Kicking off the year-in-review period is the third annual Pastapadre Community Choice Awards. Last year FIFA 12 walked away with the top honors but there was much more competition present in the field than when NBA 2K11 swept just about every award in 2010. This year appears to be competitive yet again as there are a number of titles that offer outstanding aspects but find themselves deficient in some other way. There is no clear standout that would sweep the awards or is a sure thing to win the big prize.
Each category has been narrowed down to three nominees (the exception being Best New Mode which is four) based on how they delivered on all – or those specific to the category – fronts and the perception within the community following release. In the case that your favorite is not included go ahead and throw the vote to the one you think deserves it most otherwise.
The voting will continue throughout the month with results being announced at a date yet to be determined. Continue on to vote in all the different polls!
The three franchises which have won the Community Game of the Year are up for the award in 2012. As always there is no perfect game but these generally met basic obligations in all aspects while excelling admirably in a few of them.
The reigning champion FIFA, which set new sales records this year as the fastest selling sports game in history, is back with a legit chance to repeat. A number of subtle but effective gameplay enhancements were made including with “First Touch” ball handling, the physics system was far more refined, internationals were added to career mode, and Match Day made presentation and relevance in commentary even better.
NBA 2K13 reduced some of the focus on historic teams by taking on Jay-Z as Executive Producer, making controls more accessible and fun by shifting dribble moves to the right stick, bringing worthwhile improvements to MyCareer mode, and finally providing a suitable online play experience. The most well-rounded 2K offering to date.
Any discussion regarding Madden NFL 13, or really Madden in general, is divisive but what the game did this year was show a level of ambition that had been lacking for a long time. A new physics engine and merging of Franchise and Career modes into Connected Careers along with legacy gameplay issues being addressed were the standouts.
Forza Horizon, as an “action racer”, provided an excellent balance of fun factor in an arcade-style sense with a grounded experience. An extended development cycle benefited gameplay and the feature set, which included an off-shoot Pride mode, for UFC Undisputed 3. SSX rebooted a fan-favorite and did so by translating nostalgia into the now with exceptional technical achievements and a brilliant social-online system.
SSX delivered fun factor and innovation while respecting the history of the series and providing excellent post-release support. The level of content within NFL Blitz was admirable for a digital download game. FIFA Street took some of the tech from the FIFA series and that translated quite well to a more reeled-in depiction of arcade soccer.
New Star Soccer proved to be addictive and creative with both the “arcade” challenge mode and career mode. It originated on the PC as did Out of the Park Baseball. iOOTP Baseball 2012 brought the team management sim to mobile for another year and was well received, as has been the norm with the series, with incredible depth and level of engagement. FIFA 13 showed dramatic improvement with better controls, online multiplayer, EA Sports Football Club, and even now Ultimate Team mode.
There is a contingent that will be present for every game believing it to be overrated or a huge disappointment. These three though carried with them different levels of expectation and for a good many they failed to meet them.
With NCAA Football 13 there was little in the way of advancement. The central new feature, Hesiman Challenge, lacked intrigue and demand and added little value. While Madden debuted innovation NCAA did nothing of the sort and this series can not afford to avoid taking some risks at this point. Authenticity was also in question with missing uniforms and even an entire missing school (South Alabama). Post-release support has been weak.
Madden NFL 13 certainly gets the lion’s share of criticism and despite excelling in some areas and being well-rounded enough to be in the running as best game it certainly provided plenty of reasons for disappointment depending on what aspects were most important to each individual. Missing features from Connected Careers – many of which were later patched in – as well as weak presentation and poor CPU play calling led the list.
MLB 12: The Show was hampered by the shifting of resources to the Vita version and the decision to do so failed to pay dividends. The Vita didn’t sell making any damage done to the PS3 side of things a troublesome result. There simply was not the sense that major advancements had been made, Diamond Dynasty mode (an attempt at an Ultimate Team of SCEA’s own) was poorly executed, and online play was excruciatingly bad even though an “Online Pass” was introduced.