Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Second Annual Golden Lotion Awards - Book II: This Time It's Personal

It's that time of the year again folks.

2013 was a big year in gaming. There were some very high profile releases, smaller independent developers continued to grab a bigger slice of the pie, and after what seems like several decades, the next generation of consoles finally, finally arrived (Oh, what's that about the Wii U?). Like always, there were some nice surprises and some terrible disappointments.

Join us now as we crack open the bottle to reveal the winners of...



 

 

 

The They Didn't Fuck It Up Award  

Sometimes a game is announced where you think "Oh man, this could go either way." And sometimes, it goes the right way.





WINNER - Tomb Raider


Tomb Raider is a series that has been around the block a few times. What was once a pioneer of 3D action adventure games had become a joke by the time the Playstation 2 rolled around. It was rebooted to moderate success, and then driven into the ground again. When this new Tomb Raider was announced, there was no small amount of hesitance. Was Crystal Dynamics really going to try to go toe-to-toe with Naughty Dog's Uncharted series? Where are the tombs? How many times are they going to reboot this franchise?

But Tomb Raider came out and showed everybody by being pretty not terrible, actually. With a bigger emphasis on Lara as a character, some neat survivalist aspects, and some beautiful graphics, the developers showed that there's still some life left in this dusty old relic.

Still ain't got shit on Uncharted though.

Silver Lotion Winners: DmC: Devil May Cry, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Title Colon Subtitle


The They Did Fuck It Up Award

This is when things go the other way.

WINNER - Aliens: Colonial Marines


Man. This fucking game. I'm a big fan of the Aliens franchise. Like, a big one. The way some people are Star Wars fans (and, well, the way I'm a Star Wars fan), I am an Aliens fan. When this game was announced, I was fucking ecstatic. A first person Aliens game from the dudes who made Brothers In Arms (and later, "A first person Aliens game from the dudes who made Borderlands", this game was in development a long time)? Sign me up for active duty! But games in development hell for so long rarely turn out well, and this game is no exception. Shitty graphics, terrible AI, glitches on top of glitches and no respect for continuity. This game was pitched(ford) as a a loving tribute to the series by people who care about the source material, but was instead just another piece of garbage licensed game. Apparently Gearbox took the money it was given to develop the game and used that to make Borderlands 2 instead. It shows. It shows all over.

Silver Lotion Winners: DmC: Devil May Cry, Grand Theft Auto Online, Aliens: Colonial Marines again, because seriously, fuck that game


The Best Game I Didn't Play Award

Look man. There's a hell of a lot of games released every year.


WINNER - Super Mario 3D World

I really want to play this game. I love a good Mario game. When it was announced I was originally pretty cool on the idea. It seemed a bit creatively bankrupt to simply release a console sequel to the 3DS' sublime Super Mario 3D Land. But by all accounts they knocked that shit out of the park. Fantastic and imaginative level design, a great orchestral score, and Nintendo's trademark beautiful art design now in HD. The only problem is...it's on the Wii U. I don't own a Wii U, nobody I know owns a Wii U, I've never even seen one in real life. It might as well be on the Virtual Boy. But if there's any argument for owning that console, it's Super Mario 3D World.

Silver Lotion Winners: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Pokémon X/Y, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Tearaway


The Best Game I Won't Play Award

Sometimes I don't play games for petty reasons. Get off my back.

WINNER - Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist


I generally think the Splinter Cell series is pretty OK. Chaos Theory was badass, and Conviction breathed new life into the formula. Yet by the time Blacklist was announced, I was already there with my hands in the air saying "I'm good" like somebody asked me to try a fish flavored cookie. Not only is Blacklist yet another Splinter Cell game, which is already enough for me to be entirely sure that I don't need to play it, but it lacks one of the things that makes Splinter Cell and Sam Fisher awesome: Michael "Goddamn" Ironside. Without his trademark growl, Fisher is just another Jason Bourne wannabe. They also gave everybody a Hollywood makeover.

Left:"Sign this affidavit please." Right: "These financial reports are making me horny."


Silver Lotion Winners: Gears of War: Judgment, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Batman: Arkham Origins


The Mustard and Tomato Sauce Award

They go so well together. Mixing genres is fun.

WINNER - Rogue Legacy


Roguelikes were an extremely niche genre for a very long time. Only the hardest of the hardcore were willing to play an RPG where every death meant starting over. Recently something interesting has happened; a sudden explosion in popularity of the Roguelike, or at least its essence. Permanent death, and randomized worlds and items are suddenly in fashion. Spelunky, FTL, Risk of Rain, Eldritch, Teleglitch, and The Binding of Isaac are all games that have taken the spirit of Rogue and applied it to something new. Rogue Legacy is the best example of that design philosophy (this year). Essentially Roguelike + Castlevania, the game has that great "just one more try" feeling mixed with the addictive stat progression of something like Symphony of the Night.

Silver Lotion Winners: Don't Starve, The Cave, Sound Shapes


The Gorilla Award for Calculated Insanity

Ahhhhhh fuck you! I'm not gay, you are.

 WINNER - The Stanley Parable


The Stanley Parable is a game about choices. Each of those choices leads to other choices, and those choices lead to more still. Or perhaps they don't. Perhaps that first choice you made ended it all right there. And each of these choices will be accompanied by very entertaining narration by a very entertaining narrator. Think Stephen Fry if he wasn't Stephen Fry and you're pretty close.

Silver Lotion Winners: There are no other nominees. The Stanley Parable is just that absurd.



The Simpsons™ Award For Not Knowing When To Quit Award

10 years ago it was cool. Now it's just sad.


WINNER - Call of Duty: Ghosts


Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was like a kick in the balls to a sleeping games industry. Its tightly scripted campaign and fast and addictive multiplayer were massively influential. After it, absolutely everything changed.

Everything, that is, except for Call of Duty.

But while Call of Duty games have been coming out for years to more and more success, Ghosts was the first game post Modern Warfare that had people thinking that perhaps it was time to move on. Released right at the cusp of a new generation of consoles, Ghosts needed to show gamers why Call of Duty was still the place to be. And it was instead simply a disappointingly average entry in the long running series.


Silver Lotion Winners: Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, the eventual Call of Duty: Ghosts II


The Stop Trying To Make This a Thing, It's Not Going To Happen Award

Is it still considered a nonstarter when you're ten games deep?



WINNER - Lost Planet 3


The first Lost Planet game came out in 2007, It was a largely average third person action game, but was a decent showcase for the then still pretty new Xbox 360. The world would have been totally fine if there had never been another Lost Planet game. And yet, a few years later, Capcom graced the world with Lost Planet 2. This added to the formula by heavily focusing on multiplayer gameplay and even more heavily focusing on being boring. Now, in 2013 we have Lost Planet 3, a game absolutely nobody asked for. The game is a prequel to the other two, and was outsourced to a Western developer in a desperate attempt to distance itself from the earlier games. What could have been the breakout game the series needed ended up being just another average third person action game.

Silver Lotion Winners: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Crysis 3, Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel


The Best New Thing Award

Once in awhile the game industry does something interesting.



WINNER - Gone Home

 

More than most years even, 2013 was a pretty safe year for gaming. Sequels, prequels and reboots made up the vast majority of big releases. Even the new stuff felt like the old stuff. Gone Home was a breath of fresh air. It was entirely unconcerned with deep or refined gameplay mechanics, and instead focused on telling a series of personal stories. Like any well designed game, you get more out of it the more you put in. And you know it's good because it inspired heaps of controversy and vitriol.

Silver Lotion Winners: Papers Please, The Stanley Parable, Call of Duty: Ghosts

 

The Premature Ejaculation Award

"Ship it and patch it later."


WINNER - Steam Early Access


This award is for the most egregious example of an unfinished, buggy game, but nothing deserves it more than Steam's newish Early Access service as a whole. In theory it's a great idea. Gamers get to check out a game they're interested in sooner, and developers get valuable feedback that can shape the game (as well as some money that can be put right into development). The problem is that Steam is now up to its tits in buggy, unfinished games. Though they rightfully make it clear that the games are in various states of development, it's just sloppy when two out of every three games on the main page aren't even complete games.

Silver Lotion Winners: Ashes Cricket 2013, PokéBank, Grand Theft Auto Online


The Most Bextravagant of 2013 Award

These games will suck you dry. And not in a fun way.

WINNER - Skylanders: Swap Force


The Skylander games have been known to take a toll on wallets worldwide, but just when you thought Activision couldn't sap any more out, they surpass themselves with the Swap Force Skylanders. The Swap Force Skylanders have bases and tops which are interchangeable. This means, if you want to be able to access all areas in your game, you need to collect. Each one has a different ability, such as speeding, spinning or stealthing. There are SIXTEEN Swap Force characters. Older characters can be used, of course. However, characters that are "forwards compatible" have been given new abilities, another way in which you will feel obligated to "upgrade" your characters. An example of this is the lightcore variant Skylanders. If you want Skylanders that glow and look prettier on your portal, you're going to want these.

And because having over 50 new Skylanders available to purchase for this game just isn't enough, you can also get your fix in the form of drink bottles, pencil cases, sheets, clothes, there's probably even Skylander underwear. And if there's not, they're probably saving it for 2015 (when we'll inevitably have our hover boards). iPad apps from Skylanders: Giants have all been updated, so there's plenty of micro transactions to keep you spending, too.

Silver Lotion Winners: Pinball Arcade (Which will set you back $209.94USD if you want all the DLC), Marvel Heroes, Basically any "FREE" game you can get


The PLEASE GOD, JUST GIVE ME WHAT I WANT ALREADY Award

Ahhh, who has time for this shit!?

WINNER - Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate


Grinding in a game. It's nothing new and you either enjoy it or hate it. There's really never been a more rewarding and soul crushing game than the Monster Hunter series. The latest installment is on the 3DS and Wii-U. Unfortunately, no one has a Wii-U, so 3DS it is for us! Fight your way through hordes of giant monsters for your chance to get that one little piece of monster goodness that will upgrade your weapon into.... a bigger and better weapon...so you can... kill more monsters. But wait! This item only has a 5% chance to drop. Eh, I'll probably get it on my first go. NOPE! DESIRE SENSOR'D OMG YOU AIN'T NEVER GOING TO GET THAT HORN! YOU'LL BE DRIVEN INSANE AFTER FIGHTING PLESIOTH FOR TENS OF HUNDREDS OF HOURS! But your thirst for monster destroying will never end. There's always going to be a new reward you'll be after. And that's where the game gets you. You're hooked, and there's no hope for you. Thankfully, if you have a friend you can play together. You know what that means? Double the items you NEED. Your friends won't let you catch your breath until you get that stupid mantle from the Rathalos. At that point... you know you're in too deep.

Silver Lotion Winners - Animal Crossing (FUCKING CHRIST NOOKLINGS! SELL THE LAST PIECE OF BLUE FURNITURE I NEED!), Pokemon X/Y (OMFG, I JUST WANT MY POKEMON TO BE BRED WITH PERFECT STATS!!!)

The Half Life 3™ Vaporware Award

Maybe these games will come out in 2014. And maybe Sega will stop making terrible Sonic games.


WINNER - The Last Guardian


Hey, do you remember Ico and Shadow of The Colossus?
Those two incredibly unique and atmospheric action adventure games from Sony? Yeah? And do you remember when a spiritual successor was announced in the form of The Last Guardian? You might have to retreat into the very depths of your brain, as it was what seems like several lifetimes ago. Since then there have been delays, hiatuses, cancellations but not really, and silence. A lot of silence. At this point, we have little more than a "Yeah, it still exists maybe" on the update front. Rumors abound that development has transitioned from the Playstation 3 to the PS4. That sounds plausible, but with the aforementioned silence it may be awhile before we ever know for sure.

Silver Lotion Winners: Beyond Good and Evil 2, Prey 2, Agent, South Park: The Stick of Truth



And now, a word from our sponsor:



Best Vocal Performance:

 Best Whatever Games of 2013:


BEST LOOKING GAMES I HAVEN'T PLAYED YET:


COOLEST DEVELOPER OF 2013

(Specifically Christian)




And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.




The Comment of the Year Award

Hahaha. Congratulations to CapwnD, two-time running champion.






And now, the big one....


The Holy Fucking Shit This Game is Seriously Amazing Award

The best of the best of the best, sir.

By the time The Last of Us dropped, I was already deep into my "Man, fuck zombies" phase. The idea of humanity being reduced to an army of undead or infected monsters is nothing new. Even the idea of man being the true monster is well explored territory. Hell, last year's The Walking Dead did the surrogate father/daughter relationship in the middle of a zombie apocalypse thing. So if you are just looking at its basic ingredients, The Last of Us is dealing with some well worn tropes. What it does to surpass the legions of similar movies, comics, TV shows, and video games is fucking nail every aspect of it. The characters are brilliantly written and acted, the world is stunningly well realized, the combat is tense and exciting, and the sound design is appropriately low key when it needs to be and explosive when it doesn't. Joel and Ellie are simply two of the best video game characters ever created.

The Last of Us has the distinction of being just about the only video game to make me cry. And it did this not once, but something like five times over the course of the 20 hour adventure. Once within the first fifteen minutes. Never did it feel manipulative or cheap. The Last of Us has a way of investing you in its story. From the (one of the best ever) intro sequence to the thought provoking ending, The Last of Us explores both the horrors and the wonders of humanity. Not only is it by far the best game of 2013, it is without a doubt one of the greatest ever made.


Silver Lotion Winners: Gone Home, Grand Theft Auto V, Rogue Legacy, Bioshock Infinite, Fire Emblem Awakening





Thank you to Bek, Jamirus2 and Gorilla In Trash Can for their contributions to this article.

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for allowing me to contribute. It's been a pleasure being part of the hottest site on the internet. <3

    And thanks to Um Jammer Lammy and Gorilla, also for helping out.

    And to anyone else who happens to read my comment, Luchalma has put so much time and effort into not only this article, but the site in general. He's really funny, intelligent and talented and I'm so proud to know him.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Really...no, no...I'm not prepared!

    I'd like to thank Dolph Lundgren for this award. His enthusiasm and kindness helped me get back in the game and, well, here I am. Thanks, Dolph.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, well, well. That is only half of the list I gave you. Nice touch with the photos though. Without further ado, the full monty:


    Best Music in 2013: Sang Froid - Tales of Werewolves (PC)

    Best Games I Haven't Played Yet: Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
    New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U)
    Memoria (PC)
    Zelda Wind Waker (Wii U)
    Wolf Among Us (360)

    Best Games of Whatever Category of 2013: Fire Emblem (3DS), play this one on hard.
    Monster Hunter 3 (Wii U)
    Unepic (PC)

    Coolest Developer In 2013: Crafty Games

    Best Vocal Performance In 2013: Kaos from Skylander Swap Force

    Well.....2013, the year I played games from everything that came before 2013. Nice to see Stanley Parable there, and it does the C.I. award proud. Prosperous New Year to you ladies and gents.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You're welcome. Man, I'm awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Famirus "The Situation"December 31, 2013 at 5:56 PM

      BAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      *punches wall*

      *punches wall*

      YEAH! YEAH! THERE'S MORE WHERE THAT CAME FROM

      *punches wall*

      WANT A PIECE OF THIS?!

      *punches wall*

      *humps wall*

      YEAH! THAT'S THE WAY FAMIRUS LIKES IT

      Delete
  5. Love it!

    Really need to play Stanley Parable...

    And Last of Us.

    I suck at gaming...

    Great read!!!

    Happy New Year to all at Robot Blog... Perhaps 2014 will see a new top ten...

    :D

    ReplyDelete
  6. >>"Left:"Sign this affidavit please." Right: "These financial reports are making me horny."<<

    HAHAHA

    Looks like most of the Robot Blog family has made it here to this article, with the exception of Vonn and Capwnd. I don't think Vonn gets into commenting much, he's more of a forum junkie, I guess. Well, this would be a good time to let everyone know that I'm actually Luchalma. Arucard and I decided a while back to see how long I could keep this thing going.

    Least finished game of 2013: Non-Steam game: The Witcher Enhanced Edition Director's Cut

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I already changed it from "Robot Blog" to Robo Blog. Like Robo Cop.

      Delete
  7. As a single mom, this article helps me get through the mornings. Now it's at least 1 or 2 in the afternoon until I shake the baby.

    ReplyDelete