We look back at the games that appeared on various platforms in 2015 and pick the ones we thought were the best on each.
The year 2015 was expected to see some of the biggest releases from giants Sony and Microsoft for their next-gen gaming consoles but many of the titles have been delayed till next year.
Still, it has been an interesting year with many ground-breaking titles for just about every platform.
We have compiled a list highlighting the best games (and runner ups if any) for the PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U and many more.
Even though the year is coming to a close, you shouldn’t give these titles a miss.
Desktops and laptops
Despite years of reports that PC gaming is coming to an end, we are happy to say that the platform is very much alive and thriving.
Most games released on the PC also had a console version, but in many instances the PC edition was the superior version like in the case of Grand Theft Auto V.
There were exceptions – for instance, the PC edition of Batman: Arkham Knight was so buggy, the developer had to remove it from the online store (Steam) before fixing it.
Our pick for best PC game goes to The Witcher 3, the third instalment in the popular action RPG (role-playing game) series from Polish developer CD Projekt Red.
Featuring a beautiful open world with an excellent combat system that combines potion brewing with magic and swordplay, The Witcher 3 is a winner when it comes to gameplay.
Add that to the unique and interesting side quests and you have a real winner on your hands.
Coming a close second is Bethesda’s sprawling open world, post-apocalyptic Fallout 4, which just missed the mark because of bugs and glitches. Having said that, gamers have come to expect such flaws, as they are hard to avoid when creating such a huge virtual world.
Sony PlayStation 4
With very few exceptions, games on the PS4 in 2015 were made up largely of sequels to popular franchises.
So over the course of year, we got Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, Call Of Duty: Black Ops 3, Fallout 4, Tales From The Borderlands and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
However, sequels are not necessarily bad – even though they lack originality, they more than make up for it with improved gameplay.
Our choice for PS4 game of the year? It wasn’t easy to pick one as there were many strong contenders but our vote goes to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
For Metal Gear fans it’s the culmination of creator Hideo Kojima’s life’s work on the series before his much-publicised departure from Konami.
The strength of Phantom Pain lies in the flexible gameplay system which allows you to complete levels in almost any way you want.
The open world is also incredibly beautiful and features day and night cycles, as well as sandstorms, rain and other environmental effects that you can take advantage of in your stealth missions.
Overall, a great game and a fitting swan song for Kojima’s time at Konami.
Microsoft Xbox One
Like the PS4, the Xbox One also suffered delays and a number of exclusive titles have been pushed to next year.
However, one timed exclusive made it to the console just before the end of 2015 and that is Square Enix’s Rise Of The Tomb Raider.
It continues the reboot that developer Crystal Dynamics started with 2013’s Tomb Raider and builds upon what made it a success.
The sequel gives you a great adventure story with a more grounded character and the RPG crafting elements introduced in the last game, but with better puzzles when exploring tombs.
The graphics are also excellent and a great showcase for the next-generation console’s firepower.
PS4 gamers need not lose heart – Rise Of The Tomb Raider is only a timed exclusive so it is expected to arrive on the PS4 before the end of next year.
Nintendo Wii U
Despite the sales of the Wii U lagging behind other next-gen consoles, it is not short of innovative titles.
This year saw quite a number of games released for the whole family but two in particular stood out – Splatoon and Super Mario Maker.
Splatoon was a major hit for Nintendo in the third-person shooter category, as it offered more depth than the cartoony, colourful graphics suggested.
The game’s premise is simple – gamers have to take control of the play arena by shooting coloured inks.
Any area sprayed in the team colour will allow players to “swim” in that colour and even traverse vertical walls while the opposing team will be forced to travel slower.
It’s all really good fun.
However, it’s Super Mario Maker that gets our pick for game of the year for Wii U because it puts the power of making Super Mario levels in the hands of the players.
Gamers are given all the tools needed to create their own Mario game – whether you create a fun or punishing platforming level is entirely up to you.
Even if you’re not into creating levels, you can download and play levels shared by others – you can basically look forward to unlimited levels as long as the community is active.
Android and iOS
It goes without saying that there are loads of games available on iOS and Android for smartphones and tablets.
In 2015, we started seeing more big developers producing games for the mobile platform, most notably Ubisoft.
The French developer released tons of titles, including Rayman Adventures, Valiant Hearts: The Great War, Hitman: Go and Lara Croft Go.
The two that stood out are Valiant Hearts and Lara Croft Go. Valiant Hearts was notable because it combined simple but clever puzzles with a heartbreaking story.
It’s Lara Croft Go, however, that gets the prize for game of the year on mobile.
The genius of this mobile title is that it manages to capture the spirit of the platforming and puzzles of the original Tomb Raider games while translating it into a touch friendly, turn-based puzzle game
For US$4.99 (RM21.50) you get 101 levels with lots of collectibles to hunt. Also, Ubisoft recently added another 26 levels to the game for free, so you are getting a lot of value for your money.
Say what you will about Nintendo, but it’s hard to deny that its 3DS smoked the more powerful Sony PlayStation Vita in terms of games.
The fact is Nintendo’s platform featured a greater variety of games made specifically for the 3DS while the PS Vita featured mostly portable versions of console games.
A great example of this is our pick of the year, Yo-Kai Watch, a Pokemon-style RPG that has you looking for meddlesome spirits and battling them in a mix of real time and turn-based moves.
There are lots of side quests to do and characters to meet that will entertain you for hours if you like that sort of thing.
The PS Vita had a bad year – Sony officially announced that it had stopped first-party game development for the beleaguered handheld console, leaving only third-party developers to produce games for it.
Nevertheless, one worthy title to come out in 2015 that’s worth a look is Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines by Alfa System.
While the game has a traditional approach to battle, taking the usual turn-based Japanese RPG route, it adds a little dash of something new.
It allows you to create your own lineage and imbue them with hereditary traits and then level them up. In other words, you have to spend a lot of time managing the family tree but this is what makes an otherwise standard JRPG a little different.
The other highlight of this game is that the art style follows traditional Japanese paintings with stylised clouds and backgrounds.
The biggest disappointment of the year has got to be Ready At Dawn’s The Order: 1886.
At first glance, this first-party title which was released under Sony Computer Entertainment’s Santa Monica Studios looked promising, with some of the best visuals we have ever seen on the PS4.
It also promised a steampunk setting and story.
With so much going for it, how far could it go wrong? That’s what we thought when we got the game, despite early negative reviews.
We were really not prepared for it – The Order: 1886 is by far one of the worst games we’ve ever played, with a plodding story that manages to be mind-numbingly boring in spite of the imaginative setting and Knights of the Round Table story.
We could have forgiven it still if the gameplay was fun but even here The Order: 1886 fails.
Not only did the game feature long sequences of just walking around and looking at stuff (which had no bearing on the story), it was also followed by repetitious shooting sequences.
Worst of all, for a game that advertised werewolves (or lycans as they are known in the game), they only appeared thrice and in almost identical and very silly sequences.
Also, the cooler weapons in the game are woefully under utilised, leaving you with mundane arsenal for most of the game.
The only redeeming feature is the visuals.