2015 was a big year for the Xbox One, between the return of some popular franchises (like Gears of War and Halo), several highly anticipated sequels and even a few surprises. It’ll be tough to see how Microsoft will top it in 2016, but it’s sure to find a way, especially with these highly anticipated games.
Before ringing in the New Year, make sure you play the best Xbox One had to offer in 2015
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Hideo Kojima’s grand finale in his line of Metal Gear games was definitely the best, providing a stunning open-world environment for Big Boss to run around in while taking on all sorts of enemies, human and robotic alike. Running on the highly complex Fox Engine, The Phantom Pain fired on all cylinders, especially when it came to delivering harrowing visuals and excellent tactical gameplay. Now the question is where Snake and company go next…
Bethesda’s long-awaited sequel to its open-world adventure series was definitely worth the wait, as you ravage your way through a post-apocalyptic Boston, dealing with a variety of enemies while making new alliances and helping to build a better world for yourself. With hours’ worth of missions to take on and a strong presentation that’s the best we’ve seen to date for a Fallout game, this sequel definitely fires on all cylinders.
Ori and the Blind Forest
Moon Studios’ breathtaking side-scrolling adventure didn’t just live up to the hype, it exceeded beyond it. Featuring challenging gameplay that put even the most devoted platforming fans through their paces, along with a vivid presentation with tranquil visuals and a heartwarming soundtrack, Ori and the Blind Forest showed Microsoft’s devotion to smaller games, and became one of this year’s standouts on the Xbox One.
Forza Motorsport 6
Considering the sheer amount of polish that went into Forza Motorsport 5 a couple of years ago, we were wondering how the developers at Turn 10 Studios would, ahem, go the extra mile with the sequel. Of course, leave it to the team to stun us with more visceral locales than ever before, as well as hundreds of cars to choose from and, for the first time in the Forza series, the sheer joy of racing at night. Throw in the cool Autovista mode, where you can ogle at cars for hours on end, and you have an auto lover’s dream for Xbox One yet again.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Lara Croft’s return to gaming has been expected for some time now, and Crystal Dynamics didn’t disappoint. Rise of the Tomb Raider opens up the danger-filled world even more than 2013’s reboot, and adds in a few Challenge Tombs to boot, which puts Lara’s physical skills and know-how to the absolute best. With gorgeous visuals, fast-paced gameplay and plenty of exciting scenarios that would put Indiana Jones to shame, Rise of the Tomb Raider is one of the best games of 2015.
Halo 5: Guardians
The long-awaited sequel to the Halo franchise – and the first to be handled by Team 343 for the Xbox One – definitely didn’t disappoint when it arrived earlier this year. Featuring a robust single player campaign spreading across two different characters (the new Spartan Locke and the returning Master Chief) and a vast number of tweaks to multiplayer, including the addition of the unpredictable WarZone mode, Halo 5 shined brighter than last year’s The Master Chief Collection. Now the only question left to ask is when we’re getting Halo 6.
While Rare’s classic game compilation may not be as sharp-looking as other Xbox One entries, there’s no question that it’s worth its retro-based weight in gold. Featuring a number of favorites from the yesteryear of gaming, including two Battletoads games, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, RC Pro Am and countless others, it’s a great history lesson for those who missed the games the first time around, and a fun reminder of what was for those that conquered them long ago. Plus, it’s only $20 – less than $1 a game. Talk about value.
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
While we wait (patiently) for Gears 4 to make its arrival next year, we have this solid remake of the original game that started it all, courtesy of the squad at The Coalition. Gears of War has never looked better, with polished visuals, tightened gameplay and multiplayer that feels right at home on the Xbox One console. For good measure, the engine gives us a hint at just how incredible the new game will look when it eventually arrives next year. In the meantime, though, welcome back, Delta Squad.
Lovers In a Dangerous Spacetime
One of the quirkiest games to be released on Xbox One to date, Lovers In a Dangerous Spacetime is just the thing players need when it comes to scratching their co-op itch. A team of two guides a large spaceship through a series of scenarios, blocking enemy attacks while destroying them and solving puzzles to move on to the next area. With an eclectic art style that can’t be beat and fun gameplay for solo or buddy-based players alike, Spacetime is easily a game to love.
Rock Band 4
Harmonix brought back its popular Rock show with this sequel, packing even more features like guitar solos, a new Brutal mode and a plethora of old and new songs alike for fans to love. It’s also quite dependable when it comes to being a full-on party machine, as four players can join in a band session and jam like crazy. Plus, with the addition of the Rock Band 3 export, we can finally fulfill requests from people who insist that we “play some Free Bird.” Rock on.