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Posted by Staff

Corey May is one of the main creative forces behind the Assassin's Creed franchise, having been the lead writer on Assassin's Creed, Assassin's Creed II, and Assassin's Creed III, while also providing writing support on Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed: Revelations. He probably looks forward to thinking about something other than Assassin's Creed for a little bit.

10. Mark of the Ninja

Slick, responsive, and maddening (in a good way)--this one came out of nowhere for me. I hadn’t followed its development and may not have grabbed it when I did if it wasn’t for Twitter singing its praises. Glad I heeded the Internet’s advice (for once). Smart art direction, responsive controls, and lots of interesting tools and skills at your disposal. My one issue is that I had to play each level in chunks. I’m a completionist, so I had to fill in all the little medals and crap. Which meant I sometimes spent hours on a single level. But the feeling of mastering a level--of pulling everything off perfectly--was worth it.

9. Legend of Grimrock

There are a couple of PC titles I consider my personal classics. Dungeon Master is one of them. I replay it (and Chaos Strikes Back and Legend of Skullkeep) at least once a year. Every so often I’d hear about “Dungeon Master-like” games via the Dungeon Master Encyclopedia. When Grimrock was first announced, I took to following its development religiously. Each new screenshot and news item sounded more promising than the last. So naturally I started to worry. Were the developers over-promising? Would it turn out to be vaporware like most of those that had come before? Fortunately the answer to both questions was no! It released. And it was amazing. It captured the spirit of the original almost perfectly.

8. Fez

I love platformers. Fez is a platformer. It’s really that simple. Okay, maybe it’s not quite that simple, but it’s pretty close. Surreal environments and player-controlled perspective shifts make this one special. And the meta-game puzzles felt more cute and clever than pretentious. I really hope to see more games from Phil in the future. I’m willing to wait another five years if it means something as interesting as Fez.

7. Xenoblade Chronicles

From start to end it just filled me with a sense of wonder. I love exploring virtual worlds. And I love grinding. So here I had this epic adventure set in a totally insane universe filled with massive environments and tons and tons of side-missions. I would spend hours hacking away at the various side quests, killing mobs, and retrieving rare drops. It definitely felt a lot like a single-player MMO. And maybe some people don’t like that. Me? I can’t get enough of it.

6. League of Legends

I don’t care that this didn’t come out in 2012. It’s a game I played in 2012 and a game I absolutely love. I only play Soraka. I have played thousands of matches of every version of Soraka. What you call nerfs and buffs, I call opportunities. I don’t care about Sona pokes or Nunu’s AS buff or Taric’s stun. Good for you. If you like them, play them. I’m instalocking Soraka and you can either deal or dodge. Also, in spite of playing thousands of matches, I’m not very good. Fortunately for everyone involved, I mostly only play with people I know. So the raging and AFKing is kept to a relative minimum. I do wonder how the hell it is that after so many matches, I am just not getting any better. At all. So here’s a game where the map is always the same, I always play the same character, I’m not any good, and people can be mean (my friends included). And yet I keep playing. All the time. So it goes on the list.

5. The Room

Tore through this game in a single sitting. The puzzles were compelling, relatively intuitive and just the right level of difficulty. Sure it’s not particularly long. So what. It’s good. It’s fun. I’ve spent a lot more for things that are a lot longer and nowhere near as compelling. Games like this (and the stuff Spiderweb is doing, and the Beamdog port of BG) show that the iPad can do more than just endless runners, word games, and tower defense. Not that I don’t love those things. I’d probably put Kingdom Rush on this list if The Room hadn’t come out.

4. Halo 4/Borderlands 2

Why are both of these games on the same line, you might be wondering. The answer is I loved them both for the same reason: GRIEFING. I’ve got three friends scattered across North America who I don’t get to see nearly often enough. And so it falls to four player co-op games to bring us together. We spent dozens of hours working our way through the campaigns, but it was also a great excuse to hang out and shoot the shit (while shooting shit). I guess I could text or call or visit them--and I do. But you can’t grief your friends in real life in quite the same way (although trust me, I try). For example, in Borderlands 2 I was able to make elevators leave people behind, run off and encourage goliaths to level up, not tell people when grenades came out of the slot machines, and snatch weapons my class couldn’t use (insisting that someone else did it). Halo 4 was all about grenades in airlocks and elevators, shooting people and trying to blame the enemies, and forcing team wipes back to checkpoints. Demerits to Halo 4 for that feature that tells my team I’m the one the who griefed them. But I think hosting the campaign made it impossible for them to boot me. Both games also allowed me to race to the driver’s seat and crash vehicles/drive them off cliffs. That was probably my favorite. Oh, and honking the horn. Nonstop.

3. The Walking Dead

I loved this game for so many reasons, but what put it over the top was when I had to step away from the console during episode five. I knew (well, thought I knew) what was coming. And I didn’t want it to happen. And so at that moment I decided that for me, at least, it had captured the “interactive entertainment” experience more completely than anything that had come before. It’s better than the TV show, in my opinion. A lot better. I bet I’d like it more than the shown even without the interactivity. That you actively participate in it just puts the whole thing over the top. It also makes me happy to see Telltale’s vision vindicated. Here’s a group of people who have been working their asses off for years now to establish their own special take on the adventure game genre. They’ve succeeded. And the results are fantastic. They inspire me.

2. Dishonored

Loved this game. Went for a mostly stealth playthrough and the game was totally cool with it. Never once did it frustrate or betray me. When I screwed up it was my fault. Any game that causes me to blame myself for fuckups is pretty special. (Dark/Demon's Souls are similar in that regard). Fantastic art direction, plenty of powers to experiment with, and a ton of emergent gameplay opportunities make this one of the year’s best for me. I was also pleasantly surprised by the way it manipulated my emotions. When I reached that point in the game where things change, I switched from stealth to combat and cut my way to the end. It just felt like the right thing to do. The game didn't force me to do that. Or encourage it, even. It was just how I chose to respond to the twist. From talking to my friends, I’m not the only one, either. So I thought that was pretty cool – that the narrative caused me, as a player, to change my tactics. Also, I moved this from #3 to #2 simply because Arkane made Arx Fatalis--which is sort of like an ambitious, underrated love letter to Ultima Underworld.

1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown

An important achievement. Never mind that it’s a fantastic, brutal experience with an irresistible gameplay loop. Or that simply being able to rename and customize your squad adds a whole new level of attachment and engagement. Most people already know (and love) these things. But beyond being an incredible game it’s an excellent reminder that just because something is “old” or “hardcore” or “slow-paced” (I prefer “classic” “challenging” and “tactical” myself) doesn’t mean there isn’t an audience for it. Because here’s a secret--there’s always an audience for good shit. Also I know it’s technically XCOM, but really, it’s X-COM.

Edited by ilovecheesepizza

cool.

EDIT: My life's complete. Goodbye, cruel world.

Also, another win for X-Com. Well deserved.

Posted by pbhawks45

I'm still amazed people get more angry at Mass Effect 3's ending than they do for Assassin's Creed III.

Posted by Bulby33

This is another great list!

Posted by zombie2011

Probably the guest list that agrees with my taste in games the most, replace LoL with Awesomenauts though.

Posted by the_Hollow

He looks like a Erik Wolpaw with longer hair xD,really similar.

Posted by notha

looks sorta like Martin Starr from Freaks and Geeks

Edited by Draxyle

Nice to see Xenoblade on lists; that game definitely deserves more credit. It's not perfect, but it's a step in the right direction for modern JRPG's.

I always forget that it came out this year. I was impatient and imported it from Europe last year.

Posted by Pullarius_Capax

@pbhawks45: I think thats a function of people being way more invested into the mass effect story than the story of Desmond. I thought Connor's story was great and thus eclipsed the many faults of the Desmond story.

Posted by Ghostiet

@pbhawks45 said:

I'm still amazed people get more angry at Mass Effect 3's ending than they do for Assassin's Creed III.

I'd say it's because ACIII's ending is simply lazily done, but not offensive on many levels. No matter what were your opinions about ME3's, its ending was confusing and quite blatantly unfinished with lots of plotholes. ACIII's makes sense and is an obvious sequel hook, but it's abrupt and like all of Desmond's stuff, extremely shoddily done.

Posted by mrfluke
@Ghostiet said:

@pbhawks45 said:

I'm still amazed people get more angry at Mass Effect 3's ending than they do for Assassin's Creed III.

I'd say it's because ACIII's ending is simply lazily done, but not offensive on many levels. No matter what were your opinions about ME3's, its ending was confusing and quite blatantly unfinished with lots of plotholes. ACIII's makes sense and is an obvious sequel hook, but it's abrupt and like all of Desmond's stuff, extremely shoddily done.

this definitely this. 

i felt betrayed at ME3's ending as it didnt stand for the themes that i think of mass effect to stand for 
 
while AC3's ending  is more of a "HAHA fuck you!" kind of deal
Posted by Sooty

Instalocker and named Corey

instadouche

Posted by Ravelle

@pbhawks45: People only need to hear the word Mass Effect 3 and they'll go berserk about the ending. It's okay if you didn't like it but there is no need to talk about it anymore, everything has been said already. You really need to work out some issues if it still upsets you almost a year later.

Posted by LarcenousLaugh

Loving all the XCOM praise.

@pbhawks45: yeah, it was my biggest disappointment this year for that reason entirely. I thought that ending dropped the ball in every conceivable way. People might think Mass Effect robbed them of their choices, but AC completely dropped the ball when it came to Sections 11 and 12.

Posted by Bumpton

Glad to see Legend of Grimrock get some love. I played the hell out of that!

Posted by McLargepants

@pbhawks45 said:

I'm still amazed people get more angry at Mass Effect 3's ending than they do for Assassin's Creed III.

Probably because Assassin's Creed never had a good a story, it was always batshit and a little stupid.

Posted by Mystyr_E

a Soraka main? ugh, bastard. Nami and Lulu are far better supports as far as teamfights, Soraka's just a heal-bitch

Posted by Video_Game_King

Hey,

Posted by Dan_CiTi

It isn't even canon to care about Desmond in AC. It's all about Ezio, Connor, and Altair.

Posted by smokeyd123

@Video_Game_King: Of course it isn't, it's barely a game, just a straight up VN, and I doubt the staff or anyone they will bring on has even played it.

Posted by OneManX

Draven is pleased.

Edited by brownsfantb

@pbhawks45 said:

I'm still amazed people get more angry at Mass Effect 3's ending than they do for Assassin's Creed III.

People got too bored and quit before they even got to the ending of Assassin's Creed III.

Posted by forkboy

@pbhawks45 said:

I'm still amazed people get more angry at Mass Effect 3's ending than they do for Assassin's Creed III.

I think people cared a lot more about the Mass Effect characters & story & everything. I mean you play Assassin's Creed to climb up shit & stab fuckers with hidden blades. Mass Effect was driven by the plot from day one. And even if you care about the story in AC games I think you cared about Altair, Ezio & Conner far more than you cared about what happened to Desmond & pals.

Don't get me wrong, the ending of Assassins Creed 3 was total dogshit & irritated me as I finished it. But I cared so much more about the world Shepherd inhabits.

Posted by GenocidalKitten

@pbhawks45: Assassins Creed 3's ending is exactly what I expected, something confusing, awkward, magical, and sequel hooking, that's what Assassins Creed endings have always been. But, I don't play AC games for the conclusion, I play them for the pretty good ancestor plot, for diving 40 feet into hay, for stabbing dudes, but Mass effect I played almost exclusively for the conclusion.

Which is why I'm not angry about the AC3 ending, because I just don't care that much about it.

Posted by KaneRobot

Wrote AC3 and plays like a dick in Halo. I don't know him, but I hate him.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@smokeyd123:

You think would have. He's into the indie shit.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

I just played through The Room too. It's good stuff, just a straight-up puzzler with some neat little tricks and such. It won't crack my top ten, but yeah, I can definitely see the reasons why it would be on someone else's.

Moderator
Posted by byterunner

@Video_Game_King: nah, because its one of them eww "Japanese Porn Visual Novels" Even if it isn't >.>

It isn't even the fact its a visual novel, since 999 is probably gonna be on patrick's list.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@byterunner said:

It isn't even the fact its a visual novel, since 999 is probably gonna be on patrick's list.

I'm guessing that eliminates the "it's Japanese" excuse, too?

(And as long as we're speculating on staff listings, I'm calling it now: Slender's gonna end up on his list, and half of them are going to be indie games none of the other staff have played.)

Posted by ReaganStein

@byterunner said:

It isn't even the fact its a visual novel, since 999 is probably gonna be on patrick's list.

Didn't 999 come out two years ago? Not sure how it would fit into patrick's list for this year...

Posted by NeoCalypso

@byterunner: 999 is a 2 year old game dude. It's not gonna be on his list, and he already said VLR didn't make the list because he couldn't finish it before he had to finalize the list.

Posted by byterunner

@ReaganStein: @NeoCalypso: Sure, but I bet if it was released this year it would be on the list. And you never know, Patrick may very well forgo the constraint that the game had to come out in 2012.

Posted by divakchopra

apparently he's not a fan of Dark Souls

Posted by Mr_Skeleton

@ilovecheesepizza said:

cool.

EDIT: My life's complete. Goodbye, cruel world.

Also, another win for X-Com. Well deserved.

How would you feel if I told you the quests won't make it into the new website?

Posted by Eribuster

Hurray for Xenoblade making it on one list! Nintendo botched the game's journey to North America so I'm happy it gets a little recognition.

Posted by Nyhus

I like that Xcom get so much recognition, but im also really happy to se Dishonored on some of these lists.

Posted by dropabombonit

I really need to get playing Dishonred and X-com

Posted by nintendork666

Xenoblade! Yes! Also need to check out XCOM and Dishonored sooner than later.

Posted by GaspoweR

@Mr_Skeleton said:

@ilovecheesepizza said:

cool.

EDIT: My life's complete. Goodbye, cruel world.

Also, another win for X-Com. Well deserved.

How would you feel if I told you the quests won't make it into the new website?

Exactly

:D

Posted by MeatSim

A lot of XCOM and Dishonored on these list. Which is fine with me.

Edited by Redhorn
I don’t care about Sona pokes or Nunu’s AS buff or Taric’s stun. Good for you. If you like them, play them. I’m instalocking Soraka and you can either deal or dodge. Also, in spite of playing thousands of matches, I’m not very good.

Yep, you are definitely a LoL player.

Posted by jakob187

In reading the part about League of Legends, that really got across the general attitude of most League players...

...myself included. Good show, ol' chap.

Posted by Xtrminatr

@brownsfantb said:

@pbhawks45 said:

I'm still amazed people get more angry at Mass Effect 3's ending than they do for Assassin's Creed III.

People got too bored and quit before they even got to the ending of Assassin's Creed III.

Accurate for me at least.

Posted by thallium

Fez for the win!

Posted by Porkellain

@OneManX said:

Draven is pleased.

Not Draven, Draaaaaaaven.

Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG

I hear lots of good things about the Mark of the Ninja, I think I might just give it a chance

Posted by deithe

pretty good list

Posted by guilherme

The Room is a pretty cool and short game!