Geralt of Rivia was spotted late last night staggering drunkenly around Wapping slicing up stray dogs with his steel sword and shouting “but it’s just walking! And reading computers! And it’s exactly the same as the last two! And who wants to piss about building fuggin’ settlements?!”
Bad loser, that Geralt. His breakthrough blockbuster role in The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt was shockingly overlooked for the coveted Best Game award at the BAFTA Game Awards at the Tobacco Dock last night (April 7) in favour of post-apocalyptic behemoth Fallout 4. The annual ceremony, presented by Dara O’Briain, rewards those games exhibiting “outstanding creative achievement”, and here are the games that the BAFTA judges and voters recommend you check out while you’re waiting for Uncharted 4.
Best Game: Fallout 4
Geralt is right; the graphics sharpened but otherwise Fallout 4 was basically a couple of hundred very familiar hours of trudging between the same ruined buildings, spike-festooned roadblocks and grotty bunkers from Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, struggling to find and maintain the same weapons and armour you’ve struggled for hundreds of hours to find before. Fallout’s triumph, though, is down to its detail and immersion. Though samey, this vast Boston wasteland is so rich in side-stories and fleshed-out characters that it felt like picking your way around the setting of an epic novel. Having been denied a very worthy win several times before, Fallout certainly deserves the nod, but maybe, next time, let’s have a bit more environment puzzling beyond the largely irrelevant settlement construction bits that felt like housekeeping, Bathsheba? I mean, how brilliantly Saw was that booby-trapped parking lot maze in Milton?
Best British Game: Batman: Arkham Knight
The final installment in Rocksteady Studios’ Arkham series felt like a fitting culmination, as Batso battled his former partner Robin and an army of his greatest ever foes as part of a mission to bring down the Scarecrow, who is flooding Gotham with a fear toxin. Introducing the Batmobile to the franchise, reviving the Joker from his death in the previous game via mental visions brought on by a shoehorned-in blood transfusion twist and featuring cameos by a who’s who of Batman baddies, it was amongst the most immersive and fulfilling journeys into Gotham’s nocturnal nightmare world yet.
Debut Game/Game Innovation/Mobile And Handheld Game: Her Story
An innovation indeed – this mobile phone and Windows game had the player rifling through a police desktop’s video clips of a woman called Hannah being questioned, attempting to piece together clues about the man’s murder. Twists and turns abound as this fiendish live-action sleuthing gem winds its way to a startling final reveal that M Knight Shyamalan wouldn’t see coming.
Music/Performer/Audio Achievement: Everybody’s Going To The Rapture
Though its prizes are in the sound and performance area, low-budget indie release Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture was an absorbing “walking simulator” set in a beautifully-rendered Shropshire village from which all of the inhabitants have mysteriously disappeared. Yes, following glowing lights around a sleepy British village looking for clues to events leading up to the “rapture” could often feel like virtual reality rambling, what a gorgeous experience.
Story: Life Is Strange
Like playing through a US teen drama indie flick, Life Is Strange was an episodic adventure about a high school student who discovers she can rewind time and goes about using her new-found skill to try to avert an environmental disaster she forsees destroying her hometown. One of a plethora of lesser-known titles celebrated at the BAFTA Awards, this was a cute curio that became more disturbing and engrossing as it went on, culminating in one of the hardest decision forks in modern gaming (that didn’t involve siding with the evil Fallout robots). Strange, but sophisticated.
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Family Game/Multiplayer Game: Rocket League
Beating out FIFA 16, Rocket League was a sporting doozy due to its forehead-slapping premise: what if cars played football? Well, they’d shag each other’s girlfriends less, but it also turns out they’d produce one of the most addictive, adrenaline-pumped and family-friendly games of recent years.