Witcher 3

The festive season is upon us, and this means it's time to celebrate with a few video games. These are the best games of the year on Steam - in our humble opinion - and should rank highly on your list for the platform's winter sales.

Invisible Inc

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Hands up if you only just realised the title pun writing this entry. Just me?

Invisible Inc is a turn-based stealth game featuring cyberpunk spies infiltrating mega-corporations for fun, profit, and sweet augments. Each of the corporations has a different strength that you'll need to combat which can see you comedically running away from combat drones when you don't bring anything to counter them.

There are so many variables, depending on the loot you find or items you purchase. Whether you choose to play as shadowy hacker Internationale or brawler Nika, the way you play is totally different, and you can randomly rescue different hackers during play.

There's an ocean of depth here, and developer Klei want you to swim in it.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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If you only give one game 100 hours of your life this year, make sure it's The Witcher 3.

CD Projekt Red has achieved the enviable task of making an expansive open world RPG, but has also filled it with little details that actually matter.

Witcher 3 is great because it doesn't feel like anything that's come before. You can kill a demon, fight some bandits, ride a horse through some fields or just play cards. Unlike Skyrim it's a world in which you feel you belong, rather than merely a tourist. It's a world where you don't feel like the center of attention, but your actions have consequences.

Her Story

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If you're not already a detective, chances are Her Story is the closest you'll ever get to becoming one. And if you're already a detective, the guesswork and theorising will be excellent practice.

In Her Story you are sat at an ancient computer terminal watching segments of a video interview from years ago. There's been a murder, and now it's your job to solve it. There's no hand holding, and you need to search for the missing video chunks using keywords.

Once you're done with the game, there's the theorising, and working out the real story behind the murder and the events leading up to it is fascinating. Her Story is the most interesting game story of the year, bar none.

Metal Gear Solid V

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Metal Gear Solid V is one of the better action games ever made, and a masterpiece of emergent stealth.

Most of the time the game forgets that it's a Metal Gear game and ignores the story or any of Kojima's usual oddities in favour of a reasonably straight PMC simulator. You're playing a super-spy, sure, but you're also a micro-managing boss.

The moment to moment gameplay of Metal Gear is great fun, and the further into the game you get the more tools you're given. Every tool is another way to play, and you'll need it - over time, the enemies learn from you and start to counteract your plans.

Life is Strange

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Life is Strange was something of a phenomenon in 2015. No one was talking about the story of a time travelling girl struggling to fit in at a new school. Why would they?

Then Life is Strange blew everyone away. The intelligent and touching story of teenagers struggling with identity, growing up and a new-found ability to travel through time has several emotional gut punches and keeps you on the edge of your seat for all five episodes.

Episodic gaming has come a long way in the last few years and this is a fine example. To paraphrase Bernard Black: "You'll laugh, you'll cry - it'll change your life"


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What if you could talk to the monsters?

Undertale takes this decade old joke and turns it into the core of the game. In Undertale you play a human that's fallen into the world of monsters, but violence isn't necessarily the answer.

You can fight the monsters, sure - but what if you want to beg? Negotiate? Intimidate? Undertale lets you do that too. The game has a great sense of humour and is the only game on the list that lets you become friends with all of its bosses.

Rainbow Six Siege

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Sure, Siege has only been out for a week or two, but it's one of the most exciting multiplayer shooters released this year. It's also one of the rare multiplayer shooters that is more about brains than reflex speed.

If you don't have a plan, you'll get shot in the eyes by an enemy that does and it's all very embarrassing. Every map is destructible too, so "putting holes in a wall with a shotgun" is a totally acceptable plan.

If you buy one multiplayer shooter this year, make it this one.

Rocket League

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Every monday night, the Pocket Gamer team gets together and plays Rocket League. Its strength is in its simplicity, but also in its buffoonery.

See, the thing is - it's really hard to be good at playing car-football, so there's space for everyone: if you're bad at playing football in the air, you can play defensively. If defense isn't your style you can spend the entire game ramming Glen repeatedly so he can't mount an attack.

Every game takes 5 minutes, and you can pick it up in half that time. Elegant, simple and worth your money.

Nuclear Throne

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Vlambeer's excellent Nuclear Throne released from Early Access this year, and it's a beautiful polished thing.

It may well be the biggest surprise of 2015: a top-down blaster that somehow manages to feel more satisfying than most of the first person shooters that came out this year. Combat in Nuclear Throne makes you feel like a dancer, weaving between the incoming rounds as you mete out punishment with the game's assortment of weird and wonderful weapons.

Dying Light

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Dying Light came along to brighten up the start of our year with an open world zombie-bashing game with parkour elements and four player co-op. Dying Light is notable for including every buzzword in games in 2015, but also because it far outshines just simple words.

One of the biggest achievements is that Dying Light managed to create a parkour system that takes skill to master but still lets you flow through the battered city that makes up the game-world.

The duality of day and night is really something too - during the day you're a zombie hunter, picking your way through buildings and gathering resources. At nighttime however, you are the hunted, charging back to safety while being chased by ravenous super-tough zombies as fast and as tough as you are.

Want more? Check out our growing collection of Game of the Year 2015 features!