Game of the Year awards: Steve Edition

So Mike asked us all in his inimitable manner (at gunpoint while wearing a Donald Duck towel and watching Desperate Housewives) to come up with a top 10 games of the year so we can pretend to be a real website with opinions and awards and the like.

However, finding 10 great games for the list was tricky without having to resort to filler – instead, I’ve gone to the ol’ fallback; fake awards ceremonies. Let the awards begin!

Best game that nobody bought – Rayman Origins

From the third minute of playing the demo, I knew this was something special. Here was a stunningly beautiful 2D platformer that is challenging and fun in equal measure as well as having that fantastic quality of maing any mistake you make feel like you not being good enough for the game rather than the game not playing properly. I’d even go as far as to say it’s one of the best platform games made. So why have only 50,000 copies been bought in the US since release last month?

Well, it may have something to do with Ubisoft, sometimes purveyors of ridiculous DRM, sometimes idiots. This case is most certainly the latter. When releasing an IP which has been forgotten by your company for years in favour of demented rabbits, maybe November isn’t the best pick for release date. You know, the month that had, amongst others, Uncharted 3, MW3, Saints Row: The Third, Skyward Sword and Skyrim released within weeks of each other. The most unforgivable part, thought? Not a jot of advertising. Shame on you Ubisoft. This gets the title due to

Other nominees: Child of Eden, Where is my Heart

Best surprise – Payday: The Heist

The Left 4 Dead formula is a splendid one and this year saw two games try to ape it – Dead Island, another teamwork zombie survival title, and Payday: The Heist, where you play a group of professional bankrobbers. Dead Island’s advertising was brash and loud for what turned out to be a decent, yet bug riddled. Payday, on the other hand, came out of nowhere at E3, released the same year and was a better game, especially as it wasn’t about more fecking zombies. A great achievement.

Other nominees: Bastion, Where is my Heart

Biggest disappointment – LA Noire

On the face of it you had the stunning expression animations of Cole Phelps and company, as well as a hugely detailed LA to play around in. It looked intriguing. However, while we all knew this wasn’t going to be Grand Theft Auto 1947, we expected something a bit more than an admittedly lovely-looking point and click adventure. I mean, what’s the point in recreating LA if you’re not going to let us explore it? This, combined with, non-existant side-missions, a weak story and not a single sympathetic character meant that many a customer was left disappointed.

Other nominees: Deus Ex: HR, Brink

Most graphics – Uncharted 3

Looks aren’t everything, but some games just look stunning. And while some will argue if Uncharted 3 is deserving of all the praise it has received, no-one can argue that it doesn’t look fantastic. The character models are acutely designed, and the environments are eye-catching. However, what sets Uncharted 3 apart is the audacity of its set-pieces and just how amazing they look – when you’re running through a French chateau which is burning to the ground and your stop to take in the scenery, you know what you have is good. Possibly the closest console gaming has come to PC graphics.

Other nominees: Rayman Origins, Crysis 2

Best downloadable game – Bastion

Sound is vital in some games, as me and Mike have discussed before, but neither of us really looked at how a voice can affect things. This is where Bastion comes in, a game with stunning graphics and a fantastic soundtrack, whose remarkably deep – especially for a downloadable game – and well-designed hack, slash, repeat gameplay is completely superseded by the game’s narration. Rather than a mystic voice, he feels like your companion in the game, so much so that you will just stop and listen to his sultry tones.

Other nominees: Stacking, Gemini Rue, Where is my Heart

Best game I haven’t played yet – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

I am not made of time!

Other nominees: Dark Souls

Honourable mention – Where is my Heart

It’s not often a PSmini will crop up in a GOTY article, but there’s a reason that this one was nominated by me for three separate categories. Where is my Heart ate up my time with its fantastic fragmented worlds and game mechanics, and it looks fantastic in a small screen. Based around the concept of getting lost, the game draws on that from the start by confusing you by jumbling up and overlapping level panels all over the screen, which disorientates you completely, yet its innovation just draws you in. Utterly brilliant.

Game of the Year

3rd – Rayman Origins

Yes, it really is that good. Shame on you for not buying it.

2nd – Uncharted 3

As mentioned, it looks pretty, but it also plays like a dream.

1st – Portal 2

If I’m honest, nothing even came close. A lot of games have great characters, many other others have fantastic humour, while others specialise in level design, game mechanics, graphics or sound. Portal 2 did it all in one game. They trumped the original in nearly every area even though it didn’t seem possible – who would have thought that GLaDOS would have to fight with Wheatley for best character in the series, while not a jot of humour the first game had can compete with Cave Johnson. They even got the co-op aspect spot on, something that eclipses the main game, no mean feat for a game like this. Everything is nigh on perfection.


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