GAME UK announces Video Game Awards nominations -

GAME’s British Academy Video Games Awards nominations are out. The contenders are generally what you’d expect, with a few exceptions. Ahem, Brutal Legend. Here they are in full with a few of our picks bolded, and why:

Action game of the year: Assassin’s Creed II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, infamous, Left 4 Dead 2 and Unchartered 2: Among Thieves.

Why: All games in this category are great and feature intense action. However, Left 4 Dead 2 is non-stop brutal zombie murdering from start to finish, unless of course you’re dumped with the Aussie edition. It’s the kind of thing that’s so frantic it causes the Tetris Effect – blink and you’ll see them.

Artistic Achievement: Assasin’s Creed II, Bathman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Flower, Streetfighter IV and Unchartered 2: Among Thieves.

Why: Credit where credit’s due, the others go above and beyond (perhaps with the exception of SF 4) to completely immerse the player in an entertaining story, and succeed. However, Flower is something else completely. The kind of non-traditional game-that’s-not-really-a-game that implements abstract beauty and simplicity to come up with something altogether different and, well, artistic.

Best Game: Assassin’s Creed II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, FIFA 10, Left 4 Dead 2 and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

Why: Again all honourable mentions, and Uncharted 2 is an epic adventure that manages to outdo its first incarnation. We think CoD: MW2 is deserving for all of its stunning set pieces and massively enjoyable playability despite its ridiculous storyline. It looks beautiful. The characters are all well scripted, over the top psychopaths – that’s a good thing – and the multiplayer hooks you in and keeps you playing for months, or until the next Modern Warfare comes out.

Family & Social: The Beatles: Rock Band, Buzz! Quiz World, EyePet, Guitar Hero 5, New Super Mario Bros Wii and Wii Sports Resort.

Why: You know those adverts on at the moment with Ant and Dec smugly challenging a room of drunks in a pub to beating them on the Wii? Well, the only game I’ve seen in a pub and being generally social and accessible to everyone is Buzz. It’s not as inventive as Guitar Hero or the New Super Mario Bros but for sheer accessibility and ease of play it wins hands down. Plus we’re sick of the sodding Beatles’ sodding Rock Band after the unstoppable marketing onslaught on release.

The rest of the nominations are as follows:

Gameplay: Assassin’s Creed II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, New Super Mario Bros Wii, PixelJunk Shooter, Unchartered 2: Among Thieves.

Handheld: Gran Turismo, LittleBigPlanet (PSP), LocoRoco Midnight Carnival, Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box, Scribblenaughts.

Multiplayer: Battlefield 1943, The Beatles: Rock Band, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Halo 3 ODST, Left 4 Dead 2, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

Original Score: Assassin’s Creed II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, PixelJunk Shooter, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

Sports: Colin McRae: DiRT 2, FIFA 10, Football Manager 2010, Forza 3, Wii Fit Plus, Wii Sports resort.

Story: Assassin’s Creed II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Broken Sword – Shadow of the Templars: The Director’s Cut, Brutal Legend, Dragon Age: Origins, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

Strategy: Command and Conquer 3: Uprising, Empire: Total War, Fifa Manager 10, Football Manager 2010, Halo Wars, Plants vs Zombies.

Use of Audio: Batman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, DJ Hero, Flower, Left 4 Dead 2, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

Use of Online: Battlefield 1943, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Fifa 10, LittleBigPlanet (PSP), Singstar Take That, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

Then there’s the only award that’ll be chosen by the public, the GAME Award of 2009. Familiar candidates are: Assassin’s Creed II, Batman Arkham Asylum, The Beatles: Rockband, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Fifa 10, GTA China Town Wars, Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks, Street Fighter IV, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Wii Sports Resort.

Clearly there are a bunch of repeats in every category and we reckon that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Uncharted 2 are going to clean up, though as with the nature of these awards, a few nominated games probably won’t get the attention they deserve. We really hope Flower pulls through well, and Batman: Arkham Asylum gets praised for its menacing score.