[System of the Year]
2012 saw the release of two new platforms, and with it comes the promise of new games and new ways to play them. Let's not forget the platforms that were already with us, however. We have three old platforms and two new ones as nominees for System of the Year for 2012. And the nominees are...
The newest platform to hit the market, the Wii U released with a healthy selection of games. Where can you go wrong with a list of titles like a new Mario for release, the first since 1996 and the Nintendo 64, ZombiU, a home version of the Scribblenauts franchise, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, ZombiU, Batman, Darksiders II, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Assassin's Creed III, and several digital delights like Trine 2: Director's Cut and Little Inferno? The release list for 2013 is bleak, but there are so many launch games to go through, most people will still be playing those long into the new year.
The cast of familiar faces that hit Nintendo's portable platform was numerous. We had Mario (New Super Mario Bros. 2, Mario Tennis Open, Paper Mario: Sticker Star), Pit (Kid Icarus: Uprising), Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield (Resident Evil: Revelations), Final Fantasy all-stars (Theatrhythm Final Fantasy), Professor Layton [and the Miracle Mask], and many more. We had plenty of new franchises, too, on the 3DS, like Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure, Heroes of Ruin, Code of Princess, and the list goes on.
You can wave "It's not selling well" in the face of people all you want, but to say that the PlayStation Vita was lacking games in 2012 would be a total and blatant lie. You had the awesome launch list of games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational, WipEout 2048, and Touch My Katamari, you had newer games like LittleBigPlanet Vita, Gravity Rush, and Assassin's Creed III: Liberation. There's plenty to love about the Vita last year, so that is exactly the reason why it is nominated in this category.
While the Xbox 360 struggled to get a lot of my attention in 2012, it did deliver some promising and engaging games. Halo 4, anyone? Or how about Forza Horizon? Even Kinect had some games that were no slouches. I'm speaking about Dance Central 3. Then you have downloadable games that meant Xbox Live Arcade was where it was at if you didn't care for Microsoft's retail exclusives.
The winner of last year's System of the Year award, this year the PlayStation 3 had a more relaxed year. However, don't think that means a bad year. No, we had wonderful titles like what many consider to be the game of 2012, Journey. We have Sony's Super Smash Bros.-like fighter, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Ratchet and Clank returned for some Full Frontal Assault. Even Sackboy got into the fun with LittleBigPlanet Karting. If you were looking for some fun, PlayStation 3 was a good place to find it.
And the winner is...
Simply put, the Nintendo 3DS had the most games that appealed to me this past year. There were titles for everybody, titles for the niche, titles for beginner gamers, titles for expert gamers, and-- well, you get the drift. It is for those reasons and the arrival of the bigger, better XL that the Nintendo 3DS wins this year's award for System of the Year.
Runner-up: Wii U
Now, for those of you who have been with SuperPhillip Central since the beginning, you probably know what is next. Even if you don't, what I customarily do now is take a look back at the Game of the Year for the last year. If you don't recall what it was, consider this a refresher.
GOTY 2011: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Although it started off very slow and held the player's hand, my favorite game of 2011 was The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. It was finally a mainline Zelda game that was custom tailored for the Wii. It brought with it 1:1 motion controls that I absolutely adored. One felt like a fierce warrior as they swung the Wii Remote like a sword, slaying enemies and solving the most devious of puzzles. Skyward Sword featured some of the series's best music, best bosses, and most interesting dungeons. These reasons are why I selected The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword over games like Batman: Arkham City, LittleBigPlanet 2, Super Mario 3D Land, and Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together.
[Game of the Year 2012]
We now move from looking at the past to looking at the present. It's time to award SuperPhillip Central's Game of the Year for 2012. This will be my fifth time officially choosing the best game of the year. These seven-- SEVEN-- nominees are the year's best, no doubt. And the nominees are...
Borderlands 2 (Multi)
The multiplatform nominee for Game of the Year 2012, Borderlands 2 offered incredible cooperative shooter gameplay, and if the shooting wasn't addicting enough, then perhaps all of the RPG elements were. You had randomly generated loot and various options to build up your character. Perhaps while you were playing you could just stand still and marvel at the cel-shaded environments, heroes, and enemies. How could Borderlands 2 NOT be a nominee here?
Halo 4 (360)
If you're looking for the best multiplayer competitive shooter of the year, don't go looking toward Call of Duty: Black Ops II's way-- though that game is stellar for multiplayer, too. No, gaze intently towards Halo 4's direction. Not only did it act as the part of one of the best first-person shooters in years, but it is one of the most gorgeous looking games of the year as well. Halo 4, I salute you.
Nintendo Land (Wii U)
Any reason for the Wii U GamePad to exist was made with the launch of Nintendo Land. Containing twelve stellar attractions based on Nintendo properties, Nintendo Land delivered laughs, loads of fun, and plenty of hours of gameplay to captivate players. It is considered the Wii Sports of the Wii U console, but unlike what game it is compared to, Nintendo Land possessed a multitude of depth that keeps me coming back for more time and time again.
Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)
A game that North American gamers were close to not even being able to play without going the homebrew direction, Xenoblade Chronicles proved that you didn't need the ultra-superior processing power of an HD console to produce some stunning and breathtaking environments, many of which take dozens of minutes to cross in real time. Oh, and the gameplay wasn't too shabby either.
Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)
In the mood for some high octane, high adrenaline third-person gameplay? Then enter the hilarious world of Kid Icarus: Uprising, a game that was part serious, part laugh-a-minute. The game possessed two gameplay parts to it: one flight, one ground. All of it was entertaining. Add to all of that twenty-five chapters to go through, the best soundtrack of the year, and unlockables out the wazoo, and you have my favorite Nintendo 3DS game of 2012, and a nominee for Game of the Year 2012.
Uncharted: Golden Abyss (PSV)
The PlayStation Vita's valiant effort for 2012 was one of its launch titles, and the biggest one it had, Uncharted: Golden Abyss. If you told a younger me playing on a black and white Game & Watch that I would be able to play console-quality games on a portable device, I don't know if I would have believed you. Here we are, though, and Uncharted: Golden Abyss is one of the best looking handheld titles of all time.
Yesterday I mentioned that I understand how arguments about art happen when I see games such as Journey. The game was not just something you play once and then forget about. No, it was something that you played multiple times, and each time presented you with emotions you didn't know you could have while playing a game. Again, Journey was indeed more than a game, and for that reason it is why it is a nominee for Game of the Year 2012.
And the Game of the Year 2012 is...
[GotY 2012: Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)]
In a genre that is hard for me to stick with most games, Xenoblade Chronicles hooked me in for the long haul, throughout its 100+ hours of gameplay. With most RPGs, I find myself losing interest a good way through because the game can't keep my engaged. With Xenoblade Chronicles, that wasn't a problem. There was always one hard enemy I wanted to take down, one path through an expansive dungeon or area that I wanted to explore, or one quest that I wanted to complete. Everything about Xenoblade Chronicles is near perfection: the awesome soundtrack (which did win runner-up for Best Original Soundtrack this year, after all), the well done voice acting, the jaw-dropping locales that are rich and ripe for venturing through, and the appealing combat system that demands your attention and great teamwork. Xenoblade Chronicles is without any question my favorite game of 2012. It was a fond farewell to the under-appreciated Wii.
Runner-up GotY 2012: Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)
We have come to the end of another year of awards. Yes, it is true. We must part. No, I'm not talking about you and I. I am referring to my tuxedo and I. This was a big award show, so I needed to dress the part. In all seriousness, I thank each and every one of you for taking a look at the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2012 Awards. This is without a doubt the most work I do throughout the year. I hope you enjoy what I have done as much as I have creating it.
Next week we go back to something that resembles normalcy. Monday will see SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs, and then we'll play it by ear then. Until Monday, have a wonderful rest of your weekend.