Gaming's best days are still ahead. If you need further evidence, look no further than some of 2015's most hotly anticipated releases. In 2015, gamers can look forward to entries in every genre that promise action, adventure, romance, imagination, excitement and awe. While there are dozens of promising games in the pipeline, the Tom's Guide staff has chosen ten that stand out above the rest. Whether or not these games live up to their own hype, they've done a great job holding our attention until they come out.
Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4 / Xbox One / PC)
The Batman: Arkham series has had its ups and downs, but it's generally a reliable way to get your Batman fix while exploring a sizable open world and playing with a utility belt full of delightful Bat-gadgets. Batman: Arkham Knight pits the Caped Crusader against the titular new villain and puts a new spin on exploring Gotham City. This time around, Batman can cruise the streets in a battle-ready Batmobile in addition to taking the fight to criminals with fists, feet and grappling hooks. Throw in a few beloved antagonists like Scarecrow, Two-Face and Riddler, and Arkham Knight looks like another strong entry in a fan-favorite series.
Mighty No. 9 (Xbox 360 / PS3 / PC / Vita / 3DS)
Fans of the classic side-scroller Mega Man were devastated when the Blue Bomber's creator, Keiji Inafune, founded his own company without the rights to the beloved character. Mega Man may be gone, but Inafune has replaced him with Mighty No. 9: a spunky blue robot with a big smile and eight evil automaton bosses who stand in his way. (Any resemblance he bears to Mega Man is, of course, purely coincidental.) Mighty No. 9 ran one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns in history, and the result looks like a gorgeous retro game with a lot of heart to spare.
No Man's Sky (PS4)
No Man's Sky is one of the most ambitious games in development right now, which is all the more impressive when you consider that it has a development team of about a dozen people. In this open-ended adventure, players simply explore the whole procedurally generated universe. Each player begins his or her quest on a totally unique planet, and can set out from there to see the flora and fauna on hundreds of worlds, or the unpredictable wonders of the cosmos. The game will also feature space combat, just to make sure that action junkies have a reason to dive in as well.
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Halo 5: Guardians (Xbox One)
The Halo series has been going strong since 2001, and the fifth installment in its main story is less than a year away. Picking up where Halo 4's heartbreaking story left off, Halo 5 will follow the exploits of Master Chief, one of the most taciturn protagonists in modern gaming, as he once again saves the galaxy from an ancient threat. The game's main draw, however, will be its multiplayer capabilities. As in previous games, players will congregate on servers for massive firefights, complemented by slick improvements in visuals and animation facilitated by the Xbox One's impressive hardware.
Quantum Break (Xbox One)
Remedy, the company behind the Max Payne and Alan Wake series, seems categorically incapable of making a bad game. Hopefully, that trend will continue with Quantum Break. This Xbox One-exclusive title casts players as two protagonists with the ability to manipulate time. Stopping the flow of time to gain an edge in combat or solve puzzles sounds like fun, but the game's storytelling looks like its most interesting aspect. Remedy and CERN worked together to make sure the temporal physics make sense, and a tie-in TV show will affect how the game plays out over the course of one season.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4)
Like Indiana Jones, wisecracking, globetrotting treasure hunter Nathan Drake has starred in three blockbusters that delighted just about anyone with a hankering for adventure. Also like Indiana Jones, Nathan Drake is going for a fourth outing — hopefully with better results. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End will be the first game in the series on the PlayStation 4, which should afford it opportunities for refined gameplay, even more realistic graphics and a new chapter in the ongoing saga of Drake, his colorful friends and his charismatic enemies. Few series combine gunplay, exploration and platforming as deftly as Uncharted, and A Thief's End looks to continue that trend.
Rise of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One)
Rise of the Tomb Raider is the sequel to 2013's masterful reboot of everyone's favorite loot-plundering action-adventure game. After surviving the wreck of her ship, The Endurance,and the thwarted revival of the Yamatai Sun Queen, the young Lara Croft must choose a path for her future, as she realizes that her father's stories from the past are more than just fairy tales. Now on a quest to find immortality, Lara's search for the mythical city of Kitezh leads her to the frozen wastes of Siberia. This looks to be the game where the new Lara finally becomes the Tomb Raider.
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Guitar Hero Live (PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / Mobile)
After five years in hibernation, Guitar Hero will return to the world of gaming, and it looks both very different from and very similar to its previous incarnations. Guitar Hero Live features a redesigned guitar peripheral with two rows of three buttons apiece. The game will also put you in a first-person perspective, looking out across an audience with thousands of fans. Perform well, and they'll cheer you on and sing along. Mess up, and they'll boo you offstage. Each song from bands like Fall Out Boy, the Rolling Stones and the Killers has its own unique footage, completing the rock star fantasy.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS4 / PS3 / Xbox One / PC)
The fifth major installment in the Metal Gear Solid franchise picks up nine years after the events of Metal Gear V: Ground Zeroes, in which Big Boss (Snake) was put in a coma after rescuing friend and comrade Paz, one of the few survivors of the Peace Walker incident in 2010's PSP game, from Camp Omega in Cuba. Now, Big Boss and his mysterious fellow patient, Ishmael, must escape from the hospital and get revenge on the people who put them there. With a gorgeous new version of Konami's Fox Engine development platform and series creator Hideo Kojima at the helm, there are no limits to where The Phantom Pain can go. And that's exactly what makes the Metal Gear series so good.
The Legend of Zelda (Wii U)
The Legend of Zelda has been one of Nintendo's most consistent series in terms of quality, but the flip side is that it's been hesitant to change up the formula over the last two-and-a-half decades. The upcoming Legend of Zelda on Wii U promises to be one of the franchise's most ambitious entries yet by dropping recurring protagonist Link into a fully explorable open world. The game aims to be much larger and more nonlinear than its predecessors while still offering the famous swordplay, offbeat gadgets and epic story that define The Legend of Zelda. Other details are still scarce, but expect to see this one near the end of the year.
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