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Game of the Year Awards 2015 - Best RPG

by RPGWatch, 2016-01-28

In our Game of the Year poll, the top 4 was roughly the same for both our visitors and the RPGWatch editor team (which includes the votes of Couchpotato). But roughly is not the same, so they are slightly different, without any big surprises.


Gamers' Choice & Editors' Runner up: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

RPGWatch SilverRPGWatch Gold

The fact that The Witcher 3 ended up as everyone's favorite game shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.  Across the board, no matter who you ask these days, CD Projekt RED's latest title is the coup de grace for the Witcher franchise, and an almost universally lauded RPG.

Geralt's long quest to find his adopted daughter provides tens of hours of excellent narrative, as well as giving us an astonishingly detailed, vibrant, lively medieval world to explore.  It's so evocatively done that you can almost smell the filth rising from the muddy, narrow streets of Novigrad.  Your stomach will churn just a little as you pass through squalid, war-ravaged villages at sunset and hear the wails of widowed peasant women.  This world is full of grimy people saying disgusting things, and it's executed with hair-raising realism.

It's not only reminded us exactly how an RPG should be made, and what we want in one, but it's shown us what CDPR can do in an open-world setting.  In other words, it's exactly what we asked for, and it's also a good omen of things to come.

CDPR took extra time and care to make sure The Witcher 3 hit all the right notes.  Their hard work paid off by giving us an RPG that we'll be talking about for years to come.

The Witcher 3 has taken first prize from our readers this year.



Gamers' Runner up & Editors' Choice: Pillars of Eternity

RPGWatch Silver

RPGWatch Gold

A spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate.  Few bars could be higher.  To most fans, Obsidian met that bar - and our expectations.

On the surface, Pillars of Eternity seemed an almost impossible task - to make an Infinity Engine successor that would please fans of the originals.  It's not surprising that there would be some people disappointed with it; Obsidian themselves said that there were countless voices on their forums, all chiming in heatedly about their own vision of what that successor should be.  Still, as of October 2015, the game had sold a half million copies worldwide.  Those are impressive numbers for a studio without major corporate backing.

Pillars of Eternity is a truly magical game.  It combines intricate artistic detail, a moody soundtrack, and some of the best writing anywhere to create a hushed, gloomy tale that weaves itself around you as you go along.  It's truly your character, your story, in a way few RPG's dare to attempt.

That's why it takes our Editors' Choice prize this year, as well as being our readers' runner up.



Gamers' Third Place: Fallout 4

RPGWatch Bronze

The eyes of the world were upon Fallout 4 in the weeks leading up to its release, and Bethesda knew it, building hype by carefully "leaking" screenshots, information, and videos.  Its launch was explosive, selling twelve million copies and pulling in a whopping $750 million in its first twenty four hours.  Those figures easily left other major corporate releases, such as the latest Call of Duty, in the dust.

Among hardcore RPG fans, Fallout 4's reception was cautiously warm.  Fans appreciated its easy, action-y play and its fun character interactions.  Its innovative sandbox system might be its most novel feature; players enjoyed how constructing and overseeing their own settlements made their choices feel more important in the world at large than any feature previously attempted in Fallout.

But this same action-oriented gameplay made it controversial among dedicated Fallout fans and RPG devotees.  When ranked with other Fallout titles, many RPGWatch members put it right in the middle, well behind the early isometric entries in the series.  To many players, this newest entry felt shallow, somehow.  The action combat was fun on the surface, but limited, console-ized dialogue options took away from the sense of choice and character ownership enjoyed in earlier Fallout games.

Still, you liked it well enough to vote it as your third favorite title from 2015.  And with a lot of competition this year, that's certainly nothing to scoff at...



Editors' Third Place: Underrail

RPGWatch Bronze

...But then there's Underrail, which many players hailed as the Fallout spiritual successor they truly wanted to see this year.  Our editors liked it well enough to give it third place.

Underrail conjures memories of much earlier Fallout games, delighting RPG fans with a genuine sense of character building and story, as well as its tactical turn-based combat.  The focus here is on exploration and character building, and Underrail was designed to deliver a satisfying experience, regardless of how you play.

Sadly, to some critics, it's retro in both good ways and bad.  Some felt that the game's writing didn't do enough to offset its primitive graphics, and that the game's blandness kept it from truly comparing with isometric classics such as the first Fallout games.

But it's popular here at the Watch, and well-liked enough to grab a prize and be remembered.



The Numbers

The following tables show the results of the voting by our visitors.

Gamers' Choice
Rank Game
1 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
2 Pillars of Eternity
3 Fallout 4
4 Underrail
5 Age of Decadence
6 Shadowrun: Hong Kong
7 Legends of Eisenwald
8 Undertale
9 Serpent in the Staglands
10 Blackguards 2

All other games scored a percentage of less than 1%.

And here are the voting results of our editors:


Editors' Choice
Rank Game
1 Pillars of Eternity
2 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
3 Underrail
4 Fallout 4
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