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2003 LCVG Reader Awards, Last Part


Robot Monkey
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Please post your nominations in this topic. Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here, Part 3 is here, Part 4 is here, Part 5 is here. You can still nominate there or change your choices.

 

Please make a case for your choices in this thread. I encourage you to debate the choices here as well.

 

This is the last group -- Best Game by Platform.

 

Here are the categories:

 

Best GameCube Game

Best PC Game

Best Portable Game

Best PS2 Game

Best Xbox Game

 

The Game of The Year nominees will be the winners of the Best Game of each platform. Also, when nominating games for the Best Game on each platform, please give thought to crossover status.

 

EDIT: To keep things under control, please do not nominate more than two titles per category. And don't forget to explain your choices

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Best GameCube Game

Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker ? This game had everything, graphics, story, sound, everything. The best game of the year on GameCube, of course it is one of the only 2003 games I played on the 'cube, but it really is that good.

 

Best PC Game

Can't nominate anything here, my PC topped out at Half-life.

 

Best Portable Game

Tetris? Uh, I'll pass on this one. My gameboy is of the black and white variety.

 

Best PS2 Game

Silent Hill 3 ? Another sick and twisted game set in Silent Hill. Fantastic visuals and sound. The story was not as good as 2 IMO, but it still scared the shit out of me.

 

Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando ? A great game right from the beginning to the hilarious end. Cool new innovations were added to an already wonderful game. The level design is outstanding again and all the gadgets are wackier and even more fun this time around. One of the best of the year, for sure.

 

Best Xbox Game

Knights of the Old Republic ? The boundary-crossing RPG. Between the graphics, sound, gameplay, storyline and Star Wars licence this game managed to suck the mainstream into an RPG. People who wouldn't touch Morrowind with a 10 foot pole spent hours entranced by the worlds and characters of KotOR. Those of us who already enjoy the genre were mightily impressed with what Bioware did as well.

 

Project Gotham Racing 2 ? My favorite Xbox game of the year. PGR 2 has the perfect difficulty balance (in stark contrast to the original PGR) so players of any skill level can pick it up and immediately have fun. The wide variety of vehicles, tracks and challenges give it tons of replay value. And if that wasn't enough, playing over Xbox Live adds even more. Let's also not forget Geometry Wars.

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Best GameCube Game

Viewtiful Joe

The title exemplifies everything I love about 2D gaming. From top to bottom, it is one of the most polished and stylized games of the year. The graphics reflect the flat qualities of the games from the 16-bit era, while adding all of the visual finess the next-generation systems can muster. Control is tight and the challenge is at a level worthy of comparison to games like Battletoads.

 

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

This game created a living, breathing world through its cell-animated graphics. While some may think that the new look was a misstep, there's no question that the gameplay elements that make the series one of the greatest ever are here in full force. This is classic Zelda in every way and deserves some recognition in the game of the year category.

 

Best PC Game

No Comment.

 

Best Playstation 2 Game

Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando

This was my favorite game of the year, period. I love platformers and I love both games in this series. Insomniac took all of the elements that made the first game great, left them alone, refined the controls, added in some RPG elements and a degree of customization unheard of in games like this. This is platforming at its best.

 

Silent Hill 3

Scary as fuck. That's all you need to know.

 

Best Xbox Game

Panzer Dragoon Orta

What? An on-rails shooter game? You better believe it. When they're done this well, they deserve recognition in this category. Sega did an amazing job with this game, giving it some of the Xboxes most amazing graphics, an epic soundtrack, and a lot of fast-paced action. Additionally, the game sports several sub scenarios and unlockable goodies, including the first Panzer Dragoon game.

 

Metal Arms: Glitch in the System

Considering how much I've hyped this one in the past few months, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I'm nominating it. Swinging Ape Studios has burst through the gate with a game that features a level of polish that would only be expected of the best long-standing developers. When you play Metal Arms, you know that the developers wouldn't have made it unless they loved it too. The only disappointing aspect of the game is that its poor sales may kill any chances of a sequel.

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Nope, you aren't missing anything. I didn't include Best Graphics or any of the usual genre awards either (like Best Shooter, Best Sports, Best Platformer and so on). The Best Game of each title was the only big concession to the usual suspects.

 

My goal was to highlight different aspects of the medium and get people to think about it a little bit. We can pretty much agree on good graphics (or at least the top examples), but what about Best Interface? What is a good interface?

 

To be completely fair to the members of this forum, I think many do think about these aspects of game design. Still, I thought it would be nice to provide an opportunity to voice those thoughts, hence the categories I selected.

 

That isn't to say that Best Graphics or Best Platformer couldn't lead to good discussion. It can and does. Nevertheless, I wanted to avoid pigeon-holing titles in the interest of raising awareness about titles -- or aspects of various titles -- that might've been missed because somone doesn't favor a particular genre.

 

Which is a long-ass explanation of how Best Graphics came to be left off the list. ;)

 

If you've got some thoughts about Best Graphics, why not start a new topic for it? You probably aren't the only person who wants to discuss stand-out graphics.

 

-j

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I know I'm only supposed to nominate two games per category, but for some of these categories I couldn't narrow it down

 

Best GameCube Game

Viewtiful Joe - Brilliant in design, execution, and just-plain playability

Beyond Good and Evil - Had to nominate this somewhere, so the GameCube gets it (too many other XBox games I liked)

 

Best PC Game

Halo - It's about damn time, too

Warcraft III - The Frozen Throne - phenomenal game in its own right and fixed a lot of problems with the previous version's multiplayer

 

Best Portable Game

Wario Ware, Inc: Mega Microgame$ - The sickest, most unique videogame of the year

Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising - Bet you didn't know you could turn your Game Boy Advance into a crack pipe, did you?

 

Best PS2 Game

3-WAY TIE

SSX 3 - The most fun you'll ever have being chased down a mountain by an avalanche

Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando - Move over, Crash Bandicoot

Silent Hill 3 - best game in the series, and beating out part two was no small feat

 

Best Xbox Game

3-WAY TIE

Panzer Dragoon Orta - An immortal showpiece of awe and imagination so incredible that you forget that it's a "rail shooter"... and don't care less!!!

Prince of Persia - Every bit as addictive (and frustrating) as the original

Soul Calibur II - it was either this or Knights of the Old Republic, and as great as KOTOR is, I got a lot more time in beating the living hell out of all my friends with Ivy and Raphael

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I don't necessarily feel a need to discuss graphics, I just wanted to see recognition provided for a few outstanding games that really lit up my TV set. So much time goes into squeezing every last drop of power out of our systems, and developers deserve praise for going the extra mile.

 

 

But anyways, on to nominations......

 

Best Gamecube:

 

I didn't really take a special liking to any Gamecube games this year. However, like Anthony I'm a big fan of Beyond Good and Evil so it gets my Gamecube nomination despite the fact that I own it for Xbox.

 

I would put Viewtiful Joe as my other nomination but it's already nominated, freeing up space for me to give my other slot to F-Zero.

 

 

 

Best Xbox:

 

Hands down Panzer Dragoon Orta. The AIAS goobers may have completely forgotten about PDO, but it's still the best game this year.

 

Knights of the Old Republic took console RPGs in a new direction and would deserve a nomination in just about any year as well.

 

 

 

Best PC:

 

Call of Duty is the only PC game I've played this year, but it's so well done that I have confidence nominating it. The action and atmosphere are absolutely incredible. It's one of the few games that sends chills down your spine every time you play it.

 

 

Best PS2:

 

I haven't actually played much of Ratchet and Clank 2 myself, but I've seen enough of it from my fiance playing to know that it's the best made PS2 game of the year. Innovative and action packed the whole way through, even Miyamoto could learn something by playing it.

 

Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution is simply the best 3D fighting game ever made. It takes the deepest engine ever from VF4, improves upon it, overhauls VF4's graphics, and adds meaningful new gameplay modes and characters. In addition, it came out with a $19.99 price tag.

 

I feel the above two games are the best on PS2, but I also feel the need to mention 2 other games that actually gave me more enjoyment than the above games. So as not to violate the 2 game limit, ZOE2 is taking the place of my second PC nomination and GGX2 can just be chalked up to me not being good at following directions.

 

Zone of the Enders 2 is a textbook example of how to tell a story and keep action flowing through a game from start to finish. Throughout the approximately 4-6 hour experience, there is only one 10 minute segment where the pace of the action dips. The graphics are also phenomenal, both in-game and in the anime cutscenes. It may not hit the magic 20 hour mark, but it's a joy to play from start to finish and I wish more games would follow in its footsteps.

 

Guilty Gear X2 may not be the refined fighting perfection that VF4:E is, but damn it if I don't like mixing it up with one of the most frenetic combat systems ever created while watching gorgeous 480p sprites duke it out. The music is awesome, the graphics are wonderful, and the fighting is intense. It even stands up well as a one player game thanks to the many gameplay modes. GGX2 is a gem that will remembered for a long time by 2d fans.

 

 

 

Best Portable:

 

Fire Emblem for reasons listed in other posts.

 

Iridion 2 was a nice recovery from the first game and really pushes the GBA to its graphical limits while offering sound level design and solid length.

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Cube - Either 1080: Avalanche (I'm not sure if this scraped into 2003; I only picked it up like two weeks ago). I just adore this game. Sure, its not got the biggest main mode of any game (though its bigger than its N64 predecessor), but the control delicacy is still there, the multiple routes are still there, and the "extra" modes contain a phenomenal amount of meaty gameplay. Pure zone gaming, the type the Cube specialises in.

 

Or, if I can't have that, then Soul Calibur II. Its my favorite version, not just due to Link but also because the accompanying Hori stick is a beauty. I've heard a fair bit of whingeing that its not the game the first one was, largely due to poor old Lizardman being retired, but I disagree. Its deep, so deep I won't come close to reaching brilliant at it, but without it being a nightmare for novices like VF4 is. Mitsurugi wins.

 

PS2 - For me, this year the PS2 has been rather quiet when not playing old titles (mainly Vice City, GT3 and WRC2). But one title made rather an exception, Psyvariar Revision. When it comes to shooting with strategy, the buzz technique here beats Ikaruga. And you can't say fairer than that. Staying alive isn't even easy, but when you get a higher score the smaller the amount you avoid dying by, well. Lets just say that its painfully easy to get carried away with the risk/reward balance.

 

XBox - Project Gotham 2. I'm massively impressed by Orta (though it just doesn't quite grab me the way Rez does). I really enjoyed Midtown while it lasted. But Gotham is the one thats had me hugely addicted.

 

Portable - As tragic as it is to say, its the almost straight port of Super Mario 3 that really did it for me on the portable front. I'd love to be able to say something really 'new', but I can't; its all in the Mario.

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Originally posted by iainl@Feb 19 2004, 04:02 AM

I've heard a fair bit of whingeing that its not the game the first one was, largely due to poor old Lizardman being retired

Lizardman is an unlockable character in all three American versions of the game. He's the hardest character to unlock, but he's worth it. This time he actually has a unique feel to him and doesn't feel like a cheap palette swap of Sophitia.

 

Is Mitsurugi still banned in Britain because of the "no samurais in videogames" law? I heard he was replaced by someone named Arthur.

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Originally posted by AnthonyVolpe@Feb 19 2004, 06:08 PM

Is Mitsurugi still banned in Britain because of the "no samurais in videogames" law? I heard he was replaced by someone named Arthur.

Goodness only knows where you heard that from. He's present, he was present in Soul Calibur, and even in Soul Edge (Soul Blade as it was called in the UK).

 

What we did have, until a few years ago when James Ferman stepped down as head of the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification, the people who hand out the age ratings), was a ban on Nunchucku in most things; there was even a scene cut from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles where one of them was whirling sausages round his head, because it was deemed too violent. Weird guy, but now he's gone we get uncut Fist Of Fury and everything, which is nice.

 

I've this vague feeling that at one point the German guy with the bloody great long sword got renamed Arthur (maybe for Soul Edge), in reference King Arthur, as he was a knight in shining armour. But I'm really not sure.

 

And, of course, Arthur is the name of the guy in the boxers in Ghosts 'n' Goblins too.

 

Re: Lizardman being unlockable, I've not managed to unlock him yet, but the Lizardman fanatic I know insists that he's been neutered of his most vicious juggles and so it doesn't really count anyway. Personally I could never get along with the character though (not being the juggling type), so it didn't bother me.

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Best GameCube Game

F-Zero GX

Love the speed, love the controls, love the level design. This is the game I put on when I want to show people what he GameCube is capable of, it's really exceptionally well done.

 

 

Best PC Game

Er, didn't play any.

 

Best Portable Game

Pokemon Pinball

I played this endlessly for months. I'm biased because I love video pnball games, but this is just so addictive, easy to pick up and play, and has great features like the abiilty to pause and save at any time.

 

Best PS2 Game

SSX3

Building on the previous release in every way, this game really nailed it. The open-ended feeling of being on one huge (21,000 meters, IIRC) mountain was surprisingly satisfying. It opened up a huge range of events to suit whatever mood you're in, from a 30 minute race from top to bottom, to insane super-pipe events with ungodly amounts of air, to slopestyle events that give you a bit of both. The trick system was massively improved with the simple addition of the 'board press' which let you string together combos. The move itself is easy enough that the challenge becomes risking everything to add just one more combo to your score.

 

Best Xbox Game

Project Gotham Racing 2

What more can be said? This game is almost perfect, it's got delicious mix of arcade and sim handling, deep integration with Live, great graphics, beautiful locations, stellar online performance, and the Nurburgring.

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