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Posted by Staff

It's Tuesday, and it's time for another batch of awards from our lengthy Game of the Year discussion. Want to know how we arrived at these choices? Check out today's companion podcast.

Skylander of the Year

Drobot

The honored title of Skylander of the Year goes to that figurine that excels in every single category. The in-game powers must be useful. The in-game options and upgrades, be they in the console Skylanders game, the 3DS Skylanders game, or even that kind of lame online Flash game you can play in a browser must be excellent. And lastly? The figurine itself must look cool.

That makes this a surprisingly fierce category that is only narrowed by the fact that you can't yet acquire all 32 of the Skylanders in stores. But the field makes its leaders clear as you level the Skylanders up and see their upgrade options. Gill Grunt's water cannon makes him nearly unstoppable, yes. And Chop Chop is a friction' skeleton. But this year's award goes to none other than Drobot.

Drobot is a cyborg dragon that can shoot lasers out of his eyes, and when you upgrade the laser ability it gets even more devastating? Not enough? How about the ability to shoot gears out of your wings that bounce off of walls? Oh, and did I mention that dude can fly? Strafing enemies from a distance almost feels unfair, but Drobot's more than capable of taking out most bad guys before they can even get close. And that's pretty awesome.

Runners-Up: Gill Grunt, Chop Chop

Best Debut

Bastion

In a year where many of us spent hours in a podcast room complaining about how this year's games felt a bit too much like last year's installments, it's easy to forget the tremendous risks a select few developers took to bring us something genuinely new. Starting from scratch represents the largest risk in video games, but one that can reap the biggest rewards. Rolling the dice, making that plunge, and coming back with greatness was best summarized by what Supergiant Games accomplished with Bastion.

Bastion made an incredible splash at PAX 2010, enough so that Warner Bros. recognized what everyone else was raving about during and after the show, while us here at Giant Bomb took a keen interest in following the game's development. It would have been incredibly awkward if Bastion had just been smoke and mirrors, but that was hardly the case. Despite seeing so much of Bastion months prior to its release, Bastion completely captured the office's attention when it finally came out in July.

Bastion represents the total package when it comes to a video game. The hallmark of visiting a new world is that when the credits finally roll, you feel like you've truly visited a place. The lovely music, novel narrator, charming art and sharp action RPG gameplay came together to create something even greater than its individual parts. That all of this represents Supergiant Games' first release is what put Bastion over the top as this year's "Best Debut."

Runners-Up: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, L.A. Noire

Best Surprise

WWE All Stars

There are a few of us here in the Giant Bomb Fortress that appreciate professional wrestling, but I think we'd all agree that the video games designed to re-create the drama and tension that occurs both in and out of the squared circle usually leave a lot to be desired. That's why we were caught off-guard by THQ's latest side offering, WWE All Stars. The publisher has tried the "old vs. new" thing before, and it's attempted to grasp at nostalgic feelings for the wrestlers of the 1980s with mixed results before. But All Stars actually gets all that stuff right while also offering a game that doesn't play like... well, like a wrestling game.

The fighting game-like nature of WWE All Stars' health bars and juggle combos really go a long way. But it's the insane takes on the WWE roster, both old and new, that start to make the game feel like something more than an "arcade" style game in an era when arcades barely exist. Finishing moves take on extra flips, crazier jumps, and all sorts of other properties that simply defy the laws of gravity. Yet there's an occasional piece of detail, like the way Paul Bearer shifts the microphone back and forth between his hands during his story mode cutscenes that let you know that someone out there gets it. Someone out there understands that there's power in having a wrestler and his manager talking directly into the camera. It's not just about "simulating" Monday Night Raw. The people behind WWE All Stars clearly get it. And that's something that, in this day and age, is a huge surprise.

Runners-Up: Driver: San Francisco, Dead Island

Best Sky Game

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

There are some beautiful skies in video games this year, but this isn't "Best Sky." There are games that are practically all sky, too. But this isn't "Most Sky," either. Heck, it isn't even "Best Use of Sky in a Sky Game," which might have made a little more sense. Instead, this prestigious category is "Best Sky Game." And it's built specifically to honor the best game to come out this year that happens to use the word "Sky" in its title. Normally, this would be a fairly easy task. But 2011 brought down the sky all over the place, giving us three key nominees that were all quality products and all had "Sky" right there in their name.

The best game to use the word "Sky" in its title this year is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It's a fantastic game. Seriously, huge world. Big quests. Sick dragons. That mace that lets you automatically trap souls. It has all that. But more importantly? Skyrim also has "Sky" right there in its subtitle. It ticks every single box on the form. Sky games may get better in the years to come, but right now, in 2011, no Sky flies higher than The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Runners-Up: Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Best Use of a Licensed Song

Saints Row: The Third: "Power" Helicopter Jump

Was there ever a question it would be anything else? Actually, yeah.

After being played for the billionth time as one of the primary summer jams of 2010, Kanye West's "Power" should hold sway over us no longer. Despite the track creeping its way into one-too-many trailers at E3 2011, enough time had passed between falling in love again and the release of Saints Row: The Third. Volition's brilliant embedding of the thumping track during an early game mission where players toss themselves out of a helicopter is one of the moments where someone either is or isn't going to understand why Saints Row: The Third is such an incredible piece of work.

Patrick was so pumped up by the moment, he actually started the mission over to experience it a second time.

You should play Saints Row.

Runners-Up: Gears of War 3 - Mad World, Kinect Sports: Season 2 - Event Ending Music

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Edited by therealminime

DROBOT! POWER! SKYRIM!  
 
Great awards today.

Edited by ckeats

I think every use of a licensed song in Saints Row is award worthy. God that soundtrack is great.

Posted by Nightriff

I love this site, Giant Bomb is my game of the year as I just discovered it a few months ago

Posted by DeF

I love those categories :D

Totally random ...but not!

Posted by AngelN7

Bradzard it's the best Wizard in the kingdom

Posted by whistlebottom

I'm imagining the only other option was the use of "I Need A Hero" in Saints Row: The Third. Game is ridiculous.

Posted by XNaphryz

@whistlebottom said:

I'm imagining the only other option was the use of "I Need A Hero" in Saints Row: The Third. Game is ridiculous.

Really, you can make an argument for the top 4 being all from SR3 if you include the Sublime singalong and the hilarious use of You're The Best Around in that other mission.

Edited by themangalist

Brad has awesome acting. Best surprise of 2011.

Posted by freakin9

I feel that the mechanized implants give Drobot an unfair edge, and I suspect doping. Or droping.

Posted by Curufinwe

Pretty lame awards today. Hoping for better tomorrow.

Posted by Rapid

*Reads first category.... already burst out laughing

Oh Giantbomb =)

Posted by banunn1

@Nightriff: Truph! Welcome to the community sir

Posted by BeachThunder

There might have been some stiff competition if Skyoshock came out this year.

Posted by IshimuraD

My god these are the best awards ever.

Posted by Little_Socrates

@XNaphryz said:

@whistlebottom said:

I'm imagining the only other option was the use of "I Need A Hero" in Saints Row: The Third. Game is ridiculous.

Really, you can make an argument for the top 4 being all from SR3 if you include the Sublime singalong and the hilarious use of You're The Best Around in that other mission.

Those were certainly my top 4, anyways.

Also, I thought the use of Mad World in Gears 3 was absolutely destructive to the moment. That was supposed to be the emotional climax of the series, and I sat there roaring like a hyena. Absolutely hysterical. It was akin to the tape stopping in the middle of that cutscene, having Cliffy B walk on screen, and yell "You see, you fuckers? We can make a shooter with emotions AND explosions! Look at it! See these explosions! They're emotional. So stop telling us that we didn't deliver on that first Mad World trailer, you little shit. We finally did it, guys. Let's go to Disney World. Roll tape."

Posted by Mandrewgora
Posted by CowsWithGuns

Great awards and great acting by brad! I just downloaded Power.

Posted by Ben_H

Oh man, Saints Row 3 just finished downloading. Can't wait to start!

Posted by Claude

The Legend of Zelda got a sky rimjob if you ask me. Calling bias on Bastion. Ha, just kidding. Great awards, dicks.

Posted by falling_fast

they really pulled out all the stops making these videos this year.

Posted by Masha2932

I love Jeff's appreciation of Skylanders. Then I find out it's number 5 on John Vignocchi's list. I must get this game!!

Posted by VarkhanMB

Still a bit bitter that nobody mentioned the use of "You're the Best" by Joe Esposito during Murderbrawl XXXI. Right at the appropriate moment, too!

Oh well, Power won so that's good :)

Posted by MisterMouse

you should play saint row...

Posted by gamma_male

I have to respectfully disagree with the Best Use of a Licensed Song winner. Holding Out for a Hero in the penultimate level of the very same game had me laughing so hard, a small amount of urine came out. If I hadn't been wearing Tena for Men, it'd have been pretty embarrassing.

Posted by PerfidiousSinn

Saints Row The Third really should've had a mission select.

Posted by Slow_pC

I'm seconding the saints row .... :)

Posted by heavyplay

@whistlebottom said:

I'm imagining the only other option was the use of "I Need A Hero" in Saints Row: The Third. Game is ridiculous.

I was going to post this, but yeah, I would have given it to Bonnie Tyler.

Edited by TheMasterDS

I'd prefer if SRtT's use of "I need a Hero" had won as that was really spectacular.

Posted by HellBrendy

@TheMasterDS said:

I'd prefer if SRtT's use of "I need a Hero" had won as that was really spectacular.

Yeah, that was way better actually. I nearly laughed my ass of.

Edited by vinsanityv22

STEALTH ELF GOT SCREWED!

At least WWE All Stars got some recognition from SOMEONE though, so that's cool. That game is awesome fun, even if needed more content desperately (and some more depth to it's engine in general. Though who cares when they absolutely nailed the core stuff that games like Mortal Kombat can't even nail. Glad THQ San Diego understands how animation and controls are supposed to get along, and didn't just serve up a bunch of stupid, stilted, pre-canned combos like MK)

Posted by McDevy

@Little_Socrates: Or they just wanted to finally nod back to the debut trailer and use a really good song... >_>

They blew it though without the vocals, or really an extended play.

Posted by NoelVeiga

Sooo the problem about these FMV interludes? The acting is way better than in the games it's spoofing. I mean WAY better. It's a bit creepy how good it is, in fact.

Posted by chilibean_3

@PerfidiousSinn said:

Saints Row The Third really should've had a mission select.

Seriously. I'm playing trough a second time but already want to go back and play a couple of the missions a third time.

Posted by iAmJohn

God damn right the Power scene won. A couple friends were watching me play the game (because they wanted to see the Sublime scene), and this was the moment that convinced all of them to go buy it. So fucking well done.

Posted by bkbroiler

I actually really like the use of Mad World in Gears 3. When it first came on in multiplayer I thought I was losing my mind. Glad to see it on the list.

Posted by evanbower

GB's awards never disappoint. Just synonymous with the holiday season for me at this point. Happy holidays everyone!

Posted by Xymox

I'm sure bethesda is delighted to recieve such a prestigious reward like "Best Sky Game". I don't think they've updated their blog, however...

:P

Posted by doobymoo

Chop Chop got robbed!

Posted by Little_Socrates

@McDevy said:

@Little_Socrates: Or they just wanted to finally nod back to the debut trailer and use a really good song... >_>

They blew it though without the vocals, or really an extended play.

If you didn't find the debut trailer hilarious, I think that's an appropriate response. I find the Mad World/Gears of War connection to be a complete farce throughout the run of the trilogy by the time that first game came out. To someone who has always found it funny that Gears of War is trying to be something it so totally isn't (and probably shouldn't be,) the use of that song completely set off every funny bone in my body.

Of course, I didn't really love the previous two games like a lot of people did. I didn't finish either of them, for that matter. Gears 3 taught me I don't really like their gameplay.

Posted by Itwastuesday

My favorite licensed music moment in SR3 was the 'You're the Best Around' while you fucking murder like 30 unarmed luchadores with a chainsaw

Posted by jkuc316

I should really get SR3, but I'm saving for a Vita.

Posted by RoyaleWifCheese

I love this "crappy FMV from an old nineties PC game" thing you guys are doing with the award videos this year. This is why I give you my money.

Posted by spilledmilkfactory

I just got a Drobot today as a late Christmas gift! Hell yeah

Posted by BoneChompski

Never heard the song "power" but the rest seem well reasoned.

Posted by natto

Chop Chop was robbed.

Posted by DukesT3

I'll play Saints Row. Don't worry guys. =) i'll trade in skyrim for it.

Posted by Moonling

Bulletstorm should of been one of the final 3 in the best debut category as it's better than at least two of the other nominated games (haven't played Bastion), and is the best single-player fps of the year.

Posted by needlesjt

Of course it's Drobot, Drobot is the illest!

Posted by hollitz

How did "You're the Best" during the wrestling sequence of Saints Row not get mentioned? Goddamnit I loved that game so much.

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