EGMR Awards 2015: Best RPG
2015 was undeniably an amazing year for RPGs. There may not have been that many of them, but the level of absolute quality we got from the ones that did come out is astounding. It was definitely a year where your free time would have suffered greatly if you chose to play any of these since you could have potentially lost yourself for hundreds of hours. The games in this category each deserve major recognition for their quality and each offered their own unique version of making you lose your family, work, and free time.
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The RPG genre is probably the most ambitious around these days. Gamers expect epic stories that span dozens (if not hundreds) of hours, levelling systems and skill trees that offer unique paths over multiple playthroughs, cool swords, tons of side quests that all need to somehow be unique, characters that are more fleshed out than real life people, and a bunch of other checkboxes that need to be ticked lest the game be demoted from RPG status to hack ‘n slash, or some other genre. Needless to say, making a good RPG can be an insurmountable task for developers and even offering all the features sometimes isn’t enough. All our nominees have delivered this and more, but only one can be crowned the winner.
Bloodborne has the excellent luxury of having From Software’s pedigree behind it. From Software are known for creating incredible worlds, insanely difficult challenges and monstrosities that will more than likely keep you up at night. Bloodborne was no exception to the rule since it borrows heavily from the Dark Souls series, but also achieved its own unique identity altogether. The world is breathtaking with a Victorian Era aesthetic, except if London was completely encased in nightmares. The game retains From Software’s signature difficulty and will task you with some of the most difficult and satisfying tasks you can experience in an RPG. The gameplay was smooth and more fast paced compared to Dark Souls and combined with everything else, the result is one of the best RPGs you could ask for.
Dragon Ball XenoVerse
In a surprising twist, one of the best RPGs of this year is in fact a fighting game and a game in the Dragon Ball series at that. What was mostly a versus fighting game turned into so much more with XenoVerse, combining both one-on-one fighting and RPG elements as well as some MMO elements thrown in there too. You could create your own Dragon Ball themed character, something that was but a dream in most of our childhoods, and you could level up that character’s stats. A Dragon Ball fan’s wet dream this was for sure, and a surprisingly great RPG.
Bethesda Softworks are the masters of creating giant open-worlds where you you can lose yourself for hundreds of hours and not even really realise. There’s a reason there’s so many memes on the internet about Fallout 4 where people took time off from work and sent personal letters to their significant others apologising for not spending time with them in the future. Fallout 4 was no exception to this rule and the game ended up being pretty fantastic. The game was improved on from Fallout 3 and New Vegas in many ways and the world was still as packed with adventure as ever before. There’s a couple of missteps in the technical and UI department, but overall the game had us losing sleep and regretting nothing of it.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt deviated quite heavily from its predecessors in terms of its world. What was once a psuedo-open-world in the original games was now a fully fledged and populated open-world with so much content that it felt like it was bursting at the seems at times. Not one single step of the game felt wasted and every little quest and small action carried some form of significance. On top of that, it was also an incredible adventure with a stellar story with a plethora of lovable and intriguing characters and tales of epic magnitude. If that wasn’t enough it was also an impeccably detailed hardcore RPG experience that delivered everything that is great about RPGs in one package. It is truly a masterclass in everything it set out to accomplish.
It couldn’t be Dragon Ball: XenoVerse because while it can be called an RPG in some form, it simply didn’t offer enough to hold a candle to our winner.
Bloodborne was shy of the mark since it is a rather niche offering that only really appealed to those that had the patience and the willpower to see it through.
Fallout 4 came very close to the crown since it is such a vast and excellent experience, but ultimately our winner dwarfed all of our nominees.
CD Projekt Red clearly poured their hearts and souls into the final instalment of the epic Witcher series. We had no doubts that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt would be good, but we weren’t prepared for just how much. It blew us all away more than we could ever think. It was a quality experience through and through delivering quality in everything it did. Through the continued and dedicated support that CD Projekt Red gave to the game since its release, it is now a bona fide juggernaut of an RPG that quelled all of our nitpicks in our already perfectly rated review. Deserving of this reward in more ways than one, The Witcher 3 was truly an RPG of the ages and one you should regret missing out on.