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espiga Once upon a time there was a blog, and then it exploded. BOOM! Suddenly, everything was pink no more!

Title: Copying this to my blog so the forum can't autodelete it.
Posted: December 23, 2011 (11:20 AM)
Hello everyone, and welcome to the 2011 edition of the Espi Awards.

Maybe you have no idea what the Espi Awards are. That's okay, I don't either and I'm just making this up as I go along. Anyway, the Espi Awards are the new annual awards ceremony that all those popular places do around this time of year where we arbitrarily place the most recent games in popular memory into the categories where most games are only tangentially related. Basically, just like the VGAs!

However, these are the ESPI awards, not the SPIKE TV awards, so we're going to do things a little different; I'll be ranking games that I played in 2011; not just games that were released in 2011. If you don't like it, then Make your own damn awards thread. Or just post in this one and call me a jackass. Either one works.

If I get bored enough, I'll probably make a little trophy design in Photoshop to go along with the winning titles. Anyway, without further ado, I'll list the categories and their respective nominees, followed by the winners in each category and a small-to-medium length quip about why said game won its spot. To make things interesting, each game can only win once, so don't expect to see Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 taking half the awards (spoiler: Don't expect to see Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 taking any of them).

Category 1: Consoles

Most Ball-bustingly awesome Xbox 360 game:
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Mirror's Edge
Sonic the Hedgehog 4
Fallout: New Vegas
Catherine
Panzer Dragoon Orta

Game Most Likely to Make me Dust off my Wii
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor
The Legend of Zelda: Skdyward Sword
Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Playstation 3 Game Least Likely to Make me Regret Buying a PS3 Since Most Multiplatform Games run a Little Better on Xbox.

Demon's Souls
Sonic Generations
Hyperdimension Neptunia

PSP Game Most Likely to Make me Wish I Had About Fourteen Spare Batteries at Any Given Time

Ys 1+2 Chronicles
Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Ys Seven
Legend of Heroes: Sora no Kiseki FC
Final Fantasy Dissidia Duodecim 012 Holy Shit Awkward Name
Final Fantasy Type-0
Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!

DS Game Most Likely to Make me Still Feel Manly Even Though I'm Walking Around With a Pokémon Cart Inside of it
Pokémon White
Pokémon Black
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light
Radiant Historia
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Sky
Dragon Quest VI
Mariokart DS

3DS Game Least Likely To Make me Need to Place the Melted Remnants of my Eyeballs into a Empty Dr Pepper Bottle

Super Street Fighter IV 3d Edition
Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

Category 2: Generic Category Shit

Most Boner-Inducing Soundtrack
Ys I+II Chronicles
Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Ys Seven
Final Fantasy Type-0
Radiant Historia
Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Art Style That Makes me Blow the Most Fanboy Jizz in my Pants

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Hyperdimension Neptunia

Most Mindfucking Storyline

The Legend of Heroes: Sora no Kiseki FC
Catherine
Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!

Biggest Disappointment
Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Sonic the Hedgehog 4
Hyperdimension Neptunia

Most Badass RPG
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Fallout: New Vegas
Demon's Souls
Hyperdimension Neptunia
Ys I+II Chronicles
Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Ys Seven
Legend of Heroes: Sora no Kiseki FC
Final Fantasy Type-0
Pokémon White
Pokémon Black
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light
Radiant Historia

Best SHOOTAN GAME
Sin + Punishment: Star Successor
Panzer Dragoon Orta

Most Forgettable Game
--I can't remember any of the nominees in this list.

Game of the YEAR
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Mirror's Edge
Sonic the Hedgehog 4
Fallout: New Vegas
Catherine
Panzer Dragoon Orta
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor
The Legend of Zelda: Skdyward Sword
Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Demon's Souls
Sonic Generations
Hyperdimension Neptunia
Ys 1+2 Chronicles
Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Ys Seven
Legend of Heroes: Sora no Kiseki FC
Final Fantasy Dissidia Duodecim 012 Holy Shit Awkward Name
Final Fantasy Type-0
Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!
Pokémon White
Pokémon Black
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light
Radiant Historia
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Sky
Dragon Quest VI
Mariokart DS
Super Street Fighter IV 3d Edition
Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D


That does it for this year's nominees! Who won which category!? Are you guys at least partially excited about this! I know I am! Remember, each game can only win once!

Most Ball-Bustingly Awesome Xbox 360 Game: Panzer Dragoon Orta
Panzer Dragoon Orta is an awesome game, and it's just as good now as it was back on the old, giant black Xbox. The Xbox 360 is backwards-compatible with it, and it's relatively easy to find in used game shops that aren't a giant chain intent on taking over the planet, so it's pretty easy to find this game on the cheap and have some kickass SHOOTAN action on the back of a dragon.

Game Most Likely to Make me Dust off my Wii: Muramasa: The Demon Blade
My Wii collected quite a bit of dust this year, thanks mostly to Nintendo's insistence that we don't deserve Xenoblade or The Last Story. At least they reneged a little bit on the former, but that won't do me any good until 2012 , since I've been too lazy to mod my Wii. So, Muramasa wins this category for some fast-paced action with a cute kunoichi that gets naked in hot springs.

Playstation 3 Game Least Likely to Make me Regret Buying a PS3 Since Most Multiplatform Games run a Little Better on Xbox: Demon's Souls
I finally got around to playing Demon's Souls after hearing how it was such a hard game, and really, it wasn't that bad. If you move slowly through the area instead of rampaging through it like a ravenous wildebeest, then you'll be fine. Slow and steady wins the race on Demon's Souls, and it was a hell of a good run.

PSP Game Most Likely to Make Me Wish I Had Fourteen Spare Batteries at any Time: Legend of Heroes: Sora no Kiseki FC
Xseed games released this in America as Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. It's a long RPG with fantastic music (granted, it IS a Falcom game), a touching story about a cute girl that wields a big stick and her adopted brother, and the strife that could threaten to tear them apart. It's hard to truly convey what it is about a Legend of Heroes title that makes it so special in such a small space as I'm using, but it all comes down to some excellent and believable writing that makes the little chibi characters onscreen come alive and feel like real people.

DS Game Most Likely to Make me Still Feel Manly Even Though I'm Walking Around with a Pokémon Cart Inside of it: Radiant Historia
To put it bluntly, Radiant Historia is what Chrono Cross would have been if Chrono Cross didn't suck. That is to say, the time traveling aspect feels similar to the venerated Chrono Trigger, yet it's contained in a much smaller area, like Chrono Cross. The turn-based battles rely heavily on player positioning, much like the early fights in Chrono Trigger did, but unlike CT, they never really devolve into "oh, just use the spells that hit everything" mindlessness. It truly feels like a worthy sequel to Chrono Trigger, as long as you believe a game can be a sequel while still retaining a different continuity.

3DS Game Least Likely To Make me Need to Place the Melted Remnants of my Eyeballs into an Empty Dr Pepper Bottle: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
One thing I hate when a new Nintendo system comes out is how everyone seems to want to title their games after the system's gimmick. Remember all the SUPER games that came out alongside the SNES? Not to mention the Nintendo 64's library of titles ending in "64," and the original DS' penchant for having games that JUST SO HAPPENED to have "DS" in their initials somewhere. That trend seems to continue with the 3DS, with every game and their mothers (assuming games have mothers) including the word 3D in their titles. That being said, Ocarina of Time 3D is most definitely Ocarina of Time, and it's most definitely 3D.

Most Boner-Inducing Soundtrack: Ys Seven
Really, now. I played three (technically four) Ys games this year, it should have been pretty obvious from the get-go that at least one of those would be taking home the Espi for its soundtrack. If you've never listened to an Ys soundtrack, go to Youtube right now and listen to as much of it as you can. Even when it's at its weakest, an Ys soundtrack is better than the music coming out of nearly any other game.

Art Style That Makes me Blow the Most Fanboy Jizz in my Pants: Hyperdimension Neptunia
Hyperdimension Neptunia is not a very good game. However, it IS a very ecchi one. That being said, this game wins the Espi just for being an ecchi game with an anime style that actually somehow got released in America.

Most Mindfucking Storyline: Catherine
Beware, thar be spoilers ahead.

...

...

...

...

...
Seriously, there are: When I first played Catherine, I thought it would be a fairly normal story of "Guy cheats on girl, gets trapped in nightmarish box puzzles, and reconciles his way out of both. Happily ever after, etc". Instead, what happened was that the girl he cheated on ended up being a succubus that was made out of his own thoughts and holy shit I think my brain just melted.

...

...

...

...

...
Okay, no more spoilers.

Biggest Disappointment: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
I saw the trailers for this game. The art style looked cool and the Wii MotionPlus swordplay looked even cooler. Then when I actually got the game, I often had to put that cool, albeit slightly buggy swordplay to the side while I pointed my sword around to sniff out things like little fat creatures with plants sprouting from their asses, key fragments, and ancient nuclear reactors. This happened before each of the first 3 dungeons, to the point where I got so bored of pointing my damn sword at anything that wasn't an Octorok's nuts that I quit playing Skyward Sword and went back to playing something better.

Something better: Also, Most Badass RPG: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Skyrim is a huge, buggy game with flawed AI, but if there's one thing it absolutely does right is that it makes the game feel like it's telling YOUR story. Games often claim that no two stories will ever be the same, but that's assuming you're going to head off in different directions when you start off. In Skyrim, two players can go in the same direction at the same time and have completely different events take place, thanks to random events happening whenever they damn well please. It's one of the few games that can make that claim and actually back it up, and for putting the RP in RPG, it gets the Espi.

Best SHOOTAN Game: Call of Duty: Moder--Haha, just kidding. Sin + Punishment: Star Successor
As one of the few "Hardcore" games on the Wii, this Treasure shooter is like a bar of gold floating about in a sea of shit. I have no idea what that simile was supposed to mean, but pretend it's something more pleasant than it sounds like. The game itself is actually pretty good and pretty challenging. A very welcome change of pace from Zumba Fitness Installment 75 or whatever they're up to by now.

Game of the YEAR: Final Fantasy Type-0
Final Fantasy XIII was a pretty polarizing game. Some people loved it; some people HATED it, and most people hearkened back to a time when the name Final Fantasy was synonymous with the best RPGs you could get (That time was never, but that's a different discussion). Yet, as I played Final Fantasy Type-0, which used to be called Final Fantasy Agito XIII, I couldn't help but feel like this game would have been better as the "real" FFXIII and the real FFXIII being the spinoff. After all, Type-0 hits all the bases that purists say a Final Fantasy should have that Final Fantasy XIII didn't, while still adding enough new stuff to the formula that it doesn't just feel like a cheap cash-in. I had even read an article at one point that said that the game's director, Hajime Tabeta, asked for the name to be changed from Agito XIII because by the time he had brought it up to the level he had wanted it, it didn't really have much in common with Final Fantasy XIII. This is true; because Final Fantasy Type-0 is actually a good game. In fact, it's a great one. There's a huge cast of characters, each with their own unique abilities and gimmicks, ala FFVI. One character, the hand-to-hand martial artist named Eight, can cancel attacks and chain together some crazyawesome combos, just like in a fighting game, while other characters each have their own quirks and gimmicks that make learning how each one plays both fun and rewarding.

So, congratulations to all the games that won at this year's Espies! Did any of your favourites win? Do you feel like calling me a jackass and a hack? Or do you have your own suggestions for games and/or categories? I'd like to hear them! I'll probably do something like this next year too, so perhaps I'll be able to work in some new categories for stuff.
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Recent Contributions

Users with accounts on the HonestGamers site are able to contribute reviews and occasionally other types of content. Below, you'll find excerpts from as many as 20 of the most recent articles posted by espiga. Be sure to leave some feedback if you find anything interesting!

Type: Review
Game: Kaizou Chounin Shubibinman 3: Ikai no Princess (Turbografx-CD)
Posted: October 03, 2010 (06:42 PM)
It's just another day in modern Tokyo. A cute schoolgirl (or schoolboy, if you're so inclined to choose) is walking down a metallic pathway, when suddenly, robotic ape/lizard hybrids leap from nowhere, only to be slashed in twain with your sword that leaves a shower of sparkles in its wake. Reinforcements come in from all sides as you continue to press your way to the right. A large humanoid robot attacks, its lanky limbs forcing you to keep your distance. You hold your attack button, and after ...
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Type: Review
Game: Final Fantasy XIV (Miscellaneous)
Posted: September 30, 2010 (07:35 PM)
Should you have the patience to overcome these initial hardships, you'll find that Final Fantasy XIV has the potential to be a very enjoyable game, despite how detractors simply say it's a Final Fantasy XI clone with shinier graphics. There are, of course, some similarities. The locales are different, but because they used the same races as FFXI and the same design team created both games, they have a very similar aesthetic. Seeing videos of the FFXIV make gameplay look like FFXI, ...

Type: Review
Game: Final Fantasy XI (Miscellaneous)
Posted: September 06, 2010 (04:22 PM)
Meet Espiga.

Type: Review
Game: Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga (Wii)
Posted: March 16, 2010 (03:05 PM)
It's unfortunate, too, because underneath all the crap lies the framework for what could be a very good game. You have your typical classes such as fighter, mage, and priest, who each have their own experience levels. You're free to change your class whenever you wish by heading to the guild and paying a fee. Each time your chosen class gains a level, you get skill points that you can distribute among different abilities that class posseses. Once you know a skill, you're able to set it in one of...
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Type: Review
Game: Shiren the Wanderer (Wii)
Posted: February 16, 2010 (09:53 PM)
As you press on through one dungeon after another, you'll find yourself caught up in a charming storyline that delves into not only into Shiren's past, but the history of the small village that he's chosen as his base of operations. Taken at face value, the story seems almost painfully simple: Shiren's goal is to find the shape-shifting Karakuri Mansion of legend, and of course the great treasures that it holds inside.

Type: Review
Game: Phantasy Star Ø (DS)
Posted: February 06, 2010 (12:51 AM)
Allow me to make one thing perfectly clear: Phantasy Star Ř is Phantasy Star Online, only it's not.

Type: Review
Game: Mana Khemia: Student Alliance (PSP)
Posted: April 04, 2009 (07:09 PM)
As Vayne arrives at the academy for the first time, the first thing you may notice is that the graphics are blurry, low-res 3D that look like someone popped a PS1 game in their PS2 and turned on texture smoothing. You may also notice just how long the game had to load said images. Nearly everything you do in Mana Khemia causes the game to stop and load something. Even simplistic tasks like jumping from one ledge to another will cause the PSP to halt everything for a moment to load ...

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Game: Lightning Warrior Raidy (Miscellaneous)
Posted: November 06, 2008 (05:00 PM)
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Type: Review
Game: Castle Crashers (Xbox 360)
Posted: September 27, 2008 (06:49 PM)
Castle Crashers begins with your knight of choice doing what knights do best: rocking out. Of course, not all goes to plan when a nerfarious wizard busts on the scene, stealing the castle's magical crystal and running off with the hot maidens. And so it's up to you, as one of 4 colourful knights to set out on a quest to get them back and kick some evil wizard ass.
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Type: Review
Game: Namco X Capcom (PlayStation 2)
Posted: July 23, 2008 (09:26 PM)
The majority of strategy RPGs have one major factor in common: they all tell touching stories of war-torn lands. Be it the powerful, albeit poorly-translated tale of Final Fantasy Tactics; the personable adventures in the Fire Emblem series that allow you to fall in love with each and every character; or even the hallowed Shining Force games, fallen from grace as they are today like all of SEGA's once-greats, the stories keep you motivated, and keep you playing.
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Type: Review
Game: Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles - Ring of Fates (DS)
Posted: July 15, 2008 (10:28 PM)
One time, I had a girlfriend.
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Type: Review
Game: Ys III: Wanderers From Ys (Turbografx-CD)
Posted: June 20, 2008 (04:53 AM)
In the world of gaming, there's always been one thing that I've noticed: nearly every series seems to have a black sheep of sorts, hated among the masses because of how different it is. Where would the gaming world be without Super Mario 2, Zelda II, and according to a large chunk of the HG userbase, the entire Metal Gear Solid series? Even my eternally-adored action RPG series Ys has been unable to escape such a fate. Where the first two Ys games featured swe...

Type: Review
Game: .hack Part 3: Outbreak (PlayStation 2)
Posted: December 22, 2007 (12:52 AM)
Throughout all of time, new innovations and new ideas are constantly being thrust upon us. One such idea, the advent of the internet, completely changed how we communicate with each other... And like all innovations, there are good uses... And there are bad ones.
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Type: Review
Game: Beowulf: The Game (Xbox 360)
Posted: December 10, 2007 (06:29 PM)
It doesn't help that the soldiers that follow you around are about as intelligent as the nicely bumpmapped rocks you'll constantly be wandering over. They constantly run out and bash the crap out of anything they start to see... even if they're as harmless as little blue crabs or as powerful as one of the huge ogres that take too damn long to take down. Oh, and don't think that you'd just let them die and keep going without them. If all of your worthless peons die, it's game over. It's ev...
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Type: Review
Game: Wild Arms 5 (PlayStation 2)
Posted: November 18, 2007 (08:16 PM)
If ever there were an argument for the existence of the silent protagonist in an RPG, Wild Arms V's main character Dean would be it. Whereas most RPGs will have characters with at least a handful of surprising lines, Wild Arms V seems content in making Dean feel as generic as possible. He's a carefree, naive young man with a female best friend that's too good for him and always insults him for being a moron.
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Type: Review
Game: Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (PSP)
Posted: October 30, 2007 (10:01 PM)
Those of you familiar with the original Tactics will recognize the name of that story. The War of the Lions is no sequel to it, but rather an enhanced port of its original PlayStation counterpart, and from the very instant you select "New Game," those enhancements become apparent in the form of its completely new translation.

Type: Review
Game: Folklore (PlayStation 3)
Posted: October 12, 2007 (03:49 AM)
You see, unlike in other action RPGs, you don't have a sword that you replace over time. Instead, the Folks that you absorb are your weapons. Each Folk you absorb gives you a new ability, be it a flamethrowing badass' ability to throw a stream of fire, an ice-breathing dragon's skill to charge up blasts of ice, or something as little as the spear attack from a merman that stabs forward with a trident.
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Type: Review
Game: Two Worlds (Xbox 360)
Posted: September 22, 2007 (10:26 PM)
In the single-player campaign, you play as a mercenary whose main goal is to save his sister. Early in the game, you're approached by a black-clad warrior and told to find the Goat's Cave south of the small village your quest begins in. I eventually hit near the southern edge of the massive world, where an Asian stereotyped culture lived, and managed to completely miss the Goat's Cave.
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Type: Review
Game: Rudra no Hihou (SNES)
Posted: September 14, 2007 (10:36 PM)
Rudra no Hihou is a powerful game capable of being one of Squaresoft's best. It'll give you a rare challenge like barely any RPG since has been able to accomplish. It'll give you beautiful graphics, some of the best on the SNES. It'll give you one of the most innovative magic systems ever created. But most of all... It'll give you a hell of a ride from start to finish.
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Type: Review
Game: Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (GameCube)
Posted: September 08, 2007 (12:19 AM)
Imagine how difficult Ike's very own journey would become should he lose his dear sister Mist in the thick of a heated battle. It's a feeling that becomes negligible with a reset, but without it, it adds to the gameplay as a whole, thanks to the excellent character development that makes every actor in this grand play lovable.
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