Usagi704’s GAME OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2011

THIS YEAR’S RULES FOR GAMES TO BE CONSIDERED FOR NOMINATION

(List of games eligible for this year’s awards)

– THE GAME MUST HAVE BEEN PLAYED FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR
– THE GAME DOES NOT HAVE TO HAVE BEEN ORIGINALLY RELEASED THIS YEAR
– THE GAME OF THE YEAR AWARD ITSELF IS ONLY OPEN TO GAMES FROM THE CURRENT GENERATION

BEST MUSIC
– God of War III (PS3)
– Thunder Force IV (GEN)
– Quake II (PS)
– Thunder Force V (PS)
– Heavenly Sword (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Thunder Force IV

usagi11-music

A sweeping orchestra score accompanies the action of Heavenly Sword with a heavy dose of distinctly ethnic sounds from many different places across the globe gives this game’s soundtrack a much more worldly feel than most other games with orchestral scores.

BEST SOUND DESIGN
– Yakuza 4 (PS3)
– Crysis (PS3)
– God of War III (PS3)
– F.E.A.R. (PS3)
– Demon’s Souls (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Demon’s Souls

usagi11-sound

With the fantastic sounds of combat and excellent voice acting the God of War series has always had top-notch sound design and God of War III is no exception!

BEST GRAPHICS, TECHNICAL
– Dissidia: Final Fantasy (PSP)
– Doom 3 (XB)
– Crysis (PS3)
– God of War III (PS3)
– Heavenly Sword (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Crysis

usagi11-graphics-tech

As is the case with every platform a God of War game shows up on, it is a series you can always count on to be one of the very best looking, not only on the platform is shows up on, but one of the best looking on any system!

BEST GRAPHICS, ARTISTIC
– King of Fighters XIII (PS3)
– Mushihime-sama (PS2)
– Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (PS3)
– God of War III (PS3)
– Demon’s Souls (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Mushihime-sama

usagi11-graphics-art

Purely sprite-based visuals are a rarity nowadays, but when done well they can still be some of the nicest looking graphics out there. King of Fighters XIII shows that it’s still possible to produce such a game in grand fashion.

BEST DOWNLOADABLE GAME
– After Burner Climax (PS3)
– Tetris (PS3)
– Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition (PS3)
– G.G Series: Ninja Karakuri Den (DS)
– Crysis (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Crysis

usagi11-download

The resurrection of Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike didn’t strike (pun intended) me as all that interesting when it was first announced. I already had it on PS2 and I had a hard time liking it the first time around. I gave this new release a shot anyway and I was pleasantly surprised by the care of which this version was given and by how much more I enjoyed the game by giving it a second chance. I also found my new main: Urien.

MOST IMPROVED SEQUEL
– Onimusha 3: Demon Siege (PS2)
– King of Fighters XIII (PS3)
– Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (PS3)
– Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (GBA)
– Halo 2 (XB)

RUNNER-UP: Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance

usagi11-improved

What makes Onimusha 3 so much better than its predecessors has almost entirely to do with finally shedding the horrible ‘tank’ controls. Those kind of controls may work for much more slow paced games like Resident Evil, but for something a lot more action oriented, it hinders the experience greatly. The removal of set camera angles also helped Onimusha 3 to become one of the better action-adventure games of its generation.

MOST SURPRISINGLY GOOD GAME
– Heavenly Sword (PS3)
– Demon’s Souls (PS3)
– Doom 3 (XB)
– Ryuuko no Ken 2 (SFC)
– G.G Series: Ninja Karakuri Den (DS)

RUNNER-UP: Heavenly Sword

usagi11-surprising

My expectations for Doom 3 were pretty low after seeing and hearing about it since it originally came out. It didn’t seem all that good or interesting. Much to my surprise I enjoyed it way more than I expected! Sure, it has its flaws, such as constant flashlight/weapon switching, crappy art design, and a campaign that lasted a few hours too long, but at the end of the day the flaws weren’t as big as issue as they might sound and Doom 3 turned out to be a very good shooter.

MOST DISAPPOINTING GAME
– BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II (PS3)
– Hard Corps: Uprising (PS3)
– Quake II (PS)
– Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (PS3)
– Last Bronx (SAT)

RUNNER-UP: Hard Corps: Uprising

usagi11-disappointing

I loved BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger and the first Continuum Shift, but once Continuum Shift II came around, little did I know Arc System Works would commit, in my opinion, a cardinal sin of upgrades for fighting games: they changed my main (Ragna) so much that he’s almost literally a totally different character. Nothing takes the wind out of my sails for fighting game more than that.

WORST GAME I PLAYED
– A Space Shooter for 2 Bucks! (PSP)
– Hard Corps: Uprising (PS3)
– Goldeneye: Rogue Agent (XB)
– Magic: the Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Goldeneye: Rogue Agent

usagi11-worst

Good shoot-’em-ups are hard to come by on non-Xbox systems this generation and A Space Shooter for 2 Bucks! exemplifies what a lot of them are: sloppy! This game exudes sloppy design. From the placement and movement of enemy formations to the bullet patterns, everything about this game is haphazardly put together like the developers didn’t understand what makes a good shmup. To make matters worse, the game is super easy once you upgrade your weapons and abilities enough. Avoid this pile of crap at all costs, even for free.

BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE
– ICO (PS2)
– Onimusha 3: Demon Siege (PS2)
– God of War III (PS3)
– Demon’s Souls (PS3)
– Yakuza 4 (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: ICO

usagi11-action-adv

No game I played this year had a bigger more impressive sense of going on a real adventure than Demon’s Souls. The atmosphere exudes a sense of foreboding darkness that few other games have ever made me feel. Combining that with the game’s challenges for you to overcome, you really get a sense of accomplishment that is second to none.

BEST ACTION/PLATFORMER
– Hoshi no Kirby 3 (SFC)
– Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves (PS2)
– G.G Series: Ninja Karakuri Den (DS)

RUNNER-UP: Hoshi no Kirby 3

usagi11-action-platformer

I took a chance on this game when I had a small amount of points burning a hole in my virtual wallet. I didn’t expect this little gem of a game to as fun as it ended up being. While not difficult to eventually complete all of its levels, you’ll be coming back to try to best your high scores.

BEST SHOOTER
– Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (XB)
– Doom 3 (XB)
– Crysis (PS3)
– Halo 2 (XB)
– F.E.A.R. (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Crysis

usagi11-shooter

Anyone who remembers my review of the first Halo may recall how I had a number of problems with that game, but I’m happy to say that Halo 2 fixed all of the major problems I had with the first game and even added something I wish had been retained for all subsequent games in the series: dual wielding.

BEST FIGHTING GAME
– Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (PS3)
– Dissidia: Final Fantasy (PSP)
– Tekken 6 (PSP)
– King of Fighters XIII (PS3)
– Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: King of Fighters XIII

usagi11-fighting

The fantastically vast, varied, and interesting roster of characters and the wild and crazy action that allows an incredible amount of freedom in combo possibilities is what puts Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 over the top for me this year in fighting games.

BEST PUZZLE/STRATEGY GAME
– Puzzle Quest 2 (DS)
– Tetris (PS3)
– Tetris Attack (GB)

RUNNER-UP: Puzzle Quest 2

usagi11-puzzle

EA’s Tetris for PS3 is just so damn well done! From the great regular-ass Tetris to the very well thought out variants and awesome online play, I’d say there’s probably no better version of the game out there! The other nominees are good games, but what can I say? Tetris, when done well, is still the greatest puzzle game ever made!

BEST SHMUP
– Super Aleste (SFC)
– Mamoru-kun wa Norowarete Shimatta!: Meikai Katsugeki Wide-han (PS3)
– Mushihime-sama (PS2)
– Thunder Force V (PS)
– Star Soldier (PS2)

RUNNER-UP: Mushihime-sama

usagi11-shmup

Ultimately, I felt I had to nominate TFV over TFIV because it felt a lot more fair without all of the impossible to avoid deaths unless you know they’re coming from IV. I enjoyed the weapon variety and the many fun boss encounters plus the soundtrack is great too! It wasn’t until this year that I finally delved deep into playing any games in the Thunder Force series, but it makes me wish I had done so sooner.

BEST HANDHELD GAME
– Puzzle Quest 2 (DS)
– Dissidia: Final Fantasy (PSP)
– Tekken 6 (PSP)
– G.G Series: Ninja Karakuri Den (DS)
– God of War: Ghost of Sparta (PSP)

RUNNER-UP: Puzzle Quest 2

usagi11-hgoty

While there’s certainly a definite formula to the God of War series by this point, it says something that said formula is still a blast to play and that every entry so far has been of super high quality and the same can be said for second and last entry of the series on the PSP. The new additions to combat is what makes this entry worth playing and if you’re still into the series at this point you’ll have a fun time with Kratos’ quest to find his brother, Deimos.

GAME OF THE YEAR
– Tetris
– Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
– Crysis
– Demon’s Souls
– God of War III
– King of Fighters XIII
– Yakuza 4

RUNNER-UP: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

usagi11-goty

The reputation this game garnered since being released made me want to try it far more than if it just got the regular type of praise most great games get. I didn’t think it would be for me since it’s generally categorized as an RPG and is a long game at that. However, once I gave it a go I realized that this is exactly the kind of RPG that is for me. I was surprised by how much I really loved Demon’s Souls. Everything from the incredible atmosphere, to the unique multiplayer integration, and the fantastic methodical combat, it all congealed into an incredible gaming experience that I will never forget!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s