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A Look Back at 2012: The “Don’t Call It a Comeback” Award

Most of the gaming franchises we grew up loving back in our childhoods and past generations are long gone, but some of them decided to come back hoping to reclaim their past glory on this current generation of console and PC games. Entertainment Fuse's "Don't Call It a Comeback" award goes to games that mark as debuts for long storied franchises that never had iterations released for numerous years until now.

Jeffrey Dy - SSX

The extreme sports genre has been on decline for a while this console generation, but it was one of the more popular genres last generation with the Tony Hawk and SSX franchises. While the Tony Hawk folks received a downloadable remake featuring some of the best levels from the first three games, SSX fans have been waiting for the franchise to return in a big way and it did in Feburary with the SSX reboot. It was a back-to-basics approach even though it combined elements from its first three games. I wished there were more players online playing it back when it came out and now, but there was enough replay value playing it alone with the massive Explore mode. From the classic trick-based gameplay, various mountains to go crazy and explore, and interesting directions with the online play, SSX was a return to the good times and a reminder when extreme sports games were relevant a decade ago.

Jackson Pounds - Tribes: Ascend

Tribes: Ascend is one of the most brilliant resurrections in recent memory and some of the best competitive multiplayer this generation. The original Starsiege: Tribes was very ahead of its time with base building, repair, and class specific abilities/gadgets. The resurrected Ascend shows that when it comes to performing the hole-in-one shot and offering the most rewarding of shooter gameplay, that Tribes franchise is peerless.

Kyle Enz - Max Payne 3

This year saw the long awaited return of a popular franchise left in the ashes of the previous generation with the release of Max Payne 3. From the opening sequence to the haunting final moments of the game, the story of Max Payne 3 stuck with me long after the credits rolled. I'm not one to go out and buy video game soundtracks often, but Max Payne 3's amazing soundtrack also helped set the tone and mood for the return of the character. The game is even more impressive from a technical standpoint, as every single bullet is rendered in real time, allowing for some of the best bullet-time cam kills seen in any game. Style flows throughout the entire campaign of Max Payne 3, and besides the ramped up difficulty that at times seemed punishing, the only downfall of this otherwise excellent game was its tacked on mulitplayer. Still at the end of the day, the return of the aging hero of Max Payne was more welcomed then that of Duke Nukem.

Matt Rowles - Max Payne 3

Max Payne made its long awaited return this year and being a huge Rockstar Games fan, I was so excited. The first game developed by them after buying the IP from Remedy, I wondered where Rockstar would take the franchise. What we got was a dark, stylish, moody graphic novel of a video game. The game's increased difficulty meant it could no longer be played like previous games but what we got was deeper gameplay mechanics that resulted in one of the best cover shooters on the markets. 

I found the story was style over substance in the end, but it's so over the top anyway it is more of a device to put Max in fun gameplay scenarios rather than tell the next great video game narrative, and I have no problem with this. Connectivity issues aside, the multiplayer was an absolute delight and one I've spent many hours playing this year having achieved the highest rank.The game didn't sell what Rockstar expected and with so many other franchises that need to be revived (Bully & Manhunt) I would hazard a guess that we won't see Max for a very long time, if we ever see him again. If we don't ever see Max again I can't think of a better way to say goodbye than with the fantastic game that is Max Payne 3.

Christopher Puenner - Max Payne 3

Max Payne 3 is more than a great game, it's proof that even older franchises can translate and do very well in the modern gaming era. It can be difficult for developers to re-imagine a character or universe to better suit current consoles after being out of the game for a while. Rockstar is no fool. A simple reiteration of a classic Max Payne game would have sold well but only among Max Payne fans, they had to change it to better fit newer audiences and they succeeded.

We've seen cover mechanics implemented into almost every third-person game put out in the past five years and Max Payne also adopted such a system. The run-and-gun mentality of the past Max Payne games is a bit contrary to this approach, but Max Payne 3 manages to grab the best of both worlds maintaining the crazy shooting situations from the original games while still adapting to today's standards in AAA gaming.

Max Payne 3 is my pick for the "Don't Call It a Comeback" award as it conquered scores across the board, sold very well, and brought Max back to the forefront of gaming.


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