The Game Awards 2015 Summary & Review – Good Games, Good Music, Good Times!

So the Game Awards came back for a second round this year with The Game Awards 2015 after what I though was a pretty solid debut last year, and overall I would say it was another very solid showing. Geoff Keighley was once again great presenting many of the awards and we *did* get to see a lot of great new games/footage as well as take up some great discounts on games. It all felt a lot like a big thank you to all the gamers out there around the world and I really enjoyed that.

The highlight of the evening for me was the tribute to Satoru Iwata, where they showed a brief montage of pictures of him before bringing out Reggie Fils-Aime to give a moving speech followed by an emotional performance from Ben Harper. I couldn’t find a video including the performance from Harper, but I’ve linked the rest of the tribute directly below. RIP, Satoru Iwata.

A heck of a lot of great announcements were made, so below you can find my quick thoughts of the entire thing.

The Announcements

What was perhaps the biggest news of the night was that Double Fine revealed that they are crowdfunding Psychonauts 2 for release in 2018. Interestingly enough, the crowdfunding is being done through a new site called Fig. It operates very similarly to other crowd-funding sites, but the catch is when you donate you are also investing in the game and will thus make money off the game once it releases relative to how much it sells and much you invested. Pretty cool.

We already knew about Far Cry Primal, but the show gave us a new gameplay trailer that really showcased the game’s visceral and brutal setting. It looks like they are taking the best parts of Far Cry 4 and making an entire game based solely around those parts, and I am 100% down for that!

Remember The Elder Scrolls Online? No? Me neither! However, Bethesda is pulling a stunt with the game that is sure to get a lot of people to check the game out from now until early January, as they revealed that playing the game during that time will make you eligible for a chance to win $1,000,000. No joke! All you have to do is fill out a form on the game’s website and have an active account.

The folks at Naughty Dog are hard at work on the new Uncharted game, but that didn’t stop them from releasing a new clip of footage that reveals a new character in the game named Nadine Ross. Drake tries to play it cool, but quickly ends up getting his butt kicked a little in what was a gorgeous looking cinematic. Drake really has aged!

It wouldn’t be a gaming event without learning that Telltale Games is taking on yet another major license and turning it into an episodic adventure, but this reveal is one of the biggest yet. Telltale is taking on none other than BATMAN in a new game that is slated for release next year.

There were rumors that the big man himself, Shaq, would be making an appearance at the show and the rumors were true. Shaq announced a new eSports league as well as the winner for best eSports team, but the real news was that the classic Shaq Fu from 1994 is being remastered in Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn.

Quantum Break also made an appearance, getting yet another cinematic trailer to sink your teeth into. Hard to judge a whole lot from a cinematic trailer, but I’m still really looking forward to Remedy’s follow-up to the fantastic Alan Wake.

Oculus’ Palmer Lucky came out being his naturally goofy self, though his big reveal was that Rock band VR is coming to Oculus Rift next year. Seems kinda cool, but at the end of the daythe game still plays just like Rock Band always did, just now you can turn your head and see people around you. Next!

I had posted recently that Shadow Complex Remastered had been leaked for PC, and that turned out to be true. However, what I did not hear is that they are releasing the game for FREE throughout the holiday season! Also, the game *will* be making its way to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners, too.

A brief alpha gameplay trailer was also revealed for Star Citizen, which looked pretty cool but nothing to really go crazy about.

You thought the Telltale Games news was over, didn’t you? Nope! It was also revealed that a spin-off series called The Walking Dead: Michonne. It’s Telltale, it’s their Walking Dead series, so of course it looks pretty good.

Another rumor that ended up being true was that Rocket League is coming to Xbox One. I already said this recently but I’ll say it again: this is awesome. Rocket League was the surprise hit of the year and I believe that as many people as possible should be able to play it.

Definitely some great announcements to witness, but now it’s time to see who were the big winners of the evening for gaming. Scroll down for a complete list of games/devs/people who went home with awards (marked in bold):

The Winners

Game of the Year

  • Bloodborne
  • Fallout 4
  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
  • Super Mario Maker
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Developer of the Year

  • Bethesda Game Studios
  • CD Projekt Red
  • From Software
  • Kojima Productions
  • Nintendo

Best Shooter

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
  • Destiny: The Taken King
  • Halo 5: Guardians
  • Splatoon
  • Star Wars Battlefront

Best Action-Adventure Game

  • Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider

Best RPG

  • Bloodborne
  • Fallout 4
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Undertale

Best Fighting Game

  • Guilty Gear Xrd Sign
  • Mortal Kombat X
  • Rise of Incarnates
  • Rising Thunder

Best Sports/Racing Game

  • FIFA 16
  • Forza Motorsport 6
  • NBA 2K16
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2016
  • Rocket League

Best Multiplayer

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
  • Destiny: The Taken King
  • Halo 5: Guardians
  • Rocket League
  • Splatoon

Best Indie Game

  • Axiom Verge (Tom Happ)
  • Her Story (Sam Barlow)
  • Ori and the Blind Forest (Moon Studios/Microsoft Studios)
  • Rocket League (Psyonix)
  • Undertale (tobyfox)

Best Family Game

  • Disney Infinity 3.0
  • Lego Dimensions
  • Skylanders SuperChargers
  • Splatoon
  • Super Mario Maker

Best Mobile or Handheld Game

  • Downwell (Moppin/Devolver Digital)
  • Fallout Shelter (Bethesda)
  • Lara Croft Go (Square Enix)
  • Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Capcom)
  • Pac-Man 256 (Hipster Whale/Bandai Namco)

Best Narrative

  • Her Story
  • Life is Strange
  • Tales From the Borderlands
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Until Dawn

Best Art Direction

  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Bloodborne
  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Best Score or Soundtrack

  • Fallout 4 (Inon Zur)
  • Halo 5: Guardians (Kazuma Jinnouchi)
  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (Justin Burnett, Ludvig Forssell, Daniel James)
  • Ori and the Blind Forest (Gareth Coker)
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Marcin Przybylowicz, Mikolai Stroinski)

Best Performance

  • Ashly Burch – Chloe Price (Life is Strange)
  • Doug Cockle – Geralt (The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt)
  • Mark Hamill – The Joker (Batman: Arkham Knight)
  • Camilla Luddington – Lara Croft (Rise of the Tomb Raider)
  • Viva Seifert (Her Story)

Games for Change

  • Cibele (Nina Freeman)
  • Her Story (Sam Barlow)
  • Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment)
  • Sunset (Tale of Tales)
  • Undertale (tobyfox)

Industry Icon Award – Westwood Studios co-founders Brett Sperry and Louis Castle

Fan Voting

Most Anticipated Game

  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • No Man’s Sky
  • Quantum Break
  • The Last Guardian
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Best Fan Creation

  • GTA 5 – Targets (Hoodoo Operator)
  • Real GTA (Corridor Digital)
  • Portal Stories: Mel (Prism Studios)
  • Super Mario Maker e-Reader Levels (Baddboy78/theycallmeshaky)
  • Twitch Plays Dark Souls (Twitch Community)

Trending Gamer

  • Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles
  • Greg Miller
  • Markiplier
  • PewDiePie
  • Total Biscuit

eSports

Game of the Year

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Dota 2
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
  • League of Legends

Player of the Year

  • Peter “ppd” Dager (Dota 2 – Evil Geniuses)
  • Syed Sumail “Suma1L” Hassan (Dota 2 – Evil Geniuses)
  • Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer (CS:GO – Fnatic)
  • Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok (League of Legends – SK Telecom T1)
  • Kenny “KennyS” Schrub (CS:GO – Team EnVyUs)

Team of the Year

  • Evil Geniuses
  • Fnatic
  • Optic Gaming
  • SK Telecom T1
  • Team SoloMid

That concludes my brief thoughts/coverage of the Game Awards 2015! Again, I was really pleased with the show and felt a lot of great-looking games were announced and a lot of great games ended up winning awards. Of course, this being a judgmental website this article wouldn’t be complete without a judgment, so my judgement for The Game Awards 2015 show is…

CONDONE

There Are Monsters On The Court In The New Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash Trailer

Later this month Mario and the gang will be heading back to the tennis courts (for the first time in HD!) with the Wii U’s Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, and a new trailer has been released showing off some very brief new gameplay.

To tie in with Halloween, this video is called Monsters on the Court and features (you guessed it!) the big bad guys from the Mario series duking it on the courts. Considering the game features a new mechanic that allows everyone to become giants this ties in pretty well with the monster theme. Ace!

Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash will launch exclusively for the Wii U on November 20th, 2015.

Have Another Look At Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash With This New Trailer

Mario Tennis might not be the biggest series that Nintendo would typically want at the top of Christmas lists, but it will certainly be just that when it releases Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash next month. I personally have loved the series for a long time, and even though the 3DS version didn’t fare so well I’m confident that the series can rebound on the Wii U.

While this trailer doesn’t show a whole lot of what we haven’t seen already, it’s still a really impressive looking game that looks like a lot of fun. I’m liking how the new power-ups can completely change the momentum of a point, though at the same time not making the other player completely helpless in trying to fend off the attack.

Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash launches exclusively for the Wii U on November 20th, 2015.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5’s Day One Patch Is Bigger Than The Game Itself

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 is officially on store shelves today, and like many games of this generation it will have a big day one patch waiting for you.

What makes it notable for this particular game is that the patch is larger than the game itself. The file size of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 on PS4 is 4.6GB, with the day one patch file size being 7.7GB. That’s a seriously huge patch considering the size of the base game.

Even though the game launches today there hasn’t been a single review posted as Activision did not provide anyone with review codes. Considering the negative buzz the game has been generating in recent months, that more than likely means that the finished product is nothing to write home about.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 Changes Art Style Less Than 2 Months Prior To Launch

The initial footage for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 has not been very promising, as the graphics look like they came straight out of the PlayStation 2. Fan reaction has not been kind, and it looks like developer Robomodo is trying to do some damage control by changing up the graphical style.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5

As you can see from the picture above, the game’s graphics are now taking on more of a cel shaded aesthetic compared to the original realistic one. While I give them props for trying to make things better, in this case it just makes the game’s dated graphics even more apparent due to the more blatant outlines.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 is set to launch on September 29th, meaning that there is less than two months before this thing is set to hit store shelves. With such a major change as art style coming this late in a game’s development cycle, this has got to be raising a lot of eyebrows right about now. I want this game to be great due to my love for the original Pro Skater games, but I won’t be expecting much when this thing launches.

Rocket League Supersonic Fury DLC Pack Trailer

Rocket League is set to receive some new content next month with the Supersonic Fury DLC pack. This is a DLC pack done right, as some of it is free and some of it is paid.

Rocket League Supersonic Fury DLC

The free update will bring a new arena called Utopia Coliseum, Spectator Mode, updated goal and demolition explosions, more country flags and a new song.

The paid Supersonic Fury DLC is $3.99 and will contain the American muscle car Dominus and the Japanese street racer Takumi, six new decals for each, and customization options for all cars.

Rocket League‘s Supersonic Fury DLC Pack launches on August 4th. Check out the trailer for it directly below.

Condemn O.R. Condone – Rocket League (PlayStation 4)

It’s very rare to excited about a sports game these days. Once the initial game has been released, all that can really be done past that point is to tinker with gameplay balance and update the rosters. This is a reason why I enjoy (and miss!) the more arcadey takes on sports games, such as NFL Blitz or MLB Slugfest, more than their more realistic contemporaries as there’s a lot more room to add in different things to make it a lot of fun. It takes something really special for a new sports game to come out that immediately sinks its hooks in me and refuses to let go even after having played countless matches. A new and fantastic sport has been created, and that sport is called Rocket League.

On the surface, Rocket League appears to be nothing more than Soccer with rocket-fueled matchbox cars. That assessment is completely correct, but it’s how this idea is implemented that makes it such a blast. You have two teams of matchbox cars speeding, flipping and bashing into each other all in attempt to hit the giant bumper ball into the opponent’s goal. That’s literally all there is to it, but it’s one of those concepts that can be best described as easy to learn, difficult to master that keeps me coming back for more… and more… and more!

You see, beyond the mechanic of just driving around the arena dome to hit the ball into the goal, you can also jump and spin around in the air in order to hit the ball backwards, forwards, high, low or at an angle. Hitting that perfect jump at the perfect time while avoiding being bashed around by an opponent is extremely tricky, but when you do happen to pull one off and you watch the ball go soaring into the opponents’ goal is one of the most satisfying feelings you can get in gaming.

There are also boost pads that are sprinkled throughout each arena for you to drive over and then subsequently use to send your car speeding to make a quick dash to the other side of the field to either get in position for a shot or make a last-second epic save. If you’re feeling sinister, you can also speed right into an opponent and demolish them to take them out of a potentially crucial play. You can even drive on the walls in this game, which can actually be used in a very effective way to keep momentum on a floating ball going or to avoid a hoard of cars that are pummeling towards you.

Of course, even fantastic concepts will get old fast if they don’t have the depth to keep you coming back for more, but Rocket League has just enough to make it feel like you’re getting something out of it each time. Outside of the handful of slick and great-looking arenas you can play in that each have day/night and weather variations to spice things up, the game also has a simple-yet-sweet progression system. Performing various tasks in any match, such as scoring/saving goals, clearing the ball from your goal or even performing a successful bicycle kick will net you various amounts of points. These points will increase your overall rank in the game, which help to match you up with similarly-skilled players online.

Speaking of the online mode, this is the one and only way to play the game. After you’ve played around with the tutorials and finished the game’s season mode, it’s all about putting your skills against other players form around the world. Each match I’ve played in has been absolutely electric, with the quick 5-minute games being perfect to just jump into and have a blast whenever you have a little time to spare. There’s also little to no lag, and if you happen to end up with jerks who quit out on you during the match they are immediately replaced by AI cars that are just as good as a skilled human player.

After every single match you complete, online or offline, you will be unlocking something new to customize your car with. Whether it’s a new car body, wheels, antenna or even your car’s rocket trail, there is something new for you to play around with to give your sweet ride a more personal touch. My ride is currently sporting a halo and the American flag as it tears through these epic matches, and seeing these personal touches shown off in goal replays never gets old. You might think that changing up your cars too much would make it difficult to figure out who is on which team, but thankfully the blue team vs. orange team colors are always front and center to avoid that issue entirely.

Rocket League is such a simple concept, but it’s for that same reason why it is currently all the rage with anybody who has been lucky enough to take part in a match. Playing it regularly makes me wish that it were a real sport with a regular season/play-offs just like the other major sports going on right now, as I promise you I would never miss a single game. It’s ridiculously fun, perfectly balanced whether playing against the AI or humans, and packs just enough extra content to keep me coming back daily. I seriously cannot give any higher praise to a game than I can with this one, and the fact that it’s an arcade sports game is a testament to how fantastic it is. If you’ve got a PlayStation 4 or a gaming-quality PC, do not waste another second and go join the Rocket League.

CONDONE