The Best Games of 2015: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mobile and Wii U

By Gerald Lynch on at

You've seen our picks for the best PS4 games of 2015. You've seen our top Xbox One selections too, and our must-play games of the year for PC. You've not seen our list of Wii U games of the year though because, well, that'd be a list of maybe two games, at best. 

So now it's about time we start dealing out the accolades for what we think are the best games of 2015, for the year overall no matter what the platform. Whereas in our previous lists we've attempted to give an industry-wide look into each console, compiling the thoughts of the best and brightest in games criticism, this time its personal. Straight from the heart of the Giz UK team, these are our ultimate choices for games of the year, the ones that inspired the most conversation down the pub, the most late night sessions, the races to see the credits roll. The games we just couldn't shut up about.

In an attempt to corral the discussion just a little, we've broken it down by genre. And yes, one Wii U game does make the cut. All is not lost, Nintendo fans.

The Best Games of 2015

Best Shooter - TIE - Destiny: The Taken King / Star Wars Battlefront

A cop-out at the first hurdle! I'm sorry, I truly am, to kick off with a tie. Though very different games, I just couldn't draw a line between major Destiny expansion The Taken King and Star Wars Battlefront. The Taken King, with its refined RPG mechanics, vastly-improved progression system and the same old Bungie gunplay that always made Halo so satisfying is probably the better game, game.

But it doesn't have AT-ATs. Or Tie Fighters. Or the icy tundras of Hoth. Or thermal detonators, stormtroopers, ewoks, lightsabers, the music of John Williams, the ability to play as a Sullustan like Nien Nunb. I could go on and on. Battlefront isn't the best shooter ever, lacking the depth of others in the genre. But it is one of the best Star Wars games ever, and as far as virtual wish-fulfillment / digital tourism goes, it's just about the best Star Wars experience a fan could hope for.

Best RPG - The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

It's probably going a little too far to say this, but it's almost as if The Witcher 3 is the ultimate RPG, the logical end point from tabletop to gamepad. It is the comprehensive RPG experience – a sweeping story, an expansive magical world to explore, monstrous foes, stunning love interests, and ALL THE GRAPHICS. And all the beards. A year's worth of constant developer support has smoothed the rough edges, dropping more free adventures into what was already a giant game. If you've ever imagined yourself strapping on a sword and heading out on a quest to vanquish a foul beast, The Witcher 3 will tick the boxes for you.

Runner-up: Fallout 4

Best Adventure - Batman Arkham Knight

This one's going to be controversial, but I'm making the executive decision here to place this above Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain. Both are great (well, so long as you're not trying to play the broken PC port of Arkham Knight, at least), rewarding action/ stealth games that see their respective acclaimed series at the heights of their powers. But for me, the Arkham games hold a special place in my heart – while MGS:V may have technical excellence and startling scope, its batshit story still turns me off a bit. Arkham Knight was just about as perfect a Batman game as you can imagine, wrapping up the loose ends of the trilogy, with production values that made it easy to forget that, in real life, you're not an arse-kicking billionaire playboy with a death wish and an affinity for fast cars and flying rodents.

Runner-up: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain for all, but PS4 owners shouldn't forget the horrifyingly brilliant Bloodborne.

Best Sport - Rocket League

Last year's multiplayer, lo-fi surprise was Nidhogg. In 2015, we were late-night, post-pub shouting at Rocket League, a true dark horse of a game that's as addictive as it is absurd. Part Destruction Derby, part five-a-side football, there's nothing like pulling off a rocket-powered windshield "header" to knock your team into the lead in the final moments of a frantic Rocket League match. Controlled chaos as an artform.

Runner-up: Both FIFA and PES footy games are well worth your money this year, as is the Xbox One's Forza 6 if you prefer your four-wheeled action a little more traditional.

Best Fighter - Mortal Kombat X

While there wasn't much competition in the fighter category this year (hats off to Nintendo for some noteworthy Smash Bros. updates over 2015), Mortal Kombat X would have impressed whatever challenger it was faced with. Feature rich, with a tonne of characters to play as, an interesting take on the story mode and some really mad challenges that would see you sometimes fighting in mirror-mode backwards scenarios, Mortal Kombat X was the series at its bloodiest and boldest. While its approach to microtransactions was a bit in-your-face, future updates will let you tear opponents apart as Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the Xenomorph from Alien. Can't wait.

Best Strategy - Invisible Inc.

Seeing as it's pretty much Julian's favourite game of the year, it's only fair to return to his glowing endorsement for Invisible Inc.:

Invisible, Inc is a cyberpunk heist game in the vein of XCOM. You control a squad of highly-trained operatives on missions of corporate espionage. You’re forever sneaking into a building, robbing its safes of credits and hacking into its servers to steal data that can lead you to your next job.

From the moment you start a mission in Invisible, Inc the pressure begins to ratchet up. Every five turns the level’s security will increase–more CCTV cameras will boot up, more guards will come on patrol, each locked safe will become more difficult to crack. So the longer your mission takes the more difficult it becomes. Rush things, though, and your team will get caught out by a level’s security – one shot will see an operative permanently killed.

Invisible, Inc is an excellent turn-based strategy game. It dares you to be greedy in a mission where caution would serve you better. Whenever you stay too long on a level and the security becomes too much it’s because you were looking for extra safes, or trying to hack one more server. I thoroughly recommend it.

Runner-up: Cities Skyline

Best Mobile - Her Story

Listened to season one of the Serial podacast? Watched True Detective? Read your share of Sherlock? Think you can do better than the super-sleuths? Her Story gives you a chance to prove it. Giving you access to a fictional police database and the interview footage of a lady embroiled in a murder mystery, you'll have to scour the video content and chase up leads to come to some sort of conclusion as to what truly went on. A superb live action performance sits at the centre of the game, but it's the simplicity of searching through the database for leads, picking up snippets of clues and then forming an overall picture that makes Her Story so engrossing and innovative. Great on an iPad, it's also available on PC, if tablet gaming isn't for you.

Runner-up: The iOS and Android ports of Blizzard's Hearthstone, which made their smartphone debuts this year.

Best Platformer - Super Mario Maker

You see? Nintendo did have at least one decent game out on the Wii U this year that wasn't Splatoon. Though it stars the company's go-to hero plumber, Super Mario Maker is very much a Nintendo game for both the next generation of the company, and its social-sharing millennial fans. For a firm that has previously so closely guarded its properties, Super Mario Maker was a breath of fresh air, handing over the keys to the 2D Mario games and assets, letting Wii U fans create their own levels and share them online. From the fiendishly hard to the weird and wacky, the foolproof editing tools let anyone have a go, breathing new life into the series and giving you a reason to dust off the Wii U's touchscreen gamepad. Fingers crossed this is the start of something beautiful – a more open-minded Nintendo ahead of the NX's release. Super Zelda Maker, anyone?

Runner-up: Ori and the Blind Forest

Best for Kids - LEGO Dimensions

First of all, a warning. LEGO Dimensions is expensive. At its RRP price, the base game will set you back £80, and the myriad expansion packs you can buy (which do at least come with physical LEGO toys for you to play with) cost anything from a tenner to more than £35, depending on the size and characters involved. Get past that though, and you've a truly wonderful title to sit down and play with the little'uns. The best examples of toys-to-life gaming create a meaningful relationship between the packed-in figures and digital play, something LEGO Dimensions perfects with its buildable playsets. As for the game itself, the heady mix of characters across intellectual properties makes it like playing with a real toybox, throwing Batman, Homer Simpson, Jurassic World's dinosaurs, Doctor Who and more all into the mix together. Crazy fun, if you can afford it.

Runner-up: Disney Infinity 3.0

Anything we've missed? Sign off with your games of the year and why you've chosen them below.

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