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Game of the Year 2015

Here's our ten favourite games of this year.

3. Oh how we were nervous. We needn't have been. 343 teased us with potential greatness in Halo 4, but hindsight revealed a flawed game that didn't go the distance in a way that Bungie crafted series entries before it had managed. Perhaps you could argue that the decline had started before the studio took the reins, but the success of Halo 5: Guardians somewhat negates that theory: there's life in the old Spartan yet.

The story campaign was perhaps the most divisive part of the package. Short and succinct it most certainly was, we enjoyed the story beats and look forward to seeing how the events witnessed therein unfold in the inevitable Halo 6. Some people were less enamoured, and even fans have to admit that the story is not the main course of this particular meal. With Guardians more than any Halo game before it, the campaign plays second fiddle to the multiplayer.

This could have meant disaster, but happily that's not the case, and with Halo 5: Guardians we think 343i has crafted the best multiplayer game of the year. This is a stunning return to form for the series, and the studio has rediscovered the elegantly balanced competitive play that the franchise hasn't enjoyed since Halo 3. Every player goes into battle with the same set of tools, and once again skill and experience are now the defining factors that dictate individual success, which is exactly how it should be.

There's a healthy selection of new and returning modes for players to enjoy, and while the game launched short a couple of maps, there's Forge-created levels being added all the time, and more arenas promised down the line in future - free - DLC drops.

This franchise has long defined Xbox, and Master Chief is the platform's most iconic character. Halo 4 was good, but not great, and the launch of The Master Chief Collection was nothing short of a debacle; as such Guardians had to deliver for Microsoft and 343i. Happily for everyone concerned, Halo 5: Guardians is the best Halo for years, and our third favourite game of 2015.