By Jeff Neuenschwander / January 22nd, 2014
I would write quite a bit about the PSP and downloadable games, but staff writer Guy Rainey has already taken the liberty of doing that. So, I’ll pass the reins over to him and let him have his turn.
BEST PSP GAME
|2012 Winner: Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time|
GUY: We are here at the tail end of the PSP’s life cycle. It was the system everyone thought would kill Nintendo but ended up following the path of the Game Gear: a system that chugged along, making a decent name for itself, but nowhere near the success that everyone thought it would be. However, the PSP has been a safe haven for mid-level Japanese products, and we had some unique ones this year.
Mark this as one more example of taking a license and making a great video game out of it. This game, a kind of a re-imagining of the anime it’s based on, takes place in an alternate universe, giving the developer more creative freedom with the property. It’s a game that all Black Rock Shooter fans will appreciate and a great entry point to the series for newcomers.
Old-school dungeon crawlers seem to be all the rage these days. For fans of the genre, Class of Heroes 2 offers everything from extensive character customization to a high level of difficulty. And as a treat, the game features a great localization. This game knows its audience and gives them exactly what they want.
This dark M-rated story captures audiences by putting you in a hellish situation and forcing you to make tough choices. This is not a game for those of weak constitutions, but it doesn’t revel in gore for the sake of gore. Instead, it asks players to think about what they are doing. A vast improvement over the original game, this horrific romp was one of the best games to come to the PSP this year.
While some may still have trouble calling visual novels games, how can you say no to controlling the (fictional) niece of Mega Man and Mighty No. 9 creator Keiji Inafune, who has opened a gaming-based amusement park that’s taken over by a pig? Okay, so this definitely falls into the bizarre category, but you know what? Bizarre is what Japan is known for, and this game pulls it off quite nicely.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Sweet Fuse: At Your Side
What can we say? We like the kind of bizarre that Japan puts out, and this game has it in spades. While it may not be a game to some, what does that matter so long as one enjoys it? Hats off to you, Saki Inafune!
BEST DOWNLOADABLE GAME
|2012 Winner: The Walking Dead|
Digital download games had a really stellar year in 2013. Not only does it give smaller developers a chance to widely distribute their smaller, more experimental titles, but even publishers with niche games are starting to take notice, thanks to all consoles now supporting digital downloads. Here are some of our standout titles from 2013.
The Stanley Parable
I think it’s safe to say that interactive entertainment is a genre now, and none more perfectly portrays the strengths of the genre while poking fun at the potential pitfalls like The Stanley Parable. To say anything else would ruin the experience. If you own a Windows PC or Mac built in the past few years, go buy it right now and play it.
There were quite a few people campaigning for this game’s release, but I doubt any marketer would think that a beat-’em-up with a busty all-female cast on the child-friendly 3DS would want to try selling it. But XSEED stepped up to the plate, anyway, publishing the game as a digital exclusive.
Capcom may have gotten some flak for releasing one of the beloved Ace Attorney titles digital-only, but I would much rather have this game as a digital exclusive than never see it at all. Everything you’ve come to love about the series is represented, so what’s not to like?
While Game Freak is best known for their Pokémon titles, they are also masters of unconventional platforming. HarmoKnight is a rhythm platformer that works flawlessly. You will go through each level attempting to get a perfect score. So, yeah, score another one for Game Freak.
DuckTales was a great game back on the NES. If Capcom had decided to just release the game as it was to the major platforms, it would have been praised. But Capcom took on the comparatively enormous task of having WayForward rebuild the levels in glorious HD and bring back the original show’s voice cast. How awesome is that?
AND THE WINNER IS…
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies
While many would have liked this game to a get a full retail release, since the choice is get a digital version or don’t get it at all, I know which one I’d rather have. Say what you will about the release—Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies is a great game, and having the opportunity to play it, no matter the delivery method, is better than not getting to play it at all.
BioShock InfiniteBlack Rock Shooterclass of heroes 2Corpse Party Book of ShadowsDucktales RemasteredFire Emblem: AwakeningharmoknightKiller is DeadMetal Gear Rising: RevengeanceNi No Kuni: Wrath of the White WitchPhoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual DestiniesPokémon X & YSenran Kagura BurstShin Megami Tensei IVSweet Fuse: At Your SideThe Legend of Zelda: A Link Between WorldsThe Stanley ParableThe Wonderful 101