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Game of the Month March 2015

Blood on the sand.

In some cases, choosing Game of the Month is difficult because the month is light on standouts and heavy on games that are good or even great, but not necessarily masterful. In the case of March of 2015, the choice has been difficult for a very different reason: because several games are so clearly worthy of extravagant praise. We didn't just award one or two games with 9s in March--we awarded four of them! What a wonderful month March turned out to be for games, and not just because there were so many quality experiences, but because they were so different from each other. It's a testament to the variety we so often overlook in modern game design; There truly is something for everyone.

If you enjoy testing your reflexes with hyper-violent shooting, for instance, there was Hotline Miami 2, a top-down action game with a slick 80s style and a white-hot soundtrack. If you like your action with a dose of attitude and an otherworldly ambience, there was DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition, a current generation re-release of a rapturous last-generation romp. If you wanted laid-back strategy, Cities: Skylines argued for your time by being everything you wanted the newest SimCity to be, but never was--and by being a modder's paradise, opening itself to all manner of community-developed modifications. Cooperative shooting, expansive role-playing, and Metroid-style challenges: March of 2015 had what you needed.

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Ori and the Blind Forest stood apart, however, even in a month crowded with wonderful gems. This gorgeous platformer married fluidity of movement with a touching story of friendship, using its beauty not as a crutch but as a complement. Telling you that we didn't award it March's top honor is almost as heartbreaking as Ori's own opening sequence. However, Bloodborne's power has proven inescapable in this contest. From Software's newest monument to challenging action and unmatched world building may be similar to the developer's own Souls series, but it also carves out its own niche with its overt religious themes, its focus on mobility, and an array of hideous bosses that require focus, determination, and a bit of tense grinding to overcome.

In a month of delights, that feeling when you finally do overcome your most recent challenge is what boosts Bloodborne to the top of the heap. Lots of games are fun; Very few provide this kind of exhilaration. Congratulations, Bloodborne, for hammering our souls to a bloody pulp and all but pulling the award for Game of the Month from our withered claws. It's an honor to be vanquished by a game so mighty.

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