GC08: The Gamersyde Awards
We’ve been back from Leipzig for a week now and we’ve pretty much shown you everything we had in store for you guys – except for a couple of upcoming videos that is. As a conclusion to all this media frenzy, wouldn’t it be more than appropriate to offer what you could call the inevitable Gamersyde Awards ceremony.
Before we start however, let me remind you all how difficult it is to truly judge games on the show floor of a game convention. We don’t have much time to test them, the playing conditions are far from being the best so let’s keep in mind that this selection of games is composed of the games we liked or those we didn’t but we’ll only mention the games we actually saw. You may disagree but it’s no reason to wage war.
Best booth: EA.
Now this one was a toughie because not only did we have to choose a great-looking booth and it also had to offer some really good games. We finally decided EA deserved the prize because this year, the publisher proposes some innovative sequels like Fifa 09 or NBA Live 09 but also some brand new franchises with games like Dead Space or DICE’s Mirror’s Edge. Sure we could have chosen Sony’s booth, it was well-decorated and the usual big games you’d expect were there; we also hesitated with Ubisoft as they had some great games too and nice Ubibabes. In the end though, we thought EA should win this year because, no matter what people think of the company, there’s a great line-up of games coming up before the end of the year.
Worst booth: Microsoft.
Some might say that Microsoft completely failed to deliver in Leipzig but we have a feeling it was a deliberate choice. The games presented on the booth were for the most part third party games and the only games made in Microsoft were Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts and Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise. Not much to see then considering that Gears of War 2, Fable 2 and a few other 360 exclusives are coming to the platform before the end of 2008. In short: very disappointing.
Best PS3 game: LittleBigPlanet
You might say it’s a bit of a cliché to pick this game as the winner but truth be told, it is indeed a very refreshing title, especially at a time when the common blockbusters usually are FPS or racing games. The game has a very cute design, it offers huge possibilities, plays very well and is based on cooperation, which is one of the best way to play with your friends if you ask me. When watching someone play the game, the only thing that came to our mind was we had to give it a try too. Now that has to be a good sign, don’t you think?
Best Xbox 360 game: Fable 2
Since there were very few 360 exclusives presented in Leipzig, we decided it would be fair to pick Fable 2 and its enchanting world as the winner. The presentation BlimBlim attended sure did not show anything new but Fable is still Fable and there’s something about this game that makes us really impatient to return to Albion.
Best Wii game: Madworld
On the one hand, we can’t say the competitors were many as Nintendo wasn’t present at the Game Convention and most of the Wii titles shown there were casual gaming oriented. We obviously felt a bit nostalgic when we saw the wiimake of our good old Dreamcast’s music game, Samba de Amigo but it was no serious threat to Platinum Games’ surprising title. With a very original artistic direction, an over the top violence that eventually makes the game funny and above all, a great team of developers, we feel confident that the game will kick ass when it’s released.
Best surprise: Dead Space
As a matter of fact, we did not expect much from Dead Space but we couldn’t have been more wrong. EA got themselves one hell of a spooky survival horror. The game is fun to play, great to look at and despite the lack of good gaming conditions to enjoy the game’s atmosphere, we could feel the building of tension as we progressed through the level. No need to say that it will be even more impressive from the comfort of our living room.
Biggest disappointment: Bionic Commando
After an excellent remake on both Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade, we thought the brand new game would be a lot better than what we saw. We certainly hope it was due to the level that was presented, which was merely a boring tutorial level, but we will need to see a lot more interesting stuff to be fully convinced of the game’s potential.
Best game: LittleBigPlanet
Same reasons we explained before. The game really is the team’s favorite at Gamersyde.
Best FPS: Far Cry 2
Because of its huge open environment, the beauty of the African setting and the technical marvel it appears to be, Far Cry 2 should not disappoint the fans of the genre. There are maybe a few concerns about the AI that will need a closer look when it’s released but other than that, it’s shaping up well. Mirror’s Edge almost ended up on the first step but we decided to reward freedom of action over originality.
Best platformer: LittleBigPlanet
Again… There were few other games to compete in the genre but even Sonic that didn’t look bad at all, Lara who was back in pretty good shape for an all new adventure and Banjo-Kazooie's new intriguing gameplay direction could not defeat Sony’s game in our hearts.
Best racing game: Pure
No Race Pro on the show floor – unless it was very well-hidden – so we had to choose among various arcade racers. The latest Need for Speed in the series seemed to be at an early stage of development, Burnout Paradise was showing its upcoming free downloadable content – motorbikes and a day and night cycle – and Motorstorm 2 seemed like a solid sequel to the first game. Why Pure then? Because Pure is about insane tracks and impressive jumps. Because Pure’s powerful 3D engine really is impressive and above all, because Pure is fun, fun, fun. Whether you own a – beware, incoming bad wordplay - Three Tricksy or a PS Tricks, we hope you will enjoy Pure as much as we did.
Best sports game: Fifa 09
Please PES fans don’t get mad but we have to admit that this year once again, Fifa is about to offer a better experience than the previous games. There are true improvements and innovations in the gameplay, which does not seem to be the case for Konami’s champion. It feels like PES has gotten stuck in between the old and new generation and the few things that have been done this year to satisfy the players do not seem to be enough to make us believe in a fresh start of the franchise. We should also mention that we were quite impressed by what we saw of NBA Live 09, which finally offers realistic-looking animations. Now we just need to wait to see 2K’s answer with NBA 2K 09.
Best fighting game: Street Fighter IV
The one and only, simply the best.
Best RPG: Fable 2
There weren’t too many RPGs in Leipzig even though Square-Enix’s Infinite Undiscovery and Bethesda’s Fallout 3 were there. Since we knew a bit more about Fable 2 than the others, we decided it should be awarded but needless to say we are really looking forward to learning more about the third instalment in the Fallout series.
Best shoot ‘Em Up / flying game: HAWX
The version we played was only a pre-beta version but it nonetheless ran impressively well. The level of details when close to the ground is the best you can get in the genre, thanks to real satellite data and some great textures, the controls are both intuitive and simple and we confess we appreciate the fact that the game presents itself as an arcade game. Now we’ll have to see if it manages to be interesting and varied as the game progresses.
Best survival horror game: Dead Space
Silent Hill Homecoming may have been there but Dead Space completely stole its thunder.
Most debated game: Prince of Persia
There are things we pretty much agreed on – like the great animations and the fantastic visual style – but when it came to a few other things, it started to get ugly in the car that brought us back to the hotel on the very last day there. Some of us did not appreciate the fact that there would be no Game Overs during the game, or that the prince should be helped by a sidekick for example. As usual though, in the end the good guy(s) won and Lunik was wrong. Or not…
Buggiest game: Tomb Raider Underworld
Before we explain our choice, we have to say that we really did enjoy the game but let’s just say that the version that was shown in Leipzig was not a credit to the series on a technical standpoint. Unless it was some kind of tribute to the old Tomb Raider games, which, as you all know, were very famous for their bugs. So we had to deal with various glitches and camera issues. Now let’s not forget that we only saw an old build of the game and that the final version should be just fine.
Best-looking game: Killzone 2
Once again, it was a tough choice given the quality of the games we saw in Leipzig but we had to narrow down the list of our favorites to one so we felt that Killzone 2 was worth it. The game really looks like a movie thanks to the effects that are used and the bottom line is, Killzone 2 is great-looking and it’s happy to oblige.
Most impressive game: Far Cry 2
Killzone 2 may have been the best-looking game on the show floor but when it came to technical prowess, it just could not come close to Far Cry 2. Far Cry 2 is big, it looks incredibly realistic and there’s such a feeling of life in the environments thanks to the African wildlife and the trees blowing in the wind that you simply want to ask for more.
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Driftwood GSY is getting some nice content at 3 pm CEST with our July podcast and some videos of the Deus Ex Mankind Divided preview build. :) (> 3 Months ago)
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