Cynosure Gaming’s 2015 Game of the Year!
2015 marked an amazing year in gaming history and we at CSG have awarded our very first Game of the Year award. In fact, this was such a good year for video games that we couldn’t pick just one! Read on to find out what incredible games deserves your unconditional love.
Co-written and edited by J. S. Conner
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain receives Cynosure Gaming’s Game of the Year award for its tight gameplay mechanics, outstanding score, beautiful graphical capabilities, and for revolutionizing the stealth action genre. MGS V provides a level of freedom to the player that is unprecedented in a stealth game, with a huge repertoire of equipment and options at your disposal to use as you see fit to tackle any mission at any time. Needless to say, all the variables that go into the MGS V experience offer nearly infinite replayability, and that’s no small feat for a traditionally linear franchise. Having access to a cloaking device while running around on horseback with a lock-on rocket launcher with infinite ammunition never gets old, and is easily some of the most fun you can have with a video game this year, or any year.
If having a story with roughly 150 hours’ worth of content isn’t enough, Metal Gear Solid V is packed with online multiplayer components as well. The online multiplayer, reminiscent of the first two Metal Gear Onlines, has been completely revamped, with the new gameplay mechanics making sneaking around and CQC-ing others feel as flawless as can be in a video game. Forward Operating Base missions allow players to infiltrate a random player’s mother base to steal/kill everything they have, making this the perfect mode for people who enjoy antagonizing others. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is revolutionary in the action stealth genre, and we are proud to have Hideo Kojima’s final entry in the Metal Gear Solid series as CSG’s dual 2015 Game of the Year.
Discussing Hidetaka Miyazaki’s tough love game design and old school sensibilities is superfluous by this point, so we’re not going to waste time waxing poetic on the rewarding difficulty or the elliptical presentation of Bloodborne, Miyazaki’s spiritual successor to the Souls series. We’d much rather spend this section talking about the mind-blowing level design, the controlled chaos of combat, the unique blend of Victorian gothic and cosmic horror, and the sheer unstoppable creative force that can build a world from the ground up and make even the smallest details unforgettable. Miyazaki’s games have always been designed as deceptively-sprawling open worlds that are, in reality, closely interconnected labyrinths, but Bloodborne takes this to a whole new level. The city of Yharnam, where most of the game takes place, is like a massive gothic cathedral grown out of control, like a fungus, and this location is at once more real than those in past Souls games and more surreal. We are not so far removed from Victorian London as we are from castles and dungeons, so the ingenious shortcuts and layered level design feels like even more of a revelation when you find it in the midst of city streets instead of ancient ruins.
The combat has been sped up, requiring carefully timed dodging and shots from your firearm to avoid taking damage. It’s more chaotic than past Souls games, but it’s also more responsive and requires just as much skill, if not more so. And then there’s that boundless creativity, the likes of which that can connect lycanthropy and witchcraft to the blood of Lovecraftian elder gods, design an arsenal of transforming weapons unlike any we have seen before, and make crows one of the most terrifying enemies in the game (they’re so fat from feeding on corpses that they slither around on the ground like giant slugs – how sick and brilliant is that?). For all these reasons, and many more, Bloodborne is a masterpiece of game design and, in the eyes of many editors at CSG, a near-perfect experience. It’s a good year in video games when a magnum opus like Bloodborne has to share the spotlight with another game, not to mention all the worthy runners-up we had to choose from.