Best Game: The Last of Us
I knew this one had me at the end when I didn't want Joel to shoot that guy. I had a little chat with some friends and they had felt the same. It's hard to say it isn't glamorized with its presentation as a video game and all, but I wasn't cheering for people getting their faces blown off. It isn't the easiest thing to explain, but suffice to say that we can be entertained by and enjoy things that would constitute constitute a normally negative emotional response because we know they aren't real. We like it like being scared by horror movies.I think that's what's going on. Naughty Dog has a good record of having characters respond the same way I do, and if both the fictional Ellie and the real I think Joel might have gone too far there, I think they've created something special. It's right up there with "we were almost in that" but so much darker.
Biggest Surprise: Watch Dogs
It has the same flavor of dystopian future as Robocop or Max Headroom, where "cyberterrorists" can actually be good and they try to keep things pretty grounded outside of their central conceit of cyborgs, literally brain-melting TVs, or city running computer networks. Sure, I have some concerns about it, but this came out of nowhere and looks like it has lots of potential.
Neatest Idea: ZombiU
Zom-bew is another zombie game and, to be honest, I was getting a serious Dead Island vibe from it. It has a spectacular CG trailer, unconvincing simulated gameplay, and then it looks like Skyrim in a zombie suit. My skepticism aside, I like what they're doing. Making your old protagonist character into an enemy when they die is a much better way to make things feel like the zombie apocalypse. That's how it would work, wouldn't it? If all your actions are not undone, it will be just like getting another life or a checkpoint, but with that organic, movie feel where the character you follow stumbles onto someone's bunker that they never made it to, only it's a backpack.
Best Presentation: Resident Evil 6
"Hello. We're going to show you Resident Evil 6." They show the game. "Thank you very much." They leave. Regardless of what you thought of the game itself, I don't think you can disagree that the best way to present a game is to let it stand on its own merit.
Most Predictably Liked: God of War: Ascension
I like God of War. This is more God of War. It looks as good and over the top as ever. I usually don't like "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," but the God of War games show significant evolution through the series, and, really, it's not something I want them to mess up. Evolution is preferable to revolution. To put it in the same boat as movie adaptations: don't change anything unless it will actually make it better.
Most Unexpected Gameplay: Assassin's Creed 3
Speaking of boats: Boats! Cool. Ship to ship combat is the last thing I thought I would see in an Assassin's Creed game and it looks intense. I wonder if you can select the shot you use and where it's targeted. I saw them using chain shot to take down masts and rigging in there.
Most Improvement: Splinter Cell: Blacklist
I've never been totally down with Splinter Cell, but the amalgamation of stealth and action here is already doing a better job than in Conviction. Metal Gear has always been really self-aware with its ridiculousness; it exists in a world where all those kooky government experiments about ESP and whatever else actually worked. Splinter Cell was trying to be more real, it always resorted to kind of gimmicky moves like the hanging takedown and split jump that were seldom useful. Now it's back to spies, has something that works for the whole game, and you can maintain your stealth by striking at the right time and in the right order. It's like Space Marine's health, but for sneaking: encouragement to keep going instead of planting your ass in a corner.
Most Electrifying: Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance
Huehuehuehuehuehue! Really though, it looks awesome.
Video games! :D :D :D :D :D
Don't complain about pictures. I would have embedded all these videos, but they took that away A YEAR AGO under the pretense of giving us something new and then forgot the cblogs and community existed. "By gamers. For gamers." indeed.