eGamer Awards 2012: Best New IP
This year saw the release of quite a large selection of new IPs, and fortunately most of them were good, and that’s definitely something to be happy about and proud of. Let’s take a look at the new games we got this year, and determine which of them was the best new IP of 2012.
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In a world where sequels are the norm, new IPs get us really excited. It’s a great thing when developers decide to pursue new ideas, concepts, gameplay mechanics and attempt to create something entirely new. It’s never an easy thing, as starting something new can be a daunting challenge. Everyone loves seeing something completely new or something that has never been done before. There is often so much riding on a new game. With a sequel, generally, and this is a very basic outlook, you use the tools and gameplay structure from the first or previous game(s) and upgrade – not to mention you always have a pretty good idea of what to expect from a sequel without hearing anything about it. When it comes to new games, you’re starting from scratch and building it all up. Sure you’ll borrow some gameplay ideas or popular mechanics and often base your game on another, but somewhere down the line you’ll have to come up with your own ideas and this is where the excitement lies. In a nutshell though, this award is given to a new IP that excelled, managed to make the most of its concept and delivered an exciting and better gaming experience overall than the rest of the competition.
Dishonored was an awesome game and a sure highlight of this year. While the game may not have lived up to all of its potential and massive amounts of hype surrounding it before its release, what it did deliver was an excellent game, and it deserves tons of praise for that. With rock solid stealth mechanics, highly entertaining powers and combat, wonderful design and great artistic direction, Dishonored did everything it could to stand out this year, and we applaud it for what it was: a damn fine game. As far as new IPs go, Dishonored had us excited in all the right ways, which says a lot.
Dragon’s Dogma was mostly a decent RPG offering, and while it didn’t get everything right, it did succeed in doing enough well to ensure that it earned its place here. Of course the best thing about the game and biggest reason to love it would be its stellar boss battles, which really stand out as epics during a time where boss battles have lost most of their glory. The game also deserved praise for the freedom it gave players in character building and configuration, as well as the endless amounts of exploration it offered. All of its elements combined, although mostly those awesome boss battles, made us feel some appreciation for Dragon’s Dogma, and as a result it earned its spot as a nominee.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was a very pleasant surprise this year, although it was released under unfortunate circumstances. Still, the result was a game that was unique in its own right, and while it may have borrowed heavily from other games, it succeeded in crafting a niche that it filled very well. The combat was amazing, the world was vibrant and colourful, the story had depth, the underlying RPG mechanics were sound and felt right, and it was overstuffed with content, making the investment feel more than worth it. There really is no RPG around that looks, plays or feels like Reckoning does, which makes it deserving of a great deal of praise, and especially deserving of its spot here.
Sleeping Dogs was a game full of entertainment value and great execution. While it didn’t do anything new and mostly rooted itself firmly in familiar territory, it was very good at doing what it did and presented us with an all-round great game that we really wouldn’t mind seeing more of in the future. Its fast and fluid combat, extremely fun driving, welcome variety in missions and side activities, enjoyable story and its setting that felt alive and vibrant ensured that it was a quality sandbox experience. Many may have overlooked it, but we wouldn’t be stretching that far to say you may have been missing out.
Spec Ops: The Line
Spec Ops: The Line was an entertaining game backed by an exceptional narrative, and this contributed to making it an unforgettable experience. It also won tons of brownie points for its beautifully realised setting as it outright refused to join the pack of what we call “generic brown and grey shooters” in this day. Its gameplay may have been rather stock-standard and conventional, but eventually it started to serve as a backdrop to the far superior narrative, and this is something we can respect. Spec Ops: The Line was a good game overall, and certainly a stand-out title this year, although mostly for its narrative.
It wasn’t Dragon’s Dogma, because we feel that it has a lot of work to do if a sequel comes around, and it does have some notable flaws that bring it down.
The winner wasn’t Spec Ops: The Line either, because if we factor out the narrative, then as a game it’s pretty much standard and nothing special despite its setting. Unfortunately, story isn’t the most important quality we look at when determining the best new IP.
Sleeping Dogs didn’t win either, although it gave us a strong argument. The only reason for it not winning was because where it remained conventional, our other two nominees did enough to stand out.
The closest competitor for the title was Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and sadly in the end it came down to one thing that separated it and our winner. The fact that it’s seriously unlikely that this game has a future, while our winner has successfully established one. Sure, we could reward Kingdoms of Amalur for being the best new IP this year, but we’d preferably reward a game if it established a clear future for itself, which our winner did. Reckoning unfortunately isn’t going anywhere. On the game fronts, our winner and this title were pretty evenly matched, but in the end this was the difference.
Dishonored was a sure highlight of this year. Sure, its massive hype and ambition may have not have completely worked in its favour, but at the end of the day it was fantastic fun and a truly great game, and that’s all we really want. It didn’t innovate, but thanks to wonderful game design its execution was impeccable, and it was an awesome enough game that most of us started completely new playthroughs the moment we finished our first, and that speaks volumes of Dishonored’s quality. It also brought forward gameplay concepts that aren’t utilised all that often to the table, and we’d love to see where it goes next should a sequel be confirmed in the foreseeable future. There is plenty of room for expansion here, and so much more that could come out of this title especially given its rich backstory and fantastic mechanics. And this is what makes Dishonored our choice for the best new IP of 2012.