Sunday, December 28, 2008

The SuperPhillip Central Best of 2008 Awards - Day Two

It's night two of the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2008 Awards, and tonight we have four awards to hand out metaphorically to games. We'll be looking at the nominees for Best Multiplayer, Best Presentation, Biggest Unexpected Surprise, and Most Disappointing.

Best Multiplayer


Whether you like playing games with people a foot away or with people an ocean away, this list of games has you covered. Which game best gave the most fun with a group of one's best buds or worst enemies? The nominees are...

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)


I have to be honest-- my favorite type of multiplayer isn't that of the online variety. To me, nothing beats sitting around with friends or family, talking trash, laughing, and having a grand old time locally. It's something that online, headsets, and lag can't replicate, and thankfully so since Brawl's online was broken. It didn't really affect me since online isn't my cup of tea for this type of game.

Mario Kart Wii (Wii)


Going from a game with a poor online implementation to one of Nintendo's best is Mario Kart Wii. You can take on up to eleven other racers on the track or in battle mode, or play locally and set up your own cup by choosing whatever tracks you want to race. Now if only Nintendo would have worked on balancing the items...

Resistance 2 (PS3)


We seem to be gradually increasing online aptitude with these nominations. Resistance 2 is a fantastic FPS which has plenty of online modes. You can play in team matches with up to sixty players or enter a less frantic mode in a singleplayer deathmatch . Then there's the cooperative campaign which has you playing on a team of up to eight as you try to complete missions totally separate from the single player campaign. You can also have a guest online with you for some split-screen fun.

LittleBigPlanet (PS3)


At first it was pretty laggy, but now LittleBigPlanet has come into its own. You can play levels with three other friends or total strangers, accessing areas otherwise unreachable alone, help one another find cleverly-placed prize bubbles, and just be the happy gadders you are. Eventually, players will be able to create levels online together, but right now it's just local creation only which is a drag.

Boom Blox (Wii)


This is another game that the fun could not be replicated by playing with someone miles away-- Boom Blox for Wii. Play on over one hundred different levels strategically tossing balls to knock down towers filled with point blocks. Just be sure to cool down that shoulder afterwards.

And the winner is...

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)



Nintendo's all-star brawl led to many nights of fun, intense action with friends as well as family. A well-deserved win for Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Runner-Up: Resistance 2 (PS3)

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Best Presentation

Not just technical, but I'm also looking into artistry as well here. Which game had the best combination of beauty as well as beast-like power to run it smoothly? Let's find out. Here are the nominees...

Gears of War 2 (360)


The Unreal 3 engine is by no means my favorite graphical engine. Actually, I loathe it. Characters with steroid use is a must. Lots of gray, too. Bloom as well. Regardless, Gears of War 2 is just a technical feast for the eyes no matter your style preference. The architecture of each constructed area is marvelous, and every scene gives off this movie vibe (depending who you are-- i.e. not me) that's a good thing).

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)


The system has changed. Old Snake's moustache alone has around the same amount of polygons as the model of Solid Snake in the PS2 installments. The system has changed. Gorgeous environments and models enhanced via high-definition. Even in standard def, it's a sight to behold, and you don't even need a Solid Eye. The system has changed. More polygons, sharper textures, more action, and enough eye-candy to give your eyes diabetes.

LittleBigPlanet (PS3)


Enter the magical world of LittleBigPlanet. The textures are remarkably-crafted, and those darned Sackpeople are just so cute! Level creation isn't as intimidating as it seemed do to very helpful hands-on tutorials, a shrewd British announcer, and a little help from your friends.

Wario Land: Shake It! (Wii)


I'm a sucker for true hand-drawn 2D, so I couldn't help but nominate Wario Land: Shake It! Pictures do not do this game justice. It's much more vivid and impressive in motion (as it seems to be the case with most capable Wii titles). From the colorful backgrounds and varied worlds to the wonderful animations, Wario Land's debut on the Wii is quite the looker.

Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3, 360, PC)


From the sheer amount of well-executed dialogue to the breathtaking scale and detail of Liberty City, GTA IV did not falter when it came to its presentation. It didn't just meet my expectations, but it surpassed what I expected the HD-capable systems of doing. Very well done, Rockstar North.

Prince of Persia (PS3, 360, PC)


Sensationally done cel-shaded characters placed inside a bright world is what you get with this retooling of the Prince of Persia franchise. The lighting is magnificent, the contrast between the colorless corrupted areas and the liberated lands the two heroes save, and the animation of the Prince as he initiates his aerial acrobatics is elegant and graceful. It's honestly a gorgeous game just worth watching videos for even if you have no interest in the actual game.

And the winner is...

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)



Dammit, Snake! I told you you're supposed to cut the cake-- not someone's throat! ...That's the same guy you already slit when you won the last award, isn't it?! ...Oh, his dog tag says "M. Cake" on it? Very well then.

Runner-Up: Gears of War 2 (360)

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Biggest Unexpected Surprise

There are many games out there that you hear announced that just don't do anything for you the first time you see them. Perhaps the game looks unappealing and you're turned off immediately. Perhaps an unfavorable preview lowers your excitement for a game, or the game gets announced to little or no fanfare and hype. These titles managed to come from left field and wow me immensely, but which will come out with the unexpected victory? And the nominees for Biggest Unexpected Surprise are...

Wii Music (Wii)


After the horrendous demonstration at this year's E3, I, along with many others, wrote off Wii Music entirely. Whatever hope we had in the game had diminished. Then several less public demos popped up on various sites. What...? That actually looks clever.... and, dare I say it, fun. Once I picked up the game, I was impressed with the entire package-- not blown away, mind you, just impressed. The package can be a noisemaker for the less musical, rhythm-savvy crowd, but for others it could and would be something more.

Boom Blox (Wii)


Steven Spielberg making a game. Steven Spielberg making a good game. Hm. Perhaps I will think more nicely of you even after shoving that no-talent douche, Shia Lebeouf, down everyone's throat, movie after movie. No doubt Spielberg only came up with the idea and supervised, the idea is one of amusement, good times, and more depth than I was expecting.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 All-Play (Wii)


After playing Madden NFL 09 All-Play for the Wii, I was hesistant to try my other favorite sport, golf, with EA as my caddy. However, unlike Madden, Tiger Woods PGA Tout 09 All-Play was not dumbed down hardly at all. It was a game full of depth, a fantastic online mode, over 20 courses, and some wonderful swing and (less so) putting mechanics. Now if EA could only bump up the presentation of 2010's edition...

Resistance 2 (PS3)


I didn't get a chance to play the original Resistance, but seeing how I really like its sequel and some think R1 is superior, I'll have to give it a go. Resistance 2 has a pretty good singleplayer campaign, but where it positively shines is in its Cooperative and Competitive modes. I've already spent over 48 hours alone playing both modes, leveling up my rank, earning new weapons and abilities, and just having a fantastic time doing so.

Sonic Unleashed (PS3, 360, Wii, PS2)


Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) can die in a fire. One of the worst attempts at a playable game I've ever tried (shovelware doesn't count). That notwithstanding, Sonic Unleashed came crashing onto the market. Why be content with having a fun time as Sonic's stages only? We're Sonic Team, so let's add another new gameplay element when we don't even have the others down pat yet! Hence the Werehog. If you're playing on any platform other than the Wii, then it's a manageable God of War rip-off. However, the juicy part of the game is in the fairly well-done (i.e. not absolutely god awful) Sonic day stages. Well done, Sonic Team! 50% of your game is very good. Now try for 60% next time!

And the winner is...

Wii Music (Wii)



It's amazing to me a game that at one time I completely dismissed is one that I would eventually be renting and enjoying heavily. I have a small background in music, so I greatly like tinkering with music more so than just rigidly playing Simon Says like on Guitar Hero or Rock Band. That's what Wii Music allows you to do. There's room for improvement, but the package as it is now is one that I was enthralled with for most of November until the holiday season's blitzkreig of big games.

Runner-Up: Resistance 2 (PS3)

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Most Disappointing

We all have 'em. Games that we hype, that we get excited for, that we or others (especially others) build up to be greater than they actually are or are promised to be. My list of disappointments isn't that large this year. It's better to get an unexpected surprise by showing little promise to a game than receiving a disappointment from expecting more than you actually get as you'll find out. Let's check out the nominees, shall we?

Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds (PS3)


What do you get when you have six courses when your predecessor had over ten, a paltry amount of modes, little variety, DLC that should have been in the game in the first place, and orignally a sixty dollar price tag? Well, you get Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds which probably had its name changed from Hot Shots Golf 5 when SCEA figured people would be angry if a sequel had less content than its prequels...

Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3, 360, PC)


The mainstream media loved GTA IV. Of course, they had about five hours each to play it before rushing out their 10 out of 10 reviews. It just goes to show that Rockstar North definitely had the press in their back pockets this time around. With little variety, car chase after car chase, a cast of superfluous characters which had little to do with the story and more to do with padding the length of the game, less stuff to do, more annoyances to bug you, more realism and less fun, and an "oscar-quality" script, and we have Grand Theft Auto IV, a still entertaining game, but nowhere near perfection.

Gears of War 2 (360)


How do you take the multiplayer mode of the original and make it have more glitches and exploits (including ALL from the original)? Well, just ask Epic Games, jack of all hype, masters of failing everything concerning engrossing gameplay. Perhaps I'd need to forsake maturity while playing this testerone-filled tumor inside the brain of the many manchildren and adolescent males enjoying this game. Or maybe the ESRB should change what the "M" stands for on their ratings chart...

Okami (Wii)


High Impact Games, the fine folks that brought you God of War: Chains of Olympus and Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters, were placed on the case to bring the underappreciated Okami to the Wii. Unfortunately, the code to the PS2 original was lost, so the crew had to do their best to recreate Okami for the Wii by their lonesome. For forty dollars you got a game that was worse than the fantastic PS2 game by losing the graphical filter that made the original so enchanting, used waggle for attacking (thanks for leading by example with Zelda, Nintendo), made drawing much more intolerable, and had the watermark of one of the biggest laughingstocks in the industry, IGN, on the cover to show just how much Capcom's Wii development was an afterthought.

And the "winner" is...

Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3, 360, PC)



Niko doesn't look too happy about it, does he? I thought he didn't want to kill. Oh, yeah. He went completely against his character throughout the entire game, I forgot. When you have a legion of gamers who are irked that Grand Theft Auto IV is in the top ten of the highest rated games of all time on Gamerankings and Metacritic, one camp is in the wrong. Since many reviewers let their readers know that they only had a limited amount of time to play GTA IV before they wrote a review in time for release, it's probably the group who played the game to completion (gamers) who are in the right. Let's leave it at that.

Runner-Up: Gears of War 2 (360)

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Tomorrow, we'll have more awards to crown some of the biggest games of the year with and some lesser-known lovelies. Until then, I'll see you tomorrow night.

2 comments:

SpinachPuffs said...

Wii Music impressed me at E3 despite the horrific show and yet the finished article still took me by surprise. I think my biggest surprise award would go to de Blob though - I honestly had no idea the game existed two weeks before its release!

My most disappointing choice comes as a bit of a shock to me (but you'll have to wait till my awards for that one :D)

Kyle said...

Ooh, a lot of your games in the Most Disappointing are bound to anger some. I loved Okami, so I definitely disagree with you there. But I haven't played any of the other Disappointments so I wouldn't know.

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