The final day! Despite my award calendar running out, awards will continue next year. Don’t worry, you guys.
See that? Mayan joke. Hilarious, right? That doctorate I got at Comedy College is paying out in fucking cash, man.
As someone who enjoys employing sarcasm whenever I can, this might come off as a little hypocritical, but I am starting to get really fucking tired about everyone in the game industry being so cynical about everything. Watching E3 unfold this year was an unfortunately shitty experience, with seemingly every game critic using their various mediums of communication to elaborate how boring and uninteresting anything was. Whatever happened to being excited about videogames? So what if there were a bunch of sequels. So what if a bunch of them were shooters. Didn’t you feel like it was even remotely cool to see new things? That maybe some of them would have potential down the line to be larger than the sum of its parts? Look at Spec Ops or Black Ops II’s campaign, for example. Is every person so unbelievably jaded that everything just sucks by default, now? New IPs were announced and shown, and people still found a reason to complain about them.
2012 ended up being almost a full year of watching my Twitter feed during any important gaming-related (sometimes unrelated, even) event and having everyone try to be a fucking comedian like it was brick-wall amateur night at the Chuckle Hut. It made this year feel like it was significantly less exciting than it really was and that is a depressing thought. An absolute deluge of quality games came out this year, and all anyone had to do or say was fucking complain or make fun of them.
Now that the world didn’t actually end, maybe we can all try and be a bit more positive during 2013, yeah? That’d be fun!
Runners Up: I want nothing more to end other than Bronies or Cynicism in gaming. Wait no, maybe end the X-Factor forever so Top Gear doesn't ever have to start a season later again, I guess.
It’s not in my final top 10, so I made it’s own little category because I feel like Black Ops II’s campaign is really something worth talking about. I knew ahead of time Treyarch was going to try something different with branching paths and the like, but I don’t think I could have foreseen how much the changes they made would affect the story’s actual outcome. Player choice is an extremely prominent mechanic in the campaign and it’s used with an incredible effectiveness. The choices it presents to you upfront are what they are and some will affect the story more strongly than others, but it’s the choices it hides from you that are super interesting. There are situations and outcomes in the game that I had no idea I ever had a role in and each one affects the possible ending you will get differently. It was fascinating to me that my friends and I could have an extended conversation about the story’s campaign, and all discuss how different the story we experienced was. It’s always great when I can do that with any game, but that I could do with a Call of Duty game... it’s exciting. Super exciting. If there’s something new worth bringing to the table with single-player first person shooters, it’s how Treyarch handled player choice in Black Ops II.
Also, more games should have explosions.
Runners Up: Blink mechanic in Dishonored, uncovering a narrative like in Analogue
There’s not really much to say here other than I have little interest in playing Assassin’s Creed III. I had an absolutely fantastic time with Brotherhood and skipped Revelations because it seemed like it would burn me out on the franchise. Then ACIII was announced and it looked fucking awesome, yet I sit here, a few months post-release, and I’m just... completely uninterested by it. It just seems like the same. The story seems neat, but hearing that the Desmond stuff closes out in a less-than-satisfactory matter is really unappealing, considering that is the real story I care about.
I just... maybe I’ll wait when it’s dirt cheap. Maybe. I don’t even know. Maybe I just want to move onto something else. Maybe one of you has a reason for me to get excited about it, or something.
Runners Up: Xenosaga 1-3. Those games are just gonna sit there, unplayed forever. At least they look nice on my shelf.
Continuing the annual tradition that began two years ago, this award is dedicated to the best sound effect in a game this year. While I was originally going to award it to Jenn Frank’s wonderful role as the announcer in Super Hexagon, I find it far too unfair not to award it to the reloading sound for Tediore weapons in Borderlands 2. It’s such a good sound. It sounds like it should. Mechanical, digital, both together like a gun that’s cloning itself should. Good stuff.
Runners Up: Announcer voice in Super Hexagon
Let me be clear: I really like Dishonored. I just feel that the game plays it far too safe with its story. Nearly every plot point I’ve encountered has been incredibly predictable and the characters just seem so... flat. Emily and the Empress seem like the ones to have any sort of actual “character” to them, while the others all seem like total stereotypes or cookie-cutter secondary NPCs provided by the NPC Cookie FactoryTM.
Dishonored still has me largely in its favor because the gameplay is fucking terrific, the level design is some of the best I’ve seen, and the world it’s set in is wonderfully realised. I just wish the story was there to cement all of them together, because right now it’s being a rickety axel on what could be an otherwise incredibly smooth and satisfying ride.
Runners Up: Roller Coaster Rampage, The last few months of my life jesus christ man. Girls, am I right?
And that's it, folks! The award categories are done. Hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed sitting here, furiously typing out these really dumb opinions that I have. Make sure to come back tomorrow for my full Top 10 list!