So that makes them my favorites right? That's how that works correct?
So here they are. Unlike in many years past where I could play a game once and make up my mind about it, this time I found myself going through games multiple times just to figure out what it is I liked about them. At one point while playing through Max Payne 3 for a third time I could no longer just sit there and say "eh this game is alright I guess". Something was pushing me to play these games so much. So I did a bit of soul searching and managed to make a list that resembles a GOTY list.
Look at that dude. His insanity tattoos are way cooler than Jason Brody's. I love stealth games and this is one of the better ones on the market. This game does drag on towards the end, but once I finished the mostly forgettable story I went right back in and started playing missions in new ways with new toys but nothing was as satisfying as beating every level without killing anyone ever. I beat the game once, then I beat it in NG+, then I went and got all the suits and am now working on getting every seal. I spent a lot of time as a virtual ninja this year.
I really like this game. If Syndicate is the tip of the spear on this "sci-fi future shooters" then I welcome the next 5 years of futuristic murder simulators. But what makes this special is the cooperative gameplay. Once I beat the bland singleplayer I found myself replaying the co-op over and over and over. With a team or with randoms, with or without voice chat, I found the experience consistently enjoyable. It's a shame nothing came of it and the sales were so poor. I want more of this and I can only play the same few levels over and over again before I master them. I spent a lot of time in the corporation controlled future this year.
There is almost nothing as satisfying as crossing that checkered line and seeing attempt number 436 in the top left corner of the screen. As frustrating as this game seems sometimes, it's never cheap. It rewards patience and technique better than almost any other game around. Once I completed the hardest track in the game, after my 200th attempt or so, I went right back and tried to gold medal every track. Then I found out you can get platinum medals too and proceeded to fall deeper into the Trials wormhole. I also didn't help that there are literally infinite user created tracks too. I spent a lot of time on a virtual bike this year.
I completely understand if you were disappointed by this game as an SSX fan; there was no multiplayer to speak of and that's a big bummer. But that wasn't me. My last snowboarding game was 1080 Snowboarding on the N64 and this game just brought back all those awesome memories. The descents were great, the music was awesome, the controls were fluid and the autolog inspired "multiplayer" kept me coming back to beat my friends....records. It was so satisfying to be number one on your friends list after trying to beat their score for hours and hours. I spent a lot of time on the virtual slopes in 2012.
If you told me a new Forza game that came out just a year after Forza 4 would be one of my favorites just a year ago I would have laughed in your face. Many open world racing games don't work for me because there are just way too many events and they are all way to similar to one another, but with Horizon I found myself racing and enjoying every.single.event. without exception. Once I ran out of things to do and cars to buy I proceeded to play online against others and had a ton more fun. Safe to say I spent a lot of time in virtual Colorado this year.
There was a lot to be disappointed about in Mass Effect 3 but there was a whole lot more stuff to be stoked about in the final chapter to one of this generation's best trilogies. As much as the ending bummed me out, I still went right back in and played again as a giant douchebag Shepard, then as a Ice Cube lookalike, then as an adept, then on insanity and so on. Yes I like ME2 more than ME3 in almost every aspect but when compared to other sci-fi RPGs, Mass Effect 3 is still an awesome game that plays well and has cool characters and settings. Despite the many hours I've already spent playing ME3 I'm still dying to see what that final DLC is and I want nothing more than to play this game again with all the DLC and new ending. I spent a gang of time traveling through the galaxy this year.
Darksiders wasn't exactly a game I enjoyed or even wanted to finish at one point in time. I eventually finished it and found myself really liking it's dark take on the Zelda concept. However I was extremely glad when Vigil games threw all that bullshit out the window and started fresh with Darksiders II. This game outclasses Darksiders in almost every area if you ask me. The gameplay is much more fluid, the enemies are better, the environments are cooler and the music is absolutely fantastic. Jesper Kyd did some of his best work here, it's such a shame that so few people got to experience it. I beat this game twice, found all the collectibles, beat all the bosses and got all the achievements and still wanted more. I hope Vigil continues this great series after all this THQ business is over. I brought death to a lot of dudes this year.
I hated Far Cry 2....at first, but then I went back to it, learned its many intricacies and minimized my bad design moments and ended up kinda liking what Ubisoft did. However Far Cry 3 pretty much fixes whatever problems I had with FC2 and does so much more. Yeah the story is mostly pointless (I still liked it though) and some of the enemy AI is downright laughable but everything else is so great. The shooting, the missions, the driving, the open world, the drugs, the fire, the wingsuit, the takedowns and the awesome characters all come together to craft what is one of the funnest experiences of the year. I spent way too much time hunting for collectibles in the south pacific. I totally understand now what Ryan meant when he said he was disappointed that there wasn't more to do in Saint's Row the Third.
This is the game I spent the most time with this year. I played through the story three whole fucking times, then beat the New York Minute challenge, got every single grind and then proceeded to play the solid multiplayer for many hours. I'm not sure what hooked me so bad; was it the shooting, the story or the characters, or a combination of all three? Whatever it was I loved every minute of Max Payne 3. The haters will give me a million reasons why this game is a pile of flaming garbage but their arguments will always fall of deaf ears because love is greater than hate, and love is blind, and none of that makes any sense, just like my love of Max Payne 3.
My love of Halo pretty much only extends to the games themselves and not the extended fiction. If anything I would rather read the Gears of War wiki pages that anything related to the Forerruners. Yeah I enjoyed the narrative of Halo CE, being trapped on a mysterious world and discovering it's many secrets made for cool premise, as simplistic as it may have been. But when Halo 2 tried to tell me what was really going on I could not care less. This is perhaps the reason I enjoyed the setup of Halo 4 so much. You were the master chief and you were being sucked into a weird metal planet. Simple and elegant, a story for the ages. Yes what happened between the librarian reveal and the second to last mission in terms of story was garbage but Halo 4's strength lies in its gameplay being able to overshadow all that nonsense. It may not be your favorite flavor of shooter, but it is definitely mine. Very few FPS games are able to provide this level of satisfaction when it comes to shooting dudes in their alien faces.
- FEZ: it was alright, it didn't grab me.
- Sleeping Dogs: I did not like this game and it's lame story
- Black Ops 2: probably is the best multiplayer since COD4 but I just couldn't be bothered anymore
- Dishonored: It failed to deliver
- Assassin's Creed 3: The honeymoon phase is over; get out of those sweatpants and put on some makeup and maybe I'll call you again
- Hitman Absolution: I actually liked this, but there were better games this year.
- Ghost Recon Future Soldier: What happened Ubisoft?
- Borderlands 2: This is the secret 11th game on this list. Congrats on making it this far. Borderlands adds wonderful variety to a formula that is fun and addictive. No longer will you see the same desert for 60 hours and no longer will you fight some of the lamest bosses in video game history. I salute you Gearbox, and now humbly ask you to finally release a new god damned Brother in Arms game....pleeeaaaase I'm dyin' over here.
I didn't play Journey or The Walking Dead, I ran out of time. Also Driver San Francisco is my 2011 game of 2012 and I'm really excited for Metro Last Light, Bioshock, Gears of War Judgment and new consoles in 2013. Okay that's it have a happy new year duders.