Traditional RPG: “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt”
“The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” was everything people look for in a roleplaying game. The writing was fantastic, the player’s choices influenced the world around them, and the world felt like a living, breathing thing, instead of a hollow frame. While the player was unable to customize their character’s appearance, they were still given enough choice in dialogue to allow them to make the character their own. Geralt of Rivia, the player character, evolves throughout the game in however way the player wants him to. Much like the other two entries in the “Witcher” series, this game holds up a standard that other RPGs should try to reach.
Action RPG: “Bloodborne”
“Bloodborne” is a difficult game to explain to those who are unfamiliar with FromSoftware’s “Souls” series. The game features exceptionally difficult, fast-paced combat, and is incredibly rewarding when enough time is devoted to it. The high difficulty tends to turn off more casual players, but for those who stuck with it, the game was a marvelous experience. The combat was fun, the enemies felt intelligent, and the bosses were terrifying, yet gratifying to finally defeat. The plethora of weapons allowed the player to figure out exactly how they wanted to play the game, and each was equally viable. While the game is absolutely not for everybody, for those gamers who love a challenge, there’s nothing better.
First Person Shooter: “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege”
Tom Clancy’s “Rainbow Six” series has always been a satisfying military shooter, but the most recent entry, “Rainbow Six: Siege,” has moved the series in a fantastic direction. While the previous games were focused on squad-based combat and tactical choices on a broad scale, this one is much more specialized in its gameplay. The players form two teams, one holding hostages, and the other attempting to save them, and they must combat each other in a small home or building with endless means of entry and exit, including windows, destructible walls, and other strategic points of entry. The combat is tense and quick, death is permanent, and with good cooperation, it will be the best multiplayer shooting experience and gamer has ever had.
Third Person Shooter: “Splatoon”
“Splatoon” was an unexpected treasure among Nintendo’s extensive game catalogue. The game is a Third Person Shooter, but a rather nontraditional one, where the goal is not to kill opponents, but rather coat as much of the map as possible in colorful ink. The game was fast-paced and goofy, lighthearted fun. While not a game for dedicated shooter fans, many found that “Splatoon” was a perfect mix between casual gameplay and potential strategy.
Sports Game: “Rocket League”
“Rocket League” is a fantastic game, but difficult to classify. The game involves players driving cars and attempting to hit a massive soccer ball into the opposing team’s goal. It’s effectively a boiled-down version of soccer with cars instead of people, and while it sounds completely ridiculous, the gameplay is immensely fun. It’s fast, it’s intense, and the competitive nature of the game makes it a blast to play with friends. “Rocket League” was by far the best original sports game to come out in a long time, and should be played by fans of sports games and non-sports games alike.
Platformer: “Super Mario Maker”
While not technically a platformer, but rather a means by which gamers can create their own Mario levels, “Super Mario Maker” gave the gaming community a chance to show their ingenuity in level design. Some of the levels are awful, some are great, and some are simply ludicrously difficult, but the fact that anyone can make a Mario level made this game a wonderful experience. While truly artistic levels are often few and far between, they are absolutely worth searching for, because some are far beyond the creativity of the original game developers themselves.
Horror Game: “Soma”
Made by the developers of horror classic “Amnesia: The Dark Descent,” “Soma” was a truly terrifying experience in which players had to investigate an intriguing world filled with advanced technology and horrific monsters. Much like “Amnesia”, this game features exploration and storytelling as much as it does horror, and the atmosphere keeps the player tense, just waiting for the next scare. In a genre that has recently been diluted by games that are nothing more than cheap jump-scares, “Soma” manages to deliver a horror game similar to the classics, one built more around atmosphere and tension than surprise.
Simulation Game: “Cities: Skylines”
“Cities: Skylines” is the most recent entry in the “Cities” series of games, and unlike some other city development simulators that came out in the past couple years, “Skylines” is everything a game of this sort needs to be. Players are able to build massive, sprawling cityscapes with thriving infrastructures and beautiful civic planning, or to design ludicrous urban locations which in no way could exist in reality. The point of the game is to let the player’s inner civil engineer run wild, and it does so exceptionally well.
Strategy Game: “Galactic Civilizations 3”
The “Galactic Civilizations” series has been around since 2003, and each iteration has been a more in-depth strategy game than the last. The third game has taken every element from the previous two and merged them into a cohesive strategy game that takes a long time to master, but provides the player with endless possible ways to run their own personal galactic empire. Whether the player wants to win through war, economics, or diplomacy, the universe is their oyster.
Fighting Game: “Mortal Kombat X”
“Mortal Kombat X” is just like every other “Mortal Kombat” game, but better and more streamlined. The fighting is smooth and rewards precise play, but if people want to pick the game up and play for fun with friends, they still can. “Mortal Kombat X” fills a specific niche in the fighting game genre where it allows intense competitive play, but also can be enjoyed equally from a more casual standpoint. Especially because of the recent lull in good fighting games, “Mortal Kombat X” is without contest the best of 2015.
Indie Game: “Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime”
In the past few years indie games has become increasingly popular, to the point that it is difficult to pick a best game each year because of how many wonderfully crafted games in the genre are released. The easiest way to judge them is by how legitimately fun they are, and in that regard “Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime” is a strong frontrunner. The game involves players working together to operate a tiny spaceship, wherein they cannot control all systems at the same time. Therefore, the players must run between the guns, and engines, and shields, and try desperately to maneuver their ship through space while fighting off aliens. The game is just pure, unadulterated fun, and should be played by anyone with a friend with whom they can share the experience.