The 2009 Peoww Awards: Part Two
The Peoww awards is the annual event were we give everyone a chance to have their say about the last year in videogames. The good, the bad and the Activision all feature this year with all the ‘best game on blah’ taken care of in part one we now turn our attention to some more of the classic Peoww categories like lemons, heroes and the good old LOL@.
Once again a big thanks to everyone who took part this year and supported us throughout 2009 and into 2010 just like Brian May, everything we do we do for you. Now where did we leave our exquisite knife…
A good story and well written characters can stay with you long after you’ve finished a game and with developers becoming more and more sophisticated in their story telling methods the overall plot of a game can prove more interesting than the game itself. Oh for any developers reading ‘plot’ doesn’t mean over long cutscenes filled with dialogue that would make Stephenie Meyer blush.
3rd – Batman: Arkham Asylum With story duties being handled by Paul Dini, the creative force behind the classic 90’s Batman cartoon series it’s no surprise all the dialogue sounded just right with the story making sense to Batman fans and new comers alike.
2nd – Dragon Age: Origins Bioware are no strangers to good story going all the way back to the Baldur’s Gate series on the PC and Dragon Age didn’t disappoint despite using genre archetypes like the loyal buddy, sassy wench and sage mentor as its cast. Every plot thread and side story is fleshed out to an amazing degree with many being filled with multiple shades of grey rather than the normal back and white, evil or good resolutions and morality plays normally found in RPGs.
1st – Assassin’s Creed 2 To try and summarise the plot of Assassin’s Creed 2 with it’s time travelling storyline of renaissance era conspiracy and near future corporate domination is a task beyond me. Using references to historical figures like Machiavelli or Da Vinci Assassin’s Creed 2 interweaves its own mythos to such a degree that the story can easily jump years or centuries at a time and still keep both your attention and sense of disbelief enthralled to such a degree that you’ll reach the end eager for more adventures with Desmond and his ancestors.
“Enzio was a great character and the story was really interesting, even if it got to the point of head fuckery.” – Gareth Case
With the days of crowding around your TV with a bunch of mates to play split-screen games all but dead the importance of online gaming is becoming more important not just in how well a game works but how well its supported by the fans and developers with new content and gameplay patches.
3rd – Fifa 10 EA’s mandatory yearly update to the near-perfect FIFA 09 saw them venturing dangerously back into their old ways. Sure, it’s brilliant on nearly every level but it’s really just FIFA 09 but with more emphasis on playing with random pricks.
2nd – Battlefield 1943 Despite a few issues in the first week of release (which is normal for an EA game given they run their own online servers and always fuck it up) ’43 quickly became one of the best online plays of 2009 with its mix of classic Battlefield maps and current gen features like destructible scenery and squad chat. It’s need for teamwork and the huge scale of fighting makes it unlike many games out there more than justifying it place here.
1st – Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Again another no-brainer win for Modern Warfare 2 given that the world and his dog are playing this not just the adversarial modes but the sublime co-op missions that have many thrashing their way to all 69 gold stars. Credit also has to go to Infinity Ward for not just resting on their laurels with having the game of the year and patching bugs and exploits such as the 100% pure cunt Javelin exploit or infinite ammo glitch almost as soon as they were discovered.
“Brill in multiplayer and great addition in Spec Ops. Despite twativision, it’s a fantastic game.” – Kenneth Magain
Surprise of the Year
Given the amount of media hype and exposure even small game releases receive today its nice to find yourself surprised by any game on release or beyond. In the past we’ve championed games like Two Worlds or Earth Defence Force 2017 so hopefully we can expect these nominations to have the same impact.
3rd – Fuel As any regular listener to the Peowwcast knows Fuel is what we like to call a game with soul. Sure there’s better off-roaders, straight racers and bike games but Fuel puts it all together so well and with such feeling that if you’re not in a race you’re probably driving around for just fun enjoying the ride or parked up on a serene mountain watching a beautific sunset. Yes we know that sounds pretentious but once you’ve played Fuel you’ll understand, it’s got soul you see.
2nd – Forza Motorsport 3 Another racing game surprise but with being a sequel you’d expect it to add a few new tracks and cars and not much else but the sheer girth of Forza 3 can be positively overwhelming. It really is the complete package when it comes to motorsport and puts even Gran Turismo in the shade.
1st – Borderlands For a game that was “released to die” in the weeks before Christmas Borderlands quickly found its fans thanks to its mix of Call of Duty style shooting with World of Warcraft quests and experience system that encouraged co-op play. Sure early screenshots may have made it look like a cel shaded Fallout clone and the new DLC may be shit but as an unexpected gem it’s easily the surprise of the year.
“I love this game so much I never want to finish it. May The Vault remain shut forever!” – Adam MacLeod
Disappointment of the Year
Just as surprises make us feel giddy and light a disappointment is a crushing realisation that a game just isn’t all that. It might not be a complete waste of good plastic but more and more today we find games and sequels in particular just leave felling like we just wasted good money. Here we wave goodbye to those games that will drift into obscurity on your local 2 for £20 shelf in good time.
3rd – Brutal Legend Many of us were expecting a heavy metal hack ‘n’ slash odyssey worthy of a Led Zeppelin ballad and found ourselves playing a clunky RTS that owed more to The Lighthouse Family than Black Sabbath. Those that did preserve with the grind of roadie rushes and dragon collecting just got more of the same five minutes of gameplay cut and pasted over and over making this a legend best left untold.
2nd – Halo: ODST Or Halo 3.1 as many found it to be with a few timid baby steps forward in terms of story and cast but with huge leaps backwards in limited game modes and severely anorexic length. Even the most hardcore of Halo fans quickly found themselves tiring of the much vaunted Firefight mode and were left looking at a £30 game that should have been at most 800 point DLC.
1st – Resident Evil 5 Capcom have never been afraid of quick cash-in sequels so when they spent over four years between Resi games (not including rehashes like Umbrella Chronicles) so we where happy to wait safe in the knowledge that the Resi 4 formula could only get better give the extra next-gen grunt at their disposal. At the very worst we thought it’d just be more of the same but when we finally got our hands on Resi 5 the red hot anticipation and expectation quickly turned to stone cold disappointment. Boring locations and set pieces, broken AI and a confused plot that while tying up all the loose ends of the Resi series read more like fan fiction. Sure there’s a good game to be had with a friend in co-op but if you’re left alone at the whims of the games partner AI just save yourself the heartbreak and replay Resi 4 again.
“It was good and Merceneries was addictive as crack, but you have to expect a lot from the game that follows RE4 and 5 was just more of the same, different locale. Only not as imaginative/long/good. Also it didn’t help that the inventory system was terrible and Sheva’s AI was absolutely idiotic at times.” – Kenneth Magain
Lemon of the Year
Sure we do love us a lemon here at Peoww but some games go beyond just being bad and descend to become lumps of digital faecal matter that no matter how hard you wipe just won’t come off. This isn’t so much of an awards category more a warning to future generations of game players to beware.
3rd – Watchmen: The End Is Nigh Even before you played it you just knew this was going to be bad, a licensed game rushed out to meet a release date that looks and plays worse than Streets of Rage or even truly dire licensed shite like The Last Action Hero. But the poisoned cheery on the top… It was download only… In two parts… For 1600 M$P EACH Even Namco would think that was pushing it.
2nd – Terminator: Salvation There’s only three redeeming things about this lazy-as-fuck film tie-in. It pisses gamerscore, it’s a tiny bit less disappointing than the movie and Christian Bale isn’t in it. It looks, plays and feels like a poor 2002 PC game and the Terminators display rather less AI than Casio calculator. Avoid this and the film if you want to live.
1st – Tony Hawk’s Ride We all wondered how the Hawks franchise would fight back against EA’s Skate who in just two games completely undermined Hawks and leave it looking like the moribund mess it was, little did we know this would be the fruit of their labours. Essentially a load of basic Wii-esq motion control hardware stuffed in a Fisher Price plastic skateboard deck all for the “bargain” price of just £99.99 Those that did pay the exorbitant price quickly found the game was buggy and full of glitches, the control deck unresponsive and trade in value falling faster than shares in Icebank. All in all a text book example in how to kill your franchise by using pointless accessories, other publishers take note.
“A failure on every imaginable level.” – Paul Weedon
Hero of the Year
Always a tough category this as the videogames industry isn’t exactly full of dynamic go getters whose charisma helps persuade non-gamers that we’re not all geeky nerds playing rape and murder simulators while drinking cola in a pool of our own filth. Some of us don’t like cola. Those that do (Jade Raymond, Bill Gates, Olivia Munn et al excluded for being corporate whores) get the big up here for all their outstanding work.
Runner up – Tom Watson MP Who? You might wonder, creator of the Facebook ‘Gamer’s Voice‘, long time Keith Vaz opposer and quite possibly the only member of the government who knows and understands gaming. As he puts it himself “Are you sick of UK newspapers and (my fellow) politicians beating up on gaming? So am I. The truth is, UK gamers need their own pressure group. I want to help you start one up.” Now that’s a heroic cause right there.
1st – Charlie Brooker Long time Brooker fans will know he’s got form as a gamer not only did he used to work retail in CeX (Who’s Leeds branch is full of cunts, but I digress) but also writing, his stint writing for PC Zone is legendary for great reviews and piss takes of games of the day like Tomb Raider. But it’s for his Gameswipe program that here’s here to day. Sure there’s been TV programs in the past like Gamesmaster, Bad Influence or Bits but Gameswipe dealt with the subject matter in a mature and more importantly funny way, Noam Chomsky’s: Blood on the Sand anyone? With luck Gameswipe will get a full series or at least another special episode or two so be sure to email the BBC to register your interest as it’s all paid for by your licence fee after all.
“-for fighting the good fight.” – Simon Mapplebeck
The LOL @ Award
Like they say “There’s no show without Punch” and there’s no Peoww awards without the LOL. This year we had all kinds of cunts from twats copyrighting the word ‘Edge’ to videogame boycotters who all ended up buying the game on day one to idiot developers hungry for your cash. These are the very worst of the crop this year…
3rd – Sony Take your pick of reasons but I’m going to go with their complete failure to keep new hardware a secret from the pointless PSP Go! to the useful but still too expensive PS3 Slim and less said about the new dildo motion controller the better.
2nd – Nintendo Not content with having every OAP in Britain wanting a DS with Brain Training this year they turned their attention to insecure fatties who are more likely to watch Loose Women than browse their local indy games store. Oh yeah and Ant and Dec… fuck my life.
1st – Activision/Bobby Kotick “The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games.”, “You know if it was left to me, I would raise the prices even further.” … Words from me are pointless here, well okay then… you’re a cunt.
“Needs no introduction, Activision’s CEO and all round tosser.” – Ian Thompson
Website of the Year
Once again disqualifying all the votes for us (cheers) these are your favourite internet reads of 2009. Sadly Courage Wolf fell one vote short of making the podium, maybe next yeah eh?
3rd – ScrewAttack Not a porn site. Home to the Angry Video Game Nerd and The Video Game Vault Screwattack have a large following in the US and here with Screwattack Europe with Guru Larry and occasional appearances from friend of Peoww, Stuart Ashen.
2nd – VG247 The gaming news blog that does more than just recycle publisher press releases and fluff. Also a big shout out to their community who are far more rational than other sites that could be mentioned.
1st – Giant Bomb One of the few good things to come from the Kane & Lynch shitstorm at Gamespot last year as Jeff Gerstmann made this great site made by gamers for gamers and free from all the sales talk and format back biting that blights other high profile sites (yes, but ultimate review fail for Droplitz – Ed).
“I’m a sucker for videos and their quick looks offer plenty of entertainment, regardless of the game they’re playing. Couple that with TANG, their Endurance run of Persona 4 and the fact they’re actually the least objectionable game site I’ve seen in a while, and you’re on to a winner. You can’t quite see them getting drunk with power, can you?” – Michael Kitchin
Most Wanted 2010
As the never ending cycle of game releases (or delays) continues into the new year this is where we take a look at the ones we’re looking forward to most. Sadly still no sign of Hitman 5 or Freedom Fighters 2.
3rd – Heavy Rain The new game from David Cage (Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy) and a PS3 exclusive to boot so it’s no surprise it made it into the top three over higher profile games like Bioshock 2 or Natal. Featuring a non-linear mature story with context sensitive controls it has alot of potential that hopefully won’t be squandered on endless QTEs and nonsensical plot twists.
2nd – Bayonetta After the dog’s dinner that was Devil May Cry 4, Hideki Kamiya has gone back to basics and even added some extra T&A for his new 3rd person action/shooter. The demo split gamers down the middle with some loving the frantic action while others pondered the longevity and depth of this new franchise that could have potential than Sarah Palin.
1st – Mass Effect 2 ME1 was an amazing mix of epic sci-fi story and blue tits I mean titical tactical combat while exploring boobs moons and uncharted planets. the next part of the planed trilogy has been teased all year long with the Spring release date looking like the high point before the inevitable Summer drought.
“The first one was the mutts nuts, and I’m expecting this one to be even better.” – Matthew Francis
Game of the 00s
With the decade over and two and a bit of generations of hardware past we thought it’d be fun to take a look back at the very best the noughties had to offer from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask through to modern day classics like Fallout 3.
3rd – Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Arguably the best of the three PS2 era GTA games Vice City had a near perfect mix of 80’s style, city layout and well structured missions and side stories that makes a mockery of the bloated GTAIV.
2nd – Shadow Of The Colossus A surprising entry given that ICO always seems to have a bigger (read: louder) following but even if you didn’t like the linear gameplay you have to admit that when it comes to atmosphere and ambience SOTC is heads and shoulders above most games.
1st – Resident Evil 4 The best game on the GameCube by a country mile and an essential purchase for anyone with one of the many systems it was converted to including the current gen Wii. Perfectly pitched action, unsettling atmosphere and downright frighting enemies making some of most tense encounters ever found in videogames from rampaging villages to gurgling regenerators that reinvigorated the franchise in a way few thought possible. If you have a console and haven’t played Resi 4 I hate you, it’s as simple as that.
“Capcom set the bar so high that no-one else has gotten close, including themselves with Resi 5. It’s pretty much the perfect game.” – Richie H