So, the hot new thing in blogging on the wiki seems to be discussing the awards given out by various gaming magazines. With that in mind, I figured I'd go over the awards recently announced by my personal favorite magazine (gaming magazine, that is), the Official Xbox Magazine, in their February 2011 issue. Some commentary of an opinionated nature will follow, as will honorable mentions for each category. So let's see what they picked. (Please note, there were quite a few awards, so some have been omitted for celerity and relevance)
- Xbox Live Arcade Game of the Year - Limbo. (Never played it, so no opinions whatsoever, though coincidentally enough, the day before I read this, I was commenting on how I kinda miss Limbo since it apparently went away with Vatican II)
- Save a Quarter For: Plants vs. Zombies, Super Meat Boy, Shank, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX
- Sports Game of the Year - NBA 2K11. (I don't play, watch, or follow basketball or basketball video games, so this means nothing to me)
- Also Buy a Ticket to See: Madden NFL 11, EA Sports MMA, NHL 11
- Worst Game of the Year - Truth or Lies. (Fortunately, this one was totally off my radar)
- Also Stinking up Your System: Deca Sports Freedom, Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2011, Game Party: In Motion, Brunswick Pro Bowling
- Studio of the Year - Harmonix. (They got the nod for Rock Band 3 and Dance Central. Not who I would have picked, but oh well)
- Tip o' the Cap Also Goes to: Treyarch, Playdead, Rockstar San Diego
- Role Playing Game of the Year - Mass Effect 2. (Was there any doubt? Well, maybe just a little. I mean, 2010 did also see the release of Fallout New Vegas. 2011, however, could be very different. My money is on TES V: Skyrim beating out both ME3 and DA2 for this award next time)
- +100% Swords of Awesome Go To: Fallout: New Vegas, Fable III, Final Fantasy XIII
- Kinect Game of the Year - Dance Central. (Don't have a Kinect, so no strong feelings yet. Looks like it could be fun though. Will it beat the Wii? Only time will tell, but probably not)
- While You're at it, Wave Hello to: Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, DanceMasters
- Special Edition Game of the Year - Alan Wake. (I can't argue for ME2 here. ME2's Limited Collectors' Edition was lackluster, especially when compared to games like Halo: Reach, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fable 3. Where were the decks of cards, the poker chips, the cool in-universe books, the patches, the... well, you get the drift)
- Max Out Your Credit Card For: Halo: Reach Legendary Edition, Call of Duty: Black Ops Prestige Edition, Dead Rising 2 Zombrex Edition
- DLC of the Year - Undead Nightmare for Red Dead Redemption. (I know I'll catch flak for this, but Undead Nightmare totally deserved this. More later.)
- Don't Let These Games Collect Dust Before Trying: Minerva's Den for BioShock 2, Lair of the Shadow Broker for Mass Effect 2, Billy Joel Pack for Rock Band 3.
- Multi-Player Game of the Year - Halo: Reach. (Honestly, haven't done much multi-player since H.A.W.X., but I can believe this)
- Grab Some Bros For: Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Rock Band 3
- Best Score of the Year - Red Dead Redemption. (Overall, yeah, it was a good score. Some parts, though, sucked. ME2's was ok, not great. Fallout: New Vegas' was good, but fell short of my expectations after Fallout 3. Honestly, I'd have given this one to Fable III)
- Keep an Ear to the Ground For: Halo: Reach
- Fan Service Award - Capcom. (I'm not to mad here. I'd like BioWare to win, but then again, I'm still miffed about their reneging on the promised two-years of DLC for DA:O. I can totally understand why they reneged, but still. And hey, I'm fickle)
- Other Super Studios: BioWare, Harmonix
- Best Story of the Year - Alan Wake. (I personally think that two of the honorable mentions are more deserving of this award. But alas, twas not to be)
- More Page-Turners: Mass Effect 2, BioShock 2, Red Dead Redemption
- Best New Character - Captain Smiley from Comic Jumper. (Zaeed and I are not amused!)
- Additional Diaper Dandies: John Marston from Red Dead Redemption, Alan Wake from Alan Wake, Francis York Morgan/Zach from Deadly Premonition
- Best Use of Zombies - (Lancer1289, I dedicate this one to you!) Plants vs Zombies
- Use Your Brai-i-i-n on These, Too: Dead Rising 2, Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
And Now, the one you were all waiting for: Game of the Year! OXM starts this one with the runners up: Game of the Year Runners Up - Rock Band 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Halo: Reach, and Mass Effect 2. (Note, earlier in this same issue, they have a two-page feature on ME3, and they name some of their criticisms of ME2 that likely contributed to its not winning the Game of the Year. Chief among these were Mineral Scanning, the use of thermal clips instead of the unlimited ammo of the first game, and a certain boss who looks more like a villain from The Terminator)
2010 Xbox 360 Game of the Year - Red Dead Redemption.
So, a few closing thoughts. For the same reasons specified in OXM, I have to concede that RDR beats ME2 for best game. I personally like really open games like RDR, Grand Theft Auto, The Elder Scrolls games, and Fable 3, which let you go pretty much anywhere you can see. RDR delivers this, ME2 does not. I also agree that planet scanning needs to go, thermal clips need to go too, they need to bring back unlimited ammo and weapon overheating, and they need villains that don't come straight out of an Arnold Schwarzenegger film.
As far as the DLC goes, I totally agree with Undead Nightmare beating LOTSB. LOTSB was great, but Undead Nightmare was better. It's in a whole other league. The only DLC that comes close in terms of content is DA:O Awakening. Undead Nightmare added many more hours of play time than did LOTSB, more weapons, new creatures and enemies, and a fun and whimsical plot which skillfully incorporated most of the characters from the full game. LOTSB was great, but simply didn't add as much to ME as Undead Nightmare did to RDR.
In terms of total mentions, ME2 did all right. Sure, it only won one, but it got a few honorable mentions, and it deserved to lose some. I don't think anyone can argue that ME2 had the best Special Edition of the year. Best New Character, though, sucks. Zaeed totally should have won! I demand a recount!
So, that's about it. If anyone out there has some different opinions, thinks I'm full of it, or just wants to give their two cents, feel free! I'm already expecting some flak for my defense of RDR and Undead Nightmare! :P