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Game of the Year Awards 2015

Showcasing the best games from the past year

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Introduction  |  Gameplay Awards  |  Special Awards  |  Genre Awards  |  GOTY

Best Story
best story 2015 Tales from the Borderlands winner badge Tales from the Borderlands

"Tales from the Borderlands is the most confident storytelling Telltale has shown since the first season of The Walking Dead. But most surprising is how universally accessible the story of the game is. Telltale could have crafted a series packed full of Borderlands fan service that was gibberish to non-fans, following the same internet-heavy, meme-able dialogue the Borderlands series is famous for, but instead the writers truly flex their fingers and deliver something more substantial. Tales from the Borderlands is an absolute joy for everyone, and still delivers some striking moments interspersed between the humor." - Josh Hinke

Honorable Mentions: Game of Thrones, The Witcher 3, Her Story


Best Graphics (Art)
best graphics art 2015 Ori and the Blind Forestwinner badge Ori and the Blind Forest

"Ori and the Blind Forest is a painted diorama in constant, restless motion. It's like the god of parallax scrolling reached down, and with a single divine thunderbolt, shattered the game into a thousand layers of artwork, all brought to life by the kind of subtle animation that you never consciously notice but nevertheless contributes to creating a breathing, natural environment. Branches sway, leaves tumble, water drips, ripples radiate away into the background. Does it look better than whatever people think is the glossiest new engine right now? No, probably not, but it made me stop and wonder “how on Earth did they do that?” numerous times, and that's so much more remarkable." - David Will

Honorable Mentions: Bloodborne, Tearaway Unfolded, Yoshi's Woolly World


Best Graphics (Technical)
Best Graphics (Technical) 2015 Star Wars: Battlefrontwinner badge Star Wars: Battlefront

"Star Wars: Battlefront looks absolutely stunning. The Frostbite engine has been an asset in recent games and it looks ever better here. Although the destruction in Battlefront is minimal, it more than makes up for it with lighting, textures, reflections and visual effects. The attention to detail is exceptional, from the mud that collects on your boots to ice forming on your weapon. The engine is particularly good at rendering landscapes and this is demonstrated across the four main planets of Hoth, Endor, Tatooine and Sullust. Whether running through the ice caves on Hoth or jumping over magma flows on Sullust, the environments are stellar. Endor is on another level though, with perhaps the best foliage since the lush grasses in the third Crysis game. Plants sway beneath your feet as soldiers battle on treetop walkways. Trees are felled by explosions—they even creak on decent—and sparks rain down from bark." - Ben Thomas

Honorable Mentions: The Order: 1886, The Witcher 3, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain


Best Music
best music 2015 Destiny winner badge Ori and the Blind Forest

"The game's propensity for beautiful artwork and soulful music is unmatched. Music feels like it's trying desperately to get eyes watering up at times, but it's lovely stuff nonetheless. This is the kind of game that's so extraordinarily detailed that you begin to worry about the well-being of whoever worked on the art and whether they were perhaps driven a bit too hard." - David Will

Honorable Mentions:Undertale, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, Tales from the Borderlands


Best Sound Design
best sound 2015 Rainbow Six Siege winner badge Rainbow Six Siege

"The sound design in Rainbow Six Siege is some of the best around, and is crucial to success. You can determine enemy locations based on footsteps, and in ranked games, there are no grenade indicators, meaning you need to listen for the distinctive clinking sound of a grenade or flash-bang when it is thrown into a room. If you've got a nice pair of headphones, your tactical senses are bound to be heightened." - Tim Reid

Honorable Mentions: Star Wars: Battlefront, Fallout 4, SOMA


Best Atmosphere
best atmosphere 2015 SOMA winner badge SOMA

"Within the base, exhilarating tension is provided by strange noises and contorted enemies. The stations are continually producing sound, either from bulkheads creaking under the pressure or unseen terrors scrambling through vents. You will be under threat early, but it is several hours before it becomes terrifying enough to bring hesitation. The different and gruesome monsters are carefully distributed and their presence is usually stressful due to that variety. Sound produced by these creatures is bone-chilling, either because of loud footsteps or hellish shrieks. In a similar fashion to the insanity effect from Amnesia, the screen becomes distorted when enemies are near. Hearing them in pursuit was always nerve-wrecking." - Ben Thomas

Honorable Mentions: Fallout 4, The Witcher 3, Bloodborne


Best Voice Acting
best voice acting 2015 The Witcher 3 winner badge The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

"Almost everything you do in The Witcher 3 has a surprising sense of gravity to it, and this can largely be attributed to the consistently excellent writing and voice acting. Between the politics, monster hunting and exploration are a lot of personal and humerous moments that lend a lot of depth and weight to the game’s world. The quiet moments, the romantic moments and the funny moments make it very easy to get invested in Geralt’s quest and the characters he interacts with, making the dark storylines and morally grey choices all that much more meaningful and at times devastating." - Tim Reid

Honorable Mentions: Tales from the Borderlands, The Order: 1886, Broken Age


Most Memorable Character
Most Memorable Character 2015 XXXXXX winner badge Chloe (Life is Strange)

"No character is as impressive as Max’s rambunctious sidekick, Chloe, and together they share awkward and poignant moments as a result of their rekindled friendship. Chloe’s voice actress is a perfect match for her personality; Ashly Burch brings exuberance and craziness with a voice that matches Chloe’s movements and expressions, from dancing on a bed to firing bullets at bottles in a junkyard. Chloe is such a likable character that she becomes the ideal partner in time. For most of the adventure, she is the only one in Arcadia Bay that knows, after a fantastic proving sequence, that Max can rewind time." - Ben Thomas

Honorable Mentions: Red Baron (The Witcher 3), Loader Bot (Tales from the Borderlands), Joker (Batman: Arkham Knight)


Best Original Gameplay Design
Best Original Gameplay Design 2015 Her story winner badge Her Story

"The setup of Her Story is simple yet original. Your job is to reconstruct a series of police video interviews about a murder case. The tool that you'll be using can find video clips based on key words that can be heard in the videos. The videos of detectives asking questions are missing, so the only clips you'll be working with are the responses of the suspect. The clips are anywhere between a few seconds to a few minutes long, and presented in perfectly stylized 90s VHS videos. Her Story will truly make players feel like a detective." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: Rainbow Six Siege, Splatoon, Grow Home


Best Singleplayer
Best singleplayer 2015 The Witcher 3 winner badge The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

"The Wild Hunt provides both immense quantity and incredible quality with its seemingly endless quests, an engaging central storyline and many compelling off-shoot subplots packed with memorable moments and characters. It has more components than could be possibly covered in a review that isn’t the length of a short novel; there is a fully fleshed-out card game called Gwent, horse racing, fist-fighting and story segments that see you playing as the elusive Ciri. If you have any interest at all in well thought out fantasy universes, RPG games or good storytelling, I can’t recommend The Wild Hunt highly enough; be warned though, if you are a completionist, you might have an aneurism when you learn just how much there is to do in this game." - Tim Reid

Honorable Mentions: Fallout 4, Bloodborne, Ori and the Blind Forest


Best Multiplayer
Best Multiplayer 2015 Call of Duty Black Ops 3 winner badge Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

"Multiplayer is the best part of Black Ops 3, both from a technical and entertainment perspective. It is a careful mix of old and new. Most modes are still 6v6 and many previous scorestreaks return. The major changes involve wall-running and thrust-jumping. You can run along any wall, but many of the maps have specific wall-running locations—either to circle the map or to take a shortcut between action lanes. Map variety and structure is up with the best in the series, with good sight lines and encounter zones. The game focuses heavily on action lanes—usually three—and you cannot use thrust-jumping to shatter the intended design. But never fear, there are plenty of opportunities to flank. The new specialists provide brief moments of power and tension without upsetting the balance. They also bring some more personality to the online matches. " - Ben Thomas

Honorable Mentions: Rocket League, Rainbow Six Siege, Splatoon


Best Gameplay
Best gameplay 2015 Bloodbornewinner badge Bloodborne

"Thanks to the variety of play styles afforded by the weapon mechanics, the gameplay shines despite the perceived difficulty. Unlike perhaps in the past Souls games, dying in Bloodborne is still frustrating, but it always feels like your fault. You didn't dodge fast enough, in the wrong direction, or simply got greedy or careless with your attacks. It's never because the game is cheap or because the controls failed to detect your input. The action is visceral, with each attack carrying a satisfying feeling of impact, and losing half your healthbar in one blow will put your nerves on edge. Bloodborne is a mix of frustration and joy, defeat and revenge. The focus on fast paced combat creates a new experience even for franchise veterans, and also makes a great entry point for newcomers." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, Rocket League


The Awards continue on the next page!


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