15. Quantum Break
Release date: April 5th
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Why it’s great: From Max Payne to Alan Wake, developer Remedy's obsession with high-concept gameplay and pulp storytelling has bridged every genre. With Quantum Break, the company moves on to time-travel sci-fi. The game's time-bending mechanics, which allow players to stop time and riddle their frozen enemies with bullets, or rewind events to search previously destroyed environments, make for a visceral experience; its inclusion of story-changing junction points -- where each choice affects the curving narrative -- are an exciting (if somewhat borrowed) idea. But Quantum Break is more than just a video game -- it's also a TV show. At key points throughout the story, the digital cast -- including Shawn Ashmore (X-Men), Lance Reddick (The Wire), and Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones) -- rolls seamlessly from virtual action into fully produced 22-minute episodes of television. In itself, the combat, exploration, and item-hunting isn't all that revolutionary, but it’s this gripping blend of mediums that makes the game such a narratively compelling affair.
How to play: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows (watch the trailer)