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Game of the Year Awards: Genre Awards

Mass Effect 3 Screenshot - 1132342

We all have our favorite genres. Whether it's spraying enemies with bullets in first-person shooters, playing to the music in rhythm games, or taking on the role of 'Savior of the Universe' in an epic role-playing game, each of those genres speaks differently to gamers.

Let's take the time to examine the games that defined these genres in 2012. Will your favorite make the cut?

Best MMO: Guild Wars 2

guild wars

Guild Wars 2 was a shining example of how to follow up a successful MMO. Pretty much every single aspect of the game is an improvement on its predecessor. A wide open world to explore, varied classes to choose from, epic battles to take part in, and all of this for a monthly price of nothing. That's right, just like the first, Guild Wars 2 ditches a monthly subscription fee, and just asks gamers to pay the one time price of the game.

With plenty of content already rolled out thus far, the team over at Arenanet has no plans of slowing down, and will continue making Guild Wars 2 one of the premier MMOs to take part in.

Runner up: Planetside 2

Best Fighter: Street Fighter X Tekken

sfxt

Street Fighter is an amazing series. Tekken is an amazing series. It was really a no brainer to match these two titans up against each other. Helmed by Capcom, SFxT pits the crew of Ryu and the gang against the fighters of Tekken in an all out brawl.

The game runs on a similar engine to Street Fighter 4, giving it that similar look, and yet refining the mechanics to provide an amazing fighting experience that any fighting game fan will appreciate.

And while we wait for its sister game, Tekken X Street Fighter, SFxT has the roster and brutality to hold us over until then.

Runner up: Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Best Racing Game: Forza Horizon

forza

I can't give enough praise to Forza Horizon. Taking the simulation aspects of the Forza series, while also keeping the game accessible to those who aren't car nuts, and adding a gorgeous, open world design, Playground Games have created a masterpiece.

It even has a fully integrated multiplayer that allows you and a bunch of friends to cruise around Colorado, and complete events on the fly. Can't forget the soundtrack, which might be the best driving soundtrack I have yet to hear in a racing game. Seriously, I can't stop praising this game enough.

Runner up: Need for Speed Most Wanted

Best First-Person Shooter: Far Cry 3

far cry 3

Ubisoft surprised everyone with Far Cry 3. Not because it was some big surprise or anything, but more so because of how freaking awesome it was. If you can look over the laughable story and the terrible conclusion, Far Cry 3 was filled with moment after moment of amazing gameplay.

Whether you were stealthy and took out your enemies with silenced guns or your trust bow and arrow, or you just wanted to cause some chaos and run in guns blazing, you could do that. Aside from the story, there were a ton of things to do. Assassinations, wildlife hunts, pirate outpost takeovers, and so much more. If you haven't yet experienced the badassery that is Far Cry 3, you owe it to yourself to do so. Now!

Runner up: Borderlands 2

Best Sports Game: FIFA Soccer 13

fifa 13

Each year it seems like FIFA manages to take the crown with best sports game, and looks like this year is no different. With vast improvements like brand new AI, the player impact engine and new passing options, FIFA is getting more and more realistic each year. The graphics look stunning as well, making the game look almost photo realistic when you first glance at it.

So get out your vuvuzelas and grab yourself a copy of FIFA 13!

Runner up: NBA 2K13

Best RPG: Mass Effect 3

mass effect 3

The conclusion of the Mass Effect 3 trilogy might not have appealed to everyone, but the journey there was absolutely incredible. From the tear jerking moments of leaving a comrade behind for a noble cause, to the inspiring and heartfelt goodbyes from your teammates as you set off to save the world, every single mission ended up being more epic than the last.

If for any reason you still haven't played this amazing trilogy, you owe it to yourself to go out and get it now! The ending is... different, but trust us when we say the rest is pure gold.

Runner up: Witcher 2

Best Action/Adventure: Assassin's Creed III

creed iii

It took a while but Ubisoft finally released a numbered entry in the Assassin's Creed series, this time focusing on an all new protagonist of the past, Connor. While Desmond Miles still had problems of his own in the present, gamers were treated to the glorious setting of the American Revolution.

Whether you were completing a mission for George Washington, sailing the seas and waging naval warfare, or just gathering lost almanac pages for Benjamin Franklin, you can't help but be immersed in the glorious setting of Colonial America.

Runner up: Mass Effect 3

Best Strategy Game: XCOM Enemy Unknown

xcom

The XCOM series were on quite a hiatus, and while news of the FPS version of XCOM is nowhere to be found, gamers were treated to an amazing game that went back to series roots, while advancing the genre with modern gameplay tweaks.

After assuming control of XCOM, players had access to global facilities that could concentrate on developing new weapons and tech, research alien genealogy, train and develop your squads and ultimately go into battle against alien forces to save planet Earth.

Pro tip: Never name any of your squad after a family member. It will get dark rather quick.

Runner up: Civilization V: Gods and Kings

Best Rhythm/Music Game: Rock Band Blitz

rock band blitz

Rock Band Blitz proved that you didn't need a plethora of plastic instruments littered around your living room to enjoy a music game that could still rock this hard. Blitz actually resembled the PSP version of Rock Band, which had players switching from track to track to play each instruments. This time, it was all around building that large combo and get the highest score.

What makes Blitz even more enticing, especially to owners of previous Rock Band titles, any song previously purchased or transferred to your hard drive will work with Rock Band Blitz, making your set list enormous starting day one! And for those who still enjoy taking out those plastic instruments from time to time, the entire track list from Blitz is also available to played in Rock Band as well. Sweet!

Runner up: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy

Best Platformer: New Super Mario Bros. 2

mario 2

Is anyone surprised? While NSMB2 did little to innovate the series outside of a large focus on coin collecting, it still had top notch level design that platformer lovers were sure to eat right up. The coin collecting craze had everyone racing to collect 1 million coins, and those who took the challenge, saw that it wasn't as easy as they thought.

Of course as it is standard in the New Super Mario Bros. games, two players can play together wirelessly, and help (or sabotage) each other to get through each level.

Runner up: Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

Best Puzzle Game: Quantum Conundrum

quantum

From the minds that brought us Portal, came an entirely new game based on a cute premise, with a lot of brain teasers. Quantum Conundrum tasked players to step into the shoes of a young boy inside his uncles giant mansion comprised of various gadgets and technology.

This was all based around the switching of dimensions. Fluffy dimension made everything turn into cotton, thus allowing our young protagonist to pick up heavy items he otherwise couldn't. Combine that with a dimension that makes everything heavy, slow, and gravity defying, and you have yourself a puzzle recipe for success.

Runner up: Angry Birds Trilogy

Best Shoot 'em up Game: Sine Mora

sine mora

Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture succeeds in making an absolutely stellar 'shmup' because they're not afraid to take risks. What you get is an amazing game that it isn’t afraid to be bold and actually manages to make advances in the genre that are quite significant.

From beautiful backdrops, to an engaging, albeit confusing storyline, and an awesome slow-time mechanic, Sine Mora has a lot going for it, making it a premiere shoot em up. Fans that enjoy screens littered with bullets to dodge, should be downloading Sine Mora immediately.

Runner up: Akai Katana

Best Kinect Game: NBA Baller Beats

nba baller beats

While we loved the concept (and functionality) of NBA Baller Beats, we realized that for some households, like those living in upstairs apartments, it just isn't a good fit. Despite that, Baller Beats is actually a really fun rhythm game that actually utilizes a real basketball!

Baller Beats will have you dribbling to the beat of artists like Gorillaz, Kanye West, B.O.B., Skrillex and Queen. While Kinect games may often be hit or miss with detection, Baller Beats was spot on, which was surprising given that the game also had to keep track of a constantly bouncing ball. If you have living space that allows you to bounce around a basketball, then you really can't go wrong with NBA Baller Beats.

Runner up: Just Dance 4

Charmander
Mike Splechta GameZone's Editor-in-Chief, retro game enthusiast, savior of kittens. Follow me @Michael_GZ
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