Well it's that time of the year again, where boys and girls of the video gaming world decide which games of the past year have stood out and been their favourites. I thought that this year I would go ahead and document my personal top 3 games of 2012. So without further ado, let's get to it.
In 2006/2007 a new IP by Ubisoft was announced called Assassin's Creed. I was excited ever since I saw it's debut trailer when I was 15 years old or so. This was somewhat of a important event in my life as it was the first time I saw a game trailer that tricked my brain into thinking it was a movie trailer, and from that moment on I got more involved in what its like to follow a game during development, to learn how they're made and go from (for lack of a better phrase) a 'Casual Gamer' to 'Hardcore Gamer'. That game came out 5 years ago and crafted a story and setting I fell in love with right from the moment I watched that trailer and played the finished title. Now in 2012 we have the end to this climatic trilogy, that had me excited to see how the story would play out and the vast improvements that were being touted. I found the conclusion to the story intriguing but ultimately unsatisfying and game design that was good in some ways but not particularly focused in others, I still had a blast with this chapter to a franchise I hold very dear.
While I did find some story elements leaving me wanting and the conclusion unsatisfying, gameplay mechanics being buried and ultimately useless and therefore left unused. It was the gorgeous, engrossing world and setting, the conflicting yet similar ideals of the Templars and Assassins, the now streamlined free running, brutal, fluid combat, breathtaking naval combat, interesting characters and the mysterious, somewhat vague world of the present day stuff (can you believe that part of the story being the near future in 2007 is now technically in the past?!?) finally getting significant development and closure, and finally the amount of optional side missions to do, which is especially interesting for me because I never do side stuff in games unless story is involved. I easily spent 30+ hours saving the world one Templar at a time. Assassin's Creed III is an obvious choice to be on my list.
Well what can I say about The Walking Dead? The fact that I have to say something about why I like it so much is that there is the possibility that some of you who are reading this haven't played this masterpiece in storytelling and therefore, I say 'Shame on you!’ The Walking Dead is special. When zombies became tiresome for me around 2009, all that fatigue washed away when I watched The Walking Dead TV Series because it was less about the zombies and more about ordinary people having to do sinful acts and in the process lose a bit of their humanity to preserve their own lives as well as their fellow survivors and loved ones.
When I played the game back in April 2012, it became clear the this was one of the most incredible consequence filled, character dramas I have ever witnessed in any medium whether it be TV, Film or Video Game, The Walking Dead is a must for anyone who likes storytelling especially when it's influenced by you. Sure the gameplay maybe a little light especially in episode 5 and the consoles are plagued with performance issues, it's the fact that my heart pounded like a drum whenever a character (especially Clementine) was in peril or I had to make difficult choices (believe me they are difficult and grim), and I felt like I needed a shower straight after playing episode 3 (boy was it a doozy!), it's an unflinching, dark, brutal, tense journey being Lee, when surviving hell on earth. Go play it if you haven't.
Having been in a personal dark place myself seeking absolution/redemption (which I'm just now hoping to achieve) when I played Max Payne on the PC for the first time in November 2011. I was hooked to everything about it. So much so that after the credits rolled I immediately bought Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne on Steam and played through it within a weekend. Max Payne was such and still is a relatable character that I now hold dear in my heart. His suffering of depression, regret and seeking inner peace and absolution himself, I eagerly anticipated his modern day return in Max Payne 3, and I was well and truly satisfied and beyond. It's safe to say that Rockstar Games are my favourite developers, I thought they would be a perfect choice to carry on the Max Payne series, and while they did go with their own tone and style with the game, they crafted something more mature and just cool as the graphic novel presentation in past games. Not only that Max Payne 3 has incredible production values, great voice acting, fun gameplay, detailed animation, decent visuals, sound, music, engrossing dialogue and story. And I have barely touched the multiplayer!
Considering Max Payne 3 is now in my favourite games list and the fact that I'm on my 3rd playthrough as I am typing this, makes Max Payne 3 a no brainer for the number 1 slot. If I have to level any criticisms at the game, it has some harsh checkpointing and doesn't quite nail that balance between animation and functionality in its shooting controls, but these are mere blemishes on what is otherwise an incredible game, and alarmingly underrated since I'm not seeing it mentioned in other people's GOTY lists!?!? So if they won't, then I will, so here's to you Max Payne 3. You're my favourite game of 2012.
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