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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Geek Pride Game of the Year 2012

GP GOTY

Now that the drunken post New Year’s Eve haze is finally beginning to lift and the broken ornaments from that rendition of auld lang syne have been super glued together, it’s almost time to announce Geek Pride’s Game of the Year 2012! Let’s face it; the competition this year has been absolutely huge. From AAA titles and indie games, sequels, reboots and even a piece of brand new innovation here and there, 2012 truly had it all, and to pick just one title was extremely difficult indeed.

Firstly, what criteria to use when choosing? Should it be based on innovative gameplay? Or is it game’s theme and style that’s more important; the story and the message that it carries? Or is it all about the looks? Should it be based on a game’s technical merits? For each of these examples I can think of plenty of games this year that excel in that area. But when there’s been so much diversity this year, and everyone has a different opinion on what makes a great game, on what basis do you make the final decision?

For me, above all else, gaming is about fun and escapism. Pure and simple. Just being able to sit down with your favourite game for a while, fall into another world and just enjoy yourself. Whether you get that enjoyment from the thrill of overcoming great challenges in Dark Souls, or the emotion in experiencing wonderful storytelling in The Walking Dead, or any other way; to me, gaming is first and foremost about enjoyment.

And so on that note, there’s only one game this year that, despite the artistry of Journey or the stunning beauty of Far Cry 3, has kept me coming back all year long. A game that I have found enjoyable, funny, entertaining, and even after 3 or 4 playthroughs, it has still never left me feeling bored.

My Game of the Year for 2012 is Borderlands 2.

borderlands_2

 

My lifestyle means I rarely have time to play a game through more than once. After all, my backlog’s bad enough already without playing through the same thing twice. So once I complete a game I generally put it on the shelf, but with Borderlands 2 there was something about its crazy, nonsense, messed up world that simply dragged me back in, again and again and again. It’s setting, the wonderfully varied world of Pandora, is almost a character in its own right. Arid dustbowls, futuristic glass walled cities, underground caverns, volcanoes, frozen Viking ships, glaciers; Pandora has it all, with plenty of hidden places and dirty secrets for those who are willing to find them.

As for the people that inhabit this world, well, where to begin on this game’s sense of humour? The level of care and effort that has been put into the writing for pretty much every character, big or small is simply astonishing. Everywhere you turn there are pop culture references to be found, or badassness and exploderyness (yes, they are words) to participate in. Every character has their own deliciously different brand of insanity stamped to them. It makes each character so unique and enjoyable to speak to; I certainly have my favourites, as does everyone else. Almost every line said is quote-worthy, and some of the quests that you embark upon are nothing I’ve ever seen in a game before, with some truly memorable ones such as “Shoot This Guy in the Face”, given by (it could only be) “Face McShooty”.

The gameplay again just makes this game so easy to love. It’s built around flexibility, meaning If I wanted to, I could sit down and explore for a while on my own, then let my girlfriend drop in and do some quests with her, all before joining a friend’s game and re-speccing to take on some high end raid bosses. And that brings me on to my next point. The equipment.

You think you’ve played shooters before. You think you’ve fired a shotgun. Have you ever had a shotgun with a bayonet that shoots lightning? How about a talking sniper rifle that guilt trips and berates you every time you kill someone? Ever owned a shield that actually explodes over and over again while it is depleted? I could go on at length about all the wondrous weapons in this game, but in reality that’s a fraction of the weapons that I found, and we would be here all night. Suffice it to say, Borderlands loves its guns.

The setting, characters, weapons, it’s sense of humor  the beautiful cell-shaded graphics, the game’s whole theme of in-your-face ridiculousness and badassitude (yes, it’s another real word), all of it blends together perfectly to create a game I have played and enjoyed for well over 100 hours now, and still going strong. Even my girlfriend, who never usually plays games, has joined me for hours on end, gallivanting across desert wastelands, shooting midgets and pirates with glee.

 

My shelves are buckling with my backlog of games. Far Cry 3, Halo 4 and more are calling to me, but I can’t help myself. Give me Salvador, give me Torgue and give me Claptrap. Just give me Pandora!

Borderlands-2

 

 

 

Think Borderlands 2 deserves it? Think Farming Simulator 2012 was more deserving? Let us know your Game of the Year!

Matt_Walklate
Matt_Walklate
Matt, 24 last time he checked, was born and raised in Manchester. A self-styled geek; when he isn't annoying his other half by fitting in as much gaming time as he possibly can, he can be found getting his fix of Fantasy and Sci-Fi elsewhere by reading, writing, or watching TV Series and Films. He is also a Michelin 3-Starred Chef in his spare time, and can be found experimenting in the kitchen, and generally poisoning his friends with obscure and mysterious dishes.

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