EGMR Awards 2015: Biggest Surprise
We tend to see a lot of a game before we end up actually playing it. From trailers to interviews, we tend to get to know a little too much about a game before it’s released. This means we more often than not make predictions which are often, unfortunately, correct. So when a game comes along and totally goes against what we expect it’s difficult not to be pleasantly surprised. That’s why we feel the following games are the biggest surprises of 2015.
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Sometimes a game releases and is exactly what you expect; no more, no less. Sometimes it’s hardly even that. But there are other times… when a game flies so low under the radar that it catches you entirely by surprise and results in you being positively blown away by how good it is. How come nobody told you about it? Why didn’t you pay more attention? Who cares, you’re having a blast and you never even saw it coming. These are the games that, for many, were the biggest surprises of the year.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China
It’s safe to say that people are over the Assassin’s Creed franchise. While people are still playing the annual releases, there just isn’t the same wonder and intrigue that the first few titles brought with them. This is where Assassin’s Creed Chronicles China comes in in a surprising way. The game told told from a completely different perspective from that of the main series. The game itself is delightful and different from what we’ve come to expect. It takes a step back to return to its(old-school Prince of Persia) roots with a gorgeous aesthetic that surprised us and renewed our interest in what the series is capable of.
Dragon Ball: XenoVerse
We’ve gotten used to anime games being a very hit or miss affair. They often range from alright to terrible but our love for the shows tend to keep us interested. When we first saw Dragon Ball: XenoVerse we all dismissed it for just another Dragon Ball game. The past few Dragon Ball games have been serviceable at best, so when we got to play XenoVerse it absolutely blew us away. From not only capturing the Dragon Ball aesthetic perfectly to providing a mechanically sound gameplay experience, the game does not disappoint. XenoVerse surprised with a deep and well rounded gameplay experience that we couldn’t have possibly predicted, which is why we found it one of the biggest surprises of 2015.
Life is Strange
For the most part we’ve become quite used to incredible episodic games with fantastic narratives. Telltale seems to do this exceptionally well for the most part but they’ve never managed to surprise up. While we’ve enjoyed them, they’ve become a commonplace recently. We’ve become used to receiving solid episodic games, so it would seem strange to see Life is Strange as a surprise, but it is for that exact reason. Life is Strange is probably the realest experience in a game we’ve experienced in ages. It took concepts are elements that we are quite familiar with to deliver something incredible. Life is Strange managed to take us completely by surprise and we are thankful for it.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Just to avoid any confusion; no, Rise of The Tomb Raider is not one of the biggest surprises because of its timed exclusivity or even the release date. We were just generally surprised by how good it is. The Tomb Raider reboot was great and it was an enjoyable return to form for Lara, but Rise was on a different level. Not only did Square improve on the better aspects of the reboot, but they fixed so many of the complaints fans had with it. Rise of The Tomb Raider expertly mixed adventure with excitement and put the vital “Tomb” back in to “Tomb Raider”. The game managed to exceed any and all expectations which was more than just a pleasant surprise for us.
If you had told us that one of our most played games this year was going to be soccer with cars we would probably have laughed. The premise itself is simple and worthwhile of being an incredible game but it’s just not what anyone would have expected. Rocket League managed to come out of nowhere to grab our attention and ultimately a lot of our time. The thing that surprised us the most is that while Rocket League had a lot to it that would have deserved hype, it seemed to just release and become incredibly popular. We absolutely adore the game for everything it delivers, taking us by surprise in one of the best ways possible.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China was a pleasant change for the series as a return to its Prince of Persia roots but it wasn’t without its flaws. While the game managed to surprise us, it unfortunately did have a couple of flaws that detracted from the experience. Obviously enjoyment doesn’t detract from the surprise of it, but there are more deserving candidates for the award this year.
A good Dragon Ball game was always going to surprise us. Dragon Ball: XenoVerse managed to take us by surprise purely because it managed to be a well made game, something we expect from other sources. Even if this doesn’t take away from how we feel about the game, it hasn’t had such an effect to leave us in awe.
While the quality Rise of the Tomb Raider is something to be praised and the fact that it was able to impress us so is still a delightful surprise, but it is unfortunately marred by business decisions. Even if it did everything to surprise us, the wonder still manged to leave a poor taste in our mouths thanks to the wonderful decision making of companies. All this surprise is doing is making us wonder how Uncharted 4 is going to up its game to try and compete.
The surprise of Rocket League is wonderful and all, but it’s only going to capture those who are willing to pick it up. Even if it is a delightful game it has only surprised those who have let it. While the game is great, it is only going to capture the attention of those who are keen on the whole idea. This is in contrast to a lot of the other candidates, which have a much broader reach.
The biggest surprise of 20105 is Life is Strange but it’s incredibly difficult to explain why. Life is Strange is something that you simply need to just pick up and appreciate with as little information on it as possible. The game’s excellence manages to grab your attention in ways you really wouldn’t expect from a game. Simply put, everything about Life is Strange has managed to surprise us and it is for the best possible reasons. As a wise man once said, “Emotions”, and this is what Life is Strange does incredibly to outdo almost everything out there to create something that has surprised and intrigued us in the best possible ways.