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Now Loading's 2012 Best + Worst Awards: Nominees

PLEASE READ FIRST: Now Loading's Best + Worst of 2012 is based on ONLY titles that I have played extensively for systems that I own. That is why there is no PS3 category / Games in these nominees. I have also removed the best Xbox 360 category due to redundancy with the main Game of the Year. Thanks for understanding and enjoy the Nominees!

I've gathered up 13 categories for all the games I've played in 2012 to compete in; from the "highly coveted" 2012 Game of the Year, to best character(s), to best game mechanic, to terrible load/wait times, to most disappointing, they are all here. Today I will be revealing the nominees and explaining all the categories. Obviously the games come in 2 flavors: Best and Worst, first we'll take a look at the worst categories and then of course the best ones. Each category requires at least three nominees, one of which one will come away with the award.

These games are given the descriptor of worst, with that said, please keep in mind not all these games are bad, in fact, some of these games might be really great. Sometimes there are just things that don't work out like bad design choices, bad product placement, underwhelming features or just flat out horrible games. Also some of these games have received these awards due to my negligence or just because I didn't end up liking them. Also take note that some of these categories / nominees are more "for fun" than others.

Word of Mouth Award
This award is given to the game which has received good review scores and/or good word of mouth, but when I ended up buying it, I found out it wasn't for me or I simply just didn't like what I played. This award is open to all games purchased in 2012.

Now the Nominees:
Need For Speed: Most Wanted (X360, 2012)
Need For Speed: Most Wanted was to be the next Burnout Paradise... so they said. They were WRONG. Really wrong, truly wrong. Teaches me to listen to them.

Spelunky (X360, 2012)
Spelunky gets a lot of praise for being a rouge-like platformer. Meaning if you die, it's back to the start of the randomly generated levels. There is a lot of strategy to a successful run, but the randomness just kills it.

The Witcher 2(X360, 2012)
The Witcher 2 is sooo great, it has great graphics, it has neat characters, a good story and challenging combat. Wow, you may be saying. The combat never clicked, so it was just roll away stab, roll away stab... I don't get the praise for this game.

Worst Splurge Buy
There are times when you have money burning a hole in your pocket and you just have to spend it. It could be on a bad game, a game that isn't right for you or even a game you don't really need, but that money has to go before your pants catch fire. These are the games that I bought in 2012 that wished I hadn't seen during that particular day, if you know what I mean.

Now the Nominees:
Final Fantasy XIII-2 (X360, 2012)
Final Fantasy XIII-2... The ONLY reason I bought this to see if I could inspire myself to play the original through to the end. While I might say the overworld game is a little better, the tedious Paradigm Shifting battle system did it in.

Burnout Crash! (XBLA, 2010)
Burnout Crash! is frustrating as hell. It's a high score chasing game that could have been really fun except for all the rules that cause you to lose outright.

RAW (Realms of Acient War) (XBLA, 2012)
I spent money on this mediocre action RPG that I played for about 2 hours. Enough said.

Play or Not to Play?
These nominees have the dubious distinction of being titles that I bought in 2012 but never got into, never even played or played for only a really short time. This seems to happen far too often for me.

Now The Nominees:
Final Fantasy XIII-2 (X360, 2012)
I got about 5 hours in to FF13-2 when I realized I don't like the constant Pardigm Shifting that is required to win the games battles.

Spelunky (XBLA, 2012)
I spent a few hours on this game before I realized that the random level design really made the game more difficult than it should be.

RAW (Realms of Ancient War) (XBLA, 2012)
I played this for less than 2 hours before I realized that RAW was not going to be a good game.

Patience Is a Virtua (Longest Game Wait Time Award)
Loading times... Wait times... Ever since games began to use optical disc technology this has be a common fact of gaming. There might also be a few game mechanics that make you wait. These are the worst culprits of this from titles released in 2012.

Now the Nominees
Borderlands 2 (X360, 2012)
While the new areas in Borderlands 2 are much bigger so the loading times are fewer, the loading times of 15-20 seconds between instances are pretty long.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted (Criterion) (X360, 2012)
The initial loading time between starting Need For Speed: Most Wanted and playing are at least 25 seconds and there are 20 seconds more if you want to start a multiplayer game.

FarCry 3 (X360, 2012)
30+ seconds to start your island insanity... did I ever tell you the definition of insanity? Long-ass loading times!

Worst Game Mechanic
You need good ideas to make a good game and while some ideas sound good on paper, these particular ideas should have stayed on the paper, then got tossed into the fire. What I am saying is that these mechanics actually made their respective games less enjoyable. These are the worst game mechanics of the 2012 released titles.

Now the Nominees:
SSX (2012) - Bottomless Pit Courses
SSX (2012) was SO close to being the best in the series. It had a fun and lenient trick-system that made it fun to go big without the risk of wiping out on every jump because you held your trick too long... but unfortunately the game's tracks are full of pits and crevasses making it a chore to keep your combo going AT ALL.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted (2012) - Autolog
This is a strange one... Autolog is a neat idea, but it is NOT a replacement for actual game modes and features. What happens if your friends are too good, or don't play the game, or what if don't/can't play online? Getting long jumps on billboards or beating your friends race times is POINTLESS and you've just lost a bunch of things to do.

Far Cry 3 - Short Fall Distance
As Jason Brody you can chain stab 6 enemies in a row, then pull the sixth dude's knife and kill a seventh... pretty badass... what isn't badass is the fact he takes fall damage from 3 foot falls causing you to potentially waste a health pack.

Most Disappointing Downloadable Game of 2012
Inexpensive but getting closer every day to running with full retail releases, Downloadble games still tripped on a few bumps in the road. These are the most disappointing downloadable games (XBLA, etc) released in 2012.

Now the Nominees:
Spelunky (XBLA, 2012)
I really wanted to like Spelunky, it's one of those games that you get better at as you play it. It's too bad that the randomly generated levels make it more about getting the right set of obstacles than using you skills.

RAW (Realms of Ancient War) (XBLA, 2012)
This seemed like it might be a decent little Action-RPG but the gameplay is bland and the while the graphics look pretty good the characters animate poorly.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD (XBLA, 2012)
I loved the old Tony Hawk games, with THPS 2 and THUG 2 being my favorites so when they announce a remake of the series with favorite THPS 1 and 2 levels and music... I am there. Unfortunately this remake is glitchy and has a different feel ruining the experience of playing the classic levels in HD.

Most Disappointing of 2012
Since I don't intentionally play really bad games this award goes to the game that just didn't meet whatever expectations that I had for it. Whether if that was because of poor gameplay, because it was a rehash or just because I couldn't get in to it like I hoped I would. This is award is only open to games published in 2012.

Now the Nominees:
Need For Speed: Most Wanted (X360, 2012)
What happened to Criterion? They used to make games with tons of evenst, tons of event types and lots of things to do. NFS: MW is barely a shell, a repetitive and short single player mode with only 3 event types (race, escape the cops and highest average speed)... you'll spend most of your time grinding for speedpoints. The multiplayer fairs no better because the only competition is in speedlists and those events are very limited. I got two days of gameplay out of this and I really have no urge to go back to it...

SSX (X360, 2012)
Sigh, this one is tough because I really really liked SSX but the tracks filled with combo ending pits means more than 75% of the game is not suited for tricking... hell 75% of the game isn't suitable for racing either.

The Witcher 2 (X360, 2012)
The way people talk about The Witcher 2 I was expecting an amazing experience. In the 10 hours or so I played I got boring combat, where I'd roll in attack and then roll away, found the story uninteresting and most of the characters unappealing. Blame it on a console port all you want I don't believe it'd be any better on PC.

These games are given the title of best in their cIass, there is nothing better than these games or aspects of these games. You can't go wrong with any of them; in fact you should play them all. What makes them great you ask? All you have to is just play them; it should be readily apparent right away.

Best Downloadable Game (XBLA)
This award is given out to the best downloadable game game that I played this year. Open to ONLY 2012 released Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) titles.

Now the Nominees:
Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition (XBLA, 2012)
I too was hooked by the phenomenon that is Minecraft. The XBLA port is a bit beind its PC counter-part but is being updated pretty frequently. Digging, building, exploring, enchanting, farming and even potion making, Minecraft does it all.

RockBand Blitz (XBLA, 2012)
This is great little game where you try to get high scores on the 15 songs included with the game. Hey, that'd probably be great on its own but when you consider that it is compatible with pretty much every Rock Band song out there it's a great reason to "dust" off your RB music collection.

The Walking Dead (XBLA, 2012)
I'm a gameplay first kind of guy, I'll take challenging and engaging gameplay over story any day. The puts The Walking Dead in a tough spot... it's a fantastic interactive story with a really interesting choice mechanic that'll have you second guessing yourself constantly. Also Zombies are merely a backdrop this is story about human's dealing with the end of the world.

Best Character in 2012
This award goes to my personal favorite hero/heroine or main character(s) from any game I played in the year of 2011.

Now the Nominees
Vaas Montenegro (Far Cry 3, 2012)
This guy makes the most of his screen time by messing with the head of the main character Jason Brody. His crazed speeches are haunting and disturbing... he's a great character and the fact that he, not Jason, graces the game's cover says alot.

Handsome Jack (Borderlands 2, 2012)
The ultimate d-bag. He's always one step a head of the vault hunters and by the end of the game you'll hate him for all the things that he's said and done.

Lee Everett and Clementine (The Walking Dead, 2012)
If Lee (aka You) we're alone, the choices you have to make would be a lot easier... but you will make choices to protect Clementine... even if it means the death of you.

Best Surprise in 2012
This award is given to a game played in 2012 (any year published) that surprised me that it was so good or turned out that was even better than I thought it was going to be.

Now the Nominees
Far Cry 3 (X360, 2012)
All I really need to say is: I gave my 2008 most disappointing game award to Far Cry 2. Far Cry 3 fixes most of the problems of 2 and even adds some cool new features.

Dragon's Dogma (X360, 20102)
Dragon's Dogma is surprising in the most cIassic sense. I had no idea what it was until it was basically released. It has a few issues that a sequel can fix but it's a cool game.

Resident Evil 6 (X360, 2010)
4.5 said GameSpot, this game sucks, kill the RE franchise... blah, blah, blah... this is a pretty fun game that is worth playing, make sure you actually play a game before you judge it.

Best Game Mechanic
Awarded to those game design ideas that REALLY worked out. These ideas worked to perfection and added just that much more to their respective games. This category is open to ONLY 2012 releases.

Now the Nominees:
Multi-CIasses - Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
I was actually able to play through the game with a ice-battlemage, enchanted ice-sword in one hand, magical ice staff in the other, while casting powerful ice spells for crowd control... not a lot of games allow you to do multi-cIasses, they are always too weak across all skills to be effective but KoA: Reckoning pulled it off.

Badass Rank - Borderlands 2
Small cumulative stat boost across all your characters, it's a brilliant idea that makes it so your alternate characters are still helping your main. Main character completed all the challenges? If you meet the criteria you can reset your challenges and gain even more Badassness.

Far Cry 3 - Stealth Mechanics
Tired of losing track of enemies in the foliage or behind buildings? Mark them and know their every move then sneak up behind them, drop death from above, then chain your backstabs and steal the guy's knife and to throw it in the face of the last man standing... outpost liberated!

Best Not 2012 Game Played In 2012
You can only play one game at a time and often you fall behind the release curve. This Award goes to the best game not from 2012 game that I played during the calendar year of 2012.

Now the Nominees:
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (X360, 2011)
I played and enjoyed over 174 hours of Skyrim in 2012 and the game had two massive DLC packs released as well.

Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas (X360, 2008/2010)
I played over 120 hours of Fallout 3 and Fallout New vegas combined and I even took on some of the New Vegas DLC I had never played. Still have to finish New Vegas's story. Fallout 4 please.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii, 2011)
I hated Skyward Sword when I first played it back in 2011, stupid Wii-waggle getting in the way... and it still does, but when it's not you'll find a very enjoyable Zelda title.

Game of the Year 2012
This is the big one, the Game of the Year. Of course it goes to my PERSONAL FAVORITE game that I played that was published in the calendar year of 2012, not necessarily the best overall.

Now the Nominees:
Borderlands 2 (X360)
I played over 100 hours in a week! There are only 168 hour total in one week. The much improved storyline, better use of characters, even more cool weapons and more pop-culture references than you can even imagine. A Great Game.

Far Cry 3 (X360)
Far Cry 3 takes the potential of Far Cry 2 and capitalizes on it. Fun stealth mechanics, a massive island to explore and some crazy characters round out the island insanity.

Forza Horizon (X360)
Take the great realistic physics of Forza Motorsport, tune them slightly to the arcade side and give the player a massive open world to drive around in with tons of events to take part and you've got a great open world racing game.

Those are the nominees for my 2012 Best + Worst Awards and on January 15th, 2013 I will reveal the winners. Some of the categories may seem pretty obvious, but I think you may be surprised at a few of the winners once they are revealed to you. Be sure to come back tomorrow, January 15h, to see the Winners of my 2012 Best + Worst Awards! Loading Complete!