BAFTA Gaming Awards Part 3
So we come down to the last four categories of this years gaming BAFTA. The selection on offer here is nothing short of eclectic with all manner of big triple A games going up against small indie teams and their humble offerings. So lets start with an award few people give a dam about (Me included)
Best Persistent Game
*Looks at notes* Huh? League of Legends is a persistent game? Who knew. Pretty sure World of Warcraft, Destiny, Runescape and EVE would take issue with what persistent truly means but ok I guess. Well done League of Legends.
The best performance category is an odd one to have in video games, unlike cinema, the performance in a game is brought to life by so many people, motion capture teams, designers and sound technicians, all whose work brings a performance to life. This isn’t to denigrate the work of any of the fine actors and actresses on this list. Those performers are:
- Kevin Spacey – Call of Duty Advanced Warfare
- Melissa Hutchinson – Walking Dead Season 2
- Logan Cunningham – Transistor
- Troy Baker – Far Cry 4
- Adam Harrington – Wolf Among Us
- Ashley Johnson – The Last of Us – Left behind
I think you’ll agree and say this is one of the strongest list of nominees in the entire show, with each one of them being worthy of the prize. So lets break down the list; first Logan Cunningham has one of the finest voices I’ve ever heard, but his inclusion in this kinda annoys me as it means the judges had played Transistor and yet didn’t give it nomination for best soundtrack! Seriously guys if your going to shun some one don’t half arse it.
Then we come to the usually suspects, Troy Baker/Melissa Hutchinson and Kevin Spacey. Between the three of them they’ve got all manner of awards and deserve each one of them. Baker’s turn as Pagan Min was the highlight of a dull game, Kevin Spacey is deliciously villainous in Call of Duty, while Melissa Hutchinson dam right carries the second season of Walking Dead (well maybe her and Kenny). Adam Harrington as Bigby is a fine performance, but Bigby wasn’t really given that much to work with as a character and so doesn’t hold up.
The winner was of course Ashley Johnson for her work as Ellie in the Left Behind DLC for The Last of Us. A breathtakingly nuanced and deep performance that isn’t just worthy of this nomination but also of a Oscar (If you value those things).
Best Game Design
The nominees on other for the this category really display the diversity of game design ideas and theories out there. With simplistic but addictive mobile games standing side by side with industry monoliths, it’s heartening to see the range on offer in our ever growing industry. The nominees are:
- Shadow of Mordor
- Alien Isolation
- Heartstone: Heroes of Warcraft
- Far Cry 4
Now I’ll be honest and say Far Cry 4 is only on this list to pad out numbers, it’s decently designed but it’s nothing special. I’d say games like Monument Valley or 80 Days should be here but they’ve already been heavily featured so guess not. The other candidates are think are all solid in their own ways. Hearthstone certainly has refreshed the card game genre in a way the many iterations of Magic have failed at. Threes is a perfectly addicting game that I’ve spent months weening myself off of (Getting the shakes, need to play!)
Alien Isolation is a game I have limited experience with but from what I’ve seen it appears to be well designed if occasionally flawed first person horror. So this leaves us with Destiny and Shadow of Mordor, one of which I know a lot more about than the other. Destiny was designed for player retention, if you want a full and informed break down of the games design i’d say your best bet is to check out the Errant signal video of it.
Shadow of Mordor is a game that borrowed elements from other games and formed them into a cohesive whole, using the nemesis system as a way to tie up all these elements neatly. The nemesis system is more simplistic than it may at first look but that doesn’t stop it from being a marvel of design and programming that the developers should rightly be proud of. Whilst writing my review, I remember thinking that the model that the NS system provides is to open world games what the COD formula was for the shooter genre. A good piece of design is one that many people will iterate upon and that’s precisely what we’ll see in a few years, with many developers looking to follow in SoM footsteps.
At last we come to the most prestigious but also the most meaningless of prizes, best game. The winner of this award gets to go home and have the great pleasure of adding a little BAFTA mask to all new copies, while the others must go home and set fire to their first born in shame. The nominees are:
- Dragon Age: Inquistion (About time you showed up)
- Mario Kart 8
- Monument Valley (One of the judges loved this game)
- Shadow of Mordor
- Alien Isolation
Wow, some one on this panel was clearly in love with Monument Valley, and in a very deep, possibly sexual manner. Possible libel aside, the other five on the list are all strong contenders. Mario Kart 8 inclusion does feel odd since Nintendo did publish the much loved Bayonetta 2 this year and that game had heaps of praise (and controversy). Dragon Age: Inquisition finally makes an appearance, having been missed out for a lot of other categories, I doubt it would have won any of them but I did find it’s absence odd. As for the game itself I must say it’s a great RPG that I loved playing, while not a perfect RPG by any standards it did have some of the best writing I’ve seen in a game hands down.
Shadow of Mordor had been one of my favorite gaming experiences of the last year, since it’s release I’ve played it about four times through and while the story is forgettable the game-play is a blast. But Shadow of Mordor didn’t win.
When I first heard of the Destiny win, all I had to say was this;
Since then I’ve mulled over the choice and while it’s not one I personally agree with I can kinda see the logic behind it. Destiny has kept people playing since it’s release, it’s attracted an active user base who enjoy playing it on a daily basis for a short period of time. In a time when most multi-player games player bases die after a month or so (Look at Evolve) Destiny has some how kept peoples attention. As of yet I haven’t played it myself, it’s console only release and my dislike of console multi-player (Poor Internet) has made me hesitant to ever get back into an online only game. That said it’s a game which does interest me, maybe in a few years we’ll see other games similar models to Destiny just as we may with Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis system.
So that’s the years Gaming BAFTAS over and done with. Think i’m going to have a sleep.