The best video games of 2015

There's nothing to complain about if you're a gamer in 2015. Overall, this was a spectacular year, but here's our picks for the best of the best.

Jeff Bakalar
1 of 15 CD Projekt Red

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (XBO, PS4, PC)

A massive game of open-world role-playing, action, combat and adventure, The Witcher 3 blew us away with its direction and production value. In terms of scale, there might not be a bigger game we've ever seen. With a seemingly endless of amount of things to do and explore, The Witcher 3 is easily one of 2015's best.

2 of 15 Kojima Productions

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (XBO, PS4, PC)

The Phantom Pain delivered on nearly every level, impressively weaving an intricate and bizarre narrative within the Metal Gear universe. Featuring ultra-satisfying stealth and action gameplay, all while introducing a base-crafting and management mechanic, The Phantom Pain also seemed to reinvent the franchise itself.

3 of 15 SuperMassive Games

Until Dawn (PS4)

Until Dawn was a rare game that was able to successfully pull off the often-attempted, often-failed "choose your own adventure" style of game that didn't feel cheap or forced. Using a teen horror flick as its base, Until Dawn shined as a storytelling vehicle and gave the player a sense of power rarely seen in games.

4 of 15 Tom Happ

Axiom Verge (PS4, PC)

We loved Axiom Verge's throwback art style and gameplay, harkening back to the time of Metroid and Castlevania games. But it's Verge's amazing blending of modern and retro gaming that made it a truly memorable experience.

5 of 15 Nintendo

Super Mario Maker (Wii U)

In one single release, Nintendo was able to unlock the dreams of a generation, giving Wii U owners complete and total access to a legacy of Super Mario Bros. assets spanning across multiple generations. Its endless potential and impressive online sharing and playing component make Super Mario Maker a guaranteed classic.

6 of 15 Rocksteady Studios

Batman: Arkham Knight (XBO, PS4, PC)

While its PC release did not fare as well, Batman: Arkham Knight served as a fitting close to developer Rocksteady Studios' Arkham trilogy. It seems the jury might still be out on whether or not the Batmobile's introduction was a good thing, but overall Arkham Knight remained one of the most fun and best-looking games of the year.

7 of 15 Crystal Dynamics

Rise of the Tomb Raider (XBO, 360)

Incredibly enough, Rise of the Tomb Raider seemed to improve on the 2013 reboot in multiple categories, most notably, the addition of more puzzle-ridden tombs. The game's environments were nothing short of spectacular and Lara's latest adventure was jam-packed with thrilling sequences and an excellent upgrading system.

8 of 15 Squad

Kerbal Space Program (PC)

Kerbal Space Program is a unique space simulator that has been around in beta form since 2011 with its final release hitting this year. Featuring some truly impressive science and physics effects, not to mention an endless amount of potential creativity and exploration, Kerbal Space Program can be played and replayed over and over.

9 of 15 Moon Studios

Ori and the Blind Forest (XBO, PC)

Ori and the Blind Forest is a gorgeous platform game that pays homage to classic "Metroidvania" mechanics and exploration. Ori had everything you could want: a beautiful art style, touching back story and rewarding and challenging gameplay.

10 of 15 tobyfox

Undertale (PC)

Endlessly clever, charming and often hilarious, Undertale's unique retro style and combat system stand out among what's been an excellent year for independent video games.

11 of 15 Bethesda Game Studios

Fallout 4 (XBO, PS4, PC)

Sure, a lot of Fallout 4 feels like its predecessor from seven years ago. But seven years is a long time to wait to wander the Wasteland once again. Gigantic in scope and nearly endless in objectives and side missions, Fallout 4 provided hours upon hours of gameplay opportunity and discovery in an amazingly realized world of nuclear afterlife.

12 of 15 Psyonix

Rocket League (PS4, PC)

From seemingly out of nowhere, Rocket League became 2015's most addictive online multiplayer game. Perhaps its brilliance lies in its accessibility and simplicity: two teams of cars attempt to drive a ball into the opposition's goal. The rules might be simple, but in terms of execution, Rocket League has proved difficult to master but insanely fun nevertheless. Its frenetic fast-paced action has found life in competitive gaming circuits and has truly invented a new eSport altogether.

13 of 15 Nintendo

Splatoon (Wii U)

One of 2015's best online shooters came from an unlikely source: Nintendo. Splatoon's third-person team-based multiplayer action proved to be a winning formula right out of the gate. Players must cover the map in more of their team's color paint all while battling each other out with different paint-based weapons and abilities. Splatoon continues to improve, with game play updates and additions, nearly seven months since its initial release.

14 of 15 Dontnod Entertainment

Life is Strange (XBO, PS4, PC)

Storytelling in games isn't easy, but Life is Strange slyly tackles the awkwardness of teen turmoil and makes your choices and their consequences feel real and important. Described as "Donnie Darko" meets "My So Called Life," Life is Strange resonates with an entire generation of gamers and perhaps their teenage past.

15 of 15 From Software

Bloodborne (PS4)

Maddeningly challenging yet tremendously satisfying, Bloodborne's disturbing world, horrific enemies and precise action separate it from the typical hack and slash action game you might be used to. Instead, Bloodborne proudly exists in a category all by itself.

More Galleries

Yamaha motorcycle and instrument designers trade jobs (pictures)

Yamaha motorcycle and instrument designers trade jobs (pictures)

16 Photos
CNET's 'Day of the Dead Devices' altar (pictures)

CNET's 'Day of the Dead Devices' altar (pictures)

9 Photos
2007 Los Angeles Auto Show: concept cars

2007 Los Angeles Auto Show: concept cars

14 Photos
Best sound bars under $300

Best sound bars under $300

18 Photos
2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke reports for diesel duty
2018 Ford F-150 diesel

2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke reports for diesel duty

22 Photos
Cosplay at Comic-Con 2016: From Stormtroopers to Sansa Stark

Cosplay at Comic-Con 2016: From Stormtroopers to Sansa Stark

34 Photos
Music-friendly cell phone accessories

Music-friendly cell phone accessories

11 Photos