The 2015 Game Awards have come and gone and while several notable games won well deserved awards in their categories, others left me with questionable disagreement than proper understanding. I felt it necessary to present a VGA wrap up with all the categories I thought should be talked about and why I agree, or disagree with the judges choices.
Game of the Year: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
This was a close one, going up against such a prestigious titles such as Bloodborne. I can’t help but wonder how fair it is to put games that have only been out for a few months like Metal Gear Solid 5 and Fallout 4 (Fallout has been out for 1 and somehow it can be GOTY, because it’s Fallout) in a category like GOTY. Regardless, Witcher 3 well deserved the title of GOTY, being an incredibly robust, detailed and well-delivered game that, even without the DLC, has me still playing and still WANTING to play.
Best Indie Game: Rocket League
This one was kind of shady since I struggle to continue calling Psyonix an “independent” company, nor do I consider Rocket Leauge an “indie” game. Especially when it went up against actual indie games, made by actual independent companies. How Undertale didn’t win this award baffles me, but on the other hand, Leonardo DiCaprio hasn’t won an Oscar yet, so maybe true genius IS never recognized in it’s time.
Best Narrative: Her Story
This one should be a surprise to no one, Her Story was a masterclass in storytelling, delivering a deeply complex and engaging mystery with only one actress and a handful of one to two minute clips. While I would’ve held Until Dawn as a top contender for delivering what was perhaps not the most ground-breaking story, but the most perfectly encapsulated 80’s horror narrative in a game with characters you actually want to see live (with the exception of Emily.)
Best Shooter: Splatoon
I called this one as soon as I saw it was a contender for best shooter. Nintendo saw a market bloated with generic FPS and sought to make a difference. Totally revaluating the shooter formula Nintendo created the best shooter not only of this year, but arguably of the last few years. Fast-paced, intense, reassessed goals for victory and most of all FUN—next to Splatoon, every shooter is playing for second.
Best Action/Adventure game: MGSV
This is a weird one to win best action game considering MGS is no longer subtitled “Tactical Espionage Action” and now “Tactical Espionage Operations.” And if you played this game anything like how I played it, action was very rarely involved. Although, in the moments where action was involved, MGSV blew the combatants out of the water. Not many games can claim to have, in the first hour, a horseback chase in the forest while you fire a shotgun at a man made of fire pursuing you on an Alicorn (that’s a pegaus, unicorn mix. Thank you MLP) also made of fire.
Best RPG: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
This one I can’t abide. I would argue that The Witcher 3 does is more an action-fantasy game with RPG elements than a straight up RPG. In this category Bloodborne really should have taken the crown, being way more of a traditional RPG, complete with punishing difficulty, larger than life bosses you never quite feel prepared for, and a significant need for grinding.
Best Fighter Mortal Kombat X
Basically the winner by default considering Rise of Incarnates has vanished from existence, no one’s heard of Guilty Gear Xrd and Saint Seyia: Soldiers Soul wasn’t on the list. MKX failed to impress me when I played it, not only needing a hour to update even with the disk and being what felt like a bloated, unintuitive rehash of the Mortal Kombat that released a few years ago.
Best Family Game: Mario Maker
I can’t help but wonder what factors constitute “best family game.” Since I can’t find any concrete details about it, I imagine it’s a game best played with your family, or, if not a family, then a group of friends, in which case Mario Maker makes no sense as a winner. It’s a game that, almost as soon as you start playing encourages you to be alone with little to no distractions, as to be in the optimum environment to let your creativity flow. Same with Splatoon, a primarily online multiplayer focused game, is only truly at its best when played by one person (the local multiplayer is a joke.) I’d argue that “family game” means, games the whole family can enjoy, but really, unless your parents grew up as gamers, they’re going to have no interest in Mario Maker, not with real life taking up so much of the time required to make a great level. Plus they probably won’t play Skylanders and Disney Infinity out of spite for their kids making them drop who knows how much on those figurines.
Best Sports/Racing: Rocket League
This one actually makes me laugh. Not only is it kind of diminishing to the entire genre of racing games to combine them with sports games as if they’re the same thing, but the game that wins the award is Rocket League, a literal combination of sports and racing (insofar that cars are involved).
Best Multiplayer: Splatoon
This one I question because it seems like another winner by default. Splatoon is nothing but multiplayer, it’s 98% of the experience. Regardless of that though, Splatoon does offer one of the best multiplayer experiences I’ve had in a long time. Fun, reimagined takes on classic shooter modes, constant free updates including maps, weapons and gear, and fun little weekend events every few weeks. Also the option to omit voice chatting was probably the best decision ever made for an online shooter.