2015 is over for another year, and what a show it’s been. As we pack our bags and head back home, we’re left with a tough decision: which games deserve our coveted awards this year?
Winner: Dark Souls 3
The dark horse of E3 2015, Dark Souls 3 could have been a series retread with a new environment and story but unchanged mechanics. After all, coming off of Bloodborne’s runaway success with fast, aggressive play, merely returning to a Dark Souls’ methodical pace and class diversity would feel like a big change.
But beyond oozing atmosphere and boasting truly frightful enemy design, Dark Souls 3 takes lessons from Bloodborne to evolve the Souls experience in interesting ways. Most notably, character movement is faster, and rolling around or behind enemies is a more valid way to get in some strikes. The melee game has taken inspiration from Bloodborne’s trick weapons; everything from greatswords to scimitars offers an alternate stance from which you can deploy more fanciful, damaging attacks at the risk of opening your defenses. Environments work to your advantage or disadvantage more than ever, with entire enemy groups able to be slain with well-time interaction or baiting.
That’s to say nothing of the tarnished beauty of Dark Souls 3’s world. The scale is enormous, putting even Bloodborne’s landscape views of Yharnam to shame, and difficult challengers await, including extra-powerful Knights and the game’s first revealed boss creature, who decimated a From Software demoist in short order. It’s a world we can’t wait to explore, and it’s a Souls game for both Bloodborne fans and those who cut their teeth on the Souls series.
Honourable mention: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain