Game of the Year 2015 Countdown: #25 - #21

We kick of our Top 25 Games of the Year list by unveiling our pick for numbers 25 to 21. What games made the cut?

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After hours of debates and much gnashing of teeth, our global team of GameSpot editors have finally come up with this: the best video games of 2015, in ranked order. Our list of the best 25 games of the year has been informed by the wide array of tastes, experiences, and preferences of dozens of GameSpot editors around the world. It's a varied and eclectic list, spanning everything from the year's biggest AAA releases, to smaller, personal gameplay experiences, and everything else in between. We'll be counting down to number one over the next few days, so keep it locked to GameSpot as we unveil our choices. For today, check out our picks for 25 to 21.

25. Assassin's Creed Syndicate

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Syndicate marks a return to form for the Assassin's Creed franchise, and is in many ways its reminiscent of fan-favorite Assassin's Creed II. Protagonists Evie and Jacob Frye are a delight to follow around a city rife with corruption and opportunity. Syndicate follows in the long-running Assassin's Creed formula, presenting the same schema of a sprawling city packed with quests. But it also abandons some longstanding mechanics, upgrading the series' climbing and traversal mechanics with a new rope launcher tool. You hunt down Templars, collect bounties, and gather up collectibles when you're not building your own street gang, the Rooks. With two protagonists boasting different skillsets, a gang to manage, and the familiar host of Assassin's Creed goodies, it's easy to lose yourself in this version of 1868 London.

24. Evolve

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Few AAA games took as many risks as Evolve this year, and even fewer managed to succeed. In a genre awash with me-too experiences, Evolve turns the multiplayer shooter on its head through its distinctive 4v1 structure. Playing as one member of a team of four hunters evokes the deep cooperation required in games like Left 4 Dead (little wonder given developer Turtle Rock was responsible for that Valve classic), while playing solo as one of Evolve's towering monsters scratches a very different itch. Whether you're a dedicated team player or a lone wolf, Evolve has something for you.

Make no mistake: if you aren't ready to embrace the game's complexities, then Evolve could easily turn out to be much less than the sum of its parts. But when you have a great team around you--as well as an equally proficient monster player--Evolve truly shines. Other games can either give you the thrill of being an all-conquering solo player or the satisfaction of working as part of a well-oiled team. Evolve, on its best days, provides both.

23. Halo 5: Guardians

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Halo 5: Guardians is undoubtedly one of the best shooters of 2015. You might have been miffed at its lack of split-screen co-op, but the strides forward this game makes cement it as the best core Halo in years. The frenetic but strategic 24-player Warzone mode is the most interesting and distinctive thing to happen to Halo since Halo 3: ODST’s Firefight. It's a brand new take on the classic Halo formula, and it proves itself to be a worthwhile and meaningful addition to the combination of single- and multiplayer modes that Halo 5 offers.

Meanwhile, the campaign goes in a new, exciting direction with its Chief vs. Locke theme. Even though it doesn’t totally provide a satisfactory conclusion (Halo 6 is coming, and will presumably continue the story), it crafts a compelling narrative with many great hooks to keep you interested throughout.

22. Heroes of the Storm

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It was only a matter of time before Blizzard presented us with its own take on the MOBA genre. Populated with characters from various Blizzard universes, Heroes of the Storm is a streamlined and light-hearted approach to MOBAs. Gameplay elements traditionally found in the genre have been refined in Heroes to create a more accessible, entry-level experience. Each map contains unique objectives to encourage teams to clash more often, ensuring that the action keeps on rolling. The game also places an emphasis on teamwork over individual performance, which helps to reduce the rampant toxicity that often plagues the genre. Even if you've had your fill of MOBAs, Heroes of the Storm offers countless hours of fun.

21. Project CARS

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This may not be the racing game you expected to find here. After all, Forza Motorsport 6 delivered yet another stellar franchise entry, continuing the series' tradition of immaculate polish and precise handling. But, at the risk of sounding reductive, Forza 6 was (and is) predictably excellent. Project CARS, on the other hand, is different. Project CARS is special. Its unflinching, painstaking commitment to realism sets CARS apart from nearly every racing franchise outside of Gran Turismo. Instead of simply gifting players outrageous parts or flashy vehicles, CARS demands time, care, and thought--and substantial amounts, at that. To succeed, you must understand motorsports from the garage to the track and back. Naturally, this makes the experience daunting and demanding, but we nonetheless have tremendous respect for the boldness and clarity of CARS' vision, not to mention the exquisite final product that vision produced.

Come back tomorrow as we unveil the next five games in our Game of the Year countdown, and come back when our #1 Game of the Year is revealed on December 21 to vote on your pick!

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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keres666

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Edited By keres666

no LiS?

surprising considering all the awaers...

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e3man01

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Where in the **** is Batman? So, it's NOT a top 25 game, PC maybe but that's just wrong to leave a title like this off a game of the year list.

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Guimengo1

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Must disagree with pCARS, especially being a former WMD backer. The original proposal for the game was awesome but it was severely "dumbed down" and altered. Also it went from the original premise of being more of a sim than arcade, more intricate than Forza/Gran Turismo, but less than rFactor. Well, early on the word was that the game was going for all-out simulation... which was not true and never, ever, behaved that way. It may be a satisfying game to feel like a driving god, but no thanks.

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franzito

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Fair

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MAXTHUNDER99

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Last possible six games in no order: Bloodborne, Super Mario Maker, Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain, Batman Arkham Knight, Rocket League and Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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Hippystank

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Why would you put Evolve anywhere on this list? Rubbish theres 200 active players because the games garbage and their marketing is straight up robbery.

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OBSIDIAN_BORN

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Wow... Halo 5 is pretty low on this list... thats just straight up unprofessional.

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senorbusyman

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wow really gamespot?! u put Halo 5 at a lower rank?! go **** urself! this list is shit & i better not see CoD Black Shit 3 get a higher rank than Halo cuz EVERYONE knows Halo is better than cock of dooty

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bluefox755

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@senorbusyman: Well, it's the second lowest rated Halo game ever, so...there's that...

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OBSIDIAN_BORN

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@bluefox755:

When the first trilogy came out they were at a time where they were unrivalled for their revolutionary FPS gameplay.

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depman1972

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Edited By depman1972

Seriously AC syndicate number 25, I do not agree with these charts.

Was one of the best games of the year, should at least be in top ten

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darkwolfgang

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Evolve hahahahahahahaha good one gamespot.... oh wait they are serious on that one.

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deanimate

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@darkwolfgang: Evolve is one of the best games to come out in so damn long. An asymmetrical game done this well is so rare.

Easily my GOTY by a mile

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darkwolfgang

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@deanimate: please tell me thats sarcasm

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deanimate

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@darkwolfgang: I like a game with depth and a ridiculous amount of replayability

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darkwolfgang

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@deanimate: more sarcasm?

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lrdfancypants

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Edited By lrdfancypants

I have only played 1 game from this list so far and I've played a lot of games this year. Sheesh, no wonder I almost never agree with reviewers.

Edit: I can't believe evolve is on this list. I've lost all faith now.

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deactivated-5c1c32e0b8cc8

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- I've never liked the way Assassin's Creed plays.

- Evolve honestly didn't excite me. No interest there.

- I have a PS4 so Halo is out of the question anyway.

- I hate these types of games. No way.

- As much as I appreciate the realism delivered in this game, I'm much more of a street car fan than a full blown race car fan. Thoroughly enjoyed my time with it, but still prefer Forza. Too bad I have a PS4 or I'd be all over Forza 6!!

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deactivated-5c1c32e0b8cc8

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- I've never liked the way Assassin's Creed plays.

- Evolve honestly didn't excite me. No interest there.

- I have a PS4 so Halo is out of the question anyway.

- I hate these types of games. No way.

- As much as I appreciate the realism delivered in this game, I'm much more of a street car fan than a full blown race car fan. Thoroughly enjoyed my time with it, but still prefer Forza. Too bad I have a PS4 or I'd be all over Forza 6!!

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rayo_theking

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lol i bet Alexa didnt stop crying until they put AC:syndicate on the top 25 list :D

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realistic44

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I am not even much of an assassins creed fan and even I wouldn't put Evolve in front of it.

Number 1 is either going to be MGS5 or The Witcher 3

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JamesGoblin

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You don't have too high opinion on HotS it seems, I expected it at least in top 5. A pity...

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bioswat

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Hots and Evolve? Wow guess GS had a shitty year of games

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Victarion

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Wow, Halo 5 has such terrible games in front of it. Well I guess everyone has an opinion. It's pretty obvious that most websites are going to choose the Witcher 3 this year. I personally didn't like the Witcher 3 at all. I played about 25 hours and could never get into it. I thought the combat was a mess, and it was a glitchfest on my PS4. I would vote for Bloodborne as game of the year myself. Then Fallout 4 next.

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bluefox755

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Edited By bluefox755

@victarion: Yep, that's the crazy thing about opinions, they don't always line up with your own, particularly when it's a minority opinion :)

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Salt_AU

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Assassins Creed Syndicate was easily in my top 10 for the year. Evolve I didn't play as MP only games don't float my boat. Halo 5 I didn't play but surely it would be higher than that? Project Cars is a very good racing game, it has excellent online MP racing only let down my an overly convoluted and average career mode, it would have been in my top 15 - 20. HotS, I don't play MOBA's as I find them boring.

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Richardthe3rd

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Evlove at #24, just lol.

It's official, you're a lost cause Gamespot.

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depman1972

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@Richardthe3rd Whoever did these charts should be sacked/fired, useless.:

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loafofgame

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@Richardthe3rd: After that other discussion I had with you, I'm kind of surprised GS wasn't a lost cause already. ;-)

Anyway, I think I understand why it's on the list. While Evolve did really questionable things regarding marketing and dlc, as a game it at least tried something new, even if the experience was apparently short-lived. And I remember the staff having fun playing this game at the beginning of the year (and this is a staff favourites list after all). While it might not have been the greatest game, I reckon the whole 4 vs 1 experience was memorable and exciting enough to put it on the list.

I'd also say that the GS office is the most ideal environment for a game like that. There's a group of people in direct contact with each other, so they always have people they know to play with. That makes it easy to discuss tactics, it makes matches more engaging and personal, and there's less chance of random people ruining the game for you. There's also ample opportunity to discuss matches afterwards, arguably making the experience more involved. So I can't say I'm surprised it's on this list.

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Richardthe3rd

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Edited By Richardthe3rd

@loafofgame: bah, you have to much empathy my friend. :)

I am truly disappointed with GS' ranking this year, but I guess I can understand when you pUT it like that.

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loafofgame

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@Richardthe3rd: Haha, I suppose my boundless empathy will get me stabbed in the back some day. Oh well...

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VENOM6979

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#1 is either Witcher 3 or bloodborne. nuff said.

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Gamer_4_Fun

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@VENOM6979: Doesn't look like Bloodborne to me.

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GLOK1132

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I bet Gamespot's #1 is either The Witcher 3 or Rocket League.

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yogibbear

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"We kick of"... you failed on your 3rd word.... does this place have an editor?

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Shimayama

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Edited By Shimayama

If SOMA is not on this list, there is something seriously wrong.

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Shay-Cormac

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AC Syndicate could have been in the top 5 the only reason it's on 25 is because you're all still mad about Unity.

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depman1972

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@shay-cormacThat is exactly it.:

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GLOK1132

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@shay-cormac: As a long time AC fan. Syndicate is a bad AC game. It is the worst one I have played (didn't play Unity or Rouge).

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heguain

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@GLOK1132: That's funny because I think the same of Black Flag.

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Shay-Cormac

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@GLOK1132: Why do you think that? Btw you should really try Rogue it's great.

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No_one

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@shay-cormac: Or maybe everyone is just sick of playing AC?

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Grbonjic

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If those were the games 21-25, what will we see on top of the list ?

It's been an outstanding gaming year for sure. Possibly one of the best in years. I mean, Fallout 4 and Witcher 3 in one year !! Damn ....

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yogibbear

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@Grbonjic: 1. The Witcher 3 2. Undertale 3. MGSV 4. Bloodborne 5. Life is Strange

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animalovich_ape

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oh HALO 5 its the best selling game for XBOX ONE ! and syndicate is number 25 ! , well looks like there will be plenty of surprise this year :)

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musalala

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Edited By musalala

Please let sunset win GOTY, the lulz would be epic

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TheScrubHunter

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@musalala: the ****? Sunset Overdrive? Because that was released November 2014, although a great game.

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musalala

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@thescrubhunter: No dude Not sunset overdrive, sunset....just google it

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