2015 features the final say on a couple of massive gaming stories and characters. It also has breakout hits that have put certain developers into mainstream view, leaving them as some of the most celebrated to this day. In all, 2015 has a fantastic mix of amazing indie games and some of the best AAA titles of the decade.
Keep an eye out here for every year’s list of the past decade, including an overall best 100 games of the 2010s.
The 15 Best Games of 2015
15 – Until Dawn
Developer: Supermassive Games | Release Date: August 25th, 2015
It’s always fair to want some spook in your life. Until Dawn took the ideas built upon by studios like Telltale and turned it into the ultimate horror movie experience. Serving as both a loving tribute to and interesting parody of classic horror films, the game doesn’t really do anything unexpected but does manage to keep players enthralled the whole time. Every character can live or die depending on your choices, so there’s plenty of reason to replay the game as well.
14 – Ori and the Blind Forest
Developer: Moon Studios | Release Date: March 11th, 2015
A game that originally caught eyes thanks to its lovely art style and beautiful soundtrack, Ori and the Blind Forest certainly has a lot going for it. Beautiful story moments told without a word managed to easily captivate players and draw them into the game. After an intro that put Pixar’s UP to shame, you get treated to a fun 2D platformer metroidvania. There’s a lot of good in Ori and the Blind Forest, both good gameplay and more captivating moments, and it’s no wonder so many remember it fondly.
13 – Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
Developer: Dennaton Games | Release Date: March 10th, 2015
Serving as both a prequel and sequel to the original game, Hotline Miami 2 follows several different characters in the days leading up to both the original game and the eventual end of Miami. There are several absolutely deranged characters here, with each of the intertwining stories feeling totally messed up in some way. From the Russian mafia, to insane actors, to mad fans of the original serial killer, this is one acid trip gone wrong. The fact that it has the same fun gameplay of the original game is just an added bonus.
12 – Rise of the Tomb Raider
Developer: Crystal Dynamics | Release Date: November 10th, 2015 | Game Page
After a surprisingly awesome reboot, Crystal Dynamics followed up with an equally awesome sequel. Rise of the Tomb Raider sees a far more confident Lara Croft on a journey of her own creation, rather than being forced to survive. It shakes up the formula with more side quests and tools Lara can use to help her navigate the environment. When combined with genuinely thrilling moments and fun gameplay, you have two winning Tomb Raider games in a single decade.
11 – Dying Light
Developer: Techland | Release Date: January 28th, 2015
So while Dead Island wasn’t bad, it didn’t live up to the initial promise of that first trailer. Dead Island 2 would go on to get trapped in development hell, but the original developers would go on to make a spiritual successor with Dying Light. Take the solid idea of a first-person loot-based melee action game and combining it with a ruined city and fast-paced parkour gameplay, and you suddenly had something unique. It may have taken a while, but Dying Light felt far more like what we were promised.
10 – Cities: Skylines
Developer: Colossal Order | Release Date: March 10th, 2015 | Game Page
In a dark decade where Sim City had only managed one, noticeably terrible, release, the city management crowd needed a savior. That savior was Cities: Skylines. Taking all the things that people loved about the classic Sim City games while cutting out weird new additions like always online and tiny cities, Cities: Skylines gave fans exactly what they wanted. It turns out sometimes the best way to move forward is to look back.
9 – Kerbal Space Program
Developer: Squad | Release Date: April 27th, 2015 | Game Page
It doesn’t take rocket science to see why people like this game. Well, in the case of Kerbal Space Program, it is rocket science. Giving you the simple goal of helping a race of weirdos named Kerbals in getting to the Mun, you’ll be putting together rockets and raising funds for more rockets. However, it’s really the community that has made this game impressive. Kerbal Space Program has fans that love to build, and there’s real joy in seeing their creations.
8 – Tales From the Borderlands
Developer: Telltale Games | Release Date: October 20th, 2015
How do you follow super-serious games like The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us? Go in a completely different direction. Go hilarious. Most people didn’t really consider the Borderlands universe to be worth exploring, at least not until Tales From the Borderlands came out. An almost shockingly perfect combination of humor and serious moments, Tales From the Borderlands stands as one of the best games that Telltale put out.
7 – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Developer: Kojima Productions | Release Date: September 1st, 2015
It’s hard to think that the Metal Gear Solid series would end on such a strange note. A series usually noted for its stories over gameplay, The Phantom Pain‘s story is usually called a dull wreck. Instead, it has some of the most interesting gameplay of a stealth game on the market. It turns out all it needed was some open-world love, which gave Snake a large number of options when it came towards stealth. With some actually fun shooting to boot, this is the way we all wanted Metal Gear Solid to play. It’s a shame this ultimately ended up as the series’ swan song.
6 – Rocket League
Developer: Psyonix | Release Date: July 7th, 2015 | Game Page
It seems a bit silly when you think about it. Cars exploding to jump and playing soccer in multiplayer matches. Yet this simple idea has made Rocket League one of the most shockingly addictive and compelling multiplayer games of the decade. There’s such a joy to shooting a goal from across the map, from blocking a shot, from watching your blunder play out in slow motion while you tell yourself never again. Then you do it again anyway.
2015 TechRaptor Awards Won: Best Multiplayer, Indie Game of the Year
Our 5 Best Games of 2015
5 – Life is Strange
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment | Release Date: October 20th, 2015
Another episodic adventure game inspired by Telltale, Life is Strange instead took a pretty different approach by giving a more realistic approach, at least at first. Following a normal teenager attending a fancy artsy high school, things got weird quick when she gets the power to rewind time. Inspired by indie movies and managing to hit close with a super relatable drama, it’s not strange Life is Strange is so well-loved.
4 – Undertale
Developer: Toby Fox | Release Date: September 15th, 2015 | Game Page
It seems so weird looking back at Undertale, how big it got. An RPG all about making friends and specifically not fighting the enemies, Undertale managed to hit all of the emotional heartstrings in a way you’d never expect, all while breaking the fourth wall and serving as a meta-commentary on RPG tropes. It also had some shockingly fun jRPG/SHMUP smash-up gameplay, and one of the best soundtracks of the decade. If not the best.
3 – Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Seige
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal | Release Date: December 1st, 2015 | Game Page
Like many games, a rocky launch won’t always define your history. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Seige had a rocky launch. However, Ubisoft knew they had something good on their hands, so they sat down and thought about it. Before long, Rainbow Six Seige had been transformed into a top-class multiplayer shooter and a favorite for FPS fans. When you need a tactical fix, and you need to breach a wall to ruin someone’s day, Rainbow Six Seige is there for you.
2 – Bloodborne
Developer: FromSoftware | Release Date: March 24th, 2015
With Dark Souls having taken over the world, it was time to try it somewhere different. Bloodborne sought to take Dark Souls into a creepy Lovecraftian version of London while speeding up the combat and introducing new transforming weapons. The result? One of the, if not the, best spin-offs of the Souls formula. From crazy boss fights, a beautiful soundtrack, and gothic vistas, Bloodborne had it all. This was the first game that really made a PlayStation 4 show up on most people’s radar and worth the purchase.
1 – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Developer: CD Projekt Red | Release Date: May 19th, 2015 | Game Page
You saw this coming. We all saw this coming. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was, and honestly still is, the RPG that defined the decade. The story of Geralt managed to sneak its way into the heart of many gamers, and exploring the vast open-world full of interesting and unique side quests could keep players captivated for 80+ hours. It’s hard to deny just how much love there is for the game, as it has been brought up constantly when the subject comes up. Take into account a pair of well-recieved DLC expansions, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the kind of game that has a solid chance of still being looked on with awe years from now. If nothing else, many games will continued to be inspired by it. Hey, it may even encourage you to pick up one of the books, despite what the author thinks.
2015 TechRaptor Awards Won: Game of the Year, Best Writing, Best Soundtrack. 2016 TechRaptor Awards Won: Best Expansion/DLC