EGMR Awards 2015: Game Of The Year
The time has come once again for us to recount the year’s greatest offerings to the almighty Gaming God. And what a magnificent year it has been for great gaming titles, starting early this year and then ending strong. 2015 has spoiled us for great games, and today we’re going to list some of the best on offer. While we are limited in how many games we’re allowed to nominate, know that this list does not contain every great experience available this year, only a handful of what we considered the best. As to whether you feel differently, time will tell. Let’s do this thing.
We’re here at last. In order for a game to be qualified as a nominee for Game of the Year, it has to exceed all expectations. It has to go above and beyond them and all other games. The minimum requirement to be nominated would be for the game to be immensely polished in all areas and outstanding overall. The one thing that needs to be made clear is that Game of the Year isn’t targeted at a game that has everything, but rather at a game that excels at everything it does or provides a gaming experience that’s worth remembering in the next year and beyond. In the end we’re looking for a memorable gaming experience that will stay with us for years to come, and can ultimately be seen as the representative of an entire year of gaming. This is it. The final award for the year.
Life is Strange
Be honest, who doesn’t dream of being a teenage girl at least once in their life? Watching The CW, posting on Tumblr, listening to Bieber, and writing in their diary about how Jake smiled at them today. Life is Strange made that dream possible for all of us. And it just so happened to also be a brilliant and personal story, with deeply engaging characters, and a rather powerful time reversal mechanic that all gelled together for one hell of a game. Teenage girls, represent.
Evoland 2 was the follow-up to the quirky, humorous, and rather outrageous indie game that first saw the light of day at a Ludum Dare game jam. How far it has come, with Evoland 2 dropping an insane amount of awesome into a tiny little package. Packed to the brim with the kind of self-aware meta that has been missing from games for so long, and boasting another really sweet in-game card game, Evoland 2 was the indie game that did indie better than most other indie games this year, and was a shining beacon of light-hearted humour in an otherwise gritty, photorealistic world.
Don’t you just want to mini-nuke someone in the face when they do that “War” quote in your presence? Still, it never changes, and Fallout 4 proved that by presenting the breathtakingly gorgeous, organic worlds that we have come to love from Bethesda. It also went rather deep into the concept of humanism, what it means to be alive, and other existential questions best left for a philosophy class. Throw in some Minecraft-esque base building and you’re well on your way to hundreds of potential hours of gameplay. And perhaps another breakup. Dammit Dogmeat, why must you be so adorable.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
The final chapter in Hideo Kojima’s long-running Metal Gear franchise fills in the final gap in the story, and does so with aplomb. Presenting the best example of emergent gameplay, The Phantom Pain offered options coming out of every orifice, giving real shine to the open world it presented to you, and leaving the entire experience up to you, the player. It also happened to have quite a bit of content, and looked magnificent. And between us, it had the coolest buddies, in Quiet and D-Dog.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Geralt of Rivia was not a household character a few years ago. After The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, that changed. The game brought with it some of the most mature and intriguing storytelling to date, offering up some tough decisions with excellent characterisation and writing. It also boasted a massive open world that would take you hundreds of hours to fully explore, not that you would mind given the weird and quirky things you found. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt rewarded players for exploration, challenged how they thought and felt, and even game them a game within a game in the Gwent card game. For all of this and more, we cannot heap enough praise on it. Technically sound for the most part, given just how large and ambitious this game was, still the most beautiful game we’ve ever seen, and at last we finally got organically growing beards. Beards! What a time to be alive.
Colloquially referred to as Dark Souls 3, Bloodborne took From Software’s classic brutally-difficult-but-somehow-fervently-rewarding praising of the sun, threw in a Gothic setting, and removed your ability to wield a shield. The result? Well, exactly what you’d expect. Bloodborne was a masterpiece of difficult but rewarding gameplay, that was faster-paced than the Dark Souls games, and had a darker, more sinister aesthetic. Still every bit as challenging, but also technically and mechanically sound. Who knew guns made such a great and positive difference?
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Rise of the Tomb Raider took a deliciously crafted playground of an open world, mixed in some solid platforming mechanics, and topped it off with a story that presented an interesting look into the life of Lara Croft. Lara Croft meanwhile, might well be the most realistic game character we’ve ever seen. But perhaps the biggest talking point of Rise of the Tomb Raider is the reintroduction of tombs. This time they’re their own beasts, presenting a tense claustrophobia never before felt in quite this way, in a game. Watching Lara nervously navigate her way through Rise of the Tomb Raider made for some of the most tense and yet entertaining gaming of the year. Kinda like Twitter, but with bears instead of eggs.
Naturally since we’re dealing with the best games of the entire year, there’s very little to take them down a notch for. That’s why we won’t nitpick over why any game didn’t take home the award, and instead we’ll get straight into it and light the firecrackers.
Is your body ready?
What can be said about Journey that hasn’t already been said in 2012. It is a masterpiece. A transcendental experience. A classic. And with its re-release in 2015 on PlayStation 4, it has once again trounced every other game with a narrative. Journey is the game that keeps on gaming, and you will learn to live your live one Journey at a time. For those two hours or so, you’re free…
We couldn’t resist. Actually, our real winner has a far better journey. Shots fired?
What can be said about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt that hasn’t already been said ad naeuseam? CD Projekt RED’s Magnum Opus is perfection in a game, and the ease with which we settled on this year’s winner is testament to that. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt practically screams Game of the Year quality every time you play it. And since its release, it has only got better and better and better, with no less than sixteen free DLC offerings, patches with changelogs longer than Mugabe’s reign, and a further expansion, with more promised in the future. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the game that keeps on giving, and it is our sincere honour to award it our Game of the Year award for 2015.
But seriously, any game that lets you grow a beard and then sings to you must surely win, right?!