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PixlBit's 2011 Supplemental Awards

Just when you thought awards season was over...

Winner – Dark Souls

Let’s be honest, anybody can make a hard game.  There are plenty of titles out there that achieve difficulty through poor instruction, unfair difficulty spikes and cheap enemy tactics.  What makes a game difficult but still fun is to challenge the player while not resorting to the normal difficulty tropes most games adhere to.  Dark Souls executes this perfectly. If you died it’s because you didn’t take enough care to stay alive.  You should have been watching for tells, you should have taken your time approaching that blind corner and above all, you should have had your shield up.  That alone would make this game worthy of praise and recognition, but Dark Souls does one more thing that very few games are able to pull off.

Dark Souls respects you.

The game respects your intelligence and does not hold your hand in any way, shape, or form.  You are dropped into a bleak world with only the bare minimum of game mechanics explained to you.  Any other advice comes from vague orange scrawls on the ground left by other players that may be either helpful or misleading.  You will fail, and the game makes no bones about it.  The phrase “Prepare to Die” is on the back of the box, on the trailer and even in the URL for the official website.  This pain is balanced by the fact that your failure is your education.  Your intellect is respected to the extent where the game expects you to try something out, die and learn from your mistake.  Persistence and wisdom are rewarded first with victory and then the sense of accomplishment you get from something hard earned: a price paid in blood.

Game designers take note -- Dark Souls how difficulty is done.

Honorable Mention

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01/19/2012 at 07:39 PM

These types of awards are always fun. Surprised Uncharted 3 didn't win best graphics (though I played BF3 on PS3). Would have picked either Rayman or Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet for art direction. I agree with a lot of these picks though.

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