Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to the “Cary’s Best Video Games of the Year 2012 Awards Show!” Now, keep in mind that this is MY list only. No other outside opinions contributed. And since I’m only one person, I can’t play ALL the games out there, so some of your favorites might have been missed. Expect some surprises and games you might not have heard of, or ones I would’ve even picked! So without further ado, here’s my awards show!
BEST FIGHTING GAME
Even though I didn’t like the characters and single player modes as much as in SC4, the character creation mode was improved, and that’s one of my favorite parts. I spent a lot of time creating my own characters, and I bet later on I’ll come back and make more! As a novice with fighting games, I appreciate Soul Calibur’s more simplistic controls (but experts can master them, too). And as always, it looks great. If any of you have the 360 version, we should play online and I can show you some of the characters that I’ve made!
“Now wait a minute,” you might exclaim. “How can you put this on the list when Capcom went way too crazy and greedy with the DLC?” If you can get past all the crap Capcom pulled (which admittedly, is hard to do), the game is still pretty fun, especially if you like Super SF4. But really, the only reason why I liked it was because it had Pac-Man and Cammy in it.
If you can get past all the fanservice, you’ll realize that underneath all that is a pretty decent fighter. I’m glad I finally got the opportunity to play and review a game in the DOA series. Can you guess who my favorite character is?
It may be a Smash Bros. clone with some rather unbalanced characters, but it’s still pretty fun. Lots of cool beloved characters to play as and stages to fight on. I liked it, anyway. Guess who my favorites are in this one, too.
It’s just a mini-game collection, so I guess it’s not THAT weird. But seeing your Mii dressed up as an Animal Crossing critter barfing up candy is pretty strange, you have to admit. But one of my criteria for “Weirdest Game Award” is that it also has to be fun, and Nintendo Land is especially fun. Jeff and his friends still come over and play it! Definitely the game to get if you have a Wii U already.
It’s just a gimmicky game that uses the AR function of the 3DS. But I like gimmicky stuff and I like ghosts, so that’s why this is here. Plus, I’ve always wanted to try a Fatal Frame game, and now I got the chance to, even if it really is just a spinoff.
Even though the game is just Final Fantasy Tactics with Pokemon in it, you have to admit that Nobunaga’s Ambition mixed with Pokemon is the weirdest cross-over game ever!
This music and rhythm game was done by the same folks who did WarioWare, so it’s just naturally weird. I don’t think I need to say any more than that.
A 2-D GTA clone with 8-bit graphics and funny classic game jokes around every corner. Yeah that’s pretty weird. And creative and fun.
I know it’s not really THAT weird of a game, but I didn’t feel like making a separate category for Best Racer this time. You have to admit, putting Danica Patrick in there is pretty weird, though.
Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone (3DS)
It may be just a sequel, but I think an art teaching program on the 3DS handheld is still pretty weird. But it’s also a fun little game, so if you have a budding artist around the house, they may like it.
The game is as weird as you make it. Those who have played any game in the series know what I mean.
BEST 3-D ADVENTURE
This is one of the surprises I was telling you about. You’d think I’d pick a cutesy, colorful 3-D adventure to win this award. But, nope. I don’t even like third person shooters that much, so for me to play all the way through this one, you know it has to be good (granted, I did play it on Easy). The main reason why I liked this one so much is the nostalgia factor. The team did such a good job of recreating the feel of the old toy line and cartoon from the 80’s. Forget the recent Michael Bay movies. THIS is what Transformers should be!
Just a fun little 3-D adventure for younger Pokemon fans. I enjoyed this cute little game, anyway.
Fine choice, especially if you like superheroes and have kids around. It’s too bad that travelling around Gotham City wasn’t easier, and the way you save wasn’t so wonky.
I don’t really care about the storyline in Kingdom Hearts games; all I want to do is tromp around Disney worlds beating up bad guys. And this game lets you do that pretty well.
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (360)
Speaking of Disney, even though Epic Mickey 2 has a laundry list of problems, if you are a Disney fan and can look past those, this is still a pretty decent little 3-D romp.
BEST 2-D ADVENTURE
New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)
I’d rather give the award to a more obscure 2-D platformer, and not to another same-y Mario game. But I do have to give credit where credit is due. The coin collecting gimmick was actually fun, Nintendo provided a lot of DLC Coin Rush levels (including one temporary free one), the Koopa Kids were awesome as always, and even the play control wasn’t quite as slippy slidey as in other New Super Mario Bros. games. The quest was just the right length, not too short but not too long. So while it isn’t the most original, it’s still pretty fun.
New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U)
Not quite as good as the 3DS one, but still a fun same-y Mario game. The multiplayer is a bit chaotic, but I do like how you can make platforms with the Wii U controller. I’m glad they keep using the Koopa Kids in these games.
I almost wanted to give the award to this game, but it was just a little too short for that. It’s still an excellent game that reminds me of Capcom’s classic cartoon games on NES and SNES. The music is awesome, too. If you like WayForward’s other games; you’ll definitely want to try this, especially if you are a fan of the cartoon.
I really got into this Xbox LIVE version of a popular PC online game. It plays like a classic beat ‘em up, with more complicated RPG elements. I also really liked the character designs, especially the Brawler class.
Code of Princess (3DS)
Another 2-D beat ‘em up. Not quite as good as Dungeon Fighter, but still neat with fantastic animation. And you can’t go wrong with a cute girl character with a sword!
Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion (3DS)
I think it’s so cool that they made a sequel to the Sega Genesis classic Castle of Illusion. It plays like a 16-bit platformer, including the sometimes frustrating difficulty. This may be better than the main Epic Mickey game.
Sonic 4: Episode 2 is a decent 2-D platformer. I do like the team moves with Tails, and just the fact that Tails is back in general. I also thought it was neat how the roller coaster level played a small little lick from the Twinkle Park song. I still don’t like how SEGA has handled their episodic content, releasing it a year and a half after the first one. Only company I know that has gotten episodic gaming right is TellTale.
Final Fantasy Dimensions (iPad)
Here’s another surprise winner that I might get a lot of flak about. Many reviewers and fans did not like this one, and they do have good reasons. Sure it’s not as good as other FF games, but here’s the thing. I think this is one of those ‘what’s in a name’ deals. If this game did not have the Final Fantasy name on it, people would’ve said, “Oh this is almost just as good as a classic FF title!” People may say that a more deserving RPG should have this award, like Tales of Graces f. But you know what? Dimensions is exactly the kind of RPG I enjoyed on the 16-bit SNES back when I was in high school and big into RPGs, so it made me happy and I liked it. So it gets the award.
Mario RPGs are always good fun, but unfortunately, after playing Sticker Star for a while, I may have to put it on the BOTTOM of my list. I did not like the sticker gimmick. Since you didn’t level up, there was no point in fighting enemies often because it just depleted your sticker supply. And item management was not fun either. I haven’t had the desire to go back and play it anytime soon, but I will eventually.
This one caused me to put the ‘simulation’ add on to this category. Normally, I’d say Harvest Moon games are all the same. But the new additions to this one, including all the customization features and better pacing, make it one of the best Harvest Moon games out there. And trust me; I’ve reviewed a lot of them!
I love action RPGs, and the Tales series have some of my favorites. Graces was a lot of fun, and I think I even almost made it to the end before getting distracted by something else. And that’s always a good thing.
You know, this series is known for its suggestive themes, but I didn’t think they were THAT bad. It was more campy than suggestive, really. The game itself still has a fun sense of humor regarding making fun of game consoles, companies, and characters. And I guess I should also give a shout out to that Atelier Meruru game I reviewed, too, as it was fairly decent as well.
BEST ARCADE COLLECTION/REMAKE
I’m sure you all saw this one coming. But it is a really good collection, and one of the last great Wii games. You get a lot of stuff, too. Six great main Kirby titles to play, a nearly comprehensive museum of every Kirby game to view, a soundtrack and book, and even a few cartoons! A must-have for any Kirby fan. Everyone should already own this.
This is what Frogger should be. I thought it was funny that they used Buckner & Garcia’s Frogger song from the Pac-Man Fever album in it!
WayForward did it again! If you were expecting a more serious DD game, this one is not for you. It’s goofy as all get out. But it’s still very fun and all the 80’s jokes and references really made me laugh. Too bad it was so hard, though.
On their own, I probably wouldn’t have played any of these games on here. So I’m glad they put them all on one disc for me to experience. If you have an interest in how games are made, you should check this one out.
Ratchet and Clank HD Collection (PS3)
The R&C games were some of the best 3-D platformers of last generation’s consoles, and they’re what a 3-D Mega Man game should be (no disrespect to Mega Man Legends, though). So I’m glad Sony put the first three games on a disc for play on PS3.
It’s been done before, but a solid collection of arcade titles anyway.
Even though I reviewed it on PSN, the 360 version of Monster World IV is a better deal because it comes with two other Monster World games. But MW4 is worth it on its own. This lost Genesis game mixes 2-D platforming with Zelda style puzzles and exploration. If you enjoy games like Shantae, you’ll really want to download this. Still not sure? Just read my glowing review. I don’t know why 16-bit adventures captivate me so, but they do!
Not really an arcade collection, but it was nice to finally have this on a home console. And they added a few unexpected surprises, like the Japanese version of the game, so it was a nice treat.
It’s just a collection of Capcom’s downloadable titles. But it DOES have Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix on it, so that was nice.
BEST MUSIC GAME
“Hey wait a minute, Cary,” you may say, “How come you’re starting with the runners up in this category?” Well, it’s because the overall Game of the Year is a music game, so I didn’t want to list it twice. Anyway, Rhythm Thief surprised me with how good it was. With this and Space Channel 5 and Samba de Amigo, it’s clear that SEGA can make a good music game. There’s even mini games based on those other titles in Rhythm Thief. If you loved the Prof. Layton games but hated the math problems like I did, just replace those with fun music games and you have Rhythm Thief!
This was a really creative one. It looks like a 2-D shooter, but you play it backwards, catching bullets you’ve fired back into your ship, while avoiding shots going into enemy ships! But surprisingly, it’s really a cleverly disguised music game! You can even use a guitar controller! I highly recommend downloading it.
And now, for my Best Game of the Year 2012 Award! You already know it’s a music game, so Taiko drum roll, please!
CARY’S BEST GAME OF THE YEAR 2012
Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy (3DS)
Did this surprise anyone? Here’s why it gets my award. First of all, I was really anticipating this game. I even waited in line to play it at E3, knowing full well it would be out in less than a month later. And when I did get it, I played it for TWO MONTHS STRAIGHT nonstop. And when one of my brothers picked it up when he got a 3DS later, I started playing it again! I really love Final Fantasy music, and have been to two different FF orchestra concerts and have several CD soundtracks! The game plays similarly to Taiko Drum Master, one of my overall favorite music games. And all the music in Theatrhythm is good, even the songs from FF games I don’t like! (such as 8, 10, 11, 12, 13). There are tons of challenges, and the StreetPass Dark Note feature constantly adds new ones. And I love the cutesy art style. If other FF games still looked like this, I’d still be playing them! Plus the game is surprisingly deep, with unlockable characters to place in your party, equippable items and experience points, and much more! I hear there is an iPad version now, too, and I’d like to try it.
Here’s a funny story regarding Theatrhythm. When I was playing multiplayer with a friend (which is also fun), someone was talking to him, and in his distracted state, he said, “Just a minute, I’m trying to play a music song.” When he quickly realized the silly thing he just said, we all started laughing and I decided that we should rename the game “Final Fantasy Music Song.” Hey, it’s no more ridiculous than “Theatrhythm.” So yeah, that’s why Final Fantasy Music Song gets my Game of the Year 2012 award, which may or may not be a surprise to anyone.
And that’s all for now! In the comments section, let me know what you think of my picks, and tell me your favorite games of 2012! Next time, I’ll talk about games I’m looking forward to in 2013! Later! –Cary