The 10 Best Video Games of 2015

No matter what kind of video games you’re into, there’s a good chance your interests were well served in 2015. Loads of fantastic titles came out on platforms ranging from smartphones to consoles and PC. But since some games are better than others, it’s always fun to tally up the best of the best at the year’s end.

To come up with the list, we surveyed all of the year’s games on Metacritic, and created a composite score that accounts for both critic and user ratings. So if a game with a 95 critic score and 9.3 user score, it would receive a 94 composite score. This should gives us the clearest picture of how well the games were received by critics and gamers alike.

10. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Composite Metacritic score: 87

This game takes place in a world full of beasts that come in a variety of sizes: large, larger, and “this was a bad idea, let’s get out of here.” You venture out from town, find a beast, and engage in an epic battle to slay it. Then you return home to craft new weapons and equipment to prepare for your next encounter.

The game is definitely not easy, but you can invite friends to hop into your game to help you take down a towering foe. For the first time in the series, if your timing is right, you can hop on a monster’s back and ride it until it grows tired — assuming you don’t get thrown off and gored first.

9. Tales from the Borderlands

Platform: PC
Composite Metacritic score: 87

Developer Telltale seems to have an endless supply of excellent adventure games that basically play out as movies, with the player being called on to explore new environments, tap buttons during action sequences, and choose how conversations progress. That said, Tales From the Borderlands is one of the very best ones. Based on a series of popular first-person shooters set on a Wild West-like planet, this episodic game feels wholly different from the games that inspired it but still manages to fit right in.

8. Xenoblade Chronicles X

Platform: Wii U
Composite Metacritic score: 87.5

The original Xenoblade Chronicles was an open-world RPG that came out on Wii a few years ago and was recently ported to the New Nintendo 3DS. By all accounts it was a fantastic game, but it didn’t get a whole lot of play in the U.S., because the Wii was in its twilight years by the time it launched.

Xenoblade Chronicles X is a spiritual successor to that game, featuring many of the same elements that made the original such a blast. The plot kicks off as an alien war in 2054 makes Earth unlivable, so the surviving humans strike out among the stars to settle on a planet called Mira. The only problem is that the aliens have followed them. RPG fans will definitely want to take a look.

7. Super Mario Maker

Platform: Wii U
Composite Metacritic score: 87.5

Gamers have spent the last 30 years playing side-scrolling Mario games, so isn’t it about time we did our part and made some levels of our own? That’s the idea behind Super Mario Maker, a game that gives you the tools to create Mario levels in styles based on Super Mario Bros., Super Mario 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros.

The game comes with dozens of pre-made levels, but the idea is to have players create their own and post them online for all the world to play. The best levels tend to rise to the top, where they can easily be found by other players looking for fun. If you have a Wii U and you like Mario games, this is a must-play.

6. Ori and the Blind Forest

Platform: PC
Composite Metacritic score: 87.5

Ori and the Blind Forest is a stunningly gorgeous side-scrolling adventure that stars a forest spirit on a coming-of-age journey. Developer Moon studios spent four years working on this title, trying to give it a similar feel to Nintendo classics like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Metroid. That’s a high bar to clear, but the hard work has paid off, with a stunning game that satisfies on many levels.

5. Cities: Skylines

Platform: PC
Composite Metacritic score: 87.5

Lately Electronic Arts hasn’t been delivering the kinds of SimCity games longtime fans of the series want, so developer Colossal Order saw an opening and took it. This game lets you build the city of your dreams from the ground up, with all kinds of fun goals along the way. It also gives you more freedom than most games, letting you tweak the difficulty to your heart’s desire and even give yourself unlimited money if you just want to go crazy with your city designs. If you’ve ever enjoyed a SimCity game, you’ll probably love Cities: Skylines.

4. Undertale

Platform: PC
Composite Metacritic score: 88.5

Throw a rock in the air, and there’s a good chance it’ll land on a retro-style indie game. Even though Undertale may look like a lot of other PC games, it’s very special indeed. It’s a role-playing game that owes a lot to Earthbound, the Super Nintendo classic. That means you’ll find yourself in a world filled with monsters you can fight.

That’s where it strays from the games that inspired its visuals and mechanics. This is a game that constantly stays several steps ahead of players, offering surprises and unexpected new gameplay mechanics at every turn. To say too much about it would spoil the fun of finding it out for yourself. Do yourself a favor and give Undertale a shot.

3. Bloodborne

Platform: PlayStation 4
Composite Metacritic score: 89

Bloodborne will break you down. But if you remain steadfast and keep giving it your all, it will rebuild you into much better shape than when you started. This bleak title is set in a Victorian steampunk city whose streets are teeming with some of the most frightful creatures ever created. You explore the world and exterminate every enemy you find, including towering bosses that are all but guaranteed to give you nightmares.

Success is hard-won, but it’s all the sweeter for it. If you like a finely crafted game that pulls no punches, Bloodborne will give you dozens of hours of enjoyment.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D

Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Composite Metacritic score: 90

With the success of the 3DS remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, it was no surprise Nintendo decided to port over its successor, Majora’s Mask. While that game hasn’t become the classic Ocarina has, it’s developed a cult following since its 2000 release.

In Majora’s Mask, the moon is on a crash course with the planet and is expected to make impact in three days, destroying everything and everyone. You play as a time-traveling Link, who repeatedly goes back to the beginning of those three days to conquer dungeons and stop the end of the world. The game also features a handful of modern improvements over the original, making this the most accessible version of the game.

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Platform: PC
Composite Metacritic score: 92

A staggeringly content-packed game, clocking in at around 150 hours if you do all of the side quests, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a dark fantasy game. In this brutal Medieval world, you play as Geralt, a beast hunter who’s just as likely to help a peasant find his lost pet as he is to help overthrow an empire.

The main story has you trying to find Ciri, a good friend of yours who’s in danger. That quest takes you all over the map and puts you in contact with many of the world’s well-realized inhabitants. Of all the games released in 2015, this is highest rated, both by critics and players alike. If by some strange circumstance you can only play one game from 2015, it should be The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

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