Who should have won at the videogame BAFTAs?

17 Mar 2011  by   Paul Younger
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Last night’s BAFTA’s honoured the gaming industry’s brightest and finest stars; Heavy Rain did particulary well, taking home three awards. 
The full list of official results from the ceremony can be found here but, in the interest of ego, join IncGamers editorial staff, Peter Parrish, Tim McDonald and John Robertson as they share with you their opionions on which games ‘should’ have won some of the bigger awards.
 
BEST ACTION GAME
Winner: Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

Nominees: Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – BioShock 2 – Call of Duty: Black Ops – God of War III – Halo: Reach

Who should have won?
Peter Parrish: Bad Company 2, for the longevity of the multiplayer, Bad Company 2. I love ‘action’ as a category though (as opposed to what, all those games where you do absolutely nothing?) Kind of disappointing that every single one of these games is a sequel…
Tim McDonald: Bad Company 2; great single-player, equally great multiplayer, and it’s been supported by a steady stream of new maps. 
The Halo games and the God of War games have never clicked with me, BioShock 2 was a duller than it should’ve been because we’d seen Rapture before, and Black Ops had an average single-player campaign tied to an excellent multiplayer.

John Robertson: God of War III. Giant boss fights against the Gods while controlling a guy that pulls off the bald look and makes Vin Diesel look like a complete pussy? Brilliant. 
ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT
Winner: God of War III

Nominees: Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood – Call of Duty: Black Ops – Heavy Rain – LIMBO – Mass Effect 2
Who should have won?
Peter: Limbo, on the basis that it was open to genuine interpretation and visually striking. Now we can argue about what ‘artistic’ means here …
Tim: I’ll second Limbo, it had great visual design, great sound design, and enough of a “meaning”. It also had the only good use of a giant spider in videogames that I can think of. My arachnophobia aside, that section was fantastic.  
In terms of doing something a bit different with gameplay I suppose Heavy Rain deserves a nod, and Assassin’s Creed had excellent visual design (although an architect friend of mine complained that they’d used the wrong sort of floor tiling for one area).
John: Heavy Rain. I’m going to get mushy here and say that while Limbo may deserve this award in terms of aesthetics, Heavy Rain deserves it because it potentially shows that mainstream games don’t have to be all about guns, fighting, sports or generally revolve around some form of competition. It highlights (perhaps more than any other recent retail release) that games can also be about story, emotion and narrative interactivity and, if nothing else, it’s got people really talking about the ‘are games art?’ argument. 

BEST GAME
Winner: Mass Effect 2

Nominees: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood – FIFA 11 – Heavy Rain – LIMBO – Super Mario Galaxy 2
Who should have won?
Peter: Limbo, again, despite its flaws. But, I don’t think any of these were 2010’s best.
Tim: Mass Effect 2, I love it so. 
John: Heavy Rain. Yes, yes, I know. I’ve picked it for pretty much every catergory but, y’know, I love it so. Mass Effect 2 is a close second but, I’m gonna do a Return of the Jedi and save my praise for the third game so… it had better deliver.
GAMEPLAY
Winner: Super Mario Galaxy 2

Nominees: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood – God of War III – Heavy Rain – LIMBO – Mass Effect 2 
Who should have won?
Peter: Super Mario Galaxy 2. How come so many of these categories are just the same games over and over again? Is it something to do with having to submit an entry to BAFTA? Anyway, I say Mario. Mario is about as pure as ‘gameplay’ (assuming this means clarity of design) ever gets.

Tim: Super Mario Galaxy 2. Mass 2 has wonderfully streamlined shooter gameplay and a lot of lovely-walking-around-talking-to-people bits. Brotherhood managed to make that series fun again, and Mario… well, it’s Mario. Super Mario Galaxy 2 makes me feel genuine childish delight every time I play it.
John: God of War III. I know it’s very samey and similar to the other God of War games but the gameplay is still brutally (almost) perfect. Plus, it gets bonus points for mixing up the gameplay towards the end.

 
MULTIPLAYER
Winner: Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Nominees: Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood – Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – Call of Duty: Black Ops – Halo: Reach – Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty
Who should have won?
Peter: Bad Company 2, again. 
Tim: Bad Company 2 but, I’m deeply torn, this is a tough category. Brotherhood has an innovative and intense multiplayer mode that worked, StarCraft II has pitch-perfect RTS multiplayer with decent ranking and auto-matching, and BC2 is incredibly well-designed and keeps giving me free maps. Not such a big fan of Hot Pursuit, but that’s at least in part because I prefer Blur’s multiplayer.  
John: Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Tim, anyone that prefers Blur’s multiplayer is crazy. Hot Pursuit is wonderful online, it’s fast (both in-game and in finding matches), it’s fun and it retains everything that makes the single player so great. Honourable mention to Halo: Reach for delivering such great multiplayer, again.
ORIGINAL MUSIC
Winner: Heavy Rain 
Nominees: Alan Wake – Fable III – James Bond 007: Bloodstone – Mass Effect 2 – Super Mario Galaxy 2
Who should have won?
Peter: Alan Wake, although it would’ve been better if it had just gone the thematic distance and stolen the Twin Peaks score. 
Tim:  Super Mario Galaxy 2, because Mario music is of the ear-worm variety and SMG2 has some great examples of that. If it was “music” rather than “original music” I’d say Alan Wake, though, because that made fantastic use of licensed music. 
John: Mass Effect 2. It uses many of the same pieces from the original game but, from this list, I can’t think of any other that has inprinted its score on me in the same way. I’m humming that ‘mission complete’ tune to myself right now.

SPORTS
Winner: F1 2010

Nominees: FIFA 11 – Football Manager 2011 – Gran Turismo 5 – International Cricket 2010 – Pro Evolution Soccer 2011
Who should have won?
Peter: Football Manager 2011 because I like the idea of voting for a sports game that’s actually more about analysing figures and complex algorithms. 
Tim: I’m abstaining, because I’ve played none of them… although the inclusion of Gran Turismo amuses me.

John: Gran Turismo because, after such a long wait, Polyphony Digital delivered the game that I wanted them to deliver. F1 2010 is certainly worthy of an honourable mention (and I’m excited about where the series will go) but you just can’t beat GT. It’s a shame that NBA 2K11 wasn’t nominated though, because that was clearly the finest sports game of 2010.

STORY
Winner: Heavy Rain

Nominees: Alan Wake – BioShock 2 – Call of Duty: Black Ops – Fallout: New Vegas – Mass Effect 2
Who should have won?
Peter: New Vegas, New Vegas, New Vegas and New Vegas; a complex narrative full of convincing characters – but one that’s flexible enough to be played through in multiple styles. Obsidian should be commissioned to write all games. 
Tim: Mass Effect 2. Mass Effect 2. What the ever-living poo-poo is Black Ops doing in this category? The story’s enjoyable enough, sure, but it doesn’t even come close to deserving a nomination. I’m going with Mass Effect 2 because, despite having very little overarching story whatsoever, it has some of the finest characters and personal arcs I’ve had the pleasure of watching. 
John: Heavy Rain. After my explanation for why it deserves the artisitic achievement award I can’t not award it best story, now can I? I agree with you, Tim. What is Black Ops doing in this section? I didn’t have a bloody clue what was going on in that story.  
STRATEGY
Winner: Civilization V
Nominees: Fallout: New Vegas – FIFA Manager 11 – Napoleon Total War – Plants vs. Zombies (XBLA) – Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty
Who should have won?
Peter: Napoleon: Total War. Not really sure why some of these games are in here (New Vegas a strategy title, really?) Civ V had plenty of issues and the only other game here I’d call strategy is Napoleon. So… that – it made up for Empire in a lot of ways. 
Tim: StarCraft 2, it’s great and all, but I really don’t want to vote for it. I suppose I’m going to have to, though. I have no idea how well PvZ’s 360 implementation went, I didn’t play Napoleon, Civ V was hopelessly flawed on launch (although it’s being fixed)… so, Starcraft 2.

John: Fallout: New Vegas because it’s the only one on that list that I care about these days. I imagine I should be picking Civ or StarCraft, though. FIFA Manager 11… is that a joke?

 
Technical Innovation
Winner: Heavy Rain

Nominees: Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood – Call of Duty: Black Ops – Halo: Reach – Kinectimals – Super Mario Galaxy 2

Who should have won?

Peter: Kinectimals. Ludicrous though it may seem, the only one of these that really seems to have technically innovated (by proxy) is Kinectimals.

Tim: Super Mario Galaxy 2, because it looks far too good to be a Wii game. I realise that at least part of that is down to the art style, but there must be some technical wizardry going on there too.

John: Heavy Rain. Managed to stay involving all the way to the very end without presenting much in the way of immediate interaction. That’s innovation enough for me.
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