Kotaku Awards: Best Overall Game Of The Year

Kotaku Awards: Best Overall Game Of The Year

Wow. This is incredible. I have never seen a Kotaku poll run this close. Out of the hundreds upon hundreds of votes there were only eight votes between first and second in our reader voted Game of the Year awards. Sadly, however, there can only be one winner… [rustles the final imaginary envelope]and that winner is…

Mass Effect 2 I’ve been watching this vote for a while. Yesterday there was a dead heat between Mass Effect 2 and Red Dead Redemption. An actual dead heat. They had the exact same amount of votes. Then it went back and forth – two votes here, two votes there – until finally Mass Effect 2 slowly started to pull away. But, insanely, after hundreds upon hundreds of votes, there were only eight votes between them. Mass Effect 2 had 21% of the vote and RDR had roughly 20.5%. Insane.

But good choice guys. On another day I may have agreed with you.

Editor’s Choice This was an extremely tough choice for me. There were so many games this year that I played and loved. Mass Effect 2 was one of them, coming in early. Mario Galaxy 2 was, in my opinion, quite simply a perfect video game, and Red Dead Redemption was a remarkable experience through and through, featuring a world that felt alive with weight and consequence.

If I was choosing my game of the year based on story, I’d definitely choose Mass Effect 2. If I was choosing based on moments of inspired genius, I would undoubtedly go with Mario Galaxy 2. But today I’m choosing based on my overall experience, and weight of sheer ambition – on that count my game of the year is Red Dead Redemption.

Red Dead Redemption is the kind of game you turn on, just to see what the weather is like, just to have a quick game of poker, or do a couple of quick sub-missions. It’s beyond cliche, but Red Dead Redemption is truly a game you get lost in – figuratively and literally.

So which is your game of the year, and why? Let us know if you think we got it wrong in the comments below – or tell us how awesome we are for getting it right.


  • I’d have to add my endorsement for RDR too, it goes beyond beautiful, is deeply immersive and has one of the best endings I’ve seen in a game.

    Also the addition of Undead Nightmare makes it even more weird and wonderful

  • RDR for me for sure.

    Like ME2, but it didn’t really interest me enough, played through it once. Never went back.

    RDR I keep wanting to go back and play again. But Black Ops keeps stealing my hours away…

  • Hey, Mark… Last year Goose posted a daily countdown of his personal top ten, are you going to do the same?

    It let us argue the merits of a specific game… and how rubbish Far Cry 2 was.

    Also, that (RDR vs ME2) was the fight for my game of the year too. Thank goodness DA:O wasn’t out this year as well… it would have been really tough.
    Personally, I’m pleased that in this day and age it wasn’t an FPS that won GOTY.

  • Mass Effect 2…. undoubtley one of the best games i have ever played. In these days were its difficult to give some games the attention they deserve ME2 wouldn’t relent on consuming ur time and imagination.

  • Mass Effect 2 deserved the win simply because of the amount of hard work and love that went into that game. Seriously though – if many people considered ME2 to suffer from “middle-trilogy” syndrome, where the story was not as good as the first, with bioware not having to worry about choices carrying over to another game, i think the consequences of the choices made in ME1, ME2 and ME3 will significantly change the games for people going into the final missions in ME3.

    ME2 was easily GOTY though for me, because while i did enjoy RDR very much, it just didn’t seem to be epic from start to finish like ME2 was. If ME2 was my GOTY then i am pretty confident enough in Bioware to say that ME3 will be my 2012 GOTY 😛

    • There were parts during RDR where it was a struggle to keep coming back to it… and I loved it, its beauty, its feel, its unrelenting cougar bastards… but ME2 was just slightly better.

  • If DA:O was out this year I wouldn’t have put it third. There’s just something which RDR and the ME series did that just made DA:O seem a bit rougher in comparison.

    Don’t get wrong! DA:O is a fine game but RDR’s and ME 1 & 2’s fast travel and trade systems, left DA:O’s a bit wanting.

    And, for some reason, I wanted to play RDR’s open world waaaay more than GTAIV’s.

    Acronyms!! Gaaaaaaaahhh!

  • I feel like ME2 was a little more focused on what it did well, which meant it did remove a couple of things (inventory systems) that I liked, everything it did it did well.

    RDR I felt was a little broader in scope so there were things it did well such as story and cutscenes (though I think ME2 did theirs better) there were some things that I felt weren’t done quite as well.
    For instance the economy system, money was easily gathered via hunting or minigames but it didn’t seem like there wasn’t really much worth buying, which made the minigames and skinning a little meaningless. I still did it because it was fun, but it could have been better.

    Same for the items recovered from hunting animals, if this could have been used/combined/sold to create other items in some kind of crafting system, or even just a requirement before you can buy some items it could have improved it greatly.

  • I really enjoyed RDR but I think it was let down a little by the auto aim.

    For me ME2 was superior to RDR just for the fact of the great story line. Most game companies excluding Bioware of course, don’t put much effort into their story lines anymore. I remember when games where more about story than gameplay. Like all the Sierra point a click adventure types i.e. Space quest, police quest, Hero Quest etc

    For me its the story line that keeps me playing Action/RPG’s. I didn’t even bother finishing RDR, I guess their is still time.

  • Interesting that both were sequels, both a massive improvement on the original.

    For me, ME2 because, while RDR turned a mediocre game into a great game by throwing away everything except the setting, ME2 managed to alter the focus slightly from a numbers-based strategic RPG into a story-based action RPG.

    Bioware managed this feat in less time than RDR to create something unique in the current market.

    RDR is the most complete open-world game I have yet played, with every element implemented with care, but ME2 manages to be replayable without multiplayer. It even inspired me to replay the original just so I could let the council die and learn the fallout. Not major, but it still acknowledges their absence.

    The biggest thing for me was the choice ME2 offered you compared to RDR.

    *spoiler alert*
    In ME2, depending on what actions you take, you can preserve the life of your entire team and the crew of the normandy, or let EVERYONE die and be the sole survivor, leaving you alone on the ship with Joker and Edi.

    In RDR, as powerful as the ending may be, I wish the creators had left the player with a way to save John, obscure though it may be.
    *spoiler end*

    But then, I’m a single-player gamer, I haven’t played RDR multiplayer.

  • Okay, on a slight tangent, but relatedly so..

    Having been released during the same era and with similar scope and scale – which do you guys prefer,

    GTA IV or Red Dead Redemption?

    Personally, whilst GTA IV didn’t evoke as much of an emotional response from me or ‘heart-strings’ attachment to the main protagonist as RDR did, I still think GTA IV is a better game overall. It stands in my mind as having more of an impact.

    Maybe I feel compelled towards GTA more because I could relate to it on a day-to-day level. Not from a criminal point of view, but in a societal/social way; a modern city, cars, bars/clubs, pop-culture, music, technology, current affairs….

    • Well put it this way, I have not finished either.
      GTAIV because I played, got immensely bored, tried a few months later, got bored, etc.
      RDR because I played it so much, so constantly I got burned out had to play something else.

  • I STILL haven’t played RDR so I can’t make a decision between the two. Happy to see that Mass Effect 2 came out on top though. Most epic space opera I’ve played.

  • Loved both games, but would choose RDR also.

    I think Mass Effect 2 got more votes because more gamers have a boner for all things sci-fi.

  • Mass Effect 2 probably won out because it was published on PC too, unlike RDR.

    Not that I’m jumping up and down for an RDR port, the GTA4 one wasn’t the greatest in the world.

  • I’d have been pretty happy with either of these games as GOTY, a toast to good taste. The Good Game award went to… Reach. Not to bag but.. another Halo game shouldn’t be in the same sentence as ME2/RDR/SCII.

  • ME2 was good, but not great. I enjoyed it, but returned it to the store once I’d had my fill.

    RDR and Halo Reach tied for first place, for my money.

    RDR is simply outstanding design and art direction.

    Halo Reach is the complete package. It does stuff that no other shooter even tries to do. Looks great, plays great, and most of all, is huge amounts of FUN.

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