This is it. The culmination of all the hard choices, mixed emotions, and bitter arguments that nearly saw the EGM Crew ripped in twain. (Both in terms of divisiveness and in terms of Nick’s decision to wear a Mark Twain costume the whole time. He felt it “lent him gravitas.”) If you’ve been following along with our countdown thus far, you probably have a handle on which high profile games have yet to get a mention, but here, unlike Sony’s first-party lineup, the order is important. So without further ado, read on and find out which titles managed to nab highest honors in EGM’s Top 25 Games of 2015.
EGM’s Top Twenty-Five Games for 2015: Part Five
PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Life is Strange is a game that, even while relying on too many after-school special tropes, presents a poignant narrative rounded out by the creative use of familiar game design. Eighteen year-old Max Caulfield is entering adulthood, and the already-formative years of this young girl?s life are made all the more difficult by her ability to reverse time. The game tackles coming-of-age themes seldom explored in gaming, an effort that feels especially refreshing coming from normally staid publisher Square Enix. The use of time travel avoids gimmickry, as Max?s powers serve as a sophisticated metaphor for a loss of innocence grasped after realizing the irreversible impact of our choices.
The soccer-but-with-cars game from Psyonix is undoubtedly the most surprising release of the year in terms of lasting success. Rocket League has reached millions of players worldwide, featured in Electronic Sports League tournaments, and even has a movie adaptation in the works. Perhaps most unexpected, however, is how amazingly well the game plays. Easy-to-learn controls and mechanics give way to a seemingly infinite depth of technique that makes each match a spectacle. Pile on top of that a candy-colored aesthetic and loads of loving support from its developer, and Rocket League gets something that’s not surprising in the slightest: the number four spot on this list.
Sony Computer EntertainmentDeveloper:
Once upon a time, Sony worked with From Software to create the cult classic Demon?s Souls?but did so without knowing or appreciating just what they had. Six years later, the fruits of Sony?s attempt to right its past mistake has given us Bloodborne, a game which easily stands as the best console exclusive this year. With From?s fabled director Hidetaka Miyazaki taking the helm, classic Souls gameplay blends with some compelling new concepts, all set within a world that replaces the dark fantasy of past games with a gothic Victorian landscape. No matter if you?re a Souls expert or a newbie to From?s blend of punishing adventures, Bloodborne was one of the best reasons to pick up a controller in 2015.
Bethesda Game StudiosPlatforms:
PS4, Xbox One, PC
Fallout 4 is the first game in the series to let you play through events both before and after the bombs fell, a canny move for a game?and a year?that felt so much like a significant crossroads between gaming’s past and its future. Bethesda nudged its post-apocalyptic RPG closer to modern sensibilities with more polished graphics, gameplay, and storytelling, but Fallout 4 also stuck to its roots by allowing players a huge amount of freedom?even when that meant rough edges and occasional bugs. There’s a charm in that approach that’s missing from the new era of refinement and hand-holding. Maybe we should read it as portentous that the world of Fallout sees that same script play out in reverse, with a past of technological marvels and picket-fence perfection collapsing into a fun, anarchic future with plenty of bugs?albeit deadlier, more literal ones.
#01: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
CD Projekt RedPlatforms:
PS4, Xbox One, PC
Some games hook you because of the story, some hook you because of the sheer amount of content, and some hook you through solid gameplay design. Then there’s the rare game that ticks all those boxes, and then throws some unicorn-adjacent lovemaking in for good measure. Yes, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is EGM?s Game of the Year for the same reasons it’s garnered near-universal praise since its May release. For those already invested in the Witcher tale, it delivers a satisfying conclusion, but the experience is equally engrossing for newcomers?and for those who couldn’t give two shuffles of a Gwent deck about Geralt and would rather just explore what the world has to offer instead. It’s engaging, it’s beautiful, and it’s so packed with things to do that some of us haven’t even finished it yet?but it’s definitely not for lack of interest or trying.
EGMNOW’s Best of 2015 Awards Schedule