The Top 26 games of 2012

... aka the 2012 games I played within the confines of 2012. This is the first time I have kept track of what I have played and notes to remind myself of how I felt about the game at the time. It made my top 10 much easier to organise if anything else. This is the year of mild disappointments and good but not great games I feel. No game this year I would say was a huge disappointment but all the big titles were flawed in some way. That said, The Walking Dead and Journey have had more emotional impact on me than any other game this decade, so that has to count for something.

The games I intend to play but never got round to this year (all purchased just need to actually boot them up):

  • Dust, An Elysian Tale
  • FTL
  • Hotline Miami

Now for the list top 10:

1. The Walking Dead

Intense, emotional and extremely fun. Not without its flaws for which there are many (save bugs, graphical bugs, performance issues), but like Skyrim last year, all can be forgiven because the core experience is well beyond most that came out in 2012. If it had to fight previous years GOTY's however it probably wouldn't stand up to those titles.

2. XCOM: Enemy Unknown

This game is all kinds of awesome and a strategy game I can get behind. Tense, scary and satisfying in every way a game should be.

3. Dragon's Dogma

Dragon's Dogma is an amazing and quite original RPG. Yes the lack of fast travel is mildly annoying but it's deep combat system more than makes up for its flaws. It's no Skyrim but you'd could do far worse in terms on RPG's this year, see Amalur!

4. Borderlands 2

Improves upon just about everything from the first game. The uniqueness of the original is gone, because if you are like me you spent 100's of hours in Borderlands 1, but the fun remains intact. The humour is not great but enjoyable in a dumb kinda way. My main issue is the quests meant for multiple players are really rough playing solo and special bosses are impossible.

5. Guild Wars 2

It could just be the best designed MMO to come out since WOW and no subscription fee makes it hard to argue against. However it is let down by the old school combat that doesn't improve on much from WOW. Also some environments look amazing and the character creator is great.

6. Journey

I didn't get around to playing it until December but I felt I had to give it a go. No it's not GOTY but it's certainly an experience not to be missed. The music is the best of the year and very emotionally resonating.

7. Far Cry 3

The free-form open world first person shooter is by far may favorite style of game and this game succeeds at making a fun playground to hunt animals and dudes in. It gives you a huge variety of awesome weapons to play with. The biggest issue is that the side quests often limit what weapons you can use and you quickly run out of enemy camps to take out which are by far the best sections of the game. Just stealthing through a bunch of enemies stabbin dudes or running in like a nutter with a grenade launcher is great fun and there should be more scenarios to do it in. Great game but a lot of things the could have made this game GOTY that are just not quite there. The multiplayer is probably the main reason for some of the singleplayer short comings I suppose.

8. Mass Effect 3

Some nice combat and fun multiplayer to be found here but was let down by the writing and single player. Ending it the way they did with little consequence for your actions throughout the series was handled poorly in comparison to another choice driven game that came out this year (TWD of course). Although both games handled their finally similarly, Mass Effect 3 missed the mark by a light year.

9. Diablo III

Until you reach inferno difficulty this game is a blast. The combat is amazing and impactful and customization is genius. However the auction house and loot system that is designed to heavly rely upon it, was a bad design choice and ruins the main draw of a loot system.

10. Sleeping Dogs

The combat, driving and open world are very well done. The story is kind of boring until the last third where the shit hits the fan and it becomes really intense. Surprise of the year!

---------------------------------------

And the runners up ( the rest):

11. Forza Horizon

Fantastic Racing game but nothing out of the ordinary. It's no Dirt 2!

12. Dishonored

Super well made and exciting stealth game with collectables that actually mean something. Doesn't leave much of a lasting impression though.

13. LEGO The Lord of the Rings

Uses the standard Lego formula, but retells the Lord of The Rings in such a creative and humorous way that you get hooked.

14. Trials Evolution

This game is far more easy to get into than it's predecessor. It's unique and varied levels are a welcome change from generic warehouse setting and keep things fresh throughout. It gets tough but it's really not until the extreme tracks before you realise you're no longer enjoying it; up until that point it's a real blast.

15. Mark of the Ninja

A great well made 2D stealth game. If you like stealth games this is probably the best game ever.

16. Binary Domain

Amazing. The best Third Person Shooter since Uncharted 2... and it has nothing to do with the very average third person shooting (much like Uncharted 2). Ok that's way too much credit for a pretty average game, but I enjoyed it.

17. Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Interesting story but I think I enjoyed the original Black Ops better. Multiplayer is the same blood bath it's always been.

18. Assassin's Creed III

Not as good as the first 3 games, the main quest was far too structured. The naval combat was amazing and exploring civil war America is a lot of fun but the rest was sub-par. Still a good game but not a GOTY contender. This series really is starting to show its limits as a yearly franchise even more so than COD.

19. Torchlight II

Perhaps it's because of my 300 hours playing Diablo 3 but this game doesn't quite seem to have the same charm of the original. I'm not really a fan of the skill tree systems, I much preferred the classes from the the first game. That said the game is well made and enjoyable.

20. Darksiders II

It was good but like the first game, unless you are big into Zelda game design, the gameplay just gets repetitive fast. Still a very good game that deserves attention.

21. Asura's Wrath

A completely insane average game. Well it's not really a game. The ending not being part of the package and sold as DLC is a terrible idea (I'm looking at you capcom.) Perhaps for people who have never watched anime, this is a new experience for them, like the GB members with it in their top 10, but I grew up watching DBZ so I wasn't that blown away.

22. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Worthy of a mention but too much boring dialogue and story. Gameplay is fun for about an hour but wears off fast. I'd take the flawed Dragons Dogma over this any day. A good effort that I spent over 60 hours in but unfortunately most of it was dull.

23. Spec Ops: The Line

Interesting narrative ideas are overshadowed by a boring dull looking shooter, even on PC. The Gamespot podcast with the lead writer was far more interesting than the actual game.

24. Kid Icarus: Uprising

A fun game but the controls are awful no matter how you approach them. The humor was odd but enjoyable none the less.

25. Max Payne 3

There was not much I enjoyed about this title other than the gorgeous graphics on pc. The remedy developed Max Payne's were a lot better. Story was dark and pretty average overall. The gun play is about as good as it ever was but it took me about 5 hours to re-adjust to the Max payne style and then it ended 5 minutes later.

26. Resident Evil: Revelations

Kinda dull after a while. Resident evil has really taken a nose dive. All the mediocre RE titles seem to be on a boat.

If not for TWD and XCOM, I feel this year would have gone down in history as one of the worst years for games in memory. I hope the launch of the next generation kickstarts the game industry or we may be running into some serious issues like Hollywood have had over the years. At least the indie scene is picking up the slack.

8 Comments
8 Comments
Edited by benspyda

... aka the 2012 games I played within the confines of 2012. This is the first time I have kept track of what I have played and notes to remind myself of how I felt about the game at the time. It made my top 10 much easier to organise if anything else. This is the year of mild disappointments and good but not great games I feel. No game this year I would say was a huge disappointment but all the big titles were flawed in some way. That said, The Walking Dead and Journey have had more emotional impact on me than any other game this decade, so that has to count for something.

The games I intend to play but never got round to this year (all purchased just need to actually boot them up):

  • Dust, An Elysian Tale
  • FTL
  • Hotline Miami

Now for the list top 10:

1. The Walking Dead

Intense, emotional and extremely fun. Not without its flaws for which there are many (save bugs, graphical bugs, performance issues), but like Skyrim last year, all can be forgiven because the core experience is well beyond most that came out in 2012. If it had to fight previous years GOTY's however it probably wouldn't stand up to those titles.

2. XCOM: Enemy Unknown

This game is all kinds of awesome and a strategy game I can get behind. Tense, scary and satisfying in every way a game should be.

3. Dragon's Dogma

Dragon's Dogma is an amazing and quite original RPG. Yes the lack of fast travel is mildly annoying but it's deep combat system more than makes up for its flaws. It's no Skyrim but you'd could do far worse in terms on RPG's this year, see Amalur!

4. Borderlands 2

Improves upon just about everything from the first game. The uniqueness of the original is gone, because if you are like me you spent 100's of hours in Borderlands 1, but the fun remains intact. The humour is not great but enjoyable in a dumb kinda way. My main issue is the quests meant for multiple players are really rough playing solo and special bosses are impossible.

5. Guild Wars 2

It could just be the best designed MMO to come out since WOW and no subscription fee makes it hard to argue against. However it is let down by the old school combat that doesn't improve on much from WOW. Also some environments look amazing and the character creator is great.

6. Journey

I didn't get around to playing it until December but I felt I had to give it a go. No it's not GOTY but it's certainly an experience not to be missed. The music is the best of the year and very emotionally resonating.

7. Far Cry 3

The free-form open world first person shooter is by far may favorite style of game and this game succeeds at making a fun playground to hunt animals and dudes in. It gives you a huge variety of awesome weapons to play with. The biggest issue is that the side quests often limit what weapons you can use and you quickly run out of enemy camps to take out which are by far the best sections of the game. Just stealthing through a bunch of enemies stabbin dudes or running in like a nutter with a grenade launcher is great fun and there should be more scenarios to do it in. Great game but a lot of things the could have made this game GOTY that are just not quite there. The multiplayer is probably the main reason for some of the singleplayer short comings I suppose.

8. Mass Effect 3

Some nice combat and fun multiplayer to be found here but was let down by the writing and single player. Ending it the way they did with little consequence for your actions throughout the series was handled poorly in comparison to another choice driven game that came out this year (TWD of course). Although both games handled their finally similarly, Mass Effect 3 missed the mark by a light year.

9. Diablo III

Until you reach inferno difficulty this game is a blast. The combat is amazing and impactful and customization is genius. However the auction house and loot system that is designed to heavly rely upon it, was a bad design choice and ruins the main draw of a loot system.

10. Sleeping Dogs

The combat, driving and open world are very well done. The story is kind of boring until the last third where the shit hits the fan and it becomes really intense. Surprise of the year!

---------------------------------------

And the runners up ( the rest):

11. Forza Horizon

Fantastic Racing game but nothing out of the ordinary. It's no Dirt 2!

12. Dishonored

Super well made and exciting stealth game with collectables that actually mean something. Doesn't leave much of a lasting impression though.

13. LEGO The Lord of the Rings

Uses the standard Lego formula, but retells the Lord of The Rings in such a creative and humorous way that you get hooked.

14. Trials Evolution

This game is far more easy to get into than it's predecessor. It's unique and varied levels are a welcome change from generic warehouse setting and keep things fresh throughout. It gets tough but it's really not until the extreme tracks before you realise you're no longer enjoying it; up until that point it's a real blast.

15. Mark of the Ninja

A great well made 2D stealth game. If you like stealth games this is probably the best game ever.

16. Binary Domain

Amazing. The best Third Person Shooter since Uncharted 2... and it has nothing to do with the very average third person shooting (much like Uncharted 2). Ok that's way too much credit for a pretty average game, but I enjoyed it.

17. Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Interesting story but I think I enjoyed the original Black Ops better. Multiplayer is the same blood bath it's always been.

18. Assassin's Creed III

Not as good as the first 3 games, the main quest was far too structured. The naval combat was amazing and exploring civil war America is a lot of fun but the rest was sub-par. Still a good game but not a GOTY contender. This series really is starting to show its limits as a yearly franchise even more so than COD.

19. Torchlight II

Perhaps it's because of my 300 hours playing Diablo 3 but this game doesn't quite seem to have the same charm of the original. I'm not really a fan of the skill tree systems, I much preferred the classes from the the first game. That said the game is well made and enjoyable.

20. Darksiders II

It was good but like the first game, unless you are big into Zelda game design, the gameplay just gets repetitive fast. Still a very good game that deserves attention.

21. Asura's Wrath

A completely insane average game. Well it's not really a game. The ending not being part of the package and sold as DLC is a terrible idea (I'm looking at you capcom.) Perhaps for people who have never watched anime, this is a new experience for them, like the GB members with it in their top 10, but I grew up watching DBZ so I wasn't that blown away.

22. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Worthy of a mention but too much boring dialogue and story. Gameplay is fun for about an hour but wears off fast. I'd take the flawed Dragons Dogma over this any day. A good effort that I spent over 60 hours in but unfortunately most of it was dull.

23. Spec Ops: The Line

Interesting narrative ideas are overshadowed by a boring dull looking shooter, even on PC. The Gamespot podcast with the lead writer was far more interesting than the actual game.

24. Kid Icarus: Uprising

A fun game but the controls are awful no matter how you approach them. The humor was odd but enjoyable none the less.

25. Max Payne 3

There was not much I enjoyed about this title other than the gorgeous graphics on pc. The remedy developed Max Payne's were a lot better. Story was dark and pretty average overall. The gun play is about as good as it ever was but it took me about 5 hours to re-adjust to the Max payne style and then it ended 5 minutes later.

26. Resident Evil: Revelations

Kinda dull after a while. Resident evil has really taken a nose dive. All the mediocre RE titles seem to be on a boat.

If not for TWD and XCOM, I feel this year would have gone down in history as one of the worst years for games in memory. I hope the launch of the next generation kickstarts the game industry or we may be running into some serious issues like Hollywood have had over the years. At least the indie scene is picking up the slack.

Posted by ImmortalSaiyan

What I like about this list is that seeing how you ranked all games you played this year it gives greater context to the top 10. No wondering if someone has played game X and did not like it or never touched it.

I don't agree with you on how negative you are being on 2012 as a whole. I think all told it was a good year. A unique one with some really good games, I will be remembering my top 3 for years to come.

Posted by benspyda

@ImmortalSaiyan: Yes I suppose my summary of the year was a little harsh. 'Unique' is a great description of the year, as it implies it's neither a good or bad year for games. Small projects and indie studios have produced some great games this year, but I suppose my biggest disappointment is with the big blockbusters just being really weak. I enjoy having both kinds of experiences with games and games like ME3 and AC3 just weren't all that great compared to their predecessors. However If you are looking for some unique and inventive games, this year may be the best in memory, it's all perspective really.

Posted by believer258

A lot of the negativity from this year (not just the OP, just people being kinda negative in general) just seems to be from disappointment in the games that were supposed to be great. Mass Effect 3, Darksiders 2, Resident Evil 6, and Assassin's Creed 3 all had some levels of disappointment coming from them. Not all were bad games, they just don't measure up very well to their predecessors.

Meanwhile, surprises and lesser known games seem to be where the real quality was this year.

Posted by benspyda

@believer258 said:

A lot of the negativity from this year (not just the OP, just people being kinda negative in general) just seems to be from disappointment in the games that were supposed to be great. Mass Effect 3, Darksiders 2, Resident Evil 6, and Assassin's Creed 3 all had some levels of disappointment coming from them. Not all were bad games, they just don't measure up very well to their predecessors.

Meanwhile, surprises and lesser known games seem to be where the real quality was this year.

Yes that's pretty much it in a nutshell.

Posted by GunstarRed

I'd say the controls in Kid Icarus are awkward and force you to play it in smaller chunks, but they're far from awful.

Posted by benspyda

@GunstarRed: I think if the controls were more palatable, the game would be much higher on the list. I really liked its sense of style, humor, graphics and odd japanese feel but the controls for me were so detrimental to my experience, that because of a single poorly conceived choice on the developers part, after I completed the game I never wanted to touch it again. If they patch in support for dual joystick for the circle pad pro I would love to go back to it.

Posted by JasonR86

Why isn't Dear Esther on there you SON OF A BITCH!