Over the next ten days, Hardcore Gamer will be revealing its Best of 2015 Awards leading up to our Game of the Year. Today we present you with the Best New IP, Sequel, Surprise and Remaster.
Best New IP: Splatoon
More than any other title, Splatoon defined gaming in 2015. It marked Nintendo’s arrival in the arena of online shooters, and reminded the world of the Japanese company’s incredible penchant for creativity. Its emphasis on territory control over combat made it accessible to gamers of all ages and proficiencies, and its colorful, nautical aesthetic was wonderfully refreshing in a genre proliferated by gritty, realistic violence. Nintendo’s staggered updates and additions improved upon Splatoon’s immediately enjoyable foundation throughout the year, and together with its inherently brilliant multiplayer made it a game people around the world continue to enjoy. Splatoon is here to stay and we can’t wait to see how Nintendo builds upon it in future installments.
|Bloodborne||Ori and the Blind Forest||Until Dawn||Life is Strange|
Best Sequel: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, two superb role-playing experiences with some downright awesome narrative design, never truly cracked the mainstream audience quite like the third game in this heralded Polish franchise did this year. Not only did CD Projekt RED demonstrate that it was capable of transitioning from semi-linear design filled with separate hubs to a full-on open-world RPG, but this amazing developer showed that it can create a story that both embraces its longtime fans and ropes in new players. The Witcher 3 is the ultimate Witcher experience, and while there are some gamers out there who prefer one or more of its predecessors, it’s hard to deny what a marvel this game truly is.
|Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain||Rise of the Tomb Raider||Halo 5: Guardians||Forza Motorsport 6|
Best Surprise: Tales from the Borderlands
Let’s take a trip back to the middle of 2014, shall we. Was there anyone out there who didn’t think that, in the middle of the “Telltale is spreading itself too thin” debate, Tales from the Borderlands would flop? Even though The Wolf Among Us showed that Telltale had truly become a strong studio, the general consensus was that a Borderlands tie-in felt like a bizarre cash grab. After all, Borderlands is a great series moreso because of its gameplay and aesthetic than its lore. Yet Telltale proved they know exactly what they’re doing and can seemingly handle any challenge thrown at them as Tales from the Borderlands emerged to be the studio’s best effort to date. No game this year was more endearing and its quality of writing far exceeded expectations. This is the type of surprise that we sit around hoping for, year after year.
|Until Dawn||Transformers: Devastation||Resident Evil Revelations 2||Dying Light|
Best Remaster/Remake: Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
The groans of PS4 users could be heard around the world when Sony announced that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End would be delayed into 2016, but least we got Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection to tide us over. What Bluepoint Games has managed to do with The Nathan Drake Collection is astounding and sets the bar for what PS4/Xbox One Remasters should be. Not only do we have three games remastered at 1080p and running at 60fps, but Bluepoint actually put in the time and effort to update the games. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune benefited most thanks to updated textures and animations. It may not look like a 2015 title, but it does look significantly better than the 2007 original. Best of all, Bluepoint actually went into the game’s code and tweaked the gameplay of Drake’s Fortune and Drake’s Deception to play more like the critically acclaimed Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. This is something we haven’t really seen other developers do with remasters, and we hope this becomes a trend. The Nathan Drake Collection is a huge benchmark that all future remasters should strive to match.
|Resident Evil HD Remaster||Gears of War Ultimate Edition||The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D||Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition|