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Giant Bomb's Game of the Year 2010: Day Four

It's the Story of the Worst Trend at an Eastern Bloc Party for the Nintendo DS! Or something!

Step into the sausage factory with our Day Four Deliberation Podcast to find out how these ridiculous choices got made!

Character We'd Most Like To Party With  

  

The Illusive Man 


Have you seen where this guy lives? As far as we can tell, he's got an apartment orbiting its own star. Do you understand what kind of blue alien ladies you can pull into a room with that kind of view? The Illusive Man doesn't just know how to party, he throws the slickest soiree this side of the Omega IV relay. He's a fixture on the cover of Galactic Quarterly. Realistically, the Illusive Man is too classy for us to party with--but we should all aspire to be more than we are, right?  

         
In all seriousness, the Illusive Man doesn't just know how to enjoy the finer things in life. This is a guy who gets things done, and doesn't let petty ethical quibbles or alien opposition stand in his way. He's a man of singular vision and unending drive, a strong personality that commands the respect of everyone around him. Plus, he's got robot eyes. That must make for a pretty good conversation piece.

Now, we're realistic enough to know what it would actually be like to party with the Illusive Man. We'd probably be lucky to get in the door at all, and even then the place would be packed with salarian sycophants and asari hangers-on. The Man himself would be sequestered in the VIP room, calling the shots and letting people come to him. It's precisely that elusive mystique that makes the Illusive Man the clear choice for this year's character who best knows how to show people a good time.
 
Runners-up:  Frank Woods John Vignocchi
 

Dave's Eastern Bloc Game of the Year 

 

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

 
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is a recognizable franchise at this point. While that may seem like a simple statement for most of us, for Ukrainian developer GSC Game World it proves that they're finally maturing into a major, international player in the realm of video game development. While Call of Pripyat differs little from the previous two games in the series in terms of gameplay, it's surprising nonetheless for how polished and complete it feels. Considering the famous stability and technical problems that plague other games made in the region, it marks the moment when you can almost see this series going mainstream in its next iteration. This is a great shooter that blends the FPS/RPG hybrid in a natural, realistic way that in many facets is the polar opposite of the Fallout series--the game it is most often compared to.

Make no mess about it, Call of Pripyat is definitely an RPG. While the game eschews the normal experience system found in similar games, it rewards exploration and quest completion with a constant progression of weapons and armor that make a real impact on your tactics. Add in some excellent day/night mechanics, weapon upgrades, and a real need to eat and drink vodka and you've got one of the most hardcore RPGs released in the past year. While Call of Pripyat could benefit from some instruction or hand-holding in the early game (it pretty much just drops you into the world) this feels like a natural progression in difficulty for those players who enjoy Bethesda or BioWare-style open-world games and want something more combat-focused. The fact that we can make that recommendation without also adding the normal caveat of "as long as you're OK with it being kind of broken" makes us feel pretty good this year. 
 
Runners-up: Metro 2033, Machinarium 
 

Worst Trend


Retailer-Specific Pre-Order Bonuses 

 
This just seems like the worst-case scenario coming to pass. Who are the people most likely to pre-order a game? We're guessing it's people that are already fans of whatever it is you're selling. These guys, as it turns out, are usually the people who are excited enough to want every single piece of content surrounding a game. So what's the best way to disenfranchise a game's biggest fans? By telling them that they actually can't get every single piece of content unless they're willing to do something drastic, like pre-order three copies of the game to get every single silly little download code. 

Look, we don't mean to be thick-headed here. We get it, pre-orders of games have become a necessary evil, giving retailers clear signs of how many copies they need to buy from a publisher for the months ahead, and the best way to goose those numbers is to entice people into a specific store with the right kind of loot. But this practice is making games worse, not better. The industry needs to stop punishing its most ardent followers and make pre-order bonuses generic across all retailers.
 
Runners-up: Social Network Support, Eco Boxes

Best Story 


Red Dead Redemption

 
Rockstar Games has been the standard-bearer for gritty, sophisticated storytelling in video games for nigh-on a decade now, but it delivers something surprisingly personal with Red Dead Redemption, a game that celebrates the bitter, fascinating revisionist Western as defined by dark, thoughtful material like Unforgiven and Deadwood. The story of John Marston's bloody search for redemption--or, at the very least, some measure of peace for his young family--in this most volatile of settings puts him both up against and in league with a colorful cast of thoroughly compromised characters, each despicably human in their own unique ways.
 
Admittedly, much of the game has Marston serving as an errand-boy for scoundrels, but the game's exploration of themes like the encroachment of modern life on the frontier, plus a series of quietly surprising turns in the narrative, set Red Dead Redemption apart even from the nasty genre stylings of the Grand Theft Auto series.
 
Runners-up: Mass Effect 2 Alan Wake

Best DS-Only Game

 

Picross 3D

 
The best handheld games are still the ones that can fill any length of time effectively. Whether you've got five minutes or five hours, Picross 3D is the sort of thing that just swallows time, filling the gaps between car rides, busses, trains, toilet trips, whatever. Picross 3D's brand of logic puzzle isn't always the most difficult, but chiseling out all of those little block puzzles is the most engaging and downright addictive thing we did with a Nintendo DS in 2010. 
 
It's got a ton of puzzles, but you can also go in and create your own and get new puzzles from other players or go online and grab free new puzzles from Nintendo. There's actually not much more to say about it other than it's available at a very reasonable price and we recommend you pick up a copy if you haven't already. Picross!

Runners-up:  Super Scribblenauts WarioWare D.I.Y.
  
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Posted by Brad

Step into the sausage factory with our Day Four Deliberation Podcast to find out how these ridiculous choices got made!

Character We'd Most Like To Party With  

  

The Illusive Man 


Have you seen where this guy lives? As far as we can tell, he's got an apartment orbiting its own star. Do you understand what kind of blue alien ladies you can pull into a room with that kind of view? The Illusive Man doesn't just know how to party, he throws the slickest soiree this side of the Omega IV relay. He's a fixture on the cover of Galactic Quarterly. Realistically, the Illusive Man is too classy for us to party with--but we should all aspire to be more than we are, right?  

         
In all seriousness, the Illusive Man doesn't just know how to enjoy the finer things in life. This is a guy who gets things done, and doesn't let petty ethical quibbles or alien opposition stand in his way. He's a man of singular vision and unending drive, a strong personality that commands the respect of everyone around him. Plus, he's got robot eyes. That must make for a pretty good conversation piece.

Now, we're realistic enough to know what it would actually be like to party with the Illusive Man. We'd probably be lucky to get in the door at all, and even then the place would be packed with salarian sycophants and asari hangers-on. The Man himself would be sequestered in the VIP room, calling the shots and letting people come to him. It's precisely that elusive mystique that makes the Illusive Man the clear choice for this year's character who best knows how to show people a good time.
 
Runners-up:  Frank Woods John Vignocchi
 

Dave's Eastern Bloc Game of the Year 

 

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

 
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is a recognizable franchise at this point. While that may seem like a simple statement for most of us, for Ukrainian developer GSC Game World it proves that they're finally maturing into a major, international player in the realm of video game development. While Call of Pripyat differs little from the previous two games in the series in terms of gameplay, it's surprising nonetheless for how polished and complete it feels. Considering the famous stability and technical problems that plague other games made in the region, it marks the moment when you can almost see this series going mainstream in its next iteration. This is a great shooter that blends the FPS/RPG hybrid in a natural, realistic way that in many facets is the polar opposite of the Fallout series--the game it is most often compared to.

Make no mess about it, Call of Pripyat is definitely an RPG. While the game eschews the normal experience system found in similar games, it rewards exploration and quest completion with a constant progression of weapons and armor that make a real impact on your tactics. Add in some excellent day/night mechanics, weapon upgrades, and a real need to eat and drink vodka and you've got one of the most hardcore RPGs released in the past year. While Call of Pripyat could benefit from some instruction or hand-holding in the early game (it pretty much just drops you into the world) this feels like a natural progression in difficulty for those players who enjoy Bethesda or BioWare-style open-world games and want something more combat-focused. The fact that we can make that recommendation without also adding the normal caveat of "as long as you're OK with it being kind of broken" makes us feel pretty good this year. 
 
Runners-up: Metro 2033, Machinarium 
 

Worst Trend


Retailer-Specific Pre-Order Bonuses 

 
This just seems like the worst-case scenario coming to pass. Who are the people most likely to pre-order a game? We're guessing it's people that are already fans of whatever it is you're selling. These guys, as it turns out, are usually the people who are excited enough to want every single piece of content surrounding a game. So what's the best way to disenfranchise a game's biggest fans? By telling them that they actually can't get every single piece of content unless they're willing to do something drastic, like pre-order three copies of the game to get every single silly little download code. 

Look, we don't mean to be thick-headed here. We get it, pre-orders of games have become a necessary evil, giving retailers clear signs of how many copies they need to buy from a publisher for the months ahead, and the best way to goose those numbers is to entice people into a specific store with the right kind of loot. But this practice is making games worse, not better. The industry needs to stop punishing its most ardent followers and make pre-order bonuses generic across all retailers.
 
Runners-up: Social Network Support, Eco Boxes

Best Story 


Red Dead Redemption

 
Rockstar Games has been the standard-bearer for gritty, sophisticated storytelling in video games for nigh-on a decade now, but it delivers something surprisingly personal with Red Dead Redemption, a game that celebrates the bitter, fascinating revisionist Western as defined by dark, thoughtful material like Unforgiven and Deadwood. The story of John Marston's bloody search for redemption--or, at the very least, some measure of peace for his young family--in this most volatile of settings puts him both up against and in league with a colorful cast of thoroughly compromised characters, each despicably human in their own unique ways.
 
Admittedly, much of the game has Marston serving as an errand-boy for scoundrels, but the game's exploration of themes like the encroachment of modern life on the frontier, plus a series of quietly surprising turns in the narrative, set Red Dead Redemption apart even from the nasty genre stylings of the Grand Theft Auto series.
 
Runners-up: Mass Effect 2 Alan Wake

Best DS-Only Game

 

Picross 3D

 
The best handheld games are still the ones that can fill any length of time effectively. Whether you've got five minutes or five hours, Picross 3D is the sort of thing that just swallows time, filling the gaps between car rides, busses, trains, toilet trips, whatever. Picross 3D's brand of logic puzzle isn't always the most difficult, but chiseling out all of those little block puzzles is the most engaging and downright addictive thing we did with a Nintendo DS in 2010. 
 
It's got a ton of puzzles, but you can also go in and create your own and get new puzzles from other players or go online and grab free new puzzles from Nintendo. There's actually not much more to say about it other than it's available at a very reasonable price and we recommend you pick up a copy if you haven't already. Picross!

Runners-up:  Super Scribblenauts WarioWare D.I.Y.
  
Staff
Edited by Grissefar

Day four, a good day.

Posted by nomorehalfmeasuresdoctor

yup

Posted by MooseyMcMan

Dude, how is Deadly Premonition not winner of Best Story, or even one of the runners up? I haven't listened to the BombCast yet, but what the hell!?

Moderator Online
Posted by OldManLight

More goodness. Yay!

Posted by Dany

Hell yeah Red Dead for best story!

Edited by Doctorchimp

I completely agree with Red Dead having a better story than Mass Effect 2. 
 
Man I wonder how that argument went...I can't fucking wait to listen to the podcast....right NOW 
 
EDIT: I guess I can't listen to the podcast right now, eh guess I'll watch the recap.

Posted by MasterVader

I loves me some Picross.

Posted by punkxblaze
@MooseyMcMan said:
" Dude, how is Deadly Premonition not winner of Best Story, or even one of the runners up? I haven't listened to the BombCast yet, but what the hell!? "
If there is not a long and emotional argument over it, I will be sad.
Posted by TheMasterDS

Red Dead is good pick for best Story. Mass Effect 2 really just has Best World Building or Best Supporting Cast, the main story is kinda barebones and universe driven. I'd say the story of Starcraft II is far more compelling because it's character driven with Jimmy being what he is. 
 
I'd have laughed if Deadly Premonitions won the award. I suppose this isn't "Best" Story though.

Posted by Nexas
@MooseyMcMan Because Deadly Premonition's story is aweful. That's what makes it so hilarious.
Posted by drew327

Kind of offended that the RDR story beat out ME2!  Can't wait to hear that discussion on the podcast.  Maybe that will cause them to open Dave's "in case of emergency"...

Posted by Zidd

I'm surprised to see eco-boxes on the list for worst trend. I'm not sure i have heard an opinion either for or against them in a bombcast before (to my knowledge).

Posted by rjayb89

Lol, Johnny Vignocchi.

Posted by warxsnake

Mass Effect 2 had a way better story in my opinion, especially since it is intricately built to work with hundreds of different playstyles and plot decisions. It's one of the most complex and technical pieces of work I've experienced in a game (along with Dragon Age), and the story is incredibly polished given the number of branching storylines, outcomes; other games' stories would cripple under that weight.  
 
While both stories are cliches in their respective genres (RDR being a typical western story, and ME2 being a typical scifi) ME2 had much more going on and way more things to be involved in (codex, backstory, link with ME1, sci fi with a mix of film noire intrigue), and was way more interesting in general. 
 
I'm interested to hear how the argument went down now...

Posted by Fjordson

Excellent choice for Best Story. Only possible answer really.

Posted by Popogeejo

"The duck of judgement." 
Did Ryan just make a Gregory's House of Horror allusion?

Posted by Hailinel

I'm surprised that Red Dead actually won something.

Posted by BasketSnake

Why not party with Jonathan Frakes the devilface?

Posted by KuribosShoe

I just started playing it yesterday, but 999 got robbed for best DS game

Posted by gbrading

Machinarium was released in 2009, so techincally speaking it shouldn't be nominated for Eastern Bloc Game of the Year. That said, it is a fantastic game.
Posted by JJWeatherman

Yaaaay.

Edited by MattyFTM

Next year it will be Johnny V's year!!!!!!

Moderator
Edited by Claude

As much as I liked Mass Effect 2, I thought RDR had a better story too. The way the actors played out their parts in the cutscenes were really well down and put some meat on the story's bones.

Posted by Gung_Ho_Afro

glad Red Dead got the love it deserves, finally

Posted by Ghostiet

Definitely RDR deserved it. It's among the best 5 this year.

Posted by Meltac

In my opinion Metro 2033 should've won, and Machinarium was released October '09

Posted by Pezen

Awesome story-picks.

Edited by Konanda
Posted by LordAndrew
@gbrading said:
"
Machinarium was released in 2009, so techincally speaking it shouldn't be nominated for Eastern Bloc Game of the Year. That said, it is a fantastic game. "
That's like trying to tell people that Minecraft wasn't released this year. I've given up on trying to fight it, now it's time to just embrace it. :)
Posted by mm665

I love Dave.

Posted by benjaebe

Good to see them acknowledge Alan Wake for best story. Granted, it might not be for everyone, but I loved it. Was a bit disappointed not to see Deadly Premonition though. Also, Red Dead won the category? Was Jeff in the bathroom or something? I'll have to listen to the podcast - I'm sure that was an interesting discussion.

Posted by GunslingerPanda

Woah, I love RDR, but certainly not for it's story! It might as well not even have one, to be honest!

"Cowboy doesn't like being a criminal but has to do ONE MORE JOB to save his family" is neither original nor compelling.

Posted by TheKing

Glad to see Rockstar and Red Dead get its due. Easily my favorite game this year if not this gen.

Posted by Jazz
@GunslingerPanda said:
" Woah, I love RDR, but certainly not for it's story! It might as well not even have one, to be honest! "Cowboy doesn't like being a criminal but has to do ONE MORE JOB to save his family" is neither original nor compelling. "
I support this statement...not the loving RDR, but the story part. 
'All in good time Mr Marston'  
bang 
'Sorry, what now?'
Posted by Jon_F

I can't believe No-Bark Noonan didn't even come up in the party discussion. D:

Edited by TorMasturba

I'm going to be that guy for a few minutes.  
 
I've read the Mass Effect books. 
The Illusive Man, while open to using aliens for the sake of humanity dosn't care for their social company and views them as animals and tools. 
The room he's in in Mass Effect 2 is part of a small mobile space station-ship that houses only the most sycophantic of the Illusive Mans supporters. You know the type, the ones that wouldn't even kill him even if he destroyed their entire family. The ones that would form a wall around him if he being shot at. 
   
And whenever he has visitors the Illusive Man has security and a type shadow high alert status the whole time the visitors are on the station. 
 
Once the visitor has left the station, the station moves to another very well hidden solar system until he wants to move again for reasons he dosn't have to tell anyone.  
 
While I understand why the Bombsquad chose the Illusive man based on the game, the further Lore of the Mass Effect universe proves that he is a very difficult man to deal and socialise with and personally I'd be scared of him taking something I said the wrong way. 
He's the sort of person that dosn't intimidate people in words but in his silence and his very presence and knowledge. (He's even outdone Aria for Intelligence skills in the books.) 
Not really the partying type. 

Nerd out-burst over. Now I'll be normal again.

Posted by Kyle

Great choice with Picross 3D

Posted by Chris2KLee

I'd probably have picked ME2 over Red Dead, but Red Dead is pretty damn awesome.

Posted by CharlesSurge

Picross 3D is great, but Rune Factory 3 and 999: 9 Persons, 9 Hours 9, Doors blows it out of the water.

Posted by BulletproofMonk

I still can't understand what the fuck's going on in Picross 3D, but it does look like a lot of fun.

Posted by Waffles13

I'm super disappointed that AC:B wasn't even mentioned for it's story. Whether you like it or not, it certainly was one of the most significant of the year both as a standalone piece of fiction as well as how it applies to the rest of the franchise.

Posted by KillyDarko

Hey dudes, Machinarium came out... last year!

Posted by S0ndor
@TorMasturba: I salute you for having the courage to say what we were all thinking.
Posted by GilbertMordinAndSullivan

You can make your own puzzles! You won't know how the heck to put it back together.

Posted by PillClinton

uuuugh dude, fuck social network support, eco boxes, and retailer specific pre-order bonuses!  they all suck ass equally! 

Posted by emem

Uhm, I think when it comes to the "best story" award it depends on what's the most important part of the story. If you feel like you need the perfect ending of one big story, RDR is the right choice. But having played both, RDR and ME2, and reading all the little stories from the side missions and the crazy stuff before probing a planet in ME2 (there are just so many sick little stories in this game) I would tend to say that "the way is the goal". Both games are exceptional games overall, though.

Posted by mrhankey

YAY FOR STALKER!

Posted by Renachan

Sad how little ds got love, but sera sera. My pick would have gone to layton, but that's the one I own. The others I've just played some

Posted by Vinny_Says

Red Dead get's it's dues, well deserved!

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