originals\ Dec 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Game of the Year Awards: Design Awards


It's that time of the year, when we pick a number of games that deserve the highest honors in their respective fields. Today we start with the Design Awards. These awards include categories such as Best Story, Best Use of Atmosphere, Best New Character and more. Each day we'll continue with our awards and Friday we'll conclude with the coveted Game of the Year Award.

For your convenience, here is a list of all our other Awards pages.

Day 2: Technical Awards

So without further ado, let's look at the winners of Day 1 - Design Awards!

Best Story - Walking Dead

walking dead

The Walking Dead surely surprised everyone. It doesn't happened often that a game based on a licensed property does so well, let alone recieves awards for it, but Telltale Games have proved the opposite with this fantastic, five episode adventure. In each episode, we get control of Lee, a man who was sentenced to prison, but due to a certain twist of events, involving a zombie apocalypse, is set free and plays the guardian to the young and loveable Clementine.

Tough choices waited for players to choose from; Choices that would determine whether a character would live or die. Characters remembered what you told them and made conversation options just as tense as zombie survival.

If you haven't yet played this fantastic game, it's time you went on Steam, PSN, XBLA or to your local GameStop and pick up what is one of this year's best games.

Runner up: Max Payne 3

Best HD Remake - Metal Gear Solid HD Collection

metal gear

We had a number of HD remakes this year, but none was as compelling as the Metal Gear HD Collection. Sure it was missing Metal Gear Solid, the game that started the whole Solid saga, but in its absence, we were treated to an HD version of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, which was undoubtedly the PSP's best Metal Gear game.

This HD collection allowed gamers to experience the story of Metal Gear Solid 2, with its introduction of Raiden; Metal Gear Solid 3 which told the story of the original Big Boss, and the follow up Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, which included a fantastic multiplayer option for those that liked their Metal Gear with friends.

Runner up: Jak and Daxter HD Collection

Best New Character - Handsome Jack (Borderlands 2)

borderlands 2

Sure, Handsome Jack is not the hero of Borderlands 2. In fact, he's the one man you're trying to take down the entire game, so why give him the honor of Best New Character? If you have to ask that, then you certainly haven't played Borderlands 2 yet, and didn't get to experience Handsome Jack's hilarious quotes and one liners, that make him one of the most deviously fun to listen to bad guys in history.

Don't get me wrong, he's sadistic and downright evil, but if it wasn't for the super writing, he would never have such great lines like this:

Hey! How - ah, these pretzels suck... So, how's your day been, buddy? We haven't really talked much since I left you for dead. Hey, you think you'll freeze to death out there? Nah, probably not. The bandits'll get you first. My day? It's been pretty good. Just bought a pony made of diamonds, because I'm rich. So, you know. That's cool. Kay, bye.

Handsome Jack was one of those villains that gave even further incentive to play through the game again, only to hear his antics all over again.

Runner up: Corvo (Dishonored)

Best Original IP - Dishonored


We have to hand it to Arkane Studios. Dishonored was a completely new IP that took gamers by storm. It was the whole package. It has an incredibly realized setting where people lived on the brink of life as the Plague started to spread amongst the inhabitants and where the rich and greedy lived like Kings. It also had an intriguing story of revenge, since Corvo, the main character must seek to punish the ones who have wrongfully accused him of murdering the Empress.

It was Dishonored's gameplay however that surprised everyone at how versatile it was. It was one of those games where experimentation and playing how you want governed over everything else. Each mission presented you with a certain objective, but it was up to you to to figure out how you want to go about it. Do you use the sewers to gain access to a locked off building? Do you teleport your way in through the roof? Or do you take the more lethal approach and kill all the guards with your sword and just take the keys and barge in. The choice was entirely up to you.

Runner up: Journey

Best Use of Atmosphere - Far Cry 3


Many games had spectacular atmospheres this year, but Far Cry 3 was the clear winner. The expansive tropical islands of "Rook" were not only gorgeous, but filled with activities left and right. The wildlife roamed the jungle waiting to be hunted and claimed, lush vegetation covered the vast expanse of the island, and the gorgeous, and deadly ocean surrounded the island as well as flowed directly through it.

It wasn't all paradise however. Pirate outposts, native villages, and ancient temples all waited for you to explore them. While Far Cry 3 didn't have access to pilotable vehicles, we did get the next best thing. The Wing Suit allowed gamers to take in the beauty of the island from high above as they glided down and eventually parachuted to safety... or straight into a Pirate outpost.

Runner up: Journey

Best Co-operative Game - Borderlands 2


Gaming is fun, but nothing is better than bringing friends along for the ride. While plenty of games offered co-op, Borderlands 2 was without a doubt the most fun. From start to finish, you and three other friends could tackle the quest of taking down Handsome Jack and the Hyperion corporation, all while leveling up and finding new guns to increase your damage output.

Playing with friends also had its benefits. The enemies were tougher so team play was absolutely necessary and the loot was much better. Borderlands 2 proved once again that shooting enemies in the face with a bazillion guns, is far more fun with friends.

Runner up: Diablo III

Best Competitive Multiplayer - Halo 4


Master Chief was in cryo-sleep for quite some time, which made his return that much more epic. Outside of the fantastic single player story, the multiplayer was so fleshed out, that it made the wait entirely worth it.

Everything about the competitive multiplayer was finely balanced, never giving an unfair advantage to some players over others. All the skills are useful and weapons spawn randomly, which means no one gets an advantage camping out by weapon spanws.

There are a ton of modes to choose from as well such as Dominion, Capture the Flag, Regicide, Grifball and King of the Hill, ensuring you always have something different to jump into, if you're getting bored of dominating everyone in one mode.

The leveling and specialization also makes Halo 4's multiplayer a worthy time investment, as it allows for some deep customization, allowing you to play how you truly want to.

Runner up: Call of Duty Black Ops 2

About The Author
Mike Splechta GameZone's review copy hoarding D-bag extraordinaire! Follow me @MichaelSplechta
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