Was there ever any doubt? Of all the distinguished and exemplary titles to grace the PlayStation 4 in 2015, few approach the wit and artistry of From Software and Hidetaka Miyazaki's Bloodborne.
As the latest installment in what is, for all intents and purposes, an established and beloved series, Bloodborne walks the line between refining the formula established by Demon's Souls and setting out on its own. It subverts expectations and challenges much of what we've previously known to be true, brazenly turning one familiar concept on its head after another and to great effect.
So eerily similar and yet astonishingly different, it invites us to fall back into old habits, but ultimately forces us to learn new tricks. It asks us to throw caution (along with our shields and armor) to the wind. It challenges us, when things are at their most desperate, to push ahead, rather than recoil, allowing us to regain lost health by courageously striking back at our attackers.
Bloodborne gives whole new meaning to keeping your friends close and enemies closer still.
It plays hard to get, pushing you away as an invitation to come closer -- and not just in combat. The story is, at once, almost invisible and plain to see. It stands out in the open with indifference to the player, seldom demanding to be heard, but eager to reward those willing to lend it an ear.
The city of Yharnam and its surrounding lands are harsh and make us fight with every fiber of our being for each and every step there we take, but the struggle is worth it. For all the pain and frustration it may bring, Bloodborne pays back everything ten times over and then some.
This game is an achievement and without a doubt our favorite PlayStation 4 release of the year.
[Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles and episodic games that are not fair to assess as stand alone experiences, without a full episode count, were not eligible for this year's awards. The cutoff for entry into Destructoid's 2015's Game of the Year awards is December 4, 2015.]