The presents have been opened with care, or tore open with little to no regard in my case, and with New Year’s just around the corner, it means that 2014 is coming to a rapid close. This has been a big year for Comic Gamers Assemble and to celebrate I’m putting off the first ever “Game of the Year” awards for the site. I’ll be covering traditional things like, of course, “Game of the Year”, as well as individual categories for various platforms such as “Best PS4” game, mixed in with some awards I just wanted to have some fun with (though nothing as outrageous as the Tobias Bruckner award). So with that out-of-the-way, let the festivities begin!:
BEST TELLTALE GAME
WINNER: THE WOLF AMONG US (MULTI)
Telltale graced us with not one, but TWO games inspired by comic book properties in 2014: The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead Season 2. While both started in late 2013, 4/5 of each series were released in 2014 along with their complete season collections on the current and last generation machines, qualifying them for consideration for the 2014 GOTY awards.
Though neither The Wolf Among Us nor the follow-up season for The Walking Dead gripped me the same way that the brilliant first season of The Walking Dead did, it was the neon tinted, synth-scored seedy whodunit of The Wolf Among Us that kept me returning to find out what happened next. In replaying the complete season again on the PS4 it’s even better a second time around as you get to pick up on clues and hints you didn’t before when you were playing the episodes during their sporadic release schedule.
Telltale has a lot on their plate with a third season of The Walking Dead, the just released Tales from the Borderlands and Game of Thrones as well as the just announced Minecraft. With all of those plates spinning at once, I hope that they can return to the world of The Wolf Among Us and not leave it as a one-off.
WINNER: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (MULTI)
Since Beenox took over the Spider-Man franchise with 2010’s Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, the quality of their games seem to yo-yo, at least to the general public. Shattered Dimensions was easily one of the best Spider-Man games ever created, while it’s one year follow-up Edge of Time felt rushed even though it had a terrific story and a lot of good ideas. They returned to the franchise again in 2012 with The Amazing Spider-Man, their first stab at an open world Spider-Man game that was a respectable debut outing for the studio for that game style.
I don’t know what happened with The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
This game does have a few good parts in it, namely the costume swapping that alters your abilities and the swinging mapped to each trigger, but it’s surrounded by things that make even the best parts terrible by association. The story is disjointed, the missions are repetitive and the decision to force you to keep your morality up or get assaulted by blockades and drones is downright idiotic. I have no issue with there being a morality system in a Spider-Man game, but there are plenty of open-world super games to crib this mechanic from.
Movie tie-in games are going the way of the dinosaurs with the majority of them taking up the mobile space, so maybe it’s time for Activision to do the same and allow their Spider-Man games to properly gestate before they force them onto stove shelves, or better yet, bequeath the license to someone who will do the character justice.
THE TEAM WHO DESERVES A BETTER GAME AWARD
WINNER: BIG HERO 6
Big Hero 6 the movie was one of my favorite movie going experiences of the year. The tie-in game for the Nintendo 3DS, Big Hero 6: Battle of the Bay, conversely was one of the single most boring games I played this year that did little justice to the energetic and colorful film it was basing itself on. Bot-Fight, a match three puzzle game on iOS, isn’t much better.
The cast of Big Hero 6, with their bright, colorful costumes and unique powers would make for some great video game heroes deserving of a better game than an easy, generic 2-D plat-former and a match three puzzle game. Maybe now that the film, and subsequently the property, has proven a success we’ll see this group in a more interesting game, perhaps on one of those shiny new machines you have gotten for Christmas.
THE “IT WAS A BAD YEAR FOR” AWARD
WINNER: NINTENDO 3DS
Sure, the 3DS had a good year for people who didn’t like comic book games with things like Shovel Knight and Bravely Default, but for us fans who love comic book games on the go, it was not a good year.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was somehow even worse than the console games and the above mentioned Big Hero 6 was a boring, lifeless tie cash in to be generous. The year ended strong thanks in no part to the one-two punch of Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and TMNT: Danger of the Ooze, but even though those games were pretty great, it didn’t make up for the other 11 months of the year.
THE HERO WHO DESERVES A BETTER GAME AWARD
Spider-Man has been having a bit of an up and down year. Peter Parker finally reclaimed his body from Doc Ock, AKA the Superior Spider-Man, and has been teaming up with alternate versions of himself in the stellar Spider-Verse cross-over series. In the multi-media world however, things aren’t going so well.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the film that was supposed to kick-start Sony’s shared Spider-Man universe, “underperformed” (that’s what they call a $700 million grossing film nowadays) and talks that were started to let the character play with the Avengers have stalled for the time being.
Spidey faired even worse in the video game world. Somehow The Amazing Spider-Man 2 turned out worse than the film it was based on despite the added horse power of the PS4. Subtract 2 from the PS4 and you get the PS2 which housed much, MUCH better Spider-Man games with way less tech under its hood. Spider-Man is one of the single most recognizable characters in the world and is more than over due for his “Arkham Asylum” equivalent.