Here at XboxOneUK.com, as we cram the last of the mince pies into our gaping maws and wash them down with the dregs of Aunty Mabel’s sherry, our thoughts turn all nostalgic as we look back on the games that have brought us the most fun in 2015.
We wanted our Game Of The Year 2015 candidates to be those that gave us the most fun. To be eligible, a game just had to be released on Xbox One in 2015 (a full game, not DLC or expansion – so anyone voting for Destiny TTK was dragged outside and pummelled with unpulled crackers until they relented.)
These are our twelve choices. These are the games we had the most fun playing in 2015. Your list is sure to be different. Please feel free to join in the debate in the comments, but remember all lists are subjective and if you’re not nice about it, you only have yourself to blame when you find your name on Santa’s 2016 naughty list. Yes, we do really have that level of pull with the big guy.
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
There’s no doubt that the writing in the Borderlands games is genuinely funny; from the brilliantly manic Tiny Tina to the villain-we-love-to-hate Handsome Jack, every character is memorable. Other games that take themselves too seriously (yes, we are looking at you, year one Destiny) could learn a thing or two from developers Gearbox. Whether we were playing through on new hardware or experiencing the series for the first time, we had fun. And don’t forget the guns!
Call of Duty: Black Ops III
Every year there’s a COD game and every year we have fun playing it. Teaming up with friends (or teaming up against one another) is always fun and COD’s movement and gunplay is rarely rivalled. Whether or not you think BLOPS3 takes the genre to new heights, the game is well made with good networking and matchmaking performance, leaving us hanging around less and shooting (or getting shot) more. Add in some of the best Zombie action around and we’re sold!
Rarely had a game been so anticipated as Bethesda’s sequel to the rough-around-the-edges explore ’em up Fallout 3. And gamers who wanted more of the same weren’t disappointed. Whilst it can be argued that the ‘more of the same approach’ plays it a little too safe and doesn’t necessarily open up the series to a new fan base, it’s difficult not to lose yourself in the absorbing exploration and outlandish characters you meet on your travels.
Simply, you are either a FIFA player or you are not. If the beautiful game is your sport of choice then FIFA captures it in digital form like no other game – and FIFA 16 is the best, most detailed and absorbing implementation yet. Online match play with friends is a fantastic way to spend time – the banter alone is terrace-worthy – and micro transaction creep is can be avoided entirely if Ultimate Team isn’t your cup of tea.
Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious
This is marketing done right – a free (for a limited time) game that takes the best handling racing game model and gives you a dozen drool-worthy cars to tool around in, wrapped up in a short story climaxing in a car chase sequence that is as big and ridiculous as any you will find in the movie franchise. Doritos Crash Course this is NOT. If you didn’t pick it up for free at the time, it can be downloaded from the store for £8.00 – perfect if you’re not sure if the full Forza Horizon 2 is for you.
Halo 5: Guardians
Halo is the go-to Xbox franchise and the launch of Halo 5: Guardians was a REALLY BIG DEAL for Xbox. Whilst the campaign mode received a mixed response (our take: it’s built for co-op, and plays so much better with friends) the PvP is a return to the glory days of Halo. Add in Warzone – the best thing to happen to online multiplayer in ages – and you have a package that should be in every Xbox gamer’s collection. And that’s before you factor in NATHAN FILLION!
Jackbox Party Pack 2
If it’s pure fun you are looking for then couch multiplayer is the way to go. Whether it’s forming the greatest super group in history in front of Rock Band or agonising over decisions in a Telltale story, gaming is frequently at its most fun with a buddy or two. And, for us, this simple party game brought friends (and alcohol, and food) together like no other. A game that’s accessible to non gamers, we’ve not had such good fun since Gran pulverised the entire family at Wii Bowling.
Life is Strange
In many ways, 2015 is the year of episodic gaming, a genre that Telltale has made its own. For us, though, the standout episodic adventure in 2015 is Dontnod’s Life is Strange – a tale with real emotional payoff despite some dodgy dialogue (which improved across the five episodes). We loved that the gameplay mechanic (the ability to rewind time) is secondary to the story, drawing us in rather than breaking the atmosphere. Funny, clever and moving.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
In the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, Rhianna Pratchett’s writing exposed a new, vulnerable Lara Croft – a character as worthy of exploration as the tombs she encounters. In Rise, we found a more confident Lara (not to mention an even more deadly killer), a gaming heroine worthy of the title. As far removed from 1996 Lara Croft as can be, Lara has come to symbolise the growing maturity of our hobby.
Back when we were young, when summers were longer and an ice-pole would last for hours, games were HARD. Properly, properly hard. Shovel Knight is a reimagining of those 8-bit games – paying homage to them but still offering a fresh, captivating experience and innovative gameplay. Shovel Knight is one of those games that proves you don’t need an AAA budget to create a brilliant game. More, please.
Star Wars Battlefront
Duh-duh-duh-duh-duduh-duh-duduh… As pop culture references go, nothing’s as big as Star Wars. And nothing has come as close to being part of that universe that DICE’s Star Wars Battlefront. More than anything else, it feels Star Wars. Criticised for being shallow and simplistic, we see that accessibility as a bonus. Plug in, turn the volume up, and fight those Rebel Scum. Han shot first.
Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 2 was a solid open world game known as much for lazily stereotypical depiction of women in its storylines as anything else. Expectations for Wither 3 were low until E3 2014 when the Internet exploded with details of a vast, beautiful open world offering countless opportunities for emergent gameplay. On release, the game did not disappoint – it’s one of the most absorbing gaming events of the year that will keep you witching for a hundred hours or more.
These are the dozen games that gave us the most fun in 2015. But, of course, we have to pick one. After a back and forth debate that raged for hours over turkey and port at the team Christmas Lunch, we reached a consensus. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the XboxOneUK.com Game of the Year 2015.
Here’s a few of our personal reactions to Fallout 4, our Game of the Year 2015.
“Fallout 4 was my first innings in Bethesda’s massive open world post apocalyptic RPG. This game for me was not only epic in size and quantity of the missions you can undertake but also the quality of it all; from creating your own town to choosing from the tons of upgrade options, Fallout 4 captures your imagination every time you play. Fallout 4 has made me a Fallout fanboy and because of that I will be going back to play the others in the series.” Mike ~ Senior Manager. Read Mike’s review of the game.
“I’d say that I chose Fallout 4 as my game of the year for the free roam, the graphics and the building. The levelling up is fantastic with choosing your own game style, too. Bethesda have never been one to let me down; I would have to say that it’s the best post-apocalyptic game out there!” Sophie ~ Community Administrator.
“Fallout 4 is my game of the year because of its size and the sheer beauty of the game; one visit to the glowing shores and you can see what I mean. Yes it’s a bit glitchy but still epic and a brilliant addition to the franchise. It’s a game that you can quite simply get lost in. You make the choices – you can complete the game without even firing a gun… or go mental with the mini nuke launcher! It’s up to you.” Andrew ~ Senior Editor.
Got your own Game of the Year? Let us know in the comments!