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Giant Bomb's 2011 Game of the Year Awards: Day Three

The awards are back and ready to steamroller their way right into your heart with what might be the longest category name in the history of category names, our annual tribute to one of gaming's most reliable voices, and more!

Day three of Giant Bomb's Game of the Year 2011 is under way! Looking for further illumination into our decisions? Look no further than our latest deliberation podcast!

Best Competitive Multiplayer

Battlefield 3

A great competitive multiplayer game has multiple, disparate masters to serve. Something that might be fun to goof and with your friends in on the weekends might not present the necessary depth to keep you coming back night after night, testing new strategies and shaving points off your kill/death ratio. On the other hand, a hardcore tactical game might require such a stiff time commitment to get good enough to even have fun that it might spook the more casual players. It's a delicate balance, and one that's difficult to obtain.

Battlefield 3 manages to strike a balance--all within the context of a chaotic 64-player firefight, no less--by giving everyone something to do. Whether it's precision sniping, leading a small tactical group, providing medical support, or manning the gunner position in an attack helicopter, the variety is rich, and doesn't favor any one play style too heavily. The scope of the battles, in addition to being fairly impressive technically, also means that if you're still learning how to effectively handle that F/A 18 Super Hornet, your team isn't overly penalized. Compound all that with a strong and sticky player progression system, plus the excellently implemented Battlelog system, and Battlefield 3 is an easy choice for Best Competitive Multiplayer.

Runners-Up: Assassin's Creed: Revelations, You Don't Know Jack

Best Use of Nolan North

Portal 2

Our Best Use of Nolan North award--that's "The Northies," for short--gets harder and harder to judge every year. While his starring role in the Uncharted series continues to impress and, yes, earns a nomination this year, it's great to see little bits of America's Favorite Voice Actor showing up in unexpected places doing unexpected things. That's what made North's performance as the Penguin in Batman: Arkham City so exciting, but that spirit goes even further with North's multiple robotic roles in Portal 2.

Whether it's his brief bits as "Rick" the Adventure Sphere, the Fact Sphere, the Space Sphere, or the broken turrets that populate much of the game, the quality of the performance shines through. That's extra-impressive when you consider all the effects thrown onto the voices in Portal 2 to make them sound more like computer people. Oh, and it certainly doesn't hurt that those four roles have almost all of the game's best, funniest lines. We could--and, for a time, actually did--listen to clips from Portal 2's spheres on loop and crack up at it just about every time. And for that, we're both proud to announce Nolan North as this year's winner and sad to have to say "better luck next year" to Mr. North for the runners-up that didn't take home the prize. Congratulations?

Runners-Up: Batman: Arkham City, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Best-Looking Game

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

When it comes to judging visuals, the "fair" way is to separate them along technical and artistic lines, which allows you to give some dap to whatever the hot new engine technology is while not forgetting that without proper artists doing proper art, those engines are essentially useless. But we never said these awards were fair. So we've continued to conflate those two things into one category, mostly to make it harder on ourselves. But when one game can do both really well, even this task becomes fairly easy.

The Witcher 2: Assassin's of Kings is one of those games that reminds you why the PC's inherent hardware advantage can be so spectacular. It certainly doesn't hurt that it's hitting when we're at the tail end of a generation of consoles, which only allows CD Projekt's gem of an RPG to stand out that much more. The art team has crammed this world full of some fantastic-looking characters that stand out whether you're running around the world or partaking in a cutscene. Outstanding models, nice effects, and a technical side that allows it all to run at an outstanding frame rate on the right configuration makes this a beautiful game from every angle. It'll be interesting to see what corners need to be cut to get a game that looks this great running on consoles next year.

Runners-Up: Rayman Origins, Dead Space 2

The “Check Yourself Before You Wriggety-Wreck Yourself” Award for Things That Need to "Take a Break" Before They Become the “Worst Trend”

Sequel Fatigue

In the past, we've awarded a "Take A Break" offering to franchises that just feel like they're wearing out their welcome while also delivering a "Worst Trend" for the nastiest things happening to the business behind the games we play. This year, we felt a little more alarmist about the way some things are heading these days, leading to what we're fairly certain is the longest, dumbest category name we've ever had.

Capcom's long-running trend of re-releasing its games with a bit of extra content went to new lows this year with the ultra-quick turnaround on Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. And the way EA seems to be slapping the BioWare brand onto any studio or game that isn't making a football game or a shooter certainly has us wary about where one of gaming's most trusted studio names is heading. But in the end, the thing that got to us the most in 2011 is that feeling that this year's sequels just aren't doing it like last year's sequels did.

With Brad bumming out on Batman: Arkham City's open-world additions, Ryan finding this year's Assassin's Creed lacking, Patrick's issues with Uncharted 3's shooting and overall pacing, and Jeff's general malaise about the quality of this year's Call of Duty release, it seems like the new models just ain't doing it like the last ones did. Chalk it up to the length of this generation of hardware and the notion that studios are probably holding their big guns back for an assumed 2013 console launch if you must. But regardless of the reasons, it's the thing that cast the most ominous shadow over gaming for us this year. So let's just hope we're getting worked up over nothing and carry on, OK?

Runners Up: BioWare Infinite, Capcom Re-Releases

Best Use of 3

Gears of War 3

As the cost of making games has gone up, the desire to stretch out a franchise just one more time becomes really appealing. The easiest way to keep people on the hook is by hiding story secrets until the next one, then dangling even juicier details if players come on board with the next game, too. Then, when a developer finally decides to spill those closely guarded answers, you risk disappointing everyone in the process!

We were genuinely surprised how much closure Epic Games gave players with Gears of War 3. Sure, at least one prominent mythology question was strangely ignored, but when the screen faded to black in Gears of War 3, it was clear that the story of Marcus Fenix had come to an end. There was no dangling, groan-inducing cliffhanger, and nothing after the credits.

When a series is still hugely successful and breaking sales records, to say "no, we've told the story we wanted to tell, and now it's time for something new" is a decision worth applauding. There will be another Gears of War game eventually, but now we've been primed for a totally new experience, and that's incredibly exciting.

Runners-Up: Saints Row: The Third, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

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Posted by Brad

Day three of Giant Bomb's Game of the Year 2011 is under way! Looking for further illumination into our decisions? Look no further than our latest deliberation podcast!

Best Competitive Multiplayer

Battlefield 3

A great competitive multiplayer game has multiple, disparate masters to serve. Something that might be fun to goof and with your friends in on the weekends might not present the necessary depth to keep you coming back night after night, testing new strategies and shaving points off your kill/death ratio. On the other hand, a hardcore tactical game might require such a stiff time commitment to get good enough to even have fun that it might spook the more casual players. It's a delicate balance, and one that's difficult to obtain.

Battlefield 3 manages to strike a balance--all within the context of a chaotic 64-player firefight, no less--by giving everyone something to do. Whether it's precision sniping, leading a small tactical group, providing medical support, or manning the gunner position in an attack helicopter, the variety is rich, and doesn't favor any one play style too heavily. The scope of the battles, in addition to being fairly impressive technically, also means that if you're still learning how to effectively handle that F/A 18 Super Hornet, your team isn't overly penalized. Compound all that with a strong and sticky player progression system, plus the excellently implemented Battlelog system, and Battlefield 3 is an easy choice for Best Competitive Multiplayer.

Runners-Up: Assassin's Creed: Revelations, You Don't Know Jack

Best Use of Nolan North

Portal 2

Our Best Use of Nolan North award--that's "The Northies," for short--gets harder and harder to judge every year. While his starring role in the Uncharted series continues to impress and, yes, earns a nomination this year, it's great to see little bits of America's Favorite Voice Actor showing up in unexpected places doing unexpected things. That's what made North's performance as the Penguin in Batman: Arkham City so exciting, but that spirit goes even further with North's multiple robotic roles in Portal 2.

Whether it's his brief bits as "Rick" the Adventure Sphere, the Fact Sphere, the Space Sphere, or the broken turrets that populate much of the game, the quality of the performance shines through. That's extra-impressive when you consider all the effects thrown onto the voices in Portal 2 to make them sound more like computer people. Oh, and it certainly doesn't hurt that those four roles have almost all of the game's best, funniest lines. We could--and, for a time, actually did--listen to clips from Portal 2's spheres on loop and crack up at it just about every time. And for that, we're both proud to announce Nolan North as this year's winner and sad to have to say "better luck next year" to Mr. North for the runners-up that didn't take home the prize. Congratulations?

Runners-Up: Batman: Arkham City, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Best-Looking Game

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

When it comes to judging visuals, the "fair" way is to separate them along technical and artistic lines, which allows you to give some dap to whatever the hot new engine technology is while not forgetting that without proper artists doing proper art, those engines are essentially useless. But we never said these awards were fair. So we've continued to conflate those two things into one category, mostly to make it harder on ourselves. But when one game can do both really well, even this task becomes fairly easy.

The Witcher 2: Assassin's of Kings is one of those games that reminds you why the PC's inherent hardware advantage can be so spectacular. It certainly doesn't hurt that it's hitting when we're at the tail end of a generation of consoles, which only allows CD Projekt's gem of an RPG to stand out that much more. The art team has crammed this world full of some fantastic-looking characters that stand out whether you're running around the world or partaking in a cutscene. Outstanding models, nice effects, and a technical side that allows it all to run at an outstanding frame rate on the right configuration makes this a beautiful game from every angle. It'll be interesting to see what corners need to be cut to get a game that looks this great running on consoles next year.

Runners-Up: Rayman Origins, Dead Space 2

The “Check Yourself Before You Wriggety-Wreck Yourself” Award for Things That Need to "Take a Break" Before They Become the “Worst Trend”

Sequel Fatigue

In the past, we've awarded a "Take A Break" offering to franchises that just feel like they're wearing out their welcome while also delivering a "Worst Trend" for the nastiest things happening to the business behind the games we play. This year, we felt a little more alarmist about the way some things are heading these days, leading to what we're fairly certain is the longest, dumbest category name we've ever had.

Capcom's long-running trend of re-releasing its games with a bit of extra content went to new lows this year with the ultra-quick turnaround on Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. And the way EA seems to be slapping the BioWare brand onto any studio or game that isn't making a football game or a shooter certainly has us wary about where one of gaming's most trusted studio names is heading. But in the end, the thing that got to us the most in 2011 is that feeling that this year's sequels just aren't doing it like last year's sequels did.

With Brad bumming out on Batman: Arkham City's open-world additions, Ryan finding this year's Assassin's Creed lacking, Patrick's issues with Uncharted 3's shooting and overall pacing, and Jeff's general malaise about the quality of this year's Call of Duty release, it seems like the new models just ain't doing it like the last ones did. Chalk it up to the length of this generation of hardware and the notion that studios are probably holding their big guns back for an assumed 2013 console launch if you must. But regardless of the reasons, it's the thing that cast the most ominous shadow over gaming for us this year. So let's just hope we're getting worked up over nothing and carry on, OK?

Runners Up: BioWare Infinite, Capcom Re-Releases

Best Use of 3

Gears of War 3

As the cost of making games has gone up, the desire to stretch out a franchise just one more time becomes really appealing. The easiest way to keep people on the hook is by hiding story secrets until the next one, then dangling even juicier details if players come on board with the next game, too. Then, when a developer finally decides to spill those closely guarded answers, you risk disappointing everyone in the process!

We were genuinely surprised how much closure Epic Games gave players with Gears of War 3. Sure, at least one prominent mythology question was strangely ignored, but when the screen faded to black in Gears of War 3, it was clear that the story of Marcus Fenix had come to an end. There was no dangling, groan-inducing cliffhanger, and nothing after the credits.

When a series is still hugely successful and breaking sales records, to say "no, we've told the story we wanted to tell, and now it's time for something new" is a decision worth applauding. There will be another Gears of War game eventually, but now we've been primed for a totally new experience, and that's incredibly exciting.

Runners-Up: Saints Row: The Third, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Staff
Edited by The_BrownGhost

Yeah

EDIT: FUCK YEAHHHH!

Posted by victorferreira128

@The_BrownGhost said:

Yeah

You forgot the "Fuck" before it.

Posted by therealminime

Great awards today and I agree that Nolan North in Portal 2 is pretty brilliant.

Posted by Animasta

HELL YEAH WITCHER

Posted by rjayb89

The day I build a gaming PC is the day I play Witcher 2.

Posted by AlexW00d

Battlefield best MP and Witcher 2 best graphics. Wow. I'm surprised but very glad.

Edited by Sooty

"Capcom's long-running trend of re-releasing its games with a bit of extra content went to new lows this year with the ultra-quick turnaround on Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3."

Doesn't bother met at all. The game got a total overhaul in balance changes, a bunch of new fun characters, new stages, new music, new modes and better online play. That is fine for me at $40. Sure they could have patched the balance changes in, but if they released the new characters, stages and modes as DLC it'd end up costing not much less than the entire retail product. I feel you guys are letting it slip your minds that a disc based compilation with all the changes makes more sense than releasing everything as DLC, it's much more convenient for tournament organisers, and we know how Capcom supports the fighting game community. It seems this will be their last time releasing on disc re-balances of games (so they say, they may eat their words), I think it's an excellent swan song because UMvC3 is amazing.

Posted by Video_Game_King

Damn it. That "it's the same as last year, so IT FUCKING SUCKS" attitude pops up again. Why? Why would you possibly hate something that's exactly the same as something you admitted to being awesome before? Nothing about it has changed, so why should your opinion? And don't you dare say "changing standards", because there's no goddamn way the video game industry can so drastically change in a year, let alone a year at the end of a console cycle with nothing in sight. *continues being angry somewhere else*

Posted by Ketchupp

Oh yeah, Gears 3. I should get around to finishing that.

Edited by Sammo21

Gears of War 3 really is an insane total package. I love the single player, the co-op, the horde, the beast mode, and the multiplayer. In past years I've been really down on the Gears mp modes because of a lack of balance and polish but they've nailed it this time.

I think if Saints Row had a better mp package it would take the cake as its really pushing to be my favorite game of the year.

Uncharted 3 just lost its focus in the last half of the game. Not to mention the gun battles were obnoxious and completely without balance in the last 1/2 of the game. Uncharted 2 is still the best one, but this one is still decent. Needs less combat honestly.

The video for this...is the best thing I've seen all year.

Posted by Daiphyer

Where is the podcast you guys?

Posted by AlKusanagi

And the award for "Best Game of the Year Article Featuring the Use of the Word 'Dap,'" goes to...

Posted by DS23

The faux-fmv nonsense is GENIUS

Posted by whatisdelicious

@Video_Game_King said:

Damn it. That "it's the same as last year, so IT FUCKING SUCKS" attitude pops up again. Why? Why would you possibly hate something that's exactly the same as something you admitted to being awesome before? Nothing about it has changed, so why should your opinion? And don't you dare say "changing standards", because there's no goddamn way the video game industry can so drastically change in a year, let alone a year at the end of a console cycle with nothing in sight. *continues being angry somewhere else*

Case-by-case basis, I think. Assassin's Creed bored me because you're literally doing the exact same actions you did in the last one, same button presses and all, but Call of Duty I thought was still really fucking awesome. Then again, I always skip the Treyarch games, so maybe I'm just not as burnt out on the franchise. But it's still a bummer to see Call of Duty completely get the shrift here. It's still a pretty awesome game, just like the last two Modern Warfare games were.

Posted by MrGtD

I'm amazed RAGE isn't even a runner-up for Best Looking, I'd figure Brad would be fighting hard for it. Maybe Dead Space 2 was a peace offering.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@whatisdelicious:

That still doesn't make a lot of sense. You didn't really provide any reasons for why Assassin's Creed gets the shaft but Modern Warfare doesn't. Assassin's Creed II was awesome, so if they keep doing that, what's the problem? (Oh, and Modern Warfare hasn't been exactly the same through each installment. The first one was awesome, the second way too action movie-y and patriotic, and the third dialed it back a bit.)

Posted by Scarlet_Rogue

Where's the podcast?

Posted by Korolev

@Video_Game_King said:

Damn it. That "it's the same as last year, so IT FUCKING SUCKS" attitude pops up again. Why? Why would you possibly hate something that's exactly the same as something you admitted to being awesome before? Nothing about it has changed, so why should your opinion? And don't you dare say "changing standards", because there's no goddamn way the video game industry can so drastically change in a year, let alone a year at the end of a console cycle with nothing in sight. *continues being angry somewhere else*

Hey, hey, woah there! They didn't say "IT SUCKS" - they just said that it's not as special if you've seen it before. Uncharted 3, Gears of War 3, Modern Warfare 3, Infamous 2, and all the rest of the myriad sequels that came out this year are pretty good.... it's just that they've made less of an impact on most of us.

As for "Changing Standards" - that's part of the problem. If they could make such a radical overhaul from Uncharted 1 to Uncharted 2, why not from Uncharted 2 to Uncharted 3? The video game industry has proven that they CAN change their standards in a year. It might be very stressful for them to do so, but they can.

I don't know where you are getting the "hate" part from. They didn't say they hated Uncharted 3, Gears of War 3 or any of the other sequels. They merely said that it has made less of an impact than some of the newer stuff that's come out.

Posted by Darkecho117

These videos are just getting more and more amazing. Great work Giantbomb!

Posted by freakin9

Witcher 2 might be my game of the year, even though I readily admit the combat was often lacking. I definitely plan a replay of that game once I feel enough time has passed from my last replay. I know a whole mess of dlc was released since then.

Posted by Cogzwell

Well scientifically Saints Row 3 is better than Gears of War 3 because scientifically speaking using tons of science GEARS OF WAR IS BORING AND SLOW.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Korolev:

Perhaps that was an exaggeration, but the central idea is still there: it's not as good because I've seen it before. I simply don't understand that logic. Nothing has changed, so why should the opinion? If it's the same, why is it worse? (Although I haven't played Uncharted games, I understand that Uncharted 1 was similar to Uncharted 2, and 2 to 3, so why does 3 get the worse opinion?) That "special" feeling feels really subjective and purposefully hard to pin down, so why should it have any effect on the opinion we give a game? If you're admitting that it's the same as another game, then why give it a different score?

Posted by PerfidiousSinn

When I saw the nominees, I was a little surprised that Gears won "Best Use of 3". But it does make sense. It's the only one on the list that is 100% undeniably better than the previous game in the series. SRTT and UC3 both have some unfortunate letdowns and lost a little of the magic from the second installments, but Gears improved in every area.

Edited by Curufinwe

"With Brad bumming out on Batman: Arkham City's open-world additions"

The problem is with Brad, not the game. Being able to fly all over the city with the grapnel boost showed just how limited and tied-down Batman was in Arkham Asylum. Combine that with the improved combat and far superior boss fights, and Arkham City is by far the better game.

Edited by Humanity

@Video_Game_King said:

@whatisdelicious:

That still doesn't make a lot of sense. You didn't really provide any reasons for why Assassin's Creed gets the shaft but Modern Warfare doesn't. Assassin's Creed II was awesome, so if they keep doing that, what's the problem? (Oh, and Modern Warfare hasn't been exactly the same through each installment. The first one was awesome, the second way too action movie-y and patriotic, and the third dialed it back a bit.)

I'd say it's because First Person Shooters give you a certain amount of satisfaction just from the act of shooting. The skill involved in killing baddies even in Single Player is the key excitement as well as going through these very uniquely crafted set pieces. You're running through a sub, on a falling building, skydiving whatever. In AC games you get dumped in a city and while it's exciting at first you get to a point where you go across town to your mission memory start - they tell you to go across to the other side of town to get to this guy, there might be some stalking or direct confrontation and then rinse repeat. Effectively you are stuck in the same location, and the AC cities look more or less the same no matter what part of town you're at. At that point game mechanics need to keep you interested and those haven't changed since AC2. I mean Ezio is an old guy now and they didn't even give him slightly different animations for anything. I think it's a shame personally because the Assassins Creed universe is SO crazy theres tons of potential to introduce novel exciting ideas into the gameplay and they're just churning them out now. The best they came up with was the Desmond Journey, which while I enjoyed a lot of people didn't and the Den Defense minigame which was universally hated.

Posted by GaspoweR

@Video_Game_King said:

@whatisdelicious:

That still doesn't make a lot of sense. You didn't really provide any reasons for why Assassin's Creed gets the shaft but Modern Warfare doesn't. Assassin's Creed II was awesome, so if they keep doing that, what's the problem? (Oh, and Modern Warfare hasn't been exactly the same through each installment. The first one was awesome, the second way too action movie-y and patriotic, and the third dialed it back a bit.)

Played MW 3 over the weekend and I was just bored with it...like really bored with it. AC Revelations though was a fun game for me. So it really depends on what kind of genres people really like. I really like the AC franchise and it surprises me how high the production values are in this game though yeah I was waiting for a price drop not necessarily because I was bored but because I was already spending a lot on games this year and I'm glad that the price drop came via Amazon. But other than that, I really think it is a case by case basis.

MW3 might be a great game by its own right but they could really do something new with it since really it just feels boring to me now. Oh yeah, I am big COD fan since COD 2 on the PC and I've played a lot of the games since then. Mostly COD 4 after COD 2 but that was pretty much it. Got burnt out with MW 2 though. Lastly, the fact that IW debacle happened has also colored my interest towards the franchise. If the same guys who got fired didn't fight tooth and nail for COD 4 then it would have never came out...so just because they wanted to do something different other than the COD games and for various other reasons they get shafted. It's just a god damn shame on Activision's part.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Humanity:

First off, don't spoil things about the game that aren't immediately obvious, as I haven't played them. Second, if this is such a major problem with the series, why hasn't it come up before? Why is this just a problem right now instead of when everybody was playing Assassin's Creed II? Shouldn't these types of problems still be visible when you're first playing the game? It's hard to say "oh, because I've played essentially the same game multiple times already, I'm more familiar with it and its flaws" because not only does it make you look like a shitty reviewer (assuming that you're reviewing the game or whatever (not too large a leap for the sake of this argument)), but it's an 8-80 hour game; that's probably enough time to become familiar with it.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@GaspoweR:

But let's pretend, for the sake of argument, that I haven't played a Call of Duty game in my life. How would these arguments apply to me? The game couldn't be shit to me because it's the same as previous games, because I have no reference point for those previous games. Quality should not be something that requires context. It should be apparent and concerned with itself. The game could be shit for other reasons (maybe the load times are crap, or the menus are clunky (again, just for argument)), but other games shouldn't come into play in this. And while I'm on a streak, how would introducing something new to the series improve its quality in any way? Sonic the Hedgehog has been pretty dynamic as a series (Heroes had the partner system, Shadow the Hedgehog had a morality system, the on-rails games were...on rails), but its quality was fairly crap for a long-ass time. Improving on flaws present in a game is certainly valid, but introducing new ideas "just because" is not solid game design.

Posted by kennybaese

I need to go listen to the podcast to hear why Dead Space was a runner up for Best Looking. I can see why, I think, but it didn't impress me much, at least not compared to some of the other games I've played this year.

Posted by Humanity

@Video_Game_King said:

@Humanity:

First off, don't spoil things about the game that aren't immediately obvious, as I haven't played them. Second, if this is such a major problem with the series, why hasn't it come up before? Why is this just a problem right now instead of when everybody was playing Assassin's Creed II? Shouldn't these types of problems still be visible when you're first playing the game? It's hard to say "oh, because I've played essentially the same game multiple times already, I'm more familiar with it and its flaws" because not only does it make you look like a shitty reviewer (assuming that you're reviewing the game or whatever (not too large a leap for the sake of this argument)), but it's an 8-80 hour game; that's probably enough time to become familiar with it.

Well you'll be happy to know I didn't spoil anything that wasn't immediately obvious! I'm not sure how it goes when reviewing titles for a score. Certainly if AC:R is the first AC game you have ever played then your opinion of it would be a lot higher than if you've been playing through the series from the very start. I think the difference is that I played AC1, AC2, skipped Brotherhood and then bought Revelations and I felt as if I was essentially playing AC2 all over again. Thats WITH having skipped a game in the series. I've played every Call of Duty game in the series (literally even 1-3 on the PC) and MW3 would still have a fresh story for me that leaves me guessing as to what crazy stuff will happen on screen next. If were arguing "do these games stand tall on their own?" then I completely agree that as singular titles they do. If the argument is "do they hold up in against the entirety of the series" then no I guess they don't.

As far as why hasn't anyone said anything before? I don't know. I felt the grind after beating AC2. There was no way I could have kept on playing Brotherhood and enjoyed myself. Similarly Black Ops felt a bit too familiar to me as well. Skyrim feels exactly like Oblivion to me and I see nothing revolutionary about it. Thats me though.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Humanity:

(Something about Desmond looked particularly spoiler-y. Also, why do we keep coming back to Modern Warfare 3?)

I guess that's where we split: games should be able to stand tall on their own. You don't need (and you really shouldn't) need other games to make a game good. I guess the only exception would be from a story perspective, since you have characters to develop and stuff if you want to have a convincing, persistent world.

Although that's what I'm getting at: why do the first games get off the hook for flaws that are (I assume (otherwise, this "sameness" argument would hold no water)) present in their later iterations? If these flaws were present in the original games, then shouldn't you change your opinion of previous games to reflect this? It seems kinda crap (I know that's not a good way of putting it, but I really can't think of anything else).

Posted by nohthink

Meh... I would have picked Uncharted over Dead Space but I can see where they're coming from.

Posted by Mystyr_E

what I want to know since I haven't listened to the podcast but they did they at least MENTION Trine 2 in best looking because that would be criminal

Posted by bemusedchunk

strap it on.

Posted by Humanity

@Video_Game_King: I completely understand what you mean. That sort of argument just can't work when you're playing something for the first time though. AC1 got a lot of flack from players for the fact that it was the same formula repeated for a dozen boss figures. I think it's impossible to look at a game from a long running series and not judge it based on the whole picture. You can't just cherry pick Mario Kart 7 out of the entire series and say wow THIS unique karting game is pretty astounding. Also you can't go back and downgrade the score of an earlier game based on how it's sequel is lacking in innovation. Thats just crazy talk.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Humanity:

I'm not saying any of that, though, I think. You can certainly look at Mario Kart 7 alone and say "hey, this is a pretty cool game" for reasons intrinsic to the game itself, like awesome levels or good online play. What I was saying before was that if you find a flaw in, say, Majora's Mask, and you admit that it's pretty much the same as Ocarina of Time, then you're forced to downgrade your opinion of Ocarina of Time (unless you can explain why this is only a problem in Majora's Mask (again, intrinsic to the game itself)). It's not a manner of innovation (change is not qualitative, but what the change is certainly is qualitative), but of how ell the game mechanics operate in terms of what they are trying to achieve.

Edited by spazmaster666

I think the bigger problem with a game like Modern Warfare 3 isn't necessarily that it has a relatively boring (at least gameplay wise) single player campaign but the fact that they're still using the same engine (though obviously modified) as they used in COD4, which itself is basically a modified COD2 engine, which was basically the Quake 3 engine. So they are essentially still utilizing 12-13 year old tech as the core of their engine. That for me is the problem with annualized sequels: they just don't have time to build all new tech. I would bet that if Modern Warfare 3 had been built on newer technology it wouldn't feel as bland as it did when I playing it on the PC. Obviously that wouldn't fix the story but it would at least give them more opportunities to maybe change up the gameplay. 
 
I think the guys hit the nail on the head during the podcast: we really are in the tail end of this generation and it does look like it will take the next gen of console hardware before we start seeing some real innovation again at least within the top tier of video game dev houses. 
 
Anyway, glad that Witcher 2 won best looking game though I would have to personally disagree with the guys brushing off Crysis 2 so quickly as that game looks phenomenal when running at the highest settings on the PC, especially with the DX11 patch (and still looks damn good on the 360 as well, probably as good as Gears of War 3 did). It looks even better than Battlefield 3 in my opinion, though not on as large of a scale obviously (but arguably with a better aesthetic).

Posted by ZarakixKenpachi

Best categories ever. MW3 wasn't even a runner up for Best Competitive Multiplayer, which I guess reinforces the whole sequel fatigue notion. Also, "Bioware Infinite" is genius and what's up with the french MW3 screenshot?

It's pretty interesting (and sad) how quickly Capcom has made people hate them so much. I'm really annoyed with all their re-releases now, but think back to 2009; they released RE5 AND SFIV, and even had a decent Bionic Commando release. They just got greedy.

Posted by rjayb89

Sequel Fatigue more like Annual Games, broo.

Posted by Sunesha

Nolan is always good..

Posted by Little_Socrates

@Video_Game_King said:

Damn it. That "it's the same as last year, so IT FUCKING SUCKS" attitude pops up again. Why? Why would you possibly hate something that's exactly the same as something you admitted to being awesome before? Nothing about it has changed, so why should your opinion? And don't you dare say "changing standards", because there's no goddamn way the video game industry can so drastically change in a year, let alone a year at the end of a console cycle with nothing in sight. *continues being angry somewhere else*

Part of the reason Saints Row: The Third is so awesome is because it promises that Saints 4 will be even crazier than the last. If Saints 4 turns out to still just be doing the same side missions and is more of "the same," that's a problem because of what the previous game promises. Assassin's Creed has actively gotten smaller in its improvements from year to year through its annualization, as has Call of Duty; in terms of storytelling, both franchises have gotten worse. There's also an award for the "Best 3" in the bunch, so it's less offensive, right?

Posted by Hashbrowns

@Curufinwe said:

"With Brad bumming out on Batman: Arkham City's open-world additions"

The problem is with Brad, not the game. Being able to fly all over the city with the grapnel boost showed just how limited and tied-down Batman was in Arkham Asylum. Combine that with the improved combat and far superior boss fights, and Arkham City is by far the better game.

Absolutely. I'm completely flabbergasted whenever Brad complains about the traversal in Arkham City; to the point of finding it hard to believe he played the same game as I did. This recent "backlash" against Arkham City is totally absurd to me, as I can hardly think of a single real solid criticism against the game apart from maybe some frustrating combat moments, but that's pretty iffy itself.

"It's just more Arkham Asylum" is, on its own, meaningless as a criticism. Being similar to the previous game can only be a hindrance if the previous game was specifically flawed. For example, this year many reviewers are finally taking issue with the entertaining but one-and-done smoke and mirrors campaign design in MW3, which was present and obvious since the first CoD game.

Arkham City is a vast improvement on Arkham Asylum in every category, and B:AA was amazing to start with. Density of content, quality of content, and quantity are all outstanding: Music, art design, audio, technical execution, traversal, fluid combat, writing, voice acting... from top to bottom.

I hate to oversell B:AC, but it really is that good.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Little_Socrates:

That seems like an assholeish way to game reviewing. It would be like getting mad at me because of a promsie somebody else made referencing me. What kind of control do I have over that?

More on topic, though, you probably shouldn't judge a game on improvements made regarding the previous game. If anything, a game series that is staying the same should look like this, not this. (That's assuming that the only changes that are made are responses to criticisms, and that no new criticisms don't arise. I know, but I just wanted to discuss this in purely mathematical terms.) However, crapper stories are definitely a valid reason for rating those games lower, as that represents a change to something that would affect the quality of the game.

Edited by dwang

Reviews are subjective and not objective fact. So if it is someones personal opinion that playing the same game mechanics over and over isn't fun that is their experience who are you to say they are wrong.

Posted by BurgerTrench

Sad that El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron didn't even get a mention during the "Best Looking Game" segment. Certainly one of the most original looking games this year, and maybe ever. Otherwise, good work guys.

Posted by Gizmo

I fucking love that Trackmania 2 has got a mention.

That game is fucking amazing, and the Giantbomb Official classic server is the fucking shit. You should all buy that game and get on this server, right fucking now.

Edited by Curufinwe

@Hashbrowns: According to his Achievements, Brad didn't play Arkham City long enough to get the AR Knight Achievement and unlock the grapnel boost. Perhaps Rocksteady should have made doing that mandatory, because the grapnel boost transforms the game.

Wow... Alex and Ryan also never got the grapnel boost, and Ryan finished the story!

Edited by Dixavd

My Picks:

Best Competitive Multiplayer: Assassin's Creed: Revelations

Runners-Up: Trackmania 2, Mario Kart 7

Best Use of Nolan North: Portal 2

Runners-Up: Asssassin's Creed: Revelations, Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception

Best Looking game: Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Runners-Up: Trine 2, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

The “Check Yourself Before You Wriggety-Wreck Yourself” Award for Things That Need to "Take a Break" Before They Become the “Worst Trend”: Every game having multiplayer and a single player componant

Runners-up: Releasing broken games/relying on patches, Turret Sections

Best Use of 3: Gears of War 3

Runners-Up: Saints Row the Third, Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception

Posted by Kud_Dukan

Very good choices! I really should download The Witcher 2 off Steam and finally play it...

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