Guitar Hero Live, which streams its tunes, is pretty good, too.) Read our review.
For Playstation 4, Xbox One
10. Until Dawn
A bunch of teenagers plan a weekend at a secluded cabin. What could go wrong? This thriller initially looks like dozens of slasher movies, but it twists all the familiar tropes into something perversely original. Throw in a witty performance by TV’s breakout star of the year, Rami Malek of Mr. Robot, and you have a nasty little horror gem. Read our review
For Playstation 4