This is it boys and girls. As the end of the week draws closer, so must our Best of 2012 awards from The Flickcast and Bitcast teams. Check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 from earlier in the week in case you missed them. And just remember to check back tomorrow for The Flickcast’s Game of the Year Award.
Most Epic Classic Mashup – Street Fighter X Mega Man
What makes a game a classic? Unlike some Facebook pages where the average age of the viewer is thirteen which refer to Super Mario Galaxy as “classic”, we believe that for a game to earn that title, it must stand the test of time. While many series have had ups and downs, a select few have endured and kept going for more than two decades since their inceptions. Two from Capcom actually both celebrated their 25th anniversaries in 2012 so what better way to end the year than with a mashup of the two.
To conclude the 25th anniversary of Street Fighter and begin the 25th for Mega Man, Capcom distributed a full length Mega Man format game entitled Street Fighter X Mega Man for free. Available on http://www.capcom-unity.com/mega_man, Street Fighter X Mega Man started as a labor of love by a fan of the two series. After going through all the legal red tape, Capcom not only accepted the Seow Zong Hui’s idea but actually funded the completion of the game (which was delayed for a week while Seow had to study for finals).
In the game, the eight robot masters are replaced with figures from throughout the history of Street Fighter from Ryu to Rolento. The characters are all beautifully animated in the classic 8-bit Mega Man style while retaining the distinct design of their Street Fighter counterparts. Each stage is crafted to encompass aspects of that Street Fighter character’s personality from enemy design to backgrounds. Since Mega Man fans have been waiting for so long for the latest proper Mega Man title, it was a great way for Capcom to kick off the Blue Bomber’s 25th anniversary with a combination of two of its most beloved franchises ever.
Best Villain – Borderlands 2‘s Handsome Jack
Years ago, gaming was filled with iconic villains. Bowser from Super Mario Bros., M. Bison from Street Fighter II, Dr. Wily from Mega Man and Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII have earned their place amongst the most infamous characters in gaming history. But as of late, there haven’t been many new faces that have stood out amongst the crowd. Up until the recent AI bad girl Glad0s, there weren’t many newcomers stepping up to the plate, until 2012’s Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2. While Far Cry 3 had the awesome villain Vaas, his in and out insanity couldn’t compare to the omnipresent pestering of Handsome Jack.
In Borderlands 2, players encounter Handsome Jack right from the start and are constantly tested by him and simultaneously taunted by him as well. The part that makes Jack stand out is that he isn’t the overly evil, mustache twirling villain of old. He has a twisted honesty about him that masks his horrible intentions. And the fact that he is condescending just makes him a #^&@. Even after all the verbal jabs, he is still able to stick it to the player by making them go through an entire boss fight to save something they care about to only blow its head off any way (tried to keep that spoiler free as possible). Unfortunately, there is something you have to respect about a man who names his prized pony “Butt Stallion” after the player.
Best Series Reboot – XCOM: Enemy Unknown
After 2001, the X-Com series was all but dead. Following X-Com: Enforcer, two projects were canceled and the series went into hibernation until it was revealed that 2K would be working on a future XCOM title in 2007 before things went dark once again. It would be revealed that a FPS XCOM was in development, frustrating long time fans of the traditionally real time strategy series. But things weren’t as they seemed with XCOM: Enemy Unknown came out of no where to deliver a classic X-Com style game before the FPS even reared its head.
Though not one of the top selling titles of the year, XCOM: Enemy Unknown has proven that a game can go back to classic sensibilities with challenging gameplay that doesn’t hold a player’s hand and gives them actual consequences for their actions. Players are forced to make choices and deal with their results. Characters are not immortal and can be killed off and it is still possible to lose the war against the alien invasion instead of just pushing through by reverting to previous save points.
What XCOM: Enemy Unknown did best though was surprise the gaming world with a very lightly advertised release of a franchise known mostly to a niche player base of the original series. The “how did it happen for you?” conversations quickly started between XCOM players and drew in new players who had not been previously exposed to the series. Hopefully the FPS doesn’t undo the progress made by XCOM: Enemy Unknown in such a short time but the XCOM series, at least to the more hardcore gaming audience, is back and hopefully again has a future in front of it.
Hottest Gamer Girl – Jessica Nigri
Before we get down to the nitty gritty tomorrow with the game of the year, we need to take a step back and appreciate the finer things in life. Years ago, hot gamer girls were just the things of myth that no one would ever actually believe existed. Now, that’s a different story. Either hot girls are getting geekier or geek girls are getting hotter but we have got girls finally fighting for our team.
You can’t talk about gamer girls without talking about Jessica Negri. With over 200,000 fans on her Facebook page, Jessica is an actual Fangirl. Cosplaying as characters ranging from the Dragonborn of Skyrim, a sexy Pikachu and suiting up as Harley Quinn in anticipation for DC’s Injustice: Gods Among Us fighting game, Jessica is best known for her portrayal of Juliet Starling of Lolipop Chainsaw. Instead of continuing to talk about just what Jessica has done, we’d rather show you and let you judge for yourself.