Best Mechanical Dinosaur Monster in a Supporting Role
Horizon Zero Dawn for That One Stalker That Turns Up Just As You Start Thinking You're Pretty Good At The Game
A deserved win for the Stalker in question, who was of course up against the likes of The First Tallneck You Saw and The First Broadhead You Used Override On and Kept With You For As Long As Possible. This Stalker is notable for not only being the first of its type that you encounter, which is upsetting enough itself, but also for its placement in the flow of the game. At this point you're feeling pretty comfortable in Aloy's shoes: you can easily one-shot-one-kill Watchers, have taken out a Bellowback (the lads that spit fire all over the place), and although you know one of the big T-Rex style ones is going to turn up at some point you're pretty cocky strutting around the forests with about a dozen different kinds of ammo and some electrified ropes, 'cos why not? Hell, you've just saved a bunch of people and they're super impressed by how good you are. And then a giant invisible mecha-leopard turns up and starts throwing mines at you.
Best Game to Feature a Character Named After the Lovely Debbie McGee's Late Husband
Call of Duty: World War II for Paul Daniels
Smashing stuff from Activision here, and a bold move to put a reference to the UK's favourite magician of the 80s in a game mostly centered on the experience of a US infantryman during the second world war – though Paul Daniels was the first magician from outside the US to receive the Academy of Magical Arts' coveted Magician of the Year Award. In the game Paul Daniels is the older brother of main character Red Daniels, and Red writes his journal as if it were letters home to Paul, a fitting reference to how the real life Paul Daniels would have received letters. Of course, Paul Daniels the magician changed his name from Newton Daniels, but this was referenced in Black Ops 3 Zombies with 'Newton's Cookbook', and we can't help but admire the dev team's commitment to and affection for the great man.
Most Successful Comeback in a Space Game for a Vehicle That Everyone Hated Before
Mass Effect Andromeda for The Nomad
When people go back to replay the original Mass Effect, the prolonged Mako driving sections are usually the parts where people decide to nope out and just watch videos of the romance they wanted to do on YouTube instead. The Mako handles like a giant moccasin and the driving sections are boring, so it's role was greatly reduced in later games. Until Andromeda, when we met the Nomad. It's essentially the same off-road six-wheeler as the Mako, but it has, like, two drive options, showing us that in Mass Effect: Andromeda we are truly living in the world of tomorrow.
Best Use of a Joke That Your Dad Would Like Even Though He Doesn't Really Get Games
Yooka-Laylee for Trowzer the Snake
His name is Trowzer and he's a snake. Or, as the Yooka-Laylee Wikia says, 'Trowzer's name is a play on the term, "Trouser snake", a euphemism for male genitalia.' Almost everything in Yooka-Laylee is a front for a dad joke, but in-game vendor Trowzer wins because he called his business Trowzers Worldwide Incredible Traders, which has the acronym TWIT and is a reference to Only Fools and Horses so that's like three layers of dad joke for him to appreciate in one go. No mean feat. Congratulations to Trowzer, who's also up for the Character Who Says They're Trying To Help You But Still Charges Pretty High Premiums So Who's Really Helping Who Here? gong.
Best Platformer Everyone Half Thinks Andrew House Sold His Soul For But Not Really But Did He Though?
Only Andrew will know if it was worth it.
Most Unexpected Use of the Word C*nt in a Historical Epic
Assassin's Creed Origins for Claridas in the Side Quest Old Times
It's a surprise when Bayek's old friend turned racetrack celebrity Claridas trots it out as a boast about how much money and sex he's getting in his new profession. Usually in video games or HBO shows about dragons it's used for purposes of shock and/or supposed historical accuracy because medieval people were coarse, ooh-er, and this is, as far as we are aware, the only time it's used in Origins – and it comes out of nowhere. It's weird that Origins used what we assume was its one allowable instance of this on a swaggering pissed-up sports dickhea- no wait it makes perfect sense.