Posted by Mento (2512 posts) -
This was 2012!

What the Giant Bomb blogging community sorely needs right now is an award ceremony that honors the best games of 2012. That no-one seems to have yet stepped up to the plate and done so seems almost unconscionable. Fortunately, your pal and mine Mento has deigned to put down his discounted Virtual Console copy of Dr Mario for the original Game Boy for a moment in order to throw a bunch of dumb categories together with illustrated award handing-outings (to use the official gerund) to make this glitzy and venerated annual event a little more... I dunno, "fun".

Make no mistake, this isn't just a Giant Bomb GOTY Awards blog; this is the Giant Bomb GOTY Awards blog. Or to be even more specific, this is the Giant Bomb GOTY Awards blog that has stickpeople cartoons and way too much text discussing the most trivial shit tangentially related to video games. Nominees go bold and italics for winner, bold for finalist nominee and plain text for other honorary mentions. Enjoy the show! Sorry I added to the big pile of these things! I'm unusually susceptible to peer pressure! Stop sending me timeshare emails!

2012's 2011 GAME OF THE YEAR

Nominees: Xenoblade Chronicles, Super Mario 3D Land, Pushmo/Pullblox, Driver: San Francisco, Ghost Trick.

As always, I honor the games of yesteryear that I generally end up waiting to play because it turns out games get really cheap after they've been out a while. Crazy, right? Before I discovered free video game rental vouchers, I usually staggered my video game playing so I'd always be about a year or so behind, but fortunately I had a lot to see in 2012 as well. But most of that had to take a backseat as I spent the good part of a month playing Monolith Soft's Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii early this year. It is an absolutely fantastic RPG and I'm still a little torn that I had to except it as a 2012 game, due to the weird history behind the Operation Rainfall trilogy and their delayed US releases. Or did I?

2013's 2012 GAME OF THE YEAR?

Nominees: XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Rhythm Heaven Fever, Pandora's Tower, The Walking Dead, Persona 4: Arena.

This clairvoyant conferral is for the game I'm most likely to enjoy out of the many I didn't get the chance to play this year, based on what I've heard and seen of them. Of course, we have no real way of knowing this for sure beforehand, right? Might be an interesting prediction to revisit in twelve months. If only for me, anyway. Also XCOM wins it because effin' XCOM. I even loved the brutally alienating (as it were) original, so the chances I'll be playing Firaxis's critically acclaimed new take for most of January is pretty darn likely, you guys.

BEST BABBY GAME FOR BABBY CONSOLES

Nominees: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, The Last Story, Crimson Shroud.

Every year I like to honor my childhood heroes Nintendo for keeping my inner tyke content with the most colorful and imaginative games of the year. At least, that's the idea. Nintendo's had a busy 2012 - and time will tell if this was actually a good year for them - but I only managed to play a smattering of 2012 games for Nintendo consoles. Three, if I'm being specific. As much as I like The Last Story, this award's very nature as a shout-out for nostalgia means IndieZero's wonderful, whimsical trip through Final Fantasy's 25 years of melodic soundtracks takes it.

BEST GAME I DIDN'T BEAT THIS YEAR

Nominees: FTL: Faster Than Light, Dragon's Dogma, Trials Evolution, Syndicate, Mutant Mudds.

This award is to honor the great games I played but didn't beat this year, so couldn't in good conscience place them in my top ten. If you told me you managed to beat FTL's final boss, then I would call you a filthy liar, throw my drink in your face (should I be holding one) and run off whooping like Zoidberg. It's a sour note to end the game on, but considering the bad shit that almost always occurs in any given FTL run, an entirely germane one. My feelings on Dragon's Dogma can be easily summed up by this Twitter exchange. Syndicate I just couldn't wrap my head around - there comes a point when you're fighting tougher enemies that you're doing the gamepad equivalent of rubbing your belly while patting your head; I just didn't have the manual dexterity or situational awareness to pull it off adroitly. I could definitely see why a seasoned expert of shooter games like Jeff would love it, though. As for the two others on that list, well, I'll be getting around to that in just a moment.

BEST ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Nominees: Double Dragon Neon, The Last Story, Hell Yeah!, Journey, Fez.

The Indie scene really took this category and ran off with it, far over the hills and the sand dunes and into a big shining light at the top of a mountain. Double Dragon Neon and Hell Yeah!, especially, were middling action games with a great, goofy sense of humor (balance that with something like Borderlands 2 this year) that mostly comes through with their music: Double Dragon Neon's insanely 80s musical stylings, from its remixes of the original's music to the references to various 80s acts in each of their little mixtape power-ups, were a delight from start to finish. It might well have won the award for "Best Credits Song" had I bothered to make that category. Hell Yeah! also excels in its use of musical humor, whether you're jamming to the best shop music since Hot Rod (that's according to Giant Bomb's banner text at least) or the syrupy weirdness of that game's Cute Zone. Journey and Fez, of course, are already receiving accolades aplenty for their moody and atmospheric music from everyone ever already, and The Last Story has some brilliant Uematsu tracks bookended with some slightly experimental numbers which I still enjoyed. So I bite my thumb at you, VGK, for disparaging the final boss music. It's dumb but I like it. But let's be serious here: Xenoblade Chronicles had the best music, by far. It's science.

BEST USE OF LICENSED MUSIC

Nominees: Lollipop Chainsaw, Hotline Miami, Borderlands 2, Far Cry 3, LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes.

I didn't much like Lollipop Chainsaw for the most part. Its jokey dialogue was a bit cloying and the character action genre is something I've long since lost my affection for, the dispassion of which was exacerbated further by my playthrough of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow this year. However, in much the same way as Hell Yeah! and Double Dragon Neon, it used its music as an effective comedic weapon to hammer home several jokes and references that ranged from laugh out loud funny to just humorously dumb. Buckman and Garcia's "Pac-Man Fever", for instance, is the sort of call out that warms the cockles of my cold dead heart, though I will admit to Toni Basil's "Mickey" and The Chordettes' "Lollipop" becoming the sort of ear worms Chekov might have had to contend with in the Wrath of Khan. That's right, Lollipop Chainsaw isn't monopolizing nerdy movie references around these parts. Hotline Miami needs no further elucidation, since I've heard from many sources how its pumping electronica soundtrack IS the game just about. Borderlands 2's theme "Short Change Hero" from The Heavy is a great use for that song for a pretty awesome intro cutscene, and LEGO Batman 2 piping in the classic John Williams Superman theme just made me smile every time I took to the skies as the Man of Steel.

BEST LOOKING GAME

Nominees: Journey, Far Cry 3, Fez, Sleeping Dogs, Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy.

When I consider which games are the most aesthetically pleasing, I tend to prioritize those games which take things in artistically interesting directions, rather than just looking really, really good. I feel like the technology behind making games look really, really good will eventually plateau, leaving that particular "good graphics! we need good graphics!" way of thinking behind to an extent. Also, the best looking games in that regard tend to be compromised in many ways for their down-scaled console releases, which are the versions I tend to opt for as I am not in the market for a £500+ PC right now. Maybe if I were getting paid to write nonsense like this, but then I could just visit Santa Claus in his workshop and ask for one while I'm off in cuckoo fantasy land. So! The best looking game this year was Journey. It's nothing short of stunning from beginning to end, though the highlight is the eye-searing sunset gleaming through and around a series of dilapidated pillars as your little peregrinating protagonist slides down a sand bank into some ominously dark ruins, marking the point where shit is about to get real. If I had a soul, it would've been enriched beyond words by the experience. Fez, too, took pixel graphics in some oddly poignant directions, and I found myself loving the little witchcraft stitch-craft art style of Theatrhythm over the attractive but mostly recycled graphics of its sister product Final Fantasy XIII-2. But then, Xenoblade Chronicles' environments were just breathtaking and it's the clear winner overall, am I right?

WEIRDEST F'ING GAME

Nominees: Final Fantasy XIII-2, Hell Yeah!, Lollipop Chainsaw, Asura's Wrath, Far Cry 3.

One of my mainstay categories, meant to award (sort of) the oddest games of the year. I appreciate weirdness in all its forms, you see, and anything that challenges us visually or narratively in a game is the best shot the medium as a whole has of being recognized as an artform. As Salvador Dali might've once said, "a plumber eating a mushroom to grow tall enough to stamp on turtles? Well, now I've seen everything!". While games like Lollipop Chainsaw, Hell Yeah!, Far Cry 3 and Asura's Wrath might've embraced their weirdness from the get go, there's nothing in the original Final Fantasy XIII (besides the usual background radiation weirdness of JRPGs in general) to suggest where its sequel might go. A time-travelling, paradox-evading, bizarre series of barely connected events that happen in a rough order dictated by sheer randomness, FFXIII-2's plot makes very little sense by any metric you care to attach to it: It's incomprehensible even for a JRPG, it's about as far as you can get from a straightforward linear narrative (almost certainly the point, given the backlash for FFXIII) and so many elements are thrown in for the sake of interesting puzzles to puzzle out and interesting strategic fights to stratergerize without any sort of explanation or logic proffered. Sure there are inter-dimensional pockets where you solve sliding block puzzles. I guess there are monsters willing to join side-ponytail and not-Zidane to have this neat monster-raising sim aspect. Of course a moogle with a squeaky accent knows why everything is what it is 500 years into the unmapped future (maybe it has a direct line to Ziggy?). I just stopped questioning things after so many hours. They should've renamed the Sphere Grid the Marble Grid, because that's where Final Fantasy's all went.

WORST TREND

Nominees: Masocore Indie Platformers, Crappy Endings, Locked Away DLC Endings, Region Locking PS3 Games, Assassin's Creed's Decline.

I'm thinking Giant Bomb's "JUST STOP" is probably a way better name for this sort of category, which is a prime whambulance parking zone for complaints and grudges for where the video game industry is headed. In a nutshell, I'll explain why all the above suck: Indie Platformers getting the notion that in order to be successful like Super Meat Boy, they need to be extraordinarily difficult and frustrating; Crappy Endings in general are the sort of thing to leave a sour taste in one's mouth after what might've been a sterling dozen hours of gameplay and storytelling, and is simply a terrible idea if you want people to talk about your games with any sort of joy or affection after the fact; Locked Away DLC Endings speaks for itself, and I'm really hoping Asura's Wrath was an aberration never to be repeated; Region Locking PS3 Games is something else that only really applies to one game - Persona 4: Arena, yet to see its European release - but I'm pessimistic enough to believe we aren't yet done with that either; and, obviously, how each progressive Assassin's Creed game after Brotherhood seems to be taking a dive in quality, probably due to Ubisoft's insistence of having a new one every damn year. Give it a break already, you guys; it got completely trashed this time and we'll be lucky if there's anyone left who still cares enough to see the next one. I'm calling Masocore platformers the worst this year, because it ruined four promising games (at least!) with fantastic ideas because their designers got the wrong impression that they needed to be bitch hard or have really sparse checkpointing or decided every nook and cranny required an insta-kill spike in order to compete in the Indie market. If your game's more difficult than Rayman: Origins, which I believe sets a perfect level of challenge, then go back to the drawing board and rethink a few things. Don't ruin your neat little Indie puzzle platformer with this frustrating bullshit, I implore you.

CREEPIEST... THING

Nominees: Far Cry 3's Buck Buck Buck Arc, FFXIII-2's Chocolina (Also a Bird Thing), Tomb Raider's "You'll Want To Protect Lara", the Anita Sarkeesian backlash/#1reasonwhy backlash/other gross sexism/misogyny bullshit of this year, Dust: An Elysian Tail's furries.

I think the cartoon says everything that needs to be said. Besides "I don't really think is secretly a rapist mercenary operating in the South Pacific." (Though he might want to look that direction if he wants to get his designer t-shirt empire up and running.) This year didn't make video games look too good in the national press, you guys, though being called out by a colossal moron like Wayne LaPierre for gun violence probably restored some of that lost credibility. Might be time to knock off the sign to our collective treehouse that says "no cooties allowed" at the very, very least. And while us consumers are doing that, we'll ask the developers to knock it off with telling us to white knight vulnerable female protagonists and giving anthropomorphic animals amazing racks for a while. \there's a two-way street to betterment here, everyone.

LAZIEST GAME

Nominees: The Amazing Spider-Man, LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, Assassin's Creed 3, Darksiders II, Final Fantasy XIII-2.

I try to avoid the truly generic games, so the selection above might not even be the tip of the iceberg of the apathetic asset recycling, idea stealing and half-assed buggy finished products we saw from the video game industry this year. Sleeping Dogs and Borderlands 2, as good as they were, aren't exactly exempt from this category either. The Amazing Spider-Man has almost nothing to set it apart from its nigh-identical superhero peers (including its Prototype-esque viral plot, in the same year as that game's sequel no less) and didn't really feel like sharpening the aspects it did borrow, though at the very least it let you go outside in this one. When the only thing to set your game apart is Bruce Campbell in a blimp, you might want to try to innovate a little harder next time. LEGO games are what they are; I believe there were even two of them this year, so they're not going away any time soon. AC3 at least gave us that ship combat mini-game, Darksiders II can't really be called too lazy for how much goddamn content that game has to the point of tedious lunacy, and Final Fantasy XIII-2's laziness may well get trumped in 2013 by Lightning Returns, so I'll hold off my derision until then (or unexpected joy? I guess we'll see).

WORST (OPTIONAL) WASTE OF TIME

Nominees: Final Fantasy XIII-2's Slot Machines, Hell Yeah!'s Slot Machines, Borderlands 2's Slot Machines.

Knock. It. Off. (Optionally.)

WORST ENDING

Nominees: ?????, ?????, ?????, ?????, ?????.

Mass Effect's 3 ending I feel has received a sufficient amount of vitriol at this point that everyone is at least aware that its conclusion is terrible. As for the other nominees, well, let's just put up one of these:

Here are the other nominees: Far Cry 3 and Assassin's Creed 3, hence this whole "the number three" thing, and also Final Fantasy XIII-2, Darksiders II and Borderlands 2. The cardinal rule for not making your ending suck: Don't casually render inert the core appeal of the game, or the purpose of the journey, or simply kill off the protagonist. Also, don't end on a cliffhanger, because not only are you delaying the satisfaction of a conclusive finale for another year or so but you are giving this presumptuous impression that you know you'll be back in a sequel. Never safe to assume that, especially if you're a THQ property. Or what you could do is make all the sequels at the same time, like Walking Dead's episodic format, and release them shortly after one another. Anyway, even though I stuck all this in a big spoiler bubble, I don't think I've ruined much here. Nothing that wasn't already ruined from the offset at least.

BEST ENDING

Nominees: Sleeping Dogs, Dust: An Elysian Tale, Journey, Resonance, The Unfinished Swan.

Very hard to get into specifics here, so I'll simply say that each of the games nominated manage - in their own way - to reach a satisfying conclusion that effectively conveys the idea that the entire game had been leading up to that moment, rather than some dumb Deus Ex Machina ending (sorry JC) or a cliffhanger or any of the problems of the games in the previous category. It's really not a lot to ask of a game that they don't mess up the landing.

BEST REVEAL

Nominees: ???

Man, how do I even? Oh hey, I have an idea. Just go visit this Tumblr blog I just created for this category. Solving problems with multimedia!

BEST TEAMMATE

Nominees: Big Bo and Cain - Binary Domain, Lippi and Frea - Crimson Shroud, Fidget - Dust: An Elysian Tale, Anonymous Journey Player - Journey, Yasha - Asura's Wrath.

Perhaps an ambiguous category, Best Teammate is simply the award given for the best PC or NPC that spends a considerable amount of the game fighting at your side. Binary Domain lives and dies on its teammates as a squad shooter and does a grand job of developing them and giving some definition to those characters that doesn't begin and end with "people from [Country] shoot robots like this, but people from [Different Country] shoot robots like this!". Big Bo's just a stitch from beginning to end (but he gets some development time too, don't worry) while Cain is just a great addition from the moment you first meet the guy. Fidget's perhaps the most acceptable Exposition Fairy since... never? Yasha's great for his eventual but entirely expected heel face turn and the Crimson Shroud guys are simply miniatures that the game nevertheless manages to flesh out with some quality backstory and well-written, snarky dialogue. That so many strategies in that game revolve around the three of you working in tandem doesn't hurt either. I guess the Journey guy doesn't really count, seeing as how he's another player, but they might as well be computer-controlled for the amount of human interaction you have with them.

BEST RABBITS

Nominees: Dust: An Elysian Tale, Hell Yeah!, Cave Story 3D, Rabbids Land, Assassin's Creed III (delicious!).

I honestly thought there were more rabbit games this year, but Cave Story's 3DS turn was actually last year. Still, I finally got around to playing that Indie darling this year, so into the deliberations it goes. Honestly, I don't know where all these games are coming from. They're multiplying like... well... yeah.

BEST LUSH

Nominees: Augus - Asura's Wrath, Syrenne - The Last Story, The Nameless Hero - Risen 2: Dark Waters, Salvador - Borderlands 2, Old Salty Crab - Sleeping Dogs.

This was another thing I noticed this year: Video game characters that love getting schwammered. What kind of lesson is that to leave to all the children? That drinking is awesome? Because that's a good one. Augus is the clear winner, though his epic drinking is but one of the many facets of that... complex character. Syrenne's an entertaining souse during The Last Story's moments of downtime and the hero of Risen II downs bottles of rum and grog like they were health potions, which they actually are in that game. You don't see Salvador drink too often (though it's required for one side-quest) but you get the impression he could drink the others in his group under the table, despite being about 4 feet tall. Ditto with Sleeping Dogs' Old Salty Crab, who sounds like he's tying one on every time you call him up for something fun and felonious, and given the content of the missions he joins you in doing it's probably for the best that he gets a little buzzed beforehand.

BEST OVERALL NEW CHARACTER

Nominees: Haytham Kenway - Assassin's Creed III, Vaas Montenegro - Far Cry 3, Jackie Ma - Sleeping Dogs, Ray "Big Bo" Boateng - Binary Domain, Augus - Asura's Wrath.

You'll be happy to hear (probably) that this is my very last award, given to the best new character in any video game, regardless of their role. After some careful consideration, I'm giving it to Assassin Creed 3's Haytham Kenway, who is in absentia for too much of that game's running time. He's an enigmatic and entertaining character for the time you spend controlling him during ACIII's over-extended intro, and continues to be a delight as he clashes with his son at various late stages of the game. Like Vaas, my runner up and another great invention, he departs the game far too quickly and too unceremoniously for my liking. If either of these games feel like doing some DLC - and, let's face it, it's likely - I wouldn't mind being in the shoes of those gents for a while longer. Kind of embarrassing how much better they are than their games' respective protagonists, actually. As for the other nominees, well, they're all great, nuanced characters with a lot of vulnerable depth behind their bravado. I mean, besides Augus.

BEST GIANT BOMB QUICK LOOK MOMENTS

Not an award, just a list of some of the best moments in no particular order as a way of voicing my appreciation for yet another year of wonderful content from Messrs. Jeff, Ryan, Vinny, Brad, Patrick, Drew, Dave, recurring guests Brad Muir and the rest of Double Fine and everyone else at Giant Bomb Industries who makes the site run, even if Alex or Alexis or that new Lt. Squigs Ian fellow or future employee Matthew Rorie didn't get to narrate a Quick Look themselves this year. Here's to another edifying and entertaining year of Quick Looks! (Also a shout out to for his "Best Of" compilations, without which I couldn't have assembled this list. Or at least not as quickly, in which case I probably wouldn't have bothered.)

Finally, my thanks to all you crazy people who managed to read this far. I hope your impressive lack of ADD serves you better in other areas of your lives. But for serious, have a great 2013 everyone!

(Oh yeah, I almost forgot: If you want to read even more goddamn words, take a gander at my overall best games of 2012 GOTY list.)

Moderator
#1 Edited by Mento (2512 posts) -
This was 2012!

What the Giant Bomb blogging community sorely needs right now is an award ceremony that honors the best games of 2012. That no-one seems to have yet stepped up to the plate and done so seems almost unconscionable. Fortunately, your pal and mine Mento has deigned to put down his discounted Virtual Console copy of Dr Mario for the original Game Boy for a moment in order to throw a bunch of dumb categories together with illustrated award handing-outings (to use the official gerund) to make this glitzy and venerated annual event a little more... I dunno, "fun".

Make no mistake, this isn't just a Giant Bomb GOTY Awards blog; this is the Giant Bomb GOTY Awards blog. Or to be even more specific, this is the Giant Bomb GOTY Awards blog that has stickpeople cartoons and way too much text discussing the most trivial shit tangentially related to video games. Nominees go bold and italics for winner, bold for finalist nominee and plain text for other honorary mentions. Enjoy the show! Sorry I added to the big pile of these things! I'm unusually susceptible to peer pressure! Stop sending me timeshare emails!

2012's 2011 GAME OF THE YEAR

Nominees: Xenoblade Chronicles, Super Mario 3D Land, Pushmo/Pullblox, Driver: San Francisco, Ghost Trick.

As always, I honor the games of yesteryear that I generally end up waiting to play because it turns out games get really cheap after they've been out a while. Crazy, right? Before I discovered free video game rental vouchers, I usually staggered my video game playing so I'd always be about a year or so behind, but fortunately I had a lot to see in 2012 as well. But most of that had to take a backseat as I spent the good part of a month playing Monolith Soft's Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii early this year. It is an absolutely fantastic RPG and I'm still a little torn that I had to except it as a 2012 game, due to the weird history behind the Operation Rainfall trilogy and their delayed US releases. Or did I?

2013's 2012 GAME OF THE YEAR?

Nominees: XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Rhythm Heaven Fever, Pandora's Tower, The Walking Dead, Persona 4: Arena.

This clairvoyant conferral is for the game I'm most likely to enjoy out of the many I didn't get the chance to play this year, based on what I've heard and seen of them. Of course, we have no real way of knowing this for sure beforehand, right? Might be an interesting prediction to revisit in twelve months. If only for me, anyway. Also XCOM wins it because effin' XCOM. I even loved the brutally alienating (as it were) original, so the chances I'll be playing Firaxis's critically acclaimed new take for most of January is pretty darn likely, you guys.

BEST BABBY GAME FOR BABBY CONSOLES

Nominees: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, The Last Story, Crimson Shroud.

Every year I like to honor my childhood heroes Nintendo for keeping my inner tyke content with the most colorful and imaginative games of the year. At least, that's the idea. Nintendo's had a busy 2012 - and time will tell if this was actually a good year for them - but I only managed to play a smattering of 2012 games for Nintendo consoles. Three, if I'm being specific. As much as I like The Last Story, this award's very nature as a shout-out for nostalgia means IndieZero's wonderful, whimsical trip through Final Fantasy's 25 years of melodic soundtracks takes it.

BEST GAME I DIDN'T BEAT THIS YEAR

Nominees: FTL: Faster Than Light, Dragon's Dogma, Trials Evolution, Syndicate, Mutant Mudds.

This award is to honor the great games I played but didn't beat this year, so couldn't in good conscience place them in my top ten. If you told me you managed to beat FTL's final boss, then I would call you a filthy liar, throw my drink in your face (should I be holding one) and run off whooping like Zoidberg. It's a sour note to end the game on, but considering the bad shit that almost always occurs in any given FTL run, an entirely germane one. My feelings on Dragon's Dogma can be easily summed up by this Twitter exchange. Syndicate I just couldn't wrap my head around - there comes a point when you're fighting tougher enemies that you're doing the gamepad equivalent of rubbing your belly while patting your head; I just didn't have the manual dexterity or situational awareness to pull it off adroitly. I could definitely see why a seasoned expert of shooter games like Jeff would love it, though. As for the two others on that list, well, I'll be getting around to that in just a moment.

BEST ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Nominees: Double Dragon Neon, The Last Story, Hell Yeah!, Journey, Fez.

The Indie scene really took this category and ran off with it, far over the hills and the sand dunes and into a big shining light at the top of a mountain. Double Dragon Neon and Hell Yeah!, especially, were middling action games with a great, goofy sense of humor (balance that with something like Borderlands 2 this year) that mostly comes through with their music: Double Dragon Neon's insanely 80s musical stylings, from its remixes of the original's music to the references to various 80s acts in each of their little mixtape power-ups, were a delight from start to finish. It might well have won the award for "Best Credits Song" had I bothered to make that category. Hell Yeah! also excels in its use of musical humor, whether you're jamming to the best shop music since Hot Rod (that's according to Giant Bomb's banner text at least) or the syrupy weirdness of that game's Cute Zone. Journey and Fez, of course, are already receiving accolades aplenty for their moody and atmospheric music from everyone ever already, and The Last Story has some brilliant Uematsu tracks bookended with some slightly experimental numbers which I still enjoyed. So I bite my thumb at you, VGK, for disparaging the final boss music. It's dumb but I like it. But let's be serious here: Xenoblade Chronicles had the best music, by far. It's science.

BEST USE OF LICENSED MUSIC

Nominees: Lollipop Chainsaw, Hotline Miami, Borderlands 2, Far Cry 3, LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes.

I didn't much like Lollipop Chainsaw for the most part. Its jokey dialogue was a bit cloying and the character action genre is something I've long since lost my affection for, the dispassion of which was exacerbated further by my playthrough of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow this year. However, in much the same way as Hell Yeah! and Double Dragon Neon, it used its music as an effective comedic weapon to hammer home several jokes and references that ranged from laugh out loud funny to just humorously dumb. Buckman and Garcia's "Pac-Man Fever", for instance, is the sort of call out that warms the cockles of my cold dead heart, though I will admit to Toni Basil's "Mickey" and The Chordettes' "Lollipop" becoming the sort of ear worms Chekov might have had to contend with in the Wrath of Khan. That's right, Lollipop Chainsaw isn't monopolizing nerdy movie references around these parts. Hotline Miami needs no further elucidation, since I've heard from many sources how its pumping electronica soundtrack IS the game just about. Borderlands 2's theme "Short Change Hero" from The Heavy is a great use for that song for a pretty awesome intro cutscene, and LEGO Batman 2 piping in the classic John Williams Superman theme just made me smile every time I took to the skies as the Man of Steel.

BEST LOOKING GAME

Nominees: Journey, Far Cry 3, Fez, Sleeping Dogs, Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy.

When I consider which games are the most aesthetically pleasing, I tend to prioritize those games which take things in artistically interesting directions, rather than just looking really, really good. I feel like the technology behind making games look really, really good will eventually plateau, leaving that particular "good graphics! we need good graphics!" way of thinking behind to an extent. Also, the best looking games in that regard tend to be compromised in many ways for their down-scaled console releases, which are the versions I tend to opt for as I am not in the market for a £500+ PC right now. Maybe if I were getting paid to write nonsense like this, but then I could just visit Santa Claus in his workshop and ask for one while I'm off in cuckoo fantasy land. So! The best looking game this year was Journey. It's nothing short of stunning from beginning to end, though the highlight is the eye-searing sunset gleaming through and around a series of dilapidated pillars as your little peregrinating protagonist slides down a sand bank into some ominously dark ruins, marking the point where shit is about to get real. If I had a soul, it would've been enriched beyond words by the experience. Fez, too, took pixel graphics in some oddly poignant directions, and I found myself loving the little witchcraft stitch-craft art style of Theatrhythm over the attractive but mostly recycled graphics of its sister product Final Fantasy XIII-2. But then, Xenoblade Chronicles' environments were just breathtaking and it's the clear winner overall, am I right?

WEIRDEST F'ING GAME

Nominees: Final Fantasy XIII-2, Hell Yeah!, Lollipop Chainsaw, Asura's Wrath, Far Cry 3.

One of my mainstay categories, meant to award (sort of) the oddest games of the year. I appreciate weirdness in all its forms, you see, and anything that challenges us visually or narratively in a game is the best shot the medium as a whole has of being recognized as an artform. As Salvador Dali might've once said, "a plumber eating a mushroom to grow tall enough to stamp on turtles? Well, now I've seen everything!". While games like Lollipop Chainsaw, Hell Yeah!, Far Cry 3 and Asura's Wrath might've embraced their weirdness from the get go, there's nothing in the original Final Fantasy XIII (besides the usual background radiation weirdness of JRPGs in general) to suggest where its sequel might go. A time-travelling, paradox-evading, bizarre series of barely connected events that happen in a rough order dictated by sheer randomness, FFXIII-2's plot makes very little sense by any metric you care to attach to it: It's incomprehensible even for a JRPG, it's about as far as you can get from a straightforward linear narrative (almost certainly the point, given the backlash for FFXIII) and so many elements are thrown in for the sake of interesting puzzles to puzzle out and interesting strategic fights to stratergerize without any sort of explanation or logic proffered. Sure there are inter-dimensional pockets where you solve sliding block puzzles. I guess there are monsters willing to join side-ponytail and not-Zidane to have this neat monster-raising sim aspect. Of course a moogle with a squeaky accent knows why everything is what it is 500 years into the unmapped future (maybe it has a direct line to Ziggy?). I just stopped questioning things after so many hours. They should've renamed the Sphere Grid the Marble Grid, because that's where Final Fantasy's all went.

WORST TREND

Nominees: Masocore Indie Platformers, Crappy Endings, Locked Away DLC Endings, Region Locking PS3 Games, Assassin's Creed's Decline.

I'm thinking Giant Bomb's "JUST STOP" is probably a way better name for this sort of category, which is a prime whambulance parking zone for complaints and grudges for where the video game industry is headed. In a nutshell, I'll explain why all the above suck: Indie Platformers getting the notion that in order to be successful like Super Meat Boy, they need to be extraordinarily difficult and frustrating; Crappy Endings in general are the sort of thing to leave a sour taste in one's mouth after what might've been a sterling dozen hours of gameplay and storytelling, and is simply a terrible idea if you want people to talk about your games with any sort of joy or affection after the fact; Locked Away DLC Endings speaks for itself, and I'm really hoping Asura's Wrath was an aberration never to be repeated; Region Locking PS3 Games is something else that only really applies to one game - Persona 4: Arena, yet to see its European release - but I'm pessimistic enough to believe we aren't yet done with that either; and, obviously, how each progressive Assassin's Creed game after Brotherhood seems to be taking a dive in quality, probably due to Ubisoft's insistence of having a new one every damn year. Give it a break already, you guys; it got completely trashed this time and we'll be lucky if there's anyone left who still cares enough to see the next one. I'm calling Masocore platformers the worst this year, because it ruined four promising games (at least!) with fantastic ideas because their designers got the wrong impression that they needed to be bitch hard or have really sparse checkpointing or decided every nook and cranny required an insta-kill spike in order to compete in the Indie market. If your game's more difficult than Rayman: Origins, which I believe sets a perfect level of challenge, then go back to the drawing board and rethink a few things. Don't ruin your neat little Indie puzzle platformer with this frustrating bullshit, I implore you.

CREEPIEST... THING

Nominees: Far Cry 3's Buck Buck Buck Arc, FFXIII-2's Chocolina (Also a Bird Thing), Tomb Raider's "You'll Want To Protect Lara", the Anita Sarkeesian backlash/#1reasonwhy backlash/other gross sexism/misogyny bullshit of this year, Dust: An Elysian Tail's furries.

I think the cartoon says everything that needs to be said. Besides "I don't really think is secretly a rapist mercenary operating in the South Pacific." (Though he might want to look that direction if he wants to get his designer t-shirt empire up and running.) This year didn't make video games look too good in the national press, you guys, though being called out by a colossal moron like Wayne LaPierre for gun violence probably restored some of that lost credibility. Might be time to knock off the sign to our collective treehouse that says "no cooties allowed" at the very, very least. And while us consumers are doing that, we'll ask the developers to knock it off with telling us to white knight vulnerable female protagonists and giving anthropomorphic animals amazing racks for a while. \there's a two-way street to betterment here, everyone.

LAZIEST GAME

Nominees: The Amazing Spider-Man, LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, Assassin's Creed 3, Darksiders II, Final Fantasy XIII-2.

I try to avoid the truly generic games, so the selection above might not even be the tip of the iceberg of the apathetic asset recycling, idea stealing and half-assed buggy finished products we saw from the video game industry this year. Sleeping Dogs and Borderlands 2, as good as they were, aren't exactly exempt from this category either. The Amazing Spider-Man has almost nothing to set it apart from its nigh-identical superhero peers (including its Prototype-esque viral plot, in the same year as that game's sequel no less) and didn't really feel like sharpening the aspects it did borrow, though at the very least it let you go outside in this one. When the only thing to set your game apart is Bruce Campbell in a blimp, you might want to try to innovate a little harder next time. LEGO games are what they are; I believe there were even two of them this year, so they're not going away any time soon. AC3 at least gave us that ship combat mini-game, Darksiders II can't really be called too lazy for how much goddamn content that game has to the point of tedious lunacy, and Final Fantasy XIII-2's laziness may well get trumped in 2013 by Lightning Returns, so I'll hold off my derision until then (or unexpected joy? I guess we'll see).

WORST (OPTIONAL) WASTE OF TIME

Nominees: Final Fantasy XIII-2's Slot Machines, Hell Yeah!'s Slot Machines, Borderlands 2's Slot Machines.

Knock. It. Off. (Optionally.)

WORST ENDING

Nominees: ?????, ?????, ?????, ?????, ?????.

Mass Effect's 3 ending I feel has received a sufficient amount of vitriol at this point that everyone is at least aware that its conclusion is terrible. As for the other nominees, well, let's just put up one of these:

Here are the other nominees: Far Cry 3 and Assassin's Creed 3, hence this whole "the number three" thing, and also Final Fantasy XIII-2, Darksiders II and Borderlands 2. The cardinal rule for not making your ending suck: Don't casually render inert the core appeal of the game, or the purpose of the journey, or simply kill off the protagonist. Also, don't end on a cliffhanger, because not only are you delaying the satisfaction of a conclusive finale for another year or so but you are giving this presumptuous impression that you know you'll be back in a sequel. Never safe to assume that, especially if you're a THQ property. Or what you could do is make all the sequels at the same time, like Walking Dead's episodic format, and release them shortly after one another. Anyway, even though I stuck all this in a big spoiler bubble, I don't think I've ruined much here. Nothing that wasn't already ruined from the offset at least.

BEST ENDING

Nominees: Sleeping Dogs, Dust: An Elysian Tale, Journey, Resonance, The Unfinished Swan.

Very hard to get into specifics here, so I'll simply say that each of the games nominated manage - in their own way - to reach a satisfying conclusion that effectively conveys the idea that the entire game had been leading up to that moment, rather than some dumb Deus Ex Machina ending (sorry JC) or a cliffhanger or any of the problems of the games in the previous category. It's really not a lot to ask of a game that they don't mess up the landing.

BEST REVEAL

Nominees: ???

Man, how do I even? Oh hey, I have an idea. Just go visit this Tumblr blog I just created for this category. Solving problems with multimedia!

BEST TEAMMATE

Nominees: Big Bo and Cain - Binary Domain, Lippi and Frea - Crimson Shroud, Fidget - Dust: An Elysian Tale, Anonymous Journey Player - Journey, Yasha - Asura's Wrath.

Perhaps an ambiguous category, Best Teammate is simply the award given for the best PC or NPC that spends a considerable amount of the game fighting at your side. Binary Domain lives and dies on its teammates as a squad shooter and does a grand job of developing them and giving some definition to those characters that doesn't begin and end with "people from [Country] shoot robots like this, but people from [Different Country] shoot robots like this!". Big Bo's just a stitch from beginning to end (but he gets some development time too, don't worry) while Cain is just a great addition from the moment you first meet the guy. Fidget's perhaps the most acceptable Exposition Fairy since... never? Yasha's great for his eventual but entirely expected heel face turn and the Crimson Shroud guys are simply miniatures that the game nevertheless manages to flesh out with some quality backstory and well-written, snarky dialogue. That so many strategies in that game revolve around the three of you working in tandem doesn't hurt either. I guess the Journey guy doesn't really count, seeing as how he's another player, but they might as well be computer-controlled for the amount of human interaction you have with them.

BEST RABBITS

Nominees: Dust: An Elysian Tale, Hell Yeah!, Cave Story 3D, Rabbids Land, Assassin's Creed III (delicious!).

I honestly thought there were more rabbit games this year, but Cave Story's 3DS turn was actually last year. Still, I finally got around to playing that Indie darling this year, so into the deliberations it goes. Honestly, I don't know where all these games are coming from. They're multiplying like... well... yeah.

BEST LUSH

Nominees: Augus - Asura's Wrath, Syrenne - The Last Story, The Nameless Hero - Risen 2: Dark Waters, Salvador - Borderlands 2, Old Salty Crab - Sleeping Dogs.

This was another thing I noticed this year: Video game characters that love getting schwammered. What kind of lesson is that to leave to all the children? That drinking is awesome? Because that's a good one. Augus is the clear winner, though his epic drinking is but one of the many facets of that... complex character. Syrenne's an entertaining souse during The Last Story's moments of downtime and the hero of Risen II downs bottles of rum and grog like they were health potions, which they actually are in that game. You don't see Salvador drink too often (though it's required for one side-quest) but you get the impression he could drink the others in his group under the table, despite being about 4 feet tall. Ditto with Sleeping Dogs' Old Salty Crab, who sounds like he's tying one on every time you call him up for something fun and felonious, and given the content of the missions he joins you in doing it's probably for the best that he gets a little buzzed beforehand.

BEST OVERALL NEW CHARACTER

Nominees: Haytham Kenway - Assassin's Creed III, Vaas Montenegro - Far Cry 3, Jackie Ma - Sleeping Dogs, Ray "Big Bo" Boateng - Binary Domain, Augus - Asura's Wrath.

You'll be happy to hear (probably) that this is my very last award, given to the best new character in any video game, regardless of their role. After some careful consideration, I'm giving it to Assassin Creed 3's Haytham Kenway, who is in absentia for too much of that game's running time. He's an enigmatic and entertaining character for the time you spend controlling him during ACIII's over-extended intro, and continues to be a delight as he clashes with his son at various late stages of the game. Like Vaas, my runner up and another great invention, he departs the game far too quickly and too unceremoniously for my liking. If either of these games feel like doing some DLC - and, let's face it, it's likely - I wouldn't mind being in the shoes of those gents for a while longer. Kind of embarrassing how much better they are than their games' respective protagonists, actually. As for the other nominees, well, they're all great, nuanced characters with a lot of vulnerable depth behind their bravado. I mean, besides Augus.

BEST GIANT BOMB QUICK LOOK MOMENTS

Not an award, just a list of some of the best moments in no particular order as a way of voicing my appreciation for yet another year of wonderful content from Messrs. Jeff, Ryan, Vinny, Brad, Patrick, Drew, Dave, recurring guests Brad Muir and the rest of Double Fine and everyone else at Giant Bomb Industries who makes the site run, even if Alex or Alexis or that new Lt. Squigs Ian fellow or future employee Matthew Rorie didn't get to narrate a Quick Look themselves this year. Here's to another edifying and entertaining year of Quick Looks! (Also a shout out to for his "Best Of" compilations, without which I couldn't have assembled this list. Or at least not as quickly, in which case I probably wouldn't have bothered.)

Finally, my thanks to all you crazy people who managed to read this far. I hope your impressive lack of ADD serves you better in other areas of your lives. But for serious, have a great 2013 everyone!

(Oh yeah, I almost forgot: If you want to read even more goddamn words, take a gander at my overall best games of 2012 GOTY list.)

Moderator
#2 Edited by MooseyMcMan (10920 posts) -

If you don't have Adam Jensen presenting awards next year and being interrupted by time travelers, I will be very disappointed.

Moderator
#3 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@Mento said:

So I bite my thumb at you, VGK, for disparaging the final boss music.

I'll just say that it's not a good sign when the music I most distinctly remember from the game is "Uematsu strangles an intern and his struggles on the synthesizer sound musical". But Xenoblade totally does have the best music.

four games

Also, these are the exact same game. Or is Dustforce two games?

#4 Posted by buzz_clik (6972 posts) -

Sterling stuff, sir. (Shit, Paul Barnett's got me talking in S's.)

I know that you know that I know that I've gotta get some Xenoblade Chronicles in my life, and your additional layer of pimping it here is edging me ever close to that predetermined purchase.

Also, I'mma give my own award, with all these comic strips as nominees, to Best Comic Strip by Mento in This Blog. And the winner is... The FTL One! Cracked me the hell up.

Oh, and more like buttz_clik, amirite? Wait a minute...

@Mento said:

I'm calling Masocore platformers the worst this year, because it ruined four promising games...

Pssst, two of those links lead to Dustforce. I'm dying to know what the fourth one was!

Moderator
#5 Posted by Lelcar (608 posts) -

Nice list. This was a pretty entertaining read.

#6 Posted by Mento (2512 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: @buzz_clik: Yep, fixed. Thanks for the heads up.

Also this blog is complete now. It is truly astounding how much punishment this blogging engine can take. Next year: Less categories! Should be fun! And less carpal tunnel inducing?

Moderator
#7 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

I don't know. Something's still missing in the awards you added.

Everything is now complete.
#8 Posted by Mento (2512 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: No horseshit, I actually took out the giant purple dildo from the collage at the top of the blog because I didn't think anyone would get it in the end. Uhhh, so to speak.

Moderator
#9 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

I imagine Binary Domain isn't random enough to feature that?

#10 Posted by Phatmac (5725 posts) -

Cool list!

#11 Posted by Kerned (1170 posts) -

I don't know man, maybe I'm biased because I tend to enjoy super-difficult platformers but... Oh wait, sorry. I'm definitely biased. Carry on.

#12 Edited by Mento (2512 posts) -

@Kerned: Oh yeah! I ought to elaborate on that part of it a bit more. If that blog needed anything, it was more text.

Basically, when you have a game like Super Meat Boy, or any of those "rogue-like-likes" like Spelunky or Binding of Isaac that have a game design predicated on their difficulty, the game builds a framework around it to compensate. Like an alternate reward system or a way to make death relatively painless, since it knows you'll be failing a lot and it wants you to stick around (or rather its designers do, since games aren't sentient. Yet.) So those games are awesome even though they're super difficult, because they have all sorts of ways of making the cycle of death and restarting rewarding regardless. The differing core appeal of the four games I mentioned - Mutant Mudds with its "jump into the foreground/background with this nostalgic pixel-based platformer", Dustforce with its "find a way to clean every corner in the quickest time in a stylish N+-like platformer world", Snapshot with its "carry objects with photos and solve environmental puzzles with them" and Pid's "use the neat portals to maneuver around a whimsical cardboard cut-out world" don't mention or involve a high level of difficulty at all in their basic premises, and so none of them really bother to make any concessions to make it fun in the way Super Meat Boy/these Roguelikelikes do.

I can only surmise that they felt they needed to make their game difficult (or just fucked it up, but hey - benefit of the doubt) in order to be as highly regarded as Super Meat Boy et al. Like some Indie gaming peer pressure thing going on. Fez and Journey didn't suffer from it (Fez's difficulty was more in the melon-scratching arena, at least) and they fared way better.

Anyway, sorry to word vomit at you. That's just to help folk understand my position on that inauspicious award a little better.

Moderator
#13 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6155 posts) -

Nice to see Jackie Mo get some love along with Naytham. Both were excellent characters. Also, thank you for hating masacore games as much as I do.

Moderator
#14 Posted by Kerned (1170 posts) -

@Mento: Ah, thanks for the clarification. I have to apologize because I read your whole post, but failed to go back and click on the links to the games you mentioned. Seeing what games you had in mind does in fact make all the difference in understanding where you are coming from. I haven't played any of them (except for the Mudds demos, which... no thanks), but I certainly think that Pid looks to completely fit the "ruined by masocore nonsense" bill. I got Snapshop in the latest Humble Bundle but haven't tried it yet. Something for the weekend perhaps?

#15 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Something has just occurred to me: How could you not give the best character award to Serah? Her time as protagonist has to count for something.

Surely THIS deserves recognition.
Also, this happened while I was slapping together that thing some people might call a comic.
#16 Posted by Slag (4269 posts) -

Damn fun list!

Weirdest F'ing game should be picked up by the Bomb crew. That's a bottomless well of awesome.

will say Dragon's Dogma had the best ending of the year imo, and one of the better ones I've ever seen. I'm guessing based on your other comments about the game you didn't get to see it.

#17 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11644 posts) -

These are awards I can endorse, though I have to admit one of the thoughts running through my mind was how long it took you to make all of those sprite comics along with your writeups.

Online
#18 Posted by Eviternal (193 posts) -

This is fantastic.

#19 Posted by dankempster (2252 posts) -

Mento, you never fail to entertain, and these VGAs are no exception. You've clearly put a heck of a lot of effort into this, and for that I commend you. Your awesomely funny comic strips and your distinct, highly-readable prose combine perfectly to make this my favourite end-of-year blog-stravaganza. The award for Best Game of the Year Awards Blog is comfortably yours, good sir. All the best for 2013.

#20 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@dankempster said:

The award for Best Game of the Year Awards Blog is comfortably yours, good sir.

Shouldn't you wait until tomorrow to declare that?

#21 Posted by dankempster (2252 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: Probably, but come on man - it's got comic strips!

#22 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@dankempster:

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with mine.

#23 Posted by Mento (2512 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: Between the insane categories you always go for and the potential drubbing I'm to receive, I'm looking forward to it.

Moderator
#24 Posted by JackSukeru (5910 posts) -

@Mento: Just out of curiosity, are the 4 characters accepting the award for Theatrhythm your go to team for the songs, or just picked at random?

My team was Zidane, Onion Knight, Vivi and Terra.

#25 Posted by Mento (2512 posts) -

@JackSukeru: It's not far off. I went with Zidane instead of Tidus for a decent thief, and switched him for Locke when he became available because Final Fantasy VI. I have no idea if that's a good team or not, though. I didn't even know about using the Stoic Bonus to get S-Ranks for most of my playthrough until someone ( ?) pointed it out to me. A lot of neat little secrets in that game.

Moderator
#26 Posted by JackSukeru (5910 posts) -

@Mento: I also just went with what I liked, which meant as many FF9 characters as possible and then I liked Onion Knight and Terra's designs (have never played FF6).

Stoic bonus? I have no idea what that even is! but it doesn't matter, cool game.

#27 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

Yo, other player in Journey got robbed. Cain and Big bo don't even come close.

#28 Posted by MajorMitch (515 posts) -

@Mento said:

@JackSukeru: It's not far off. I went with Zidane instead of Tidus for a decent thief, and switched him for Locke when he became available because Final Fantasy VI. I have no idea if that's a good team or not, though. I didn't even know about using the Stoic Bonus to get S-Ranks for most of my playthrough until someone ( ?) pointed it out to me. A lot of neat little secrets in that game.

:)

If you can get S-Ranks without the Stoic Bonus, you're a golden god.

#29 Posted by FirebirdINF (275 posts) -

Very fun and funny. I would add Farm Simulator 2013 to the best quick look moments list. Vinny rocks a farmer hat, dub step mowing, tractor multiplayer. It is pearl necklace of awesome.

#30 Edited by Y2Ken (1123 posts) -

Fantastic. Very good.

#31 Posted by SpiderRumor (10 posts) -

I kind of disagree with "Masocore Indie Platformers" being a bad trend, considering the examples provided either weren't that difficult (Snapshot) or the difficulty was one of the main design choices (Dustforce). I also think that "Assassin's Creed's Decline" is a weird option for a "trend" because there were only two bad (main) assassin's creed games.

#32 Posted by Mento (2512 posts) -

@SpiderRumor: You may be right with Dustforce, I didn't play too much of it once I realized what it was. If it's promoted and presented as that sort of game, though, it doesn't deserve to be denigrated for misleading anyone.

As for Snapshot, my issue with that is more that it chooses (possibly deliberately) to never checkpoint anything, and thus requiring an increasingly elaborate series of very precise, very demanding uses of the photo mechanic to make sure things are in the right place at the right time when you might be whizzing through the air or some such. I'm clearly not making that game any easier by going for the collectibles (of which you need to collect all in one go for it to count, it would seem), but I reached a point soon after I was taking pictures of those springy things and having to place them underneath my robot dude in mid-jump at the exact right moment just before the apex of the leap, and then leaving them somewhere high up I couldn't reach without their help and having to reset the whole stage, where its cute gimmick and presentation had worn out its charm. And dying on a bunch of spikes because the regular jumping is a bit floaty and losing all that progress is not super endearing either. It probably should've scrapped all that super-precise timing, or kept it and made failure less of an issue as with something like Super Meat Boy. I'd have preferred more emphasis on the puzzle-solving myself, but I guess that's a matter of personal taste.

Regarding Assassin's Creed, I'd say two instances counts as the start of a trend. One would be an anomaly. I, like most going into ACIII, figured AC:R was an unfortunate aberration that occasionally happens when you add new elements to an existing system and mess up. That AC3 messes up in many of the same ways was dispiriting, in that it felt like no lessons were learned. At this point it feels like the next one has a better chance of being just as bad rather than some big redeeming entry, so I'd say the series could use a break for a while, or at the very least a longer period in development.

Moderator