The Icel.me 2015 Game Awards

Welcome to the Icel.me 2015 Game Awards, a special show celebrating 2015 in video games: the good, the bad, and the very ugly! Every year we gather the crew to talk about the games we’ve being playing and rate them on various unrelated categories. This year we’ve expanded the show to include survey responses from prominent contributors from the Israeli video gaming field.

Previous shows: 2014, 2013.

Guest host – Eran Aviram (@Nnesk):
Writer and producer of Up to Four Players (@Upto4Players) webcomics, co-host and producer on On the Shoulders of Dwarves podcast, editor and translator for role-playing games.

Contributors:

  • Pasha Kagan, Member of the Icel.me stuff, a seasoned gamer, beta tester and experienced in a wide array of games (website, @PashaKagan).
  • Idan Zeierman, the mastermind behind the Gamepad.co.il blog and podcast. (@idan315).
  • Nicole Winestock, admin at the Working Gamers facebook community.
  • Yehuda Halfon, VC of the Pathfinder Society in Israel & co-host of the Game Burning Podcast.

Show Breakdown

  • 00:00:00 Introduction
  • 00:05:40 Best Soundtrack
  • 00:17:55 Best Example of How Great the Game Industry Is
  • 00:33:10 Best Example of How Terrible Gaming Has Become
  • 00:42:40 Best Expansion/DLC
  • 00:56:35 Biggest Disappointment
  • 01:05:35 Biggest Surprise
  • 01:16:05 Most Overrated Game of the Year
  • 01:26:45 Most Underrated Game of the Year
  • 01:37:00 Most Anticipated Game of 2016
  • 01:42:20 MVG: Most Valuable Game

Award List

Best Soundtrack

Best Soundtrack

Nominations:

  • Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Pasha: “the music and effects were exceptionally immersive, when recreating old London.”
  • Westerado: Double Barreled – Idan: “…it has the most atmospheric music.”
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
  • Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition – Yehuda: “The whole soundtrack completes the game.”
  • StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void – Icel: “The main theme got stuck in my head for days.”
  • Rebel Galaxy – Icel: “Western Rock soundtrack that makes you feel you’re flying the Serenity.”

Winner- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Honorable Mention: Miracle of Sound, Level 6.

Best Example of How Great the Game Industry Is

Best Example of How Great the Game Industry Is

Nominations:

  • Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes – Idan: “It’s like a lot of things I like in one cheap game that I can play with friends and family even if they never touched a computer/video game.”
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition – Nicole: “…for including bisexuality, homosexuality, transgender topics.”
  • Kerbal Space Program“Was in early access for long time and the company listened to the gamers and changed stuff.”
  • Payday 2 Microtransactions Update – Pasha: “…added microtransactions and swiftly removed them, due to criticism. Great example of listening to your community.”
  • Cities: Skylines – Icel: “How a small company with 9 people can make a multi-million dollar game that blows away all its competition.”
  • Pillars of Eternity – Icel: “One of the few genuine Kickstarter success stories and a resurrection of one my my favorite gaming genre.”

Winner- Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Best Example of How Terrible Gaming Has Become

Best Example of How Terrible Gaming Has Become

Nominations:

  • Batman: Arkham Knight PC Port – Pasha: “Poor optimization, rendering the game unplayable for months, due to an attempt to cut costs by outsourcing the porting to an inadequate team.” (icel +1)
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Preorders – Idan: “The problem is not with the preorder – but with the fact that the bonuses themselves are horrible for game balancing purposes.”
  • Star Control Founder’s Pack – Yehuda: “You pay more for the game the earlier you get it. For the alpha you can pay up to 100$, for beta 80$ and for the game 60$.”
  • Broken Age: Act 2 – Icel: “I’ll never give Tim Shafer money again.”

Winner- Broken Age

Best Expansion/DLC

Best Expansion/DLC

Nominations:

  • StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void – Pasha: “It’s a full game that makes the player forget that’s it’s actually an expansion.”
  • Lara Croft GO: The Shard of Life – Idan: “was a fun game, and the DLC is completely free.”
  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood – Nicole: “A stand alone DLC, almost a whole new game and it has nazi zombies in it.”
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire – Yehuda: “The best thing that happened to SW:tOR, gave new life.”
  • Hearthstone: Explorers’ League  Eran: “Interesting new single player interactions, many funny and interesting new cards.”
  • The Witcher 3: Heart of Stone – Eran: “Just more Witcher 3. Which is awesome”.

Winner- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire

Biggest Disappointment

Biggest Disappointment

Nominations:

  • Mad Max – Pasha: “…too grinding and tiresome, making me abandon it halfway through.”
  • The Magic Circle – Idan: “For the first half of the game, I sincerely thought that this is the greatest thing ever. For the second half, I thought that this is pretentious bullshit.”
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – Nicole: “amazing up to the point when it doesn’t end and becomes recycled. I never finished it.”
  • Fallout 4 – Yehuda: “not that it’s a bad game but it’s just not as good as I wanted it to be.”
  • Massive Chalice – Icel: “Despite a great premise and cool tactical combat, overall it’s just a boring experience.”

Winner- Massive Chalice

Biggest Surprise

Biggest Surprise

Nominations:

  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – Pasha: “…surprisingly deep and captivating, even though I failed to follow the series.”
  • Rocket League – Idan: “This came out of freaking nowhere.”
  • Cities: Skylines – Yehuda: “Didn’t expect much from such a small company but this game blow my mind how good it came.” (Nicole +1)
  • Assassin’s Creed Rogue (PC) – Icel: “The second best Assassin’s Creed’s game that nobody talked about.”
  • Telltale’s Tales From the Borderlands – Eran: “It was supposed to be a fun distraction from the main series, but instead was an important part of it, as well as a wonderfully directed game.”
  • The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 – Icel: “A game that made me like point-and-click adventures again.”

Winner- Cities: Skylines

Most Overrated Game of the Year

Most Overrated Game of the Year

Nominations:

  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege – Pasha: “Everyone are hyped, can’t see why.”
  • Mortal Kombat X.
  • Sunless Sea – Eran: “I very much like Fallen London, and Sunless Sea was pretty good as well, but getting back into it is very hard, which is the opposite of a roguelike.”
  • Fallout 4 – Yehuda: “Everybody keeps talking about how good it is and how amazing is the building system is, and all I can think is there are such better games that do it and no one plays them.”
  • Fallout Shelter – Icel: “It had such a large media presence and I couldn’t play it more than a couple of hours.”

Winner- Fallout 4

Most Underrated Game of the Year

Most Underrated Game of the Year

Nominations:

  • Telltale’s Game of Thrones – Pasha: “The season was consistently awesome, arguably better than the actual series on occasion.”
  • Evolve – Idan: “Great multiplayer game that got criticized for DLC scheme which was entirely reasonable and its main game mode wasn’t really good but the main thing that the PR department pushed.”
  • StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void – Nicole: “…Fallout 4 stole the thunder to this epic ending.”
  • Anno 2205 – Yehuda: “Not a lot talks about this game, but it is amazing and is a breath of fresh air in the anno franchise.” (Icel +1)
  • Mordheim, city of the damned– Omry: “Some people say it sucks due to the lack factions and proper multiplayer experience, but I think it’s a really good adaption of a miniature game. It’s mechanically deep, dark and brutal as any Warhammer fantasy game should be.It’s a good game which has the potential to become a great game with a bit more fixes and some DLCs, but many people haven’t heard of it or ignored it due to a blitz of bad reviews near the official launch.”

Winner- Anno 2205

Most Anticipated Game of 2016

Most Anticipated Game of 2016

Nominations:

  • No Man’s Sky – Pasha: “Dogfighting, procedural universe, so many play styles, what can you want more?”
  • XCOM 2 – Idan: “seriously, XCOM 2!” (Icel +1)
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn – Yehuda: “One of the reasons I bought PS4, it’s a new game with new concept that I just can’t wait to get out.”
  • Dishonored 2.
  • Overwatch.

Winner- XCOM 2

MVG: Most Valuable Game

MVG: Most Valuable Game

MVG is a unique category. It isn’t the “best” game of the year. This is the game that was the most valuable for us, or best represent a quality of games in 2015.

Nominations:

  • Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Pasha: “I haven’t found a game I was so fixated on consuming it in its entirety. This was a blast.”
  • Grand Theft Auto V – Idan: “It was amazing on the consoles, it was just as good on PC.”
  • Fallout 4 – Nicole: “Fallout will always be my favorite franchise.”
  • Bloodborne – Yehuda: “It made me rethink the souls games. That they can have more then just jump, roll and die. They can have a deep plot and amazing combat and parry system.”
  • Cities: Skylines – Icel: “The best city building game in a decade, and no one saw it coming.”
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Icel: “The only open-world game that kept me playing through the end.”

Winner- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt