Feature

2015 Action Game Of The Year Awards

by Tim Turi on Jan 07, 2016 at 11:00 AM

This year was a tremendous success for action games, from the joy of balloon-kidnapping soldiers in Metal Gear Solid V or facing down the inconceivable monsters of Bloodborne. With our general Best Games of 2015 Awards available now, we now focus in on the action games of 2015 to recognize the best in the genre.

Best Story: Batman: Arkham Knight

Rocksteady closed out its Arkham trilogy with a strong story filled with twists, cameos, and some dark surprises. The solid main storyline – that a mysterious new foe named the Akrham Knight has seized Gotham – isn’t even the main reason we dug Batman’s latest tale. Early into the game Batman puts his personal health on the line to save the city, and the side effects include an unexpected and delightful cameo that weaves into the entire tale in surprising and affective ways.

Best Setting: Bloodborne

From Software’s challenging games are filled with sprawling, deadly locales that feel oppressive the moment you step foot in them. Bloodborne’s Lovecraftian nightmare takes the feeling of dread and hopeless to new heights, with slain beasts affixed to burning crosses or gigantic cosmic horrors looming above a hopeless city. Bloodborne is this year’s definitive masterwork in action game world building. Nobody will blame you if you accidentally get an axe to the back while admiring the view.

Best Handheld: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Capcom’s Monster Hunter series is wildly successful in Japan, but it’s more of an acquired taste in the West. This year’s edition of the game finally hooked us with a more gradual introduction to the game, better options for supporting co-op play, and welcome support of the New 3DS XL’s additional c-stick to control the camera. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is packed with nearly 100 giant beasts to defeat and dozens of hours of entertainment for intrepid beast slayers. 

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Most Ridiculous: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

On its face, MGSV looks like a straightforward military action game with an emphasis on stealth. Dive in deeper and it makes for some of the goofiest, laugh-out-loud moments of year. Venom Snake shatters the minds of enemy soldiers by surrounding them with balloon dopplegangers of himself. He hide in a porta potty and playes a cassette with a recording of someone’s intestinal distress to remain hidden. The coup de grace is the legendary soldier can make his trusted stallion defecate on command with the hopes an enemy vehicle will drive over it and spin out. Okay, MGS V, you’re ridiculous. 

Best Graphics: Bloodborne

The dark stonework, cobblestone streets, and towering spires of Bloodborne’s Yarnham are majestic displays of From Software’s architectural prowess. Even more important is that these unnerving gothic environments are thick with carefully crafted atmosphere, from obscuring mist rising from sewers to mutilated littering your path to eventual doom. From Software has made a name for itself by creating impressive destinations in the Souls series, but Bloodborne takes it to a new level.

Best Cooperative Mutliplayer: Grand Theft Auto V – Heists

Rockstar continues to support its biggest open-world action game yet with free new modes even a year after the initial release. Similar to the huge-scale robberies from GTAV’s campaign, heists in GTA Online allow players to team up with their trusted friends to plan a complex mission to intercept prison transports or fleece banks. Cooperating with our friends and adjusting to unexpected heat on the fly is what friendship is all about, and it renews the shine on GTAV’s multiplayer. 

Best Download-Only Action Game: Axiom Verge

Everyone wants a new Metroid game, and many developers have delivered awesome experiences evoking Nintendo’s beloved action side-scroller since the dawn of downloadable games. None of those games have hit the mark of delivering a new Metroid game as precisely as Axiom Verge. Solo developer Thomas Happy has crafted a sprawling labyrinth filled with unique weaponry, screen-filling bosses, and tons of secrets for you to find after you acquire the appropriate gear. Our desire to see Samus Aran in a good game will never die, but Axiom Verge is an impressive title with its own distinct identity.

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Best Replayability: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Hideo Kojima’s swan song in his Metal Gear series may be somewhat lacking in the storytelling department, but  it more than makes up for it with the most satisfying moment-to-moment gameplay the series has offered. On top of this, every player has experienced the joyful detour of hunting down and kidnapping a skilled soldier with a Fulton balloon. The act of bolstering Mother Bases’ numbers, unlocking new gear and weapons through evolving R&D, and immediately testing out your new toys on the field is undeniable. 

Best Remastered Action Game: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D

Nintendo doesn’t skimp when it comes to remastering Zelda games, setting the bar high with The Ocarina of Time on 3DS and The Wind Waker HD on Wii U. Majora’s Mask on 3DS continues this tradition, overhauling the classic N64 game’s visuals while implementing welcome tweaks to the gameplay. Sections of Clock Town have been moved around for a more convenient flow of the city streets, traversing time is easier than it was in the original, and the New 3DS XL (or Circle Pad Pro) allows superior camera control. Nintendo deserves recognition for not only the effort it pours into these remasters, but also how polished they turn out.

Action Game of the Year: Bloodborne

After winning two categories in our action genre awards, it may come as no surprise that Bloodborne is Game Informer’s Action Game of the Year. From Software’s latest is the greatest example of the studio’s talent for crafting bizarre creatures, stunning vistas, and demanding, finely tuned combat. On top of the fast-paced, challenging combat, an RPG layer allows players to gradually beef up their characters to survive longer. If you can endure and conquer Bloodborne’s punishing trials early on, you’re in for one of the most satisfying action games every made.

For more Best Games of 2015 Awards, check out the games our community voted the best in each category.