Hope everyone had an awesome vacation and Christmas holiday! This was a fantastic year for gaming, and I'm happy to announce my personal Top 5 GOTYs:
5. The Unfinished Swan
4. Assassin's Creed III
3. Final Fantasy XIII-2
1. The Walking Dead: The Game
Now, a lot of people will get butthurt I didn't include the mainstream Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 or Halo 4, but to be honest, I don't give a crap about those games. COD's story is nonexistent and its gameplay has been recycled since the first came out years ago, along with a soundtrack that is nothing to blink at. Halo 4 is way too mainstream and I consider it to be very overrated, plus Master Chief's character is extremely dry. Who the hell likes a holographic naked lady anyways?
So, I picked based on a few things:
-How good the gameplay was (whether it was innovating or not, if it's a fun game to play, it's a contestant in my mind)
-emotional and/or good soundtrack. THe difference between the two is Journey and TWD's OST compared to, say, FFXIII-2 or ACIII, which isn't really emotional, but fun to listen to anyways. However, the first two use the OST to the full extent to help coney certain feelings during a scene in the game, and that, I can appreciate. Congrats to Journey's OST being nominated for Grammys, by the way!
-graphics. Yes, I like my pretty graphics, but I also like a unique style to them as well. ACIII here isn't anything special, but the others are. The Unfinished Swan is like the unfinished canvas of an artist, in black and white with a few primary colors thrown in there. I love the artistic gameplay since I can't pain for crap myself, and it's children-like storytelling really makes it memorable. FFXIII-2 graphics were top-notch this year, and a lot of people argue they were worse than FFXIII. Even if they were (they aren't trust me; just watched the opening CGI sequence and visit Academia and you'll see), the game still looks gorgeous on both platforms. There's a reason it was nominated for best graphics this year, and it shows in its mixture of sci-fi and fantasy, with nice environments both recycled from the first game and completely new ones. My personal favorite was Academia 400AF. That place is stunning.
-soundtrack. Probably one of the most important things in a game if you ask me. Sure, character dialogue can carry a game, but a moving OST just makes the home run. Hell, the OST of Journey carried that game, as well as pretty graphics. The Walking Dead's unique comic-book-style graphics are great, and I never even noticed the framerate drops on my X360. Tracks like "The Road of Trials" and "Alive Inside" from Journey and TWD were stunning, props to the composers.
-story. The most important thing to me in a game. The only games I listed above that truly had a great story were the first one: The Walking Dead. TUS has no story and ACIII was pretty piss-poor compared to ACII, and FFXIII-2's was meh at best. Journey's story is nonexistent, and that's where TWD takes the win here.
See, The Walking Dead is entirely story-based. The gameplay is twofold - you're either frantically button-mashing in QTE's or directing Lee (the main character) in a conversation between you and other members of your group. What dialogue you pick directly affects the story in many ways, though haters and regular idiots will argue it's nothing but a movie. You basically have a choice of how you want Lee Everett to be...a badass motherf***** who doesn't take any crap and is stern with Clementine, or Lee Everett, a convicted felon whose past troubles him but he's willing do do anything to protect Clementine.
"I will do anything. I will do whatever it takes to protect Clementine."
If you so choose, you can choose dialogue options that makes Lee Everett into one of the deepest characters in gaming, and as well as making TWD one of the most emotional games...EVER. By the end of the game, Lee Everett literally feels real. So does everyone else in the game throughout five episodes. Each one grows on you in different ways...yet some you can learn to loathe. One example is Larry, a hardass old guy who's got a stick up his ass the entire first two episodes. Lee is nothing but polite to him (or you can choose to try and fight the bastard) and yet he still treats you like crap. Then there are people like Kenny, who you never know if he's going to come through for you or ditch you. Same with Ben, who's ultimate end eventually leaves you feeling guilty because you cursed his name the entire time. And then there's Clementine, an innocent girl mature beyond her years. At the end of episode five, she's driven to a level of such tradgedy that I wonder if I could do what she did. Lee Everett is bitten, and dying fast. There are two choices you have:
Put a bullet in his head to stop any transformation from occurring, or...
Leave Lee Everett behind to transform into monster, impossible to change back or "cure."
Either way, Lee Everett is a dead man. Yet you can't help but sob when you realize Clementine, a nine-year-old girl, has to do something like this, kill a man she loved like a father. Her voice actress, Jesus Christ...I bow down to you. Melissa Hutchinson is her name, I believe.
Anyways, this story's penultimate is the reason I chose it as GOTY. There is no other option in my mind. People argue that Journey is more emotional, but graphics are what saved that game, nothing more. Interaction with an unknown person is emotional, of course, but not on the level that TWD presents in its human interaction. After playing the TWD, I was depressed for days. I cried everytime I watched the ending again with Cry, Pewds, and EmptyApartmentGaming. It's simply incredible. If you haven't played this game, then shame on you. Buy it right now, but remember to download it on LIVE or PSN rather than the disc collection. I've heard it has some glitches on it.
oh, AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!