1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
I, much like many others, sadly, have not played enough of the original XCOM to form a solid opinion on it. I understand it's good. This game's good also, it's a lot more than good, actually. XCOM: Enemy Unknown is frequently brutal, heartbreaking, exhilarating and exhausting, all at once. My ragtag squad of dudes, dudettes and a robot (sometimes) saved the world at the cost of literally every single members lives, none of their journey to that point was scripted, the drama was entirely my own and I cannot reccomend you start your own journey with your own team hard enough.
In a year filled with overly artsy bullshit (see; Fez & Dear Esther) and terrible endings (see; Mass Effect 3 & Halo 4). Journey manages to avoid both, in a beautiful, uplifting tale about a journey from one place to another.
3. Borderlands 2
I was not the biggest fan of Borderlands 1. A lot of this is likely due to the awful state of the PC version, my general disdain for shooters over the years and jesus Claptrap stop talking. Borderlands 2 is somehow, however, fucking great. The humour, excessive internet memes aside, is spot on, the loot is incredibly diverse, the shooting 'feels right' and they somehow made Claptrap the best character. Oh, and the PC version looks ace.
4. Max Payne 3
2012 seems to be the year where everything old is new again. And that old stuff is still awesome, as it turns out. This certainly applies to Max Payne 3, as everyone's favourite pill poppin' degenerate drunk fights his way through the sunny and not so sunny parts of Brazil. The somewhat controversial addition of a cover system does nothing to dilute MP3's whiskey glass of hard boiled murder. Oh and you can pop pills in mid-air whilst in slow motion, come on how can you not love that.
5. The Walking Dead
Let's be honest, video game storylines? Usually fucking awful. This game, however, may have one of the most compelling stories in any medium in the past few years. Some of the questions Telltale ask you in this game are truly gut wrenching, how far are you willing to go to survive, what is 'right' in a world gone wrong, which way does a battery go into a radio? The only reason I can't rank this any higher is due to the fact it's gameplay is a little on the weak side and frequent performance issues, even on PC. Hopefully Telltale will be given the time and budget to work on both issues in the upcoming season 2. Oh, and keep that hair short.
6. FTL: Faster Than Light
A fire has broken out in life support, in the absence of an available crew member (most likely fighting one of those DAMNED Mantis invaders) the doors have been opened into space in an attempt to fan the flames. The situation appears to be resolving itself right up until the ship shudders as a missile hits door controls dead on. No biggie, the pilot's nearby, the ship can fly itself for a bit whilst he fixe- Was that the sound of the life support succumbing to the flames? A race against time begins, fix the doors before we all choke to death so we can close the doors leading to OPEN SPACE in life support so we can then hopefully fix THAT and then NOT DIE. Simple! ...Oh and hopefully blow up that Engi ship.
FTL is fucking intense.
7. Final Fantasy XIII-2
Maybe it was a case of right place at the right time, maybe a case of I like weird insane Japanese games or maybe I hit my head really hard, but, I really like Final Fantasy XIII-2. Offering a staggering amount of content both inside and outside of the main story arc, a wealth of different playstyles, a really, really good final boss and uh, bikini DLC? Final Fantasy XIII-2 is not only a significant step up from it's predecessor, but a worthy entry in a series that has lost it's way.
8. Mount & Blade Warband: Napoleonic Wars
I think the joy I get out of shooting a Frenchman in the foot and then stabbing him with my bayonet says something about me. I don't know what it says, but I'm sure it says something. It pains me to use the word, but some truly epic battles are often seen on Napoleonic Wars servers, offering as many as 200 players at once battling it out, reloading their muskets at about 1 reload every hour, charging into battle armed with only a flute or log, claiming to be George Washington and tempting the wrath of the entire server. Ah, fun times... Oh and stabbing dudes with muskets in this is way more satisfying than it is in Assassin's Creed 3, just sayin'.
SSX3 is a golden era defining game for me, the sense of speed and style, the soundtrack, the feeling of tearing up fresh snow, all of it, great. This new SSX (confusingly named SSX) does all of that, but now with dubstep. ...Yay? Along with everyone's least/most/least again favourite music genre, SSX introduces survival events, where you're asked to snowboard down a ridiculously dangerous slope until either your boarder's or your own personal breaking point. Just don't think about the logic of snow somehow being inside Mount Kilimanjaro.
10. Tribes Ascend
I could sit here and make Sanic Hegehog references all day, and will, elsewhere, but Tribes Ascend is easily the best free-to-play game I've ever played, offering a diverse selection of classes, a remarkable sense of speed and a understanding of what it's really like to cumon step it up!!! Oh goddamnit I did it again.