Vote for the 2011 Community Choice Awards

Posted December 5th, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Kicking off the year-in-review period is the second annual Pastapadre Community Choice Awards. Last year in no surprise NBA 2K11 walked away with the top honors while also winning all but one of the categories it was nominated in. This year the field looks to be much more competitive with no single title standing out from the rest of the pack in such obvious fashion.

I have narrowed each category down to three nominees based on how they delivered on all (or the specific) fronts and the perception within the community following release and in the months since. 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 for a good part of the month with results being announced at a date yet to be determined. Continue on to vote in all the different polls and of course feel free to leave any thoughts in the comments! 

Best Sports Game of 2011

In a year where no consensus favorite or clear “best” sports title developed – opinions have varied wildly while being largely dependent on which aspects of the games are most important to each individual – these three had the most well rounded offerings this year while avoiding many of the severe pitfalls that some others could not.

The Show as a series had started to become stagnant and in adding analog controls were able to largely break out of that growing perception for the time being – with online play still being it’s biggest weakness. FIFA 12 continues to provide a dearth of content and as the far and away most popular sports game in the world delivered against high expectations – it’s new physics engine however has produced some wonky moments. Tiger Woods 12 added The Masters which was huge in getting the series to reach a wider audience and provide a richer experience along with adding caddies – but the extreme costs involved with purchasing all the DLC courses has been discouraging for consumers.

Best New or Non-Yearly Game

Fight Night Champion decided to take a risk with an M-rated story mode which was quite enjoyable but short. WWE All-Stars was high in fun factor and had really well thought out gameplay design decisions. Forza 4 continued the excellence of the series with an experience satisfying to racing fans and car fanatics.

Best Arcade Style Sports Game

These three were all generally well-received with NBA Jam and Backbreaker offered as digital-downloads and WWE All-Stars a full retail arcade fighter.

Most Disappointing Sports Game

Both NCAA Football 12 and NBA 2K12 released with severe issues that prevented advertised features from working properly. Even to date some of those problems still exist. NHL 12 on the other hand has started to struggle more with a growing sense that the series hasn’t been advancing much in the past few iterations.

Best Gameplay

Gameplay has been a strength of all three of these series for years now – in fact last year it was the same three competing in this category. Hardcore fans will find aspects to nitpick with every game, including these ones, but overall what they did well was strong enough to largely overshadow any deficiencies.

Best Presentation

Excellent commentary, new camera angles, intros, and a strong broadcast take on presentation were notable for NBA 2K12 but it was the unique true-to-the-period presentation styles for NBA’s Greatest mode that really stood out. The 30 true-to-life broadcast camera angles were huge for both baseball titles. The Show excelled in the authentic touches and graphics while 2K11 had great commentary and the MLB Today feature.

Best Online Play

Madden NFL 12 featured easily the best online performance from the Tiburon studio to date. FIFA 12’s rich online modes and consistent performance, particularly with up to 22 users connected into a single game, has been unmatched. NHL’s EASHL mode is still one of the best online innovations of this generation.

Best New Feature or Mode

The big addition to NBA 2K12 was the 15 unique historical match-ups in NBA’s Greatest which included unique presentation and the rule sets true to their time period. The M-rated Champion story mode in FNC was a compelling ride. FIFA 12’s Online Seasons took head-to-head matches and made them actually mean something while increasing the likelihood of positive experiences against random and balanced opponents.

Best Franchise or Dynasty Mode

Last year’s runner-up was NBA 2K11 but it doesn’t get nominated here as the lockout cost rookies/roster movement and no real improvements were made to the mode – while an attempt at Online Association was a disaster. NCAA Football 12 (the series won this category last year) experienced it’s share of troubles with Online Dynasty but remains a favorite mode of consumers whether offline or online and brought in the ability to coach as a coordinator. Madden 12 lacked in some areas, particularly recruiting, but made the biggest leap in quality of the mode by far when put up against any other sports title this year. MLB 11: The Show had a few bugs, including a major one that carried over from the previous iteration in the series, but was still well-regarded due to the attention to detail.

Best Career Mode

These three individual career modes provided the most compelling experiences. Tiger is the new one in this category with last year’s runner-up and third place finishers in the running again.

Best Mobile Game

These three mobile games almost made it into the top 10 rundown of 2011 – they were so good that they could they could be considered comparable to some console games – particularly when considering the considerably cheaper price and lower expectations that come with mobile offerings.