Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The SuperPhillip Central Best of 2011 Awards - Opening Night

It's finally here-- the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2011 Awards. Unlike a certain video game awards show, there will be no teabagging of winners, C-list celebs, or butt rock to speak of. Instead what I have in store is a series of games that are the best of the best for the year 2011. But before we dive into 2011's awards, here are the results of 2010's awards:

Best of 2010 Awards - Day One
Best of 2010 Awards - Day Two
Best of 2010 Awards - Day Three
Best of 2010 Awards - Day Four
Best of 2010 Awards - Day Five

After you've scoped out the winners of 2010, get ready to sit back and relax for 2011's results in night one of our awards ceremony.

[Best Original Soundtrack]

When I say "Best Original Soundtrack" what I mean is any soundtrack that doesn't have licensed music as the majority of its tracks, so no Saints Row: The Third or anything like that. Remakes and the music that comes from them are entirely legal. Glad to clear that up. And the nominees are...

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

Nintendo dabbled with an orchestrated soundtrack with the GameCube's Star Fox Assault, but they haven't utilized a full orchestra for many of their first party titles. Super Mario Galaxy came and blew the doors off the place with its symphonic sound (Super Mario Galaxy 2 won Best Original Soundtrack last year) and memorable melodies. Skyward Sword continues that tradition with plenty of touching tracks, plenty of pulse-pounding themes, and much more.

Dark Souls (PS3, 360)

The soul still burns with a stellar soundtrack, might I add. Motoi Sakuraba brings his many musical talents up front and proudly on display with his Dark Souls score. From haunting themes to choirs chanting, Dark Souls has a grand scope in its songs and music. Sakuraba is well known for his composing expertise, and Dark Souls is just another great example of this.

Sonic Generations (PS3, 360)

With few original tracks but a plethora of remixes and remastered themes, Sonic Generations is a Sonic fan's dream come true. Hearing non-16-bit versions of my favorite Sonic themes was an absolute treat to the ears, and the myriad of music for the Sonic faithful to listen to was a cacophony of sensational sound. Composers of Sonic old and new teamed up to create the many splendid versions of classic and modern Sonic tracks.

Kirby's Return to Dreamland (Wii)

You can bet that when there's a Kirby soundtrack that it is going to be spectacular. The trend and tradition continues with Kirby's Return to Dreamland, a game that many have overlooked. Regardless, cute and charming themes are the call of the day for the pink puffball's latest Wii adventure. From Cookie Country to Onion Ocean, there's a lot to love about HAL Laboratory's composers' ability to craft satisfying songs for Kirby and colleagues to journey around the planet Pop Star to.

Go Vacation (Wii)

Here's a game that you probably weren't expecting to be on the list of nominees, yet here it is. Go Vacation is a criminally overlooked mini-game collection with a scope larger than even Wii Sports Resort. The soundtrack consists of wonderful, peppy, and infectious tracks such as the main menu theme, activity theme, and so much more. Take a listen to the songs as Nintendo World Report plays through the game in the link below.

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (PSP)

A remake of the 1998 classic, the PSP's Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together features Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata composing a magnum opus of tremendous music. This pair was also the ones who wrote the music for the excellent Final Fantasy Tactics, so you know that their soundtracks are something special. Just take a listen to the examples I've provided via YouTube to get your fill of Sakimoto's and Iwata's musical genius.

And the winner is...

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

The orchestral score of Skyward Sword is spectacular. Everything from the chorus chanting in Ghirahim's final battle to the Disney-esque strings of Good Batreaux, there's something for everyone in Skyward Sword's soundtrack. Since we have a clear cut winner, why not give out more samples of the latest Legend of Zelda's score? Sounds good to me!

Runner-up: Dark Souls (PS3, 360)


[Best Multiplayer]

Friends are great, but friends with benefits? Oh, that's even better. There's nothing like playing with a bunch of your best friends or favorite family members online or off to get the blood and the adrenaline pumping. The following are the best multiplayer experiences of 2011. And the nominees are...

Gears of War 3 (360)

There's little in the way of satisfaction that can beat using the chainsaw blade on your lancer to rip a hole through an opponent, or launching a torque bow into the skin of a foe and promptly blowing them to smithereens. Whether you play on teams on one of the many maps the game possesses (both classic and new maps) or take it to the onslaught of computer controlled opponents in Horde mode, there's a lot to like about Gears of War 3's multiplayer component. And unlike Gears 2, Gears of War 3 contains online that is virtually bug and glitch free.

LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3)

LittleBigPlanet 2 is a creator's paradise, but did you know that there's also a meaty story campaign to it as well? Well, now you do, and you can play it with up to three other friends or total strangers! You can opt to build a level or mini-game with friends, play the many story levels, battling bosses, collecting prize bubbles, or fiddle around with the impressive physics engine the game has. There's nothing like being a part of the same party and trying out other players' levels and games. LittleBigPlanet 2 is a spectacular multiplayer experience.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3)

Play individually or on teams with Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception's multiplayer. While it isn't the most unique multiplayer experience, it does offer a lot of different scenarios, maps, and challenges to take on. Most importantly are medals that are unlocked through performing such feats as killing three people with a melee attack in one life. These give players kickbacks which are like Call of Duty's kill streak perks that reward the player with a bonus effect. For a fun time that few PlayStation 3 games can muster, look into Drake's Deception for pure, unadulterated multiplayer bliss.

Kirby's Return to Dreamland (Wii)

While only allowing players to traverse the colorful world of Kirby's latest offline, Kirby's Return to Dreamland offers plenty of excitement as up to four players can trek through the game's many levels in search of Energy Spheres, gobbling up and attacking enemies, and beating down bosses. Players share a pool of lives, so tread carefully and try not to cost player one too many lives! Similar to Donkey Kong Country Returns, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and Rayman Origins, cooperative play opens up a whole new world of possibilities and entertainment.

Mario Kart 7 (3DS)

Quite possibly the greatest Mario Kart in terms of multiplayer, Mario Kart 7 gives players the ability to create their own Communities, groups of like-minded racers all competing against one another. While searching Worldwide for races can be a tad irritating with players knowing full well the exploit of Maka Wuhu, the game runs relatively well with little in the way of lag (unless you're playing with people from all four corners of the world). Nonetheless, Mario Kart 7 may very well be Nintendo's most brilliant attempt at running a seamless and coherent online setup.

Go Vacation (Wii)

Sure, exploring Kawawii Island by your lonesome or with AI controlled Miis and animals is all fine and dandy, but the real fun comes when you have up to three other real life friends join you to traverse the various resorts. You can compete against one another in over fifty unique activities with over 100 variations, walk or ride around the four resorts (Marine, City, Snow, and Mountain), and discover new items via hidden treasure chests. Kawawii Island is yours to explore, and explore you shall!

And the winner is...

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3)

Even though you need a PSN Online Pass to play this game online (sorry, renters and used game buyers), the multiplayer of Uncharted 3 is the series's best yet with tons of maps that transform as the games go along, a grand collection of weaponry to use on your opponents, a myriad of modes, and awesome cooperative play. Uncharted 3 isn't just one of the better online games this year, but perhaps on the PS3 completely.

Runner-up: LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3)


[Best Presentation]

Beauty is only skin deep, but that doesn't exactly matter when it comes to video games as they don't have any skin. Like it or not, there are people who purely and solely buy video games based on their graphical content and not their gameplay. Sucks for them, but that's life. These upcoming games are ones that are the best lookers and runners (see: not Skyrim) when it comes to presentation.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (PS3, 360, Wii)

Ten hut! Ooh-rah! And all those other generic military jargon. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the latest in the Call of Duty franchise to the chagrin of many a-gamer. Despite this, it is one hell of a looker with dozens of special effects going on such as smoke billowing from streets, explosions ripping through the air, and debris flying through the air. War is hell and Modern Warfare 3 does its very best to emulate that to varying degrees of success.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3)

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is like playing through an interactive movie with its massive blockbuster budget, incredible and interesting set pieces such as the inferno in the chateau (don't worry-- that comes relatively early in the game), and absolutely, positively captivating voice acting that really makes the characters in the game seem etched in a bit of reality. Little touches like Drake running his hand along a cavern wall to maintain his balance go a long way in creating this realistic world.

Gears of War 3 (360)

A game that pushes the Unreal 3 Engine to its limits, Gears of War 3 is a beast. The production values are immense, the presentation regarding voice acting and music is top-notch, and the visceral action that occurs via bloodbaths and violence make for an engaging experience for those of you who are into that sort of thing (I'll stick with good old fashioned slapstick, thank you very much). Couple all of the aforementioned with a game that rarely bugs or glitches out, and you have a tremendous looking title.

Batman: Arkham City (PS3, 360)

Batman is back with a vengeance as he explores the seamy underbelly of Gotham in Arkham City, where the town's deadliest and vilest villains call A.C. their home. Being able to soar from one corner of the city to another with little to nothing in the way of slow-down is an incredible feat. Like Gears of War 3, Batman: Arkham City was powered by the Unreal Engine, and it looks amazing. Batman might need to lower the intake of steroids, and the scantily clad sex symbols in the form of women might be chauvinistic, but this game has got the graphical goods in spades.

Rayman Origins (PS3, 360, Wii)

A 2D game on the Best Presentation list? Something must be wrong... but if this is wrong, I don't want to be right. Enter the lush worlds of Rayman Origins, all hand-drawn, all looking mighty pretty, and all running at a smooth and silky frame rate. This is poetry in motion, my friends. Even on the standard definition Wii Rayman Origins looks fantastic with colorful and creative backgrounds, excellent enemy and character animations, and beautiful special effects in the way of enemies imploding, levels crumbling apart, and much, much more.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

Even though the Wii is the most underpowered console of this generation on the market today, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword still happens to stick with the big boys, despite it only being in SD (and no matter what any bonehead critic has to say). The watercolor aesthetic of the game makes everything from the environments to the characters look especially gorgeous. And what the game lacks in voice acting it makes up for in pure glorious style. Plus the soundtrack is the best of the year if you look above.

And the winner is...

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3)

Nathan Drake is not your typical everyman, and Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is not your typical every-game. It is much more with spectacular special effects like fires blazing, oil cans exploding, crystal clear water gushing, and foliage waving through the air. Things like Drake's clothing becoming soaking wet as he enters water is a nice touch as is the above mentioned touch-the-wall-to-balance-Drake act. Add all of this with a game that runs as smooth as a baby's behind, and you have the winner for Best Presentation of 2011 here at SuperPhillip Central.

Runner-up: Rayman Origins (PS3, 360, Wii)


That wraps it up for night one of the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2011 Awards. I hope you will join me for night two with such categories like Most Unexpected Surprise and Best Motion Control Game. Until then, I need to see if this tux is able to go in the washer... Damn these soda stains!

1 comment:

Chalgyr said...


I haven't gotten to play or hear all of those titles, but I did love the Dark Souls soundtrack and went out and specifically got that - great mood music, especially when I'm writing.

Multiplayer - definitely some good titles. I've been eating up Mario Kart the last few days, but for me personally, Gears 3 took the cake. Not necessarily because of the online mode, but because it's the first game my son and I have beaten together in a very long time, and we had a blast doing it. :) Good stuff, thanks for posting it!


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