Posted by believer258 (12184 posts) -

This was kind of an odd year for gaming. You'd expect the likes of Halo 4, Assassin's Creed 3, and/or Mass Effect 3 to top everyone's list - but instead, most people are putting the likes of Journey and The Walking Dead in their number 1 spots.

If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that my top games would have been these, I'd have probably laughed at you. In fact, I didn't have much interest in actually playing any of them, but I eventually did and they are all great. But before I really start, I have to give props to the biggest surprise of all, and that is a little JRPG called Chrono Trigger. I don't even generally like JRPG's a whole lot - I usually get five hours or so into one before I get tired of something and give up - but this one was different. It has become one of my favorite games of all time now that I've finished it, but since neither it nor its DS rerelease were released this year, I can't really put it on this list. I also can't make this blog post without mentioning that game. Play Chrono Trigger at some point!

One last thing - there are some games this year that were kinda disappointing, but still did some interesting things that I wanted to give mention to. That section of this post eventually became too long to fit in here, so I made a different blog post and it is here if you have any interest in it.

And, without further ado, I present to you Believer258's Top Five Games of 2012.

Number 5: Journey

Between the shockingly creative thread title and the under-mentioned pick that is Journey, you must be reeling from all the originality here, which is a shame, because Journey deserves a whole lot of attention. It’s not so much a game as it is an audio-visual treat that you interact with, and boy is it wondrous. Gorgeous vistas, excellent sand and lighting effects, and some great set pieces that do not at all rely on quick time events are what make this what it is. Well, that and one other thing – the co-op. Now, this game could stand on its own without the co-op, but its inclusion makes it even better. It’s hard to describe why it’s such a great addition. You’re walking along this desert and suddenly someone else who looks very similar to you starts beeping and you begin looking around and exploring together. Really, there’s not much reason to except to find things that extend your scarf, but I found myself doing it all the same. Certainly it’s short, at only an hour and a half, but that’s because you’re supposed to play it in one sitting. And when you do play it, make sure it’s at a time when it can have your full and undivided attention for that whole hour and a half.

I’m actually going to recommend waiting the least amount of time possible to play this game despite it being number 5 on my list. I seriously doubt that its co-op is going to have any sort of real longevity and if you wait too long, that part of the game simply won’t be active due to everyone with an interest in it already having played it and moved on. Again, the co-op isn’t necessary to make Journey what it is – but it does do a fair bit to improve the experience so get it now if you have a PS3 on hand.

Number 4: Forza Horizon

Hey look! There's (one of) my car(s)!

I’m not big into racing games. Occasionally I’ll get an itch to go ‘round and ‘round a track and get first place, but that’s usually something that goes away after a few races in something. But this was a bit different. Forza Horizon does a good job of giving the goings-on some context and it’s more than just one sentence, too. It isn’t a story, per se, at least not a good one, but the whole game feels like a racing festival is going on. There are actual characters running it, there are actual characters in the races (though they're pretty flat), and your racer is referenced sometimes (though he’s never given a name, just a generic face). It’s just enough context and story to give it a summer party-like feeling, but not so much that it ever gets in the way of actual racing, and the racing itself feels really good most of the time. Meaty cars like classic American muscle feel heavy and like they could take a beating, light and quick to accelerate cars really feel pretty quick, and the class designations do a pretty good job of making sure you don’t take an old, heavy Mustang into a race with a lot of tight corners. If I have any real complaints about the game, it’s that there’s a ton of loading. Otherwise? Nothing much bad to say about it.

Number 3: Torchlight 2

My brother and I, toward the end of the game. You can see one of our dragon-chickens in the corner.

I’ll admit, I’ve never really gotten into loot games. You just do a whole lot of clicking on things and often have to go back to town and sell most of the junk you’ve collected. But Torchlight 1 was a game that I liked for a longer amount of time than I expected, and Torchlight 2 is a game that I’ve really liked, and I’m not entirely certain what they do different from other ones. Granted, I haven’t played many, but it must be something other than the loot. Maybe it’s the generally soothing music, or the consistently colorful and cartoony look and tone of things, or the way the combat feels whenever I blast a giant cannon or smash something with a massive wrench and they gib. And the things I dislike about loot games weren’t gone, but in both games they are greatly alleviated, most importantly the inventory, which in this game is pretty big. When that inventory gets full, you can fill up your pet with all of the stuff you don’t want and send him back to sell it, as well as send him back to town to buy a bunch of potions and scrolls in case you’re low on either.

There’s still no single thing that Torchlight 2 does to really differentiate itself from other click-y Diablolikes, but I do know this – I had to tear myself away from three and four hour sessions of Torchlight 2 multiple times, something I haven’t had to do with any other game this year.

Number 2: Doom 3 BFG

Whoa, wait – this game is 8 years old? What is it doing here? Well, honestly, there’s only one game this year that I enjoyed more and I can’t help but give this game a high spot. Some people really don’t like it, and I can see why, but man, I did. I was never truly terrified, but the atmosphere and the enemies really kept me on my virtual toes. The game design holds up pretty well for me in pretty much every respect – the shooting is satisfying, the levels feel natural and easy to navigate without needing a waypoint, and that lighting is still pretty good. It’s a little too easy, granted, and the Cyberdemon is definitely way too easy, but Doom 3 is a fantastic game as far as I’m concerned; not quite flawless but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of all of this game – Doom 1, 2, and the Doom 3 expansions included.

Note - yes, I know about the Chrono Trigger thing above. But this particular rerelease actually came out this year, and this is the version that I played. I also played the Xbox version to completion this year, making this the only game on here that I have completed twice.

Number 1: Sleeping Dogs

Wei Shen has a very dangerous heel

No single game this year impressed me as much as this one. Obviously, that’s why it’s my number one pick. It doesn't do anything wholly original, but everything here is interesting and worth doing for some reason or another. It’s a refinement of many ideas rather than an original concept, and those refinements are things that other games should pay attention to (*ahem* Rockstar and their controls in any game). The fighting that makes up most of the game feels refreshing when put against the melee of most open world games, the story is one you’ve heard before but its presentation and the characters within are easy to care about and, in some cases, feel really sorry for. Really, I won’t list off the game’s entire list of good features because, well, all of them are very well done and worth seeing. Play this game!

#1 Posted by believer258 (12184 posts) -

This was kind of an odd year for gaming. You'd expect the likes of Halo 4, Assassin's Creed 3, and/or Mass Effect 3 to top everyone's list - but instead, most people are putting the likes of Journey and The Walking Dead in their number 1 spots.

If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that my top games would have been these, I'd have probably laughed at you. In fact, I didn't have much interest in actually playing any of them, but I eventually did and they are all great. But before I really start, I have to give props to the biggest surprise of all, and that is a little JRPG called Chrono Trigger. I don't even generally like JRPG's a whole lot - I usually get five hours or so into one before I get tired of something and give up - but this one was different. It has become one of my favorite games of all time now that I've finished it, but since neither it nor its DS rerelease were released this year, I can't really put it on this list. I also can't make this blog post without mentioning that game. Play Chrono Trigger at some point!

One last thing - there are some games this year that were kinda disappointing, but still did some interesting things that I wanted to give mention to. That section of this post eventually became too long to fit in here, so I made a different blog post and it is here if you have any interest in it.

And, without further ado, I present to you Believer258's Top Five Games of 2012.

Number 5: Journey

Between the shockingly creative thread title and the under-mentioned pick that is Journey, you must be reeling from all the originality here, which is a shame, because Journey deserves a whole lot of attention. It’s not so much a game as it is an audio-visual treat that you interact with, and boy is it wondrous. Gorgeous vistas, excellent sand and lighting effects, and some great set pieces that do not at all rely on quick time events are what make this what it is. Well, that and one other thing – the co-op. Now, this game could stand on its own without the co-op, but its inclusion makes it even better. It’s hard to describe why it’s such a great addition. You’re walking along this desert and suddenly someone else who looks very similar to you starts beeping and you begin looking around and exploring together. Really, there’s not much reason to except to find things that extend your scarf, but I found myself doing it all the same. Certainly it’s short, at only an hour and a half, but that’s because you’re supposed to play it in one sitting. And when you do play it, make sure it’s at a time when it can have your full and undivided attention for that whole hour and a half.

I’m actually going to recommend waiting the least amount of time possible to play this game despite it being number 5 on my list. I seriously doubt that its co-op is going to have any sort of real longevity and if you wait too long, that part of the game simply won’t be active due to everyone with an interest in it already having played it and moved on. Again, the co-op isn’t necessary to make Journey what it is – but it does do a fair bit to improve the experience so get it now if you have a PS3 on hand.

Number 4: Forza Horizon

Hey look! There's (one of) my car(s)!

I’m not big into racing games. Occasionally I’ll get an itch to go ‘round and ‘round a track and get first place, but that’s usually something that goes away after a few races in something. But this was a bit different. Forza Horizon does a good job of giving the goings-on some context and it’s more than just one sentence, too. It isn’t a story, per se, at least not a good one, but the whole game feels like a racing festival is going on. There are actual characters running it, there are actual characters in the races (though they're pretty flat), and your racer is referenced sometimes (though he’s never given a name, just a generic face). It’s just enough context and story to give it a summer party-like feeling, but not so much that it ever gets in the way of actual racing, and the racing itself feels really good most of the time. Meaty cars like classic American muscle feel heavy and like they could take a beating, light and quick to accelerate cars really feel pretty quick, and the class designations do a pretty good job of making sure you don’t take an old, heavy Mustang into a race with a lot of tight corners. If I have any real complaints about the game, it’s that there’s a ton of loading. Otherwise? Nothing much bad to say about it.

Number 3: Torchlight 2

My brother and I, toward the end of the game. You can see one of our dragon-chickens in the corner.

I’ll admit, I’ve never really gotten into loot games. You just do a whole lot of clicking on things and often have to go back to town and sell most of the junk you’ve collected. But Torchlight 1 was a game that I liked for a longer amount of time than I expected, and Torchlight 2 is a game that I’ve really liked, and I’m not entirely certain what they do different from other ones. Granted, I haven’t played many, but it must be something other than the loot. Maybe it’s the generally soothing music, or the consistently colorful and cartoony look and tone of things, or the way the combat feels whenever I blast a giant cannon or smash something with a massive wrench and they gib. And the things I dislike about loot games weren’t gone, but in both games they are greatly alleviated, most importantly the inventory, which in this game is pretty big. When that inventory gets full, you can fill up your pet with all of the stuff you don’t want and send him back to sell it, as well as send him back to town to buy a bunch of potions and scrolls in case you’re low on either.

There’s still no single thing that Torchlight 2 does to really differentiate itself from other click-y Diablolikes, but I do know this – I had to tear myself away from three and four hour sessions of Torchlight 2 multiple times, something I haven’t had to do with any other game this year.

Number 2: Doom 3 BFG

Whoa, wait – this game is 8 years old? What is it doing here? Well, honestly, there’s only one game this year that I enjoyed more and I can’t help but give this game a high spot. Some people really don’t like it, and I can see why, but man, I did. I was never truly terrified, but the atmosphere and the enemies really kept me on my virtual toes. The game design holds up pretty well for me in pretty much every respect – the shooting is satisfying, the levels feel natural and easy to navigate without needing a waypoint, and that lighting is still pretty good. It’s a little too easy, granted, and the Cyberdemon is definitely way too easy, but Doom 3 is a fantastic game as far as I’m concerned; not quite flawless but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of all of this game – Doom 1, 2, and the Doom 3 expansions included.

Note - yes, I know about the Chrono Trigger thing above. But this particular rerelease actually came out this year, and this is the version that I played. I also played the Xbox version to completion this year, making this the only game on here that I have completed twice.

Number 1: Sleeping Dogs

Wei Shen has a very dangerous heel

No single game this year impressed me as much as this one. Obviously, that’s why it’s my number one pick. It doesn't do anything wholly original, but everything here is interesting and worth doing for some reason or another. It’s a refinement of many ideas rather than an original concept, and those refinements are things that other games should pay attention to (*ahem* Rockstar and their controls in any game). The fighting that makes up most of the game feels refreshing when put against the melee of most open world games, the story is one you’ve heard before but its presentation and the characters within are easy to care about and, in some cases, feel really sorry for. Really, I won’t list off the game’s entire list of good features because, well, all of them are very well done and worth seeing. Play this game!

#2 Posted by WMoyer83 (645 posts) -

Sleeping Dogs was a fantastic game. It could have been titled "Grand Theft Auto: Hong Kong" and no one would have been the wiser.

#3 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4701 posts) -

Journey may be on a lot of lists but that is for good reason. The game is incredible. The kind of game that I remember more fondly months after playing. While, yeah the Co-op is not mandatory for enjoyment it was a major reason I like it so much. The way it makes you feel connected to someone whom you can't speak too is possibly my favorite thing about it.

I want to play Forza Horizon at some point. Bold number 2 pick there.

I like Sleeping Dogs A lot too. It may be my favorite game of it's ilk. It was just shy of my top 5.

#4 Posted by granderojo (1792 posts) -

Sleeping Dogs may have the most 1 spots for people in the GB community. I want to see the #'s. Man is it good!

#5 Posted by Little_Socrates (5711 posts) -

Those are neat games! I've...only played Journey and Sleeping Dogs amongst them. I do think Doom 3 gets badmouthed unnecessarily, though. It's pretty good!

#6 Posted by believer258 (12184 posts) -

@thabigred said:

Sleeping Dogs may have the most 1 spots for people in the GB community. I want to see the #'s. Man is it good!

I feel like I've seen The Walking Dead at number 1 more often than Sleeping Dogs, though.

#7 Posted by wchigo (565 posts) -

I'm completely torn. Journey was an amazing experience, The Walking Dead is probably the game that has had the most emotional impact on me and Sleeping Dogs is probably the most fun I've had playing a game all year, not to mention it got me to buy its DLC and get all the achievements as well (only other game to really do that to me was Batman: Arkham Asylum).

Then of course we have Persona 4: Golden... the original version probably ranks in my top 5 of all-time. I'm kind of glad I don't have to put together a list, since it'd be hard as well for me to decide between these four...

#8 Posted by believer258 (12184 posts) -

@wchigo said:

I'm completely torn. Journey was an amazing experience, The Walking Dead is probably the game that has had the most emotional impact on me and Sleeping Dogs is probably the most fun I've had playing a game all year, not to mention it got me to buy its DLC and get all the achievements as well (only other game to really do that to me was Batman: Arkham Asylum).

Then of course we have Persona 4: Golden... the original version probably ranks in my top 5 of all-time. I'm kind of glad I don't have to put together a list, since it'd be hard as well for me to decide between these four...

Well, nobody except the GB crew had to put together a list, but this is a good way to look back on the year in gaming and see what you liked about it.

#9 Posted by wchigo (565 posts) -

@believer258:

Oh, I know, I completely understand. As you said, I'm just glad I didn't have to be Vinny or someone and have to put together a list of my top games of the year.

I should actually go back and see if I've even played ten games in 2012 to put together a "Top 10" list. Those were definitely high points, as was Asura's Wrath, XCOM, Mark of the Ninja... oy, my heart rate's going up just thinking about it, haha.

#10 Posted by awesomeusername (4216 posts) -

Waited for the last minute to make a GOTY list I see. I just finished mine. Man was it hard. Journey didn't make my list though so there's that! I really need to play Sleepy Dawgs though.

#11 Posted by Peanut (955 posts) -

@WMoyer83 said:

Sleeping Dogs was a fantastic game. It could have been titled "Grand Theft Auto: Hong Kong" and no one would have been the wiser.

Yes, they would have. The combat is way too much fun to be in a GTA.

#12 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4701 posts) -

@wchigo: You should make a list and submit it to Thatfrood's GOTY tally.

#13 Posted by wchigo (565 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan: Oh man, Thatfrood. Haven't talked to that guy in AGES. I should submit a fake list just to troll him, haha.

@awesomeusername: FTL! I still need to play that game... couldn't get it went it was 50% off a few days ago but I'm hoping it will drop again soon.

#14 Posted by SirOptimusPrime (2030 posts) -

Hey, Torchlight II and then Sleeping Dogs in number one? We should, like, totally be friends.

Didn't play BFG edition (though I did reinstall vanilla Doom 3 for The Dark Mod), so can't comment there. Sleepy Dawgz, though, deserves the praise it's getting 'cross the boards. Alex really, really overstated the 'problems' with the shooting and I was glad to have Vinny fight for it. I had more fun in that game than anything else this year.

#15 Posted by awesomeusername (4216 posts) -

@wchigo: Did you look at my list and comment on this blog? But yeah, FTL is great man. I doubt it'll hit $5 for this holiday sale again so you might as well nab it for $7.49. It's well worth the mula!

#16 Posted by believer258 (12184 posts) -

@SirOptimusPrime said:

Hey, Torchlight II and then Sleeping Dogs in number one? We should, like, totally be friends.

Didn't play BFG edition (though I did reinstall vanilla Doom 3 for The Dark Mod), so can't comment there. Sleepy Dawgz, though, deserves the praise it's getting 'cross the boards. Alex really, really overstated the 'problems' with the shooting and I was glad to have Vinny fight for it. I had more fun in that game than anything else this year.

To be fair, if shooting played a much larger role than it does, then Sleeping Dogs wouldn't be as much fun. Still, I also think Alex was way too harsh on it - the shooting feels good, just not Gears of War levels of good, and the shooting never lasts long enough for someone to get bored of it. Besides, all of the slow-motion stuff makes the shooting much more fun if you ask me, especially vaulting over high cover and getting five headshots as you fall to the ground.

#17 Posted by DarthOrange (3892 posts) -

Does anyone know if there is going to be a new Forza game next year? How are the controls? Somewhere between Gran Turismo and Need for Speed? This open world Forza has peaked my interest but I don't know if we are going to be getting a new one in a few months.

#18 Posted by wchigo (565 posts) -

@awesomeusername: Err... yeah, haha. I didn't see your GOTY blog until after I saw your created list and had already commented here... it made sense at the time, I swear! Well, since the sale will continue until the 5th I'm hoping it will go on sale again before the end, or perhaps come up during a "Best of..." sale or something on the last day.

#19 Posted by awesomeusername (4216 posts) -

@wchigo: Stalker! :P Well you better hope it goes on sale again. Maybe it will though because a lot of games have gone on sale, went off and then went on again. It's ridiculous!