Ever wonder if the saying "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" is true? Well, Bethesda & Obsidian (publisher and developer, respectively) seemed to think so. I recently visited the post apocalyptical Mojave Desert to see for myself in Fallout: New Vegas. With Fallout 3 being my introduction into the world of RPGs, I was excited to see what wonders would await me in New Vegas. With the original storyline and creativity of Fallout 3, New Vegas had big shoes to fill. 
        New Vegas introduces a new, more western take on the post apocalyptic scene. Seeing that Vegas is in Nevada, this fits well. Everything from the small towns that litter the Mojave Wasteland to the clothes and weapons used by the locals, this was certainly a new twist on the aftermath of the world and I think it played out well. While the western feel worked, the high roller feel of Vegas did not. There was little effort put into this side of the game and that was a let down, since it was in the title and seemed to be the focus of the game.
       Obsidian really built up the idea of Vegas. On your journey there, all you hear about is how untouched and massive it is; essentially, it was getting your hopes up. Personally, I expected a massive strip with tons of casinos and places to trade, all in one big area. Well, I don't want to give away the looks, but let's just say it did not meet my standards.
        But I won't judge a game solely on its surroundings. The gameplay was a slight improvement over the previous entry. The movement was the same and the V.A.T.S. system was retained (thank the Lord!). Though I would have liked to see some smoother gun control and movement, the addition of being able to aim down the sights took them a baby step forward into being a shooter. One great introduction was weapon mods. I loved it! I don't care who you are, adding a scope to a hunting rifle or a maple stock to your cowboy repeater is a fun way to put your signature on a weapon and increase fire power.
Another thing they added that made it more personal was the ability for the citizens and factions of the Mojave Wasteland to like you. Not only can they like you, but they can hate you as well! I'm not talking about just not talking to you because you pissed them off; I mean sending assassins after you for killing their livestock. This definitely drew you into the game and made you really consider the ramifications of your next move. Even though you'd prefer everyone to like you, Obsidian makes sure you have to choose. Although this was a cool system, it had its flaws. Once you were hated by a faction or town, they shot you on sight. This made it impossible to get back on their good side. The only way to get a quest completed in that particular territory was to wear a disguise (the armor of the faction). This was annoying, due to the fact that I couldn't wear an awesome suit of armor without pissing someone off.
        Now we come to the story. Fallout has always introduced you into its world in a unique way. This time, you get shot in the head, waking up later in a small town doctors office. While this was a creative way to introduce the game, the depth and creativity seemed to fall away after that. Now, the main story line can have many different pathways and many different outcomes. While this is always interesting and engrossing, its disappointing with New Vegas. Mainly, when you choose a different path, it basically involves the same quest over and over, just for a different team. This was lazy work on Obsidian's side. They really seemed to drop the ball with that. In Fallout 3, I saw very creative and original quest lines. New Vegas seemed full of errands for you to run. The rest of the quests in the game were unimpressive, and hard to find! The quests that were the most interesting and deep came as DLC. Not cool to have to pay for the good stuff. 

         All in all, the game wasn't horrible but was a step down from Fallout 3. You will still have countless hours of fun and exploration with it, but I would pay full price for it? No. If you feel like spending $20, by all means, go for it. This is, of course, my opinion and TheGamerDrive is all about everyone having the opportunity to express their own opinions, so don't let me discourage you from giving the game a shot. Just let it be known, I warned you.
        Bethesda, next time, make the game yourself. And as for you, Obsidian, next time you get a slot in the Fallout universe, I want to see some improvement!
Surprise of the Year    -    The Walking Dead
I was surprised how bad it was, honestly. I didn't mind the choices, but they gave you too many and not enough action. It did make me second guess myself, but it bored me, honestly. Not enough was happening. Don't get me wrong I'm no thrill-seeker, I mean I've walked the wasteland for hours on end and been fine. But they just didn't give you enough freedom in this game when it came to gameplay thus disappointing me.

Best Sports Game    -    None
I'll be honest, I don't have one. Sports games are all the same to me. Does that make me a game racist? Possibly.

Most Notably Absent    -    Fallout
I give it a hard time sometimes but God, I could use a good Fallout game. I know Bethesda is busy with Skyrim and all but I miss my dose of the apocalypse. I mean this was 2012! The end of the world! Yet nothing. I miss you Fallout, and only hope you are using this year to better yourself.

Most Anticipated Game (2013)    -    Dead Space 3
I'm going to have to agree with Ben here. This game seems like it's stepping to appeal to the fun of a horror game but doing tons better than most games that make the switch from single player to co-op. I look forward to it.

Worst Character    -    Salazar (Call of Duty: Black Ops II)
Not much is said by him yet he screws the U.S. by betraying his team. What a douche, seriously, you suck. I loved killing you. And I'd do it again...in fact, I think I will!

Performance of the Year (Female)    -    Amber Goldfard (Aveline de Grandpre, Assassin's Creed III: Liberation)
It takes a lot of balls to be able to take on the first female lead character of a mainly male franchise. Amber tackles this easily in Assassin's Creed III: Liberation. She is the first female assassin we follow and she takes the role on fully. Being cold and heartless like most assassins, there was no one better than her.

Performance of the Year (Male)    -    Michael Mando (Vaas, Far Cry 3)
I will say this with complete confidence. Michael Mando is Far Cry 3. Without him, it would not be the game that it is. I mean that quite literally, too. Michael went to auditions for Ubisoft. He didn't get the part. Instead, Ubisoft made him a character. The antagonist in Far Cry 3 is Mando. His face, his movements all straight from the talent of this actor. He is the best bad guy I have ever seen in video games. His performance made me laugh and hate him at the same time. Just take a look at the "Definition of Insanity" speech. He should win an award for the amazing job he did with Vaas. Bravo Mando.

Studio of the Year    -    Ubisoft
Ubisoft takes the cake this year. With a ton of major releases they showed their range. As for serious gaming they could do revolutionary war, dirty cop, or desperate kid fighting for his friends. Plus Just Dance which has its glory in other aspects of gaming. They showed they could do anything, first person or third. Not only were the games amazing but they used and developed revolutionary technology that took cutscenes and character movement to a whole new level of realism. That got to work this year and I can't name one bad thing that came of it. Ubisoft, take yourself a bow. You did good.

Best RPG/Sleeper Hit    -    Far Cry 3
I have never touched a Far Cry before, nor have I even heard of it. It wasn't until I saw someone play on YouTube that really caught my attention. Now it may not have been a sleeper hit for many but it caught me off guard and my breath was taken away. It had everything a good RPG needs. Plenty of things to do regardless of the main quest, tons of open area, and plenty of freedom to take out people however you want. I mean it. You could assassinate a merc, pull the pin off his grenade and kick him towards his friends, or use his knife to kill his partner. It truly seemed they focused on where RPG's had failed and worked on those key items. There are multiple ways to get around including vehicles like jet ski's and hang gliders. If you feel like walking there were plenty of animals for you to hunt that actually contributed to the gameplay, that is if you can avoid the pirates that are constantly patrolling the roads. The story showed the struggles of a young man named Jason Brody as he changes from a nobody to a major part of the fight on Rook Island and finds his friends. On top of this they had the best bad guy I have ever seen. All the factors add up to one amazing RPG that could go toe to toe with Bethesda.

Best Shooter    -    Call of Duty: Black Ops II
I admit I was one of those people who dreaded the release of this game. After the somewhat attempt to keep up with the Modern Warfare series with the original Black Ops, I was skeptical. I was pleasantly surprised. The campaign had a story far more intense than the first one. I was drawn in. Plus, the actions I made affected the outcome which was a nice feature that they added. Along with the campaign the multiplayer was far better than Modern Warfare 3. In the first Black Ops they went crazy with the customization as an attempt to draw more players in. They did it poorly. However, in Black Ops II, they keep the custom features but have a far better way of going about it. The Black Ops series really matured so I feel they deserve the title of Best Shooter.

Game of the Year    -    Assassin's Creed III
Now this is one of the games that I actually looked into this year, but it also was one of the few games that met my expectations. Being a longtime fan of the series, every game topped the last. The new setting and new weapons (such as firearms) gave people a lot to worry about, particularly how it would affect the gameplay. Many people thought it would suck...many people were wrong. The gameplay was one of the best things of the game. You saw the main character Conner use his environment in ways I haven't seen a video game smoothly portray yet. Plus the fighting went into a more offensive style. Instead of fighting annoying masked men who blocked every shot like douchebags, you got to smoothly fight enemies and even tie kills together. Not only the gameplay; they gave you hours of side quests that made it just as interesting as the main quest. Which brings me to the final point: the story was so intense that it kept drawing you in and making you say "Oh, I'll sleep after this mission," which you soon gave that up because the sun came up and it was time for a whole new day of gameplay. Ubisoft delivered another fantastic hit and this is my pride of the year.