Now that the winners have been revealed and previews have been shown, I’m here to break down the winners list and give a bit of personal thoughts on each category.
In addition, I’ll also be adding a bit of insight on the two new games revealed yesterday, The Phantom Pain and Dark Souls 2. Sure, other games were teased, but we already knew about them. As a quick side note, though, I have to say I’m definitely looking forward to the next Castlevania title.
Without any more delay, let’s get to the winners.
Game of the Year/Best Performance By a Human Female (Melissa Hutchison as Clementine)/Best Adapted Video Game/Best Downloadable Game: The Walking Dead: The Game – I was on a bus with other journalists when this was announced, and the overall feel was that the surprising choice was made, but the right choice. The game brought together so many emotional elements and did it great, building on each episode up until the climax. Given the other choices, I wasn’t sure that this would walk away with the award, but it deserved it.
Studio of the Year: Telltale Games – Really not much more to add here that I didn’t say above. Telltale Games showed how an episodic series can really work effectively and keep gamer’s interest, a technique that Valve may want to use with Half-Life 2: Episode 3. Now, the big question for the studio is when Season 2 will be announced.
Best Xbox 360 Game/Best Graphics: Halo 4 – Of course Master Chief would take this category. Any time a console-exclusive for Microsoft launches it normally takes it. Halo 4 did take steps in the right direction for the series, and 343 Studios showed that they don’t need Bungie to keep making great games.
Best PS3 Game/Best Original Score/Best Independent Game: Journey – I haven’t put a ton of time in with Journey, but I can appreciate what the game brings to the table without any kind of narrative to push you along. Like I said above, though, a console exclusive title will normally always win over something that’s multiplatform, unless there are no strong releases. Journey, though, is definitely a strong release, especially for a downloadable game. Plus, that soundtrack is top notch.
Best Wii/Wii-U Game: New Super Mario Bros. U – The first category I’m disappointed with the winner. NSMBU didn’t really do anything new over the last game. It’s still a 2D side-scroller and, while fun, didn’t really wow me the way the other choices did. Personally, I would have loved to see either Xenoblade Chronicles or The Last Story come away with the award to show that these titles, which almost didn’t come to North America, definitely deserved the chance to release here.
Best PC Game: XCom: Enemy Unknown – I feel like this won the PC award because it fit in no other category. This is in no way a knock against XCom; it’s a great game and deserved an award. I just look at Diablo 3, Torchlight 2 and Guild Wars 2 and can’t help but think one of those PC-exclusive titles deserved it more in this category, especially Guild Wars 2.
Best Shooter/Best Multiplayer Game/Best Performance By a Human Male (Dameon Clarke as Handsome Jack)/Character of the Year (Claptrap): Borderlands 2 No complaints here. I’ve had a bigger blast with BL 2 than I have with any other title in this category. The co-op is even more fun to play than the last game, and the guns are more over-the-top as well. Good fun with friends, but still enjoyable by yourself.
Best Action Adventure Game: Dishonored – I’m torn here. On one hand, I love seeing a new IP win this award, as Dishonored was great to play and was really solidly made. However, I have to admit I was pulling for Darksiders 2. This was the only category it was nominated for, and I really feel that the game was a strong enough contender to possibly win this category. Still, I have to agree with the choice made.
Best RPG: Mass Effect 3 – I’m probably going to get some flak for this, but I think ME3 won here because, if it didn’t, Bioware’s final big title wouldn’t have won any awards otherwise. The RPG elements in the game are really a small part of the overall game I feel. Personally, I would have went Xenoblade Chronicles here, or even Torchlight 2 over Diablo 3.
Best Individual Sports Game: SSX – I was a bit surprised here, as initial reaction seemed mixed on the game at the beginning of the year. I actually liked WWE 13 more because of the Attitude Mode, but I know a lot of fans of earlier SSX titles had been waiting for this reboot and really enjoyed it for what it featured, plus the Tricky DLC helped bring more fans in later on.
Best Team Sports Game: NBA 2K13 – I really don’t have too much to say here. I’ve played both Madden and NBA, and think I actually enjoyed Madden a bit more for the multiplayer aspects. However, NBA had a solid career mode as well. I’d be happy with either game winning.
Best Driving Game: Need for Speed: Most Wanted – Solid choice here, but really not much competition in my mind. NFS has a solid single player and an amazing multiplayer. If you haven’t checked it out yet, get some friends together and start wrecking and racing.
Best Song in a Game: “Cities” by Beck in Sound Shapes – Honestly, I can’t say anything here. I never heard the song and still haven’t had time to play the game, but I’ve heard good things about it. A bit surprised that “I was born for this” in Journey didn’t win, but Beck’s song must have fit Sound Shapes really well.
Best Fighting Game: Persona 4 Arena – A big surprise for me here. I REALLY expected Street Fighter X Tekken to walk away with the award, or even Tekken Tag Tournament 2. However, I definitely support this choice. P4A was a smooth fighter that was a blast to play with other fans of the series.
Best Handheld/Mobile Game: Sound Shapes – I figured Gravity Rush had a bigger chance here, but I know a lot of fans enjoyed Sound Shapes. Personally, a few choices I would have put here didn’t even make the list, which disappointed me. Still, maybe I need to check out Sound Shapes soon while I have some down time.
Best DLC: Dawnguard – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – I honestly thought this DLC was decent at best. It wasn’t bad, but wasn’t amazing. I think if something other than the Mechromancer Pack for Borderlands 2 was chosen, it would have won. I’m also surprised the Perpetual Testing Initiative for Portal 2 didn’t win that let players make their own levels, but it may have been because there really hasn’t been much said about it besides the fact that it’s out. I thought some of those levels were eventually going to come to consoles?
Best Social Game: You Don’t Know Jack – It’s a great port of the game to Facebook. I’ll be honest, I find myself popping into this from time to time to play a few rounds. The comedy is still captured nicely, and it does a solid job of still letting players that don’t want to pay know where their stand against other non-paying players and against people that buy enhancements as well.
Most Anticipated Game: Grand Theft Auto 5 – Considering gamers have been wanting this game for a few years, it’s no surprise that won the fans vote. Personally, I’m looking forward to Bioshock Infinite more, or even South Park: The Stick of Truth. Still, it looks like we have another solid roster of games coming next year, especially in the early months.
Dark Souls 2 Premier – I was definitely caught off guard by Dark Souls getting an actual sequel. This series is one of those that I play for a bit, get annoyed, play more, find another new title and never come back to. I think I’d be more interested if I could get friends to come into my game as white souls to help out. With the promise of a revamped multiplayer, I’m holding out hope that this title will finally be the first I get through.
The Phantom Pain Premier – This title caused a lot of discussion and debate in gaming circles. I’ll start out by saying yes, it’s pretty much confirmed that this is a Konami game. Seeing a lot of Konami VIPs at the after party walking around with Phantom Pain shirts on pretty much gave that away. Plus, Moby Dick Studios, the “white whale” of the games industry, doesn’t even exist, and of course you have the anagram of Kojima on its website as well, so make your own inferences there. Moving forward, though, do I think it’s Metal Gear Solid V? I’m starting to lean more towards yes now. It makes sense that it is, given what the trailer showed and a lot of digging that’s been popping up on forums. However, I could also see this being a spin-off game like Revengeance is as well. What I’m pretty sure of, though, is that this is a next-gen title. With big systems releasing next year and possibly the year after, I can’t see Konami trying to rush this with Ground Zeroes also in development, which may also be next-gen as well. Still, it will be interesting to see more information come out about this game as next year progresses.
That’s all for our wrap-up of the VGAs. Let us know your thoughts about the winners and trailers below.