So, while the Steam Machines did not (predictably) manage to get a really good start (I hope Valve learned a thing or two out of that situation), 2015 has been an excellent year for Linux Gaming. We have received numerous ports and a few first-citizen releases as well, and not just indie games this time around. Like all Top 10’s, this list is going to be somewhat subjective and maybe your own favourite game is not there, but here goes nonetheless.
It starts like a bad Hollywood movie, with solduiers gun-blazing in Middle East, but you will soon realize that there’s a lot more to it. A nicely written story combined with very solid action (a la Gears of War) makes it an absolute joy to play from beginning to end. And the port is almost perfect.
DragonFall was already a massive improvement over Shadowrun Returns, but Hong Kong takes things to the next level. Revamped Matrix levels, an even better Storyline and better visuals, this is an impressive achievement over something that could have been just another DLC. Storyline and turn-action at its best.
8. KOTOR 2
One of the best RPG ever made by Obsidian, KOTOR 2 is a legend in itself, following the already excellent KOTOR 1 from Bioware (never released on Linux so far). This updated version by Aspyr brings a number of updates, bug fixes and improvements (such as high resolution and widescreen support), which make it easy to enjoy this classic on newer hardware. You really can’t go wrong with this one.
Released just this december 2015, It may not be the best of the Saints series, but it’s nevertheless the only GTA-like we have so far. Stupid costumes, memorable one-liners, and over-the top superpowers make this episode really stand out from the “boring” rest.
6. Storm United
Relive the Halo first-person-shooter experience with futuristic combat sequences. That is, if you can find a populated server. You can check our recent article about one of the latest updates.
I mentioned it a couple of days ago in my review, but Broforce is a great addition in this year as well. Now we have an extremely fun and challenging 2D shooter that does not take itself seriously one bit.
A bunch of folks saw the writing of the wall with the latest Sim City from EA, but Cities: Skyline proved to be the best Sim City clone we could ever expect. It’s extremely detailed, it simulates traffic, economies, pollution, lives and death of your populace like no other city builder has managed before. The Linux port is not really that great (the framerate is barely stable, even on high end hardware!), but it does not deter in any way the quality of that production, since it’s made to be slow-paced.
To quote the words of the “Dazed” announcer, AKA Muro: “Came for the art, stayed for the gameplay.” I cannot explain that better myself. Beautifully hand-drawn characters, each with a unique personality and fighting style, with a female lead and partial nudity as a bonus, combined with some of the most polished, addicting fighting mechanics I’ve ever seen…
Just. Get this game. Understandably, it takes time to learn each character’s combos and abilities, but the tutorial is simply excellent for getting one set up.
Also – shameless self-promotion:
CRANK DAT ARTICHOKE
While the performance of the Linux port is abysmal (versus the Windows version, as shown in numerous benchmarks), if you have the hardware to get it running at proper details you will probably end up loving this game. It’s an Open World game, with very solid fighting mechanics and a couple of innovations (the Nemesis system that makes Uruks remember you if they survive a fight). It’s absolutely fun and bloody, it will make you sweat when you are surrounded by 20 enemies trying to make it alive. Brilliant.
One of the best racers available out there finally made it to Linux and SteamOS, and we are deeply grateful for Feral for having taken that risk. Dirt Showdown ported by VP was a nice appetizer but it does not come close to GRID in terms of driving experience. GRID Autosport is certainly not perfect, but it’s still pretty damn good whether in solo or online against friends, and looks awesome on ultra details. You will excuse me, I need to go racing some more now.
So, what’s your Top 10 like for this year ? Did we miss anything you would have had in there? Let us know your suggestions in the comments! I am guessing some of you will mention Divinity: Original Sin, but since we have not had enough time with it yet (it just came out), we will have to reserve our judgement for a later time.
Don’t forget to also check out our list of recommended titles for Linux, usually pretty much up-to-date.
Update 12/29: Updated article with Steam store links.