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Article The Game Clearing 2023 Awards

Discussion in 'Video Games' started by Infernostar, Jan 2, 2024.

  1. Infernostar

    Infernornoheartnfernoheartnfernopaw
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    Legendary Triforce ★★
    With 2023 having come and gone and this year being an actually insane year of gaming as a whole, Game Clearing was rather nutty for a lot of people. And because its the cool thing to do, I decided the best way to celebrate a fantastic year for gaming was to give some awards.

    I finished 60 Games for the first time this year, which, despite being a record low for my Game Clearing stats (Of the 5 years I've kept track and made Collages, every other year was in the 75ish range), there was many a great game to be had. With all that said, lets get to some Games. If you have your own awards for Game Clearing or thoughts on games listed, by all means share your thoughts.

    Full Game Clearing 2023 Collage Available on Discord Server (Its Too Big to upload to this thread, I have tried)

    Honorable Mentions/Games I Did Not Experience/Finish:
    - Fire Emblem Blazing Sword (GBA, Got very far, roughly Chapter 27 but did not quite finish)
    - Persona 5 Royal (PS5, in the third semester, also EXTREMELY far but just not quite at the end to mark for this thread)
    - Dave the Diver (Steam, did not play until late December, but enthralled so far as a lover of Scuba Diving)
    - Dead Space Remake (Did Not Play)
    - Hi-Fi Rush (Steam, Own but did not get to this year)
    - Resident Evil 4 Remake (Did Not Play)
    - Baldur's Gate 3 (Did Not Play)
    - Spider Man 2 (Did Not Play, still haven't finished the first one)
    - Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon (PS5, Unfinished)
    - Super Mario Bros. Wonder (NS, will be finished early this year)
    - Super Mario RPG Remake (NS, unfinished)

    Best Remake/Remaster: Metroid Prime Remastered (NS)
    A near perfect game with a truly beautiful remaster, Prime continues to be a masterpiece. Even adding in multiple control schemes for people that aren't the biggest fan of the OG gamecube controls or the wiimote aiming was a great quality of life feature, and though we may have lost the Fusion Suit bonus due to lack of connectivity to a version of Fusion, the game is just as great to get lost in as the original and Trilogy edition.
    (Honorable Mention: Mark of the Ninja: Remastered (Steam))

    It's About Time You Finished This Award: Okami (Wii)
    I have owned a copy of Okami for over a decade now but only now has that game finally been vanquished. A beautiful game for fans of traiditional Japanese art direction, lovers of Shinto mythology and Zelda fans, with its only faults being its rather extended length for a normal Zelda game, and relatively low difficulty once players master its brushstrokes. At times I had issues with the pointer control but thats more an issue with my setup, would definitely be a nonissue if I played the HD version.

    Goofiest Game: Dynamite Cop (Dreamcast)
    An arcade style 3d beat em up with mutiple paths, weapons, and a plot thats basically Die Hard if it didn't take itself even remotely seriously? Sounds great, and it is. You've even got wrestling moves and throw your guns at the enemies when you run out of ammo, a gloriously explosive game that lasts maybe half an hour per run but is a joyride every time.

    Best Soundtrack: Bomb Rush Cyberfunk (NS)
    A game drenched in the styles of Jet Set Radio, AND it has mister funky uncle himself, Hideki Naganuma, as a guest composer? Of course its soundtrack is baller, a great collection of tracks that are, in the own way, funky fresh beats. Highlights include Get Enuf, Da People, Jack Da Funk, and Feel The Funk

    Worst Game Finished This Year: Hey! Pikmin (3DS)
    This BARELY claimed this award, there was shockingly some stiff competition in the form of Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll (Wii) and Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg (GCN). While Step & Roll was aggressively mediocre from lack of difficulty and unimpressive stage design, and Billy Hatcher has led to the invetion of a new term in my vocabulary ('Getting Billy Hatchered': Verb, to get screwed over by a games mechanic BY DOING SAID MECHANIC) Hey! Pikmin managed to snatch victory by being Mind Numbingly mediocre. Stages that lacked personality, a metric boatload of pointless cutscenes that merely wasted time, and a lack of anything outside of the original 3 pikmin types. The only interesting part of this game was its final boss that goes oddly crazy.

    Most Surprising Game: VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action (Steam)
    This game was gifted to me by a friend out of the blue, and I knew absolutely nothing about it. Long story short, I loved it. Its a visual novel game with a very lofi, chill atmosphere all about bartending, hearing out your clients orders, chatting with them about their problems, and working through some surprisingly uncomfortable subjects at times. It genuinely threw me for a loop as I normally do not care for Visual Novels. HIGHLY recommend, and hope its sequel eventually gets to escape the development troubles its in and releases.

    Best Platformer: Psychonauts (Steam)
    The platformer scene was in full force this year on my end, and while Mario Wonder was unable to qualify for this year due to being unfinished, it was still a great pool of options. From Mega Man V (Game Boy) and Sonic CD (Sega CD) to Sonic Frontiers (NS) and A Hat in Time (Steam), we had a good range of platformers, both 2d and 3d from across the years to choose from. Ultimately, Psychonauts won out, its unique locations, great script, cast and varied levels with a mostly solid difficulty curve gave it the edge.

    Most Disappointing Game: Bravely Default II (NS)
    I like the original Bravely Default (3DS) a lot. I absolutely love Bravely Second (3DS). Braveuly Default II is neither of these games. While it retains mostly the same gameplay, its set in an entirely new world with a cast that isn't as enthralling as the previous titles, adds a number of changes to the gameplay that range from time wasting to aggravating, and lacks a lot of the charm the 3DS entries had. Despite there still being ways to break this game it was significantly less fun to play and far less enjoyable as a story due to a mostly middling plot that does nothing to stand out from the other games, or even other recent Square Enix JRPGs like Octopath Traveler. Also the Counter System is bullshit.
    (Dishonorable Mention: SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake (NS))

    Best Fighting Game: Street Fighter VI (Steam)
    Though I do not currently possess Mortal Kombat 1, I did manage to play a bit of the game regardless. Despite this and other retro fighting games I experienced, Street Fighter VI deserves this wholeheartedly. One of the best vanilla fighting games out there, SF VI had a lot to prove after SF V botched its launch and Marvel Infinite committed a Marvel Infinite and perished. What we got was a glorious game full of interesting mechanics, a story mode thats actually fun and has lots to do and mess around in, a great cast with interesting newcomers and beloved veterans, and a thriving competitive scene that, despite some hiccups, has more than shown how wild this game can be at the highest level of competition.

    The Best Monkey Award: Donkey Kong (N64 AND 3DS)
    So I played both DK 64 and DKC Returns 3D through this year. Enjoyed both a fair bit. Don't ever 100% DK 64 unless you are okay with a very slow burn. 3DS version of Returns is neat despite the less impressive visuals, possibly the best version. Wizard will be disappointed.

    Most Random Game Award: Kersploosh! (3DS)
    You forgot this game existed. It's okay, most of us did. Throwing Rocks Down a Well simulator is certainly a game.

    Most Indifferent Game: Adios (Steam)
    Someone sent me this as a gift saying it was a very short game they highly recommended. I finished it in under 2 hours, and was left with a feeling of "...Huh, that happened." Not bad, but don't see what made it peak fiction to others.

    Best Retro Game (Released in the 6th Gen of Consoles or Earlier): Earthbound (NSO)
    I have tried more than once to finish Earthbound in the past, and always got stuck at the same spot. After finishing Mother 3 last year and enjoying it a ton, I decided to give it another go now that it was on the NSO service. A delightfully quirky RPG that is a clear inspiration for numerous indie titles, Earthbound may not be the most balanced or story rich game, but it is if anything, a very, very memorable game.

    Best DLC Expansion: Pokémon Scarlet/Violet: The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero (NS)
    I may have had relatively mixed feelings on SV as a whole, but I did thoroughly enjoy the game despite its technical failures. The DLC was oddly similar at first, with me feeling mixed about Kitakami and The Teal Mask. Strangely enough though, I found myself really liking the Inidgo Disk, especially the character arcs and returning mons they brought back into the fray.

    Best Indie Game: Sea of Stars (NS)
    This was a tight race, SoS had to contend with Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, Pizza Tower and more. Ultimately I think it still won out though, a beautiful game with one of the best pixel art aesthetics in all of gaming, likeable cast, enjoyable gameplay with numerous side games to play, and some great creature and boss designs reminiscient of Chrono Trigger, the game it clearly takes the most inspiration from.

    Best Game Finished In 2023: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (NS)
    So uhhh...This is almost unfair, as from the 60 titles I finished, I had an immensely tight race for what I considered the best title, and from games I both did, and did not expect. Pikmin 4, Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut, VA-11 Hall-A, Metroid Prime Remastered, and more were all fantastic titles. Yet oddly, TotK I think sticks out the most. I have not even remotely done everything in TotK yet after finishing it, similar to my escapades with BotW in its first year, but I enjoy TotK much more. The freedom the game offers with tool and vehicle creation, the vast world of Hyrule having nearly tripled in size with the inclusion of the skyward and the depths, the return of traditional dungeons with some fascinating puzzles and bosses, and a feeling of mythology being more heavily leaned into with ToTK and its environment/storytelling rather than the feeling of ruin and isolation that BotW offered. If one did not enjoy BotW this would not scratch the itch they want for a Zelda game, but to me, its one of the best and most interesting open world games I've played.
     
    #1 Jan 2, 2024
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2024
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  2. Wizard

    Wizard Do you feel it? The moon's power!

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    I enjoyed reading your post, even if I am a DKC Returns hater.

    We definitely see eye to eye on titles like Street Fighter VI and Sea of Stars though. Both were titles I wasn't initially expecting to play this year yet still really enjoyed.
     
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