Ryan Smythe ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The VGX Awards are over, and the winners have been decided. The order they are presented here is based on the order they are displayed on the VGX Awards website.
Most Anticipated Game: Titanfall, Electronic Arts/Respawn Entertainment
(Nominees: Destiny, South Park: the Stick of Truth, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Watch Dogs)
Two new classes of playable units, the Ogre and the Stryder, were revealed last night at the VGX awards, and they looked incredible. A great mech fighting game has been high on many gamers’ wish lists for a very long time now. Will Titanfall be the game to fill that spot?
Titanfall will be released on March 11, 2014 for PC, Xbox 360, and the Xbox One.
Character of the Year: The Lutece Twins, BioShock Infinite
(Nominees: Lara Croft (Tomb Raider), Trevor Phillips (GTAV), Naiee and Nyaa (Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons))
These two characters are fantastic: they make BioShock Infinite that extra bit more interesting, and never go too far with their performances. Oliver Vaquer and Jennifer Hale are both wonderful voice actors. They added that little extra twist of discomfort to make the world feel just off-kilter enough to set up the fantastic ending of the game.
Best Mobile Game: Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time, PopCap Games
(Nominees: Angry Birds Star Wars, Infinity Blade 3, Ridiculous Fishing)
It really must be the age of zombies, since pitting them against plants creates such an engrossing game. Beating even Angry Birds Star Wars, Plants vs. Zombies 2 has earned at least a look on the App store.
Game of the Year: Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar Games/Rockstar North
(Nominees: BioShock Infinite, Super Mario 3D World, The Last of Us, Tomb Raider)
The only nominee this game should have beaten is Tomb Raider. And even then it wouldn’t be by much. Yes, it sold an absurd number of copies on the first day, but BioShock Infinite, The Last of Us, and especially Super Mario 3D World had more innovation, better gameplay, and not nearly as many dead civilians.
Studio of the Year: Naughty Dog
(Nominees: Irrational Games (BioShock Infinite), Rockstar North (GTAV), The Fullbright Company (Gone Home))
The Last of Us is stunning, incredible to play, and has one of the best voice casts in the world. Naughty Dog should be given at least three trophies for that game alone.
Best Shooter: BioShock Infinite, 2K Games/Irrational Games
(Nominees: Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Metro: Last Light)
We were completely surprised by this win. Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 are the kings of the shooter genre, and to see them beaten by a game that puts the campaign ahead of the multiplayer is a nice surprise. This is also the second year in a row CoD lost in this category (Borderlands 2 won last year).
Best Action Adventure Game: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal
(Nominees: GTAV, The Last of Us, Tomb Raider)
Beating out the Game of the Year and The Last of Us? The incredible franchise based around historical accuracy, with controls that make cities feel like playgrounds, has moved on to the high seas with a rousing success. It will be fascinating to see how the series moves forward from this game, because this franchise looks to continue for a long time.
Best Sports Game: NBA 2K14, 2K Sports/Visual Concepts
(Nominees: FIFA 14, MLB 13: The Show, NHL 14)
This game is unbelievably life-like. At many points during the game, it is hard to remember that it’s computer animated. What 2K Sports/Visual Concepts pulled off with the graphics in this game is incredible. Well deserved award here.
Best Independent Game: Gone Home, The Fullbright Company
(Nominees: Kentucky Route Zero, Papers, Please, The Stanley Parable)
This game looks terrifying . The trailers of the four games don’t really reveal much about their gameplay, but this looks like an incredible suspense horror game.
Best RPG: Ni-no-Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Namco Bandai/Level-5/Studio Ghibli
(Nominees: Final Fantasy Online XIV Online: A Realm Reborn, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Pokemon X/Y)
Hayao Miyazaki has finally moved on from making movies, and the studio he helped create, Studio Ghibli, has turned its attention to video games. The best possible way to describe this game is to compare it to one of the studio’s movies, with the only difference being that it’s completely interactive. This game is far and away the best RPG of the year, and possibly the entire console generation.
Best Fighting Game: Injustice: Gods Among Us, Warner Bros Interactive/NetherRealm Studios
(Nominees: Divekick, Killer Instinct, Tekken Revolution)
This is probably one of the best fan-service games of all time . Why would anyone need to know if Bane could beat Hawkgirl in a fight? Because that idea is amazing and now Batman can repeatedly punch Aquaman in the face on everybody’s TV screen. It is completely absurd and intense fun. The world is a better place for having this game.
Best Driving Game: Forza Motorsport 5, Microsoft Studios/Turn 10 Studios
(Nominees: F1 2013, Grid 2, Need for Speed Rivals)
Forza is probably the second best racing game franchise of all time. The only one topping it? Mario Kart.
Best DLC: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal
(Nominees: Borderlands 2: Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, Dishonored: The Knife of Dunwall, Mass Effect 3: Citadel)
This DLC could be sold at full price and every gamer should still buy it. The art style looks like it was adapted from Tron and injected with a few dozen more color pallets. The combat is completely over the top, the dialogue is crazy in the best way possible, and the enemies are fantastic fun to fight.
Best Xbox Game: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, 505 Games/Starbreeze
(Nominees: BioShock Infinite, GTAV, Tomb Raider)
The fact that GTAV didn’t win this award is so surprising. After winning game of the year, it was easy to expect it to sweep the awards. That being said, brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is still a fantastic game that definitely earned its win.
Best Playstation Game: The Last of Us, Sony Computer Entertainment/Naughty Dog
(Nominees: GTAV, Rayman Legends, Tomb Raider)
The Last of Us is quite possibly one of the greatest games ever made. Incredible voice acting, a story as engrossing as any blockbuster, and game play that feels satisfying beyond belief. It has absolutely earned its win here.
Best Nintendo Game: Super Mario 3D World, Nintendo
(Nominees: Pikmin 3, Rayman Legends, The Wonderful 101)
It is very surprising that no handheld games were considered for this award. Some of the best games of the year came out for the 3DS. But even if those games were included, Super Mario 3D World is one of the best Nintendo has ever made. The cat suit, cherries, multiplayer–this game should be selling the Wii U like crazy. It has the chance to be one of the best, if not the best game of the generation.
Best PC Game: Gone Home, The Fullbright Company
(Nominees: Battlefield 4, Papers, Please, The Stanley Parable)
Gone Home beating out Battlefield 4 is incredible. The massively popular shooter is one of the launch games for the PS4 and Xbox One, but the independent game has proved to be so engrossing that not even an army could top them.
Best Handheld Game: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Nintendo
(Nominees: Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Pokemon X/Y, Tearaway)
This game should have been nominated for Game of the Year. It is one of the best Zelda games ever released, and simply adds to the absurdly long list of incredible games offered on the 3DS.
Best Casual Game: Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Nintendo
(Nominees: Disney Infinity, Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time, Skylanders Swap Force)
This game will consume entire days of your life. Want that last piece of your T-rex fossil? Keep on digging. Forever. Once you get two full sets of bones, Cyrus will make a miniature version for your house. This game is impossible to explain to people why it is so much fun, but it really is. Christmas break is coming up; try it for yourself.
Best Voice Actor: Troy Baker as Joel, The Last of Us
(Nominees: Troy Baker as Booker DeWitt (BioShock Infinite), Steven Ogg as Trevor Philips (GTAV), Willem Dafoe as Nathan Dawkins (Beyond: Two Souls))
The year of Troy Baker! Nominated twice (Booker DeWitt, BioShock Infinite), Baker is shaping up to be one of the most desired men in the video game world. He has even stepped up to replace Mark Hamill as the legendary voice of the Joker in Batman: Arkham Origins.
Best Voice Actress: Ashley Johnson as Ellie, The Last of Us
(Nominees: Courtnee Draper as Elizabeth (BioShock Infinite), Camilla Luddington as Lara Croft (Tomb Raider), Ellen Page as Jodie Holmes (Beyond: Two Souls))
The voice behind the badass Ellen Page look-alike gets her time in the spotlight. Her character was just as incredible as Joel, and the voice performance was a huge part of it. Expect to see her in more roles, because she is incredible.
Best Soundtrack: Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar Games/Rockstar North
(Nominees: BioShock Infinite, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, The Last of Us)
The sheer size of the GTAV soundtrack is mind-blowing. Simply turning on the radio and driving through the streets of Los Santos is enough to make the game amazing.
Best Song in a Game: “Will the Circle be Unbroken” performed by Courtnee Draper and Troy Baker, BioShock Infinite
(Nominees: “A.D.H.D” performed by Kendrick Lamar (GTAV), “Sleepwalking” performed by The Chain Gang of 1974 (GTAV), “Survival” performed by Eminem (Call of Duty: Ghosts))
Featuring Troy Baker on the guitar and Courtnee Draper singing, the pair delivers a heart-wrenchingly beautiful performance. A song about dying and going up to heaven, the game twists the meaning to include the perfection of Columbia as a city in the clouds. It fits in wonderfully with the character of the game, based around the beauty of the world it is based in, as well as the dangerously uncomfortable undertones present from the very beginning.