Posts Filed Under: goty
In previous years, our brief deliberations on Game of the Year nominations typically focused on games for a wide range of tastes: Dance Central 2, Limbo, Red Faction Guerrilla, Demon’s Souls, Red Dead Redemption. This year, however, just one game was deserving of our collective GOTY accolade: From Software’s amazing Dark Souls.
Curiously, we all agree that the spiritual sequel to Demon’s Souls was the most memorable game experiences of 2011. That’s pretty damn impressive, given the competition. Sure, we loved The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bastion, Mortal Kombat, Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery EP and Batman: Arkham City too, but nothing really did it for us quite like Dark Souls.
Mike platinumed it. Scott was consumed by it even while playing Skyrim. Jason simply adored the first five minutes.
So, congratulations, Dark Souls. You’re Meat Bun’s 2011 Game of the Year. We’ll prove just how much we love you in 2012.
Woah. 2011 is here! Last year might not have been the greatest year for video games, but in 2010 we played some unforgettable ones. These are the three games that Meat Bun loved the most this past year.
Jason says: “Even after letting the holiday Kinect hype wear off; I’ve still gotta give it up to Harmonix this year (with a little help from Microsoft) for Dance Central. Not since the original Rock Band have I seen a video game turn a hum-drum post holiday family evening into a full-on off the hook party! The concept is simple, follow the on screen avatar’s dance moves while the Kinect camera analyzes your timing and style; the better you perform the more points you get. It’s so easy; anyone can do it and that’s why it’s so freaking good. It quickly becomes less about points and more about watching your loved ones and friends pulling off crazy dance moves that under any normal circumstances they wouldn’t dare do. And therein lies the beauty, it gets total non-gamers involved, even more so then any Wii game I’ve played. I guess in a sense this is a partial nod to MS and the tech behind Kinect as well; but Harmonix nailed it better then any of the other entries so far and it’s hands down the most fun I’ve had playing a game this year!”
Scott says: “Limbo was everything I wanted in a game. It oozed darkly beautiful art direction, and wasn’t afraid to dispose of you in a myriad of diabolically brutal ways. You can tell Playdead took sadistic delight releasing you to explore their fluidly animated nightmare. Bear traps, giant black spiders, and little boys rarely mix this well. But it all comes together in this gray scale masterstroke. And all this for a quarter of the price of most craptastic games. Sure, Limbo is short, but it leaves you craving more. And that, my friend, is a core theme to all my favorites games.”
Red Dead Redemption
Mike says: “It might have all the trappings, for better or worse, of a Rockstar Games game, but don’t call it Grand Theft Auto with horses. Like Scott’s pick, Red Dead Redemption is a game that’s as much about mood and atmosphere as it is about its great gameplay. It was incredibly easy to get lost in John Marston’s tale, to get lost in the vast world of Red Dead Redemption, a desert teeming with life. Red Dead Redemption sold me on its beautiful vistas, its wonderful soundtrack and one of the best video game endings ever.”
Happy new year, kids!
In Catholic theology, the term limbo refers to the edge of hell, just outside of zipcode 666 — “hell adjacent” as it were. In the gaming world, this bleak monochromatic masterpiece is nothing short of double rainbow OMG!
There are no health meters and no dialog to go along with the no colors. What you get instead is a truly scary, often times violent place to explore… as a young boy. If you found that scene where Frodo is being cocooned by a giant spider a little disturbing, prepare to live the experience.
LIMBO rewards the nimble and quick thinking. There is a lot of dying, brutally, but the game never punishes you. You will be quickly giving it another go, only to realize your timing is still off, and that buzz saws and bear traps and little boys rarely mix well. This may be the best game you play all year.
Scott says: I measure my love for a game by how many nights it keeps me up playing it past 3 AM. Since October, it looked like Demon’s Souls had my Game of the Year locked. Beautifully crafted armor and weapons, awe-inspiring bosses, brutal game play, the perfect creepy vibe… it all clicked with me. Unfortunately, I was playing with Mike’s borrowed copy of Demon’s Souls, and he needed it back to review for Kotaku. My love affair with this gem was tragically cut short, just like my neck upon meeting Executioner Marilda for the first time.
But that left an opening on the inside of turn 10, and Forza Motorsport 3 forced its way past. Once in the lead, it never looked back. The 360 Wireless Racing Wheel has become a permanent fixture in my game room. I catch myself admiring the crazy attention to detail each car model has been rendered in. I’m not sure how racing games are going to get any better than this, without resorting to some bat-shit insane hydraulic setup. I have even started using Forza 3 to plan my next real-life automobile purchase. I think I have settled on the perfectly balanced 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia once I come up with, uh, 250,000 credits. Luckily, I was able to purchase it in a DLC Holiday Pack for $5.
Jason says: It wouldn’t be game of the year season without hearing someone say, “There are so many amazing games this year it’s too hard to pick just one” or “This is, yet again, the best year in gaming ever.” It happens every year because it’s true. The games we play keep getting better, in every way, year after year. It makes this GOTY shit really difficult!
When it’s all said and done though I can say, with confidence, that Red Faction Guerrilla is my 2009 game of the year. It’s nowhere near the prettiest, doesn’t have a great story and is a little glitchy; BUT it’s the game I was the most impressed with this year by far. My reasoning is simple; it’s the only game that significantly raised the bar on a genre. The amount of destruction, physics and feedback from the world is on a level that’s never been seen in an open world game. Volition refined their “Geo-Mod” tech from past games, brought the series back from the dead and upped the ante. It’s really hard to play any other action game after this and not get the feeling that it’s dated. If you shoot a rocket launcher at something and it doesn’t blow to a million pieces with crazy-ass physics it just feels lame. Now that other developers have had more time, I think we’ll be seeing this tech in a lot of other games next year; but for now Red Faction’s got blowing crap up locked down, along with my 2009 pick.
Daniel says: I really enjoyed games this year. Demon’s Souls was the game I spent the most time at work obsessing about. Resident Evil 5 was my favorite co-op experience this year. Uncharted 2 raised my expectations for pacing and presentation in video games. Assassin’s Creed 2 was my pick-up-and-play game this year. But without the ability to download games, I would’ve missed out on the best.
This year, my game of the year goes to Trials HD. For $15 I got a completely addictive, time-cooperative experience that is a nod to the best of gaming past. The motorcycle mechanics are simple with just gas/brake and the ability to shift your rider’s weight, but the combination of these elements is limitless. It’s one of those games, like Mega Man or Bionic Commando, that reward you for practice. As I perfected my techniques, the interactive leader boards kept me coming back to replay old levels and show my friends what I’d learned. Trials HD isn’t about flashy graphics, it’s about competition – the foundation of video games – and why I’ve played this $15 game for months. And the new $5 Big Pack expansion has brought things to the game I hadn’t thought about before. Weightless motorcycle moon-physics, anyone?
Collective runner-up goes to the five Fallout 3 expansions released in 2009. Each one was completely unique to the main game and to each other, but since they couldn’t be played without 2008′s game of the year it doesn’t really seem fair to include them.
Mike says: Well, if no one else is going to do it I will. Demon’s Souls was the one game that surprised me with its terrifying richness, it’s lure to play again and again, despite the pain of its incredibly difficulty, and it’s refreshing take on the Japanese role-playing game genre. What may have made the experience better was the bitter taste that Demon’s Souls initially left in my mouth, well before I understood how to play the game. Eventually, after soliciting some advice from friends and the oft-cited Demon’s Souls Wiki, the FromSoftware game grabbed hold of me, forcing me to put in more hours than almost any other title this year.
The game that absorbed more of my life this year, simply in pure hours, was Left 4 Dead. Almost the same with Left 4 Dead 2, which would be my runner-up of choice for game of the year. It was only put aside to spend more time with Demon’s Souls, but I fully intend on going back.
Point Lookout was released this week and, like Scott, reminded me why Fallout 3 was my favorite game of 2008. Hell, I’ve probably played Fallout 3 more in the past few months than any “new” title. And the four expansion packs they’ve released this year are better than most of those games I’ve played.
What amazes me is that they’re not just more of the same. Each one feels like a different game built upon the Fallout engine; only Broken Steel actually took place in the DC wasteland. And the first couple missions in Point Lookout play more like Half Life or Resident Evil than Fallout 3.
It’s brilliant and I want more. Bethesda, you’ve come a long way since horse armor.
It didn’t take long for Left 4 Dead to become my favorite game of 2008. Despite playing some fifty hours of Grand Theft Auto IV, probably as much Peggle Nights and possibly even more Team Fortress 2, no game from 2008 was as perfect as Valve and Turtle Rock’s latest shooter. It’s not just that I happen to love things zombie related, particularly the dread of the Fast Zombie, but that Valve seems to have locked the rule set down so tightly and honed the look and feel so expertly, that to look back upon its development, when it existed in other incarnations, makes one realize it couldn’t have been so perfect unless it was released as it was.
Yeah, I’m calling it my Game of the Year!
It’s amazing the amount of personality Valve and Turtle Rock were able to pack into the four survivors with so little dialogue and traditional character development techniques. Same for the infected — each one is a thrill to play and feels completely unique.
Oh sure, they could have let us play “Death Toll” and “Dead Air” in multiplayer versus and I personally wouldn’t mind some new weapon options, but listening to the developer commentary is full of so many “I’m so glad they didn’t do that!” moments. And Valve loves to keep adding content to its games year after year, so I’m extremely excited to see what they offer us in 2009.
My Xbox Live gamertag is Meat Bun Mike and my Steam ID is Geek if you want to give co-op on expert a go sometime. I wouldn’t mind some better teammates…
Speaking of zombies, looks like I’ll be playing my possible GotY for 2009, Resident Evil 5, next week in Vegas. For the first time, finally. Good times.