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Nintendo World Report Awards: 2010

Best Technical and Artistic Achievements

by Michael Cole, Pedro Hernandez, James Jones, Jonathan Metts, Zachary Miller, and Karlie Yeung - December 31, 2010, 2:23 pm EST

Gaming is a visual medium, and while graphics aren't everything, an attractive game adds to the experience. However, good sound effects and music can be equally effective at turning a game into a memorable experience.


Winner - Nintendo DS: Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky
Even if having game music stuck in your head is uncommon, Dragon Quest IX gets in your head and stays there, perhaps partly due to the fact that it's impossible to put down. The music is fantastic, with upbeat happy tunes in the overworld and dramatic overtures during battles and dungeons. The sound effects aren't a slouch either; every creaking door, slashing sword, and terrifying dark magic spell resonates sharply in your brain. Headphones are recommended for the best experience.

Believe me, this sounds lovely

Runner Up - Nintendo DS: Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
What good is a Layton title without proper music and (mostly) good voice acting?  Thankfully Unwound Future does not answer that question. The stylistically appropriate themes and well-cast acting sets it apart from the vast majority of DS titles.

Winner - Wii: Super Mario Galaxy 2
The original Super Mario Galaxy has been widely praised for its epic, orchestral soundtrack full of sci-fi embellishments. The sequel continues and expands that successful audio formula, as it does with many other aspects of the original game. This time around, Nintendo has added clever remixes of classic Mario themes to accentuate certain throwback levels. Aside from the immaculate sound quality, which is so rare in Wii games, Galaxy 2 is notable for the sheer volume and breadth of its soundtrack, which perfectly matches the dizzying diversity of the game’s levels.

Runner Up - Wii: Cave Story
Sure, Cave Story was originally released on the PC years ago, but that doesn’t make its soundtrack any less epic, so much so that, we’ve allowed this WiiWare release to take an award alongside retail titles. With a combination of pensive melodies and balls-out and guns-a-blazing themes rendered in chiptune flair, Cave Story’s soundtrack easily stands up to the best of Capcom’s and Konami’s repertoire from the 80s and 90s. It boasts both the original renditions and excellent new remixes, appeasing traditionalists while still providing quality new content. In fact, the compositions are so good that even the initial release, which contained an audio glitch that dropped a few instruments (that has since been fixed), was immensely enjoyable.

"Balls-out and guns-a-blazing themes" here


Winner - Nintendo DS: Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky
You might think that it's tough to develop a full-fledged 3D RPG on the DS and make it look gorgeous, but nobody told Level 5 that. Dragon Quest IX is easily the best-looking 3D game on the system. It features stunning vistas, geographically-specific battle backgrounds, many detailed character models, and interchangeable character armor that is reflected on each character's model. Dragon Quest IX is a triumph of both the technical and the artistic.

Runner Up - Nintendo DS: Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light
Its pastel colors seem to leap off the DS screen. With visual style matching that of a story book page for page, and a charm all its own, 4 Heroes of Light is a treat. A barometer for the game overall, the game’s style continues to evolve throughout, allowing the graphics to continue to match the emotions of this involving title.

Such a serene village, Chaos will change that

Winner - Wii: Kirby's Epic Yarn
Graphics aren't always about extreme realism in design, but rather how convincing and striking a game world and its characters can be. There is no better example of this than Kirby's Epic Yarn. The innocent, handcrafted universe of Kirby captivated the hearts and imaginations of even the most jaded of gamers, and from the minute the title was unveiled at E3 2010 many knew they had a winner on their hands.

Well aren't you just the cutest armored fighting vehicle ever

Runner Up - Wii: Super Mario Galaxy 2
This game sparkles, and it’s not just the star bits and lumas. It is easy to see what is happening thanks to the sharp graphics, even when there is just so much moving on screen at once in the dynamic environments. The bright, colorful planets stand out in this well-formed galaxy, with some of the best visuals on Wii.



Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)December 31, 2010

Three cheers for the timely release of these awards!

Nah, seriously, kudos to all the staffers who wrote their pieces. The picks were, in many ways, as expected, but of course no less deserving in spite of that. In fact, I'd have been very surprised if the platformers and the time thieves hadn't swept the board.
Can't help but feel sorry for Professor Layton 3, which got three runner-up spots, but didn't take the gold. I've yet to sink my teeth into that one, though I am psyched to do so.
And well done for getting Fluidity in there. A lot of other sites passed over that due its late calendar release, which is a real shame. It really is such a great adventure/puzzle game.

The DS and Wii GOTY matched mine perfectly, and I had a hard time deciding between the two of them for GOTY. Great awards overall.

pololmejorDecember 31, 2010

Picross 3D REALLY!? I like it but I preffer Professor Layton and the Unwound Future like a billion times... sheesh.

I played Picross 3D for about a minute at PAX East, and I've never touched a Layton game .  I might just pick it up if I see it super-cheap.

Hey, those awards were awesome!

Retro DeckadesDecember 31, 2010

The Unwound Future was great, but I was done with it long before I was done with Picross 3D. As a matter of fact, despite having solved all the puzzles on the card, I'm still not done with it.

Kytim89December 31, 2010

No More Heroes 2 is my Wii game of year.

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

I played Picross 3D for about a minute at PAX East, and I've never touched a Layton game .  I might just pick it up if I see it super-cheap.

Of course you don't.

Did you get electrocuted by that Picross 3D like Lauren and I did?

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterJanuary 01, 2011

Hooray! Great work on this, you guys!

KDR_11kJanuary 01, 2011

Dunno, some of the awards look like default victories (e.g. who was competing against Other M and No More Heroes?).

vuduJanuary 01, 2011

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

I played Picross 3D for about a minute at PAX East, and I've never touched a Layton game .  I might just pick it up if I see it super-cheap.

Is $9.99 for Picross 3D and $17.99 for the new Professor Layton cheap enough?

For Picross, yes.  Thanks to a $20 Best Buy gift certificate I got for Christmas, I picked it up for $10.61 after tax and I still have some money left over on the card.

I could pick up Layton with that, but I honestly don't think I'd play it.  I've never been particularly drawn to the series, and all of my DS time is better spent on DQ IX at the moment.

Scatt-ManJanuary 01, 2011

I don't know why I'm in the minority whenever I express my utter disappointment with Goldeneye. Maybe Game Mode on my TV reduces image quality considerably, thus the visuals don't wow me as they do in the screenshots 'n stuff, but that aspect wasn't even the biggest let down for me.

THE CONTROLS, MAN! They felt incredibly chunky...lacking a certain smoothness. After giving up on using the 'mote 'n 'chuck option, I was incredibly surprised that the same problems still persisted when using the Gamecube controller. Red Steel 2, The Conduit and Metroid Prime 3 never gave me this problem. *Has a cry about it* The defaultly set automatically adjusting height option for when going up stairs and the auto target ADS (Aim down sight) setting were all incredibly inconsistent and a massive annoyance.


Quote from: KDR_11k

Dunno, some of the awards look like default victories (e.g. who was competing against Other M and No More Heroes?).

We're not under any obligation to give out an award.  If we didn't feel there was a worthy candidate we passed on a category.  If there was a worthy candidate, regardless of the presence of competition, we awarded it.

The awards that only have one winner are situations where we had a game that we loved but simply could not find another game that was worthy of similar praise.  In our mind it was better that we honor a great game even if it means having a category to itself.

ShyGuyJanuary 01, 2011

I wish Red Steel 2 would have gotten more respect.

vuduJanuary 01, 2011

I wish Red Steel 2 would have been worth more respect.

ShyGuyJanuary 02, 2011

I wish vudu had better taste in games. I also wish we would have gotten Conduit 2 or The Grinder this year.

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 02, 2011

Great list, I can't really comment on Kirby as runner up for GOTY since I haven't played it nor DKCR yet, but really not much disagreement with the picks there. Glad to see Endless Ocean 2 make it as well for a category.

xcwarriorJanuary 02, 2011

Good to see a number of titles get some love.

Monster Hunter 3 is my game of the year, with Galaxy 2 second.

DS by default I have to go Pokemon, but I'm sure I would have loved DQ IX had I picked it up already.

Glad to see NMH2 was mentioned, though a bit surprised DKCR didn't get a bit more love.

DKCR is a game we love certainly, but it is a very crowded field this year.  The reason it beat out Kirby for platformer but not for GotY runner-up is that as a platformer it is a better example of the genre.  Kirby's intangibles put it over for overall game.

TurdFurgyJanuary 03, 2011

Very well done! All of these games are well deserving. And I also wish Red Steel 2 would have gotten more respect.

LittleIrvesJanuary 05, 2011

Picross 3D hasn't been as much of a time-sink for me as I expected it, but there's no denying its effectiveness and charm.  I finally just acquired the "Normal" difficultly, and I feel like I've already gotten two games' worth of play out of it.  My girlfriend is sick of me poking away at the DS screen for 15 minutes before saying, "A-ha!  It's a Cuckoo Clock!" or whatever.
And I'm loving DKCR, but feel the pull towards Kirby more and more...  his (its?) soft edges might just be the ticket after the pounding I've taken from Kong.
As this is veering closer and closer to innuendo a bit too intimate for my tastes, I'll bid y'all adieu. Good work, NWRers.

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