Happy New Year!
I hope everyone has been enjoying the holidays and spent all this free time catching up on the great games you may have missed from the year; I know I have. Anyway, thought I would a post about my top 5 games and films of 2012 which I've been meaning to do for a while now and then I also remembered I made 5 video game predictions at the start of 2012 that I needed to review. Also, I needed to post 5 new predictions for 2013, so that's why I'm here now! I'll try and keep this as short as possible to avoid boredom setting in and as there is a lot to get through.
Top 5 Games of 2012
Who would have thought out of the THREE new Resident Evil games released in 2012 by far the best one would be exclusive to the 3DS. Revelations is the true sequel that fans deserved to get with Resident Evil 6 and is everything fans have been crying out for. Real survival horror, interesting enemies, a good story and an fantastic setting reminiscent of the mansion from the first game contribute to this being the best Resident Evil game since Resident Evil 4. Don't let this being a portable game put you off, the game uses touch and dual screen fantastically well and is never a tacked on gimmick. The graphics are fantastic for a handheld and I really hope this gets ported so more people can experience it. If you call yourself a Resident Evil fan and you haven't played Revelations, sort it out.
Before you yell at me for putting a game that was released in 2011 on the list, in the UK where I live (And drink Tea) we only got this beauty of a game in 2012 so that's why it's on my list. Having zero interest in Japanese games in the past after hearing about the unique infidelity theme of the game I decided to try it and was blown away with what I got. Visually stunning from the moment you switch the game on and some of the most difficult puzzles ever constructed this game had me hooked. The ending I got matched the decisions I had made perfectly, even if it wasn't a desirable outcome, and seeing the other endings I think a lot of games with branching story lines could take something from Catherine. An absolute delight all round.
I only just got this game for Christmas so I was weary of putting this game too high incase it has a bad ending but so far my experience with this game has been nothing but an absolute delight. A bad ending wouldn't ruin the experience that much for me as I'm not concerned with the story, it's the gameplay that makes this game so good. It's also one of the first games I've played where I have to play a single level many times over to see every outcome and get all the challenges before moving onto the next. The way each level is layered is so well done and the game looks and controls beautifully. The game has received good reviews but it doesn't seem to be a game many have been taking about. If good stealth action games are your thing, buy this game immediately.
2. Max Payne 3
Max Payne 3 went in a completely different direction to previous games in the series. In the past you could fly through the air into a room full of enemies and take everyone out before you hit the ground. Try that in MP3 and you will get massacred. What we got instead was one of the smoothest and mechanically sound cover-based shooters without Gears of War in the title. The multiplayer many also assumed would be tacked on to a game that was all about the single player in the past; which turned out to be completely wrong. What we got was Rockstar's best and most thought out multiplayer to date. Connectivity issues aside, MP3 has fantastic multiplayer with interesting modes and varied maps. I was slightly disappointed originally with the story but having replayed it I think it's just a way to get Max into fun gameplay situations, which it executes perfectly.
What is there to say about this game that hasn't already been said many times before? This game has been getting a lot of attention lately in this award season and rightfully so. What started as a pleasant surprise in Episode 1 developed over the season into something which many will look back on as being an important game for the industry. Overall I feel like people will be have read the reasons why this game is so good many times over. The character development and choices, emotional agony and shocking plot twists are unlike any story told this year. The main reason why it's my game of the year is because I definitely spent more time talking to friends, reading forums and having discussions about this game than any other in 2012. Looking forward to the next episode and pondering over what potential choices I might make have defined this year for gaming for me. When I look back to 2012 in the future without a doubt the first game that will spring to mind is Telltale Games' The Walking Dead. That's why I can't think of a more deserving game of the year.
Other games I really enjoyed include Trials Evolution which is so much fun but can be a bit repetitive after a little while. I haven't had the urge to revisit that title for a while. I also enjoyed Halo 4 and Assassin's Creed III which I think are both good games but a few problems with both stopped them from being in my top games of the year. My biggest disappointment was by far Resident Evil 6. I've already said enough about this game, if you would like to read my review you can find it here.
Top 5 Films of 2012
5. The Cabin in the Woods
Being a huge fan of horror I had heard good things about this film in the community but knew nothing about what happens before I saw it. This is the best way to see this film. It uses the conventions of the genre so well and really is a delight if you're a horror geek like myself. Maybe it can be a bit too 'meta' in places but as a fan of Scream and anything that is made by and for true horror fans, I can't help but enjoy it very much.
I had zero expectations for this film when it was announced. Being a huge fan of James Bond as a kid my love for the spy has been lost over the years. Casino Royale was good but Quantum of Solace was so dreadful I never wanted to see another Daniel Craig bond film again. After Skyfall there is no doubt in my mind that Daniel Craig IS James Bond. Funny, interesting and heartfelt, this is the true reboot the series has needed for a while. More a drama than an action film everything about Skyfall impressed me and singlehandley rekindled my love for the franchise.
In a pretty weak year for horror I think this film stands alone as being the best and most interesting thing to happen to the genre in 2012. Smashing together two of the most hit and miss sub genres (Found Footage and Anthology) we got an amazing film which could be the next big horror franchise with an interesting sequel already scheduled for release in 2013. 5 different segments all intriguing and scary in different ways, the standard of quality on show meant that even the weakest segment is still better that almost everything else in horror last year. A showcase for upcoming new horror directors I hope this sticks around and continues to produce great content on an annual basis.
2. Life of Pi
In any other year this film would have been my number one easily. In all my years studying and watching film I have never been more emotionally affected by a film as much as I was watching Life of Pi. The story does so much with such a small amount it's remarkable the journey that is told through only a boy and a Bengal Tiger. The effects are absolutely incredible and has by far the best use of 3D I have ever seen in a film. Only used to make the world seem more alive without being a gimmick, this is how 3D is done. The ending wasn't as strong as I had liked but the middle hour of this film is one of the best I've ever seen in my life. I cannot wait to watch this film many times over the coming years.
1. The Dark Knight Rises
Where do I even begin? What Christopher Nolan has achieved through only 3 films is nothing short of remarkable. Everything from the incredible set pieces filmed beautifully on IMAX, the chilling soundtrack composed to perfection, the ensemble cast which all provide something to the experience and the perfect ending to one of the best trilogies of modern cinema. The problems many people have with this film such as minor story plot holes make me wonder why people watch films. I don't wanna be bogged down by tiny details. When a film tells a story of this magnitude and ambition I really don't need to be spoon-fed details such as how Batman gets back to Gotham after escaping the prison. The fact that Nolan picks and chooses when he gives you information shows his level of artistry as a director and belief in the story he is telling. Having seen this film twice at the cinema and once on Blu ray it has gotten better and better each time and I can't wait for my next viewing. This isn't only my top film of 2012 but possibly in my top 3 films ever. Oh and Tom Hardy as Bane is absolutely incredible and one of the best villain performances of all time.
I also really enjoyed The Hobbit with the only letdown for me being the action sequences that are way too CGI heavy. This loses the weight and suspense of the live action scenes we mostly saw in the Lord of the Rings films. I hope the action in the next two are more hands-on and we could see something really special. I also really enjoyed Prometheus and American Reunion.
The only film that disappointed me was Looper. Not a bad film by a long shot but being a huge time travel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt fan I wanted to love this film so much. I really enjoyed the initial premise and set up of the world but thought the plot and story told wasn't really that interesting. It had too many sequences that dragged on such as the parts at the farm but I did love the flashes of violence the film had which were incredible.
I will also add that Django Unchained, Wreck-it Ralph and Lincoln all come out in the UK in the first two months of 2013 so I haven't seen them yet. They may well feature on next year's list.
2012 Predictions: The Results
I made these for fun on January 1st 2012 just to see how right or wrong I could predict some things. Let's see the results.
Prediction 1: GTA V will NOT be released in 2012.
CORRECT. Quite happy with this one. Remember at the time we had only just had the announcement and first trailer and little did we know all we would get for a whole year is a few pitiful screenshots. I assumed with Max Payne 3 scheduled for release in 2012 and their affiliation with that release window we wouldn't get the game till 2013. And I was right. Go me.
Prediction 2: The 3DS will have a redesign RELEASED in 2012.
CORRECT. After E3 2012 came and went with no news I had given up hope on this one. Then out of nowhere Nintendo announced and then released the 3DS XL. I thought the redesign would contain a 2nd thumb stick which didn't happen but we got a redesign nonetheless so I'm happy.
Prediction 3: The Xbox Durango will be ANNOUNCED by Microsoft in 2012.
WRONG. Probably the safest prediction I made turned about to be completely wrong as Microsoft didn't make a single announcement regarding the new Xbox. Seeing as there is now a 99% chance of it being announced in 2013 I'm gonna avoid this one for fear of failing two years in a row.
Prediction 4: The 3DS will sell more units WORLDWIDE than the PS Vita in 2012.
CORRECT. I haven't been able to find any solid numbers for the year overall just yet but judging by the monthly NPD numbers released where the 3DS always outsold the Vita I'm calling this one as correct. It might seem obvious now but back when I made this prediction the Vita had only been released in Japan and was two months before launching worldwide. I just thought the price was too high and the amount of games wasn't enough to topple the 3DS. Maybe 2013 will be the year Vita finds its feet.
Prediction 5: A Call of Duty will NOT be the best selling game of 2012, across all platforms.
WRONG. Didn't have many high hopes for this one and once Black Ops II got announced I knew this was an epic fail. You haven't seen the last of this prediction though.
Prediction 1: A Call of Duty game will NOT be the best selling game of 2013, across all platforms.
Decided to do this one again. It will probably fail when Modern Warfare 4 comes out but I reckon the game in my next prediction will outsell it.
Prediction 2: GTA V will break the entertainment launch record (Overall income in 24 hours).
I think GTA V will be the best selling game of the year so that's why I went with this one. It might fail though as unlike COD, GTA doesn't get a majority of their sales in the first 24 hours, it sells consistently well for a few years. I just think the hype for this one will mean it will sell like crazy on launch.
Prediction 3: Sony will announce the Playstation Orbis before Microsoft announces the Xbox Durango.
Announcements of the new consoles are pretty imminent for this year so I tried to make it slightly interesting. Sony won't want to be last out of the gate like last time so I predicted this one. It will probably be a case of whoever has their conference first at E3 though.
Prediction 4: Smash Brothers on Wii U will be officially announced this year. It will NOT come out in 2013.
We know it's coming but we don't know when. Nintendo will have to tease this at some point in the year but I don't think it will come out soon. I foresee an announcement with a very vague 2014 release date.
Prediction 5: Metal Gear Solid 5 will be announced exclusively for the Playstation Orbis.
Again tried to do go with something not entirely obvious. I think with The Phantom Pain all but being a prelude to announcing MGS 5 the only thing stopping this being the platform it's on not announced yet. I expect when Sony do unveil their next console, a MGS 5 announcement will be with it.
Until next time.
And so there we have it! Tried to keep this as short as possible so couldn't go into as much detail as I would have liked for each game and film to do them justice but then I would have been writing all day. So which games/films did you love of 2012? Which of mine do you hate? And which crazy predictions did anyone make that came true? Let me know and remember to come back next year to make fun of me when none of my predictions come true.