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

"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. Falling off walls can be deadly but some mistakes are less dangerous. When wall-running, you’re in motion, vulnerable, but also able to surprise. Getting the jump on enemies is tremendously satisfying as you see them gaze up towards your rain of bullets. Thrust-jump offers some verticality to combat without the discrete exo-jump that was present in Advanced Warfare. The gunfights are smooth because you are not abruptly changing aim, but still need to account for the third dimension." - Ben Thomas

Honorable Mentions: Splatoon, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, Halo 5: Guardians

 

Best Action Game
Best Action game 2015 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Painwinner badge Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

"Out in the game world is where The Phantom Pain truly shines. The game’s mechanics are extremely polished – from Boss’ movement to his takedowns and using the various tools at your disposal. If you choose to be stealthy, as the game usually encourages but never forcefully suggests, it’s incredibly satisfying. Sneaking your way past enemies, neutralizing them, using distractions and finally reaching your goal deep behind enemy lines is a thrill, almost every single time. From using hold-up to interrogate enemies for information, or simply eliminating everyone like a silent assassin, the gameplay offers so much player choice it can be exciting just to think about the possibilities. Finding the loadout and rhythm that works for you, and then playing the game the way you want just never gets old. But if things do go south, Big Boss has a huge arsenal of lethal weaponry that can be developed and used in the field. Weapon handling and gunfights feel surprisingly satisfying, given the game’s stealth roots. Going in guns blazing can prove challenging, but the action is very fun." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: Batman: Arkham Knight, Bloodborne, Dying Light

 

Best Racing Game
Best racing game 2015 Forza Motorsport 6winner badge Forza Motorsport 6

"You’ll be hitting the starting grid of these tracks in one of Forza Motorsport 6’s staggering 400+ car roster, which is more than twice the number of cars at launch in Forza Motorsport 5. There’s brand new 2016 models, the usual assortment of supercars, sports, compact class cars, muscle cars, Grand Prix beasts, and more. Forza Motorsport has never had an issue producing a solid car racing simulation, and FM6 is no exception. All of the cars in the game feel different, unique in their own ways, and the calculations that go on under the game's hood result in a realistic race day experience. But there's an important aspect to it - it's fun. FM6 makes it a joy to drive, from the everyday Honda to the extreme LaFerrari. From the sometimes annoying understeer and slippery roads of FM5, Forza Motorsport 6 handling feels smooth and purely enjoyable." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: DiRT Rally, Rocket League, Project Cars

 

Best Strategy Game
Best strategy game 2015 Total War: Attilawinner badge Total War: Attila

"Total War Attila represents the series at its best, taking the improvements and additions given to Rome 2 and combining them with the more challenging gameplay and clever AI found in Shogun 2. Much needed tweaks to the existing formula alongside the addition of meaningful politics and nomadic factions make this the most engaging Total War in some time. Given the large amount of high quality content, varied play styles between factions and refined gameplay mechanics, Total War: Attila signals a remarkable return to form for the series, with relatively few but well thought out additions." - Tim Reid

Honorable Mentions: Cities: Skylines, StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void, Grey Goo

 

Best Adventure Game
Best adventure game 2015 Tales from the Borderlandswinner badge Tales from the Borderlands

"It’s fun that defines Tales from the Borderlands and it’s clear that Telltale enjoyed themselves while making the series. After life-threatening zombies, the grisly murders in Fabletown, and the back stabbings of Westeros, it’s refreshing to see the developers let loose with some jokes - and trust me, they’ve got some good ones. While the cast is stacked with the talents of Patrick Warburton, Nolan North, Troy Baker, and Chris Hardwick, the stand outs surprisingly are the two non-human characters: Loader Bot and Gortys. Tales from the Borderlands has got it where it counts and delivers a series that is more than worthy of the franchise name. It’s a Telltale game that's a winner for all, not just fans of the best-selling shooter." - Josh Hinke

Honorable Mentions: Game of Thrones: Season 1, Life is Strange, Stasis

 

Best RPG
Best RPG 2015 The Witcher 3: Wild Huntwinner badge The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

"Similar to the previous Witcher games, the Role-Playing aspects of The Witcher 3 come across more in the choices you make than in the way you develop your character. You can choose to put points into alchemy, spells or conventional fighting techniques, but regardless of what path you take you will still probably use bombs, spells and potions and fight in more or less the same way. Gear customization however plays a bigger role. Your stamina bar that determines how many blows you can parry or how much you can dodge also determines how quickly you can cast spells. Using heavy armor slows stamina regeneration, meaning you will probably focus more on swordplay, while lighter armour lets you dodge around and cast spells more frequently at the cost of increased fragility. The crafting system works in much the same way as the alchemy; you will find schematics that outline what parts or ingredients you need to brew a potion or craft a piece of equipment. Exploration and conversations are immensely enjoyable while investigation sequences offer a unique way to learn about events after they unfold." - Tim Reid

Honorable Mentions: Fallout 4, Pillars of Eternity, Undertale

 

Best Sports Game
Best sports game 2015 FIFA 16winner badge FIFA 16

"When it comes to annual franchises - especially those set within the rigid framework of a real world sport - innovation can be difficult. While the gameplay remains solid season to season, major features like last year's player relationships can misfire. With FIFA 16, the focus was once again to bring changes to the pitch, and the game pulls it off. Additions like FUT Draft and Player Training are welcome and help beef up the already extensive game mode offerings, but it's the action on the field of play that fans will remember the most. There are still occasional mishaps, but overall, FIFA 16 is a resounding success." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: Rocket League, NHL 16, NBA 2K16

 

Best Platformer
Best Platformer 2015 Ori and the Blind Forestwinner badge Ori and the Blind Forest

"Ori's movement is every bit as fluid as it looks – which is to say, like being in some kind of parkour-themed shampoo commercial – and the controls hold a near-perfect balance between responsiveness and momentum. Wall-jumping is relatively painless, something that we probably ought to be grateful for given how badly some games seem to bugger it up, and there's even an ability later on that lets you use enemies and projectiles as spring-boards, with predictably radical results. Not exactly overflowing with original ideas, but a great Metroidvania nevertheless. Platforming mechanics are near-immaculate." - David Will

Honorable Mentions: Super Mario Maker, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Kalimba

 

Best Puzzle Game
Best puzzle game 2015 Stasiswinner badge Stasis

"I’m not normally a huge puzzle guy, often times because puzzle games seem to struggle so much with incorporating their challenges into the game narrative in a natural, fitting way. While that’s still partially the case here on occasion, things are helped by the attempt to tie the narrative into the puzzles. If you’re a player that likes to skip over big chunks of narrative text, I urge you not to in STASIS as the PDA’s scattered around the game, in addition to moving the story forward, will also give you important information on item locations and puzzle solutions, making them all the more important to pay attention to." - Quinn Levandoski

Honorable Mentions: Her Story, White Night, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

 

Best Arcade Game
Best arcade game 2015 Rocket Leaguewinner badge Rocket League

"Rocket League is not a complex game. At least, not on the surface. You and up to three team-mates charge around an arena in RC-cars, attempting to corral a large, floaty ball into the spacious net of the opposing team while also preventing them from scoring on yours. You can boost, jump, and barrel roll in a variety of ways in order to help, but random luck seems to play as large a role as player skill when it comes to goal scoring. While this premise probably sounds too thin to prop up an entire game, the mechanics have been tuned such that performing fairly simple maneuvers is surprisingly satisfying. When you get a basic handle on the controls, Rocket League is hilarious, insane fun. The intentionally silly customization is part of the overall vibrant, colorful style that keeps the game’s mood light, with the cheering crowds cementing the soccer match-like atmosphere." - Tim Reid

Honorable Mentions: Guitar Hero Live, Cyberpunk 3776, Downwell

 

You've reached the grand finale! Our GOTY is revealed on the next page!

 

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