The last 12 months were very good to gamers who enjoy open-world adventures. The genre dominated the offerings in 2015, gunning down shooters and spiking sports.

Settings ranged from the medieval world of “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” to the post-apocalyptic wasteland of “Fallout 4” to the zombie-plagued streets of “Dying Light.” Heroes included the rugged Snake of “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain,” the cunning Lara Croft of “The Rise of the Tomb Raider” and a pair of daring twins in “Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.”

While 2015 also turned out some interesting shooters each faltered in the categories that marked the best open-world games: characters and stories. Some, such as “Star Wars Battlefront” and “Rainbow Six Siege” didn’t even bother with stories. As a result, they just didn’t have the staying power of the games on our list.

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