[Best PlayStation Vita Game]
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Join Nathan Drake on an action-packed adventure exclusively for the PlayStation Vita. While a lot of PlayStation franchises get watered down for portable entries, Uncharted: Golden Abyss bucked such a trend. It featured a full-fledged and fully fun campaign filled with intense gun fights and perilous platforming. Golden Abyss was as close to golden as one could get with the Vita launch lineup.
Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
Hit a wicked shot in the single-player or take to the tee online with friends or against the world. The latest in the wonderful Hot Shots Golf series brought with it quick bursts of fun on one of six well-designed golf courses, and the ability to take on challengers whether it be against the AI or through online tournaments. World Invitational was everything fans of Hot Shots Golf love about the franchise.
SCE Studio Liverpool's final offering before being closed was a great way for gamers to remember the developer by. WipEout 2048 featured an abundance of high octane thrills, chills, and yes, spills. Players could take the challenge to the AI within the mode-heavy single player experience, or do battle against human players online.
The only non-launch title on our list of nominees, Gravity Rush contained a bevy of single player goodness-- an expansive open world to explore, side quests along with the mandatory story missions, and the part of the game that truly set it apart from other titles-- sublime gravity powers. Gravity Rush was a game that had a lot going for it, and it succeeded in numerous ways.
And the winner is...
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
It seems like a dream that we can now get console-quality big-budget titles on a handheld, but here we are with Uncharted: Golden Abyss. With new touch controls implemented into the game, there is a level of innovation in the series that hasn't been seen for a while. Sony Bend has done a remarkable job crafting Naughty Dog's IP and making it their own.
Runner-up: Gravity Rush
[Best Nintendo 3DS Game]
New Super Mario Bros. 2
Mario and Luigi return to scamper through a multitude of creatively designed courses in New Super Mario Bros. 2. This time around, the focus was on accumulating as many coins as humanly possible. A large coin counter tabulated all of the game's collected coins, whether the player went through the regular single player mode or tried out three random courses within the all-new Coin Rush mode. NSMB 2 might not have innovated in the most astounding ways, but it was a splendid platforming venture regardless.
Kid Icarus: Uprising
After twenty or so years of being on hiatus from starring in a game, Pit returned, along with a bevy of other characters in Kid Icarus: Uprising. The game consisted of both flight and ground parts to each level, and an interesting control setup that once gotten used to, was viewed by yours truly as the best way of maneuvering Pit. No, dual analog just wouldn't do. Along with the campaign you had two online competitive modes that even after the bounty of hours put into solo mode, you had much more to get out of Uprising.
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
Professor Layton's first 3DS puzzle adventure arrived in Japan at the launch of the system. However, Western gamers had to wait over a year to try it. With countless new puzzle types that the 3DS's predecessor couldn't have thought of doing, a captivating story that delves into the professor's past, and gorgeous new polygonal character models, Layton's latest astounded when it released. It was the perfect game for beginning players and experts alike to sit down and be perplexed by the puzzles by.
Resident Evil: Revelations
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Sora and Riku split up and had two separate but connected adventures in the latest of the Kingdom Hearts series. Generally the Nintendo handheld Kingdom Hearts games are seen in a negative light, but Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance bucked such a tradition. Full of fast action-RPG fun via the Flowmotion system, new Disney worlds to explore, and the convoluted plot fans have come to expect of the franchise, Kingdom Hearts 3D successfully managed to entertain and enchant 3DS owners this past year.
And the winner is...
Kid Icarus: Uprising
Pit's return to the spotlight did not go unnoticed by SuperPhillip Central. No, it did quite the opposite. Kid Icarus: Uprising is chock full of surprises that deliver delight to those who play it, given they can learn the control scheme. Once that is done (after the second chapter the game is easy to control), players can experience the most hilarious, self-aware dialogue of the year, a game packed with secrets unlocked by performing an abundance of in-game challenges, and levels full of utter fun. Masahiro Sakurai and his team delivered once more.
Runner-up: New Super Mario Bros. 2
[Best Wii U Game]
New Super Mario Bros. U
Two New Super Mario Bros. games in the span of a handful of months might seem like overkill (okay, it IS overkill), but when they are so vastly different and both contain ingenious level design and ideas, it's hard to complain. New Super Mario Bros. U might have reinvented the wheel on 2D platformers, but it did deliver a whole heap of single player and multiplayer fun. The new Boost Mode allowed beginner players and those players who like to screw over their friends to join in on the fun. The addition of HD made the worlds of the game look better than ever before. NSMB U did it its duty and did it wondrously well.
At first glance, many simply shrugged ZombiU off as some generic shooter. However, those who actually spent a decent amount of time with it found a game that they could live out their wishes of being in a zombie apocalypse situation. ZombiU was not about flashy explosions and mowing down millions of the undead. It was about patience and persistence. If you went running and gunning down hallways, you would get bitten and you would die. To master the game you needed to master using the Wii U GamePad and all the clever uses Ubisoft managed to present the player with. ZombiU was a delightful little survival horror game with a very stupid name.
Join Maxwell once again in this Wii U action puzzle game where solving dilemmas came down to the player's imagination. The first title of the series to appear on a home console, the world of Scribblenauts Unlimited was presented in glorious high definition, and it looked absolutely stunning. The game could be played entirely on the Wii U GamePad, but that was not Nintendo's innovative controller's sole use. It could be utilized to type in words to solve puzzles as well as to design characters and items via the editor, a Wii U exclusive feature. Quite frankly, Scribblenauts Unlimited's potential continues to be... well.... unlimited.
The game that Nintendo wanted to best display the various uses of the Wii U GamePad was a more daunting experience to beginners than Wii Sports was. However, it certainly was much better for it. Nintendo Land featured twelve unique attractions based on several Nintendo franchises, such as Mario, Pikmin, and Metroid. Nintendo Land was the type of title that livened up many a dull party and replaced the loud yawns with booming guffaws. Whether you were running from a trio of Toads as a Mii dressed as Mario, or shooting down Zebesians in Samus's Gunship, Nintendo Land delivered a package of pure unadulterated fun.
And the winner is...
Nintendo Land is the game that sold me on the Wii U. I didn't have any idea what the Wii U GamePad could give me as a gamer that I didn't already have, but I was made a believer with quick sessions of Mario Chase, Animal Crossing: Sweet Day, Metroid Blast, and Yoshi's Fruit Cart. Nintendo Land proves that even the simplest of ideas can be made fun, that asymmetric gameplay has its benefits, and most importantly, the Wii GamePad can bring entertaining experiences that gamers didn't even know they needed until they used it for themselves. Nintendo Land truly is the mark of a marvelous and innovative game.
Runner-up: New Super Mario Bros. U
[Best Wii Game]
Creating an MMO-like RPG on the Wii is one serious undertaking. That was exactly what Monolith Soft did with Xenoblade Chronicles. The game had hell coming out to North America. Our branch of Nintendo finally surrendered, but only allowed the game to be sold on their online shop and at GameStops. I'm seriously glad we at least got that because I would have never known the tremendous treasure I would have missed with Xenoblade Chronicles.
The Last Story
Take parts of JRPGs that people like, mix them with some third-person elements such as cover, and throw in some real-time strategy love, and you get part of what made Mistwalker's Wii epic The Last Story so interesting of a game. Like Xenoblade Chronicles, Nintendo of America had no desire to localize it. Fortunately, XSeed Games did the work for them, and Wii owners across the continent got to see what all hubbub was about. The Last Story contained deep and rewarding RPG gameplay that Hironobu Sakaguchi (of Final Fantasy fame) is so well known for.
Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition
Unlike Mario's 25th anniversary collection that released two years ago, Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition, a compendium that celebrated twenty years of all things pink puffball, was more than a ROM hack. Instead it was a collection that was honestly worthy of the Nintendo name, featuring an interactive timeline of the franchise, a bonus CD with three tracks made specifically for the collection, and six playable games, including Kirby's Adventure and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. It was a fantastic way of ringing in Kirby's 20th.
Mario Party 9
Mario's latest shindig brought with it a wholly new way of playing the party. Instead of the traditional Mario Party formula, all characters playing on a particular board moved together on one vehicle. Whoever was the captain at the time reaped all of the rewards... and all of the punishment. Mario Party 9 came down to using the right die at the right time. Then there were the mini-games that were some of the most fun I've had with the franchise. Mario Party 9 might be too different for some, but the changes were just nice for me.
And the winner is...
Full of immense areas to explore and the sense of adventure and wonder that not even many HD titles could deliver, Xenoblade Chronicles is an RPG fan's dream. The combat system makes you feel like you're a part of a team instead of simply going through the motions, the optional difficult monsters that traverse areas that you are supposed to explore constantly keeps you on your toes, and the presentation is without a doubt some of the Wii's very best. Xenoblade Chronicles was a perfect sendoff to the Wii in North America.
Runner-up: The Last Story
[Best PlayStation 3 Game]
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
I think that the name Super Smash Bros. came up more than the name of this game, even when the reviews were about PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale! Perhaps I'm exaggerating, but regardless of that, this Sony all-star brawler definitely stood on its own two feet. Containing a cast of formidable characters both first and third-party, a fresh take on the party fighter formula, and clever throwbacks to the all-stars' past, this much anticipated title of popular players in PlayStation history never ceased to amaze me.
ModNation Racers was United Front Games' first attempt at bringing the creative side of kart racers to Sony's PS3. Their second attempt was much more successful-- why else would it be nominated for Best PlayStation 3 Game? It is LittleBigPlanet Karting. Not only was the amount of content in the game already astounding, but the creator tools were amazing. While it took major skill to come up with jaw-dropping tracks, even the most neophyte creator could drum up something creative.
Ratchet & Clank Collection
Take three of the best 3D platformers from the PlayStation 2 generation and put them all on one disc and in high-definition glory, and you get the Ratchet & Clank Collection. Each entry of the franchise brought with it something new. New players of the trilogy could see exactly how far the franchise has come, and in my opinion, why the original trilogy is still lombax of the walk when it comes to the series as a whole. Throw in online multiplayer for Up Your Arsenal, and you receive one brilliant bargain.
If there was a title that could win an award of this caliber simply for being beautiful, Thatgamecompany's Journey would definitely take that prize. However, Journey doesn't have to worry about only winning award because of its beauty, its expert gameplay gives it a bonus benefit, too. The addition of going through parts of the game with an anonymous players was something daring, and it worked well. Journey was a masterful game, and it was a downloadable title, no less.
And the winner is...
Few games in this award show of mine have given as many goosebumps as Journey has. Journey is the type of title that is relentless in how it delivers emotional reactions to the player. It is more than a game in that regard. For all of the arguments of how games are or are not art and how I couldn't care less about either side, I see with games like Journey why such arguments occur.
Runner-up: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
[Best Xbox 360 Game]
Dance Central 3
The sole Kinect game nominee on this list (and for good reason), Dance Central 3 showed many of us that Kinect occasionally can deliver a title that works well. Whether you were trying to accurately portray the dance movements by the avatar on screen or you were making up moves on the fly, Dance Central 3 gave prospective dancers enough value for their money to shake what their mamas gave them.
A clever platforming game that defied the laws of normal 3D platforming because of its 2D roots, Fez consisted of players collecting cubes to advance through the game. Players could rotate each level by 90 degrees to unveil new doors and passages for the main character Gomez to venture to. Fez was an engaging downloadable game that gave players with the proper mental muscle a delightfully enjoyable time.
Players once more took control of the legendary Master Chief as he did battle against the Covenant as well as a new threat. Everything from the pacing of the main campaign to the balance of the multiplayer is near perfection. The ability of 343 Industries to mix on-foot combat with vehicle battles made for some serious fun times. Halo 4 may just be the best first-person to come out in many years.
The Forza series went open world with Forza Horizon. Don't be fooled, though, as Forza Horizon still featured all that fans loved of the franchise, such as a huge array of vehicles and physics that felt very real. Speaking of the open world, the game finally delivered on giving enthusiasts a playground to tool around in and speed through. Forza Horizon was built for speed freaks and car lovers everywhere.
And the winner is...
You don't gross $300 million in one week without having some semblance of awesomeness to you. Without a doubt, Halo 4 has just this. The campaign features some of the most breathtaking vantage points I've seen from a console game, the action is always intense, and the multiplayer is as well balanced as ever. Halo 4 is one of the greater first-person shooter efforts out there, and it certainly shows that when it comes to the FPS genre, no shooter series is better than Halo.
Tomorrow night will conclude our big festivities. Again, all of the winners tonight and the Multiplatform Game of 2012, Borderlands 2, will be competing for the title of Game of 2012! The conclusion of SuperPhillip Central's Best of 2012 is tomorrow, so stay tuned!