Welcome to our annual Game of The Year awards! (click here to see last years results) First up is Jeremy!
My selection is a victory for science: Portal 2. It’s a simple game, well-executed, with some of the best writing and voice acting this year. If you come to this site, I’m assuming you know of Portal, at least. The mechanics are the same but with a few great liquid enhancements to make it a little bit more difficult.
What made it my choice? I loved the writing and the voice acting. Ellen McLain returns as GLaDOS, Stephen Merchant is your new assistant Wheatley, and J.K. Simmons almost steals the show as Aperture founder Cave Johnson. It’s a solid cast and solid performances. There’s a reason why Ellen McLain and Stephen Merchant won VGAs not too long ago. J.K. Simmons was also nominated.
The voice-acting was only part of the reason. It has a solid single-player story and crazy mechanics but it was the Co-op that made it great. In co-op, you play as one of two bots that have to work together to solve the test chambers and acquire something for GLaDOS. I just started playing this the other day with my girlfriend over Steam and had so much fun. You can do so much more with four portals instead of just 2.
So if you haven’t played it, play it for science. It’s on PS3, 360, PC, and Mac. I recommend getting the PS3 version as it comes with a Steam copy to play on your Mac or PC.
Most Anticipated Game for 2012 – Mass Effect 3
This game took a very simple idea, and made it one of the best games i have played in a long time. The story is great, the visuals are beautiful, the characters keep you interested, and the puzzles actually make you think. Speaking of characters, they brought two characters that I have come to love, Wheatley and Cave Johnson. These two are the backbone of this game, and they don’t disappoint one bit! They are both incredibly funny, and both have awesome voice actors, Stephen Merchant and J.K. Simmons, respectively. As for the story, here it comes. You are Chell, who has woken up after an unknown amount of years by a computer core named Wheatley (I’ve told you enough about him!) He then tries to help you escape while you solve old puzzles with the portal gun. Then, as you’re almost free, you pass through the chamber of a dead GLaDOS. When Wheatley presses a button that he thinks will help you escape, he accidentally turns her back on. I’ll leave the rest of it for you to figure out!
Most Anticipated Game for 2012 – BioShock Infinite
So it falls to me to share my choice for game of the year. This year has been pretty good to me in games, from the awesomeness of new MMOs geared directly towards my interests (DC Universe Online, Star Wars the Old Republic), to AAA console games also geared directly to my interests (Arkham City), as well as new handheld devices (yes the 3ds came out last year, but I didn’t get one till this year, so I’m counting it for 2011) there has been a lot of games demanding my time this year. That is really what I’m deciding to base my decision on, what game has engaged me to the point I spent the most time on it? In previous years I would have said one of the various Pokemon titles or maybe WoW, heck one year (2006 I believe) I spent an ungodly amount of time trying to complete every detail of Final Fantasy 9, but for this year, the title I spent the most amount of time with is a good old PC game (suck it PC haters). My game of the year for 2011 is none other than Minecraft, the indie game with a heart of gold, proof that PC gaming is not dead, and that creativity still has a place in modern gaming (land of the brown shaded FPS’s) and proof that you don’t need cutting edge graphics to be the number one thing games are supposed to be, fun. Minecraft with its creativity and originality is above all just that, fun, and that is why I have spent countless hours just digging and building, and why when I was asked about Game of the Year, the only game that entered my mind at the time was Minecraft, my 2011 Game of the Year.
Most Anticipated Game for 2012 – Borderlands 2
Game of the year? That’s an easy one considering my lack of a real console (I only had a Wii until a week ago). It’s definitely Portal 2.
So why Portal 2 as opposed to the few other real games I played this year? After all, I did get to play LA Noir, Pokémon White, Skyward Sword and a bunch of iOS games… What made Portal the obvious choice above the others? I think for me it all came down to pacing.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about by pacing I mean the timing of the story in each game, and how fast or slow it progresses. For Pokémon White the pacing was waaaay too slow. I was bored most of the time. For LA Noir the pacing was a bit too fast. I felt like there was too much going on, and because of that I stopped caring about the characters and plot. As for the newest addition to the Zelda series, the timing was just plain fucked. Sometimes there would be so much going on that I’d need to stop and take a break. At other times I’d be infuriated that I was going to have to repeat the same boring boss fight, and completely lose interest.
As for Portal? The pacing was perfect. Just as the puzzles were becoming a bit too routine something would happen and I’d be in a completely different place. The comic pacing was right on as well. Wheatley is my fucking favourite… Seriously Stephen Merchant voiced him fucking perfectly. And don’t even get me started on Cave Johnson… But I digress! The game was super long (at least compared to the first Portal) and at no point was I bored, rushed or anything except perfectly content to keep playing it. Pacing = Perfect!
Obviously there were other things about Portal 2 besides pacing that made it awesome. The co-op was soooo much fun. Not only that, but it showed people that you didn’t have to be good at games where you are a space marine with a big gun in order to play with your friends. At least that’s what it showed me. I’ve never had much interest in playing video games with others until this game came about.
This is also a game that showed the industry that PC isn’t dead quite yet. Most people (myself included… or maybe it’s just me. Who knows?) really only pay attention to console releases. Portal 2, although released for PC, X-Box and PS3, sold the most on the computer. I’m fairly certain that is a first in the gaming world. Especially with such a popular game.
The game also somehow managed to live up to the original Portal. I personally thought that this was impossible. Portal 2 expanded on the things I liked, added new stuff to keep it fresh, made it longer (thank god!) and still retained the spirit behind Portal without relying on jokes about cake. For me, this game trumps its predecessor. I know that not everyone feels that way, but whichever you liked best, I’m sure that you enjoyed both of them.
The final reason that Portal 2 was my GOTY (which is purely subjective) is ALL OF THOSE CUTE FUCKING ROBOTS!!!! Oh my god, this game was not good for my robo-obsession. I want my very own Wheatley. Someone give me one!
Most Anticipated Game for 2012 – The Last of Us
My GOTY is Gears of War 3.
I like my games on rails, and that is what this one does. It is an easy shooter to pick up, and tweaks a great formula to perfection. And the homoeroticism is dialed up to 11. “DOM, DOM!!!! NOOOOO!!!!”
You get some new great weapons and it is a decent end to the series. And how much fun is finding great new ways to slaughter Locust? Plus, you get to see an emo-bitch die.
To be fair, Batman: Arkham City SHOULD be GOTY, but I have not played it all that much, as I am slogging through Halo: Reach (which bores me to tears).
As for the future? I sure as hell hope the Mechwarrior game that has been in production for umpteen years gets released. Check this sweet ass trailer out:
Since Gears of War 3 came out I didn’t have a compelling urge to purchase any other games (even though the Battlefield 3 demo was amazing) and played nothing else for 3 months. For those people that like the Gears of War series the game probably resonates very well. For those that don’t there probably isn’t anything that will convert you. As a fan of co-op, being able to play with 3 other friends throughout the entire campaign (not just some missions like COD:WAW) this is hugely awesome. A lot of people feel the campaign is more of the same from previous games and while they are not wrong it still is a ton of fun especially when playing with your buddies.
The new arcade mode is a game style where players compete to earn the most points. While mainly for bragging rights it changes how you play that particular mode. Instead of trying to stay alive in half-wall cover all the time you race around trying to kill the baddies before everyone else. The online verses mode really doesn’t change that much from previous games other than the addition of new weapons and new maps. What really has held my attention has been the new improved Horde mode. The surviving 50 waves remain the same from GOW2 however now you can build bases, turrets, purchase weapons and fortify. You get to level up weapons and defenses and it gives the Horde mode more depth. If you love the GOW series you will have to agree this is the best game this year.
Most Anticipated Game for 2012 – Transformers: The Fall of Cybertron
My GOTY is Bastion the XBLA release from the summer. This game is one of the few that didn’t all together strike me as my GOTY, maybe it was because it’s an XBLA game or maybe because that the end of the year held so many amazing games for me but after much mental deliberation, it was obvious.
Bastion for all of you that don’t know was created by Super Giant Games a small studio that put their heart and souls into making this game. For a more in-depth look at that, take a look at Giant Bombs build up to Bastions launch with Building the Bastion.
At first glance Bastion is reminiscent of a very high quality super Nintendo game, comparable to a Secrets of Mana with its isometric view. You play as the Kid who awakes to his entire world literally collapsing around him. But before you even move your silent protagonist a deep, honey tongued voice narrates the scene. As you start to move around you realize the narrator is giving lines on exactly what you are moving and tackling environments. It’s a neat trick that you will assume will begin to taper out or wear thin within minutes. 5-7 hours later after completing the game that voice is still with you giving of 100′s if not 1000’s of unique lines of dialogue some of which only pertain to a very specific instances.
Aside from the generally stupendous story telling and world building the game does outstandingly. The combat is easy enough to pick with light and heavy moves out of any brawler while having the depth and intuitiveness of a first class fighting game. The weapons though only limited to 11 in total carry a variety of tactics and combinations that are all viable and opened up enough for anyone to try.
Bastion without a doubt is my game of the year. Even though it doesn’t have the highest graphical quality or huge sprawling worlds and even a somewhat linear path of progression none of that mattered because it provided a fun, compelling world that appreciated my time.
Most Anticipated Game for 2012 – BioShock Infinite
Frankly I am having the hardest time deciding. On any given day I could say my game of the year was Portal 2 or MineCraft or LA Noire. Well not LA Noire. We may have talked about it a lot but it isn’t my game of the year at all. When it comes down to my final decision it can only be one game. Skyrim. And you want to know something?
I haven’t played it yet.
Here’s the thing. We got the game for my fiance. She loved Oblivion and was dying for Skyrim. I’m not big into fantasy games or the fantasy genre itself (outside of my need to play Dungeons & Dragons with people. Offer is still open btw). The Hobbit trailer made me go meh. In fact it looks terrible. Lord of the Rings itself are one great movie, one mediocre and one terrible. In that order. Fantasy just doesn’t appeal to me.
When we first started Skyrim and I saw the detail put into the game I was blown away. The voice acting is top notch, the story compelling. The amount of choices available to the player is overwhelming. Want to play as a foot soldier (tank) for a few dozen hours? Sure. Get bored of hack and slash and want to be a powerful mage after that? Go right ahead. You can literally do whatever the hell you want.
Since the games release I’ve come home most nights and been able to watch Jena play. I’ve watched the story unfold and felt like I was watching a movie. I was that girl. I’ve seen the world and seen how she plays it and I can’t wait to do it myself. I can’t wait to climb mountains or assassinate elves or slay dragons or be benevolent or malevolent. All as a giant walking talking Cat. The game is that amazing.
The game may not appeal to everyone. You may not feel like you have the time to delve into it. But make time. Stop playing all the other games listed above and play this. It maybe the only game you need for a long, long time.
Most Anticipated Game for 2012 – Mass Effect 3