10 FAVORITE GAMES OF 2012:
10. Dust: An Elysian Tale
9. Black Ops 2
8. Xenoblade Chronicles
7. The Walking Dead
6. Sword and Sworcery: EP
5. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
4. Borderlands 2
3. Mass Effect 3
1. You'll just have to see my Game of the Year section at the bottom!... BUT DON'T SKIP RIGHT TO IT.
"Most Surprising Thing That Has No Right To Be As Good As It Is" Award
Mass Effect 3's Multiplayer
This game, man. When I (and probably everybody else) first heard about the inclusion of Multiplayer in the final game in the Mass Effect trilogy, I went berserk. WHAT?! Multiplayer? in MY beloved game franchise? Inconceivable!!
But sure enough, Mass Effect 3 was released, and it had a cooperative multiplayer mode.
The best part? It was actually pretty awesome.
I've played the horde-mode-esque portion of Mass Effect 3 far more than I played the single-player. A year ago, if somebody had told me that I would spend more time playing as a random Krogan Vanguard than as my Commander Shepard that I had spent years building, I likely would have regurgitated whatever food I was eating at the time and called the closest mental hospital.
Black Ops 2's Campaign
"Best Game That Happens to be Downloadable" award
Back when I first heard about Fez, I didn't think much of it. A cute, quirky platformer with an interesting gimmick? Sure; I've heard this somewhere before, and it didn't really catch my attention (I didn't like Braid very much).
However, leading up to its release and shortly thereafter, my interest quickly became piqued -- this was not merely a gimmicky platformer. This was clearly something much, much more.
It certainly is exactly that. If you haven't played Fez, you absolutely owe it to yourself to do so immediately. Very seldom does a game reward you so much without really giving you anything at all.
Journey, The Walking Dead, Mark of the Ninja, Dust: an Elysian Tale
"Most Overwhelming Disappointment" Award(?)
Jet Set Radio HD
I really wanted to love this. I loved the original when it came out. I loved Jet Set Radio Future
even more! But I suppose that's just the passage of time: as games age, they become irrelevant, and in turn just plain bad.
The controls are clunky, a lot of sound mechanical design was sacrificed in lieu of making an interesting visual style work, and to top it all off? It's just not all that fun to play.
Even I Am Alive is glaring. Shaking its 20-foot-draw-distance, broken-AI, invisibly-walled head disdainfully; "Really, dude?"
I Am Alive
"Most Ambitious Game" Award
Journey, on its own, is a compelling case for why games can be considered "art". Gorgeous setpieces, a masterfully composed soundtrack, and sometimes
heart-breaking multiplayer all combine to make journey more than just a game; it's an experience which you absolutely need to have.
A difficult game to write about to be sure, Journey is one that I am positive people will be remembering for a very long time.
FTL: Faster Than Light, Frog Fractions, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
"Best Payoff" Award
Spec Ops: The Line's Epilogue
Without really spoiling anything or going into great detail, the ending and subsequent epilogue to this game is pretty terrific, and is only enhanced by Nolan North's incredibly solid voice performance.
If you've played through the game you know exactly what I mean.
Fez: Cracking the Code, most of Borderlands 2's quest dialogue
"Most Unintentionally Hilarious But Still Really Bad" Award
Prototype 2's "Fuck off. I hate computers!" scene
There's really not much that needs to be said about this one. Look the quote up on youtube if you want to see more.
Karaoke In Sleeping Dogs, New Super Mario Bros. 2/U's "Wah Wah"
"Game of the Year" Award
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
There is way too much I could say about XCOM, and really not enough time, space, or energy in the universe to tell you that you need -- no -- you HAVE to play this game. You absolutely just have to. It's inexcusable.
No matter how much it scares the crap out of you, no matter how averse you are to strategy games... Just give it a try.
Fez, The Walking Dead Season 1, Mass Effect 3