In May of 2015, it was The Witcher this and The Witcher that. All Witcher, all the time, it seemed, and for good reason: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a phenomenal role-playing game and a worthy recipient of the public's attention.
Take a step back, however, and the juggernaut that is The Witcher 3 becomes part of a larger tapestry into which other excellent and influential games were woven. Geralt casts a large shadow, of course, but his shadow doesn't spill into outer space, where Kerbal Space Program reveals its well-earned prestige. Kerbal gained a huge following during its years of early access availability, so its official release seemed almost like an afterthought, the game coming as it did with a dedicated fanbase and years of updates to power its popularity. It's a game that defies categorization: a space travel simulation that lets you play the role of engineer, commander, pilot, and spacewalker. It is a niche game, a difficult game, and a must-play game, unique and strange and wonderful.
Kerbal Space Program confines you to a single solar system, though is no less wondrous for it. Galactic Civilizations III delivers a galaxy to your doorstep, inviting you to crisscross the harsh vacuum of space one turn at a time. Like so many games of its ilk, GalCiv III is about exploration, exploitation, expansion, and extermination. What makes it special is that it does all of that 4Xing while providing lots of customization and a heavy dose of dry humor; It might be a highly technical game, but GalCiv III is not lacking personality and alien flavor. Meanwhile, back on terra firma, Project CARS is all but overwhelmed by its own devotion to the technical elements of driving fast cars in beautiful places. By eschewing the progression systems that bog down other simulations, it allows you to own the road in the supercar of your choosing from the moment you boot it up. Just don't expect to be an immediate master of the racing line.
Alas and alack, Geralt's silver sword has vanquished these monsters in the race for Game of the Month of May, 2015. You can nitpick its specific elements, but it's hard to deny that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a great accomplishment. Geralt, the witcher of the game's title, is a stoic presence in an unwelcome world. As he navigates one of gaming's exquisitely crafted lands, he witnesses couples finding love amid horror and politicians enduring the turbulence of unhappy citizens. Choice and consequence take on new meaning as you alter the course of people's lives, all while galloping across mysterious bogs and battling ferocious, awe-inspiring monsters.
No game has it all, but The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has an air of totality, giving you everything you might want in an open-air RPG, feeling simultaneously enormous and intimate, thus creating personal connections in kingdoms that stretch on for many miles. Congratulations, The Witcher 3, for inspiring in us a great urge to explore--and for earning GameSpot's award for May 2015's Game of the Month.