Our Game of the Year Awards are near and in fact, after a whole lot of great conversation, the decisions have been made. They will go live this weekend…and no hints. 😉
Anyway, unlike many sources, we won't be including "Worst Of" awards (if you can call 'em "awards"); we just don't like to do that. We believe in celebrating the year's quality rather than laughing at the stinkers. And yet, we also understand the failures and near-misses and "what if…?" titles are often quite popular topics of discussion and so, as a prelude to our GotY extravaganza, we give you a few PSXE Dubious Distinction Awards:
Worst Attempt At Innovation: Power Gig: Rise of the SixString
When it was first advertised, everyone thought, "woah, the next step in music games is here…a real guitar with real strings!" Yes, well, when you don't really bother to use those strings and it feels just like most any rhythm title available – only with a far crappier soundtrack – you get a game that disappoints on almost every possible level . Even when it tried to push the envelope, it just became immensely frustrating. And in the end, you realize you're far better off either playing Rock Band 3 or learning music with an actual guitar.
Most Confusing Title: Create
The reason why everyone thought it would be a LittleBigPlanet knock-off is because of the name. Early footage and information also wasn't crystal clear; many just assumed it'd be EA's attempt at emulating Media Molecule but in truth, Create was a repetitive puzzle game that had very little to do with "creating." I suppose one could argue we were "creating" solutions to puzzles but that's way misleading. And by the way, because of the control and nature of the pacing and puzzles, the game kinda fell short of expectations. Hardly a big surprise.
The "Oh man, I Wish This Was Awesome" Award: Splatterhouse
People may not know, but we were really looking forward to this one. The concept really appealed to us: a no holds bared, totally over the top, unapologetic bashfest. We often appreciate in-depth, progressive experiences, but we also greatly value the simpler (perhaps even purer) examples of interactive fun. And on the surface, Splatterhouse had it all. Sadly, once we dove in, we realized it had something else, too: shoddy control, coupled with a host of other problems that turned a potentially awesome experience into a depressingly missed opportunity . In truth, we hope Namco tries again because it's a concept that, if technically proficient, would rule .
The Long Wait = Huge Disappointment Award: Quantum Theory
When we first heard about it as a PlayStation 3 exclusive, we were pretty enthusiastic. Although the comparisons to Epic's Gears of War were obvious, we had hoped Tecmo would be able to give PS3 owners a chance to play a dark, gritty, riveting third-person shooter with a very cool co-op twist. Unfortunately, all we got – after it went multiplatform – was a generic, run-of-the-mill, technically lagging production. The entire game just reeked of this eh, who cares? smell, and we couldn't shake that odor. In fact, few could. This is probably one idea that needed to be scrapped early on in the development process.
The Broken Franchise Award: Front Mission Evolved
No, the award doesn't go to Final Fantasy XIII , which at least had flashes of old brilliance and sorta reminded us of what Square-Enix could do (after the 20-hour mark). What they did to Front Mission is downright unforgivable, as any strategy aficionado will tell you. Instead of an in-depth, turn-based strategy title designed to test patience, planning, and combat techniques, we got a generic mech shooter that failed to excel on any given level . It wasn't an abomination in terms of production value; it was merely mediocre. But it was an abomination in the eyes of franchise fans. Just depressing; maybe they'll ditch the idea in the future.
The Best Idea Gone Bad: Alpha Protocol
Really, if it had been done correctly, it could've rivaled Mass Effect in terms of choice-driven, sci-fi role-playing. Of course, it's difficult to even envision such an amazing production because Obsidian fell so ridiculously short in their very, very broken attempt at an elite game. In fact, that's the only word that kept springing to mind when writing the review : broken. And it's just so disappointing, because you can see the potential; you couldn't go ten minutes without saying to yourself, "damn, that would've been cool …if they had done it right." I hate it when that happens. I really do.
The "So Bad It Makes My Hair Hurt" Award: Rogue Warrior
We probably should've guessed going in but then again, we always like to be optimistic before analyzing. It's just too bad that such optimism vanished in the first fifteen minutes and after the first hour, the experience had become a cross between drudgery and hilarity. I actually wanted to keep playing because I hadn't had a good laugh in quite some time. But at the same time, the result couldn't be ignored- it was just plain bad . One wonders how such games get made. Everyone has QA departments, don't they? Doesn't someone somewhere play the game and go, "um…yeah, you really can't release this"…?
Okay, that's it. You'll see the real awards this weekend, complete with the flashy layout with pics and different fonts and all that fun stuff. …if fonts are fun. We have all of last year's categories plus a few more (like Most Underrated, Best Trailer, and Best New Character). But what took home the serious hardware…? Stay tuned to find out.