What a great year for the video game industry 2015 has been! To celebrate the release of so many great games its time to announce the winners of the second annual Golden Controller Awards, or “Goldies” as I like to call them. The Goldies honor the best games and trends in the world of video games for the year.
How were the winners chosen? I hired the accounting firm of Ernst & Young to tabulate the results of a survey that I gave to myself. They sent me the results and here we are. Let’s get to this year’s winners!
Best Action Adventure Game – “Fallout 4” With over 100 hours of game time, the great VATS system, a large world to explore and plenty of interesting characters to meet, it’s easy to get lost in the post-apocalyptic world of “Fallout 4.” While the game still remains a solid RPG, its combat has been refined, giving this title some shooter elements that are incredibly satisfying. Honorable Mention – “Rise of the Tomb Raider”
Best Multiplayer Game – “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege” We all know what to expect from “Halo” and “Call of Duty” when it comes to multiplayer gaming and both series delivered their usual solid experience again this year. But “Rainbow Six Siege” offers something more unique and it was probably the most fun online game I’ve played this year. “Battlefront,” which offers a very enjoyable “Star Wars” experience, is a close second. Honorable Mention – “Star Wars Battlefront”
Best Family Game – “Lego Dimensions” Part Lego set, part video game, “Lego Dimensions” takes the toys-to-life genre in a completely new direction. This is the rare game that truly is fun for the entire family. It’s not too complicated for kids and not too simple for adults. New play packs, which are enjoyable not just to play but assemble, come in a ton of varieties and keeps gameplay fresh. Honorable Mention – “The Jackbox Party Pack 2”
Best Shooter – “Halo 5: Guardians”Playing through “Halo 5” I had to stop myself from getting distracted by what I was seeing onscreen. I’d often become engrossed in my character’s surroundings or have a giant grin on my face after pulling off a cool move. Top to bottom, from single player to online, “Halo 5: Guardians” impresses. Honorable Mention – “Call of Duty: Black Ops III”
Best Console – Xbox One The Xbox One has the best console exclusives, better than Wii U and better than PlayStation 4. That’s right, I said it. Great titles like 2014’s “Forza Horizon 2,” “Sunset Overdrive” and “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” are joined this year by “Rise of the Tomb Raider,” “Halo 5: Guardians,” “Forza 6,” “Gears of War Ultimate Edition” and “Rare Replay.” Throw in recent backwards compatibility and no console has a better game library.
Best Gaming Trend – Live action cut scenes I admit that I only noticed this in a handful of games, most notably “Need for Speed,” but what I saw made a strong impression. Way back in the day I played the original PlayStation version of “The X-Files” video game which had live action cut scenes featuring Mulder and Scully. I’ve been a sucker for them ever since. I hope we see even more in 2016.
Game of the Year – “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” Originally “Tales from the Borderlands” was my selection, and it’s a great game, but it was first released in late 2014 so I just couldn’t run with it. Honorable mention will have to do. Just like this time last year, I had a hard time choosing a game of the year but for completely different reasons. In 2014 there were a dearth of options, in 2015 there are a plethora. “Fallout 4,” “Rise of the Tomb Raider” and “The Witcher 3” all warrant consideration. But when it comes down to it, I had to go with “Phantom Pain.” I’ve been a Metal Gear fan since playing through “Metal Gear Solid” countless times on my PlayStation and never thought I’d get a similar Metal Gear experience. With “Phantom Pain” I finally did. The humor, the over the top characters, the joy of being Snake and all the base building and Fulton extracting I could handle made for a title that I played more than any other this year, about 150 hours. Sounds game of the year worthy to me. Honorable Mention – “Tales from the Borderlands”
The Busted Controller Awards - The Worst of 2015Most Obnoxious Gaming Trend – Season Passes This is a trend that’s been going on for some time but it seems like season passes have become an epidemic. It’s rare for a title to come out without a season pass nowadays, leaving gamers feeling like their $60 initial investment doesn’t truly have the value it should.
Most Obnoxious Gaming Trend Part 2 - Multiplayer Only GamesTitles like “Star Wars Battlefront,” “Rainbow Six Siege” and “Destiny: The Taken King” all offer some fun but paying $60 for a game without a strong single player component feels wrong.
Biggest Dud of 2015 – “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5” An instant bust, THPS5 was a disappointment. This title not only let down fans of the series, but tarnished the good name of an otherwise fun franchise.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.