Man, I wanna play that Youkai Watch game. Looks great. Hope it gets a western release.

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GOTY 2012

Here are my top ten games of the year for 2012. It's been a good one!

List items

  • Journey was my game of the year. No other game came close to offering such a well executed, neat, quality piece of content which left me feeling utterly satisfied with the experience had. Everything about it was considered, thoughtful, and dripping with production value. Calling this the closest to "Pixar quality" characterization would still be doing Journey a disservice - what a compelling little gem.

  • Far Cry 3 showed a lot of promise at E3, and thankfully delivered on a great deal of those promises - a big open world with a broad approach to mission completion, fantastic graphics, and a return to the tropical trappings which made the first game so popular. The story - Vaas Montenegro aside, voiced to manic perfection by Michael Mando - wasn't one of the promises kept, but Far Cry 3 still managed to draw me in for hours on end.

  • It came out. It actually came out. And what a finely made tribute to Valve's stunning debut Black Mesa is. This is the kind of quality stuff that can only be borne out of the tireless efforts of truly dedicated fans, and shows the aging origins of Mister Freeman in the fresh light it deserves.

  • As a long-time fan of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, I wish that Diablo III could have made it higher into my list. Initially astounding fun when completed to Inferno with a friend, in higher difficulty tiers some balancing issues became apparent rendering my Witch Doctor useless, not to mention some questionable design decisions regarding the loot-based economy and a narrative which took the opposite approach to Diablo 2's minimal and effective story. All this said, Diablo III is still a blast to play with friends, and the basic systems all amount to some of the best cooperative monster slaying you can get. That is, until Path of Exile throws open the gates to its open beta later this year.

  • Dishonored proves that stealth can still be done right, and still be amazing fun. With gorgeous world, interesting characters and tightly tuned mechanics that make it a blast to play, Dishonored was a welcome addition to this year's round-up.

  • Spec Ops: The Line was, mechanically, a mediocre affair at best. But the questions raised by the narrative raised the game's profile exponentially. A game to be played for the twists and turns of the plot alone, narrative ingenuity saved Spec Ops: The Line from boiler-plate action gaming and propelled it into this list.

  • Borderlands 2 could have been so much more. Sadly, it played rather safe both in plot and mechanics, straying little from the proven mechanics of Gearbox's first foray into the world of Pandora. That said, those mechanics are indeed proven and another visit to Pandora was enough to be enjoyable, though here's hoping a threequel takes more of a chance with evolving these systems.

  • Dragon's Dogma is kind of crazy. It's locked to a weird aspect ratio on widescreen televisions, the npc pawns that accompany you on your journey are too chatty, and the narrative threads are loose and, well, like I said, crazy. But there's something in Dragon's Dogma that appeals to the hardcore-leaning RPG fan in me. Maybe it's the well realized aesthetic, the superb combat or, yes, the endearing-at-times character dialogue, milord. Whatever it is, Dragon's Dogma was a fun game, and the series is surely one to keep an eye on.

  • Hitman: Absolution was a point of contention for many gamers, with some feeling the latest escapades of Agent 47 to be too far removed from the likes of Blood Money. I was merely happy to see a return to this franchise, and Absolution managed to provide just enough of those 'badass' moments only attainable through the perspective of The Professional.

  • (Prepare to Die Edition, PC)

    This gets a spot on my top ten this year, but I've put it fairly at number 10 as a game that was "really" released in 2011 on the consoles, where it was easily my game of the year. The graphically unlocked PC version is still one of the best offerings of 2012, allowing you to experience that merciless, rewarding Souls formula in the best possible way.