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Now Loading's Best + Worst Awards 2012: WINNERS

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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 Winners!

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 winners.

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.


WINNER: The Witcher 2 - (Xbox 360, 2012)
If you like The Witcher 2, that's really good for you. The game did not click for me and I did not get into playing it. That's simply the reason it gets the award... everyone says it's great, I play it and it's not for me.

Runners Up:
Need For Speed: Most Wanted (X360, 2012), Spelunky (X360, 2012)

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.


WINNER: R.A.W. Realms of Ancient War - (XBLA, 2012)
There is no worse a splurge buy than to go and buy a bad game. Really, there isn't much to say about RAW, it's just a bland action RPG and you shouldn't waste your time or your money on it.

Runners Up: Final Fantasy XIII-2 (X360, 2012),Burnout Crash! (XBLA, 2010)

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.


WINNER: Final Fantasy XIII-2 - (X360, 2012)
Final Fantasy XIII, 20 hours of hallways and tedious fights where you have to switch paradigms every five seconds if you hope to win the harder fights... Final Fantasy XIII-2 thankfully less hallways, but an even sillier story and the same tedious battles kept me from playing this for more than 5 hours.

Runners Up: Spelunky (XBLA, 2012), RAW (Realms of Ancient War) (XBLA, 2012)

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.


WINNER: Need For Speed: Most Wanted (Criterion) (X360, 2012)
It takes around 30 seconds to load into your single player world and then add another 20+ seconds if you decide to play multiplayer. 50 seconds is enough to get this award.

Runners Up: Borderlands 2 (X360, 2012), FarCry 3 (X360, 2012)

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.


WINNER: SSX (2012) - Deadly 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 later tracks are full of pits and crevasses making it a chore to keep your combo or racing line going AT ALL.

Runners Up: Need For Speed: Most Wanted (2012) - Autolog, Far Cry 3 - Short Fall Distance

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.


WINNER: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD (XBLA, 2012)
I could have given this one to RAW and that truly is a bad game, but I was super pumped for THPS HD and while I can't say it disappointed me completely it was enough for me give it this award. The controls aren't as responsive, the techniques don't feel the same and the glitches that randomly wipe you out are just too much.

Runners Up: Spelunky (XBLA, 2012), RAW (Realms of Ancient War) (XBLA, 2012)

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.


WINNER: SSX (X360, 2012)
I became a huge SSX fan when SSX 3 hit a homerun back in 2003 with a perfect blend of open world mountain exploring and high-flying arcade action... 2006's SSX On Tour was a let down compared to the masterpiece that was SSX 3 and the series died off. So in 2012 when EA finally brings the series back for the current generation I am excited. While the mountain exploring is gone the trick system is better than ever with a unique animation cancel that allows to hold tricks to very last second... Just as soon as I am busting 15+ million point combos and believing SSX is back... the later courses are terrible, filled with pits that ruin the point scoring and racing fun.

Runners Up: Need For Speed: Most Wanted (X360, 2012), The Witcher 2 (X360, 2012)

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.


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

Runners Up: RockBand Blitz (XBLA, 2012), The Walking Dead (XBLA, 2012)

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.


WINNER: 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.

Runners Up: Handsome Jack (Borderlands 2, 2012), Lee Everett and Clementine (The Walking Dead, 2012)

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.


WINNER: Far Cry 3 (X360, 2012)
When Far Cry 3 was announced I was skeptical... my experience with my 2008 Most Disappointing Game, Far Cry 2 was etched in to my brain... jamming weapons, bullet sponge enemies, respawning guard posts, massive map with nothing to explore, terrible save system and on and on. Far Cry 3 fixes all those problems and even has some great new ideas like marking and amazing stealth kills. The islands is enjoyable to explore and is much better implemented in to the game. My skepticism turned to happiness as I dealt with my island insanity.

Runners Up: Dragon's Dogma (X360, 20102), Resident Evil 6 (X360, 2010)

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.


WINNER: Far Cry 3 - Stealth Mechanics
Mark your enemies so you can track their every move even through buildings and through thick foliage. A detection meter lets you know your being "detected" and from which direction so you can break line of sight. Finally when you are ready to some damage you have tons of skills to take your enemies out without being heard or seen. From chaining backstabs to stealing victims guns, knives and grenades to use against enemies at longer ranges, or just launch some death from below or above. Those Pirates will never know what hit 'em!

Runners Up: Multi-CIasses - Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Badass Rank - Borderlands 2

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.


WINNER: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (X360, 2011)
174 hours with same character, haven't done the main quest, haven't reached level 80, haven't barely started the latest DLC. Point is Skyrim has so much to see and do if it weren't for the slight burnout and new releases that time played total would be well in to the 200's by now.

Runners Up: Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas (X360, 2008/2010), The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii, 2011)

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.


WINNER: Borderlands 2 (X360)
I played over 100 hours in a week! There are only 168 hours 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 few flaws (quirky loot system, wibbly enemies) made this a tougher choice than it needed to be but, congratulations to Borderlands 2 Now Loading's 2012 Game of the Year!.

Runners Up: Far Cry 3 (X360), Forza Horizon (X360)

Those are the winners for my 2012 Best + Worst Awards! Thanks for joining me... In a few days I'll have a blog status update. Talk to you then! Loading Complete!