British Academy Games Awards 2018

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By Ben Wright (@iamzavagno | www.xgeeks.co.uk)

Last night the video games industry came out in force for the 2018 British Academy Games Awards. To even be nominated is a BIG deal. To have your game acknowledged as an industry-leading property must be an amazing feeling.

Just as with films and TV shows, everyone has their favourites and the winners are not always going to be ‘your pick’. In this article, I will give you the full list of winners, as well as my predictions (written the day before the event). I will then look at my picks and the actual winner and try to break it all down.

So, without further delay…

Artistic Achievement:

Cuphead
Gorogoa
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Horizon Zero Dawn
The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

My Pick: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

From an artistic game design point of view, it’s difficult to look past Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Yes, there are some minor similarities between Hellblade and Horizon, but it’s the darker elements of Hellblade that just look so much more visually enticing.

Winner: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

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Audio Achievement:

Call of Duty: World War II
Destiny 2
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Horizon Zero Dawn
Star Wars Battlefront II
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

My Pick: Horizon Zero Dawn

The game itself was brilliant. It was exciting, expansive and the story was really engaging. But the audio was just as important. From the mech creatures to the voice acting. It was just fantastic. You travel to a lot of different places int he game, each getting their own unique sounds and environment noises. The way they managed to keep these very distinctive is a real testament to the game.

Winner: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

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British Game:

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Monument Valley 2
Reigns: Her Majesty
The Sexy Brutale
Sniper Elite 4
Total War: Warhammer II

My Pick: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

While it’s fun to shoot men in the testicles and being able to watch it happen in slow motion, the novelty soon wears thin. Sorry Sniper Elite! That is why for my ‘Best British Game’ pick I have gone for the standout candidate, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. This game was both visually stunning and extremely creative. As for Melina Juergens portrayal of Senua? Perfect, this was a very special game.

Winner: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

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Debut Game:

Cuphead
Gorogoa
Hollow Knight
Night In The Woods
The Sexy Brutale
Slime Rancher

My Pick: Hollow Knight

This 2D animated action-adventure game was a real standout game when it was released last year. It’s unique aesthetic and fun gameplay made Hollow Knight a real favourite amongst gamers, myself included. The exploration aspect of the game is a big pull for me, and the story reveals are dripped out rather than dumped on you, another big plus.

Winner: Gorogoa

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Evolving Game:

Clash Royale
Final Fantasy XV
Fortnite
Overwatch
PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds
Tom Clancy’s: Rainbow Six Siege

My Pick: Tom Clancy’s: Rainbow Six Siege

Playbackability is always a big factor for me, and here the stand-out winner is Rainbow Six Siege. The game continues to develop in an engaging way, adding more characters and factors to the game that keep you wanting to play it. It’s a great online experience and has really gone from strength-to-strength over the past year or two.

Winner: Overwatch

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Family:

Just Dance 2018
LEGO Worlds
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Monument Valley 2
Snipperclips
Super Mario Odyssey

My Pick: LEGO Worlds

LEGO was always the real world imagination and creation go to. Then Minecraft came along, using that concept, and created a phenomenon. So when LEGO decided to follow suit, it was always going to be a winner. Your kids probably love Minecraft so will teaching you how to play this. It is a great family-fun game that has endless possibilities. Getting your kids to use their own imagination when playing a video game is always a good thing.

Winner: Super Mario Odyssey

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Game Beyond Entertainment:

Bury Me, My Love
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Last Day of June
Life Is Strange: Before The Storm
Night In The Woods
Sea Hero Quest VR

My Pick: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

While the story and concept of Bury Me, My Love is strong, it also had its flaws. So for me, it’s hard to look past Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice here. The attention to detail and painstaking research that was put into this game is commendable. The way this game deals with psychosis was really well executed. The use of mental health issues being delicately worked into our main character gave Senua an extra level of complexity and depth.

Winner: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

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Game Design:

Assassin’s Creed Origins
Horizon Zero Dawn
The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
Nier Automata
Super Mario Odyssey
What Remains Of Edith Finch

My Pick: What Remains Of Edith Finch

Horizon Zero Dawn was close on this, but my pick goes to What Remains Of Edith Finch (shock). Not only is this game visually breathtaking, but the colour is just divine. It oozes imagination, creativity and is truly unique.

Winner: Super Mario Odyssey

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Game Innovation:

Gorogoa
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
Nier Automata
Snipperclips
What Remains Of Edith Finch

My Pick: What Remains Of Edith Finch

If you want innovation, look no further than What Remains Of Edith Finch. This game oozes originality and presents you with a mesmerising story with phenomenal game styles. This games takes the ‘point and click adventure’ model and totally reshapes it into a unique gaming experience.

Winner: The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

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Mobile Game:

Bury Me, My Love
Golf Clash
Gorogoa
Kami 2
Monument Valley 2
Stranger Things: The Game

My Pick: Monument Valley 2

Wonderful game design, beautiful colours and a range of engaging puzzles to navigate. Monument Valley 2 is the clear winner here. Having played all of the nominees, nothing came close to having that plackability pull. I had an absolute blast playing this game.

Winner: Golf Clash

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Multiplayer:

Divinity: Original Sin 2
Fortnite
Gang Beasts
PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds
Splatoon 2
Star Trek: Bridge Crew

My Pick: Gang Beasts

PUBG is fun, sure, but people just hiding waiting for the numbers of players to dwindle isn’t the most entertaining experience for online gaming. Gang Beasts gets it. Not only is the game super fun and enjoyable, but playing with friends or a group increases the games draw. It has varying level styles and obstacles to overcome, and it’s this fun, varied game style that wins it for me.

Winner: Divinity: Original Sin 2

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Music:

Cuphead
Get Even
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Horizon Zero Dawn
The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
What Remains Of Edith Finch

My Pick: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

It almost went to What Remains Of Edith Finch, almost, it was a tight call. But I have to give best music/score to Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. This was a special game, and a big part of that was the incredible score and soundtrack. It helped heighten some truly emotional moments as well as managing to unnerve you just as easily. It was unique, and a worthy winner in my eyes.

Winner: Cuphead

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Narrative:

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Horizon Zero Dawn
Night In The Woods
Tacoma
What Remains Of Edith Finch
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

My Pick: What Remains Of Edith Finch

There is no story like this. The journey in which you embark on incredibly special and you can never predict what is going to happen next. Just when you think you have the game figured out they totally change it up, forever keeping you on the edge of your seat. THAT is how you make a truly remarkable game.

Winner: Night In The Woods

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Original Property:

Cuphead
Gorogoa
Horizon Zero Dawn
Night In The Woods
PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds
What Remains Of Edith Finch

My Pick: What Remains Of Edith Finch

Horizon and PUBG are fantastic games in their own rights. Especially Horizon, for me it was one of the most enjoyable games in recent memory. But again, I have to go with What Remains OF Edith Finch. This is as original as you can get. The story is so unbelievably imaginative and the varying gameplay styles really make the game stand out.

Winner: Horizon Zero Dawn

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Performer:

Abubakar Salim – Bayek (Assassin’s Creed Origins)
Ashly Burch – Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn)
Claudia Black – Chloe Frazer (Uncharted: The Lost Legacy)
Laura Bailey – Nadine Ross (Uncharted: The Lost Legacy)
Melina Juergens – Senua (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice)
Valerie Rose Lohman – Edith Finch (What Remains of Edith Finch)

My Pick: Melina Juergens – Senua (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice)

It was a tough call, and as wonderful as Valerie was as Edith Finch, I have to go with Melina. What an outstanding performance, and from a non-actor. The extra work she had to do in with the mo-cap gives he the win. Her facial expressions were so realistic, you didn’t just see the torment, the triumphs and failures, you lived them.

Winner: Melina Juergens – Senua (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice)

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Best Game:

Assasin’s Creed Origins
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Horizon Zero Dawn
The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
Super Mario Odyssey
What Remains Of Edith Finch

My Pick: What Remains Of Edith Finch

It should be said, that Hellblade and Horizon are truly remarkable games. They really are. But in a way, a little similar. The same goes for the likes of PlayerUnkown and Fortnite. What should win a ‘best game’ award is something that truly stands out and is a one-of-a-kind. That IS What Remains Of Edith Finch. This game was stunningly designed, beautifully scored and wonderfully acted. The game dynamics changed with every chapter, the creativity and imagination were simply faultless. This is without a doubt one the of the greatest video games I have ever played.

Winner: What Remains Of Edith Finch

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Overview:

It was a massive night for Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. While it pained me to see the game beat Edith Finch, again and again, there is no denying it is a brilliant game. It was a worthy winner on the night.

As for What Remains Of Edith Finch, I had given up hope on it taking an award home. But somehow it managed to take the biggest prize of the night! I was so happy to see it win Best Game and hopefully, it will bring the game to the attention of more people. This game deserves to be played by as many people as possible.

You can check out my recent playthrough here. But, before you watch it, go play the game for yourself first, then come back!

I also think that it was amazing how many female lead-games were up for the awards. And won!. Hopefully, now we can get to point where it is the norm, so that future female-lead games aren’t treated as such rarities.

Did your favourite miss out on an award win at this years BAFTAS? Join the debate in the comments below!

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