eGamer Awards 2012: Best RPG
We’ve had plenty of role-playing games this year, although I wouldn’t call it the best year we’ve seen, in terms of quality. Still, we’ve had some amazing games crop up this year, including a handful of welcome surprises, so let’s take a look at the best that 2012 had to offer, and select the RPG that stands up above all others. But first, let’s go through the rundown, explaining what we look for in this award.
Often enough some of the best and most memorable gaming experiences are from the role-playing genre. The focus on narrative, character interaction, freedom and player choice and, of course, role-playing, is a provocative setup to draw gamers in. The RPG genre isn’t always one filled with a large amount of games each year, but this genre generally prides itself on quality rather than quantity. That said, being chosen as a nominee for this award ultimately portrays a game in this genre as one of superb quality, and highlights the finest and most memorable RPG experiences of the year.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was an RPG that had a bit of an unfortunate fate. Firstly, it released just a month before Mass Effect 3, and secondly, it turned out to be a rather awesome game, but it has likely gone down as one of the year’s most surprisingly great games that didn’t get a whole lot of notice. The game mixed fast-paced, flashy combat with wholesome RPG mechanics and a fleshed out story, and the result was something admirably unique. It may have borrowed heavily from other games, not all of them role-playing ones, but it succeeded in creating a niche that it filled really well. There really has been no RPG that looks, plays or feels like Reckoning, and that is as good a praise as we can give it.
Dragon’s Dogma was a game that we admired for its attempt at doing something different. Sure, it may not have succeeded at everything it did, and had a number of flaws, but it did deliver a very good open world RPG in the end. In truth, it was sort of a closeted JRPG masquerading around as a western RPG, but the result was a game that captivated you and engulfed your world, although only if you could get past its story flaws. Its boldness has played a part in it earning a nomination, and we deem it quite important to take note of and in some cases applaud games that opt for something new but don’t get there completely, than focus all our energy on games that play it safe but do it well.
Mass Effect 3
Many gamers have completely dismissed Mass Effect and took to hating it after the final game’s rubbish ending, and that’s their choice of course. But damaged story-related content doesn’t change the fact that we considered Mass Effect 3 to be one of the best and most powerful role-playing games we’ve seen this year. Emotional, compelling, pulse-pounding, riveting and fantastic in scope, Mass Effect 3 took the series to new heights, which itself is pretty damn impressive. In terms of being RPGs, the Mass Effect series has always delivered incredible quality, and many of us would give huge praise to the final chapter in the trilogy for its amazing accomplishments, topping its predecessors in a lot of ways.
Borderlands 2 is definitely one of the year’s highlights. It outdid its predecessor in nearly every way possible, delivering one of the best games of this year. Overstuffed with enough content to ensure that players stuck to it for massive amounts of hours, and co-op as awesome as it was dangerously addictive, this a game that many, even some of us, are still playing, and for great reason. Few things are as satisfying to us as gamers than a sequel that transcends above its predecessor to such an impressive degree, and for that Borderlands 2 really deserves a high amount of praise already, and that’s just a small reason why it has earned its nomination for the best RPG of this year.
Guild Wars 2
Often labelled as the second coming of MMOs, Guild Wars 2 was both an incredible highlight and surprise of this year. It was a massively ambitious game that certainly made a statement regarding the future of MMORPGs, and it was just a fresh and powerful experience. We admired it greatly because we felt that it was an MMO for everyone, as it featured a wealth of content, a captivating storyline, and it just checked all the boxes that it needed to, in addition to bringing some new toys to the table. As one of the best MMORPGs we’ve played, Guild Wars 2 was a role-playing game that stood out this year.
It wasn’t Dragon’s Dogma, because as much as we admired what it did, its unfortunate flaws really brought it down, and its bland world took us out of the RPG experience often enough. There were many things it could have done better, and many things it did that didn’t succeed.
The winner wasn’t Kingdoms of Amalur either because our other nominees simply rose above it, and that isn’t us taking anything away from the game. It just shows the strength of the RPG genre this year.
Borderlands 2 put up one hell of a fight, but in the end our other two nominees just put up a better one.
In the end it came down to our last two nominees, and it seemed almost an impossibility to choose the winner. But a team decision was made and Guild Wars 2 didn’t walk away with the prize.
This decision was definitely one of the most difficult we had to make, but after all was said and done, Mass Effect 3 got our votes. Bar the ending, it was just one of the most incredible RPG experiences we’ve had, and it stood at the top of its genre this year. More than that, the amount of passion fans had for it, during the war that raged about the ending, really stood out and eclipsed nearly every other game out there, as well as almost all hype for upcoming games. Mass Effect 3 delivered everything we wanted from an RPG, and it’s the most memorable title we’ve had in this genre. For many, on our team as well, this wasn’t just the most important RPG of the year, it was also the best. In the end, this makes Mass Effect 3 our choice for the best role-playing game of 2012, and we feel it was well deserved.