GUILD WARS 2
Guild Wars 2 may not be our favorite game that happens to be a sequel, but it’s our best sequel because of the improvements it makes over its predecessor. The innovations in combat, quest design, and world exploration make this game more accessible and engaging than any MMO on the market, and it’s hard to imagine a scenario where future games in this genre don’t take note of the immense refinements Guild Wars 2 brought to the table.
Runner-ups: Max Payne 3, Mass Effect 3
BEST ORIGINAL GAME
Fez‘s multitude of charms lie very distinctly with its originality. Whether it”s the comforting (but deceptively eery) music, the gorgeous pixel/polygonal art style, or the game’s unique brand of puzzle-solving, Fez provides an experience that you couldn’t get anywhere else in 2012.
Runner-ups: Dishonored, Hotline Miami
BEST LOOKING 3D GAME
MAX PAYNE 3
When deciding upon the awards for this year, we came to an impasse regarding the inevitable “best-looking” category. Is it really fair to compare a game like Hotline Miami to a game like Far Cry 3? Our solution was to split it into two separate categories: best looking 3D game, and best looking 2D game. Max Payne 3 wins the first for having a little bit of everything; both a technical prowess and a distinct sense of style. That’s also coupled with some of the best damn glass-shattering physics we’ve ever seen, and a wide variety of fluid and immersive animations.
Runner-ups: Far Cry 3, Dishonored
BEST LOOKING 2D GAME
There’s nothing about Fez‘s look that isn’t striking. The pixel art is gorgeous, and the perspective-switching mechanic reveals layers to its design that are truly astounding. The variety of locations and styles are noticeable too. Plucky hero Gomez will travel to and from a sunny bell-tower, creepy graveyard, and even Virtual Boy-inspired bonus levels. There were few games this year that were so involving, visually speaking.
Runner-ups: Dust: An Elysian Tail, Hotline Miami
JANK OF THE YEAR
RESIDENT EVIL 6
Philosophers have proposed and struggled with some interesting questions over the years. What’s the sound of one hand clapping? If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it truly make a sound? I’d like to add my own bit of existential wisdom, if I may. Is Resident Evil 6 a janky game, or pure jank parading around as a game? Ponder that shit.
Runner-ups: Assassin’s Creed III, Paper Mario: Sticker Star
On the next page, the good, the bad, and the fine and decent…