Saturday, December 31, 2011

Destroyed Controller's Best of 2011 Awards

Here we are, yet again. The 3rd Annual Destroyed Controller "Best of" Awards. 

Cut the bullshit, let's get to the rules, which remain mainly unchanged:
  1. GOTY for a specific platform must be a system exclusive title
  2. With the aforementioned, multiplatorm titles have their own category to keep bitching to a minimum
  3. With the addition of remakes/revivals and their own section, these games cannot be awarded, nor are eligible, for a GOTY award for a platform or genre
  4. If a system was not played, a GOTY award will not be awarded (derp)
  5. 2011's Eligible platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, (3)DS
  6. Runners-up will be listed in the order of how well they permormed; the higher up the list, the more of a fight they put up.

Most of the categories introduced remain as well:

  • Biggest Surprise - Something that completely floored me that it has to be mentioned...and given it's own award
  • Don't Bother Releasing It - This is for those demos that were so damned bad, the game itself fell off of my radar.
  • Worst Game of the Year - This ain't just for the best game of the year, but I'm awarding a Razzie to the worst game of the year.
  • Most Anticipated for 2012 - Self explanatory.
  • Best and Worst Idea - Essentially, things that came from people's thought-processing pool of thoughts that either were awesomely epic, or epically horrendous.
  • Action/AdventureFirst and Third Person ShootersRole Playing Games and Platformers are all under the whole "Genre" moniker.
  • Best HD Compilation - With an abundance of these little fuckers making a larger appearance, I've decided to give them some attention this year.
  • Most Underrated Game - Working retail, you try your goddamned hardest to get people to listen to your recommendations, but all they want is the same fucking thing over and over. People are afraid of change, so this is where I give recognition to those games that were overlooked, and shouldn't have been.
Without further adieu, here are your DestructiCon GOTY 2011 winners:


Winner: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

No, Zelda doesn't win by default. No, Zelda's biggest challenge this year was Batman. Arkham City put up a hell of a fight, what with what Rocksteady was able to cram in there, but in the end, Skyward Sword took it because of it's beautiful art style, wondrous new mechanisms, but takes some serious heat for forcing motion controls on the player, while other games under Nintendo's wing (Metroid: Other M, New Super Mario Bros., etc.) only used the core Wii Remote with nothing fancy-shmancy. 

Runner-Up: Batman: Arkham City, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Infamous 2


Winner: Portal 2

The other's may have well have pled nolo contendere, 'cause Portal 2 is the best platformer of the year. What we learned from Portal 1 - momentum and gravity-based puzzles intertwined with "teleportation" of your character to solve these puzzles - is what makes the series so easy to approach and learn. With the introduction of Cave Johnson's lovable voice near the end and some serious "WTF" moments (spoiler! Caroline is GLaDOS), Portal 3/Half-Life 3 is just too...far...hey, wait a minute! Portal 3? Half-Life 3? I see what you're up to, Gabe...

Runner-Up: Sonic Generations

First-Person Shooter

Winner: Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Holy shit, the others didn't come close. With stealth elements from Metal Gear/Splinter Cell, interrogation aspects borrowed from L.A. Noire, inventory management/weapon upgrades taken from Resident Evil 4, it's no surprise how great of a game Deus Ex is. If you scoff, then you either didn't play it or can't go 2 days without playing something with "Call of Duty" or "Battlefield" in the title. Man up, throw down some cash, pick up sticks and play this game; fuck your Call of Duty.

Runner-Up: Dead Island, Resistance 3

Third-Person Shooter

Winner: Dead Space 2

I'm a fan of Resident Evil. So when EA said that the Dead Space was like Resident Evil, but in space, I laughed a little bit, but then I realized how serious Visceral was about this game. With the follow up, Visceral takes all of Dead Space 1 and packs it into the first 15 fucking seconds of the game, as an orderly that tells a straight-jacket-bound Isaac to flee for his goddamned life, he stops, a pin-point hole on his head is formed, and within seconds, he transforms into a necromorph right in front of your fucking face. Then, while still bound by your straight-jacket, you have to run for your life as shit gets real in your new home/(in)sanity ward. The "thrills", if you will, don't stop there, as shit you never imagined happens before your eyes, more than what Visceral thought they could pull off with Dante's Inferno.

Two words: suicidal baby-bombs.

Eligible: Shadows of the Damned, Gears of War 3

Role Playing Game

Winner: Deux Ex: Human Revolution

Confession time! I have yet to play Skyrim. That should be enough of an excuse to award DXHR the award. Why is Zelda the runner-up? Because they're bringing in more RPG elements into the mix to call if an Adventure RPG. Deus Ex, if you haven't figured out from the above award it won, is an awesome game. It has enough RPG elements in there to be called - get ready - an Adventure RPG.

Runner-Up: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Xbox 360

Winner: Gears of War 3

You know, Gears 3 didn't get the award because it's Gears. It got the award because it's the only system-exclusive Xbox 360 game I played this year. "Well, shouldn't it be barred from the awards?" That may be true, but I still had fun with it, despite the series' luster waining early on in Gears 2.


Winner: Uncharted 3

No surprises here, as Uncharted takes another PS3 GOTY award from me. You shouldn't be asking why, because the action-driven story, the (believable) characters and the story combined make for something that only Indy himself could sit in awe of. Uncharted as a whole is a series that has yet to show me why sequelitis is a bad thing. Sure, Uncharted 2 is, by and far, the best in the series, but Uncharted 3 is still a great game. If you still want to make Indiana Jones comparisons, Uncharted 3 is like Temple of Doom. Sure, it wasn't what the other movies were, but is sure as shit ain't Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls...

Runner-Up: Infamous 2


Winner: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Pretty much copy/paste my thoughts from earlier when Skyward Sword won the first award of the year. This is the epitome of what great gaming, direction, artistry, pacing, level design, etc., etc. Now, there are a few qualms - specifically of the forced motion controls, which can piss you off to no end at some points, and some tasks, such as the handful of fetch quests you face in the first few hours, plus the whole "it gets better 6 hours in" thing - but Skyward Sword is the best Wii game of the year. Nothing came close.


Winner: Pokémon Black/White

Pokémon was getting pretty old. For instance, I haven't played a game in the franchise since Gold on the GameBoy Color. Yea, it's been that long. Gold introduced a brand new batch of Pokémon to the mix, and did so with gusto. With Black/White (I played Black, myself), Nintendo thought to do something new to bring in new players: completely lock out the older Pokémon entirely until you beat the game, forcing you to learn the new creatures out of the gate. It seriously felt, for me, as if I was playing Red/Blue all over again. I had to take gambles on new creatures, not knowing if they were worth the time and effort. I avoided Bulbapedia for the longest time, but by the time I got the electric gym leader - which is the worst fucking placement of this gym; terrible pacing on GameFreak's part - I had no choice but to look it up. Other than that, Black has been a joy to play. 

Eligible: Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7

Multiplatform (Console)

Winner: Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Another confession! I never played the original Deus Ex games. Yes, DXHR is my first foray into the world of cyberpunk video games (although I'm a fan of the genre, thanks to Ghost in the Shell). I remember seeing a copy of Deus Ex: Invisible War on the store shelf of a GameStop years ago, and wondering how the fuck to pronounce it. I never bothered with DXIW because the box art was enough to disinterest me - it seemed like a bad game, which, according to DX fans, it was - and DX1 came out during a time where I didn't understand the world of video games outside of Ocarina of Time or StarFox 64. Starting with the prequel is a fairly understandable way of getting into the story, but a few references - such as the guy running away from the ship yard near the end of the game is some relevant person from DX1 - are lost on me. I want to see Eidos do a proper remake of DX1 and DX2, just so I can experience these games.

Eligible: Batman: Arkham City, Portal 2, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Dead Island, L.A. Noire

Best Remake/Revival

Winner: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

It appears that the gaming industry is following in Hollywood's footsteps by doing remakes of old, sometimes "classic", video games. It all started with the God of War Collection, and then developers realized people will pay good money to play the same again, with better looking visuals and Trophy/Achievement support. Well, 343 Studios realized that there was something missing from these "HD Compilations", and that, even though textures were updates, the character models and environments weren't. So, with the thanks of Saber Interactive's Saber3D engine, 343 and Saber were able to, not only allow players to revisit the Pillar of Autumn and Installation 04, but they could press the Back button during gameplay and witness the legacy visuals that were present 10 years ago. 343 was able to preserve Halo 1's integrity by reusing it's engine, but only making changes to the visuals; allowing two different graphics engines to run side-by-side on top of the actual skeleton of the game is incredibly impressive.

Bravo, 343. Now, get to work on Halo 2.

Eligbile: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Resident Evil 4 HD, Team ICO Collection, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded, Beyond Good & Evil HD

Biggest Disappointment

Winner: The Vita

That's right, I'm giving it to a system that hasn't even hit the fucking ground in the States. Why? Because for a number of different reasons. Foremost, the price. $250 nets you an incredibly powerful system with a very nice design and interesting features, but Sony cut corners to get it to that price to compete with the still-then absurdly priced 3DS (remember that 16 GB of on-board memory for you saves? Yea, they cut that to get the price down) and did some weird things with it. Firstly, menu navigation is strictly touch only; why both with physical buttons and restrict menu navigation by only the touch screen? Then, they only allow one PSN account to one system. Sure, this may not be a big deal to a lot of people - do people share handheld gaming systems anymore? - but with a high price point and a lot of kids wanting this, people may buy one for the kids and have them share. But then, they can't having multiple log-ins. What if parent and child want to share one? Tough shit, share your log-in info. Bad idea.

Another flub, they decided to introduce yet another proprietary memory format with prices ranging from $20 for 4 GB (?) all the way to $100 for 32 GB (!!). Finally, there's nothing to play on it, save for Uncharted. They've made no promise for heavy-hitting titles, with the exception of being able to transfar your games, and only certain games at that. Sure, the Metal Gear HD Collection and Final Fantasy X HD are big stars for transfarring (at least MGS HD is confirmed for it; Square's still tight-lipped, even though it will appear on the Vita, they just haven't said in what form).

For myself, Sony doesn't have plans on bringing their exclusive franchises to the Vita to get me to buy one. I love Uncharted, I love Infamous, I love Sly Cooper and Ratchet & Clank, but asides from Nathan Drake, no body else is in for the party. Give me more titles and a price drop, then we'll talk. Until then, the Vita will stay on the store shelf.

Runner-Up: Nintendo Fucks Up Zelda's 25th Anniversary, Nintendo Ignores Metroid's 25th Anniversary, 
Duke (Unsurprisingly) Fucks Up

Biggest Surprise

Winner: The 3DS's...Everything 

Yes, I have a 3DS. Yes, I paid $250 for it, but for good reason: Ocarina of Time. Yes, I have my Ambassador games (all 20 of them) installed on my system. Yes, I only have Ocarina and only that game; I would like Starfox and SM3DL, but I don't have time for them. However, the 3DS isn't the system it should've been.

First off, the Japanese press forced Nintendo into unveiling the system via a press letter, letting them know they will announce it at a special conference. Then, they released in March. Who the fuck releases a system in March, outside of Sony? They released it in March with no game worth buying. They also cut out key features from the system that would be released later, like the 3DS Shop and Netflix. Zelda didn't come out until 3 months later, Starfox hit in August (along with the above color and an $80 price drop), Mario's two games hit in November and December, and announce the Circle Pad Extension kajigger for $20 that adds a second circle nub/slide pad, plus increased the bulk of the system by 4000%. Plus, the only games that are going to use it are big hitting games that missed the holiday season: Metal Gear Solid 3 and Resident Evil: Revelations

I'm sorry, but the 3DS shouldn't have launched in March. Sales were sluggish, they picked up in June and dropped right back down, then shot through the fucking roof come the price drop. Now, the 3DS has out-performed the original DS Phat's first year of sales in 8 months. The 3DS should have launched in November, like  every other system. Nintendo would've been able to set the price at $170, not $250, as that extra amount of cash would've been made up by DS lite/i/XL sales; their absurdly high price was to compensate for R&D for the system that was released too early. They would've been able to launch with Zelda, Starfox, Super Mario 3D Land, the 3DS Shop, Netflix and maybe even a full-fledged Virtual Console for GB/C/A games. Hell, they may have been able to cram in that second slide pad given time.

The 3DS was botched, and the past 9 months haven't been to kind to it. I guarantee that at E3 12, Nintendo will announce a redesigned 3DS with a secondary slide pad, slightly larger touch screen and better battery for the same, goddamned price.

Now if only they could allow us to transfer our Ambassador games to another fucking system...

Runner-Up: Duke Nukem's Return Actually Sees the Light of Day, Nintendo Announced Wii U with HDMI/1080p (!), proprietary Blu-Ray format (?) and the Largest Controller Ever, Kotick-avich Makes Hollywood Premier, PSN Hacked and Sony Wigs the Fuck Out

Best Idea

Winner: 343 Studios Shows Everyone Up with Halo: CEA

Go back 3 years and see how many HD compilations or remakes you can list. God of War Collection, God of War Origins, Team ICO Collection, Metal Gear Solid, Splinter Cell, Prince of Persia (no matter how bad it was), Resident Evil 4/C:VX. But there's the grandaddy of them all: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary.

The biggest aid to Halo CEA's success was the double-dipping of the visuals, the ability to flip back and forth between legacy and remastered visuals, and the bonus inclusion of 6 classic maps - such as Beaver Creak and Hang 'Em High - was nothing but icing on the cake. Hopefully with CEA's resounded praise and success will get other companies to treat their classics as such and not as a quick cash-in.

Runner-Up: Gabe Newell Loves Sony, Brings Steamworks to the PS3 with Portal 2, Gives Microsoft the Bird

Worst Idea
Eligible: Nintendo Releases the 3DS Off-Schedule

Sure, I touched base on this earlier, but it remains as the single worst idea of the year. We can thank the Japanese press for being assholes and pressuring Nintendo to reveal the 3DS in an untimely manner, but we can also blame Nintendo for actually giving in to the pressure. By releasing in March, games weren't finished, software wasn't done - which was piece-mealed throughout the year - and the design of the 3DS wasn't even finished, with credence given towards the Circle Pad Extension Kajigger accessory they're releasing for it.

Most Underrated Game

Winner: Shadows of the Damned

Yes, I'm giving it to Suda 51, because when he puts out a game, it's a great game. Fuck you for saying Killer7 was dead-in-the-water for being on-rails, or for saying No More Heroes was ruined by the empty overworld. Suda 51 and Grasshopper Entertainment are the crazy idiots of the industry, but I say that with the utmost respect. Loaded with great gameplay - lifted right from Resident Evil 4 - and a story filled with sexual references (for example: Johnson turns into the Boner, then the Big Boner after talking to a seductress over the phone in the sex district, in which Garcia fires by thrusting his hips), Shadows is a fantastic game, but it went way under the radar, because, as a salesman myself, it is incredibly hard to market this game to customers, and for those that already knew about it, owned it before walking into the store.

They're crazy for obvious reasons, but they're idiots for churning out some of the strangest games and releasing them off-timed; Shadows came out in the middle of the summer, a week after Duke Nukem Forever and right after a Nintendo system launch. Bad release timing, but holy fuck, they make great games.

Runner-Up: Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Portal 2, Alice: Madness Returns

Worst Game of the Year

Winner: Crackdown 2

What a fantastic game Crackdown was. Take GTA's creator, give him another open world with crazy shit to do in it, and whammo, you get Crackdown. Open world, quasi-superhero of a police officer, upgradeable abilities just by using them...fucking Thor, it was a great game.

Then Crackdown 2 happened.

Somewhere, they thought they could take the entire map, fudge a few things up by desolating a few buildings and creating these underground areas, introduce Freaks, and have the entire goddamned campaign built around repeating the same fucking mission over and over again. I don't want to activate beacons, find the center point, wait for you drop that satellite thing, then defend the piece of shit for god only knows how long until the damned thing charges. Why not charge it while the helicopter still has it in the air, then drop the mother fucker, instantly wiping out the Freaks in the location you're dropping it at, rather than wasting time, bullets, Agents and my sanity?

Poor mission structure, awful pacing, little-to-no innovation...Crackdown 2 is the prime example of what not to do on your first sequel.

Runner-Up: Bulletstorm, Rage

Game of the Year

Winner: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Copy/paste all above descriptions here. This is why Zelda wins. End of story, 'nuff said.

Runner-Up: Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Portal 2, Uncharted 3

Most Anticipated Game of 2012

Winner: BioShock: Infinite

I love BioShock and Ken Levine's aspiration of creating amazing games. BioShock was a fantastic game - no, I never played System Shock or Deus Ex - but I'll be damned if I ignore Infinite. The art style is back, bewbs, we're up in the air, bewbs, the whole time-rift element is incredibly intriguing, bewbs, and the new Big Daddy-thing is even weirder than Big Daddies them selves. 

Eligible: Resident Evil: Revelations, The Last Guardian, Max Payne 3Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Syndicate