We countdown the most underrated games 2015 saw…
The Xbox One and Playstation 4 finally found their strides in 2015. It seemed like every other month saw the release of a triple-A game, starting with Bloodborne and Dying Light at the beginning of the year. Gamers were kept busy during the summer months by the likes of Batman: Arkham Knight and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. And barely a week has gone by this fall without the release of a long-awaited title like Fallout 4 or Halo 5: Guardians.
It’s almost impossible to find the time and money to play so many amazing games unless you’re independently wealthy, so it’s only natural that most gamers are going to miss out on some great titles. You might have already made your way through the biggest releases of the year, but you should also check out these underrated gems, especially as the release calendar looks to finally be slowing down in the first few months of 2016.
#5 – Forza Motorsport 6
Even though it’s been around for more than a decade now, a lot of gamers still see the Forza series as second fiddle to Sony’s Gran Turismo franchise. That really isn’t fair. Yes, Microsoft stumbled a bit when it released Forza 5 as an Xbox One launch title. The game lacked a lot of cars and features that were present in the Xbox 360 games, but Forza 6 is a return to form. There’s a rejuvenated “Stories of Motorsport” career mode and the addition of driving at night and in the rain really do change how the game plays.
Forza 6 also features tons of custom paint jobs to download and drivatars based on your friends to race against, some of the better features that were present in Forza 5. It will be quite a long time before Gran Turismo 7 comes out, and Forza 6 will definitely tide you over until then. And even then Gran Turismo 7 is going to have to work hard to top Forza 6 as the best racing sim around.
#4 – Yoshi’s Wooly World
This was a rough year for the Wii U, with third parties almost completely abandoning the console, but Nintendo still brought out some great exclusives. Yoshi’s Woolly World initially seemed to charm the masses with those adorable yarn Yoshi amiibos, only to be completely forgotten a few weeks later. That’s a shame because Woolly World is actually one of the best games based on Yoshi’s Island since the original. The gameplay is classic and there’s nothing else that looks quite like it on any console. Maybe if the Nintendo NX is a big hit we’ll get a re-release and Woolly World will finally get the respect it deserves.
#3 – Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Last year’s Assassin’s Creed Unity was a pretty bad game that seemed to mark the beginning of the end of the prolific series. Turns out that rumors of the demise of Assassin’s Creed were greatly exaggerated. Syndicate breathes new life into the series by switching the setting to Victorian-era London, introducing two playable characters, and adding exciting new gameplay mechanics like a grappling hook and fights atop moving carriages. Whether you’ve kept up with the Assassin’s Creed games over the past eight years or have taken a break from the past few entries, Syndicate is still worth picking up in a holiday season filled with way too many games.
#2 – Splatoon
Splatoon is the reason to own a Wii U in 2015. No, it’s not as fully-featured as competitive shooters on other consoles like Call of Duty or Halo, and the lack of voice chat is a serious bummer. But dammit, Splatoon shows that Nintendo can still be creative and make games that are just plain fun. Set in a ’90s cartoon world, you take control of a boy or girl inkling who can also turn into a squid to get around levels (and re-fill your paint tank).
Technically the game is a shooter, but it’s not terribly violent. Your goal is to cover a level in your team’s paint color. If someone on the opposing team gets in the way of your paint and happens to explode, so be it. This is classic Nintendo at its very best. Nintendo continues to update the game with new levels and modes (for free!) so this could even be one of the underrated games of 2016 too.
#1 – Rise of the Tomb Raider
After paying God only knows how much money to make Rise of the Tomb Raider a timed-exclusive on the Xbox One, someone at Microsoft decided to release it on the same day as Fallout 4, a game so eagerly-anticipated that it actually caused a significant decrease in how much porn the internet viewed that day. Unsurprisingly, Rise of the Tomb Raider has not set the sales on charts on fire. That’s a real shame too, because the game improves on its predecessor, the 2013 reboot of the series, in virtually every way. The graphics are among the best on Xbox One and the combat and stealth are tops in the genre. It’s criminal how little attention the game is getting, but maybe more people will pick it up next year when it also hits the Playstation 4.