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The Platinum Chalice Awards 2011, Part 1 – The Special Awards

This article is part one of a three-part series of awards. Click here for Part 2 and Part 3.

It’s time once again for our yearly celebration of all things great in gaming – and for our sixth Platinum Chalices this year, we’re doing things a little differently. Our awards for 2011 will be posted in three parts, and while you can still expect to see our “normal” Chalices later in the day, as well as our Game of the Year, we’re starting today off with our special and console-exclusive awards. If a game deserved a nod for doing something unique, or stood out as the best game available for a single platform, you’ll find it here.

Be sure to check back later today, as our Platinum Chalices continue!

SPECIAL AWARDS

The Storm Before the Calm: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Nintendo has gently denied that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the Wii's swan song, but with Wii U already on the horizon, what else is left? Aside from February's Rhythm Heaven Fever and the recently announced localization of Xenoblade, Skyward Sword is the last major first-party Nintendo game for Wii.

It's not a bad way to go – some have even declared Skyward Sword "the best Zelda of all time." While we wouldn't go that far, it's certainly right up there among the best of the series, which already makes it superior to most other games. Skyward Sword is absolutely massive, too – you're looking at a minimum of 60 hours on your first playthrough, and that's if you rush. And because it marks Zelda's 25th anniversary, Skyward Sword indulges in more delightfully self-referential in-jokes than we've ever seen in the series. So take the time to really enjoy it – after all, it might be the last time your Wii sees any use at all.

Coming to America Award: Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation

For close to two decades, two of the best entries in the Dragon Quest series weren't available to English-speaking players. That changed when the highly influential Dragon Quest V and VI finally got DS ports that sold huge in Japan, and were eventually brought to the US and UK. DQV hit in in 2010, and despite being fantastic, had such poor sales that Square Enix went quiet on whether Dragon Quest VI’s emigration was still planned. Thankfully, after months of silence, Nintendo finally stepped up and announced it was the publisher for DQVI in the US and Europe.

For old-school RPG fans, Dragon Quest VI perfectly replicated the feel of a lost SNES classic. The gameplay was just as perfect as it had been in 1995, when DQ still defined RPGs. The more open story, which mixed dreams with reality, was beautifully told (thanks in part to a fantastic localization), especially when you consider how primitive in-game storytelling was when it first appeared. It took 16 years, but for Dragon Quest's dedicated non-Japanese fans, it was easily worth the wait.

Single-Handedly Justifying Motion Control (Again): Dance Central 2

We sang with Elmo in Once Upon a Monster, perfected our puppeteering in Gunstringer and made pretty explosions in Child of Eden, but the real reason we still own Kinect without shame is because of the second iteration of the game that won this award last year.

Dance Central 2 is the single title that makes the effort of rearranging our furniture to play a game worthwhile and, with the improvements DC2 made over its predecessor, it’s now the motion-controlled title that we use to judge all the rest.

Gmail Award for Finally Coming Out of Beta: Minecraft

Minecraft sure took its sweet time getting through its alpha and beta stages, but it most definitely paid off. Before the game was even released officially this November, Minecraft had sold a staggering 4 million copies.

An open-world sandbox game with a focus on crafting, building and battling monsters, Minecraft has spawned multiple knockoffs while inspiring educators, architects and Star Trek fans with too much time on their hands. It’s certainly made its mark on videogame history – in fact, you’ll even find it at the Smithsonian next year! And to think, it all started with some old-fashioned tree-punching.

Next page: Our first-ever Fanboy Awards for Best System Exclusives!

18 comments

  • playswithsquirrels - December 16, 2011 4:26 p.m.

    Good read. Can't wait for the other two parts!
  • PBC13 - December 16, 2011 4:28 p.m.

    Excellent great to read. Looking forward to the rest. But I have to say my reaction to best 360 exclusive was basically; http://i.imgur.com/wKP63.png
  • SunniDee - December 16, 2011 4:28 p.m.

    been waiting all week for this so pumped.
  • garnsr - December 16, 2011 5:24 p.m.

    What do you mean "Sony can finally be proud of a platform exclusive that makes its competitors look on in pure envy?" Uncharted 2 was still the best looking console game till 3 came out. And 3 hasn't gotten as much crap as Gears of War 3, which is about the only other 360 exclusive not on this list, while the PS3 has quite a few exclusives to choose from, coming from developers who aren't held back by the 360's limitations, and make great games, unlike Bethesda, who gives the PS3 a bad name by letting the 360 hold this generation back. Too bad we'll be forced to get new systems in a couple years instead of all developers getting all they can out of the PS3.
  • shawksta - December 16, 2011 5:55 p.m.

    Awesome awards.Cant wait for the other awards! I know, its rather sad Pokemon doesnt get the hardcore attention it deserves,especially since its like the,only Turn based RPG with competitive Multiplayer, B/W is THAT Awesome, and hell I love Garbodor better than Muk in terms of design anyday! My bro knew Skyward Sword was gonna be long but when I told him that statement about the least being 60 hours on the article, he shit bricks in suprise XD and he's upto the point in Skyloft after the first temple.
  • EnigmaSpirit - December 16, 2011 6:21 p.m.

    Yes, Volcarona is a cool pokemon, but this generation had more undeniably stupid pokemon than the others. What about the fucking ice cream cone that just get's another scoop for it's evolution? What about the thing that is a gear and just gets more gears as it evolves? I could go on, there were some cool ones, but overall they were subpar. The game itself just didn't really grab me this time around. The entire thing was more of a chore for me than any other. I was kind of disappointed. :\ The games need a major reinvention for me to stay interested next gen. Can't wait to get Skyward Sword for Christmas! I'm also hoping to get a PS3 with the giftcard money and plan to get the Uncharted games.
  • WTeen8 - December 17, 2011 7:09 a.m.

    All the gens have some lame Pokemon if you think about it. Magnemite is a circle with magnets attached to it, and when it evolves, 2 more get added. Same for Diglet. Stantler is a deer with ornments on its antlers. Voltorb is a bomb. Sandile is a brown crocodile. Torchic is an orange chicken. Magikarp is a fish. Garbodar is a landfill, ect. While I do agree that gen 5 sucks (Woobat...really?) everyone has their own opinion to what they prefer. (Although most people tend to prefer gens 1 and 2...me included [Pokemon Silver...memories]) Also, that ice cream cone is da best pokemon evar! And everyone can agree....skyward sword looks epic.
  • profile0000 - December 16, 2011 7:02 p.m.

    Great read. Love the Platinum Chalice awards.
  • Fuzunga - December 16, 2011 9:17 p.m.

    I think you mean justifying *full body* control. Skyward Sword justifies motion control.
  • jmcgrotty - December 16, 2011 11:06 p.m.

    "Before the game [Mindcraft] was even released officially this November" Minecraft isn't a game.
  • Cwf2008 - December 17, 2011 12:26 a.m.

    Neither is Mindcraft
  • gamebrain8505 - December 17, 2011 1:01 a.m.

    How is it not a game? Please good sire, enlighten us.
  • IChooseUAntistaMON - December 17, 2011 11:33 a.m.

    Ha What an idiot you were trying to call them out but you fucked up yourself hahaha OT: A racing game as the best 360 game WHAT THE?!?
  • cj12297 - December 17, 2011 2:48 a.m.

    What, no iOS award for 'squeaks dreams' ?
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - December 17, 2011 10:01 a.m.

    So Forza beats Gears 3... um... sure?
  • spideralex90 - December 17, 2011 12:02 p.m.

    Exactly what I was thinking.
  • ZhugeLiang - December 17, 2011 10:40 a.m.

    Let us all cling together, or we shall all cling separately.
  • spideralex90 - December 17, 2011 12:05 p.m.

    Oh and being that the Vita isn't out yet, and that the screenshots of it's version of Uncharted look amazing, I think that first sentence of Infinity Blades section is just wrong.

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