Friday, December 30, 2011

The SuperPhillip Central Best of 2011 Awards - Day Four

Welcome to day number four at the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2011 Awards. Today is a special occasion, more so than previous days as every winner today (along with yesterday's Multiplatform GotY) will be pitted against one another for the highly coveted Game of the Year 2011 award. There's a lot of work to be done before that, though, so let's crack our knuckles and get busy!

[Best PSP Game]

Sony put up a great fight with their PSP, successfully challenging the hand-held legacy of Nintendo. Unfortunately, piracy prevailed, at least in the West, and software pretty much dried up in all regions save for Japan. Nonetheless, there were some titles that made their way to our side of the world, and these are those. And the nominees are...

Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy

Fight as your favorite Final Fantasy heroes and villains in Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy. Play as Terra (FFVI), Kain (FFIV), Cloud (FFVII), Squall (FFVIII), Zidane (FFIX), Tidus (FFX), Sephiroth (FFVII), Kefka (FFVI), Ultamecia (FFVIII), Golbez (FFIV), and many more. Use support characters, spells, and summons to unleash heck upon your opponent in the fully three-dimensional arenas, listen to a myriad of remixed music, and participate in one of many story campaigns in this popular and nontraditional fighter.

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together

A remake of the 1998 cult classic, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together brings forth a story of power, war, and attrition in this excellent tactical RPG. Put your brain through the wringer with dozens upon dozens of unique maps and battles that demand your total and unequivocal concentration. The new Wheel of Fortune option adds even more to consider when entering battle as if the battles weren't already exciting enough! With a story from the great mind of Mr. Matsuno (Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story), there is no shortage of tremendous plot twists and epic moments in this modern take on a classic.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky

The latest in The Legend of Heroes series starts a new trilogy for gamers (although the second and third parts will not be coming to the West). It includes a rich story with many twists and turns, over fifty hours worth of gameplay, a strategic battle system, a wonderful world to traverse and explore, and multiple side quests and bonus content to sift through and enjoy. This may perhaps be one of the richest and grandest role-playing experiences on a hand-held to date.

Patapon 3

Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme. The Patapon series is one quirky niche series, but don't let that drive you away. In Patapon 3 you tap certain button sequences in rhythm with the music and beats to have your Patapon army take on massive monsters, rival brigades, and other baddies. Equip your army with the latest in weaponry and defense, and then tap those buttons until you can't feel anything in your fingers anymore. For an unusual yet entertaining time, Patapon 3 has got the beat.

And the winner is...

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together

The 1998 classic was already a sensational game, so it is a no-brainer that the 2011 remake would be something special. And guess what-- it is! From the makers of Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together offers hundreds of hours of content and player satisfaction as you take down enemy soldiers, fierce monsters, and other unsightly foes.

Runner-up: Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy


[Best Nintendo DS Game]

Like saying goodbye to an old friend, we bid adieu to the Nintendo DS on its last year as a contender. This will be its final year at the SuperPhillip Central Best of Awards. Are those tears I'm seeing? Don't be sad. We have the 3DS to take its place! Regardless, here are the best titles released in the DS's last big year. And the nominees are...

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

SPOILER: You have a main character that dies at the very beginning of the game. His spirit then possesses various objects to save other protagonists from grim fates. This puzzle game is certainly original-- that much is for certain. Considering it comes from the ingenious minds that gave us the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series, there's no wonder that this puzzler is nominated. As the brain twisters get more convoluted and confusing, the game gets even better and more fun!

Radiant Historia

One of the last remarkable RPGs for the Nintendo DS, a system chock full of superb role-playing games, Radiant Historia has players going back and forth through time, Chrono Trigger-style. The battle system has players and enemies on a grid, fighting one another until there's only one team left standing. Historia features plenty of endings, so seeing all of the different conclusions to the game, both good and bad, will have those who pick up a copy playing for dozens upon dozens of hours.

Professor Layton and the Last Specter

This start to a new trilogy in the Professor Layton franchise is actually a prequel to Curious Village. It shows the beginnings of the relationship between Layton and Luke and how the two became teacher and apprentice. There are more puzzles to solve than ever before ranging from block sliding quandaries to arithmetic problems. The story contains some truly touching moments, insane production values with stellar voice acting to boot, and characters that you can't help but love.

Kirby Mass Attack

What's better than one Kirby? How about an army of ten Kirbys? That is exactly what you get in Kirby Mass Attack. The game is controlled solely with the stylus, tapping the screen to command your Kirbys, flicking them at switches and enemies, battling bosses, finding gold medals, and furiously touching the screen to lift huge objects. The bonus content in the form of mini-games like a Whack-a-mole mini-game, a shmup, an RPG, and a pinball game all add to the value of this amazing adventure. Suck up a copy today-- you won't regret it.

Pokemon Black and White

A new generation of Pokemon has been unleashed onto the masses, and it introduces over 150 individual Pokemon, new evolutions, a new region to explore, new towns, new rivals, new triple battles, and so much more. Moreover, trading and battling Pokemon online has never been simpler. There is a lot to like about the newest pair of Pokemon games, and it wouldn't be surprising to me if young and old trainers were still playing these games long after they've caught them all.

And the winner is...

Pokemon Black and White

Gotta catch 'em all is the motto of the Pokemon franchise, and this mantra continues to captivate the game's target audience with its cute and cuddly pocket monsters. Mastering moves, leveling up Pokemon, and evolving them to brand-new, awesome forms creates countless hours of gameplay for anyone who catches a copy of the new hotness in Pokemon Black and White.

Runner-up: Kirby Mass Attack


[Best Nintendo 3DS Game]

The Nintendo 3DS had a turbulent start, but with a swift price cut at the exact right moment, Nintendo's portable fortunes turned around in an instant. Now the hand-held is in high demand, the library has vastly improved, and the "Nintendo is doomed" talks have been mostly silenced. We'll be talking about the library piece with five games that outrank the rest of the 3DS's launch year offerings. And the nominees are...

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

The legend returns with a vengeance with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. More of a remake than a port, Ocarina of Time 3D showcases the brilliance of the 3DS hardware with impressive stereoscopic 3D visuals that have been enhanced from the Nintendo 64 original, a much more difficult Master Quest that unlocks after the main game has been completed, and a Boss Rush mode to pit Link against his toughest foes. Indeed, one of the greatest games of all time just got a little bit better.

Mario Kart 7

Mario Kart roars onto the Nintendo 3DS with sixteen all-new tracks, sixteen retro tracks like Luigi's Mansion, Coconut Mall, Dino Dino Jungle, and Koopa Beach from past Mario Kart games, the usual ragtag team of racers plus new ones such as Metal Mario (in his second spin-off game), Lakitu, Honey Queen, and Wiggler, and a robust online mode that is decidedly quite unlike Nintendo. The addition of Communities means those with the same play styles can race one another without the need to exchange friend codes. This might not be the ultimate Mario Kart experience, but it is certainly pretty close.

Super Mario 3D Land

Mario hops and skips his way onto the Nintendo 3DS with a brand-new platforming adventure. Run and jump through eight worlds with levels that take the portly plumber through grasslands, deserts, frozen fjords, sunset skies, airships, and Bowser's many castles. The 3D effect is the best the 3DS has seen yet with either the choice for pop-out or pop-in 3D. Even after the first eight worlds have been beaten, you aren't finished yet. There's a whole lot more to trek though if you want to get those highly lusted for five golden stars next to your profile!

Star Fox 64 3D

Take flight with Fox McCloud and the gang in Star Fox 64 3D, a remake of the 1997 Nintendo 64 original. The game sports updated graphics that look incredible on the 3DS screen, optional gyro controls, three difficulties (Easy, N64, and Expert), remastered voice acting that sounds better than ever before, and an all-new multiplayer mode that can be played with or without bots across four maps. Gearing for high scores, earning medals, and taking down Andross' many enemy fighters is all in a day's work for Team Star Fox.

Dead or Alive: Dimensions

Celebrating fifteen years, the Dead or Alive franchise appears on a Nintendo system for the first time with this compilation of the greatest in Dead of Alive history. With a huge cast of characters, battle arenas, downloadable costumes (they're free, by the way), and many modes to plow through, Dead or Alive: Dimensions is the ultimate fighting game on the 3DS. The online play showcases the hardware's strengths with trifle amounts of lag or slow-down, the photo mode allows you to take 3D shots of your favorite fighters, and collecting and trading figurines via StreetPass seldom gets old.

And the winner is...

Super Mario 3D Land

You'll notice that I called Ocarina of Time 3D one of the best games of all time, yet Super Mario 3D Land beats it. This is because both games received the same score (9.5), but Super Mario 3D Land is an original game while Ocarina of Time 3D is a remake. Original games trump remakes every time. And who wouldn't find something to love about this pretty platformer? The challenge is there, the new and returning power-ups like the Tanooki Suit and Boomerang Suit are cool, and the level design is some of Mario's best.

Runner-up: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D


[Best PlayStation 3 Game]

Although trailing in sales to Microsoft's 360 and Nintendo's Wii, Sony's black box has had a tremendous year when it comes to its library. Even though this list is full of sequels and nothing else, the quality of these games is very much apparent. These are not only some of the best games on the system, but these are some of the best games of the year. And the nominees are...

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Nathan Drake and friends scour the globe in search of the Atlantis of the Sands, a fabled city buried under a sea of sand. The gun-play started out rough with a patch needing to be made, but even with the gun action being less than satisfactory, Uncharted 3 was still a game to marvel at. Running from a collapsing chateau tower, making a mad dash through a capsized cruise ship, battling enemies in an abandoned desert town, and catching up with a plane that is about to take off were all memorable moments in this big budget blockbuster game. Multiplayer only adds to the value of Naughty Dog's latest epic.

Killzone 3

The Heighgast have returned, and they just don't want to quit it seems. Battle against insurmountable odds as you face legions upon legions of enemies. Commandeer a jet pack (seriously, you to get fight in mid-air!), snipe foes from afar, or come up close and personal and deliver a powerful melee attack. The single player campaign takes you through a variety of interesting set pieces. From zero gravity firefights to an intense battle with a titanic creation of the Heighgast, your pulse will most certainly be pounding through the fast and frantic action Killzone 3 possesses. After you've conquered the Heighgast threat, take the fight online against dozens of online opponents to determine whose guns shoot the hottest.

Resistance 3

Follow the crusade of Joseph Capelli as he makes his way from his hometown in Haven, Oklahoma to a Chimera tower in New York City, fighting both the Chimeran threat and human savages alike. But he won't have to do it alone. There's loads of incredible weaponry at his disposal like the Carbine, Bullseye, electromagnetic Atomizer, the radioactive Mutator, and so much more. Then hop online and compete in one of many modes including a capture the flag type scenario, a king of the hill-styled mode, and pure deathmatch. Resistance 3 is the best in the series yet, and Insomniac Game should be positively proud of their hard work. It has come to fruition.

LittleBigPlanet 2

Join your Sackperson on a journey through many colorful worlds in this 2D platforming adventure. Play alone or with friends either offline or on. Grab pulleys, shoot water from your hat to extinguish flames, swing from hooks, bounce from launchpads, and combat many colossal-sized bosses in this sequel to SuperPhillip Central's Game of the Year 2008. When the single player campaign has all but been completed, enter the creator to design your own levels. Now you aren't limited to purely platformers. Your games are only limited to your imagination now, so build a race, a shooter-- whatever! LittleBigPlanet 2 is your personal playground to do as you see fit.

inFamous 2

Reluctant hero Cole MacGrath returns in Sucker Punch's inFamous 2. Gifted with god-like superpowers ranging from launching lightning bolts from his hands like Zeus to grinding on power lines, Cole has a lot of moves to work with. But will he use them for good or for evil as an all-powerful and deadly enemy from his future looks to take him out? The choice is up to the player and their choices throughout the game's many missions. The open world structure allows players to take on missions at any time they like, and the ability to create your own platforming challenges increases the longevity of inFamous 2 several times over.

And the winner is...

LittleBigPlanet 2

Media Molecule's pet project continues to astound and amaze. Entering levels made up of burlap and stone, playing with four people in a room or online, crafting your own masterpieces in the form of games and levels, and designing your own pod (home) are but some of the many tasks that can be accomplished in this virtual playground. Does LittleBigPlanet 2 have what it takes to win Game of the Year 2011 three years after its predecessor did? You'll have to wait for tomorrow evening to find out that answer for yourself!

Runner-up: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception


[Best Wii Game]

The Nintendo Wii this year had many dry spells to the chagrin of many owners. Third parties did their best to provide content, but Nintendo seemed pleased to let the console fade away like a memory. Case in point, the Wii won't even be nominated for System of the Year for 2011, and there are only four games to be nominated this year. That's how bad it was. However, it wasn't hard compiling this list of nominees. And the nominees are...

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Link holds his sword up to the sky in this latest Zelda entry. Taking anywhere from 30-50 hours to complete, featuring some of the most interesting combat the series has ever seen thanks most in part to the 1:1 swordplay, possessing the best bosses in franchise history, containing memorable music as well as many touching moments, and it is no wonder why The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is nominated for Best Wii Game.

Kirby's Return to Dreamland

Kirby returns, but this time he's not alone. Up to four players can traverse the vibrant worlds of Dreamland as Kirby, Waddle Dee, King Dedede, or Metaknight through seven worlds of increasingly challenging levels. Secrets abound throughout the game, and the challenge rooms put your ultimate Kirby skills to the test. Kirby sports new ultra powers which can take out every enemy on the screen with one push of a button. We've waiting six years for this game, and it fully succeeds in satiating even the most hard to please Kirby fan.

Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games

At their third Olympic outing, Mario and Sonic team up to tackle over thirty Olympic events ranging from soccer to table tennis, to badminton, to beach volleyball, to Dream Events that take place in the universes of Mario and Sonic. There is nothing like rolling in a ball Monkey Ball-style on BINGO Highway or doing battle with Peewee Piranha in Dream Spacewalk. Going for gold is but part of the fun. The all-new London Party contains plenty of mini-games and a Mario Party-like atmosphere. Collecting stickers, beating Olympic records, obtaining costumes for your Mii, and listening to the magnificent remixed music are all delightful parts of Mario & Sonic's latest game.

Mario Sports Mix

Square Enix develops this four part game. It features basketball, volleyball, hockey, and dodgeball, and a whole slew of Mushroom Kingdom denizens. Play through a tournament, unlock new characters like Final Fantasy's Ninja, Black Mage, White Mage, and Moogle, unlock new colors for characters, unlock new stages, and then hop online to show your opponents no mercy. The controls work surprisingly well with timing meaning everything when it comes to Mario Sports Mix. An excellent collection of sports, Mario Sports Mix is gone but not forgotten.

And the winner is...

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Could it be anything else? I mean, it's a new Zelda game! The newest Zelda offers the most interesting combat the series has ever seen with every battle being its own puzzle. Speaking of puzzles, there's a plethora of head-scratchers as well, not only the game's seven dungeons but also on the surface. The many motion controlled actions feel responsive, and the need to recalibrate the Wii remote was never a problem for me personally. Your mileage may vary. What we are left with is one of the most challenging, sensational, and touching Zelda titles period.

Runner-up: Kirby's Return to Dreamland


[Best Xbox 360 Game]

The Xbox 360 has had a banner year thanks mostly to the success of Kinect. While only two Kinect games appear on the list of nominees, there's really something for everyone this year. Usually it's shooters and racers, and that's it. Not so this year. And the nominees are...

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

Enter inside the helmet of Master Chief for the first time all over again. The original Halo: Combat Evolved has been remade with greatly enhanced visuals, improved level design, bonus content in the form of hidden terminals, and online multiplayer, perfect for fragging your best friends from far distances away. Many consider the first Halo to still be the series's best offer yet, and I can't help but agree with these people if this game is any indication.

Gears of War 3

Epic Games delivers after the disappointment which was Gears of War 2. Partnering up with female soldiers and offering new weapons to try out as well as new modes, the final part of this action-packed trilogy will take Marcus Fenix and crew into the Locust's backyard and back. Extinction for the human race is fast approaching, but can the survivors band together and stave off the Locust army? That's up to you. Of course, if the stakes are too high, you can always jump in online and team up to tackle the story mode, try horde mode, or fight against human opponents, deathmatch-style.

Forza Motorsport 4

Take your passion for automobiles to the next level with Forza Motorsport 4, the next chapter of this long-running and excellent series. This version has more cars, more tracks, and more options than ever before. Race in multiple lap excursions, customize your car to your liking (you can paint your car with whatever you want), use Kinect for special features, and hop online and take your victory lap. Forza Motorsport 4 is just the game that gives the Gran Turismo series a run... er... drive for its money.

Dance Central 2

Just Dance is an alright series, but Dance Central 2 takes it to a whole 'nother level with full body recognition. Pump it, push it, and pull it to the music. Match your movements to the characters on screen as you strive for the highest score possible. Take the party to the next level by posting your best scores to the always updating leaderboards. There are few Kinect games that can make your cynical buddy SuperPhillip smile, but here we are with Dance Central 2 being one of them.

Kinect Sports: Season Two

The second of two purely Kinect-controlled games on the list of nominees, Kinect Sports: Season Two introduces new sports to the mini-game package including football with voice commands, skiing, and darts. Some may call Kinect Sports a Wii Sports knockoff, but if you're going to copy someone, why not copy from the best? That's exactly what the developer of Season Two did, and the end result is something quite good. Move, manipulate your body, and get the room jumping with this fabulous party game.

And the winner is...

Forza Motorsport 4

Forza Motorsport 4 is the game that earns the wave of that checkered flag with its mighty amount of car customization options, grand scope and amount of cars and tracks, gorgeous graphics, and hot and heated online races. I would be amiss if I tried to claim that this simulator is better than Gran Turismo 5 (I don't want more angry letters from the Sony faithful), so I'll just stop here and congratulate Forza 4 on a spectacular win.

Runner-up: Gears of War 3


I always dread writing up Day Four of the SPC Best of Awards as it takes the most work by far to produce. With that said, it wasn't so bad this year even with the extra platform, the 3DS, to feature. Tomorrow is the final day of awards, and I give honors to the System of the Year and then the big kahuna-- the 2011 Game of the Year. I hope to see you in black tie or a dress for this all-important night. Until then, a new review will be posted tonight. It is the last review to be posted for 2011. Look forward to that, too!


Dixon said...

haha, wow this is one epic post. The PS3 really is console of the year, Looks like it maybe system on the year 2012 :)

Unknown said...

Thanks much for the nice comment! I hope you will stick around and join me in 2012!