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Top 5 Boxarts of 2015

Top 5 Boxarts of 2015

Whether you buy your games off of a store shelf, or on one of the many online marketplaces available to us, before you make your purchase you’ll see a piece of art that the developer has chosen to represent their product. Sometimes boxarts are perfect representations of the game they embody, sometimes they’re blatant lies, and most of the time they’re somewhere in-between. Some boxarts will shy customers away from a great game, and others will persuade unknowing shoppers into buying a poor product. At the end of day you should never judge a game by its cover, but it’s perfectly fine to judge the cover itself.

Please keep in mind that only the quality of the box art was taken into consideration when compiling this list, and not the quality of the game that the art represents.

5. Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China

AC CC_box

I haven’t played an Assassin’s Creed game since AC3 put me to sleep with its never ending opening sequence. I actually don’t know a single person who’s played Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China, so I cannot attest to the quality of the game, but I can tell you that the piece of art they created to advertise their game is gorgeous. The whites and browns make the assassin’s iconic red really pop. The Great Wall in the background hints at environments, and there seems to be some sort of storm going on, possibly hinting at environmental or weather based stealth mechanics. The boxart is focused on the game’s assassin, who’s dressed in extremely ornate armor and brandishing what looks like a katana. While the quality of the more recent Assassin’s Creed games has taken a dip, at least Ubisoft’s art team is still on top of their game.

4. Magicka 2

magicka 2_box

The rare example of a boxart which perfectly embodies its game. The faceless and simplistic character design clearly indicates this isn’t a very story/character driven experience. The fact that are four wizards in the image being encroached upon by a horde of enemies makes it clear that the game is a cooperative experience that’s been designed to be played with friends. The buildings in the background give us a time period and setting. The garb and weaponry of the playable characters, along with the title of the game, lets us know that we’re going to be flinging fireballs and shooting lightning bolts. The enemies depicted do seem intimidating, but the yellow player flying through the air in a comical fashion gives the impression that this will be a lighthearted romp. All these details are beautifully captured through excellent spacial awareness within the image, and an amazing use of color. A person who’s never heard of or played Magicka 2 can easily imagine the gameplay experience by simply looking at its cover art for a few seconds.

3. Ori and the Blind Forest

ori box

One look at Ori’s boxart and it’s no surprise that this game took the award for best art direction at the 2015 Game Awards. The hand-painted artwork is not only featured on the cover, but is an actual representation of how stunning the game really looks. The massive tree in the background gives us a sense of vibrancy and life, but the erupting volcano off in the distance hints at a rapidly approaching danger. We don’t know who the two characters featured in the image are, but it’s clear they have a close bond, perhaps alluding that the player is in for an emotional journey. The flowers in the foreground make it seem like the player is peering into a new world, just getting a sneak peak of what’s to come.

2. Star Wars Battlefront

SWBF_box

A rebel soldier standing on top of a downed snowspeeder, pistol in hand, as he looks up in awe at the massive AT-AT moving towards him. X-Wings and TIE fighters waging war in the sky, storm troopers and rebels bustling on the ground, with more massive Imperial machinery looming in the background. The essence of the Battlefront series is perfectly captured in this image: the battles will take place on the ground and in the air, vehicles and infantry engaging in large scale combat, with the player being nothing more than a single cog in the massive machine of war. The beautiful blue sky contrasts perfectly with the harsh landscape of the planet, illustrating the clash that’s about to take place. The sheer difference in scale between the rebel and the AT-AT that are centered in image clearly displays the odds that the rebels face, but also represents their willingness to stand and fight. Many critics have pointed out Star Wars: Battlefront’s lack of content, but there is no doubting that DICE absolutely nailed the large scale combat that’s depicted on the box.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D

mm_box

Majora’s Mask is an excellent game, maybe even the best in the franchise. It does so many things right, many of which can be seen in other classic Zelda titles, but one aspect of Majora’s Mask that has never been replicated is its defining trait: its tone. Its eerie and unsettling, but also mesmerizing and enthralling. Nintendo managed to capture the game’s mood perfectly with the boxart for the 3DS remake. The characters we see in the art are displaying a wide array of emotions, some seeming happy, others angry, and some concerned. We see the Skull Kid standing atop the clock tower doing an awkward pose. The Mask Salesman has a smile on his face, but the mask we see over his left shoulder shows an expression of distress. The landscape the characters are standing on is rounded rather than flat, symbolizing the great imbalance in their world, and the fact that they’re moving closer and closer to their impending doom. The moon looms in the sky, taking up roughly 50% of the image, a clear threat with an evil eye staring down upon the inhabitants below. The center piece of the image is, of course, Link. His mouth is cleverly obscured, leaving us only his eyes as a means of understanding his state of mind. He’s staring directly back at us, not with a look of fear or anger, but confidence, as if he’s challenging the player to don a mask and save the world of Termina. Easily the best boxart of 2015, and among the best of the past decade.

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