If everyone else gets to make “Best of the Year” lists, then by golly, so do we. Only, instead of the trite awards that every other site dishes out, we try to be a bit more creative with our end of year awards, bestowing unique honors that bring both shame and glory. That’s right: it’s time again for the annual Sushi Awards.
For those with a keen memory (or that know how to use our search bar), you’ll recall that we did this for 2009 and 2008 as well, so feel free to go over those to remember how awesome those years were, prior to this one.
As with those previous entries, keep in mind that the Sushi awards represent our goofy and snarky take on the year in gaming, for better or worse, chosen by the GS dudes. A proper “best of” top 10 list is coming next week. But for now, enjoy these custom awards and tell us what you think!
Winner: Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands
Every year, there seems to be that one game that critics deplore for whatever reason, yet gamers love. We call this the Wolverine award because it’s exactly what happened to the Wolverine game last year. There’s really no explaining this phenomenon, how it happens, or why it occurs. Perhaps there’s a greater conspiracy involving the game, Jack Thompson and an alien race, or maybe reviewers just suck.
Whatever the case, that game in 2010 happened to be Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands. Sporting some of the best platforming gameplay of the generation, Forgotten Sands lovingly returns the series to the challenging and entertaining glory it first visited in Sands of Time. Seriously. Go play this.
Middling Reviews but Great Fan Reception Also Goes To: Fallout: New Vegas
Most Difficult Boss Battle
Winner: Epic Mickey’s Camera
Yes, har har. We warned you that this would be snarky.
All snark aside, Epic Mickey was one promising and wonderfully made game in almost all aspects save one – its horrid camera. Wrestling this sucker was like trying to tame some mythical beast that straddles the world between its hooves. That is to say, it was a bitch at best and nigh impossible at worst.
It’s a shame, too, because all concept art for Epic Mickey was truly breathtaking, and the game held the promise of being the Wii’s savior in terms of delivering a tier one title that wasn’t named Mario, Zelda or Donkey Kong.
Doing it Right: Super Mario Galaxy 2
Best Actual Boss Battle: Final Boss of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Best Expansion that Wasn’t an Expansion
Winner: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
It was one of the great cries of 2009 in Assassin’s Creed 2, and returned to our TV screens in 2010 with the follow-up of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. While there were some gamers worried about the quick turn around between the two games, much less the delay caused by not going straight to AC3, AC: B turned out as a solid entry into the series – and maybe even the best entry yet.
For a game that some fools (namely, us) jokingly referred to as Assassin’s Creed: ODST, this game, which was essentially an expansion to AC2 but not, actually turned out stellar. Kudos, Ubisoft.
Runner-Up: Fallout: New Vegas
“If It Ain’t Broke…” Award
Winner: StarCraft II
How do you follow up one of the biggest and greatest games of all time, with one of the world’s most rabid followings and professional competitive play? You bring back more of the same, only refined, polished and shinier.
Blizzard struck gold not just once with the StarCraft model, but twice, knocking it out of the park this year with the excellent sequel, StarCraft II. The game doesn’t try to change its formula at all, instead going back to the same well that nourished it in the first place: crazily tweaked and fine-tuned RTS strategy action. And the well is good, friends.
Sometimes you don’t need to innovate.
The Opposite of This: Crackdown 2
Best Quicktime Events
Winner: Heavy Rain
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: this game lets you take off women’s clothes using quicktime events. Twice. What more needs to be said?
OK, probably a little more, but it’s going to pale in comparison. Heavy Rain used one of the more innovative control schemes gaming has seen in recent years, requiring a great combination of timing and co-ordination in order to pull them off. It wasn’t just mashing a button to make something happen on screen – it was visceral, entertaining and super engaging. We need more of this.
Best Quicktime Events not Involving Semi-Nude Ladies: Castlevania; Lords of Shadow
Cool Use of Otherwise Lame Quick Time Events: God of War III
Captain Jack Sparrow Piracy Award
Winner: Call of Duty: Black Ops
Every time we mention the dreaded “P” word on this site, an argument inevitably breaks out – which is why we bust it out whenever we can. Each year, there is always that one game that gets plundered for its riches more than any other, and this year, that title belongs to Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Downloaded over 4.2 million times, Black Ops is apparently not only desired by paying customers, but by the curious and the non-paying ones as well. Obviously, this hasn’t hurt the game too much, considering its made over a billion dollars, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Yo ho!
Also Downloaded: StarCraft II
Image by: The Tanooki
Cut scenes are nothing new to video games. In fact, they are so old hat that even good cut scenes are no longer surprising or new, either. We’ve seen them for several years now, and it’s tremendously helped provide a boost to gaming narrative and how it unfolds.
However, there are some titles that mark solid leaps forward for video game cut scenes. Like Uncharted 2 last year, Enslaved was a game that brought in top Hollywood talent for its motion capture and voice talent. For one of the first times in games, Enslaved truly feels like actors acting, rather than someone voicing an animated character, and there’s a subtle yet huge difference in that. Enslaved might not be the best game, but its scenes are worth watching.
Runner-Up: Red Dead Redemption
Best Time Yelling at Friends
Winner: Splinter Cell: Conviction
While Splinter Cell: Conviction’s single player story wasn’t anything to write home or snap necks about, it was the co-op that really made the game stand out earlier in the year. It touted a robust and lengthy co-op campaign that felt superior to the solo campaign in almost every single way. There were lots of stealth and action challenges alike, and one memorable section that involved scaling a multi-leveled guard tower surrounded by spotlights and machine guns. Splinter Cell: Conviction was one of those games that truly showed what co-op gaming could be, when developers put their energy in the right places.
Also Causes Yelling: Halo: Reach
Giving Hope to Post-Game DLC
Winner: Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker
We could all rant in the best way possible about how Mass Effect 2’s Lair of the Shadow Broker add-on serves as the quintessential model for producing story-based post-game DLC. LotSB provides a touching epilogue for what many consider to be one of the greatest games of the year, and does so in a way that not only satisfies, but whets the appetite for 2011’s Mass Effect 3.
Not only is the DLC mission quite lengthy, it also allows you to tie some story loose ends. Most important of all, though, is that it gives you what you’ve been dying for since you finished ME2 back in January: another injection of that oh-so sweet Mass Effect universe. Thanks, Bioware.
The Opposite of This: Alan Wake: The Signal
Best Use of Batshit Insane DLC: Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
Winner: Activision and Infinity Ward
OK, so technically, the drama is more between Activision and former Infinity Ward heads West and Zampella, but cut us some slack.
Seriously, this is good drama, folks. First, Activision fires West and Zampella for insubordination. Then, the two file a lawsuit against Activision. After that, Infinity Ward employees leave in droves. West and Zampella start a new venture with EA. Then Activision files a countersuit. Now, Activision is releasing text messages of how the two actively tried to sabotage Treyarch’s marketing for World at War.
This is getting juicier by the minute. Our question is: will someone make a “Social Network” type movie about this whole ordeal? The bigger question: who plays Bobby Kotick?
Not as Serious but Still Entertaining: Valve’s E3 Apology to Sony Fans
And there you have it, the Third Annual Sushi Awards! Tell us what you agree/disagree with, and what some of your thoughts on gaming in 2010 were. The proper “Best Of” list comes out next week!