Collecting wins in 6 of 15 categories is "Titanfall," the fast-paced debut game from Respawn Entertainment, co-founded by the pair that set up the "Call of Duty" franchise.
"Titanfall," which builds upon the legacy created by series such as "Call of Duty," "Halo," and "Tribes," was pronounced Best of Show by a collective from 30 North American publications that makes up the Game Critics Awards judging panel.
PlayStation Vita exclusive "Tearaway" won in Best Handheld/Mobile, futuristic cyber-vigilante title "Watch Dogs" won the hybrid Action-Adventure category, and "The Elder Scrolls Online" was given Best RPG.
Notable too was "Need for Speed: Rivals," first from new Gothenburg studio Ghost Games, as it beat "Forza 5," "Gran Turismo 6," "Mario Kart 8" and "The Crew" to claim the title of Best Racing Game.
"NHL 14" trumped "Madden NFL 25" and soccer pair "FIFA 14" and "PES 2014" in Best Sports, "Total War: Rome II" won Best Strategy, and Best Downloadable went to "Transistor," the sophomore title from the multi award-winning "Bastion" studio.
As is fitting prior to two new console launches, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One jostled with portable gaming devices from Nvidia and Razr in the Best Hardware category, but it was the exciting (and still improving) virtual reality visor Oculus Rift that won out.
But what of console game "Destiny," the first in a new franchise from esteemed "Halo" creator Bungie? Impressive enough to gain five category nominations, on this occasion "Titanfall" won out in each.
For those searching for holiday season gift ideas, whether for kids or bigger kids, make a note of Disney game "Fantasia: Music Evolved," from the studio behind party titles "Rock Band" and "Dance Central." It clinched Best Social/Casual in a category that consisted of toy collecting imaginariums "Disney Infinity" and "Skylanders: Swap Force," the powered up antics of "Lego Marvel Super Heroes," giant social gaming sequel "Plants vs. Zombies 2" and Xbox One game "Project Spark."
The Best Fighting Game and Best Motion Simulation categories were skipped this year due to insufficient nominees, while "The Division," "Metal Gear Solid V," "The Witcher III" and "Super Smash Bros. Wii U" escaped consideration due to a lack of a hands-on, playable demo for the GC judges.
To see all the winners and nominees, visit gamecriticsawards.com