My Top 5 of the year.... (so far)

So, Its a good 6 months into 2012 which means were about at the halfway point of the year. The summer solstice is soon and soon we'll be heading to into the fall which means a torrent of good games after the absolute famine that is the summer months. So, if anyone cares to actually read here is the 5 games I've enjoyed so far the most this year. In no particular order.....

1.Final Fantasy XIII-2

The direct sequel to 2010's Final Fantasy XIII which was a very polarizing game to say the least. It improved on many aspects of the game. One of the irritations of the first game saw you reaching a game over screen any time your leader character died regardless of the situation. It was a poor choice for an other wise at least in my mind awesome game and was fixed the sequel along with a host of other minor tweaks. Replacing the third party member with monsters that you can swap in and out and collect and combine and raise left the game with many obvious pokemon undertones that made it an addicting addition to the game. Overall one of my favorite things to come out this year. The ending was a bit crazy and I have yet to download the "Lighting" DLC pack which apparently explains a good bit more of story. I wouldn't mind seeing a FFXIII-3 to be honest as I'm really digging this story but.... even the FF fanboy in me knows that would be pushing it. Still, amazing game, amazing music. Loved my 80 hours with it.

2.Binary Domain

BIG BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Okay, now that I have the obligatory craziness out of the way let me say this is such a gem in the rough. I bought this game solely on the notion that famed Yakuza director Toshihiro Nagoshi worked on it. I'm a huge fan of the Yakuza series after stumbling upon it in the series PS3 debut with Yakuza 3. Also, it just seemed well.. different from your usual take on the 3rd person shooter. Upon booting the game up it instantly feels like a horrible gears of war clone. If you stick out the pretty mundane first level though your in for a real treat. The game really opens up once you get your full squad at your disposal. Also, after a few upgrades your weapons start to feel pretty good as well. Bullets rip and tear protective covering off of enemy robots making shrapnel fly everywhere. You get a real tactile sense your actually blowing robots apart. The story gets really insane really quickly. And oddly enough the seemingly generic characters at the start of the game really all develop personalities that I really enjoyed being around. I mean... who could not love this face....

3.Lollipop Chainsaw

US & EU Box Art ...

Ever since Gamescom 2011 where it debut its trailer ive been championing this game left and right. I've been forever a Suda 51 fan. Even if his games are not always mechanically the most fun games you can't ever accuse him of being boring. Suda's style really shines through in the game as well. Its like a 80's teen romance comedy mashed together with 70's horror grindhouse into one tasty confection. One of my main worries all along with this game was well.. the combat. And out of the gate the combat does seem a bit stilted and awful but as I found myself leveling up I also found myself enjoying the game more and more. Juliet and Nick play off each other in such grandiose fashion that it had me consantly cracking up. And oh...my...god. Soundtrack of the year folks. From expertly timed licensed music usage to fantastic original pieces from Akira Yamaoka of Silent Hill fame this game is and aural feast for the ears. Pac-Man fever is in this game people. Do I need to say more? What the hell is better in life than killing zombies while getting told by Buckner and Garcia about cramming quarters in Pac-Man arcade machines. Nothing I say. Nothing.

4.Twisted Metal

Final US cover

So this happened earlier in the year. I played a car combat game. Not only did I "play" a car combat game in 2011 but I played a car combat game for well over 70 hours and enjoyed every minute of it... well... minus the minutes I was searching for games or getting kicked out of games due to poor netcode or well.... okay.. the game had its share of problems and David Jaffe would be the first to own up to those problems. Whats more though is the story mode is actually really worth a shit. Sure , Twisted metal doesn't have the lore of a Mass Effect or a Fallout but watching sweet tooth get pissed and murder people is fucking fun. And fuck... I got to play online with The Giantbomb guys during TNT and whooped their asses a few times and even got to chill and play some matches with Jaffe too which was damn awesome. Jaffe had constantly preached that he wanted the CARS to be the characters in this game and have personality and individual traits. I think its something that they pulled off for the most part. Fast cars like kamakaize are really good at capturing leaders in Nuke while some characters like Mr. Grimm are Glass Cannons who are able to wipe the floor with people while always being perilously close to their own death. Its a fun balance and it actually makes you think a bit about who you choose and why.

5.Dragons Dogma

So, I've beaten this game 2 times working on a 3rd. I currently have 150 hours in it. Its one of my favorite games of the year and I quite nearly passed it by. One of my buddies kept hounding me and hounding me "Hey, dude play the Dragon's Dogma Demo I think you'll like it!" So, after being hassled for awhile I decided what the hell. All it took was playing that griffon battle one time. I'm honestly still shocked at how damn good this game is. For all of the flaws the game has like ample screen tearing, flat textures and even bad frame rate can't keep this game's combat from being just damned fun. Each time you level up a vocation its genuinely exciting to get back from your journey to see what neat new skills you unlocked to use. The pawn system is also a stroke of genious. Its a lot of fun to go and hire your friends pawns for battle and even more awesome when your pawn comes back from an adventure in another world full of presents that the person gave you. I'm sitting on stupid amounts of Rift Crystals right now and I'm still like a proud parent every time Risty my pawn comes back with a high approval rating. I've done some of the same mundane quests now over 3 times as I'm on my 3rd playthrough of the game and yet it doesn't matter to me. The fun is in the combat. Seeing your characters improve finding new and exciting armor and weapons. And yes people regardless of what Patrick was saying on the Bombcast there IS loot hell one poster on Gamefaqs Dragon's Dogma message board even made a detailed list of drop percentages for chests in the game. By far one of my favorite things this year and to think I almost passed it up because of initial bad reports about the game.

27 Comments
29 Comments
Posted by Demoskinos

So, Its a good 6 months into 2012 which means were about at the halfway point of the year. The summer solstice is soon and soon we'll be heading to into the fall which means a torrent of good games after the absolute famine that is the summer months. So, if anyone cares to actually read here is the 5 games I've enjoyed so far the most this year. In no particular order.....

1.Final Fantasy XIII-2

The direct sequel to 2010's Final Fantasy XIII which was a very polarizing game to say the least. It improved on many aspects of the game. One of the irritations of the first game saw you reaching a game over screen any time your leader character died regardless of the situation. It was a poor choice for an other wise at least in my mind awesome game and was fixed the sequel along with a host of other minor tweaks. Replacing the third party member with monsters that you can swap in and out and collect and combine and raise left the game with many obvious pokemon undertones that made it an addicting addition to the game. Overall one of my favorite things to come out this year. The ending was a bit crazy and I have yet to download the "Lighting" DLC pack which apparently explains a good bit more of story. I wouldn't mind seeing a FFXIII-3 to be honest as I'm really digging this story but.... even the FF fanboy in me knows that would be pushing it. Still, amazing game, amazing music. Loved my 80 hours with it.

2.Binary Domain

BIG BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Okay, now that I have the obligatory craziness out of the way let me say this is such a gem in the rough. I bought this game solely on the notion that famed Yakuza director Toshihiro Nagoshi worked on it. I'm a huge fan of the Yakuza series after stumbling upon it in the series PS3 debut with Yakuza 3. Also, it just seemed well.. different from your usual take on the 3rd person shooter. Upon booting the game up it instantly feels like a horrible gears of war clone. If you stick out the pretty mundane first level though your in for a real treat. The game really opens up once you get your full squad at your disposal. Also, after a few upgrades your weapons start to feel pretty good as well. Bullets rip and tear protective covering off of enemy robots making shrapnel fly everywhere. You get a real tactile sense your actually blowing robots apart. The story gets really insane really quickly. And oddly enough the seemingly generic characters at the start of the game really all develop personalities that I really enjoyed being around. I mean... who could not love this face....

3.Lollipop Chainsaw

US & EU Box Art ...

Ever since Gamescom 2011 where it debut its trailer ive been championing this game left and right. I've been forever a Suda 51 fan. Even if his games are not always mechanically the most fun games you can't ever accuse him of being boring. Suda's style really shines through in the game as well. Its like a 80's teen romance comedy mashed together with 70's horror grindhouse into one tasty confection. One of my main worries all along with this game was well.. the combat. And out of the gate the combat does seem a bit stilted and awful but as I found myself leveling up I also found myself enjoying the game more and more. Juliet and Nick play off each other in such grandiose fashion that it had me consantly cracking up. And oh...my...god. Soundtrack of the year folks. From expertly timed licensed music usage to fantastic original pieces from Akira Yamaoka of Silent Hill fame this game is and aural feast for the ears. Pac-Man fever is in this game people. Do I need to say more? What the hell is better in life than killing zombies while getting told by Buckner and Garcia about cramming quarters in Pac-Man arcade machines. Nothing I say. Nothing.

4.Twisted Metal

Final US cover

So this happened earlier in the year. I played a car combat game. Not only did I "play" a car combat game in 2011 but I played a car combat game for well over 70 hours and enjoyed every minute of it... well... minus the minutes I was searching for games or getting kicked out of games due to poor netcode or well.... okay.. the game had its share of problems and David Jaffe would be the first to own up to those problems. Whats more though is the story mode is actually really worth a shit. Sure , Twisted metal doesn't have the lore of a Mass Effect or a Fallout but watching sweet tooth get pissed and murder people is fucking fun. And fuck... I got to play online with The Giantbomb guys during TNT and whooped their asses a few times and even got to chill and play some matches with Jaffe too which was damn awesome. Jaffe had constantly preached that he wanted the CARS to be the characters in this game and have personality and individual traits. I think its something that they pulled off for the most part. Fast cars like kamakaize are really good at capturing leaders in Nuke while some characters like Mr. Grimm are Glass Cannons who are able to wipe the floor with people while always being perilously close to their own death. Its a fun balance and it actually makes you think a bit about who you choose and why.

5.Dragons Dogma

So, I've beaten this game 2 times working on a 3rd. I currently have 150 hours in it. Its one of my favorite games of the year and I quite nearly passed it by. One of my buddies kept hounding me and hounding me "Hey, dude play the Dragon's Dogma Demo I think you'll like it!" So, after being hassled for awhile I decided what the hell. All it took was playing that griffon battle one time. I'm honestly still shocked at how damn good this game is. For all of the flaws the game has like ample screen tearing, flat textures and even bad frame rate can't keep this game's combat from being just damned fun. Each time you level up a vocation its genuinely exciting to get back from your journey to see what neat new skills you unlocked to use. The pawn system is also a stroke of genious. Its a lot of fun to go and hire your friends pawns for battle and even more awesome when your pawn comes back from an adventure in another world full of presents that the person gave you. I'm sitting on stupid amounts of Rift Crystals right now and I'm still like a proud parent every time Risty my pawn comes back with a high approval rating. I've done some of the same mundane quests now over 3 times as I'm on my 3rd playthrough of the game and yet it doesn't matter to me. The fun is in the combat. Seeing your characters improve finding new and exciting armor and weapons. And yes people regardless of what Patrick was saying on the Bombcast there IS loot hell one poster on Gamefaqs Dragon's Dogma message board even made a detailed list of drop percentages for chests in the game. By far one of my favorite things this year and to think I almost passed it up because of initial bad reports about the game.

Posted by Giantstalker

I really wanted to try Dragon's Dogma, Twisted Metal, and Binary Domain, but there's just not enough time...

Posted by me3639

I have not played any of those, but i would say so far this year Syndicate has been my favorite.

Posted by SamFo

Pretty interesting list! I could almost see this being someones bottom 5!

Posted by darkvare

i'm enjoying dragons dogma a lot pretty good everything else is bottom 5 material for me

Posted by Nottle

@Demoskinos: I can not think of 5 games from this year that I have played. I played Mass effect 3, haven't finished it. Probably won't be in a top 5. I got the Witcher 2 on xbox, and Twisted metal, but the poor online makes me want to sell it even though it really like the way that game plays. So far nothing has wowed me, and I'm playing catch up. BUT every game you listed I would love to play, but i feel like those games will be very cheap by november.

Edited by verticalstripes

I've played 4 games from this year and they've ranged from amazing to good.       1) Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition: Can't believe I didn't play this when it came out on PC, it's awesome!       2) Alan Wake's American Nightmare: Loved this game, even though it was just a spinoff and not a true sequel.         3) Trials Evolution:  Fun game but not spectacular.       4) SSX:  Only retail game I played, and it was wildly inconsistent.   At times it was amazing and at other times it was just awful.  Still had decent fun with it though.
 
I have yet to play any of the games on your list but Dragon's Dogma and Twisted Metal both look cool.  Not a big fan of JRPGs so I doubt I'll ever try out FF13-2 and honestly, I think Lollipop Chainsaw looks like crap.

Posted by Demoskinos

@Nottle: FFXIII-2 is $20 already on amazon I think twisted is falling in price pretty quick too. I can't blame you for not being able to think of 5 games. Its been kind of a weird year for games overall. Even going into the fall I'm looking at DOA 5, Hitman and Halo 4 and that is most likely it for me. January has me absolutely hyped though. DmC is my new most anticipated game.

Edited by Yummylee

Out of the three there that I've played, Binary Domain and Lollipop Chainsaw ain't settin' foot on any Top/Best/GOTY lists for me. Binary Domain has a likeable cast of characters (I'm surprised by how much I really liked Dan), but for me personally the headset commands 9/10 times never worked, and the story got so stupid near the end. Plus while I actually really liked the shooting at first, it started to drag during the last 2 hours. And not to mention that the framerate is pretty dicey and some of those boss battles go on far too long. Lollipop Chainsaw, well, cue shameless self-promotion <3

Dragon's Dogma, though... those ending segments are so bloody fantastic that, despite my many grievances with the game, it may still snag a spot near the bottom. I haven't quite decided yet. It makes me wish there was some sort of unlockable random dungeon generator like Everfall. With so many upcoming greats still on the way, there may not even be any room. In any case, my own current top 5 list sans-commentary is of course very different from your own. I'm considering putting Max Payne 3 up there after playing some more in the score-attack and new york minute modes. The faster pace and the scoring feature has forced me to develop a very different sort of playstyle, and I'm surprised at how very viable it is to use shootdodge a fair bit so long as you use it appropriately.

Posted by Demoskinos

@Yummylee: Ya know I thought of Max Payne after I was mostly done and thought of replacing Twisted Metal with it because I really did like that as well but... I wanted to write about Twisted and was too lazy to delete everything. Haha.

Posted by big_jon

Have not played any of these.

Posted by Demoskinos

@big_jon: You should totally at least play Binary Domain. It is of course the year of the Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Posted by big_jon

@Demoskinos: So I hear.

Posted by Nottle

@Demoskinos: I'm thinking about selling Twisted Metal. I like it, but I just don't like waiting in lobbies. people are too impatient and I have a poor NAT. It's sad, but I don't think I'll go back to it much. I think this year is good for the weird Japanese games. I only played Yakuza 1 but I'm excited to play Binary Domain, I like suda, but I really need to play Killer 7 and Shadows of the Damned, Dragons Dogma looked fantastic, and FFXIII isn't as bad as people say so I'd look into 2 sometime.

Posted by Demoskinos

@Nottle: God what I wouldn't give for a Killer 7 HD port.

Posted by Nottle

@Demoskinos said:

@Nottle: God what I wouldn't give for a Killer 7 HD port.

There are several Ps2 era capcom games that need to come to current consoles. I was able to find a copy of God Hand, then a month later it was on Psn. I have yet to play Okami, but I know if that comes to PSN in HD, I'd buy it day one. I don't undderstand why they don't do that, it is insane that they don't port some of those games over.

Posted by sarge1445

lack of Diablo 3 and The Walking Dead hurt this list ohh and journey

Posted by EthanielRain

We seem to have hugely different tastes in games. I like that though :) Thanks for sharing your list.

Posted by BeachThunder

So far, it's Stacking PC for me. I really enjoy how incredibly creative the game is.

Posted by Chop

Yeah, I also haven't played any of these.

In fact, I've only played one game that actually came out this year. What a shit year for games...

Posted by Little_Socrates

I couldn't play FFXIII-2 because I heard that Moogle speak in the demo and fuck that noise. And I thought the prologue and first chapter of Lollipop was okay; I'm not gonna cry because my friend sold his copy, though.

My top games so far this year are Fez, Journey, and Rhythm Heaven Fever, and I guess also Skullgirls, Trials Evolution, and Mass Effect 3. If I had to cut one of those, it'd be Skullgirls or Mass Effect 3. Still haven't played enough Skullgirls to know either way.

Those first three are fantastic games everyone should play. But it's otherwise been a fucking weird year. I really ought to play Diablo, Max Payne, and Twisted Metal, and I ought to at least try Xenoblade.

Posted by Demoskinos

@sarge1445: Can't say I've ever been a Blizzard fanboy. I look at Starcraft , WoW and Diablo and just kinda shrug my shoulders. Not saying they are bad but... just not my cup-o-tea.

Posted by Mesoian

Oh my god, our tastes could not be more different.

Posted by Foggen

Dude looks like Black Military Ryan Davis.

Posted by InfiniteGeass

I kind of hope there is a FFXIII-3...

Posted by Dad_Is_A_Zombie

I didn't play any of the OP's top choices, but I will eventually get to Binary Domain and Lollipop Chainsaw.

Posted by ImmortalSaiyan

Neat list. I really want to try Lollipop Chainsaw but am unsure weather it will be worth full price. I am a fan of both Suda 51 and James Gunn so I should like it.

I want to try Binary Domain and Dragons Dogma as well but can wait for a price drop on those.

Posted by falserelic

@Demoskinos: I had alot of fun playing binary domain too. I remember I was going to try to platinum it. I tried to get the trophy for beating invasion mode online. But I always seem to get fucked over near the end of the last waves. It use to drive me insane to try to get that trophy. But after so much trail and error I just gave up. I just threw in the towel.