This article titled “The 25 best games of 2015: 10-6 – playing detective and a controversial choice” was written by Keith Stuart , Simon Parkin, Holly Nielsen , Rich Stantonand Ian Ford, for theguardian.com on Thursday 17th December 2015 09.42 UTC
At last, we’re moving into the top ten video games of the year, as chosen by our team of experienced and opinionated game writers. Judging by the comments beneath previous entries, there will be some controversy here, with much-favoured online football brawler Rocket League falling short of an expected top five placing.
The appearance of Destiny – effectively re-thought and re-engineered for its Taken King release – could prove controversial too. But, as we’ve pointed out, the selection is subjective and makes no attempt to consider wider critical opinion. You can just go on Metacritic for that.
Let’s start with another Wii U game…
10. Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)
Tetsuya Takahashi’s latest is a grand, ambitious and, at times, willfully arcane open-world masterpiece. It begins with a crash-landing on the Jurassic world of Mira. There you join the ranks of the other remaining humans to begin rebuilding civilization, an expansion that the local flora and fauna powerfully resist. Its systems are varied, knotted and, at times, seemingly unrelated. Yet, in the mystery, wonder lies. Unlike the increasingly homogenous glut of western open world games, X is singular and memorable in both style and structure.
9. Destiny: Taken King (PS4/Xbox One)
A mystifying waste of time to some, a lifestyle to others, Destiny has kept its hold on the gaming consciousness this year through sheer force of will. The Taken King update added a new plotline and social base, as well as new strikes and a massively improved levelling system. Some said this is what Destiny should always have been. Whatever the case, it became a ridiculously compelling endeavour to its fans, perfectly combining those Halo-style bursts of shooter action with the slower arc of a loot gathering adventure. It’s still a troubled and difficult relationship but, to many gamers, it is love.
8. Rocket League (PC/Mac/PS4)
Two teams of rocket-propelled cars, an enclosed stadium and one giant football are the elements that make Rocket League 2015’s ultimate “one more go” game. The secret sauce is the perfectly-tuned driving controls, capable of everything from bicycle kicks to rocket-propelled flight, which keep on revealing new depths as you master the old ones. The speed of the players combines beautifully with the low-gravity ball and curved stadia, and the five-minute match length is a flawless touch – there’s always time for another.
7. Her Story (PC/Mac/iOS)
Everyone fancies themselves as a detective, and Her Story taps into this to weave a multi-threaded story out of restrained mechanics. You find yourself at a police terminal, with access to timestamped video clips and a searchable index. The game is to find and watch these clips, all from several police interviews with the same woman, and work out what’s going on. The atmosphere is fuggy, the acting is wonderful, and following-up the right leads feels so good it’s like you’re a natural.
6. Splatoon (Wii U)
Why play a normal shooter, when you can play a shooter where you fire ink and turn into a squid? Comprised of an addictive and ridiculously entertaining online mode, and a single player campaign with unique mechanics, Splatoon is one of 2015’s most interesting offerings. It is essentially the gaming equivalent of a 1990s Saturday morning kid’s TV show; colourful, noisy, fun – and with a lot of people getting gunked. Importantly, with an emphasis on territorial gain rather than shooting people in the face, Nintendo showed us that there’s more to team-based online shooters than blood and shotguns.
- The Guardian Games ‘Review of the Year’ is taking place at the Guardian’s Scott Room on Thursday evening, 7-8.30pm. Featuring Keith Stuart, writers Simon Parkin and Cara Ellison and game developer Mike Bithell, we’ll look back at 2015, with mince pies and a giant (free!) Xmas tombola with amazing prizes! Tickets available here.
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