Broadcast live on Spike TV, the VGX 2013 Award winners were announced yesterday. Though generally a predictable line up in terms of nominations, there were a few surprises along the way. Mostly, the awards went to the teams, games and people who deserved them – even if we’re not happy about it!
Here’s the breakdown of the winners and losers:
GAME OF THE YEAR
A somewhat unsurprising choice, Grand Theft Auto V beat out stiff competition from Bioshock: Infinite, Super Mario 3D World, The Last of Us and Tomb Raider (which, despite being an awesome game, should never really have been in the conversation). I was surprised to see the underrated Assassin’s Creed IV not in the mix.
It’s hard to begrudge GTA V the win though. Personally, I would have handed it to The Last of Us.
STUDIO OF THE YEAR
Conventional wisdom would have put this award in the hands of Rockstar too. They have, after all, bagged the game of the year with a technical masterpiece of modern gaming. However, the award instead was handed – deservedly – to Naughty Dog for their own critically acclaimed work, The Last of Us. One starts to wonder if some coin tossing went on back stage to separate these 2 games and developers!? Irrational Games (Bioshock) and The Fullbright Company (PC game, Gone Home) were also in the mix.
Say what you will about Bioshock Infinite, you have to agree it deserves this one! It hasn’t had the greatest competition for the award this year. The annual installments of the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises are great for fans, but even they are starting to agree they are a little formulaic (despite claims of an overhaul from both camps). It was nice to see Metro getting a nod, even though it never really stood a chance. Bioshock Infinite was the worthy winner.
BEST ACTION ADVENTURE
For my money, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag 100% deserves this particular accolade. Action and adventure are what this game is all about. It DOES, however, make me question again why it was left out of the ‘Game of the Year’ consideration. It beat out The Last of Us, GTA V and Tomb Raider (this time in a category more suited to its charms). Had there been an award for ‘Best stealth game’, Creed IV could well have taken that one too. Why the game has seen such mixed reviews becomes more of a mystery…
BEST SPORTS GAME
I could not agree more with this award. I like Fifa, though this years iteration seems to have split fans more than usual. I enjoy American sports, especially American Football and have to agree, this year’s Madden didn’t belong on the list. However, whatever you think of all of the sports (MLB 13: The Show and NHL 14) on offer, once you see NBA 2K14 in action – especially on next gen machines – you KNOW it’s something special.
BEST INDEPENDENT GAME
Not too surprising, given all the positive press Gone Home has received. However – having not yet played any of the other games in this category (Kentucky Route Zero, Papers Please and The Stanley Parable), it’s tough to offer much of an assessment.
I’m overwhelmingly happy that Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch got this award, but I really thought Pokemon X/Y would take it. Ni No Kuni is a glorious combination of niche interests, with a stunning cast of characters and a charming story. The fact that it beat out the hugely popular Pokemon series makes me almost proud! Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn has to be happy with being considered, but it was always going to be a step behind given the still recent memory of the atrocious original Final Fantasy XIV.
BEST FIGHTING GAME
It might be a little harsh to call this the ‘best of a bad bunch’ award. Injustice: Gods Among Us is a perfectly enjoyable and serviceable fighter. The competition from Tekken Revolution and Killer Instinct was hardly fierce as, though the games are good, they hardly mark a high point for either series. Dive Kick may be an entertaining mockery of the whole genre, but was never really going to win.
BEST DRIVING GAME
Had to be really. Forza 5 is a solid driving game that became so good, it frightened off Sony developed Drive Club from the PS4 launch! The only real contender for the throne was Need for Speed Rivals. Grid 2 and F1 2013 also ran.
In terms of content, it had to be Blood Dragon. It was essentially a whole other game to play! Knife of Dunwall was interesting, but forgettable and Mass Effect 3’s Citadel was fan service / more of the same (nothing wring with that, still enjoyable). Haven’t played Borderlands DLC, but I know it too was very popular!
THE BEST GAME ON EACH CONSOLE
The highlight of the awards for me, was the individual console game awards. A stunner, sandwiched between two predictable slices:
Best PS3 Game: The Last of Us
Best Xbox Game: Brothers: A tale of two sons
Best Nintendo Game: Super Mario 3D World
The Last of Us and Super Mario 3D World were obvious choices and definitely undeniably worthy winners. The bizarre twist of unpredictable here is that Brothers: A tale of two sons took home the Best Xbox Game award.
I’m not denying the charms of the game. It was a beautiful and mesmerising game that managed to include heavy emotions just as it excluded language! However, it beat out Grand Theft Auto V, Bioshock Infinite AND (bless its heart) Tomb Raider. There is no way Brothers is a better game than any of those 3 in my opinion. I call ‘conspiracy.’
So desperate to have an ‘exclusive’ title as the winner, it almost made a mockery of the whole show. I say ‘exclusive’, it was only a timed exclusive anyway – now available on Steam and PSN. It was a surreal moment in the awards. I suppose the category should have been best ‘exclusive’ game – as those are the games that won it. But if it HAD been, this would have been even more revealing. What on Earth would Brothers have been up against?
BEST OF THE REST
There were a handful of other winners on the night: Gone Home also took home best PC game; Zelda – A Link between Worlds was best handheld; Animal Crossing – A New Leaf was named best casual game and Titanfall was the most anticipated.
Though Bioshock Infinite‘s Lutece twins stole the best character award, Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson both won best voice acting awards for their portrayal of Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us.
Click here to see the event coverage in full on Spike TV.
What did you make of the winners? Well deserved? Surprising? Or Surreal?
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