Another year has come to a close, which means it's time to hand out some hardware. 🙂

It wasn't the year to end all years but we always get quality, if not masterful productions, year in and year out. In some ways, one could argue these awards weren't as competitive due to all the delays ( The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt , The Order: 1886 , Battlefield: Hardline , Evolve , Batman: Arkham Knight , etc.), but actually, it was extremely competitive simply because of those delays.

Will you be surprised by the selections? Maybe so…but either way, it's always fun!

Achievement Awards

Best Graphics

Nominees

Winner: Driveclub

For most of the year, we really didn’t see the mind-blowing graphics we were promised in the new generation. That all changed when Evolution Studios delivered the spectacular-looking Driveclub , which is one of the most impressive visual achievements we’ve seen in some time. Featuring beautiful environments and unbelievable vehicle detail, the game’s visuals immediately jumped off the screen. It’s just a prelude of more graphical greatness in the PlayStation 4’s future…

Best Music

Nominees

Winner: Child of Light

This was a tough choice because there were so many different types of soundtracks this year. There are some designed only as backdrops to the action while in other cases, the music attempted to take center-stage without dominating the experience. Child of Light gave us that gorgeous balance, along with a wonderfully orchestrated set of tracks that enhanced the subtle majesty of the game in question. When we say “Best Music,” we talk about a game where it’d be hard to imagine it without the score. That’s Child of Light .

Best Sound Effects

Nominees

Winner: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

There was just something about the effects in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor . It’s not so much that you needed a great headset or surround sound setup to appreciate them; it was more about the diversity and style. The combat stands out as a big highlight, with its bevy of gut-wrenching assaults and terrifying cries, but the ambient effects are exceedingly effective as well. This category usually ends up going to a shooter but this year, it’s impossible to ignore Shadow of Mordor ’s achievement in sound.

Best Acting

Nominees

Winner: Assassin's Creed Unity

There were lots of great performances this year and while we’ll always love Troy Baker (Talion, Shadow of Mordor ) and Kevin Spacey (Jonathan Irons, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare ), Assassin’s Creed Unity stands head-and-shoulders above the competition. Thing is, with the AC games, it’s never about one standout performance; just about all the characters are professionally voiced. Dan Jeannotte (Arno) and Catherine Bérubé (Elise de la Serre) lead a supremely capable cast and honestly, Arno’s performance is the best since Ezio’s.

Best Writing/Story

Nominees

Winner: Valiant Hearts: The Great War

We regret not having time to offer a review for Valiant Hearts: The Great War but take our word for it: It has this year’s absolute best narrative. Boasting top-notch writing and a great atmospheric backdrop (World War I), this story-driven adventure proves that interactive entertainment can give gamers a wonderfully written, captivating plot with interesting characters. Now, we just need more developers to understand this.

Best Artistry/Art Direction

Nominees

Winner: Child of Light

Assassin’s Creed often takes this category, simply due to the insane amount of attention paid to every possible detail, and Paris during the French Revolution is absolutely incredible. Sadly, the technical mishaps are too significant and as such, we give the nod to Child of Light . Such fabulous handcrafted visuals should be honored, anyway, as the creativity and boundless imagination is sky-high. Haunting and mystical, the art direction here is truly astounding.

Best Character

Nominees

Winner: Elise de la Serre, Assassin's Creed Unity

2014 saw several new characters worthy of recognition but in our minds, Elise de la Salle of Assassin’s Creed Unity stands out. Without her, the story becomes mostly pedestrian, despite the increased appeal of the new protagonist (Arno). Not only does Elise represent a romantic interest for the hero, she also has a nicely layered personality that includes sass, nobility and a bit of tenderness. She really adds dimension to a plot that absolutely requires a female touch at times.

Best Trailer

Nominees

Winner: Watch Dogs, Cinematic Trailer