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Working Title 07.21.12: 2012 Working Title Halftime Awards
Posted by Jordan Williams on 07.21.2012





ARMBARS EVERYWHERE.




Welcome to the #1 Column to end up missing three weeks in a row because of some family shit that went down, WORKING TITLE. Yeah, I had a death in the family which is why I haven't been around as much. I'll just say that suicide is never an option and leave it at that. When we left off last time we had the nominees for The Working Title Halftime Awards which are the awards given to the games that have come out in the first half of the year that may very well be forgotten by the end of the year. These games might end up being forgotten because of the usual winter/fall season where everyone is pushing out a new title or just because the first half of the year usually ends up being a bit thinner than the rest of the year. Who knows? But before we get into that I will give you a really quick and dirty version of...

Working Backlog

Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition 2012: Evo renewed my interest. Still playing with Hakan, still losing a lot. Still thinking he is incredibly fun to play with because when you win you fuckin' EARNED that shit.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning: Still 50/50 on this. Feels like Fable II. Not sure if that is a bad thing. Will continue to play

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3: While Evo renewed my interest in AE, it pretty much killed my interest in Marvel. Great game. Will *never* be able to play it at a somewhat decent level.

Warriors Orochi 3: Despite me actually liking the Musou series of games, this is actually the first where I can say this is an actual GOOD game without the "for a Dynasty/Samurai Warriors game". It's very good.

Binary Domain: Probably my sleeper hit of the year so far. Japan tried to make a Gears of War-styled game about five times now and this is the first one that actually works. Also...this story is pretty goddamned great. Write in vote for Left Field Hit.

Asura's Wrath: Played about two hours. Didn't like it. Wasn't feeling it. Moved on.



Alright. Now that that is out of the way...




The 2012 Working Title Halftime Awards

2012 has certainly been an odd year in gaming so far. The first half of the year was incredibly thin on the console side of gaming and a lot of the big named hitters either underperformed or had terrible controversies attached to them. We got Mass Effect 3...but then we got the ending that came with it. We got Street Fighter x Tekken...but then we got the DLC Scandal. We got games pushed back, games pushed up...but in the end it just seems like if there was a point where people can finally point at a year at which this generation has truly stalled out than I think this would be the year.

Don't get me wrong, we are seeing good (even great) games still but a lot of it are the same ideas, same tropes, and in most cases the same FRANCHISE being used over and over again with diminishing returns. But be that as it may there are still awards that need to be handed out.

Real quick reminder of the criteria:


All Nominated Games must have been released by the First week of December 2011 to the 2nd Week of June 2012 in North America
I choose the nominees because I say so. Feel free to vote on whatever in the comments...but I get final say because, again, I say so. Odds are if that one game you really really liked
Winners of The Manliness Award and The Baddest Bitch Award will have the award named after them until the end of the year.
Winners will be automatically nominated for the same award (if applicable) during the 2012 Working Title Year-End Awards

Also I am going to do something a little bit different for 2012. Usually I give you all the nominees with a little blurb to explain who these people are and why they are nominated. But you know what? I'm not going to do that this year. It was essentially me repackaging what I said in the nomination thread. So instead I am going to run down the list of the nominees with a one or two sentence description and save the big blurb for the winners.

Right?

Right.



The Batman Baddest Dude Award for Manliness


Every year we have characters that go above and beyond the normal shackles of being an awesome dude and stand up above the rest. This award is the honor those who not only are great dudes...but they are the most badass of dudes. Their names will be etched into the walls of history as the Baddest dudes to ever hail a video game. Batman's reign has officially ended and it is now time to crown a new champion...



Max Payne

Drugged and drunk out of his mind, Max Payne proves that a little bit of hair and a whole lot of firepower can make a man overcome some serious demons.

Javik (Mass Effect 3)

Javik doesn't like you. But what does he hate more than you? Reapers.

Poison (Street Fighter x Tekken)

He's not the first female ever to be nominated for the Baddest Dude award, but he is the first one to be nominated for both Baddest Dude and Baddest Bitch. Frankly, he's bad ass enough to be considered for both.

Jackie Estacado (The Darkness II)

As if being a Mafia Boss wasn't badass enough, he also has the pure embodiment of all that is evil living inside of him...and can CONTROL it.

Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect 3)

It's a rule: If Garrus was in a game that year, he is nominated. Period.




2012 Winner of Baddest Dude (So Far)
Max Payne


Max Payne, to me, is the Baddest motherfucker on this list. Not only does he manage to topple a pretty fucked up piece of crime that is going down. He manages to do most of it while ingesting enough alcohol and pills that would straight up KILL a normal person AND in a country where he doesn't understand the language. He might not be an alien, or a super hero, or someone who has special powers but he is just a normal-assed-dude doing extraordinary shit. And I will always think that's more badass than anything else.







The Dormroom Dominator Award

Multiplayer gaming has changed for me. When I first started writing this column at the start of this generation when I thought about "Multiplayer" gaming I always had stuff like Shooters and RTS games in mind. I never thought of single player games with engaging metagames and stuff like that as multiplayer. But hey, tastes change. This is the category to award the game with the best multiplayer experience so far this year. This is also the first time a FPS has NOT been nominated. With Halo 4 and Blops 2 dropping later this year though...



Skullgirls

Newsflash: People like fighting games. You know what people like more than fighting games? Fighting games that actually work and have good online netcode.

Trials: Evolution

Despite this game having a multiplayer mode, it's not actually what it is nominated for. The metagame of Trials Evolution (leaderboards, created tracks, etc.) is just so damn deviously great that it can really get a community rolling in.

Diablo III

It's Diablo. Fucking. III.

Street Fighter x Tekken

Newsflash: People like fighting games. You know what people like more than fighting games? Capcom fighting games. Believe it or not, people actually do like and play this game. Crazy, isn't it?
Mass Effect 3





2012 Dormroom Dominator (So Far)
Diablo III


Diablo III isn't not going to win this award. Sure, it's riding A LOT of nostalgia (that is a bad or good thing depending on the side of the fence you are on) but the fact is that this game is simply multiplayer CRACK and its crack everyone has been wanting for a long-ass time. PVP, Real Money Auction House, A Better Hell Mode, there is just so much shit here that just screams "GET SOME FRIENDS. PLAY THIS SHIT." that you can't doubt Diablo III for a second. Blizzard knows what it does and does it well, Diablo III is a shining example of that.








Not a Bang, but a Whimper Award

Even though this year is still sort of slim on the pickings for the first half...there are still some games that just fail to fuckin' get good traction. The change on this one was that usually this category is for games that came out and just didn't catch on and a few BAD games. This year? This shit looks like it could be "Worst of the Year" style stuff. Hopefully that changes during the year end awards.



Street Fighter x Tekken

I personally don't think Street Fighter X Tekken is the worst Capcom fighting game ever, but there is no denying that is a pretty lackluster effort.

Final Fantasy XIII-2

I said it back in the nominations post, a Final Fantasy game should never be forgettable. This is forgettable.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

Simply awful. This is probably my personal worst game of the year.

Ninja Gaiden 3

I haven't played Ninja Gaiden 3, but apparently it's so APPALINGLY bad that the future of the franchise is now in jeopardy.



2012 Whimpiest Release (So Far)
Ninja Gaiden 3


I normally don't like picking games to win that I haven't played. But this time I think I am going to go with the crowd here. While ORC might've been the worst thing I have played in a LONG time according to the internet at large Ninja Gaiden 3 is not only AGGRESSIVELY bad but it's so bad that it downright sullies the legacy of Team Ninja. Think about that. Ninja Gaiden 1 (and to a lesser extent 2) are seen as some of the BEST GAMES OF ALL TIME. To have Ninja Gaiden 3 come out and be SO BAD that it effectively turns off people from the franchise then you done fucked up something GREAT. ORC might've been a bad game with the Resident Evil name attached to it, but to be completely fair it was NOT a Resident Evil game and was at most a one-off side experiment. This was a main line step in the franchise that had the coveted "3" behind it which so many games have this year and beyond. There's no excuse.








The Die in a Fire Award


Bad games aside, there are just some things that we are both sick of dealing with and sick of seeing. These things want us to be thrown into a volcano. To put it simply some shit just needs to go the fuck away. Be it complaining about something, businesses being shady as fuck or just a certain GAME type. It just needs to all fuckin' STOP. With that being said I am going to not stick to the 'few sentences' blurb and instead repost the exact blurb from the nominations thread.




Gamers vs. BioWare: Take Back Mass Effect!

Gamers vs. Capcom: Downward Spiral




2012's Entrant into the Burn Ward(So Far)
Capcom's Downward Spiral


To put it plain and simple, as shitty as people think that Mass Effect 3 ending is. It was a one-time snafu that BioWare actually went back and tried to fix to make all parties happy. It might've cheapened the Mass Effect legacy for some people, but in the end it didn't do any harm and it is between this and DA2 this is still a problem that has only been around for about two to three years. Capcom's downward spiral on the other hand is almost A DECADE long and just not came to a head. They got really lazy at the start of this generation and it became clearer as time went on that Capcom was straight up phoning it in. They never got their shit together the first time so instead of joining everyone else on the DELAY train they adopted the "Release now, Patch later" ideology which is bad...but works in theory.

But Capcom couldn't even do that right. Capcom's idea of fixing a game later is to simply go "WHOOPS! OUR BAD. LET'S TRY THAT AGAIN FOR 20 BUCKS CHEAPER!". I might not like the fact that a majority of the games that come out today are broken and need a patch to fix them, but at least most of these games don't make me PAY for the patch to fix them. But that's just one of the MANY problems Capcom is having right now when it comes to how they are running their business. They are out of touch with how you need to handle shit nowadays. Just like with my Nintendo blackout last year, this is it for me. I give up on Capcom. I just don't have the patience, time, and frankly WILL to bitch about them anymore. And given how their games have been selling I don't think anyone else wants to bother with them anymore either.






The Isabella Rovian Baddest Bitch Award for Womanliness

Anything a badass dude can do a badass chick can do just as well. Of course whenever you talk about females in video games the topic eventually delves into feminism and social justice and all of that other shit but that is NOT happening here. This isn't Kotaku and this isn't Tumblr so I am just going to say that this is award for badass chicks that do badass shit that are badass. Political Correctness be damned.


Lupo (Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City)

If there was one thing that Operation Raccoon City did, it was that it gave us some actual interesting Umbrella characters to think about. Lupo not only was the leader of the Wolfpack, but was probably one of the better characters in the entire game.


Poison (Street Fighter x Tekken)

She's not the first female ever to be nominated for the Baddest Dude award, but she is the first one to be nominated for both Baddest Dude and Baddest Bitch. Frankly, she's bad ass enough to be considered for both.

Juliet Starling (Lollipop Chainsaw)

While Lollipop Chainsaw might not have been as warmly received as some of the other Suda 51 games, there is still no denying that Juliet is a pretty badass (if not all that progressive) video game female.

The Cast of Skullgirls

Put the names in the hat. Pick one.





2012 Baddest Bitch (So Far)
Poison


You knew good and damn well if I was going to go through that much trouble to beat the Poison joke into the ground that she was going to win this. Honestly though, the reason I picked her was for more ‘meta' reasons than anything else. Poison is simply a character that the fans have been clamoring for a long time to appear again in the Final Fight/Street Fighter universe. To make her first (well, actual second) fighting game appearance and actually be a pretty decent character is actually pretty…swell, actually. It's pretty goddamn swell. Although if Poison somehow ends of winning at the end of the year then there are some serious issues here.





The Left Field Hit Award

Unlike the games that come out with a little more of a whimper there are games that aren't really talked about at all before release that end up making a big splash. These games either weren't promoted that entire well, or came from places where you wouldn't expect them to. This isn't a category for Indy titles, just the sleeper hits that managed to surprise us.



Fez

Simple in its design, diabolical by how it works, incredible by its metagame.

Asura's Wrath

Capcom might be shitting the bed a lot nowadays, but they do have a shining ray of sunshine every now and then. Asura is just a very...very angry ray of sunshine.

Dragon's Dogma

What do you get when you take Demons/Dark Souls and add in a beat-em up combo system and a pretty weird party system? Dragon's Dogma which is yet another entry into what I think will be the new age of the JRPG.

SkullGirls

Made by a man who loves the fighting game genre, he built it himself right down to the art. Probably the second most ambitious game (from a work standpoint) on this list behind Fez.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

I nominated it, but I am rescinding its nomination because you know what? This game was actually pretty hyped and A LOT of people were looking forward to it. So I think it has graduated from left field hit to straight up GOTY(SF) Nominee.

Binary Domain
Foreshadowing…






2012 Biggest Hit Outta Nowhere (So Far)
Binary Domain



Instead taking its place will be Binary Domain, a game that didn't get a proper write-up because it wasn't actually nominated. Sega is falling on some hard times, and Japanese game developers in general have been trying HARD to crack the code that is the western game. I think Binary Domain might be the first one that actually has some teeth to it. The shooting isn't as polished as the games it's trying to ape. But where Binary Domain is making up for itself is in the fact that it has a pretty goddamned good STORY. The entire deal with the Hollow Children and what robotics is actually doing to the world around our characters is genuinely intriguing and I wouldn't mind seeing this being spun off into a series. Good on you, Sega. You might just stave off extinction after-all.




Workaholic's Choice Game of the Year So Far

Take the average "Game of the Year" and instead limit it to the first six months.

There. That's it. Not too much else to explain about it. It's the best game of the year so far.




Max Payne 3

Mass Effect 3

Trials: Evolution

Kid Icarus: Uprising

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Diablo III




2012 Game of the Year (So Far)
Mass Effect 3


Feel free to get mad, I've heard all of the arguments against Mass Effect 3 and all of that mess. But you know what? Mass Effect 3 still stands head and shoulders above the other releases so far this year. Will it stack up at the end of the year? Who knows. All I know is Mass Effect 3 for me was the fitting end to a great trilogy of games. Even if the ending did leave a lot more to desire (which was partially fixed with the extended ending) it doesn't take away from the fact that Mass Effect 3 is quite possibly the greatest video game trilogy of this generation. I'm not saying it's the best game ever. I'm not even saying that it's the best game in its series, but Mass Effect 3 is the best game of the year so far.
Whether you want to admit it or not.






And that's that! Since this is already a week late I will go ahead and skip the Working Question. About next issue…you know what I'm tired of? Lists. You know what I'm tired of doing? LISTS. Next issue of Working Title we are going to get a rant.

What will this rant be about?
Well…
















Until next time, I'm Jordan Williams…and I will straight up tell your right now that if The Walking Dead game keeps being as good as it is then it is a SERIOUS contender for Game of the Year.







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