The GamesBeat staff has reemerged from the fighting pits (aka our home offices), and we’ve come out with a top 10 list. And we lost almost no crew members!
So, after weeks of consideration and a rough 90 minute discussion where no one got exactly what they wanted, we are ready to make some declarative statements:
Super Mario Maker for the Wii U is GamesBeat’s 2015 Game of the Year
If you want to know how we came to that decision and the rest of our list, you can watch our full deliberations in the video below:
Now, count down with us as we go over the 10 best games of the years.
10. Pillars of Eternity
Pillars of Eternity is all about going back to a simpler era to do more complex things. It looks more like a classic PC role-playing game from the early 2000s than anything else, but it gives you a level of freedom you can’t get in most modern games.
Undertale is a frail game. It is about creatures who are awkward, anxious, and lazy, but they are also heroes. That story and the humor with which is it told, combined with the engaging combat (where you don’t have to fight at all), makes this indie darling truly deserving of praise.
8. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
If this really is the end of Metal Gear, at least it went out strong. Metal Gear Solid V was one of the most impressive, best-looking games of the year, and its stealth-based sandbox gave players tons of options and variety.
7. Until Dawn
Platform: PlayStation 4
Until Dawn seems like a B-movie horror game. But this collaboration with Hollywood really works, thanks to plot twists and characters who are more than what they seem. Add to that the Butterfly Effect, where the player’s small decisions have consequences and determine whether characters will survive until the morning.
Platform: Wii U
Who’d have thought the best shooter of the year would come from Nintendo? Splatoon, however, manages to feel fresh (so fresh) with its colorful, vibrant characters and levels, and its paint-based gameplay is a fun twist on standard shooting. It also features a surprisingly great single-player campaign.
5. Ori and the Blind Forest
Platform: Xbox One, PC
Ori deserves tons of praise for its aesthetics alone. Its gorgeous 2D are rivals the best we’ve seen in any medium, including traditional animation, and it’s score is majestic and serene. However, Ori is also a fantastic platformer that controls like a Metroidvania dream.
4. Rise of the Tomb Raider
Platform: Xbox One
Tomb Raider may have the best pacing of any triple-A game this year. It constantly invites you to take a break from the fun thing you’re doing to do some other fun things. It feels like Crystal Dynamics has learned a lot from other franchises — most notably Uncharted, Far Cry, and Assassin’s Creed — but the developer has put all of those lessons together into one hell of a package.
3. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Open world role-playing games are becoming commonplace, but Wild Hunt managed to wow gamers again with its scope and storytelling expertise. It was one of the biggest games of this or any year, and it offered the complexity that many RPG fans miss from modern titles.
2. Rocket League
Platform: PlayStation 4, PC
Well, this came out of nowhere. Rocket League has finally made sports games fun again. It is a competitive soccer game where you play as a car, and while that sounds silly, it’s a concept that anyone can immediately understand. And once you get the hang of things, you will find a depth in Rocket League that is akin to a real sport. One-timers, defense, and passing plays are all moves you can really pull off in multiplayer games with other people. And when you do find the back of the net, well, we don’t think you’ll get a better feeling playing anything else this year.
1. Super Mario Maker
Platform: Wii U
Super Mario Maker shouldn’t work. It’s a game that asks you to make your own fun, but Nintendo used all of its expertise and polish to build an experience where almost anyone can make something fun. Mario Maker, however, ascends to another level in all the ways players can interact with it and each other through these community levels. You and a friend could establish a rivalry where one tries to build something to stump the other. Or a parent could show a child the fundamentals of gameplay in something that they make together.
It’s special in a way that maybe only Nintendo knows how to capture, and that’s why it is our game of the year.