Hey there fine award loving folks. So the last few years I’ve done game of the year awards that have run through all of December and they’ve been great fun if I do say so myself. Well this year I’ve been hard at work creating videos for these awards instead (Apparently video is the future)
So here, enjoy this delicious offering of mine.
I’ll be updating this playlist as often as I can so look forward to more terrific stuff from Mat, Phil and myself.
My oh my has it already been a year since my last BAFTA round up? How time flys. Well since I so enjoyed doing this last year how about I treat you all to my thoughts on this years winners and losers for the Video Game BAFTAs?
Artistic Achievement Award
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Batman Arkham Knight
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
Ori and The Blind Forest
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Got to say the nominees for this category are slightly lackluster in my honest opinion. The winner among them was Ori and the Blind Forest and quite deservedly so when compared to the other games which all strive to look good but are in no way breathtaking or artistically unique in any way. Little shocked that Bloodborne didn’t get at least a nomination for this category as it is visually striking.
Audio Achievement Award
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Batman Arkham Knight
Everybody’s gone to the Rapture
Star Wars Battlefront
The Witcher 3
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Not really an audio guy (He says while also being the host of a podcast) so find this one difficult to judge for myself. The Winner was Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. Sorry Battlefront, getting us nostalgic with laser noises ain’t enough. EGTTR as I’m now calling it also won best music
Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes
Lovers in Dangerous Space Time
Ori and the Blind Forest.
At last, some love for the Indie amongst us. I’ve heard a lot of praise heaped on most of these games (Even heaped some myself for Mini Metro) The eventual winner was Her Story, a game I really should write about sometime.*
So that’s Part one of this years BAFTA winners. At the moment I’m just skirting around the big categories as I think I’ll need to write an entire essay about why the winner of Best Game is a little off the mark.
*Her Story also won best Handheld, which i can’t be arsed to write about
As I went about drafting the various versions of this list I kept looking over to my ever growing collection of games and thinking what game deserved to be placed where. The Witcher 3 and MGSV’s inclusion on the list was basically mandatory while my dislike of the well loved Bloodborne would prove controversial. Having surveyed a few lesser sites GOTY lists for inspiration, I continued to notice the lack of appreciation for what I still believe to be one of 2015’s best games
My last few award posts featuring Dying Light have made reference to how this game has been overshadowed by many other games this year and how it will probably be forgotten. In a year of the Witcher 3, Fallout 3 and MSGV it’s hardly surprising that new IP from the makers of the awful Dead Island games would be lost in the morass, especially since it came out at the very beginning of the year.
But if you dare to pick it up on the cheap (Seriously on Steam it’s 66% off) you’ll find a damn fine game worthy of at least a few hours of your time.
Now I don’t want to be a Debbie-downer on this blog. Trying to be positive is a thing I’m working on in my own special way but sometimes the urge to say “This isn’t going to go well” is irresistible and I just have to shout it from the rooftops and today’s proclamation/Award goes to No Man’s Sky for never being able to live up to the hype it’s built up around it!
The hype surrounding No Man’s Sky is one of the most confusing things about 2015 for me. Here we have a massive Space Sim in development by a small Indie team from Guildford (I think) that has somehow managed to get much of the coming world salivating for it. This extends outside of the ‘hardcore’ gaming circles, on prime time television, Sean Murry (Who seems lovely by the way) appeared on Stephan Colbert’s show to show the world his game and the crowd was going nuts for it.
Where is this coming from? What is so special about the idea of No Man’s Sky? I couldn’t tell you. What I can say for sure if that this game will end up letting down a lot of people who’ve drank the cool aid (So to speak). Is it the whole 18 Quintillion planets that’s getting people excited for it? Becuase let’s be honest, when you start getting past 50 planets you may have too many planets for most of us.
Does this mean it will be a bad game? Certainly not, but I do think it’s going to be a disappointing game.
Today’s award category was suggested to me by @PAldousMusic, check his work out, he’s pretty awesome.
What can be said about this game that hasn’t been already said before. What maybe the last chapter in one of gaming’s most venerated series, helmed by rare creative talent with a team of near peerless developers, hamstrung by the industry’s most demented publishers. The final product that is MGSV is perhaps one of the greatest games ever made and one I’m thankful I decided to pick up after pigheadedly choosing Mad Max over it (that’s the closest Mad Max is getting to a GOTY List)
After finally taking the plunge and trying this game I was treated to one of the finest action games ever made. Learning the many nuances and quirks of the game took time, time that I thought I’d be bored or annoyed at what I saw as needlessly awkward Japanese development practices. But instead, I found a rich and layered game that kept me playing for weeks on end. Missions were perfectly designed, encouraging multiple approaches and play styles. The story while bonkers was understandable and has a surprisingly human and affecting one at that.
With some of the best stealth gameplay in the business playing TPP is like trying to solve an ever more elaborate puzzle that you yourself are making more complex with your own actions. Favour headshots and guards will wear helmets, likewise with body shots. Each new challenge, each new obstacle becomes something for you to study and monitor until you know it’s weaknesses.
Metal Gear Solid 5 – The Phantom Pain is perhaps one of the best games ever made. In a year of such instant classics such as Bloodborne and Witcher 3, TPP stands above them by being breathtakingly amazing in almost ever regard. This top ten list is a record of my favourite games of the year, not of what I judge to be the best if it was such a list then there is no doubt in my mind that The Phantom Pain would stand at the number one spot.
Number 6 – Fallout 4 – So we have it, another one of this year truly massive games and we’re not even passed the halfway point. I loved Fallout 3, I loved Fallout New Vegas and I love Fallout 4, but, for the most part, these games are all incredibly similar so I felt compelled to knock it down a place or two in favour of some truly unique and special games. When I stop typing up this blog the first thing I do is probably go play some more Fallout 4 on my PS4, exploring the Boston Wasteland some more to see what treasures it hides. I wish I was able to say that this game had some unique parts to it, but it just doesn’t other than a conversation systems that feels bad to use and enemies that sort of move in VATS mode. Still a hell of a game and one I’m definitely getting my money worth from.
Number 5 – Journey – I said it before and I’ll say it again that playing Journey was the closest I’ve ever come to having a religious experience and it’s a game I’ll never forget. Yes, it didn’t originally come out in 2015 but this is my awards season so to hell with the facts. I’m not going to drone on about this game much more (You can read my droning here) I’m just going to give the game a go, you won’t regret it. With how I gushed over this game you may have expected me to rank it a bit higher on the list…. Well to hell with your expectations, they belong with those rotten little facts you were trotting out earlier.
Witcher 3 – 8 – Weren’t expecting to see this particular game joined by such a number as 8 were you? Honestly, neither was I until I started compiling this list and realised I have had a lot more fun and enjoyment out of a lot of other games than I did out of Witcher 3. Witcher 3 is mostly on this list for its services to storytelling in video games. Bar none the Witcher 3 has had the best writing and the best storytelling in any game I think I’ve ever played. Each new conversation was a treat, each new quest the chance to learn something new, meet someone new. The Bloody Baron quest line is the pinnacle of game storytelling and the perfect example of what can be achieved in this medium. Where the game sadly fell down for me was the combat and levelling systems. After 75+ hours I found the game provided little challenge even when I upped the difficulty. Many games find it hard to balance around the idea that the player will just wander off for 50 hours to level up and the Witcher 3 is one of them.
Batman Arkham Knight 7 – The flawed swansong of Rocksteady’s time with the Caped Crusader is a game a return to again and again on a regular basis. The Arkham series of games established what developers needed to do in order to properly translate a beloved IP to games while keeping the soul of that IP. Warner Bros have had mixed success with this formula with Shadow of Mordor (Which is awesome) and Mad Max (Which isn’t) Arkham Knight as a game was Rocksteady trying and failing to leave their lasting mark on the canon with the Arkham Knight character, but failing to commit and falling back on the same old astoundingly good Joker. Nowhere near as good as either Asylum or City but still a damn fine game.
Apologies for no posts over the last few days. Work has been exhausting and I just couldn’t muster the energy to write.
Ok Folks, we’re getting serious now, It’s time to talk about some of my favourite games of the year and my word are there a lot of games to choose from. 2015 has had a bumper crop of excellent games to choose from and it falls to me (Or at least, the trained monkey I hired to write for me) to pick out the games that have stood out to me in a big way. So let’s start, as is tradition with number 10
Cities Skylines- 10 – I ever tell you about all the time I spent as a youth playing Simcity 3000? How I loved to carefully design cities that barely functioned, always went bankrupt and that I had to cheat to make financially viable? Well, It was a lot of time. To me, those days were a distant memory thanks to how meagre the pickings in this particular genre had become over the last decade or so. Praise the City planner in the sky then that we finally got a new game in the genre we can all agree is bloody fantastic in the form of Cities Skylines. In Skylines, building and managing brand new cities is both fun and in-depth allowing for you the player to quickly build the city you want. I’ve poured about 40 hours into the game so far and I’m expecting to pour a load more in when I decide to pick up the expansion…. Whoops, I’ve just gone and bought it.
Diablo 3 – Reaper of Souls – 9 – Recommended to me by a friend and picked up on a whim, Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls for the PS4 was precisely what I needed at that time. An uncomplicated action RPG is not weighed down by anything other than the need to shower the player in awesome loot. Each class feels powerful (Apart from Witch Doctor which kinda feels racist) wrecking havoc on the battlefield and spraying the landscape with all manner of goodies to pick up and quickly salvage for parts because you’re sure as shit not replacing that legendary item anytime soon. A satisfying and uncomplicated thrill ride that I just love to pour my time into.
So that’s places 10 & 9 on the list down. Come back tomorrow for 8 and 7.
You see that? I just used the word rad! Who does that? Any way to keep up today’s old school theme today’s award winner goes to a game that is both old school and new school (Is there a new school yet?) and that game is Undertale for both being incredibly popular and interesting yet in no way do I want to play it for myself.
Coming out a few months ago, Undertale seemed to take certain members of the Indie press by storm in a big way. Here was a game similar to Earthbound (Another game I’ve never played) that used it’s mechanics to allow players to play the entire game without ever killing a single foe, instead persuading them to back down, give up or to go on dates with the player character.
I’m still not entirely sure how the game really works but then again I don’t think I need to to see the effect it’s had on a fanbase who’ve quickly grown to accept it into their hearts. Hell all that GameFAQs nonsense was caused by this game destroying the competition in a way that I can only assume destroyed the souls of ever Ocarina of Time fanboy ever.
The best explanation I’ve heard about Undertale came from when I sat down for the Indie Haven Podcast with Laura Kate so give that a listen if you.
As for me I’m still not persuaded to try the game out for myself. I can’t really put my finger the reason though, so maybe when I do have some free time to spend I may give it a go.
Some games almost transcend the word and meaning of “Game” instead becoming something wholly unique and special. The winner of this award today didn’t come out in 2015, but instead was rereleased onto the PS4, giving me the chance at last to “play” it. Today’s winner is Journey and it is truely breath taking.
This may sound hyperbolic, insincere or just plain stupid, but to me experience Journey as I did was the cloesest thing I’ve ever felt to having a religous experience. As a nonbeliver (Wow a young atheist white guy on the internet, truely a rare thing) I wouldn’t say I’ve ever felt the guiding presence of some high power in my life but with Journey I felt something. A pull to carry on, to make a pilgrimage along with strangers to a place whose meaning I knew nothing of.
As distant figures become other players I found companionship in their hums and whistles, toghter we guided one another on. Playfully we skidded down sand dunes and fearfully we hid togther from fearful beasts crafted from living stone. I danced through living fabric, swam through it’s woven tendrils in a way that may stay with me forever.
What Journey made me feel was unique to me. You may feel something different when you take the first steps on your Journey but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it.