Whether its massive open worlds, playful multiplayer experiences, or small, personal stories, the medium can cover a lot of ground. These are the 10 best games from the past 12 months.
  1. Batman: Arkham Knight
    Spend enough time brawling, blasting, and winching, and you can liberate an entire metropolis with a single tool belt and tank.
  2. Bloodborne
    Bloodborne is an unforgiving game that casts you as a regular person and throws you into a gothic world of violence and despair. And then it kills you, over and over.
  3. Destiny: The Taken King
    Telling people you liked to play Destiny used to feel a little like confessing you smoked cigarettes: it was an addictive habit, one you couldn’t really justify and were always trying to quit. That finally changed with the release of Destiny: The Taken King, an expansion that built on vanilla Destiny’s solid gameplay skeleton and fulfilled the promise of Bungie’s ambitious, galactic FPS-MMORPG.
  4. Downwell
    The best action game of the year is about falling down a well. It's thrilling in its apparent simplicity: your only real goals are to make it to the bottom and not die in the process.
  5. Fallout 4
    Fallout 4 is a sprawling, complicated game, one whose greatest pleasures are simple and plentiful. Play it for a while, and you’ll feel like you’re popping a sheet of bubble wrap piece by piece.
  6. Her Story
    Her Story is the closest the medium has come to a Law & Order-style procedural. Its story is completely non-linear, letting you pick up on threads and clues in any order, and the joy comes not from watching things unfold, but feeling like you’re a part of them.
  7. Life is Strange
    Life is Strange shows the genre’s potential to tackle themes and settings that aren’t typical for games. It’s a series that takes place in a modern-day high school, stars two teenage girls, and covers everything from suicide to time travel.
  8. Rocket League
    Rocket League gets in the door with one of the goofiest, simplest one-line pitches you can imagine: it’s soccer, but with rocket-powered cars. It sticks in your craw because the minute-to-minute gameplay is easy to learn, tough to master, and somehow produces a handful of those heart-stopping moments every time you play.
  9. Splatoon
    Splatoon pits teams of four squid-like creatures against one another, but the goal in each match isn’t to kill your opponents, it’s to coat the stage with your particular color of ink. Think paintball, not Counter Strike. The result is a game that anyone can have fun with, even if they aren’t good at head shots.
  10. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
    You can roam the countryside on horseback for hours, passing by ruined landmarks and abandoned settlements cast in gorgeous sunlight. Games this generous are gifts.