It's a new year, but we have one order of business to square away from 2015, and it's a doozy: we must tally up the votes and declare one game the top pick in the Gameplanet Players' Choice Game of the Year Awards 2015!

There may only be one champion, but the titles voted on represent the very best efforts made by legions of talented individuals, solely designed to provide players with the maximum amount of entertainment.

The Gameplanet Players’ Choice Awards are the largest video game awards in New Zealand, determined by the votes of thousands of dedicated Kiwi gamers.

Last month, we conducted an extensive preliminary round in which you shared with us your favourite games of 2015. The top eight nominees, as selected by New Zealand's gaming community and listed here in alphabetical order, were:

Bloodborne
Fallout 4
Just Cause 3
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Pillars of Eternity
Rise of the Tomb Raider
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Undertale

Next, we invited you to vote for these games to determine the winner. Voting has now closed, and today we reveal the top three finalists and your overall Players' Choice Game of the Year. Here are the top three:

3rd – Rise of the Tomb Raider

14.9 percent of the final votes

"undeniably thrilling"

We said: 8.5/10 – "Rise of the Tomb Raider adds very little in terms of new mechanics or even new ideas onto the fine base that Tomb Raider provided, but it’s executed with such panache that you probably won’t often care.

"Rise of the Tomb Raider certainly doesn’t reinvent the only-recently-reinvented wheel, but instead takes what we all liked about Tomb Raider and doubles down on it, making some notable improvements to what is now looking like it will be a solid formula for a while yet. The series may yet need to take some bigger risks to avoid an Assassin’s Creed-style player burnout down the line, but at this stage of proceedings you’ll likely be more than happy to simply enjoy this bigger and better new Lara Croft adventure." (Read More)

2nd – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

21.2 percent of the final votes

"a mesmerising masterpiece"

We said: 10/10 – "But as impressive as the world is, it’s merely the stage dressing for The Witcher 3’s greater achievements in characterisation. Even as Geralt strives for simplicity, the powerbrokers of the Northern Kingdoms are drawn to him for his unique talents, and look to entangle him in their schemes. Geralt is inexorably pulled into spheres of political intrigue, of superstition and religious extremism, and it’s his interactions with these cast members that set The Witcher 3 apart from so many other games in the genre.

"The Witcher 3 is a triumph. CD Projekt has delivered a world that is epic and textured, and a narrative composed of swelling crescendos and artful asides. This is a studio at the top of its game delivering a title that’s now at the top of the field. Quite simply, The Witcher 3 is unmissable." (Read More)

1st – Fallout 4

40.3 percent of the final votes

It is well written, well told, and wonderfully acted, and the loss our protagonist is experiencing is almost palpable

We said: 8.5/10 – "Combat in Fallout 4 is the first real improvement to the Fallout formula. While the gunplay has dropped much of the behind-the-scenes RPG framework, new tighter controls and reactive weapon handling more than make up for it. V.A.T.S is no longer required to tackle a massive super mutant behemoth or a swarm of mutated giant insects. While your comparative levels will have a huge impact on the outcome, a skilled player can now use the honed twitch skills to far greater effect.

Gameplanet Players' Choice Game of the Year Awards 2015

"Bethesda, however, is not done yet. There are also crafting tables for chems, food, and the newly-updated Power Armour. Your new bipedal tank requires a fuel source to run, but it turns you into near-unstoppable killing machine. Power Armour has finally returned to its former pre-Bethesda glory! You also have the ability to modify and build upon the settlement of Sanctuary. Like all of the game’s crafting systems, it is completely optional, but will provide a number of benefits to the in-game community, and your character. I sadly was not able to invest too much time in to it, but for the dedicated player it alone will provide dozens of hours of gameplay.

"Fallout 4 is a massive game, and yet again Bethesda have created a world that is a joy to explore. It’s a shame that the merging of the core story elements and the open world gameplay was far less than seamless, but any fan of Bethesda’s previous games will find plenty to love here. It is also worth noting that the Pipboy app is far more than an interesting gimmick. It interacts directly in real time with your game, and as the first real second screen experience that adds value and functionality to the core game." (Read More)


Our very warmest congratulations to everyone at Square Enix, CD Projekt, and Bethesda from the team at Gameplanet.

Congratulations also to Jesse Leet (apt name!), who is the winner of our Players' Choice voting competition and has scored himself a Halo Special Edition Xbox One courtesy of Microsoft! Well done Jesse, enjoy it! You beat out thousands of others to win it, so now's probably a good time to buy a Lotto ticket as well!

Gameplanet Players' Choice Game of the Year Awards 2015