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Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4504 posts) -

I know I'm generalizing to a certain extent here but I've been getting the impression that a lot of people have found this year to be disappointing and/or weak for games. Sure I wished that Mass Effect 3 turned out better than I expected and the same can be said for Resident Evil 6 which I hated to admit was just too bad for me to continue playing. Hell even Assassin's Creed 3 and Darksiders 2 (I wanted more "zeldaness") could be considered "disappointing" but don't let that drag down a whole year that hasn't been so bad at all.

Enough of that sad sack shit, how about taking a look at some of the surprises of 2012

The Year of The Downloadable

....fuck

I think the number of downloadables from this year that I ended up really digging have finally outnumbered the amount of retail releases that I've enjoyed. Let's not forget Trials Evolution which made me want to hurl my controller at the wall numerous times but I always managed to convince myself to hit retry one more time. Hotline Miami is another game that comes to mind when I think of great downloadables. That game is dripping with style and has tight violent gameplay that forces you to form a plan of attack and execute that plan as fast and accurate as possible (plus the soundtrack is just too fucking good). Also don't forget about the fantastic Crashmo for the 3DS, if you're a fan of Pushmo then you know why you need to hurry the hell up and play this. The changes they brought to that puzzle game are refreshing and will keep me coming back to solve more puzzles. On top of that I'm about to jump into Journey and eventually Dust: An Elysian Tail which both have received their fair share of critical praise.

Binary Domain

Never change, Big Bo, never change.

I wonder how many people forgot this came out this year because this game just barely flew under my radar. Despite looking like a basic third-person shooter, Binary Domain has some solid gunplay filled with enemies that are just too fun to shoot at. There's an extreme satisfaction you get when you watch the robots break down and fall apart as you rip them apart with bullets. The story also went a long way in keeping me engaged and wanting to see it through to the end. Adding what might seem to be a minor mechanic of choosing dialogue options when talking to your squad mates and increasing/decreasing their preference towards you helped me to care more about them. Now I would be a piece of shit if I continued on without mentioning two very special characters, Big Bo and Cain. A french robot armed with a pistol and stylish neckerchief teamed up with a hulking, overly-enthusiastic mass of muscle shooting the shit outta bots is nothing short of pure joy in my book.

Asura's Wrath

TAP 'B' YOU FUCK, TAP IT NOW!!

I'm not exactly sure where to start with this game interactive anime. I could have easily written this game off because of its dependence on QTE's and cutscenes but I'm glad I gave it a chance. You may have to wade through some mediocre gameplay but witnessing the ludicrous events that unfold are easily worth the price of admission. I'm fighting myself to stop listing the crazy shit that happens but that would just be robbing you from a worthwhile trip through this insane game that is simply stupid fun. Asura's Wrath gets some serious mileage out of its QTE dependent gameplay and manages to throw in just enough surprises that will keep you tapping the shit out of that controller till it breaks.

Sleeping Dogs

Beautiful looking game

I already went into some detail as to why I seriously like Sleeping Dogs so I'm going to try to talk about it without just copying/pasting from my last blog. This game probably shouldn't have happened and it seemed like luck that it managed to hit store shelves, but the huge surprise for me is how solid the end product turned out to be. Made up of recognizable mechanics from other games, Sleeping Dogs blends together familiar components and a richly detailed rendition of Hong Kong all into one outstanding package. The melee combat is what got me hooked to the point that I would go out of my way to search for fight club side missions just so I could break more arms and faces. It's no wonder that Vinny just can't help but attack innocent NPC's. Play this game.

Far Cry 3

I'm glad I decided to upgrade my GPU.

This game is more of a personal surprise for me than a general one because I didn't care for the first game and the second one fell completely flat for me. I needed an excuse to push my new video card so I saw no reason to not give Far Cry 3 a chance. First off the visual fidelity on PC has been a joy to look at, there are times where I can't help but get overly excited at just how good the environments look in this game and it's a good thing that the world is filled with tons of great content to give plenty of reason to explore this tropical "paradise". I would be shocked if someone told me I would be hunting animals (take that AC 3) and raiding pirate camps just for the fun of it. Now it obviously seems like the story won't go in the direction that I would have hoped it would but that doesn't matter because I'm too busy happily setting this pot field on fire.

What are your surprises for this year?

#1 Edited by Colourful_Hippie (4504 posts) -

I know I'm generalizing to a certain extent here but I've been getting the impression that a lot of people have found this year to be disappointing and/or weak for games. Sure I wished that Mass Effect 3 turned out better than I expected and the same can be said for Resident Evil 6 which I hated to admit was just too bad for me to continue playing. Hell even Assassin's Creed 3 and Darksiders 2 (I wanted more "zeldaness") could be considered "disappointing" but don't let that drag down a whole year that hasn't been so bad at all.

Enough of that sad sack shit, how about taking a look at some of the surprises of 2012

The Year of The Downloadable

....fuck

I think the number of downloadables from this year that I ended up really digging have finally outnumbered the amount of retail releases that I've enjoyed. Let's not forget Trials Evolution which made me want to hurl my controller at the wall numerous times but I always managed to convince myself to hit retry one more time. Hotline Miami is another game that comes to mind when I think of great downloadables. That game is dripping with style and has tight violent gameplay that forces you to form a plan of attack and execute that plan as fast and accurate as possible (plus the soundtrack is just too fucking good). Also don't forget about the fantastic Crashmo for the 3DS, if you're a fan of Pushmo then you know why you need to hurry the hell up and play this. The changes they brought to that puzzle game are refreshing and will keep me coming back to solve more puzzles. On top of that I'm about to jump into Journey and eventually Dust: An Elysian Tail which both have received their fair share of critical praise.

Binary Domain

Never change, Big Bo, never change.

I wonder how many people forgot this came out this year because this game just barely flew under my radar. Despite looking like a basic third-person shooter, Binary Domain has some solid gunplay filled with enemies that are just too fun to shoot at. There's an extreme satisfaction you get when you watch the robots break down and fall apart as you rip them apart with bullets. The story also went a long way in keeping me engaged and wanting to see it through to the end. Adding what might seem to be a minor mechanic of choosing dialogue options when talking to your squad mates and increasing/decreasing their preference towards you helped me to care more about them. Now I would be a piece of shit if I continued on without mentioning two very special characters, Big Bo and Cain. A french robot armed with a pistol and stylish neckerchief teamed up with a hulking, overly-enthusiastic mass of muscle shooting the shit outta bots is nothing short of pure joy in my book.

Asura's Wrath

TAP 'B' YOU FUCK, TAP IT NOW!!

I'm not exactly sure where to start with this game interactive anime. I could have easily written this game off because of its dependence on QTE's and cutscenes but I'm glad I gave it a chance. You may have to wade through some mediocre gameplay but witnessing the ludicrous events that unfold are easily worth the price of admission. I'm fighting myself to stop listing the crazy shit that happens but that would just be robbing you from a worthwhile trip through this insane game that is simply stupid fun. Asura's Wrath gets some serious mileage out of its QTE dependent gameplay and manages to throw in just enough surprises that will keep you tapping the shit out of that controller till it breaks.

Sleeping Dogs

Beautiful looking game

I already went into some detail as to why I seriously like Sleeping Dogs so I'm going to try to talk about it without just copying/pasting from my last blog. This game probably shouldn't have happened and it seemed like luck that it managed to hit store shelves, but the huge surprise for me is how solid the end product turned out to be. Made up of recognizable mechanics from other games, Sleeping Dogs blends together familiar components and a richly detailed rendition of Hong Kong all into one outstanding package. The melee combat is what got me hooked to the point that I would go out of my way to search for fight club side missions just so I could break more arms and faces. It's no wonder that Vinny just can't help but attack innocent NPC's. Play this game.

Far Cry 3

I'm glad I decided to upgrade my GPU.

This game is more of a personal surprise for me than a general one because I didn't care for the first game and the second one fell completely flat for me. I needed an excuse to push my new video card so I saw no reason to not give Far Cry 3 a chance. First off the visual fidelity on PC has been a joy to look at, there are times where I can't help but get overly excited at just how good the environments look in this game and it's a good thing that the world is filled with tons of great content to give plenty of reason to explore this tropical "paradise". I would be shocked if someone told me I would be hunting animals (take that AC 3) and raiding pirate camps just for the fun of it. Now it obviously seems like the story won't go in the direction that I would have hoped it would but that doesn't matter because I'm too busy happily setting this pot field on fire.

What are your surprises for this year?

#2 Posted by pandorasbox (303 posts) -

I really think people give binary domain too much attention.

#3 Posted by RE_Player1 (7526 posts) -

I feel the same way dude, especially when it comes to the downloadable games. People are just being negative because we are so close to new consoles that will, supposedly, blow these ones out of the water. I can't wait for everyone to be hyped up for what Microsoft and Sony will be offering only to have the usual launch window bullshit.

#4 Posted by JZ (2120 posts) -

@pandorasbox: no, not nearly enough. Big bo, cain, and vaas the best characters this year.

#5 Posted by JZ (2120 posts) -

Way of the samurai 4 was a download only this year and that game is pretty awesome. Borderlands 2 more of my favorite fps ever. The last story also came out this year and that was very surprisingly the best jrpg I've played in the last 5 years.

#6 Posted by Ghost_Cat (1476 posts) -

Gah, must resist purchasing Far Cry 3 for the eye candies. Resist!

#7 Posted by Sackmanjones (4762 posts) -

Don't forget Spec Ops. Who thought that game would be decent at all, let alone possibly be important for the future of Games.

You could say the surprises balanced out the disappointments. I would have never guessed that I Absolution would disappoint me (even though I'd still consider it a good game)

#8 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4504 posts) -

@Sackmanjones: I only recently started it, I'm probably a couple hours in and I really hope the story picks up cuz the gameplay sure isn't keeping my attention. I just have a feeling that the story will fall flat for me because I already watched Apocalypse Now.

#9 Posted by MildMolasses (3229 posts) -
@Colourful_Hippie

@Sackmanjones: I only recently started it, I'm probably a couple hours in and I really hope the story picks up cuz the gameplay sure isn't keeping my attention. I just have a feeling that the story will fall flat for me because I already watched Apocalypse Now.

Yeah, that's not really the direction that Spec-Ops goes in. After playing it, I suggest tracking down the gamespot spoiler cast with the writer because it could blow your mind
#10 Posted by Azteck (7449 posts) -

I really don't get why everyone is holding Binary Domain to such high praise. It was alright. Mediocre at times. Never really went beyond that. And I can get behind some pretty meh games, but Binary Domain just fell completely flat for me.

#11 Edited by AlisterCat (5736 posts) -

@MildMolasses said:

@Colourful_Hippie

@Sackmanjones: I only recently started it, I'm probably a couple hours in and I really hope the story picks up cuz the gameplay sure isn't keeping my attention. I just have a feeling that the story will fall flat for me because I already watched Apocalypse Now.

Yeah, that's not really the direction that Spec-Ops goes in. After playing it, I suggest tracking down the gamespot spoiler cast with the writer because it could blow your mind

I second this. It's a little groundhog day with some apocalypse now and... well, you'll find out. That podcast is really worth listening to. Jeff was blow away and so was I.

Also the story stuff starts out so slowly. It won't be until near the end when you start seeing what people are talking about with this game.

#12 Posted by Animasta (14731 posts) -

@Azteck said:

I really don't get why everyone is holding Binary Domain to such high praise. It was alright. Mediocre at times. Never really went beyond that. And I can get behind some pretty meh games, but Binary Domain just fell completely flat for me.

the characters were great, the shooting was fine, the story beats were pretty entertaining (the story as a whole wasn't too amazing or anything but there were some great moments). It's mostly the characters for me though

#13 Posted by Azteck (7449 posts) -

@Animasta said:

@Azteck said:

I really don't get why everyone is holding Binary Domain to such high praise. It was alright. Mediocre at times. Never really went beyond that. And I can get behind some pretty meh games, but Binary Domain just fell completely flat for me.

the characters were great, the shooting was fine, the story beats were pretty entertaining (the story as a whole wasn't too amazing or anything but there were some great moments). It's mostly the characters for me though

Guess it's just me then. The only character I found genuinely interesting was the French ninja-robot. That guy was super cool.

#14 Posted by TobbRobb (4853 posts) -

@Azteck: There is a french ninja-robot!? WHAT.

I need to play this now.

#15 Posted by Animasta (14731 posts) -

@TobbRobb said:

@Azteck: There is a french ninja-robot!? WHAT.

I need to play this now.

he's not a ninja, but he's a french robot.

and I also found him one of the lesser characters (if only because there isn't a whole lot of character building with him) (I mean considering he's a robot it would be sorta weird to have him character build but whatevs)

#16 Posted by TobbRobb (4853 posts) -

@Animasta: In my mind, he is a ninja. Lesser or not, he is still a french robot. All I need.

If other characters are better, then yay for me!

#17 Posted by Azteck (7449 posts) -

@TobbRobb: He does crazy jumps and can fly. Basically what I'm telling you is that that character is pretty great.

#18 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4504 posts) -

@AlisterCat said:

@MildMolasses said:

@Colourful_Hippie

@Sackmanjones: I only recently started it, I'm probably a couple hours in and I really hope the story picks up cuz the gameplay sure isn't keeping my attention. I just have a feeling that the story will fall flat for me because I already watched Apocalypse Now.

Yeah, that's not really the direction that Spec-Ops goes in. After playing it, I suggest tracking down the gamespot spoiler cast with the writer because it could blow your mind

I second this. It's a little groundhog day with some apocalypse now and... well, you'll find out. That podcast is really worth listening to. Jeff was blow away and so was I.

Also the story stuff starts out so slowly. It won't be until near the end when you start seeing what people are talking about with this game.

I'll definitely finish the game and I'll be sure to check out the podcast but Far Cry 3 has my attention right now.

@Animasta said:

@TobbRobb said:

@Azteck: There is a french ninja-robot!? WHAT.

I need to play this now.

he's not a ninja, but he's a french robot.

and I also found him one of the lesser characters (if only because there isn't a whole lot of character building with him) (I mean considering he's a robot it would be sorta weird to have him character build but whatevs)

He's more of a fun personality, which is why I hated his random disappearance in that last third or so of the game.

#19 Posted by Animasta (14731 posts) -

@Colourful_Hippie: it wasn't random also spoilers D:

#20 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4504 posts) -

@Animasta: Oh right now I remember and yeah I whiffed on that spoiler...it's pretty minor but whoops.

#21 Edited by awesomeusername (4221 posts) -

I thought The Darkness 2 was awesome. Spec Ops story was great and the ending is just insanely fantastic. Max Payne 3 and Dishonored were good games. I loved Mass Effect 3. Gravity Rush for the Vita is also a surprisingly great game.

@MildMolasses said:

Yeah, that's not really the direction that Spec-Ops goes in. After playing it, I suggest tracking down the gamespot spoiler cast with the writer because it could blow your mind

Link me to it. Or DIE.

#22 Posted by impartialgecko (1689 posts) -

@pandorasbox said:

I really think people give binary domain too much attention.

Kinda this. I like the game but it's a bog-standard shooter with a bit of personality to it. I also don't get why people love Sleeping Dogs so much, again competent but nothing special. No argument from me about Asura's Wrath though.

#23 Posted by MildMolasses (3229 posts) -
@awesomeusername http://www.gamespot.com/features/gamespot-gameplay-special-edition-spoilercast-spec-ops-the-line-6386587/
#24 Posted by MildMolasses (3229 posts) -
@awesomeusername Sorry, the mobile site won't create an actual link
#25 Posted by DonChipotle (2858 posts) -

Binary Domain was a good game, but Big Bo is the year's most overrated character. Even amongst the Rust Crew he is like...fourth on the list of cool dudes.

#26 Posted by Nottle (1915 posts) -

Doesn't Binary Domain have really good game feel. Like the enemies get blown apart in really satisfying ways?

Also Dragon's Dogma was good too right?

#27 Posted by tourgen (4542 posts) -

dragon's dogma turned out to be fun

Legend of Grimrock was great

Bad surprise in Torchlight II - it just wasn't quite what I was looking for.

#28 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4504 posts) -

@Nottle: Yeah the robots break apart quite nicely and it's fun to shoot their legs out and watch them crawl towards you. As for Dragon's Dogma, I didn't play it because it's simply not my kinda game.

@DonChipotle said:

Binary Domain was a good game, but Big Bo is the year's most overrated character. Even amongst the Rust Crew he is like...fourth on the list of cool dudes.

Racist.

#29 Posted by awesomeusername (4221 posts) -

@MildMolasses: It doesn't matter but grassy ass (gracias) (thank you).

#30 Posted by DonChipotle (2858 posts) -

@Colourful_Hippie said:

@DonChipotle said:

Binary Domain was a good game, but Big Bo is the year's most overrated character. Even amongst the Rust Crew he is like...fourth on the list of cool dudes.

Racist.

Sure, that's the reason why. I also hate Faye and Shindo and that cop guy. They ain't whites they ain't matter. Also fuck robots. It's against God it is.

#31 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4504 posts) -

@DonChipotle: It's a joke.

#32 Posted by DonChipotle (2858 posts) -

@Colourful_Hippie said:

@DonChipotle: It's a joke.

I know.

But also fuck the robots.

#33 Posted by Metric_Outlaw (1173 posts) -

I agree, most of the high profile games were disappointing but I have had a ton fun with a bunch of downloadable and weird Japanese games. A few games that really surprised me this year were Xenoblade, Asura, Mark of the Ninja, Spenlunkey, and The Walking Dead.

#34 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4504 posts) -

@awesomeusername said:

@MildMolasses: It doesn't matter but grassy ass (gracias) (thank you).

Wow...fucking wow. Can't believe I never noticed, now my life will never be the same.

#35 Posted by BeachThunder (12448 posts) -

@tourgen said:

Legend of Grimrock was great

Grimrock was a huge surprise for me; I usually can't stand 'fantasy' games, but I really enjoyed Grimrock - great puzzles, wonderful atmosphere, and lots of square dancing.

#36 Posted by Dixavd (1381 posts) -

@awesomeusername said:

@MildMolasses said:

Yeah, that's not really the direction that Spec-Ops goes in. After playing it, I suggest tracking down the gamespot spoiler cast with the writer because it could blow your mind

Link me to it. Or DIE.

I think that was this one: http://uk.gamespot.com/features/gamespot-gameplay-special-edition-spoilercast-spec-ops-the-line-6386587/

As for the OP, I haven't found this to be a very disappointing or surprising year. Downloadable titles have been great for years, they just were a lot more high profile than previously (although I would say that Bastion, Super Meat Boy and Minecraft were all more high profile than Journey and The Walking Dead this year). But I never really categorise them as being in a different level - sort of got passed that when I really enjoyed handheld gaming and decided that no matter the way you get it or the platform, a good game is still a good game.

I guess I could still be disappointed (still haven't played Darksiders 2 or Assassin's Creed 3 - and haven't finished Mass Effect 3 yet). but the games that I have been super excited to get have been enjoyable to me thus far and playing a couple of games that are absolute gems have made this year still fantastic for games for me (I still think 2011 was better though - but who can compete with Skyward Sword, Portal 2, and the ICO/Shadow of the Colossus HD collection all releasing in the same year).

Still nice to read some early optimism in the early GOTY/reflection discussions - ususally they are filled with a lot of cynical people until after Christmas when they play one game they really like and suddenly are really into it and can't stop talking about GOTY until way into January.

#37 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5818 posts) -

The Walking Dead was my biggest surprise. Of all the games I knew were being released this year, TWD was definitely not one I expected to love.

Also, I'm really surprised that 999 got a sequel, and that it came out in the states.

#38 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4504 posts) -

@FancySoapsMan: I already had the impression that TWD would be pretty good but the one thing that surprised was the amount of emotional investment I had in a lot of the characters and that goes double for Clem. I've never felt like that about a video game character ever.

#39 Posted by ozzdog12 (864 posts) -

@Colourful_Hippie: I know you talked about downloadables but you forgot the single most important 'downloadable' game of the year, The Walking Dead

#40 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4504 posts) -

@ozzdog12: I did already talk about it but you're right, it really does deserve a mention.

#41 Edited by spankingaddict (2741 posts) -

@pandorasbox said:

I really think people give binary domain too much attention.

I agree . It's good , though .

Every year has there handful of surprising games . It doesn't change the fact that this year was weak overall .

#42 Posted by YOU_DIED (703 posts) -

@spankingaddict said:

@pandorasbox said:

I really think people give binary domain too much attention.

I agree . It's good , though .

Every year has there handful of surprising games . It doesn't change the fact that this year was weak overall .

Weak in what respect though? Not enough new IPs from big publishers? Too many sequels? There were a lot of pleasant surprises for me, like with Dishonored. Also, great year for indie games. Hotline Miami might be my personal GOTY, fucking brilliant style and soundtrack, as well as tight, fast paced gameplay. That game kind of reminds me why I started playing video games in the first place.

#43 Posted by pyromagnestir (4339 posts) -

I just met Cain. He was cool. I look forward to more of Binary Domain in the coming days.

#44 Posted by GalacticGravy (550 posts) -

I think this year was good, but not for the titles and types of game that we usually look for.

#45 Posted by Hizang (8532 posts) -

Who knew Sorcery was actually going to be a good game, people really give it little credit or just dismiss it without playing it.

My Review

#46 Posted by CJduke (800 posts) -

The Walking Dead, Journey, Far Cry 3, Mark of the Ninja, Spec Ops: The Line, and Sleeping Dogs were all games I wasn't looking forward to at all or even knew much about and they are amazingly good games, while games like Kingdoms of Amalur, Darksiders 2, ME 3, and AC 3 were games I was super excited for and have turned out to be not as great as I had thought they would be.

#47 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4504 posts) -
@CJduke I almost forgot about Mark of The Ninja, I need to get to playing that too.
#48 Posted by BoOzak (999 posts) -

This year got off to a pretty good start but it kind of fizzled towards the end. (E3 really didnt help) I agree there were a lot of good games but there werent that many great ones in my opinion.

#49 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Year of the Persona 4 Golden. That's what's up.

#50 Posted by morrelloman (609 posts) -

All those plus Spec Ops, Transformers, Syndicate, Dragon's Dogma, and even Gravity Rush. Additional entries that I liked Darksiders 2 & Amazing Spider-man. Dishonored walked a fine line between being AAA after the mega hypetrain, but fuck that game was fun. The year gets a B+ from me no question. A- if the WiiU wasn't so disappointing software wise.