…for realsies this time. See previous post for contenders.
In a lot of ways it was a bit of a tough decision. There are games that came out this year that are alright, sure…but this year really felt like there wasn’t a whole lot of shining gems. Just some pretty good games (which is still great, to be fair) and a whole load of crap.
Anyway! In the end…I decided to give my game of the year to L.A. Noire. No, not Portal 2 (which I never did write about. The short version? It’s definitely inferior to the first one…by far) as many places have insisted. Or Minecraft (I’ll get to that one in a bit). L.A. Noire. A game which was talked about an awful lot for the studio furor around it rather than…you know, its actual game-play. It feels in a lot of ways to be this year’s Mirror’s Edge (now relegated to having its dead and rotting corpse trotted out by DICE every six months or so with pathetic cries of “Any takers? Anyone?”) – a great idea and amazing looking, but still ending up with less interest in it than it should have.
L.A. Noire was a really enjoyable game. It was beautiful – particularly the faces and facial animations. It felt immersive and atmospheric. I really enjoyed each story, and the bigger story the game had. It was also great to see big actors all around doing characters for the game. It felt adult, brutally so – with broad day light murder scenes, serial killers and under age girls, as well as feeling clever and really enjoyable. I liked their post-game DLC club. No, it certainly wasn’t a perfect game by any means – Cole did occasionally shout like a mad man when you really weren’t expecting it. And in a lot of ways, perhaps the biggest problem was the fact that it was a sand box game that really didn’t need to be a sand box game – and the niggling feeling that if they had made it less of a sandbox game…maybe there would be more story.
But it was still, basically, the high point of the year for me – game wise. So, The Tentacle-y Game of the Year award (which no one cares about, but it felt good for me to think about all the games I played this year and if I really enjoyed them or not) goes to L.A Noire. I hope something else will try and pick up where it left off – I do think there are plenty of people out there who would like to play a really good story driven game that was for adults. I suppose there’s always Grand Theft Auto 5?
The Worst Game of the Year, again, was a toughie. There were games that were bad in their entirety, games that had a poor execution, and well…games that annoyed me simply for the ludicrously incorrect media, and fans, proclaiming it’s ‘awesome-ness’….Eugh….
But, finally I came to a decision. And the worst game I played this year was Dead Space 2 – my full review is here, which demonstrates pretty well why I chose it, but to sum up:
The game would have been the amazing and atmospheric horror the media totes it to be if it didn’t have such ridiculously unbalanced ranges of difficulty – with easy being too…well, easy, and most of the above settings being just too much. Added to that the fact that the game’s whole plot was…well, it was Isaac running away. First away from some people, then towards some other people, then away from those people when they turn out to be evil… then towards the end, running away from what has been dubbed the ‘Uber-morph’. I despair of the fact that this was held up as an amazing horror game.
Next is the ‘Bang for your Buck’ award! Basically, the game that gives me the most game-play for my money. It seems a little superficial – and in a way it is! But I do think it’s still important to consider – I’m not made of money, other people aren’t made of money, my cat isn’t made out of money…my money isn’t even made out of money (it’s on the internet, after all). And we should definitely care if a game is worth our money or not. So, in the end it was a toss-up between The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Sims 3: Generations.
Both very different games, obviously. But to quickly sum up: Skyrim has been a pretty good RPG so far – it has a big open world with a lot to do, a lot of quests, and a lot of story. The game has a lot of flaws (hence why I didn’t give it Tentacle-y Game of the Year) like never ending dragons, repetitive quests and dialogue, game-play that drags at times and a still not perfect levelling system to name a few. But I have played it a lot – I’ve had two characters and have managed to play for well over 100 hours so far and it has been mostly enjoyable…mostly.
And of course The Sims. I have a long-standing relationship with this game series that borders on being a little too much (and not just a bit of a stereotype considering it’s seen as a ‘female’ game and a ‘not really a game’ game – take that for what you will) – having owned and played almost every version of The Sims to ever grace the face of the planet, from PC, to Console, to Handheld, to FaceBook etc.
And the current Sims iteration is no different. I can spend hours making houses, changing Sims, trying to lead long and complicated lives with nice houses and changes of jobs and getting all the skills ever. And of course a lot of Woo Hooing and moidering Sims for fun. I have, without a doubt, played it more than Skyrim – so there you go.
There’s Prettiest Game – which is a tie between two already winning games, surprisingly. LA Noire for its character prettiness and Skyrim for its environment prettiness. If pushed I would say LA Noire’s graphical achievement is still more impressive. I do think that the visual appeal of a game is important – and while it isn’t the be-all-and-end-all, as pretty graphics aren’t going to save a truly, truly abysmal game – it’s still worth mentioning.
Finally, a small and not so serious mention of the ‘Most Disappointing in the End’, category. And this goes to Minecraft – which despite having been ‘released’ is still not a complete game, is repetitive, and has had its development controlled by the not very sensible whims of its creator and its die-hard fans. It has such a huge following and such potential – and it felt like it went nowhere.
I shall (hopefully…if I get around to it…) make another post, talking about the not-mentioned games and why they didn’t get a foot in this article, and possibly even talking – retrospectively I suppose, on last year’s ‘Unanimous’ Game of the Year; Mass Effect 2 (If you’re curious, I thought it was crap).
See you next times!