RPG Site Awards 2010: Day Two

Our 2010 RPG Site Awards continue, and today we're taking a look at Sony's platforms and the Best Storyline And Writing Awards. We're listing a winner and a couple of runners up in each category. You can catch yesterday's awards through this link. Today we're looking at Best Writing in a 2010 RPG, Best Story in a 2010 RPG, PSP RPG of the Year 2010 and PS3 RPG of the Year 2010 - so let's get started!

Best Writing in a 2010 RPG: Fallout: New Vegas (360/PS3/PC)
Picking this award wasn’t even a competition, really. Both Mass Effect 2 and Alpha Protocol offered great writing – and those two games both do individual characters particularly well – but Fallout: New Vegas offers a pretty incredible world that manages to feel fleshed out, deep and quite real without shoving a massive encyclopaedia into the menus (not that we mind that, Mass Effect.) In a world that, graphically, leaves a little to be desired now and with presentation that still involves a weird zoom and sound effect every time you talk to an NPC, the writing in Fallout: New Vegas still stands out above others this year. It’s not necessarily the quality of the actual story that puts it here, but the quality of the Writing.

The world of New Vegas is probably the key thing that kept us playing the game through its bug-addled early weeks – and even now the bugs have been largely fixed, it’s still the element of the game that holds our interest. The interplay between the different characters and factions that litter the debauched world of New Vegas remains interesting right to the very end, and in that Obsidian have shown Bethesda how they should approach things with The Elder Scrolls V and whatever the next Fallout title turns out to be.

Runners Up: Mass Effect 2, Alpha Protocol

Best Story in a 2010 RPG: Mass Effect 2 (360/PS3/PC)
Bioware knows how to tell a good story. That’s established. While the manner in which the story is written may not be as great as that of the winner of the above category, Mass Effect 2’s story of what is essentially the Dirty Dozen in space somehow manages to up the ante from the first game but also make it more intimate and personal than the first title ever was with unique characters each with dark secrets and interesting back stories.

While other titles may have it beaten on a moment-to-moment basis, the way the story builds to an intense climax and the manner in which Bioware have built a storyline that drives the player onward but can also branch in huge ways is nothing short of superb. Above the gameplay or the writing, the overall arc of the storyline is what leaves us salivating more for Mass Effect 3 than anything else in 2011.

Runners Up: Fallout: New Vegas, Alpha Protocol

PSP RPG of the Year 2010: Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep
Although Kingdom Hearts has yet to see a numbered entry return to consoles, its handheld outings have kept fans more than covered. This is even more evident in the latest game in the series, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.
Carrying far more weight than the previous Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days on the DS, Birth by Sleep feels more like a mainline game than any of the other side stories. Serving as a 10 year prequel to the first game, it does exactly that. Streamlining the action-oriented battle system, as well as providing three different character paths makes Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep a hard one to put down. Losing the majority of quick-time events that plagued Kingdom Hearts II, gameplay becomes more interesting and varied between each main member of the cast.

Extras including the various mini-games and item collecting will be welcome to fans, while added multiplayer changes things up a bit from past entries. Birth by Sleep's narrative ties up many loose ends while providing much less contrived and pointless dialogue, as well as finally finding the perfect balance between both Disney and Square-Enix.


Runners Up: Valkyria Chronicles II, Phantasy Star Portable 2

PS3 RPG of the Year 2010: Fallout: New Vegas
Let’s be clear Fallout: New Vegas isn’t a PS3 exclusive title and it launched with a lot of bugs – so it may seem like a strange choice for this award. That said, we think it speaks volumes about the superb quality of the game that despite those issues it can still take the PS3 RPG of the Year award, snatching it from games like Resonance of Fate, Final Fantasy XIII and 3D Dot Game Heroes. But it does, because it’s a bloody good game.

It’s great that the bugs are now mostly fixed, but even before they were this was undoubtedly the best RPG released on PS3 this year. As detailed above, the writing is second-to-none, the world depicted is gritty and more interesting than the sterile environments in many of this year’s other titles, and the gameplay that Fallout 3 pioneered is still fun, with pausing the action to line up devastating, head-exploding shots as satisfying as ever.
Sticking to the formula of Fallout 3 may seem like a cop-out, but the changes and tweaks the team at Obsidian have made to that already-superb blueprint actually make it a better game than Fallout 3 was, or even became with the DLC packs. With many of the nasty bugs now finally getting hammered out, we’d be lying to ourselves if we gave this award to a PS3 exclusive for the sake of it. Even in the face of its problems, New Vegas is just better.


Runners Up: Resonance of Fate, Final Fantasy XIII

That's it for today! Be sure to check out Day One of our awards and look out for Day Three where we'll be looking at The Best Voice Cast Performance, Download-only RPG of the Year, PC RPG of the Year and Xbox 360 RPG of the Year! Stick with us!