Arts & Culture

Game Picks: Top 10 titles from 2015, a great year for gaming

Top 10 titles from 2105, a great year of gaming

One of the best 12 months for console gaming in recent memory, 2015 was a monster of a year for anyone sitting in front of a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Many long-anticipated titles finally hit shelves, and we saw a tremendous holiday rush of top-tier games. I’m still digging out, frankly. Here’s my top ten list for 2015, starting with Game of the Year – “Fallout 4” – and following after that in no particular order.

Fallout 4

PC, PS4, Xbox One

With its impossible blend of inventive design, narrative depth and sheer open-world real estate, “Fallout 4” wins game of the year by several irradiated miles. Wandering the post-apocalyptic wastes has never been such fun, and literally dozens of games have tramped over this territory. Two months in on this one, and I’m still discovering new delights.

Witcher 3

PC, PS4, Xbox One

Back in May, Polish developer CD Projekt Red stunned the gaming world with this pitch-perfect fantasy RPG based on an obscure series of sword-and-sorcery novels. It’s difficult indeed to create fresh characters and stories in this genre, but the developers pull it off and clear all the technical hurdles as well.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate

PC, PS4, Xbox One

The very busy “Assassin’s Creed” franchise delivered its best entry yet with “Syndicate,” set in the sooty cobblestone expanses of Victorian-era London. This is the historical setting that longtime fans have been waiting for. Compelling characters plus an optimized movement system seal the deal.

Star Wars: Battlefront

PC, PS4, Xbox One

EA’s hugely hyped multiplayer shooter had a lot to live up to (you may be aware of this “Star Wars” franchise that’s enjoying some popularity of late). “Battlefront” supplies thrilling tactical scenarios and eye-popping visuals, though players interested in single-player campaign options will be disappointed.

The Order: 1886

PS4

Another Victorian-era thriller, this underrated third-person adventure story switches up the usual rhythms by putting heavy emphasis on its alternate history storyline and steampunk art design. Combat aficionados won’t find many challenges, but it’s always fun to turkey-shoot lycanthropic bedlamites, don’t you think?

Mad Max

PC, PS4, Xbox One

Runner up in the post-apocalyptic sweepstakes, this long-delayed transposition of the “Mad Max” franchise takes vehicular mayhem to a whole ’nother level. Endlessly replayable, the game sticks close to the film series’ hallucinatory aesthetic of grim despair, hot rod fetishism and future-primitive ultraviolence.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Xbox 360, Xbox One

Stalwart archaeologist Lara Croft returns in the sequel to last year’s triumphant franchise reboot, sprinting through a familiar blend of exploration, combat and platform puzzle-solving. The game’s nicely balanced mix of adventure challenges isn’t much changed from the last outing, but you know what they say about things that ain’t broke.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Reportedly the final series entry from gaming’s legendary designer Hideo Kojima, “The Phantom Pain” goes all-in with a vast open-world milieu and a cinematic camera approach that swoops and dives around the action. The standard-issue tough-guy storytelling is redeemed by brilliant gameplay design that rewards creative tactical thinking.

Magic Duels: Origins

PC, Xbox One, iOS

The latest in a looong line of videogame adaptations, “Origins” successfully tackles the complex tabletop card game “Magic: The Gathering” and renders it friendly enough for newbies. Veteran players will enjoy the improved opponent AI and the game’s (relatively) full-featured deck building options.

Trivia Crack

iOS, Android, Windows Phone

Finally, from the mobile gaming realm, bonus points must be awarded to the alarmingly addictive and aptly named “Trivia Crack,” which found a new way to tweak a very old game template. By creating a crowd-sourcing system that actually worked, the Argentinean designers ensured an endless supply of new multiple-choice questions. The English-language version of “Trivia Crack” peaked in the U.S. in January, devouring millions of hours of discretionary and not-so-discretionary time, and probably impacting U.S. GDP for 2015. And that’s what gaming is all about!

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