The Wii U has had an interesting start, much like the 3DS. One of the big sellers of systems in the 3DS' early phase was Metal Gear Solid 3DS, which was thought odd by many as a port of an older game was a must-have new system seller. The Wii U is hitting this rather intensely, with ports of things that most core gamers have already worked through in very recent times. Games not even aged enough to be called "classic" are being ported over with Wii U enhancements. While Mass Effect 3, Deus Ex, and Batman: Arkham City are amazing games in their own right, these titles are at a rough spot, as budget minded gamers can deal without the bells and whistles of the new model and get a used copy of any of these games for pennies on the dollar compared to a brand-new Wii-U edition.
GoozerNation has been publishing a Game of the Year article for several years now. In the past, there has always been one or two games that clearly stood out as a favorite. This year, however, the results varied to the point where everyone chose a different game. Because of this, I decided to take the question of, "What's your GOTY" to the Goozex forum. It took a few days, but a clear winner slowly emerged, even though it was still close between The Walking Dead and Dishonored. What I really like about these two games is that they are both new IPs, they both took chances, and they are not mind numbing sequels. Read through the article to see why Goozers chose the games they did and at the end you can see which game takes GoozerNation's GOTY 2012.
Games that were mentioned, but only got one or two votes in the Goozex forum, include: Borderlands 2 (Phat B, merlin747), Far Cry 3 (ttttyler, ghostworld), Max Payne 3 (ttttyler), Kingdoms of Amalur (limination), XCOM (jamotto, ELRONIN), Katawa Shoujo (Koopason), Guild Wars 2 (USP45) , Halo 4 (gogofoo), Journey (DaLastDon25, Dargo), Mass Effect 3 (NeoOwnz, bananafish90), Black Ops II (vfwmonster).
Quotes on Dishonored
Phat B had this to say about Dishonored, "Single player is Dishonored. I was a big fan of its spiritual gameplay predecessor, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Dishonored took the whole "Play how you want" philosophy and wrapped it up with original enemies and powers. I love that there are 2, 3, 4, and even more ways to beat each level. Every time I pass a checkpoint I look back and go "oooh, i could have dropped that cargo net on him with a crossbow, or riled up those rats in the sewer and had them eat him." You wanna bust some skulls? Have at it. You wanna sneak? Sneak away. You wanna sneak into a room, bust some skulls, teleport to the shadows, and then bust more skulls? Do it. Re-playability is off the charts, considering this is not an RPG. Artwork is killer, everything about this game worked for me, and is still working for me [as] I run through the storyline for a second time."
My selections are a bit different. I have to say that my Game of the Year Award has to go to.....COLLECTIONS! So many collections (mainly through PlayStation) have arrived as of late. I’m late to the PS scene this generation, but it couldn’t be a better time because of all the great collections: I’m seeing Mass Effect in a trilogy, along with Killzone, Devil May Cry, Metal Gear HD....the list goes on and on. As much as others may see these as a cash-grab attempt, there are many people who never got to play these games before that are now getting to experience them in a better-than-ever way. Right now, for less than the price of one of the games when originally released, I’ve got the entire Uncharted trilogy to work through, as well as ICO (I had, enjoyed, and will enjoy again Shadow of the Colossus).
As much as I hate to jump on the bandwagon, I have to give props to the iOS game Bad Piggies. It doesn’t match the scope and grandeur of many of today’s AAA titles, but perhaps that’s what I’m missing: simplicity. The fact that levels can be just as fun intentionally crafting a failing mechanism as it is when you smoothly glide across the level for a three-star rating definitely means something. Plus, you can blow up pigs on the title screen! They have a smart marketing campaign as well. It’s fun to follow @BadPiggies on Twitter!
Oh, and The Last Story. Seriously. Released as is, it could have been a contender for best Wii U launch title. Great graphics, smooth controls, harkening back to the glory days of RPGs yet meshing with modern Gears style combat. What's not to love?
It’s crazy to look back and think that this year saw three console releases, with the Vita, 3DS, and Wii U. Gamers have a lot to look forward to next year, as those consoles flourish and new ones are on the horizon.
One of the most impressive games I’ve played this year is Guild Wars 2. When compared to other MMO’s, Guild Wars 2 has a lot of innovation and sets a new standard in the MMO genre. One of the major factors is not needing to group for quests. There is no mob tagging and anyone who does enough damage to the mob gets to loot. In many other MMO’s, it can get annoying really fast when there are a lot of people in the same area. This is especially true when new content comes out. I hear a lot of “Too many people here, I’ll come back later,” or “I couldn’t finish the quest today because I only have 30 minutes to play and couldn’t find enough untagged mobs.” In Guild Wars 2, I feel it revolutionizes the flow of questing whether or not you are in group. After all, people should be happy to see other people, not discouraged.
Another factor to why I feel Guild Wars 2 should be the game of the year is the World vs. World. Many other MMO’s have tried to create a good large scale PvP experience, but were unsuccessful. Guild Wars 2’s World vs. World is a battle between three servers over four different zones. This means there are hundreds of players in each zone and thousands total. Besides killing each other with ordinary abilities, there are also siege weapons, which can be used to take down gates, walls, and people. World vs. World is mostly about taking over and defending territory. If all three servers are even matched, the battles can get pretty epic and long.
Guild Wars 2 also has some epic events when it comes to holidays. It’s not like some other MMO’s where there are only decorations and a few quests. In Guild Wars 2, there are whole zones and entirely new activities added just for the event. For Halloween, there were multiple new zones with different activities including PvP, jumping puzzles, world bosses, a dungeon, and unique events that happen in various zones. From the looks of it, Christmas will be just as epic if not more.
Best of all, Guild Wars 2 doesn’t have a subscription fee. You buy a copy of the game once, and you never have to pay again. That is unless you want to buy items in the Gem Store with real money. But even then, you can trade gold for gems and still be able to buy stuff without spending real money.
Like all games, Guild Wars 2 does have its flaws. The one that matters to me the most is the lack of actual end-game content. While the entire game is “end game,” after getting to max level and gearing up some, I felt like there wasn’t much to do other than World vs. World. Some would argue that there is actually a lot to do, but those things weren’t interesting enough for me. Despite this, I feel that Guild Wars 2 is worth every penny of the full retail price and hope that other MMO’s can learn a thing or two from this.
In year’s past, when we do our annual Game of the Year article, I’ve always said that I wasn’t going to limit myself to games that came out in the current year. After all, I usually don’t play a bunch of the fall and holiday releases until the following year. Such is the life of a Goozex trader. I believe for the past several years I picked a game that came out the previous year. Well, this year is going to be different. This year, I’m going to pick a game that actually released in 2012.
First, I want to review some of the games that I have played so far this year. For the first time in many years, I did have an opportunity to play many of the fall and holiday releases. Except I did miss out on Dishonored, Hitman Absolution and XCOM (except I have that one sitting in my stack of shame along with Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim).
Here’s a partial list of what I did play this year and the number of hours I invested into the game (according to Raptr): Minecraft - 98 hours; Assassin’s Creed III - 36 hours; Borderlands 2 - 15 hours; Halo 4 - 10 hours; Transformers: Fall of Cybertron - 9 hours; Madden NFL 13 - 9 hours; Far Cry 3 - 8 hours; Black Ops II - 6 hours; The Walking Dead - 4 hours; Risen 2: Dark Waters - 3 hours; Wreckateer - 1 hour.
To be fair, I haven’t finished Far Cry 3 yet, I suspect the number of hours I play that game will substantially rise over the next few weeks. Same is true for The Walking Dead. But I don’t think I’ll list those game as my favorite. There just isn’t enough new with FC3 and while I’m loving The Walking Dead, I can’t name it as my favorite either, for reasons listed later.
I’m not going to name ACIII as my favorite simply because I enjoyed the side missions more than the main story, and to me, that’s just not right. Borderlands 2 was cool but was essentially just Borderlands 1.5. Halo 4 was a beautiful game to play, but in the end it was just another shooter. Transformers also falls into the same camp of been-there-done-that along with Madden and Black Ops II. Risen 2 was just dreadful and Wreckateer was forgettable.
My favorite, and therefore my Game of the Year, goes to Minecraft. I spent 98 hours of my life playing Minecraft. There are only two other games that I played more than Minecraft. And that’s Modern Warfare 3 (130 hours) and Dark Souls (102 hours). Most of the time I spent playing Minecraft, my son and daughter sat by my side watching me play, and I listened to them provide suggestions on what to do next. That’s something that would never happen (at their age) with games like Call of Duty or Dark Souls.
Minecraft was a completely new and innovative game for my family to play together. We built huge homes out of the sides of mountains. We dug deep into the ground to find flowing lava rivers. We found veins of gold. We built tracks for our minecarts. We fished the lakes and sailed the oceans. We jumped 10 feet when we were surprised by an exploding monster. We hunted pigs and made leather armor out of cows; in doing so I taught my kids life lessons on how we use animals for the greater good (for better or for worse).
The other evening, while we were finishing dinner, my son turns to me and says, “Dad, you know what game we haven't played in awhile? Minecraft.” I looked at him and said, “Well, we should fix that soon, shouldn’t we?” And he smiled. And I smiled. And together we smiled thinking about playing Minecraft.
GOTY is a tough cookie. There were a lot of really good games this year. Walking Dead, Diablo III, Dishonored, Hitman Absolution, Borderlands 2, Far Cry 3, Sleeping Dogs, and a few more. I’m not certain how accurate my Raptr profile is since it states I put 30+ hours into Borderlands 2 but has nothing in there for Sleeping Dogs, a gamer I nearly spent 30 hours playing earlier this year. Dishonored and Diablo III also show my playtime as very little, again an odd feat since I know I but 50 hours combined into both those games.
Although I really enjoyed Sleeping Dogs and Borderlands 2, The Walking Dead is easily GOTY for this writer. The answers why are simple, the game has a great story. I could immerse myself in the environment and the characters and lose myself for a few hours. The episode sizes were perfect for me to play a few hours at a time, which is something more games need these days. Out of all the games I have been playing for the last 20+ years, this is one of the only games I have ever felt emotionally attached too. Bravo Telltale Games, the game you crafted into The Walking Dead is deserving of GOTY hands down.
The other game I feel is good enough for GOTY is Dishonored. When I first heard of this game, I knew I had to play it. I was able to play it at PAX and let me tell you, everything I had read and saw online was true. This was a game built in a steampunk victorian environment where the focus was on stealth or action. The game revolved around choices the players made. The story and the character are interesting. I enjoyed the blend of Thief-like stealth with the action akin to Deus Ex. Multiple solutions were presented on how I could tackle objectives. The game kept me interested the entire time and I have to say, along with The Walking Dead, both games are GOTY candidates for me.
GoozerNation's Game of the Year 2012
After much deliberation, the GoozerNation Game of the Year 2012 is The Walking Dead. Goozer's who voted for TWD include, Tainted672, ghostworld, PlowK1NG, sgand, frankfrank559 and zblueshell14. They didn't choose this game because of the graphics or the gameplay. Rather, this game was chosen based on emotion. The story behind The Walking Dead is what made this their favorite game. Many of them said they needed to take some time after playing episodes 3 and 5 to compose themselves. sgand wrote this, "3 hit me hard. I had to take 30 min or so to compose myself before seeing someone." Tainted672 replied with, "3 made me a little depressed. The end of 4 more so. At the end of 5 though, I needed to be alone for a bit." The story is that deep and that far reaching. Personally, I have to agree with them. Episode 3 is dark and any parent who plays this game will feel some real gut-twisting emotion. As I played eps 3, it was hard for me to not place myself in that position and to wonder how I would react.
Congratulations to Telltale games for producing The Walking Dead the video game. From everyone here at Goozex and GoozerNation, we look forward to season 2.