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2015 was a great year for shooters. Check out our montage of the best ones.
Battlefield Hardline impressively manages to please several different audiences at once. Its campaign is both a great shooter and a great stealth game, and its typical plot is spiced with interesting characters and sparse but punctual humor. The large-scale tactical multiplayer combat the series is known for is still as good as it’s ever been, but the speedy new Hotwire and round-based 5v5 modes provide both speed and thrills.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
From its four-player co-op campaign to the brand-new powers and a fleshed-out Zombies mode, Black Ops 3 meaningfully pushes the Call of Duty series forward on several fronts. Even where it doesn’t innovate, it still meets the high bar Call of Duty fans should expect. Black Ops 3 isn’t the best Call of Duty game ever, but it’s the biggest and most feature-packed game we’ve seen out of the series yet.
It’s rare for a big multiplayer game like Evolve to feel so considered and intelligent. Everything – skills, mechanics, and design choices – seem to interlock in a way that’s both natural and purposeful. That it’s so mechanically rich and still conveys the raw energy and fun of duking it out with huge monsters and action-figure-esque hunters is a real design feat. Its progression system stifles it a bit early on, but regardless, Evolve is a deeply rewarding multiplayer experience that packs both brains and brawn.
Halo 5: Guardians
In its 14 years, Halo has never felt so good to play. An updated arsenal and great new mobility mechanics give both campaign and multiplayer and modern touch without sacrificing Halo’s classic feel. It fails to introduce its new Spartan characters in a meaningful way, and the story does make some odd logical leaps, but it’s still fast, beautiful, and fun – especially with four-player co-op. Guardians’ multiplayer harkens back to the Halo 2 glory days with tons of balanced maps and fun modes, and the tactical new Warzone mode absolutely steals the show.
Nintendo’s take on the third-person shooter is refreshingly original, with lots of impressive tools, skillful mobility, and creative maps to play with. Matches are consistently fun and tense, and the mechanics feel simple and fair enough that almost anyone can contribute positively. Not having voice chat is a bummer, but the great modes and maps feel polished and kept me claiming turf for hours.
Star Wars Battlefront
Star Wars Battlefront captures the essence of Star Wars beautifully, harnessing the most exciting and memorable pieces of the universe for a unique and spectacular combat sandbox. Aside from awkward performances and a poor original score, Battlefront is a master class in aesthetic authenticity. Beyond a few essential modes built for casual competition, however, Battlefront is unfocused, relying on excess game types to compensate for an absent single-player campaign.
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