On December 7th, 2012, SpikeTV will air the 10th Annual SpikeTV Video Game Awards. Before each award show, SpikeTV nominates games that were released during the year for various categories that range from Best Graphics to Best RPG to Game of the Year. The nominees for Game of the Year in 2012 are Assassin’s Creed III, Dishonored, Journey, Mass Effect 3, and The Walking Dead: The Game. Read ahead for an in-depth look at each of the games and reasons why they should win this award.
Assassin’s Creed III – After four console games that had very similar graphics and themes, Assassin’s Creed III broke from the mold. The setting, colonial America, allows for a wider variety of locales to explore. From foggy forests to port towns to the ocean itself, this game simply expanded on the eye candy of the world. Furthermore, the addition of firearms and ship exploration build beautifully on an already excellent game. The best argument for Assassin’s Creed III to win this category isn’t that it has re-invented the wheel, it is that the previous games were already amazing and this game simply improved on the old in every way.
Dishonored – Probably the best argument for Dishonored winning this award is the fact that there exists a walkthrough for the game that shows how to beat it without killing anyone and without ever being detected. That is an amazing statement for a game that can be beaten by slaughtering every single person in sight. A game that can swing from complete non-violence to Postal levels of killing is amazing deep and well designed. Additionally, Dishonored is visually stunning. The visuals perfectly depict a strange steampunk style world that has never been seen before. For both graphical eye candy and game play flexibility, Dishonored should win the Game of the Year category.
Journey – Journey deserves to win the Game of the Year category for the same reason that Katamari Damacy deserved to win it the year it came out. Both games are entirely unique, introducing concepts never before seen in the video game industry. Journey is a game that fully lives up to its name. It isn’t about fighting, building, or puzzles. The game is simply about the journey. To that end, it is a treat to the sense, with graphics and a soundtrack that defy belief given that it is a downloadable game. It has triple A audio and visuals for a fraction of the cost of a triple A game. It clearly deserves to win.
Mass Effect 3 – This is a game that must be judged based on the final version. The original game had a truly awful ending, so bad that the developers actually designed a new ending and provided as a free download to everyone. The new ending was much better and brought the epic story to a very satisfying conclusion. Ending aside, the simple reason Mass Effect 3 deserves to win is because of characters and their interactions. The cast of characters in this game is brilliant and it could to take a lifetime of replays to explore all the interactions. Both with characters and with plot, when it comes to player choices mattering, this game is what Fable tried and failed to do. Few games truly allow meaningful player choice. This rare example deserves Game of the Year for that alone.
The Walking Dead: The Game – Consider for a moment some of the games that got excluded from this category: Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, New Super Mario Bros. U, Diablo III, and XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Those are triple A games that would easily break the top 5 in most other years. Yet this year, a downloadable from a small studio is one of the contenders. That alone speaks of the quality of this game. Games based on movies or television shows are usually rather poor, but this game consistently earns top honors including an award for Best Adventure Game for GameSpy E3 2012 Awards. The game may not be as high quality as the others in this category, but once cost and convenience are included, it holds its own, if not more. With downloadable games becoming the standard in the gaming industry, this game deserves the top honor for being the game most likely to define future standards for years to come.