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KSF's Game of the Year Awards: 2012

KSpiceFantastic

Haters gonna hate.
It’s hard to believe that this is my third year presenting my own Personal Game of the Year awards. This will obviously be the highest quality one of the three, because the writing process for this actually began right around Thanksgiving. I played fewer games this year than 2011 or 2010, but I’ve played enough to warrant a full suite of awards with a full suite of nominees… and unlike last year, there won’t be two parts… and there won’t be a tie for the Game of the Year award.

What made 2012 unique was that the best games made themselves known quickly. The foam rose to the top this year. What also makes 2012 unique is that this will be the first annual GF COMMUNITY GAME OF THE YEAR AWARDS!

To those interested, and please state so in this topic, I will send out nomination forms via PM on December 29th, 2012 (and to be returned to me no later than January 5th, 2013) and at that point I will set up the Community Awards. Since I am setting this up, I will refrain from nominating my winners and will not participate in the voting. This will be my “baby”, so to speak.

But back to my awards! The same rules apply from last year. For a game to be nominated, I will have to have played >80% of the single player campaign or over 6 hours of multiplayer. Throw in other, unnecessary to share requirements… and you have yourself the following awards with the following winners:

BEST ART DIRECTION
Quite a young concept is “ART DIRECTION” in video games. Games as art are still in their infancy, but these nominees stood out from the bunch as the best presented games of the year.

Dishonored
Assassin’s Creed 3
Far Cry 3
The Walking Dead: The Game
Journey

And the winner is…
Dishonored – Very rarely does a game stand out from the pack in terms of art direction. Dishonored did that in 2012. It took a semi-cell shaded approach to its graphics, and presented it in a post-steampunk-esque sort of way. The accentuation of the faces and the sculpting of the jaw lines, for example, were wonderful for attention to detail. Who knew that this game’s highest point was with its art direction. 2nd place: Journey

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE AND/OR LICENSED MUSIC
Unlike art direction, games, since the start, have had great scores and music in them. The nominees listed below had music that drew me in and kept me hooked, while not overshadowing the action on the screen:

Halo 4
Journey
Mass Effect 3
Max Payne 3

And the winner is…

Mass Effect 3 – The ME saga has had a heck of a lot of great music, but ME3 had the most well-rounded and orchestral score of the year. From the heavy synths and booms of “Leaving Earth”, to the chilling harmonies of “A Future for the Krogan”, ME3 had a score that hit the victorious highs, the emotional lows, and most importantly, all the stuff in between. 2nd place: Journey

BEST CHARACTER
Characters in video games neeeeeed to stand out for me to take notice of a strong story. To me, a backbone of a story doesn’t even exist if there aren’t great and well-developed characters. These were the best:

Commander Shepard (Mass Effect 3)
Connor (Assassin’s Creed 3)
Cortana (Halo 4)
Vaas (Far Cry 3)
Lee Everret (The Walking Dead: The Game)

And the winner is…

Vaas (Far Cry 3)
This game came out awfully late, but throughout my self-debating period, I was playing Far Cry 3, and the one thing that stood out was how tremendous Vaas was as a villain. Granted, he isn’t always there… in fact he really is an afterthought for some of the game… but when he is in there, he steals the scenes away from the protagonist and makes the game his stage, so to speak. His monologues creep you out and make you doubt your own sanity, and his look lends itself to your perception of his character. He looks crazy, and is crazy… and that’s how I like it. THAT’S how you make an impact on a player. 2nd place: Cortana (Halo 4)

BEST STORY/CAMPAIGN
As mentioned with the best character category, a great story needs to exist for me to take a game seriously, and there were a bunch of great stories this year. All of them captivated me to a level I have barely seen before:

Mass Effect 3
Assassin’s Creed 3
Far Cry 3
The Walking Dead: The Game
Sleeping Dogs

And the winner is…

The Walking Dead: The Game

Nothing came close. Mass Effect 3, AC3, FC3, and Sleeping Dogs all had great stories, but none of them pulled at my heartstrings and had me thinking about what I had done like TWD did. Throughout this first season, I grew to connect with Lee and Clementine and heck, even the supporting characters that I never thought I would care for. Like the TV show, it felt like a character-driven video game, seemingly the first of its kind. Telltale Games really pulled something magical out of the writing, and got great performances to boot. 2nd place: Mass Effect 3

BEST MULTIPLAYER
Multiplayer is a popular trend these days, as most of the most popular titles have some sort of multiplayer element added into them to varying degrees of application. There were four standouts in this category this year:

Mass Effect 3
Halo 4
Borderlands 2

And the winner is…

Borderlands 2

I didn’t play many multiplayer games this year; hence the small list of nominees, but the ones I did play pushed me to the limit in terms of how long I could stay playing them in one sitting. Borderlands 2 is the crown jewel of multiplayer, simply because it is the best co-op shooter of not just this year, but of the past few years. Hands down. I know I am getting a bit too crazy with my words, but by god this game had some tremendous fun, and is made for MP, within a SP package. 2nd place: Halo 4

BIGGEST SURPRISE
There is always that one surprising game that I didn’t see coming. This year, there were only three that truly surprised me. In one case, it was a game I didn’t even hear about, in the other two, they were games that I thought would be horrible, and turned out to be very, very good.

Sleeping Dogs
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Mark of the Ninja

And the winner is…

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Sleeping Dogs (tie)

I couldn’t pick just one. No way. Both KoA and Sleeping Dogs came out of nowhere for me this year. I knew about KoA after E3 2011, but it looked lackluster to me. However, I was wrong. With intuitive, quick combat, tons of stuff to do (still not done after 80 hours), and a unique look, I was hooked. Sleeping Dogs, on the other hand, almost didn’t happen. Sometime last year, True Crime: Hong Kong was cancelled, and Square Enix was excited to pick the game up and rebrand it. I expected the worst. However, when reviews came out, there was a LOT of highly positive ones. I picked it up, and got the second-best open world experience of the year, a great story, and a kung-fu-based gameplay that was definitely unique and helped the game stand out this year.

DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE YEAR

Resident Evil 6
Darksiders II
Call of Duty: Black Ops II

And the loser is…

Darksiders II

I expected so much more, and while Darksiders II was still okay, I just set the bar too high. The same problems from Darksiders were there, and graphically it just looked poor. The gameplay was the same, and there was simply no innovation on THQ’s part. Shame.

BEST INDEPENDENT/DOWNLOADABLE GAME
I’m combining these two awards because it was tough enough last year to choose a winner for both categories. So… I’m combining them, and these are the standouts:

Fez (Polytron)
Journey (ThatGameCompany)
Mark of the Ninja (Klei Entertainment)
The Walking Dead: The Game (Telltale Games)

And the winner is…

Journey (ThatGameCompany)

It was close. Fez almost won due to its unique look, gameplay, and length, but Journey, in its short 90 minute campaign, did so much in so little. All of the independent/downloadable game nominees were tremendous, including The Walking Dead: The Game, but I need to give Journey its props. This game was FANTASTIC and as a downloadable only title, the game looked, sounded, and played better than I expected.

BEST DLC

Skyrim: Dawnguard
Mass Effect 3: Leviathan
Mass Effect 3: Omega
Borderlands 2: Mechromancer

And the winner is…

Mass Effect 3: Leviathan

As a lover of lore in game universes, Leviathan stood out like a sore thumb and a no-brainer DLC for ME3. The DLC follows Shepard as he/she tries to find the precursor to the Reapers. I won’t say more, but story-wise, this DLC is amazing. The gameplay is paced well, but goddamn it, the story is amazing. It tells you so much in only about 3-4 of gameplay. I can’t wait to play it again.

BEST HANDHELD/MOBILE/SOCIAL GAME

Angry Birds: Star Wars
Angry Birds: Space
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Sim City Social

And the winner is…

Angry Birds: Star Wars

I don’t know why, but this game was just so much fun, and is the best Angry Birds game out there. I haven’t played any VITA games, hence no nominees, and with my new S3, I can game a lot on there. ABSW has the most unique gameplay of the series and the most bang for its buck (free, btw).

BEST CONSOLE GAME (non-downloadable)
Just like last year, I am going to list the winners here. No need for me to list the nominees.

360: Mass Effect 3, Assassin’s Creed 3 (tie)
PS3: Twisted Metal (don’t hate)
Wii/Wii U: New Super Mario Bros. U

BEST PC GAME
The PC had a banner year this year, with several titles that were GOTY contenders. Here they are!

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
The Walking Dead: The Game
X-Com: Enemy Unknown
FTL

And the winner is…

The Walking Dead: The Game

FTL could have stolen the win due to its simple addictiveness, but TWD was just better. As mentioned previously, the plot and storytelling were tremendous, and the unique blend of Telltale-esque puzzles and gameplay was definitely the primary reason why this title is the best PC game of 2012.

STUDIO OF THE YEAR

38 Studios
Telltale Games
Bioware
Ubisoft Montreal
343 Industries

And the winner is…

Ubisoft Montreal

Two AAA games. Two HQ AAA games. Not many studios can stand behind that in one calendar year, let alone the less than a month window that these games came out in. 2013 could be another banner year for them as well, with Watch Dogs coming in 2013… and if you don’t know which games I am talking about, I am talking about Assassin’s Creed 3 and Far Cry 3, two of my game of the year nominees.

MOST ANTICIPATED GAME OF 2013

Tomb Raider
Bioshock Infinite
Grand Theft Auto 5
Gears of War: Judgement
The Last of Us

And the winner is…

Grand Theft Auto 5

Duh.

THE SPICY SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
The Spicy Special Achievement Award is a tough award to give out. Heck, it’s even a tough award to choose nominees for. Here are a few honorable mentions:

The Walking Dead: The Game as an episodic game in seasons
343 Industries & the well-done Spartan Ops mode
Far Cry 3’s attention to detail

But there could only be this one winner…

Mass Effect 3: The Story

For all the hate that the ending to Mass Effect 3 received since March, I will still defend it. Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m giving the Spicy Special Achievement Award to the story when there is an already major award for best campaign, right? Well, it’s what the story did that gives it this award. What ME3 did is that it closed the Shepard trilogy. Despite what you may have heard, the open lines of character-based plots, the decisions you made in previous games, and the romances you went after in ME1 and ME2 made a difference in ME3. This story, in fact, is NEVER going to be the same for two people. No way, no how. So, with that open-minded story and experience in mind, I am giving this award to ME3’s story.

GAME OF THE YEAR
The big one. I’ll get right to it.

The nominees are…

The Walking Dead: The Game
Mass Effect 3
Assassin’s Creed III
Journey
New Super Mario Bros. U
Far Cry 3

After much debate, the winner is…

The Walking Dead: The Game (Season One)

Okay, okay. I picked the same GOTY winner as the VGA awards, but I am NOT tagging along with the bandwagon. I am a sucker for great stories, and the emotionally engaging and emotionally draining story of Lee and Clementine made this game extremely, extremely memorable. I typically don’t give GOTY awards out to PC games, but hell… this one was amazing and trust me, play it on a PC. It’s well, well worth it.

A close runner-up was Mass Effect 3, followed by Journey and then Assassin’s Creed III.

That’s it. Congrats to Telltale Games for making a tremendous title.

Don’t forget. If you are interested in taking part in the GF Community GOTY Awards 2012, let me know via PM or in this topic. On the 29th, I will send you a nomination form. There will only be 7 categories, though.

Best Single-Player Game:
Best Multiplayer Game:
Best Story:
The Guilty Pleasure Award:
Best PC Game:
Best Console Game (Downloadable/Retail):
Game of the Year:

Give it a think, and again… let me know ASAP if you are interested.
 

Konshentz

Konshentz
I agreed with the majority of your picks, which is actually a little scary. Maybe tomorrow IS the end? :lol:


I'm also definitely interested in participating.
 
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