Aggie Awards
Aggie Awards

The Aggie Awards - The Best Adventure Games of 2015


Best Animation: Life Is Strange

Ahh, the joys of adolescence. (Um, not.) Across five episodes, Life Is Strange drew us into the melodramatic, fun, painful, confusing, exhilarating world of American teenager Max Caulfield and her blue-haired bestie, Chloe Price – a world that comes alive thanks to the natural animations of its characters. Crossed arms and an impatient glare from the teen queen who’s been slighted, best friends dancing on a bed with the stereo blaring, the awkward body shift of a girl uncomfortable in her own skin – these gestures and more bring a graceful fluidity to a game set during the time of life that, for most of us, was anything but graceful.

In a cinematic game like Life Is Strange, the payoff for good animation goes far deeper than the occasional cutscene. Poses, gestures, facial expressions, camera cuts – all combine to create a world we can believe in (no small feat in a hyper-realistic setting with a cast of human characters). The animation is most impressive in crowds: tune out the story for a minute just to watch how each individual character moves during the End of the World party or the climactic tornado and you’ll realize the vast attention to detail the animators have infused in these massive scenes. But the smaller, quieter moments are just as masterful: two girls treading water in a pool at night, crying in the front seat of a beat-up truck, clinging to each other on the edge of a windy cliff, balancing on a train track holding hands. Each episode is chock full of well animated vignettes like these – so many that even if you turned the sound down and ignored the plot, Life Is Strange would tell a beautiful story, a tremendous achievement that earns the game this year’s Best Animation award.

Runners-Up:


The Book of Unwritten Tales 2

Broken Age

STASIS

Armikrog.
 



Readers’ Choice: Armikrog.


Kind of the yin to our Best Setting yang, the reader vote for Best Animation goes to the game that isn’t the most seamlessly fluid or vividly alive, but the one that forsook fancy computer-generated wizardry for good old-fashioned handcraft. That’s not to say the results aren’t worthy: Tommynaut struts with a firm stride, his stringy hair flapping behind him. His companion Beak-Beak trots nimbly, short legs churning as he falls, tail wagging briskly. Sparks shower as Tommynaut drives his cable car, and the whole thing vibrates, zooming and jolting along the wall. Octovator devices blink and smack their lips, tentacles swaying gently. Knobs and levers clack and flutter as a bubbly liquid surges through the power tubes. But when you consider that all this was painstaking filmed, frame by freaking frame, it’s an even more truly remarkable achievement.

Runners-Up:


Broken Age

Life Is Strange

The Book of Unwritten Tales 2

Anna’s Quest
 



Next up: Best Music... the envelope, please!

Continued on the next page...


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