Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The SuperPhillip Central Best of 2012 Awards - Opening Night

Finally we have arrived at the fifth annual SuperPhillip Central Best of the Year Awards! With five days of awards, two new award categories, 19 categories total, and loads of games to be represented, the Best of 2012 Awards is the most loaded yet! Today we are taking a look at four categories: Best Original Soundtrack, Best Multiplayer, Best Presentation, and a new category, Best Box Art. Are you ready? I sure as heck know that I am!

[Best Original Soundtrack]

Music is something that is very special to me, despite not professionally playing any instrument. Regardless, a game with great music is one that I will remember for a long time. Games with poor music? Not so much. This nominees for this award are the best when it concerns their soundtracks. There are six deserving nominees for this award, but only one can win! And the nominees are...

Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)


There is no question that the Xenoblade Chronicles soundtrack is something made of legends. It covers a plethora of genres and moods, and at one moment it plays a gentle, soothing theme while at the next it delivers a hard rock battle theme. The score is complex and full of tremendous tunes.


Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3, 360)


The game that was much better than its predecessor, Final Fantasy XIII-2 sports an excellent score. Though to be perfectly honest, the music was the least of the original Final Fantasy XIII's problems. Regardless, what we get from Final Fantasy XIII-2's music is a large variance of different genres and grooves.


Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)


Six outstanding composers team up to create this magnificent soundtrack, full of various genres and moods. You get Motoi Sakuraba (Tales of, Star Ocean), Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger, Xenogears), Masafumi Takada (Killer7, No More Heroes), among others. From rock to acid jazz, Kid Icarus: Uprising's score sets the tone for the game splendidly.


Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS)


The Mario franchise is known for peppy themes, and Paper Mario: Sticker Star does not disappoint in this aspect, presenting the player with loads of so-called "ear-gasms." There are familiar Mario themes, but the majority of the soundtrack is full of all-new content. It's a happy-go-lucky score that gets the job done.


Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS)


Yoko Shimomura takes her composition brilliance and delivers yet another astounding Kingdom Hearts soundtrack. From uptempo battle themes to more somber melodies, the Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance soundtrack is as complex as the name of the darned game!


Nintendo Land (Wii U)


Not only does our last nominee have wholly original music attached to it, but it also possesses numerous remixes of past Nintendo tunes like the Super Mario World Athletic theme or the theme of Kraid from the Metroid series. The majority of Nintendo's finest franchises are well represented musically with this wonderful soundtrack.


And the winner is...










Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)

Such an epic and outstanding soundtrack does Kid Icarus: Uprising have. The music definitely puts you into the game as you fly, soar, and speed through the twenty-five chapters Uprising presents you with. It is a grandiose, dynamic score that without a doubt deserves its place as the top soundtrack of 2012.


Runner-up: Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)

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[Best Multiplayer]

Whether local or online, multiplayer is a key ingredient in create a game with lengthy replay value. The following five nominated games have several special factors that make them more enjoyable in multiplayer than the other games that came out in 2012. And the nominees are...

New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U)


The platformer is one of my favorite genres, so it would be folly of me not to get it represented in this award category. New Super Mario Bros. Wii featured my favorite local multiplayer platforming to date, so New Super Mario Bros. U was coming off that great fun. The Wii U game adds more to the multiplayer. There's still the inclusion of screwing over your friends, but there is also the benefit of the Wii U GamePad, offering one player to place helpful blocks for the players going through each level. It's madcap entertainment, certainly worthy of being a nominee.

Nintendo Land (Wii U)


Containing six multiplayer attractions, some of which are competitive while others are cooperative, Nintendo Land is a local multiplayer fan's dream. Prepare to experience raucous laughter, hooting, hollering, and other exclamations as you play through the game with your friends and family. It is an experience that perfectly shows why the Wii U GamePad is essential to the Wii U console, and it grants players a seemingly endless amount of enjoyment through its Nintendo franchise-themed attractions.

Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)


The sole handheld nominee for Best Multiplayer, Kid Icarus: Uprising allows players to take a customized weapon that they earned in the single player mode and equip it to their character online for some fast and frenzied battles. Up to six players can duke it out online in either a free-for-all or Light vs. Dark confrontations. By simply participating in the online and offline conflicts players receive new items and weapons. It's a sensational online offering by Nintendo.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3, PSV)


With actual online that works (unlike a certain Nintendo-themed party fighter), PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale possesses battles for up to four players either in ranked or unranked bouts. This is all with mostly lag-free battles and all the Supers that you could hope to unleash on your foes. Like Kid Icarus: Uprising, there are free-for-all or team-based affairs to be had, and each fight grants experience to your selected character, unlocking new content as you play.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Multi)


Many people who play Call of Duty don't even bother touching the single player campaigns that come with each installment of the series. No, all of their time goes into the competitive multiplayer modes, and for good reason, these modes continue to be as rewarding as ever. From earning new perks to competing in the new 4 vs. 4 vs. 4 team battles, Call of Duty: Black Ops II offers an exciting and challenging online experience that the gaming world just can't seem to get enough of.

Halo 4 (360)


What makes Halo 4's multiplayer work so well are the weapons. Each weapon serves its own purpose and none of them feel like worthless filler. Throw in some well designed maps, vehicles to create even more hell-acious combat, and the limitation of only being able to carry two guns at a time, and you have a recipe for brilliant multiplayer. Borrowing a page from Call of Duty, Halo 4 added perks to increase the reward players receive for simply sticking with the already addicting game.

And the winner is...










Nintendo Land (Wii U)

While online multiplayer has a bounty of benefits, I always have more fun with local multiplayer with some friends and family members. Nintendo Land delivers this in spades, and offers a type of multiplayer never seen before. Many attractions contain asymmetrical multiplayer-- that is, one player uses the Wii U GamePad, views the controller's screen, and serves as one role, while the Wii Remote players look at the TV and have their own roles. The roars of laughter that come from your family or friends are something that aren't really as well appreciated in an online setting. Nintendo Land proves that together is better, and the various attractions that display different uses for the GamePad and different displays of multiplayer gaming make for an excellent time.

Runner-up: Halo 4 (360)

===

[Best Presentation]

While I am not the type of gamer who values presentation over gameplay, presentation is an important part of a given game's package. There were tons of lookers this past year, and this award goes to the game with the most stellar overall presentation. And the nominees are...

Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Multi)


There is so much going on in our first nominee, that your eyes might find themselves working some serious overtime. Call of Duty: Black Ops II contains lots to love in the presentation department. From terrific voice acting to nice effects like rain pounding down on characters and splashing off them, the game is a good contender for this award.

Halo 4 (360)


One of the most gorgeous console games of all time, Halo 4 offers awesome views and great special effects, from explosions to the shine on various vehicles. The game is no doubt an impressive beast, filled with lots of happenings going on the screen at once with seldom a hint of slowdown or framerate drop. Couple all that with some fantastic voice work, and Halo 4's presentation pleases in more ways than one.

Borderlands 2 (Multi)


Most first-person shooters go toward the realistic route. Borderlands 2 forgoes such an avenue, coming up with a cel-shaded art style that one cannot help but marvel at. The entire world of the game feels like one giant mature-rated cartoon for you and your friends to be let loose in. Truly incredible.

Journey (PS3)


Journey is an indie game created by Thatgamecompany. It is a title that presents the player with a gorgeous desert world and intriguing art style. Even still pictures of the game are something special to look at. It goes to show that you don't need the most realistic approach to create a great looking game.

Trine 2: Director's Cut (Wii U)


A visually stunning 2D puzzle-platformer, Trine 2: Director's Cut on Wii U is a tantalizing and bewitching game that stuns with is beautiful and vibrant visuals. From small particle effects to the shimmering backgrounds, Trine 2 is indeed a glorious game to sit back and gaze upon. Perhaps your eyes will begin to water as you look at something so incredibly pleasing to them...

And the winner is...










Journey (PS3)

A game that is an absolute joy to gawk at, Journey looks and feels like painting come to life. In a gaming industry where most developers strive for realism, it is nice to see indie studios still going for a different, and at times, more pleasing approach. This is why Journey gets this year's award for Best Presentation.

Runner-up: Halo 4 (360)

===

[Best Box Art]

While not the most important part of a game, the box art is the first thing you see. It's the thing that sits proudly on the store shelves, just waiting for a customer to pick it up and take a look. There are four nominees for this first of two new categories, Best Box Art of 2012. And they are...

New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U)


Mario and the gang display exactly what you can expect entering into New Super Mario Bros. U. We have the beautiful background of Acorn Plains, Luigi holding a ballooning Baby Yoshi, Blue Toad holding a bubble-spewing Blue Baby Yoshi, a Squirrel Suit Yellow Toad, and Mario riding Yoshi. It has all the elements of a great Mario cover, and the composition is really well done, too.

Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)


A simple cover, really. It is Xenoblade Chronicles' cover. The Monado sword stands in a field overlooked by a bright blue sky and the image of one of the two titans the game takes place on. It's a particularly vibrant cover, and that is why it is one of my four favorites this past year.

Halo 4 (360)


This is simply put a glorious piece of art work for Halo 4. It shows Master Chief down on one knee with weapon in hand. The art style of the cover is just incredibly appealing to the eye, and it is a box art that sticks with you.

Borderlands 2 (Multi)


This is quite the clever box art. It shows the cover character with fingers pointed like pistols to his throat with pictures of the opposing sides in the "blood" that came out of his head. Add to that a vibrant orange and yellow background and the bold Borderlands 2 logo, and you have a winner of a box art.


And the winner is...










Halo 4 (360)

Sometimes simplicity wins over anything else. That is exactly the case with Halo 4's cover. Not even being the most humongous fan of the helmeted one, I can't help but be enticed and impressed by Halo 4's especially pleasant and perfect cover.

Runner-up: New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U)

===

Phew! All those awards and that was just night number one! There are still four more nights of awards to go, so allow me to crack my knuckles as I get to work! Meanwhile, you can feel free to discuss the winners, losers, and/or snubbed games you would have liked to win in the comments section.

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