Well, this has been a hell of a year so far. Gaming Irresponsibly was founded by Frank Moricz and myself and along the way we have met many talented people along the way. We have learned quite a bit from the industry and hope for many years of this adventure.
We figured it would be fun for each staff member to cast their votes for game of the year and also give an explanation of exactly why we decided to place our votes in each category. Looks like I get the fun job of going first!
I am a gamer from the 80s and many games I enjoy to this day found their humble beginings on the NES. When Skyward Sword was announced, I expected an abbreviated game that was chocked full of cheesy Nintendo gimmicks. What I got was a game that I felt was so well put together, it could rival my favorite Zelda game of all time, A Link to the Past. The game’s characters and story are very well written and being that it is the chronologically first game in the series, there are a lot of “Ah ha!” moments to be had.
There was some serious competition in this category, Uncharted 3 had one of the best stories in the genre and Arkham City was an extremely enjoyable game featuring one of the coolest comic characters of all time. Unfortunately, the innovation and flexibility of Skyward Sword held the trump card in this fight.
RPG of the Year – Disgaea 4
I loved The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it may be the best game I have played all year but with that said, I can’t say it was the best RPG that I had the pleasure of playing this year. Skyrim removed many RPG-esque features that I loved, including the way I wanted my character to grow particularly. That is why I gave my vote to Disgaea 4.
Disgaea 4 broke the norm from the series and gave users a deep story in a traditional RPG format, partner that with tons of customizable stats for characters and near endless gameplay with additional dungeons and loot to find. While Skyrim was a better game, I have to say Disgaea 4 was a better RPG.
I spent all year toting Battlefield 3 as the superior FPS in the epic war between it and Modern Warfare 3. Once Battlefield 3 launched, I was definitely not impressed with the singleplayer and also tired quickly of the 9 multiplayer maps over and over again. After about 40 hours into multiplayer, it dawned on me that this game is not Bad Company 2 and will never be. What we ended up getting was a game that felt like the developers tried to take what was popular in Modern Warfare 3 and put it into Battlefield 3.
Once I started playing Modern Warfare 3, I greatly enjoyed the pickup and play mentality. Although battles were much less epic, there was quite a bit more I could do with the options available to me. The game has 15 maps to Battlefield’s 9 and loads of additional game types as well. In the end, it was like comparing Coca Cola to a value supermarket knockoff.
Sports game of the year – Forza 4
Not much to say here, I had fun driving around and this game and the eye candy was incredible. I am not a car guy in any way at all but I still enjoyed the feeling of getting behind the wheel and flying down the track. Driving the Warthog would have made it even better!
Fighting game of the year – Marvel vs Capcom 3
I’m a big fan of the 2D fighting genre, a fighting game to me should be fast paced and combo crazy. While I don’t necessarily agree with many of their business decisions, Capcom’s Marvel vs Capcom 3 and (Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3) absolutely fit the bill. MvC3 may not of necessarily been the game that I hoped it would be but it turned out to be the most enjoyable fighting game that I played this year.
I know, I am voting for the underdog on this one. While Portal 2 was an amazingly awesome game with both an enjoyable single player campaign and a co-op campaign, that even came with the PC version when I purchased it, I really enjoyed Catherine as a cerebral puzzle game. While Portal 2 was an A-B game, Catherine offers a myriad of different endings and many different solutions to the game’s puzzles. I was stuck answering simple questions between levels that were ultimately more difficult and certain puzzles within the game and for those that also played the game, Catherine spilled a little into reality for us all. This in itself was a mark of a truly great game!
Early this year, Frank and I stumbled across this little game that had yet to be released. It featured some gameplay mechanics that were quickly compared to Minecraft but featured a 2D world with sprites resembling Final Fantasy characters. This game was called Terraria, and I can honestly say that the little game I played back then would become the juggernaut it is today. While Bastion may have been the most beautiful game I have ever played and Minecraft the most original, Terraria has all the little things that an old school gamer like myself has come to love. With regular updates that have been evolving the game into what it has become today, Relogic’s support for this indie gem has been paramount in comparison to any other title. Plus, the game is super replayable! Who doesn’t like that?
Family game of the year – Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster
As a parent of a 3 year old boy, I often times find myself having to be extra careful what games I am exposing him to. I was already playing games at his age, but they consisted of games like Super Mario Bros and Atari titles. The most violent game I think I plaed in my young age was probably duck hunt. Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster captures the fun and adventure that I felt as a young kid playing video games in a safe and creative experience that I can get my son involved with as well. Co-op within the game is set in a way that allows me to “carry” him through difficult parts but also allow him to assist in the easier games as well. Ultimately, this was the first game that I could actually play with my kid that kept his attention long enough to finish a chapter. That is saying quite a bit!
Platformer of the year – LittleBigPlanet 2
Since LBP2 was released very early in the year, it is a game that could easily be overlooked. Anyone familiar with the franchise already knows that LittleBigPlanet is to platformers that Minecraft is to indie games. With the ability to turn the game into whatever you want it to be, it’s hard not to love LittleBigPlanet 2. Seriously, I once played through an episode of Scrubs on the game.
Skyrim is, by far, the best game that I played all year. With that being said, I felt the game was incredibly unique in the fact that it seemed to blend many different genres into a solid and entertaining game. I can only name a handful of games that allows me to abandon the main questline so that I can adventure across the country, collecting every sweet roll I can get my hands on. Skyrim is a game that truly allows you to do whatever you want to do. You can fight how you want to fight and level skills at your own leisure. It’s the type of adventure that I dreamed of as a child, until I took an arrow to the knee.