Monday, December 12, 2011

My Recap on the 2011 Spike VGAs...

Spike's 2011 Video Game Awards were on last Saturday and still nothing has changed from last year to this year in terms of how it was structured. Basically it still feels like a joke at best being an entertainment spectacle than a legit awards show and let's face it, this is how games are pretty much treated when seen on television being an easy target for jokes and all that. The folks that worked on the show tried hard to lessen that, especially the host Zachary Levi from Chuck, who did okay at hosting for the most part, but cmon even this award show feels like a laughing stock towards to the medium. It is really a shame that once again that games are not getting the respect they deserve compared to other forms of media as much as people are saying games are bigger than ever before. Yeah that is true to a degree, but shows like the VGAs prove once again feel like a step back for the gaming industry.

As expected like last year, the VGAs were never a real award show in the first place as they only handed out like five awards within the two hours they were on. It is always been about the spectacle and the debut trailers of big upcoming games for the next year or two. They were definitely bombshells at this award show even though some of them were leaked before the show started, which kind of blew away how bombshell-y they were. On the award side of things, I was happy Skyrim won game of the year (Still haven't played it though!!) and "retired" Shigeru Miyamoto accepted the Hall of Fame award for the Legend of Zelda franchise. Anyway, let's move on to the main highlight of the show, which were the exclusive reveals.

Arguably my personal favorite reveal from the show and this was during the pre-show too (lol), Tony Hawk announced a return to the franchise's roots with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD. This is a downloadable HD remake of the first two games as the levels you know and love are remade in HD (The Warehouse level from the first game as an example on the trailer above). No more skateboard controller nonsense as seen in the last two games, Ride and Shred, but the developers of those games, Robomodo, are developing this title. The levels will stay intact and the skater roster will consist of guys from today including the Birdman himself of course. The big question is whether or not the licensed soundtrack from those two games will return as they were one of many reasons why those games were memorable to many people especially me. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD is coming out on the summertime for downloadable platforms at around fifteen bucks.

Another pre-show reveal was a new trailer for Hitman: Absolution. Agent 47 returns in this latest offering and it is funny seeing the words "The original assassin is back" during this clip as a jab at the Assassins Creed franchise.

Namco Bandai announced a holiday 2012 release for the console versions of Tekken Tag Tournament 2, which is indeed ways off but fine with the arcade location tests going on my home area of SoCal. I have been playing that version since it came out last week and I'll have a preview of that soon. I'll also have a review of Tekken Hybrid, which I have now, later this week as well.

On the main show reveals...

The first bombshell of the night belonged to Sony and Naughty Dog announcing a new original game called The Last of Us. After coming off Uncharted 3, the folks are at again next year with a compelling title like this. I'm excited to see how this turns out especially how they deal with survival and the father-daughter relationship (the girl being Ellen Page... or not?).

BioWare had some stuff to show off with a new gameplay clip for Mass Effect 3. We seen in the new sprinting in action and it looks great in the crazy sequence above. Besides ME3, BioWare's bombshell is announcing that they're working on the next Command & Conquer game with Generals 2 on the Frostbite 2 engine (made famous in Battlefield 3). This is gonna be interesting from them diving into RTS territory as if EA needs to find some reason to continue that franchise in a different direction.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Patriots is on track for a 2013 release as you can find out more about the game on a previous Game Informer cover story. We'll see how this Rainbow Six goes especially with the stiff competition in the shooter genre these days.

Transfromers: Fall of Cybertron is the sequel to War for Cybertron, both made by High Moon Studios. That game was a sleeper hit and the best Transformers game in a while. I'm curious to see how things are improved for this sequel as it could only get better, but who knows when the game comes out next year.

It is no surprise that there is an Amazing Spider-Man game to coincide with the big movie this summer as Beenox hopes to turn things around after this year's disappointing Edge of Time. As with Spidey games that come out along with them movies, its more than just the movie plot that the game will contain as I don't think this Oscorp robot invasion is the main enemy in the movie, but a sub-plot in the game.

Blizzard accepted the Gamer God award and showed off the opening cinematic for Diablo III. As with these trailers have been all about, this is not an indication of how the gameplay looks like, but fans surely already know what to expect especially if they have been playing the closed beta lately.

Epic Games were also there to announce a new IP as CliffyB introduced FortNite to the world. At first glance it looks like Team Fortress 2 with zombies along with some tower defense as well. More details will be revealed in the coming months as we'll see if it turns out to be more than what I just mentioned.

A new trailer for BioShock Infinite was at the show as well being a montage of stuff seen in the same level we have been seeing for months. I'm curious if we'll see more variety soon besides the roller coaster-like railing stuff and the shooting, but I'm still hyped for the game being one of the big ones to get next year.

The main event reveal of the show was the truth being revealed about Metal Gear Solid Rising. Turns out the rumors were true and the game got rebooted to being called Metal Gear Rising: Revengance and it is now being developed by Platinum Games, the folks that made Bayonetta and Vanquish. Raiden is still the star of the show, but the slower pace seen in the trailer above is gonna be interesting for Platinum to work with, but the melee combat can still as crazy as seen in those games. The slashing sequences remind me of No More Heroes a little bit and of course the boss battles will be memorable as well. It is finally cool to see a different developer make a completely new Metal Gear game (Silicon Knights doesn't count) and at least its a fan favorite developer like Platinum doing this. Metal Gear Rising: Revengance is a gonna be a big one being another hit game for next year.

That's it for the VGAs this year as some of the reveals were good and while others were whatever since most of them were basically announcement trailers not showing any gameplay. Obviously the award show part sucked as it is still has a long way to go towards being a legitimate awards show on television. At least this is on TV, but the entertainment spectacle part of it has to be lessened to a certain extent because the humor is getting old. You can get away with the usual gaming jokes for a little period of time, but pulling the same tricks over and over again is just tiring. I'm for happy for Skyrim winning the big one as I see it being game of the year for a lot of gaming sites in the coming weeks.