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Default General News - Best of 2012 @ RPGamer

January 30th, 2013, 13:34
RPGamer have announced their best of 2012 in various categories, with the best RPG winner being Xenoblade Chronicles, followed by Borderlands 2 and Pokemon Conquest….
Xenoblade Chronicles is a massive game. Hearing gamers talk about spending over a hundred hours playing it is somewhat intimidating and might even scare some away, but whatever you do don't let it. Xenoblade is a fantastic experience filled with dynamic and loveable characters, a gigantic world to explore, a story full of twists and turns, and a real-time battle system to tie everything together. And it's worth every minute you spend with it. Those first few hours might be overwhelming with all of the quests that get thrown at you and trying to figure out how best to juggle skills in combat, but once you get your head wrapped around Xenoblade's depth, there is so much there, and it's all wonderful.
What's incredible is how close North America came to never getting Xenoblade Chronicles. It was first revealed quietly in 2009 via a trailer tossed into an E3 press kit with no further details. Shortly thereafter, it was renamed from Monado: The Beginning of the World to Xenoblade in Japan where it was finally released in 2010. After much debate on whether the game would ever see an English release, Nintendo of Europe stepped up and localized the game in 2011. Many North American RPGamers imported the UK version, a fan campaign began petitioning Nintendo of America to release the game, and eventually everything fell into place early in 2012 when NoA launched Xenoblade to a limited retail release.
While the game has a few issues, especially the clumsy UI, there is just so much it does right that it's hard to complain. The world is huge and you get rewarded in experience points simply for exploring and finding new areas. Quests are often streamlined where once you find all the items someone sent you out into the wilderness to hunt down, you automatically obtain your quest reward on the spot without having to backtrack. But if you ever want to travel back to a prior location, you only need to bring up the map and select any prior landmark and you're there. Not to mention you can save anywhere, which is nothing new to the Western RPG world, but is more the exception than the norm for Japanese-developed RPGs. All of these things combine to create a masterful experience that takes the top spot as RPGamer's RPG of the Year for 2012.
Second place is this year goes in a slightly different direction. Borderlands, while a visually impressive and solid quest-oriented first-person-shooter, was not without some issues. This grandiose title featured a clunky inventory system, predictable AI, and a story so thin that it raised more eyebrows than questions. Thankfully, Borderlands 2 manages to improve nearly all of the negatives that were holding the original sandbox shooter back while retaining the fun multiplayer-oriented nature and violence that brought it notoriety in the first place. Not much has actually changed about Pandora itself, but with the Vault now open the story has a chance to take center stage. Player characters, antagonists, and NPCs now feature robust personalities, and the level of humor for everything from minor quests to Achievements has been cranked to the max. Additional players mean more loot and more fun, new guns mean cooler UIs and more impressive kills, and of course Claptrap makes a grand return. This is one sequel that manages to do everything a sequel should.
In a year with a number of epic-length console contenders, who would have guessed that this little DS crossover strategy title would land in the top three? The wide appeal and easy accessibility of Pokémon Conquest led it to rate highly amongst the RPGamer staff. Pokémon fans found Conquest to be a fresh take on the series, while Nobunaga's Ambition fans appreciated the lighthearted take on their favourite characters. The addictive combination of quick battles and a huge amount of content led to many, many staff hours being poured into Pokémon Conquest. Activity Log doesn't lie, man.
This reminds me I have to upload the articles from our GOTY contest.
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January 30th, 2013, 13:34
Never heard about Xenoblade Chronicles, where the hell did that title come from?
Heard about Borderlands 2, never played it (nor probably will - didn't see someone praising it here on the watch).
Pokémon Conquest? For god's sakes… Pokemon?

Did RPgamer got some cash for putting those games on "the best" list?

It doesn't end there. The best PC game is D3, followed by TL2 and GW2. Either I'm an idiot or that part should have been called best MMO?
Whatever.

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January 30th, 2013, 13:46
I stopped paying attention to RPGamer a long time ago. Their site is too heavily console-oriented to be of much interest to me, and we obviously don't the share the same taste.
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January 30th, 2013, 15:10
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
. Either I'm an idiot or that part should have been called best MMO?
Whatever.
RPGs and MMOGs being lumped in to the same category really annoys me. Every now and then I go check out a gaming website, click on some new "RPG" I haven't heard of, only to read from the description that it's a MMOG.

As for the best RPG of the year, I can't remember now what games were released. However, I do remember Risen 2, which I think is massively underrated. It had pretty much every core WRPG feature covered and, equally important, it was a great fun to play. Not enough gold, special trainers for skills, large number of dialog skills, companions, interactions, good combat, unique magic system that you have to learn like in PS:T… the list goes on.
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January 30th, 2013, 15:13
While I'll gladly sing some praises on Borderlands 2 for what it is (a FPARPG), I'll also question its - and more to the point, RPGamer's - relevance to the Watch, since they so obviously occupy opposing extremes of the RPG spectrum.
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January 30th, 2013, 15:22
I have to shake my head in bafflement sometimes. This reminds me were are the rpgwatch 2012 awards? Voted ended but still no news.

FYI don't get me started on MMOGs being lumped in to the same category.

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January 30th, 2013, 16:18
Xenoblade Chronicles was indeed fantastic, looks much better emulated on a PC too than on the Wii.

SiiiiLENCE the DISCOOOORD…
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January 30th, 2013, 16:34
If Grimrock isn't mentioned in the top 3 of '12, well, that's just wrong. Xeno does look nice, I'd buy it if it were available for the PC.


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January 30th, 2013, 17:18
Originally Posted by vurt View Post
Xenoblade Chronicles was indeed fantastici.
Except for the writing, character animation (particularly the creepy facial animation), overall quality of the graphics, and options for player agency. Sure, the art direction for some of the enemies is actually quite good and interesting though this is uneven and many more are quite ugly and boring. The distant background terrain also looks very good and is probably the only consistently well executed part of the art direction, but the downside to that is it makes the character models and closer rendered objects look that much worse by comparison. At least combat isn't terrible I guess.
Last edited by jhwisner; January 30th, 2013 at 17:30.
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January 30th, 2013, 18:17
Were those the only 3 pc games they played? That site is not for me.
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January 30th, 2013, 18:33
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
…. This reminds me were are the rpgwatch 2012 awards? Voted ended but still no news….
Real life got in the way here. I hope to get the Best RPG up this evening.

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January 30th, 2013, 18:56
RPGamer has an unhealthy obsession with everything anime and JRPG. I keep my distance.
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January 30th, 2013, 19:28
For what it's worth, I'd also put Borderlands 2 into the best three or so games of 2012, but it is not a game that most people of the Watch would consider as a clearly defined RPG (I know, I know, I don't want to start the "what is a true RPG" discussion, God forbid). It is a hilariously funny, well-paced, visually unique first person shooter with a skill tree, NPCs that give out quests (usually to provide a pretext for murdering things), and tons of really useful and varied loot.

Many RPG elements, yet, I'm not sure.

It is my considerate opinion that the NPC texts are very well written. The game also does not take itself very seriously, and it is made clear from the first moment. That alone, for me, was a great change from usual AAA titles where the pretense of being all-important is constantly in your face. BL2 has tons of content (good one, not filler), too.

So, all in all, I honestly recommend it unless you are really put off by shooters. I especially consider the gameplay value of the co-operative as vast, and though unlike the first BL, this one is completely viable as a single player game, it is ten times more fun with buddies.
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January 30th, 2013, 20:48
Originally Posted by jhwisner View Post
Except for the writing, character animation (particularly the creepy facial animation), overall quality of the graphics, and options for player agency. Sure, the art direction for some of the enemies is actually quite good and interesting though this is uneven and many more are quite ugly and boring. The distant background terrain also looks very good and is probably the only consistently well executed part of the art direction, but the downside to that is it makes the character models and closer rendered objects look that much worse by comparison. At least combat isn't terrible I guess.
I really liked the art (not talking about texture quality or polycount), can't recall the facial animations which i guess means it wasnt something that bothered me. i liked the writing for the most part. I'm usually not a big fan at all of JRPG's i might add.

SiiiiLENCE the DISCOOOORD…
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January 30th, 2013, 21:55
I recall the shooter guys at the University playing as a co-op game and lauding Borderlands because its the first time in a long time it was a game that was really designed for that kind of play on the PC. It was kind of a sleeper hit. Not that I would buy it…

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February 1st, 2013, 03:12
I'm actually just about done with Borderlands 2. It's got some definite down sides (saving game, respawns) but it's been real fun anyway. The characters and story are great stuff.

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