Best of 2012
My favorite games of 2012.
My favorite games of 2012.
Although you could argue that the Telltale Game's The Walking Dead is less of a game and more of an interactive movie that focusses more on character development and less on action, there wasn't another video game this year that impacted my emotional state more than Lee and Clementine's nightmare through the post-outbreak United States. If you were to tell me that a point-and-click adventure game would be my favorite game of 2012 in January, I would've said you were crazy. It's just that surprising that The Walking Dead manages to capture my attention so deeply one 2-hour episode at a time, with the perfect 1-month wait in between. It's not perfect, but it has one of the most emotional conclusions to a video game in recent memory. This is something that cannot be missed.
The Mass Effect trilogy was concluded on a high note with Mass Effect 3. Fan overreaction to the ending aside, BioWare managed to make every decision Shepard makes an emotional one, whether for the good of mankind or not. It's completely up to the player. Even decisions you made through the first two games can make an impact on Commander Shepard's story—including which characters live, and which characters die. And although some of the campaign could be more developed here or the side-quests could be better there, denying the impact on the trilogy is an ill-fated task. This is a trilogy that defined a generation.
343 Studios has a lot of weight on their shoulders when they were given the task to develop the "next" Halo game after Bungie passed on. Luckily for us the studio has a very talented team—Halo 4 is the real deal. Halo 4 is a much faster and more responsive Halo game; it manages to recapture the Halo feel while also introducing some clever gameplay improvements that up the action to feel more immersive. It's a beautiful game, too. The multiplayer is the best yet, featuring everything you ever wanted—except, well, Firefight—and nothing beats getting a bunch of buddies together and killing some Covenant. It's just plain-old fun.
Diablo III and I have a love-hate relationship. It launched with some of the worst online infrastructure I had ever seen, but when the game DID work it was one of my favorite games of the year. It has everything going for it: ridiculous loot-lust, 5 highly-balanced classes, beautiful visuals, a strong 15-20 hours campaign. It is just loads of fun... but only when it worked. It's a testament to the game's quality that it's so high my list all things considered. I'm very much looking forward to its next expansion; I'm looking forward to digging into Diablo's world once again.
I always think of 2012 being a weird year. My favorite game is a point-and-click adventure game, Diablo III is my 4th favorite game considering it was ostensibly broken half the time, and the reboot of XCOM is in my top five. Truly, bizarre, but truly deserving. It may not be the most polished thing to come out in 2012, but it's definitely one of the most satisfying. XCOM is hard AS FUCK. It takes some serious dedication to succeed, and although my original play-through wasn't perfect, I somehow managed to keep everyone happy while supplying my troops with the best gear. Strategy games don't get much better than this.
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