Ultimately, FIFA 15 succeeds in creating the ultimate experience for fans. Whether you want to manage a club to a Champions League Title, or have a 10 year career with a custom player, FIFA's got it. FIFA 15 sets a high bar for sports games, and FIFA 16 will need to work twice as hard to clear it next year.
Watch Dogs could've easily been Grand Theft Auto with tech equipment. But Ubisoft Montreal has managed to flesh out this experience as something more, making fantastic use of the technology and applying it just right to deliver a remarkably deep experience. Furthermore, the presentation is quite good on newer game machines, and all the aspects click--albeit with somewhat inconsistent driving controls and AI. This game may have been a long time coming, but it's been worth the wait.
The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt is a masterfully written rollercoaster, and though there is a lot to do in the game, I never felt overwhelmed by the Side Quests and optional tasks. CD Projekt Red has done a great job of bringing this saga to a close. The best part about all of this, however, is the fact that CD Projekt RED stayed true to its word. Every choice you make will determine how the story unfolds, and what the world becomes at the end of it all.
Top to bottom, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a delightful little treat of a game. It shows a purity of puzzle design that few studios can match, and it wraps it all in a sugary-sweet presentation that only the most jaded could refuse. With a game this good, Captain Toad may just be Nintendo's next breakout star.
Halo 5: Guardians isn't 343's first Halo game, but it's the first that really makes the series its own. This isn't a reflection of Bungie's efforts, or a remaster, or stage-setting. The studio has put its own identity on this Halo game with smart moves like a more identifiable story and a wider array of multiplayer options, along with increased polish like Guardians' incredible visual punch and impeccable multiplayer balance. For the first time since 343 took the mantle, I came away feeling that it was a change for the better.
As a game, Final Fantasy XV inhabits that special place that titles like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt; Fallout 3, New Vegas, and 4; and the Elder Scrolls games do. While you're playing it, you're an inhabitant of its world, and it's a place that can be almost as vivid as reality at times, with its own history, lore, and culture. As a Final Fantasy, FFXV returns the series to the wonderment that Final Fantasy VII inspired in a generation of gamers.
Nintendo is known for being conservative and protective of its properties, and it's taking an uncharacteristic risk by giving players this much control over its most iconic character. We're already seeing creativity flourish. I can only imagine what will happen when we're all Mario's caretakers.
Forza Motorsport 6 is what I always wanted a next-gen driving game to be. It offers beautiful visuals, a wide variety of options, and uses real-world physics to dictate how vehicles perform. I could easily see myself playing Forza 6 for several months, or even years. I've never experienced a driving game with this level of polish, and it's unlikely anything will unseat it in the near future.